Valley Public Radio - Live Audio
Kerry Klein / KVPR

When It Comes To Doctor Access, The San Joaquin Valley Is Being Left Behind

For much of 2017, healthcare has dominated the headlines. But while access to insurance coverage remains a national debate, here in the San Joaquin Valley, getting to see a doctor isn’t always easy, even for people who have coverage. It’s not a new problem, and it’s not unique to the valley, but this area is especially hard hit by a lack of physicians. This story kicks off Struggling For Care , a new series about doctor shortages produced as part of a project with the USC Annenberg School of...

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In Bakersfield, Complex Web Of Water Systems Makes Pollution Cleanup Difficult

From Keith Prickett’s front yard just east of Bakersfield you can see the trees of where the official city begins. He’s on the board of a tiny water system with less than 30 homes. It’s called the East Wilson Road Water Company and the water he’s washing his dishes with is polluted with nitrates. “It doesn’t taste funny, but because it’s high in nitrates we do not cook with it, we don’t drink it,” says Prickett as he loads his dishwasher with a mug. “But we shower and use it for everything...

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Outdoorsy

Kern River Outfitters

Outdoorsy 9: Whitewater Rafting The Kern, Kayaking The San Joaquin

This summer we've been on the river a lot. Floating, some kayaking and well a lot of sunbathing. R ivers in Central California have been amazing this summer. They’ve been really high the past few months because of the record snowfall in the Sierra this winter. That’s generally a good thing, but it has made for some dangerous conditions. Earlier in the season, local authorities closed rivers like the Kings River to swimmers and boaters. A number of people in the Valley drowned because fast...

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Blue River Technology

Could Robots Replace Farmworkers In Valley Fields? Silicon Valley Hopes So

Let’s face it farmers are usually slow to change their practices for a couple reasons. Change usually comes with a high price tag – a new tractor can cost a half million dollars. And farmers want to minimize risk by only investing in things that have been successfully tested and in the end don’t reduce profits. But robots are slowly changing that perspective. “At the end of the day robots can go into really harsh environments where people really don’t want to work and in turn it will create...

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Steve Brandau - Facebook

Amid Homeless Concerns, Brandau Wants Fresno To Ban Camping

A Fresno City Councilmember has a new idea on dealing with the city’s homeless population – a law that would ban camping in the city. Councilmember Steve Brandau is set to take the proposed ordinance before the city council Thursday August 17th. If adopted, the law would ban camping on both public and private property in the city. Brandau says he’s been getting complaints for months from constituents about people camping in the cooking, bathing and even defecating in public. “I really believe...

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Joe Moore/KVPR

The Old Fresno Water Tower At Risk Of Closing

On the first Thursday night of every month, the Old Fresno Water Tower is typically full of people checking out local art that lines the walls and shelves of the historic building. But while dozens of Art Hop patrons visit the gift shop, gallery and visitors center in one of Fresno’s most recognizable buildings, the future of the downtown landmark is uncertain. The Fresno Arts Council, which runs the gallery space in the city-owned building, says it is short on cash, and may have to shut the...

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Author Interview: Climate Change, Forest Mismanagement Fuel 'Megafire' Epidemic

Wildfires have always been a part of the Central California landscape. But in recent years blazes like the Detwiler Fire (2017) and the Erskine Fire (2016) have been different. In each case, veteran firefighters who have been on wildland blazes for decades say they saw the fires demonstrating "extreme" behavior like they haven't seen before. They burned hotter, faster, and didn't die down at night as fires typically do.

As Michael Kodas describes in his new book "Megafire: The...

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NOAASatellites YouTube

The New Frontier: Satellites Inform Fire Personnel About How Blazes Spread

While crews fought to keep the Detwiler Fire in California’s Central Valley from reaching the historic gold rush town of Mariposa, a separate fire crew was watching the blaze from an entirely different angle - space. “We can see the darker reds here,” says Kris Mattarochia says science and operations officer at the National Weather Service Hanford office. “This is the fire temperature hot spot. We can see pretty much this is the current location of the Detwiler Fire.” During the Detweiler...

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CONTAMINATED

Kerry Klein / KVPR

In California, Quest For Clean Drinking Water Often Delayed By Paperwork

Drive through the pomegranate and pistachio orchards between highways 41 and 99 and you may stumble upon Valley Teen Ranch , a cluster of residential homes where juvenile offenders come to be rehabilitated. Today, a few men are in their living room playing a basketball video game and making small talk with Connie Clendenan, the ranch’s CEO. “I'm for the Warriors, don't we have them?” asks Clendenan. “I'm from Oakland, so yeah,” one of the men laughs. In an ideal world, Clendenan would spend...

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Valley Public Radio

Should Fresno City Employees Be Allowed To Carry Guns At Work?

The next time you go to Fresno City Hall or see a city employee looking for people watering their yards on banned watering days, that employee might be carrying a concealed fire arm. That's if the Fresno City Council approves a new proposal from council member Garry Bredefeld. There are more than 1,500 people in the city of Fresno who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Among that group, some almost certainly are city employees working everywhere from behind a desk to doing code...

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Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Cap-and-Trade Companion Bill May Fall Short Of Closing Air Pollution Loophole

Lost in the coverage of the extension of California's cap-and-trade system is another bill that aims to reduce local air pollution in communities like the San Joaquin Valley. AB-617 aims to increase oversight of major stationary sources of pollution that are also regulated by cap-and-trade. Under the law, the state will now make public more data on pollution sources, and local air districts will be required to develop plans to bring these facilities into compliance with the latest available...

