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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. 

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.

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.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Last week, the city of Tulare ousted its mayor after he got involved in a heated argument on Facebook. The argument centered around agriculture and its impacts on the environment and the economy—but the story is far bigger than a few punches thrown on social media.

PICO California

About 50 people across the San Joaquin Valley packed their bags and headed to a detention center in San Diego. 

The group represented Faith in the Valley, an organization that advocates for immigrants, low-wage workers and former inmates. Trena Turner,  the executive director, says they went to the Otay Mesa Detention Center, which has been open for three years, to protest the effects Trump’s policy has had on families.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Last month, interior department secretary Ryan Zinke wrote in an op-ed that the U.S.’s national parks are being loved to death. He specifically lamented the National Park System’s $12 billion backlog in deferred maintenance. But another symptom of the overwhelming power of tourists is ecosystems that need to be rehabilitated.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, joined Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in Fresno today. The invitation-only event drew protests, despite attempts to keep the location secret.

Ivanka Trump and McCarthy were the guests of honor at a private luncheon for “Protect the House,” a group committed to keeping GOP control of Congress. The event was at Harris Construction, hosted by Fresno businessman Richard Spencer.

New research into autisim is revealing insights into early childhood development, and a growth spurt some suggest could be linked to autisim in young boys. That's the takeaway from a new study profiled in the news publication Spectrum, by former Fresno Bee reporter Hannah Furfaro.

John Madonna Construction / Caltrans District 5

In May 2017 a massive mud and rockslide closed Highway 1 near the Monterey and San Luis Obispo County lines. The scenic road is one of the most beautiful in America, and popular destination for valley travelers, but it’s also incredibly challenging to maintain, even in a normal year. And 2017 was not normal. Floods rendered a bridge near Big Sur unstable, and cause the massive slide near Mud Creek. For the past year crews have worked to rebuild the road there and stabilize the hillside. Now comes news that the end might be in sight, with a planned reopening slated for the end of July.

Marshall W. Johnson / Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Seventy five years ago this month, the streets of Los Angeles turned violent in an event that came to be known as the Zoot Suit Riots. The cause is still unclear, but we know this: for 10 days in 1943, white service members attacked young Latino men on the streets of Southern California, while police turned the other way. The attacks are the subject of a new young adult novel by acclaimed children’s author Margarita Engle. In 2009, the Clovis author’s book "The Surrender Tree" won the prestigious Newberry Medal, the first book by a Latina to receive the honor.

Recent state data that had raised the alarm on opioid overdose deaths turns out to have been inaccurate. 

In late May, new data from the California Department of Public Health had pointed to an alarming trend: The number of Californians who died of overdoses due to the street drug fentanyl had tripled between 2016 and 2017. We reported on the problem here, as did other news outlets.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

As summer tourism heats up at Yosemite National Park, officials there are reopening one of the park’s most popular destinations. On Thursday, the park unveiled the newly restored Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

The ceremony on Thursday marked the reopening of the stand of over 500 giant sequoias. The grove of 300-foot-tall trees had been closed to the public for three years while the park carried out its biggest ever restoration project. The goal: Reduce the human impacts on the trees while still keeping them accessible to visitors.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council voted 5-1 today to put a tax on marijuana dispensaries and related business before voters this November.

The tax proposal comes at the same time that the city is studying a change to zoning laws to allow a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he’d like to use some of the money from the tax to step up the city’s enforcement of illegal marijuana dispensaries, other drug dealers and human traffickers.

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