Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Pine Flat: Over Capacity But Not Over The Wall

Thanks to the rapidly melting snowpack, Pine Flat Reservoir on the Kings River east of Fresno is now expected to exceed 100% of its capacity. But water managers aren’t too worried. Due in part to the extreme heat, estimates of the snowmelt flowing into the Pine Flat Lake were off by about 200,000 acre feet. As of Friday afternoon, the reservoir is just a few inches away from being completely full. But with more water coming in from the High Sierra, dam engineers have a backup plan. They can...

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

At UC Merced, Research On Silk Implants Could Fight HIV

UC Merced isn’t the first place people think of when it comes to finding new ways to prevent the spread of HIV globally. But thanks to one professor the university is now working with scientists around the globe to find an alternative way to prevent the virus from infecting people. People try to prevent themselves from getting HIV by doing multiple things. They either don’t have sex, use condoms or take a daily pill called PrEP or TRUVADA. Dr. Simon Paul with UCSF Fresno specializes in...

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ZDoggMD

Mixing Health Care And Hip-Hop, This Doctor With Valley Roots Wants To Change Medicine

At the intersection of popular culture and health care innovation is a man the internet knows as ZDoggMD. Thanks to his forward thinking ideas about what he calls Health 3.0, he’s been featured in The Atlantic, Forbes, The Daily Beast, and at the Ted MED conference. Tens of thousands watch his daily online talk show "The Incident Report" that talks about ways to fix the broken health care system, and develop a patient-doctor relationship that's based on more than just technology. His online...

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Should Congress Make It Legal To Mountain Bike In Wilderness Areas?

Wilderness areas are known for isolated beauty and the feeling of peace experienced there. There are no cars, few roads and only horseman, horses and hikers can enter them. But that could soon change if a bill that’s now in congress becomes law. When Craig Bowden isn’t teaching eighth graders language arts he’s out riding his mountain bike. Today, he’s giving me a lesson on bike riding at Woodward Park in north Fresno. “When you’re taking a corner you typically want to have your outside foot...

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

They Built It, But Couldn’t Afford To Run It—Clean Drinking Water Fight Focuses On Gaps In Funding

This is the third installment in our series Contaminated, in which we explore the 300 California communities that lack access to clean drinking water. When we began the series , we introduced you to the community of Lanare, which has arsenic-tainted water while a treatment plant in the center of town sits idle. Today, we return to Lanare to learn why infrastructure projects aren’t always enough, and how Sacramento is trying to ensure Lanare never happens again. Water problems have plagued the...

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National Park Service

Alone At The Top: Yosemite's Tuolumne Winter Rangers Recount An Epic Snow Year

A visit to Yosemite National Park's Tuolumne Meadows is always special. But this winter's historic snowfall made for an especially memorable season for the two people who stayed behind when Tioga Road closed, and everyone else departed - Tuolumne Winter Rangers Laura and Rob Pilewski . This year they endured massive snowfall, the loss of electricity, and went two months without seeing another person. All of this while doing their jobs tending to historic structures, measuring snowfall, and...

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Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Ambulance Abuse By "Super Users" In Fresno County Is Down 178 Percent - Here's Why

When you call 9-1-1, you expect an ambulance to come and quickly. But in Fresno County, health officials say a relatively small number of people had been making that difficult, so-called ambulance "super users." These are people who call for an ambulance ride frequently, sometimes hundreds of times a year, in non-emergency situations. Now five years into a project to reduce the burden of "super users" on the system, the numbers show the effort is working. When the scanner crackles and a call...

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

Modern Medicine Saved Their Lives As Kids—Now It’s Failing Them As Adults

Becoming an adult is a challenging transition for anyone—but it can be especially hard for those with severe chronic diseases that, until recently, had been fatal. This is the story of one young adult undergoing some major life changes, and the doctors trying to pave a smoother path for people like her. Rachael Goldring is getting married in October. This bubbly 24-year-old health blogger already picked out the venue, the decorations, and the music—but what she’s really excited about is her...

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Ezra David Romero
Valley Public Radio

Punjabi Californians Say Voting Materials Needed In Their Own Language

Understanding the information on a voting ballot can be tough even for English speakers. For many second language learners the voting process can be so intimidating that they don’t vote, in part because of the lack of materials in their own language. Now a group of Punjabi people in Fresno want to change that experience. Almost every afternoon older Indian-American men from the province of Punjab gather under the shade and play cards in Victoria West Community Park in West Fresno. Deep Singh...

