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Courtesy Mark Arax

Mark Arax On Chasing The Stories For His Fourth Book: The Dreamt Land

Today in our studio, the writer and journalist Mark Arax reads from "The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California." He also talks about the writer's process and the magic and plunder, the defiance of the natural world, that shape water politics and agriculture in the state.

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On this week’s Valley Edition: We take you on a ride-along with the Bakersfield Police Department’s gang unit as part of our ongoing series on opioids.  We watch arrests take place for drug possession, and learn why narcotics officers sometimes wear hazmat suits.

In Fresno, the city is debating liquor licenses. Why are there so many more in underprivileged neighborhoods? We also look inside a Propublica-Sacramento Bee investigation of the Fresno County jail.

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

Kerry Klein

Two recent lawsuits allege the Kern High School District (KHSD) knew one of its employees had a history of inappropriate sexual behavior with students but continued to employ him anyway.

The 40-year-old athletic equipment manager and trainer at North High School, Edwin Rodriguez, allegedly molested and groomed two former students, the lawsuits filed in Kern County Superior Court say.

 

According to both lawsuits filed March 19, the district “fostered a culture in which sexual harassment and abuse was condoned and ratified.”

LA Phil

Now hear the acclaimed sounds of one of America’s finest orchestras on Valley Public Radio, Thursday nights at 8:00 PM. The Los Angeles Philharmonic broadcasts begin Thursday June 6th  2019, with a month’s worth of highlights from the prior season, followed by the launch of the all-new 2018-2019 broadcast season from Walt Disney Hall beginning Thursday night June 27th.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Step inside the Fresno City Council Chambers and you’ll likely find residents making public comments, rallying around issues of housing and health. In some cases, these residents are persuading council members to change their minds about projects and policies. One possible reason for the boost in civic engagement? Social justice groups.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

San Joaquin Valley air still ranks the worst in the country, according to the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report released on Wednesday.

Bakersfield and the Fresno-Madera-Hanford region ranked worst in the country for particle pollution -- despite the fact that many of these cities experienced fewer unhealthy days than the previous year. Visalia also ranked second worst for ozone pollution, right behind the Los Angeles-Long Beach area.

Kern Public Health Services

Kern County has long been California’s epicenter for the fungal disease valley fever, and new data released Wednesday shows more people are contracting it.

The county’s valley fever caseload in 2018 was its second highest ever recorded, said Kern County Public Health Services Director Matt Constantine during a press conference Wednesday. Over 2,900 cases were reported last year, after a steady rise since 2015. “Unfortunately, this is the highest number of new cases we have had in Kern County in 27 years, since 1992,” he said.

David Aus

Today on Young Artists Spotlight we conclude the 2019 broadcast series with the winners of the Fresno Musical Club Scholarships for this year: cellist Diego Marrero and soprano Tiffanie Trujillo. Enjoy their performance in this week's show live from the Barmann-Chaney Performance Studio. 

Rudy Diaz / Central California Women's Facility

There’s a garden in Chowchilla off of Road 22 that’s surrounded by miles of farmland. Only women tend to this garden. There are wildflowers, succulents, lavender, thyme, and perennials to name a few.  

 

Sol Mercado helped build and design it a year and a half ago.

 

“We had mulch in our eyes, we had dirt. It was really hot, but we still pushed through and we got it done,” the 33-year-old says. “We were all working as a team and it was really nice.”

 

Jes Therkelsen

The 35th class to participate in a yearly program to boost community leaders in Fresno is about to graduate. But before that, they must finish a group project that benefits the city. Here to tell us more about the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Fresno program is Sara Frauenheim, a coordinator with the Saint Agnes Medical Center Foundation and the project manager and president of this year’s leadership class.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

This story is part of a series called In Recovery, about opioid addiction and treatment in the San Joaquin Valley. It was reported with the support of a 2018 Data Fellowship from the USC Center For Health Journalism.

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Murrow Award

Valley Public Radio Wins Regional Edward R. Murrow Award For Investigative Reporting

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has awarded Valley Public Radio a 2019 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting. The honor is for a story reporter Kerry Klein produced for broadcast on FM89 titled “The Fresno Detention Facility ICE Doesn't Want You to Know About.” The story exposed a previously undisclosed site in downtown Fresno used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to hold detainees. Following the broadcast of the story, ICE changed...

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Stephen Voss / NPR

Morning Edition Launches New Theme Music

Start off your day on a different beat. NPR’s Morning Edition has launched brand new theme music for the first time in 40 years. Don’t sleep on our fresh sound, tune in to hear the show every weekday morning from 3:00 AM till 9:00 AM on FM89 and KVPR.org. “Mornings will be sounding a little different at NPR,” said NPR’s Chief Marketing Officer, Meg Goldthwaite. “The iconic theme music listeners of Morning Edition have loved for decades be getting a tune-up. We want to make every aspect of the...

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