November 21, 2018




Accepting Applications For The Maddy Institute Legislative Intern Scholar Program  San Joaquin Valley Spring 2019 and Washington D.C./Sacramento Summer 2019

DEADLINE DEC. 7TH - Scholarships Up To $6,000

The Maddy Institute

The Maddy Scholar Intern Program’s goal is to prepare the next generation of political, governmental, business, non-profit leaders for the San Joaquin Valley through internship opportunities in local, state and federal government offices in Washington, D.C., Sacramento and throughout the region.


North SJ Valley:


School superintendent defends disputed policies for refugee, immigrant students

Modesto Bee

Sara Noguchi, who took over as superintendent of Modesto City Schools in July, has added her own viewpoints to the sometimes contentious issue of education for immigrant and refugee students in the county’s largest school district


Dozens evicted from overpass homeless camp resettle in Turlock parks

Modesto Bee

Dozens of homeless people evicted from an encampment under a Turlock overpass last week have resettled in the city’s parks. The change has caused friction between the homeless and city officials at one park in particular.


Why downtown Modesto’s Tenth Street Place is getting an emergency face-lift

Modesto Bee

Tenth Street Place, the local government building in downtown Modesto, is getting a much-needed emergency face-lift. The building’s facade along J Street has been partially eroded by warm sunrays, blistering wind and pelting rain, creating deficiencies in the wall.


Central SJ Valley:


Valley Democrats criticize Newsom for lack of representation in transition advisers

Fresno Bee

The Democratic parties in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties sent a joint letter to incoming Governor elect Gavin Newsom on Monday condemning his choices for a new advisory board, particularly a lack of Latinos.


High local turnout for midterms

Madera Tribune

With about 68 percent turnout locally, California’s test run of a new election model in Madera County appears to have been a success, according to the Madera County Elections Department.


Ballot error produces 183 invalid votes

Madera Tribune

The voter called election officials the Friday after election day, and the department notified the county’s contracted ballot printer immediately and investigated. They found about 400 voters in the Madera area had been sent ballots that included the extra race.



Business Journal

Youth Leadership Institute will receive $50,000 as a seed grant from My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation, according to a press release from the foundation. The money will go toward developing a plan to “accelerate systemic change and removing barriers for boys and men of color, including by reforming the criminal and juvenile justice systems to prioritize prevention over punishment,” the release stated.


South SJ Valley:


Cox closes to within 1,000 votes of Valadao with Kern County update

Fresno Bee

Fresno Democrat TJ Cox has moved to within 1,000 votes of Hanford Republican David Valadao in the race for California’s 21st Congressional District. A Kern County election update boosted Cox by 1,248 votes.

See also:

     Democrat Cox pulls closer to Valadao Bakersfield Californian

Visalia protests new state pot regulations, complaints double

Visalia Times Delta

The city strongly objected proposed new state regulations on cannabis, which would replace emergency regulations adopted in December 2017.


That blue wave reached Kern County, too

Bakersfield Californian

Kern County and the southern San Joaquin Valley did not escape the blue wave that gave Democrats the House majority and restored California's Democratic bicameral supermajority.




Gov. Jerry Brown’s mixed legacy

Madera Tribune

About a month from today, a new governor will sit in the state Capitol’s “horseshoe” suite and face some problems that not even the hyper-active and often contemptuous soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Jerry Brown could not solve. Those problems will obscure neither Brown’s achievements nor his failures.


For the good of California, we’re glad Newsom, Trump got along

Modesto Bee

Hands in pockets, looking intently at the ground, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom’s body language last Saturday was unmistakable. He was touring Paradise, the scene of the deadly Camp Fire, in the company of Gov. Jerry Brown and President Donald Trump. And it appeared he would rather have been anywhere else in the world.


The collapse of California Republicans in the U.S. House, in two charts

Sacramento Bee

Democrats picked up six seats in California’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, leaving Republicans with only eight members. Republicans will make up about 15% of the California delegation to the House.

See also:

     Democrats Demolish The 'Orange Curtain' In Orange County Capital Public Radio


Record number of women candidates win in California’s 2018 election


On election night, Susannah Delano, executive director of Close the Gap CA, a group focused on increasing the share of women in the state legislature, made a prediction: “2018 will be the biggest single leap for women in state history.” Now the numbers are in.


