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Valley Public Radio

From Valley Public Radio

Last Build Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2018 08:58:58 +0000


Study Predicts Wetter Winters And Climate “Whiplash” In California’s Future

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 21:58:28 +0000

The winter of 2016 to 2017 was extreme. Not only did it put an end to an extended drought in most of California, it delivered far more rain than average, and even set some rainfall records. The state experienced a different kind of extreme in 1862, when the state was pounded by storm after storm over a short period of time, which caused what some called megafloods—the likes of which we haven’t seen since. A new paper published in the research journal Nature Climate Change explores how much more likely events like these could become in California’s future . Listen to the audio for an interview with UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain, the study’s lead author.

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A Most Rare Vision: Shakespeare And Earth Day Come Together In Yosemite

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 21:44:27 +0000

This past Sunday, April 22, was Earth Day. But did you know that the day before was the birthday of conservationist John Muir, or that the day after was the day widely believed to have been the birth and death of William Shakespeare? These may seem like unrelated occasions, but one special event brought all three together in Yosemite National Park. Majestic. Peaceful. Calming. For many, these are the words conjured by Yosemite National Park. But in the park this past weekend, hundreds of visitors may have borne witness to a most rare vision: Two deaths, a wedding, and a fairy falling in love with a donkey. It was William Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," performed in the shadows of pine trees and towering granite walls. It was the brainchild of two directors, both English professors and Shakespeare scholars: Katie Brokaw of UC Merced and Paul Prescott of the University of Warwick in England. “This whole story began with a walk in the park about 2 years ago,” Prescott said. “We

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Valley Edition - April 24, 2018 - Fresno City Council, Shakespeare In Yosemite, Climate Whiplash

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 20:44:23 +0000

Today on Valley Edition we learn how one key Fresno City Council race could shift the balance of power in local politics. We also go to Yosemite Valley and hear about a new production of Shakespeare set amid Yosemite’s towering granite monoliths. Later in the show we learn how climate whiplash could impact the Central Valley with prolonged droughts and massive floods, and we talk to Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee and find out which big water storage projects are expected to get water bond funding, and which ones aren’t. Plus a look at an effort to preserve Delano’s history.

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Fresno City Council District 7 Race Could Shift City Politics

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 18:01:09 +0000

Four of Fresno’s city council seats are up for re-election this year. While these are technically non-partisan races, many city issues are often decided along party lines. The stakes are even higher in one particular district that's currently held by a conservative, and is a district where voters in the last presidential election supported Hillary Clinton. Valley Public Radio’s Laura Tsutsui reports, the candidate who wins this seat could end up deciding the future of city politics. Months before the June 5 primary, candidates for Fresno City’s District 7 are increasing their campaign activity and holding events through the area. One popular location to rent out is Sam’s Deli. Known for its sandwiches and meat and cheese selection, it’s where District 7 city council candidate Nelson Esparza asks to meet for an interview. Since its inception in 1996, District 7 has been represented by two Democrats, followed by Republican Clint Olivier. This year, Olivier is termed out and three

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Water Commission Deals A Blow To Temperance Flat Dam Dreams

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 01:22:00 +0000

The California Water Commission delivered bad news last Friday to the backers of a proposed new dam on the San Joaquin River near Fresno. Supporters had hoped to receive around $1 billion in funding for the $2.7 billion project from the money voters approved in the 2014 Proposition 1 water bond. Instead, the commission awarded Temperance Flat only $171 million. Other proposed storage facilities fared better, such as the Sites Reservoir, which scored nearly $1 billion in funding. So what are the winners and losers saying? We spoke with Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler about who won, who lost and what's next.

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Project Seeks To Preserve Delano's History

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 01:21:40 +0000

Many communities across the valley have rich histories. The challenge in many cases is preserving those stories, memories, photos and artifacts for future generations. In one Kern County community, a new effort is underway to do just that. We recently spoke with history professor Oliver Rosales about the Digital Delano project. The effort to collect and record oral histories and more is holding a special event May 1 at the Bakersfield College Delano Campus, and we learn about local residents can help participate.

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Two Valley Fever Bills Make Progress In California Legislature

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:59:12 +0000

Two bills that could improve valley fever research made it one step closer to law on Thursday, passing out of the California Assembly and into the state Senate. The bills aim to streamline the state’s inconsistent reporting guidelines for valley fever , a fungal disease caused by inhaling spores that grow in arid soil. Reporting requirements for the disease vary by county, making it difficult to tally and study the disease burden across the state. Rob Purdie with Valley Fever Americas is excited that the two bills are moving through the state legislature. "These were bipartisan bills with tons of cosponsors," he says. "That to me is really exciting because as a survivor, I feel like they’re listening and they care and they want to do something." The two bills were introduced by Bakersfield assemblymember Rudy Salas. AB 1787 would set an annual deadline for all counties to report disease tallies to the state. AB 1788 would allow valley fever cases to be confirmed in laboratories,

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Young Artists Spotlight: Strolling Strings of Panama-Buena Vista Union School District

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 22:32:34 +0000

This week on Young Artists Spotlight we feature over 40 students from the Strolling Strings of Panama-Buena Vista Union School District in Bakersfield. This exciting and talented group performs across Kern County for audiences in concerts and special events and this week they bring their enthusiastic music to FM89.

