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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. 

Aleksandra Appleton / The Fresno Bee

A new reporting project from the Fresno Bee seeks to shine a light on a story that is too often in the shadows all around us – human trafficking. The multi-media project "Slaves of the Sex Trade" launched last week, and underscores not only the extent of the problem but the ways in which many young women are lured into a life of modern day slavery, usually beginning online.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors is set to review a proposal Tuesday from local economic development officials that would lift existing caps on tax rebates, and bring new jobs to the county.

The Marines are formulating a new plan for storming a beach, something they haven't done in six decades.

After more than a decade of desert warfare, the Marines are trying to get back to basics. They spend more time training with their traditional partner, the US Navy. Each year since 2010, the

Flickr user Robert Valencia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

For the second year in a row, California’s rate of premature births has increased. But according to new data, the trend is even more alarming in the San Joaquin Valley.

Across California, 8.6 percent of live births are premature, according to the health advocacy organization March of Dimes. That means they were born before 37 weeks of gestation. The group gave the state a B on its annual premature birth report card. Of the 15 counties ranked in the report card, Fresno County scored the worst, with a prematurity rate of over 10%. Both Fresno and Kern Counties earned a C.

A new ranking of patient safety at valley hospitals has been released, with mixed grades. The analysis from the nonprofit group Leapfrog, tracks errors, injuries, accidents, and infections at hospitals nationwide.

In Fresno County, Kaiser received an “A” grade, with Clovis Community and Saint Agnes earning "B’s." Community Regional Medical Center got a “C”. To the north, Madera Community Hospital received an "A" grade and Mercy Medical Center in Merced got a "B."

Tulare County Sheriff's Office

Today marks the final day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Across the United States, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. Here in the San Joaquin Valley, law enforcement agencies receive 15-20,000 reports of domestic violence each year.

In an effort to reduce these crimes in Tulare County, the sheriff’s office earlier this month announced a new strategy for fighting domestic violence—one they hope will aid not just in responding to reported crimes, but also in preventing future ones.

Fresno Office of Education

The Fresno County Office of Education has broken ground on a new shop for a Career Technical Education Charter School in central Fresno. The school will serve students from around the county who are interested in exploring technical careers as well as college. FCOE Superintendent Jim Yovino spoke with Valley Public Radio's Jeffrey Hess about what the agency wants to achieve.

Why did the Fresno Office of Education want to start a Career and Technical Education Charter School?

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

One of the most widely used insecticides in America is the subject of a regulatory battle. Earlier this year the Trump administration chose not to move ahead with efforts to ban chlorpyrifos, first put in place by the Obama administration.  Now, California is in the process of tightening its own regulations of the insecticide, and that has some farmers searching for answers.

The Fresno Bee

The Fresno Bee’s executive editor Jim Boren announced on Monday that he plans to retire in January. In his 48 year career he’s covered countless stories – from the Chowchilla school bus kidnapping to the Operation Rezone scandal at Fresno City Hall. Prior to his current position, he helped lead the paper’s coverage of local politics, and served as editor of the editorial page. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his career, serving as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 and 2017, and about some local political issues.

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Earlier this month the Fresno Teachers Association voted to authorize a strike. They have been bargaining with the Fresno Unified School district for over a year. Today both groups met for a marathon bargaining session. Laura Tsutsui reports on what the groups are hoping for, and how some parents feel about the potential for a strike.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new proposal from the National Park Service would result in a big hike in Yosemite National Park entrance fees during the popular summer months. Under the proposal, which also applies to 16 other parks including Sequoia & Kings Canyon, the entrance fee between May first and September 30 would be $70 per vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person. The funds would be used to improve facilities, infrastructure, and visitor services, with an emphasis on deferred maintenance projects.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Last week oil industry giant Chevron announced it would cut around 26 percent of the workforce in its San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. That's the part of the company that produces oil from fields in Kern and Fresno Counties. It's not the first big job cut in the industry but it could hurt the local economy, especially in Bakersfield. But is this latest news the result of low oil prices, or other factors?

Valley Fever Advocates And Legislators Vow To ‘Press Harder' After Governor Rejects Critical Bill

Oct 24, 2017
Center for Health Journalism Collaborative

Even as valley fever cases are sharply increasing in Central California, Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed legislation that would have created programs to inform the public about the little-known respiratory disease.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

You’ve probably heard of a school library, public library, or even a toy lending library, but what about a human library? A local community college held its first event of this kind, where readers take out much more than books.

Browse the shelves at a more typical library and you’ll find titles like Good Night Moon, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and The Grapes of Wrath. At a Human Library, though, these are the books: Danny Kim, a genocide survivor; Briana Sawyer, a black student; and Bertha Reyes, an immigrant.

Ezra Romero

Our series of first-person audio postcards asked a variety of Fresno residents to share their thoughts about the the removal of downtown's Fulton Mall and the re-opening of Fulton Street. Jordan Gustafson lives in the tallest building in Fresno. It's called the Pacific Southwest (or Security Bank Building) and its front doors exit onto Fulton Street. She's a Clovis native, but she moved to Fresno after living in New York and San Francisco. She loves that she can bike to work at Bitwise Industries.

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