Fresno

Valley Public Radio News
3:07 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Children's Hospital Gets New CEO

The Children's Hospital Central California Board of Trustees have named Todd Suntrapak as the hospital's new President and CEO.

The Board of Trustees said they conducted a national search for the position, and decided on Suntrapak based on his contributions to the hospital's expansion as a regional referral center.

Suntrapak has worked as the hospital's Chief Operating Officer since 2005, during which time trustees say he provided leadership in clinal operations and business development.

Suntrapak will assume the position, effective immediately.

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Government & Politics
11:55 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Governor Brown Signs High Speed Rail Funding Bill

Governor Jerry Brown speaks at a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday at the future site of San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center.
Amy Quinton Capitol Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Wednesday that allows initial construction of a high speed train.

Governor Brown emphasized that California isn’t just funding a bullet train, but making an investment in the state’s economic future. The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $2.6 billion in voter approved bonds.

He celebrated the signing in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Both cities will serve as major hubs for the eventual 130 miles of track through the Central Valley. But the Governor chose not to sign it there.

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Government & Politics
5:04 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Veterans Boulevard funding up for vote

A preliminary map of the Veterans Boulevard interchange at Highway 99 in north Fresno.
Courtesy City of Fresno / CalTrans

Fresno’s long planned Veterans Boulevard interchange on Highway 99 between Herndon and Shaw Avenues may be closer to becoming a reality.

The Fresno City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a plan to spend $5.4 million on design and engineering plans for the roadway, which will connect Herndon Avenue across Highway 99 with Grantland Avenue.

The project is expected to solve a number of traffic problems in the fast growing area west of Highway 99. Last year, the City Council also approved the first phase of a planned El Paseo regional shopping center near the boulevard.

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Government & Politics
4:56 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

High speed rail releases revised environmental study

Artists rendering of a station for the state's planned high speed rail system.
California High Speed Rail Authority

The California High Speed Rail Authority has released a Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project section between Fresno and Bakersfield. The Authority has provided alternative routes in response to public dissatisfaction with the proposals in the original report released last year.

Frank Oliveira of the group Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability, says he's still concerned with the revised draft, as he isn't convinced the Authority has done what they can to understand the effects the high speed rail could have in the Valley.

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Valley Edition
12:03 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Adult Day Health Care, Air Quality, Fossil Center

This week on Valley Edition, we look at how budget cuts are threatening patients who rely on California's Adult Day Health Care centers, how global warming may cause the San Joaquin Valley's air to become even worse, and how the Fossil Discovery Center in Madera County is bringing paleontology to residents of the Valley.

Valley Edition: Tuesday July 17, 2012:

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3:37 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

California bankruptcies spark concern over Fresno's finances

Lead in text: 
Could the City of Fresno follow Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and San Bernadino in declaring bankruptcy? According to Barron's, Wall Street experts remain concerned about Fresno's financial position, thanks to the city's long term labor contracts and limited revenue options. They say the downsides of filing for Chapter 9 protection will likely serve as a deterrent for most cities, but Fresno's case is still a concern.
With three California cities opting to file for bankruptcy protection within the past month, many are worrying this could open the floodgates to more municipal bankruptcies. But Citi strategists say the bankruptcy option still brings enough stigma and costs to deter other troubled cities. Citi notes that the cases of Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth [...]
Immigration
4:02 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Fresno Immigration Activist Welcomes New Obama Policy

President Obama's announcement today on immigration reform is receiving a warm welcome from local immigrant rights advocates.

Pedro Ramirez, the former student body president of Fresno State who gained national notoriety in 2010 because of his status as an undocumented immigrant, says this is a step in the right direction that will make a profound difference for hispanic students in the valley.

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Education
6:54 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

FUSD Graduation Task Force Hears From Community

Fresno Unified School District offices in Downtown Fresno
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Earlier this Spring, the Fresno Unified School District established a community task force to provide the district with recommendations to help solve the district's dropout problems. FM89's Juanita Stevenson reports on how residents offered their input to the task force at a recent meeting.

Business & Economy
6:51 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Summer Jobs Hard to Find for Valley Youth

It used to be a rite of passage for teens, getting a summer job at a fast food restaurant or the mall. But with an economy that continues to struggle, the state's teen unemployment rate is around 36 percent. But there are several new programs that aim to help teens get a taste of life in the workforce, and local companies that are working with non-profits and the government on this issue. Juanita Stevenson reports on how a summer job changed one teen's life.

