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AT&T/Ezra David Romero

On a hill overlooking Millerton Lake in Fresno County a group of workers are gathering around a cell tower. They’re watching a tiny white drone slowly circle the tower from the ground all the way to the top. Quasie Jones is with the drone imaging company Skycatch.

“So what it’s doing is taking a picture every two seconds,” Jones says. “So by the end of it it’ll basically have probably like five or 600 photos. So then our technology renders that and creates a 3D model.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

UC Merced isn’t the first place people think of when it comes to finding new ways to prevent the spread of HIV globally. But thanks to one professor the university is now working with scientists around the globe to find an alternative way to prevent the virus from infecting people.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on two medical schools possibly coming to the region and about HIV prevention research underway at UC Merced. We also hear from YouTube famous doctor Zubin Damania, MD or ZDoggMD who grew up in Clovis.

Fresno State / Official Facebook Account

A new bill introduced in the California Legislature last week by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula calls for the authorization of a new medical school at California State University, Fresno. Arambula, who is a former emergency room physician from Fresno County, says training more doctors locally is one way to help solve the valley's chronic physician shortage. 

CDC Technology Advances Promise Better Valley Fever Detection

Nov 21, 2016
THE CENTER FOR HEALTH JOURNALISM COLLABORATIVE

New technology could reveal the microscopic, sometimes deadly spores that cause valley fever that currently float in the air undetected.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is developing  a sensor that can detect levels of the cocci fungus in the air and soil, said Christopher Braden, deputy director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging Zoonotic Infectious Diseases branch. The agency has been working on the technology for three years, and Braden is hopeful the sensors could be moved into wider use over the next few years.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Have you ever called your doctor or hospital seeking an appointment and been told the wait will be weeks or maybe months? You have been affected by the Central Valley’s doctor shortage.

Now more than one group is pushing a potential solution, locally sourced doctors from a new medical school.

Being in a waiting room at the doctor’s office isn’t the most pleasant place to be.

But waiting to get into that waiting room can be even worse.

That is what health care experts call a ‘doctor shortage’ and in the valley it’s bad.

Plenary Properties Merced / UC Merced

The community is getting its first look today at the newly unveiled plans for a $1.1 billion expansion of UC Merced. The campus has selected the partnership of Plenary Properties Merced to design, build and operate the facility, which will allow the campus to expand to 10,000 students by the year 2020.

The proposal includes a private investment of $386 million, which is in addition to $600 million in revenue bonds already approved by UC Regents.

The FBI says that the student who carried out a knife attack on the UC Merced campus in November was, in fact, a ‘self-radicalized’ Muslim. 

According to the FBI, 18-year old Faisal Mohammad had visited websites associated with the self-described Islamic State and viewed other extremist propaganda in the weeks leading up to the attack.

State Approves UC Merced Expansion

Feb 17, 2016
University of California, Merced

The University of California has received the go-ahead from the Brown administration for a billion dollar expansion of its Merced campus. The Department of Finance approved the project today. Ben Bradford reports from Sacramento.

The University of California plans to add 10,000 undergraduates to its campuses in the next three years. As a key part of that, the UC Merced campus would double in size and expand from its current 6,700 students to an even 10,000. To pay for it, UC system chief financial officer Nathan Brostrom says the university is turning to a new funding model.

Police: UC Merced Stabbings Not Terrorism

Nov 5, 2015

UPDATE: 6:22 PM - Authorities say they now know what prompted UC Merced student Faisal Mohammad to go on a stabbing rampage Wednesday, leaving four others injured. 

According to Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, a manifesto found on Mohammad's body during the autopsy indicates he was upset at fellow students after being kicked out of a campus study group. The manifesto contained the names of intended victims and a detailed, minute-by-minute account of his planned attack. 

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Authorities are continuing their investigation this morning into yesterday’s stabbing of four people at UC Merced. While law enforcement agencies including the FBI are trying to piece together exactly what happened, FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports the event has rocked the campus.

Ever since UC Merced opened its doors in 2005 it’s been known as a quiet, tight knit campus community. But that all changed early Wednesday.

Freshman Norma Ambriz was in her morning chemistry class when the chaos started.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

UPDATED: 5:56 PM - FM89's Diana Aguilera reports on what law enforcement officials know about the suspect.

Jennie Ivins VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The Central Valley has some of the highest rates of obesity in California, especially among Latinos. Health officials say this puts Latinas at a greater risk of developing and dying from breast cancer. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on a new project hoping to tackle this issue.

The UC Merced project hopes to learn how to better communicate healthy eating messages to young Latinas with the goal of reducing their risk of breast cancer.

Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

When UC Merced first opened its doors in 2005, campus enrollment was just 875 students. Now a decade later, over 6,000 students attend the newest University of California campus, and thousands more are being turned away. As the only UC campus in the San Joaquin Valley, campus leaders hope to expand the number of available slots to over 10,000 by the year 2020 to meet growing demand.  

Lance Johnson / Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user LanceJohnson http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancejohnson/5703722259/

Talk to most education leaders about the biggest challenges and opportunities in America’s public schools and the issue of so called STEM courses is sure to come up. It’s a fancy acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. According to the US Department of Education, job growth in STEM fields is projected to outpace the rest of the economy, in some areas like software and biomedicine, by more than double.

President Obama says STEM is a big education priority, in a speech to education leaders in 2010:

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