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Government & Politics
2:20 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

California 'Breaks Ground' On High Speed Rail In Fresno

Governor Jerry Brown signed a piece of train track to signify the start of construction of the bullet train.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

More than a thousand supporters of California High Speed Rail filled the barren lot of what is supposed to become a multistory train station in Fresno today for a symbolic groundbreaking.

Nearly two years after construction was supposed to start, and more than six years after voters approved a bond to help fund California high speed rail, state and local leaders met in Fresno’s historic Chinatown today to mark the start of the project’s construction.

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Business & Economy
1:24 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Falling Crude Prices Have Oil Industry In Kern County Worried

Oil production near Taft in Kern County
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The recent drop in oil prices may be a good thing for consumers at the gas pump, but has oil producers in Kern County worried. For a look ahead at what this means for the economy of the south valley in the new year, we talked to John Cox, energy industry reporter for the Bakersfield Californian on FM89's Valley Edition. 

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Government & Politics
7:19 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Brown Talks Legacy In Start To Record Fourth Term As Governor

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The longest-serving governor in California history took the oath of office for a record fourth time on Monday. And in his fourth inaugural address, Democrat Jerry Brown cited history as the basis for a cautious final-term agenda. 

Report from Ben Adler:

Cantil-Sakauye: “We’re all set? For the fourth, unprecedented term in California – no pressure! I, state your name…”

Brown:“I, Jerry Brown…”  

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Government & Politics
7:08 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Governor Sets Ambitious Climate Change Goals in State of the State

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers and environmental groups are calling the climate goals Governor Jerry Brown laid out in his State of the State speech ambitious. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, reaction is mixed on whether the goals are achievable.

The Governor wants to cut petroleum use in cars and trucks in half by 2030. He wants to double the efficiency of existing buildings. And he wants to increase from one-third to one-half electricity that’s generated from renewable resources.

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Government & Politics
7:07 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Lawmakers React to Brown's Inaugural Speech

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

In his inaugural address, Governor Jerry Brown touched on some themes that could bring the California legislature together. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there were also signs of partisan divide.

Brown’s wide-ranging speech hit on everything from schools, to prisons to pensions. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says it will set the tone for the year.

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Government & Politics
6:43 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Brown Optimistic, Yet Cautious In Fourth Inaugural Address

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A rosy look back at California’s last four years and a cautious look ahead to the next four. That’s the tone Democrat Jerry Brown struck after being sworn in for a record fourth term as California governor today. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Jerry Brown spent more than half of his fourth inaugural address looking not forwards but backwards.

Brown: “While we’ve not reached the Promised Land, we have much to be proud of.”

He touted the state’s balanced budget…

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Veterans
12:16 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

In Merced, Yoga And Facebook Help One Marine With The Residue of War

Navpreet Sandher instructs yoga multiple times a week in Merced. He first learned to appreciate the practice while on duty in Afghanistan.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Reintegrating into society after war for many veterans is an isolating experience.

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Agriculture
10:03 am
Mon January 5, 2015

New Laws: California Implements New Egg Standards

Credit nickwheeleroz / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

Starting January 1st, every egg sold at a grocery store in California must meet new standards that require hens have more space. It’s a requirement of Proposition 2 approved by voters in 2008, which requires farm animals have enough room to turn around, lie down, stand up and stretch their limbs.

Egg farmers sued in 2012 on grounds the law is unconstitutionally vague. The law has also prompted concerns of an egg shortage. But Ronald Fong with the California Grocers’ Association says that’s unlikely.

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Environment
10:06 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Winter Snow Survey Better Than Last Year But Not Good Enough

California’s first winter snow survey paints another fairly bleak picture of the potential for runoff restoring water levels in the state’s reservoirs. (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California has had greater than normal precipitation this year, but not greater than normal snowfall. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the first winter snow survey shows the amount of water in the snow statewide is 50 percent of average.

One third of the state relies on water that comes from melting Sierra snowpack. Frank Gehrke with the Department of Water Resources says manual readings show water in the snow on Echo Summit is four inches, just 33 percent of average. He says it’s not enough to fill the state’s reservoirs.

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New Laws
2:14 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Sexual Harassment Training Required For Farm Employees

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

California’s farm fields can be threatening places for agriculture workers. But a new law going into effect next year is designed to make those fields a bit safer. As part of our annual new law series, Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The law will require farm labor contractors to provide all supervisors, foremen and employees with sexual harassment training. Democratic Senator Bill Monning authored the bill. He says there’s an epidemic of harassment and assault of California farm workers.

