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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Environment
11:20 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Water Levels In California's Reservoirs Continue To Drop

Pine Flat Lake east of Fresno (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The water in some of California’s major reservoirs is nearing historic lows. The Department of Water Resources says statewide, all reservoirs are currently holding about 57 percent of their historic norms.

But levels are dropping significantly in some of the major reservoirs. Maury Roos, is the Chief Hydrologist with DWR. He says the Lake Oroville Reservoir is near the lowest level it’s ever been.

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Government & Politics
6:26 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Tacherra Continues To Lead Costa In CA-16

Incumbent Democrat Jim Costa and Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra are locked in a close race for California's 16th Congressional District
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Revised vote totals are in for some of the valley’s tightest political races. New numbers released Friday evening from Merced County for California’s 16th Congressional District have Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra now leading Democratic incumbent Jim Costa by 741 votes.

Costa increased his lead in Fresno County by around 1700 votes on Friday, but that was more than offset with gains by Tacherra in Madera and Merced counties.  Tacherra ended the day increase his overall lead by five votes.

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Arts & Culture
11:38 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Fresno Native To Donate $500 Million In Art To LA Museum

Jerrold “Jerry” Perenchio was awarded an honorary doctorate by California State University Fresno in 2011.
Credit California State University

The LA County Museum of Art has announced an estimated $500 million gift from Fresno native Jerry Perenchio. Born in Fresno in 1931, Perenchio is the former owner of the Spanish-language broadcast network Univision. Among the works in Perenchio's bequest are pieces by Degas, Monet, and Picasso.

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Health Care
4:36 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Fresno County To Fund Health Care For Undocumented, Partially

Undocumented immigrants may not lose access to specialty health care in Fresno County, after the Board of Supervisors approved a new $5.5 million plan on Tuesday. 

The move comes just months after the county voted to exclude those in the country illegally from accessing the Medically Indigent Services Program or MISP, a safety net program that had provided immigrants care for decades. 

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Election 2014
10:51 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Brown Wins Historic Fourth Term

Governor Jerry Brown and his wife outside the historic governor's mansion in Sacramento on November 4, 2014
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

As the clock struck eight last night, Brown’s cabinet and senior staff dining with him in the historic governor’s mansion rose to give the longest-serving governor in California history a standing ovation. A short while later, Brown came out to speak – and reflected on his great-grandfather, who sailed from Germany to Sacramento…twice.

Brown: “What I derive from that is grit, guts, imagination, being willing to sail into the unknown with the confidence that you can not only survive but you can create something wonderful.”

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Government & Politics
12:58 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Voters Approve Three Propositions, Reject Three

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Besides approval of the $7.5 billion water bond, California voters approved two other ballot measures and rejected three. From Sacramento, Amy Quinton has this roundup of the how the propositions fared.

Voters said yes to Proposition 2, strengthening the state’s rainy day fund. They also approved Proposition 47, which will reduce prison overcrowding by changing felonies to misdemeanors for certain nonviolent crimes.

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Government & Politics
12:52 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Valadao, Valley Republicans Celebrate Big Midterm Wins

David Valadao at his campaign headquarters in Hanford, celebrating his win over Amanda Renteria.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

On a night when Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate, the San Joaquin Valley's GOP leaders had some celebrations of their own. In the 21st Congressional District, Republican incumbent David Valadao declared victory over Democratic challenger Amanda Renteria. Valadao's Kings County colleague Andy Vidak also appears headed back to Sacramento in his state senate contest against Democrat Luis Chavez. 

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Business & Economy
4:31 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Federal Judge Keeps Chukchansi Casino Closed

The Chukchansi Gold Casino remains closed in Coarsegold. (file photo)
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Today a federal judge in Fresno issued a preliminary injunction to keep Chukchansi Gold and Resort casino closed.

During a morning hearing prior to issuing the order to keep the casino closed, federal judge Lawrence O’Neil says there’s been little to no progress made by the split factions.

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Drought
5:13 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

California Tomato Growers Expect Record Year Despite Drought

California tomatoes are loaded into a processing plant. (file photo)
Credit California Tomato Growers Association

The drought has California farmers leaving thousands of acres fallow this year. But growers still chose to plant processing tomatoes. And as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, they’re expected to have a record year.

About 95 percent of the nation’s processed tomatoes come from California. Last year, about 12 million tons were produced. Some farmers this year were skeptical they could grow the 14 million tons contracted for by the state’s processors.

But Mike Montna with the California Tomato Growers Association says they hit that mark.

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Environment
6:23 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Proposal Could Raise The Cost Of A Yosemite Visit

Yosemite National Park (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A visit to Yosemite National Park may soon become more expensive. On Monday the park service announced a plan to raise the single vehicle entry fee from $20 dollars to $30 for a seven day pass. The cost of an annual pass would also rise from $40 to $60. 

