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On this week’s Valley Edition: The valley’s rich cultural diversity is an asset, but what if you’re a farmer, and important safety videos aren’t made in a language you understand? We hear from a team of educators producing a series of training videos in Hmong. 

Plus, the legacy of a Fresno resident who used baseball to break down barriers, even when he was interned during World War II. Now he’s been nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Also, we’ll hear from more candidates running for mayor of Fresno. 

Department of Pesticide Regulation Youtube Page

Pesticide regulations can be tough to understand, especially among communities that don’t speak English. Recently, however, with the help of local ag advisors and video production students at Fresno State, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulations released a series of how-to videos about pesticides in Hmong.

Fresno Rainbow Pride

On Saturday, February 8, Fresno Rainbow Pride will crown the new Mr., Miss and Mizz Fresno Rainbow Pride 2020 and celebrate the current title holders. The event is a fundraiser for the 30th Annual Fresno Rainbow Pride Parade and Festival. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Fresno Rainbow Pride volunteer coordinator Tracie Cisneros about the event, and the importance of ball culture to the LGBTQ+ community.

Alice Daniel

While Jerry Dyer and Andrew Janz are the frontrunners in the race to become mayor of Fresno, they are among a field of 7 candidates vying for the job. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Brian Jefferson, Richard Renteria and Nickolas Wildstar about the experience of running as outsiders and their vision for Fresno.

Alice Daniel

With one month to go before California's March primary, FM89's Kathleen Schock discussed the Fresno mayoral race with GV Wire News Director Bill McEwen, West Hills College Political Science Professor Nick Gera, and Fresno Bee columnist Marek Warszawski.

To begin the first broadcast of the 2020 season of Young Artists Spotlight, we feature three talented string soloists from Fresno's Simba School of Music: Hasina Torres, cello; Izzy Knittle, violin; and Anjeli Macaranas, violin. All three are students of violinist K.C. Simba-Torres. They perform works by J.S. Bach, Elgar and Sibelius, in this broadcast hosted by David Aus. 

Support for Young Artists Spotlight comes from The Bonner Family Foundation.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Preliminary state data suggest nearly 8,700 Californians were diagnosed with valley fever in 2019, which would be a record high. The state’s highest case rate is consistently reported in Kern County where, this past weekend, one rural town held its first race to raise disease awareness.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

On the same day as the Iowa Caucuses, presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg took a different tactic and instead, campaigned in the Golden State. The former New York City mayor told a modest crowd at Fresno City College  that he would do a better job than President Donald Trump representing the San Joaquin Valley’s prominent Latino community. 

“A president who demonizes immigrants from Mexico and Central America, it's just unacceptable,” said Bloomberg. “The Central Valley issues are Latino issues, and Latino issues are American issues.”

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

In 2018, e-commerce giant Amazon opened a fulfillment center in Southwest Fresno. It employs thousands of people and reportedly offers better pay and benefits than similar jobs, but an investigation by the Fresno Bee found that its injury rate is double the state average for the warehouse industry. In this interview, FM89’s Kerry Klein speaks with Bee reporter Manuela Tobias about what kinds of injuries are being reported, how she investigated this story, and how Amazon has responded.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The 2020 Census count in California starts in April and outreach has already begun around the San Joaquin Valley to ensure a complete count. However, some census advocates say the survey isn’t specific enough.

One example is that the Census does not identify those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speak American Sign Language. 

“We wish it did,” said Susan Coulter. She’s the Educational Services Director at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center in Fresno. Coulter added that there’s also a language barrier. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: It’s been two and a half months since the mass shooting in a Fresno backyard that killed four members of the Hmong American community. We speak to mental health providers helping family members heal. 

Alice Daniel

In 1964, Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. The act established nearly 900 community action agencies nationwide to address needs in education, employment, health and living conditions. Today, the largest of these agencies in California is the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission. Its scope of services is vast and now for the first time, it’s being run by a woman.

Christina Lopez

 

 

Mike Wallford has been living in East Bakersfield for 60 years. He said the city always tries to dump unwanted facilities in this part of town: a sewage treatment plant, a dog pound, he said, and now a homeless shelter.  

 

“They bring out all the trash out there; we’re tired of taking it. Take it out to Rosedale, to Haggin Oaks,” said Wallford. “They don’t want it. I don’t want it either.” 

Rosedale and Haggin Oaks are more affluent communities where there are no homeless shelters. 

Casey Beck

Contaminated water has flown from faucets in Tooleville, a small community in Tulare County, since the 1980s. "The Great Water Divide: California's Water Crisis" is a new documentary that follows the residents' efforts to connect to neighboring Exeter's water supply. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke to the filmmaker, Casey Beck, and Tooleville resident Ben Cuevas Martinez. 

Alice Daniel

Two and a half months ago, four members of the Hmong community died in a mass shooting in Fresno. As the victims’ loved ones continue to process their feelings of anger and loss, The Fresno Center has provided counseling and support programs. Now it’s expanding its efforts thanks to an $80,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with psychologist Dr. Ghia Xiong from The Fresno Center along with licensed marriage and family therapist Ana Boydstun from Kaiser  Permanente about the ongoing work to help the community heal.

Christina Lopez / Valley Public Radio

A new lawsuit has been filed in Fresno County Superior Court against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno and two of its churches for negligence and sexual battery. Although the plaintiff reported abuse in 2002 and the priest was acquitted, a law that took effect this year means she can still seek damages.

The plaintiff is now 34 years old, and referred to as Jane Doe, since the alleged abuse took place when she was a minor. She says that Father Miguel Flores raped and threatened her in 2001 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church in Hanford where she worked. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Even as Fresno County is in the middle of the point-in-time count to assess the scope of homelessness, Fresno City leaders announced a pilot program today that will provide part-time employment and support services to a small group of homeless individuals. 

Speaking outside the Poverello House in Downtown Fresno, Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias said this program is different from past efforts to address homelessness.

Mollie's House

We’ve just heard on Valley Edition how several agencies are working to reduce human trafficking in the Valley. Now we’re going to turn to the story of a survivor.

A young woman, who asked to be identified only as Hazel, spoke with Valley Public Radio's Kathleen Schock about her journey from forced prostitution to safety. Hazel also discussed the support she receives from the faith-based nonprofit Mollie's House, whose founder, Torella McAllister Minor, joined in the conversation.  

Fresno EOC

California is one of the nation’s top states for human trafficking, a complex crime that is difficult to combat. But in the Central Valley, nonprofits are working with law enforcement to tackle the issue from multiple perspectives. Valley Public Radio's Kathleen Schock spoke with Sarah Johnson from the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission and Jessica Pittman from the Central Valley Justice Coalition about the work taking place to end this widespread problem.

California has moved its primary election earlier in the year. Instead of June, voters will now cast their ballots in March. For Fresno and Mariposa Counties, there are other changes intended to update voting technology and increase voter turnout. Fresno and Mariposa have adopted the new Voter's Choice Act Model, which means voting centers have replaced polling places, and every voter is mailed a ballot. Madera County adopted the model in 2018. 

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