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Environment
4:52 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Talk of Revamping Water Bond to Heat Up in 2013

The Friant-Kern Canal delivers water to growers and cities on the eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley. (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

There’s a push for a new look at the $11 billion water bond now scheduled for California’s November 2014 ballot.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, some lawmakers want to reduce the bond’s size, while others want to rewrite it entirely.

Democratic Senator Lois Wolk represents the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region – and she’s long felt the bond approved in 2009 was a bad piece of legislation.  Now that it’s been pushed back a second time, Wolk has introduced a bill that would start over:

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Government & Politics
11:48 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Could See Changes Next Year

Much of downtown Fresno is in an enterprise zone.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders say they’re not looking at more tax increases now that voters have approved Proposition 30. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, tax credits could be on the table, like the controversial Enterprise Zone program.

California offers 700 million dollars a year in tax credits to businesses who add or retain jobs in economically distressed neighborhoods.  

The governor proposed eliminating Enterprise Zones last year but couldn’t win legislative approval. 

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Valley Edition
10:41 am
Tue December 11, 2012

On Valley Edition: Trash Talk; Pharmacy School; Future of the Local Cinema

This week on Valley Edition, Juanita Stevenson reports on plans by the city of Fresno to privatize residential solid waste. We also talk with Dan Stone of National Geographic who recently wrote about the city's recycling efforts, and find out why Fresno is one of the nation's leaders in this area. 

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Government & Politics
10:38 am
Tue December 11, 2012

In Fresno, Privatizing Trash Pickup Ignites Controversy

Credit City of Fresno Public Utilities

It is a dirty job, picking up the trash of Fresno’s residents.

But it is also a job that has afforded 58 year old Joe Hill a decent middle income salary. Those at the top of the scale can make $22 an hour.

“I have a good job. I make a decent wage, but I don’t feel I am overpaid. I praise god for the job I have and how much I make. And I know there’s lots of people who make a lot less, but it’s not excessive,” says Hill.

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Health
9:42 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Healthy Families Transition Timeline Stays on Track, Despite Concerns

California Governor Jerry Brown’s administration says it will start moving about 860,000 children in the Healthy Families program into Medi-Cal on January 1st. But as Pauline Bartolone reports from Sacramento, state lawmakers and doctors want them to slow down.

Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg sent a message to the administration last week.  

“Do not make the actual transition unless you are assured that the child who has a doctor and sees a doctor under one program – HF’s – will be able to have ready access to a doctor when they’re shifted.”

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Just One Breath
6:00 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Valley fever treatments can do harm as they heal

Dr. Arash Heidari prepares medicine that will be injected into an omaya injection reservoir on valley fever patient Mel Ramirez's head. Amphotericin, the antifungal medication, has stopped the progression of valley fever in Ramirez's brain and spinal cord

Thousands of California and Arizona adults and children annually contract valley fever and find themselves battling the disease for months or years — missing work and school, spending weeks in the hospital — with frequent recurrences.

If they had a bacterial infection — food poisoning, strep throat or a boil on the skin — their doctor could reach for multiple, cost-effective antibiotics that usually are able to kill the bacteria, even though resistance to antibiotics is on the rise.

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Government & Politics
5:41 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Prop 13 Changes on the Table in New California Legislature

Asm. Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s only the first week of the new California legislative session.  But three Democrats have already signaled they’re ready to adjust the “third rail” of California politics – the landmark property tax measure known as Proposition 13.  

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is the latest Democratic lawmaker to call for a change to Prop 13.  He wants to stop large companies from disguising changes in ownership that would normally trigger reassessments – something homeowners can’t do.

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Valley Edition
1:27 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

On Valley Edition: Madera Casino Plan; Emergency Air Alerts; Doug Davis Memoir

An artists rendering of a proposed casino that the North Fork Rancheria wants to build along Highway 99 north of Madera
Credit North Fork Rancheria

This week on Valley Edition we talk about plans by a local Native American tribe to open a casino on land north of Madera along Highway 99. The effort took a big step forward in recent days as the Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to put the land for the new casino in trust for the tribe.

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Local Authors
11:03 am
Tue December 4, 2012

New Memoir By Bakersfield's Doug Davis Recalls Turbulent Desegregation Battle

Most people know Bakersfield's Doug Davis as one of the San Joaquin Valley's top jazz musicians and educators. And while he's written music ranging from jazz to classical, his latest project takes him away from the keyboard of his grand piano, and instead to a keyboard of a different sort. 

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Government & Politics
6:18 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

New Lawmakers Sworn in, Giving Democrats Full Control

Lawmakers take their oath of office at the capitol on Monday
Credit Amy Quinton

California’s newly-elected legislature is now officially sworn in, and Democrats hold supermajorities in both chambers.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, legislative leaders are making a point of being modest.

