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Laura Tsutsui

Laura Tsutsui is a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She first joined the station as a news intern, and now covers local issues for KVPR and produces the weekly program Valley Edition. 

A Fresno native, Laura graduated in the spring of 2017 from California State University, Fresno as a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors College. She studied journalism, with a focus in multimedia. While attending Fresno State, Tsutsui was an intern for California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon through the Maddy Institute and an intern for Congressman Sam Farr in Washington, D.C. through the Panetta Institute. In 2015 Laura won an Associated Press Television and Radio Association award for her audio documentary, "Netflix and Chill." 

Flickr User United Workers, License Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Before we look ahead to the midterm elections, we’re taking a quick look back at some health care legislation passed at the end of the legislative session in September: Specifically, a campaign known as Care4All, aimed at universal health coverage that’s more affordable and accountable. Of around two dozen Care4All bills and budget items introduced earlier this year, Governor Jerry Brown ultimately signed eight into law.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

The state has been charging companies for their carbon emissions since 2012, and last year, it gave some of that money to communities most affected by pollution, including Fresno. Some of it was slated for Southwest Fresno -- an area that has suffered high rates of poverty and perceived neglect from the city. The plan is to build a college campus with a portion of these funds, and some believe that education is part of the answer to turning Southwest Fresno's misfortune around.

Bakersfield College

This year, thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bakersfield College has been focusing on how labor and energy have historically intersected with art and literature. To further explore this, the college is inviting Sarah Wald, a professor at the University of Oregon, to speak about it on campus. Wald has studied the relationship between race, citizenship, and nature in popular culture. She’ll be speaking at Bakersfield College on Thursday, October 18, at 7 p.m.

Pam Johnson

Forty years ago this week, Valley Public Radio went on the air thanks to a few industrious twenty-somethings. One of them – now an audio consultant for the Netflix series BoJack Horseman – dropped by recently to see how far Valley Public Radio has come.

 

We caught up with Von Johnson to ask about the early days of the station. Listen to the audio to hear more.

Coming up next on Valley Edition: Overcoming valley fever can be tough enough, but what if you get it while you’re pregnant? It affects a small but concerning demographic. Also, arsenic is in our groundwater, and some studies say it could get more concentrated over time. Water experts from across the state are gathering in Fresno this week to discuss it. Earlier this year, Kern County was sued over its county supervisor districts. Will the same thing happen in Tulare County? We explore what redistricting could mean for Latino voters.

California Health Care Foundation

When it comes to addictive substances, opioids like heroin and fentanyl have in recent years been dominating headlines around the country. And rightly so: Nationally, the number of opioid overdose deaths more than quadrupled from 2000 to 2016. But as concerning and dangerous as opioids are, we shouldn’t forget about another addictive substance that’s long been known to disrupt lives: Alcohol.

Matt Black/Magnum Photos / Courtesy of The California Sunday Magazine

We’ve brought you stories about undocumented immigrants in the San Joaquin Valley before, and many of them are struggling with changing policies under the Trump administration.

Author and Fresno State professor Steven Church has written several books, many of them as compilations of essays. His latest is called “I’m Just Getting to the Disturbing Part: On Work, Fear, and Fatherhood."

San Joaquin Valley Town Hall

With the onset of fall comes announcements for music and entertainment. This week, we talk with and organizer from one of the Valley’s oldest public lecture series on the upcoming season for the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall. Joining us in the studio is Vice Presidents of Programming, Joyce Kierejczyk. We talk about the season’s opening event, happening next week, and highlights from this year’s lineup. Tickets for the season can be found on their website.

This week on Valley Edition: A look at California’s changing wildfire season through the lens of health: Why firefighter deaths aren’t falling in California the way they are in the rest of the country. We also add context to a mailer from Devin Nunes's campaign against an unusual opponent: The Fresno Bee. Plus, Tme Magazine says it’s a book everyone will be talking about this Fall -- Nazi sympathizers in the U.S. during World War II. We hear from the author, a Fresno historian. And Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sonia Nazario talks to us about immigration and media literacy.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

A few weeks ago, you might have heard our interview with Vice News reporter Alexandra Jaffe about the ongoing contention between Tulare County Congressman Devin Nunes and The Fresno Bee. After The Bee published a handful of stories about Nunes’s investments and public image, he responded by calling the paper a “left wing rag.” He also aired a 2-minute television and radio ad claiming the Bee is on a “crusade” against him.

Bradley Hart / Thomas Dunne Books

Over the last year and a half, we’ve seen how the Trump Administration has threatened to pull away from trade agreements, close borders, and champion an “America First” agenda. But this isn’t the first time that phrase has gone around. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, many in the U.S. actually favored a similar isolationist policy, with hopes to keep the U.S. military out of World War II. And it wasn’t just isolationists touting this idea. Among their ranks were Nazi sympathizers.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Two weeks ago, Fresno County published its suicide prevention strategic plan. The county has been developing this plan for almost two years. During that time, its rate of suicide matched the state’s at about 10 deaths for every 100,000 people, but it wants to bring that number below the state average. Lately, though Fresno isn’t the only county looking at how to reduce the risk of suicide.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

As summer winds down, and school picks back up, local theater groups are starting to plan their next seasons with which to entertain the Valley. The Selma Arts Center just announced its upcoming season, while celebrating its fifth year in action. We spoke with Nicolette C. Anderson, the Coordinator for the Center, and Juan Guzman who will be directing one of the shows, to hear what they have in store for their 2019 season.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

People are calling 2018, “the year of the woman.” More women have filed to run for office than ever before, and are advancing to the election in November. Even in the Central Valley, about half of the races for state legislature include female candidates. But despite the enthusiasm, many say it will take more than one election to bring gender equality to government.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at how those who work in health care are at increased risk of workplace violence. In the next installment of our series, Part of the Job, we see that although hospitals in the Valley have preventive measures in place, some are finding that it’s not until an incident happens that a facility knows what more to improve.  

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

We’re less than two months away from this year’s midterm election, and Democrats are still  holding out for a blue wave across the country. Whether that will extend into conservative strongholds in the Central Valley is yet to be seen. But today in our studio, we’re talking to Andrew Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor and democrat running against incumbent republican congressman Devin Nunes. We discuss how Janz might balance environmental and economic priorities when it comes to water, and how California state laws are changing public safety.

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