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. 

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Government & Politics
8:10 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Brown's New Budget Proposal Includes Tax Credit For Poor

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Gov. Jerry Brown will include a state earned income tax credit in the revised budget proposal he'll release Thursday morning, according to information provided by the Brown administration to Capital Public Radio.

The proposed tax credit would benefit an estimated two million Californians in deep poverty while reducing state budget revenues by $380 million a year. It was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

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Education
5:22 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Judge Rules Clovis Unified's Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Violated State Law

The American Civil Liberties Union took part in the suit against the Clovis Unified School District filed in 2012.
Credit ACLU

In a recent court decision that some are calling historic, a Fresno County judge ruled that Clovis Unified School District’s abstinence-only sex education classes violated the state law.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald Black found that the district’s abstinence- only curriculum failed to provide students with information that’s complete, medically accurate and free of bias.

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News
1:07 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Olivier: No Reason Manchester 'Can't Be Prosperous'

A Fresno City Council member says he sees no reason why the struggling Manchester Mall cannot be successful. A new ownership group is planning a renovation of the nearly dead shopping center.

The company, Omninet, thinks an overhaul can revive the Manchester Mall which sits at the corner of Blackstone and Shields in central Fresno.

It’s in the district of City Council member Clint Olivier who says he sees no reason the property can’t be successful, despite multiple previous attempts failing.

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News
2:33 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Company To Renovate Fresno's Manchester Mall

Artists drawing of mall renovations from thenewmanchester.com
Credit Omninet Properties

A new company is preparing to renovate Fresno’s nearly dead Manchester Mall. Omninet is asking the city for a small section of land to increase the appeal of the struggling shopping center.

The company has plans to renovate and refresh the mall which sits at the corner of Blackstone and Shield in central Fresno.

The mall’s management declined to comment on the plan, but a company website is up touting the project, including a video targeted at attracting new tenants.

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Immigration
1:26 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Thousands Of Young Immigrants In Limbo, Losing Work Permits

Brenda Ordaz is one of thousands of young immigrants whose work permit expired, despite having applied on time.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Thousands of undocumented people gained work permits in 2012 as part of an Obama administration effort to shield young people from deportation. Now, as it comes time to renew their paperwork some of these same immigrants- known as “dreamers”- are losing the chance to work legally in the states. Fm89’s Diana Aguilera reports how some people in the Central Valley are left in limbo.

Brenda Ordaz, 22, describes herself as a country girl. She enjoys taking care of her roosters and living in the rural community of Madera. It’s the place she calls home.

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Agriculture
1:13 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Raw Almonds Might Not Be As "Raw" As You Think

  When you’re talking about raw almonds the product may not be quite what you think. All California almonds, which would be virtually all the nuts in the country, are either heat-pasteurized, or sprayed with a fumigant. The processes are intended to prevent food-borne illness. But, some almond aficionados say the treatments change the flavor, and mislead consumers. Lesley McClurg in Sacramento has the story.

In a warehouse near Newman, California millions of almonds are heated in huge metal containers.  

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News
2:32 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Fresno Parks High On City Leader's Budget Priorities

Fresno City leaders are vowing to use growing revenue to restore neglected city parks. Many parks fell into disrepair as a result of budget cuts during the recession.

With the city’s tax base recovering, the Mayor and City council members say now is the time to fix and expand the city’s public parks.

Standing in a park in East Fresno, Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the city should spend nearly 6-million dollars on repairs and renovations across the city.

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News
1:46 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Kern County Hit Hard By Low Oil Prices

Most drivers in California have cheer the long run of low oil prices and the effect it has in driving down the price at the pump. But for Kern County the low prices are bad news for the county and the industry that thrives there. The low price has created what some call a ‘fiscal emergency’.

Kern County is routinely one of the top oil producing counties in the country with an industry more than 100 years old.

But that production has made the county massively dependent on the industry and the global price of oil.

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Drought
1:16 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Brown Defends Delta Tunnels Project, Agriculture Industry

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the Association of California Water Agencies conference Wednesday in Sacramento.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Gov. Jerry Brown says opponents of his Delta water tunnel proposal should just “shut up.” He spoke to the Association of California Water Agencies in Sacramento Wednesday.

One day after the State Water Resources Control Board set mandatory reduction requirements for every local water agency, Brown thanked the agencies for helping California through the drought.

And then, he turned to what many in the room believe is their future water source: two tunnels underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to move water south.

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News
2:35 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Fresno County DA Launches Anti-Corruption Task Force

The Fresno County DA is launching a new public integrity Unit to crack down on elected officials and public employees breaking the law. The plan is to investigate complaints about misbehavior from the public.

Through letters, fax and e-mail Fresno County DA Lisa Smittcamp is hoping to ferret out public officials and employees breaking the law.

