Last Build Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2017 01:18:10 +0000
Sat, 18 Feb 2017 02:11:55 +0000Faith leaders from all over the world have traveled to Modesto this week for a meeting dedicated to social justice. FM89’s Kerry Klein says it’s the first event of its kind in the U.S. It’s called the World Meeting of Popular Movements, and it’s convened by The Vatican--though Pope Francis won’t be making an appearance. The meeting is a chance for faith leaders and advocates to discuss migration, workers’ rights and housing, and the environment. "We believe that by bringing people of faith and grassroots leaders together in dialogue, we will be able to take steps forward for racial, economic and social justice," says Thomas Weiler, lead organizer for Faith In Fresno. The three previous world meetings were held in Rome and Bolivia. Weiler says this year’s San Joaquin Valley location was intentional. "We are the epicenter of so many forces of exclusion--in terms of the impact of the economy, that leaves so many people behind, and the impact of immigration issues on families, now more
Fri, 17 Feb 2017 02:28:38 +0000When Isabella Dam was built back in the 1950’s northeast of Bakersfield it was hailed as a great engineering achievement. The structure held back the mighty Kern River to provide water for farmers and communities, and helped protect the Southern San Joaquin Valley from floods. But a little over 10 years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers learned that the dam had three problems. Geologists discovered an active fault runs under the dam. Hydrologists learned that there was a risk the earthen dam could be overtopped during an extreme flood event, and engineers discovered the structure had seepage issues at the base. According to Kern County officials, in a worst case scenario with the reservoir full and a failure of the main dam, some parts of Bakersfield could be under 20 feet of water or more. That possibility led the Corps, which runs Lake Isabella and the dam, to change the way they operate the dam lowering by water levels to reduce the risk, and to begin designing a solution. So
Fri, 17 Feb 2017 02:17:01 +0000The 50th Annual World Ag Expo in Tulare has now officially come to a close. The massive fair draws farmers and agricultural professionals from all over the world to check out the newest in farm equipment and technology as well as cut deals and make professional contacts. This year, the buzz around the show wasn't just about machinery, it was also about politics. Despite losing California badly in November's election, President Donald Trump drew broad support from the state's agriculture industry. Among the farmers Valley Public Radio interviewed at the show this week, there was broad general hope about the future of the agriculture industry under President Trump. A particularly strong advocate was Robert Franklin, a Trump voter, who splits his time between growing apples in eastern Utah and raisins in Brazil. He is hopeful Trump will remove what he sees as government interference, like overtime rules and environmental regulation, which he thinks makes agriculture work harder. “Just
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 01:34:51 +0000The state has released new data on California’s drinking water--and they reveal almost 300 public water systems are out of compliance with state standards. The data and an interactive map are part of the state water board’s new Human Right to Water Portal . They reveal 292 non-compliant water systems across the state. Violations include unsafe levels of arsenic, nitrates, and other contaminants, as well as non-compliant treatment techniques. "When you think about safe and affordable drinking water, you might think about Flint, for example, but what most Californians are not aware of is that right here in our own state, over a million Californians are exposed to unsafe drinking water each year," says Jonathan Nelson, policy director of the non-profit Community Water Center. The San Joaquin Valley contains dozens of non-compliant water systems, which stretch from Humboldt County to the Mexican border. Nelson says determining the extent of the problem is the first step of many. "We can
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 00:26:02 +0000This week on FM89's Young Artists Spotlight we feature a performance by the Bakersfield High School Chamber Singers. Director Christopher Borges leads the group in performances of material ranging from the medieval choral music to contemporary pop songs. Selections: Dixit Maria, by Hans Leo Hassler (1562-1612) A un giro sol, by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) Sweet Day, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) Estrela e lua nova (arr. Heitor Villa-Lobos) White Winter Hymnal (pop song) Just the Way You Are (girls’ group Valentine gram) Support for Young Artists Spotlight comes from the Bonner Family Foundation; Dr. Alice Martinson and Carole Sturgis.
