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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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In this episode of Young Artists Spotlight, we welcome another pianist from Bakersfield, Alexander Leung. He is a freshman at Frontier High School. he performs music of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Bartók.

Kerry Klein

The end of the pandemic may finally be approaching: With 1.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in the San Joaquin Valley, 15 percent of adults have now been fully vaccinated, and another 12 percent have received at least one dose. Meanwhile, all Valley counties have now advanced out of the purple, most restrictive tier of the state’s reopening blueprint, signifying what is hopefully the last stretch in the return to normalcy for California’s businesses and places of worship before Governor Gavin Newsom plans to fully reopen the state’s economy in mid-June.

Museum of the Sierra Resiliency Fund

   

In the wake of the damage that last year’s Creek Fire brought to the Central Sierra, an effort is underway to keep the fire from claiming yet another casualty, that of memory. The Creek Fire Storytelling Project is a campaign by the Central Sierra Resiliency Fund to document and preserve the stories of the fire and the unique histories that predated it. To learn more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the fund’s councilmember Kristin Telles.

WAMU

Legendary NPR talk show host Diane Rehm is on a mission, inspired by the death of her husband John after 54 years of marriage. In 2014, he was denied medical aid in dying during his final days battling Parkinson’s disease. Since then, Rehm has become an advocate of expanding access to medical aid in dying, and she explores the topic in the new PBS film, “When My Time Comes.” Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Rehm about the project, her husband and their love story.

Arts Visalia

The late Ricardo Favela was the child of farmworkers in Dinuba who went on to become a prominent artist, teacher and activist who helped found the Royal Chicano Air Force. Now he is being celebrated by Arts Visalia in the exhibition “Seen and Unseen: Ricardo Favela’s Expressions of Chicano/Chicana Art,” which runs through the end of the month. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the exhibition’s project manager Lucia Vasquez about Favela’s art and legacy

Mee Vue stands in the middle of tidy dirt rows, looking down as she points out the watering line running the length of her garden. The drip system feeds her newly planted corn crop and cabbages, all flowering in various stages.   

She’s busy moving her garden hoe, getting rid of weeds that have sprouted since her last visit to the community garden at Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, or FIRM.

Vue lives right across the street and often spends time in the garden. A translator speaks for her. 

On this week's Valley Edition: Fresno leaders respond to a rise in anti-Asian racism. Why some crimes go unreported, and details of a proposal to hire a diverse outreach team.

Plus, award-winning NPR talk show host Diane Rehm discusses her new PBS documentary about medical aid in dying. 

 

And community organizers are providing support to street vendors after a deadly attack on one this year. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

 

Courtesy of the Governor's Office

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday half a billion dollars in emergency funds for the 2021 wildfire season. 

 

At a press conference in the mountain town of Shaver Lake above Fresno, Newsom said he will sign the plan to improve the state’s wildfire response as early as Tuesday. Many of the communities nearby were ravaged by the historic Creek Fire last September. 

 

JOHN WALKER JWALKER@FRESNOBEE.COM

Angelita Rodriguez used to sell clothes and blankets on the sidewalk outside her apartment complex on South Maple Street.

“But it’s been awhile since I’ve done it,” she says in Spanish. “I haven’t gone out since they robbed me.”

The man who robbed her pretended to be an interested customer, Rodriguez says. He asked her which blankets were her most expensive. She says when she turned to grab some of the blankets hanging on the fence behind her, he took off with as many blankets as he could.

“I was scared,” she says. “More than anything it left me shocked.”

More Fresno County businesses opened this week as the county moved into the second-most restrictive tier Wednesday. It must remain there for three weeks before it can advance to a less restrictive tier.

 

David Luchini, assistant director of the Fresno County health department, said two key indicators -- the county’s overall positivity rate and its health equity positivity rate -- are both below 5%. That could allow the county to reach the next tier even sooner, he said.

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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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