Capital Public Radio Latest News Podcast

Capital Public Radio Latest News

From Capital Public Radio

News and information from the Sacramento region, Stockton, Modesto, Reno and Tahoe.More from Capital Public Radio Latest News »

Most Recent Episodes

Central Valley Dairy Farmers Plot Plan B In Case Of Flooding

By Julia Mitric Milton O' Haire is Stanislaus County Agricultural Commissioner. He's keeping an eye on the 100-year flood plain along the San Joaquin River and the Tuolumne River. The area is home to six cow dairies and one goat dairy. "There's some concern there if they have to be evacuated under an emergency as far as where we could we get those animals to," says O'Haire. "One of the dairies has already evacuated because they've seen the flooding. But we still have five cow dairies that are holding fast." O' Haire says Stanislaus County is encouraging folks in areas at-risk for flooding to contact dairymen further away to see if they have extra space in case dairy cows need to be re-located. There are also regional dairies that went under during the Great Recession. O' Haire says they are shuttered now but they could be ramped back into operation in short order. Still, he points out that re-locating dairy cows is more challenging than simply moving cattle off the range. "If they're wet cows, they need to be milked every day, at least once a day. You can't just take them out to the fairgrounds," says O'Haire. In neighboring San Joaquin County, dairy farmer Frank Teicheira's family operates a dairy about three miles from the San Joaquin River. They saw a foot of water in the yard when the levee broke in 1997. So, a few years ago, Teicheira hired a guy with an excavator to build his own levee to protect his dairy from flooding. "It's like a ditch - you put dirt up on top. It's probably a four to five foot levee around the dairy," says Teicheira. He hopes his little berm will hold up in case of flooding. His Plan B would be to move the cows about 15 miles to Tracy. But that option would be too costly. Last time he moved the herd Teicheira says it took his cows nearly a year to resume normal milk production.

Central Valley Dairy Farmers Plot Plan B In Case Of Flooding

Lawmakers Look To End Jail Incarceration Without In-Person Visits

By Ben Bradford Ten California counties have at least some jails where inmates cannot receive in-person visits from family and friends—a practice state lawmakers want to change. Visitors can chat with inmates by video at the facility, without cost, or remotely for a fee. "You're just taking away all of the supports," Michael Cortez testified at a legislative hearing Tuesday about his brother, incarcerated in Solano County. "My brother only gets one hour a day out of his cell, as well. So, add that on top of not being able to see a loved one properly, the way it should be." Kings County Sheriff David Robinson testified it would cost his department hundreds of thousands of dollars just to escort inmates and accommodate in-person visits. "I don't think you'd find a sheriff in the state that says 'oh we're absolutely against face-to-face visitation,' but we have to have the resources to do it," Robinson said. Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill last year that would have banned video-only, and instead directed a state board to consider the issue. Last week, the Board of State and Community Corrections proposed banning the practice at future jails, but exempting current facilities and four more currently under construction. The BSCC has a list of counties, which restrict access to in-person visitation: Counties that currently have no access to in-person visitation: 1. Kings – has used video visitation exclusively since 2006 2. Madera – has used video visitation exclusively since 2012 3. Napa – in-person visitation is temporarily not available; when earthquake repairs are completed there will be access to in-person visitation 4. Tulare – as of January 9, 2017, Tulare has adopted video visitation exclusively in all county facilities 5. Tuolumne – although no in-person visitation is currently available, the county plans to have in-person visitation when its replacement facility is completed Counties that have at least one facility in the county with no access to in-person visitation: 1. Imperial 2. Placer 3. San Bernardino 4. San Mateo 5. Solano Counties with facilities under construction that do not include access to in-person visitation: 1. Imperial 2. Kings 3. Orange 4. Placer 5. Riverside 6. San Benito 7. Tehama 8. Tulare

Lawmakers Look To End Jail Incarceration Without In-Person Visits

Two Men Sentenced In Stockton Bank Robbery And Shootout

By Rich Ibarra A judge sentenced two men Tuesday in the Bank of the West robbery and shootout in Stockton that claimed the life of a hostage two years ago. Superior Court Judge Bernard Garber called the crime "one of the worst days in Stockton's history." He sentenced 22-year-old Jaime Ramos to life in prison with no chance of parole, and his accomplice, 23-year-old Pablo Ruvalcaba, to 25 years to life, both charged with first-degree murder in the death of Misty Holt-Singh. Misty's husband Paul Singh says it was the first time he was able to face the two in court. "It was tough knowing that they're going to be living their lives whether it's in prison but they're still alive and they still get to live, whereas Misty is no longer with us," sa The robbers took 3 hostages, led police on an hour-long chase, and two of the armed gunmen along with Misty died in a hail of police gunfire. San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Robert Himmelblau says the death penalty was taken off the table for a guilty plea. "There are some family members who are happy that it ended. The fact that Mr. Ramos will never see the light of day was sufficient for us at this point." The Singh family is still pursuing a civil wrongful death suit against the City of Stockton.