Smittcamp says the newly formed three-member unit will follow up on complaints of wrong-doing.

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Oil Industry
12:21 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

What's In The Water? Some Kern County Farmers Are Irrigating With Oil Wastewater

In Kern County the petroleum industry and the world of farming are becoming more and more linked.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In Kern County the oil industry and the world of farming are working hand in hand, but not everyone is happy about that. As Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports there are growing concerns over the use of oil field wastewater used to irrigate prime farmland.

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Arts & Culture
11:48 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Documentary Showcases Musicians Behind LA's Biggest Hits

The film "The Wrecking Crew" is at the Tower Theatre Friday night.
Credit Fresno Filmworks

What do The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell and Frank Sinatra and The Monkees have in common? They all relied on the same group of backup musicians, studio pros in LA in the 60's and early 70's known informally as "The Wrecking Crew." While you probably haven't heard their names, you have heard their music.

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Drought
11:27 am
Tue May 5, 2015

My Valley, My Story: Rosa Garaby Has Lived Without Running Water For Five Years

Rosa Garaby has lived without water for five years.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Imagine going to your kitchen sink to wash dishes, but when you turn on the tap little or now water flows out. That's the reality in homes of many people across the Central Valley, especially as the historic drought worsens.

As part of FM89's series My Valley, My Story featuring first person accounts from people throughout the San Joaquin Valley reporter Ezra David Romero visits the Madera County community of Chowchilla, where one family has lived without water for five years. 

"My first name is Rosa Garaby. I've been here 38 years."

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Education
10:47 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Does Fresno Need A New Vocational Education High School?

Fresno Unified Board Trustee Brooke Ashjian wants the district to build a new high school that focuses on vocational classes
Credit Brooke Ashjian

Local schools have a lot on their plate, preparing students for life, a job and the possibility of a college education. But what about students who likely won't attend college? The answer used to be in vocational education classes, things like auto shop and wood shop. But increasingly those classes have disappeared from schools with the emphasis on standardized testing and college readiness.

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News
3:16 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Some Young Fresnans Remain Skeptical Of Police Outreach

A police instructor explains to 15-year old Raymond Rojas how the simulator works.
Credit Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

In Fresno tonight, police officers and teenagers will meet to look for ways to build trust and bridging the gap between them. The violent protests in Baltimore have thrust the issue dramatically back into the spotlight. Outreach to young people in Fresno is being pitched as essential to improving relations between police and the people they are supposed to protect.

Standing in a dark room, on a platform surrounded by eight-foot tall projection screens is a skinny 15-year old named Raymond Rojas.

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News
4:34 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Fresno Mayor Swearengin Announces Budget Proposal

Mayor Swearengin and staff

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is proposing her vision for the city’s 1.2 billion dollar budget. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess reports the budget calls for more cops, fire fighters, and street repairs.

The budget has finally recovered after taking a deep hit during the great recession when it appeared possible the city could default and declare bankruptcy.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin says that money should be used to add 43 police officers, more fire fighters, and restore cuts made when the budget collapsed.

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Community
3:48 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Gallup Poll: Valley Cities Don't Feel Safe

Credit Gallup

A new national survey indicates three Central Valley communities are among the worst in the nation when it comes to resident’s perception of safety.

A Gallup poll recently released shows that Fresno residents say they are the least likely to feel safe and secure in their neighborhoods. The Stockton-Lodi region and Bakersfield ranked second and third.

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Environment
3:41 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Brown Revises Bay Delta Water Plan, Faces Criticism

California Governor Jerry Brown has revised his plan to restore habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, much to the dismay of environmental groups. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the plan also includes design changes for the proposed twin tunnels that would carry water south.

Governor Brown sold his plan to build two tunnels in the Delta with the promise that habitat would be restored. The number most commonly mentioned was 100,000 acres. Brown says that was just an “idea” with no way to pay for it.  He now proposes 30,000 acres.

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Health Care
11:56 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Undocumented Immigrants Get Limited Health Care Coverage, 'Health For All Act' Would Expand It

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

A California Senate Committee Monday will consider the financial feasibility of allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain full health coverage. As Capital Public Radio's Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us, Medi-Cal already pays for some health services.

The "Health For All Act" would allow lower-income undocumented immigrants to sign up for full Medi-Cal coverage. It would allow others to buy health insurance completely on their own.

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News
10:50 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Charges Dropped Against Rim Fire Suspect, Groveland Reaction

Credit Matt McMillian US Forest Service

A federal judge has dismissed charges against the California man accused of sparking the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in 2013. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero has more.

Prosecutors decided to drop the charges against 33-year-old Keith Matthew Emerald, after two key witnesses unexpectedly died. Without their testimonies the US Attorney said it was unlikely they could prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

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