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. 

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Just One Breath
2:58 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Valley fever vaccine stalls after early promise

Dr. Demosthenes Pappagianis, the lab where he and members of his research staff are developing a Valley Fever vaccine, inside Tupper Hall at University of California, Davis.
Photo by Brian Baer/Special To The Sacramento Bee

Just eight years ago, a vaccine to stop valley fever seemed within reach.

Ambitious scientists at five universities had brought in millions of dollars since 1997 from private donations and government funding to develop a way to beat the fungus before it ever had a chance to lodge in a person’s lungs and wreak havoc on his or her organs.

In 2004, they announced they had selected a pathway to pursue a vaccine.

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Just One Breath
2:00 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Scientists took different routes to find valley fever vaccine

Dr. Demosthenes Pappagianis, the lab where he and members of his research staff are developing a Valley Fever vaccine, inside Tupper Hall at University of California, Davis.
Photo by Brian Baer/Special To The Sacramento Bee

Five scientists were chosen by a committee affiliated with California State University, Bakersfield, in 1997 to pursue vaccine research.

Dr. John Galgiani, 66, professor at the University of Arizona and director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence

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Government & Politics
6:49 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

City of Fresno to Study Police, Sheriff Consolidation

Council member Lee Brand speaks on behalf of a plan to study police and sheriff's department consolidation

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to spend $50,000 to hire a consultant who will examine the possibility of consolidating city and county law enforcement. The council also established a special sub-committee to examine the issue.

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Government & Politics
2:24 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Anti-Tax Group Sues Over Fire Prevention Fee

Prison inmates assist Calfire crews in fighting a blaze
Credit Ben Adler / Capitol Public Radio

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of California property owners who are charged a fire prevention fee.

The suit by the anti-tax group claims the fee is really a tax requiring a two-thirds vote in the legislature. It seeks to overturn the fee, which costs property owners $150 for every habitable structure on their property.

The suit was filed against the California Department of Forestry and the Board of Equalization. But Association President Jon Coupal places the blame on the legislature.

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Education
11:28 am
Thu October 4, 2012

New CSU Chancellor Is Fresno State Alumnus

Timothy P. White, the new chancellor of the CSU system
Credit UC Riverside

The California State University Board of Trustees has named Timothy P. White  as the new chancellor of the 23 campus system. White is currently the chancellor of UC Riverside.

He succeeds Charles B. Reed, who retired earlier this year after leading the system for the past 14 years. White will be just the seventh chancellor in the system's history.

White graduated from Fresno State in 1970 with a degree in physical education. He went on to receive a master's degree from CSU Hayward and a doctorate from UC Berkeley. 

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Government & Politics
8:52 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Youth Voting Rate Going Up, But Still Lagging

The number of young Californians who are registered to vote is going up – but the percentage of youth registered voters still lags well behind the population as a whole. That’s according to a new UC Davis study out Wednesday.

Author Mindy Romero says there’s been a 25-percent increase in youths registered to vote from 2002 to 2010. “We believe just it’s been a product of national trends as well as trends within California that’s focused on getting out the youth vote.”

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Education
8:48 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Dueling Tax Measures Release New TV Ads

A frame from a new TV ad from the Yes on 38 campaign

The campaigns for two rival tax measures on California’s November ballot each have new TV ads going on the air. That includes the first ones in support of Proposition 30, Governor Jerry Brown’s sales and income tax initiative.

“Join California teachers to restore school programs and reduce class sizes.”

Some of the Prop 30 ads feature teachers, while others, feature Governor Brown like this one:

“For the students and for California’s future, vote Yes on 30.”

Several make this claim:

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Environment
8:31 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Cal Fire: Wildfire Danger Still High

The Bear Fire burns in the Sierra National Forest in August, 2012
Credit Sierra National Forest

The hot weather is expected to end throughout most of California on Thursday, with cooler temperatures in the forecast. But with no significant rainfall in sight, state officials warn of continued fire danger.

So far this year, Cal Fire crews have responded to more than 5,300 wildfires. That’s nearly 20% more than average. And state officials say the threat of new fires isn’t over.

“Even though the calendar says ‘October’ fire danger level is high. We want people to be prepared.”

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Government & Politics
4:53 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Schwarzenegger Weighs in on Debt, Pensions, Budget

He’s largely stayed out of the public eye since he left office, but former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is hitting the talk show circuit to promote his new book. Schwarzenegger is downplaying the size of California’s debt, but sounding the alarm on pensions and the lack of a state budget reserve.

In an interview with NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Schwarzenegger was asked if he would have done anything differently as governor, given how deeply the state is in debt.

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Government & Politics
8:52 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Governor Might Have Had Prop 30 In Mind When Vetoing Bills

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown acted on almost 1000 bills this legislative session. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, political analysts say the Governor likely had his tax initiative in mind when deciding what to sign into law. 

