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On today’s Valley Edition, we explore the effort to save a rare species in Kern County that until the 1990’s was thought to be extinct. We also learn about an unfortunate side effect of the drug used to treat valley fever patients, and why it’s helping them forge a bond with cancer patients. We also explore California’s recent wave of extreme heat and extreme fire behavior with Sean Boyd.

National Weather Service / Cal Fire

Last month the Carr Fire near Redding exploded overnight in what some people have called a "fire-nado" - with extreme rotating winds that toppled high tension power lines and wrapped metal posts around trees. It was the most extreme case of extreme fire behavior people have seen in California in recent times. But with a record-setting stretch of triple digit temperatures, skies filled with smoke, and fires creating their own weather, 2018 has proven to be anything but normal.

A new podcast from Capital Public Radio reporter Ezra David Romero is digging into stories about Yosemite National Park. Called Yosemiteland, the limited-run series explores everything from commercialization to climate change. A new episode also deals with how the park is dealing with wildfire. That's of special concern now as most of the park is closed to the public due to impacts from the Ferguson Fire.

Los Padres Forest Watch / https://lpfw.org/forest-service-receives-overwhelming-opposition-to-proposed-commercial-logging-projects/

With wildfires burning up and down the state, a new plan for residents near Frazier Park is drawing attention from a number of groups. It calls for thining trees in Los Padres National Forest near Mount Pinos, and it has some people concerned. Here to tell us more is John Cox, business editor for The Bakersfield Californian, and a resident of Frazier Park. He reported on the story for The Californian last week. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

One perception of homeless individuals might be that they’re alone, dealing with substance abuse or mental illness. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes a homeless person has family nearby, and just a strained relationship.  We reported on a Fresno County program that helps house parents and children, usually after they’ve been separated by the courts. This week, we meet one parent who used that emergency housing. Her name is Christina Montalvo, and she spent some time on the streets alone, while her kids lived with family.

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."

Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

Last week the Trump Administration proposed a set of major changes to the Endangered Species Act. It’s a big issue here in California, where protected species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and in the Sierra have set off new efforts to protect critical habitat. Of course those measures have also proven to be controversial in many areas.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

  

Today on Valley Edition, major changes are on the way for the Endangered Species Act -- at least that's what the Trump Administration wants to see happen. We'll find out what it means for the Valley. Plus, criminal corruption charges have been filed against a sitting county supervisor in the Valley. We'll talk about the alleged case of corruption against Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez with one of the state's leading experts on government ethics. And, some highlights from last week's Be Public Live community forum about the future of arts in the Valley.

Christina Lopez / Vall

The Arvin City Council is scheduled to vote on a new oil and gas ordinance tonight finalizing the decision whether the city adopts new regulations making it more challenging for oil and gas companies to operate near the city’s schools, parks, and neighborhoods. Reporter Christina Lopez has more details on the future of the oil and gas industry in Arvin.

The city of Arvin is embraced by its residents as the “garden in the sun” -- but today that garden is surrounded by at least a dozen active oil and gas wells currently drilling near schools, parks, and homes.

Marc Benjamin

If you’ve been to Disneyland, Cambria, many parts of Los Angeles, then you most likely had a swig of highly treated recycled water. Recycled water meaning, yes, it was once in a sewage treatment plant.


For many years this recycled water has helped Orange County meet the needs of its growing population and reduce the toll on its declining aquifers. Soon, the same kind of water may be coming to Clovis and Fresno’s drinking water.
 

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