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Commentary
3:56 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Commentary: Attitudes About Role of First Lady Reflect Cultural Expectations

Diane Blair

Shortly after First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage at this year’s Academy Awards, commentators from both Hollywood and inside the beltway erupted with criticism.  It was just the latest chapter in a decades old debate about the proper role of the first lady in contemporary society. On this edition of FM89’s commentary series The Moral Is, Fresno State communication professor Diane Blair says that when it comes to public praise or criticism, it often tells us more about society as a whole than about the first lady herself.

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Environment
1:18 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

The Merced River Plan and the Future of Yosemite National Park

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Beneath the shadows of Half Dome and El Capitan, in the heart of Yosemite Valley, lies the Merced River. It’s been known as a Wild and Scenic River since 1987. It’s a federal designation that aims to preserve river ecosystems and values. But after a major flood damaged much of the park’s infrastructure in 1997, environmental groups and park management clashed over plans for how best to restore the park in compliance with the law. Now, after 15 years marked by lawsuits and studies, a new management plan for the Merced River has been released.

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Valley Edition
12:03 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

On Valley Edition: Strawberries & Education; Gardens & Baseball; Age-Old Fresno/Bakersfield Rivalry

The rivalry between Fresno and Bakersfield dates back to as far as most can remember. On Valley Edition we discuss how the two communities can work together in the future with a more regional approach
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we  take the listener to one of the many strawberry stands that dot the San Joaquin Valley’s rural roads. But how often do these vine-ripened strawberries reach school menus? FM 89’s Rebecca Plevin explores the first partnership ever to exist between Fresno Unified School District and a Reedley farmer to bring local berries to cafeterias.

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Education
11:41 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Fresno Charter School Students Go 'Farm Grown' with Fresno Grizzlies Garden Project

ACEL students pose with the Fresno Grizzlies mascot Parker at the ceremony announcing the launch of the garden program last fall.
Credit http://twitter.com/acelfresno

In an effort to increase education about agriculture and sustainability, the Fresno Grizzlies have partnered with a local charter high school to build a garden at Chuckchansi Park. FM89’s Ezra Romero visited the stadium; spoke with the teenagers planting the garden and has this report.

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For the past week and a half a group of seniors from ACEL Charter High School in Fresno have been huffing and puffing at Chuckchansi Park.  But they aren’t running bases or hitting pop flies – they’re building and planting a garden.

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Agriculture
9:55 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Reedley Farmer Goes 'Farm to School' With Strawberries

Pao Saephan is the first small farmer to sell his produce directly to Fresno Unified School District.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

Pao Saephan crouches down in his sun-drenched field. He cups a red jewel in his hand.

In a few more days, his strawberries will be fully ripe. He’ll pick them once they are garnet-colored from stem to tip.

“We want all the strawberries, to be full ripe, full flavor, with 100 percent sugar in them,” says Saephan.

In the past, he would sell the fresh berries at his roadside stand - called Sam’s Strawberry Patch. It’s located at the intersection of Manning Avenue and I Street in Reedley.

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Environment
5:22 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

For California Lawmakers, Plastic Bag Ban Debate is Back

One of the most controversial issues in the California legislature in recent years is back.  Lawmakers are proposing several bills that would either ban the use of plastic bags, charge fees for single-use bags or both.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento.

This idea has stalled in the legislature year after year, amid strong opposition from plastic bag manufacturers and grocers.  But Democratic Assemblyman Mark Levine says this time will be different.

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Health
5:20 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Study Links Access to Parks to Teenage Exercise Habits

Centennial Park in Bakersfield
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

  A new study from the UCLA Center For Health Policy Research shows that teenagers who live near parks and open space areas are more physically active than those who don't. 

The study also shows that low income teens use parks less, citing safety concerns. Low income teens were also less likely to be active for at least one hour a day. 

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Environment
6:09 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Snow Survey Shows Dramatically Dry Conditions for California

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The next to the last snow survey of the season shows extremely dry conditions for California. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, it has prompted the Department of Natural Resources to call the security of the state’s water supply “threatened.”

 The bad news: the water content in California’s snowpack is only 52 percent of normal. What’s worse, the spring melt is underway. While the season started with water content above 130 percent of normal in January, it’s been unusually dry ever since. 

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Just One Breath
12:48 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

CDC Study: Valley Fever Cases Increasing Dramatically

Dust storms can carry millions of spores from the fungus that causes valley fever.
Credit Craig Kohlruss / The Fresno Bee

Cases of valley fever are climbing at stunning rates nationwide, and especially in California and Arizona, according to a new study released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency launched its analysis following the publication of the Reporting on Health Collaborative’s ‘Just One Breath’ series on valley fever. Valley Public Radio is a member of the partnership.

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Government & Politics
10:30 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Judge Criticizes State's Potential "Ethical Violations" in Prison Case

file photo
Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

A federal judge says California may have committed ethical violations in a lawsuit over prison mental healthcare.  KPCC’s Julie Small reports the judge’s stern rebuke could de-rail Governor Jerry Brown’s push to free the state from over a decade of federal oversight.

