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A Fresno Homeless Encampment Wants Help From The City; Meanwhile Community Donations Fill The Gap

An encampment at Broadway and San Benito in downtown Fresno is dotted with rows of tents. Many are the newly built and more sturdy tent sheds. Camp manager Dez Martinez unzips a tent belonging to one of the newest residents, Norma Chapa, who has been here for three weeks. “I have some books for coloring using colored pens, and I have my stuffed animals and this is how I made my room,” Norma, 52, says, showing off what’s inside. Chapa has been homeless for eight years. She suffered a stroke in...

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Kerry Klein

 

As of this week, more than a half million San Joaquin Valley residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For some, that means being able to more safely visit grandkids or elderly parents, while for others it’s a ticket to spending more time in public or feeling more secure in person-to-person interactions at work.

Alice Daniel

How do we make sense of the magnitude of this pandemic? We each have our own way of navigating through it. As part of a new series looking at how we process this extraordinary time, FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel produced this audio postcard from her conversation with Debra McCoy, a hip hop dance teacher and photographer in Fresno.

 

On this week's Valley Edition: Latino immigrants have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, especially in Kings County where deaths increased by 90% last year due to COVID.

Plus, filmmakers document intergenerational trauma a century after the Armenian genocide.

 

And a new guidebook uncovers some of the lesser-known highlights of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

UC Merced

Temperatures are on the rise, wild flowers are in bloom, and many are feeling pulled to the great outdoors. Among them is Leigh Bernacchi, a researcher at UC Merced and the author of the new guidebook “Sequoia and Kings Canyon: Hiking, Camping, Waterfalls and Big Trees.” She spoke with Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock about some of the best off-the-beaten-path places to visit in the parks.

Jared White and Stephanie Ayanian

Two upcoming documentaries on Valley PBS cover Armenian-Americans’ struggles grappling with cultural identity and intergenerational trauma, a century after the Armenian Genocide. Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke with Jared White and Lilit Pilikian, the husband and wife team behind the film “100 Years From Home.” It documents Lilit’s quest to find the home her ancestors fled during the genocide. She also spoke with Stephanie Ayanian, producer of the film, “What Will Become of Us.” It explores the lasting impact on the descendants of genocide survivors.

An encampment at Broadway and San Benito in downtown Fresno is dotted with rows of tents. Many are the newly built and more sturdy tent sheds.

Camp manager Dez Martinez unzips a tent belonging to one of the newest residents, Norma Chapa, who has been here for three weeks.

“I have some books for coloring using colored pens, and I have my stuffed animals and this is how I made my room,” Norma, 52, says, showing off what’s inside.

 

Pedro Cruz Mendoza was born in Oaxaca and came to the Central Valley in 1988. His wife and their son joined him 8 years later. He spent 21 years working in the fields.

“He was very hard working,”  said Claudia Medina, Cruz Mendoza’s wife. “He never missed a day of work - never.” 

In a news conference Wednesday, Fresno city leaders denounced the violence that erupted last Sunday at a Tower Theater protest. The protests organized by the Save the Tower Theater Demonstration Committee have largely been peaceful, but this past Sunday, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said as many as 60 Proud Boys attended. He said they wore ballistic vests, carried hunting knives, tear gas and mace.

“The proud boys were very, very vocal, threatening and intimidating towards the Save the Tower protesters who were also there,” he said.

 

Courtesy Claire Park

For this episode we welcome back a pair of string soloists who have performed before on Young Artists spotlight — April Park and Claire Park. They are sisters, and they both attend Stockdale High School in Bakersfield. April plays viola, and Claire plays violin. We hear them perform some solo pieces and a duo, with music from Henryk Wieniawski, Fritz Kreisler, William Walton, Arthur Benjamin, and Johann Halverson.

For this episode we turn to string soloists. This week’s artists are all in high school, and they all have studied at the Simba School of Music in Fresno. Violinist Emma Woodward performs music of Max Bruch, violinist Rowan Crass performs work of Fritz Kreisler, and bassist Emma Sigala performs music of Saint-Saëns.

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Tracking California's Coronavirus Cases

Valley Public Radio is monitoring cases in seven counties in the San Joaquin Valley and foothills. Check back each afternoon for updates to this snapshot, and scroll down further for more detailed information. And for a statewide perspective, a team of public media reporters are gathering information from California health departments every day to keep you updated on the latest confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID-19. This dashboard also provides a localized look at COVID-19-related cases...

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