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Greg Ballmer

They Thought It Was Extinct, But This Kern County Bug Was Just Flying Under The Radar

In a small section of Kern County, outside the city of Bakersfield, a dirt ridge rises above the farmland. It’s home to a couple of cell towers, an orchard, and a creature that we didn’t know was there up until the last 25 years. In fact, it's by chance that this animal is no longer flying under scientists’ radar. The first scientist to identify it was Greg Ballmer, a retired entomologist. In 1997, Ballmer was driving down Highway 99, just south of Bakersfield, “I noticed a small patch of...

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On this week’s Valley Edition, we learn how Fresno State students are leaving their mark at one of the top scientific institutions in Europe. We also continue our look at the issue of homelessness with a profile of a Fresno mom who was living on the streets, and is now working to turn her life around. Plus we look back at what’s happened to the unaccompanied minors who sought refuge in this country, including one local man who is now an adult, and seeking permanent residency status.

Flickr user Derek Dirks, CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Working 11 hours shifts in corn fields in Mendota is some of the hardest work to do. Add school and immigration court to the mix and you might start losing track of the days, like one teenager who recently moved to the Valley.  

“I would wake up at 11 at night to make food and leave at about 12:15,” he says in Spanish. “We go into work at 1 a.m. and get off at noon that day.”

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Here in North America, Switzerland may be known for snowy mountain tops, raclette cheese, and yodeling. But the landlocked, Central European country is also home to one of the biggest and most ambitious science endeavors ever undertaken. And though it’s nearly 6,000 miles away, the San Joaquin Valley is leaving its mark there. We spoke to some Valley locals at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN.

Little A Books - Amazon

Fresno readers likely know the name Diana Marcum from seeing her byline in the Fresno Bee. During her tenure there, her longform journalism brought insight into people’s lives with the narrative quality rarely found in newsprint. As her career took her to the LA Times, Marcum won a Pultizer for her coverage of California’s great drought.

State Department of Water Resources

For years, farmers in the southern San Joaquin Valley have been struggling with reduced water deliveries. The problem – as they see it – has been reduced pumping out of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta, restrictions in place to help the fragile ecosystem there recover. But species in the Delta and the rivers that feed it are still declining.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new bill in congress is aimed at preventing the fungal disease valley fever that’s endemic to Central and Southern California. 

The so-called FORWARD Act, introduced by Bakersfield Congressman and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, would establish a national valley fever working group and would award grants to entities researching the disease.

http://www.leticiaperez.org/media/ / http://www.leticiaperez.org/media/

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez was charged with two criminal misdemeanors last week over her 2017 vote against a ban on marijuana dispensaries. The DA's public integrity unit investigated the case and found that Perez's husband Fernando Jara had done business with marijuana industry groups before the vote, creating what they claim is a conflict of interest. She denies the charges and has pled not guilty.

U.S. Forest Service - Sierra National Forest (Facebook)

UPDATE: 6:00 PM 7/27/18

Yosemite Valley is going to remain closed for a little longer than initially planned due to the Ferguson Fire. The Park Service announced today that the valley will reopen on Friday August 3rd at 4:00 PM. The Wawona community and Mariposa Grove will remain closed due to smoke and impacts from the fire. Highway 41 will also remain closed. It’s unknown when they will reopen. The popular park attractions closed earlier this week due to the fire. The closures had been set to expire this Sunday.

 

Monica Velez

As the Ferguson Fire continues to burn, part of Yosemite National Park is closing Wednesday. 

By noon, Yosemite Valley and Wawona will be closed, causing thousands of park visitors to cancel their plans. Although the air is smokey and skies are muggy, one group of five tourists from Mexico and Germany decided to take their chances. 

Ari Rodriguez and her friends arrived at Yosemite on Tuesday afternoon. She says they planned to stay at the park until Wednesday, but are heading out before the park closes.

The Yosemite Conservancy

Visitors are being ordered to evacuate some parts of Yosemite National Park by noon on Wednesday due to a nearby wildfire. The Ferguson Fire has consumed over 36,000 acres southwest of the park and is only 25 percent contained.

Park officials have announced they’re evacuating Yosemite Valley as well as Highway 41 and the town of Wawona. Park spokesman Scott Gediman says that’s mostly due to smoke from the Ferguson Fire pouring into the park. "With the high pressure system we just haven’t had much wind," says Gediman, "so you’ve got that smoke that just sits there."

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Valley Public Radio Launches New Mobile App

Whether you're an Apple or Android user, you can now take Valley Public Radio with you wherever you take your smartphone or tablet. The station has launched its first-ever mobile app - known as "KVPR" which is currently available for download in both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play marketplace. The app features one-touch access to Valley Public Radio's live audio stream, making it even easier to listen to the station. Users will also find the latest news coverage from the station's...

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Valley Public Radio Remembers Host Franz Weinschenk, 1925-2018

Longtime Valley Public Radio host Franz Weinschenk died last week at age 92. From 1992 through 2016 he hosted the popular program Valley Writers Read on Valley Public Radio. The program featured short stories from local writers, both professionals and amateurs, and showcased the valley’s rich literary traditions. “Franz had an amazing spirit about him,” said Joe Moore, Interim President of Valley Public Radio. “He had so much energy and passion about what he did, and in the case of our...

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Hanford Meetup