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. 

Genre: 

Pages

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.

Read more
Prisons
6:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Do California's Security Housing Units Reduce Prison Violence?

Looking into a SHU pod through a metal door.
Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

California’s prison system uses Security Housing Units, or SHUs, as a way to isolate alleged gang members from the general inmate population. But gangs remain a problem in prisons and the outcry over using solitary confinement for long periods of time is growing. Now some lawmakers are asking whether the SHUs are working.

Steven Czifra spent four years locked up in a Security Housing Unit. Isolated from other inmates, alone in his cell for 22 ½ hours a day, he said there wasn’t much too do.

Read more
Health
6:06 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Yellow Fever Mosquitoes Discovered in Fresno, Fowler

The yellow fever mosquito is a small, dark mosquito with white markings and banded legs. It may be active around dusk and dawn but bites most often during the day and often bites indoors.
Credit Fresno County Public Health Department

The Fresno County Public Health Department has announced that yellow fever  mosquitoes have been found two more valley cities. The mosquitoes, which are not native to California, were discovered earlier this week in the cities of Fowler and Fresno.

It’s not the first time the potentially dangerous insects have been spotted in the county. In June, the mosquitoes were detected in Clovis. They have also been found in Madera County and San Mateo County.

Read more
Prisons
11:16 am
Wed October 16, 2013

At Pelican Bay, A Look Inside California's Security Housing Units

Inmate Robert Hoff stands inside his cell in the Pelican Bay SHU
Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

Imagine spending 22 hours a day locked in a small, concrete room. That’s daily life for about four-thousand California prisons inmates. On a recent media tour, journalists got glimpse of that life on a visit to the Security Housing Units at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Nearly 1,200 men are housed in the complex of low, concrete buildings. To get to them you have to go pass through a series of heavy gates and doors.

Read more
Prisons
5:08 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

US Supreme Court Rejects State's Prison Appeal

Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown has been turned down by the US Supreme Court once again. He won’t get a hearing on a federal order to reduce prison overcrowding in the state. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear Brown’s appeal, attempting to overturn a federal court order to reduce prison overcrowding in the state. California has until the end of January to comply with the order, but could be given an extension if it develops a suitable long-term plan to reduce overcrowding.

Read more
Water
3:48 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Perea: California Water Bond Needs Fixing Before It Goes To Voters in 2014

Assembly Member Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno)
Credit The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

The state's twice-delayed water bond needs more tweaking - and a diet - before it goes to voters in November 2014. That was the message delivered by Assembly member Henry T. Perea on Tuesday, as he spoke on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition.

Read more
California's Delta: Inside And Out
12:44 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

California Water Series Part 3: Food, Farms and Delta Water

Workers pack cantaloupes on Joe Del Bosque's farm
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

California is the nation’s largest agricultural state. It would not be possible without water from the Delta. Farmers say the water is their lifeblood, but it’s been cut back year after year.

California's farms and ranches generated nearly $45 billion in revenue last year. Without water exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to arid Central Valley land, much of the produce we get in restaurants and grocery stores wouldn't come from California.

At Magpie Cafe in Sacramento, co-owner and Chef Ed Roehr sits down just as the lunch crowd is thinning.

Read more
California's Delta: Inside and Out
6:00 am
Tue October 15, 2013

California Water Series Part 2: The Delta's Fragile Ecology

out on a boat on Montezuma Slough in the Suisun Marsh.
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was once a vast tidal marshland and inland estuary. Now thousands of miles of fragile levees surround artificial islands below sea level. More than 90 percent of wetlands have disappeared, and native fish are dying.

Suisun Marsh is the largest brackish water marsh on the West Coast. It’s at the Delta’s western most edge.  University of California Davis researchers set out on a boat in Montezuma Slough, which connects the Sacramento River to Suisun Bay.

Read more
California's Delta: Inside and Out
6:27 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

California's Water Supply, A 700-Mile Journey

Chrisman Pumping Plant at the Grapevine
Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio

Both the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project rely on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to bring water to central and southern California. Amy Quinton takes us on a 700 mile journey following California's water supply.

Engineers drive me through a tunnel on an electric cart. We’re going down to the Hyatt Power Plant, which lies under rock at the bottom of the Oroville Dam.

Read more
Government & Politics
7:34 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

New Poll Says Voters Support Changes to Initiative process

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new report suggests that although Californians strongly support the state’s initiative process, they’d like to see changes to limit the power of special interests and increase the role of the legislature.  

The report comes from the Public Policy Institute of California.  It analyzed its polling data to determine whether several potential initiative process changes would be popular.  Turns out they are, says the PPIC’s Mark Baldassare.  For example:

Read more
Prisons
7:26 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Lawmakers Take Closer Look at State Prison SHUs

A Security Housing Unit cell in Pelican Bay State Prison.
Credit Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Members of the California legislature are focusing their attention on Security Housing Units within state prisons. Katie Orr has details on a hearing held today in Sacramento.