Walters: The ‘Trump effect” worked well for Democrats


Blowout. The full dimensions of this month’s Democratic sweep emerged last weekend when the last of the major races were settled, all in favor of the party that already dominated California politics.

See also:

     California General Elections Close Contest Races


My turn: A (very) open letter to Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom


The votes electing you as governor of California were still being counted when our state was struck again by raging fires and yet another in an epidemic of mass shootings. These are a grim reminder of how events outside of the governor’s office will make it hard for you and your advisers to focus on the types of proactive creative initiatives that should embody California.

Examining Jerry Brown’s veto of California wildfire legislation and the criticism of it

PolitiFact California

As deadly wildfires burned across California this week, a flurry of social media and blog posts called into question Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of a wildfire management bill two years ago.




Trump defies calls to punish crown prince for writer’s death

Sacramento Bee

President Donald Trump has declared he will not further punish Saudi Arabia for the murder of U.S.-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi — making clear in an exclamation-filled statement that the benefits of good relations with the kingdom outweigh the possibility its crown prince ordered the killing.

See also:

     Trump won’t punish Saudi Arabia or its crown prince for killing of dissident journalist Los Angeles Times

     EDITORIAL: Trump’s amoral approach to Khashoggi killing San Francisco Chronicle

     Trump’s Crude Realpolitik  Wall Street Journal

     Opinion: Trump’s Black Friday Sale: Oil, Guns and Morals The New York Times


President Trump’s Standing Is Slipping with the Military, for Good Reason

National Review

Last month — even before many of the incidents listed above — the Military Times released a poll indicating that President Trump’s standing with the military was declining.


Rebuking Trump’s criticism of ‘Obama judge,’ Chief Justice Roberts defends judiciary as ‘independent’

Washington Post

Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday issued an extraordinary statement in response to President Trump’s criticism of federal judges, one day after the president blamed an “Obama judge” for ruling against his administration’s ban on asylum for those who cross the border illegally.


Battle over Pelosi’s bid for speaker reveals the dysfunction in Congress

Modesto Bee

Having led Democrats in the House of Representatives for nearly 16 years, four of them as speaker, you’d think Nancy Pelosi would be a shoo-in as the first speaker in six decades to return to that job. But wait just one San Francisco minute.

See also:

     Possible Pelosi challenger Marcia Fudge backs away from speaker's race, accepting committee assignment Los Angeles Times

     Nancy Pelosi wins over potential challenger Marcia Fudge with key job San Francisco Chronicle


Democrats could have done even better in the midterms if it weren't for gerrymandering

Los Angeles Times

Lopsided Republican electoral majorities in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin survived intact after the midterm elections, thanks to heavy partisan gerrymandering and despite the Democratic wave that flipped control of the House.

See also

       An Overlooked Key to Democratic Victories: Diversity in the Suburbs Wall Street Journal


Progressive presidential hopefuls are scrambling to figure out how to ride the Democratic wave

Los Angeles Times

It’s a familiar and predictable post-election debate, with business-backed center-left groups like the Progressive Policy Institute and the centrist think tank Third Way clashing with activist flanks of the Democratic Party.

EDITORIAL: Find a permanent replacement for Matthew Whitaker and do it fast
Los Angeles Times

Alarm bells understandably rang earlier this month when Matthew G. Whitaker, the chief of staff to fired Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, leapfrogged over more senior — and Senate-confirmed — Justice Department officials to become President Trump’s acting attorney general.




Facebook, Instagram users are freaking out as sites go down

San Jose Mercury News

Facebook has another bit of egg on its face: The global social-networking powerhouse has powered down for some users in the United States, Europe and South American. The problem was first reported by the third-party site Down Detector on its outage map, and Facebook has acknowledged the problem and said it was working to restore both its services.


The FCC has a new plan to combat unwanted robocalls and spammy texts

Mercury News

The U.S. government said Tuesday that it plans to take aim at the scourge of unwelcome phone calls and spam text messages plaguing millions of consumers – but one of its proposals drew sharp rebukes, with critics concerned that it could enable telecom giants to censor legitimate communications.


