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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Business & Economy
6:51 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Summer Jobs Hard to Find for Valley Youth

It used to be a rite of passage for teens, getting a summer job at a fast food restaurant or the mall. But with an economy that continues to struggle, the state's teen unemployment rate is around 36 percent. But there are several new programs that aim to help teens get a taste of life in the workforce, and local companies that are working with non-profits and the government on this issue. Juanita Stevenson reports on how a summer job changed one teen's life.

Health
10:00 am
Tue June 12, 2012

New California Health Marketplace Moves Forward, Despite Uncertainty

As the nation waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a historic ruling on the constitutionality of President Obama’s overhaul of federal health care, California is not waiting to make changes. As Pauline Bartolone reports, state health planners say even if the high court overturns the federal mandate to buy insurance, their effort will move forward.

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Health
9:55 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Survey Sheds Light On What California Small Businesses Want from New Health Market

A new survey sheds light on what small businesses in California want out of the new health insurance market starting in 2014. 

Only a little more than a third of California small businesses currently provide some health benefits in their workplace. But that number could go up to 44 percent when a new health marketplace is up and running.

That’s according to a poll commissioned by the Small Business Majority and Kaiser Permanente.

John Arensmeyer of the Small Business Majority says the poll shows small companies want the same health options big ones have.

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Business & Economy
5:50 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Assembly Passes Farm Worker Safety Act

The ag industry may soon see some changes, now that the Farmworker Safety Act was approved by the state Assembly yesterday afternoon. 

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Environment
7:51 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Planning Commission Rejects Jesse Morrow Mountain Mine

A sign along Highway 180 voices objections to the planned mine on Jesse Morrow Mountain east of Sanger.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

This afternoon the Fresno County Planning Commission rejected plans for a controversial hard rock mine on Jesse Morrow Mountain, on Highway 180 east of Fresno.

The vote had been delayed from a meeting in February, in which several hundred people spoke out against the plan. Residents today weighed in on the proposal from multinational mining company CEMEX, citing concerns about traffic, aesthetics and air quality.

The project will likely be appealed to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

Valley Public Radio News
12:51 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

KMC to Consider Pact With Foreign Med School

The Kern County Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal next Tuesday to allow a foreign medical school from the Caribbean to cycle 100 students a year through the clinical rotation program at Kern Medical Center.

The Ross University School of Medicine would pay Kern County $3.5 million a year for 10 years for the program, if it’s approved by the board. KMC currently has students from UCLA and several other Caribbean medical schools in its program.

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Agriculture
6:39 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

Obama Praises UFW on 50th Anniversary

The United Farm Workers of America celebrated its 50th anniversary in Bakersfield this weekend. The two-day convention attracted hundreds of workers from the around the valley, and even the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. Solis made the trip from Washington D.C. to speak with the supporters and honor one of the co-founders of the union, Dolores Huerta, with a special coin commemorating her activism for the community.

The conference ended with a video speech from President Obama, who praised the union for their hard work for fair pay for farm workers.

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Business & Economy
3:15 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Fresno Hearing Seeks Solutions to Ag Metal Theft

Agricultural metal theft continues to be a problem in the valley, and Sacramento lawmakers are paying attention. The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing today in Downtown Fresno searching for solutions.

Four years ago, the state legislature passed a bill by then Assembly member Tom Berryhill that aimed to crack down on the theft of metal from farmers. The bill required recyclers to keep detailed records on materials and sellers.

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Government & Politics
9:57 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Prop 28 Would Change Term Limits

Currently, California lawmakers can serve a total of fourteen years: six in the Assembly, and eight in the Senate. Nick Schroeder from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says Prop 28 would allow a legislator to serve up to twelve years.

“Fundamentally, what this measure does is it allows a person to serve more years in one house, either in the Assembly or Senate but fewer total years in the legislature…”

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Government & Politics
8:20 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

California residents leaving the Golden State

Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

From the days of the gold rush to the state's early agricultural pioneers, California’s history is one of emigration. In more recent years industries from motion pictures to aerospace and computer technology drew hundreds of thousands of people to the state, to search out a new life.

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Valley Public Radio News
9:45 am
Tue April 17, 2012

High speed rail chair promises compensation, better communication for the Valley

California High Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard addresses an audience in Fresno on April 3, 2012.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

After years of criticism and skyrocketing cost estimates, California’s plan for high speed rail took a detour earlier this month, with the release of the project’s new business plan. Supporters say the proposal is “better, faster and cheaper” and could save $30 billion when compared to previous cost estimates for the project.