Two Men Sentenced In Stockton Bank Robbery And Shootout

Future Of DACA Remains Uncertain Under Trump

Leslie Berestein Rojas | The California Report The future of a federal program that gives temporary protection to young immigrants without legal status is uncertain. It's called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). President Trump last week suggested he's reluctant to end the program, but new restrictions could be coming.

Future Of DACA Remains Uncertain Under Trump

District Holds Town Halls In Search For New Leader

By Steve Milne The search is on for a new person to lead the Sacramento City Unified School District. The district is kicking-off a series of town hall meetings tonight to hear what people in the community want to see in a new superintendent. Current Superintendent Jose Banda was hired in 2014 to lead the district of 43,000 students and 4,200 employees. Banda has decided not to renew his three-year contract. "With his departure we will be starting the process of searching for somebody new to replace him to carry out the district's missions and visions," says Alex Barrios with the district. Barrios says those missions and visions include making sure students are prepared for college or a career when they graduate. "Unfortunately we have not been able to achieve that for every student who comes through our district," says Barrios. "And so one of the things that we really want to make sure the next superintendent is focused on is closing that achievement gap." The district has also posted an online survey for the search. Tonight's town hall will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at C.K. McClatchy High School. Six more town halls will be held at other schools through mid-March. Here's the full schedule: Feb. 21, 2017 6-8 p.m. C.K. McClatchy High School Library 3066 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95818 Feb. 27, 2017 6-8 p.m. Hiram Johnson High School Small Theater 6879 14th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95820 March 1, 2017 6-8 p.m. John F. Kennedy High School Small Theater 6715 Gloria Drive, Sacramento, CA 95831 March 7, 2017 6-8 p.m. Rosemont High School Library 9594 Kiefer Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95827 March 8, 2017 6-8 p.m. Will C. Wood Middle School Cafeteria 6201 Lemon Hill Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95824 March 9, 2017 6-8 p.m. Luther Burbank High School Cafeteria 3500 Florin Road, Sacramento, CA 95823 March 14, 2017 6-8 p.m. American Legion High School Cafeteria 3801 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95817

District Holds Town Halls In Search For New Leader

Despite Oroville Crisis, California Has The "Cadillac" Of State Dam Safety Programs

By Ben Adler The state of California missed one of its two annual Oroville Dam inspections last year. It has one field engineer for every 57 dams it must inspect. And there's a potential conflict of interest in how the state inspects dams. Yet despite those concerns, California's dam safety inspection program – which is drawing increased scrutiny after last weekend's Oroville Dam crisis – is considered the best in the nation. "Everybody is understaffed and underfunded," says Lori Spragens, who runs the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. "Every other state is more understaffed and underfunded." She says other states look to California. "They are actually what we consider the Cadillac version of a state dam safety program." You might think it's a heavy workload for 22 field engineers to inspect 1,250 dams. But Oklahoma, which has more than 4,600 dams, spent less than $200,000 on dam safety as of a few years ago. California spends $13 million. "They obviously have some areas that probably need some improvement, including some of their emergency action planning procedures," Spragens says. "But as far as technical abilities as dam safety engineers, inspectors, they are definitely excellent." Of course, because California assesses fees on dam owners to fund inspections, and because the state Department of Water Resources owns Oroville and several dozen other dams, the state is charging – and inspecting – itself. But Bruce Blanning, who runs the union that represents the dam inspectors, says there's no conflict of interest. "I've never heard any concerns from our members that Oroville or any other facility wasn't being inspected as often or as thoroughly as it should be," says Blanning, the executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government. Nevertheless, the Department of Water Resources only inspected Oroville once last year; it was supposed to be inspected twice. A Democratic Assemblyman has just introduced a bill that would require closer inspections of dam spillways.

Despite Oroville Crisis, California Has The "Cadillac" Of State Dam Safety Programs

At Matsui Health Care Town Hall, A Lot Of Preaching To The Choir

By Ben Adler With Congress on recess this week, voters who support or oppose President Trump have the chance to get some face time with their local representatives. Sacramento Democrat Doris Matsui held a town hall meeting on health care Monday. The crowd at Sutter Middle School in East Sacramento was largely liberal, supportive – and white, which was noteworthy for a congressional district as diverse as Matsui's. The audience cheered loudly at mentions of Planned Parenthood and health care coverage for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. This questioner drew a particularly loud cheer: "I personally would like to ask you to fight for me, and I want you to fight for single payer health care." Right now, Matsui responded, she's focused on preserving the Affordable Care Act; Single Payer health care is for another day. "I understand where you are, and I know where I am," said Matsui. "I want to save health care now. And as far as I'm concerned, Single Payer is something I'd like to get to. And you have my pledge on that." At this town hall held in a liberal neighborhood on an issue that's fired up the liberal base, Matsui did not receive any challenging questions or criticism. Perhaps that's what led to this question: "It's hard to fathom that our concerns would be heard by people who are opposed to (the Affordable Care Act). So really, what should we be doing as citizens?" Matsui agreed that Obamacare opponents probably aren't tuning in to this town hall, then urged the crowd to make their opinions known beyond her dark blue congressional district. "I think today, we have taken too much for granted," Matsui said, as several people in the crowd responded "Yeah!" "We have thought that whatever happened the last 50 years is gonna keep going," Matsui went on. "It's not, unless we speak up!" Because in this room, at least, it seemed like there was a lot of preaching to the choir.

