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Government & Politics
11:15 am
Sat August 25, 2012

"Trust Act" Heads to California Governor's Desk

California lawmakers have approved a bill designed to stop undocumented immigrants from being deported unless they’ve been convicted or charged with a serious or violent felony. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the bill passed Friday after heated debate on the Assembly floor.

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Business & Economy
12:52 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Buy Here, Pay Here Bills Still Moving Despite Opposition

A used car lot on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno - file photo
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Three bills that would regulate California’s “Buy Here, Pay Here” used car industry are moving through the State Capitol despite some growing opposition. The critics include several used car dealers associations and some local chambers of commerce.

Former Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello is with the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce. He’s also the owner of several auto dealers. He says efforts to crack down on what the bills’ authors call “predatory lending” would backfire on the very people the legislation is intended to help.

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Environment
6:44 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Overhaul of Environmental Law Dead for the Year

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

A last-minute effort at the State Capitol to overhaul California’s complex environmental review process for development projects is dead for the year. A big push from business and labor groups to reform the law came to an abrupt halt today.

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Business & Economy
4:16 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Congressmen Call For Hanford Slaughterhouse to Re-Open

Three Central Valley Congressmen have called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vislack to allow the Hanford slaughterhouse at the center of an animal cruelty controversy to re-open.

In a letter released today, Republican House members Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and Jeff Denham called the shutdown of the Central Valley Meat Company unnecessary, and said the closure is causing economic hardship in the area. They said that the investigation into the plant's practices can continue should the plant re-open.

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1:44 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Science Museum At Former Castle Air Base to Close

Lead in text: 
A science and technology museum at the former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater is closing its doors due to financial woes. The Merced Sun-Star reports that the non-profit foundation which operates the museum is planning to file for bankruptcy.
ATWATER -- The Castle Science and Technology Center will be closing permanently, according to officials with the nonprofit that runs the museum. The Challenger Learning Center foundation board has announced that it is meeting with an attorney to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, said Dave Olsen, foundation chairman.
California
1:09 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Bill Would Tack One Dollar on to Many Traffic Fines

Traffic on Fresno's Blackstone Avenue (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A bill that would increase many traffic fines to pay for spinal cord research has passed the California Senate. It also has an unusual mix of supporters.

The legislation would add a one dollar fee to all moving violations. The estimated $3.5 million a year raised would go to fund spinal cord injury research at the University of California. The floor debate was unusual because some Republicans supported the new fee, while some Democrats opposed it.

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Education
12:47 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Blacks and Latinos Gain Ground in High School Exit Exam Results

Blacks and Latinos continue to improve at a faster rate than other ethnic groups when it comes to California’s High School Exit Exam. The preliminary results from this year’s exam are out and continue several positive trends.

According to the California Department of Education, 95 percent of all twelfth graders passed the English and Math exams.

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Government & Politics
12:23 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Contraception, Vaccine Bills Pass California Senate

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

Two major health-related bills passed the California Senate Wednesday. One bill would require a doctor’s signature before a parent can opt out of a vaccination for their child. Democratic Senator Lois Wolk says the bill doesn’t take away parental rights, just requires a doctor’s visit.

“If, at the end of that you decide that you want an immunization for your child, fine. If you don’t, you don’t need to get one. You just have to have that conversation with a medical professional.”

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Foreclosures
5:33 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

HUD Secretary Donovan Visits Fresno, Touts Refinancing Progress

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Congressman Jim Costa and KVPR host Juanita Stevenson talk on FM89's Valley Edition, Tuesday morning.
Credit Charmion N. Kinder / HUD

The nation's top housing official visited Fresno today to generate support for the Obama administration's efforts to stem the foreclosure crisis. 

Shaun Donovan, Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development met with homeowners and members of the media today, saying that preventing foreclosures is key to stabilizing property values and boosting the economy.

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Jobs
2:45 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Report: State Unemployment Will Fall Below 10 Percent In Mid 2013

An economic forecast out today says California’s unemployment rate will drop to single digits this time next year – sooner than originally predicted. Right now, California’s jobless rate is 10.7%. It peaked at 12.5% in 2010. The rate’s been inching down ever since.

Economist Jeff Michael is with the Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific in Stockton. “We see [the] unemployment rate going into single digits in mid-2013 and in the past we’ve been saying the end of 2013.”

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Health
2:39 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Fresno County Reports First West Nile Death of 2012

An elderly Fresno County woman is dead today after contracting West Nile virus. Her death is the second in California associated with the virus this year. She had been hospitalized prior to her death.

