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This week on Valley Edition, we begin a new series on the issue of workplace violence enountered by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. We also hear a report about how local immigration attorneys are raising concerns about changes to the U Visa program, which helps undocumented immigrants who are victims of crimes. And Kerry Klein brings us a special report about an African drum camp in the Sierra foothills. Later in the show we learn how the community of Stratford is recovering after both of the wells that serve residents there failed earlier this month.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Over the course of three months in 2017, over two thousand incidents of workplace violence in health care were reported in California. That comes out to about an incident happening at every facility every other week, or over twenty incidents across the state a day. Some experts would say that number is probably low, because they suspect the issue is underreported, for a variety of reasons.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Mount Whitney is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. But at over 14,000 feet, hiking the mountain is anything but routine, especially in early summer. In a new piece on the website Outdoor Online, journalist Megan Michelson writes about her own close call on the mountain thanks to climbers who were unprepared. She also talks about a growing culture of selfie-induced "summit fever" which she says is making it unsafe for others on the mountain.

Monica Velez

About eight years ago Mirsa Urias was working at a restaurant in Bakersfield. She was the only person working up front and says it was business as usual until one man entered.

“He pointed a gun at me and said I had to give him money," the 30-year-old says in Spanish. "I gave him money and he went running out of the store and threatened me before that. He said if I didn’t give him the money he would shoot me.”

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The San Joaquin Valley is a melting pot. It’s home to diaspora from dozens of countries, and we celebrate that diversity with traditional festivals and performances throughout the year. One celebration that flies under the radar, however, is a summer camp in the Sierra foothills that teaches some traditional arts from West Africa. In this story, we take you to a music camp in Dunlap.

Some people escape into the Sierra Nevada for serenity and silence. But every August, a few hundred campers flock to the Fresno County foothills for the freedom to be loud.

Martín Chávez

Update: 8/22/18 Officials lifted the "Do not drink" water order in Stratford on Wednesday afternoon August 22nd. However, according to Martín Chávez, only one pump is operational at this time. 

Listeners to the popular segment StarDate segment heard on Valley Public Radio's broadcast of Morning Edition can now hear the segment at a new time. The two-minute-long daily feature can now be heard at 5:19 AM and 6:19 AM Monday through Friday on Valley Public Radio. The evening broadcast, which airs at 10:00 PM Monday-Sunday is not affected by the new schedule, which is necessiatted by a national change in the timing of local breaks with Morning Edition. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In our 2017 series Contaminated, we told the stories of communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley struggling to access safe drinking water. Since then, the state has begun regulating a new drinking water contaminant. And though that regulation represents increased accountability, it brings financial challenges to some communities—and many are turning to the courts to help pay for water treatment. We begin this story in Del Rey, an unincorporated community in central Fresno County.

This week on Valley Edition, we learn about how the rural Fresno County community of Del Rey is working to clean up its drinking water, which is now contaminated by an agricultural chemical. We also learn about the lawsuit over Monsanto’s popular herbicide Roundup, and about new efforts to expand mental health care for children in Fresno County. Later in the show, we learn how college students are spending their summer working on voter registration in rural valley communities, and we talk with disability rights advocate Jocelyn Dettloff, author of the book “It Rained In the Desert.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Summers for college students usually mean part time jobs or summer school. But this year, one group of students have dedicated their time to civic engagement. While some of them are new voters themselves, they’re hoping to get other young adults to make voting a priority.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

We’re at the start of another school year. And that means more than just a focus on basic academic skills. In Fresno County there’s a new push to address mental health and wellbeing. It’s part of a five year, $111 million dollar campaign that’s called “All 4 Youth” that’s bringing together the county’s office of education and the behavioral health department.

Roundup
Mike Mozart / Creative Commons / Flickr

A jury last week awarded a California man with terminal cancer $289 million dollars in a lawsuit against agri-chemical giant Monsanto. The jury agreed with plaintiff Dewayne Johnson’s claim that his exposure to the popular herbicide Roundup on the job (and its main component known as glyphosate) resulted in his non-Hodgkins lymphoma. With over $250 million in punitive damages in this one case alone, the stakes are high for Monsanto’s owner Bayer. So where does the legal fight go from here, and how does the courtroom differ from the scientific lab when determining the truth?

Jocelyn Dettloff

On April 13th 1997, Jocelyn Dettloff’s life changed forever. On a camping trip in Sub-Saharan Africa, an accident left her paralyzed. It also put her life on a new path, inspiring others, as she describes in her book “It Rained in the Desert: One Woman's Story of Spirit and Resilience”

For Valley Fever Survivors, A Growing Need: Wigs

Aug 8, 2018
Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In a small boutique in downtown Bakersfield, Brenda Blanton donned a styling gown and settled into a salon chair facing a mirror. Shop owner Kelly Giblin approached, not carrying scissors or a curling iron, but a small hairpiece resembling a dirty blonde bob with dark roots. “This is an amazing hairpiece,” Giblin said excitedly, clipping it onto Blanton’s thinning, shoulder-length hair. “We can put it on, trim it in, and it will blend with your hair and no one will ever now.”

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The Ferguson Fire has now consumed close to 95,000 acres near Yosemite National Park, and hazardous smoke conditions have closed Yosemite Valley indefinitely. Nearly half of the fire is now contained, but Yosemite’s most popular tourist destination is not out of the woods yet.

At a press conference on Tuesday, officials with Yosemite, Mariposa County and multiple fire agencies celebrated increased containment, lifted evacuation orders and the opening of some roads near the park.

Greg Ballmer

In a small section of Kern County, outside the city of Bakersfield, a dirt ridge rises above the farmland. It’s home to a couple of cell towers, an orchard, and a creature that we didn’t know was there up until the last 25 years. In fact, it's by chance that this animal is no longer flying under scientists’ radar.

The first scientist to identify it was Greg Ballmer, a retired entomologist.

In 1997, Ballmer was driving down Highway 99, just south of Bakersfield,

New York Public Radio

Valley Public Radio is pleased to present another season of the acclaimed series Carnegie Hall Live. Hear some of today’s finest classical music performers on the most famous stage in America, in this special 13-week broadcast run. Produced by New York Public Radio, and hosted by Jeff Spurgeon and John Schaefer (with occasional special guest co-hosts) each two hour broadcast will take you on a musical journey filled with memorable performances. Hear Carnegie Hall Live Wednesday nights from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM from September 5th through November 28th.

On today’s Valley Edition, we explore the effort to save a rare species in Kern County that until the 1990’s was thought to be extinct. We also learn about an unfortunate side effect of the drug used to treat valley fever patients, and why it’s helping them forge a bond with cancer patients. We also explore California’s recent wave of extreme heat and extreme fire behavior with Sean Boyd.

National Weather Service / Cal Fire

Last month the Carr Fire near Redding exploded overnight in what some people have called a "fire-nado" - with extreme rotating winds that toppled high tension power lines and wrapped metal posts around trees. It was the most extreme case of extreme fire behavior people have seen in California in recent times. But with a record-setting stretch of triple digit temperatures, skies filled with smoke, and fires creating their own weather, 2018 has proven to be anything but normal.

A new podcast from Capital Public Radio reporter Ezra David Romero is digging into stories about Yosemite National Park. Called Yosemiteland, the limited-run series explores everything from commercialization to climate change. A new episode also deals with how the park is dealing with wildfire. That's of special concern now as most of the park is closed to the public due to impacts from the Ferguson Fire.

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