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Monica Velez

The Alomari family arrived in the San Joaquin Valley from Yemen in June. They settled into a small apartment in Visalia and have been adjusting to their new lives. 

Now that they’re thousands of miles away from the Yemeni civil war, things are a lot better than they used to be. Nageeb Alomari, a U.S citizen, went to Yemen to bring his wife and three daughters to the U.S because their living conditions were getting dangerous, especially for one of his daughters, Shaema. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

High-risk childbirths for celebrity mothers like tennis star Serena Williams and performer Beyonce are shining a light on a health story that’s historically flown under the radar: Childbirth is risky for women, particularly women of color. Williams, Beyonce and their babies all survived, but the U.S. does have the one of highest rates of mothers dying in childbirth of any developed country. Alarmingly, that rate rose 65 percent from 2006-2013.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

As summer winds down, and school picks back up, local theater groups are starting to plan their next seasons with which to entertain the Valley. The Selma Arts Center just announced its upcoming season, while celebrating its fifth year in action. We spoke with Nicolette C. Anderson, the Coordinator for the Center, and Juan Guzman who will be directing one of the shows, to hear what they have in store for their 2019 season.

PICO California

Ever since President Trump came into office, we at Valley Public Radio have been reporting on his administration’s changes to federal immigration policy—like its so-called “zero tolerance policy” of prosecuting asylum applicants as well as rollbacks on temporary protected status from certain countries—and their consequences on San Joaquin Valley residents and businesses.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

People are calling 2018, “the year of the woman.” More women have filed to run for office than ever before, and are advancing to the election in November. Even in the Central Valley, about half of the races for state legislature include female candidates. But despite the enthusiasm, many say it will take more than one election to bring gender equality to government.

 

Kern County District Attorney's Office

In the last 10 days, Bakersfield has been the site of two high-profile attacks: In one, a man and a woman were stabbed in a Starbucks; a few days later, another man gunned down his ex-wife and four other people in east Bakersfield before turning the gun on himself. On their face, these two crimes don’t have a lot in common; but at the root of both was domestic violence, which in 2017 was responsible for almost 7,000 calls for help in Kern County alone.

Martín Navarez

On Wednesday, the annual Reel pride Film Festival kicks off five days of films from around the world that explore LGBTQ people and issues. One of the films premiering in the festival is about a drag queen known in Fresno drag scene. She’ll share a part of herself not everyone sees on stage. Leilani Price will be featured in the documentary “The Life of Lei: The Man Behind the Makeup.” We spoke with the director, Matthew Broughton, and the queen herself, Leilani, about the film. 

For the record, Valley Public Radio is a community sponsor of the Reel Pride Film Festival. 

Allison Farrand/NBAE / Getty Images

Fans of the NPR Politics Podcast have a new appointment for must-hear radio. The same team of hosts behind the hit podcast - including the valley’s own Tamara Keith, Scott Detrow and Asma Khalid - are bringing their talents to the broadcast world with the new Politics Show from NPR. It’s your definitive guide to the 2018 midterms -- a one-hour roundtable discussion airing for nine weeks that presents a deep dive on the major races, themes, and issues defining these historic elections. The special series begins Saturday September 15th at 4:00 PM and runs through November 10th.

Kern County Sheriff's Office

More details have emerged in a Bakersfield shooting spree on Wednesday that left six people dead, including the alleged killer. 

The Kern County Sheriff’s office has released the names of the suspect and victims in Wednesday’s shooting. Sheriff Donny Youngblood says there’s reason to believe the suspect, 54-year-old Javier Casarez, had a connection to many, if not all of the victims.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Local hospitals in three San Joaquin Valley communities are making big plans for the future, including an expansion, a reopening, and a bankruptcy filing.

In Kern County, Adventist Health has announced plans to build a new hospital in Northwest Bakersfield. The facility will be built near the intersection of Coffee and Brimhall Road, adjacent to the development known as the Bakersfield Commons. It’s unknown when construction on the new facility might begin. Adventist Health currently operates a hospital in downtown Bakersfield on Chester Avenue.

Six people are dead, including the shooter, after a mass shooting in Bakersfield on Wednesday evening. The spree spanned five crime scenes in East Bakersfield.

According to the Kern County Sheriff’s office, the 35-minute ordeal began near a trucking business close to Highway 58 and State Route 184. There, the suspect allegedly shot and killed two people, including his wife, then pursued another person down the street and killed him near a neighboring sporting goods store.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at how those who work in health care are at increased risk of workplace violence. In the next installment of our series, Part of the Job, we see that although hospitals in the Valley have preventive measures in place, some are finding that it’s not until an incident happens that a facility knows what more to improve.  

 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

It was only a few weeks ago that wildfires drove particle pollution to dangerously high levels in many parts of the San Joaquin Valley and mountain areas, and it could happen again before wildfire season is over. Particulate matter, also known as PM, is a major health risk: It’s known to cause asthma attacks and other respiratory flare-ups in the short term, and exposure over the long term has been associated with reduced immune function and cardiovascular problems.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

We’re less than two months away from this year’s midterm election, and Democrats are still  holding out for a blue wave across the country. Whether that will extend into conservative strongholds in the Central Valley is yet to be seen. But today in our studio, we’re talking to Andrew Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor and democrat running against incumbent republican congressman Devin Nunes. We discuss how Janz might balance environmental and economic priorities when it comes to water, and how California state laws are changing public safety.

Fresno State News

With claims of fake news and alternative facts dominating social media and news headlines, it’s probably no surprise that public trust in media has taken a big hit in recent years. A new effort at Fresno State hopes to help reverse that trend. The university’s new Institute for Media and Public Trust, led by former Fresno Bee editor Jim Boren aims to close the credibility gap between news producers and consumers, and address the issue of media literacy.

This week on Valley Edition, we have a conversation with congressional candidate and Fresno County prosecutor Andrew Janz. We also talk with a UC researcher about the growing body of research examining air pollution’s effects on the brain. Later, we'll learn about the obstacles facing survivors of violence who seek asylum in the U.S., and we continue our in-depth series on violence in the healthcare workforce. Plus, in honor of California Native American day, we learn about a basket-weaving celebration happening soon in Visalia.

This weekend, the Tulare County Museum in Visalia is hosting an event in collaboration with the California Indian Basketweavers’ Association, and in honor of California Native American Day. The event is called "Roots Run Deep" and will feature tribes native to Tulare County. To talk about what this means for Native American traditions local to the area, we’re speaking with Jennifer Malone from the California Indian Basketweavers’ Association.

Monica Velez

The soft chatter in the waiting room at the Yarra Law Group offices in Fresno are muffled by a Food Network show playing on TV. Receptionist tap their keyboards and answer phone calls. 

A 23-year-old woman from El Salvador, who we’ll call Ana, is among the dozen people in the room. A receptionist calls her name and she goes in to see her immigration attorney, Jeremy Clason. He’s preparing documents he’ll eventually file with the immigration court in San Francisco. She speaks to him softly as she begins to tell her story.

Community Water Center

California’s legislative session ended last week, and with it, the hopes for a statewide pool of money that would have supported drinking water projects.

It was called the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, and it would have been available for disadvantaged communities in need of water cleanup projects. The fund would have been sourced by fees on residential water bills and on some agricultural producers.

But the two bills that set the framework for the fund died in the state assembly last week as California’s legislative deadline passed by.

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