Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Joe Moore

Director of Program Content & Interim President

Joe Moore is the Director of Program Content and the Interim President of Valley Public Radio. He supervises the station's news and music programming, website and radio operations, and is the host of the weekly program "Valley Edition." He is a native of Fresno and a graduate of California State University, Fresno. He has over 15 years of experience in all aspects of radio production, operations and management. Prior to joining Valley Public Radio in 2010 as the Director of Program Content, he spent six years as the station manager of KFSR, and taught audio production at Fresno State. In 2008 he was named one of Fresno's "40 Under 40" by the publication Business Street. Prior to joining Valley Public Radio, he was also active on the boards of several local non-profit organizations. His hobbies include photography, hiking and travel. Joe has a strong interest in local history and architecture, and is an avid baseball fan.

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Koral Hancharick / Buena Vista Museum of Natural History

Bakersfield's Shark Tooth Hill is known by paleontologists worldwide for its impressive collection of fossilized remains from around 13 million years ago. Earlier this year, one particular fossil, a tooth from a pre-historic shark known as the Megalodon, captured the attention of the producers of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week.

Koral Hancharick of Bakersfield's Buena Vista Museum of Natural History says that the ancient creature would make today's great white shark look quite small in comparison. 

Plans for museum dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide have been mired in controversy for years. The legal battle between the Armenian Assembly of America and the Cafesjian Family Foundation took a new turn last week, but the effort to make the Washington D.C. museum a reality is far from over.

Bakersfield native Jake Varner walked away from the London Olympics with a gold medal, after he defeated Ukraine's Valerii Andriitsev in the 96 kilogram freestyle wrestling division on Sunday. He's not the first San Joaquin Valley wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics. In 2004, Fresno's Steven Abas won silver at the Athens games in freestyle wrestling.

Residents in the Fresno County town of Easton get their water from backyard wells. But many of those wells recently tested above the official limit for certain toxins. It's just the latest case of rural San Joaquin Valley residents struggling to find safe water to drink. Dan Morain of the Sacramento Bee reports.

UPDATE: Sunday 6:30 p.m. The Lanes Fire is now 80 percent contained. CalFire reports that 11 firefighters have been injured. UPDATE: Sunday 7:30 a.m. CalFire officials now say that the Lanes Fire has consumed only 138 acres and is 30 percent contained. Over 500 firefighters are at work battling the blaze.  ---- Residents in the Fresno County mountain community of Meadow Lakes are being advised to evacuate their homes today due to a brush fire burning near the "four lane" section of Highway 168.  As of 6:30 p.m. the Lanes Fire had consumed around 150 acres of dry brush.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California hospitals experienced a 10 percent drop in the number of serious infections over the past year, but a number of San Joaquin Valley hospitals are still above the state average, when compared with similar hospitals elsewhere in the state.

Sierra National Forest

Fires sparked by lightning on Saturday  continue to burn today in rugged terrain in the Sierra Nevada mountains, nearly a week after they began. In the Sierra National Forest east of Fresno the Bear Fire has consumed over 700 acres of timber between Edison and Florence Lake.

Ten smoke jumpers, four helicopters and four fixed wing aircraft are battling the blaze, which is in terrain ranging from 7,500 to 9,000 feet in elevation. The fire is currently 50 percent contained. No structures are threatened. 

Fresno County Dept Public Works & Planning / Librun Corp

The Fresno County Planning Commission approved a controversial proposal for a gravel mining project near the Kings River north of Reedley today on a 6-1 vote.

The Carmelita Project is a planned 886 acre gravel mine between Reed Avenue and the Kings River.  The project will be divided into 22 mining "cells" each of them 40 acres in size and up to 50 feet deep. Over the next 100 years, the mine will produce as much as 1.25 million tons of sand and rock each year. The land is owned by Fresno based Gerawan Farming, and is currently home to fruit orchards.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A coalition of teachers and education activists gathered today to announce an effort to recall Fresno Unified school board member Tony Vang. 

Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

UC Merced may be less than a decade old, but the struggling economy and environmental concerns are already leading campus officials to explore the possibility of directing some of the university's future growth to off-campus locations. 

California Labor Commissioner Julie Su has filed a lawsuit against a Valley farm labor contractor for unpaid wages. The case filed in Fresno Superior Court on Monday alleges Javier Diaz of Diaz Contracting committed multiple violations, including failure to provide minimum wage and overtime to employees. The lawsuit seeks over $600,000 in unpaid wages, penalties and damages affecting 129 workers.

This week on Valley Edition, we learn more about a new report which shows that on average, Valley counties send more inmates to prison and jail than the rest of the state. What does this mean for county budgets as realignment is moving many of those inmates from state prisons to county jails? We also discuss the merits of public defenders in California, as Fresno County is likely to place a measure before voters this fall which could make it easier to outsource the county’s public defender jobs to private attorneys.

California Sentencing Institute / Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

A new report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice shows that Valley Counties on average send more people to jail and state prison than the rest of the state. Kings County topped the list with the state's highest per capita population in state prison, over 1,500 adults for every 100,000 people. Tulare and Kern counties weren't far behind.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Airports in Fresno and Bakersfield could be forced to close if lawmakers in Washington D.C. can't reach a deal on deficit reduction in the coming months, according to a new analysis released today by a Washington D.C. think tank. 

Numbers released today from Fresno State's Craig School of Business show the San Joaquin Valley's economy is slowing. The San Joaquin Valley Business Conditions Index dropped for the second straight month in July, to 51.6, down from 55.4 in June.

The numbers remain above growth neutral, meaning the economy is still expected to grow in the next three to six months, businesses aren't as optimistic about the future as they were in June. The lower July numbers reflect a drop in new export orders and business confidence.

Public health officials in Tulare County are urging residents to avoid the waters of the Kings River after a sewage spill Monday night in Reedley.

According to officials at around 8:00 p.m. Monday night, a problem at the City of Reedley's Wastewater Treatment Plant on Olsen Avenue resulted in a spill of 63,000 gallons of untreated sewage. At least some of the sewage flowed into the Kings River, which is immediately to the east of the plant. 

Courtesy Fresno Pacific University

Fresno Pacific University has a new leader for the first time in a decade.

Dr. Pete Menjares officially became the university's new president on Saturday at an event in Omaha.  He replaces the retiring Dr. Merrill Ewert, who led the college for the past 10 years. He is the 11th president at the private, Mennonite affiliated Fresno based university since 1944.

Menjares was hired earlier this year, and has spent the past two months in Fresno working with Ewert on the school's leadership transition.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The US Department of Justice announced this morning that it has reached an agreement with Merced County that will let election officials there avoid the process of having to clear many voting decisions with the federal government.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Randy Bolt has a passion for rocks. Well, not just rocks, but gems and minerals too. He's a historic guide at California's Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa. 

He can tell you about the state's official gemstone, "which most people have never even heard of, which is actually one of the rarest  gems in the world, it's called Benitoite, named after San Benito Creek."

Or he can tell you about the history of the world-famous nugget from the California Gold Rush that is nearly the size of a basketball.

Courtesy City of Fresno / CalTrans

Fresno’s long planned Veterans Boulevard interchange on Highway 99 between Herndon and Shaw Avenues may be closer to becoming a reality.

The Fresno City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a plan to spend $5.4 million on design and engineering plans for the roadway, which will connect Herndon Avenue across Highway 99 with Grantland Avenue.

The project is expected to solve a number of traffic problems in the fast growing area west of Highway 99. Last year, the City Council also approved the first phase of a planned El Paseo regional shopping center near the boulevard.

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