Valley Edition
5:44 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

On Valley Edition: Pension Reform; Lowell Rebirth; JazzFresno

Today's special election day edition of Valley Edition features a series of report on government reform, from the state's new top two primary, to effort at pension reform. We'll also hear about the effort to revitalize Fresno's historic but troubled Lowell neighborhood, and a new program for music students from the group JazzFresno.

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Government & Politics
3:00 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Pension math spurs calls for reform

When you look up the origins of word “pension” in the dictionary, you’ll see that it comes from the Latin verb, pendo, which means to pay or value, and to weigh or hang. It’s actually the same root that gives us nouns like pendant. And back here in the 21st century, the costs of providing a defined benefit retirement programs are increasingly weighing down budget across the state.

According to some estimates, California's three largest statewide pension systems, CalPERS, CalSTRS and the UC Retirement System could have a combined shortfall of as much as $500 billion.

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Government & Politics
11:56 am
Thu May 31, 2012

With Realignment, Fresno County Jail Floor Likely to Reopen

Since 2010, the second and third floors the Fresno County Jail in Downtown Fresno have been empty. Budget cuts resulted in the layoffs of around 70 officers who worked in the jail, forcing Sheriff Margaret Mims to close the floors, and begin the early release of prisoners.

"Right now our capacity is at about 2,300 inmates and we run at 100 percent capacity almost all of the time," said Mims.

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Valley Edition
1:40 pm
Tue May 22, 2012

On Valley Edition: Jobs for Vets; Community Gardens

This week on Valley Edition we talk about programs that aim to give Valley veterans who are returning from combat a leg up in the job market. We talk with a group from Fresno that is trying to turn around troubled neighborhoods, in part through community gardens. And we'll also talk with the CEO of the new Downtown Fresno Partnership, which is encouraging Fresno residents to jump off the city's tallest landmark, for a good cause. 

Valley Edition for May 22, 2012:

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Business & Economy
3:15 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Fresno Hearing Seeks Solutions to Ag Metal Theft

Agricultural metal theft continues to be a problem in the valley, and Sacramento lawmakers are paying attention. The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing today in Downtown Fresno searching for solutions.

Four years ago, the state legislature passed a bill by then Assembly member Tom Berryhill that aimed to crack down on the theft of metal from farmers. The bill required recyclers to keep detailed records on materials and sellers.

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Valley Edition
1:54 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

On Valley Edition: Mental Health; Valley Health Setbacks; heART Beat

This week on Valley Edition we talk about access to mental health care in Fresno County. We also hear about a new study that has bad news for Valley residents, as the Valley is actually experiencing setbacks in a number of key health indicators. And we close the program with an interview about an event called heART beat that aims to help support music programs in the schools. 

Valley Edition for May 8, 2012:

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Valley Edition
2:06 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

On Valley Edition: Learn2Earn; Parks; Fresno Film Festival

This week on Valley Edition, we talk about the new program called Learn2Earn, the future of parks programs in the cities of Fresno and Bakersfield in an era of tight budgets, and learn about the upcoming Fresno Film Festival.

Valley Edition for April 24, 2012:

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Valley Edition
2:18 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

On Valley Edition: High Speed Rail Controversy; Planning Fresno's Future

This week on Valley Edition, we talk about the future of California's troubled plan for high speed rail with the agency's President, Dan Richard. We also look at the big decision the Fresno City Council will make later this week on how to guide the city's growth for the next several decades.

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Valley Public Radio News
9:45 am
Tue April 17, 2012

High speed rail chair promises compensation, better communication for the Valley

California High Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard addresses an audience in Fresno on April 3, 2012.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

After years of criticism and skyrocketing cost estimates, California’s plan for high speed rail took a detour earlier this month, with the release of the project’s new business plan. Supporters say the proposal is “better, faster and cheaper” and could save $30 billion when compared to previous cost estimates for the project.

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Valley Edition
2:30 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

On Valley Edition: Fresno Animal Shelter; Boomerang Project

This week on Valley Edition we talk about how the City of Fresno plans to move ahead with providing animal control services after the surprise announcement by the Central California SPCA that they are abandoning their contract with the city and county later this year. We'll also learn more about a new project from Creative Fresno which aims to lure talented and successful creative professionals back to their hometown.

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Valley Edition
2:34 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

On Valley Edition: City of Fresno Finances; Solar; Off the Front

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the City of Fresno's new "fiscal sustainability plan," and find out what city leaders are doing to avoid bankruptcy. We also hear about efforts to bring solar power to Valley homes, and a new program that aims to help disadvantaged kids and share with them the joy of cycling.

Valley Edition for March 27, 2012:

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