Valley Edition

Tuesdays 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Valley Edition is a news magazine program dedicated to issues important to Central Valley residents, from health care and government, to education and the environment. Each week host Joe Moore presents a mix of feature reports, in-depth interviews, discussion and analysis. Join us Tuesday mornings at 9:00 AM for the live broadcast, or hear the rebroadcast of the program Tuesday nights at 7:00 PM. Follow us on Twitter @ValleyEdition.

Support for Valley Edition comes from The James Irvine FoundationThe California HealthCare Foundation, & The California Endowment and CalHumanities

As students head back for another year of school, one small district in the valley is on the cutting edge of education. The Lindsay School district has eliminated grades and grade levels. School leaders say the scheme has transformed education.

Its 7:30 a.m. on the first day of school and students at the Lindsay High School re-connect with friends and wait for the bell to ring.

The roughly 1,000 students are part of just a handful of districts in the country using a system called Performance Based Grading.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we start off the program with a segment about the Rough Fire. Mike Pruitt, a spokesman on the Rough Fire, and KVPR's Ezra David Romero join Host Joe Moore to talk about the blaze. We also hear the story of how 25 hikers were smoked out of the backcountry because of the fire. 

Later we hear from KVPR Reporter Diana Aguilera. She brings a story on how Igbo Tribal members from Nigeria in the Fresno region are working to preserve their heritage. 

Courtesy of Steve German

The lightning ignited Rough Fire is still only three percent contained at 32,400 acres even though it started on the last day of July. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that the blaze isn’t only affecting the community of Hume Lake, but backpackers as well.

Twenty-five hikers finally made it out of the back country of the Sierra Nevada today after being trapped at roads end in Kings Canyon National Park for up two days.

The falling price and exploding popularity of consumer drones are causing growing concern about the nation’s newest consumer craze. Rouge drone operators are becoming a nuisance, invading sensitive and private air space, and regulators are nearly powerless to stop them.

In a dusty field in central Fresno, wedding photographer and hobby drone enthusiast Chris Geiger fires up the electric motors on his small four propeller helicopter.

The two-foot wide white and black robot leaps into the air and hovers for a moment, perfectly steady.

Courtesy US Forest Service / InciWeb

August 25

The lightning ignited Rough Fire is still only 17 percent contained, even though the burn area has grown to 51,794 acres. There are 1,984 firefighters using 138 engines and 10 helicopters to fight the blaze.  

In an interview Tuesday morning Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore spoke with Rough Fire Spokesman Mike Pruitt about the blaze. Reporter Ezra David Romero also shares about his experience at the fire and shares the story of 25 backpackers who had to hike out of the backcountry. Listen to the interview and story above. 

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition FM89's Ezra David Romero reports on how officials in the Fresno area prepping for possible flooding from a looming El Niño. Meteorologist and Fresno State Lecturer Sean Boyd explains what's conjuring up what could be an answer to California's drought.  

Phil Welker, DRS Technologies

The aging air fleet the U.S. Forest Service uses to fight fires in California is posing a deadly danger to the pilots and the firefighters on the ground. Now, for the first time in decades, new planes are coming into service to help battle the blaze and make firefighting safer.

The planes are re-purposed Coast Guard planes turned into air tankers that spray fire retardant. That slows the speed and intensity of the fires. Jennifer Jones with the U.S. forest Service explains how the planes will help and why it took so long for get bring them into service.

Eric Paul Zamora / The Fresno Bee

There’s a controversy brewing in Fresno that has school districts up and down the state watching very closely. It all has to do with how districts spend taxpayer money when they build a new school. Traditionally districts would build up reserves or bond money for a new school, and then put the project out to bid for design and construction. The lowest bidder typically would get the job.

Courtesy of the Fresno Art Museum

The Fresno dance group NOCO is teaming up with the Fresno Philharmonic for an evening of dance and music. The Summer Soirée was named on the Fresno Bee's 2014 Top 20 Cultural events. There will be two evening events, August 15 and 16.

Valley Edition Host Joe Moore spoke with NOCO's Amy Querin andThe Fresno Philharmonic's Executive Director Stephen Wilson. Listen to the full interview above.

For more on the event visit the Fresno Art Museum's website.

