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Fresno

Kaiser Family Foundation

California’s Republican congressmen were crucial to getting the American Health Care Act passed through the U.S. House of Representatives last week. One change to that bill was key in getting the support of at least one of those congressman: additional money for something known as ‘high-risk pools’.

However, they are not a new idea in health care and in fact have been tried before right here in the Golden State. California’s experience could help inform how the policy might work if it becomes law, and the challenges it could face.

Office of Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Local Republicans played a big role in today’s passage American Health Care Act in the U.S. House Representatives.

During a victory press conference in the White House Rose Garden, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield said repealing the Affordable Care Act will be a positive for the American people.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Religion and politics are once again mixing at Fresno City Hall. One councilmember has put forward a plan to add the words ‘In God We Trust’ to the council chamber wall. The result of that vote could be the latest sign that the connection between politics and the city’s religious faithful is still strong.

The Wilson Theater in downtown Fresno comes to life on Sundays when it transforms into the Christian Cornerstone Church, the home of Pastor Jim Franklin. The theme of the sermon this weekend is organizing your life to put Jesus first.

Pace Press

Fresno’s Linden Publishing has been around for decades, producing books in the non-fiction world under the Quill Driver Books label. Now the company is making a big splash with two new novels by local authors on a new imprint dedicated to fiction works. We talk with Jaguar Bennett and Heather Parrish of Pace Press, as well as retired judge James Ardaiz, author of the upcoming novel Fractured Justice, which will be released later this year.

Kathy Bonilla / Fresno City College

Over the next decade the Fresno City College campus could undergo a big change, thanks to a major construction project. Around half of the $485 bond known as Measure C is dedicated for the campus. Voters approved the funding last year which will provide a new home for the school's math and science programs as well as badly needed parking space. College President Carole Goldsmith joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the plans, and how the school hopes to work with neighbors to make them a success, and efforts to tap into the city's goal of revitalizing Blackstone Avenue. 

Fresno County

The County of Fresno hopes to see more industrial park developments in its future. The Board of Supervisors voted today to ask county staff to explore possible sites for an industrial development of at least 1,000 acres that could be home to distribution centers, advanced manufacturing companies or other businesses. The county is considering sites in the vicinity of Highway 99 in the Fowler, Selma and Kingsburg area, as well as in the Malaga area southeast of the City of Fresno.

California High Speed Rail Authority

For a train that is supposed to be both fast and smooth, the quest to build high-speed rail in California has been anything but. Last week the project hit another issue – the surprise announcement from the rail authority’s CEO Jeff Morales that he is stepping down after five years on the job.

The Fresno Bee’s Tim Sheehan joined us on Valley Edition to talk about what his departure means for the project, as well as on-going efforts to select a site for the line’s heavy maintenance facility. 

Fresno State University

With President Donald Trump promising to revive the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week, a new poll of Central Valley residents offers insight into the local reaction to proposed changes to the law, commonly known as Obamacare. Overall, according to new research by Fresno State’s Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, 47% of Central Valley residents oppose repealing the law. 29% say they support partial repeal, while 17% say they want full repeal.

Since 2013, the law has resulted in the uninsured rate being cut in half.

Joe Moore - Valley Public Radio

It was a loud and defiant first court appearance for 39-year old Kori Muhammad the man accused of four murders, including three that police say were motivated by racist hate.

Muhammad entered the courtroom shouting that more natural disasters would strike the U.S. and saying ";let black people go with reparations." He shouted second phrase - demanding reparations - at least two more times during the short court proceeding.

City of Fresno

Fresno has its first female City Manager. Mayor Lee Brand today introduced Wilma Quan-Schecter as the replacement for the retiring City Manager Bruce Rudd.

Quan-Schecter, who is 43 years old, has been with the city for 9 years and has a background in city planning. At the announcement at Fresno City Hall, Quan-Schecter says she is excited to step into the role.

Fresno Police

Details have begun to emerge about the three men who were shot and killed yesterday in downtown Fresno.

Mark Gassett was shot in the back as he walked home from Catholic Charities with groceries. The 39-year-old died on the scene. He had two children. Fifty-eight-year-old David Martin Jackson was shot outside the Catholic Charities office and died later at the hospital. 

Fresno PD

Fresno police say the man suspected of going on a murder spree Tuesday morning is cooperating with their investigation. Kori Ali Muhammad has walked police step-by-step through the process of how he killed three people and is showing no remorse for his crimes.

Chief Jerry Dyer on Wednesday explained to members of the media a second-by-second breakdown of the rampage that left three men dead, including playing recordings of the gunshots captured on police tracking equipment.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

This post will be updated

Three people in downtown Fresno are dead in an apparent murder spree Tuesday morning.

The suspect is 39-year old Kori Ali Muhammad. He was already wanted for the murder of a security guard at a Motel 6 on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno last week.

Shortly before 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, Muhammad allegedly shot and killed a PG&E worker in his company truck near Van Ness north of Divisadero. A co-worker driving the vehicle was not shot and rushed the victim to the police headquarters where he died.

Courtesy Evo Bluestein

Central California has a rich folk music tradition, which is being documented in a new book by Evo Bluestein. "The Road to Sweet’s Mill  -- Folk Music in the West during the 1960s and ’70s" comes out later this year and tells the story of the people and places behind the region's folk music sound, which flourished at Sierra music camp that gives the book its name, as well as other venues. Bluestein is also presenting a special concert to celebrate the new book taking place this Saturday at Fresno State's Whalberg Recital Hall.

Reports of high levels of lead in children in two zip codes in Southeast Fresno have raised new concerns about the health of young residents.

A report by the news agency Reuters found that in one zip code, the percentage of children with high lead exposure is three times that of Flint, Michigan.

Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess spoke with county Public Health Director David Pomaville about why rates are so high and what is being done about it.

In part, Pomaville says they are doing more outreach but are also looking to the federal government for help.

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