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Just One Breath
6:21 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Suffering, Misdiagnosis and Pain: Community Members Share Their Valley Fever Stories

Kathleen W. Zuckerman of Bakersfield is one of many valley fever patients who were misdiagnosed with another disease.

The Reporting on Health Collaborative asked readers to share their experiences with valley fever. Here are their stories, in their own words, as told to the Collaborative's Community Engagement Editor, Kellie Schmitt. 

Their accounts capture the pain and anguish suffered by local families as doctors struggled to find the right treatment and jobs and lives were lost to the disease. Misdiagnosis was a frequent problem, allowing time for the disease to "tunnel" its way into lungs and other organs, as one survivor put it. 

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Just One Breath
6:11 am
Sat December 22, 2012

Five Ways to Move the Fight Against Valley Fever Forward

Bakersfield resident Diana Frizzelle was diagnosed with valley fever last year and is still on medication to treat the disease.
Alex Horvath/The Bakersfield Californian

Valley fever is a humbling disease.

It can rob sufferers of their health, their life plans and their financial well-being.

Uncertainty adds to the trauma. There is no cure around the corner, no vaccine in the works and no well-organized patient group lobbying effectively for more policy attention.

The result: those who become ill often suffer in silence and feel alone.

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Health
9:51 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Advocates, Lawmakers Urge Attention to Mental Health

Dr. Cameron Carter with the UC Davis Medical Center speaks at a news conference at the State Capitol Thursday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio Network

Mental health advocates and a top California lawmaker are starting a public awareness campaign in the aftermath of last Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut. 

Their message: Don’t be afraid of the stigma associated with mental health problems, and get help quickly if you see symptoms in someone you know or love.

Doctor Cameron Carter with the UC Davis Medical Center says most serious mental illnesses first become apparent in adolescents and young adults.

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Health
1:29 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Visalia's Kaweah Delta Medical Center Fined Twice By State

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued 12 administrative penalties to hospitals throughout the state, including two at Visalia's Kaweah Delta Medical Center. The hospitals were cited for failing to follow established procedures that resulted in serious injury or death, or had the potential to. 

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Gun Control
12:19 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Steinberg: Focus on Gun Control, Mental Health, 'Culture of Violence'

The California legislature’s response to last Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut is beginning to take shape.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, a top lawmaker is calling for action in several different areas – including gun control.

Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg is endorsing legislation that would close a loophole dealing with large ammunition clips on assault weapons, and a measure that would require annual permits to buy ammunition.

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Environment
5:10 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Sierra Foothill Conservancy Adds New Wildlife Preserve Near Clovis

Cattle from the Sierra Lands Beef program graze on land that is part of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy's McKenzie Preserve, in March 2012. - file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A local conservation group working to preserve foothill ranch land has added another another major property to its list of protected areas.

The Sierra Foothill Conservancy announced today that it has purchased the historic Tallman Ranch east of Clovis. The 280 acre property will become the Ted K. Martin Wildlife Preserve. 

Martin donated $1 million to the conservancy to fund the purchase of the ranch from the Tallman Family and another $300,000 to support its management for the future.

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Environment
7:52 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

State Releases Draft of Proposed Fracking Regulations

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The State of California's Department of Conservation on Tuesday released a draft proposal for new regulations governing hydraulic fracturing in the oil and gas industry, a practice also known as fracking.

The proposal calls for new well testing and chemical disclosure procedures designed to safeguard the environment and public health, but critics say the rules don't go far enough.

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Gun Control
3:21 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

California Legislation Would Require Permit for Ammo Purchase

file photo

A California state Senator plans to introduce legislation that would require anyone purchasing gun ammunition to first obtain a permit and pass a background check.

Democratic Senator Kevin de Leon is authoring the bill in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. He says he has no intention of stopping law abiding citizens from purchasing ammunition.

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Valley Edition
12:28 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

On Valley Edition: Local Reaction to Newtown CT Shootings

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT. Fresno Unified Superintendent Michael Hanson and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims join us in the first segment to talk about how local schools and law enforcement have taken steps to prevent similar attacks from happening here. What have we learned from Newtown, and how can we keep our children safe in the classroom? 

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Education
9:29 am
Tue December 18, 2012

California Schools Urged to Revisit Safety Plans

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

California law requires each school to have a safety plan – and make it available to the public.  In the aftermath of Friday’s mass shooting in Connecticut, education and public safety officials want schools to take a new look at those plans to see if they should be revised.  

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson wants to reassure parents who wonder if what happened in Newtown could happen to them.

“I believe our California schools are safe," says Torlakson.

