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. 


Fires have burned through so much of the Sierra Nevada over the last four years that the U.S. Forest Service now has to figure out what to do with all the leftover debris. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on one plan underway in Madera County.

The Courtney Fire burned 320 acres and destroyed 30 homes near the mountain community of Bass Lake last year. Now the U.S. Forest Service is ready to replant 80 of those acres. But first officials like Mike Nolan with the Sierra National Forest have to figure out what to do with all the charred logs that can’t be made into lumber.

Joe Moore/ Valley Public Radio

The Club One Casino in downtown Fresno has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy but the casino’s owner says this is not a sign of trouble.

In a Bankruptcy filing, the Club One Casino detailed more than $9-million in debt it owes to its top 20 creditors.

Chapter 11 allows a business to reorganize that debt.

Casino owner Kyle Kirkland says they have no intention of closing.

“We have been open 7300 days in a row. We are not going to close,” Kirkland said.


Bakersfield has become the first city in the nation to call for the extension of a federal solar panel tax credit.

The Bakersfield City Council voted 5-1 Wednesday night in favor of a resolution supporting extending the tax credit past its 2016 expiration date. The credit is officially called the Solar Investment Tax Credit and was established in 2005 to help jump start the solar panel industry.

City Council member Willie Rivera says the solar sector is still growing in Bakersfield, and ending the tax credit could take away an economic driver.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Fresno Tuesday singing the praises of the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership and its potential positive impact on farms in the valley. 

Secretary Vilsack visit was to highlight the potential benefits of opening foreign markets to local agricultural products.

Vilsack says the TPP not only opens up the market for valley farmers by lowering foreign trade restrictions, build access to millions of new consumers, and level the playing field to make US produce more competitive.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Pressure on the Fresno Unified School District's superintendent continues to mount. Valley Public Radio's Jeffrey Hess reports the Fresno Teacher's Association is calling for three top district employees to be put on leave pending a federal investigation.

The FTA says the investigation into the district's use of no-bid contracts has overshadowed administrators ability to run the district.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Bakersfield’s Wild West Shopping Center is getting a new owner. FM89’s Joe Moore reports on why the city council voted last night to buy the property.

The nearly 5 acre parcel sits where westbound Highway 58 dead-ends into Highway 99. For years extending freeway access on 58 to the west side has been a top city priority - a plan now known as the Centennial Corridor freeway.


The Central Valley has some of the highest rates of obesity in California, especially among Latinos. Health officials say this puts Latinas at a greater risk of developing and dying from breast cancer. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on a new project hoping to tackle this issue.

The UC Merced project hopes to learn how to better communicate healthy eating messages to young Latinas with the goal of reducing their risk of breast cancer.

The recent Cyber Dust secret text messaging scandal at the Fresno Unified School District is exposing gaps in California’s public records law. The app allows users to send confidential text messages that are deleted as soon as they are read. Superintendent Michael Hanson has admitted he asked senior members of his staff to use the app for district business for a short time in 2014. Now open government advocates are asking a big question: Are we entering a new age of government officials using technology to hide from public scrutiny?

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Big Fresno Fair is known for live horse racing. Every year thousands flock to watch jockeys and their steeds compete at the fair. But as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports horses aren’t the only animals tearing up soil for the chance of a grand prize at the fair this year.

If you want to bet on a horse race at the big Fresno Fair, it’s an easy thing to do. Tickets are two bucks and races are short. 

Diana Aguilera

Working outside in the heat is something many people in the Central Valley have to do on a daily basis. The hot weather is a concern especially for those who work in the valley’s fields. From 2000 to 2012 nearly 7,000 people were hospitalized in California for heat related illnesses and around 600 died. California now has the toughest workplace regulations when it comes to heat but there’s still a problem- accurately measuring internal body temperature.