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Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Valley Communities Worry USDA Changes Could Hurt Rural Infrastructure

When new presidential administrations come into office, they often make changes to agencies and appoint people who share their political outlook. The same is true under the leadership of President Donald Trump. However, one seemingly obscure reorganization involving leadership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program is sending shockwaves throughout Central California and beyond. One of those concerned is Farmersville Mayor Paul Boyer. Thanks to the USDA, Boyer has...

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AT&T/Ezra David Romero

Utility Companies Embrace Drones For Efficiency, Safety

On a hill overlooking Millerton Lake in Fresno County a group of workers are gathering around a cell tower. They’re watching a tiny white drone slowly circle the tower from the ground all the way to the top. Quasie Jones is with the drone imaging company Skycatch . “So what it’s doing is taking a picture every two seconds,” Jones says. “So by the end of it it’ll basically have probably like five or 600 photos. So then our technology renders that and creates a 3D model.” After the model of the...

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Valley Public Radio

Valley Edition: August 22 - Doctor Shortage; Homelessness; Bakersfield Water; NAFTA; Outdoorsy

On this week's program our team reports stories on the doctor shortage in the region, homelessness in Fresno and about Bakersfield's complex water system. We also chat with California Citrus Mutual's Joel Nelson about what the citrus industry would like to see changed and kept in NAFTA if President Trump alters the agreement. We end the program with our latest episode of our podcast Outdoorsy. This time its all about whitewater rafting and kayaking.

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

Memorial For Abandoned Babies Heals The Living, Too

Last month, you may have heard about Miranda Eve, a mysterious baby who was uncovered in San Francisco and identified more than a century after she died. The organization that kickstarted that investigation was the Garden of Innocence , a non-profit that provides burial services to unclaimed children across the state. Over the weekend, the Fresno chapter held a service for babies abandoned in Fresno County—but the garden serves more than children. Ryan Murry was 31 when his wife gave birth to...

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Left, Right and Center Expands To 1-Hour Broadcast

In response to an unprecedented political news cycle, and a seemingly-insatiable appetite for more reliable news analysis, we are excited to announce that KCRW’s "Left, Right and Center" will become a one-hour program starting in July. Listeners can now hear the program from 6:00 – 7:00 PM on Saturdays, following Weekend All Things Considered. The program will continue to be hosted by Center Josh Barro. Rich Lowry will continue to be our Right, with Katrina vanden Heuvel and others on the...

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My Valley, My Story

Kerry Klein / KVPR

My Valley, My Story: Surviving With Spina Bifida

The birth defect spina bifida is not easy to live with. It impairs the development of the spine and can lead to lifelong disability. Spina bifida is rare, but data suggest that Tulare County has the disease’s highest rate of incidence in the San Joaquin Valley. As part of our first-person series My Valley My Story, we travel to a spina bifida fundraiser in Tulare where volunteer Maria Muñoz shares how the disease has affected her life. "In my childhood, I went to a school where there was a...

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Photo provided by Kirke Wrench and Alison Taggart-Barone.

Outdoorsy 8: Stargazing And Night Skies

Okay, you know it, we know it: Summer in Central California is hot. Really hot. So hot, we know that even if we had an awesome activity to talk about, most of you probably wouldn’t do it. At least, not during the day. Instead, we’ve got an idea for something cool to do after the sun has retreated below the horizon: stargazing. In this episode we talk all about gazing into the heavens. We’ll go to a star party at Millerton Lake and learn how some people are trying to protect the night sky for...

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Google

Where's The Fish? Is It The End Of Bakersfield's Historic "Trout's" Nightclub?

For decades Trout's Nightclub has been a fixture in the Oildale neighborhood of Bakersfield. It was the musical home of people like the late Red Simpson and others who helped make the "Bakersfield Sound" incredibly popular among country music fans in the decades following World War II. The venue was also considered one of the city's last original honky-tonk clubs. But earlier this spring the bar closed, and doesn't show any signs of reopening soon. There's also an additional loss to fans of...

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Agriculture

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Masumoto Family Farm Wants Americans To Value Petite Peaches

Before Nikiko Masumoto picks a peach she lightly squeezes it. “We want it to have some give and not be hard like a baseball, but we want it to be firm enough that it will travel to wherever it needs to go,” says Masumoto. The fruit she’s picking now is large, sweet and will be sold in the Bay Area. But a few weeks ago they were picking another variety, a tiny peach called Gold Dust. “We’re standing right now in the Flavorcrest orchard and as you can see these fruit have much more red in them,...

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The Sierra

Alicia Embrey / Sequoia National Forest

Two Years After Rough Fire, Boyden Cavern Still Sits Shuttered

In 2015 the Rough Fire burned more than 150,000 acres in the mountains east of Fresno. The blaze burned hot and fast threatening Hume Lake Christian Camps in Sequoia National Forest. But while most of the area is starting to recover Boyden Cavern has yet to reopen. But that could soon change. Usually the parking lot and picnic area at Boyden Cavern along Highway 180 in the Giant Sequoia National Monument is packed full of people. But traffic cones and caution tape have blocked the entrance...

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