The proposal would also raise campsite fees, and the cost for hikers and motorcyclists:

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Science
5:37 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

NASA Spacecraft Will Help California Address Drought and Floods

NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft is slowly lowered into place at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in preparation for shipping to California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 15th.
Credit NASA / JPL-Caltech

Scientists may soon have a more accurate way to predict the extent and severity of droughts, floods and even the amount of food California can produce. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, a NASA spacecraft getting set to launch will measure soil moisture, one of the most important components of the earth’s water cycle.

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Drought
5:19 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

California Drought To Persist, Even Worsen

Credit National Weather Service - Hanford

Predictions suggest the California drought is likely to persist, and even worsen in some areas. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says complete drought recovery is "unlikely this winter' in California.

Kevin Werner is NOAA's Western Region Climate Director.

He says the 2012-to-2014 period is the driest on record in California.

And low reservoir storage reflects that.

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Government & Politics
5:43 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

California Supreme Court Declines To Hear High Speed Rail Case

file photo
Credit High Speed Rail Authority

The California Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of two lawsuits that challenged the way California plans to pay for High Speed Rail. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the decision paves the way for the project to move forward.

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Government & Politics
12:45 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Supermajority Fight Shapes California Legislative Races

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

The California governor’s race and statewide ballot measures may claim most of the spotlight this election season. But below the radar, a handful of pivotal legislative races could shift the balance of power at the state Capitol. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on the battle for a Democratic supermajority.

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Business & Economy
8:45 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Fits and Starts: Central Valley Economy Beginning To Bounce Back

Tom Barcellos, owner and operator of T-Bar Dairy stands in front of his Holstein herd in Porterville, Calif. (Tulare County)
Julia Mitric Capital Public Radio

As brutal as the Central Valley economy has fared over the last several years, it’s starting to bounce back. Our series “Fits and Starts” on California’s uneven economic recovery continues with a look at the Central Valley.  

The collapse of the housing market devastated cities like Stockton and Modesto. But the Central Valley’s agriculture industry weathered The Great Recession just fine. It even saw record growth, with one painful exception: dairy.

“It was a bloodbath,” says Tom Barcellos, who owns T-Bar Dairy in Porterville.

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Business & Economy
8:45 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Fits and Starts: Bay Area Housing Boom Prices Out Some People

: Joann Avila (left) and Lorraine Nessel, with their dog Bijou, in the West Oakland home they’ve rented for the last six years. They’re moving out in December because their landlord is moving back in.
Capital Public Radio / KPCC

Editor's Note: Five years after the Great Recession officially ended, the California economy looks like a patchwork quilt. All this week, we feature a series from our partners at Capital Public Radio and KPCC on how the strength of California’s economic recovery varies depending on where you live. Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler kicks the series “Fits and Starts” with a look at the Bay Area, where the tech boom has driven the unemployment rate down – and housing prices up.
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  The recession hit Damon Grow swiftly and very hard.

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Tribal Gaming
4:53 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Fight For Control Of Chukchansi Tribe Escalates, Casino Shuttered

Member of a rival faction of the Chukchansi Tribe attempted to take boxes out of the casino but were stopped by Madera County Sheriff's Deputies.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

A tribal dispute that began Thursday night at a hotel and casino outside of Coarsegold continue Friday. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on the standoff that led to the evacuation of 500 guests and employees.

The impromptu closure of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino has left the mountain communities around it with more questions than answers.

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Wildfire
2:10 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Cal Fire Air Tankers Cleared To Fly After Yosemite Crash

File photo
Credit Twitter.com / CAL FIRE PIO Kevin Berlant / https://twitter.com/CALFIRE_PIO

Cal Fire's fleet of 22 firefighting air tankers are back in service. The planes were on a safety stand down after a tanker crash this week in Yosemite National Park. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.

The Tuesday crash killed pilot Geoffrey Hunt as he was about to drop retardant on the Dog Rock Fire near Yosemite's west entrance.

The safety stand-down was intended to give officials time to inspect the remaining aircraft and allow other pilots time to recover.

Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott:

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Election 2014
8:46 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Proposition 46 Has Physicians and Attorneys At Odds

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

As the November election approaches, one state proposition has drawn the most money from top contributors. Proposition 46 would raise the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases. But as Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us from Sacramento, the measure could change the way doctors practice.  

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Fracking
6:41 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

California Makes Changes To Fracking Regulations

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The state of California is making some changes to its new fracking regulations based on nearly 100,000  comments from the public. This is the third version of the regulations for fracking, which injects sand, water and chemicals underground to release oil.

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