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Last Build Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2017 01:09:26 +0000


Interview: Mackenzie Mays On Fresno Bee Sex Ed Reporting Project

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:10:36 +0000

Fresno Bee reporter Mackenzie Mays is wrapping up a nine month long reporting project on the state of sex education in local schools. While the project has highlighted the many ways local districts haven't been providing comprehensive sex education, it also sparked a controversy, and personal attacks against Mays from Brooke Ashjian the President of the Fresno Unified Board of Trustees. Mays had published a quote from Ashjian talking about his personal beliefs, comments which many found offensive to the LGBT community. Mays joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the series, and the controversy her reporting generated.

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We Still Don’t Know Why So Many Fresno Babies Are Born Premature—But Researchers Aim To Find Out

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 23:32:24 +0000

A few weeks ago, we reported that the premature birth rate in the San Joaquin Valley is rising, and that it’s especially high in Fresno County. The numbers are concerning because premature babies are born with a higher risk of health complications like breathing difficulties, heart problems and chronic disease. Decades of work have proven preterm births are tough to prevent, but a new research initiative appears to be up for the challenge. This story begins, though, in a Fresno living room, where a mother and son enjoy some quiet time together. Reading is an everyday activity in Nicole Hutchings’ home. Right now, she’s working through “Take a Stand, Rosa Parks” with her six-year-old son Adrian Lee. This bonding time between her and Adrian is calm, peaceful—very different from the circumstances around Adrian’s birth in 2011. Hutchings had been pregnant for about 32 weeks when she realized something was wrong. She noticed some strange symptoms, and thought maybe her water had broken. “So

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Kevin Mahogany Talks Jazz On Valley Edition

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 23:10:36 +0000

Kevin Mahogany has been called the standout male jazz singer of his generation. His rich baritone is equally at home singing romantic ballads or on uptempo bebop songs. With influences that range from Motown to Charlie Parker, he’s been one of the top jazz vocalists for the last three decades, and he’s performing at Fresno’s Tower Theater this Saturday at 8:00 PM. A few days ago, FM89’s David Aus – host of our Sunday night jazz program – spoke with Kevin over the phone to learn a little more about his career and what valley audiences can expect.

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Valley Edition - November 14, 2017: Pre-Term Births, Covered CA, Downtown Bakersfield

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 22:59:59 +0000

This week on Valley Edition, we get reports on the surprising reason insurance premiums for many Covered California customers are dropping, and what local health care leaders are doing to address a rise in pre-term births in Fresno County. We also explore the following issues in interviews: Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales on the city's crackdown on pot dispensaries, and plans in the works for downtown Fresno Bee reporter Mackenzie Mays on her series our sex education KVPR reporter Jeffrey Hess on the company which could win a contract to operate the high-speed rail system Jazz vocal star Kevin Mahogany on his upcoming Fresno concert at the Tower Theater

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Initial Choices: High-Speed Rail To Pick Its Early Operator

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:54:59 +0000

The Board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority is expected to vote on an awarding a contract, likely to a European company, to be the line's early train operator. The contract is a small fraction of the total cost of the rail line but represents a significant step toward making the bullet train a reality. Valley Public's Radio's Joe Moore and Jeffrey Hess discuss what the High-Speed Rail Authority is looking for and who has the inside track. Why does Deutsche Bahn seem to be the company with the best shot? They have run and overseen the German high-speed rail for some time. The way they are portrayed is they have a lot of experience but because of the way they have done their rail line, they are not as flexible as some other companies. But they are the company that some think could deliver on a big priority that the California line which is to make a profit or at least run without a state subsidy, which is a requirement in the proposition that approved the line originally. Who

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Covered California Insurance Plans Could Be More Affordable This Year. Here's Why:

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:51:34 +0000

For years, one of the most powerful and consistent Republican criticism of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is that the monthly premiums are going up so fast that they are quickly becoming unaffordable and that the whole law was on the verge of collapse. President Donald Trump, in part, rode a wave of anti-Obamacare sentiment all the way to the White House. While Republican plans for full legislative repeal have stalled, that has not stopped the President from taking executive action to undermine it. But one executive order, in particular, might have had the opposite effect and actually made Affordable Care Act health insurance plans many affordable for over a million of people in California. Following the collapse of the ACA repeal effort, President Trump began looking around for parts of the law he could change on his own. He settled on ending something called Cost Sharing Reduction payments. These are payments the law mandates the federal government give to

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Interview: Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales On Pot, Downtown & Parks

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 18:57:00 +0000

It’s been an eventful first year on the Bakersfield City Council for Andrae Gonzales, who represents downtown, Westchester and other Ward 2 neighborhoods. The 24 th Street widening project is moving forward despite a lengthy legal battle, plans for a high-speed rail station near Golden State and "F" Street are moving closer to reality, and the city has embraced a new planning process for the future of downtown. We spoke with Gonzales on Valley Edition to learn more about those issues, a new "pocket" park in East Bakersfield, and his decision to vote to ban commercial marijuana dispensaries in the city.