The entire Assembly and half the Senate took their oaths on Monday, giving Democrats the power they’ve long craved – the ability to raise taxes.  But voters just did that for them, approving Prop 30 last month, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says that’s enough for now:

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Health
4:17 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

The Face of HIV in California is Among Young People of Color

December 1st is World AIDS Day. Here in California, health officials say the face of the disease is getting younger. 

More than 110,000 Californians are currently living with an HIV or AIDS diagnosis, and roughly 14 cases are diagnosed in the state every day. 

Dr. Gil Chavez of the California Department of Public Health says he’s seeing more cases among young, gay, minorities. 

“The 13-24 year age group is the only demographic group in the state where we have seen an increasing – in new HIV infections.” 

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Fresno Philharmonic
4:11 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Carl Topilow Brings Pops to Fresno Phil in "Home for the Holidays"

Carl Topilow

Guest conductor and clarinetist Carl Topilow joins us in-studio to talk about Saturday's "Home for the Holidays" concert with the Fresno Philharmonic. Local theater icon Dan Pessano also joins the conversation as he will perform a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" with the orchestra. 

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Water
9:55 am
Fri November 30, 2012

State Water Project Plans For 30 Percent Allocation Next Year

Lake Oroville in northern California - file photo

California water officials say farmers and others who rely on the State Water Project can count on at least 30 percent of the requested water amount in the coming year. 

The Department of Water Resources says the initial allocation is always conservative since it’s made before the rainy season. 90 percent of the state’s snow and rain comes between December and April.

This week’s storm is giving the State Water Project an early boost and the water supply is expected to increase as more storms roll in.

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Government & Politics
4:19 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

California Lawmaker Proposes Changes to Proposition 13

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

California Democratic state Senator Mark Leno plans to introduce a constitutional amendment on Monday that will make it easier to pass local taxes for schools.

The amendment would allow voters to pass school parcel taxes with a 55-percent vote instead of the two-thirds vote required by Proposition 13.

Jon Coupal with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association says the legislation isn’t surprising given that Democrats now hold a supermajority in the legislature.

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Education
9:53 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Study: Hurdles Remain for California College Transfer Students

A new study shows California community college students still face obstacles when they try to transfer to the California State University system. 

Despite a law passed two years ago intended to make it easier for students to transfer to CSU, many community colleges still don’t provide acceptable degrees.

According to a study by the non-profit “Campaign for College Opportunity,” an average of just five degrees have been developed by each of the 112 community colleges.

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Valley Edition
1:40 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

On Valley Edition: What's the Future for the GOP; F.E.R.N.; Christmas At Kearney

This week on Valley Edition we look at the future of politics in California, in the wake of a November election that saw Democrats gain a two-thirds majority in the Legislature, and Republican voter registration drop below 30 percent. FM89's Joe Moore brings us the second report a two-part series on the impact of California's new "top-two" election system. This week we learn how the new reforms may force some of the state's smaller political parties off the ballot entirely. 

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Governance
1:09 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

New "Top Two" Election System Causes Problems For Smaller Political Parties

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Editor's note: This is the second in a two-part series on the impact of California's new top-two election reform.

When California voters approved Proposition 14 in 2010, supporters hailed it as a way to make many races for Congress, the Legislature and state offices more competitive, thanks to a new top-two election system.

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Just One Breath
10:55 am
Mon November 26, 2012

For Some California Prisoners, Valley Fever Becomes A Life Sentence

Kevin Walker acquired disseminated cocci while serving time at the federal prison in Taft.
Kevin Walker

Kevin Walker arrived at Taft Correctional Institution, a federal prison in western Kern County, in December 1999 to serve a 14-year sentence for attempted possession of cocaine.

But another kind of sentence awaited him, one far more painful than confinement alone.

In July 2001, fluid-leaking boils broke out across Walker’s face and body. Once he was diagnosed with valley fever, doctors put him on an antifungal drug — amphotericin B — but the drug was so powerful that it caused his kidneys and liver to begin failing.

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Governance
5:02 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Electoral Reforms Led to More Close Races, Experts Say

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Now that the dust has settled after this month's general election, political observers from across the state are busy examining the results to see just what effect California's efforts at redistricting and electoral reform had in their first full test at the ballot box. Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore reports that in same cases, the result is too close to call. 

For most California voters, the trip to the ballot box this November looked much like it always has, albeit with longer lines at some polling places and a record number of "vote by mail" ballots.

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Valley Edition
3:01 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

On Valley Edition: Top Two Primary Aftermath; Homeless Housing; Farber Gift

This week on Valley Edition, we learn about how the state's new electoral reforms worked in real life following this month's election. Did the "top two" primary make the general election candidates more moderate and contests more competitive? Or did little actually change? Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore brings us a special report. 

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