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Environment
3:16 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Sierra Snowpack Below Normal; Driest Year on Record

Sierra snowpack this winter is below normal, according to a recent snow survey
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

January and February are the driest on record for the northern Sierra Nevada. As Amy Quinton reports, snowpack is well-below normal for this time of year.

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Young Artists Spotlight
3:06 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Young Artists Spotlight: Fresno Pacific Young Composers

Vocalist Joslyn Sarshad and pianist and composer Joseph Joseph del Giorgio perform on FM89's Young Artists Spotlight
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

On this edition of FM89's Young Artists Spotlight we feature performances by young composers with ties to Fresno Pacific University, Joseph del Giorgio and Luffy Bailey. Both del Giorgio and Bailey attended Fresno Pacific as undergraduates. Bailey is now working on a masters degree at Fresno State, and del Giorgio is doing the same at Cal State Fullerton. Joining del Giorgio for his performance on Young Artists Spotlight is fellow Cal State Fullerton vocalist, soprano Joslyn Sarshad.

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Development Watch
9:15 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Fresno County To Allow Developers to Select Their Own Environmental Consultants

Developers in Fresno County will soon be able to hire firms of their own choosing to study the environmental impacts of proposed projects. 

The Board of Supervisors approved the new policy Tuesday on a 5-0 vote, saying that it will speed up the development process, and help to create jobs.

Until now, developers would pay the county for the preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR). The county would then issue a "request for proposal" to environmental consulting companies, a selection process that can take nearly half a year to complete. 

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The Moral Is
1:33 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Commentary: Don't Deduct the Fine After Doing the Crime

Ida Jones
Credit Fresno State

From the financial crisis of 2008 to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – recent events have put corporate crimes in the spotlight. But what happens when corporations try to use the tax code to skirt their criminal responsibilities? On this edition of FM89's commentary series "The Moral Is," Fresno State business professor Ida Jones says it’s time for companies to pay up.

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Valley Edition
12:38 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

On Valley Edition: The Affordable Care Act; College Of The Sequoias; Rogue Festival

NOCO, Central California’s resident professional modern dance company, will debut a brand new performance at the Rogue Festival. Spencer Ruell demonstrates the use of aerials in the performance.
Credit Dan Wong

This week on Valley Edition: The Affordable Care Act is expected to expand health insurance coverage to millions of Californians. But with those newly insured patients will come a dire need for more primary doctors. FM 89.3’s Rebecca Plevin reports on a new type of medical residency program that’s intended to train primary doctors who will remain in the Central Valley and work in local community health centers.

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High Speed Rail
10:00 am
Tue February 26, 2013

After Delays, High-Speed Rail Project to Start This Summer

file photo
Credit California High Speed Rail Authority

The opening phase of California’s high-speed rail project is scheduled to break ground this summer – and the project’s CEO is promising no further delays. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, it’s already behind what Governor Jerry Brown promised just last year.

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Government & Politics
5:38 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

What Does Senator Michael Rubio's Resignation Mean For the Valley?

Former State Senator Michael Rubio (D-Shafter)
Credit Office of Michael Rubio

State Senator Michael Rubio stunned political observers with his surprise resignation on Friday morning. A moderate Democrat, Rubio was leading efforts to change the state's landmark environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act.

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Government & Politics
2:32 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Bill Calls For New Courts Dedicated to CEQA Cases

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA are often criticized for delaying projects. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, one lawmaker has introduced a bill that he says might speed up the judicial process.

Democratic Assemblymember Roger Dickinson has introduced a bill that would create CEQA courts in Northern and Southern California. The courts would have exclusive jurisdiction over any CEQA litigation.

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Prison Realignment
2:22 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Central Valley Lawmaker: California Should Give Counties More Money to Fund Realignment

State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) - (file photo)
Credit Office of Anthony Cannella

 

A California lawmaker says the shift of tens of thousands of state prisoners to county supervision has become a strain for some counties.  As Marianne Russ reports from Sacramento, he wants the state to give those counties more money.

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Government & Politics
10:52 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Michael Rubio Resigns From State Senate

State Senator Michael J. Rubio (D-Shafter)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

State Senator Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, has resigned, effective immediately, from his position in the California State Senate. He will become the manager of California government affairs for Chevron Corporation.

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Artist Interviews
8:56 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Pianist Barry Douglas Brings His Acclaimed Artistry to Fresno

Pianist Barry Douglas will perform in Fresno on Sunday February 24, 2013.
Credit Mark Harrison

Pianist Barry Douglas has been an star of the international classical music world since 1986, when he won the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow.

