Last Build Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2016 19:00:52 +0000
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 19:08:40 +0000The streets of Fresno can be dangerous—not just to drivers and bicyclists, but also to pedestrians. Following a trio of fatal accidents last week, more pedestrians have died this year than in all of 2015, and they’ve made up more than half of all traffic-related deaths. Now, a new city plan aim to make the city safer for walking. It’s 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. And in this part of southeast Fresno, that means one thing: school’s out. Kids are excited, but it’s a time of anxiety for some parents—like Jessica Zuniga. She’s a volunteer crossing guard at Lane Elementary School in southeast Fresno. She shakes her head as a black SUV roars past a blinking school zone sign. “We're gonna make sure that the kids are safe walking across the street,” she says, “’cause there's a lot of crazy drivers.” Zuniga has three young kids. Two of them are here at Lane. She and a handful of parents began volunteering for crosswalk duty around a year ago. “I see a lot of parents that park close to the crosswalk,
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:53:39 +0000Many communities across the country are working to not just respond to reports of child abuse, but to prevent them. Now the Fresno County Department of Social Services is looking to catch up to the national trend, and the potential model for the way forward could come from a very unlikely place. In Huron, a remote farming town of about 8,000 people, you can find two trailers that house the Westside Family Preservation Services Center, run by Jeannemarie Caris-McManusis. The community center is filled with a constant buzz of people young and Jeannemarie Caris-McManusis looking to connect. Sometimes, the question is as simple as “can my husband come here to study?” Sometimes it is more severe, like women fleeing an abusive husband, or handling reports of neglected children. The center is also ground zero for what the county calls “differential response”, which is a fancy way of saying intervening with a family before suspected child abuse or neglect begins. Caris-McManusis believes you
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 20:01:53 +0000This week on our two hour Valley Edition we hear stories about reducing child abuse in Fresno County and making the city safer for pedestrians. We also hear from Fresno mayoral candidate Lee Brand and his vision for the city. Later we are joined by Fresno State political science professor Jeff Cummins. He and VE host Joe Moore chat about local races ahead of the November election. We also hear about a special event being held by Zocalo Public Square in Fresno this week; author Charles Fishman joins us to talk about California's drought, and we showcase an upcoming performance in Fresno by the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles and Youth Orchestras of Fresno.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:52:29 +0000The Youth Orchestras of Fresno and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles will share the stage of the William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno this Friday night at 7:00 PM. YOOF director Julia Copeland joined us on Valley Edition to talk about why this event is important for local efforts to expand orchestral opportunities in the valley for underserved communities.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 18:40:28 +0000For the last seven-and-a-half years, Lee Brand has been the Fresno City Council's resident policy expert. He's helped write and pass laws about city debt and finance that many say helped the city recover from a deep financial crisis. Now he wants to lead the city from the office of mayor, squaring off against current Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea in the November election. So how would a Brand administration differ from that of current mayor Ashley Swearengin? What do his ties to the apartment management industry mean for the city's efforts to regulate that sector and prevent "slumlords" from taking advantage of renters? And how does Brand's knack for detail on policy measures and financial reports translate to being the leader of the largest city in Central California? Brand joined us on Valley Edition to discuss those questions and more, just two weeks before election day.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:55:42 +0000A California enters its sixth year of drought, journalist Charles Fishman says that residents aren't doing nearly enough to adapt to the "new normal" in a state that is becoming increasingly dry. Fishman, who is the author of the book "The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water" is speaking in Bakersfield on Thursday October 27th at the CSUB Icardo Center at 7:00 PM as part of the culminating event of the One Book, One Bakersfield, One Kern community read. Speaking on FM89's Valley Edition, Fishman talks about the environmental costs of America's bottled water addition, and also about new strategies for California, as the state seeks to re-orient its use of water from consumption, to protection of natural resources. For example, Fishman says the state should follow Australia's lead and offer to voluntarily buy-back water rights from farmers, in order to reduce water usage by agriculture and protect threatened species.
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:36:50 +0000For 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.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:25:14 +0000With 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.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:06:49 +0000Henry 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.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 20:59:17 +0000Californians 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
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:26:18 +0000In 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!
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 01:16:28 +0000A 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.
Sat, 15 Oct 2016 00:27:18 +0000A 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
Sat, 15 Oct 2016 00:25:23 +0000The 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
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 23:30:00 +0000The last time the city of Fresno re-examined its public parks master plan, Ronald Reagan was president. According to some people, it shows. One recent analysis 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, residents gathered at Fresno High School to share their vision in crafting a new plan 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
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 22:58:30 +0000Armenian-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.
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 23:28:08 +0000A 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
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 21:14:12 +0000In 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
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 20:54:27 +0000This 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
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 20:47:24 +0000Sometimes 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