Bakersfield

Government & Politics
5:43 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Bakersfield Shuts Down Union Avenue Homeless Encampment

In this photo from April, tents are seen at the encampment before the city removed a wall that had screened much of the site from public view.
Credit Kern County Homeless Collaborative Faces of Homelessness Facebook Page

On Wednesday, crews from the City of Bakersfield closed down a homeless encampment on South Union Avenue that many residents had called home for years. In recent months the area had become a growing concern for officials responsible for enforcing city codes. Homeless advocates estimate that at the close, around 24 people lived in the encampment. Officials estimate that all but five found some sort of housing, either through shelters, programs or with family members.  

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Drought
5:01 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Despite Drought, Officials Warn Kern River Is Still Deadly

Officials update signs that mark the number of people who have died on the Kern River since 1968.
Credit Kern County Fire Department Facebook page

California’s drought has caused many lakes and rivers to drop to low levels; but officials say it hasn’t eliminated the risk of drowning. FM-89’s Jason Scott reports on why one local river is of particular concern.

The Kern River is one of many popular spots travelers will flock to to this Memorial Day weekend. But officials warn that despite the drought, the river can still be deadly, especially if people ignore safety precautions.

Al Watson is a ranger with the Sequoia National Forest.  He says the river can still pose a drowning hazard despite its low levels.  

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Community
3:48 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Gallup Poll: Valley Cities Don't Feel Safe

Credit Gallup

A new national survey indicates three Central Valley communities are among the worst in the nation when it comes to resident’s perception of safety.

A Gallup poll recently released shows that Fresno residents say they are the least likely to feel safe and secure in their neighborhoods. The Stockton-Lodi region and Bakersfield ranked second and third.

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Valley Edition
12:33 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Valley Edition: April 28 - Visalia; Drought; Fresno Mayor; Buena Vista Museum

Valley Edition April 28, 2015
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about drought, elections and more. First KVPR Reporter Jeffrey Hess reports from Visalia where the city is looking to increase Hispanic representation with council districts. Also, KVPR's Ezra David Romero visits Tulare County where 60 percent of the state's dry residential wells are located

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Valley Edition
11:44 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Valley Edition Interview: Daniel Ellsberg On Edward Snowden

Daniel Ellsberg
Credit Kegley Institute of Ethics

Daniel Ellsberg has been called a traitor and the  "most dangerous man in America." He's also been called a hero and a patriot. Over four decades ago he illegally released a set of documents known as the Pentagon Papers, top secret government reports that detailed the U.S. government's role in Vietnam dating back to the late 1940's. Those documents, eventually published in the New York Times, helped further turn public sentiment against the war, eventually bringing the conflict to an end. 

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Valley Edition
10:57 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Valley Edition: April 13 - Fairmead; Nine Armenians; Daniel Ellsberg; High Speed Rail

Valley Edition April 13, 2015
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

On this week's program Reporter Ezra David Romero visits the Central Valley community of Fairmead where dozens of private wells have gone dry.

Also on Valley Edition Reporter Jeffrey Hess looks at a program helping people find jobs along the future high speed rail corridor.

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Young Artists Spotlight
6:09 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Samuel Lang on Young Artsits Spotlight 2015

Samuel Lang performing on Young Artists Spotlight
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Young Artists Spotlight we hear a performance by Bakersfield violinist Samuel Lang. 

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Immigration
5:07 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Feds Transfer Immigrants To New Detention Center In Bakersfield

The detention center, a former prison, will house up to 300 men and 100 women who are awaiting their final outcome of their immigration proceedings.
Credit Google Map

The Central Valley is now home to a new detention center for immigrants facing deportation. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports.  

Federal officials have already moved around 60 people into the new center in Bakersfield since its doors opened two weeks ago.

Virginia Kice, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says the Mesa Verde Detention Facility will house up to 400 people.

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Government & Politics
11:25 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Kern County Could Explore Privatizing Public Libraries

The Beale Memorial Library in downtown Bakersfield (file photo)
Credit Kern County Public Library

In Kern County, the state’s leader when it comes to oil production, the industry not only drives the local economy, it also helps drive the county’s general fund.

That’s because the county’s assessor puts a value on all of the oil that remains deep underground, and uses that figure when it comes time to collect property taxes. When the price of oil goes up, county revenues soar. But when the price of oil goes down, officials are left scrambling to cover the shortfall.

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Health
1:42 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Valley Children's Hospital Opens Clinic In Bakersfield

The new outpatient clinic in Bakersfield is offering six pediatric specialties.
Credit Zara Arboledo / Valley Children's Hospital

Valley Children’s Hospital has opened an outpatient clinic in Bakersfield in an effort to help ease the growing demand for pediatric specialists in Kern County.

The clinic on 34th street opened its doors Monday. 

“We’re able to start seeing patients that would of normally had to travel to Madera a little bit closer to home in Bakersfield,” says Kari Boscacci, the director of Ambulatory Operations.