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

Hurexit? Proposal To Split Coalinga-Huron Unified Reaches State

When local school districts aren’t performing, parents typically turn to school boards or parent-teacher organizations to bring about change. But in one small Fresno County city, education advocates are thinking bigger, trying to enact a much bolder and more ambitious kind of transformation. It’s 8 a.m. in the city of Huron and the Chevron on Lassen Avenue is bumping. Between drivers filling their tanks, cashier Lydia Ramirez serves kids loading their backpacks with breakfast burritos, candy,...

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Environment

Many Of California's Salmon Populations Unlikely To Survive The Century

Wild Chinook salmon, probably the most prized seafood item on the West Coast, could all but vanish from California within a hundred years, according to a report released Tuesday. The authors, with the University of California, Davis, and the conservation group California Trout, name climate change, dams and agriculture as the major threats to the prized and iconic fish, which is still the core of the state's robust fishing industry. Chinook salmon are just one species at risk of disappearing....

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Agriculture

After Massive Bee Kill, Beekeepers Want Answers From Fresno County

The Beekeeper When Rafael Reynaga came to check on his bee colonies in a Fresno almond orchard, he found a carpet full of dead bees on the ground. Reynaga picked up a hive and found two inches of bees at the bottom. He says most were dead, but a few were still moving. Dead bees reek, Reynaga says, like a dead rat. He's been working with bees since the 1980s but he says he'd never experienced a bee kill firsthand until this February. He'd lent two hundred hives to his brother, fellow beekeeper...

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The Arts

Pace Press

Pace Press Puts Spotlight On Valley Authors

Fresno’s Linden Publishing has been around for decades, producing books in the non-fiction world under the Quill Driver Books label. Now the company is making a big splash with two new novels by local authors on a new imprint dedicated to fiction works. We talk with Jaguar Bennett and Heather Parrish of Pace Press , as well as retired judge James Ardaiz, author of the upcoming novel Fractured Justice, which will be released later this year. The company has already released its first book,...

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Water

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Oakhurst’s Water Is Radioactive, But Cleanup Is Right Around The Corner

In late April, we launched a series called “Contaminated” where our team explores communities in the region affected by water unsafe to drink. In our first story, we visited a Fresno County community that can’t afford to maintain the arsenic treatment plant the federal government funded 10 years ago. We continue today with a look at a Madera County mountain community where residents have been exposed to a different hazardous material in water for decades—but they could have clean water by the...

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Government

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno County Sends Back Millions In Unspent Funds Intended For Child Care

Finding enough money to pay for child care is a struggle for many Central Valley families. But last year despite the region’s high poverty rate, Fresno County returned $10 million in unspent money to the state that was earmarked for child care for low-income families. County officials say it’s not their fault the money went unspent, and blame state rules that exclude too many families and an income cap that hasn’t kept up with the times. Now, they are pushing for change, with a bill in the...

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Education

https://sonyachristianblog.com/2017/04/29/strengthening-kern-county-one-degree-at-a-time/

Interview: Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian On "Kern Promise"

A new collaboration between the Kern High School District, Bakersfield College and CSUB aims to get students on a speedy pathway from high school to community college, and eventually a four-year college degree. It's called the "Kern Promise" but Bakersfield College President Sonya Christian calls it the key to revitalizing the community. She joined us on Valley Edition to talk about how the project works, and also how the campus is planning to spend money approved by voters last fall when...

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Fresno State / http://www.fresnostate.edu/president/investiture/images/castro-photos09.jpg

Fresno State's Castro Says Talk Of New Valley Medical School Should Include UC

Health Care

Clinica Sierra Vista

In Kern County, Expanded Mental Health Services On Hold Thanks To State Budget Concerns

The Affordable Care Act may be staying in place for now, but the long-term future of health care is still far from certain. And that uncertainty is already taking its toll on some health care programs--with ripple effects felt throughout the Valley. If you peruse the Airbnb listings outside Bakersfield, you may stumble upon Broken Shadow Hermitage—a 3-bedroom getaway in the Tehachapi Mountains. The owner, Rick Hobbs, says it’s a great place to meditate and commune with nature. “You can hear a...

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SPECIAL REPORT: The Valley's Opioid Epidemic

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Treat, Educate And Revive: The Valley’s Three-Pronged Approach To Opioid Overdose Prevention

Host intro: Last week, we brought you a story about the San Joaquin Valley’s opioid epidemic, which manifests in inordinately high rates of painkiller prescriptions and hundreds of overdose deaths every year. This week, we explore three strategies that health officials and advocates are using to take aim at the problem. FM89’s Kerry Klein begins at a safe space for drug users. For over 20 years, meth and heroin users from around Fresno County have relied on the Fresno needle exchange for free...

