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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio News

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra met with local officials from across the San Joaquin Valley in Fresno today.

After addressing DACA and criminal justice reform, Becerra said that over the weekend he plans to meet with employers, like growers, to discuss what to expect from federal immigration authorities now that California is officially a sanctuary state.

"I want to make sure employers understand what their rights are but also what their responsibilities are toward their employees," he said.

Florence Low / Department of Water Resources

The process of bringing running water to over 700 homes in East Porterville is now complete. The State Department of Water Resources made the announcement today, bringing an end to a saga that gained national attention during California’s most recent drought. Hundreds of homes in the unincorporated area east of the City of Porterville had their private wells go dry during the drought.  Many residents were forced to turn to bottled water, or water delivered to their homes by trucks.

www.ice.gov

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is responding today to Valley Public Radio’s reporting about the agency’s presence and practices at a facility in downtown Fresno.

In that report, we described an unmarked, under-the-radar Fresno facility that processes and detains individuals coming into ICE custody. We also reported that ICE had not responded to multiple opportunities to comment on the story before it was published.

CA WaterFix

The California Department of Water Resources has announced it will scale back Governor Jerry Brown's plan to build two water tunnels beneath the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta. Under the proposal released today the California WaterFix would be broken up into two phases. The first phase would include only one tunnel with a capacity of 6,000 cfs. A second, smaller tunnel with a capacity of 3,000 cfs could be added at a later date.

Valley Public Radio

This week we kickoff the 2018 season of Young Artists Spotlight with a performance featuring the students of local harp instructor Laura Porter. FM89's David Aus hosts the live in-studio event featuring student musicians Carter Williams, Coco Rodriguez, Catherine Palacios, Melissa Palacios and Aria Delgado.

Support for Young Artists Spotlight comes from The Bonner Family Foundation, Dr. Alice Martinson and Carole Sturgis. 

California Citrus Mutual

The law enforcement agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, may be ramping up its inspections of worksites—and a Valley grower is one of the first to feel the consequences.

Fowler-based Bee Sweet Citrus says it may have lost a fifth of its workforce in anticipation of an inspection by ICE. The federal agency notified Bee Sweet that later this month, it would conduct an I-9 inspection. Meaning the company will need to hand over the forms that verify the identity and employment authorization of each of its employees.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A Kern County Superior Court Judge has issued a ruling in favor of a Bakersfield bakery owner in a LGBT civil rights lawsuit. Judge David Lampe sided with Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery, who refused to sell a cake to a lesbian couple. Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio filed a complaint with the state, which in turn brought legal action against Miller for violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. It's a state law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, as well as sexual orientation.

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

We’ve been reporting a lot these last few weeks about PurpleAir, a new brand of low-cost, wifi-enabled air monitors that are enabling concerned citizens across the world to crowd-source air quality data. After speaking with public agencies, academics and advocacy groups about the promise of these devices, we were curious: Who created PurpleAir, and how did its product become so popular?

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

A few weeks ago we told you how new high-tech, low-cost air quality sensors are helping valley residents monitor air pollution right outside their homes. But the devices aren’t just being used by homeowners, they’re also being adopted by some of the world’s top scientists. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is testing the devices here in the valley, in preparation for investigating pollutants from space.  

 

This week on Valley Edition - an exclusive report from Valley Public Radio's Kerry Klein about a secretive ICE facility hidden in plain sight in downtown Fresno, and why civil liberties groups are concerned about what goes on inside. We also talk with journalist Mark Arax about his new magazine article about billionaire valley farmers Stewart and Lynda Resnick.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Update Tuesday 2/13:

By some measures, Stewart Resnick is the biggest farmer in California. His empire of almonds, pomegranates, pistachios and citrus covers over 120,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley. Known today as The Wonderful Company, Resnick and his wife Lynda have grown their multi-billion dollar fortune on products like POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and Wonderful Halos mandarin oranges. And despite California’s drought, in recent years they’ve kept growing, thanks to shrewd management of their most precious resource - water.

Kern DA: Serna Shooting Was Justified

Feb 2, 2018

Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green has determined that Bakersfield Police officer Reagan Selman acted reasonably when he shot and killed 73 year-old Francisco Serna in December 2016. Serna was unarmed, and suffering from dementia. Police later discovered the item he was holding in his pocket was a crucifix.

 

Google Maps

The City of Fresno has reached a tentative agreement with an outside group that could result in a new park on city-owned property in southeast Fresno. FM89’s Joe Moore reports the partnership could resolve an issue that has concerned city officials and residents for over a decade.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Valley Public Radio’s hosted another Be Public Live community forum March 14, 2018 on the future of our air quality and the efforts to clean up the valley’s polluted skies. Valley Public Radio reporter Kerry Klein moderated the discussion which featured guests including:

Dolores Barajas-Weller - Director, Central Valley Air Quality Coalition
Steve Worthley - Tulare County Supervisor & Vice Chair of the Valley Air District Governing Board
Tom Knox - Executive Director, Valley Clean Air Now

The Valley Air District has issued a health cautionary statement amid a weather pattern that could contribute to another round of elevated particulate pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. The district says stagnant air conditions may result in warmer temperatures, but residents should take care to avoid heavy outdoor activities during periods of elevated particulate matter concentrations. Particulate pollution, which is also known as soot, is harmful and has been correlated with asthma attacks, bronchial infections, heart attacks and stroke.

Ian Faloona, UC Davis

 

When you hear about air pollution, you may think of vehicle emissions, industrial smokestacks and wood burning. But a new study reveals another major source right below your feet in the Central Valley.

The pollutants in question are nitrogen oxides, a family of harmful gases known collectively as NOx. They’re precursors to ozone and particulate matter, which can lead to a litany of short and long-term health problems.

This week on Valley Edition, we learn about plans from a Canadian company to mine for gold in Mariposa. We also talk about the local political impact of the "Nunes Memo" and learn why the Delta smelt had a bad year, despite the end to California's drought. Plus we talk with Madera DA candidate Sally Moreno and learn about a new exhibit in Kingsburg. 

Nunes for Congress

Tulare Republican Congressman Devin Nunes may be one of the most unlikely national political figures of the past year. The chair of the House Intelligence Committee was already in the news for his role in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Now with his controversial classified memo about alleged wrongdoing by FBI officials in a FISA warrant for Trump aide Carter Page, Nunes is back in the headlines. Is it a real scandal, as House Republicans have claimed?

The race for Madera County District Attorney is likely to be one of the more interesting local contests in 2018. It pits incumbent DA David Linn against challenger and current Fresno County prosecutor Sally Moreno. The race took on a new tone in late 2017 after allegations surfaced that Linn had made racist and sexist remarks on the job.

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