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Quality of Life



Quality of Life is a public forum on the air. We look at people and issues affecting Central California and the nation.With expert panelists, moderator Terry Phillips leads the discussion and takes listener calls.



Copyright: Copyright 2012 NPR - For Personal Use Only
 



Benjamin Rae's "Disconnect" on Valley Writers Read

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:16:25 -0400

On this week's episode of Valley Writer's Read, hear Benjamin Rae's short story "Disconnect" about a night telephone operator invents a fictitious supervisor to circumvent troublesome calls.


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937541/KVPR_158937541.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937541&t=podcast&e=158937541&ft=pod&f=510234




Capitol Rally For Valley Air Tackles Fracking, CEQA Reforms

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:16:20 -0400

Around 40 environmental and public health activists from the San Joaquin Valley staged a rally today at the state capitol, pushing for a wide range of regulatory and legislative actions that they claim will improve air quality in the San Joaquin Valley. The Central Valley Air Quality Coalition traveled to Sacramento to gather public support and to meet with legislators on a number of environmental issues. The group is asking the legislature to fund more air quality monitors in the Valley and in the Sierra, as well as to restore a monitoring site in Arvin that had been moved. The group also voiced support for a bill by Assemblymember Betsy Butler that would put a moratorium on fracking in the state's oil and gas fields until the state issues regulations on the practice.  Kevin Hall, the executive director of the Coalition told Valley Public Radio today the group is also concerned about efforts to amend the state's signature environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act, also known as CEQA.  "This is the most important public health protection law in California and it should not be tampered with lightly," said Hall. According to the Los Angeles Times, a draft bill currently circulating in the capitol could result in changes to CEQA that would speed up the development process for projects that comply with local zoning laws. Hall said any changes to CEQA should get a full review.  "There is a need for CEQA reform, and it should happen in the correct way, not in closed door deal making in the capitol, and at the end of the session when there's no adequate public review or consideration." Last year, at the end of its session, the legislature passed a handful of CEQA reforms, including an exemption for a planned NFL stadium in Los Angeles, as well as fast tracking developments of over $100 million. The Coalition also announced today support for a bill by State Senator Kevin de Le??n which would direct funding from the state's anti-global warming "cap and trade" program to communities that have suffered the most from pollution, such as the Central Valley.


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937538/KVPR_158937538.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937538&t=podcast&e=158937538&ft=pod&f=510234




California Lumber Sales Creep Up In Recent Years

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:16:15 -0400

Lumber sales are up slightly in California, after hitting a record low in 2009. The 2008 collapse of the housing market devastated California's already faltering lumber industry. The housing market has been slow to recover, but new home construction has risen in the last year. David Bischel of the California Forestry Association says that's translated into a slight uptick in lumber production. "There's been an increase in sales because there's been a small increase in housing production, our markets are very closely tied to housing markets." Several counties are harvesting more lumber, including Shasta, Siskiyou, Lassen and El Dorado. Lumber sales are also up in Calaveras county, which recently reopened a lumber mill. Communities there worked with the state to develop sustainable logging plans that would thin forests, reducing fire risk and creating jobs. Statewide the timber harvest is still at about half of 1990 levels.


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937535/KVPR_158937535.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937535&t=podcast&e=158937535&ft=pod&f=510234




Legislature Approves Bill Requiring Court Order to Shut Down Cell Phone Service

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:16:11 -0400

The California legislature has passed a bill that would ban interruptions to cell phone or wireless service without a court order. The measure comes in response to a controversy last year involving transit officials in San Francisco. Last year, protesters at a Bay Area Rapid Transit subway station in downtown San Francisco discovered they suddenly didn’t have any cell phone service. BART officials concerned about the protest had cut it off. That move sparked wider protests – and it also prompted a bill from Democratic State Senator Alex Padilla. “There’s laws on the books that speak exactly to that – but unfortunately, those laws on the books have not kept up with technology," said Padilla. Current law requires a court order to shut down conventional phone service. Padilla would extend that same requirement to cell phone or wireless internet service. “The ability to maintain communications is paramount and the threshold for deserving that court order to shut down service needs to be maintained,” said Padilla. The bill passed without any no votes. It now heads to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937532/KVPR_158937532.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937532&t=podcast&e=158937532&ft=pod&f=510234




On Valley Edition: Prop 37; Heat Wave & Global Warming; California Reads

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:15:37 -0400

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the controversy over the labeling of genetically modified foods, which will be on the November ballot as Proposition 37. We hear arguments on both sides of the issue. We also talk about the current heat wave and what is has to do with global warming, and learn more about a series of events from the Fresno County Library connected to the book Farewell to Manzanar.

Segment 1: Prop 37 Sparks Debate Over GMO Foods
Controversy has erupted over what foods could be labeled as “natural” under California’s Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. California’s Proposition 37 would require foods containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled. But a part of the initiative regarding what foods can be labeled "natural" has sparked controversy. On this segment of Valley Edition, we hear a report from Kathleen Masterson, and talk with people on opposite sides of the Prop 37 debate. Our guests include Stacey Malcon, media director for the Yes on 37 campaign, who supports the labeling requirements, and Karri Hammerstrom, president of the group California Women for Agriculture and a stone fruit farmer from Fresno County, who opposes the ballot measure.

