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. 

Genre: 

Pages

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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Health
10:46 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Prescription Overdose Deaths By Teens Up, Summit Seeks Solutions

More teenagers are abusing and dying from prescription drug use.  Members of law enforcement, counselors, and prevention specialists gathered in Sacramento for a statewide summit on Thursday to see what can be done to reverse the trend.   

Sherrie Rubin and her son, Aaron traveled to Sacramento from San Diego for the summit.  They were among the 140 participants.  Sherrie says Aaron started abusing pills in high school. 

Read more
Government & Politics
3:39 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Task Force Says California's Finances Unsustainable

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

A non-partisan State Budget Crisis Task Force is recommending that California develop a two-year spending plan. The report released today called the state’s current financial structure unsustainable.

Read more
Science
2:47 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Shuttle Endeavour Prepares For Final Flight Over California

Space shuttle Endeavour is seen atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA, at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Credit Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

UPDATE: NASA now says the shuttle will leave Edwards AFB at around 8:15 a.m. Friday, an hour later than originally planned.

Residents of eastern Kern County will get to see the space shuttle Endeavour take to the skies one last time on Friday, as the aging spacecraft makes its final journey to a museum in Los Angeles. 

The shuttle, carried on the back of a specially modified 747 jetliner landed this afternoon at Edwards Air Force Base, after taking off earlier in the day in Texas.

Read more
High Speed Rail
9:20 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Federal Government Approves High Speed Rail Construction Plans

Credit California High Speed Rail Authority

The federal agency that oversees the nation's railroad system has officially approved plans for the first leg of California's controversial high speed rail system.

The Federal Railroad Administration's approval on Wednesday was a necessary step to allow construction to begin early next year on the Fresno to Merced component of the system. 

The approval by the FRA will allow the California High Speed Rail Authority to proceed with purchasing right-of-way from landowners for the system. 

Read more
Health
8:59 am
Thu September 20, 2012

Millions of Californians May Still Be Uninsured in 2019

Millions of Californians may still be living without health insurance five years after the full implementation of the federal health law. 

A UC Berkeley and UCLA study projects two to three million Californians will have new health coverage by 2019. But co-author Ken Jacobs of the UC Berkeley Labor Center is looking at the other number.

“As many as 3 to 4 million Californians are predicted to remain uninsured.”

Read more
Real Estate
5:58 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

RealtyTrac: California Leads Nation In Flipped Homes

Homes in Merced, one of areas of the country hid hardest by the foreclosure crisis
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Data out today show a big spike in the rate of California homes purchased and resold within six-months.

People in the real estate business call it “flipping.”

“Flipping is the process of buying a home or other property, usually at a discounted price, improving that property through rehab and repairs and then reselling that.”

Daren Blomquist is with RealtyTrac. The research firm has released new nationwide figures on flipped properties.

“Not surprisingly the state with the most flips in the first-half of 2012 was California with nearly 26,000.”

Read more
Education
5:52 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

CSU Trustees Approve Tuition Changes; Anti-Tax Group Threatens Lawsuit

Fresno State, one of the CSU system's 23 campuses
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California State University trustees have set the stakes for the November election. If Governor Jerry Brown’s sales and income tax measure passes, the CSU will roll back a previously-approved nine percent tuition increase. If Proposition 30 fails, the university will leave it in place – and tack on an additional five percent increase.

Meanwhile, a draft letter to CSU applicants about Prop 30’s impact has Jon Coupal with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association threatening a lawsuit.

Read more
Community
3:36 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Fresno Ranks Last In New Study of Immigrant Integration Progress

Fresno County's efforts at integrating new immigrants into the overall population fall short when compared with the rest of the state.

That's the finding of a new report by the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. 

The study measures a variety of indicators including the economic impact of immigrants in the local economy, educational performance, the warmth of welcome by the community at large, and civic engagement.

Read more
Community
12:58 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Bakersfield May Consider Backyard Chickens

Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user locomotion http://www.flickr.com/photos/locomotion/3556879530

Bakersfield may become the latest California city to consider loosening laws against raising chickens in residential backyards.

The Bakersfield Californian reports that the city's Legislative and Litigation Committee discussed the idea at a meeting on Tuesday. It's currently illegal to keep chickens in most residential areas in the city.

Read more
Government & Politics
3:36 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Governor Brown Signs Workers' Compensation Overhaul Bill

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

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that makes changes to the state’s worker’s compensation system. The changes were part of a compromise between labor unions and businesses.

The law is designed to increase benefits to injured workers while reducing workers’ compensation costs for employers. It passed the legislature on a bipartisan vote despite some lawmakers’ complaints that there was little time to discuss it.

Read more
Local Books
1:45 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Photographer Joel Pickford Documents Hmong Refugees in 'Soul Calling'

Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey through the Hmong Diaspora, by photographer Joel Pickford
Credit Heyday Books

Local photographer Joel Pickford's new book "Soul Calling: A Photographic Journey Through The Hmong Diaspora" is an intimate look into the world of the Hmong people.

Read more
Health
10:51 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Chocolate Milk Gets Remixed At Fresno Schools

Credit Licensed using Creative Commons from Maria Pontikis / http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthimeria/3813431974/

The saying goes “milk does a body good.” But despite that, too few of us really drink the white stuff, and that includes adults and kids.

In an effort to get more kids to benefit from the nutrients milk offers many school districts including Fresno Unified served up flavored milk, both chocolate and strawberry.  So along with their daily intake of vitamin A, calcium and potassium, students were also getting sugar a lot of sugar, about four additional teaspoons in an 8 ounce serving of chocolate milk.

Read more
Education
2:34 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

FUSD's Vang Resigns From Board of Trustees

Dr. Tony Vang (file photo)

Dr. Tony Vang announced his resignation today from his seat on the Fresno Unified School District Board of Trustees. The resignation, which Vang termed a "retirement" is effective today.

Vang cited family and workload related issues with his job at Fresno State for prompting his resignation.

Read more
Just One Breath
6:01 am
Sat September 15, 2012

The Voices of Valley Fever

‘Not being able to breathe was the worst.’

MERCED — The walk from Tom Price’s living room to his kitchen was only a few feet. But it felt like miles.

The 33-year-old from Merced was hit with valley fever in 2006. He had trouble breathing, and he was so fatigued for a month that the simplest tasks felt arduous.

“It was scary,” he said. “It was the first time I had ever been very sick. Not being able to breathe was the worst.”

Price remembers developing a high fever and sweats. He went to his regular doctor, who thought he had the flu.

Read more
Government & Politics
5:55 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Registering To Vote Will Soon Be Paperless for Californians

Californians can soon register to vote completely online. Paperless registration will be available to anyone who has a California driver’s license or ID.

Since 2009 Californians have been able to go online and fill out a form as part of the voter registration process. But signatures had to be mailed or delivered to county elections officials. Secretary of State Debra Bowen will soon roll out the next step, which would allow Californians who have a driver’s license or ID to hit “send” at the end of their online form.

Read more

Pages