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Valley Edition - December 12, 2017 - Fireplace School, Fresno Pot Vote, CSU Fee Rebellion

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 01:40:14 +0000

This week we learn what happens when you don't "check before you burn" by taking a trip to the Valley Air District's "fireplace school." We also talk to Fresno City Councilmember Clint Olivier about his plans to leaglize a number of businesses involved in the marijuana industry in Fresno, and about a proposal that would give members of the city council a raise. We also hear how students at Fresno State may have kicked off a rebellion over student fees that extends system-wide in the CSU. We also hear an interview with California Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate John Chiang.

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Didn’t Check Before You Burned? You Could End Up In This Class

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 20:27:07 +0000

If you’ve ever gotten a speeding ticket, you may have been required to attend traffic school. Likewise, cause a scene at work, you may have to take anger management classes. But what if you violate burning restrictions? The local air district runs a different kind of class intended to spark good behavior. On damp, chilly nights Patrick Smith has a tradition: He builds a fire in his fireplace. Smith lives in northwest Fresno . A gas-powered furnace heats his home, but Smith still thinks of a fire as a gathering place for his family. On the evening we speak, it’s about 50 degrees in Fresno, and kindling, pokers and logs sit expectantly next to Smith’s fireplace. But there’ll be no fire: Today’s a no-burn day. Smith knows this because he checks the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s website to know when the air is clean enough for wood burning. One day last winter, though, he didn’t check. It was raining and he assumed it was safe to burn. It wasn’t. “It was in fact a no

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Student Rebellion? Fees At Issue With Fresno State, Other CSU Campuses

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:54:58 +0000

Earlier this year Fresno State students rejected a proposal that would have raised student fees $400 a year in order to build a new student union. While a scaled-back proposal is due to go back before students in early 2018, this year's vote has sent ripples across the CSU system. As EdSource senior correspondent Larry Gordon reports, students across the system are growing increasingly concerned with student fees. He joined us to talk about the trend system-wide.

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Will Fresno Reverse Course On Marijuana Businesses?

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:00:24 +0000

The Fresno City Council will vote Thursday on a proposal that would set the city on a path to legalizing a variety of marijuana-related businesses. This comes just months after the council voted to ban commercial marijuana dispensaries and other businesses. If approved, the new policy would mark a significant reversal of course on an issue that has divided city leaders for most of the last year. The current proposal would kick off a process of amending the city's zoning laws to allow cannabis cultivation, manufacture, extraction, testing, distribution, delivery, and medical dispensaries. However, it would not authorize recreational marijuana storefront dispensaries. Thursday's resolution is backed by councilmembers Clint Olivier, Oliver Baines, and Paul Caprioglio, meaning only one additional vote is needed for the measure to pass. In September Caprioglio was on the opposite side of the issue, voting to ban a range of marijuana-related businesses including commercial dispensaries. But

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Fresno’s Chinatown Faces Growing Pains With Incoming State Projects

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 23:16:14 +0000

Chinatown is one of Fresno’s oldest neighborhoods. From the city’s earliest days as a stop on the Central Pacific Railroad, to the 21st century, Chinatown has been a diverse community made up of immigrants who, in many cases, weren’t welcomed in other parts of Fresno. Locked in by railroad tracks on the east and Highway 99 to the west, the neighborhood is also the subject of renewed attention this year. Two of the state’s highest profile projects, high-speed rail and cap-and-trade, call it ground zero. We spoke to business owners old and new to hear what they have to say about all the activity. Ofelia Hemme owns a restaurant and barber shop on Kern Street, in the heart of Chinatown. She has been working in the neighborhood for over 40 years. Three years ago, she opened her restaurant, Ofelia’s Cocina . They serve Mexican food, their most popular item being their wet burritos. Ofelia describes the entree as “an asada burrito with green sauce and cheese, melted cheese on top.” Next door

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Valley Edition December 5, 2017: Chinatown Changes; Valley Fever; Westlands; CHIP; Boxers

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 01:49:41 +0000

Today on Valley Edition we hear a report about changes looming in Fresno's historic Chinatown neighborhood. Many roads in the area are already closed with construction on high-speed rail, and that's causing some concern among business owners. Yet others are optimistic about a brighter future ahead, with new community improvements, millions in cap-and-trade funding, new housing, and the future rail station. We also hear a report about the role the U.S. military has played in researching valley fever, much of which has taken place at Lemoore Naval Air Station. And reporter Kerry Klein brings us the latest on the congressional fight over the CHIP program, and what it means for the valley. Plus interviews with journalists Megan Greenwell and Emily Benson, about their reporting on Latina teen boxers from the valley, and a controversial deal awaiting congressional approval involving the Westlands Water District.