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Politics Talk: Kevin McCarthy As House Speaker, Nunes, Janz, Redistricting And More

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 21:35:32 +0000

Will House Republicans warm up to Kevin McCarthy as he seeks to become the next Speaker of the House? Or will members of the "Freedom Caucus" stage their own fight for the spot? Why is Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Janz focusing on Clovis in his messaging to unseat incumbent Devin Nunes in the 22nd Congressional District? And what do recent legal battles over local redistricting and Latino voter rights mean for valley politics? We talk politics and seek answers to those questions and more with Fresno State Political Science Professor Thomas Holyoke on Valley Edition.

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Report: Air Quality Improving, But Valley Cities Still Among Country's Worst

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 19:36:43 +0000

The American Lung Association has released its annual State of the Air report chronicling air pollution throughout the country - and Valley cities still receive failing grades, despite some improvements . The report ranks pollution levels for the years 2014-2016. Thanks to the Clean Air Act and lower vehicle emissions, particle pollution overall has dropped. Most cities, including those in the San Joaquin Valley, saw fewer days of unhealthy particle pollution compared to previous years. Ozone pollution, however, worsened. During a press conference, Janice Nolen of the American Lung Association explained: It has to do with changing climate and rising temperatures, globally and in California. "As you may know, ozone doesn’t come out of a tailpipe or smokestack - the emissions that create it do," Nolen said. "It cooks in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight and heat. And the more heat, the more likely ozone is to form." Valley cities still remain some of the most polluted in the

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Valley Edition - April 17, 2018 - Nitrogen Pollution, Fresno's Water Treatment Plant, Local Politics

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 00:48:54 +0000

On this week’s Valley Edition we learn how valley farmers are working on solutions to a problem that has a long legacy in the valley – nitrogen pollution. Not only can nitrate pollute groundwater, new research suggests it’s also a bigger contributor to air pollution than previously thought. We’ll learn why solving the problem is so difficult, and what local growers are doing to reduce their nitrogen use. We also will hear how a massive infrastructure project is nearing completion in Fresno. The new Southeast Surface Water Treatment Plant will soon be supplying the oldest parts of Fresno with drinking water. That has city officials asking for the public’s help to spot any potential issues early on. We’ll learn how the new plant was informed by lessons learned in the past. Later in the show we also talk with Harold Pierce of The Bakersfield Californian about school discipline issues in the Kern High School District, and with the author of the book “Big Hunger” who says food banks are too

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As New Water Treatment Plant Nears Completion, Fresno Builds On Lessons Learned

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 00:26:43 +0000

The City of Fresno has long relied on groundwater to meet its needs, but a new surface water treatment plant is slated to begin operating this summer. While the city faced complications with their last treatment plant, they’re hoping the lessons learned help solve problems before they start. Fresno’s new Southeast Surface Water Treatment Plant is huge, and built to do one thing: Treat water from the Kings River, and send it out to Fresno residents. Ben Carlisle, the construction manager for the site, gives us a tour. He describes to us how the water arrives and moves through the plant. “Water will run through here, serpentines through. These are plate settlers, then water goes over those weirs. It goes into the settled water channel, back down through the ozone building; ozone into filters; filters to the reservoir,” Carlisle finishes. “And that's it.” We stand at the top of the structure, looking down into basins that will eventually hold water; right now, they’re empty. The building

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Report: 10 Bakersfield-Area Teachers Assaulted By Students This Year Alone

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 18:02:53 +0000

According to a new report from The Bakersfield Californian's Harold Pierce, 10 teachers in the Kern High School District have been assaulted by students this year alone. Some suggest the number might even be higher. It's the latest news on a topic that has long plagued the district, which once was know for its high suspension and expulsion numbers. A recently settled lawsuit over alleged discriminatory discipline practices in the district resulted in the expansion of the PBIS program, which is an alternative to suspensions for students "acting out" in class. Now some teachers say the new program doesn't do enough. We spoke with Pierce to learn more about that teachers and district leaders are saying about the problem.

