Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Government Shutdown

George Self / CC BY-NC 4.0

A man from El Salvador, who’s married to a U.S. citizen, was supposed to have an important immigration hearing in early January. He was set to get his green card. He and his wife were thrilled.

 

“And it didn’t happen because the government shut down or at least partially shut down,” says Camille Cook, the man's Fresno-based immigration attorney.

 

The government has been partially shut down since December 22. Immigration courts have been closed and thousands of cases have been cancelled.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Fresno is home to a lot of Internal Revenue Service employees affected by the shutdown, so on January 10, members of the Fresno chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union held a rally to show their opposition. It was one of many held around the country. We spoke to workers who attended in Fresno, and most said they’re watching their savings dwindle and that they don’t have much of a financial back-up plan.

Listen to the interview above to hear more voices from the rally.

VICE News Tonight on HBO

As of this week, the partial government shutdown means many federal employees are going without a paycheck, some of whom are right here in the San Joaquin Valley.

On this week’s Valley Edition: A plot of land in southwest Fresno that used to be a landfill is now not just a park, but a national landmark. A historian gives us the gritty details.

Plus: How are local federal employees dealing with the shutdown?  We’ll hear from Fresno IRS workers, who say they’re watching their savings dwindle.

Later we hear from renowned folk singer John McCutcheon, who’s performing in Fresno, and we catch up with arts blogger and critic Donald Munro about the shows he’s excited to watch this winter.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

While the state is experiencing a transition of power and new laws for the new year, lawmakers in D.C. still haven’t made progress on how to reopen the federal  government. That means some National Parks like Sequoia and Kings Canyon are currently closed, but the more popular park in our area - Yosemite - is still entertaining guests.

But there are caveats, including limited resources and staffing. No one is at the ranger station handing out maps, and outdoor bathrooms along the trails are closed.

On this week's Valley Edition: The San Joaquin Valley has some of the dirtiest air in the country. In Fresno and Kern Counties, a state law has introduced a new strategy to tackle the problem: putting air monitoring in the hands of the community.

Later, we look at how some undocumented high school students are navigating college applications and applying for driver licences. Some are choosing to opt out entirely.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Yosemite National Park reopened last night, and visitors are returning to the park today to snap photos and bask in the fall colors.

Park officials estimate that more than 150,000 people were blocked from visiting Yosemite during the 16-day government shutdown. That means lost entrance and campground fees, and concession sales, says spokesman Scott Gediman. 

“The loss of visitors has a huge ripple effect, from an economic perspective,” Gediman says. 

http://www.steinbeck.org/

This week on Valley Edition we explore emerging California politics with Fresno State Political Science Professor Thomas Holyoke.  Valley Edition Host Joe Moore speaks with Holyoke about immigration reform and more.

US Forest Service BAER Team

National parks across the country may be off-limits to visitors due to the government shutdown, but in the Sierra, it hasn’t stopped efforts to recover from the Rim Fire.

A crew of around 50 fire response specialists are still on the job in the Stanislaus National Forest and in Yosemite National Park.