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Bakersfield Hospital Welcomes Patients From Ventura Facility Destroyed By Blaze

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 01:14:08 +0000

The fire that flared up overnight in Ventura County has scorched 50,000 acres so far and burned at least 150 structures. Among those destroyed were buildings at a psychiatric hospital, which is now sending some of its patients to the San Joaquin Valley. Photos from the Thomas Fire on Tuesday showed buildings burned to the ground on the campus of Vista Del Mar Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, an 87-bed facility in Ventura for patients with acute psychiatric needs. Patients there had already been evacuated, and now many are being transported to Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, a sister facility operated by the same company. The Bakersfield hospital has 90 beds. Spokesman Monquiz Wedlow wouldn’t confirm how many patients are coming his way, but he says they have space and are ready to take on as many as necessary. "During this time, we’re going to do everything we can humanly do," he says. "If that means working extra hours or if that means calling in extra staff to be able to

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Latina Teen Boxers From The Valley Are Dominating Their Sport

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:52:08 +0000

The San Joaquin Valley has a rich boxing tradition, dating back generations. Before he ran a popular bar in downtown Fresno, Young Corbett III was the world welterweight champion in the 1930’s. Today, Avenal’s Jose Ramirez is one of the sport’s rising stars. But at a gym in Southeast Fresno, local teen boxer Sandra Tovar is already at the top of her field, and has her sights set on an even bigger goal – the U.S. Olympic team, and the 2020 Tokyo summer games. And she's not alone. Tovar is one of a number of local teen girls who are dominating their sport on a national level. Here to tell us more is journalist Megan Greenwell, who just profiled Tovar and Fresno’s America Berber area boxer in the most recent edition of the California Sunday Magazine. She joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the two young women and why the valley is producing so many talented female teen boxers.

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Westlands Drainage Deal Still Awaiting Congressional Action

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 00:40:35 +0000

Growers in the Westlands Water District hope congressional approval of a deal with the federal government could resolve a long-standing problem on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley - drainage. However final approval of the deal reached in 2015 remains both elusive and controversial. The deal involves Westlands accepting responsibility for managing drainage of agricultural runoff, which is contaminated with salt and other minerals. In exchange, the government would forgive $375 million in debt, making the district's water allocation permanent. Westlands would also agree to retire some land and see a cut in the size of its water allocation as part of the deal. As Emily Benson of High Country News reports , the legislation was almost included in the recent defense authorization bill that passed Congress last month. She joined us to talk about the agreement, and why it remains controversial.

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Lack Of Action From Congress Threatens Healthcare Of Millions Of California’s Kids

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 20:54:01 +0000

When it comes to the health care safety net, there’s been a lot of uncertainty in the last few months. Republican lawmakers spent the better part of the year trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and funding has been on shaky ground for community health centers that treat low-income and uninsured patients. Now in the spotlight is the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which insures 2 million low-income kids in California--and is set to run out of federal funding within the next month. Listen to the audio for the full interview with FM89 health reporter Kerry Klein, who explains who the program covers, how it came to be in jeopardy, and what a lack of action from Congress could mean for the future of healthcare in California.

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Military's Early Valley Fever Research Still Benefiting Public Health Today

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 20:04:04 +0000

In the city of Lemoore, a community of 25,000 rising out of arid cropland in California’s San Joaquin Valley, almost everyone has a story about valley fever. Take Frank Bernhardt, nursing a beer at the Fleet Reserve bar on the edge of town. He first encountered the disease just after moving here in the 1960s. “Years ago, my youngest daughter had it. She just didn't have no energy,” he said. “I had a sailor that worked for me that had it,” recalls Kevin Crownover, playing dice across the bar. “He probably missed about a week's worth of work.” Bernhardt and Crownover share something else in common: They both served at Naval Air Station Lemoore, the Navy’s largest jet base in the country. Looking out at the airstrips cutting through dusty fields of cotton and corn, it’s no surprise that the Naval base, about 100 miles from the ocean, struggles with this desert disease, caused when people breath in spores from a fungus that lives in parched soil. Kings County, where Lemoore is located,

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Valley Edition - November 28, 2017: David Linn; College Pathways; John Cox; Tehachapi Library

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 18:53:13 +0000

This week on Valley Edition, we get the latest on allegations that Madera County DA David Linn made sexual and racist remarks about employees and crime victims in the workplace. FM89's Kerry Klein reports on what Monday's move by the Board of Supervisors to censure Linn and ask for his resignation means for the county, as well as Linn's denials and claims of political retaliation. We also learn about a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California that is critical of the state's efforts to improve the pathway from high school to college, especially when it comes to math and English. Plus an interview with Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox, and a preview of next week's grand opening of the new Tehachapi Library in Kern County.

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Report: California's College Pathway Needs Work

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 18:01:50 +0000

A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California says the state's pathway from high school to college is broken. Only 30 percent of 9th grade students will go on to earn a bachelors degree, despite years of work to boost that number. Even students that are on a pathway to college readiness in high school often fail to complete the "a-g" course requirements. And even if that number were to increase, the CSU system isn't ready to accommodate those students. In the past four years the system has turned away near 70,000 qualified students. To hear more about the problem and potential solutions we spoke with report co-author Niu Gao of the PPIC on Valley Edition.

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Tehachapi Awaits Opening Of New Downtown Library

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 17:22:13 +0000

The former Masonic Lodge on East Green Street in downtown Tehachapi is soon to become the new home of the city's branch of the Kern County Library . The move to the new, larger, more modern space has been long awaited by the residents of the mountain community. We spoke with Jasmin LoBasso about the planned opening on Monday December 4th, to hear more about items that remain on the library's wish list, and new activities planned for the new space.

