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. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The state of California is promising to spend an unprecedented amount of new money investing in Fresno. The state is planning tens of millions of dollars from its cap and trade funds.

Governor Jerry Brown is recommending spending $70 million of cap and trade money in Fresno.

The funds come from pollution credits and are set aside to aid the most heavily polluted and poor areas.

The City of Fresno expects to get half of all the climate change money that the state has designated for those communities.

Death Penalty Propositions Divide Voters

Sep 22, 2016

There are two completely opposite November ballot measures dealing with capital punishment, and a new poll shows neither one is getting support from a majority of voters.

Proposition 62 would repeal the state’s death penalty and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. It falls just short of the simple majority it needs to pass.

Each time New York increased its tobacco tax — now at $4.35 a pack — calls to the state’s Quitline spiked.

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg raised the tax even more.

“I was so angry with him, I could hardly afford it,” says Elizabeth Lane, a Harlem resident who paid $12 a pack. “I had to beg, borrow and steal to get money to buy cigarettes.”

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.

California billionaire and potential gubernatorial candidate Tom Steyer joined the debate over ending the state’s death penalty last week by repeating a questionable claim.

"Since 1978, California has spent $5 billion to put 13 people to death," Steyer said in a press release announcing his support for Proposition 62.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Over the last few weeks, Valley Public Radio has aired a series of reports looking at how life in violent communities can affect the health of area residents, and how the lack of health care can contribute to some of that violence at times. But there’s another side of this story – the one of the police who patrol those streets.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Fitness tracking is all the rage right now. If you want to, you can monitor your heart rate, count your footsteps and calories burned, and even monitor your sleep patterns, all using devices that can fit around your wrist or in your pocket. But that's if you’re a human. Kerry Klein takes us to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, where fitness tracking is moving to a whole new level.

It's less than two months from election day and many of the local races that will be before voters in November are heating up. From city council and mayoral contests in Fresno and Bakersfield to a couple of contested congressional races, it's providing plenty of fodder for local political observers. We spoke with former State Assemblywoman and current CSUB political science professor Nicole Parra, and Clovis-based Republican political strategist Jim Verros about what's really happening in some of the most closely watched contests. 

The San Joaquin Valley is home to two of the nation's 100 largest cities with Fresno and Bakersfield. But it's the small towns like Kerman that make this part of the state such a unique place. Now Kerman farmer and community leader Paul Betancourt has written a new book about the history of this small farm town. He joined us to talk about the town's origins and unique history in the days of riverboats and steam engines. 

An LA-based company has formally announced plans for the first phase of renovations at the Manchester Center Mall in central Fresno. The company is beginning a multi-year renovation of the struggling mall.

Manchester’s owner Omninet Capital held a ceremonial ground-breaking in the parking lot of the mall today complete with local elected officials and retail advocates.

  Ben Nazarian, Omninet Managing Partner, says the first step is bringing in a Chipotle and Habit Burger into a new building in the mall’s west parking lot.

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