6:35 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

City Of Fresno Rejects Controversial Bus Banner

The ad in question created by the nonprofit Building Healthy Communities.
Credit Building Healthy Communities

An ad that a local non-profit group wants to run on city buses is the center of controversy, after Fresno officials say it’s too political. As FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the group wants more parkland in older parts of town.

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7:12 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Fresno Improves Park Rating But Remains In Last Place

A new national ranking of American cities shows Fresno is making progress in providing access to public parks and green space.

However, the gains are limited. The city moved from last place in 2014 to tied for last this year.

Abby Martin with the Trust for Public land, which releases a yearly ranking of 75 US cities, says several new parks set to open this year helped Fresno’s score.

“Out of 100 points, this year Fresno scored 31. As opposed to last year where Fresno scored 26 points,” Martin said.

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Government & Politics
11:52 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Independent Commission Calls For Big Changes In State Parks Department

In 2012 some state parks were faced with closures due to the state budget crisis.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

An independent commission is calling for the “fundamental transformation” of California’s archaic State Parks system. That includes the creation of an outside organization to help raise money and coordinate volunteers. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

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Government & Politics
6:24 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Brown's Budget Gives State Parks System One Year To Turn Around

Third- and fourth-graders from nearby David Lubin Elementary School - and some of their parents - participate in Sutter's Fort State Historic Park's Environmental Living Program.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California’s state parks system has faced a rough few years: Deep cuts during the recession, and a financial scandal that rocked the department. Now, a state commission is just days away from releasing a report that demands the department modernize itself – and Governor Jerry Brown’s new budget proposes only enough money to buy the parks system a year to turn itself around. Capital Public Radio’s Ben Adler reports from Sacramento.

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Air Quality
4:24 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Would You Build A Park Next To A Freeway? Fresno May Build Two

The group says parks next to freeways are a risk to children’s health and that direct exposure to exhaust can lead to higher rates of asthma, diabetes and gastrointestinal disease.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

With the final vote for the Fresno General Plan Update and Environmental Impact Report just around the corner, activists are appealing for changes to the plan that could potentially alter the health of children in the region. 

A group of activists an    d health leaders met today at the site of a proposed new park in Northwest Fresno near Highway 99 to protest what they call a big problem with the city's proposed new general plan. Their concern - this park and another would be built next to busy freeways - and the polluted air that comes from them.

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5:20 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Study Links Access to Parks to Teenage Exercise Habits

Centennial Park in Bakersfield
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

  A new study from the UCLA Center For Health Policy Research shows that teenagers who live near parks and open space areas are more physically active than those who don't. 

The study also shows that low income teens use parks less, citing safety concerns. Low income teens were also less likely to be active for at least one hour a day. 

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5:13 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Oil Severance Tax Proposed; Would Fund CA Parks, Higher Ed

An active oil well sits near the Stockdale Tower in Bakersfield
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

  Democratic lawmakers are calling for a new tax on oil removed from the ground in California – with the money going toward state parks and higher education.

Senator Noreen Evans is one of the bill’s co-authors.  She says the revenue would fill two of the state’s most critical funding needs.  And she says California is the only oil-producing state in the nation without an oil severance tax.

“This is not a tax on taxpayers, and studies have shown that an oil extraction tax does not contribute to the cause of gasoline at the pump.” 

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Government & Politics
3:27 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

State Parks Investigation Shows Intentional Hiding of Funds

A sign announcing the then pending closure of the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The California Attorney General’s office has released its investigation into the funding surplus at the state Parks Department.

As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, it shows that only part of the $54 million dollars found in two funds were intentionally hidden from the Department of Finance.

The audit shows senior management at the parks department intentionally underreported as much as 20 million dollars beginning in 1996. It found that $34 million concealed in one fund was unintentional. But it’s a different story for the State Parks and Recreation Fund.

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State Parks
10:32 am
Thu August 30, 2012

California Lawmakers Pass Bill Designed to Prevent Another Parks Scandal

Many state parks were threatened with closure, while $54 million in funds sat unused in a
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

California lawmakers have approved a bill designed to improve the state’s accounting practices in hopes of avoiding the kind of scandal that happened with the parks department.

In July, an unreported surplus of $54 million was discovered in two special funds accounts in the parks department. A later audit found accounting discrepancies in other state special funds.

