Top Stories

Amber Crowell, Emma De La Rosa, Kerry Klein and Ian Sharples

How rising rents in the Central Valley are deepening the affordable housing shortage

The Central Valley’s reputation as an affordable place to live has been challenged by skyrocketing housing prices. To learn what is behind the sharp increase in home and rental prices, and what this means for the ongoing affordable housing crisis, Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke with Amber Crowell, associate professor of sociology at Fresno State; Manuela Tobias, housing reporter for CalMatters; Emma De La Rosa, policy advocate with the Leadership Council; and Ian Sharples, housing...

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COVID-19 In Depth:

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA EZAMORA@FRESNOBEE.COM

Valley Children's doctors brace for a rise in rare pediatric condition following Delta surge

Six-year-old Bryce Moore shouts from one side of the small soccer field where he is practicing for his first game. His mom, Fresno resident Jennifer Moore, describes him as a happy, go-lucky kid. But nine months ago he was anything but that, she says. Moore and her husband tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020. She says Bryce, then 5 years old, tested negative and didn’t show any symptoms associated with the virus. “My husband and I got through that and recovered,” she says. “Then at...

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UCSF Fresno, American Ambulance, Sierra View Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center websites

Valley hospitals stretched thin by latest COVID-19 surge

United States Forest Service/ Art by Alison Saldanha

DANGEROUS AIR: As California burns, America breathes toxic smoke

Western wildfires pose a much broader threat to human health than to just those forced to evacuate the path of the blazes. Smoke from these fires, which have burned millions of acres in California alone, is choking vast swaths of the country, an analysis of federal satellite imagery by NPR’s California Newsroom and Stanford University’s Environmental Change and Human Outcomes Lab found.

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Submitted photo.

Windy conditions sparked a fire in a composting plant in Kings County on Monday. The fire is still burning. Residents in nearby communities are concerned about the smoke's impact on their health. 

Maricela Mares-Alatorre lives in Kettleman City and works for Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. She says she first smelled hints of the fire on Monday, on her drive home from her daughter's dance class. The next morning, she says, it was worse. 

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: Why Fresno has become such a hot housing market, and how rising prices are deepening the affordable housing crisis.

Plus, the fight to keep small town newspapers in business.

And we conclude our series Escape From Mammoth Pool with a conversation about climate change, forest management, and the increasing human toll of an intensifying wildfire season. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

 

 

Fresno State faculty members are launching a new program to incorporate the voices of marginalized community members into policymaking in the city of Fresno. 

The Center for Community Voices aims to show Fresno residents that their perspective is an important part of policy decisions, according to Amber Crowell, an assistant professor in sociology at Fresno State and co-director of the program.

“Really, there's knowledge and wisdom all around us in our communities,” she says, “through lived experiences, through being directly impacted by issues.” 

Kerry Klein / KVPR

The emergency rescues at Mammoth Pool Reservoir last September didn't happen in a vacuum. Wildfires in the West are getting bigger, faster, and more intense, and “megafires” like the Creek Fire, driven largely by climate change and a century of fire suppression, are putting people and infrastructure more at risk than ever. 

smalltownjournalism.com

A University of North Carolina study found that roughly 1,800 newspapers have closed in the United States since 2004, the vast majority of which were weekly publications that served small communities. But here in Central California, the Mariposa Gazette, is still going strong. In fact, it’s the state’s oldest weekly newspaper. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock talked to the paper’s editor and co-owner Greg Little about the book he recently wrote and the future of small-town newspapers.

Amber Crowell, Emma De La Rosa, Kerry Klein and Ian Sharples

The Central Valley’s reputation as an affordable place to live has been challenged by skyrocketing housing prices. To learn what is behind the sharp increase in home and rental prices, and what this means for the ongoing affordable housing crisis, Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke with Amber Crowell, associate professor of sociology at Fresno State; Manuela Tobias, housing reporter for CalMatters; Emma De La Rosa, policy advocate with the Leadership Council; and Ian Sharples, housing program manager for the Community Action Partnership of Kern. 

 

Join KVPR and our partners at Science Friday for fun night of trivia and science as part of our Virtual Trivia Night. The online event with SciFri host and creator Ira Flatow takes place online on Friday October 23rd at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. KVPR’s own science reporter Kerry Klein, who is a frequent guest on the national broadcasts of Science Friday will co-host the event with Flatow. Tickets are $30 and all proceeds will benefit Valley Public Radio.

Rain Chamberlain, who identifies with the pronoun they/them, lives in a small stucco home in Fresno with their child and a roommate. Chamberlain’s workspace is tucked into a corner of the living room.  

“This is my desk area over here,” they say as they sit at the desk and begin a usual routine, signing into one of several government websites they use to access assistance programs. 

“So if I were to go to 'My Benefits Calwin’,” they say, waiting for the page to load.

“Oh hey, guess what. The internet decided it wasn't there,” Chamberlain says with a laugh.

Jack Haskel

Last September, just days after the Mammoth Pool Reservoir rescues, thick orange smoke and falling ash from a different wildfire forced Jack Haskel to cut short a backpacking trip in Northern California. A few years before that, he had to evacuate a trail under similar circumstances in Oregon.

But not only is Jack a backpacker, he’s also a Trail Information Manager with the Pacific Crest Trail Association, and he is increasingly finding himself spending his summer days fielding phone calls from hikers and backpackers seeing smoke and wondering what to do.

San Joaquin Valley Town Hall

The annual San Joaquin Valley Town Hall lecture series returns to Fresno's Saroyan Theatre on Oct. 20 with a talk by historian Jon Meacham. Travel writer Rick Steves, violinist Vijay Gupta and restaurant critic Ruth Reichl are also among the lineup of six speakers for the 2021-22 season. To learn more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to the Town Hall’s president, Jonica Bushman. 

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New Podcast:

STORYCORPS ONE SMALL STEP

Take One Small Step To Help Our Divided Country Reconnect

T ake a minute and think back to the last time you really listened to someone whose political opinions were very different from your own. Was it a few weeks ago, a few months ago, was it ever? Valley Public Radio and the public history project StoryCorps are inviting you to meet the challenge. It’s called One Small Step ; meet a stranger with a different political view for a personal, 50 minute conversation about your lives. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock speaks with FM89's News Director...

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