Valley Public Radio News

Hear local reports on the economy, government, education, health and the environment on Valley Public Radio during All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Valley Edition. 

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, hit a serious snag last week. A planned vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on the GOP replacement plan, called the American Health Care Act, was canceled at the last minute. So what's next in the effort to bring major changes to the nation's health care policies? Will the Republicans try again to replace a law they have maligned for years? And what options does President Trump have through his executive authority to change the way the Affordable Care Act is being implemented?

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new map released by NASA earlier this year shows that large portions of California are sinking. The worst of it is in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the main reasons is the over pumping of groundwater, especially in the last five years of drought.

All that sinking and all the snow melting in the Sierra has Central Valley water managers like Dustin Fuller worried.

Gaelynn Lea

Gaelynn Lea of Duluth, Minnesota rose to national attention last year as winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. Listeners from across the country submitted their recordings to NPR Music with hopes of winning a spot on the national broadcast. Despite thousands of other entries, Lea was the unanimous choice of the judges, with a unique style combining traditional fiddle music with contemporary electronic loops, as well as an inspiring story.

Clinica Sierra Vista

The Affordable Care Act may be staying in place for now, but the long-term future of health care is still far from certain. And that uncertainty is already taking its toll on some health care programs--with ripple effects felt throughout the Valley.

If you peruse the Airbnb listings outside Bakersfield, you may stumble upon Broken Shadow Hermitage—a 3-bedroom getaway in the Tehachapi Mountains. The owner, Rick Hobbs, says it’s a great place to meditate and commune with nature.

CSUB

The CSUB Roadrunners are about to go running far from Kern County. Later today the school's men’s basketball team will take its game to the hallowed floor of New York’s Madison Square Garden for a spot in the final four of the NIT basketball tournament, playing Georgia Tech. It's a big moment on the national stage for CSUB. We talked with university president Horace Mitchell about the mood on campus, as well as last week's vote of the CSU Board of Trustees authorizing a raise in tuition. We also talked about new campus efforts to help students struggling with hunger and homelessness.

Kern Pioneer Village

It might be the most famous boxcar in Kern County, if not the entire state of California. The childhood home of the late country music star Merle Haggard is no longer in Oildale, where it sat for decades – it’s now at the Kern Pioneer Village near the end of a two year-long restoration. The  museum is throwing a party to celebrate the completion of the project April 9th called the Haggard Boxcar Festival.

Kimberly Vardeman/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

In 2014 the California cotton industry got a wake up call. Somewhere in the supply chain of turning high end cotton into fabric the products were being laced with inferior fiber. And now as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports consumers can be sure they’re getting what they pay for.

 

There some new developments in the unfolding story of alleged misuse of a confidential law enforcement database by members of the Kern High School Police Department and administration. Last week KHSD Police Chief Joe Lopeteguy, who is now on leave from his position, filed a lawsuit against the district. In it he claims that the district retaliated against him for acting as a whistleblower by exposing the district's alleged misuse of the system to investigate students and employees.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

We continue our coverage this week of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Last week we heard from Anthony Wright of Health Access California about his concerns with the so-called American Health Care Act, and this week we’re speaking with someone who had a hand in crafting the new plan.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

People love seeing black bears when they visit places like Yosemite National Park. They’re powerful creatures that can be docile or ferocious depending on the encounter. In such a highly visited place incidents with bears are bound to happen, and as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the park has come up with a new plan to keep bears and people safe.

 

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.

Kern County Public Health Services

Health officials and advocates gathered in Bakersfield today for a summit on public health in Kern County, where one specific community was touted as a public health role model.

 

In the last five years or so, the city of McFarland has dramatically upgraded its infrastructure. The city has more sidewalks, parks and streetlights than ever before, and it recently created its first bicycle master plan. Flor del Hoyo from Kern County Public Health Services says McFarland is a success story for community engagement and cooperation.

 

Public Policy Institute of California

A new analysis from the Public Policy Institute of California maps child poverty across California, and estimates Valley children would be much worse off without social safety net programs.

 

PolitiFact California looks at claims made by elected officials, candidates and groups and rates them as: True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants On Fire.

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