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Government & Politics
5:50 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

New Law Would Limit California Public Records Act

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

A new California law could make it more difficult to get public records from local governments. A “trailer bill” attached to this year’s state budget would make compliance with certain parts of the California Public Records Act optional.

Phillip Ung with the open government advocacy group Common Cause says Senate Bill 71 would enact drastic changes to the Act.

“SB 71 essentially makes participation in the California Public Records Act voluntary, based on what it is the city wants to do,” says Ung.

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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Parties Clash Over Budget Transparency

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Lawmakers will begin voting on the California budget on Friday. But Republicans say they’ll also have to vote on several bills they know little about.  Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The budget is the big picture bill. It dictates where the state’s money will go. Trailer bills are attached to the budget and spell out how the money will be allocated.

Typically trailer bills are published a few days before the budget vote. This year the earliest of at least 15 came out Wednesday morning.

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Health Care Reform
2:33 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

California Insurance Commissioner Wants Anthem Out of Group Health Exchange

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says Anthem Blue Cross should be left out of the new health insurance marketplace for small businesses next year.

Jones says Anthem’s planned premium rate increase for small employers next month is excessive.

He says the Affordable Care Act requires him to evaluate whether insurers are suitable to participate in the new marketplace.

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Government & Politics
1:10 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown Placed On Leave Following Domestic Violence Arrest

Fresno Fire Chief Rob Brown
Credit City of Fresno

Fresno Fire Department Chief Rob Brown was placed on administrative leave today by City Manager Mark Scott. The move comes hours after Brown was arrested by Fresno County sheriff's deputies after an alleged domestic violence incident at his Fresno home late Wednesday night. 

According to the Fresno County Sheriff's Department, Brown was arrested on charges of felony domestic violence and criminal threats. Jail logs indicate that Brown was released from the Fresno County Jail on bond early Thursday morning. 

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Energy & Environment
12:22 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Study: Development of Alternative Fuels Surpassing Expectations

file photo
Credit Flickr user swanksalot / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

California’s low carbon fuel standard may be driving the development of alternative fuels more quickly than expected. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, a new report shows significant progress in fuels that can replace or blend with gasoline and diesel.

The report is produced by a coalition of utilities and alternative fuel makers. It looks at different ways companies can comply with the regulation that requires a 10 percent reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 2020.  

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Energy & Environment
5:53 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Only One Major Fracking Bill Left Now at California Capitol

file photo
Credit Capital Public Radio

A bill that would regulate the controversial oil and gas extraction process known as “fracking” in California has stalled at the State Capitol.

The measure by Democratic Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski fell two votes shy of passage in an Assembly committee today. It would have required oil companies to provide a complete list of chemicals used, their concentrations, how much water was used and how it was disposed of once fracking was complete.

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Education
5:50 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

School Districts Have Varying Views on School Funding Formula

file photo
Credit Fresno Unified School District

School districts in California will receive varying amounts of money under the state’s new school funding plan. And attitudes about the plan vary as well. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Under the new formula, districts will receive a base level of funding for every student. They’ll get additional money for every low-income and non-English speaking student they have.

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Government & Politics
5:44 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Measure G Defeated, Mayor Announces Budget, Layoff Plans

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno’s Measure G officially went down in defeat today. With around 600 votes left to count, updated numbers from the Fresno County Elections Office show that the controversial residential trash outsourcing measure now trails by of 801 votes.

The move is a defeat for Mayor Ashley Swearengin and ends her effort to sell off the service to a private contractor in order to generate additional money for the crash strapped city’s general fund.

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Health
7:43 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

California Budget Deal Reached on Health Funding for Counties

The California state budget deal reached this week includes some restored funding for dental care for the poor, and millions of dollars for mental health services. And as Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento reports, county and state officials are finalizing the details of how local governments will use health care money.  

After months of negotiations, the Brown administration and county representatives have struck a deal - the state can redirect some money away from county health programs, but the counties will have some choice in how that’s done.   

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Arts & Culture
4:06 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Fresno Poet Laureate James Tyner: 'Fresno Helped Save Me'

Fresno Poet Laureate James Tyner

When poet James Tyner was a child, he faced an uncertain future, including time spent homeless, and living in tough, gang-ridden neighborhoods in Southern California. He says two things helped "save" him: a love of literature and the city of Fresno.

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Business & Economy
12:14 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Big Ice Cream: Valley Factories Lead Nation in Frozen Delights

Ice cream tasters are not only looking for the right flavor in an ice cream, but presentation and ratio as well.
Ezra Romero Valley Public Radio

Consumers nationwide love big ice cream names like Dreyer’s and Haagen-Dazs. But do they know that the milk in these ice creams flow from San Joaquin Valley cows? To answer this question, Valley Public Radio's Ezra Romero visits ice cream factories in Kern and Tulare counties to report on how Big Dairy in the San Joaquin Valley is contributing to the nation's ice cream supply.

