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

City of Fresno officials are calling it the crown jewel of a growing industrial park in south central Fresno. E-commerce giant Amazon officially began work on a new internet fulfillment center Monday to the delight of elected officials and business leaders who gathered at the site.

With a few short words, Amazon’s West Coast Operations Director Kelvin Downs opened the ground breaking ceremony of an 855,000 square foot internet fulfillment center.

“It’s official. Amazon is coming to Fresno,” Downs says.

Office of Congressman Jeff Denham

The expansion of Medi-Cal in the Central Valley under the Affordable Care Act has been key to slashing the area’s uninsured rate in half in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of people signed up, and in most valley counties, about half of the population is on Medi-Cal. But according to some, having more people on the program has compounded the problem of low reimbursement rates for physicians and the area’s long-running doctor shortage.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand says he has a vision to create 10,000 new jobs in Fresno and drop the unemployment rate to 5%. That would be a significant accomplishment for a city where the unemployment number is routinely above the state average. One major piece of that vision fell into place last week with the announcement that Amazon will build a fulfillment center in Fresno. Valley Public Radio spoke with the mayor about how he plans to achieve his jobs goal and the first steps already taking place. This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein used a visit to the Central Valley Thursday to criticize President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess caught up with the senator at a farm in western Fresno County.

Standing beside a freshly irrigated olive orchard, Feinstein warned that leaving the international climate change initiative could make the Central Valley un-farmable.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

When you call 9-1-1, you expect an ambulance to come and quickly. But in Fresno County, health officials say a relatively small number of people had been making that difficult, so-called ambulance "super users." These are people who call for an ambulance ride frequently, sometimes hundreds of times a year, in non-emergency situations. Now five years into a project to reduce the burden of "super users" on the system, the numbers show the effort is working.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Finding enough money to pay for child care is a struggle for many Central Valley families. But last year despite the region’s high poverty rate, Fresno County returned $10 million in unspent money to the state that was earmarked for child care for low-income families.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Nearly 1,000 people in the Central Valley are now officially new U.S. citizens. And for many, they say the recent Presidential election played a big role.

975 people from 57 countries took the oath of citizenship at the Fresno Convention Center Tuesday, the final step in their process of moving from immigrant to citizen.

Among them was 35-year old Norma Minjares, who was brought to the country by his parents as an infant.  

She, like many in the crowd, say last fall’s election pushed her to finally seek citizenship.

Google Maps

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have heightened in recent weeks. Hanford Republican Congressman David Valadao recently returned from a trip to South Korea and Japan. He spoke with Valley Public Radio about his trip and what he learned.

Interview transcript highlights:

Q: Why did you make the trip to South Korea?

Kaiser Family Foundation

California’s Republican congressmen were crucial to getting the American Health Care Act passed through the U.S. House of Representatives last week. One change to that bill was key in getting the support of at least one of those congressman: additional money for something known as ‘high-risk pools’.

However, they are not a new idea in health care and in fact have been tried before right here in the Golden State. California’s experience could help inform how the policy might work if it becomes law, and the challenges it could face.

Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Local Republicans played a big role in today’s passage American Health Care Act in the U.S. House Representatives.

During a victory press conference in the White House Rose Garden, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield said repealing the Affordable Care Act will be a positive for the American people.

Office of Rep. David Valadao / Valley Public Radio

Republicans in Washington are once again pushing hard for a vote on the American Health Care Act as some moderate members say they will now vote ‘yes’ on the bill. One remaining holdout, however, is Central Valley Congressman David Valadao. 

He spoke with Valley Public Radio on Wednesday about his position on the bill.

Republican representative Valadao says he’s still on the fence over whether to support or oppose the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Religion and politics are once again mixing at Fresno City Hall. One councilmember has put forward a plan to add the words ‘In God We Trust’ to the council chamber wall. The result of that vote could be the latest sign that the connection between politics and the city’s religious faithful is still strong.

The Wilson Theater in downtown Fresno comes to life on Sundays when it transforms into the Christian Cornerstone Church, the home of Pastor Jim Franklin. The theme of the sermon this weekend is organizing your life to put Jesus first.

Fresno State University

With President Donald Trump promising to revive the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week, a new poll of Central Valley residents offers insight into the local reaction to proposed changes to the law, commonly known as Obamacare. Overall, according to new research by Fresno State’s Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, 47% of Central Valley residents oppose repealing the law. 29% say they support partial repeal, while 17% say they want full repeal.

Since 2013, the law has resulted in the uninsured rate being cut in half.

Joe Moore - Valley Public Radio

It was a loud and defiant first court appearance for 39-year old Kori Muhammad the man accused of four murders, including three that police say were motivated by racist hate.

Muhammad entered the courtroom shouting that more natural disasters would strike the U.S. and saying ";let black people go with reparations." He shouted second phrase - demanding reparations - at least two more times during the short court proceeding.

City of Fresno

Fresno has its first female City Manager. Mayor Lee Brand today introduced Wilma Quan-Schecter as the replacement for the retiring City Manager Bruce Rudd.

Quan-Schecter, who is 43 years old, has been with the city for 9 years and has a background in city planning. At the announcement at Fresno City Hall, Quan-Schecter says she is excited to step into the role.

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