At Matsui Health Care Town Hall, A Lot Of Preaching To The Choir

Don Pedro Reservoir Spillway Opens For First Time Since '97

By Rich Ibarra The Don Pedro Reservoir is opening its controlled spillway Monday afternoon as storms continue to fill the dam. The release will cause the Tuolumne River to rise in Modesto and Stanislaus County The water level in Don Pedro is at 826 feet in elevation, only 4 feet from being full. Officials are warning people along the river to get their property and livestock to higher levels. The last time the spillway opened up was in 1997 which caused major flooding in Modesto. Calvin Curtin with the Turlock Irrigation District which owns the reservoir says releases this time will be more controlled. "The conditions today are different than they were in '97," says Curtin. "We're releasing water more so we can avoid a situation like '97, that's why we're conducting this operation." Turlock Irrigation provides electricity to 100,000 customers but Curtin says some people will lose their power. "We're disconnecting power to those affected residents who can see water in their property," says Curtain. He expects about 1,000 customers will experience outages. Don Pedro Controlled Spillway Gate has been opened. #DonPedroSpill pic.twitter.com/ejvzkmb71C — TID (@TurlockID) February 20, 2017

Don Pedro Reservoir Spillway Opens For First Time Since '97

Historic Masonic Hall In Reno Under Inspection After Officials Notice Storm Damage

By Ky Plaskon One of Reno's oldest buildings is now under structural evaluation and may be demolished. For 145 years trains have brought passengers past the two-story-tall, thick brick Masonic Hall in downtown Reno. Back in 1873 it was the center of town life: A grocery store downstairs. Upstairs, the fraternal organization kept California and Nevada Journals stacked to the 20-foot high ceiling. Over the years the building survived two fires, high winds, piles of snow and floods. But now it's arched windows are boarded up and only pigeons visit. This year's rain and snow had Reno Code Enforcement looking closely at the weathered brick walls. "Some fractures that they observed, if the building, the structure itself, looks like its bowing a little bit, you can't that's a sure thing," says Alex Woodley, City Code Enforcement Manager. Now its barricaded and red "Danger" tape keeps people away. Woodley has asked the building's owner for an engineering report and he says that report could recommend repairs or for the building to be demolished. Nevada Historical Society Curator Sheryln Hayes-Zorn knows what's at stake. "I would say it is priceless," says Hayes-Zorn. "Because it truly is at this point probably the last and the oldest historic structure here in Reno." That's a piece of history she says people won't want demolished. "Battle cries, saying, you know, 'Please try to save this because it is an important structure for Reno,' and if it goes, then what is next?" she says. The engineering report to repair or demolish is due by the end of February.

Historic Masonic Hall In Reno Under Inspection After Officials Notice Storm Damage

Pacific Storm In Central Valley Prompts 'Flood Warning'

By Steve Milne A powerful Pacific storm that reached the coast last night and — overnight — moved to the already soggy Central Valley and Sacramento area. Eric Kurth, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, says a "flood warning" is in effect. The system is what's called an atmospheric river, which means a strong plume of moisture is coming from the central Pacific. "We could have water on the roads and streams and rivers are all pretty high," Kurth says. "So we could see some flooding practically anywhere today." The flood warning lasts through Thursday afternoon for Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar, Tuolumne River at Modesto and the San Joaquin River near Vernalis. San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services says the river at a measuring station near Vernalis remains at "danger stage," meaning it keeps approaching the top of levees. People who live in low-lying areas have been told to be ready to evacuate, especially those in San Joaquin River Club, a private neighborhood of 800 homes by the river. Residents have been patrolling levees for signs of danger. Meanwhile, Kurth says Monday's storm is also bringing strong winds with branches and trees likely coming down. He says people should be prepared for possible power outages. "Especially tonight[Monday], we could be seeing winds up in the 60-65 mile an hour range," Kurth says. "Try not to drive, especially with high-profile vehicles. And maybe be prepared for a power outage, maybe have some candles around, flashlights, things like that." Kurth says the Sacramento area could see between 2 to 3 inches of rain Monday. Snow levels will lower by Tuesday. The snow level is currently about 7,000 feet. That will lower to 5,000 feet by Tuesday. Higher levels could see several feet of new snow.

Pacific Storm In Central Valley Prompts 'Flood Warning'

Back To Top