Work: The New Political Breakthrough

Wall Street journal

Left and right are coalescing around policies to boost wages and reduce idleness.





Fresno Rescue Mission feeds homeless and needy for Thanksgiving

Fresno Bee

Helping anyone in need enjoy a normal Thanksgiving, The Fresno Rescue Mission takes this time of year to bring the community together with hopes of helping the poor and homeless find a way to a happier life.

See also:

     A Thanksgiving for everyone Hanford Sentinel

     Stockton Food Bank Helps 2,000 Families Celebrate Thanksgiving Capital Public Radio


Local growers frustrated over romaine lettuce recall


Farmers said the CDC's decision to have romaine lettuce stripped from stores nationwide "irresponsible".

See also:

     CDC warns against eating romaine lettuce after E. coli outbreak abc30

     Romaine lettuce warning: CDC says E. coli outbreak has sickened 32 people in 11 states Visalia Times Delta

     Do not eat romaine lettuce, CDC warns Hanford Sentinel

     Beware The Thanksgiving Salad: CDC Says No Romaine Lettuce Is Safe Capital Public Radio

     Don't eat romaine lettuce, CDC warns amid another E. coli outbreak Los Angeles Times

     CDC warns American consumers to avoid all romaine lettuce due to new outbreak San Francisco Chronicle

     Do Not Eat Romaine Lettuce, Health Officials Warn New York Times


Visalia protests new state pot regulations, complaints double

Visalia Times Delta

Some Valley cities are embracing the new pot-based economy. Not Visalia. The city strongly objected proposed new state regulations on cannabis, which would replace emergency regulations adopted in December 2017.


How The Midterms And Lame-Duck Session Are Pushing The Farm Bill To A Deal

Capital Public Radio

House GOP-backed work rules for food assistance have been the biggest hurdle in finalizing the farm bill. And now, the impending Democratic takeover of the House next year has shifted leverage.


Court rejects ad challenge from state grape growers

San Francisco Chronicle

State-sponsored ads funded by California’s table grape growers — with slogans like “Good things come in bunches” and “California grapes.






MS-13 terrorized Mendota for nearly a decade. Why didn’t help come sooner?

Fresno Bee

Current and former city officials in Mendota say they had been pleading for outside help to deal with the gang’s activities for more than half a decade before the August operation. They say those pleas largely went ignored.


Public Safety:


Bail bond industry moves to block sweeping California law, submitting signatures for a 2020 ballot referendum

Los Angeles Times

A coalition of bail bond industry groups took a major step Tuesday toward blocking California’s historic overhaul of the bail system, submitting more than enough signatures required for a statewide referendum on the law in 2020.

See also:

     Anti-bail reform forces say they’ve got signatures for 2020 San Francisco Chronicle


A day to give thanks, every day to drive safely

Hanford Sentinel

Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest travel times in America, can also be one of the deadliest on the roadways. To help motorists avoid tragedies, California Highway Patrol officials said they will have all available officers on patrol during a maximum enforcement period.


What a Modesto middle-schooler did that has police hailing him as a hero

Modesto Bee

Biking his way to his Police Activities League boxing class one recent afternoon, Mark Twain Junior High eighth-grader Adrian Castro saw something chilling: a toddler, all by herself, getting ready to step out onto H Street in front of Modesto High.



Could The Next Camp Fire Happen In The San Joaquin Valley Or Foothills?


While the San Joaquin Valley and foothill areas have seen their fair share of big, destructive fires, some of the deadliest and most damaging in California’s history have happened to the north and south of us. But does that mean tragic fires like those can’t happen here?


Camp Fire update: 81 dead and 870 missing, while rain could soon help wildfire fight

Fresno Bee

The number of reported dead in the Butte County Camp Fire in California increased Tuesday to 81, according to a Cal Fire. 870 people remain missing. Rain forecast for Wednesday may cause flash floods but could help the fire fight.

