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Last Build Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 20:52:53 +0000


The Valley Is Short On Behavioral Health Providers – And That’s Likely To Worsen

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 01:44:56 +0000

In California, mental illness afflicts as many as 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 14 children. And yet, according to a new study, the state’s workforce of behavioral health providers could be in jeopardy. By the year 2028, California could have 41 percent fewer psychiatrists than it needs, and 11 percent fewer other providers like psychologists and licensed clinical social workers. The report, by the UC San Francisco Healthforce Center, shows the distribution of these providers is already uneven . In 2016, the San Joaquin Valley had half the psychiatrists per capita than the statewide average. "I think it’s fair to say that in the San Joaquin Valley, supplies are so low that it’s affecting people’s access," says Janet Coffman, lead author of the study and a professor of health policy at UCSF. She says medical training opportunities are also unevenly distributed, and Latino and black providers are underrepresented - all barriers to care. "When people with these conditions can’t get timely access

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U.S. Secretary Of Agriculture Wants Less Regulation For Central Valley Farmers

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 19:37:47 +0000

U.S Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue visited the World Ag Expo in Tulare on Tuesday. In a town hall meeting, Perdue told a room of farmers and industry leaders that he wants the Trump administration’s rollback of regulations to extend to agriculture. “We’re trying to look at every regulation that may impede your productivity and that’s what we’re gonna talk about today,” said Perdue. “I want to hear from you very candidly.” Perdue also said he hopes immigration reform includes provisions for undocumented immigrants who work in agriculture. He said they’re a necessary part of the industry. “The president himself understands that, he understands what foreign-born workers have contributed to agriculture,” Perdue said. Valley congressional leaders of both parties attended the town hall, with one notable exception: Tulare Republican Devin Nunes. T oday Perdue will be at the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County with Congressman Jim Costa and local water experts to address another thing

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Struggling For Care

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 18:45:17 +0000

The San Joaquin Valley lacks doctors. For every 100,000 residents, the Valley has 39 primary care physicians—22 percent less than the state average of 64—and an even lower share of specialists. The supply is also short for health professionals who accept Medi-Cal and plans through the Affordable Care Act. Simultaneously, the Valley has an outsized need for doctors. Home to concentrated poverty and some of the most polluted air in the country, the Valley’s four million residents suffer from elevated rates of asthma and obesity compared to the rest of the state. Life expectancies for poor and affluent residents can vary by as much as 20 years. “Struggling For Care” is a collection of in-depth reports, testimonials and panel discussions examining what this shortage means to residents, what some health professionals are doing about it, and why the Valley has such a tough time holding on to doctors in the first place. This reporting was undertaken as part of a project with the USC Center

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Contaminated: Dirty Water In California's San Joaquin Valley

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 18:44:01 +0000

I n 2012, California made history when it became the first U.S. state to declare that clean drinking water is a human right. But five years later, nearly 300 communities still shouldn’t drink their water, according to new state data —and more than half of the 400,000 impacted residents live in the San Joaquin Valley. In this series, our reporters visit these communities, speak with residents, and explore the challenges to obtaining safe, clean drinking water. If you have a personal account or story about contaminated water in your area of California email us at or To find out if the water in your community is contaminated, click through the map below. This post is an abbreviated version of the Contaminated page. You can find the full series here .

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Valley Edition - February 13, 2018 - ICE; High-Speed Rail; Air Quality Apps

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 21:16:36 +0000

This week on Valley Edition, we talk with Assemblymember Jim Patterson about the upcoming audit of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. We also get an update on a story from last week about the ICE facility in downtown Fresno, and we review smartphone apps that claim to provide important data about air quality. Plus a profile of nuevo mariachi musician Omar Nare, and a talk with the organizers of the Yonsei Project.

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New Developments In KVPR's Investigation Of Downtown Fresno ICE Facility

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:44:06 +0000

Last week we brought you an investigative story about a secretive building in downtown Fresno that’s being used to process individuals coming into custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE . There’s no sign on the building, its address is not listed on the agency’s website, and immigration attorneys are concerned about the detainees’ access to due process. Since running that story last week, we’ve received a lot of feedback— including from ICE itself . Listen to the interview for an analysis of what we’ve since learned from an ICE representative, what’s changed at the facility, and what it tells us about those individuals who are processed there.

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Reinventing Mariachi: Omar Nare On His Vision For A New Sound

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 20:08:33 +0000

Critics across the globe are starting to pay attention to the music of one young valley artist – Omar Nare. The Sanger native was recently profiled on Public Radio International and the New York Times for his fresh take on mariachi traditions. He’s taking traditional songs and re-inventing them with hints of jazz, soul and funk. It’s a cultural fusion which will be on display at Bitwise in downtown Fresno on Saturday. In an excerpt from a piece that originally aired on The GroundTruth Project, and later on PRI, Qainat Khan brings us a look into Nare's musical vision. This is an excerpt from an episode of “ The New American Songbook ,” which is produced by Heidi Shin and Ian Coss, in partnership with The GroundTruth Project, WGBH, and MassHumanities. Listen to the full podcast here .

