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

Government & Politics
11:52 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Governor Brown Has Good Support for Reelection Bid

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown hasn’t officially announced if he’s running for reelection. But a newly released poll shows he’s got support should he choose to.

The Field Poll shows Brown has a 51 percent job approval rating among registered voters in California. But that’s actually a six point drop from last February. Still, 68 percent of rank and file Democrats support Brown’s job performance.

43 percent of registered voters would support his reelection bid if he decides to run.

Read more
Health
7:23 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Why Does the Central Valley Have A Big Mental Health Problem?

According to a new study of mental health throughout the state, the valley has the highest mental illness rate in California. It also is the region with the fewest mental health professionals.

Statewide around 1 in 20 adults suffer from a serious mental illness. Valley counties score even higher. While 5.1 percent of Fresno adults have a serious mental illness, and 5.7 percent of Kern County residents, that number rises to 6.9 percent in Kings County and 7 percent in Madera County.

Read more
Government & Politics
5:40 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

State Attempts to Track Effect of Realignment

A state board agreed this week to partner with the Public Policy Institute of California to examine the effects of a change to the state’s criminal justice policy called realignment.

California’s two-year old law downgraded certain crimes to jail-only offenses, diverting tens of thousands of lower-level felons from serving time in state prisons. It also put counties in charge of supervising lower level felons once they’re released from prison and parole violators.

Read more
Government & Politics
5:35 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Today's Special Election to Have Statewide Implications

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Today's special election in Senate District 16 is expected to have low turnout.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, its results could shape state government for the rest of the decade.

California Democrats loved last November’s legislative results.  Paul Mitchell is a Sacramento-based political data and redistricting expert.

“It seems as though Democrats now have obtained a two-thirds majority that should last them through the decade,” says Mitchell.

Read more
Community
11:39 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Faith Based Group Calls For Cap On Fresno Payday Lenders

Josie De La Fuente successfully paid off a payday loan with assistance from a Fresno based financial literacy instiute at Fresno Pacific Seminary.
Ezra Romero Valley Public Radio

Josie De La Fuente and her 30-year-old son live in a small two bedroom apartment in Southeast Fresno.

Just over a year ago, she joined the ranks of the thousands who turn to short term high interest loans to make ends meet.

She says taking out payday loan ensnared her.

“Imagine me getting a payday loan,” De La Fuente says. “Paying a 300 dollar loan and with all the bills that I have. You know the car payment, the apartment the rent and all that stuff. It’s not gonna help me and I’m not gonna have any money left with all of that.”

Read more
Government & Politics
5:16 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

GOP Governor's Race? What GOP Governor's Race?

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

It’s less than a year until the first votes will be cast in the 2014 California governor’s race, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the campaign.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on why the Republican field is shaping up so slowly to challenge Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

Here’s how the race looks right now:

There’s Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a tea party hero who announced his exploratory campaign on the conservative website Politichicks.tv

Read more
Government & Politics
6:11 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

State to Lose Federal Jobless Benefits Next Month

Credit Valley Public Radio

California’s Employment Development Department says that come mid-August, an improving economy is expected to cost thousands of jobless workers the last 10 weeks of their federal unemployment benefits. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

California’s economic rebound means the federal government may soon cut-off assistance to the state’s long-term unemployed.

“We’re now nearing that point where we will no longer qualify for Tier 4 federal extension benefits," says  Loree Levy with the state’s Employment Development Department.

Read more
Health Care
6:05 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Covered California Starts Training Health Care 'Educators'

More than two-thousand Californians are being trained this month to educate people about getting coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

Several dozen people affiliated with labor unions, local government and non-profits filled a room at UC Davis School of Medicine to hear about the federal health care law. 

They’re part of a $37 million effort by Covered California to educate people about the benefits of buying insurance through the new state health insurance marketplace. 

Read more
Education
5:46 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Nine California School Superintendents Lobby for No Child Left Behind Waiver

Education officials from nine California school districts are lobbying the US Department of Education this week in Washington, DC for waivers to the “No Child Left Behind” Act. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

The superintendents represent a good chunk of the state’s population. They’re making the case that the “No Child Left Behind Act’s” focus on boosting test scores leaves instructors too little time to teach skills that students will need later in life. Troy Flint is with the Oakland Unified School District.

