KFCF News Stringer Fund

KFCF News Stringer
Project

About the KFCF News Stringer Project

The News Stringer Project is a collaboration between KFCF and the KPFA News Department to create a funding base for Valley-based journalists to file regular reports on Valley news and events for the Pacifica Evening News.

The Pacifica Evening News is a comprehensive, one-hour, state-wide daily news program bringing together the news gathering resources of Pacifica stations KPFA in Berkeley, KFCF in Fresno and KPFK in Los Angeles, and broadcasting to three-quarters of California.

The San Joaquin Valley is, in many important ways, California’s new frontier. This is especially true about reporting on the natural and human environment. The geography defines our lives. A broad agricultural valley bounded by mountain ranges. It’s a place where water is the lifeblood of natural ecosystems and of industry. Civilization made possible and driven by natural resource exploitation in myriad forms – water, soil, trees, rocks and air.

Valley resources are forged into products by the blood, sweat and tears and ingenuity of its people. The Valley simultaneously looks backward and forward, in a region where world-class innovation and third-world class conflict can awkwardly endure side-by-side. Telling the Valley’s stories will hopefully contribute to a deeper understanding by all Californians about people events that shape our collective future.

The News Stringer Fund is made possible because of generous donations beyond membership made by listener-sponsors of KFCF Radio.

Donate to the News Stringer Fund


https://connect.clickandpledge.com/Organization/kfcf/campaign/NSF

About News Stringer Project Reporter Vic Bedoian


Vic Bedoian (

Vic Bedoian is a freelance journalist based in the California Heartland. Vic works primarily in radio news, covering natural resource issues in the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding mountain areas, such as water, food and farming, climate change, environmental justice, and Sierra Nevada ecology. Vic grew up in the San Joaquin Valley on a vineyard near Fresno and graduated from Fresno City College and the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Physics.

Most of his radio experience has been with Pacifica Radio. From 1972 – 1977, he was a Staff Producer at KPFA-FM, responsible for reporting, producing news broadcasts, and crafting documentary presentations on a wide range of topics and breaking news stories. From 1977 – 1982 and again from 1989 – 1996, Vic managed his family farm near Sanger, and was a frequent correspondent for KPFA Radio, reporting on news and issues of importance in the region.

He also produced The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, a monthly program from KFCF focusing on environmental topics. From 1996 – 2008 Vic was General Manager and Program Director of KFCF-FM and Executive Director of the Fresno Free College Foundation.

News Stringer Project Stories

Wildfires Rage Throughout California

There are currently more than a dozen wildfires are burning in California.  From San Diego county in the south to the Klamath mountains near the Oregon border, they range in size from a few hundred to nearly thirty thousand acres.  They’re blazing in the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Range.  They are being fought by firefighting crews from Cal Fire and the national forest service with personnel also coming from elsewhere in the nation to assist.  Numerous other local and state agencies are involved as well. 

Whistleblowers Uncover Illegal Federal Payments to Valley Water Contractors

Four of the state’s water districts secretly received over $100 million dollars in federal funds to pay for their share of the environmental review of the Bay-Delta tunnels project.  The misappropriation of taxpayer money was uncovered by employees of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and others.  State officials, including Governor Jerry Brown, have for years insisted that the entire funding of the tunnels project, known as California Water Fix, would come from water contractors and not the general public.  Whistleblowers inside the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have reveals corruption from within the massive agency and its cozy relationship with the Valley’s water districts that will likely leave American taxpayers, including many farmers, on the hook.  

Valley Political and Business Leaders Promote Temperance Flat Dam Despite Opposition

Proponents of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam on the San Joaquin River held a press conference to celebrate their application for funding from the state.  Meanwhile a few local opponents of the dam demonstrated their concerns.  The funds are part of the Water Bond passed by California voters in 2014.  Some $2.7 billion dollars is set aside for infrastructure projects.  The deadline for project applications ended August 14. Other projects around the state are also vying for funding.  Environmental groups statewide and locally oppose the dam, calling the scheme an economic loser that will destroy unique and popular natural areas.

