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Last Build Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2016 03:19:47 +0000


Election 2016: Karen Goh Wants To Improve Bakersfield's Image

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:36:50 +0000

For the first time in over a decade, Bakersfield will soon have a new mayor. Kyle Carter and Karen Goh both are vying for the spot to lead Kern County's largest city. While it's largely a ceremonial job, as the office of mayor has little official power, Goh says she wants to use the position to improve Bakersfield's image. Goh joined us this week on Valley Edition to talk about her agenda, which includes boosting local business and creating a safer community. We also asked her about recent community controversies, like the allegations of corruption in the Bakersfield Police Department, and tensions between Kern County and the city.

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2016 Election: California Ballot Measure Preview

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:25:14 +0000

With 17 ballot measures going before voters in November's general election, on issues ranging from plastic bags to the death penalty, there's a lot of information for the average voter to digest before election day. On Valley Edition this week, we invited Fresno State political science professor Dr. Thomas Holyoke to help us wade through the slate of measures and provide some extra insight into who is behind them, and what they claim they would do.

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Election 2016: Henry Perea On His Vision For Fresno

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:06:49 +0000

Henry Perea has spent the past 20 years in public service, first as a member of the Fresno City Council, and most recently as a member of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Now he wants to be Fresno's next mayor. With election day just weeks away, he recently visited Valley Public Radio for a hard-hitting conversation about the issues, from homelessness to the influence developers have at city hall.

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Prison To Pot Farm, Coalinga Hopes To Cash In On Cannabis

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 20:59:17 +0000

Californians will vote in a couple weeks on whether or not the recreational use of marijuana should be legalized or not. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports one Central California city is looking at how it can cash in on this green revolution. Patrick Keough wanted out of Coalinga about five years ago. The 18,000 people or so that call this town in the hills of the coastal range home couldn’t support his realty company. “I told my wife I want to leave, I want more opportunity for us and she said well I love my job,” says Keough. “And I said if we are going to stay we have to get involved in city government and we have to make something for our children to have hope.” He ended up winning a spot on the Coalinga City Council in 2012. Speed up to last December. The 44 year old is now the Mayor-Pro Tem and the city is facing yet another problem. It’s in the red. That’s when Keough had an epiphany while sitting in front of an abandoned prison owned by the city. It had been run by a

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Valley Edition: October 18 - Prison To Pot Farm; Fresno Parks; Henry Perea; Karen Goh; Propositions

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:26:18 +0000

In this week 's two hour Valley Edition FM89's Ezra David Romero takes a tour of a prison that could soon be a pot farm in Coalinga. KVPR's Jeffrey Hess reports on how work has begun to craft a new Fresno parks master plan. We also here from Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea on why he should be Fresno's next mayor. Later in the program we hear from Bakersfield Mayoral Candidate Karen Goh. We are also joined by Fresno State Political Science Professor Thomas Holyoke to chat about the propositions on the November ballot. Enjoy!

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Mexican Activist Argues In Fresno For Migrant Rights

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 01:16:28 +0000

A prominent migrant rights activist from Mexico spoke at Fresno State on Monday with insight into why Latin Americans flee and what can be done about it. Father Alejandro Solalinde is a Catholic Priest from Central Mexico. He’s known for his dogged advocacy for the rights of Latin American migrants, who commonly suffer harassment, abuse and rape on their journey to the United States. He runs a shelter in the state of Oaxaca for migrants and was exiled from the country for two years following death threats. At a talk at Fresno State on Monday, he said spoke about the need to address the core reasons why people flee Latin America, which he refers to as “the south.” “The solution is not that the south come to the north," says Solalinde in Spanish. "The solution is reconstruction of the south.” That reconstruction, he says, includes better education, less government corruption, and more adherence to church teachings.

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Report: California Needs More Latino Doctors

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 00:27:18 +0000

A new report demonstrates the need for more Latino doctors in California. Nine percent. That’s the proportion of Latino students in California med schools, even though Latinos make up almost 40 percent of the state’s population. The percentage of doctors that are Latino is even lower – around five percent. The report, written by the advocacy group Latino Physicians of California, says that an overwhelming majority of Latino doctors supports promoting health careers for Latino youths and attracting more Latino physicians to the state. Modesto family doctor Silvia Diego says doctors from different backgrounds than their patients can do harm. "The doctor may not be sensitive to their culture, they may be even dismissive of their beliefs and their values," she says, "and this definitely tarnishes the patient-doctor relationship." According to the report, reducing ethnic disparities in medicine will involve better outreach from medical schools, incentivizing Latino doctors to stay in

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London Gets New Public Library Branch

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 00:25:23 +0000

The Tulare County public library system is opening its 16th location this weekend. The new branch will serve the rural unincorporated community of London, located near Dinuba and Kingsburg. The community’s 1,800 residents are predominately Latino, and almost half fall below the poverty line. County librarian Darla Wegener says London residents advocated hard for this branch. "People know they need it and we believe they need it," she says, "and they’ve been just the most wonderful community to work with during this whole process." The new building will be stocked with a core collection of classic literature, non-fiction, and books for children. "I did an outreach event in London over a year ago and the kids just went crazy for Pete the Cat," says Wegener. "So we have Pete the Cat books, and we also have Harry Potter, but we also have classic titles that they might assign in high school." A ribbon-cutting and free resource fair will take place Saturday the 15th from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The

