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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Health
7:49 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Valley Educators Teach Healthy Eating

Sandra Ortega, 39, is a nutrition educator with the The University of California Cal-Fresh Nutrition Education program.
Lauren Whaley California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting

Last month, new data came out ranking California as the 12th skinniest state in the union. But, you wouldn’t know it living in the San Joaquin Valley, where one in three people is obese and therefore at risk for a slew of diseases, including diabetes, heart attack and early death.

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Health
7:18 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Doctor Shortage Hits Rural California

Dr. Rogelio Fernandez of the United Health Centers clinic in Parlier performs minor surgery on Yesenia Campuzano of Reedley. Dr. Fernandez, a Parlier native, welcomes a new UC program that encourages medical students to become doctors in the Valley.
Shellie Branco Valley Public Radio

Children and parents crowd the waiting room in the United Health Centers clinic for low-income patients in Parlier. It's a busy morning, and Dr. Rogelio Fernandez is seeing patients one right after the other. At this moment, he's treating 35 year old Yesenia Campuzano of Reedley. The birth control implant in her arm caused acne, so Dr. Fernandez is surgically removing the tiny, tube-like device. She's feeling the incision, so she needs more of the local anesthetic.

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Arts & Culture
5:30 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

Poet Laureate Philip Levine Speaks of Fresno, Unemployment

Last week the Library of Congress named Fresno poet Philip Levine the nation’s 18th Poet Laureate. A native of Detroit, Levine moved to Fresno in the 1950’s to teach English at Fresno State, where he founded the university’s creative writing program, and helped foster the San Joaquin Valley’s rich poetry community. In 1991 his collection "What Work Is" won the National Book Award, and in 1995, his book "The Simple Truth" was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Arts & Culture
5:56 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

Valley Bookstores Adapt to New Era

The Borders location at Fresno's River Park Shopping Center is among the 399 stores that are closing as part of the liquidation of the national chain bookseller.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

For some, the closing of Borders bookstores seemed to signal another nail in the coffin for book lovers. Another reminder of the fragile state of an industry being taken over by technology, e-readers and Amazon.com. But in Fresno and other San Joaquin Valley towns, some independent bookstores are not only doing okay, some are actually thriving. Valley Public Radio's Juanita Stevenson reports.

Health
7:55 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Farmers, Government Seek to Prevent Heat Illness

It's mid-morning under a sunny and nearly cloudless sky at Paul Betancourt's farm, about 20 miles southwest of Kerman. Two workers are getting ready to disk the wheat field with the tractor and irrigate the cotton. Betancourt has been monitoring the temperature.

"It was 86 when you drove up and the forecast for Fresno is 99," he says. "It's usually a little cooler out here. We've kinda done the heavy lifting for the day already."

One of his employees, Ruben Elenes, has been a farmworker for 15 years. He knows how to protect himself from the sun.

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Education
6:16 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Area Foster Youth Go On to Collegiate Success

There are 58,000 children in foster care in California and for many of them turning eighteen and aging out of care is overwhelming. Counties provide independent living programs to assist foster youth with this transition, but a different type of support is needed for those entering college. When former foster youth Kizzy Lopez was asked to help create a program at Fresno State to provide support for this incoming population, she made it happen.

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Government & Politics
6:43 pm
Fri July 22, 2011

CA Citizens Redistricting Commission Redraws the Lines

While it doesn't get nearly as much attention as the state's on-going budget debate, behind the scenes, work is underway on a set of maps that could dramatically alter California politics for a decade to come. The State's 14 member Citizens Redistricting Commission is currently at work on redrawing the lines of the state's assembly, state senate and congressional districts. And in a state where major decisions such as the budget and big social issues often are decided by just one or two votes, the stakes for all those involved are high.

