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Environment
5:29 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

New Poll Shows GMO Labeling Prop Losing Support

A new poll finds support for Proposition 37 on California’s November’s ballot dropping. Prop 37 would require labels on all foods containing genetically-modified ingredients.

The California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University poll shows support has declined by 19 points in the last two weeks.

It’s dropped from 67-percent to 48 percent. Michael Squires with Pepperdine says one reason for the change might be that 43-percent of voters say they’ve seen advertising about the measure.

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Education
5:26 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Majority of California Public School Students Improving

For the first time, a majority of California public schools met or surpassed academic achievement goals this year.

53-percent of schools scored at or above state achievement goals on the Academic Performance Index. That’s an increase of four percentage points over last year.

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Election 2012
12:29 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Proposition 34: Death Penalty Repeal

Casey Christie The Californian

Our series on the initiatives Californians will be voting on next month continues with a look at Proposition 34, which would repeal the death penalty.

Both sides of the capital punishment debate actually see eye to eye on one thing – the current system isn’t working.

“We haven’t put somebody to death in six years. It is simply a broken system that’s wasted $4 billion or $5 billion," says Steve Smith with the Yes on 34 campaign. 

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Business & Economy
8:29 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Foreclosure Process Speeds Up in California

file photo
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Banks are speeding up the home foreclosure process in California, according to data out today. But one analyst says the process may start to slow down again.

It took lenders an average of 335 days, or about 11 months to complete the foreclosure process on California properties in the third quarter.

Daren Blomquist with foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac says that was down three percent from the previous quarter and an eight percent drop from a year ago.

"These foreclosures, if they’re going to happen, it’s better that it’s more like a band-aid that you rip off."

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2:39 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Hazing Suspected In Death of Fresno State Student

Lead in text: 
The Los Angeles Times reports that a Fresno police investigation into the alcohol related death of 18-year-old Fresno State student Philip Dhanens is focusing on allegations of hazing. The Times reports that members of the Theta Chi fraternity, who held the party at which Dhanens reportedly consumed alcohol, are not cooperating with the investigation.
Fresno police are conducting a hazing investigation after leaders of a Fresno State fraternity where a freshman drank himself to death told 15 pledges they couldn't leave a room until they finished multiple bottles of liquor, the Fresno Bee reported, citing a court document.
Government & Politics
10:38 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Fresno County to Explore Housing Inmates In Other Counties

Fresno County is exploring the possibility of contracting with other counties to house inmates in their jails, as soon as January of next year.

The Board of Supervisors voted to move forward with the analysis of what such a plan would cost at its meeting on Tuesday.

It’s part of an effort to stem the early release of prisoners from the county jail. A pair of new state laws allow counties to place inmates in jail facilities in other counties when their own jails reach capacity.

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Election 2012
10:00 am
Wed October 10, 2012

Proposition 33: Auto Insurance Premiums

Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

We continue our look at next month’s California election ballot with Proposition 33. It would change state laws on auto insurance premiums.

If you’ve been with the same car insurance company for five-straight years or more, you’re probably getting some type of “continuous coverage” discount. But let’s say you wanted to switch to a different company. Right now in California, you can’t take that discount with you.

“Prop 33 would allow consumers to shop that discount to competing carriers," says Rachel Hooper, who is with the Yes on Prop 33 campaign. 

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Environment
7:07 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Legislators and Businesses Call for "Green Chemistry" Law Delay

Some legislators and industries are asking for a delay in implementing California’s law that regulates toxic chemicals in consumer goods.

The state’s “Green Chemistry” law requires businesses to identify and find alternatives to some chemicals that could be harmful.

More than a dozen Democratic lawmakers have joined the call for a thorough analysis of the economic impact of the regulations.

Ann Grimaldi represents the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. She says the regulations could generate unpredictable costs.

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Election 2012
4:01 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Battle Between Two Rival Tax Measures on California's Ballot Heating Up

A screen capture of a new ad released by the Yes on 38 campaign, attacking rival ballot measure Proposition 30

The battle between two rival tax measures on California’s November ballot is heating up. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, Proposition 38 proponent Molly Munger has released a new TV ad blasting Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, Proposition 30.

Despite Munger spending more than $30 million  on her tax measure, until now the campaign for Proposition 38 has avoided mentioning Proposition 30.

But Munger’s latest ad criticizes the Governor’s competing tax initiative, saying it allows politicians to take money away from schools.

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Community
3:43 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Missing Yosemite Park Employee Found Alive Near Wawona

Jessica Rose Garcia
Courtesy Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park officials announced today that missing 23-year-old park employee Jessica Garcia has been found alive. 

