Valley Public Radio - Live Audio



Renowned PBS Filmmaker Ken Burns will visit the Valley next week as part of a national tour to preview and discuss his most recent long-form documentary “Country Music.”

The Ken Burns Country Music Roadshow will make stops July 25th at the Saroyan Theater in Fresno and July 26th at the Fox Theater in Bakersfield. I spoke with Burns about the role the San Joaquin Valley plays in what composer Harlan Howard described as “three chords and the truth.”

On this week’s Valley Edition: The emmy award winning filmmaker Ken Burns is coming to Fresno and Bakersfield next week. He tells us about his newest project Country Music, including his take on one of Oildale’s finest, Merle Haggard.

Also on the heels of the Ridgecrest earthquakes, a producer from KPCC takes us inside their podcast about quakes called ‘The Big One.’

FEMA Photo Library

Earthquakes have likely been on many Californians’ minds recently, ever since two big quakes focused in the rural Mojave Desert jolted California over Independence Day weekend.

If you’re someone thirsty for more knowledge about the kinds of earthquakes that could strike California, and how to be prepared, you might enjoy a new podcast out of KPCC in Los Angeles called The Big One. Part first-person narrative, part survival guide, it’s all about being prepared for that huge quake that could devastate Southern California.

Edith Mata

A federal judge in San Francisco struck down a First Amendment lawsuit this week that argued Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained a 22-year-old Bakersfield activist and farmworker as a way to retaliate against him. 


California Governor Facebook page

Earlier this month, the state of California announced it’ll forgive student loans for hundreds of medical providers. The move should benefit underserved patients in the San Joaquin Valley.

Michael Galvez is a pediatric hand surgeon and plastic surgeon at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera. Between a bachelor’s degree, medical school, residency and two specialized fellowships, he says he spent 18 years studying after graduating high school. “I actually tell families that I meet here that I went to thirtieth grade,” he jokes.

Parlier Police Department

Immigrant communities in Parlier were on high alert Tuesday after reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents knocking on doors.


The United States Department of Homeland Security assisted various Fresno County law enforcement agencies in an operation “held strictly” to identify gang members involved in eastern Fresno County shootings, according to a statement from the Parlier Police Department. 


Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The Raisin City School Board is meeting today to discuss the consequences of a surprise active shooter drill that terrified students and involved a staff member going around campus with a mask and fake gun. The board is considering whether to discipline or remove the school’s superintendent. 

NPS Photo

Iconic names such as the Ahwahnee Hotel and Badger Pass are returning to Yosemite National Park signaling the end of a lengthy lawsuit over the park’s trademark names. 


The lawsuit was filed back in 2016 by the park’s former concessionaire Delaware North claiming it owned the rights to trademark names like the Wawona Hotel and Curry Village. But a settlement reached Monday means the federal government and the current concessionaire Aramark will pay Delaware North close to $12 million to return the names to the park. 

California Office of Spill Prevention and Response

Update July 19:

Inspectors from the Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources reported that oil and water continue to seep out of three vents where the flow had previously been reported to have stopped. The agency has issued two Notices of Violation to Chevron, and it reports that vacuum trucks are removing the oil-water mix from the dry streambed where it has pooled.

Original story reported July 12:

Flickr user ftmeade, Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0

Finding an ally in the doctor’s office can be difficult, especially for those who are transgender, non-gender-binary or who otherwise belong to the LGBT+ community. To combat disparities that can develop in the health care realm, a Fresno organization is hosting a free medical clinic for LGBT+ individuals on Saturday, July 13.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

 And now for the Weekend: Some people take road trips on their days off -- and some people take to the air --  pilots flying their private planes from one city airport to another -- maybe to log some hours or just get a great view of the Sierra Nevada. And if they’re lucky, there’s an airport cafe where they can grab a bite to eat. I spoke with Charlotte Scott, the owner of the Runway Cafe at the Woodlake Airport, about an hour southeast of Fresno. She says people used to fly there for the $100 burger.

Julie Leopo / EdSource

Skipping school, cutting class, senior ditch day - some consider truancy a part of adolescence. But looking at the data, one reporter found that students in rural regions have a much higher risk of being chronically absent from school, and the reasons aren’t so simple. David Washburn reported on this issue in a two-part series for the online publication, EdSource.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

This past Wednesday, local environmental groups hosted a bus tour like no other: The theme was environmental justice, and it involved stops in unincorporated Tulare County communities including Matheny Tract, East Orosi, and Ivanhoe, where residents have been struggling to access clean drinking water and reduce exposure to harmful pesticides.

On the next Valley Edition: Fresno ranks low in terms of park access and acreage. But a grassroots movement is hoping to change that with citizens building their own parks. 

We also look at rural Tulare County as environmental justice groups showcase their efforts to improve water and air quality. And, we go on the road with some people whose California Dream is living in a van.

Later, we talk about student absence. It’s worse in rural areas, so what are some districts doing? 

Ariana Martinez Lott / Faith in the Valley

A faith-based grassroots organization in the San Joaquin Valley is ramping up its resources and engaging its network of people to help communities that could be targeted by immigration raids this weekend. 

The New York Times reported Thursday morning Immigration and Customs Enforcement is expected to arrest and deport thousands of people over multiple days starting Sunday. After the news surfaced, Faith in the Valley started taking local action. 

Kerry Klein / KVPR

For more than a decade, lawsuits have been piling up against California from inmates who contracted the fungal disease valley fever while incarcerated in state prison. Most plaintiffs have lost. Now, many of them are turning to a higher court.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Say you’re taking a walk after work and you notice a strange smell in the air. Maybe it’s nothing, or maybe it’s a chemical or a spill of some sort. Should you report it? Although many cities offer reporting apps and services, not all are available in county areas. That’s where environmental reporting comes in, and one network already being used in some San Joaquin Valley areas is now available in Tulare County.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Vice President Mike Pence came to the Central Valley Wednesday to discuss the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. The event was part campaign rally, part policy talk. 

The speech was held at the Doug and Julie Freitas & Sons Farms in Lemoore, 40 minutes south of Fresno. It was presented by America First Policies, a right-wing non-profit group. Pence was the keynote speaker to a crowd of at least 400. 

Dirk Charley

A Madera County community is in mourning following the death of a Tribal Elder of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians. Gaylen Dennis Lee was shot to death Saturday night near his home. 


“You still can’t believe it, you don’t want to believe it,” said Lee’s nephew, Mike Lee. “You’d wish you'd wake up and it was a bad dream, but it’s not. We just got to keep ourselves together and move on and try to just go along as [if] he was still here guiding us.”


California Department of Conservation

When people think about California earthquakes, what likely comes to mind is the San Andreas Fault. But most of the state is not near the San Andreas, and yet there are still plenty of opportunities for seismicity.

The two damaging earthquakes that shook the Ridgecrest-Trona area over Independence Day weekend may have taken locals by surprise, but the same may not be said for geologists.