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Yonsei Memory Project Seeks To Preserve Japanese American Stories

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 19:17:57 +0000

A new project organized by fourth-generation Japanese Americans is seeking to preserve memories and create art. Called the Yonsei Memory Project, the effort is a project of Nikiko Masumoto and Brynn Saito. The two will hold events in Fresno on Saturday Febaury 17th and Monday February 19th, including memory tours and an event of poetry and art at the Fresno Assembly Center, the site where local Japanese Americans were processed before they were sent to concentration campus during the Second World War. Masumoto and Saito joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the project.

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Air Quality Info On-The-Go? We Put Smartphone Apps To The Test

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:37:58 +0000

This winter has been an especially bad one for air quality in the San Joaquin Valley. With long stretches of high particulate matter pollution (PM 2.5), staying informed with accurate info about air quality forecasts and current conditions is important for your health. We took a look at some popular apps for both iOS and Android devices that provide air quality information. Valley Air: (official app of Valley Air District) Pros: Accurate information; includes both forecasts and observed data; push notifications available Cons: Dated design; push notifications require configuration to work; currently iOS only AirNow: (official app from EPA) Pros: Accurate information; compatible with iOS and Android Cons: Dated design; lack of additional features; some bugs in upcoming forecasts, not as good as AirNow website Air Matters: Pros: Good user experience; provides PM 2.5, PM10, and ozone; push notifications available; compatible with iOS and Android Cons: Design emphasizes pollen over air

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Asm. Jim Patterson Calls For High-Speed Rail Authority To Pursue "Plan B"

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 17:42:00 +0000

For the first time since 2012, the state legislature is giving the California High-Speed Rail Authority a thorough audit. This comes just weeks after the agency’s top consultant revealed that the project’s Central Valley section is now nearly $3 billion over budget due to delays and additional design expenses. The audit comes at the request of Assemblymember Jim Patterson. The Fresno Republican has been one of the rail authority’s staunchest critics for years. Now he's asking state leaders to consider a “Plan B” for the ambitious but troubled project. That could be a scaled back rail line that only connects the San Joaquin Valley to San Jose, or a system that uses conventional Amtrak trains on the new high-speed right of way. Patterson recently spoke with Valley Public Radio about what he hopes to accomplish with the audit and how he sees the project changing.

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Attorney General Becerra To Discuss Immigration Policy With Local Growers

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 01:30:45 +0000

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra met with local officials from across the San Joaquin Valley in Fresno today. After addressing DACA and criminal justice reform, Becerra said that over the weekend he plans to meet with employers, like growers, to discuss what to expect from federal immigration authorities now that California is officially a sanctuary state. "I want to make sure employers understand what their rights are but also what their responsibilities are toward their employees," he said. Though he has at times been outspoken against the Trump administration’s immigration policies, Becerra said the most important thing for employers and employees is to know their rights. "There’s no conflict between federal and state law," he said. "There are certain ways that ICE can go about its business to make sure it stays within the confines of federal law, and the ways employers should conduct themselves within state law." Earlier this week, Fowler grower Bee Sweet Citrus claimed

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ICE Responds To KVPR Investigative Report On Fresno Facility

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 01:07:47 +0000

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is responding today to Valley Public Radio’s reporting about the agency’s presence and practices at a facility in downtown Fresno. In that report, we described an unmarked, under-the-radar Fresno facility that processes and detains individuals coming into ICE custody . We also reported that ICE had not responded to multiple opportunities to comment on the story before it was published. In response, an ICE representative has now confirmed the office on L Street is run by a division of ICE known as Enforcement and Removal Operations. He also argued that it’s not a detention center, though he confirmed the facility does have a secure space for interviewing and holding individuals for up to 12 hours. He says eight other facilities serve this same role within a coverage area that extends from Bakersfield through Northern California and includes some Pacific Islands. The full statement, issued by ICE spokesperson James Schwab, is as follows

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Young Artists Spotlight 2018: Harp Soloists

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 23:54:56 +0000

This week we kickoff the 2018 season of Young Artists Spotlight with a performance featuring the students of local harp instructor Laura Porter. FM89's David Aus hosts the live in-studio event featuring student musicians Carter Williams, Coco Rodriguez, Catherine Palacios, Melissa Palacios and Aria Delgado. Support for Young Artists Spotlight comes from The Bonner Family Foundation, Dr. Alice Martinson and Carole Sturgis.

