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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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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Health
7:31 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Advocates concerned about link between recession, child abuse

The recession isn't just hurting families financially. It's also creating more stress for parents who already feel overwhelmed by the demands of raising children. Child safety advocates are concerned about the link between the economy and rising reports of abusive head injuries in infants. That condition is better known as shaken baby syndrome. FM89's Shellie Branco has this report.

Special funding for this program comes from the California HealthCare Foundation
http://www.chcf.org/

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Arts & Culture
6:39 pm
Tue October 25, 2011

Hmong writers celebrate with new literary anthology

How Do I Begin, a new anthology of work by Hmong American writers.

It was like a coming out party for the newest group of writers to join the literary world. Amid the bright lights of Fresno’s Tower Theatre, an event billed as the official launch of the book “How Do I Begin” was held.

Fresno writer Mas Masumoto called the publishing of the anthology of poetry and stories written Hmong-Americans in the Central Valley a historic moment. “I think tonight is historic because it’s a community capturing their voices, and the voices are allowed to be passed down through story, especially in a book form.”

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Government & Politics
9:32 am
Tue October 18, 2011

Political gridlock creates backlog at federal courthouse

The US courthouse and federal building in downtown Fresno
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Even before the recent retirement of Justice Oliver Wanger, the Fresno division of the US District Court’s Eastern District of California faced big case backlogs. The district is home to over 6.7 million residents, and 19 of California’s 33 state and federal prisons, but the Fresno division is home to just two judges, and the nation’s heaviest caseloads.

Around the Valley
5:35 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Exeter celebrates 100 years of small town charm

Exeter celebrates its centennial this year
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

It’s Saturday afternoon, and the normally quiet park in the middle of downtown Exeter is packed, nearly shoulder to shoulder with people enjoying kettle corn, something called the tornado potato, and of course, a little barbeque.

“This is the barbeque chicken plate, it’s six dollars and it’s fantastic!,” says Wanda, an Exeter resident.

“There’s also some pulled pork over there that people are really waiting in line for and the bratwurst over here by The Dorksmen, if you want a really homemade bratwurst, that’s the place to go.”

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Government & Politics
8:31 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

Era of reform a century ago inspires new proposals for California

One hundred years ago this month, California’s experiment in direct democracy was born with the introduction of the ballot initiative and referendum process. Now, a century later, Californians are again looking at new ideas to fix what many feel is a broken system in Sacramento. So what might the next 100 years have in store?

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Health
7:08 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Fresno Needle Exchange Program Generates Controversy

Dr. Marc Lasher of the Fresno Free Medical Clinic writes a prescription for Tobi, a heroin user who has been suffering side effects from the drug.
Shellie Branco Valley Public Radio

Volunteers are counting piles of used needles dumped out of plastic bags on a hot Saturday afternoon. People are lining up under a shade tent on a secluded north Fresno street to get rid of their dirty syringes. In return, they're getting an equal number of clean needles from the volunteers at the Fresno Needle Exchange Program.

The first person in line is a woman in her late forties who prefers to be called Tobi. She's a heroin user who's been coming to the exchange for 10 years. She's seen other drug users trading their old needles on the streets.

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Health
6:45 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Raw food movement grows in Fresno

In Downtown Fresno, the Hamilton family is on a mission – to share their vision of an organic, vegan, raw food diet with the rest of the Central Valley. Valley Public Radio's Juanita Stevenson visits the Revive Café and Whole Farms Market to talk with owner Tara Hamilton and her customers, including some who are embracing the entire vegan lifestyle, and others who are making smaller steps towards healthy eating. 

Government & Politics
7:24 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Scandal rocks Maricopa, leaving uncertain future

Bob Archibald, owner of the Shell gas station in Maricopa, has been an outspoken critic of the Maricopa Police Department's aggressive traffic enforcement and vehicle impoundment.
Shellie Branco Valley Public Radio

Travelers are stocking up on snacks inside the convenience store at the Shell gas station in Maricopa on a hot Saturday afternoon. This is a town of about 1,200 residents in the oil-rich foothills of western Kern County. Bob Archibald’s Shell station sits on the intersection of two highways, and his business counts on travelers heading to the Central Coast.

So last year, Archibald took notice when the Maricopa Police Department began an aggressive campaign to pull over drivers for minor traffic violations and to impound cars.

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