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.

Ways to Connect

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump has introduced what many in Washington D.C. call his ‘skinny budget’. It’s the new president’s first public step laying out where he thinks federal spending should, and shouldn’t go. The budget is also a reflection of the administration’s policy goals and priorities, and includes big cuts to non-military discretionary spending. Valley Edition host Joe Moore spoke with reporter Jeffrey Hess about how cities in the Valley might be impacted by potential cuts to everything from block grants to anti-homelessness measures. 

A key rating agency has given the City of Fresno a big boost. A positive report from Standard and Poor’s could mean big savings for the city.

S&P has upgraded the city’s bond rating from BBB- to an A+. That is a five-level increase.

Officials say that means the city can borrow money at a much better interest rate, saving an estimated $35 million over the next two decades.

Mayor Lee Brand says the ratings improvement means the city will be better able to respond to years of austere budgets and cuts.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Ulta Beauty may be the biggest beauty product supplier in the country, but the announcement the company will build a distribution and fulfillment center in Fresno could be about much more than eyeliner and lipstick. Some experts think the Central Valley could develop into the hub that supplies on demand products for the entire west coast. But why is the area so enticing for internet retailers, and do these centers provide good jobs?

In the bathroom of her central Fresno home, Roe Borunda looks through tote after tote filled with all manner of makeup.

Twice as many stores in the Central Valley sell flavored cigarettes and alcohol than sell fresh fruits and vegetables. That's the finding of a new state health survey. 

The Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community survey, released Wednesday, found that it’s far easier to find tobacco or alcohol than it is to find fresh food, especially in low-income neighborhoods. 

Fresno-based pediatrician Dr. Razia Sheik says in Fresno County, for example, just 39% of stores carried fresh fruits and vegetables.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

California is in the middle of reversing decades of ‘tough on crime’ policies. Realignment and propositions 47 and 57 have been instituted to lighten the load in county jails and state prisons.

Now lawmakers are examining a system that sometimes keeps people in jail before they have even been convicted. Criminal justice reformers say California’s use of cash bail has created an income-based justice system.

So here is how this works.

Let’s say you are arrested and charged with a crime and find yourself in the Fresno County Jail.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Unified Trustees are putting forward a resolution to declare the school district ‘safe place’ for undocumented students. The move is in response to student concerns about the Trump administration’s deportation policies.

Two-thirds of Fresno Unified School district students are Hispanic and district trustees say the heightened talk of more immigration enforcement has rattled the student body.

On Thursday March 23rd 2017, Valley Public Radio hosted the first community forum in its new event series "Be Public: Live" in the station's Barmann Chaney Performance Studio.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Something is about to happen in Clovis that hasn’t happened in nearly a decade. A small army of county employees will descend next Tuesday to administer the first city council election there since 2009. While some say it's a sign that things in the city have been running well, others say the odd election format discourages the participation of both candidates and voters.


Fresno County Sheriff

The Fresno County officials have issued a disaster declaration over concerns about a weakened levee in the western part of the county. County officials say the declaration is a precautionary step.

A portion of a levee near Tranquility has been badly damaged by heavy rains and high flows in the San Joaquin River. The levee stopped leaking last night but officials fear the situation could worsen.

Crews are currently trying to fix the damage to avoid a collapse, which could potentially flood homes and farms in Tranquility, Mendota, and Firebaugh.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The 50th Annual World Ag Expo in Tulare has now officially come to a close. The massive fair draws farmers and agricultural professionals from all over the world to check out the newest in farm equipment and technology as well as cut deals and make professional contacts.

KMC / Kern County

Much of the focus on the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been on the newly insured people who stand to lose their coverage. But there could be consequences that reach far beyond just people’s health care and impact nearly every taxpayer in the Central Valley. Repealing the law without a replacement has some county lawmakers worried.

Republicans in Washington D.C. are busy figuring out their way forward on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The Fresno City Council has voted to enact a rental housing inspection program aimed at cracking down on slum housing in the city.

The 4-3 vote came after more than two hours of public comment. Most people spoke in favor of the program, including the influential Apartment Association of Greater Fresno which represents owners and managers, as well as tenants’ rights advocates like Matthew Gundry.

He told the council stories about homes and apartments with untreated pest infestations, black mold, and more that goes ignored by landlords.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

Politicians in California and Washington D.C. are busy trying to figure out the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Should it be fully repealed? What will the replacement be? Should there be a replacement at all? While the potential replacement is still a mystery, two researchers at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education took a look at the potential impact of full repeal on the San Joaquin valley’s job market. They claim job losses from a repeal of the law would be worse than job losses caused by the drought.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

The early days of President Donald Trump’s administration have left all manner of people scrambling to keep up and understand the local impacts of a series of executive orders. One major change is the threat to withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities”, that is cities that claim to not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find undocumented immigrants. But what even is a sanctuary city and is Fresno in the crosshairs?

When he explained his executive order targeting ‘sanctuary cities’ last week, President Trump described the order this way.

coveredca.com

The debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is a hot topic in Washington. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Central Valley residents have found insurance under the law. With the Republican replacement plan still very much a mystery, Valley Public Radio decided to take a look back at the raw data to see what has changed in the Central Valley.

Before the law’s insurance coverage expansion provisions took effect in the fall of 2013, all five of the Central Valley counties from Merced to Kern had uninsured rates of around 25%.

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