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New Laws
4:51 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

New Law Means It Could Be Ok To Dine With Your Dog

file photo
Credit Flickr user https://www.flickr.com/photos/jillchen/ / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

Dining out with your pet will be legal at some restaurants under California law starting January 1st. Steve Milne reports from Sacramento as part of our series on “New Laws.”

This new law is all about the dogs.

Yamada: “To all the cat lovers out there I do apologize. This does not extend to cats, at least at this time.”

That’s former state Assembly member Mariko Yamada who wrote the new law.

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Veterans
2:43 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Native American Veterans Find Solace Over A Common Table

Every Friday this group of veterans gets together for breakfast and camaraderie.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

For many veterans life after war is anything but easy, once home veterans often find themselves isolated from the world around them. But one Fresno group’s mission is to provide a setting for veterans to come out of hiding and also learn more about their culture.

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Government & Politics
11:39 am
Tue December 23, 2014

With New Driver License Law, Indigenous Groups May Be Left Behind

The Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities offers driver's education workshops specifically for those who speak Mixtec.
Credit BCDOIC

Starting in 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles expects about 1.5 million undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver license. For many, this will be their first time legally driving in the state.

Immigration advocates applaud this change but also say there's a big concern. Some are worried they will fail the behind the wheel test since it won't be offered in the native languages many immigrants speak.

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New Laws
10:55 am
Tue December 23, 2014

EpiPens To Be Required At California Schools

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A California law takes effect January 1st that could expand the use of emergency treatment for kids who have allergic reactions in school. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento in the latest installment of our “new laws” series.

Mary Beth TeSelle never goes anywhere without an EpiPen, the anti-histamine auto-injector that can save a life during a potentially lethal allergic reaction. Her eight-year-old daughter has had a severe peanut allergy – since she was one year old:

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New Laws
10:44 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Yes Means Yes Going Into Effect At California Colleges, Universities

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The New Year brings a new way of dealing with sexual assault at many California colleges and universities. In the first part of our annual new law series, Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

In 2015 any California college or university that receives state financial aid must begin using a “Yes Means Yes” approach toward sexual assault. That means both parties must give ongoing, affirmative consent during any sexual activity.

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Government & Politics
10:49 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Fresno Adopts New 'Smart Growth' General Plan

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council approved a new general plan last night that for the first time attempts to but the brakes on suburban sprawl. 

Over the next two decades, the plan calls for about half of the city's future growth to take place within the existing city limits and the rest in new growth areas like west of Highway 99 and in Southeast Fresno. 

Mayor Ashley Swearengin called the council's 5-2 vote historic, and a new direction for the city.

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Agriculture
4:44 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

2014 Was A Rough Year for California's Farmers and Ranchers

file photo
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California's farmers and ranchers have endured a challenging 2014. Capital Public Radio's Lesley McClurg reports on how they're weathering the drought.

Paula Getzelman says recent rain brings a deep sigh of relief. She and her husband run Tre Gatti Vineyards in Monterey County. 

Getzelman: "We were extremely nervous in 2014. The harvest was a real nail biter."

Production at Tre Gatti was down twenty percent. Getzelman says she feels luckier than some of her neighbors who were down thirty percent. 

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Drought
5:27 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

California Needs 11 Trillion Gallons Of Water To End Drought

Water scientist Jay Famiglietti
Credit UC Irvine

California needs one and a half times the maximum volume of water in Lake Mead, the largest US reservoir, to end its drought. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, NASA scientists released the finding today.

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Community
1:12 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Fresno Woman Helps Fellow Homeless Veterans Reclaim Their Lives

Anita Pascual walks by the apartment complex where the women veterans live. Her office is located in one of the apartments.
Credit Anita Pascual / Homefront

Many veterans struggle as they return home after serving this country. Among that group are women who may have a hard time making that transition, sometimes ending up on the verge of being homeless. As part of our series “Common Threads: Veterans Still Fighting The War” FM89's Diana Aguilera reports on how a woman is determined to make a difference.

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Environment
5:02 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Storms And Muddy Delta Water Lead To Voluntary Pumping Cutback

The Delta Mendota Canal is used to transport water from the Delta to Central Valley Project customers in the San Joaquin Valley.
Credit U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region

The recent storms that have hit northern and Central California have much brought needed rain and snow to the state. But they also created a new problem for the operators of the massive pumps in the Delta that supply users in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California - too much water. 

Ara Azhderian is with the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority in Los Banos. 

Azhderian: "With all that water comes a whole lot of mud and trash and debris as well, so a little too much of a good thing too fast."

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