See also:

     Relentless California wildfires leave 84 dead, over 800 unaccounted for abc30

     Camp Fire is California's most destructive wildfire abc30

     Paradise narrowed its main road by two lanes despite warnings of gridlock during a major wildfire Los Angeles Times

     The Camp fire burned homes but left trees standing. The science behind the fire's path Los Angeles Times
     Heavy rains could wash away human remains in Paradise, searchers fear Los Angeles Times

     Some Camp Wildfire Evacuees Plan To Stay Outside Even If It Rains Capital Radio

     These ashes have a story to tell: Building assessment teams examine the devastation of the Camp fire Los Angeles Times

     California's tab to fight Camp and Woolsey fires tops $118 million Los Angeles Times

     In Paradise, the grim search for bodies after California fire: 'We’re finding remains in various states' Los Angeles Time

*   Disaster after disaster, California keeps falling short on evacuating people from harm’s way Los Angeles Times


Camp Fire damages could top $7 billion. Will PG&E get more protection?

Modesto Bee

An insurance risk consultant has pegged financial damages from the Camp Fire at $7.5 billion to $10 billion, as a Democratic assemblyman prepares legislation that could provide additional protection for beleaguered utility PG&E Corp. from some of the potential liabilities.

See also:

     California's tab to fight Camp and Woolsey fires tops $118 million Los Angeles Times

     RMS Estimates Insured Losses From The Camp and Woolsey Wildfires To Be Between USD $9 Billion and $13 Billion Risk Management Solutions


Trump promised California $500 million extra for fire prevention. It was an error

Sacramento Bee

After touring the devastation of the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. on Saturday, President Donald Trump announced that the federal government would provide an additional $500 million in funding to the 2018 farm bill for forest management to help mitigate future fires.  Back in Washington, however, no one seems to know what he’s talking about.


PG&E-friendly wildfire bill being prepared by state lawmakers in wake of lethal Butte County inferno

San Francisco Chronicle

Even before the cause of the deadly Camp Fire is determined, California lawmakers are drafting legislation to shield PG&E from massive liabilities connected to the blaze.

See also:

     “I don’t want to see any more of them die”: No legislator has confronted the effects of wildfire like this forensic dentist CALmatters


Federal government needs more authority to properly manage nation's forests, Trump Cabinet members say

Los Angeles Times

Federal agencies need more authority to choose how and where to cut down trees, remove dying vegetation and where to ignite prescribed burns if communities in the wildland-urban interface want to avoid another catastrophic disaster like the Camp fire, two of President Trump’s Cabinet secretaries said Tuesday.

See also:

     Fact Check: Trump administration blames ‘radical’ environmentalists as Camp Fire toll rises. Experts disagree  Sacramento Bee


California Fires Shine Light On Little-Known Private Firefighters


Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were among celebrities who  reportedly had help defending their homes against California wildfires: private firefighters. Private wildfire defense has actually been around for years and is more accessible than it might seem.


Zinke abandons no-finger-pointing, blames ‘radical’ groups for California fires

San Francisco Chronicle

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blamed “radical environmental groups” for getting in the way of sound forest management and fanning the flames.

See also:

     Hiltzik: Trump's and Zinke's wildfire remarks set records for environmental misrepresentations Los Angeles Times


Fixing state’s fire problem: Costly, complex, next to impossible

San Francisco Chronicle

Residents of this foothill town have long known that their community was a tinderbox waiting to blow.

See also:

     California isn’t built for 21st century wildfires here’s what the state could do about that CALmatters


EDITORIAL: For the good of California, we’re glad Newsom, Trump got along

Modesto Bee

It was good to see Brown and Newsom standing with President Trump. And despite the body language in Paradise, by the time the threesome arrived in Malibu, site of the Woolsey Fire, they appeared more comfortable – friendly, even.


EDITORIAL: How do we prepare for California's 'new abnormal' wildfire risk?

Los Angeles Times

It’s going to be a while before California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection investigators determine what sparked the Camp fire in Northern California foothills near Chico — maybe a long while. But there’s a good possibility the high-voltage power lines operated by Pacific Gas & Electric that malfunctioned shortly before the fire began are at fault.






Dow falls 550 points, dragged down by Target and concerns over retail


The Dow Jones plunged more than 551 points or 2.2 percent on Tuesday, dragged down by disappointing Target news.

See also:

     Stock market drops into the red for the year; Dow falls about 550 points Los Angeles Times


Here Are The Valley’s Fastest Growing Companies

Business Journal

The past three years have been good to the staff at Lee’s Heating & Air in Fresno. In fact, at a 128 percent rate of growth between 2015 and 2017, the firm has become one of the fastest growing companies in the Central Valley.