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Government & Politics
11:15 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Analysis: With the Fate of Measure G Undecided, What's Next?

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Right now at a warehouse in Southeast Fresno, county elections workers are busy verifying signatures on the last handful of provisional ballots that will decide the fate of Measure G, the controversial residential trash outsourcing initiative. As of the most recent vote count released last Friday, the measure is currently failing by just 193 votes, with around 2700 ballots left to count.

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Government & Politics
5:07 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Sources: Governor, Legislative Democrats Reach Budget

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

California Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders appear to have reached a budget deal days before the legislature’s constitutional deadline.

“The Legislature is doing their job and doing it well,” the governor said in a late-night statement after the joint Senate-Assembly Budget Conference Committee wrapped up its work Monday.  “It looks like California will get another balanced budget and, very importantly, educational funding that recognizes the different needs of California’s students.”

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Fracking
9:00 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Legislative Battle Over Fracking Not Over

file photo
Credit Capital Public Radio

The legislative battle over more stringent regulation of a controversial method of extracting oil and natural gas in California is far from over. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, lawmakers will discuss the issue once again this week.

The deadline for all bills to pass their chamber of origin or die has already passed. But last-minute Assembly floor amendments on a bill that would expand public disclosure of fracking chemicals sent it back to committee.

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Government & Politics
6:01 am
Mon June 10, 2013

A New Kind of Budget Fight Comes to Sacramento

SEIU Local 1000 members rally for pay raises at the State Capitol
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

With California’s budget deadline drawing closer and revenues rising, the air around the Capitol is filled with the cries of people calling for the state to restore past cuts. But Governor Jerry Brown is insisting on frugality. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, that’s setting up a new kind of budget battle after years of deficits. 

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Environment
6:47 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

EPA and Lawmakers Call Lack of Clean Drinking Water Unacceptable

Jeanette Pantoja, California Rural Legal Assistance, Kenia Acevedo, California Rural Legal Assistance and Don Rosa, with the Pajaro Sunny Mesa Community Services District
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency says California is violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA says the state’s Department of Public Health has failed to spend nearly a $500 million in federal money to provide safe drinking water. It’s estimated the state will have to spend $40 billion over the next two decades to fix the problem.  As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, some lawmakers are outraged by what they see as a bureaucratic nightmare within the Department.

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Environment
6:46 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Hundreds of Communities Rely on Contaminated Water

Springfield's well is tainted with nitrate pollution
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

More than 600 communities in California rely on contaminated groundwater. Nowhere is the problem more acute than in the Tulare Lake Basin and the Salinas Valley.  It’s estimated that a quarter of a million people there rely on groundwater contaminated with nitrates, including some of the poorest people in the state. In the first of two stories, Amy Quinton reports on how one community struggles to deal with the problem. 

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Government & Politics
11:20 am
Wed June 5, 2013

FBI Raids Two Offices at Capitol

FBI agents exit the Capitol office of Calif. Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) Tuesday night, removing boxes and black bags.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

UPDATE:

The Senate’s Chief Sergeant-at-Arms has clarified that the second office searched in addition to Calderon’s Capitol office also belonged to the senator.  That office had previously been identified as belonging to the Latino Legislative Caucus.

The Sergeant-at-Arms attributed the confusion to an outdated list of room numbers.  Calderon’s auxiliary office and the Latino Legislative Caucus are both across the street from the Capitol in the Legislative Office Building.

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ORIGINAL STORY:

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Education
3:52 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Incoming Fresno State President Castro: 'I'm Going to Be President For Every Student'

Incoming Fresno State President Joseph Castro
Credit Fresno State

Later this summer, for the first time in a generation, Fresno State will have a new president. The CSU Board of Trustees late last month selected Joseph Castro to become the university’s eight president, replacing the soon to retire John Welty, who has led the institution for the last 22 years. Castro will become the first Californian to hold the position, and the first Latino.

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Summer Scoop
1:28 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Dipped Cone Delight: Foster's Unites Generations, Community in Dinuba

Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

For generations, residents of small towns in the San Joaquin Valley have gathered at Foster's Freeze. Sure, people love Foster's soft-serve ice cream, especially once it's dipped in chocolate. But why has this chain withstood the test of time in rural communities and continues to be the place people flock to to celebrate after the big football game or graduation night? To kick off our new series Summer Scoop, Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin examines the role of this ice cream shop in the Valley's small towns.

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