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. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The GOP-backed health care law that’s currently in the U.S. House of Representatives is one of the biggest topics of national debate. But what would the American Health Care Act mean for people here in the San Joaquin Valley? Over the next few weeks on our program we will hear a variety of perspectives on the proposed law, from both supporters and opponents.

Twice as many stores in the Central Valley sell flavored cigarettes and alcohol than sell fresh fruits and vegetables. That's the finding of a new state health survey. 

The Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community survey, released Wednesday, found that it’s far easier to find tobacco or alcohol than it is to find fresh food, especially in low-income neighborhoods. 

Fresno-based pediatrician Dr. Razia Sheik says in Fresno County, for example, just 39% of stores carried fresh fruits and vegetables.

City of Fresno

Former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin surprised many political observers last year when she decided to forgo a run for California Governor and instead take a job as CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation. The non-profit manages over $50 million in assets for donors from across the region. So how does working in philanthropy differ from running the city's business? And what changes can we expect at the foundation? Swearengin joined us to answer these and other questions on Valley Edition. 

PPIC

Despite a rain and snowfall year that is among the wettest in memory, Central California's water supply and quality problems are not going away anytime soon. A new report from the non-profit Public Policy Institute of California looks at those issues and offers a variety of management solutions.

ESY Kern

There are a lot of efforts to bring health foods into school and the elementary school curriculum. One of the most interesting examples can be found in Bakersfield at Buena Vista Elementary School, home to something called an "edible schoolyard." A joint project of the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District and the Grimm Family Foundation, the Edible Schoolyard Kern program also has expanded to sites in Arvin and Shafter.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

California is in the middle of reversing decades of ‘tough on crime’ policies. Realignment and propositions 47 and 57 have been instituted to lighten the load in county jails and state prisons.

Now lawmakers are examining a system that sometimes keeps people in jail before they have even been convicted. Criminal justice reformers say California’s use of cash bail has created an income-based justice system.

So here is how this works.

Let’s say you are arrested and charged with a crime and find yourself in the Fresno County Jail.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

It’s springtime in the valley, which, for many of us, means it’s time to clear the weeds out of our backyards. The same goes for growers, but the landscape of industrial weedkillers is changing. A California judge recently ruled that the main ingredient of the popular herbicide RoundUp must be labeled as a carcinogen. Now, another popular herbicide is facing some scrutiny over its health impacts as well.

Weeds kill crops. Kurt Hembree says that’s because they’re pernicious moochers.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

After five years of drought there’s so much snow in the Sierra Nevada that state water officials are preparing for a massive runoff year. But the traditional way of calculating the snowpack has a huge margin of error and as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports a new way to measure it could greatly decrease that inconsistency.  

Every winter and spring a network of snow surveyors manually tally how much snow is in the Sierra Nevada. They do this by measuring snow depth in the same spots every year.

The Fresno City Council has postponed a vote on legislation that would undo a key component of the city’s newly adopted general plan.

 

It’s an amendment that would require developers of multi-family apartment complexes outside of downtown to seek conditional use permits. Those permits add significant time and money to a building’s construction timeline, but they allow for feedback from the city and neighbors.

Courtesy of Brett Lebin

The start of the month marks the first time that cannabis growers in the state can receive agricultural energy rates from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  FM89’s Ezra David Romero explains.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Unified Trustees are putting forward a resolution to declare the school district ‘safe place’ for undocumented students. The move is in response to student concerns about the Trump administration’s deportation policies.

Two-thirds of Fresno Unified School district students are Hispanic and district trustees say the heightened talk of more immigration enforcement has rattled the student body.

Westlands Water District website

The federal Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday how much water water districts across California should expect to receive this year. Eastside growers in the Friant Division within Fresno County should receive a 100 percent allocation. Ryan Jacobsen is the CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Sierra Nevada snowpack is so big this year that water managers are worried that one warm storm or a couple warm days could inundate reservoirs in the region. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from Friant Dam.

 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Something is about to happen in Clovis that hasn’t happened in nearly a decade. A small army of county employees will descend next Tuesday to administer the first city council election there since 2009. While some say it's a sign that things in the city have been running well, others say the odd election format discourages the participation of both candidates and voters.


Sara Hamilton / California Agriculture http://calag.ucanr.edu/archive/?article=ca.2016a0025

A new study says a Fresno-area summer camp may help children at risk for obesity adopt healthier lifestyles.

According to the study, families who participated in the Healthy Lifestyle and Fitness Camp in Fresno consumed more fruits and vegetables at home, and their children measured steady weight loss.

This was compared to kids who participated in non-nutrition themed summer camps. The study was published in the journal California Agriculture.

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