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Last Build Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2017 21:05:24 +0000


Pine Flat: Over Capacity But Not Over The Wall

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 20:54:18 +0000

Thanks to the rapidly melting snowpack, Pine Flat Reservoir on the Kings River east of Fresno is now expected to exceed 100% of its capacity. But water managers aren’t too worried. Due in part to the extreme heat, estimates of the snowmelt flowing into the Pine Flat Lake were off by about 200,000 acre feet. As of Friday afternoon, the reservoir is just a few inches away from being completely full. But with more water coming in from the High Sierra, dam engineers have a backup plan. They can manipulate the spillway gate to create extra storage in an attempt to prevent uncontrolled releases from going over the spillway. Randy McFarland with the Kings River Water Association says that is called ‘surcharging’. “The reservoir and the dam were designed to take an additional 10-foot depth. Which is a lot of water because it would spread out back in the canyon. That has never happened. They have surcharged a little bit before but not that much,” McFarland says. McFarland says they expect

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Brand Sees Fresno As The West Coast's E-Commerce Hub

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:21:47 +0000

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand focused on job creation as he delivered his first state of the city speech today at the Fresno Convention Center. Brand says he wants to build upon this year’s announcements of new fulfillment centers for retail giants Amazon and Ulta Beauty, which are both now under construction. The plan is to create 10,000 new jobs in the city in the next 10 years with similar operations, and another 10,000 spillover jobs in other sectors. BRAND: “The goal is to make Fresno the e-commerce capital of the west coast.” To do that Brand says he wants to focus city economic development efforts on ensuring Fresno has 1,000 acres of “shovel ready” industrial land to accommodate future e-commerce centers. Brand says if that happens the city could see its budget boom, and unemployment rate drop. BRAND: “This is the game changer. And the fulfilment of my vision for Fresno and forever change that narrative to one of community-wide prosperity.” Brand also honored National Spelling Bee

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At UC Merced, Research On Silk Implants Could Fight HIV

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 23:16:19 +0000

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. People try to prevent themselves from getting HIV by doing multiple things. They either don’t have sex, use condoms or take a daily pill called PrEP or TRUVADA. Dr. Simon Paul with UCSF Fresno specializes in infectious diseases and HIV. He sees about 1,000 patients and says many people struggle to follow these recommendations, especially taking a daily pill. “Some people just don’t want to, can’t, have troubles taking a pill every day,” Paul says. “There’s always been trouble with people practicing safe sex and doing everything you’re supposed to do to prevent HIV. So a pill every day may work for some people but not for others.” This is an even bigger problem in other parts of the world. It can be too hot

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New Group Aims To Guide Future Of Fresno Unified

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 22:44:44 +0000

A new non-profit group launched last week that has a goal to help guide the future of the Fresno Unified School District. Go Public Schools Fresno is the local branch of an Oakland-based education advocacy group. Led by Diego Arambula, the Fresno group says it hopes to build a constituency around making changes that will improve the quality of education in the district. So what does that mean, and what sorts of changes would that include? Arambula joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his background and vision.

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Mixing Health Care And Hip-Hop, This Doctor With Valley Roots Wants To Change Medicine

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 22:10:38 +0000

At the intersection of popular culture and health care innovation is a man the internet knows as ZDoggMD. Thanks to his forward thinking ideas about what he calls Health 3.0, he’s been featured in The Atlantic, Forbes, The Daily Beast, and at the Ted MED conference. Tens of thousands watch his daily online talk show "The Incident Report" that talks about ways to fix the broken health care system, and develop a patient-doctor relationship that's based on more than just technology. His online fans also flock to his viral parody music videos where he takes songs from artists like Eminem and Taylor Swift and transforms them into anthems about things like the opioid epidemic, and critiques of the system that treats medicine like an assembly line. But while the internet knows him as ZDoggMD, his patients in Las Vegas and his family in Clovis, CA know him as Zubin Damania, MD. A graduate of Fresno's Clovis West High School, he joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his local roots, and how

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Planned Clovis Medical School Has A Fresno Rival—And Both Could Open In 2019

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:20:15 +0000

For decades, San Joaquin Valley residents have been calling for a medical school. Plans at UC Merced have stalled, and a state bill that would have brought a public medical school to Fresno State died in the state assembly in March. And yet, the Fresno area could be home to not only one, but two private medical schools—in just two years. Dr. Howard Teitelbaum is passionate about medical education. So much so that he was recently on the founding faculty at a medical school in Tennessee. “There’s very few things I can think of that rival starting a medical school,” Teitelbaum says. “It gets you up in the morning.” His newest venture: A brand new med school right here in Fresno. According to Teitelbaum, the California Central Valley College of Osteopathic Medicine could be up and running by the fall of 2019. “If you take a look at the distribution of physicians, you tend to see that the Central Valley is bereft of primary care, and therefore it seems like a good place to make a start,” he

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Valley Edition: Medical Schools; HIV Prevention; ZDoggMD; GO Public Schools Fresno

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:03:11 +0000

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. Ending th e program we hear from Diego Arambula about a new organiation, GO Public Schools Fresno , he founded that aims to make changes with Fresno Unified School District.

