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Government & Politics
9:15 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Study: More California Latinos Attend College, Few Finish

file photo
Credit Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

College is a goal for the majority of Latinos graduating from California high schools. But as Katie Orr reports, a new report out today shows few Latinos actually finish college.

The study from the organization The Campaign for College Opportunities finds seven out of ten California Latino high school graduates enrolled in college last year. But just 11 percent of Latino adults in the state have a bachelors or graduate degree. 

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Environment
6:00 am
Mon November 4, 2013

California's Toxic Waste Control Department Tries to Clean Itself Up

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

Californians produce two million tons of hazardous waste every year. And the department that manages that waste has faced criticism for the way it operates. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on the department’s efforts to clean up its act.

When a business is dealing with toxic waste in what’s considered a potentially risky way it must get a permit from California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. There are currently 118 permitted facilities in the state that treat, store or dispose of toxic waste.

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Government & Politics
5:59 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Campaign Finance Fight Could Shape 'Dark Money's' Future In California

A "No on Prop 32" TV ad paid for by the Small Business Action Committee in the Fall 2012 campaign.
Credit YouTube/Small Business Action Committee

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission is trying to collect $15 million in penalties from two political action committees that accepted “dark money” contributions last year.  The PACs won’t pay, saying they’ve done nothing wrong.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento that in this dispute, there’s a lot at stake.

The illegal donations last fall paid for ads like this from the Small Business Action Committee:

Yes on 32 TV ad: “Sacramento doesn’t work for our family.  Instead, it works for the big unions and corporations.”

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Government & Politics
10:59 am
Fri November 1, 2013

FBI Affidavit: State Senator Took Bribes in Undercover Sting Operation

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) speaks with reporters Thursday in the Senate chambers in response to the FBI affidavit alleging Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello) took bribes in an undercover sting operation.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

An undercover FBI agent poses as a Hollywood executive to lure an elected official into taking bribes for legislation.  It sounds like a story Hollywood could have made itself – but in fact, it’s the story laid out in an affidavit that’s sent shockwaves through the California state Capitol.  Ben Adler reports from Sacramento.

This TV report from Wednesday night is the first big development in the case since the FBI raided Democratic State Senator Ron Calderon’s Capitol office earlier this year.

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Health Care
10:23 am
Thu October 31, 2013

California Health Insurers: "Some People Will Pay More, Some People Will Pay Less"

California health insurers say the wave of individual policy cancelations across the country is part of an “evening out” of health care rules under the Affordable Care Act. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

At least 350,000 Californians who currently purchase health insurance will have that coverage canceled this year. Health insurers say they have to comply with new rules that guarantee broad coverage. Some will pay more, some will pay less.

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Commentary
9:56 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Can The Free Market Curb Asthma in Fresno?

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Is there a profit to be found in reducing children’s asthma attacks? A diverse team of public health advocates, asthma care providers, financiers, and foundations has set up a pilot program with the goal of making money for investors while solving a deeply entrenched health crisis in and around Fresno, California.

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Community
8:52 am
Tue October 29, 2013

High Speed Rail Archaeologists Search For Fresno's 'Underground' Chinatown

Kathy Omachi leads a tour of Fresno's underground Chinatown in 2007. She claims this door is an entrance to a tunnel.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Generations of Fresno residents have heard stories about the mysterious underground world of Fresno's 19th century Chinatown. Was it a world of illicit activity, with a network of subterranean tunnels? Archeologists with the state's high speed rail authority are hoping to shed some new light on this dark and forgotten part of Fresno's history. 

Last week archeologists gathered in Fresno’s historic Chinatown to sift through soil with a hope of unearthing century-old artifacts just yards from the future bullet train.

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Government & Politics
10:39 am
Mon October 28, 2013

California Begins Sending Inmates to Private Prisons

The GEO Group's Golden State Modified Community Correctional Facility in McFarland, CA.
Credit The GEO Group, Inc.

California is beginning to transfer inmates out of its state prisons. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the transfers are part of a court-mandated plan to reduce overcrowding in state prisons

California is sending 2,100 inmates to three private prisons within the state. James Black is with the GEO group, which operates the facilities. He says GEO’s prisons must meet the same standards the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation must meet.

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Community
3:09 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Historic Fresno Arch May Move For High Speed Rail

The historic Fresno arch was contructed over Van Ness Avenue at Highway 99
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Up and down the valley, many cities have historic signs or archways which welcome visitors to town. Modesto's arch promotes a city filled with "Water Wealth Contentment and Health." Clovis proudly proclaims itself as the "Gateway to the Sierras," and Bakersfield makes a bold statement with its arch off of Buck Owens Boulevard. Fresno has its own historic archway, but as FM89's Joe Moore reports, it may soon need a new home.

