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California High-Speed Rail Authority

The Board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is expected to vote on an awarding a contract, likely to a European company, to be the line's early train operator. The contract is a small fraction of the total cost of the rail line but represents a significant step toward making the bullet train a reality. Valley Public's Radio's Joe Moore and Jeffrey Hess discuss what the High-Speed Rail Authority is looking for and who has the inside track.

Why does Deutsche Bahn seem to be the company with the best shot?

City of Bakersfield

It’s been an eventful first year on the Bakersfield City Council for Andrae Gonzales, who represents downtown, Westchester and other Ward 2 neighborhoods.

From a film about legendary Gypsy-jazz star Django Reinhardt to a documentary about police and the Oakland community, organizers of the 13th annual Fresno Film Festival say the event has something for everyone. It takes place November 10th - 12th at the historic Tower Theatre. This week on Valley Edition, we spoke with Fresno Filmworks board member Justus Bier Stanberry about this year's event. 

Vision Zero Kern Facebook page

According to a new report from the City of Bakersfield, 64 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed in accidents in the city in the last three and a half years. The new bicycle and pedestrian safety report says only around a quarter of those accidents were the fault of drivers. However, some say the number of deaths in the area is much larger, as the city's report doesn't count accidents that occurred in county islands.

Aleksandra Appleton / The Fresno Bee

A new reporting project from the Fresno Bee seeks to shine a light on a story that is too often in the shadows all around us – human trafficking. The multi-media project "Slaves of the Sex Trade" launched last week, and underscores not only the extent of the problem but the ways in which many young women are lured into a life of modern day slavery, usually beginning online.

Fresno Office of Education

The Fresno County Office of Education has broken ground on a new shop for a Career Technical Education Charter School in central Fresno. The school will serve students from around the county who are interested in exploring technical careers as well as college. FCOE Superintendent Jim Yovino spoke with Valley Public Radio's Jeffrey Hess about what the agency wants to achieve.

Why did the Fresno Office of Education want to start a Career and Technical Education Charter School?

TRMC

Last week a bankruptcy court judge allowed the Tulare Local Health Care District board to part ways with HCCA, the private company that has been running the Tulare Regional Medical Center for several years. It marks an end to a relationship that had become bitter following a recall election earlier this year. It also has led to the temporary closure of the hospital, which has directed patients to nearby facilities in Porterville, Visalia and Reedley. So what's next, and when does the hospital hope to reopen?

The Fresno Bee

The Fresno Bee’s executive editor Jim Boren announced on Monday that he plans to retire in January. In his 48 year career he’s covered countless stories – from the Chowchilla school bus kidnapping to the Operation Rezone scandal at Fresno City Hall. Prior to his current position, he helped lead the paper’s coverage of local politics, and served as editor of the editorial page. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his career, serving as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 and 2017, and about some local political issues.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Last week oil industry giant Chevron announced it would cut around 26 percent of the workforce in its San Joaquin Valley Business Unit. That's the part of the company that produces oil from fields in Kern and Fresno Counties. It's not the first big job cut in the industry but it could hurt the local economy, especially in Bakersfield. But is this latest news the result of low oil prices, or other factors?

When he died in a tragic bicycle crash in 2015, Ed Lund left a void in both the city's art and cycling communities. Ed was a gifted artist, worked with students at Fresno State and was a passionate cyclist. He died while competing in a road rally in Sonoma organized by cycling great Levi Leipheimer, the GranFondo. Now Ed's friends and family are organizing a rally of their own in Ed's memory.

For 53 years downtown Fresno's main street was a car-free zone. But after a year and a half of construction, the six-block long Fulton Mall has been removed, and replaced by Fulton Street. Backers hope the project will kick off a wave of investment and revitalization in the area. But critics abound, with some saying it won't work, and others saying it will displace existing businesses and residents, and will set off a wave of gentrification. Others still say despite the new streetscape, nothing really will change.

Veronica Adrover

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistant bacteria cause around 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Researchers across the globe are working to combat this growing problem, and a team at UC Merced recently published a study contributing some much-needed data to the field.

Heather David / Cal Mod Books

Sixty years ago, taking a road trip in California was a lot different than it is today. In the days before superhighways, Airbnb and navigation software, a family vacation likely included a stop at a roadside motel. Hundreds of these "mom and pop" establishments popped up along the highway in places like Fresno and Bakersfield, offering a clean room, a swimming pool, and maybe even something exotic, like a faux-Polynesian tiki-themed cocktail lounge. Flashing neon signs and space-age architecture were designed to catch the eye from a moving car and bring in new customers 

Tom Steyer Facebook

Tom Steyer may be one of the most influential Californians you’ve never heard of. But that may change. Speculation about a potential run for Governor, the U.S. Senate or even the Presidency has thrust his name into the headlines. But the Democrat and environmental activist is not a stranger to politics.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The future of the troubled Tulare Regional Medical Center is in doubt, as the elected board of the public hospital voted last weekend to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. It's the latest chapter is a years-long fight for control of the hospital, which is run by a private company under contract with the district, Health Care Conglomerate Associates. 

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