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Crime
12:42 pm
Tue November 6, 2012

Fresno Workplace Shooting Leaves Three Dead

Three people are dead following a shooting at the Valley Protein Plant in Central Fresno, including the alleged shooter.

The shooting took place at around 8:30 a.m. at the meat processing plant located near Blackstone and Hedges Avenues. The facility is also known as Apple Valley Farms.

The shooter, 42 year old Lawrence Jones, died of what is being described as a self inflicted gunshot wound. 

Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin issued the following statement on the shooting:

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Government & Politics
6:00 am
Tue November 6, 2012

Final Field Poll Estimates Voter Turnout Below 2008 Levels

A record number of Californians have registered to vote. But the latest Field Poll estimates there likely will be a million fewer voters today than in the Presidential election of 2008.

The poll predicts 12.75 million Californians or about 70 percent of registered voters will cast ballots.

And for the first time in a statewide election the majority, 51-percent, will vote by mail.

Mark DiCamillo is Director of the Field Poll.  He says many people wait until Election Day to drop their ballots at polling places. 

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Disaster Response
1:25 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Californians Helping East Coast Recover from Sandy

Hundreds of California first responders and utility crews are on the East Coast helping in the recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy. 

More than four million people on the east coast are still without power. But utility crews from PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric are helping in the restoration efforts. Tim Bedford is Incident Commander with PG&E. He and 162 workers are helping restore power in Flushing New York. Bedford says it may take longer than the original two weeks they anticipated.

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Business & Economy
11:49 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Bakersfield Blaze Announce Plans for New Ballpark

A view of the proposed stadium from the northwest
Bakersfield Blaze / Bakersfield Commons

The Bakersfield Blaze minor league baseball team announced today that it will construct a new 3,500 seat stadium at Coffee and Brimhall Roads.

Team officials say construction on the facility will begin in the first quarter of 2013, and the stadium is expected to open in 2014. 

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Health
10:28 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Bolthouse Farms Carrot Chips Recalled Over Salmonella Risk

The California Department of Public Health announced today that consumers should not eat Bolthouse Farms carrot chips in 16 ounce bags with “best if used by” dates of November 12, 2012 and November 13, 2012, because the carrots may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Bakersfield based Bolthouse Farms issued a voluntarily recall of the carrots after the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services detected the bacteria in one of the packages during routine testing. 

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Downtown Fresno
4:41 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

In Fresno, Downtown Planning Effort Faces Fiscal Crunch

An artist's rendering of a revitalized Fulton Mall outside the Kern Street entrance to
Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists

The City of Fresno's effort to draft a vision for a revitalized downtown hit a roadblock on Tuesday, after the Fresno City Council rejected a proposal to allocate an additional $70,000 to the project on a 4-3 vote. 

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Government & Politics
11:14 am
Thu November 1, 2012

High Stakes for Jerry Brown with Prop 30

Governor Jerry Brown speaks at a rally for Proposition 30 in October.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

When the results for Proposition 30 come in on Election Night, California voters won’t just have returned a verdict on whether they support raising taxes to reduce the state’s budget deficit. They will also have handed Governor Jerry Brown a victory or defeat on his signature policy issue. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the outcome, and Brown’s reaction to it, could shape the rest of his time in the governor’s office.

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Government & Politics
6:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

New Field Poll Shows Prop 30 Just Short of 50 Percent

California Governor Jerry Brown speaks at an October rally in favor of his tax measure, Proposition 30.
Credit Andrew Nixon

The final Field Poll before Election Day on California’s two rival tax measures shows Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 leading by 10 points and education advocate Molly Munger’s Proposition 38 trailing by 15 points.

Prop 30 has lost support over the last several weeks and is now just shy of the 50 percent support it needs to pass. But Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo says it still has a “decent shot.”

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Government & Politics
5:59 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Judge Tentatively Rules State Can Examine $11 Million Mystery Donation

A California judge has tentatively ruled that the state can examine the sources behind an Arizona nonprofit that made an $11 million political contribution. 

The Phoenix-based group Americans for Responsible Leadership made the donation to a committee working to defeat Proposition 30 and support Proposition 32.

Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ruled that the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission can conduct an audit to determine if the donation was made in compliance with state regulations.

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Sacramento
5:18 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Conway Says GOP Could Back Off Education Cuts if Prop 30 Fails

California’s budget calls for six billion dollars in automatic education cuts if voters reject Proposition 30 next week. But legislative Republicans say they would support reversing those cuts if the governor’s tax measure fails.

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, who represents portions of the Central Valley, says the elimination of up to three weeks of school would be “devastating” – and if Prop 30 doesn’t pass, both parties should work together to find alternatives.

