Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Kerry Klein

Reporter

Kerry Klein is a radio and print reporter who’s covered issues ranging from air and water quality to renewable energy and space exploration. After stints at KQED, the San Jose Mercury News, and NASA, she freelanced for outlets like The Atlantic, Science and Stanford Magazine. In 2015, she was awarded a grant from the Public Radio Exchange to report a national story on the health effects of noise pollution.

After growing up near Boston, Kerry graduated from McGill University with a B.S. in geology. When she began working as an exploration geologist and geothermal energy analyst, radio reporting was a distant and unlikely future. But she found meaning in media while hosting a talk show at a Montreal public radio station and later while producing a podcast for Science Magazine. She subsequently studied science journalism at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is excited to be exploring community health and the rich diversity of the San Joaquin Valley here at KVPR.

When she’s not in front of a computer or microphone, Kerry can be found biking to the rock climbing gym, practicing her violin, or sewing a retro cocktail dress.

Ways to Connect

Kerry Klein / KVPR

As communities across the southwest struggle to prevent valley fever, a sometimes-debilitating fungal disease, one community appears to have made progress: California state prisons, where inmates are at a significantly lower risk of valley fever than they used to be. Here, we explore why—starting with one man who wasn’t so lucky.

Richard Nuwintore was barely three weeks into his sentence at Taft Correctional Institution when he began to cough and experience chest pain. Within a few days, it was obvious something was wrong.

Ian Oliver / Lindsay Unified School District

As we approach 2017, smartphones and Wi-Fi networks may seem practically universal. But even now, there remains a digital divide—and many San Joaquin Valley residents find themselves on the side without internet access. A new community effort, though, is bridging that divide, in what may seem an unlikely place.

Nikolaus Namba is a school district administrator in the town of Lindsay. He used to be a teacher—the Grinch on his tie is a dead giveaway.

“I’m still living in a land of being a child at heart,” he laughs.

Valley Public Radio

The rural Kings County community of Kettleman City, long plagued by unsafe drinking water, now has a clear path toward a clean water supply.

The State Water Resources Control Board today approved the construction of a water treatment plant to serve Kettleman City. The unincorporated community’s water supply contains unsafe levels of arsenic. Maricela Mares-Alatorre is a Kettleman City resident and activist, and she says residents are ready.

Kerry Klein/Valley Public Radio

In our last episode we brought you to Mono Hot Springs in Sierra National Forest. This time, we discuss hiking with dogs and we explore a not-so-visited grove of giant sequoias.

In this episode we talk less about humans and more about our pets: specifically, dogs. Neither of us (Kerry or Ezra) has dogs but hiking with them looks like a lot of fun.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

The fungal disease can afflict individuals of any age and ethnic group—even those who have lived and worked in the valley for decades. As part of our first-person series My Valley, My Story, we travel to the annual Valley Fever Walk in Bakersfield, where a 54-year-old Kern County man shares his story of overcoming the disease.  

Kerry Klein/KVPR

We continue our reporting this week on the fungal disease known as valley fever with a story about a potential route to prevention. One of the first lines of defense against any disease is determining who’s at risk. It’s possible to develop immunity to valley fever, and a new skin test could be used to screen for that immunity—but that’s only if the test overcomes some major hurdles.

VINOTHCHANDAR VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Health organizations in Fresno County today announced a new initiative to reduce premature births. 

Right now, 11.1 percent of births in the county occur earlier than 37 weeks—that‘s far more than the state average of 8.3 percent. The new initiative, a collaboration between Fresno State, UC San Francisco, Fresno County and other groups and agencies, endeavors to reduce that to only 7 percent by the year 2025.

Sandra Flores of Fresno State is the director of the initiative.

Courtesy KABC Los Angeles / Center For Health Journalism Collaborative

Valley fever has long been a major health concern for people who live in the San Joaquin Valley. A fungus that grows in the soil can become airborne. If inhaled it can cause serious health issues, even death in some cases, though most people who contract the disease have a mild case, and they don’t even know they’ve had it. Now cases of the disease are up significantly in Kern County and some say it is connected to California's weather patterns.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

If you look at the nutrition label on a loaf of bread, you may come across folic acid or folate. It’s a vitamin that, in pregnant women, has been shown to reduce debilitating and sometimes fatal birth defects. For decades, folic acid has been added to some foods, but not others. Now, a new FDA decision to expand those foods could bring the vitamin to more people in the San Joaquin Valley.

