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Jeffrey Hess

Reporter

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio. 

Jeffrey has been in public radio for four and a half years and believes in the power of radio as a medium for great story telling. He sees the vital role that public radio can play in people's lives especially through increased community engagement with the internet and social media.

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Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

For about the past year, two San Joaquin valley school districts have allowed some parents and staff members to carry a concealed firearm on campus if they have a concealed carry weapons permit and seek the permission of the district superintendent.

However, under a new bill on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, that authority could soon be revoked.

The California Legislature has approved Assembly Bill 424, which would strip that authority from superintendents in all but a few narrow circumstances.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

A major scandal rocked the auto industry two years ago when it was discovered that the car company Volkswagen had been systematically cheating on diesel emissions tests. That scandal might soon turn into a big boon for electric cars in the Central Valley.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Police officers across the country and in the Central Valley have been under increasing scrutiny and pressure for how they deal with civilians in the field. At the same time, some departments are acknowledging that their role is morphing into one that is just as concerned with identifying and helping people who might be suffering from a mental illness as it is enforcing the law. Fresno’s Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he is making changes within his force in an attempt to separate committed criminals from people who need a softer form of help.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Police say they have made a significant arrest of a number of high-level Bulldog gang members. More than a dozen suspected gang members were arrested in an early Friday morning raids.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the arrests stem from a month’s long multi-agency investigation that included roughly 300 local, state and federal law enforcement agents.

Police have been using a wiretap to monitor the gang for months leading up to the arrests.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Immigration advocates in the Central Valley are joining protests against the decision by the Trump Administration to phase out DACA. About three dozen people rallied in Fresno on Tuesday, promising to fight.

Xavier Vasquez was 13 years old when he came to the U.S. illegally. Now, at 27 he is a college graduate and has just filed to renew his DACA status for the third time.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows Vasquez to legally work in the county and be spared from deportation.

Office of Rep. David Valadao

Two Valley congressmen are among a group of 6 Republicans asking President Donald Trump to maintain deportation protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The president is considering ending the Obama-era program called DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That allows eligible immigrants to avoid deportation and legally work in the country if they apply with the Federal Government.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Downtown Fresno’s 116-year old ‘Helm Home’ has been a landmark for generations because of its distinctive shape. The mission revival-style home, sometimes called the Alamo House was once at risk of being condemned, but today it’s been impeccably restored to its former glory with high ceilings and flawless wooden floors.

FUSD website

The interim Superintendent of the Fresno Unified School district says they are developing a comprehensive plan to respond to the needs of LGBT students.

Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson says he is working on a plan that will include specially trained staff to help LGBT students navigate the world and graduate from school.

Nelson says concerns from some in the community about the treatment of those students, including those as young as 11 years old, pushed him to take steps to make sure they are included and safe at school.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

During a visit to Fresno Tuesday, Speaker of the California Assembly Anthony Rendon highlighted one key aspect of the Temperance Flat Dam proposal that could give it a boost over other water storage projects.

While not specifically favoring one project over another, Rendon says the potential dam and reservoir has a key quality the other proposed mega project does not…location.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

With new data that suggests Fresno’s homeless population is growing, leading homeless service providers are now admitting that the City of Fresno will not meet its deadline of December 31st to end ‘functional homelessness’ in the city. At the same time, the city is moving ahead with a plan to ban public camping in the city, a move drawing both praise and criticism from those who work with homeless residents. Together, the two issues have renewed the question of how can Fresno solve this decades-old problem once and for all.

Fresno State University

Leading a healthy life is about much more than being able to see a doctor or get into a hospital. It is also about access to fresh foods, and places to go to exercise like parks. That is a major struggle for  people in many communities in the San Joaquin Valley. A new report from the advocacy organization Building Health Communities and the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State says hospitals should be doing more to improve ‘neighborhood health’.

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a new audit claiming the City of Fresno may have misused millions of dollars in community development block grant money.

 

The audit claims the city misspent or failed to properly track money intended improving living standards in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

 

Steve Brandau - Facebook

A Fresno City Councilmember has a new idea on dealing with the city’s homeless population – a law that would ban camping in the city. Councilmember Steve Brandau is set to take the proposed ordinance before the city council Thursday August 17th. If adopted, the law would ban camping on both public and private property in the city.

Brandau says he’s been getting complaints for months from constituents about people camping in the cooking, bathing and even defecating in public.

Joe Moore/KVPR

On the first Thursday night of every month, the Old Fresno Water Tower is typically full of people checking out local art that lines the walls and shelves of the historic building. But while dozens of Art Hop patrons visit the gift shop, gallery and visitors center in one of Fresno’s most recognizable buildings, the future of the downtown landmark is uncertain.

The Fresno Arts Council, which runs the gallery space in the city-owned building, says it is short on cash, and may have to shut the space down within months.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The first major piece of construction for high speed rail in downtown Fresno is complete. On Friday, officials cut the ribbon on a brand new Tuolumne Street bridge.

The massive bridge is designed to carry traffic over the existing railways and create enough space below for the high speed trains.

HSR Board Vice Chair Tom Richards says the bridge is an important symbol of progress that shines far beyond Fresno.

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