In addition to a busy touring schedule, Douglas also serves as artistic director of Camerata Ireland, a group which brings together musicians from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to celebrate Irish culture. 

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Health
7:25 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Are Teaching Health Centers the Cure to the Valley's Doctor Shortage?

Dr. Peter Broderick examines a patient's X-ray as three future doctors look on.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

A new type of residency program may provide some relief to the Central Valley’s physician shortage, and change the way we grow and retain primary care doctors in the Valley.

The model is called a “teaching health center,” and it’s funded by the Affordable Care Act.

The idea behind this new approach to graduate medical education is to train medical residents in community health centers, and encourage them to pursue careers in primary care in underserved areas, like the Valley.

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Government & Politics
7:30 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Costs for Funding State Retiree Health Benefits Grows

California State Controller John Chiang
Credit California State Controller's Office

A new report shows the unfunded liability for state retiree health benefits in California has grown to more than $63 billion.

As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, State Controller John Chiang says some increases in future liability could be prevented.

Chiang says the unfunded obligation for state retiree benefits has grown almost two billion dollars from 2011 to 2012. That’s less than expected because of fewer and less expensive healthcare claims.

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Government & Politics
7:26 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Experts: 'Sequestration' Could Hurt California's Economy

Credit Valley Public Radio

As the March 1st deadline for automatic federal budget cuts approaches, their potential effect on California is becoming increasingly clear. 

Ben Adler reports from Sacramento that “sequestration” cuts could slow the state’s economic recovery – and perhaps even create a new budget deficit.

There are two ways sequestration could affect California: direct federal spending cuts of about $4 billion dollars, and the reaction to those cuts from the state’s people and businesses. 

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Health Care Reform
12:22 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

California Lawmakers Discuss How Geography Will Help Shape Health Premiums

file photo

California lawmakers are deciding how geography can affect health insurance premiums in the individual marketplace.

Lawmakers got one step closer to ironing out new rules that would guarantee insurance to individuals regardless of their prior health history. But, they still need to decide how companies will factor in where someone lives into premium rates.

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Environment
6:54 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Report: Cleanup Nitrate Pollution With Fee on Fertilizer Sales

A map showing the initial study areas for a recent UC Davis study of nitrate pollution.
Credit CA Water Resources Control Board

The State Water Resources Control Board is recommending that California fund efforts to mitigate nitrate pollution through a statewide fee on fertilizer.

In a report to the Legislature, the board said that groundwater nitrate pollution in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley is likely to get worse in the future, and a dedicated funding stream is needed to address the problem.

Agricultural fertilizer and confined animal facilities are considered some of the top sources of nitrate pollution.

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Water Quality
5:26 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Lawmakers Introduce Clean Drinking Water Legislation

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

Several lawmakers introduced nine bills Wednesday they say are designed to help the more than 21 million Californians who rely on contaminated groundwater for drinking. 

Environmental groups and several Democratic legislators stood on the Capitol steps to call for an end to contaminated water.

They say so many poor communities lack access to safe drinking water that California will have to invest about $40 billion over the next two decades to solve the problem.

Democratic Assemblymember Henry T. Perea represents Fresno and parts of the Central Valley.

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Young Artists Spotlight
3:02 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Young Artists Spotlight: Bakersfield High School Chamber Singers

Bakersfield High School Chamber Singers perform at Valley Public Radio
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

On this edition of Young Artists Spotlight, the Bakersfield High School Chamber Singers visited the Bonner Performing Arts Studio for a live in-studio performance. Listen to this talented group of south valley students showcase their love of music in this special broadcast. The choir is directed by Christopher Borges. 

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Government & Politics
11:39 am
Wed February 20, 2013

California Legislature to Consider Minimum Wage Increase

Credit Valley Public Radio

President Obama’s call for increasing the minimum wage in his State of the Union address this month  could face a tough road in Congress.  But a proposal in the California legislature could stand a better chance.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

California’s current minimum wage is eight dollars an hour.  A bill at the State Capitol would bump it up gradually over the next several years to $9.25 an hour … then require annual increases for inflation.  UC Berkeley labor economist Sylvia Allegretto says too many Californians are underpaid:

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Health Care Reform
5:50 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Legislative Analyst Recommends State-Based Medi-Cal Expansion

California's non-partisan Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor. (file photo)
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

A non-partisan legislative report suggests expanding California’s Medicaid program under the federal health law would make good sense in terms of finance and policy. 

The Legislative Analyst’s Office says the state should move ahead with the Medi-Cal expansion that Governor Jerry Brown recently laid out in his budget. 

It says not only could the coverage mean better health for the newly eligible, but it says the money both the state and counties would save would far outweigh the costs in the short and long term. 

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