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Preview: - Valley Public Radio's special tribute to artist Arshile Gorky


Last Build Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2017 02:31:33 +0000


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 at 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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Not Just A Toy Drive: This Visalia Mom Collects Hope For Parents Of Preemies

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:21:40 +0000

As the holidays approach, you may be contemplating the toys you’ll be getting for the children in your life or donating to kids in need. Well, this month, one woman in Visalia is holding a toy drive, but for parents—sort of. She’s working to donate toys to families affected by one of the San Joaquin Valley’s most concerning health trends. When Ami Alvarez was born, he weighed just one pound. His mother Ashlee Alvarez had been diagnosed with a life-threatening complication and had to deliver Ami early—at just over 25 weeks. “He was so small and so skinny and the skin is translucent, you can see all the veins, and his eyes were still closed,” she says. Ami was a micro preemie, a baby born before 26 weeks of gestation. He spent the first three months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. Alvarez and her husband spent practically every day with him, but she still remembers how slowly he seemed to be progressing. She says

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Can Giant Sequoias Survive California's Next Long Drought?

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 19:03:11 +0000

California’s historic drought may be over, but scientists are still hard at work assessing its impact on the ecosystem. Perhaps nowhere is that work more interesting, or important, than with the Sierra’s Giant Sequoias. These ancient trees have weathered drought, fires and floods for millennia. But how did they fare in this most recent dry spell, and what can their health tell us about other problems in the forest? That’s the subject of new research from UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute. The group's director Roger Bales joined us on Valley Edition to explain that while most sequoias made it through this drought, a longer one in the future could threaten many groves.

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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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