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The Moral Is
1:10 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Commentary: Reliance On Pharmaceutical Industry Should Be Questioned

Kaye Bonner Cummings

Last year, America’s pharmaceutical companies invested nearly $50 billion in research for new drugs, to treat diseases from hepatitis to depression. On this edition of The Moral Is, commentator Kaye Bonner Cummings says that despite those massive investments, new research is calling into question our reliance, or perhaps our over reliance, on prescription medication.

The views expressed on The Moral Is are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Valley Public Radio.

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The Moral Is
1:08 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Commentary: Treat Teens Like Teens When It Comes to Drinking

The issue of teen binge drinking has been front of mind for many Valley residents since the tragic death of Fresno State freshman earlier this year. The 18 year-old Garces High graduate following a night of drinking at at off-campus fraternity house. On this week’s edition of the commentary series, The Moral Is, Fresno State professor Jacques Benninga says that the old saying that teens over 18 should be treated like adults is part of the problem. 

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Government & Politics
7:00 am
Wed October 31, 2012

State Senate Majority For Democrats Might Not Change Much

Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

This could be the year California Democrats finally reach the goal they’ve long strived for: a two-thirds supermajority in the State Senate. We took a look at that possibility in a report yesterday.

It turns out people from both parties don’t think Sacramento’s legislative landscape would change that much. And as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the biggest impact on next year’s atmosphere at the State Capitol will likely come from something else entirely.

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Government & Politics
4:35 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

More than $350 Million Raised For and Against Ballot Measures

Political contributions for and against California’s 11 ballot measures have totaled more than $350 million. Much of the money is coming from wealthy individuals and outside organizations.

The campaign finance watchdog Maplight.org found one family responsible for almost a quarter of the contributions to California’s ballot measures.

“What’s surprising is that a few individuals or wealthy organizations can control the political debate.”

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Health
4:20 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Health Benefit Exchanges Picks 'California Covered' As New Name

The board of the California Health Benefit Exchange has approved a new name and logo for the health insurance marketplace that will expand coverage under the federal health law.

Planners decided on “Covered California” after months of testing and consideration.

“I have a whole raft of staff that are saying, ‘Finally, I can get a business card," said Peter Lee, Executive Director of the Exchange, which is now known as ‘Covered California.’

He said planners used focus groups to come up with a name that resonated with a diversity of Californians.

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Government & Politics
12:34 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Democrats Hope for Two-Thirds Supermajority in State Senate

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

When California voters go to the polls on Election Day, they could usher in a change that hasn’t happened since 1965. They could give one party a two-thirds supermajority in the state Senate. Democrats are campaigning hard to make that happen. But Republicans are fighting just as hard to prevent it.

When Democratic Assembly member Cathleen Galgiani kicked off her campaign for state Senate last month in Stockton, the Senate’s top Democrat stood right beside her.

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Valley Edition
12:00 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

On Valley Edition: Social Impact Bond; Measure O in Fresno County; Pomegranate Festival

This week on Valley Edition, we hear a report about a group that plans to launch the nation's first social impact bond in the health care sector, targeting asthma prevention in Fresno. We'll also close our series of reports on the propositions before voters on the November ballot. We talk with criminal defense attorney Garrick Byers about Propositions 34 and 36.  Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian joins us to talk about Measure O, a measure that would make it easier for the Board of Supervisors to outsource certain jobs, including the public defender's office.

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Health
9:09 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Social Impact Bond May Fund Asthma Prevention in Fresno

Clinica Sierra Vista's Arvin clinic in Kern County - file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

When Benjamin Franklin wrote that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" he had no idea he would be describing one of 2012's hottest trends in health care and investments, something known as social impact bonds.  The details are complex, but the concept is based around a simple idea.

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Environment
10:58 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Jesse Morrow Mountain Project Headed Back to Supervisors

Jesse Morrow Mountain east of Fresno
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Plans for a controversial hard rock mine on Jesse Morrow Mountain east of Sanger will once again go before the Fresno County Board of Supervisors next month. The supervisors will be asked to approve the project's environmental documents at a meeting scheduled for November 13.

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Artist Interviews
3:34 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Violin Virtuoso Chad Hoopes Talks With FM89

Two years ago, then 16 year-old violinist Chad Hoopes made his debut with the Fresno Philharmonic and Maestro Theodore Kuchar. Now a senior in high school, the Ohio native returns to the Central Valley to perform with the Fresno Philharmonic this weekend, performing Lalo's Symphonie espagnole.

In our interview, we talk to Chad about his development as an artist over the past two years, Lalo's famous work, his Stradivarius violin, and his upcoming plans after he graduates from high school. 

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