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Health
2:24 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Tulare hospital receives debt downgrade

The bond rating firm Fitch announced this week that it is downgrading the debt of a Tulare county hospital. The Tulare Local Health Care District saw its rating dip from BBB- to BB+.

The firm cited the hospital’s recent drop in profitability, and dramatic decline in liquidity as factors for the downgrade. The organization believes the hospital’s financial health will stabilize in the remainder of 2012, as a new 24 bed emergency wing is completed at the Tulare Regional Medical Center.

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Valley Public Radio News
2:45 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Fresno County to reopen mental health crisis center

Fresno County Hall of Records
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno County is moving forward with a plan to reopen a crisis center for mental health patients. The county closed the center in 2009 due to budget cuts. That resulted in patients being sent to area emergency rooms.

Hospitals say they aren’t well equipped to handle those patients. The new crisis stabilization service will be run by a private contractor, Exodus Health, at the county’s former facility on Kings Canyon Road.

The four year contract with Exodus Health to provide the services for Fresno County is for around $16 million.

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Environment
11:10 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Oil project moves forward, regulator cites progress

Berry Petroleum's Bakersfield office
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Southern California based Berry Petroleum has been given the go ahead by California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to move forward with plans to use steam to extract oil at the Midway-Sunset oilfield near Taft in Kern County. The move comes after the company made some changes to its system to monitor conditions at the site, according to Division head Tim Kustic.

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Education
4:16 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

New Details in Plot to Poison Fresno Teacher

Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

New information emerged today on the alleged plot by three Fresno Unified students to poison their classroom teacher.

Fresno Teachers Association President Greg Gadams told the media today the poising incident took place at Balderas Elementary School shortly before winter break. He said the students placed rat poison in their teacher's coffee cup, and in the frosting of a cupcake given to the teacher. The teacher was unaware of the attempt, and never ate the cupcake.

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Agriculture
4:05 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

World Ag Expo Showcases Latest Technology

A John Deere tractor sits on the grounds of the World Ag Expo in Tulare
Ezra Romero Valley Public Radio

Thousands braced the rain at the 2012 World Ag Expo in Tulare today. Expo officials expect the event to attract nearly 100,000 people by the close of the event on Thursday. The grounds contain over 1,400 exhibitors including experts in citrus, dairy, livestock and more.

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Environment
5:29 pm
Tue February 7, 2012

Plan to mine Jesse Morrow Mountain ignites controversy

Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Take a drive east on Highway 180 from Fresno toward Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and you’ll see a landscape as varied as the Valley itself. Neatly arranged orchards give way to the lush green basin of the Kings River, and the rustic towns of Centerville and Minkler. And just as the highway begins its climb into the Sierra foothills, off to the left, the first hill you see is Jesse Morrow Mountain.

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Government & Politics
5:33 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Fresno Veterans Home Hits Roadblock

An artist's rendering of the California Veterans Home currently under construction at California Avenue and Marks Avenue in Fresno. Governor Brown's proposed 2012 State Budget eliminates the funding necessary to open the nearly completed facility.

There's been a battle going on in Fresno for the last decade. A battle that has both Republicans and Democrats fighting on the same side, all in hopes of opening the doors to a veterans' home in Fresno that is on track to be finished in Spring.

The construction will be completed on time, but in trying to close California's huge budget gap, Governor Brown cut the $14.5 million needed to operate the facility from his proposed budget. Earlier this month, the governor spoke about some of the other proposed cuts.

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Government & Politics
11:16 am
Tue January 10, 2012

Closure of redevelopment agencies hits Valley cities

The Iron Bird Lofts complex, a new mixed-use retail and residential development in Downtown Fresno's "Mural District" is one of the most visible examples of revitalization projects funded in part by Fresno's Redevelopment Agency.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

At the start of 2012 California had over 5,000 local governments, from counties and cities to school and fire districts. But this February, over 400 of those governments are slated to disappear, almost overnight, as the state officially closes the book on local redevelopment agencies.

It’s the latest move in the effort by Sacramento lawmakers to find a new way to balance the state’s budget, and shift $1.7 billion from community redevelopment agencies (or RDAs as they’re often known) to the state’s general fund.

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Arts & Culture
7:36 pm
Wed October 26, 2011

Christo's Umbrellas still fresh in memory, 20 years later

In October 1991, Vikki Cruz was just 11 years old, but the current curator of the Bakersfield Museum of Art remembers one trip up Interstate 5 that year very well.

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