Segment 2: Heat Wave & Global Warming
July was the hottest month on record in the US, and here in Central California August temperatures are near records. On this segment of Valley Edition, we talk about the heat wave and human caused climate change with Fresno State and Fresno City College instructor Sean Boyd, and Professor Noah Diffenbaugh from Stanford University’s School of Earth Sciences and Woods Institute for the Environment.

Segment 3: Farewell to Manzanar
The Fresno County Public Library is sponsoring a series of events around the book Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, as part of the California Reads series. The events focus on an important part of local and national history, the forced internment of Japanese-Americans, many of whom lived in Central California, during World War II. The events include an exhibit of photos by Ansel Adams, a discussion with the author, and more. Roberta Barton from the Fresno County Public Library joins us to talk about the events.


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937509/KVPR_158937509.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937509&t=podcast&e=158937509&ft=pod&f=510234




Commentary: When Winning Is Everything, Athletes Need New Moral Compass

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:15:31 -0400

Somewhere deep in our cultural memory is the idea that athletic prowess is connected with virtue. For the ancient Greeks, athletic contests were religious events with social purpose: honoring the dead, preparing for war, and teaching virtues. Contemporary sports no longer serve any moral, religious, or political purpose. Religion is not involved. Athletes are not preparing for war. And most of us gave up long ago on the idea that athletes could be looked up to as paragons of virtue. Recent scandals—at Penn State, in the Olympics, and in professional sports—haven’t helped. We still expect “good sportsmanship.” But that is a very vague ideal. It is true that Olympic athletes salute the flag and “represent” their country. But the nationalistic competition of the Olympics feels contrived and old-fashioned. We admire Michael Phelps for his individual effort not for his service on behalf of the nation. Athletic success leads to fame, power, and money—external rewards that have no connection with patriotism, piety, or virtue. Indeed, money and fame create a temptation for bad behavior. It also provides a motive for covering up outright evils, as at Penn State. The sports industry is worth over $200 billion per year. Top pro athletes earn millions. Big sports programs have budgets in the tens of millions. And Olympic medalists are able to cash in their medals for lucrative endorsement deals. With big money on the line—and no other higher values involved—there is an obvious temptation for bad behavior. One solution is to increase institutional safeguards and penalties. In this regard, institutions like the NCAA and the International Olympic Committee are doing the right thing by enforcing stiff penalties for wrongdoing. But a long-term solution would have to involve a radical change of values. When there is no moral, religious, or political significance to sports—and millions to be earned—the temptation to cheat will continue to be significant. Many athletes and coaches do have strong characters and personal integrity. But in a culture where winning is a path to riches, misbehavior is not surprising. Good sportsmanship is admirable—but you can’t take it to the bank. We’ll never return to the Greek ideal of the athletic contest as a moral, political, and religious event. Nor should we: the Greeks were often brutal and ethnocentric. But it is inspiring to imagine a world in which athletic prowess could be linked to piety and patriotism rather than to profit. The views expressed on The Moral Is are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Valley Public Radio.


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937506/KVPR_158937506.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937506&t=podcast&e=158937506&ft=pod&f=510234




Bill to Fund Middle Class Scholarships Passes California Assembly

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:15:25 -0400

A California bill that would fund a middle class college scholarship program has squeaked by the Assembly… getting the two-thirds vote it needs to move to the Senate. The measure is authored by Assembly Speaker John Perez. It would end a tax break in California law, which allows out-of-state corporations to pay less in taxes than businesses based in California. The bill required Republican support in order to pass, but Assembly member Brian Jones made it clear that would not come from him. “What a great concept we have here today, let’s take from the evil greedy rich corporations and let’s give to the needy middle class, what honorable Robin Hoods we have here today.” An effort to close a similar tax break last year passed in the Assembly but failed in the Senate. A companion bill would use the new revenue to cut student fees by two-thirds for UC and CSU students whose families earn less than $150,000 per year.


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937481/KVPR_158937481.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937481&t=podcast&e=158937481&ft=pod&f=510234




California Revenues Fall $475 Million Short

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:15:20 -0400

California State Controller John Chiang released his monthly revenue report today. Revenues fell way below projections for July, but state finance officials say it’s not so bad. The controller says July revenues were $475 million short. The State ended the last fiscal year with a cash deficit of $9.6 billion. As of July 31, that cash deficit totaled $18 billion, and is being covered with temporary loans from special funds. State Controller John Chiang called the collections “disappointing.” Republican Senator Tom Harman says he’s concerned the state will run out of cash soon. “One of the things bothersome to me, is that we have over 500 bills still pending in Sacramento and a lot of those are spending bills that will increase spending, and here we are practically at zero levels.” But Governor Jerry Brown’s finance department holds a more optimistic view, saying the numbers are a reflection of timing. It says the state is expecting an additional $295 million in sales tax revenue, another 197 million in miscellaneous revenues, and $262 million that should have gone into the general fund in July, but will instead happen later this week.