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Madera DA Faces Censure For Alleged Racism, Sexism

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 02:49:01 +0000

Updated November 28: FM89's Joe Moore interviewed reporter Kerry Klein about District Attorney Linn's censure as a part of our weekly news magazine show Valley Edition. You can listen to their full interview above, or continue below for the original story posted on November 27. The Madera County Board of Supervisors voted today to censure the county district attorney. The workplace conduct of Madera County District Attorney David Linn was the subject of a special meeting this morning by the county board of supervisors. The meeting follows months after the county hired an outside law firm to investigate allegations of Linn’s inappropriate comments and behavior. Kimberly Horiuchi is an attorney with the firm. " District Attorney Linn engaged in sexist and sexually explicit comments to and about employees, and in one case, a female crime victim," she presented to the board. "That allegation is sustained." Her investigation also determined that Linn had made racist remarks, including

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Non-Stop Flights To Chicago O'Hare Coming To Fresno Airport

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:24:35 +0000

The Fresno Yosemite International Airport will soon have a new route, with non-stop service to one of the nation’s busiest airports. Valley Public Radio’s Laura Tsutsui reports. Fresno Mayor Lee Brand announced on Monday that United Airlines will be offering daily direct flights to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport next summer. Brand says daily flights to one of the largest airports in the world will open up opportunities for both traveling and jobs. Brand: " And this will bring 123 both direct and indirect jobs, and $6.2 million of economic activity in our area." Fresno’s Director of Aviation, Kevin Meikle (Michael) says that the new route is the result of the city’s economic progress, citing the recruitment of Ulta and Amazon fulfillment centers, and ongoing conversations with the airlines. Meikle : “In response to United’s commitment to our market and this new service, I have just two words: use it. Just get out there and use it.” The Fresno Yosemite Airport already offers

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Madera Supervisors To Consider Censure Of Madera County District Attorney

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:18:49 +0000

The Madera County District Attorney is facing allegations he made racist and sexist comments at work. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess reports several of DA David’s Linn’s subordinates have made the accusation to the Madera County Board of Supervisors. According to a press release from the county’s top attorney, employees brought concerns about Linn to the board of supervisors, claiming that he had made quote: “Racist comments; sexist, lewd and offensive comments; and generally abusive, threatening and profane comments directed toward numerous employees throughout the District Attorney’s Office.” The release says the treatment began when Linn took office in early 2015. The board says they take the allegations seriously but because Linn is elected, their options to respond are limited. Valley Public Radio was unable to reach Linn for comment. However, he did release a statement to the media, denying what he called "vague" charges, which he also says are from a disgruntled employee.

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Valley Edition November 21, 2017: Mr. Potato Head; Rental Housing; Valley Fever; Giant Sequoias

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 23:33:11 +0000

On this week's Valley Edition: It's been two years since the Summerset Village Apartments raised the issue of substandard rental housing in Fresno to a level city hall couldn't ignore. Earlier this year, the city council adopted a new ordinance creating a rental housing inspection program, but nine months later, inspections have yet to begin. We also hear a report on how a new local effort is using Mr. Potato Head dolls to help the parents of premature babies cope with their situation. We also hear interviews with: Harold Pierce of the Bakersfield Californian, about new developments in on-going coverage of valley fever Roger Bales of UC Merced, on new research on Giant Sequoias and California's drought

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Why Has Fresno Yet To Begin Its New Rental Housing Inspection Program?

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 21:34:41 +0000

Temperatures in the Central Valley are dropping as fall gives way to winter. But for many families that also means enduring another winter in substandard housing, a problem that the City of Fresno says it has been working to fix since the passage of a new rental inspection ordinance in February. That ordinance was supposed to set up a process for city inspectors to check most rental housing units in town to build a database and make sure living conditions are healthy and safe. However, 9 months later, inspections have yet to start and renters and their allies are getting nervous. Two years ago, the City of Fresno was rocked by the unsafe living conditions at the Summerset Village Apartment complex. Hundreds of people, mostly Southeast Asian refugees, were without hot water or gas. They had packed into tiny rundown rooms. Local media swarmed the complex and its owner, a San Francisco area restaurateur, became the poster boy for slum housing citywide. In response, earlier this year the

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As Valley Fever Numbers Increase, Workplace Safety A Concern

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:58:32 +0000

New data from the California Department of Public Health show that cases of valley fever are on the rise across the state. The airborne fungal disease is also the subject of a new public awareness campaign in Kern County, featuring sheriff Donny Youngblood. And just yesterday Cal-OSHA issued new fines for six companies who allegedly failed to take steps to prevent exposing their workers to the disease at a solar plant under construction in Monterey County. To get an update on those developments, and Governor Brown's recent veto of a valley fever-related bill, we spoke with Harold Pierce of The Bakersfield Californian. Both Valley Public Radio and The Californian are members of the Center For Health Reporting Collaborative, which has produced the on-going reporting project on valley fever known as Just One Breath.

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