Can PG&E survive the Camp Fire?

San Francisco Chronicle

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is emerging from one of its most challenging weeks under a cloud of uncertainty. Investors, regulators, employees and even those opening their​​ monthly bills are transfixed by the question of whether the embattled utility can withstand the aftermath of California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire.


Trump administration’s own analyses indicate many of its new regulations will hurt vulnerable Americans

Los Angeles Times

President Trump’s push to roll back federal regulations will take a significant toll on Americans’ health and finances, according to a surprising source — the Trump administration itself.

Giving thanks for the magic of the marketplace, the invisible hand of strangers, and no turkey czars


The reason your Thanksgiving turkey was waiting for you without an advance order? Because of the economic concepts of “spontaneous order,” “self-interest,” and the “invisible hand” of the free market.




Gavin Newsom has 3,100 jobs to fill. Find out how to get one

Modesto Bee

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will get to fill 3,100 jobs in the state government’s executive branch. Republicans can apply to work in the California Democrat’s administration.


A ‘job killer’ family leave bill is now law for small business. Here’s how it’s working out


When Ghuan Featherstone was poring over options for a paternity leave before the recent birth of his fourth daughter, he liked what he heard from a human resources representative at the Inglewood general contracting company where he works.


California Today: Why Robots Are Replacing Humans in the Fields

The New York Times

From New York to California, the nation’s agricultural workers are aging. They are also in short supply, as fewer immigrants are arriving to replace those who retire, and younger generations are finding less physically taxing work.






Fresno Unified suspends all outdoor activity due to unhealthy air quality


Fresno Unified School District has suspended all outdoor activities due to unhealthy air quality. The district said the suspension would be in effect until further notice in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon.

See also:

     KHSD moving forward with new high school in southeast Bakersfield Bakersfield Californian


Foster youth and black students are the most likely to be suspended in school, new data show

San Diego Union-Tribune

Black students are more than twice as likely to be suspended as students overall in San Diego County, while foster youth are almost five times as likely to be suspended, according to a new batch of suspension data released by the state on Monday.


Teachers Unions Won In The Race For California’s Top School Chief. Now What?

Capital Public Radio

Nearly two weeks after Election Day, California now has a new state schools chief. Former charter school executive Marshall Tuck conceded the race to Democratic Assemblyman Tony Thurmond over the weekend.


Paradise educators find resilience amid fire's destruction


They can’t dwell on what the fire has taken from them, or the losses still to come. So they focus on Dec. 3. That’s the day people responsible for the Paradise Unified School District want school to be back in session.


Higher Ed:


Should you get college tuition insurance?


Tuition insurance offers financial protection for students who withdraw from school halfway through the semester.


Cal State Bakersfield to participate in second annual #GivingTuesday

Bakersfield Californian

Cal State Bakersfield will participate in its second Giving Tuesday on Nov. 27.


Government Can Do More to Support Science and Innovation

Wall Street Journal

Focus on infrastructure, information sharing, and separating scientific advisors from regulators.


Lowest bar pass rate for California in 67 years; other states also see drop

ABA Journal

Only 40.7 percent of the people who took the California July 2018 bar exam passed, according to a state bar news release.


Reviving Due Process on Campus

Wall Street Journal

DeVos restores the right to cross-examination. Democrats are outraged.




Another big year for salmon on Mokelumne River

Stockton Record

The Mokelumne River Hatchery in Clements is once again seeing big numbers of fall-run Chinook salmon returning from the ocean this autumn. The run is 1,617 fish behind the numbers seen last year at this time, but this run is still going to be one of the top three recorded on the river.


My turn: How Gavin Newsom can be the climate leader we need


The science is clear: There is no room for new fossil fuel extraction if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change. Yet state oil regulators have issued more than 21,000 new drilling permits on Brown’s watch. Continued permitting is undermining California’s ability to meet its own climate goals and those of the Paris agreement.





