Quality of Life

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From Frozen Fish To "Bloodsicles": How Zoo Animals Beat The Heat

When the temperature hits triple-digits, keeping ourselves and our pets cool may be the main priorities for us humans. But zoo animals enjoy a cool-down, too, and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo has some creative solutions for helping beat the heat. At some point in your life, you've probably eaten a popsicle with a gumball in it—or maybe strawberry slices. Now imagine that instead of fruit or candy, your ice pop contained pieces of fish. That's what sea lions get at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. For giraffes, it's green onion popsicles. Zoo director Scott Barton says they have a whole menu of frozen treats for keeping animals cool and content. "For lions, it can have blood in it, and you actually make basically a 'bloodsicle,'" Barton says. "Then it's like a child eating a popsicle, and it'll keep them busy for an hour or so licking that." These delicacies are so-called enrichment activities, designed to stimulate animals and enhance their well-being. Other summertime enrichment includes mud baths,

My Valley, My Story: "I Just Like Getting High"

Earlier this summer, we told you about the public health benefits of the Fresno Needle Exchange, which makes clean syringes available to drug users. As part of our first-person series My Valley, My Story, here's one of those users—a 56-year-old man named Michael, interviewed at the needle exchange. "I run my own business, paint addresses on curbs. I worked as a social worker for years, for ten years, and I got burned out on that. I have a daughter. She's 19, she's grown. She's in Dinuba. "I do a little bit of heroin, but I do mostly crystal and coke. I started using drugs when I was 15. l started smoking weed, drinking, and went to doing acid. I did acid for eight years, always had it always sold it...it's still my drug of choice if I could find real stuff. If I could find real LSD and good mushrooms, I wouldn't use any other drug. "I live in the north part of town, up on Sierra between Palm and Maroa. I have to depend on a ride, either get a ride, or take the bus, or ride a bicycle in

New Partnership Aims To Go "Cradle to Career" In Fresno

Over two dozen non-profit groups and local governments, from school districts to local hospitals have pooled their attention and resources together as part of a new effort - the Cradle to Career partnership. It links efforts from early childhood education to jobs readiness and efforts to keep kids out of the criminal justice system. A key part of the effort is the on-going tracking of data in eight key categories - from kindergarten readiness to health. Joining us to talk about how the partnership will work and will hopefully get results is Executive Director Linda Gleason and Fowler Unified School District Superintendent Eric Cederquist. Editor's note: Cradle to Career Fresno County is supported by the James Irvine Foundation, which also supports this and other public radio stations.

At Fresno State, Linguists Work To Save A Native American Language

Linguistics professors and students at Fresno State are hard at work on a mammoth task - saving the language of the Chukchansi tribe of Mono Indians. One thing makes their task especially difficult - there are only 12 speakers of the Chukchansi language left. We talked with professors Brian Agbayani and Niken Adisamito-Smith about their work, and the challenges of not only documenting the language for posterity but also keeping alive and in active use.

Running Water Arrives In Drought-Addled East Porterville

Four years into the drought, an estimated 1,500 wells have run dry in Tulare County. Now, thanks to a state-funded project, relief is finally coming to one of the county's hardest hit communities. For the first time in three years, water splashed out of a spigot at an East Porterville home on Friday. The Ramirez family home is one of about 500 in the unincorporated community whose private wells have run dry since the drought began. Now, a new project is connecting East Porterville's 1,800 homes to the water system of nearby Porterville, and the Ramirez home is first. Using a translator, Guillermina Ramirez says, now, they won't have to rely on an emergency water tank that had been installed outside their home. "They were really taking care of every drop of that water," says the Community Water Center's Ryan Jensen, translating for Ramirez. "So they would bathe with the bathtub closed, they would let it fill the bathtub, then they would reuse that water, carry it in buckets to keep what

