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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. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Trust for Public Land just released their latest Park Score rankings of park systems in 100 cities throughout the nation. While Fresno has scored low in the past, some groups have tried to draw attention to the city’s parks. The rankings come during an effort to add an initiative to the November ballot that would raise money for parks.  

This year, the Trust For Public Land ranked Fresno at 94 out of 100 cities. The city was the lowest ranked from 2012 to 2015, but did make steady improvements in following years.  The city was ranked 90th last year.

Shervin Lainez

Pianist and composer Pascal Le Boeuf returns to northern California in late May with a nine-piece jazz-classical hybrid ensemble for a string of performances from his large scale work “Ritual Being.” This suite explores the differential manifestation of human behavior at micro (individual) and macro (en masse) scales, and how these "rituals" can be propitious or disastrous. FM89’s David Aus spoke with Pascal about this tour, his recent Grammy nomination, and what it’s like to compose for and perform with a jazz quintet and traditional string quartet.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

A lot of the news around Bitcoin has to do with its value rising and falling. Many have decided to invest with hopes its value goes up. While the total number of those with Bitcoin is just a fraction of the world’s population, some of them happen to live in Fresno. FM89’s Laura Tsutsui reports that some of these users aren’t necessarily hoping to strike it rich, but instead are trying to understand how cryptocurrency could be a part of our lives in years to come.

Anthony Yang is a researcher and content developer in Downtown Fresno.

Forbes.com

Archie "Red" Emmerson is not a household name in California, but perhaps he should be. He's one of the most powerful forces in the Sierra, and one of the largest private landowners in the U.S. With his company Sierra Pacific Industries, he’s built a billion-dollar logging empire that has grown even more successful thanks to being aggressive in the field of logging trees in the wake of recent wildfires, like the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park.

GVWire

With two weeks to go before election day, we talk politics with GV Wire's Bill McEwen. On this week's segment we explore why former Fresno mayor Alan Autry is endorsing Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa for governor, and what President Trump's endorsment of Republican candidate John Cox means for the party's downticket candidates. 

Christina Lopez / Valley Public Radio

On June 5, Kern voters will put their voices where their ballots are and either decide to reelect incumbent Sheriff Donny Youngblood for a fourth term or award the duty to Justin Fleeman, a Senior Chief Deputy for the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. FM 89’s Christina Lopez reports.

Herbalpert.com

Even if he didn't sell 72 million recordings, with 15 gold albums, and five number one hits - Herb Alpert would still be a music industry icon. For while he's best known as the trumpet player behind the instrumental pop sounds of the Tijuana Brass of the 1960's and 70's, his role as a record producer is also legendary. A co-founder of A&M records, he went on to sign and record superstars from Sergio Mendes to The Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, and Sting.

Fresno County Sheriff's Office

Local law enforcement and elected officials met with President Donald Trump today in Washington D.C. They discussed California’s sanctuary state policies and how they’ve impacted communities. As Valley Public Radio’s Monica Velez reports, one county sheriff thought the meeting was productive.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said she wants to see Fresno County say “we don’t agree with SB-54,” which restricts when state law enforcement can interact with U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities. She said they discussed strategies to have full disclosures with ICE.

W.W. Norton

Perhaps no job in America has been more romanticized and mythologized than that of the cowboy. From movies to songs, much of what we know about cowboys and the American West is often just a caricature of real life. A new book by  Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist John Branch aims to give us a different sort of look into the life of one prominent rodeo and cattle ranching family. It’s called The Last Cowboys – A Pioneer Family In the New West.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Think for a moment about neighborhoods in Fresno. Maybe you thought of the Tower District, or Fig Garden? Or perhaps it was Woodward Park or Sunnyside. What about the area west of Highway 99, between Clinton, Herndon and Grantland Avenues. Today it’s a checkerboard mix of subdivisions, rural homes, and farmland. And getting across Highway 99 to the rest of Fresno, and over the railroad, and Golden State Boulevard is a traffic nightmare. Now, the city is starting a new effort that aims to solve some big problems for area residents.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The trade conflict between the U.S. and China is heating up, and while tariffs on the steel and agriculture industries have taken center stage, the conflict has quietly moved into another less visible sector: It’s greatly disrupted the recycling industry. These new policies are already affecting businesses, but over time they could impact residents and city governments and even undermine state environmental policy.

If you’re a regular Valley Public Radio listener, you probably already know that your health depends a lot on where you live. But just 10 years ago, that field of research was still emerging.

A new report from a local education reform group is calling for big changes in the Fresno Unified School District. Called Choosing Our Future 2.0, the document is from Go Public Schools Fresno, calls for new personalized accountability measures for students, and for personalized student success plans.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

A year ago, two universities were vying to open the first medical school in the San Joaquin Valley. On Wednesday, one took a big step forward—while the other fizzled. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The San Joaquin Valley’s newest university is expanding: On Wednesday, groundbreaking ceremony for a new campus of California Health Sciences University.

The 90-acre plot of land between Highway 168, Temperance and Alluvial Avenues in Clovis is part of the university’s plan to operate a family of schools of medicine and health. The School of Pharmacy’s inaugural class will graduate later this month.

James Gathany, via Wikimedia Commons

Debug Fresno is a pilot project aimed at developing a technique to control a nasty species of invasive mosquito known as Aedes aegypti. It involves releasing millions of mosquitoes infected with wolbachia, a naturally occurring bacteria, in three test areas in Fresno and Clovis. It may seem like a paradox, but the ultimate goal is to reduce the overall A. aegypti population, and techniques like this have succeeded in other parts of the world.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Summer is approaching in the San Joaquin Valley, and that means it’s not only the season for sunscreen and paletas, but also mosquitoes—something local authorities are working on. For the last two years, the Fresno area has been the site of an experimental mosquito control program. And it’s back again. Here we examine the project’s latest, scaled-up season, and why it appears to be working.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Over 5,000 people came to the Central Valley this weekend to watch the first World Surf League team competition, live. The event took place at Kelly Slater’s world-class wave pool in Lemoore, and some think this surf ranch is the next frontier for the sport.

Chris Estep loves to watch surfing. He says he and his wife watch the competitions whenever they can, but always from their home in Fresno, via livestream video.

Central Sierra Historical Society

In recent years, the forests of the Central Sierra have changed dramatically. Drought, bark beetles and climate change have helped to kill millions of trees across the region, and years of fire suppression have also contributed to an unhealthy ecosystem in many areas. Now the Central Sierra Historical Society Museum at Shaver Lake has launched a new website and museum dedicated to the changing forest. We talked with retired forester John R.

Coalinga Regional Medical Center website

A long-standing Fresno County hospital is closing. Coalinga Regional Medical Center announced Tuesday it will shut its doors within six weeks.

The hospital’s facilities are set to close by June 15. CEO Wayne Allen came on only three weeks ago, shortly before S&P Global Ratings put the hospital on CreditWatch due to the deterioration of its financial situation.

Allen was hired to turn the hospital’s finances around but he says he was too late. "What’s happening is the business is financially broke; insolvent," Allen says. "And we had to go into a closure mode."

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