Courtesy of Steve Skibbie

Creative Fresno is on the hunt for murals. 

Murals outside of bars. Murals on random petroleum station walls. Murals in parks. 

Murals. Murals. Murals. 

The group recently began collecting data on murals throughout Fresno County in a project called the Digital Mural Map funded by the Fresno Regional Foundation. The project will feature photos of the murals and information about the artists on a mobile friendly website and later select murals will be featured in a photo book. The mural hunt will end in December and the website should be up and running in May, 2016.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition KVPR's Jeffrey Hess reports on animal control in Fresno County. Later, Host Joe Moore is joined by Bill McEwen of The Fresno Bee to talk about schools and politics in Fresno. 

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we learn why scientists fear some Giant Sequoias are at risk thanks to the drought. We also learn about plans for development in Fresno County in the area along Friant Road and the San Joaquin River, as well as new rules designed to save the lives of farm workers in California's hot summer months. In interviews this week, we talk to John Cox of the Bakersfield Californian about an effort by Kern County to make drilling a new oil well as easy as getting a building permit.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Toro Nagashi is an ancient Buddhist ceremony which dates to the 7th century and is traditionally associated with the Obon season in Japan. In Fresno, the community will celebrate the event with a special event in Woodward Park near the Shinzen Japanese Garden on Saturday August 8th. At dusk hundreds of lighted paper lanterns will be released onto the lake, representing the spirits of loved ones.

Five Years Later, Bakersfield's Roy Ashburn Reflects On His Journey

Aug 4, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A former Republican lawmaker who came out as gay months before leaving the California Legislature says he was wrong to oppose gay rights measures – including bills to legalize same-sex marriage.

Roy Ashburn termed out after representing Bakersfield for 14 years in the Assembly and Senate. He was arrested for drunken driving five years ago after leaving a gay night club in Sacramento. He came out days later.

For Fresno natives of a certain age, Al Radka, the Fulton Mall, Lesterburger and parties in "the figs" all are cultural touchstones that bring back memories of a simpler time. They're also the subject of a new book by journalist Steven H. Provost titled "Fresno Growing Up: A City Comes of Age: 1945-1985." From historic photos of long lost Fresno landmarks to stories about life in the 50's and 60's, the new book seeks to capture the essence of an era when so many baby boomers grew up.

Ezra David Romero

The Giant Sequoias in the Sierra Nevada are one of America’s treasures.  But for the first time in the parks history the trees are showing visible signs of exhaustion due to the drought:  thin and browning leaves. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero hikes into one of the largest groves of Giant Sequoias and finds a crew of scientists rushing to gather data by scaling the monstrous trees.

Anthony Ambrose is on the hunt in the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, but not for deer or wild boar.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition Reporter Jeffrey Hess reports on how ex-felons are finding a clean slate under Prop 47. He also interviews Barbara Scrivner who was granted clemency by President Obama in December after being incarcerated for 20 years for conspiracy to sell crystal meth. We also hear from Reporter Amy Quinton on how bats could help walnut growers control pests

If You Care About California, Then You Should Care About Salinas

Jul 28, 2015

Editor's note: Zocalo Public Square is publishing a series of articles this week about the Monterey County community of Salinas and the challenges residents there face. You can find the series online here.

Do you worry about the future of California?

Then you should worry about Salinas. Because if this Monterey County town of 155,000 can’t build itself a brighter future, it’s hard to imagine other struggling places doing the same.

A new report from Fresno State's Central Valley Health Policy Institute highlights the high incidence of infant mortality in the African-American Community. According to study data, African-American babies in Fresno are three times more likely to die when compared with white infants. Recently on Valley Edition we spoke with Lauren N. Lessard, PhD MPH, a research scientist at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute about the study, and why the numbers have grown in recent years. 

Scott Bauer / Bioscience

Marijuana is big business in California. By some estimates pot is actually the state's top cash crop. But with the boom in marijuana cultivation, there is also a significant environmental toll. Mountain tops are being leveled, and streams are being illegally diverted threatening species already stressed by the drought. With the possibility of marijuana legalization looming in 2016, the issue of how to clean up the environmental damage caused by pot production is a big concern. 

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