Education
6:25 pm
Tue July 19, 2011

Teacher Layoff Law, Prospect of Cuts Pose Challenge For Districts

Last month, when California lawmakers passed a new state budget, they also passed a bill prohibiting local school districts from laying off teachers. Backers, including the California Teachers Association, say that the law protects students from class size increases and will save teacher jobs. School districts say it ties their hands, especially with the prospect of a midyear $1.5 billion funding cut if revenues fall short of projections.

Business & Economy
6:08 pm
Tue July 19, 2011

Lawsuits Pit Businesses Against Disabled Customers

In 1990, the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law, prohibiting discrimination against the disabled. It requires the removal of physical barriers in public spaces so the disabled can have full and equal enjoyment of community facilities.

But in recent years, Clovis businesses have faced a surge of lawsuits for buildings that aren't up to ADA construction requirements. This has led to a heated debate within the community over the rights of the disabled and the survival of small businesses in the recession.

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Business & Economy
6:30 pm
Tue July 12, 2011

Valley Professionals Struggle to Find Work

Among the groups hit the hardest in the economic downturn are business professionals. From April 2010 to April 2011 the business and professional sectors in Fresno County lost 1,800 jobs. Host Juanita Stevenson reports on how some Valley professionals are looking to re-enter the workforce and having success finding work. 

Health
7:43 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

Fresno Teen Find Hopes In Diagnosis

Victor Ycong, 15, works out with his father, Victor Ycong, Senior. The teenager, who is obese has started working out and eating healthier since his Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis in April. He says the diagnosis gave him a second chance at life.
Lauren Whaley California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting

We hear the term “obesity epidemic” often in the news these days.

Last month, the L.A. Unified School District voted to removed flavored milk from school lunch menus, a move proponents argue will help stem childhood obesity.

In April, the state assembly shelved a proposal to tax sugar-filled drinks. The money would have gone to obesity prevention programs.

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Health
7:37 pm
Thu May 26, 2011

Diabetes Patients Turn to Grey Market Sources

Californians spend $24 billion each year on diabetes care, and the Valley's diabetes rates are some of the highest in the state, around 10 percent. For people struggling with the disease, the financial and emotional burdens of diabetes make for a difficult combination. When the costs of diabetes testing supplies add up, some bypass the pharmacy and turn to the street to get what they need. Valley Public Radio's Shellie Branco reports on how some Valley residents are dealing with their disease.

Health
6:30 pm
Tue April 19, 2011

School Nurse Programs Suffer With Budget Cuts

When we hear about budget problems in California schools, we usually think of teachers losing their jobs. But school nurses are also worried about job security and cuts to student health services. In this report, FM89 health correspondent Shellie Branco talks with school nurses and one Visalia family who relies on them. 

Government & Politics
6:36 pm
Tue March 22, 2011

Chowchilla Faces Financial Crisis

California's cities have been hit hard in recent years. The housing bust, the economic downturn, and perennial state budget crises are just a few of the factors that have helped batter the balance sheets of municipalities up and down the Golden state. Valley cities are no exception, especially given the region’s perennially high levels of unemployment, even in so called "good" times. Many large cities, like Fresno have been forced to make drastic cuts to city services, and have been forced to lay off hundreds of employees.

Government & Politics
5:45 pm
Tue March 1, 2011

Prop 13 casts a long shadow on state, local government

Thirty three years ago, California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 13 into law, ushering in a new era of California politics and forever changing state and local government. Not only did the constitutional amendment cut property taxes nearly in half, its implementation also ushered in a major change in the way government services are provided, in the Golden State, centralizing more power in Sacramento. It also helped spark a wave of so called "ballot box budgeting" with citizens taking control of the power of the purse, in both setting tax rates and spending priorities.

Health
5:19 pm
Thu February 10, 2011

Budget Cuts Hit County Mental Health Program

As California’s counties face increasing budget pressures, programs that aid those with mental illness have been reduced or eliminated. In Fresno County, patients who used to be treated in the county’s Crisis Intervention Service program are now being sent to area hospital emergency rooms, with serious consequences for patients and the public. Correspondent Shellie Branco reports on the state of mental health services in the Valley.

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