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 21:07:06 +0000This week on Valley Edition we get an update on the situation at Oroville Dam, a progress report on plans for a new freeway in Bakersfield, and take a look at how county budgets could take a hit with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Here's this week's show: Segment 1: Oroville Dam Update - Guest: Capital Public Radio reporter Steve Milne Segment 2: FUSD Superintendent Search - Guest: FUSD School Board President Brooke Ashjian Segment 3: Affordable Care Act Repeal Could Hit County Budgets - Report by FM89's Jeffrey Hess Segment 4: Construction nears On Bakersfield Freeway - Guest: Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales, Ward 2 Segment 5: Japanese-Americans Mark 75th Anniversary of Internment Order - Guest: Fresno County Superior Court Judge Dale Ikeda
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 20:17:59 +0000Much of the focus on the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been on the newly insured people who stand to lose their coverage. But there could be consequences that reach far beyond just people’s health care and impact nearly every taxpayer in the Central Valley. Repealing the law without a replacement has some county lawmakers worried. Republicans in Washington D.C. are busy figuring out their way forward on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Much of the reporting focus has been on what will happen to the thousands of valley residents who have found new insurance coverage either through Covered California or, more importantly, Medicaid expansion. However, behind the scenes a big transformation has been underway at local hospitals and county governments as they have adjusted to a new health insurance reality that has saved millions of dollars on the local level. With the potential for that to change local leaders are taking a closer look at the fiscal impact
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 20:01:19 +0000For the first time in a decade, the Fresno Unified School District is searching for a new superintendent. School board president Brooke Ashjian told Valley Public Radio in an interview on Valley Edition that he believes morale in the district is the "highest I've ever seen it" following the departure of longtime superintendent Michael Hanson on February 1st. Ashjian, who was one of Hanson's strongest critics reiterated his claims that the FBI investigation into district school construction practices is still active, contrary to statements made by the former superintendent. He also said the district needs to stiffen school discipline procedures, after recent events including the assault of a teacher by a McLane High School student.
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 19:25:04 +0000On February 19, 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Oorder 9066 which led to the forced removal of Japanese-American citizens from their homes and farms on the west coast, placing them in internment camps. Many of the families that were rounded up and sent to the camps came from the San Joaquin Valley. Many stayed there for years, and some lost their homes and farms. Now the local Japanese-American community is marking the 75 th anniversary of the order with ceremonies and a new exhibit at Fresno State's Henry Madden Library. We invited Fresno County Superior Court Judge Dale Ikeda, of the Japanese American Citizens League to join us to talk about the exhibit, and how this dark chapter of American history remains relevant today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcaQRhcBXKY
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:06:00 +0000For years going from east to west in Bakersfield has been a major ordeal. The State Route 58 freeway for decades has hit a dead-end where it meets Highway 99. Travelers on the highway have been force to take the surface streets of Rosedale Highway to continue traveling on SR 58. That soon could change though, as the Centennial Corridor Freeway project aims to connect SR 58 from Highway 99 to the new Westside Parkway freeway, which already exists north of the Kern River. The project is slated to begin construction in a few months. But there are challenges. The neighborhood of West Park lies in the way, with dozens of homes either in the path of the future freeway or adjacent to the planned structure. Those homes are in Ward 2, which is represented by new Bakersfield City Council Member Andrae Gonzales, who joined us to talk about the latest progress on the project on Valley Edition.
Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:49:40 +0000Today on Young Artists Spotlight we hear a performance from two classical guitar ensembles from Central Unified School District in Fresno, led by instructor Brian Garcia. He writes this about his students and the guitar program: Our students have the chance to train in 6 year cohorts beginning in the 7th grade and continuing through the 12 grade. The idea is to provide a curriculum and environment that helps each student reach their potential as a musician and performer. We train with classical and flamenco guitar methodologies. None of our kids take private lessons because they cannot afford the cost. Our program is designed to offset this disadvantage. Music is also a vehicle to teach students about the learning process. Students are guided on a "music walk" which is a similar technique used for concepts in print via language arts. They learn to look for difficult passages, key signature, time signatures, and design a schedule and practice plan that is realistic in conjunction with
Thu, 09 Feb 2017 00:38:34 +0000Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims were among the law enforcement officials who met with President Trump today as part of the Major County Sheriff’s Association conference. Mims: “He pledged his support for law enforcement saying that we’re going to work together to keep our communities and nation safe.” Mims says Trump also repeated his calls to step up deportations of individuals suspected or convicted of crimes who are in the country illegally. Mims: “What the President said about that in general is 'let’s get the bad ones out,' and I think that reflects on what we’re doing in Fresno County. No local law enforcement in the field asks questions about a person’s legal status. That occurs when someone is booked into the jail, ICE does their job and determines if they are going to take them into custody or not.” On Tuesday Mims also met with Senator Dianne Feinstein to talk about the possibility of Congress passing immigration reform, as part of
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 22:18:19 +0000Host intro: Last week, we brought you a story about the San Joaquin Valley’s opioid epidemic, which manifests in inordinately high rates of painkiller prescriptions and hundreds of overdose deaths every year. This week, we explore three strategies that health officials and advocates are using to take aim at the problem. FM89’s Kerry Klein begins at a safe space for drug users. For over 20 years, meth and heroin users from around Fresno County have relied on the Fresno needle exchange for free medical care and all the clean syringes they need. Now, users can also get something else here: a nasal spray that can reverse an opioid overdose. Three months ago, volunteers began handing out Narcan prescriptions as users walk up to the exchange. Like an Epi-Pen to an allergic reaction, Narcan can stop an opioid overdose in its tracks. Doug, a heroin user, has seen the antidote in action. “I had a friend, he had overdosed. He was dead, heart stopped, turned blue,” he says—then a neighbor ran in
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:23:21 +0000This week on Valley Edition our team reports on stories about the opioid epidemic in the region, sanctuary cities, high speed rail and a new housing development in Madera County. We also hear from the CEO of Valley Children's Hospital about collaboration with Kaweah Delta Hospital. And we hear about a new Kern County coffee shop with a mission to help people trapped in sex trafficking.
