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This week on Valley Edition we hear reports about a new group that wants to “save” Fresno’s Shaw Avenue, and about the rapid expansion of tribal gaming at existing and proposed casinos across the region. We also learn about new research into immunology at UC Merced, about a new fight over the future of Mono Lake, new funding for valley fever research, and how local dairy operators are in the middle of a global trade war.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For several years, California dairy owners have faced tough times, with low prices and stiff competition from farmers in other states. Many had been looking forward to a new federal milk pricing scheme set to take effect in November as a chance to boost profits. But now, the valley's dairy industry is in the middle of a trade war, threatening lucrative dairy exports to China and Mexico. We spoke with Annie AcMoody of Western United Dairymen of Modesto about how the new retialtory tarrifs are affecting local dairy owners. 

UC Merced

There’s new research out from scientists at UC Merced that could shed new light on the roots of autoimmune diseases, and also holds promise for future cancer treatments. The study in The Journal of Immunology looks at so-called “misbehaving” killer immune cells. It builds upon research that took place in the late 1990’s but went largely overlooked since then. We spoke with UC Merced graduate student Kristen Valentine and UC Merced Professor Katrina Hoyer.

Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

Buried in California’s new $201 billion budget is important news for those with a disease that affects many here in Central California: $8 million in funding for valley fever research and awareness. For several years we’ve been reporting about this airborne fungal disease which is endemic to arid regions of the U.S. Southwest.  To learn more about what the new funding means and where it's going, and to get an update on the latest data on infections in 2018, we spoke to Valley Public Radio's Kerry Klein on Valley Edition. 

Flickr user Anna Irene (Creative Commons)

Mono Lake is one of the jewels of the Eastern Sierra. Its saline waters have created a unique ecosystem, providing habitat for everything from brine shrimp to migratory birds. But for years Mono Lake has had a problem – water diversions made by the City of Los Angeles. They reduced the level of the lake, harming both the ecosystem and creating massive dust clouds. In the mid-1990’s a deal was reached that both the LA Department of Water and Power and conservationists hoped would save the lake, and increase water levels by reducing the diversions.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

When buying a house, everyone’s motivation is different—maybe it’s the desire to start a family, or to start a new job in a new city. Today, we report on a people who move out of the Valley for an entirely different reason—one that’s related to the Valley’s ozone concentrations, which have been creeping higher as the temperature has risen.

Judy Eymann-Taylor is packing. She picks up a gold picture frame leaning against a wall and gingerly cushions it in bubble wrap. “This is a photo that's almost 40 years old now,” she says.

Monica Velez

We’re standing in the middle of 350 acres of table grapes just outside of Selma. Soon they’ll be on tables everywhere. Water drips down on the roots of the vines to keep them hydrated in the sweltering heat.

The shade of the grapevine arches keep a person, we’ll call Bob, cool. He’s a grower and labor contractor. He agreed to talk to Valley Public Radio anonymously because he fears being vocal could spur a visit from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

About a quarter of the nation’s homeless population live in California with most of them concentrated in the state’s larger cities, including Fresno. Governor Brown has responded in his latest budget by including $500 million in grants for cities to address homelessness. Fresno Mayor Lee Brand went to Sacramento to lobby in support of this funding. Despite years of work on the problem, the city’s homeless population is still significant. Some have said in recent times that Fresno has spent too much time and efforts criminalizing homelessness, referencing the so-called camping ban.

This week on Valley Edition, we learn about a new approach the City of Fresno is taking to help the homeless community. We also learn how farmers and farmworkers are being affected by the current crackdown on immigration. Later in the show we learn about the many valley residents who choose to leave this area every year because of poor air quality. We also talk with journalist Nathanael Johnson of Grist to learn about a project that has valley farmers fighting climate change, and we get an update on plans to reopen the shuttered Tulare Regional Medical Center.

Ernest Lowe

A new exhibit at the Fresno Art Museum opening Friday July 13th, sheds new light on the history of rural African-American communities in the San Joaquin Valley. It features the work of photographer and journalist Ernest Lowe. From 1960-1964 he documented life in the communities of Dos Palos and Pixley, with fine art, black and white photographs.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Plans to reopen a shuttered hospital in Tulare County took a big step forward last week. The board of the Tulare Local Health Care District voted to move ahead with a plan to reopen the Tulare Regional Medical Center under the operation of Adventist Health, which operates hospitals in Hanford, Selma and Reedley. TRMC has been closed since last fall when a fragile situation between the board and the prior management company reached a breaking point, and the district sought bankruptcy protection.

Ezra David Romero

This year a handful of farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have new crop. But it's not something you'll find at your weekend farmer's market. Instead it's carbon. A new program funded by the state's cap-and-trade initative aims to help farmers add cover crops to their fields, with the idea that more carbon will be stored in the soil in the form of organic matter. It's part of the state's effort to fight climate change.

Christina Lopez / KVPR

People in cities across the country marched and rallied over the weekend against separation of families at U.S. borders. On Saturday, nearly one thousand individuals participated in the Families Belong Together march and rally in Downtown Bakersfield.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Brown signed the final budget of his tenure as governor on Wednesday, and included in it was funding aimed at combating the fungal disease valley fever.

The budget includes $8 million for research and outreach into the fungal disease that’s caused by inhaling spores that grow in arid soil.

Courtesy of Nina Ichikawa.

 

The House version of the Farm Bill barely passed by a margin of two votes last week, and a Senate version is currently in the works. This piece of federal legislation is renewed about every five years and determines policy about agriculture and food assistance, like Food Stamps, or in California we call it CalFresh. Today on our program we welcome Nina Ichikawa by phone to help us break it down. She’s the policy director from the Berkeley Food Institute at UC Berkeley.

Spectrum Dance

 

It’s been 76 years since Japanese immigrants and Americans were incarcerated, and sent to internment, also known today as concentration camps, during World War II. They were sent there by Executive Order 9066 from President Roosevelt. The action was under the pretense of defending national security on the West Coast. It wasn’t until the war’s end in 1945 that the government  began closing the camps. A new book co-written by Heather C. Lindquist and Edgar Award winning author Naomi Hirahara examines that period after the camp’s close, and before the redress in 1988, when the U.S.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno mayor announced a sales tax initiative he will propose to the City Council on Thursday. The proposal could end up competing with another measure that’s vying for a spot on the November ballot.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand wants to raise money for public safety and parks. He’s proposing a half-cent sales tax. If approved by the city council and voters, it could raise up to fifty million dollars a year for the next 15 years.

Today on Valley Edition, we hear about how a disagreement on Facebook led to the ousting of the Tulare City mayor. We also talk to locals who visited the border and describe what they observed while protesting at detention centers, even after the president changed his family separation policy.

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