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Government & Politics
6:52 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Panel: California's Direct Democracy Process Needs Changes

Three former leaders of California’s three branches of government disagree about whether the state’s direct democracy process is serving voters well, but they all agreed on one way to improve it at a Public Policy Institute of California panel.
Ben Adler Capital Public Radio

Three former leaders of California’s three branches of government disagree about whether the state’s direct democracy process is serving voters well – but they all agree on a potential way to improve it.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on today’s Public Policy Institute of California panel.

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Government & Politics
5:03 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Non-Profit Political Groups Must Pay California's Largest Election Rules Fine

FPPC - YouTube

Two Arizona-based non-profits must pay California’s largest ever election rules violation penalty. The Fair Political Practices Commission accused them of failing to reveal the donors of an $11 million contribution last year.

Ann Ravel is Chair of the FPPC. She says elections must be transparent to be fair.

“It’s very important that the true donors to campaigns be disclosed. The law requires it and it’s important to the public,” says Ravel.

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Government & Politics
7:49 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Homeowner Bill of Rights Gets Mixed Reviews Nearly One Year On

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California’s Homeowners Bill of Rights is nearly a year old and both banks and groups representing distressed homeowners say the legislation intended to help distressed mortgage holders is a bit of a mixed bag.

Maurice Weeks is with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. He says provisions in the law have helped slow the state’s foreclosure rate.

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Government & Politics
5:43 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Fresno County To Pursue State Funds for $80 Million Jail Expansion

The existing main Fresno County Jail in downtown Fresno (file)
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted today to submit a grant application to the state to fund a new $80 million jail annex. The proposed new West Annex Jail in downtown Fresno would house 300 inmates and would also include treatment facilities.

As part of the application the county agreed to set aside $8.8 million to help fund the project. If built, the county would be required to operate the facility for at least 10 years. The county hopes the new facility will replace the agin south jail annex in courthouse park.

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Music
12:33 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Vince Gill and Paul Franklin Embrace 'Bakersfield Sound' With New CD, Tour

Vince Gill and Paul Franklin celebrate the music of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard with their new cd "Bakersfield"
Courtesy Vince Gill

From the honky tonks of Oildale to  concert halls across the world, the hard driving, guitar driven country music that came out of Kern County – known as the "Bakersfield Sound" - has captured millions of fans across the world. Superstars like the late Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, not to mention hundreds of other musicians made Bakersfield, at least for a few decades, a true rival of Nashville’s famed music row. Now a new album by Vince Gill and pedal steel guitarist Paul Franklin seeks to honor that music – it’s called simply Bakersfield.

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Health Care Reform
11:30 am
Mon October 21, 2013

How Will Covered California Verify Incomes?

The final spending deal that ended the federal shutdown includes a provision that adds a layer of scrutiny for income verification in the new health insurance marketplaces.  Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento reports on what it means for California.

The agreement hashed out by Congress calls for federal reports to be submitted about how marketplaces confirm income.  But if you’re enrolling in California’s exchange it’s not going to make any difference.

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Government & Politics
11:14 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Study: Distracted Driving A Big Problem, Even Near Schools

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

There’s new evidence that distracted driving is a problem not just on the roadways in general – but specifically around schools.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

The California Friday Night Live Partnership and the Allstate Foundation asked high school students to spend an hour counting distracted drivers at nearly 70 schools across the state.

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California’s Delta: Inside and Out
6:00 am
Fri October 18, 2013

California Water Series Part 5: The Bay Delta Conservation Plan: A Solution for the Future?

Sandhill cranes
Department of Water Resources

Supporters say the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is one of the most ambitious habitat restoration programs California has ever attempted. But its proposal to build two tunnels to carry water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to central and southern California has also become one of the most controversial.

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High Speed Rail
3:30 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

High-Speed Rail CEO: No Construction Yet, But Work "Under Way"

A rendering of the state's planned high speed trail.
California High Speed Rail Authority

California’s High-Speed Rail Authority is asking contractors that want to build the second stretch of Central Valley track to step forward.  It also says work on the project’s first phase is “under way.”  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, actual construction has not yet begun – despite promises that it would by now.

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Health
7:43 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Study: Soda Consumption Down For Kids Under 12, Up For Teens

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

A UCLA report suggests more than 40 percent of California’s children have at least one sugary drink a day. As Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone  in Sacramento tells us, that rate has declined in recent years, but not for teenagers.  

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California's Delta: Inside and Out
6:05 am
Thu October 17, 2013

California Water Series Part 4: The Delta - A Place Called Home

Mark Morais, left, owner of Giusti's and bartender Mark Rogerson, right.
Curtis Jerome Haynes

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is home to a half million people. In the fourth part of our series, we examine the culture of the Delta and talk to residents about their concerns over its future.

Before I set out to do this story, I’d only been to the Delta a few times. And when I had, it was just a scenic drive from Sacramento down Highway 160, which parallels the Sacramento River. Turns out, that’s not the ideal way to get to know the Delta.

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