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Environment
5:37 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

State Hearing On Oil Waste Injections Into Aquifers Asks 'What Went Wrong?'

An oil well in Kern County, near Taft (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Two senate committees water and the environment held a joint hearing Tuesday in Sacramento focusing on the potential contamination of federally protected aquifers by oil producers. 

The state's Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources had allowed production companies to inject oil field waste water into some aquifers that the EPA says could be used for drinking water. The revelation has resulted in the shutdown of 23 wells, slowing production in Kern County. 

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Young Artists Spotlight
5:47 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Bakersfield Youth Symphony String Quartet on Young Artists Spotlight 2015

The Bakersfield Youth Symphony String Quartet performs in-studio at Valley Public Radio
George Mason Valley Public Radio

With members seemingly beyond their years in life experience, the Bakersfield Youth Symphony String Quartet graced the FM89 studios with individual stories to tell, in addition to the musicians’ performances of Bach, Haydn, Tchaikovsky and more.

Violinist Henry Song, a Stockdale H.S. senior and in his second visit to Young Artist Spotlight, came ready to tell us of his football prowess and his hopes for the future on a college gridiron. Hearing his violin mastery, one hopes he insures his fingers!

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Government & Politics
6:24 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Salas Bill Would Help Homeowners Rip Out Lawns

A drought-resistant garden in the Central Valley. (file photo)
Credit Central Valley Friendly Landscaping Website - http://ucanr.edu/sites/cvlandscape/ / University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

It might become a little easier to replace your lawn with artificial grass if a new bill in Sacramento becomes law. FM89’s Joe Moore reports.

Assemblymember Rudy Salas says he wants to take the model the state has used to subsidize solar power on homes across the state and apply it to another green project – removing lawns.

Salas introduced a bill Tuesday that would provide a tax credit to homeowners who remove their lawns and replace them either with drought-resistant landscaping or synthetic lawns.

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Community
12:12 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

McFarland Residents Cheer As Movie Makes Bakersfield Debut

The Disney film "McFarland, USA" is a fictionalized story based on the real-life McFarland High School cross country team and their coach Jim White, played here by Kevin Costner.
Credit Disney

On its opening weekend, the movie McFarland, USA grossed more than $11 million at the box office, ranking No. 4 in the nation. Without a movie theater in their town, the people of McFarland have been flocking to Maya Cinemas in Bakersfield, 25 miles away, to attend several premiere events.

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Young Artists Spotlight
10:10 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Stockdale High Soloists on Young Artists Spotlight 2015

Alice Lee and Liang (Vicky) Zhao perform of this edition of Young Artists Spotlight
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Young Artists Spotlight we hear performances from two talented musicians from Bakersfield's Stockdale High - junior Alice Lee and sophomore Liang (Vicky) Zhao. Both are members of the Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra and the each play multiple instruments.

Alice plays piano, flute and piccolo but her emphasis is violin, which she has been playing for six years. She even has two students of her own now. And Alice is Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra soloist for the 2014-15 season. She plans to major in music, all the way to a PhD professorship.

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Environment
11:58 am
Tue February 10, 2015

California Will Strengthen Oil Drilling Waste Rules

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California says it will do a better job of monitoring oil drilling that could affect the state’s groundwater supply. From Sacramento, Katie Orr reports on a new plan out Monday.

Drilling for oil can be messy. About 90 percent of the fluid that comes up is waste water and the oil companies have to dispose of it somewhere. California lets them inject the waste back into the ground in designated locations. But last summer the state became aware that some of these injections were happening in unauthorized locations. That prompted a review of the practice.

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Valley Edition
11:46 am
Tue February 3, 2015

On Valley Edition: Feb. 2 - Measles; Uranium In Valley Water; Yosemite Fox; Bakersfield Art

Valley Edition February 3, 2015
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the ongoing measles scare with Dr.

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Valley Edition
1:10 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

On Valley Edition: State Parks, Talking Is Teaching, Death With Dignity Law, Bakersfield Sound

This week on Valley Edition, we look at the the future of California’s state parks system. After years of budget cuts and closures, how should this treasured part of the Golden State reinvent itself? We hear a special report.

We’ll also learn more about a new program called Talking Is Teaching that focuses on early childhood education, and something called the "word gap." That's the estimated 30 million fewer words that children from lower income families hear compared to those from upper income families. 

Talking Is Teaching segment guests: 

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Music
12:47 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Where Does The "Bakersfield Sound" Go From Here?

Credit nickchapman / Flickr - Creative Commons

Detroit has Motown, Seattle has grunge, and San Francisco has psychedelic rock. Just three examples of American cities where unique musical styles developed and thrived, gaining international attention and helping to define the very image and sound of those places.

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Government & Politics
7:16 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Falling Oil Prices Could Deliver $61 Million Hit To Kern County Budget

Kern County Administrative Building (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Falling oil prices could deliver a big hit to the Kern County general fund. The Board of Supervisors will consider a staff proposal to declare a fiscal emergency at its meeting next week. County property tax dollars are heavily dependent on the price of oil. 

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