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Valley Public Radio News

Hear local reports on the economy, government, education, health and the environment on Valley Public Radio during All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Valley Edition. 

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.
 

The Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green has filed criminal misdemeanor charges against county supervisor Leticia Perez. The counts include using her governmental position to influence an issue in which she had a financial interest, and for failing to file proper disclosure documents.

Monica Velez

Jose Robles scrapes up handfuls of dried chilies into a bag for one of his customers at the Cherry Avenue Auction in Fresno County. He’s been selling chilies and other vegetables at flea markets in the San Joaquin Valley for 19 years.

But business has gone down, he says, mostly because people are scared to leave their homes.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

We’ve reported on homelessness, but what about families who are on the brink? For some of them, finding stable housing is a way to move their lives forward after drug rehabilitation, or court-mandated separation from their kids. With recent approval to relocate, one Fresno County program is trying to make it easier for those families to find housing.

This week on Valley Edition, we learn why two valley cities are looking to stretch their water supplies from toilet to tap, in a bid to become more sustainable. We also dig into controversial plans to regulate oil wells in the Kern County city of Arvin, and learn why shoppers and vendors at area flea markets say business is down. Later in the show, we find out why a program providing emergency housing for at-risk families in Fresno is expanding, and what changes at UCSF-Fresno mean for the valley’s doctor shortage.

LA Master Chorale

It’s being billed as the largest choral event in the history of California – 10,000 singers in six venues across the state, at the same time. It’s called the Big Sing California and it’s coming to Fresno’s Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall this Saturday. Anna Hamre of the Fresno Community Chorus joined us on Valley Edition to talk about this innovative statewide concert taking place Saturday at 2:00 PM. 

Courtesy Eater.com

It's not as famous - or as spicy - as the jalapeno or the habanero, but the humble Fresno chile is starting to get its due. A new piece in the online food magazine Eater extolls the virtues of this "little pepper that could," by digging into its history and searching out those who love its intriguing, yet approachable flavor.

North Fork Casino environmental impact statement

A case challenging plans by a Madera County Native American tribe to build a casino and hotel resort has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case, known as Stand Up California versus the federal Department of the Interior, questions the government's ability to bring land into to trust for the co-called "off-reservation" gaming site of the North Fork Rancheria Mono Indians.

UCSF Fresno

For years, local medical and political leaders have been calling for a medical school in the San Joaquin Valley. Now the long-running UCSF Fresno graduate medical education program is getting a boost towards that goal. The university has announced that it is upgrading the Fresno program’s status to that of an official branch campus of UCSF. As Dean Michael Peterson told Valley Public Radio, the move is an evolution of the San Joaquin Valley PRIME medical education program, which had been run by UCSF, UC Davis and UC Merced.

Table Mountain Casino Environmental Evaluation

Gaming tribes in the San Joaquin Valley are working different angles to seek your betting dollar.

Several projects are on the drawing board between Kern and Madera counties. There are expansions and new casinos. The first new gaming facility that will likely open is Table Mountain’s proposed casino, hotel and resort near Friant.

But with other proposals pending, when will there be too much gaming? Or is the Valley approaching oversaturation already?

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.

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.

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