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Work Begins Crafting New Fresno Parks Master Plan

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 23:30:00 +0000

The last time the city of Fresno re-examined its public parks Ronald Reagan was president. According to one ranking Fresno ranks 97th of out 100 cities in terms of access to public parks. Now, after much community complaint, work is underway to bring city parks into the 21st century. Last week, resident gathered at Fresno High School to share their vision for the city’s parks. Standing beneath a giant sign showing where every park in the city is located, 14-year old Mia Burrell lays out what she considers to be the biggest problem with Fresno’s park in stark terms. “If I were a little young kid, I wouldn’t want to play in a park. It just that there is a lot of drugs out there. And they used to have needles and stuff laying around. And it smelled like weed all the time. And so it is really not a good place to play around,” Burrell says. Mia’s father Richard says he has seven kids in total and is just as blunt in his assessment about why he is often reluctant to take his kids to parks

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Artist Interview: Classical Pianist Sofya Melikyan Celebrates Armenian Heritage

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 22:58:30 +0000

Armenian-born classical pianist Sofya Melikyan has performed at Carnegie Hall and other prestigious halls across the globe. Now she brings her artistry to Fresno for a concert Friday October 14, 2016 that includes music by Franz Liszt and Granados, as well as Babadjanian and Liebermann. The concert is presented by the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concert Series and Fresno State's Armenian Studies Department. Melikyan joined FM89's Joe Moore in our studio to talk about her career, including life growing up in Yerevan, studies in Spain and France, and about performing classical music in unconventional venues - like the nightclub setting of New York City's Zinc Bar.

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Climate Legislation An Opportunity For Dairy Digesters, But Hurdles Remain

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 23:28:08 +0000

A few weeks ago we told you about concerns within the dairy industry following the state’s most recent climate legislation. The new laws require livestock producers to cut methane emissions from manure by almost half before the year 2030. It seems a tall task, but a kind of facility that’s popular in Europe could help the California dairy industry meet those goals—if only it were easier to build here. FM89’s Kerry Klein brings us to Tulare County with more. When it comes to how Governor Brown has influenced the dairy industry, Joey Airoso doesn’t mince words. “He's making it difficult for anybody to produce anything in this state,” says Airoso, a dairy producer in Pixley. He’s worried because, in order to keep up with methane restrictions, dairy producers may have to overhaul their manure management systems or make expensive renovations. “He's going to put people out of business,” says Airoso. “A lot of them.” But there is a technology that could help dairy producers meet their methane

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Outdoorsy: Episode 2 - Mono Hot Springs, Dispersed Camping & Your Camp Recipes

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 21:14:12 +0000

In our last episode we took you to this mountain oasis called Mineral King in Sequoia National Park. This time, we go 100 miles north of there to a place called Mono Hot Springs. Mono (pronounced “MOE-no”) Hot Springs is tucked away in the Sierra Nevada south of Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes, and it’s about halfway from the Valley to the East Side. The hot springs sit in a mountain valley next to a fork in the San Joaquin River. Like Mineral King, the springs are at the end of a long, winding road. To get there from Fresno, you drive up Highway 168 East past places like Shaver Lake and China Peak Ski Resort. Before reaching Huntington Lake, turn onto Kaiser Pass Road, which quickly becomes only one lane. At some points it’s worse than the drive to Mineral King. It’s narrow and bumpy and at a few points, the side of the road drops off literally over a cliff. We don’t recommend driving it at night. As you climb Kaiser Pass, the highest point of the drive, you briefly venture

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Will A Roundabout Cure Traffic Problems In Yosemite Valley?

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 20:54:27 +0000

This year Yosemite National Park is on pace to have four and a half million visitors. That would be an all-time record. All those people mean a lot of traffic in a place known for its serenity. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the Park Service is in the process of making changes so visitors won’t have to often wait in what feels like rush hour traffic in the middle of the forest. I’m annoyed. I’ve circled Yosemite Valley for about an hour now. And as I look out my car window it’s as if Half Dome is taunting me. In five minutes I need to be in an interview with a park ranger. It’s back to back traffic and I just want a parking spot. This is the plight of almost anyone that chooses to visit Yosemite Valley these days. It’s not even a weekend. It’s a Tuesday in September. Finally the train of cars moves forward and I see a single parking spot. I take it and run to my interview. I’m not the only one bothered by this. Russ and Lori Albert just drove in from Utah. It’s their first

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A Tale Of Two Hospitals Shows The Challenges of Increasing Access To Mental Health Care