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Fresno Filmworks To Host 13th Annual Fresno Film Festival

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 01:05:39 +0000

From a film about legendary Gypsy-jazz star Django Reinhardt to a documentary about police and the Oakland community, organizers of the 13th annual Fresno Film Festival say the event has something for everyone. It takes place November 10th - 12th at the historic Tower Theatre. This week on Valley Edition, we spoke with Fresno Filmworks board member Justus Bier Stanberry about this year's event.

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Fresno To Update Bus System Routes—But Will Everyone Benefit?

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:51:47 +0000

Just as Fresno’s downtown and southwest areas are preparing for makeovers, so is its transportation system. The city announced last month that it plans to restructure its bus system for the first time in decades—with public input. But there are bound to be limitations—and some community members are concerned. Dave Alcanzar lives in central Fresno. He’s in his 70s and in a wheelchair, and he relies on Fresno Area Express, or FAX, to get everywhere. Today, to go grocery shopping, he’s at Blackstone and Dakota Avenues waiting for the 45 bus, which he just missed. He’ll have to wait about an hour for the next one. But even then, if it arrives with two wheelchairs already on board, he won’t fit, and he’ll have to wait another hour. It’s a problem he’s encountered on many of Fresno’s bus routes. “A couple of weeks ago I had a doctor’s appointment and it was two and a half hours for them to pick me up because the buses were too full,” he says. On the weekends, Alcanzar would like to go out to

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Valley Edition November 7, 2017: SW Fresno, FAX Bus, Human Trafficking, Vision Zero Kern

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 00:05:29 +0000

This week on Valley Edition we hear an in-depth report about a number of changes in the works that could bring new life to a long struggling valley neighborhood - southwest Fresno. We also learn why changes are in store for the City of Fresno's FAX bus service that could improve service for some at the cost of others. We also go in-depth with interviews on the issue of human trafficking in Fresno with two reporters from the Fresno Bee, and learn about efforts to reduce cyclist and pedestrian fatalities in Kern County with Vision Zero Kern.

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Group Pushes Bakersfield To Reduce Bicycle And Pedestrian Fatalities

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 23:45:12 +0000

According to a new report from the City of Bakersfield , 64 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed in accidents in the city in the last three and a half years. The new bicycle and pedestrian safety report says only around a quarter of those accidents were the fault of drivers. However, some say the number of deaths in the area is much larger, as the city's report doesn't count accidents that occurred in county islands. The report also highlights new efforts to make the city more friendly for those on foot and on bikes, including new sidewalks, a planned trail along the Friant-Kern Canal and new bike lanes, parking, and a bike sharing program for downtown Bakersfield. But some say the key to making Bakersfield area streets safer isn't just infrastructure, it's education. We spoke with Zachary Griffin of the bicycle and pedestrian safety group Vision Zero Kern about other things local leaders can do to reduce deaths, from education to enforcement.

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Are The Planning Stars Finally Aligned For Southwest Fresno?

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 23:01:00 +0000

A new chapter in the history of a long-neglected Fresno neighborhood could be just around the corner. Some residents in southwest Fresno say they are seeing a critical mass of plans falling into place to unlock the neighborhood's long trapped potential. The approval of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan, moving the Darling meat rendering plant, and the expected influx of tens of millions of dollars in state development funds have all been approved this year. And some believe this confluence of events will be the tipping point toward growth and revitalization. Among the hopeful is Courtney Gooch. She is a 26-year old Fresno native who returned from college two years ago to purchase her very first home, a ranch-style house on a third of an acre on Kearney Boulevard. She says she it took a sharp eye to see the potential in her new home. “I bought this house and it was a one owner and it hadn’t been remodeled since the 1960’s so, I saw it and fell in love with it,” Gooch says. Gooch is a

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Premature Birth Rate Rises In Fresno County—Again

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 01:04:05 +0000

For the second year in a row, California’s rate of premature births has increased. But according to new data, the trend is even more alarming in the San Joaquin Valley. Across California, 8.6 percent of live births are premature, according to the health advocacy organization March of Dimes. That means they were born before 37 weeks of gestation. The group gave the state a B on its annual premature birth report card. Of the 15 counties ranked in the report card, Fresno County scored the worst, with a prematurity rate of over 10%. Both Fresno and Kern Counties earned a C. Within these communities, however, the risk for prematurity is not shared equally. "Our rates are very high in Fresno County, especially for our black, brown and Asian babies," says Sandra Flores, director of the Fresno County Preterm Birth Initiative. The University of California, San Francisco formed the initiative in 2016 to better understand the local causes and consequences of preterm births. "It was that disparity

