Central California

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Forty years ago the Hmong people began seeking refuge in the United States after the CIA recruited a guerrilla army of Hmong people to fight the North Vietnamese in Laos in what’s known as the Secret War. Before coming to the US they spent years in refugee camps in Thailand. Thousands of those refugees made it to America where their lives changed forever. FM89’s Ezra David Romero speaks with a Hmong family who made the journey and has no desire to return to their homeland. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Imagine going to your kitchen sink to wash dishes, but when you turn on the tap little or now water flows out. That's the reality in homes of many people across the Central Valley, especially as the historic drought worsens.

As part of FM89's series My Valley, My Story featuring first person accounts from people throughout the San Joaquin Valley reporter Ezra David Romero visits the Madera County community of Chowchilla, where one family has lived without water for five years. 

"My first name is Rosa Garaby. I've been here 38 years."

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

When you think of California’s major technology centers, you probably think of Silicon Valley, or maybe even San Diego, but Fresno probably isn’t at the top of your list.  

http://www.traillink.com/trail/fresno-sugar-pine-trail--clovis-old-town-trail.aspx

Among the defining physical features of San Joaquin Valley cities are their irrigation canals. Some are just small ditches, while others are massive channels, but they all carry vital water to cities and farms throughout the region and have helped to make the valley bloom, and our modern economy possible.

Their banks are also un-official recreation spots for many, but a number of people want to change that, making their meandering paths part of a new network of community trails -  linear urban parks for walking, running and cycling. 

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=583

In rural Tulare County sits a small town that has a unique place in American history.

It was there in 1908, near the shore of the former Tulare Lake, that Colonel Allen Allensworth started the community that bore his name. A former slave, Allensworth's city remains unique to this day, a town founded, financed and governed by African Americans. 

Today Allensworth is a state historic park dedicated to preserving his legacy and the story of African Americans in the San Joaquin Valley.  

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

As the world’s largest agricultural trade show comes to an end today in Tulare County, FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on how the farm show boosts the local economy.  

The World Ag Expo in Tulare isn’t only about the latest in farm technology. It’s also about bringing outside dollars into the Valley.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

With the kickoff of the largest agriculture expo this week in Tulare County, innovation in technology is the buzz all across the region. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from Pixley where a new project is helping one local dairy turn their waste into biofuel.

About 15 miles south of the World Ag Expo in Tulare, a unique exchange is taking place between a dairy and an ethanol plant. The currency? Think manure. 

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Valley Children’s plan for a new medical education program for pediatric residents and fellows might lead to the breakup of a long running partnership in local medicine.

The new program will train doctors to become pediatric sub-specialists at the hospital, and will establish a fellowship program. The hospital’s choice to have its own residency program means that the hospital’s 40 year medical education partnership with UCSF – Fresno could come to an end.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

For many veterans life after war is anything but easy, once home veterans often find themselves isolated from the world around them. But one Fresno group’s mission is to provide a setting for veterans to come out of hiding and also learn more about their culture.

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.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This is the first story in a two part series by Ezra David Romero about what some are calling a tech boom in Central California. This week we talk Merced, next we explore Fresno. 

Meet a guy who wakes up and spends his entire day with Google.

“I’m Daniel Galindo, I’m a student at the Merced JC,” Galindo says.

This 22-year-old won’t label himself as nerd or a techie; he doesn’t have a programming degree or write code.

Diana Aguilera

Schools on the east side of Fresno County are already feeling the impact of California’s ongoing drought.

Education officials from the Kings Canyon Unified District say they have seen a significant drop in attendance this year.

 Superintendent Juan Garza says families have been forced to relocate, taking their school aged children with them.

Come August of next school year, there may be even less kids having fun on the playground. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the spike in the international trend of farmer suicides, fracking legislation and Central California political races. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Craft beer has swept the country and can be found in almost any grocery store in California. One local brewery has helped spearhead the movement in the Central California. FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero visits Fresno based Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company to hear about their latest innovation in brewing.

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Its 7:45 in the morning and Lee Morphew’s work day has just begun. He’s busy prepping for a day of beer making at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company in downtown Fresno. He’s Tioga-Sequoia’s head brewer and he loves to create new beer infusions.  

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Traditionally the April 1 snow survey marks the peak of the year’s snowpack, but with a string of early spring storms surveyors are rushing to measure the pack with just days to get their measurements in. Valley Public Radio reporter Ezra David Romero helped in the effort as a snow surveyor on a recent trip.

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At 6,000 feet Christine Bohrman, our pilot and I hop out of a helicopter into a snow laden meadow below Courtright Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest.

http://openpv.nrel.gov/visualization/index.php

It’s no secret that solar energy is a trend, but did you know that the Fresno metropolitan area is ranked first in the top 10 metro areas for solar power in the US?

The organization One Block Off the Grid – the Priceline of solar installations – was on a mission to find out which parts of the US use the most solar energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory held their answer through their database the Open PV Project.

Credit www.usbr.gov

Central Valley Farmers received the news today that they had been fearing for months. Due to the drought Central Valley Project contractors will receive an unprecedented “zero allocation.”

Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau says the allocation will force farmers to fallow huge portions of land across Central California.

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the issues of drought, changing culture among Hmong youth, the health of public forests and more.

Leading the program, Moore speaks with Lois Henry of the Bakersfield Californian and Kerman farmer Paul Betancourt about the drought, farmers fallowing fields, well drilling and more.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The question of “Who am I?” is a normal insecurity for teens and it’s a no brainer that Hmong youth in Central California would face a similar struggle. They’re grappling with the tribal religions of their refugee parents, other faiths encountered in the U.S., and the pressures of conforming to popular culture. Some have clung to the tribal ways of their ancestors, while others have lost faith altogether. Valley Public Radio Reporter Ezra David Romero visits with a group of Fresno Hmong high school students to bring you a glimpse into their struggle.

US National Weather Service Hanford California

California’s drought is causing big concerns for residents and farmers up and down the state. But while a storm is expected to bring some precipitation to the area Thursday, FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the valley’s rainfall deficit is actually worse than the season totals indicate.  

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According to independent meteorologist Steve Johnson, more moisture has evaporated from the ground than has actually fallen from the sky this rainy season.

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