This week on Valley Edition, we talk about the work being done by Fresno Unified's Graduation Task Force, which is working to slow the dropout rate in the district. We also talk about the challenges kids today face in getting a summer job, and learn more about a health conference in west Fresno.

Valley Edition for June 12, 2012:

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the challenges of providing health care in the Valley's rural communities. We'll hear a special report about a Reedley hospital that has recently emerged from bankruptcy, and talk with Assembly Member Linda Halderman, who is a physician, about the efforts to reform the state's Medi-Cal program. We'll also learn more about Fresno Unified's new graduation task force and find out what this commission will do to help stem the wave of dropouts that has been a major source of concern in the district. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

New information emerged today on the alleged plot by three Fresno Unified students to poison their classroom teacher.

Fresno Teachers Association President Greg Gadams told the media today the poising incident took place at Balderas Elementary School shortly before winter break. He said the students placed rat poison in their teacher's coffee cup, and in the frosting of a cupcake given to the teacher. The teacher was unaware of the attempt, and never ate the cupcake.

This week on Valley Edition we talk about solutions to the truancy problems that plague local school districts, as well as efforts to boost shoppers at locally owned businesses, as well as the annual "holiday lights" show at the California Living Museum in Bakersfield. 

Segment I Nuclear Power In the Valley? - The State of California has a long love-hate relationship with nuclear power. It's now been 26 years since Diablo Canyon, the state's newest nuclear power plant, came online on the Central Coast. In the intervening years, reactors at Rancho Seco, near Sacramento, and San Onofre near San Diego have been decommissioned, and the state's moratorium on the construction of new plants still remains in effect.

Segment 1: School Health Programs - When we hear about budget problems in California schools, we usually think of teachers losing their jobs. But school nurses are also worried about job security and cuts to student health services. On this edition of Quality of Life, correspondent Shellie Branco brings us a feature report on school health, and talks with school nurses and one Visalia family who relies on them.

Segments 1 & 2: Mark Arax - Journalist and author Mark Arax has spent much of his career exposing the dark secrets of life in the Central Valley, from corrupt politicians to secretive land barons. A former senior writer with the LA Times, Arax joins us on this edition of Valley Public Radio’s Quality of Life, to talk about his books, the Valley, and the troubled Fresno Unified School District.