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When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers

Randy Carter is a member of the Director's Guild of America and has notched some significant credits during his Hollywood career. Administrative assistant on The Conversation. Part of the casting department for Apocalypse Now . Longtime first assistant director on Seinfeld . Work on The Blues Brothers , The Godfather II and more. But the one project that Carter regrets never working on is a script he wrote that got optioned twice but was never produced. It's about the summer a then-17-year...

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Last week the Library of Congress named Fresno poet Philip Levine the nation’s 18th Poet Laureate. A native of Detroit, Levine moved to Fresno in the 1950’s to teach English at Fresno State, where he founded the university’s creative writing program, and helped foster the San Joaquin Valley’s rich poetry community. In 1991 his collection "What Work Is" won the National Book Award, and in 1995, his book "The Simple Truth" was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the shortage of physicians in the rural communities of the Central Valley. We also look at how charter schools are working to provide innovation in education in the valley. We also have an in-depth interview with the newly named Poet Laureate of the United States, Fresno's Philip Levine.

America has a new poet laureate today, as the Library of Congress names Philip Levine in the one-year position. He will succeed W.S. Merwin in the post. Born in Detroit in 1928, Levine has used his poetry to examine blue-collar life, often embroidering everyday events with a sense of myth.

Segment 1: Valley Economy
As world markets continue to try to make sense out of the US debt downgrade, and nationwide poor job creation numbers, what does it mean for Valley residents and the local economy. Host Juanita Stevenson talks with Fresno State business professor Dr. Bill Rice, and Cal State Bakersfield business professor Dr. John Emery about what the latest developments mean for local residents.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For some, the closing of Borders bookstores seemed to signal another nail in the coffin for book lovers. Another reminder of the fragile state of an industry being taken over by technology, e-readers and Amazon.com. But in Fresno and other San Joaquin Valley towns, some independent bookstores are not only doing okay, some are actually thriving. Valley Public Radio's Juanita Stevenson reports.

Segment 1: Foster Kids
FM89’s Tracey Scharmann reports on how a program at a local college is helping former foster youth gain not only an education, but also a solid foundation in life as independent adults. Host Juanita Stevenson also talks with guests Colleen McGauley, Executive Director, of CASA of Kern County; Cathi Huerta recently retired director of the Fresno County Department of Social Services, Margaret Jackson, Director of the Cultural Broker Family Advocate Program, and Deshunna Ricks, former foster youth.

Farmers, Government Seek to Prevent Heat Illness

Jul 26, 2011

It's mid-morning under a sunny and nearly cloudless sky at Paul Betancourt's farm, about 20 miles southwest of Kerman. Two workers are getting ready to disk the wheat field with the tractor and irrigate the cotton. Betancourt has been monitoring the temperature.

"It was 86 when you drove up and the forecast for Fresno is 99," he says. "It's usually a little cooler out here. We've kinda done the heavy lifting for the day already."

One of his employees, Ruben Elenes, has been a farmworker for 15 years. He knows how to protect himself from the sun.

Area Foster Youth Go On to Collegiate Success

Jul 26, 2011

There are 58,000 children in foster care in California and for many of them turning eighteen and aging out of care is overwhelming. Counties provide independent living programs to assist foster youth with this transition, but a different type of support is needed for those entering college. When former foster youth Kizzy Lopez was asked to help create a program at Fresno State to provide support for this incoming population, she made it happen.

CA Citizens Redistricting Commission Redraws the Lines

Jul 22, 2011

While it doesn't get nearly as much attention as the state's on-going budget debate, behind the scenes, work is underway on a set of maps that could dramatically alter California politics for a decade to come. The State's 14 member Citizens Redistricting Commission is currently at work on redrawing the lines of the state's assembly, state senate and congressional districts. And in a state where major decisions such as the budget and big social issues often are decided by just one or two votes, the stakes for all those involved are high.

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