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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. 

Christina Lopez

This weekend’s historic "March for Our Lives" rally saw hundreds of thousands of students gather from coast-to-coast and across the world in solidarity with students whose lives were cut short due to gun violence in their schools. This weekend, students from high schools across Kern County participated in Saturday’s rally that drew over 500 in attendance in west Bakersfield. FM 89’s Christina Lopez reports.

Hundreds of students from across Kern County high schools gathered along Truxtun Avenue for the March for Our Lives rally in Bakersfield.

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown holds the record for being the state’s youngest governor and also the state's oldest governor. As he nears the end of his record fourth term in office, many are turning to talk about the “L” word – legacy. A new profile in the California Sunday Magazine seeks to provide some new insights into Governor Brown, the evolution of his career and his thinking.

In a few months, California families from Eureka to Calexico will begin hopping in the family car for that grand American tradition of the road trip.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

A few weeks ago, Madera County District Attorney David Linn announced he’ll be running for reelection this year. In the meantime, however, he’s embroiled in a developing public scandal involving allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior, a public censure, and a likely lawsuit, that’s pit him against the Madera County Board of Supervisors.

Listen to the interview with FM89’s Kerry Klein for an update on what’s been happening and what’s likely to come next.

Community Water Center

More than 300 California communities lack access to clean drinking water. A disproportionately high number of those communities lie in the San Joaquin Valley, as we reported in our 2017 series Contaminated. Last fall, a bill with a proposed solution passed the state senate but has since remained in limbo, receiving both broad support and opposition—even in the San Joaquin Valley.

courtesy Benjamin Boone

A new project from Fresno-based jazz artist Benjamin Boone is getting national attention. It combines original compositions by the Fresno State professor and saxophonist, with the poetry of the late Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine. It also features some of the top names in the jazz world as guest stars including Branford Marsalis and Tom Harrell, as well as Valley Public Radio’s own David Aus. Levine was known for his love of jazz and recorded with Boone's band shortly before his death in 2015.

Community Water Center

A hearing in Sacramento earlier this week revealed local support and opposition to a drinking water bill making its way through the state legislature.

More than 300 public water systems in California are currently out of compliance with state code, mostly due to contamination from substances like arsenic and nitrate. Senate Bill 623 would establish a fund to help those communities pay for water treatment projects.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new study identifies those San Joaquin Valley residents without access to drinking water, but a solution may be close at hand.

Hundreds of thousands residents in the San Joaquin Valley lack access to clean drinking water. This is especially common in unincorporated communities categorized as disadvantaged, which are also overwhelmingly Hispanic.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Last week news broke that California’s High-Speed Rail Authority is facing another setback - increased costs and a delayed timeline as indicated in the authority's new 2018 Draft Business Plan. The effort to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco with bullet train running through the Central Valley will now cost over $77 billion. On top of that, phase one of the project will not be fully operational until the year 2033.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A new bill in the California Senate would ban so-called "willful defiance" suspensions in k-12 schools throughout the state. The legislation (SB 607) comes amid a recent push from social justice organizations for schools to adopt "restorative justice" or PBIS approaches to school discipline issues, as well as a looming sunset for an existing law that bans "willful defiance" suspensions in grades K-3. While many youth advocacy organizations support the move, some teachers fear it could result in further problems.

Navy Shutting Down Combat Camera Units

Mar 12, 2018

The Navy is eliminating its two Combat Camera units. The move saves the Pentagon money, but it eliminates a program with a history that goes back to the war in the Pacific.

The decision to cut the units has been a blow for Kurt Kinnamon, who joined Navy Combat Camera in 1958 and retired in 1985. He still works as a volunteer at the West Coast unit on Naval Air Station North Island. They dedicated their building to him in October, but the unit is about to disappear.

"I thought it was BS, you know," he said, of the decision to eliminate the unit.

Cindy Quezada / Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative

The 2020 U.S. census is just around the corner, and a new project shows a significant number of Fresno’s residents could be overlooked.

The U.S. Census Bureau maintains a Master Address File of every registered postal address in the country. Don’t have a registered address? You probably won’t be counted.

A new pilot project found 600 housing units in low-income areas of Fresno that weren't listed in the Master Address File—representing 6 percent of residences in those areas.

Harper Collins

A new biography of billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian tells the story of how a young boy from Fresno went on to become one of the richest businessmen in America. From airlines to film studios to the auto industry and casinos, Kerkorian was the consummate dealmaker, but he was also a quiet philanthropist, supporting Armenian causes through his Lincy Foundation. We recently spoke with journalist William C.

Rollin Pickford

A new exhibit at the San Joaquin River Parkway's Coke Hallowell Center For River Studies showcases the works of famed local artist Rollin Pickford. For much of the 20th century, Pickford was acclaimed for his paintings of the landscape of Central California. The new exhibit "Rolling Pickford: California Light" showcases works exclusively depicting the San Joaquin Valley. On display now through April 29th at the River Center at 11605 Old Friant Road in Fresno.

Google Street View

In 2010, architect Julia Morgan became the first woman to win the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. It was a landmark achievement for the native Californian, who is most famous for designing Hearst Castle for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. It’s the institute’s highest honor, and one shared by icons of the industry like Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Ghery. Even more remarkable – Morgan was awarded the honor 57 years after her death. The award was an attempt in part to correct a longstanding omission by the male-dominated AIA.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new bill in the assembly would grant the California State Parks Department authority over land along the San Joaquin River Parkway. The bill by Fresno Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula would expand the existing Millerton Lake State Recreation Area along the 22-mile stretch of public and private riverbottom land between Friant Dam and Highway 99. State management could help solve an operational and financial problem for public land along the river, such as the 500 acre River West open space area.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Ten years ago, the city of Merced was ground zero for the housing crisis in California. Just a few years before that, the University of California’s brand new Merced campus opened outside the city, which arguably drove the overdevelopment that set up the city to fall so hard during the recession. Now, a decade later, the university has invested in the city with a new downtown building—but that’s not the only new development happening at UC Merced.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

We all know what a port looks like. There’s water and ships stacked high with shipping containers. But those are often in busy areas on the coast: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland. Well, one Central Valley county has decided to get in on the shipping and distribution game. That county is partnering with the Port of Los Angeles to give their region a boost for distributing around the world.

 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

In February a U.S. District Court Judge ruled in favor of a Latino civil rights group in a suit challenging the way the county drew supervisorial district lines in 2011. In the suit, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund argued that by splitting eastern Kern County cities between two districts, the county unfairly also broke up Latino communities in the San Joaquin Valley, instead of allowing for a second Latino-majority district, in addition to the current District 5.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Despite California’s status as a sanctuary state, it appears to be the focus of increased immigration activity—especially after a sweep in Northern California earlier this week that drove Oakland’s Mayor to issue a warning to her residents and ultimately resulted in more than 150 arrests. Closer to home, a San Joaquin Valley resident who was recently ordered to leave the country, despite years of being allowed to stay and an appeal from a top lawmaker.

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