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. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The CEO of California’s High Speed Rail Authority is defending the project after Assembly Republicans issued calls for an investigation into project management, following an explosive LA Times report.

The article alleges that the rail authority actively concealed information that ran counter to their projections about the project’s cost and engineering challenges.

Assembly member Jim Patterson says rail CEO Jeff Morales has not been up front about the project and should testify under oath before an Assembly committee.

NASA Study: California Drought Doubles Idle Farmland Acres

Oct 29, 2015

Farmers in California's Central Valley have left more than one million acres of agricultural land idle all year long. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, that’s more than double the amount before the drought.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Southwest Fresno has had a long history battling poverty, poor planning and lack of investments. But why is that? FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports how a set of 80-year-old government maps sheds new light on Fresno's troubling and often overlooked history of segregation.

Mary Curry moved to West Fresno in 1956. Over the years she’s seen the neighborhood transform but not in a good light.

“There was a lot of businesses in the community when we moved here. Grocery stores, retail, and we don’t see any of that anymore it’s all gone.”

Ezra David Romero

With the possibility of a strong El Nino bringing heavy rains to California, the Fresno City Council is positioning itself to take any extra water that can’t be held in Millerton Lake.

The Fresno City Council vote 7-0 on a resolution to tell the federal government that it will be prepared to accept excess water should there not be enough space in the reservoir.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR


The Kearney Palms Shopping Center on Fresno Street just west of Highway 99 is often held up as the shining example of the potential future of Southwest Fresno. The grocery store and surround retailers thrive. But the historical legacy of institutional racism has held much of the rest of the neighborhood back. The neighborhood suffers from some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the state, and heavy pollution from industrial developments.

According to Fresno City Council Member Clint Olivier, the city faces an existential threat from "vagrants" who have overrun parks, stores and neighborhoods. In an op-ed column in the Fresno Bee, Olivier calls for a new push from city hall on the issue. 

Peggy Lemaux, Biologist UC Berkeley

Two research sites in Central Valley have earned a $12.3-million dollar grant to study how the drought is triggering genetic changes in plants. The goal is to see how plants respond genetically to drought conditions and if more hardy plants can reveal the secrets of how they survive.

The scientists will work at the UC Kearney Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Parlier and the UC West Side Research and Extension Center in Five Points. The focus of the research is on Sorghum which, according to researcher Jeff Dahlberg, is particularly drought resistant.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

New data from researchers at UC Davis and Fresno State present a disturbing picture about disconnected youth in Central California. As many as 17 percent of valley teens are either not in school and don't have a job. That's more than double the statewide average of 8.2 percent. Left unaddressed, the disconnect could worsen the valley's poverty problem and contribute to other social ailments from crime to health issues. 

Rescue mission website

The Fresno Rescue Mission is zeroing in on a new location as high speed rail construction is set to demolish their existing building. The goal now, according to the mission’s head, is to keep operating during the move.

Mission CEO Reverend Larry Arce says there is actually an upside.

Because streets are being realigned Arce says space is opening up in the same area for them to construct a new building better suited to their needs.

Don't Count On El Niño For Sierra Snowpack

Oct 19, 2015
Ed Joyce / Capital Public Radio

Despite predictions for a strong El Niño to bring above-average rain to most of California, forecasters say it won't likely help where it's most needed. Capital Public Radio's Ed Joyce reports.

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center seasonal outlook does not forecast where or when snowstorms may arrive, nor does it project seasonal snowfall totals. Snow forecasts are determined by the strength and track of winter storms, which are not predictable more than a week in advance.