Ezra David Romero

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

 California is in the midst of one of the driest years on record and with over a third of the Central Valley’s jobs tied to agriculture and hundreds of thousands of acres going fallow leaders in the region are expecting ag jobs to be few and far between. FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero reports from one west side Valley town that is already feeling the pinch.

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In this occasional series the Valley Public Radio news team explores the impacts of the drought through the voices and sounds of Central California. 

We invite listeners and viewers to engage in the series by leaving comments on stories and by sharing Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts using the hashtag #droughtvoices.

Posts and photos using the hashtag may appear on the Voices of the Drought Tumblr page alongside stories the news team produces.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero reports on Valley entrepreneurs while host Joe Moore leads conversations on the film Fight For Water, unauthorized prison sterilizations in Chowchilla and three Fresno bands set to perform at the tech and music festival South By Southwest in Austin, TX.

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.

The kNOw Youth Media

Popular culture and traditional values often differ when it comes to perspective on healthy weight for girls. In this commentary, Edison High School Student Mai Chong Vang tells her story of self-acceptance while belonging to cultures that promote opposing ideal body types and how Hmong and American perspectives have challenged her to accept who she is.

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My name is Mai Chong Vang, but I go by Chonny.

I’m from East Central Fresno, my family is Hmong and we practice Shamanism.

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.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In rural Tulare County school libraries are small, and in many towns public libraries are nonexistent. While eBooks and eReaders continue to be one of the hottest trends in education, these same small towns often struggle with a persistent digital divide between the haves and the have nots. But as Ezra David Romero reports, officials with the Tulare County Library system are now using a different sort of  technology to help improve literacy and help kids develop a lifelong love of reading.

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

 

Around 40 activists, health advocates and bus riders rallied in Central Fresno Thursday urging the Fresno City Council to support an improved bus system.

Bus Rapid Transit would be a network of busses that would reduce travel time on major corridors like Blackstone Avenue by having fewer stops, pre-boarding fare collection and priority traffic signals. Fifty million dollars in federal and state funding has already been allocated which will pay for construction and the first three years of operation.

Matt Billingsley, the general manager of Dog House Grill, says the eatery cooks up 1,200 pounds of tri-tip daily.
Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

People in Central California love barbecue. From backyard grills to popular new restaurants featuring tri tip, ribs and brisket, it’s one of the biggest food trends in the valley. One Fresno destination is so popular, a line wraps around its building daily.

Fresno’s Dog House Grill is Valley famous for tri-tip, pulled pork and their family recipe barbecue sauce.

Connie Nicholson and her husband visit Dog House weekly.

“I like the Barbecue sauce, it’s really good and the tri-tip’s always just right,” Nicholson says. “I get the tri-tip sandwich every time.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Fires in the Sierra Nevada are a natural phenomenon, but with human sparked blazes - like this summer's Rim Fire - the ecology of the mountain range is in flux. Will the high country scorched this summer ever return to its natural glory or will the region of the forest be littered with shrubbery? In this report Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero takes a walk through multiple groves scorched by fires - caused naturally and by the human hand - and speaks with ecologists about the future of the forest burned by the Rim Fire.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The craft distilling industry, much like the craft brewing industry, is taking off across the nation. The trend is on par in the San Joaquin Valley as well, a region where experts say there are more unauthorized distillers than legal – a sign that the region may see a boom in legal distilleries just like it has with craft beer.  And when Governor Brown signed AB 933 in September, craft distilleries in California came out ahead with the newly gained ability to offer tastings.

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

As Congress continues to debate the farm bill, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited the Valley Tuesday to speak with local agriculture leaders. But he also called for Washington to do more when it comes to fighting wildfires.

He told a crowd of about 200 hundred people at Fresno State that passing a farm bill is essential to the San Joaquin Valley’s ag economy.