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Government & Politics
6:25 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

California Lawmakers Hold First Special Funds Hearing

The Chair of a California Assembly committee looking into the state’s special funds accounts called the parks department scandal “shameful” today. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, lawmakers asked finance officials for assurances that there are no more hidden assets.

At issue is how $54 million in surplus Parks department funds could remain hidden for 12 years. An audit last week also found discrepancies in other state special funds accounts. Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield chairs the oversight committee.

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3:47 pm
Tue August 7, 2012

California's Senate Democratic Leader Responds to Park Scandal and Pay Raises

California’s Senate President Pro Tem is responding to criticisms of legislative pay raises and the hidden assets found at the parks department. The issues are giving ammunition to opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s tax initiative.

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Government & Politics
6:30 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

Audit of State's Hidden Surplus Money Due Next Week

California's State Capitol Building
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics

We should learn next week whether there’s any more hidden surplus money in California state special funds. The state's Finance Department plans to release its audit of those accounts after $54 million dollars in surplus money was found in two parks funds.

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Government & Politics
6:23 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

California Governor Downplays Parks Scandal

California Governor Jerry Brown is downplaying the state parks scandal in his first public statement on the issue.

Last week, the Brown administration revealed that the Parks department had failed to report 54 million dollars in two funds for the last 12 years. State Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned as a result.

But the governor says it’s better to find money than to discover money missing.

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Valley Edition
11:05 am
Tue July 24, 2012

On Valley Edition: Valley Environment Study, State Parks, Fresno Zoo

California's troubled state parks department remains a concern to parks supporters.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition, we talk with the UC Merced scientist behind a new study of the Valley's environment, and find out where we're making progress and where we're still falling behind in cleaning up our air and water. We also examine the fiasco involving the State of California's Department of Parks and Recreation, which last week discovered over $50 million in an account that had gone unreported for a decade, all happening at the same time that many parks have been threatened by closure.

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State Parks Crisis
9:00 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Future of Mariposa Museum Still In Doubt

Randy Bolt is one of three remaining employees at the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa. The museum may close later this year.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Randy Bolt has a passion for rocks. Well, not just rocks, but gems and minerals too. He's a historic guide at California's Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa. 

He can tell you about the state's official gemstone, "which most people have never even heard of, which is actually one of the rarest  gems in the world, it's called Benitoite, named after San Benito Creek."

Or he can tell you about the history of the world-famous nugget from the California Gold Rush that is nearly the size of a basketball.

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Government & Politics
3:32 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

California Parks Director Resigns Admid Scandal

California Governor Jerry Brown has accepted the resignation of state Parks Director Ruth Coleman after learning the department underreported tens of millions of dollars for at least 12 years.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the State Parks and Recreation Fund and the Off Highway Vehicle Fund held a total of 54 million dollars more than what was reported.

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Special Report: State Parks
2:31 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Community Rallies as State Park Faces Threat of Closure

Many of California’s state parks were saved from closing this year thanks to operating agreements with nonprofits and private organizations.  Others are on the rocks – or narrowly avoided closure, like Benicia State Recreation Area, which we heard about yesterday.  But one state park in Nevada County offers quite a different story. As Amy Quinton reports in the second of our two-part series, the entire community pulled together to save South Yuba River State Park.

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Special Report: State Parks
5:44 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

State Park Scrambles as It Faces Two Week Deadline

Benicia State Recreation Area
Capitol Public Radio

It's been a rollercoaster ride for California state parks. A year ago, the Department of Parks and Recreation selected 70 parks to close on July 1st as a result of budget cuts. But operating agreements with private partners have kept 40 of the parks open.

Now it appears all but a handful will stay open, but nobody knows for how long. In the first of a two-part series looking at the state of California's state parks reporter Kathleen Masterson visited one still struggling to stay open.


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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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Quality of Life
6:25 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

On Quality of Life: State and National Parks

Part I: National Parks - Central California's National Parks are known worldwide and attract millions of visitors each year. In 2010, over 4 million people visited Yosemite National Park, just short of breaking the park's all-time record. But those visitors bring big city problems with them, from traffic jams, to pollution and safety concerns. This week on Quality of Life, we examine the difficult task of balancing public access with preservation of natural resources, in Yosemite and beyond.

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