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. 

Genre: 

Pages

Agriculture
10:45 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Midwest Recruiting California Dairies To Pump Up Rural Economy

Many California diaries are struggling through drought and feeling crowded by urbanization. Midwestern states are hoping to capitalize by offering abundant water, feed, and open spaces.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

This is the second story in a two-part series reported in partnership with Harvest Public Media. The first story explores why a Merced family is on the move to South Dakota: California Dairies Look To Midwest’s Greener Pastures.

Read more
Immigration
9:57 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Scams Target Immigrants As New Benefits Roll Out

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has issued consumer alerts warning of potential scams for immigrants and their families. (file photo)
Credit The Aspen Institute / Creative Commons

Undocumented immigrants are becoming eligible for more services and benefits in California. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, these developments make them targets for scams.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has issued several consumer alerts warning of scams targeting immigrants and their families. Harris says scams could center on the President’s recent immigration executive action or on the state beginning to issue driver licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Read more
Agriculture
9:49 am
Mon December 15, 2014

California Dairies Look To Midwest’s Greener Pastures

Brian Azevedo says that if he kept his family dairy in California he would most likely have to change careers.
Credit Ezra David Romero

This is the first story in a two-part series reported in partnership with Harvest Public Media. The second story explores why a Chino family moved to Nebraska a few years back: "Midwest Recruiting California Dairies To Pump Up Rural Economy."

 

Read more
Drought
3:30 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Strong Storms May Not Improve California Water Supply Much

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

Northern California storms are causing water levels to rise in the state’s reservoirs. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the rain won’t do a lot to improve the state’s water supply.

California now has above average rainfall at the eight monitoring stations in the Northern Sierra. But the storm is not going to come close to ending the state’s drought. The Department of Water Resources says California would need five to ten more storms this season. Doug Carlson with DWR says storms have also been too warm.

Read more
Environment
12:25 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Infill Is Key To Fresno's New General Plan, But It's Also Controversial

Credit Heather Heinks / City of Fresno General Plan Update

The Fresno City Council is scheduled to hear public comments on the city’s new 2035 general plan in meeting at the Convention Center this evening. The move is the last step before a vote next week on the document that will chart the city’s growth for decades to come.

City planning director Jennifer Clark says the new General Plan attempts to answer a question that has perplexed city leaders for decades:

Read more
Drought
12:51 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Study Says California Drought Caused By Natural Climate Patterns

Folsom Lake as seen in 2011 (top) and 2014 (bottom)
Credit CA Dept of Water Resources

A new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says natural occurring climate patterns –not climate change- are the primary drivers of California’s drought. 

The NOAA study says a high-pressure atmospheric ridge off the West Coast blocked important winter storms from California for three winters. Ocean surface temperature patterns made the ridge much more likely. The decreased precipitation is almost the opposite of what climate change models project.

Read more
Health Care
7:45 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Health In An Age Of Change: State Health Czar Diana Dooley Reflects On The ACA's Impact

Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency
Credit CHHS Dept

Diana Dooley, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, oversees 13 departments and supervises the state’s rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act, including Covered California, the state’s insurance marketplace, and the Medi-Cal program for the poor. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her in late 2010. A native of Hanford, she earlier served as president and CEO of the California Children’s Hospital Assn. She worked for Brown during his first administration.

Read more
Health Care
7:33 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Health Reform In California: A State Of Accelerating Change

Gail Fulbeck unloads her van full of soda, water and snacks onto a dolly so she can re-stock some of the 23 vending machines she owns around downtown Sacramento. The 64-year-old saved a lot of money by switching to a Bronze health plan under Covered California.
Credit Lauren M. Whaley / CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Gail Fulbeck, 64, relies on her body for work. She hauls soda, energy drinks, snacks and water to the 23 vending machines she owns around downtown Sacramento.

The physical demands of her job, coupled with her husband’s history of migraines and bad knees, make health insurance essential.

Last year, Fulbeck and her husband paid a monthly insurance premium of $2,555.

Starting Jan. 1 of this year, the couple’s premium for a nearly identical plan totaled $165. It was, she said, almost unbelievable.

Read more
Environment
3:47 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Californians Conserved Less Water In October

Credit Valley Public Radio

For the second straight month, California’s water conservation rate has declined. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the State Water Resources Control Board says the reason behind the drop isn’t clear.

You could call it “conservation fatigue.” But the reason behind California’s diminishing conservation rate is more complicated than that. The statewide rate dropped from 10.3 percent in September to six-point-seven percent in October. Eric Oppenheimer with the State Water Resources Control Board says one reason for the difference may be the season change.

Read more
Health Care
3:09 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Covered California Attempting To Calm Immigrants' Fears

Covered California is trying to reassure immigrant communities their information will not be turned over to immigration authorities if they sign up for health insurance.

Only documented immigrants are eligible for California’s health insurance exchange. But Executive Director Peter Lee says the fear of deportation still prevents some from using the service.   

Read more
Health
5:31 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Fresno County Supervisors OK Juvenile Psychiatric Ward, Hold Firm On Pot

Credit Fresno County

It's still illegal to grow marijuana in Fresno County. The Board of Supervisors entertained the possibility of lifting the outright ban on cultivation during their meeting today but instead decided to retain the county's zero tolerance policy.

