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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Thirty years ago, a BBC program called Tomorrow’s World captivated viewers with a seemingly simple demonstration: A blowtorch pointed directly at an egg. Its shell slowly blackens, but it neither cracks nor erupts in flames. “This is no ordinary egg,” warns presenter Peter Macann with a smile.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

“Absurd,” “insulting,” and “insane” were some of the many critiques levied during a public meeting in Bakersfield on Tuesday night against a recent Bureau of Land Management environmental analysis, which brings the agency one step closer to opening over a million acres of federal land to hydraulic fracturing.

CLOVIS, CA – Valley Public Radio is proud to announce it has been selected as a 2019 California Nonprofit of the Year by Senator Melissa Hurtado for Senate District 14.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

 

The City of Fresno once again remains near the bottom in terms of park access, according to the latest ranking of the nation’s largest cities.

This year, the Trust for Public Land ranked Fresno 92 out of 97 cities for its parks -- that’s up two notches from last year’s score of 94, but hardly worth celebrating, says Elliott Balch with the Central Valley Community Foundation.

Alice Daniel

The topic of child abuse has been in the headlines with the recent trial of Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula. He was acquitted in his misdemeanor case last week. But even when child abuse is not in the news, it remains a huge, often hidden problem in the San Joaquin Valley. Today in our studio, Moderator Kathleen Schock talks with some of the people on the frontlines tackling this devastating problem.

Courtesy of Brian Krans

 

 

 

 

 

When Ethan Morse’s father, Larry D. Morse II, was still district attorney for Merced County, he often criticized the sheriff’s department, saying it didn’t have a strategy to overcome gang violence.

“The district attorney’s office has become the county’s primary gang suppression party despite that not being our core mission,” Morse told the county board in early 2014.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s nearly summertime, which means a whole new season of theater, music and art to enjoy, and possibly distract us from the Valley’s soon-to-be oppressive heat. Back in the studio is Donald Munro, a longtime Fresno arts reporter and creator of The Munro Review.

On this week's Valley Edition: we return to the story of Ethan Morse, the son of the former district attorney in Merced County who was gunned down in March. Some say the murder was tied to Morse’s arrest six years ago.

And how do you use science to recreate a mysterious 30-year-old invention shrouded in secrecy? Students at UC Merced throw their hats in the ring, together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Plus child abuse is a huge problem in the Valley - we learn about the scope and take a look at some solutions.

 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula was found not guilty Thursday of a misdemeanor child abuse charge. The jury, made up of six men and six women, deliberated for less than seven hours.

 

The Democrat’s family clapped and cheered in the crowded courtroom after the verdict was read.

 

Prosecutor Steve Wright told reporters he was disappointed with the verdict, but he understands the jury’s decision.

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

A state senate committee is set to vote on a bill today that would address safe and affordable drinking water throughout California, a goal Governor Gavin Newsom has also prioritized in his proposed budget. Still to be decided is how to fund it.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Closing arguments ended Wednesday afternoon in the child abuse trial against Fresno Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula. Now it’s up to the six men and six women on the jury to decide if the evidence proves the democrat slapped his daughter, causing a bruise on the side of her face.

Arambula is being charged with a misdemeanor for child abuse. If convicted, he could face up to six months in county jail.

UC Merced

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland announced Monday she will be stepping down from her position on August 15. After eight years as chancellor at the university, 71-year-old Leland says she is ready to follow other academic pursuits and spend more time with her family.

Listen to the above interview to hear more about what made her want to work in the San Joaquin Valley and what's next for UC Merced's 2020 project. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink. Bringing that arsenic content back down to a safe level required a lot of work, as he explains to a few colleagues at a water leadership institute in Visalia. “It took us about 8 years and $9.2 million to comply with their new standards,” he says. “And we just got that plant online in September of 2017.”

Brian Krans

 

 

 

 

From early on in the investigation into the March 15th death of Ethan Morse, Atwater Police Chief Michael Salvador had a good description of the alleged gunman. It was based on video surveillance and descriptions from people who saw the alleged gunman walking around town the day of the fatal shooting.  

“Hispanic male, medium build, wearing a blue sweatshirt and red pants, a very, very distinct color pattern,” he says.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s clear that some non-profits, also called community benefit organizations, can really change a place through advocacy and education. However, keeping those organizations going is often dependent on gifts, grants, and fundraising.

Fresno State’s Humanics Program teaches students about philanthropy, leadership and how to run a CBO. Yesterday was the annual Students4Giving presentation -- students awarded three $5,000 grants to CBOs in the Central Valley.

Courtesy Larry Jarocki

This year, National Public Radio asked students and teachers to put on some headphones, grab microphones and turn stories into sound, all for NPR’s first ever Student Podcast Challenge. Thousands of podcasts were entered from more than 1500 schools nationwide. Topics ranged from gun control to mental health, from mythology to hedgehogs. Today, we’re going to talk to one of the finalists in the high school category. Her name is Megan Tucker and she’s a sophomore at El Diamante High School in Visalia. Her podcast is called “The Lack of Specialized Health Care in Small Towns.”

Courtesy Mark Arax

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.

On this week’s Valley Edition: Police have a suspect in the murder of a former Valley District Attorney’s son -- video surveillance shows the suspect dressed in opposing gang colors.

And California’s drinking water landscape can be tough for anyone to navigate - especially in small communities already facing other challenges. We learn about a program in Visalia that's fostering water leadership.

Plus Fresno writer Mark Arax has a new book about valley water politics, and a Visalia teenager gets a nod from a national podcasting competition.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

We’ve looked at how redlining has influenced the development of certain regions in the city of Fresno, but what about the history of a particular neighborhood? One tract of homes in the Tower District is turning 100 this year. Those homes, in the so-called “Wilson Island”, have been recognized for their architectural significance and the social influence of their early inhabitants.

Jeannine Raymond lives in the Tower District today, and just published a book about those homes called “Fresno's Wilson Island, and Rosanna Cooper Wilson, the Woman Behind It.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

On May 2, hours before the M Street Art Complex opened for ArtHop, Marina Santos gave her students stage directions. Santos is an English teacher at McLane High School. She’s been working with her senior class all year to understand one issue.

“What they're doing tonight is bringing alive the voices of the voiceless,” Santos says. “They're kind of illuminating all sides of those that are human trafficked and those who do the human trafficking.”

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