Madi Bolanos


Madi Bolanos is the immigration and underserved communities reporter at Valley Public Radio. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border. Originally from Fresno, she is happy to be back reporting on important issues in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio


A new report from researchers and community-based organizations released Monday shows Indigenous farmworkers across California lacked information and resources to protect themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Submitted photo.

Windy conditions sparked a fire in a composting plant in Kings County on Monday. The fire is still burning. Residents in nearby communities are concerned about the smoke's impact on their health. 

Maricela Mares-Alatorre lives in Kettleman City and works for Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. She says she first smelled hints of the fire on Monday, on her drive home from her daughter's dance class. The next morning, she says, it was worse. 


On this week’s Valley Edition: Why Fresno has become such a hot housing market, and how rising prices are deepening the affordable housing crisis.

Plus, the fight to keep small town newspapers in business.

And we conclude our series Escape From Mammoth Pool with a conversation about climate change, forest management, and the increasing human toll of an intensifying wildfire season. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 



Fresno State faculty members are launching a new program to incorporate the voices of marginalized community members into policymaking in the city of Fresno. 

The Center for Community Voices aims to show Fresno residents that their perspective is an important part of policy decisions, according to Amber Crowell, an assistant professor in sociology at Fresno State and co-director of the program.

“Really, there's knowledge and wisdom all around us in our communities,” she says, “through lived experiences, through being directly impacted by issues.” 


On this week’s Valley Edition:  Rising temperatures have changed how wildfires behave - what that means for the future of the Sierra Nevada. 

Plus, living in poverty during the pandemic can be a job in itself. What it takes to keep up with government assistance programs just to survive. 

 And we continue with the wildfire smoke investigation from NPR’s California Newsroom. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 


Soreath Hok / KVPR



State guidelines require employers to provide outdoor workers with N95 masks for voluntary use when the air quality index is above 151. On Monday, as AQI was forecast to reach 169 in Fresno County, Carmen Cuautenco continued picking almonds. 

She typically picks grapes during the harvest season but with wildfire smoke stunting their growth, she says she’s been forced to pivot to almonds. She wore her own mask to protect against COVID-19 and wildfire smoke, but she says her employer never offered her an N95 mask.



On this week’s Valley Edition: The Youth Squad. A group of high school students who are working hard to get other teens vaccinated. 

Plus, why some West Fresno residents are concerned about preserving access to social services in their community.

And the effect of wildfire smoke on your health. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

Madi Bolanos / KVPR

A D.J. blasts music across the McLane High School campus in east Fresno. In the cafeteria nearby, medical professionals are administering the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s all part of the Fresno Unified School District’s new effort to bring vaccine clinics to students and their families.

On this week’s Valley Edition: How COVID-19 outbreaks in rural schools affect the surrounding communities.

Plus, why dozens of Cal Fire firefighters have suffered from heat illness while training.


And the rich history of drag performance and LGBTQ activism in the Central Valley. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 


Nadia Lopez / Fresno Bee

Laura Garcia stands outside her home with two of her kids and their ducks, chickens and goats in Raisin City, a small unincorporated community southwest of Fresno. It’s a morning in early September, and she’s wearing a mask because her oldest daughter, Jennifer, who attends Raisin City Elementary school, tested positive for COVID-19 in late August. 

She suspects her daughter contracted the virus at school. She says she reached out to other parents in her daughter’s class to let them know. 


On this week’s Valley Edition: We continue our podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool. This week: the heroes, big and small, who helped more than 200 campers survive being trapped by the Creek Fire.


Plus, the strain on local hospitals as they cope with the latest surge of COVID-19.   

And a never-before seen art exhibition is headed to the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 


Six-year-old Bryce Moore shouts from one side of the small soccer field where he is practicing for his first game. His mom, Fresno resident Jennifer Moore, describes him as a happy, go-lucky kid. But nine months ago he was anything but that, she says. 

Moore and her husband tested positive for COVID-19 in November 2020. She says Bryce, then 5 years old, tested negative and didn’t show any symptoms associated with the virus. 


On this week’s  Valley Edition: We continue our series Escape From Mammoth Pool, about the dramatic rescues of hundreds of campers during the first days of the Creek Fire.

Plus, young filmmakers in Bakersfield document food insecurity in Kern County.   

And how you can attend this year’s Dark Sky festival from your own backyard. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 




Raisin City Elementary School officials on Tuesday sent the eighth grade classroom home after three students tested positive for COVID-19. Some parents in this rural Fresno County community of 414 people have been concerned about the school district’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

The University of Southern California’s Medical Center recently released a study identifying system-wide failures related to deaths in ICE detention centers. The study comes on the heels of an initial report in July showing ICE violated its own medical standards in 55 deaths from 2011 to 2018.  


On this episode of Valley Edition:  One year after the Creek Fire broke out, we debut a new series all about last year’s dramatic rescue of hundreds of people from Mammoth Pool Reservoir.

Plus, civil rights legend Dolores Huerta shares her vision for an upcoming peace and justice center in Bakersfield named in her honor. 


And music educators tell us how they’re handling the pandemic. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 


On the next Valley Edition: The latest in the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, and why Latino voters could play a deciding role in the election’s outcome.

Plus, we explore the return of live music to local venues and how those venues are dealing with the pandemic.

 And poetry written from inside California’s prisons. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

On this week's Valley Edition: Fresno's homeless and affordable housing crisis has exploded in the wake of the pandemic. We take a closer look at the struggle to find shelter for the unhoused and the city policies in place to offer relief.


And a new study from Harvard explores the link between wildfire smoke and COVID deaths last year. Plus, how will the decennial process of redistricting shape politics in the Valley?   


And the Fresno Art Museum reopens to the public.


Gabriel has been detained at the Mesa Verde Processing Facility for 15 months. He agreed to speak with KVPR but only if we didn’t use his last name. He says he’s afraid of retaliation from ICE. Detention has been especially hard during COVID. It was a battle, he says, just to get tested.

“It was bad, so bad,” he says in Spanish. “They were supposed to be testing us and the employees when I got there, but they weren't.” 


On the next Valley Edition: In Fresno County, the Disability Equity Project is offering targeted support to those impacted by COVID-19. 

Plus, a new study from the USC Medical Center shows ICE violated its own internal medical care standards during a seven-year period. Current and former detainees at Mesa Verde in Bakersfield tell us they’re not surprised.

And an art exhibition on the Stonewall uprising opens at Fresno State. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.