News

sierrausd.org / Sierra Unified School Distrcit Website

Sierra Unified School District in the Fresno County foothills is suspending online instruction for the week due to the Creek Fire burning in the Sierra National Forest. 

Superintendent Alan Harris estimates up to 75 percent of district staff and students are being evacuated or have already been displaced by the fire. 

“We need to get to safety, and get to security,” says Harris. “Once we do, then we’ll settle back into what’s happening with the learning.”

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Creek Fire has grown to nearly 144,000 acres and is still completely uncontained. Evacuation orders have been issued for areas around Tollhouse and Prather up through the High Sierra regions around Mono Hot Springs, and evacuation warnings stretch as far north as Wawona and as far south as areas near Pine Flat Lake.

PG&E

UPDATE: 9/14/20 1:00 PM - PG&E service has been restored at Meadow Lakes transmitter sites, meaning we are no longer running on our backup generator. While fire conditions could change at any time and threaten the transmitter site, our area is not currently in immediate danger.

Courtesy of Tony Botti, Fresno County Sheriff's Office / Fresno County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE 4:15 pm 9/21/20

Residents who have had their homes destroyed by the Creek Fire and live in certain evacuation order zones will be allowed short term property visits Tuesday and Wednesday to survey damage and salvage items, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said today. On Tuesday, only residents in Zones F1SA and F1R will be granted temporary access to their properties. On Wednesday, Zones F1SB and F1Q will be open. Residents must first check in starting at 10 a.m. at Foothill Elementary School in Prather.

Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Baseball legend and Fresno native Tom Seaver passed away Monday at the age of 75. The celebrated pitcher was considered the epitome of a Hall of Famer. 

  He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 for his 20-year career in the Major Leagues. His early years with the New York Mets set him apart right away.

Healthy Fresno County Facebook page

 

Over the last month, the spread of COVID-19 in the San Joaquin Valley has slowed. But not all measures of the disease have improved, and health officials say it’s no time for the community to let down its guard.

Fresno County’s Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra is concerned about the virus spreading during Labor Day weekend. In a media call on Tuesday, he said he knows it’s hard to hear, but non-essential gatherings should be cancelled.

 

 

As of Sept. 1, some small businesses hit hard by the pandemic can receive financial relief through new grants from Fresno County. Fresno County approved $250,000 in grants for minority and women-owned businesses. The money comes from the CARES Act.

Dora Westerlund is president of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation. She's spearheading the initiative and said some businesses have already reached out for help.  

 

Medical Board of California Facebook page

A San Joaquin Valley legislator is seeking answers from the Medical Board of California as to why the oversight agency allowed a Bakersfield doctor to remain in practice even though it determined he had been negligent with patients.

Andrew Nixon - file photo / Capital Public Radio

Most counties in the San Joaquin Valley have been on the state’s COVID-19 watch list for months, and are still restricted under the state’s new rating system.

The Latinx community continues to be disproportionately affected by COVID-19. That’s why the Kern County Public Health Department recently created a first-of-its-kind task force to address this issue.  

Monica Lam / KQED

More than 1,100 people at the Fresno County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The running tally of infections at the county-run complex actually surpasses those at all but two state prisons in California. But unlike the state’s careful tracking and reporting of cases at prisons and nursing homes, data on COVID-19 infections in county jails have not been consistently collected or made readily available to the public.

As fires continue to ravage Northern California, farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley now have to protect themselves from poor air quality on top of COVID-19. One farm worker says it’s made working in the fields even harder.

 

Oralia Bautista is 34 years old. Six days a week she commutes with her husband from Fresno to pick tomatoes in Firebaugh. While working, she always wears a mask.

 

“It helps filter out the bad air we’re breathing, but it's also hard because well, it’s hard to breathe with the mask on to begin with,” she said.

 

Fresno County officials announced the results from January’s homeless point-in-time count Wednesday, including a significant rise in unhoused individuals. 

This year’s annual point-in-time count found 3,251 people experiencing homelessness throughout Fresno County. That’s about a 50 percent increase from 2019, when the number of people counted was 2,131. However, more people than usual were counted in shelters.

On Monday, the Fresno Police Reform Commission announced a new community survey that will assist it in making informed recommendations to the city of Fresno and its police department.

The survey asks community members questions like how comfortable would they be calling the Fresno Police for help and whether the community should have a say in the department's funding. D'Aungillique Jackson, the chair of the community input subcommittee, says the goal is to include responses from underrepresented communities. 

 

Joe Moore (file photo) / Valley Public Radio

Fresno and Tulare Counties declared local emergencies Thursday after rendering plant Baker Commodities in Kerman stopped accepting livestock carcasses. 

Jimmy Andreoli, a spokesman with the company, says it has reached its limit in how many animals it can process according to its permit with the state Air Resources Board. If it surpasses that limit, it could be fined. 

Christopher Greer, the assistant agricultural commissioner in Tulare County says the summer heat kills more cows.  

Facebook Screenshot, Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau

Fresno County has filed an injunction against the Reedley-based private, Christian schools that began in-person classes earlier this month, despite prohibitive state guidelines. 

Supervisor Steve Brandau held a press conference Monday afternoon to oppose the lawsuit against Immanuel Schools, which serve kindergarten through twelfth grade students.

“It isn’t because Immanuel is a private school, a Christian school or anything of the sort. I feel the same way about any school, private or public,” said Brandau.

Courtesy of Steve Thao

A documentary produced in Burma in the late 1990s shows two young Hmong women in traditional dress dancing. They’re encircled by other villagers and everyone is singing a goodbye song to filmmaker Su Thao.

“He went to Burma to find, kind of like the lost Hmong people there. He did a documentary. The whole town came out to welcome him. He had a conversation with the village elders,” says Steve Thao, Su Thao's oldest son. Su died of COVID-19 last month and his funeral is this weekend in Fresno.

On this week’s Valley Edition: A well known Hmong filmmaker who documented the lives of Hmong communities all over Asia died of COVID-19 in July. With his funeral this week in Fresno, his family recalls his legacy. 

Plus, a century after white women gained the right to vote, we explore the history of the 19th Amendment, and how it changed the U.S. forever. 

California Department of Public Health

California’s COVID-19 pandemic has evolved tremendously since it began in March, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that residents of skilled nursing facilities remain particularly at risk of severe infection and death. Although COVID-19 cases in skilled nursing facilities account for only 3 percent of the state’s overall caseload, almost 20 percent of the state’s deaths have occurred among these vulnerable residents.

CSU Bakersfield, Renteria for Congress, Francine Farber and Dezie Woods-Jones Facebook

One hundred years ago this week the 19th Amendment was ratified, extending the right to vote to some, but not all, women in America.

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