Read more
Immigration
12:13 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

California Preparing For Undocumented Driver Licenses

Fresno's DMV field office (file photo)
Credit CA Department of Motor Vehicles

Beginning January 2, undocumented Californians can apply for driver licenses in the state. One-point-four million people are expected to apply for “AB 60” licenses over the next few years. From Sacramento, Katie Orr reports on how preparations are going.

Read more
Health
10:26 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Advocates Say More Immigrants Eligible For Medi-Cal

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

Immigrant advocates say more undocumented Californians could receive health care as a result of President Barack Obama’s recent executive action. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

California already allows some undocumented immigrants to enroll in Medi-Cal if they’ve qualified for deportation relief. Anthony Wright is Executive Director of the consumer advocacy group Health Access California. He says the president's executive action will expand the pool of Medi-Cal eligible immigrants.

Read more
Drought
3:45 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

When Will The Taps Run Dry? Groundwater Discussion On Valley Edition

Changes in total water storage in California from NASA GRACE.
Credit http://jayfamiglietti.com/writing/

Parts of Central California have been hit especially hard by the drought, and specifically the dropping water table beneath the ground. But as California farms and cities lean more and more on their aquifers, many are concerned that more and more wells will go dry.

This is not a new story. Huge portions of the San Joaquin Valley have actually dropped due to massive pumping of water from the ground dating back to the 1920’s. The question is – when will the taps run dry.

Read more
Drought
1:47 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Drought-Stricken Valley Town Gets Hot Showers

Gilberto Sandoval, 81, lives across the street from the church where the showers are installed.
Credit Ezra David Romro / Valley Public Radio

Drought conditions in parts of Central California have become so harsh that it’s normal to turn on the tap have no coming out.  A few months ago we brought you the story of East Porterville where more than 600 homes are without water because their household wells have dried up. Now, some of the town’s residents will have access to something they haven’t had in months. 

The last time Gilberto Sandoval took a warm shower was over a month ago.

“I’ve  been without running water for the last three months,” Sandoval says. “ No water whatsoever.”

Read more
Community
1:15 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Author Interview: Selma's Berry Family Goes "Beyond Luck" In Rags To Riches Story

Betsy Lumbye's new book "Beyond Luck" tells the story of the Berry family, from the fields of Selma to the Klondike Gold Rush to the oil fields of Kern County
Credit West of the West Books

The San Joaquin Valley is filled with remarkable stories about families, fortunes and fame. But while names like Boswell and Kearney grace the history books, the remarkable tale of the Berry family of Selma has largely been overlooked. 

Now the new book "Beyond Luck: The Improbable Rise of the Berry Fortune Across A Western Century" by author Betsy Lumbye tells their story.

Read more
Music
1:12 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

In Visalia, A Woman's Dream Fuses Together Mariachi And Opera

"El Bracero" is a story of love and struggle told through opera and mariachi.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

There are only a few towns in Central California with their own opera companies and even fewer creating new art forms. In Visalia, a director has brought mariachi and opera together to form an original mariachi opera called “El Bracero.” In this story FM89’s Ezra David Romero meets the opera’s creator and discovers a new art form that weaves together elements of love and struggle.

Mariachi is very important to the Latino community. The Mexican folk music is played at quinceaneras, weddings and celebrations of all sorts. But rarely is it heard in the world of opera, until now.

Read more
Health
12:51 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Covered California Hopes To Enroll More Latinos, But There's A Problem

Covered California executive director Peter Lee urges Fresno residents to sign up during the second open enrollment period, which started Saturday and runs through February 15.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

With the second open enrollment period of Covered California in full swing, state officials are boosting their efforts to reach out to Latinos. Yet, there are many people in the Central Valley who are living in the shadows when it comes to enrolling for health care.

Covered California officials say they're proud to have signed up 1.2 million people for health insurance during the first year. But Executive Director Peter Lee says there’s still some things they want to improve.

Read more
Arts & Culture
6:12 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Kuchar To Step Down As Conductor Of Fresno Philharmonic in 2016

Theodore Kuchar, conductor and music director of the Fresno Philharmonic. (file photo)
Credit Fresno Philharmonic

The Fresno Philharmonic will soon be looking for a new conductor and musical director. Theodore Kuchar, who has led the orchestra for the past 13 seasons announced on Thursday that he plans to step down following the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season. 

In a written statement Kuchar praised the orchestra's performances:

Kuchar: "I have no reservation in saying that the Fresno Philharmonic and I have often delivered performances that are not typical of a regional American orchestra but those of a standard to be expected in a major musical capitol."

Read more
Health Care
11:39 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Covered California Gears Up For Open Enrollment

Covered California is trying to raise awareness about the start of open enrollment this Saturday, November 15th. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone tells us from Sacramento, the experience this year may be different for people buying their own insurance.

Covered California says its website this year will be able to accommodate more people who might be logging in at the same time. And Director Peter Lee says it will have 200 storefront locations and expanded service center hours.

Read more

Pages