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Health
9:39 am
Tue May 7, 2013

State Raises Questions About Moving Inmates At Risk of Valley Fever

Under the plan proposed by the federal receiver in charge of health care in California's prisons, an estimated 50 percent of inmates at Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons would be moved because they are at high risk of contracting valley fever.
Credit CA Dept of Corrections

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court yesterday, the state Attorney General raised questions about the federal order to exclude inmates especially vulnerable to valley fever from two Central Valley prisons.

“The receiver is calling for the transferring, he described it last week as ‘effective immediately,’ of over 3,000 inmates from those two prisons,” says Jeffrey Callison, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “That’s a huge, complex undertaking. Could it happen? Of course it could happen, but it would take a long time to implement.”

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Government & Politics
5:46 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

California Supreme Court Says Cities Can Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Medical marijuana advocates rally on a lawn near the Capitol after the California Supreme Court ruled cities and counties can ban dispensaries within their borders.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

California’s highest court has come down on the side of cities and counties in the fight over the location, or even the existence, of medical marijuana dispensaries. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento. 

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The Moral Is
12:46 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Commentary: When Things Go Wrong, Corporations Need to Take Responsibility

Fresno State business law professor Ida Jones
Credit Fresno State

What happens when society fails to care about people? And why do our priorities as individuals differ so much from our actions as businesses and lawmakers? In this edition of Valley Public Radio's commentary series “The Moral Is” Fresno State business law professor Ida Jones says that uncontrolled greed and a civilized society are incompatible.

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Government & Politics
12:56 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

New California Prison Plan 'Best of the Bad Options'

Avenal State Prison
Credit CA Dept of Corrections

“The best of the bad options”. That’s how the Department of Corrections is characterizing its plan to reduce prison overcrowding in California. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

More inmates will be sent to lower security fire camps, some elderly and sick prisoners will be paroled early, additional beds will be leased from county jails. Those are among the measures California is proposing to further reduce prison overcrowding.

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Environment
5:16 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

New Study Examines Collapse of Honey Bee Colonies

Credit USDA/EPA

The collapse of honey bee populations in the U.S. is the result of a number of factors, ranging from insects and diseases to pesticides, according to new study released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection agency.

The report says a parasitic mite is the single most destructive pest to bee populations, and is closely linked with what has come to be known as colony collapse disorder.

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Water
5:12 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

What Snow? Final Snow Survey Yields Dry Results

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The season’s final snow survey in California found what most expected – dry conditions. Snow surveyors found absolutely no snow on the ground at Phillips Station, nearly 7,000 feet up Echo Summit in the Sierras.

Water content in California’s snowpack is only 17 percent of normal, meaning a below average water supply this summer.

Frank Gehrke with the Department of Water Resources says despite that, most reservoirs are near normal levels for the date thanks to early winter storms.

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Environment
5:45 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Major CEQA Legislation Passes First Committee Test

Lawmakers are considering a number of bills that would change California’s Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. The more than 40-year-old law guides almost all development projects in the state.

The bill garnering the most attention passed its first legislative test today. Democratic Senate President pro Tem Darrel Steinberg’s bill would streamline some aspects of the environmental law.

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Education
4:14 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Brown's 'Principle of Subsidiarity' Draws Support - with an Asterisk

Mechanical engineering students at Monterey Trail High School in the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove participate in a computer-aided design drafting exercise.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

There’s a paradox in many of the reactions to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to give California schools more flexibility on how they spend their state tax dollars.  There’s general support around the Capitol for breaking down the funding walls surrounding several dozen programs.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, everyone seems to have a favorite program they want to protect.

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Environment
3:26 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Brown Administration Sidesteps Controversial Delta Comments

Top Brown Administration officials wait to testify at a State Senate hearing on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. From left: Charlton Bonham (Director, Dept. of Fish & Wildlife), John Laird (Secretary of Natural Resources) & Mark Cowin (Director, Dept. of Water Resources).
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers who represent the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region are seething over recent comments from Governor Jerry Brown’s point man on the state’s proposed water delivery tunnel project.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

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Valley Writers Read
11:50 am
Wed May 1, 2013

David Borofka's “Mid Clair” on Valley Writers Read

Local author David Borofka
Credit Reedley College

Clovis author David Borofka reads his story about Professor Grimshaw whose wife was in the habit of insulting him all the time-- so much so that he moves into the garage and sleeps in the Buick.  But things get even more complicated for Mr. Grimshaw, on this edition of Valley Writers Read.

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Health
6:44 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Prison Health Advocates Call For More Steps to Stop Valley Fever Outbreak

On Monday afternoon, the federal receiver in charge of health care in California’s prisons ordered the state prison to remove inmates from two Central Valley prisons who are especially at risk of contracting valley fever.  A day later, the state and experts are digesting that directive. Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin reports, as part of the Reporting on Health Collaborative’s investigation into the disease.