Merced and Madera doctors say more children with severe symptoms are coming in


Doctors at Mercy Medical in Merced say they've been seeing more people than usual since the fire started. Doctors say they can't say for sure that smoke is what brought them to the ER, but do say that people are coming in with more severe symptoms possibly due to the air quality.

See also:

     How you can stay safe from unhealthy air abc30

     Can Short-Term Exposure To Wildfire Smoke Impact Long-Term Health? Experts Are Researching Answers. VPR

     Can Short-Term Exposure To Wildfire Smoke Impact Long-Term Health? Experts Are Researching Answers.  CPR


A third of U.S. parents plan to skip flu shot for kids -- their top 3 reasons


A new study by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital revealed that 34 percent of parents in the United States say they don't plan to vaccinate their children against the flu this season.


Human Services:


Vacancy on Local Child Care Planning Council

Hanford Sentinel

The Kings County Board of Supervisors and the Kings County Office of Education are seeking to fill a vacancy on the Local Child Care Planning Council.


'I'm an optimist': United Way of Kern County gets new president, CEO

Bakersfield Californian

United Way of Kern County has named its new president and CEO — the same woman who has been serving in that capacity for months now.


Five-day Strike Set For Kaiser Mental Health Workers

Business Journal

Mental health clinicians for Kaiser Permanente have authorized a five-day strike, with approximately 4,000 caregivers across California expected to participate.

According to a press statement released by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), the strike is in regards to an ongoing problem with understaffing.

Pre-existing conditions: Does any GOP proposal match the ACA?


In race after race, Democrats have been pummeling Republicans on the most popular piece of Obamacare, protections for pre-existing conditions. No matter how sick someone might be, today’s law says insurance companies must cover them.


Number of abortions in U.S. hit historic low in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available

Washington Post

Fewer U.S. women are having abortions today than at any time since Roe v. Wade, according to new government figures released Wednesday.




Military could shift more troops to California as migrants gather in Tijuana


The Army might shift some of its troops along the border to California where caravans of migrants seeking asylum have gathered in Tijuana, Mexico.

See also:

     US military troops to be allowed to defend border patrol agents: Official abc30

     White House expected to give U.S. troops permission to use force to protect Border Patrol Los Angeles Times

     U.S. to Shift Some Troops, but Border Mission Will Last Until Dec. 15 Wall Street Journal


DHS Chief Visits U.S.-Mexico Border, Defends Administration's Asylum Rules

Capital Public Radio

A day after a federal court blocks the Trump administration from changing asylum rules, DHS chief Kirstjen Nielsen promises a legal fight.

See also:

     In San Diego visit, Homeland Security secretary calls caravan a 'crisis ... on the other side of this wall' Los Angeles Times


A federal judge tells Trump the obvious — he can't ignore asylum law just because he doesn't like it

Los Angeles Times

It was clear from the start that President Trump didn’t have the legal authority under the Immigration and Naturalization Act to ban asylum requests at any place other than established ports of entry, but the administration went ahead with the order anyway.

See also:

     Federal Court Bars U.S. From Enforcing Trump’s Asylum Ban Wall Street Journal


A Short History of American Immigration

Wall Street Journal

Coming to the U.S. always took courage and tolerance for risk, traits that are still part of the country’s DNA.




Land Use:


Aesthetic crisis? City braces for hundreds of 5G cell facilities as FCC reduces local control

Bakersfield Californian

A change in cell phone technology could impact the view from your backyard, or maybe your front yard.




How Wildfires Are Making Some California Homes Uninsurable

The New York Times

California’s wildfires keep growing bigger, more frequent and more destructive. Of the 20 worst wildfires in state history, four were just last year, giving rise to a record $12.6 billion of insurance claims.




Power companies must do more to fireproof their equipment, but it won’t be

Cheap and customers may pay


The death and destruction wrought by fires in Northern California’s Butte County and the Malibu area of Southern California, along with last year’s deadly blazes in wine country, have brought a reckoning over the role of power equipment in setting off wildfires.


Bakersfield appoints Roy Campos to Public Works construction superintendent

Bakersfield Californian

The Bakersfield Public Works Department promoted Roy Campos to Public Works construction superintendent.




Valley’s Amtrak grappling with ridership declines, despite earlier times

Fresno Bee

2018 was the fifth consecutive year of declining ridership on Amtrak’s San Joaquin line. Still, it’s one of only six routes nationwide to draw more than 1 million riders.


