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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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Health
2:13 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Medicare Funding Cuts Would Hit Fresno, Rural Hospitals Hardest

CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Already reeling from big cutbacks in Medicare funding, hospitals in the Fresno area would lose another 5.4 percent of their federal reimbursement under a new analysis ordered by Congress.

Rural areas of California would be hit hardest under the Institute of Medicine study, which would pare Medicare payments to the state’s hospitals by an average 3-4 percent.

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Education
12:16 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Fresno State President John Welty to Retire Next Summer

Fresno State President Dr. John Welty announced today that he plans to retire at the end of the academic year
California State University Fresno

Fresno State President Dr. John Welty announced his retirement today before an assembly of university faculty and staff. His retirement will take effect in summer of 2013, after the conclusion of the current academic year. He will turn 68 later this month.

Welty began his term as university president in 1991, and oversaw a period marked by both growth and controversy. Welty led the effort to build the Save Mart Center, the new addition to the Henry Madden Library and several other major campus buildings.

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Education
10:40 am
Fri August 17, 2012

California Launches New Grade Level "Transitional Kindergarten"

California now has a new school grade level called “transitional kindergarten”. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the goal is to make sure the youngest children are prepared to enter school.

More than 800 California school districts are offering transitional kindergarten for the first time. The program offers age appropriate curriculum for children who don’t meet the age requirements to attend traditional kindergarten. Senator Joe Simitian wrote the law creating the grade level. He says beginning school at an older age improves a child’s social and academic development.

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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

New Poll Shows Munger's Tax Initiative Gaining Ground

A new poll shows more Californians support tax measures on November’s statewide ballot. The poll by the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University finds wealthy education advocate Molly Munger’s tax initiative is gaining ground. 45 percent of voters approve of Proposition 38. That’s up from 35 percent in July.

Poll Research Director Chris Condon says the increase might be attributed to the voter’s looking only at the ballot’s label rather than the ballot’s title and summary which were used in the first poll.

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Government & Politics
5:00 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Juveniles Could Get Shot at Parole After Key Legislative Vote

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

A controversial bill that’s been stuck for more than a year has squeaked out of the California Assembly. The measure would give juveniles sentenced to life without parole the chance to request a parole hearing.

Six Democrats joined every Republican in opposing the bill, including GOP Assemblyman Donald Wagner. “This is breaking faith with every relative of a murdered victim who was told, don’t worry, the killer will never see the light of day again.

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Health
4:10 pm
Thu August 16, 2012

Hantavirus Sickens 2, Kills 1 in Yosemite

Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

One California resident is dead and another is ill today after contracting a rare disease spread by deer mice while vacationing at Yosemite National Park. Officials with the State Department of Public Health announced today that they believe the individuals contracted the disease while staying at Yosemite's Curry Village.

Hantavirus is rare in the state, but the disease is often deadly. Since 1993 there have been 60 cases of the disease in California, and about one third of those cases have been fatal.

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