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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Tensions between the United States and North Korea have heightened in recent weeks. Hanford Republican Congressman David Valadao recently returned from a trip to South Korea and Japan. He spoke with Valley Public Radio about his trip and what he learned.

Interview transcript highlights:

Q: Why did you make the trip to South Korea?

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In late April, we launched a series called “Contaminated” where our team explores communities in the region affected by water unsafe to drink. In our first story, we visited a Fresno County community that can’t afford to maintain the arsenic treatment plant the federal government funded 10 years ago. 

We continue today with a look at a Madera County mountain community where residents have been exposed to a different hazardous material in water for decades—but they could have clean water by the end of the year.

Kaiser Family Foundation

California’s Republican congressmen were crucial to getting the American Health Care Act passed through the U.S. House of Representatives last week. One change to that bill was key in getting the support of at least one of those congressman: additional money for something known as ‘high-risk pools’.

However, they are not a new idea in health care and in fact have been tried before right here in the Golden State. California’s experience could help inform how the policy might work if it becomes law, and the challenges it could face.

Valley PBS

Earlier this month Valley PBS launched a documentary miniseries called "Tapped Out: The History and Battle over Water in California’s San Joaquin Valley." 

The four-part series examines the history of water in California. Each episode delves into a different part of the history and future of water in the region and includes the voices of farmers, water leaders and environmentalists.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjZZXfBu0Rs

A drug and corruption investigation that has rocked Kern County area law enforcement for the last two years has grown into a new stage.

Last week two former Kern County sheriff’s deputies accepted plea deals with the U.S. Attorney office on charges they conspired to steal and then later sell marijuana, which the department had confiscated as evidence.

The Kern County city of Arvin has received funding to drill a new drinking water well to serve its nearly 21,000 residents.

The EPA has agreed to provide the city with $2.5 million in funding for the well, which will replace an existing well that's polluted with arsenic and is located adjacent to a Superfund site. That site is home to extensive soil contamination from herbicides and pesticides left behind by an agricultural chemical company that operated there in the mid-twentieth century.

State Farm To "Exit" Bakersfield Facility By 2021

May 4, 2017
bakersfieldvision2020.com

Insurance company State Farm has announced that it plans to close eleven facilities nationwide over the next four years, including one in Bakersfield that employs about 740 people.

The company says the plan to “exit” the facilities will help it run more efficiently. The changes will affect over 4,000 employees nationwide.

However, Justin Tomczak with State Farm says that these jobs will not be lost entirely.

Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Local Republicans played a big role in today’s passage American Health Care Act in the U.S. House Representatives.

During a victory press conference in the White House Rose Garden, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield said repealing the Affordable Care Act will be a positive for the American people.

Office of Rep. David Valadao / Valley Public Radio

Republicans in Washington are once again pushing hard for a vote on the American Health Care Act as some moderate members say they will now vote ‘yes’ on the bill. One remaining holdout, however, is Central Valley Congressman David Valadao. 

He spoke with Valley Public Radio on Wednesday about his position on the bill.

Republican representative Valadao says he’s still on the fence over whether to support or oppose the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Religion and politics are once again mixing at Fresno City Hall. One councilmember has put forward a plan to add the words ‘In God We Trust’ to the council chamber wall. The result of that vote could be the latest sign that the connection between politics and the city’s religious faithful is still strong.

The Wilson Theater in downtown Fresno comes to life on Sundays when it transforms into the Christian Cornerstone Church, the home of Pastor Jim Franklin. The theme of the sermon this weekend is organizing your life to put Jesus first.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In 2012, California made history when it became the first U.S. state to declare that clean drinking water is a human right. But five years later, nearly 300 communities still can’t drink their water, according to new state data—many of which are in the San Joaquin Valley.

Today we debut a series about drinking water, in which we explore where these communities are and why it’s so difficult to get clean water. We begin in rural Fresno County north of Lemoore.

Pace Press

Fresno’s Linden Publishing has been around for decades, producing books in the non-fiction world under the Quill Driver Books label. Now the company is making a big splash with two new novels by local authors on a new imprint dedicated to fiction works. We talk with Jaguar Bennett and Heather Parrish of Pace Press, as well as retired judge James Ardaiz, author of the upcoming novel Fractured Justice, which will be released later this year.

Kathy Bonilla / Fresno City College

Over the next decade the Fresno City College campus could undergo a big change, thanks to a major construction project. Around half of the $485 bond known as Measure C is dedicated for the campus. Voters approved the funding last year which will provide a new home for the school's math and science programs as well as badly needed parking space. College President Carole Goldsmith joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the plans, and how the school hopes to work with neighbors to make them a success, and efforts to tap into the city's goal of revitalizing Blackstone Avenue. 

Fresno State Facebook page

There’s a new set of public opinion polls out on the views of San Joaquin Valley residents on a variety of issues, from the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act to water and immigration.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

The city of Arvin, south of Bakersfield, is struggling to stay healthy. Nearly a quarter of its 20,000 residents fall below the poverty line, and surrounding Kern County has one of the highest diabetes burdens in the state. As part of an ongoing effort to get kids out of the house and active, an event last week connected Arvin middle-schoolers with free bicycles—but where the bicycles came from may surprise you.

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