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Government & Politics
6:18 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Fran Florez Drops Out of Senate District 16 Race

Fran Florez
Credit http://twitter.com/Florez4Valley

Shafter's Fran Florez announced on Twitter today that she is dropping out of the race to replace former State Senator Michael Rubio in the 16th district.

The Kern County Democrat said in a statement that she made her decision to protect party unity and to ensure a Democratic victory in the upcoming special election.

Kern County Supervisor and former Rubio staffer Letecia Perez announced yesterday that she and her family would move to a new home to maintain her eligibility in the race. 

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Environment
6:10 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Bay Delta Conservation Plan Details Efforts to Protect Endangered Fish

Delta smelt (file photo)
Credit California Department of Water Resources

California Governor Jerry Brown’s administration released new details today of its plan to protect fish and wildlife in the Sacramento-San-Joaquin Delta. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the plan revolves around new tunnels to carry more water to the Central Valley and southern California. 

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Environment
6:04 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Community Recycling Asks For New Permit, Environmental Study

Community Recycling in Lamont wants permission to operate under a new Conditional Use Permit
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Residents in the Kern County community of Lamont are meeting this evening to discuss the future of a controversial recycling and compost facility. 

Community Recycling wants the county to modify its existing Conditional Use Permit to authorize processing food and green waste, byproducts from composting, and drywall.

The facility has a history of code and land use violations, and environmental groups have called it a major source of pollution.

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Young Artists Spotlight
3:07 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Young Artists Spotlight: Brian Liu, Kara McCoy and Anna McCoy

Cellist Anna McCoy performs on FM89's Young Artist Spotlight
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Public Radio's Young Artists Spotlight, we hear live performances from three talented musicians from Bakersfield. Sisters Kara McCoy, violin and Anna McCoy, cello are joined by pianist Brian Liu, who also performs several selections for solo piano.

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Community
3:37 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Young Couple Calls For 'No More Slumlords'

Sergio and Ashley Cortes are starting a multimedia organization called 'No More Slumlords.'
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

Sergio and Ashley Cortes knock on a door in a run-down apartment building near downtown Fresno.

Sergio Cortes greets the young woman that cautiously cracks open the door. Ashley Cortes stands behind her husband, clasping a clipboard, ready to take notes.

“We’re basically doing canvassing of apartment complexes owned by JD Homes, and we want to talk to the tenants to see if they have any problems with JD Homes, like any stuff that’s not being fixed, anything that’s broken,” Sergio Cortes says.

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Valley Edition
12:53 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

On Valley Edition: Bakersfield, Centennial Corridor Project; Slumlords, Fresno's Lowell Community

Victor and Mary Jones moved into the Westpark community four years ago. They love the neighborhood and are sad they will be forced to move.
Credit Ezra Romero / Vally Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a ride to into the South Valley where a battle is heating up over a   freeway connector project intended to connect Highway 58 from Tehachapi and beyond to Interstate 5. The major issue, the Centennial Corridor Project will tear out 300 homes in a well-established neighborhood just west of Highway 99 in Bakersfield.

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Transportation
10:04 am
Tue March 26, 2013

Centennial Corridor Freeway Project Divides Bakersfield, Neighborhood

Amy Richardson, co-chair of the Westpark Home Owners Association, points to a homemade map of the area that will be taken by the freeway project.
Ezra Romero Valley Public Radio

The future of a well-established neighborhood in Bakersfield is on the rocks. The reason: a three decade old freeway project with intentions to connect Bakersfield with the rest of the state. Valley Public Radio's Ezra Romero visits the community, speaks with community leaders and reports on the future of what some call a better connected Bakersfield and California.

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Government & Politics
5:53 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

California Cities Watch Closely as Stockton Bankruptcy Trial Begins

Stockton, CA (file photo)
Credit Marianne Russ / Capital Public Radio

The city of Stockton has begun a four-day trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  At stake: whether the city should be eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

The case has other local governments watching closely – particularly those that still face large budget deficits.  Chris McKenzie with the League of California Cities says he believes cities will “move heaven and earth” to avoid future bankruptcies.

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Government & Politics
6:40 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Rewritten Water Bond to Include Less Money for Storage

California Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
Office of Darrell Steinberg

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says lawmakers plan to rewrite the $11 billion water bond for the November 2014 ballot – and the new version will likely have less money for storage projects such as dams.

“There will continue to be a chapter for storage.  I don’t think there will be nearly the same amount of money in that chapter as there was in the original bond.  And I think there will be de-emphasis, frankly – or at least, on the same surface storage projects,” says Steinberg. 

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Government & Politics
6:32 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

State to Delay Sending Residents Fire Protection Bills

Credit Cal Fire

The state of California is putting a temporary halt to sending out new bills to some rural homeowners in the enforcement of a controversial fire prevention fee.

The delay comes as CAL Fire is sorting through a backlog of thousands of appeals from mostly foothill and mountain residents. The state was planning to send out another round of bills in April.

Some 87,000 residents have already appealed the fee. It's unclear when the state will clear the backlog in appeals and send out new bills. 

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