California

Government & Politics
11:39 am
Tue December 23, 2014

With New Driver License Law, Indigenous Groups May Be Left Behind

The Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities offers driver's education workshops specifically for those who speak Mixtec.
Credit BCDOIC

Starting in 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles expects about 1.5 million undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver license. For many, this will be their first time legally driving in the state.

Immigration advocates applaud this change but also say there's a big concern. Some are worried they will fail the behind the wheel test since it won't be offered in the native languages many immigrants speak.

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Valley Edition
11:29 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Valley Edition: Dec. 16 - Dairies Leaving California; Valley Children's Hospital; Crescent Concert

Valley Edition Dec. 16, 2014
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we a take a look at why some dairies are leaving California for what they say are greener pastures in the Midwest. Also on the program you'll hear the story of a once homeless female veteran who now helps homeless veterans in Fresno.

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Agriculture
10:45 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Midwest Recruiting California Dairies To Pump Up Rural Economy

Many California diaries are struggling through drought and feeling crowded by urbanization. Midwestern states are hoping to capitalize by offering abundant water, feed, and open spaces.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

This is the second story in a two-part series reported in partnership with Harvest Public Media. The first story explores why a Merced family is on the move to South Dakota: California Dairies Look To Midwest’s Greener Pastures.

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Drought
3:45 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

When Will The Taps Run Dry? Groundwater Discussion On Valley Edition

Changes in total water storage in California from NASA GRACE.
Credit http://jayfamiglietti.com/writing/

Parts of Central California have been hit especially hard by the drought, and specifically the dropping water table beneath the ground. But as California farms and cities lean more and more on their aquifers, many are concerned that more and more wells will go dry.

This is not a new story. Huge portions of the San Joaquin Valley have actually dropped due to massive pumping of water from the ground dating back to the 1920’s. The question is – when will the taps run dry.

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Drought
1:47 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Drought-Stricken Valley Town Gets Hot Showers

Gilberto Sandoval, 81, lives across the street from the church where the showers are installed.
Credit Ezra David Romro / Valley Public Radio

Drought conditions in parts of Central California have become so harsh that it’s normal to turn on the tap have no coming out.  A few months ago we brought you the story of East Porterville where more than 600 homes are without water because their household wells have dried up. Now, some of the town’s residents will have access to something they haven’t had in months. 

The last time Gilberto Sandoval took a warm shower was over a month ago.

“I’ve  been without running water for the last three months,” Sandoval says. “ No water whatsoever.”

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Health
12:51 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Covered California Hopes To Enroll More Latinos, But There's A Problem

Covered California executive director Peter Lee urges Fresno residents to sign up during the second open enrollment period, which started Saturday and runs through February 15.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

With the second open enrollment period of Covered California in full swing, state officials are boosting their efforts to reach out to Latinos. Yet, there are many people in the Central Valley who are living in the shadows when it comes to enrolling for health care.

Covered California officials say they're proud to have signed up 1.2 million people for health insurance during the first year. But Executive Director Peter Lee says there’s still some things they want to improve.

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Government & Politics
3:03 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Madera Community Split On Proposition 48, Casino Plan

The site of the proposed casino along Highway 99 in Madera County.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

In just a few weeks Proposition 48 will ask California voters to approve or reject a plan to build a new Indian casino on Highway 99 north of Madera. Members of the North Fork Rancheria say it’s a vital importance to the future of their tribe while critics, largely backed by other casinos, say it would set a dangerous precedent for what they call "reservation shopping." FM 89’s Diana Aguilera explains what this proposal means for the county and the city of Madera.

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Wildfire
4:56 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Suspects Identified In Courtney Fire, Arson Fires

The Courtney Fire burns to the shore of Bass Lake on Sunday September 14.
Credit Don L. Weaver / Valley Public Radio

Cal Fire officials say they have identified suspects responsible for starting the Courtney Fire, and a series of arson fires in Oakhurst.

Investigators say a juvenile is suspected of intentionally starting 13 fires in Madera County. Officials say the fires were all sparked in the Oakhurst area over the past few months, but do not include the Courtney or the Junction fires.

Officials also say they now know who’s believed to be responsible for starting the Courtney Fire that burned more than 300 acres near Bass Lake.

Bernie Quinn is a battalion chief for Cal Fire.

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Wildfire
6:42 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Bass Lake Residents On Edge After Courtney Fire

A burned SUV sits on a driveway of a destroyed home on Monday afternoon near Road 426 and Cedar Drive in Oakhurst.
Diana Aguilera Valley Public Radio

Cal Fire officials appear to be gaining the upper hand on the Courtney Fire that destroyed over 30 homes near Bass Lake in the mountains of Madera County. The blaze has burned over 300 acres and is now 90 percent contained. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports.

Hundreds of people remain in evacuation after the Courtney Fire tore through houses and buildings.

As fire crews continue to make progress, some residents are returning to their homes. But there are others who never left.

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Environment
11:47 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Can't Afford To Dig A New Well? You'll Have To Hire This Guy

Eugene Keeney delivers water all across Central California. He says the calls came in extra early this year.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio.

With fires raging in the region and no sign that the drought will ease up, farmers and even homeowners are on the hunt for water. The initial answer is to dig a new well. But wells are expensive. In this piece FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on a solution that many Valley homeowners rely on.

Eugene Keeney hooks his 2,500 gallon water truck to a fire hydrant on the northern edge of Clovis. 

