On this week’s Valley Edition: What the research says about the risk of COVID-19 complications during pregnancy.

And mental health professionals help to process the anxiety some are feeling about reentering society post-vaccination.


Plus, a veteran journalist tells us what governor Newsom’s drought emergency declaration means for the San Joaquin Valley.

And county funding for community gardens in Fresno stops next month. We look at the impact. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many basic questions about the virus have been answered, including how it spreads, how it responds to treatment, and how it affects the body. But even those lessons learned apply mostly to generally healthy people and those with the most common pre-existing conditions, and unknowns still abound for many population subsets—including pregnant women.



It’s been 40 years since Dr. Ghia Xiong lived and farmed in Laos, but he says this seven acre community garden in Sanger always reminds him of his childhood.

“Going to the farm with my parents and seeing how beautiful it is and then being able to come to this garden just takes me back home like that,” he says.

Xiong says being here out in the open provides a sense of peace. 

“The plants, the corn, the lemongrass here tells you where the wind flows,” he says.

Alice Daniel / KVPR


On this week's Valley Edition, we continue our series looking at how people are processing the magnitude of this pandemic. Today we hear from 79-year-old Dezie Woods-Jones. She’s the state president of Black Women Organized for Political Action and a former vice mayor of Oakland. Woods-Jones lives in Madera County. FM89’s Alice Daniel caught up with her there and produced this audio postcard. 

Henry Meraz, Leah Whitworth and Etisha Wilbon

On Thursday, the CDC announced something that many have been waiting for, permission for fully vaccinated people to take off their masks in most settings. It was presented as a significant step toward normalcy. But just before that announcement was made, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock had this conversation with mental health professionals about the complicated feelings some of us have about getting back to normal.

Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom extended the drought emergency declaration to much of California, including the San Joaquin Valley. To better understand the significance of that decision, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to journalist Steven Greenhut. He is a columnist for the Orange County Register and the author of a book for the Pacific Research Institute called “Winning the Water Wars.”


Medical care at California State Prison, Corcoran received a poor rating in a recently published state watchdog review. Now, prison advocates worry that doesn’t bode well for the quality of care during the pandemic.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

For a decade, the Central California Asthma Collaborative (CCAC) has aimed to reduce the burden of asthma in the San Joaquin Valley, which sits in one of the country’s most polluted air basins and reports some of the highest rates of asthma and asthma-related medical encounters in the state.


A recent ruling on a lawsuit filed in 2019 says the city of Clovis must begin the process of building more high-density, affordable housing and has been violating a state law by not doing so.

Attorney Patience Milrod, executive director of Central California Legal Services, says Clovis has traditionally zoned for single family homes, pricing out low-income residents.


Kaweah Health Medical Center

For many of us, hospitals are pillars of communities, representing safety nets that we hope will always be there. But there’s no guarantee they will be. A new report estimates that California’s hospitals have suffered billions of dollars in losses in the last year, and that they could lose billions more before 2021 is through.

Madi Bolanos / KVPR

On a warm Saturday morning in south Fresno County, families and vendors bargain at the Cherry Auction, the Central Valley’s largest outdoor market. Latino residents have come here for decades to browse endless rows of vendors in search of clothing, blankets, produce and much more.

A song -- ‘Carta Jugada’ by Banda Tuzantla -- blares from 27-year-old Alejandro Gonzalez’s CD stand. Gonzalez and his family have sold CD’s at the swap meet since he was 8 years old. 

“It officially became mine when I was 15,” he says. “My dad passed away and I took over the stand.”  


On this week's Valley Edition: As candidates line up to run against the governor in the recall election, we discuss the financial costs for taxpayers and the political costs for Newsom. 

Plus, as demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in Fresno County drops, we visit the Cherry Auction to find out why some Latino residents are choosing not to get the vaccine.


And a pair of historians discuss the farm labor shortage in the 1940s. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

Library of Congress

While teaching a history course at Fresno State, professor Ethan Kytle stumbled upon the forgotten history of a farm labor crisis in 1942 that inspired Fresno residents to leave their jobs, and classrooms, in order to work in the fields. Kytle, along with co-author Blain Roberts, wrote about the crisis for the online magazine Boom California. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with them about the conditions that led to this labor shortage.


And now to StoryCorps San Joaquin, a series based on our collaboration with the personal history project, StoryCorps. In this edited conversation from February's 2020 mobile tour in the Valley, 23-year-old Emalee Farley interviews 75-year-old El Daña about her life as a male impersonator entertaining in Fresno and beyond. 

Nicole Nixon, Ben Christopher and Ivy Cargile

It is increasingly likely that Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a recall election later this year. What is less clear is when it will happen, how much it will cost, and what it will mean for the political future of the governor and those running to replace him. To discuss these questions, and more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Ivy Cargile, assistant professor of Political Science at CSU Bakersfield, along with political reporters Ben Christopher at CalMatters and Nicole Nixon at Cap Radio.

Fresno-area harpist Carter Williams enchants with the music of Nino Rota, Franz Joseph Haydn, and Marcel Grandjany.


The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has awarded Valley Public Radio with three 2021 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for Excellence in Writing, News Documentary, and  Feature Reporting. 

On the second story of Fresno Police Headquarters, there’s a darkened room lit up with screens that show 21 camera views. Each screen displays a different part of downtown. This monitoring system is called the Real Time Crime Center. 


The center was first opened in 2015, but had to shut down in 2019 due to budget and staffing issues. Since taking office in January, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama says he noticed the center was going unused.



The Fresno Center unveiled a new mobile health unit Monday, the first of its kind in Fresno County designed to provide remote mental health services. 

Pao Yang, president and CEO of the Fresno Center, said it’s been a huge challenge to reach the people who are most in need of mental health services, especially during the pandemic. 

That’s why the center teamed up with Anthem Blue Cross to provide a mobile clinic. Anthem donated money for the van. The Fresno Center will use it to reach underserved and rural communities. 


A coalition of San Joaquin Valley leaders, legislators and farmers came together Friday to declare a regional drought emergency for Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. They spoke at Harlan Ranch in Clovis. Behind the speakers, fallowed trees were heaped in piles of dried wood. 

Sen. Andreas Borgeas led the coalition in urging the governor to take immediate action. 

“There is no question, California is in a drought. Even the U.S. Ag Secretary has declared 50 California counties to be natural disaster zones because of drought,” he said.