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Alice Daniel

We're introducing an occasional series called Mind the Gap, where we ask people at least 60 years apart in age for their take on topics both personal and political. For our first Mind the Gap, you’ll meet Raymart Catacuton. He’s 18, attends Fresno City College and works at a thrift store in the Tower District. And you’ll hear from Rose Marie Carillo. She’s almost 80, and she’s very active in her church where her husband of 59 years was the pastor. She says it's been tough since he died, back in September. One way she passes the time is to shop in the same thrift store where Raymart works.

Genoveva Islas

A Fresno-based organization that helps Valley communities access healthy foods and safe places to exercise is spreading its reach to help prevent domestic violence among Latina immigrants. Cultiva La Salud was awarded a grant that was awarded by the non-profit Prevention Institute and the Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Listen to the above interview to hear Genoveva Islas, program director for Cultiva La Salud, talk about what the grant covers and what they will do with the funding.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Last month, business news company Bloomberg released its annual Brain Drain Index. It uses Census data to analyze which American cities are losing advanced degree holders, white-collar jobs, and STEM career opportunities. Topping that list this year is Hanford, California.

Shelsy Hutchison, a teacher with the Business Academy at Sierra Pacific High School, has a few ideas why Hanford might be at the top.

Jessica Trounstine

We’ve heard a lot about how government policies in San Joaquin Valley cities and beyond have created race and class segregation for more than a century. Well, now Jessica Trounstine, a UC Merced political science professor, has written a book about this American phenomenon called "Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities."

 

Listen to the interview above to hear more about how local governments intentionally use policies to segregate cities by race and wealth.

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Wherever you live in the Valley, whether it’s Hanford or Tehachapi or Merced, we all have to contend with the flu season. It’s already claimed one life in Kern County.

Last year, the CDC estimates the flu killed 80,000 Americans. That puts influenza among the top 10 deadliest conditions in the U.S, along with cancers, heart disease and diabetes. But although there’s an easy way to reduce the risk of flu—the flu shot—around 60 percent of Americans elect not to get it.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Last week, for the first time, downtown Fresno’s Saroyan Theater transformed into the Pridelands, complete with larger than life giraffes, and an iconic warthog-meerkat duo. Actors Martina Sykes and Gerald Ramsey, who play Shenzi and Mufasa, came to the station to talk about the show and how they take a well-known animated film and translate its music and themes to the stage.

You can hear listen to the interview above to hear more.

On the next Valley Edition: When you think brain drain, do you think...Hanford? A recent Bloomberg article said this small farming town is at the top of the list. We head to Kings County to find out what’s really going on in terms of education and opportunity.

We also learn about a new program to fight domestic violence in the Valley, and visit a flu shot clinic to determine what’s fact and what’s fiction about this effective but highly polarizing vaccine.

FM89

Classical pianist Shaw Wosner joined FM89's David Aus to talk about his upcoming concert in Fresno for the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concert Series, featuring the music of Chopin and Schubert. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

When you think of Instagram celebrities, the Kardashians and performers like Beyonce probably come to mind. But with the Instagram handle @PhysicsFun, one of Fresno’s own scientists recently reached a million followers. He has almost as many as the astronaut Scott Kelly, and even more than celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

This Sunday, the Tower Theater will be playing about twenty sweded films on the big screen. If you haven’t heard of a “sweded” film before, it’s like a short home-remake of a real film, but as low budget as you can get: Think sheets for backgrounds, and cardboard cutouts for props.

Listen to the interview above to hear the Swede Fest organizers, Bryan Harley and Roque Rodriguez, talk about what films they anticipate playing, and what the sweded film they're making is based on.

It’s the week after Thanksgiving -- a time to fill up on leftovers, so to speak. On today’s show, we’re going to look inside our proverbial fridge and pull out some of our favorite stories from this year. You’ve heard of Mr. Potato Head? One of our features places him front and center.  We also revisit a woman who has run into new roadblocks seeking asylum in the U.S.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

We’re going to hear from a few San Joaquin Valley residents about how they celebrate Thanksgiving. Like most families, it’s a time for them to gather, cook, and the menu usually includes the expected turkey and mashed potatoes. But they also incorporate other cultures into their gatherings.

 

You can hear the five stories by listening above. Below is a bit about each person's story.

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

After tearing through nearly 250,000 acres in Northern and Southern California, the devastating Camp and Woolsey Fires are creeping toward full containment. But their destruction may not be over: They’ve so far killed 82 people, with hundreds still missing; and though they’ve destroyed over 14,000 homes, just as many are still being threatened.

Monica Velez

Naomi Hendrix prepares a kale caesar salad in her downtown Fresno restaurant. She says it’s one of the customer favorites. She throws some beans and avocado on top of the bed of kale, and adds some hummus and crackers on the side.

Hendrix is the owner and executive chef at Raw Fresno. The cuisine is all plant-based -- meaning no processed or animal products are used. This Thursday will be the second time Hendrix gets to serve Thanksgiving meals at her restaurant.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

While this week is very focused on Thanksgiving, let’s stop for a moment to talk about the day that follows: Black Friday. Many use the day to get a start on holiday shopping, but some stores have boycotted the event. REI, an outdoor equipment store, started the hashtag “Opt Outside” to encourage people to spend the day outdoors instead.

Courtesy of Don Simmons

Thanksgiving can make us think about how to give back -- maybe it’s serving food at a homeless shelter or donating canned goods. But what about the rest of the year? I spoke with Don Simmons, a longtime community organizer and professor in the Humanics program at Fresno State about the prevailing needs in the Central Valley and how to get involved.  

Listen to the interview above to hear Simmons talk about the Humanics program, and how to find ways to better serve your own community. In his words, it can be as simple as taking a walk and talking to people.

Alice Daniel / Valley Public Radio

Last week, at the Lanna Coffee Company in Downtown Fresno, entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to judges. It was all part of the Spark Tank Pitch Fest put on by Fresno Pacific’s Center for Community Transformation. Each business presented its idea to create social good, from an app to teach financial education, to a program that teaches marketing skills to youths. By the end of the competition, the judges awarded all five contestants from $1,500 to $4,000 to start or grow their social impact businesses.

On today’s show, we look at how the San Joaquin Valley’s cultural diversity has influenced Thanksgiving traditions--and food. We also speak with a humanics professor about how to incorporate more giving into our lives. And, as wildfires force tens of thousands of Californians to face Thanksgiving without their homes or loved ones, we learn about the risk of wildfire in our part of Central California. We also hear from local companies looking to invest in social good.

On this week’s Valley Edition, we explore the consequences of last week’s elections, including embattled Measure P, a sales tax that would have improved Fresno’s depleted park system but was voted down. We also look inside Tulare Regional Medical Center, which is open again after a year of licking its wounds and trying to move beyond its scandalous past. Later, we honor Veterans Day by hearing from residents of a veterans home in Fresno.  Listen to the audio above to hear that and more.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

If Measure P had passed, it would have created a 3/8 cent sales tax to fund parks and trail maintenance, and arts programming over the next thirty years. The “Yes on P” campaign was advocating for safe, clean parks.

But in one advertisement from a Measure P opposition group, called “Fresnans for a Safer Community, No on P,” Police Chief Jerry Dyer says this:

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