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Nourishment And Poison: Nitrogen’s Double Life

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:54:57 +0000

The San Joaquin Valley struggles with environmental pollution. Hundreds of thousands of residents are served with water that’s unsafe to drink , and all of us live under seasonal clouds ozone and particle pollution in the air . Water and air problems are regulated separately, but one contaminant bridges both domains. This story examines why nitrogen is such a persistent problem. Every other Wednesday, Jon Hubble carefully crosses a field of garlic, plucking leaves off of tall, green stalks. “It’s one, two, three, and this would be your most recently matured leaf,” he says, demonstrating how he chooses which leaves to collect. Hubble works for an agronomist in Fresno, sampling crops and soils and sending them off to a lab for testing. It’s what brings him to these rows of garlic in Five Points, on the west side of Fresno County. “One of the perks of onions and garlic: It at least smells good,” he says. The test results get sent back to growers like John Diener, who farms 4,000 acres of

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Author: Food Banks Are Too Close To Corporate America

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:33:27 +0000

Hunger is a big problem across America but especially here in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the local groups taking on the issue is FoodLink of Tulare County. The Exeter-based organization is dedicated to bridging the gap between between health and anti-hunger relief efforts. On Friday night the organization is hosting a special event with Andrew Fisher, author of the book Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate American and Anti-Hunger Groups. Fisher joined us to talk about his critique of the relationship between big business and groups that aim to fight food insecurity, which he says creates a conflict of interest.

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Gubernatorial Candidates Meet With Central Valley Residents

Sat, 14 Apr 2018 00:15:51 +0000

Two California gubernatorial candidates spent the day in the Central Valley, talking to local residents about their priorities. The idea was to show the unique experiences of residents in the Central Valley. Antonio Villaraigosa and Delaine Eastin were the only candidates to attend. They first met constituents in Orosi, and then visited Southwest Fresno. Villaraigosa, former Mayor of Los Angeles, emphasized his record of fighting inequality. “The best way to fight the policies of Donald Trump is to do a better job of lifting people out of poverty, at educating more of our kids, at addressing the fact that we have a prison pipeline,” said Villaraigosa. Eastin is a former state superintendent who is focused on education and healthy environments. “If budgets are statements of values, we need absolutely to understand, it's time to reinvest in our children,” Eastin said. Residents told candidates about their personal experiences with homelessness and struggling to pay for higher education.

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Fresno Philharmonic Interviews: Rei Hotoda on Heaven & Earth

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 21:17:17 +0000

This week we talk with Fresno Philharmonic conductor Rei Hotoda for insights into Sunday April 15th's concert Heaven & Earth. The performance features music celebrating spirit and nature by Debussy, Poulenc, Jennifer Higdon and Tan Dun. It's the final Masterworks Concert of the season, and Hotoda says listeners should come with their cellphones, ready to participate in this week's performance.

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Fresno City Council Candidate Brian Whelan Gets FPOA Endorsement

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 01:04:08 +0000

One candidate for a key Fresno City Council race has earned a big endorsement from local law enforcement. District 7 candidate Brian Whelan announced Thursday he has the support of the Fresno Police Officers Association. Damon Kurtz is president of the FPOA . “We did an interview process, spoke to candidates, and Brian rose to the top,” said Kurtz. He described Whelan as, “overly qualified for the position.” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer also added his endorsement to Whelan’s campaign. “The very reason that I support Brian is because of his number one goal: Keeping our streets safe,” said Dyer. The seat is currently held by Clint Olivier, who has endorsed Whelan’s campaign. Right now, the city council leans conservative, but this race could shift the balance. The other two candidates running in District 7 are Nelson Esparza and Veva Islas.

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Kern Medical To Lose One Of Its Residency Programs

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 22:43:05 +0000

The San Joaquin Valley will soon have fewer training opportunities for doctors; one of Kern Medical’s residency programs is losing its accreditation. Kern Medical CEO Russell Judd says he doesn’t yet know why the hospital’s residency program in surgery will need to shut down. "We’re very disappointed by this," Judd says. "Of course once we receive the findings we will do what is necessary to rectify those findings and reopen the program." The program officially loses its accreditation at the end of June. At that time, five residents will graduate, but the remaining eight will need to transfer elsewhere. "This is an impact to education - this does not impact in any way the services we provide," he says. "The clinical care to patients this does not impact at all." It also doesn’t impact the hospital’s six other residency programs. But it could shrink the pipeline of surgeons into the Valley. Research has shown doctors are more likely to practice where they finish their residencies than

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Brooke Ashjian Won't Run Again For FUSD School Board

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 22:41:10 +0000

One of the most controversial and influential leaders of the Fresno Unified School District Board of Trustees has announced he won’t be running for reelection. Fresno Unified Board trustee Brooke Ashjian made the announcement outside of the district’s headquarters. “So today, I announce that I won't be running for school board in the coming election,” Ashjian said. “I feel that I have ran the course, I finished the task, and I set the place for success.” Ashjian was one of former superintendent Michael Hanson’s fiercest critics, and helped orchestrate his departure from FUSD. Over the last year, Ashjian has also dealt with criticism from comments he made about the LGBT community and mandatory sexual education in schools. He says that his decision has not been influenced by pressure about his comments. “I won the Bullard district by almost 90 percent,” said Ashjian. “If I wanted to run again, I’d run again and I'd win. It’s got nothing to do with any of that.” Ashjian represents the

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