 

Study Examines Health Risk of Widely-Used Sulfur to Nearby Farmworkers

A new study links the most widely used pesticide in California – sulfur – to asthma and other respiratory problems among children in farmworker families living near the fields….  The U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health study followed farmworkers and their children in the Salinas Valley for seven years.    State Sets Limit on Carcinogen 1,2,3-TCP in Drinking Water

State Sets Limit on TCP-123 as a Potent Carcinogen

California water officials today approved regulations to limit the level of a chemical experts say is a potent cancer-causing agent in the state’s water supply.The State Water Resources Control Board will limit the level of 1,2,3 TCP, or trichloropropane to five parts per trillion

Southern California Water District Approves Tunnels Project

The Municipal Water District of Southern California voted Tuesday to opt into California Water Fix.  The water wholesaler serves 19 million residents in 26 public agencies and water districts in southern California.  In doing so, the agency agreed to pay 26 percent of the cost of building and operating the controversial Delta Tunnels.  The vote comes shortly after the 600,000-acre Westlands Water District declined to support the project because farmers there found the costs would outweigh the benefits of the project.  The vote keeps California WaterFix on life-support, but just barely.  Two other major water agencies will decide later this week whether to underwrite the project. 

“Raging Detweiler Fire Poses Danger to Mountain Residents and Challenges for Firefighters”

Monuments Face Downsizing and Commercial Exploitation

Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke submitted his draft report on the fate of 27 national monuments to President Trump.  Twenty-Seven monuments have been under review due to an executive order the President issued in April.  While details of changes to specific monuments have not been released, several are being targeted for reduction because of heavy lobbying by the logging, mining and cattle industries, along with the state’s politicians.  Two threatened monuments are in Utah, including the controversial Bear’s Ears, which Zinke has already targeted for downsizing.  Also on the line for possible reduction are several in California, particularly Giant Sequoia National Monument in the southern Sierra.

“House Passes Bill to Gut San Joaquin River Restoration and Violate State’s Rights”

Heat Wave Triggers Stress for Valley Residents and Workers

While the state legislature debated strategies to combat climate change last week, temperatures in the San Joaquin Valley were rising to near record levels.  As Pacifica’s Vic Bedoian reports, heat stress is always a major problem in the Valley during the summer both for people who work outside and for those without air-conditioning at home. 

Extreme Heat Map Combats Climate Change Impacts

Record high temperatures in late October are another reminder that 2017 is the warmest yet on record.  With rising temperatures come an increasing number of days of extreme heat.  The kind of heat that can cause illness or even kill the vulnerable.  Nationally, extreme heat kills more people every year than any other kind of weather event.  An increasing number of extreme heat days are now reported in twenty states and the District of Columbia.  The Natural Resources Defense Council this week unveiled a new extreme heat map and analysis.  It brings the reality of climate change at nationally and at the local level using weather data from around the country over 30 years. 

 

California WaterFix Faces Uncertain Future

California Water Fix and it’s proposed twin tunnels was subject to more uncertainty, adding to the growing challenges it’s facing.  This week the interior department disclosed that the trump administration would not move forward with the project, and would not help fund it.  The administration quickly revised that statement to say it does share goals the state’s water plans.  A major concern was the $84 million dollars in covert federal payments to cover water district planning expenses.  That scandal was recently exposed by bureau of reclamation employees.


California Aims for Clean Energy Future

Although California is already committed to half the state’s electricity coming from renewable sources by the year 2030, the state legislature is now pushing the envelope even further with a bill that would make California a 100 percent renewable state by mid-century. The bill’s supporters are pushing hard to pass it before the end of the legislative session next week.


Fresno Visit by Joe Arpaio Stirs Protest and Support Rallies

Controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio stirred dissent and praise at a demonstration during his appearance at the annual dinner of the Fresno County Republican Party.  Hundreds of protesters and a few dozen supporters of Arpaio gathered on opposite sides of the street with Fresno police in between keeping the peace.  Arpaio was defeated after 24 years as Maricopa County Sheriff, after being convicted of criminal contempt of court.  Meanwhile, at the nearby banquet hall Arpaio continued issuing provocative statements.  Arpaio reportedly told the Republican audience that people with DACA status should be sent back to their country of origin, and then given a fast-track back to the United States.