Joe Moore/ Valley Public Radio

The surprise decision by Bakersfield Representative Kevin McCarthy to withdraw from the House speakers’ race could mean bad news for the Central Valley, according to local political experts. Many have speculated that having a speaker from the valley could have elevated local concerns in Washington.

In an understated way, this is how Representative McCarthy opened his press conference to explain his decision.

“I think I shocked some of you, eh?”

Diana Aguilera

Today state health officials arrived in Fresno for a four day meeting to tackle what local leaders are calling a chlamydia epidemic.

In a rare occasion, the state department of public health sent a team of experts to Fresno. They’re meeting with local health providers in hopes of reducing the alarming rates of chlamydia, especially in teens and young adults.

“Fresno County is a hot spot for chlamydia and for reproductive and sexual health in general,” says Heidi Bauer, a doctor with the Department of Public Health.

File Photo

The head of the Fresno Unified School District is coming under fire after claims that he instructed his staff use a cell phone app that sends messages without leaving any trace. That practice could raise ethical and legal problems for district superintendent Michael Hanson.

Journalist Mark Arax was the first to report that Hanson allegedly used the Cyber Dust app which claims it leaves no record of any of the messages sent or received.

Office of Kevin McCarthy

Fresno State political scientist Thomas Holyoke says the political future of Bakersfield Representative Kevin McCarthy looks bright. McCarthy, Holyoke says, is the odds on favorite to be the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s a powerful position that could mean big things for representative and the valley. Holyoke takes on some of the bigger questions facing McCarthy.

Why would McCarthy want this job if John Boehner doesn’t?

It’s not every day that the mayor of Fresno and city councilmember attend the opening of a grocery store, but that was the scene this morning at a new Smart and Final on Blackstone Avenue.

The location grocery store was the center of a heated political debate earlier this year between Mayor Ashley Swearengin and City Councilmember Clint Olivier, who both chose to attend the opening.

The store is moving into a building left vacant when previous grocery store went out of business.

Cultiva La Salud

A local group is putting pressure on Fresno Unified School District to unlock school gates after hours and on weekends. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, they say every child no matter what zip code they live in should have a place to play.

The Fresno-based organization Cultiva La Salud, which means “cultivate health” is asking the district to keep school gates unlocked in south Fresno. They say in an area with high rates of obesity and lack of green spaces, kids need a place where they can play and be physically active after hours.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Just a few decades ago Fresno used to be the center of the American Fig Industry, with orchards stretching for thousands of acres. Now most of the trees planted by J.C. Forkner almost 100 years ago are gone and are replaced by homes and shopping centers.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

California’s four year drought has taken its toll on many trees in the valley, and now some are concerned it could also kill iconic trees that line Fresno’s boulevards. But is the city doing anything to keep the trees from succumbing to the harsh conditions?

If you drive down some of Fresno’s historic boulevards, such as Van Ness and Huntington, you will be cruising in the shade of tall trees.

But you can also see the stress that the drought has put on them in their brown leaves and dead branches.


California health officials are noticing a big jump in babies born with congenital syphilis and the Central Valley is at the top of the list. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, state and county health leaders met in Fresno Wednesday to discuss the alarming trend.

Cases of congenital syphilis in California jumped from 30 in 2012 to 100 in 2014. Babies who contract the disease from their mothers during pregnancy can face lifelong health problems and even death.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our staff reports on how the drought is harming bees in California, lawmaking around HIV, the future of Fresno's Blackstone Avenue and how the bark beetle is decimating conifers in the Sierra Nevada.