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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. 

The Tejon Tribe is the only federally recognized Native American tribe in Kern County. Home to some 900 members, the tribe only regained its federal status in 2012 and is looking to raise its profile in the community, as well as preserve its language. This weekend, the tribe is welcoming the community at-large to learn more about the the tribe at a pow wow to be held at CSUB September 23rd and 24th. Gloria Morgan joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the tribe and the event this weekend. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

For about the past year, two San Joaquin valley school districts have allowed some parents and staff members to carry a concealed firearm on campus if they have a concealed carry weapons permit and seek the permission of the district superintendent.

However, under a new bill on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, that authority could soon be revoked.

The California Legislature has approved Assembly Bill 424, which would strip that authority from superintendents in all but a few narrow circumstances.

The highway plays an important part in the mystique of the American West. From the so-called "Mother Road" of Route 66 that wound from Chicago to LA, to the picturesque beauty of the California coast along Highway 1, our highways are more than just transportation infrastructure, they are a part of our culture. That’s certainly the case here in the middle of the state, where a ribbon of concrete and asphalt has stitched together towns big and small for decades – Highway 99.

Starting Sunday, PBS stations around the country begin airing a 10-part series on the Vietnam War produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Many veterans will be watching. Others say they definitely will not watch because they want to avoid the traumatic memories that could be triggered.

Ryan Jacobsen / Fresno County Farm Bureau

Monday’s heavy rain and gusty winds in the valley hurt two of the region’s largest money-making crops.

 

Fresno County is the top grower of raisins in the country, but Monday’s storm came at the worst moment for farmers growing the crop. At this time of year grapes are laid on paper trays to sun dry. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says the full damage to the crop won’t be known for months.

 

Visitors to Yosemite leave behind 2,200 tons of garbage per year. That is equal to 3,919 dumpsters full of trash.
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park has a trash problem. The more than 4 million people who visit every year and those that live in Yosemite leave 2,200 tons of garbage there annually. The park service is working to decrease the amount of that trash that ends up in the Mariposa County Landfill.

To find out more about the park’s Zero Landfill Initiative, FM89’s Ezra David Romero  interviewed Yosemite National Park Ranger Jodi Bailey and Wildlife Biologist Caitlin Lee-Roney. Listen to that interview by clicking play above. 

Kerry Klein / KVPR

As the San Joaquin Valley struggles with a shortage of primary care physicians, one group in particular is stepping in to fill in the gaps: doctors born or trained in foreign countries. And while the planned repeal of the DACA program is President Trump’s most recent immigration policy change, he’s hinted at others that could influence the flow of foreign physicians into the Valley. This installment of our series Struggling For Care explores the valley’s complicated relationship with international doctors.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

A major scandal rocked the auto industry two years ago when it was discovered that the car company Volkswagen had been systematically cheating on diesel emissions tests. That scandal might soon turn into a big boon for electric cars in the Central Valley.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Police officers across the country and in the Central Valley have been under increasing scrutiny and pressure for how they deal with civilians in the field. At the same time, some departments are acknowledging that their role is morphing into one that is just as concerned with identifying and helping people who might be suffering from a mental illness as it is enforcing the law. Fresno’s Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he is making changes within his force in an attempt to separate committed criminals from people who need a softer form of help.

Congress is getting ready to decide the fate of the Littoral Combat Ship program. The speedy, high-tech warship designed to operate near shorelines has been plagued with delays, mechanical problems and cost overruns throughout its life.

San Diego will eventually be home port to at least 12 LCSs. The USS Gabrielle Giffords is the newest Littoral Combat Ship in the Navy's fleet. It came into port in July, after being built in Mobile, Alabama, and commissioned in Texas.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Police say they have made a significant arrest of a number of high-level Bulldog gang members. More than a dozen suspected gang members were arrested in an early Friday morning raids.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the arrests stem from a month’s long multi-agency investigation that included roughly 300 local, state and federal law enforcement agents.

Police have been using a wiretap to monitor the gang for months leading up to the arrests.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California farmers and environmental justice leaders are joining forces to support a bill that would help fund a clean drinking water program.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

When we consider medical providers, what comes to mind may be doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. But what about pharmacists? A new law has allowed them to greatly expand their role to become providers—which could be good news for patients struggling to access doctors. But one major obstacle still stands in the way of pharmacists taking on patients. This latest installment of our series Struggling For Care begins with the story of a community pharmacist in Kern County looking toward the future.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Most people in the mountain area around Oakhurst know Katie Miller as the Mountain Madam. That’s her brand. The London Properties' realtor and I are driving to an area north of Oakhurst where she recently sold a home that’s now listed on the online rental site Airbnb.

“So that’s the Airbnb right here,” says Miller. “There’s a spiral staircase inside, all wood floors. They figured out how to maximize the space and put beds everywhere.”

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Immigration advocates in the Central Valley are joining protests against the decision by the Trump Administration to phase out DACA. About three dozen people rallied in Fresno on Tuesday, promising to fight.

Xavier Vasquez was 13 years old when he came to the U.S. illegally. Now, at 27 he is a college graduate and has just filed to renew his DACA status for the third time.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows Vasquez to legally work in the county and be spared from deportation.

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