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Valley Public Radio Features Live Broadcast With Clarinetist Mark Nuccio

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 00:11:00 +0000

Valley Public Radio hosted a special live broadcast performance and interview with clarinetist Mark Nuccio and pianist Wendy Chen on Friday November 3rd. Nuccio is one of America's most acclaimed clarinetists, and is principal clarinet of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He is in Fresno for a performance Saturday at Fresno State's Concert Hall Saturday at 7:30 PM, marking the 30th anniversary of the university's clarinet program. Host Joe Moore interview Chen and Nuccio as they played selections from their upcoming concert.

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Tulare County Law Enforcement Double Down On Domestic Violence

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 22:39:48 +0000

Today marks the final day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Across the United States, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. Here in the San Joaquin Valley, law enforcement agencies receive 15-20,000 reports of domestic violence each year. In an effort to reduce these crimes in Tulare County, the sheriff’s office earlier this month announced a new strategy for fighting domestic violence—one they hope will aid not just in responding to reported crimes, but also in preventing future ones. Listen to the audio below for an interview with Lieutenant Mark Gist, a project director with the Tulare County sheriff’s domestic violence unit, about what these new efforts entail and how they’ve already come to fruition.

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New Career-Tech School Set To Open For Fresno County Students

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 20:43:23 +0000

The Fresno County Office of Education has broken ground on a new shop for a Career Technical Education Charter School in central Fresno . The school will serve students from around the county who are interested in exploring technical careers as well as college. FCOE Superintendent Jim Yovino spoke with Valley Public Radio's Jeffrey Hess about what the agency wants to achieve. Why did the Fresno Office of Education want to start a Career and Technical Education Charter School? Our office puts on several events during the year for students from around this valley. One that we put on is Fresno Area College night, we have put it on for almost 3 decades. So we have about 100 colleges that come, where parents can talk and see where their student or child would want to go to school. Well, about 5 years ago it dawned on me, ‘what about the parent who wants to know about construction, manufacturing or engineering? Where would they send their child?’ Well, I quickly realized at that point that

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Farmers Search For Answers As California Mulls New Restrictions Over Chlorpyrifos

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 20:07:52 +0000

One of the most widely used insecticides in America is the subject of a regulatory battle. Earlier this year the Trump administration chose not to move ahead with efforts to ban chlorpyrifos , first put in place by the Obama administration. Now, California is in the process of tightening its own regulations of the insecticide, and that has some farmers searching for answers. David Doll is testing soil for a project on cover crops, which could help limit the use of some pesticides by increasing natural predators. “We’re actually auguring down to the depth that we’re trying to target,” says Doll, a UCANR farm advisor based out of Merced. “Right now we are about seven and a half feet into the earth.” For years farmers have used chlorpyrifos to manage insects like ants and moths that feed on crops. While the Trump Administration has given farmers the green light to keep using it, California has made its own efforts to scrutinize the pesticides use. That’s because while it's effective on

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Valley Edition: October 31 - Fresno Unified; Domestic Violence; Pesticides; Jim Boren

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 18:04:15 +0000

This week on Valley Edition our team reports stories on a potential teacher's strike within Fresno Unified as well as what farmers may do if a popular pesticide is restricted. We also hear about a new program in Tulare County being implemented to hopefully reduce the number of domestic violence cases in the area. Later we hear from The Fresno Bee's Jim Boren who announced this week that he's retiring at the end of the year.

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After Hospital Shutdown, What's Next For Tulare's TRMC?

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 17:59:34 +0000

Last week a bankruptcy court judge allowed the Tulare Local Health Care District board to part ways with HCCA, the private company that has been running the Tulare Regional Medical Center for several years. It marks an end to a relationship that had become bitter following a recall election earlier this year. It also has led to the temporary closure of the hospital, which has directed patients to nearby facilities in Porterville, Visalia and Reedley. So what's next, and when does the hospital hope to reopen? Valley Public Radio's Jeffrey Hess joined us on Valley Edition to explain the latest developments and the path forward for TRMC?

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Jim Boren Announces Retirement After 48 Years With The Fresno Bee

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 17:23:40 +0000

The Fresno Bee’s executive editor Jim Boren announced on Monday that he plans to retire in January. In his 48 year career he’s covered countless stories – from the Chowchilla school bus kidnapping to the Operation Rezone scandal at Fresno City Hall. Prior to his current position, he helped lead the paper’s coverage of local politics, and served as editor of the editorial page. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his career, serving as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 and 2017, and about some local political issues.

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