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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. 

Kerry Klein / KVPR

When we consider medical providers, what comes to mind may be doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. But what about pharmacists? A new law has allowed them to greatly expand their role to become providers—which could be good news for patients struggling to access doctors. But one major obstacle still stands in the way of pharmacists taking on patients. This latest installment of our series Struggling For Care begins with the story of a community pharmacist in Kern County looking toward the future.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Most people in the mountain area around Oakhurst know Katie Miller as the Mountain Madam. That’s her brand. The London Properties' realtor and I are driving to an area north of Oakhurst where she recently sold a home that’s now listed on the online rental site Airbnb.

“So that’s the Airbnb right here,” says Miller. “There’s a spiral staircase inside, all wood floors. They figured out how to maximize the space and put beds everywhere.”

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Immigration advocates in the Central Valley are joining protests against the decision by the Trump Administration to phase out DACA. About three dozen people rallied in Fresno on Tuesday, promising to fight.

Xavier Vasquez was 13 years old when he came to the U.S. illegally. Now, at 27 he is a college graduate and has just filed to renew his DACA status for the third time.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows Vasquez to legally work in the county and be spared from deportation.

http://www.garrybredefeld.com/

The first eight months of Garry Bredefeld's return to Fresno City Hall have been eventful. Some of his proposals, like adding a display of the nation's motto "In God We Trust" to the city council chambers, and a ban on marijuana dispensaries have either become law, or are on their way to doing so. Others, like his plan to allow city employees with concealed weapon permits to carry their guns while on the job, have met with opposition from either his colleagues on the council or Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.

Office of Rep. David Valadao

Two Valley congressmen are among a group of 6 Republicans asking President Donald Trump to maintain deportation protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The president is considering ending the Obama-era program called DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That allows eligible immigrants to avoid deportation and legally work in the country if they apply with the Federal Government.

UCSF

As we reported earlier this summer, the Fresno area could soon be home to two medical schools. While that may seem like a great opportunity for creating home-grown doctors, research suggests local residencies and fellowships could be more important for keeping doctors here. But the Valley lags behind the state in those training opportunities, too.

GVWire

Longtime Fresno Bee reporter, columnist and editor Bill McEwen has a new job as news director for GVWire.com, a news website run by Fresno-based housing developer Granville Homes. After 37 years in the local news business, McEwen joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his role in this new venture, plus his thoughts on editorial independence, and how GVWire will cover news stories involving the Granville company.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Downtown Fresno’s 116-year old ‘Helm Home’ has been a landmark for generations because of its distinctive shape. The mission revival-style home, sometimes called the Alamo House was once at risk of being condemned, but today it’s been impeccably restored to its former glory with high ceilings and flawless wooden floors.

Violin On Fire

Fresno rock violinist Patrick Contreras is known for his creative use of the violin and mixing it with other genres. His latest project mixes the sound of violin with mariachi, rock, soul and hip-hop. It's called El Violin.

Contreras calls this sound Chicano violin music.  He's opened for artists like BB King, Al Jarreau, Stanley Clarke and others. He's been featured on a World Star Hip Hop 3 times as Talent Of The Week and has well over a Million Views on his YouTube Channel.

Klearchos Kapoutsis / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The total value of agricultural goods sold last year in Fresno County dropped in value by around $482 million compared to 2015 according to the 2016 Annual Crop and Livestock Production Report released in mid-August by Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Les Wright.

 

Wright blames the lack of surface water supplies. Other farm goods like livestock fell by around 7 percent or $6 million dollars last year as well. Still the county produced over $6 billion in agricultural goods in 2016.

 

Just One Breath: States Skimp On Valley Fever Awareness

Aug 28, 2017
Henry Barrios / The Bakersfield Californian

Valley fever infects more than 13,000 people annually in Arizona and California and kills more than 100. Yet the two states spend less on public awareness about the disease in one year than what the Bakersfield City School District spends on lunch milk for a month and less than what Pima County’s Parks and Recreation Department spent on janitorial supplies in 2016.

The future of transgender troops has been in question since President Trump Tweeted that they would no longer be allowed to serve.

Transgender veterans are wondering how the president's pronouncement will impact the ongoing effort to open the Veterans Health Administration to their needs.

From Keith Pickett’s front yard just east of Bakersfield you can see the trees of where the official city begins. He’s on the board of a tiny water system with less than 30 homes. It’s called the East Wilson Road Water Company and the water he’s washing his dishes with is polluted with nitrates.

FUSD website

The interim Superintendent of the Fresno Unified School district says they are developing a comprehensive plan to respond to the needs of LGBT students.

Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson says he is working on a plan that will include specially trained staff to help LGBT students navigate the world and graduate from school.

Nelson says concerns from some in the community about the treatment of those students, including those as young as 11 years old, pushed him to take steps to make sure they are included and safe at school.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

For much of 2017, healthcare has dominated the headlines. But while access to insurance coverage remains a national debate, here in the San Joaquin Valley, getting to see a doctor isn’t always easy, even for people who have coverage. It’s not a new problem, and it’s not unique to the valley, but this area is especially hard hit by a lack of physicians.

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