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Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

During a visit to Fresno Tuesday, Speaker of the California Assembly Anthony Rendon highlighted one key aspect of the Temperance Flat Dam proposal that could give it a boost over other water storage projects.

While not specifically favoring one project over another, Rendon says the potential dam and reservoir has a key quality the other proposed mega project does not…location.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

With new data that suggests Fresno’s homeless population is growing, leading homeless service providers are now admitting that the City of Fresno will not meet its deadline of December 31st to end ‘functional homelessness’ in the city. At the same time, the city is moving ahead with a plan to ban public camping in the city, a move drawing both praise and criticism from those who work with homeless residents. Together, the two issues have renewed the question of how can Fresno solve this decades-old problem once and for all.

Fresno State University

Leading a healthy life is about much more than being able to see a doctor or get into a hospital. It is also about access to fresh foods, and places to go to exercise like parks. That is a major struggle for  people in many communities in the San Joaquin Valley. A new report from the advocacy organization Building Health Communities and the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State says hospitals should be doing more to improve ‘neighborhood health’.

Valley Public Radio

On this week's program our team reports stories on the doctor shortage in the region, homelessness in Fresno and about Bakersfield's complex water system. We also chat with California Citrus Mutual's Joel Nelson about what the citrus industry would like to see changed and kept in NAFTA if President Trump alters the agreement. We end the program with our latest episode of our podcast Outdoorsy. This time its all about whitewater rafting and kayaking. 

Kern River Outfitters

This summer we've been on the river a lot. Floating, some kayaking and well a lot of sunbathing. Rivers in Central California have been amazing this summer. They’ve been really high the past few months because of the record snowfall in the Sierra this winter. That’s generally a good thing, but it has made for some dangerous conditions.

 

A new study published this month suggests that parts of the world recovering from droughts are taking longer and longer to bounce back.

"Time between drought events will likely become shorter than the time needed for land ecosystems to recover from them," says co-author Christopher Schwalm of Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts in a press release.

Fresno County Sheriff's Office

Last November, 64 percent of California voters approved Proposition 57, which allows for the early release of so-called “non violent” offenders from state prison. Ahead of the vote, one of the biggest critics of the proposition was Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, who criticized the proposal for the lack of specificity in defining how the law would be implemented. At issue – what exactly would be considered a “nonviolent” offense and what wouldn’t be.

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a new audit claiming the City of Fresno may have misused millions of dollars in community development block grant money.

 

The audit claims the city misspent or failed to properly track money intended improving living standards in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

 

Blue River Technology

Let’s face it farmers are usually slow to change their practices for a couple reasons. Change usually comes with a high price tag – a new tractor can cost a half million dollars. And farmers want to minimize risk by only investing in things that have been successfully tested and in the end don’t reduce profits. But robots are slowly changing that perspective.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on how farmers are using robots on the farm. We also here from Fresno City Council Member Steve Brandau about his proposal to ban camping in the city to discourage homelessness. We also hear from Michael Kodas with the The Center for Environmental Journalism about his book "Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame" coming out later this month.

Wildfires have always been a part of the Central California landscape. But in recent years blazes like the Detwiler Fire (2017) and the Erskine Fire (2016) have been different. In each case, veteran firefighters who have been on wildland blazes for decades say they saw the fires demonstrating "extreme" behavior like they haven't seen before. They burned hotter, faster, and didn't die down at night as fires typically do. 

Steve Brandau - Facebook

A Fresno City Councilmember has a new idea on dealing with the city’s homeless population – a law that would ban camping in the city. Councilmember Steve Brandau is set to take the proposed ordinance before the city council Thursday August 17th. If adopted, the law would ban camping on both public and private property in the city.

Brandau says he’s been getting complaints for months from constituents about people camping in the cooking, bathing and even defecating in public.

Jazz mandolin virtuoso Eva Scow and her band Le Petit Strings visited Valley Public Radio for a special performance Thursday as part of the station's Summer Fund Drive. FM89 Development Director Joe Garcia hosted the performance in the Barrman Chaney Performance Studio, which comes a day before their Friday August 11th concert at Bitwise in downtown Fresno. 

Fresno State Facebook page

For years, the California State University system has had a requirement that students be proficient in Algebra 2 as a pre-requisite for taking other general education math classes. That’s pushed many students into so-called remedial math classes, but it’s also led to criticism. Some say it’s a civil rights issue that blocks minority students from fields of study where Algebra 2 simply isn’t necessary. Others say it’s an important part of higher education.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Oil companies in California produce more water than oil. In the San Joaquin Valley that also has created a problem: what to do with all of that unwanted water? In most cases that wastewater is injected back into the ground, deep below the aquifer. But in some cases, injections may have contaminated federally protected aquifers that could be clean enough for drinking water.

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