News

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

An ordinance passed Tuesday by the Delano City Council will allow code enforcement to issue citations for people violating stay-at home-orders. It’s the first of its kind in Kern County.

 

The ordinance passed with a 4-to-1 vote and is similar to the state’s stay-at-home order except there are fines, starting at $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and $500 for the third. Outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people from different households are prohibited. And restaurants and salons aren’t allowed to provide indoor services. 

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Low income communities across the San Joaquin Valley and other regions of the state are being hit hard by rising water and utility debt according to a recent survey released by the California Water Board. 

Michael Claiborne, an attorney with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, says residents are having to decide which essential service to pay for amid a global pandemic. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Tulare County is still in phase 1A of its vaccine distribution, but the county’s Health and Human Services Department is already working with other organizations on vaccine distribution for farmworkers. 

Carrie Monteiro, a spokesperson for the department, says the county wants to be prepared to vaccinate farmworkers when phase 1B starts. That’s why, in collaboration with the Community Care Coalition, it’s asking farm and agriculture employers to respond to a survey. 

 

 

Fresno Police are on heightened alert on Inauguration Day, watching for any potential threats with protests. Speaking in front of City Hall Tuesday afternoon, Police Chief Paco Balderrama said the department hasn’t received anything credible to investigate, but teams remain in contact with the FBI to monitor intelligence. Balderrama said street closures are in effect Wednesday with officers concentrated in the downtown area. 

WNYC

This February, Valley Public Radio honors Black History Month with a series of broadcast specials providing fresh insights into African American history and the challenges of today. Hear historical profiles, music, and frank discussions about race, policing, and the fight for equality amid a system and society imbued with systemic racism. The broadcasts can be heard Thursday nights at 7:00 PM in the month of February.

 

On a cloudy morning in Northeast Bakersfield, Dr. Mathew Beare walks along a narrow trail of damp fallen leaves to a small homeless encampment.  For over a year, Beare and his street medicine team have made the drive every Thursday from Clinica Sierra Vista in downtown Bakersfield to this barren site just off of Chester Avenue. 

 

Department of State Hospitals

In the months since the pandemic began, COVID-19 has taken a tremendous toll on hospitals, where bedspace is at a minimum and staff are overworked, and prisons, where tight living quarters and mixed enforcement of safety precautions

The Fresno Philharmonic, Rei Hotoda Music Director and Conductor, will present the free livestream premiere of its first Digital Masterworks concert on Saturday January 16, 2021 at 5:30 pm PST on the Fresno Philharmonic’s website and YouTube channel. The program, titled Intersections of Past and Present, features musicians of the Fresno Philharmonic under the direction of Rei Hotoda performing Adolphus Hailstork’s An American Fanfare, William Bolcom’s Commedia for (Almost) 18th Century Orchestra and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No.44 in E minor.

 

On this week's Valley Edition: A street medicine team in Bakersfield educates people experiencing homelessness about COVID-19, and debunks myths about the vaccine. 

 

Plus, writer Mark Arax tells us about his research into the history of the Confederacy in the Central Valley.

 

StoryCorps

 

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 Bakersfield, 15-year-old Emily Gorospe interviews her mother Valerie Gorospe about her grandmother, Teresa De Anda.

Mark Arax

The man who carried a Confederate flag inside the U.S. Capitol during last week’s insurrection was arrested yesterday for an act that served as a reminder that the roots of our country’s divisions run deep. The now infamous images of him walking through the Capitol with the flag resting causally on his shoulder raise questions about the history of the Confederacy, not just in the South, but also here in the Central Valley.

Fresno City College

The bubonic plague ripped through London in the mid 1660s, and a famous account of one man’s experience living through that pandemic became the source of inspiration for Fresno City College students living through this one. Students, instructors and community members teamed up to produce “Plague Diaries, Short Films of Life in the Pandemic,” which premieres tonight at 7 p.m. on the Fresno City College website.

 

A COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Fresno County Fairgrounds is now equipped to administer 1,500 shots per day, according to county officials during a press conference on Tuesday.

The clinic, which began operating at reduced capacity on January 6, is open to healthcare workers in Phase 1A of the state’s vaccination schedule, as well as individuals 75 years or older. Appointments are required.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

 

More than six percent of Californians have now contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began, but in one San Joaquin Valley county, the case rate is almost twice as high.

Aminah Elster is the policy coordinator at the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and a formerly incarcerated person. She says the women inside the Chowchilla facility continue to tell her about unsafe living conditions even after the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported the highest number of positive cases, 512, at the facility on Jan. 3. 

 

“The conditions are filthy. There’s dust everywhere, torn mattress, rusted bunks,” Elster says. “There’s little to no access to cleaning supplies.” 

 

 

A Sierra Unified School District board trustee who was at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday refused calls for him to step down during a Monday night board meeting.

 

James Hoak listened to two hours of public comments that were split in support of and against him keeping his seat on the board. More than 400 people attended the virtual meeting. He responded directly when asked if he would resign.

 

“I can answer that real quick for you. I will be here until 2024, and I’ll see you at the polls,” he said.

Department of State Hospitals

In late December, Clementine Sanders called her son at Coalinga State Hospital to make sure he had received her Christmas card. That’s when his bunkmates informed her that her son, 58-year-old Shannon Starr, had died three weeks earlier. “I was just totally shocked,” she says. “Nobody called me.”

Since then, she says, none of her messages to staff or reception have been returned. “I still wasn’t notified and I still haven’t heard from the [hospital],” she says.

 

Valley Children's

 

A month after COVID-19 infections began to surge following the Thanksgiving holiday, the virus continues to devastate the San Joaquin Valley. Hospitals are reporting more patients with COVID-19 than ever, intensive care units continue to report only a handful of open beds each day, and hundreds of healthcare workers who could otherwise be caring for patients or staffing medical facilities are currently unable to work after either testing positive for the virus or entering quarantine following a close exposure.

 

On this week's Valley Edition:  Why a state program that provides free COVID-19 hotel rooms to farmworkers is going largely unutilized.  

Plus Pulitzer Prize winning journalist John Branch tells us how wildfires and climate change are endangering California’s most iconic trees.

And a cornerstone of the Armenian community, Hye Quality Bakery, has closed its doors.

Jackie Botts, Kate Cimini and Georgia Gee

In an effort to assist farmworkers who test positive for COVID-19, California launched the Housing for the Harvest program. It provides free hotel rooms so farmworkers can self-isolate and not infect family members. But a recent investigation found that of the 800,000 farmworkers in California, only around 80 have utilized the program since it was announced in July.

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