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937467/KVPR_158937467.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937467&t=podcast&e=158937467&ft=pod&f=510234




Bakersfield Shines In Shark Week Spotlight

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:15:14 -0400

Bakersfield's Shark Tooth Hill is known by paleontologists worldwide for its impressive collection of fossilized remains from around 13 million years ago. Earlier this year, one particular fossil, a tooth from a pre-historic shark known as the Megalodon, captured the attention of the producers of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Koral Hancharick of Bakersfield's Buena Vista Museum for Natural History says that the ancient creature would make today's great white shark look quite small in comparison.  "Our great whites today were around 25 feet long and "Sharkzilla" or the Megalodon was anywhere from 60 to even up to  70 feet. The actual re-creation that the Discovery Channel did was 58 feet," says Hancharick. She says the ancient ocean near what is now Bakersfield wasn't the only place these giant sharks called home, but it is one of the best places to find them today.  "The reason why we're so significant here is the Shark Tooth Hill are in that formation is the richest bone bed from the Miocene time period. And it's thought to be because of all the rivers  that were here, they brought a lot of silt in. And so the silt coming into the ocean created this really mucky, muddy bottom. So when the creatures were attacked by sharks or died, their specimens, or their bones fell to the bottom to become fossilized they were really terrifically preserved because all of the silt," says Hancharick. The Discovery Channel filmed for two days in Bakersfield at the museum and at the site near Round Mountain. The producers of the program then took their mechanical Megalodon to the beach at Ventura, where they filmed it devouring various watercraft from surfboards to sail boats. Hancharick says the museum hopes the program will raise the profile of the local collection both here at home and around the world.  "This has just been enormous. Not only is it our few minutes on the program, but just the fact that millions of viewers are going to see this, not just nationally, but internationally," says Hancharick. She says the downtown Bakersfield museum already attracts its share of international visitors, but many local people don't know as much about it.  "A lot of our visitors are foreign visitors that come here to the United States and they actually make their destination Bakersfield to see the fossils from Shark's Tooth Hill . I hope now that our community can really see, especially because we've had so many new people move into the community in the last 30 years, that we've got world class fossils and just an awesome site right here in Kern County."  The Shark Week program that features Bakersfield's own Sharkzilla airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. in most areas, but you're advised to check your own cable or satellite listings.  


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937452/KVPR_158937452.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937452&t=podcast&e=158937452&ft=pod&f=510234




Bakersfield Shines In Shark Week Spotlight

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:15:08 -0400

Bakersfield's Shark Tooth Hill is known by paleontologists worldwide for its impressive collection of fossilized remains from around 13 million years ago. Earlier this year, one particular fossil, a tooth from a pre-historic shark known as the Megalodon, captured the attention of the producers of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Koral Hancharick of Bakersfield's Buena Vista Museum for Natural History says that the ancient creature would make today's great white shark look quite small in comparison.  "Our great whites today were around 25 feet long and "Sharkzilla" or the Megalodon was anywhere from 60 to even up to  70 feet. The actual re-creation that the Discovery Channel did was 58 feet," says Hancharick. She says the ancient ocean near what is now Bakersfield wasn't the only place these giant sharks called home, but it is one of the best places to find them today.  "The reason why we're so significant here is the Shark Tooth Hill are in that formation is the richest bone bed from the Miocene time period. And it's thought to be because of all the rivers  that were here, they brought a lot of silt in. And so the silt coming into the ocean created this really mucky, muddy bottom. So when the creatures were attacked by sharks or died, their specimens, or their bones fell to the bottom to become fossilized they were really terrifically preserved because all of the silt," says Hancharick. The Discovery Channel filmed for two days in Bakersfield at the museum and at the site near Round Mountain. The producers of the program then took their mechanical Megalodon to the beach at Ventura, where they filmed it devouring various watercraft from surfboards to sail boats. Hancharick says the museum hopes the program will raise the profile of the local collection both here at home and around the world.  "This has just been enormous. Not only is it our few minutes on the program, but just the fact that millions of viewers are going to see this, not just nationally, but internationally," says Hancharick. She says the downtown Bakersfield museum already attracts its share of international visitors, but many local people don't know as much about it.  "A lot of our visitors are foreign visitors that come here to the United States and they actually make their destination Bakersfield to see the fossils from Shark's Tooth Hill . I hope now that our community can really see, especially because we've had so many new people move into the community in the last 30 years, that we've got world class fossils and just an awesome site right here in Kern County."  The Shark Week program that features Bakersfield's own Sharkzilla airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. in most areas, but you're advised to check your own cable or satellite listings.  


Media Files:
https://ondemand.npr.org/anon.npr-podcasts/podcast/273/510234/158937449/KVPR_158937449.mp3?orgId=273&p=510234&story=158937449&t=podcast&e=158937449&ft=pod&f=510234