Search and rescue crews located the missing employee on Tuesday in a rugged area around two miles from the South Fork Drainage of the Merced River.

Garcia was reported missing after she failed to show up to work on Sunday. She was last seen near Wawona on Saturday. 

From the official press release:

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Election 2012
3:26 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Proposition 32: Union and Corporate Political Donations

Proposition 32 would ban direct campaign contributions from unions and corporations, and ban automatic paycheck deductions for political purposes. But rarely do two competing sides disagree so sharply about a measure’s impact.

Supporters say it would level California’s political playing field by clamping down on special interest money. John Kabateck is with the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a small business advocacy group. 

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Valley Edition
12:13 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

On Valley Edition: Fresno Police Consolidation; Gas Prices; Via Arte

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Segment 1: Police & Sheriff Consolidation in Fresno
Should the Fresno Police Department and Fresno County Sheriff's Department consider consolidating or merging their operations? That's the question a new study commissioned by the Fresno City Council seeks to answer.

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Business & Economy
11:31 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Zacky Farms Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Fresno based poultry producer Zacky Farms has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the high cost of grain the company uses for feed. 

The 70 year old firm is the second largest poultry company in California and employs around 1,500 workers. The company filed its petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento on Monday.

The company released a statement saying that it "has been under severe stress due to historically high corn and soybean meal prices." A drought throughout much of the Midwest has caused grain prices to rise in recent months. 

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Election 2012
10:45 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Proposition 31: Changing the Budgeting Process

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

Our election 2012 coverage continues with a report on Proposition 31. The measure would change California’s budgeting process. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, it would do much more than that.

Proposition 31 has been criticized for not going far enough to change California’s fiscal environment, for being too complex, and for its possible unintended consequences. James Mayer is the Executive Director of California Forward which is pushing Proposition 31.

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Election 2012
10:03 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Proposition 30: Gov. Brown's Tax Initiative

Governor Jerry Brown announced the kickoff of the Yes On 30 campaign earlier this summer in Sacramento
Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

Election Day is still weeks away, but voting in California actually begins this week as counties send out vote-by-mail ballots. Today, we kick off our look at the 11 statewide measures Californians will decide this fall – and we begin with Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, Proposition 30.

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Government & Politics
6:49 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

One Year In, Too Soon to Evaluate Prison Realignment

Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

It’s been one year since Governor Jerry Brown shifted responsibility for low-level offenders in California from the state to counties.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, experts say it’s too soon to truly assess the impact of the governor’s “realignment” program.

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Government & Politics
5:45 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Obama Visits Keene to Dedicate Chavez Monument

President Obama addressed a crowd of several thousand at the National Chavez Center in Keene, CA.
Credit White House Pool Video

President Obama made his first visit to Central California today, as he dedicated the Cesar Chavez National Monument in the Tehachapi mountain community of Keene. The site served as headquarters for Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union for decades. 

The President told a crowd of over 6,000 people that Chavez was a hero for all Americans in his fight for justice, and the site, called Nuestra Senora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace) or La Paz, is a tribute to his legacy.

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Environment
3:45 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Early Switch to Winter Blend Fuel Unlikely To Harm Air Quality

The California Air Resources Board says refineries can begin producing and selling winter-blend gasoline.

The blend is usually not sold until October 31st because it’s a more volatile compound and its quick evaporation can harm air quality during hot weather.

But Governor Jerry Brown requested the early switch because of the recent gas price spikes. 

The Board’s Dave Cleggern says with the cooler weather he doubts it will have any negative environmental effect.

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Just One Breath
6:24 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Town hall event focuses on valley fever concerns

State Senator Michael Rubio led a town hall meeting on Friday in Bakersfield to address concerns about valley fever
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

San Joaquin Valley residents, doctors and experts demanding improvements in the way valley fever is studied, diagnosed and treated shared their concerns during a town hall meeting hosted by state Senator Michael Rubio, D-Shafter, in Bakersfield on Friday.

Experts stressed the need for earlier diagnosis of the disease. That requires better education about the disease for providers and the public, they said.

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Just One Breath
3:17 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Valley fever vaccine effort lacks federal funding

The federal government is the single biggest source for the primary research that leads to new vaccines. 

But, like the pharmaceutical industry, it currently is not supporting a valley fever vaccine. Other diseases that affect far fewer people receive much more federal support. 

Tularemia only affects about 200 people in the country annually, less than 1 percent of the estimated 150,000 people hit by valley fever. Like valley fever, the disease is primarily concentrated in only a portion of the country, mostly in the south-central and western part of the country.

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