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Commentary
2:50 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Commentary: Fresno Should Look To Sweden For Recycling Model

The subject of trash has dominated Fresno headlines in recent months. In addition to the controversy over the privatization of residential solid waste service in the City of Fresno,  a recent online post by National Geographic cites Fresno as a nationwide leader recycling. But what if Fresno’s current recycling rate of 73 percent were 100 percent? On this week’s edition of the commentary series The Moral Is, Fresno State Biology professor Madhusudan Katti says we should look to Sweden as an example.

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

Environment
4:52 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Talk of Revamping Water Bond to Heat Up in 2013

The Friant-Kern Canal delivers water to growers and cities on the eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley. (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

There’s a push for a new look at the $11 billion water bond now scheduled for California’s November 2014 ballot.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, some lawmakers want to reduce the bond’s size, while others want to rewrite it entirely.

Democratic Senator Lois Wolk represents the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region – and she’s long felt the bond approved in 2009 was a bad piece of legislation.  Now that it’s been pushed back a second time, Wolk has introduced a bill that would start over:

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Government & Politics
11:48 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Could See Changes Next Year

Much of downtown Fresno is in an enterprise zone.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders say they’re not looking at more tax increases now that voters have approved Proposition 30. 

But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, tax credits could be on the table, like the controversial Enterprise Zone program.

California offers 700 million dollars a year in tax credits to businesses who add or retain jobs in economically distressed neighborhoods.  

The governor proposed eliminating Enterprise Zones last year but couldn’t win legislative approval. 

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Valley Edition
10:41 am
Tue December 11, 2012

On Valley Edition: Trash Talk; Pharmacy School; Future of the Local Cinema

This week on Valley Edition, Juanita Stevenson reports on plans by the city of Fresno to privatize residential solid waste. We also talk with Dan Stone of National Geographic who recently wrote about the city's recycling efforts, and find out why Fresno is one of the nation's leaders in this area. 

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Government & Politics
10:38 am
Tue December 11, 2012

In Fresno, Privatizing Trash Pickup Ignites Controversy

Credit City of Fresno Public Utilities

It is a dirty job, picking up the trash of Fresno’s residents.

But it is also a job that has afforded 58 year old Joe Hill a decent middle income salary. Those at the top of the scale can make $22 an hour.

“I have a good job. I make a decent wage, but I don’t feel I am overpaid. I praise god for the job I have and how much I make. And I know there’s lots of people who make a lot less, but it’s not excessive,” says Hill.

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Health
9:42 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Healthy Families Transition Timeline Stays on Track, Despite Concerns

California Governor Jerry Brown’s administration says it will start moving about 860,000 children in the Healthy Families program into Medi-Cal on January 1st. But as Pauline Bartolone reports from Sacramento, state lawmakers and doctors want them to slow down.

Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg sent a message to the administration last week.  

“Do not make the actual transition unless you are assured that the child who has a doctor and sees a doctor under one program – HF’s – will be able to have ready access to a doctor when they’re shifted.”

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Just One Breath
6:00 am
Sat December 8, 2012

Valley fever treatments can do harm as they heal

Dr. Arash Heidari prepares medicine that will be injected into an omaya injection reservoir on valley fever patient Mel Ramirez's head. Amphotericin, the antifungal medication, has stopped the progression of valley fever in Ramirez's brain and spinal cord

Thousands of California and Arizona adults and children annually contract valley fever and find themselves battling the disease for months or years — missing work and school, spending weeks in the hospital — with frequent recurrences.

If they had a bacterial infection — food poisoning, strep throat or a boil on the skin — their doctor could reach for multiple, cost-effective antibiotics that usually are able to kill the bacteria, even though resistance to antibiotics is on the rise.

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Government & Politics
5:41 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Prop 13 Changes on the Table in New California Legislature

Asm. Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s only the first week of the new California legislative session.  But three Democrats have already signaled they’re ready to adjust the “third rail” of California politics – the landmark property tax measure known as Proposition 13.  

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is the latest Democratic lawmaker to call for a change to Prop 13.  He wants to stop large companies from disguising changes in ownership that would normally trigger reassessments – something homeowners can’t do.

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Valley Edition
1:27 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

On Valley Edition: Madera Casino Plan; Emergency Air Alerts; Doug Davis Memoir

An artists rendering of a proposed casino that the North Fork Rancheria wants to build along Highway 99 north of Madera
Credit North Fork Rancheria

This week on Valley Edition we talk about plans by a local Native American tribe to open a casino on land north of Madera along Highway 99. The effort took a big step forward in recent days as the Bureau of Indian Affairs agreed to put the land for the new casino in trust for the tribe.

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Local Authors
11:03 am
Tue December 4, 2012

New Memoir By Bakersfield's Doug Davis Recalls Turbulent Desegregation Battle

Most people know Bakersfield's Doug Davis as one of the San Joaquin Valley's top jazz musicians and educators. And while he's written music ranging from jazz to classical, his latest project takes him away from the keyboard of his grand piano, and instead to a keyboard of a different sort. 

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