Twitter / Asm. Susan Talamantes Eggman /

Go to a rural high school in Central California, and one of the most popular extra-curricular programs will be FFA – Future Farmers of America. But now the people who run those programs say their future is threatened in Governor Brown’s new budget.

It’s all part of a big change to the way school districts get their money from Sacramento – the Local Control Funding Formula. In general it’s been good news for schools up and down the valley, as it redirects more money to districts with high populations of low-income families, English learners and foster youth.

Political Fight Over Fracking Takes Center Stage In California

Mar 25, 2014
Center For Race, Poverty and the Environment - Twitter /

California is instituting what some are calling the toughest regulations in the nation for the controversial oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  But some environmentalists say the regulations don’t go far enough to protect air and water quality.

Several local governments have enacted moratoriums; others are calling for an outright ban on fracking. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the politics are beginning to take center stage.

Drought May Hurt School Attendance in Central Valley

Mar 18, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Declining school attendance may be the latest side-effect of California’s punishing drought. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction will visit the Central Valley Wednesday to talk about the problem.

School attendance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the impact of the drought on California. But it is affected. Less water means fewer crops, which means fewer farm jobs. And when the jobs disappear, families of migrant workers move on, taking their school age children with them.

Joe Moore / Va

Deep beneath the oldest part of Bakersfield lies a hidden world, unknown to most, and forgotten by many. Yet some still have vivid memories of these underground passages or "tunnels" as some people describe them. 

These connected basements, and the activities that took place "underground" - gambling, brothels, blue movies, are not just the stuff of legend, they're still very real in the minds of many older Kern County residents.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Cities like Merced Fresno and Bakersfield all share one common thread, other than being major stops on Highway 99.

Google Maps

California’s drought has communities up and down the valley looking conserve water. The City of Orange Cove has already banned outdoor watering this year, and later tonight the Lemoore City Council will hold a meeting to discuss ways the city can get residents to reduce their water use by as much as 25 percent.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The 2014 season of Young Artists Spotlight begins with a performance by four talented teens from Bakersfield, Henry Song, Liang (Vicky) Zhao, Sharon Hong and Sebastian Lee. Together they are the Bakersfield Youth Symphony String Quartet. They performed the following:

Bach: 1st movement from the Third Brandenburg Concerto
Mozart: Rondo
Folk song medley: Londonderry Air (Danny Boy) and Arkansas Traveller (arranged by George Frederick McKay)  
Mozart: 1st movement from Eine kleine nachtmusik

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck’s tale of the Dust Bowl emigration to California – the Grapes of Wrath. Late last year, Cal State Bakersfield launched a year-long celebration of the book and its author, which includes an event taking place Wednesday night at CSUB titled “If Steinbeck was a Farmer.”

SMG - Fresno Convention Center

The last seven days have been significant ones for local ice hockey fans. Last week, the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL announced that the team has been acquired by the NHL’s Edmonton Oliers. Fans and local officials hope the change will help give a boost to the popular franchise in many ways.

This week on Valley Edition our reporting team discusses how Valley air quality may affect our genes, a library vending machine that dispenses books, hockey in the region and much more.

Starting off the program, Valley Public Radio Reporter Rebecca Plevin reports on the issue of pollution and how it relates to our health. She explores the question of whether pollution is affecting Valley residents at cellular level.