Read more
Health Care Reform
4:45 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Covered California Says More Than 28,000 People Have Joined Exchange

The Covered California health insurance exchange reported today that, during its first week of operation, more than 28,000 people became eligible for coverage. Max Pringle reports from Sacramento.

Covered California says the level of interest so far shows how eager Californians are for affordable health insurance.

“A million people in week one researching and finding out what’s right for them is huge,” says Peter Lee, Director of Covered California. He says early confusion about the level of interest was the result of semantics not accounting errors.

Read more
Government & Politics
10:18 am
Mon October 7, 2013

On Recall's 10-Year Anniversary, Schwarzenegger's Legacy Up for Debate

Ten years ago Monday, Arnold Schwarzenegger unseated Gray Davis in a unique election in California history. But the debate over Schwarzenegger’s legacy – and the Recall itself – persists to this day.
Credit Capital Public Radio

Ten years ago today, Arnold Schwarzenegger unseated Gray Davis in a unique election in California history.  As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the debate over Schwarzenegger’s legacy – and the Recall itself – persists to this day.

Schwarzenegger in 2003 TV Ad: “I want to be the people’s governor.  I will work honestly without fear or favor to do what is right for all Californians.”

Announcer: “Join Arnold and let’s bring California back.”

Read more
Government & Politics
5:28 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

In Fresno, Brown Signs Bill Giving Undocumented Immigrants Driving Privileges

Governor Jerrry Brown speaks at a event marking the signing of AB60 at Fresno City College
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown made a trip to Fresno today (Thursday) to sign a bill that gives undocumented immigrants the right to drive legally.  He signed AB60 into law in front of a crowd of over 300 students, staff and immigration supporters at Fresno City College.

“We’re recognizing millions of people who have been in the shadows. They’ve picked our food, they’ve built our houses, they’ve waited on our tables,” Governor Jerry Brown says. “Well today they become legal drivers in California.”  

Read more
Environment
6:02 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Despite Shutdown, Rim Fire Recovery Moves Forward

The Forest Service's Emergency Stabilization-Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) is working to remove safety hazards and prevent soil erosion in the fire area
Credit US Forest Service BAER Team

National parks across the country may be off-limits to visitors due to the government shutdown, but in the Sierra, it hasn’t stopped efforts to recover from the Rim Fire.

A crew of around 50 fire response specialists are still on the job in the Stanislaus National Forest and in Yosemite National Park.

Read more
Community
1:07 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Road Trip To Collect Dust Bowl Stories on 75th Anniversary of 'Grapes of Wrath'

"Young migratory mother, originally from Texas. On the day before the photograph was made she and her husband traveled 35 miles each way to pick peas. They worked 5 hours each and together earned $2.25. They have two young children . . . Live in auto camp." - at Edison in Kern County California - April 11, 1940
Credit Dorothea Lange / National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics

A group of artists is gearing up for a cross-country road trip that will end in California. It's part of a project to mark the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath." Steve Milne reports.

The trip starts Friday in Oklahoma, retracing the path the Joad family took along Route 66 in "The Grapes of Wrath" with stops in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

Read more
Health Care Reform
10:54 am
Wed October 2, 2013

California's Health Marketplace Opening Through the Eyes of One Uninsured Woman

Credit Edge Hill University, Learning Services Learning Technology Development / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

Covered California opened for business Tuesday. By mid-afternoon, seventeen thousand phone inquiries had been made to the state exchange call centers. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone in Sacramento has the story of one uninsured woman who went shopping for new coverage online.  

Even before the Covered California call center in Rancho Cordova opened, there were floating balloons and words of congratulations.

Read more
Health Care Reform
5:08 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Covered California Chair Dooley Praises "A Commitment to A Culture of Coverage"

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley
Credit CHHS Dept

On Tuesday, California launched its version of Obamacare, with the official debut of the state’s insurance exchange Covered California.

Despite the shutdown of the federal government, the exchange is moving ahead, according to California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley, who spoke to Valley Public Radio Tuesday morning, prior to a launch event at Fresno State. 

Read more
Health Care Reform
12:14 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

How Does The Obamacare Launch Compare With Medicare's Debut?

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare Bill, July 30, 1965
Credit LBJ Presidential Library / YouTube / Public Domain

Open enrollment for health coverage under the federal health law began Tuesday.  Millions of people who may have had trouble getting insurance now have new options. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone reports on how the roll out of the Affordable Care Act compares to the last time the federal government made coverage available to millions.

Ever since the Affordable Care Act passed, health policy makers have been comparing it to another moment in history.

OBAMA: Is this, the most important step that we’ve taken towards health care since Medicare? Absolutely. 

Read more
Just One Breath
9:55 am
Mon September 23, 2013

'Unprecedented' Meeting Focuses On Valley Fever

Congressman Kevin McCarthy is hosting a symposium on valley fever in Bakersfield.
Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Kings County health officer Dr. Michael MacLean uses one word to sum up this week’s valley fever symposium: 'Unprecedented.'

He says it’s a big deal that the leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health are gathering in Bakersfield to focus their attention on an orphan disease that mainly affects the southwestern United States.

Read more

Pages