High speed rail slammed in audit

Madera Tribune

The California High-Speed rail project, tracks for which are under construction in Madera County, has come in for blistering criticism from the California State Auditor’s Office.

See also:

     EDITORIAL: California bullet train built on foundation of deceit Mercury Tribune

     Bullet-train land acquisitions are moving so slowly a judge hearing the cases calls it a ‘lifetime job’  Los Angeles Times


Could Plastic Driver’s Licenses Become a Thing of the Past?

PEW Trusts
Louisiana in July became the first state to make digital licenses available to anyone who wants them, and at least 14 other states either have developed a program, run a pilot or are studying the possibility, according to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.




Working with California Tribes on Upper Watershed Restoration


A new program is seeking to tap into tribal understanding of natural resources to ensure their voices are being heard and to provide a more expansive approach to how state and tribal programs can align in the management of rivers, fisheries, and forests.


Commentary: A Chance to Solve the Delta Quandary


It is imperative to improve the health of the greater Delta watershed, a major source of water for cities and farms across the state. And various stakeholders have a chance to achieve that goal in the coming weeks while protecting important economic interests. A delay in setting new water quality standards for the San Joaquin River will give time to develop voluntary agreements regarding the amount of water to be allocated to protect fish.




There’s a baby orangutan at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo who needs a name

Fresno Bee

There’s a baby male orangutan at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo who is ready for fans and a name. Zoo officials announced the baby’s Nov. 5 birth in a news release Tuesday – the newborn’s first day in a zoo exhibit with human spectators.


Sierra Nevada sharing new beer recipe for a good cause. Here’s how you can get some.

Fresno Bee

Sierra Nevada Brewing has a new beer in the works and a nationwide fundraiser to help relief efforts in the wake of the Camp Fire.


Thanksgiving 2018: Where to eat out and how to bring a fully-cooked turkey meal home

Fresno Bee

Thanksgiving is coming up fast and if feeding all those people is a little overwhelming, we have some suggestions.

See also:

     Indulge - the average Thanksgiving dinner costs a bit less than last year Visalia Times Delta


Shopping this Black Friday weekend? Here’s when the stores open and other info

Fresno Bee

The onslaught of holiday shopping is here. Thanksgiving Day openings, Black Friday crowds, that fear of missing out on good deals or just the spectacle of human behavior — it’s all happening this week.

See also:

     Shoppers, retailers get ready for the big day Bakersfield Californian


Small Business Saturday: Do Your Part and Shop Smart

Clovis Roundup

The American shopping holiday started on Nov. 27, 2010 by well-known credit card company American Express. The goal? To help small businesses gain more exposure during what was later termed the “Great Recession.” It seems to have worked. Last year, 108 million shoppers spent a whopping $12.9 billion at mom and pop shops across the country.


Modesto Performing Arts brings one of most beloved holiday tales to Gallo Center

Modesto Bee

When it comes to entertainment, it’s tough to get more holiday iconic than “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The classic Frank Capra movie comes to life this weekend at the Gallo Center as Modesto Performing Arts brings it theatrical version to the downtown venue.


Planning To "Opt Outside"? Here's A Few Ideas From Fresno State's Geology Club


While this week is very focused on Thanksgiving, let’s stop for a moment to talk about the day that follows: Black Friday. Many use the day to get a start on holiday shopping, but some stores have boycotted the event. REI, an outdoor equipment store, started the hashtag “Opt Outside” to encourage people to spend the day outdoors instead.


EDITORIAL: Fresno’s needs are great. The giving hearts of Fresnans can be greater this Thanksgiving

Fresno Bee

Happy Thanksgiving! This space usually is focused on the problems facing Fresno, the state or the nation. But this Thanksgiving readers are encouraged to count their blessings, then​​ consider making a donation to one of Fresno’s many nonprofit assistance agencies that help our less-fortunate neighbors.

See also:

     Toys for Tots to host marathon drive Madera Tribune

     Local senior care facility wants you to be a Santa to a Senior abc30

     Humanics Professor Says One Way To Start Serving The Valley: "See People As People," Use Empathy VPR