Soreath Hok

Soreath Hok is a reporter with Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Center is getting ready for the holiday week ahead with a special turkey giveaway Monday. It’s the nonprofit’s latest effort to fight hunger during this pandemic.

What started as a monthly food distribution has now become a weekly event at the Fresno Center. It’s a lifeline for people like Wessly Sequeiros.

“These places that help us with the food help a lot since my wife is not working and I’m the only provider,” Sequeiros said.

On this week's Valley Edition: Governor Gavin Newsom announced California was pulling the emergency break on its reopening plan due to the state’s rising COVID-19 numbers. We go to Firebaugh to get the reaction of this small Fresno County farming town that has fought hard to keep cases low. 

Plus, we discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh following the six-week war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

And we talk with award-winning journalist Farai Chidaya about her new podcast, Our Body Politic.

 

When the Fresno City Council first approved a Housing Retention Grant in May for $1.5 million, the response was overwhelming, said Council President Miguel Arias.

“Within a week of announcing the housing retention program, we had 14,000 residents inquire about completing an application,” he said. 

 

The grant helps struggling renters and homeowners affected by the pandemic pay for housing costs including rent or mortgages.

On this week's Valley Edition: Now that California voters have said no to the idea of restoring affirmative action, we take a look at what this will mean for public higher education.

Plus, in honor of Veterans Day, we talk to Peggy and Edward Pastana about how their bond helped them overcome an accident that recently kept them apart.

And a documentary from a UC Merced professor explores the refugee experience through the eyes of children.

 

The Fresno County Health Department has asked more than 40 people to self-quarantine following the recent COVID-19 infection of Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau. Some of these people, including mayor-elect Jerry Dyer who also tested positive, attended an election night dinner party with the supervisor. 

 

Granville Homes President and CEO Darius Assemi was another guest who attended the private dinner party last Tuesday. By Friday evening, he found out he had tested positive.

 

 

This Veterans Day, the Central California Blood Center has issued a valley-wide call to donate as a way to honor those who’ve served in the military. 

It’s hoping to bolster donations in a year where the center has been facing lots of challenges due to COVID-19, says Marketing and Community Development Director Ersilia Lacaze.

“A lot of our blood supply comes from our ability to go out into the community with one of our buses and collect blood. Well, many of those opportunities have been cancelled,” says Lacaze.

On this week's Valley Edition: We unpack what happened on Tuesday by looking at partisanship in the San Joaquin Valley and discussing how the election will shape California’s future. 

Plus, we take you to the small farming town of Mendota to find out how Latinx businesses there are doing during the pandemic. Some have only survived by taking out loans. 

 

And, two sisters in Fresno share stories about their peacemaking father for San Joaquin  StoryCorps. 

And now it’s time for another StoryCorps San Joaquin. As part of our collaboration with the personal history project, we’ll be airing segments over the next year based on recorded conversations from February’s 2020 mobile tour in Fresno and Bakersfield. Today you’ll hear from two sisters, Diane Flowers and Marilyn Harris. They share stories about their beloved father, a man dedicated to peace and practicing what you preach.

 

The ACLU’s national Election Protection coalition is a year-round, national and non-partisan effort to protect the right to vote. Tuesday, the coalition was actively monitoring voting activity in Fresno and Tulare counties. Fresno consulting firm, Cid & Macedo, managed a network of volunteers on Election Day. 

Those volunteers included Kathryn Forbes and Roan Gordon, a mother-daughter team who spent the day working as poll observers. 

 

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists outlines wide-reaching environmental impacts affecting the health and economy of San Joaquin Valley communities from extreme heat to water scarcity and pollution.

 

And now it’s time for another episode of StoryCorps San Joaquin. As part of Valley Public Radio’s collaboration with the personal history project, we’re airing segments based on recorded conversations from February’s 2020 mobile tour in Fresno and Bakersfield. Today, we’re going to hear from mother and daughter, Maria and Jasmine Leiva as they trace their family roots in El Salvador.

 

Reyna Olaguez, who runs communications for Building Healthy Communities Kern, says she never thought Facebook posts could cost the nonprofit a $1.2 million grant with the county to provide COVID-19 outreach to at-risk groups.

“It’s just very disappointing that they’re really prioritizing politics over the health of the community,” she said.