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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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Government & Politics
3:04 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Prison System Set for First Step to End Federal Oversight

Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

California officials will take charge tomorrow of opening the nation’s largest prison medical facility. They have to meet a deadline of July of next year. As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, how well they accomplish the task will determine how soon a federal judge will end his oversight of prison medical care.

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Government & Politics
10:28 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Some California Small Businesses Wary of Brown's Prop 30

California Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax measure is drawing some of its strongest opposition from small business groups. Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on how some small businesses would be affected by Proposition 30.

James Wright owns part of a small business in Los Angeles County that manufactures manhole covers – with about 10 million dollars in sales. Wright doesn’t take anywhere near that much home to his family. But he does have to pay personal income taxes on company profits … using money from the business itself.

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Environment
12:30 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Governor Brown Says Delta Tunnel System on Track

California Governor Jerry Brown says plans to build a 14 billion dollar pair of tunnels to move water from northern California to the south are on track.

In an interview with Capital Public Radio, Governor Brown estimates that it may take a year and a half before construction could begin on the massive tunnel system.

He unveiled plans in July for a system that would siphon water from the Sacramento River and carry it underground to cities and farmland in the south.

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Valley Edition
12:11 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

On Valley Edition: Jerry Brown; Proposition Talk; Fresno Environmental Reporting Network

On this Valley Edition, we hear Governor Jerry Brown talk about his ballot measure Proposition 30 in an interview with Ben Adler. We also examine Propositions 36, 37 and 38 with a series of special reports, and talk with retired Justice James Ardaiz and get his thoughts on efforts to make changes to California's "Three Strikes" law and to abolish the death penalty. 

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Earthquake
12:19 am
Sun October 21, 2012

Earthquake Strikes Central California, 5.3 Magnitude

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck central California late Saturday night, according to the U.S. Geologic Survey. The quake, which was felt in Fresno and throughout the Central Valley struck at 11:55 p.m. and was centered 30 miles northwest of Coalinga.  Info from the USGS:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/nc71863625#summary

Inside FM89
3:46 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Valley Public Radio Awarded "Four Star" Rating By Charity Navigator

Valley Public Radio has again received the highest possible rating by Charity Navigator, the group which identifies non-profit organizations that utilize best practices in fiscal management and transparency.

From Charity Navigator President/CEO Ken Berger’s letter to the station on October 1, 2012:

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Government & Politics
2:00 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Proposition 39: Corporate Tax Law

Next in our series on California's November ballot measures, we take a look at Proposition 39. It would change a critical piece of corporate tax law and provide more money to the state – but higher taxes for some businesses.

It was called “the most boring proposition on the 2012 ballot” by a San Diego blogger. The writer has a point. It revolves around a corporate tax formula known as the “single sales factor.” But when you consider that corporate taxes accounted for nearly 10 billion dollars in California last year, Prop 39 doesn’t sound so boring anymore:

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Government & Politics
10:54 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Brown Won't Rule Out Future Budget Cuts if Prop 30 Passes

California Governor Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

From the moment he took office at the start of last year, Governor Jerry Brown has told California voters the state needs new revenue.  But his November tax initiative, Proposition 30, faces strong opposition on several fronts and is hovering at around 50 percent support in the polls. 

Governor Brown sat down with reporter Ben Adler Thursday in Sacramento to talk about the impact of Prop 30’s passage or failure on next year’s budget. 

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Government & Politics
11:34 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Proposition 38: Molly Munger's Tax Initative

Californians will soon decide whether they want to increase taxes to support public schools. Our election 2012 coverage continues with a report on Proposition 38.

If you watch TV in California, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’ve aired in every major market.

Prop 38 would raise about 10 billion dollars a year for K-12 schools starting in 2013, by taxing all but the poorest Californians. Behind the TV ads and Proposition 38 is wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger.

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Just One Breath
5:38 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

More People Dying from Valley Fever, Especially Those With Chronic Disease

Dr. Navin Amin examines Archie Scott, a patient with valley fever, at his office in Bakersfield. Dr. Amin is the chair of the family practice department at Kern Medical Center and a valley fever expert.
Henry A. Barrios / The Bakersfield Californian

More people are dying from valley fever than previously thought, and illnesses including diabetes, lung disease, arthritis and certain cancers may increase a person’s chances of dying from the disease, according to a new study.

This past year, researchers have puzzled over the rise of valley fever cases. Diagnosed cases have grown from 1,200 in 1995 to more than 20,000 in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Now researchers have new evidence to consider: a study to be published in the November issue of the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.

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Just One Breath
5:00 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Public Health Champion Felled by Diabetes and Valley Fever

Jeff Jue served as the director for the Mental Health Department in Merced, Sonoma, and San Francisco counties. He was considered a leader in social services by those familiar with his work before dying of valley fever at the age of 62 in 2005.

The last time Linda Jue saw her husband alive, he was in the intensive care unit in a lot of pain.

Right before doctors gave him painkillers, Jeff Jue gave her two thumbs up and smiled.

The former Merced County mental health director was fighting for his life at the time. Doctors at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto were treating him for valley fever.

Jue was starting to enjoy his retirement when it was suddenly cut short by the fungal disease.

“He had only been retired for three years,” said Linda Jue, who lives in Modesto.

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