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Business & Economy
5:41 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

California Economist: No Surprise Tesla Chose Nevada

In a big blow to California, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval says Tesla Motor Company will build a car battery plant in the Silver State. Sandoval says it will be the world’s biggest and most advanced of its kind.
Credit Tesla Motors

In a big blow to California, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval says Tesla Motor Company will build a car battery plant in the Silver State.  Sandoval says it will be the world’s biggest and most advanced of its kind. 

California was one of five states vying for the plant that is estimated to build enough batteries to power a half-million vehicles by the year 2020.

Stephen Levy  with the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy says he wasn’t surprised the electric car company chose Nevada over the Golden State.

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Environment
5:49 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

California's Cap and Trade System Could Help Ease Central Valley Pollution

The Central Valley could benefit from these funds since many counties ranked among the worst in the CalEnviroScreen 2.0 report.
Credit The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

California’s cap and trade program could help clean up pollution in the Central Valley. FM89’s Diana Aguilera explains the early stages of the effort.

A few months ago the state came out with a report ranking the most polluted places in California. Many Fresno County neighborhoods ranked among the worst.  

Now the California Environmental Protection Agency is hoping to use that data to clean up these areas through the state’s cap and trade system.

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Health
5:35 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Local Health Officials Worried: Whooping Cough Epidemic Strikes California

The last time California reached a whooping cough epidemic was in 2010. Health officials say it peaks every three to five years.

For the first time in four years, whooping cough has reached an epidemic level. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports how this peak has local health officials worried.

California health officials have recently confirmed that cases of pertussis also known as whooping cough have reached epidemic proportions in the state.

The Department of Public Health reported more than 3,400 cases so far this year. That’s a thousand more cases than all of last year.

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Environment
5:33 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Shirley Fire Threatens Homes, Prompts Evacuation

The Shirley Fire sparked Friday in the Sequoia National Forest, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate.
Credit Incident Information System

  Update: As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, the blaze is 90 percent contained and has charred 2,646 acres. All evacuations have been lifted.

A rapidly moving wildfire in the Sequoia National Forest has already engulfed 2,200 acres and is threatening 1,000 homes near the Kern County community of Lake Isabella. KVPR’s Diana Aguilera reports.

Pushed by strong winds, the Shirley Fire has already destroyed homes and is burning in steep, rugged terrain about 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield.

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Valley Edition
12:30 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Instagram Art Show Highlights KVPR's #droughtvoices

A view of the Friant Kern Canal heading towards the town of Orange Cove, California.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

Guests in interview above: Don Martin of Metro Galleries and KVPR Reporter and Producer Ezra David Romero. 

Over the past few months Valley Public Radio Reporter Ezra David Romero has covered California's historic drought.

He's written stories, snapped photos and launched an Instagram reporting collaborative with youth reporters, farmers and other social media users called "Voices of the Drought" using the hashtag #droughtvoices. 

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Government & Politics
1:36 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Senate Waits On Health Care Bill For Undocumented Immigrants

“In my view, expanding health care for all Californians is not a question of if, but a matter of when,” said State Sen. Ricardo Lara.
Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

A bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to enroll in Medi-Cal is on hold for now.

Senate Bill 1005, known as the Health for All Act, was put on hold in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday giving advocates time come up with funding solutions.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced the bill in February.

Besides expanding services to the undocumented, Lara’s bill would create a health insurance marketplace. This would allow undocumented people who earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal the chance to buy private coverage with the help from the state.

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Environment
5:55 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Innovation Needed To Crack Central California's Monterey Shale

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The much talked about oil boom to come out of Central California is on hold, unless new technology finds a way to safely crack the Monterey Shale that could hold over 13 billion barrels of oil.

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Health
5:46 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Mosquitoes Have Fresno County Health Officials On High Alert

This invasive type of mosquito was first detected in California and Fresno County last summer.
Credit Fresno County Department of Public Health

Two different types of mosquitoes – one that carries West Nile Virus and another that can spread dengue and yellow fever have Fresno County health officials on high alert.

The county says a crow reported earlier this month tested positive for West Nile Virus. Officials have also detected the presence of another invasive mosquito species that can spread potentially serious tropical diseases. In severe cases, the more serious symptoms stemming from these diseases can lead to death.

David Luchini is the assistant director for the county’s Department of Public Health.

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Government & Politics
4:23 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

New Bill Would Allow Undocumented Immigrants Medical, Professional Licenses

State Sen. Ricardo Lara says the bill would ensure that more Californians have an effective means of economic mobility and self-sufficiency.
Credit Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

With immigration reform efforts seemingly stalled in Washington D.C., the California legislature is continuing to take its own steps to address the undocumented immigrants who call the state home. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on one new bill that would help a variety of undocumented professionals.

In order to practice medicine doctors have to provide a social security number to obtain a license from the state. This process automatically excludes undocumented immigrants from applying.

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Community
7:00 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Kentucky Derby Favorite California Chrome Owes Success To Valley Roots

California Chrome as a yearling.
Harris Farms

It’s every horse owners' dreams. A fairy tale come true.

A modest and agile colt with four white feet and a giant white blaze on his chestnut face born in the San Joaquin Valley is now the favorite in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Just a month ago at the Santa Anita Derby, California Chrome dominated the field.

That win in Southern California is just the latest chapter in a remarkable story that has its roots in Fresno County. David McGlothlin, gave me a tour of where it all began, at the Harris Farms in western Fresno County.

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