Jeffrey Hess

October is domestic violence awareness month, a time police and advocates have set aside to highlight how common intimate partner violence is and encourage people to seek help. It’s acutely problematic in Fresno County, where authorities receive a shockingly high number of calls reporting domestic violence. That left our news team wondering: Why?

Kerry Klein/KVPR

The streets of Fresno can be dangerous—not just to drivers and bicyclists, but also to pedestrians. Following a trio of fatal accidents last week, more pedestrians have died this year than in all of 2015, and they’ve made up more than half of all traffic-related deaths. Now, a new city plan aim to make the city safer for walking.

It’s 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. And in this part of southeast Fresno, that means one thing: school’s out.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

A prominent migrant rights activist from Mexico spoke at Fresno State on Monday with insight into why Latin Americans flee and what can be done about it.

Father Alejandro Solalinde is a Catholic Priest from Central Mexico. He’s known for his dogged advocacy for the rights of Latin American migrants, who commonly suffer harassment, abuse and rape on their journey to the United States. He runs a shelter in the state of Oaxaca for migrants and was exiled from the country for two years following death threats.

A new report demonstrates the need for more Latino doctors in California. 

Nine percent. That’s the proportion of Latino students in California med schools, even though Latinos make up almost 40 percent of the state’s population. The percentage of doctors that are Latino is even lower – around five percent. The report, written by the advocacy group Latino Physicians of California, says that an overwhelming majority of Latino doctors supports promoting health careers for Latino youths and attracting more Latino physicians to the state.

Library For London Facebook

The Tulare County public library system is opening its 16th location this weekend.

The new branch will serve the rural unincorporated community of London, located near Dinuba and Kingsburg. The community’s 1,800 residents are predominately Latino, and almost half fall below the poverty line. County librarian Darla Wegener says London residents advocated hard for this branch.

"People know they need it and we believe they need it," she says, "and they’ve been just the most wonderful community to work with during this whole process."

Kerry Klein/KVPR

A few weeks ago we told you about concerns within the dairy industry following the state’s most recent climate legislation. The new laws require livestock producers to cut methane emissions from manure by almost half before the year 2030. It seems a tall task, but a kind of facility that’s popular in Europe could help the California dairy industry meet those goals—if only it were easier to build here. FM89’s Kerry Klein brings us to Tulare County with more.

Tim Olson / Flickr

In our last episode we took you to this mountain oasis called Mineral King in Sequoia National Park. This time, we go 100 miles north of there  to a place called Mono Hot Springs.

Mono (pronounced “MOE-no”) Hot Springs is tucked away in the Sierra Nevada south of Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes, and it’s about halfway from the Valley to the East Side. The hot springs sit in a mountain valley next to a fork in the San Joaquin River.

Cultiva La Salud

Students in Fresno and across the valley celebrated International Walk and Bike to School Day today.

The event aims to tout the benefits of walking and make the streets safer for kids. Esther Postiglione is a program manager with Cultiva La Salud, the advocacy group who organized events in Fresno and Orange Cove.

"Sidewalks aren’t well maintained, there’s limited crosswalks, and a lot of what we hear from residents is there’s a lot of loose dogs," Postiglione says. "So getting their kids to school is a real challenge in terms of walking safely."

A new study aims to quantify the social costs of nitrogen fertilizer. San Joaquin Valley residents are likely familiar with nitrates that seep out of agricultural fields and into the water supply. But nitrogen also makes its way into the air and the environment, impacting human health, ecosystems, and the climate. And all those exact costs on society.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Governor Jerry Brown has made fighting climate change a major priority for California. One of the most recent laws he signed was Senate Bill 32, which requires the state to dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Called “critical” and “far-reaching,” it’s been heralded by some as one of the most ambitious climate regulations in the world--but not everyone thinks the law will be good for California.

Joey Airoso has two kids and close to 3,000 mouths to feed. He’s a dairy farmer in rural Tulare County.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Fitness tracking is all the rage right now. If you want to, you can monitor your heart rate, count your footsteps and calories burned, and even monitor your sleep patterns, all using devices that can fit around your wrist or in your pocket. But that's if you’re a human. Kerry Klein takes us to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, where fitness tracking is moving to a whole new level.

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