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Government & Politics
5:01 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Is More Parole The Answer For Overcrowding in California Prisons?

California Governor Jerry Brown has until Thursday to release a plan for reducing prison overcrowding in California. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown has until Thursday to release a plan for reducing prison overcrowding in California. Releasing more inmates may not be popular, but one law professor says it could be the way to go. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

About 30,000 inmates are serving life sentences in California prisons. Of those inmates, about 9,000 are currently eligible for parole.  UCLA Law Professor Sharon Dolovich  says if the state is looking to reduce its prison population, that might be a good place to start.

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Valley Edition
1:03 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

On Valley Edition: Water; Fracking; Valley Fever; Restorative Justice; Honey Festival

This week on Valley Edition we explore issues that may impact the region as a whole. Our reporting team tackles regional issues that include advocacy for potable water in rural communities, hydraulic fracking and restorative justice in Valley schools. As well as a festival celebrating honey in the region.

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Environment
11:42 am
Tue April 30, 2013

As 'Fracking' Debate Heats Up, Weighing Risks Key to Possible Monterey Shale Boom

Much of the Monterey Shale formation lies beneath the San Joaquin Valley. (file photo)
Credit Kathleen Masterson / Capital Public Radio

Could California be on the verge of a new gold rush? That’s the finding of a new study from USC about the potential economic impact of oil that lies deep beneath the Central Valley, known as the Monterey Shale. But extracting that oil isn’t easy, and it would require the use of a number of advanced techniques, including hydraulic fracturing.  And that’s attracted concerns from environmental groups and state regulators. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports on some recent developments in the fracking debate.

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Environment
11:33 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Several Bills Would Regulate 'Fracking' in State

In Colorado, fracking operations are underway. (file photo)
Credit Kathleen Masterson / Capital Public Radio

Ten bills that would regulate hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for oil are working their way through the California legislature. The proposals range from requiring more scientific study to a moratorium. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the industry opposes almost all of the bills.

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Health
9:59 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Inmates At Risk of Valley Fever To Be Moved From Two Valley Prisons

About 40 percent of the inmates at Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons will be relocated, due to their risk of acquiring valley fever.
Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

The federal receiver in charge of health care in California’s prisons is ordering the state to remove inmates from two Central Valley prisons who are especially at risk of contracting the fungal disease known as valley fever. The move affects about 40 percent of the inmate population at Avenal and Pleasant Valley State Prisons. 

Those affected include African Americans, Filipinos, inmates who are HIV positive, have compromised immune systems, or are pregnant or elderly.

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Environment
9:19 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Where Might Funding For Safe Drinking Water Flow From?

Sandra Garcia, left, of Poplar, can't drink her water because it's contaminated by nitrates.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

For the past 35 years, Sandra Garcia has picked grapes, plums and peppers on San Joaquin Valley farms. But when she returns to her home in the small, Tulare County community of Poplar, she’s reminded of agriculture’s impact on her drinking water.

She can’t drink it because it contains unhealthy levels of nitrates. And she can’t cook with it, because boiling water can concentrate the nitrate level. It’s a serious health issue for infants and pregnant women.

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Agriculture
2:08 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Environmental Advocates Call For Phasing Out Strawberry Pesticides

Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Some environmentalists say hazardous strawberry pesticides should be banned in California by 2020. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, strawberry growers say finding an alternative to fumigants is difficult.

On the steps of the Capitol, farm workers, environmentalists and health leaders called on the state to phase out soil fumigants used most heavily in strawberry production. They say fumigants have a wide range of health effects, are highly volatile, and drift from where they are applied. Martha Arguello is with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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Artists Interviews
9:00 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Artist Interview: Gabriela Martinez

The New York Times called Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez “compelling, elegant, and incisive." She performs this weekend with the Fresno Philharmonic, in a concert titled Russian Romantics. She will be the featured soloist performing Rachmaninoff’s  Piano Concerto No. 2. She recently joined us to talk about her career, her upcoming performance and more.

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Government & Politics
5:37 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

White House Touts 'Strong Cities' Effort in Fresno, Rerouting Planned Bus Line

President Obama meets with mayors participating the Strong Cities, Strong Communities program, including Fresno's Ashley Swearengin in March 2012
Credit EPA.gov

A federal effort to cut red tape and better use existing  resources to help economically struggling cities like Fresno is beginning to pay off, according to Obama administration officials. 

In a statement issued Thursday, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz praised the "Strong Cities, Strong Communities" (SC2) program for supporting communities like Fresno.

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