News

Virginia Commonwealth University, The California Endowment

Last year, U.S. life expectancy fell for the first time in over 20 years. At the same time, new data from four valley counties show that the death rate has increased particularly among whites. 

Over the last 20 years, the death rates among communities of color in the San Joaquin Valley have fallen. But at the same time, white death rates have notably increased, particularly for adults aged 40-64. Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University says opioid use is only partially to blame.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California has a reputation for progressive climate policies, and a new study shows it’s having an economic impact the San Joaquin Valley.

 

Over $13 billion: That’s how much the state's climate policies have delivered to the San Joaquin Valley, according to a study out of UC Berkeley and the non-profit group Next 10. The group’s founder, Noel Perry, says those benefits included tax revenues, direct investment in local businesses, and nearly 40,000 jobs.

KMC / Kern County

The California State Senate’s health committee held a rare hearing in Bakersfield this afternoon discussing the local impact of President Elect Trump’s quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez testified that while Kern Medical has seen its financial health improve in recent years, that could change quickly if the law is rolled back.

Courtesy of Alexander Mickelthwate

Alexander Mickelthwate is one of the six candidates hoping to become the next music director of the Fresno Philharmonic. He’s in town this week to lead the orchestra in a concert on Sunday at the Saroyan Theatre, featuring Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique; Mason Bates’ Mothership and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 5.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

A company with the goal of turning Fresno into the next Silicon Valley is announcing a big expansion. Bitwise, which bills itself as the entrepreneurial future of Fresno, is adding three new buildings to what they are calling a ‘technology campus’ downtown.

The additional three spaces, all within close proximity to each other in downtown Fresno, would take the space Bitwise provides from 50,000 to 300,000 square feet.Bitwise provides from 50,000 to 300,000 square feet.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

The state water board is now requiring public water systems to offer free lead testing to schools. Even if a water supply is clean at the source, lead can still appear in buildings like schools.

Public water systems are already required to test their water where they distribute it, but that’s not the only place to test for lead. Asha Kreiling with the advocacy group the Community Water Center says lead can be introduced by pipes and schools may not always test what comes out of them.

Following recent high-profile suicides in Bakersfield and Fresno, many in the community are asking questions about how the community and the media should deal with the issue. In Bakersfield local community LGBT activist and CSUB student Jai Bornstein took her own life, as did newly-elected city councilmember Jeff Tcak. In Fresno County, three Clovis West High School students have taken their own lives in the last six months.

Ezra David Romero

In this episode, we’re venturing to a different kind of destination.

It’s not exactly outdoors…but there’s no heating or air conditioning. 

It’s musty, damp and that’s what some people love about it. Often the only light source is the light you bring.

We’re going underground. In this episode we’re exploring the world of spelunking. But people who do this don’t actually call it that. They refer to the activity as caving.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

The song “Burn, Baby Burn” was originally written about the Watts Riots – a series of deadly protests against police brutality in 1965 – but it later became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 assassination. The songwriter, Jimmy Collier, now lives in Fresno. But in the 1960s, he worked alongside Dr. King, using his music to organize civil rights activists. He wrote about the experience in a book published last year on the Chicago Freedom Movement. Here, he speaks with reporter Kerry Klein about the book and what it was like to work with Dr.

Carmen Vargas

Every year in America, around 42,000 people kill themselves. Suicide is the second most common non-illness related cause of death, but prevention advocates say the issue remains hidden and stigmatized. Recently, a series of high-profile events have recently brought suicide into the spotlight in the Central Valley. Many suicide advocates are now saying that the key to prevention is talking about it.

Three Clovis West High School students, a newly elected Bakersfield City Councilmember, and a Bakersfield LGBT activist all have taken their own lives in the last six months.

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