Interview: Kern High School District In The Media Spotlight

It's back to school season, and that means there's a lot of news right now about local school districts. None more so than the Kern High School District, which serves more than 35,000 students in Kern County. Harold Pierce of the Bakersfield Californian joined us on Valley Edition to give us a recap of the latest news around KHSD. Last school year controversy rocked the district as the board voted to authorize concealed weapons on school grounds, and struggled with new mandates on bathroom access for transgender students. Then over the summer, the district lost a high profile lawsuit involving a student who was injured at a pep rally. Now the issue of guns on campus is back, as authorities are working to actually implement the new policy. At the same time, the district is considering bringing back an air rifle team for the campus of East Bakersfield High. And on top of that, new controversies surrounding alleged illegal use of a state criminal justice database, and the hiring of a new

A New Weapon In the Bark Beetle Fight: Pheromones

Right now in California's Sierra Nevada, an estimated 66 million trees have died, due to a deadly combination of drought and bark beetles, which take advantage of dry, thirsty trees. But could we prevent beetles from ever attacking trees in the first place? Researchers have been asking this question for decades, and a new tool fends off bark beetles using the very thing that makes them so deadly. Take a look at a mountain pine beetle and you probably won't see much. A tiny black and brown pellet, around the size of a mouse dropping. It looks simple. Kind of dumb, really. And yet, as forester Brian Block with Sequoia National Forest explains, these seemingly unassuming insects are taking out millions of towering, stately trees. He and I are looking at a tall, brown sugar pine near Lake Isabella. I ask him, "How does something so small kill something so big?" "Sheer numbers," he says. "Thousands and thousands of little pinpricks." The tree can probably defend itself from one beetle on

Valley Edition: August 16 - Taxes; SPLAT; Cradle To College; Harold Pierce; Chukchansi Language

This week on the program KVPR's Jeffrey Hess reports how Valley communities are trying find the right balance on public safety taxes. We also hear from KVPR's Kerry Klein on a goo that prevents bark beetle from killing trees. Later we chat about Fresno County's new program Cradle to College with Linda Gleason and Eric Cederquist the superintendent for Fowler schools. We also hear from the Bakersfield Californian's Harold Pierce about a shooting rang in one Kern County school. We even hear about feral parakeets in Bakersfield, FM89's Ezra David Romero reports. Ending the program we learn about a program at Fresno State working to preserve the Chukchansi language by Dr. Brian Agbayani and Dr. Niken A. Adisasmito-Smith.

Valley Edition: August 16 - Taxes; SPLAT; Cradle To College; Harold Pierce; Chukchansi Language

Clovis At Center Of Zika Research, Federal Funding Needed

There are a lot of the type of mosquito that carries the Zika virus in Fresno County. Crews are currently working to stop the spread of the mosquito across the region. But as FM89's Ezra David Romero reports there's just not enough funding at the moment to do research on a large scale. As Katherine Brisco blows into a six-inch cardboard tube she's releasing male mosquitos in the middle of a suburban Clovis neighborhood park. She says the males don't bite. "They'll be all over you, but they won't bite you," says Brisco with Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District. This is what 1,000 mosquitos look like. Listen to my story about Zika at Kvpr.org @valleypublicradio A video posted by Ezra David Romero (@ezraromero) on Aug 16, 2016 at 5:01pm PDT This neighborhood in East Clovis is ground zero for the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the region, which can carry the Zika virus. Jeannette Warnert lives a few blocks away. "We used to be able to have our windows open, doors open in the morning to get

Thousands Of Feral Lime Green Parakeets Call Bakersfield Home

Bakersfield is known for agriculture, country music and oil. But what if I told you people are flocking to Kern County to birdwatch? Well it's the truth and as FM89's Ezra David Romero reports they're looking for a bird nonnative to the region that calls the city's tall palm trees home. Earlier this summer I was doing some internet sleuthing about how to take better care of my pet parakeets. As I scrolled through search results a line jumped off the screen. There's a wild population of parakeets living Bakersfield. So I reached out to Kern Audubon Society and they said I should come see them for myself. "We're on the lookout for Rose-ringed Parakeet, which is about a 15 inch beautiful lime green parakeet,"says Madie Elsea with the group. With binoculars in hand we're wandering through Hart Park in the center of Bakersfield looking for the birds. Elsea says people from around the world have traveled here to see them. They're not tiny pet store parakeets, but a much larger bird. "It's

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