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Hearings Begin Over Kern County Ordinance That Allows 70,000 New Oil And Gas Wells

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:13:13 +0000

A series of hearings began today in Kern County in a lawsuit over an ordinance that could allow up to 70,000 new oil and gas wells there over the next two decades. All those wells could create 78 million pounds of air pollution a year says Catherine Garoupa White with Californians Against Fracking. The court hearings come two years after the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved the permitting of oil and gas development without further environmental review past 2035. Garoupa White says the environmental impact report they approved is flawed and wells are already being drilled. "It basically says oil industry you now have a free pass not only to expand your operations,but to use well stimulation techniques like hydraulic fracturing, which will just make our local pollution problems worse," says Garoupa White. She says the blanket approach allows oil companies to avoid additional reviews through agencies like the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. She also says the

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Should Congress Make It Legal To Mountain Bike In Wilderness Areas?

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 23:20:40 +0000

Wilderness areas are known for isolated beauty and the feeling of peace experienced there. There are no cars, few roads and only horseman, horses and hikers can enter them. But that could soon change if a bill that’s now in congress becomes law. When Craig Bowden isn’t teaching eighth graders language arts he’s out riding his mountain bike. Today, he’s giving me a lesson on bike riding at Woodward Park in north Fresno. “When you’re taking a corner you typically want to have your outside foot down, so the pressures on the outside,” Bowden says as we ride down a hill. Bowden is president of the group Central California Off-Road Cyclists . They host bike rides, teach riding skills and hold cleanups along trails in the region. Bowden says he likes the Woodward Park course and others near Bass Lake, but wishes there were more places to ride. “I just love riding,” says Bowden. “So we’ll come out to Woodward Park. We’ll ride around the neighborhood if we don’t get out of the house too much,

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Valley Edition: June 13 - Bikes In Wilderness Areas; Ivan Penn; Fresno Philharmonic

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 21:40:03 +0000

This week on Valley Edition our team reports about a bill that if becomes law would allow bikes in wilderness areas and about Medi-Cal Rates in the Valley. Later we hear from the LA Times' Ivan Penn about his story on a Central Valley power plant shutting down. We also hear about a new book that documents farmworkers' oral histories. And ending the program we learn more about the new Fresno Philharmonic conductor.

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Should The Feds Pay For Higher Medi-Cal Rates In The Valley? Two Congressmen Say 'Yes'

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 18:42:36 +0000

The expansion of Medi-Cal in the Central Valley under the Affordable Care Act has been key to slashing the area’s uninsured rate in half in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of people signed up, and in most valley counties, about half of the population is on Medi-Cal. But according to some, having more people on the program has compounded the problem of low reimbursement rates for physicians and the area’s long-running doctor shortage. Now, two valley Republican congressmen think they might have a fix with new legislation. Representatives Jeff Denham and David Valadao have co-sponsored House Bill 2779 which would use federal money to pay doctors more for providing Medi-Cal services in some of the poorest areas of the state like the Central Valley. “In California, one of our biggest challenges is the governor reimburses at 48 out 50 [states] in the country. So while we are one of the most prosperous states, we reimburse at one of the lowest rates,” Denham says. It is true that

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New Book Documents Farmworkers' Oral Histories

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 00:34:35 +0000

A new book aims to document the stories of valley farmworkers through oral histories. It's the project of editor and independent journalist Gabriel Thompson, and features interviews with dozens of people who have spent their lives working in the fields of California. The book is called "Chasing The Harvest" and is published by the group Voice of Witness. Thompson joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his experiencing collecting the stories that make up the book.

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Fresno Philharmonic Selects Rei Hotoda As First Female Music Director

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 01:06:00 +0000

The Fresno Philharmonic has announced that conductor Rei Hotoda will be the orchestra's next music director. Hotoda is the first woman and the first Asian-American to hold the position, and is just the eighth music director in the orchestra's history. Hotoda is currently the Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra, and has held assistant conductor roles at orchestras in Dallas and Winnipeg. She says she is excited about the opportunity to lead the Philharmonic as its next conductor. "I feel so strongly about this orchestra and about this community that we can grow together and we can have big goals in life, and that's only because I was inspired by this orchestra and this organization that this is possible," says Hotoda. Hotoda's selection brings to a close a 24-month search process with dozens of applicants from across the country. The orchestra's selection committee eventually narrowed that list down to just six finalists, and each appeared as a guest conductor with the

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CSU Summer Arts Is Back, Fresno State Outshined Seven Other Campuses