Governor Brown vetoed about 12-percent of the bills that landed on his desk. Kevin Riggs, a former TV reporter who covered the Capitol for years, says Brown was trying to show voters that government can be responsible by vetoing legislation that might have harmed the economy, to give his November tax measure a boost.

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Community
5:17 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

President Obama to Visit Kern County, Declare César Chávez Site a National Monument

The Chavez Memorial Fountain at La Paz in Keene, CA.
Credit National Parks Service

President Obama announced today that he will visit Kern County next Monday to declare the headquarters of the late United Farm Workers union co-founder César Chávez a national monument. The Chávez compound in the small community of Keene, located in the Tehachapi hills east of Bakersfield served as the home for both the UFW and Chávez for several decades. 

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Government & Politics
3:50 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Immigrant Groups Upset With Governor Brown's Vetoes

Immigrant rights groups in California say Governor Jerry Brown is turning his back on immigrant communities.

Brown vetoed the so-called Trust Act. It would have stopped local police from cooperating with federal authorities to detain suspected illegal immigrants, unless they are charged with a serious or violent felony.

Reshma Shamasunder with the California Immigrant Policy Center says that federal policy has resulted in 80-thousand deportations.

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Government & Politics
8:40 am
Mon October 1, 2012

For Brown, Busy Final Weekend of Bill Actions

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown cleared a mountain of legislation off his desk over the weekend ahead of a midnight Sunday deadline. Ben Adler reports from Sacramento on some of the bills he signed and vetoed.

Brown signed a bill that will give some juvenile murderers sentenced to life without the possibility of parole a chance at parole after all; a bill that bans a controversial form of therapy aimed at “turning gay people straight,” and one that will allow some undocumented immigrants to obtain California drivers licenses.

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Gun Control
2:56 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Brown Signs Limited Ban On Open Carry of Rifles

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

It will soon be a crime to publicly carry an unloaded rifle in California cities. Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday that makes it a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Carrying loaded firearms in public is already against the law.

Democratic Assembly member Anthony Portantino says he authored the bill after gun advocates began showing up in restaurants and public places carrying unloaded long guns.

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Government & Politics
11:27 am
Fri September 28, 2012

Soft Drink, Beer, Oil Industries Give Big to Prop 30

Governor Brown at the kickoff rally for Prop 30 earlier this year
Credit Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

Supporters of California Governor Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative have raised more than $25 million since the start of the year. That includes large donations not just from traditional Democratic allies like labor unions, but some major industries and corporations as well.

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Technology
6:35 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

California Governor Signs Driverless Car Bill

State Senator Alex Padilla, Google co-founder Sergy Brin (center) and California Governor Jerry Brown answer questions from the crowd at Google headquarters in Mountain View
Official Google YouTube channel

Legislation aimed at getting the first driverless vehicles on the road in California was signed into law today. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill at Google headquarters in Mountain View.

Google has a dozen computer controlled cars – most of them Toyota Priuses -- equipped with self-driving technology. Designers say the robotic vehicles could make roads safer, since most car accidents are the result of human error.

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Food
5:58 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

California School Staff Meet To Strengthen Fresh, California Foods in Schools

California school lunch staff want to include more state-grown food into cafeteria meals. They met in Oakland yesterday to share ideas on how to make that happen.

The Center for Ecoliteracy helped bring together school lunch directors and chefs from Los Angeles to Sacramento. The advocacy group says that fresh, Californian food is good for kids’ health, and the state economy.

“Real kids need real food to learn and grow.”

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Environment
5:35 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Governor Brown Signs Environmental Bills

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

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of bills Tuesday that he says are designed to help the environment and improve state parks.

The Governor signed two bills that will keep state parks open and improve their management. One of them places a two-year moratorium on any park closure. It designates 30 million dollars to prevent parks from closing, to match private and local donations, and for park maintenance.

Another bill requires the state parks department to create a plan to generate revenues and calls for tighter accounting practices.

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Education
9:52 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Molly Munger Criticizes California Governor Jerry Brown's Tax Measure

Proposition 38 proponent Molly Munger says California Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative doesn’t do enough for schools. But she also says she understands if voters cast their ballots for both measures.

Munger’s Proposition 38 would generate about 10 billion dollars annually for schools by taxing all but the poorest Californians. The Governor’s tax initiative, Proposition 30, raises about $6 billion a year primarily by taxing the wealthy, and through a sales tax increase.

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Government & Politics
10:57 am
Fri September 21, 2012

New Field Poll on Prop 32 Shows Measure Trailing

For the second time this week, a new poll shows Proposition 32, which would change rules on union and corporate political donations, faces a tough road to passage on California’s November ballot.

The latest Field Poll conducted with UC Berkeley shows Prop 32 losing 44 percent to 38 percent.  The six-point margin is similar to this week’s Public Policy Institute of California survey, where the measure trailed 49 percent to 42 percent.

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