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Now Playing

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Be Public Live: "The Valley’s Doctor Shortage: Impacts, Root Causes And Potential Solutions"

The San Joaquin Valley lacks doctors. For every 100,000 residents, the Valley has 48 primary care physicians—25 percent less than the state average of 64—and an even lower share of specialists. The supply is also short for nurse practitioners and providers who accept Medi-Cal and plans through the Affordable Care Act. Simultaneously, the Valley has an outsized need for doctors. Home to concentrated poverty and some of the most polluted air in the country, the Valley’s four million residents...

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Outdoorsy 7: Rock Climbing And Rattlesnakes

Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to get outdoors. There are, of course, lots of fun things to do outside this time of year, but one sport is attracting locals specifically to rock faces everywhere. Today’s episode focuses on that activity, and especially on safety. We’re talking about rock climbing, which may sound intimidating, but when done right is actually very safe. In this episode we talk climbing basics, staying safe from one particular critter that could really ruin your...

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CONTAMINATED

A Series On Dirty Water In California's San Joaquin Valley

Valley Public Radio

Valley Edition: Medical Schools; HIV Prevention; ZDoggMD; GO Public Schools Fresno

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on two medical schools possibly coming to the region and about HIV prevention research underway at UC Merced. We also hear from YouTube famous doctor Zubin Damania, MD or ZDoggMD who grew up in Clovis. Ending th e program we hear from Diego Arambula about a new organiation, GO Public Schools Fresno , he founded that aims to make changes with Fresno Unified School District.

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

How Burning Man’s Trash Is One Kern County City’s Treasure

The city of Arvin, south of Bakersfield, is struggling to stay healthy. Nearly a quarter of its 20,000 residents fall below the poverty line, and surrounding Kern County has one of the highest diabetes burdens in the state. As part of an ongoing effort to get kids out of the house and active, an event last week connected Arvin middle-schoolers with free bicycles—but where the bicycles came from may surprise you. When Jorge Rocha heard the announcement at school that free bikes were available...

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Drone Racing Buzzes Into The Valley

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in March, Dennis Spear watches his 15-year-old son Matthew Spear pilot a tiny metal drone through a course at a park outside Fresno. “[They’re] like a swarm of angry bees, ” Spear says. Drones have exploded in popularity as the price of the tiny machines has fallen. More than 700-thousand drones were sold in the United States last year. These drones aren’t what you may have seen in the neighborhood or heard about on the news. They are smaller than a Frisbee and are...

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Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

NASA Launches Pilot Project To Measure Snowpack From The Sky

After five years of drought there’s so much snow in the Sierra Nevada that state water officials are preparing for a massive runoff year. But the traditional way of calculating the snowpack has a huge margin of error and as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports a new way to measure it could greatly decrease that inconsistency. Every winter and spring a network of snow surveyors manually tally how much snow is in the Sierra Nevada. They do this by measuring snow depth in the same...

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

That Sinking Feeling: Corcoran Fears Floods Thanks To Subsidence, Snowmelt

A new map released by NASA earlier this year shows that large portions of California are sinking. The worst of it is in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the main reasons is the over pumping of groundwater, especially in the last five years of drought. All that sinking and all the snow melting in the Sierra has Central Valley water managers like Dustin Fuller worried. He's managing an army of earth movers that are scraping top soil off farmland that surrounds the Corcoran State Prison in Kings...

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Todd Rosenberg / Courtesy The Fresno Philharmonic

Fresno Philharmonic Selects Rei Hotoda As First Female Music Director

The Fresno Philharmonic has announced that conductor Rei Hotoda will be the orchestra's next music director. Hotoda is the first woman and the first Asian-American to hold the position, and is just the eighth music director in the orchestra's history. Hotoda is currently the Associate Conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra, and has held assistant conductor roles at orchestras in Dallas and Winnipeg. She says she is excited about the opportunity to lead the Philharmonic as its next conductor...

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Watchdogs And Feds Say San Luis Reservoir At Risk If An Earthquake Strikes

Some of the same people who warned state leaders about the probability of Oroville Dam failing are now sounding the alarm at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County. It’s the first time since before the drought began that San Luis Reservoir in the hills west of Los Banos is nearly full at about 97 percent . Thousands of drivers wrap around the man-made lake daily and many stop at the Romero Overlook Visitors Center to stretch their legs. From the site there’s a view of the dam, rolling hills and...

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