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 23:58:24 +0000

After five years at Cal State Monterey Bay, CSU Summer Arts is back at Fresno State starting June 25. This month of lectures and performances draws people from around the country including the cinematographer who blew up the the Death Star in the original "Star Wars" movie. A Brooklyn-based group that uses dance to address social and political issues will also spend the month here. The festival runs from June 25 to July 22 and offers master classes in the visual, performing, literary and media arts. They're taught by world-class artists who also hold 25 performances for the public.Tickets go on sale June 12. A few of those performances include: A cinematography lecture from the world-renowned cinematographer , Bruce Logan, best known for blowing up the Death Star in Star Wars. Latin Jazz concert by Grammy-Award Winner Artist, David Sanchez Vicki Lewis , best known a Beth on NewsRadio , One-Woman Show Urban Bush Women , the groundbreaking Brooklyn-based dance troupe, using choreography

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They Built It, But Couldn’t Afford To Run It—Clean Drinking Water Fight Focuses On Gaps In Funding

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 22:30:08 +0000

This is the third installment in our series Contaminated, in which we explore the 300 California communities that lack access to clean drinking water. When we began the series , we introduced you to the community of Lanare, which has arsenic-tainted water while a treatment plant in the center of town sits idle. Today, we return to Lanare to learn why infrastructure projects aren’t always enough, and how Sacramento is trying to ensure Lanare never happens again. Water problems have plagued the Fresno County community of Lanare for so long, it may feel like there’s nothing left to do but joke about them. Like when we met with a group of Lanare residents earlier this spring—and they offered a glass of water. Isabel Solorio is the president of the group Community United in Lanare. She advocates for basic services here and she’s fought to get clean water for decades. She remembers when the treatment center was built in 2007. “When they built it for us, it was an exciting occasion and it was

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Interview: Kern County Leaders Eye Firefighter Overtime Amid Budget Crunch

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:31:21 +0000

While many valley counties have seen their budgets improve in recent years, that hasn't been the case in Kern County. That's because as California's leading oil producing region, the county budget follows a boom and bust cycle that mirrors that of the energy industry. When oil prices are high, property tax revenue booms, as the valuation of land is based on the value of oil that remains in the ground. But when oil prices are low, the county's budget takes a big hit. Now the county faces a $41 million budget shortfall, and the Board of Supervisors has voted to hire an outside company to study the Kern County Fire Department, and look for ways to save money. County administrator Ryan Alsop says the focus is on reducing what he calls unnecessary overtime. The union that represents county firefighters has pushed back, questioning the plan, and asking why the county isn't giving other county departments similar treatment. Alsop recently joined us on Valley Public Radio to talk about the

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Valley Edition: June 6 - Contaminated; Scripps Spelling Bee Winner; Winter Rangers; CSU Summer Arts

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 17:36:11 +0000

On this week's show our reporters return to the Fresno County community of Lanare for our series "Contaminated." We also hear Reporter Jeffrey Hess interview Fresno Mayor Lee Brand on an Amazon distribution center coming to Fresno. Later we hear from Tuolumne Winter Rangers Rob and Laura Pilewski talk about the extreme weather conditions this year and what it's like to spend the winter in isolation. Scripps National Spelling Bee Winner Ananya Vinay also joins the program. And ending the show we learn all about the CSU Summer Arts program coming to Fresno State this summer. Joanne Sharp and Tanya Osegueda join us for the interview.

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Alone At The Top: Yosemite's Tuolumne Winter Rangers Recount An Epic Snow Year

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 01:51:38 +0000

A visit to Yosemite National Park's Tuolumne Meadows is always special. But this winter's historic snowfall made for an especially memorable season for the two people who stayed behind when Tioga Road closed, and everyone else departed - Tuolumne Winter Rangers Laura and Rob Pilewski . This year they endured massive snowfall, the loss of electricity, and went two months without seeing another person. All of this while doing their jobs tending to historic structures, measuring snowfall, and going on ski patrol excursions. It's a one-of-a-kind job, in a season unlike any other in recent memory. Laura and Rob joined FM89's Joe Moore on Valley Edition to recount their experience in the park this year.

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Interview: Fresno's Ananya Vinay Claims National Spelling Bee Crown

Mon, 05 Jun 2017 23:57:29 +0000

Fresno’s Ananya Vinay is the top speller in the nation. The 12 year-old student at Fugman Elementary won the Scripps National Spelling Bee last week in Maryland. She joined us on Valley Public Radio to tell us what it’s like to go from a sixth grade classroom into the national spotlight.

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In Fresno Visit, Feinstein Slams Trump Climate Retreat

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 19:46:01 +0000

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein used a visit to the Central Valley Thursday to criticize President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess caught up with the senator at a farm in western Fresno County. Standing beside a freshly irrigated olive orchard, Feinstein warned that leaving the international climate change initiative could make the Central Valley un-farmable. “I am feeling very badly. I think it is absolutely the wrong thing to do. It is interesting that I am standing in the valley which will warm from climate change in a way that will make it impossible for the kind of agriculture we have today,” said Feinstein. Feinstein also said she is looking forward to the upcoming testimony of former FBI director James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week. Feinstein is a member of the committee, which is investigating connections between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia. “There are a lot of hard

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