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 20:47:24 +0000

Sometimes in public policy, especially in health care, most everyone agrees there is an obvious problem. But more often than not, getting everyone to agree on a solution is much harder. That’s what is happening right now when it comes to access to mental health care in the Central Valley and two mental health facilities are showing that gap in a stark way. First, let’s get the ‘thing everyone agrees on’ out of the way. It’s probably not a surprise that the Central Valley has a severe shortage of mental health facilities and providers. Combined with high rates of mental illness, access to care is a major concern. “It is generally scarce everywhere but in particular in this county new programs and services are desperately needed. So that is we identified this area,” says Michael Zauner, the Group Director of Behavioral Health with Universal Health Services. Zauner is interested in building a big new behavioral health facility in Clovis. They are proposing building a 102-bed, $40 million

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Valley Edition: October 11 - Merced Homeless Issue; Outdoorsy; Yosemite; Tulare County Symphony

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 18:34:30 +0000

This week on Valley Edition our staff reports stories on methane, construction in Yosemite National Park, mental health facilities in Fresno and homelessness in Merced. We also debut a second episode of our podcast Outdoorsy. In it we explore the Mono Hot Springs area. Ending the program we speak with Bruce Kiesling, the music director for the Tulare County Symphony.

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Tulare County Symphony Starts New Season Inspired By Folk Songs

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 18:08:10 +0000

This year the Tulare County Symphony is presenting a season inspired by folk songs and folk traditions from all over the world. The first concert of the season at the historic Visalia Fox Theatre is Saturday, and features music by composers Aaron Copland and Edgar Meyer. The concert is also an opportunity to hear the orchestra perform with its new orchestra shell which promises better acoustics for musicians and listeners alike. Conductor Bruce Kiesling joins us on Valley Edition to talk about the upcoming concert and the rest of the 2016/2017 season.

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Merced Homeless Meals Program Finds New Home, Thanks To Church

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 04:30:10 +0000

Homelessness is a big problem throughout the valley. It’s not just in large cities like Bakersfield and Fresno though. Smaller towns and rural counties are facing their own challenges in serving those in need with food, shelter and often mental health and substance abuse treatment. But what happens when finding a place to do all those things runs into community opposition? That’s just what happened this month in Merced. After being shut down over a week for the lack of a home, a popular program that serves food to those on the street is finally back in operation, thanks to the assistance of another area church congregation. Since 1991 the Merced County Rescue Mission has been providing shelter, services and ministry to the homeless in a leafy neighborhood just a couple of blocks off of Main Street. Bruce Metcalf runs the program: “The Merced County Rescue Mission serves about 150,000 meals every year, and we serve meals three times a day, seven days a week. And we provide meals for

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To Make Streets Safer, Valley Students Walk To School

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 01:26:46 +0000

Students in Fresno and across the valley celebrated International Walk and Bike to School Day today. The event aims to tout the benefits of walking and make the streets safer for kids. Esther Postiglione is a program manager with Cultiva La Salud, the advocacy group who organized events in Fresno and Orange Cove. "Sidewalks aren’t well maintained, there’s limited crosswalks, and a lot of what we hear from residents is there’s a lot of loose dogs," Postiglione says. "So getting their kids to school is a real challenge in terms of walking safely." At Lane Elementary School in southeast Fresno, students carried paper stop signs and sang songs on their way to class. Amelia Aguilar, walking with one of her two grandchildren who attend the school, says they have to cross a busy street to get there. "Sometimes the drivers are in a hurry and they don’t see the kids," says Aguilar. "We live right in front of the apartments and there’s no crosswalk there, and kids are just running." Last year’s

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Study Calculates Fertilizer's Hidden Social Costs

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 01:14:39 +0000

A new study aims to quantify the social costs of nitrogen fertilizer. San Joaquin Valley residents are likely familiar with nitrates that seep out of agricultural fields and into the water supply. But nitrogen also makes its way into the air and the environment, impacting human health, ecosystems, and the climate. And all those exact costs on society. Bonnie Keeler is program director of the Natural Capital Project at the University of Minnesota and is lead author on the study. She says, altogether, those costs range wildly from less than a penny per kilogram of nitrogen fertilizer to over $10. That range, she says, "really comes down to where it’s applied, where it goes, how many people are exposed to the pollution and then how harmful, how severe are those consequences." The study focuses on agricultural areas in Minnesota. But Keeler says the main finding of the research isn’t the dollar amount, but a mathematical formula. "And it basically says, if you want to know what the social

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Merced Rescue Mission Hot Meals Program Is Now Homeless

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:32:42 +0000

EDITORS'S NOTE: As of Monday October 10, 2016 the hot meals program has reopened at a new location. Original Post: The Merced County Rescue Mission is looking for a new home for its hot meals program. The mission stopped serving meals at its Canal Street location last Friday. Executive Director Bruce Metcalf says the temporary closure was prompted after complaints about the homeless from the members of the Central Presbyterian Church, which is across the street. He added that the mission wants to be a "good neighbor." Metcalf: “Some of the people that attend there with their young children are simply uncomfortable with some of the guests that we serve.” That’s left hundreds of people who rely on the mission for food everyday searching for a meal. On average the mission provides 150,000 meals a year, three times a day. The search for a new location hasn’t been easy. The mission had identified a temporary location downtown, but Metcalf says it also faced community opposition. Now he

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