The Fresno County Department of Public Health released a statement today indicating that there have been 26 cases of West Nile virus in humans throughout the state this year. In 2011, the state reported a total of 158 cases with 9 deaths. Fresno County had 9 reported cases of the illness in 2011, with no deaths.

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Health Care
11:10 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Training Program Props Up New Nurses in Tough Job Market

Nursing has a reputation for being a well-paid, stable profession with lots of opportunity. But in the current economy, many nursing school graduates may send out dozens of job applications and get no interviews. Pauline Bartolone visited one Sacramento area program that is hiring new nurses, and hopes to keep them.

A few dozen nurses are packed into this room at Sutter medical center in Roseville to practice a scenario none of them looks forward to. A patient’s heart has stopped beating, and a loved one is hysterical. The nurses job is to bring life back to the patient.

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Government & Politics
11:00 am
Tue August 21, 2012

California Lawmakers Chipping Away at Hundreds of Bills

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

California lawmakers chipped away at the more than 500 pieces of legislation they need to vote on before the session ends this month.

California Senators debated one controversial bill for more than an hour. It would give juveniles sentenced to life without parole a second chance at sentencing. The bill, authored by Democratic Senator Leland Yee, squeaked by in the Senate. Yee, a child psychologist, argued teenagers brains aren’t totally developed so they make bad decisions.

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Valley Edition
7:21 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

On Valley Edition: HUD Secretary Donovan & Jim Costa; Sikh Community; New Horizons

Credit Charmion N. Kinder / HUD

On this week's Valley Edition, we talk with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and Congressman Jim Costa about the nation's on-going housing crisis, and possible solutions. Donovan is visiting Fresno to talk about the Obama administration's Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP) and another set of proposals from the President involving housing issues.

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Education
6:57 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Dinuba Unified, ACLU Settle Suit

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Dinuba Unified School District have settled a lawsuit over a controversial education program for English language learners.

The suit alleged that the district’s Second Language Acquisition Development Instruction program led to some first and second-grade students falling behind their peers.

The program emphasized grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Critics said the program didn’t expose students to literature and vocabulary.

Health
6:30 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

California Voters' 'Strong Support' for Federal Health Law Grows, Field Poll Suggests

California health leaders say they’re ‘heartened’ with a new Field Poll that suggests state voter support for the federal health law is getting stronger.

More than half of California voters polled said they support the health overhaul. More showed ‘strong support’ for the law than in the past two years. Thirty-seven percent of Californians oppose the law.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley says she was struck by the partisan nature of the findings.

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Government & Politics
6:21 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Cal Fire Burning Through Its Budget

A fire burns in the Sierra - file photo
Credit Sierra National Forest

Fire season in California is about half over, but the state has already spent more than two-thirds of its $93 million firefighting budget.

H.D. Palmer is with the California Department of Finance. He says the state is prepared to pay, whatever the cost.

“If we do spend more for fire suppression than is in the budget, that doesn’t mean that the tankers don’t fly, that doesn’t mean the hand crews aren’t out there, that doesn’t mean the trucks don’t show up, we will have emergency appropriation authority to do that.”

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Government & Politics
6:10 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Business and Labor Groups Aim to Change California's Environmental Law

With just two weeks left in the legislative session, some business and labor groups are pushing to change California's complex environmental review process for building and construction projects.

Jim Earp is with a coalition of construction unions. He says the law gets abused by being used to stall new development.

“It's not always just about how many end up in lawsuits, its, and this is particularly true in public infrastructure projects, how much the delay adds to the cost of that project.”

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Government & Politics
1:10 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

Fresno's Credit Rating Takes Another Hit

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Fresno's precarious financial position is leading to more repercussions in the investment community. On Friday, the firm Standard & Poor's downgraded the city's credit rating from "A" to "BBB." Last month, the two other major credit ratings agencies, Fitch and Moody's issued similar downgrades.

The rating of "BBB" is Standard & Poor's next to lowest "investment grade" rating. The firm also gave Fresno's  financial outlook a "negative" rating, meaning future downgrades are possible. 

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Government & Politics
4:16 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Moody's: More California Cities Could Declare Bankruptcy

Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

More California cities may file for bankruptcy and default on bonds in the coming months, according to a report released today by a major credit rating agency.

In a report titled “Why Some California Cities Are Choosing Bankruptcy” Moody’s Investors Service warned that the risk of more municipal bankruptcies in the state has gone up.

So far this year, three California cities have filed for bankruptcy, Stockton, San Bernadino and Mammoth Lakes.

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