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 20:01:52 +0000A new coffee shop in Bakersfield offers more than just lattes and blended drinks – it also seeks to raise awareness about human trafficking. In fact, many of the people who work at the Rescue Grounds Coffee Company at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital are victims of human trafficking themselves. It’s all part of a project from the Bakersfield non-profit Magdelene Hope . It’s founder Doug Bennett joined us on Valley Edition to talk about how the women the group is helping and the way the community has responded to the new coffee shop.
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 19:47:47 +0000Two of the valley's largest hospitals are expanding their partnership to provide pediatric care in Tulare County. Valley Children's Hospital and its associated physicians group will now provide medical staffing for Kaweah Delta's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatrics Unit. The move is the latest step in a partnership that goes back decades. It's also led to some controversy among physicians of the Sequoia Pediatrics Group in Visalia, who will no longer have access to the NICU. Valley Children's CEO Todd Suntrapak joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the arrangement and other partnerships the hospital is building in Kern County.
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 19:32:56 +0000An explosion of building is ramping up just north of Fresno in Madera County. This area of rolling hills on the way to Yosemite could become a city the size of Clovis. All this development could be good for the county's finances, but as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports people who already live there say it could change their way of life. Kimberly Gomes is a realtor who grew up in the Madera Ranchos. It’s an unincorporated community of less 10,000 people just minutes from Fresno. It’s been around for decades and it's kind of a rural place with homes on lots of around an acre or more. Gomes is showing me a lot in the ranchos she just sold to a developer for $54,000. “It’s beautiful,” says Gomes. “Sitting out on your front porch enjoying your coffee, listening to your animals.” Gomes says this feeling of home is why people live here. Residents are able to live near Fresno while maintaining a country-esque lifestyle. Many people here have horses and farm animals. But Gomes says that way of
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 18:41:03 +0000Drive up and down Highway 99 in Fresno County and you will no doubt see evidence that California’s high-speed rail project is slowly becoming a reality. While there’s still big questions about how long it will take to finish the entire project, and how the state will pay for it, the rail authority says it hopes to have trains up and running by 2024. Backers often point to the success of high-speed rail projects in Europe and Asia as evidence of the potential it has to change the way we move around the state. One of the nations most often cited is China. So what is the state of high-speed rail there, and what could California learn from the way the Chinese have built and operated their high-speed rail lines? Joining us now is Fresno State political science professor Daniel Garst, who recently returned from China, where he spent 12 years and a journalist and policy analyst. He's written about their projects and joined us to offer his insights into what they mean for California.
Fri, 03 Feb 2017 19:15:24 +0000The Fresno City Council has voted to enact a rental housing inspection program aimed at cracking down on slum housing in the city. The 4-3 vote came after more than two hours of public comment. Most people spoke in favor of the program, including the influential Apartment Association of Greater Fresno which represents owners and managers, as well as tenants’ rights advocates like Matthew Gundry. He told the council stories about homes and apartments with untreated pest infestations, black mold, and more that goes ignored by landlords. “So I urge you. I compel you to consider yourselves, I am the father of five children, consider yourselves, your own children, and would it be acceptable to live in these conditions,” Gundry says. For the first time, the city will begin the process of setting a baseline inspection regime to get a sense of how much unsafe or substandard housing exists among the roughly 85,000 rental apartments and homes. All rental units will be required to register with
Thu, 02 Feb 2017 00:06:01 +0000On the 2017 season debut of FM89's Young Artists Spotlight we hear music from two students from Fresno's University High School, oboe soloist Layla Stefanacci and piano accompanist Mylan Biltz. Layla is a senior at UHS and was selected as a member of the National Honor Orchestra, Principal of the California State Honor Orchestra, Principal of the Youth Orchestras of Fresno and many other accolades as well. She is currently applying to some of the top music schools in the country. Pianist Mylan Biltz is also a senior at UHS and has been playing piano for 14 years. She hopes to pursue a career in medicine. Selections: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Oboe Concerto in C Major, Movement 2 Alessandro Marcello Oboe Concerto in D Minor, Movements 1 and 2 Etude #6: Le Ballet Espagnol, by Giles Silvestrini - 4 minutes Gabriel’s Oboe, by Ennio Morricone - 3 minutes Support for Young Artists Spotlight comes from the Bonner Family Foundation; Dr. Alice Martinson and Carole Sturgis.