Read more
Environment
2:07 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

The Challenges of Salvaging Smelt and Other Delta Fish

A truck dumps fish into the Delta at the DWR release site
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

For decades, millions of fish have been diverted from pumping facilities at state and federal water projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Fish -- including endangered species like the Delta smelt-- are put in holding tanks then trucked to other parts of the Delta and released. From there, little is known about their fate. But most scientists agree it’s not good. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, predator fish often wait for what amounts to a daily feeding.

Read more
Health
6:18 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Medi-Cal and Obamacare: More Confusing Twists

Emily Bazar, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Another in a series of Q&A columns answering consumers’ questions about the Affordable Care Act.

Q: If my family of six qualifies for Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act, do we have to sign up for that? Or can we still buy subsidized health care plans through Covered California? … I have real concerns about the quality of care we would get on Medi-Cal. I’m hoping for a positive answer!

A: Sadly, I’m about to disappoint Beth from Modesto and others in her situation.

Read more
Health
8:00 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Private Doctors Provide Personalized Care, For a Price

An area of health care is taking a step away from the insurance industry. Private medicine – commonly known as concierge care – is a small but growing trend, with California at its center.
Credit Pauline Bartolone / Capital Public Radio

While insurance companies stand to gain millions of new customers next year under the Affordable Care Act, one area of health care is taking a step away from the industry. Private medicine – commonly known as concierge care – is a small but growing trend, with California at its center. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more about how it works at one practice in the Sacramento area.

The N1 Health Center for Functional Medicine sits in an average looking corporate business park. But there’s nothing average about the doctor’s office inside. 

Read more
Education
7:49 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Praise, Skepticism for UC's Choice of Napolitano

Credit University of California

She’s a political veteran who’s run large bureaucracies.  But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano hasn’t worked in academia – and now she’s about to become the next president of the University of California.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the choice is drawing both praise and skepticism.

Janet Napolitano gets strong praise for her personal and political skills.

Read more
Government & Politics
11:07 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Big Property Tax Surprise Coming for Many California Homeowners

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California homeowners who saw their property taxes plunge along with their homes’ market values during the recession could get some sticker shock when their next tax bill arrives.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the bad news for homeowners is good news for state and local budgets.

Read more
Government & Politics
5:28 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Napolitano Tapped to Head UC System

Janet Napolitano has been tapped to head the UC system. Supporters say she she’s the right person to help redefine higher education.
Credit Janet Napolitano / DHS

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is being tapped to serve as the next president of the University of California. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, so far reaction to the announcement has been largely positive.

President Barack Obama, Governor Jerry Brown and numerous other politicians and colleagues have voiced their support for the choice. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, a UC Board of Regents member, says UC needs to find a new way to operate. And he says Napolitano is the right person for what could be a tough job.

Read more
Government & Politics
1:04 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

California Prison Hunger Strike Continues; State Responds

Pelican Bay State Prison
Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The number of California prison inmates on a hunger strike has dramatically dropped.  But 12,000 inmates still refused to eat for a fourth consecutive day Thursday to protest the common use of long-term isolation.  As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, that’s triggering an aggressive state response.

Read more
Business & Economy
6:02 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

California Economy Inches Up in World Ranking

There’s new evidence that California’s economic outlook is improving. A new study shows the state is regaining its place as the world’s eighth-largest economy this year after falling to ninth during the recent downturn. 

Read more
Government & Politics
5:23 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Brown Signs Bill To Overhaul Enterprise Zone Program

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation to overhaul a controversial tax break for companies that hire workers in low-income communities.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on that and some of the other bills Brown signed today.

Read more
Government & Politics
6:39 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Deal Speeds Athletes Workers' Comp Bill Through Capitol Committee

Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) introduced the bill (file photo)
Credit The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

A workers’ compensation bill that’s provoked a high-stakes lobbying fight between professional sports teams and players unions has passed a key hurdle in the California legislature.

The bill would prevent out-of-state athletes from filing claims in California’s workers’ comp system.  Under a deal reached to move the measure forward, athletes who spend part of their career in the state would be eligible only if they play a certain amount of time for California teams. 

Read more
Government & Politics
6:31 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

California Senate Leader Questions Future of Water Bond

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg (file photo)
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says he’s not sure a long-delayed $11 billion water bond will make it on the 2014 ballot. More than $2 billion of that money is slated to be spent on the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta. 

Governor Jerry Brown is backing a plan that calls for constructing two large underground tunnels that would send water from the Delta to Central and Southern California.

Read more

Pages