News

Water Board Considers Voluntary Water Cut From Delta Area Farmers

May 21, 2015
California Department of Water Resources

Some farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta who hold the most senior water rights may agree to a 25-percent cut in their consumption. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the proposal comes as California water regulators consider mandatory curtailments.

Under the proposal, farmers who hold rights to divert water along a river or stream would either reduce irrigation use or leave fields fallow. In exchange, they want guarantees that regulators wouldn’t restrict remaining water. Jennifer Spaletta, an attorney for a group of farmers, says it’s a practical solution.

A new national ranking of American cities shows Fresno is making progress in providing access to public parks and green space.

However, the gains are limited. The city moved from last place in 2014 to tied for last this year.

Abby Martin with the Trust for Public land, which releases a yearly ranking of 75 US cities, says several new parks set to open this year helped Fresno’s score.

“Out of 100 points, this year Fresno scored 31. As opposed to last year where Fresno scored 26 points,” Martin said.

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear "The Automobile Ride," a short story by author Angelo Angarano. Shortly after this program was produced, Angelo passed away at the age of 95. We dedicate this program in his memory. While his cousin Gino butchers some songs on the accordion, Angelo celebrates his ninth birthday.  And just a couple of weeks later Angelo's father buys the family's first car, a 1929 Model A Ford sedan with all of 9,500 miles on it.

A new cell phone app that could help Fresnans track their water consumption is headed toward development. The app is the brainchild of a group of five sixth graders.

Calling themselves the ‘fab five’, the boys came up with and pitched the idea of an app that taps into data collected by city water meters and supplies daily updates on a person’s water use.

Due in part to a 25-thousand dollar donation from AT&T, the team has now raised the nearly 60-thousand dollars needed to hire a local technology company to code the app.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

On Tuesday May 19th, Valley Public Radio broke ground on construction a new broadcast center, which will serve the station and the San Joaquin Valley for decades to come. The 10,500 square foot building will be erected at the corner of Temperance and Alluvial in Clovis, at the city's research and technology park. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Shortly before Valley Public Radio's official groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, construction crews began breaking some ground of their own on the $4.5 million project. Demolition contractors started by removing the old asphalt parking lot that previously occupied the site, and then loaded the debris into waiting trucks. This marks the first time the footprint of Valley Public Radio's new broadcast center is visible.  

Ezra David Romero

This week on Valley Edition reporters from around the state report on drought including stories about swimming pools, drought friendly recipes and water conservation in Central California

Cities across the valley are working to cut their water use under new regulations as the state struggles through its fourth year of drought. However, the reductions are having different effects in different towns, in some cases having unexpected repercussions.

Towns throughout the Valley are having to take a hard look at their water use in order to meet Governor Jerry Brown’s ambitious conservation order.

In some cases reducing use by as much as a third.

One of those is Selma.

Construction Update: The First Cut

May 18, 2015
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Workers began the first actual construction activities at the site today, with saw cuts to take up the existing asphalt in what today is a parking lot. Soon it will become the new home of Valley Public Radio. The site preparation work is in advance of tomorrow's groundbreaking ceremony which will mark the start of construction. 

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

A state appeals court has delivered a legal victory to a Fresno-based fruit grower in a decades old fight with the state’s ag labor relations board and the UFW. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, it’s likely not the final ruling.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For the second time in two months the Fresno City Council has voted down a proposal to start a farmland preservation program. FM89’s Joe Moore reports. 

Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s administration had wanted to apply for a $100,000 state grant to help start the effort, which is a key part of the city’s new general plan. 

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Unified is teaming up with small farmers in the Central Valley to provide local fruits and vegetables to kids. Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera has more.

Students at the Vang Pao Elementary school in southeast Fresno were greeted by a food stand on campus Thursday.

Children and parents lined up looking at all the fruits and vegetables including cherries, zucchini, and oranges.

Genoveva Islas, with Cultiva La Salud which means Cultivate your Health, says this is an effort to bring healthy local food to a struggling community.

California Pool Construction Soars During Drought

May 14, 2015
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Californians built more backyard swimming pools last year than in any year since the peak of the housing boom. And this year, the state is on pace to shatter last year’s mark. All this, during one of the worst droughts in California history. That’s prompting some very different reactions from local water agencies, as Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler reports.

 Aaron Gurley watches his crew tap a leveling tool into wet concrete around the edge of a huge backyard hole-in-the-ground.

Drought May Mean The End For Some Native Fish

May 14, 2015
Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

The drought in California is taking a heavy toll on native fish. Some experts fear if the drought lasts much longer, it may be a death knell for some species. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the Delta smelt is likely headed toward extinction.

California Veterans Find Refuge In Farming

May 14, 2015
Lesley McClurg / Capital Public Radio

More and more military veterans are finding refuge in farming. They say digging in the dirt relieves psychological trauma, and it provides reliable work. Capital Public Radio’s Lesley McClurg visited two vets who say growing food for the nation is akin to protecting the country. 

Matt Smiley feels at home when he’s engaged in physical work. The veins on his arms swell as he digs up a green irrigation hose.

The former combat vet says farming is good for his body and his mind.

Brown's New Budget Proposal Includes Tax Credit For Poor

May 14, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Gov. Jerry Brown will include a state earned income tax credit in the revised budget proposal he'll release Thursday morning, according to information provided by the Brown administration to Capital Public Radio.

The proposed tax credit would benefit an estimated two million Californians in deep poverty while reducing state budget revenues by $380 million a year. It was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The design-build crew met at the construction site today to go over plans for the groundbreaking ceremony next Tuesday and to discuss construction schedules. With a trailer on-site and crews reviewing construction documents, FM89's parcel is starting to look like a construction site. 

ACLU

In a recent court decision that some are calling historic, a Fresno County judge ruled that Clovis Unified School District’s abstinence-only sex education classes violated the state law.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald Black found that the district’s abstinence- only curriculum failed to provide students with information that’s complete, medically accurate and free of bias.

Sarah Forman

In response to California’s historic drought some chefs are creating meals that use less water. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Foods Institute.

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear a story by local author and farmer David Mas Masumoto titled "Scent Of A Father." 

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