Madi Bolanos

Reporter

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. 

 

An alternative care site to relieve area hospitals is now set up in the Fresno Convention Center. The site will initially be used for non-COVID-19 related cases but that could change, said Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vorha.

In a large room typically used for celebratory banquets, there are now 250 foldable hospital beds lined up in rows with empty chairs next to them.

The site is prepared to take care of COVID-19 patients, but will first house patients with non-escalating medical conditions. 

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood announced on Tuesday a dozen cases of COVID-19 among staff and inmates in the county jail. That’s why the county is now releasing some inmates without bail. 

 

Sheriff Youngblood announced on Facebook the judicial council is requiring the release of some inmates with low level misdemeanors and felonies, with no bail.  

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: Lawyers are pushing to get their at-risk clients out of detention centers before they get sick with COVID-19. We hear about one woman’s unexpected journey.  

We also talk to educators about the challenges of distance education especially among the Valley’s most vulnerable students. And we hear from a few students about how school from home is going for them.

Later, we talk to an emergency room doctor about what it’s like to be on the frontlines. 

  

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom placed an executive order restricting water shutoffs retroactively from March 4th. That’s good news, community advocates say, but it doesn’t help those whose water was already shut off. 

Jonathan Nelson is the Policy Director for the Community Water Center. He says Newsom’s   order will help people who are worried about paying future bills. But what about those whose water has been shut off for over a month?

As state and local officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, lawyers across California are joining forces to get their at-risk clients out of ICE detention centers, including the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield.

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A nursing home in Visalia announced on Wednesday that six residents and two healthcare professionals have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Redwood Springs Healthcare Center is a nursing facility in the central San Joaquin Valley that currently holds 176 beds. The healthcare staff experienced the onset of symptoms while caring for two patients in one room, the nursing home said in a statement.

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: With COVID-19 cases growing at exponential rates, how are local governments, hospitals and nonprofits dealing with the pandemic? We find out how the virus is shaping preparedness plans in the short and long term.   

And we share personal accounts of how the coronavirus is impacting the lives of the Valley’s residents, and how they’re coping.  

Plus, a single mother of two who is living in a homeless shelter with her family gives us some words of hope.

 

Advocates are pushing to expand a cash back tax credit program that would provide more money to people who may be employed, undocumented, and still living in poverty.

As people begin to feel the loss in income due to the coronavirus outbreak, advocates are urging Governor Gavin Newsom to use a portion of California's Emergency COVID-19 Funding to expand the tax credit program, CalEITC. 

CalEITC has expanded every year since 2015, but continues to exclude ITIN taxfilers or undocumented taxpayers. 

On this week's Valley Edition: With children home from school and concern about COVID-19 on the rise, how do parents protect the mental health of their kids? We talk to pediatric psychologist Dr. Amanda Suplee for some guidance.

We also speak with Fresno County Director of Behavioral Health Dawan Utecht, UCSF Fresno emergency room physician Dr. Manavjeet Sidhu, and University of California, Merced economist and professor Ketki Sheth to answer some of the mental health, physical health and economic questions sent in by listeners about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madi Bolanos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As state and local officials advise older Americans to stay indoors and away from crowds amid coronavirus concerns, supermarkets are working to accommodate their needs. 

 

This week, Vallarta, an American supermarket chain that caters to Latino customers,

Madi Bolanos

The city of Fresno issued a voluntary shelter in place order Wednesday to go into effect Thursday at midnight. Residents are being asked to leave their homes for essential services only.  

Ezra David Romero / KVPR

The spread of COVID-19 is forcing many people to work from home, but for farmworkers that’s not an option.  

Take Eucebia and Alejandro; the couple asked to go by their first names only. They have three kids and no savings. In the past two weeks, they’ve been asked to leave two picking jobs, first in almonds, then in grapes. The second job at Fowler Packing only lasted two days before the contractor told them to leave.

“She said that there wasn't going to be any work, that everything had been canceled,” Eucebia said. 

Mayor Lee Brand announced a State of Emergency for the city of Fresno today in an effort to help the city receive state and federal funding.  

 

“I believe this is a sensible step to ensure the city of Fresno is in the best position to protect the people of Fresno,“ said Mayor Brand.

In compliance with Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement last week, the Mayor advised people 65 years or older to remain indoors. Hoping to lead by example, Brand said he will begin working from home as “much as possible.” 

 

 

The McFarland City Council appointed a new mayor Thursday to replace former Mayor Manuel Cantu. Cantu quit in February after the city declined a proposal that would allow The GEO Group, Inc. to turn two state prisons into immigration detention centers. GEO has since appealed that decision.

Council member Sally Gonzalez was appointed mayor, but most of the residents who attended the meeting were more concerned about the appeals case. 

This week on Valley Edition: COVID-19 cases are on the rise in California, but what does that mean for the San Joaquin Valley? We learn how the disease is affecting our healthcare system, education and the economy and we get some advice on how not to panic. 

We also interview an author whose latest book was inspired by murders in the 1980s committed by the so-called “Lords of Bakersfield.”

And, we check in with StoryCorp San Joaquin. You’ll hear the first of many segments  coming straight from the Valley.

 

Madi Bolanos

A Sikh church in the small town of San Joaquin is now a historical landmark. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors made it official Tuesday. It’s the third Sikh historical landmark in California, but the first in Fresno County. 

The San Joaquin Gurdwara was created in the early 1980s. Members of the Sikh community put together their earnings in order to purchase the building that is now their place of worship. 

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: A new exhibit celebrates a 1970s-era magazine that highlighted the achievements of African Americans in Fresno. We speak with one of its founders about why he started it.

Plus, we delve into the history of Yemeni farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley, and how the death of Nagi Daifallah and Arab nationalism complicated a multicultural movement in the UFW.

We also take a look at what’s new this year at Fresno’s Rogue Festival. 

Listen to those stories and more on the podcast above.

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