Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Ezra David Romero

Reporter and Producer

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.

Romero has worked with Valley Public Radio for just under three years. He landed at KVPR after interning with Al Jazeera English during the 2012 presidential election. His series ‘Voices of the Drought’ using the hashtag #droughtvoices has garnered over 1 million impressions on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. It's also resulted in two photography exhibits and a touring pop-up gallery traveling across California. Stories affiliated with #droughtvoices have run locally, statewide and on national air.  In January he was awarded a Golden Mike Award from the Radio & Television News Association for Southern California for this series. He beat out some of the largest radio stations in the state.

In 2015 he was awarded a first place radio award by the Fresno County Farm Bureau for a piece on the nation’s first agricultural hackathon.

In early 2015, he was awarded two prestigious Golden Mike Awards through the RTNA of Southern California for a piece on budding tech in Central California and a story on Spanish theater. Valley Edition, the show Romero produces, was named for the best Public Affairs Program for 2013 by the RTNDA of Northern California. 

He’s a graduate of California State University Fresno, where he studied journalism (digital media) and geography. He has worked for the Fresno Bee covering police, elections, government and higher education. In 2012 he was a Gruner Award finalist for his 13-part Sanger Herald series on obesity in Sanger, Calif. 

In his spare time, Romero hikes the Sierra Nevada, takes road trips to the Pacific Coast and frequently visits ice cream shops.

Ways to Connect

NOAASatellites YouTube

While crews fought to keep the Detwiler Fire in California’s Central Valley from reaching the historic gold rush town of Mariposa, a separate fire crew was watching the blaze from an entirely different angle - space.

Valley Public Radio

On this week's program our team reports on fire crews using satellite data to help fight fires, about contaminated water in Madera County, as well as cell phone technology and concealed weapons in Fresno. We also hear from Lois Henry with the Bakersfield Californian about why so many people are dying on the Kern River this year. Later in the program we hear from GV Wire's David Taub about his recent trip to Washington D.C.

Mackenzie Mays / The Fresno Bee

After Fresno Bee Reporter Mackenzie Mays launched her first story in her series on the lack of sex education in the region she had an interesting conversation. Her main source called in tears saying that over $4,000 had been raised through her GoFundMe account.  

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on the Detwiler Fire burning around the mountain town of Mariposa. We also hear from Julie Cart With CALmatters about the passage of AB-617. Later we hear from Bakersfield Californian Reporter Harold Pierce about his latest reporting on a case of police brutality in Bakersfield. Ending the program we are joined by Fresno Bee Reporter Mackenzie Mays about her new series looking at the lack of sex education in the region. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

On Tuesday when the Detwiler Fire in Mariposa doubled in size residents were forced to evacuate. They were left questioning whether their homes and businesses would be engulfed in the flames approaching the town. 

Sharon Capps, her sister Janice Lindgren and I are watching a massive DC-10 plane drop load after load of retardant on a glowing hill above the old-gold mining town of Mariposa.

“This is really bad, it’s the biggest fire I have seen here,” Capps says. “There’s a helicopter right there. It’s going way back like way towards Yosemite.”

AT&T/Ezra David Romero

On a hill overlooking Millerton Lake in Fresno County a group of workers are gathering around a cell tower. They’re watching a tiny white drone slowly circle the tower from the ground all the way to the top. Quasie Jones is with the drone imaging company Skycatch.

“So what it’s doing is taking a picture every two seconds,” Jones says. “So by the end of it it’ll basically have probably like five or 600 photos. So then our technology renders that and creates a 3D model.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Update 8:00 am Thursday

Overnight infrared imagery of the Detwiler Fire shows the blaze has grown to over 70,000 acres. The fire is now 10 percent contained. In the last 24 hours the southern flank of the fire was active, burning south of Highway 140, in the area between Mariposa and Cathey's Valley. Across the Merced River the northern flank of the fire also advanced and is threatening the community of Coulterville. It has destroyed 45 buildings and damaged six others. 

Update: Wednesday 11:00 pm

Photo provided by Kirke Wrench and Alison Taggart-Barone.

Okay, you know it, we know it: Summer in Central California is hot. Really hot. So hot, we know that even if we had an awesome activity to talk about, most of you probably wouldn’t do it. At least, not during the day. Instead, we’ve got an idea for something cool to do after the sun has retreated below the horizon: stargazing.

Valley Public Radio

On this week's program our team reports on drones, a summer camp for diabetic youth and how potential cuts to the USDA could hurt some in the region. We also hear from Steve Mulligian with the Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District about a project funded by Google where 20 million mosquitoes will be released this summer throughout the Fresno area. Ending the show we hear the latest installment of our podcast Outdoorsy. This time it's all about the stars. 

Alicia Embrey / Sequoia National Forest

In 2015 the Rough Fire burned more than 150,000 acres in the mountains east of Fresno. The blaze burned hot and fast threatening Hume Lake Christian Camps in Sequoia National Forest. But while most of the area is starting to recover Boyden Cavern has yet to reopen. But that could soon change.

Sonia Sanchez / Self-Help Enterprises

The recent drought underscored the struggles of private well owners as wells across Tulare County went dry. But an underlying issue has existed all along: even those who have drinking water don’t necessarily know if it’s safe.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition or team reports on stories about private well owners, Boyden Cavern, homelessness and cap and trade. We also hear from The Stockton Record's Alex Breitler about the Delta tunnel plans. Later we hear from the Bakersfield Californian's Stephen Mayer about the case of a missing sign in Kern County that means a lot to the South Valley. 

UC Merced

A new study out of UC Merced finds that meadows in the Sierra Nevada are slowly disappearing.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Before Nikiko Masumoto picks a peach she lightly squeezes it. 

“We want it to have some give and not be hard like a baseball, but we want it to be firm enough that it will travel to wherever it needs to go,” says Masumoto.

The fruit she’s picking now is large, sweet and will be sold in the Bay Area. But a few weeks ago they were picking another variety, a tiny peach called Gold Dust.

Seventy-one million. That's the number of bees Max Nikolaychuk tends in the rolling hills east of Fresno, Calif. Each is worth a fraction of a cent, but together, they make up a large part of his livelihood.

Nikolaychuk makes most of his money during almond pollination season, renting out the bees to California's almond orchards. This year, a thief stole four stacks of his hives.

"He knew about the bees, because he went through every bee colony I had and only took the good ones," he says. "But, you know, the bee yards — I don't have no security there, no fences."

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