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Valley Citrus Grower Loses 90 Workers Ahead of ICE Inspection

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 01:38:21 +0000

The law enforcement agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, may be ramping up its inspections of worksites—and a Valley grower is one of the first to feel the consequences. Fowler-based Bee Sweet Citrus says it may have lost a fifth of its workforce in anticipation of an inspection by ICE. The federal agency notified Bee Sweet that later this month, it would conduct an I-9 inspection. Meaning the company will need to hand over the forms that verify the identity and employment authorization of each of its employees. Vice President James Sherwood says the fallout from his employees was immediate. "The number of employees that quit was initially about 40," he says. "About another 50 didn’t show up today." Ninety employees is significant—and not just because they represent about 20 percent of its workforce. "They’re technical equipment operators, they’re forklift drivers, they’re skilled positions that are going to be difficult to replace people in," he says. "So yes, it will

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How PurpleAir's Founder Put Air Quality Monitoring In The Hands Of The Public

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:42:49 +0000

We’ve been reporting a lot these last few weeks about PurpleAir , a new brand of low-cost, wifi-enabled air monitors that are enabling concerned citizens across the world to crowd-source air quality data. After speaking with public agencies, academics and advocacy groups about the promise of these devices, we were curious: Who created PurpleAir, and how did its product become so popular? Listen to the audio above for the full interview with PurpleAir’s founder Adrian Dybwad about why he started the company, how the devices work, and the surprising way in which they’re made.

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NASA's JPL Using Fresno As A Test Bed For Air Quality Research

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 21:00:49 +0000

A few weeks ago we told you how new high-tech, low-cost air quality sensors are helping valley residents monitor air pollution right outside their homes. But the devices aren’t just being used by homeowners, they’re also being adopted by some of the world’s top scientists. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is testing the devices here in the valley, in preparation for investigating pollutants from space. On a rooftop in Central Fresno stands a forest of air quality monitors. Pipes stick out from the roof, and they’re attached to around a dozen silver and white instruments that look almost like street lights. They’re measuring everything from the size of particulate matter to ozone. This site, run by the California Air Resources Board, is home to most of the instruments that inform Fresno residents of their air quality. And now, this roof is also home to a PurpleAir monitor. The white plastic sensor is smaller than a coffee mug. It hardly stands out next to the other instruments, but it’s

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Valley Edition - February 6, 2018 - ICE In Fresno; Mark Arax; NASA & Air Quality

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 20:57:24 +0000

This week on Valley Edition - an exclusive report from Valley Public Radio's Kerry Klein about a secretive ICE facility hidden in plain sight in downtown Fresno, and why civil liberties groups are concerned about what goes on inside. We also talk with journalist Mark Arax about his new magazine article about billionaire valley farmers Stewart and Lynda Resnick. And we learn why NASA's JPL is examining air quality in the valley, both with low-cost air quality monitors on the ground, and new instruments that one day will measure our pollution from space.

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The Fresno Detention Facility ICE Doesn't Want You To Know About

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 20:24:13 +0000

Update Tuesday 2/13: Since publishing this original story, a representative of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed that this facility is a sub-field office of the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations division , and that it does contain a facility represented in ICE data as the Fresno Hold Room. In response to the story, the agency has also posted a sign on its office door. For a full update on the story, listen to this interview with reporter Kerry Klein on 2/13. Government buildings are usually pretty easy to spot, with big signs featuring their names and logos. Even agencies with some of the most sensitive information share their whereabouts. But in downtown Fresno, one government office flies so far under the radar that most who walk past would never know what’s behind its mirrored glass windows. The secretive nature of this office is drawing concern from immigration lawyers and advocates. The building is located on L. St. downtown. It looks pretty innocuous:

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Mark Arax On The "Wonderful" Empire Of Stewart And Lynda Resnick

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 17:00:00 +0000

By some measures, Stewart Resnick is the biggest farmer in California. His empire of almonds, pomegranates, pistachios and citrus covers over 120,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley. Known today as The Wonderful Company, Resnick and his wife Lynda have grown their multi-billion dollar fortune on products like POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and Wonderful Halos mandarin oranges. And despite California’s drought, in recent years they’ve kept growing, thanks to shrewd management of their most precious resource - water. Now in a new piece for the California Sunday Magazine, journalist Mark Arax digs deep into the story of the Resnicks, their fortune, philanthropy, and their control of water in California’s agricultural heartland. It’s a preview of his upcoming book on water in the Golden State, and offers a rare inside look at the “Wonderful” empire. He joined us on Valley Public Radio to talk about the Resnick empire and the future of valley agriculture.

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Valley Soil A Major Air Pollution Source, Says New Study

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:46:23 +0000

When you hear about air pollution, you may think of vehicle emissions, industrial smokestacks and wood burning. But a new study reveals another major source right below your feet in the Central Valley. The pollutants in question are nitrogen oxides, a family of harmful gases known collectively as NOx . They’re precursors to ozone and particulate matter, which can lead to a litany of short and long-term health problems. The study, published today in the journal Science Advances , asserts that one major source of NOx has been overlooked: The soil . Using a combination of computer models and airborne surveys, lead author Maya Almaraz of UC Davis found soils could be a huge NOx contributor. " We show that soils account for 25-41% of the total NOx budget in the state," she says. That puts soils in the same ballpark as vehicle emissions as NOx sources. Almaraz says most soils contain microbes that process nitrogen and expel NOx. But those microbes pump out even more NOx where there’s heat

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