Soreath Hok

Reporter

Soreath Hok is a multimedia journalist with 16 years of experience in radio, television and digital production. At Valley Public Radio she covers local government, politics and other local news. A Cambodian-American, Soreath began her journalism career in Fresno, graduating from Fresno State with a B.A. in English and minor in Mass Communication & Journalism. Her first media job at KFSR, the campus radio station, helped to launch her career in broadcast news. She worked as a producer at two Fresno stations, KMPH FOX 26 and KSEE 24, before moving to KCRA 3 in Sacramento. After more than 10 years behind-the-scenes as a producer, Soreath explored other creative outlets outside of news in advertising, marketing and social media. Most recently, she started a social media marketing company in Sacramento, before deciding to move back to Fresno to help with her family’s business. Now, she’s happy to be back in her hometown, returning to the medium that started it all for her.

Ways to Connect

On this week’s Valley Edition: What the research says about the risk of COVID-19 complications during pregnancy.

And mental health professionals help to process the anxiety some are feeling about reentering society post-vaccination.

 

Plus, a veteran journalist tells us what governor Newsom’s drought emergency declaration means for the San Joaquin Valley.

And county funding for community gardens in Fresno stops next month. We look at the impact. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.

 

It’s been 40 years since Dr. Ghia Xiong lived and farmed in Laos, but he says this seven acre community garden in Sanger always reminds him of his childhood.

“Going to the farm with my parents and seeing how beautiful it is and then being able to come to this garden just takes me back home like that,” he says.

Xiong says being here out in the open provides a sense of peace. 

“The plants, the corn, the lemongrass here tells you where the wind flows,” he says.

 

A recent ruling on a lawsuit filed in 2019 says the city of Clovis must begin the process of building more high-density, affordable housing and has been violating a state law by not doing so.

Attorney Patience Milrod, executive director of Central California Legal Services, says Clovis has traditionally zoned for single family homes, pricing out low-income residents.

 

 

On this week's Valley Edition: As candidates line up to run against the governor in the recall election, we discuss the financial costs for taxpayers and the political costs for Newsom. 

Plus, as demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in Fresno County drops, we visit the Cherry Auction to find out why some Latino residents are choosing not to get the vaccine.

 

And a pair of historians discuss the farm labor shortage in the 1940s. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

On the second story of Fresno Police Headquarters, there’s a darkened room lit up with screens that show 21 camera views. Each screen displays a different part of downtown. This monitoring system is called the Real Time Crime Center. 

 

The center was first opened in 2015, but had to shut down in 2019 due to budget and staffing issues. Since taking office in January, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama says he noticed the center was going unused.

 

 

The Fresno Center unveiled a new mobile health unit Monday, the first of its kind in Fresno County designed to provide remote mental health services. 

Pao Yang, president and CEO of the Fresno Center, said it’s been a huge challenge to reach the people who are most in need of mental health services, especially during the pandemic. 

That’s why the center teamed up with Anthem Blue Cross to provide a mobile clinic. Anthem donated money for the van. The Fresno Center will use it to reach underserved and rural communities. 

 

A coalition of San Joaquin Valley leaders, legislators and farmers came together Friday to declare a regional drought emergency for Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. They spoke at Harlan Ranch in Clovis. Behind the speakers, fallowed trees were heaped in piles of dried wood. 

Sen. Andreas Borgeas led the coalition in urging the governor to take immediate action. 

“There is no question, California is in a drought. Even the U.S. Ag Secretary has declared 50 California counties to be natural disaster zones because of drought,” he said.

At Sew N So Alterations in north Fresno, the steady thrum of mechanized needles is a good sign. It means business is finally starting to pick back up again. 

Owner Patrick Tran points out several machines that are used to make alterations. 

 

“Those three are overlap machines where after you cut it, you overlap so it doesn’t fray,” he says gesturing to a row of machines on the back counter.

 

 

On this week's Valley Edition: The history of Allensworth, a Black settlement in Tulare County, is part of a new podcast that takes an in-depth look at Black pioneers in rural California.   

Plus, the story of a Vietnamese-American tailor whose generosity and foresight kept his sewing business alive during the past year.


And Fresno’s new poet laureate processes the pandemic. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.

 

It’s estimated that from 2019 to 2020, Fresno’s homeless population increased by almost 70%. City Manager Tommy Esqueda is certain that number has continued to grow this year.

“We don't have enough housing capacity available to get folks out of the shelters we’ve invested in, and so we have more people on the street,” he said. 

 

During Wednesday’s city council meeting, Esqueda presented a $25 million housing development plan for the next fiscal year.

 

On the next Valley Edition: Local activists discuss the status of police reform in the Valley following the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. 

Plus, a funeral home director reflects on a surreal year and the psychological effect of the pandemic on his staff. 

And Fresno writer James Ardaiz tells us about his new historical novel, "Tears of Honor." Listen to these stories and more on the podcast above. 

 

 

Community members gathered outside Fresno City Hall Tuesday night, just hours after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial. Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts: second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.  

A painted portrait of George Floyd was placed at the center of the gathering, organized by the Fresno State NAACP chapter. 

Pieces of paper attached to the portrait fluttered in the wind. They listed the names of those killed in the U.S. by police violence.  

 

 

Community activists in Fresno took center stage at a community gathering Tuesday night to mark the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. Speakers reflected on a hard-fought year of protests leading up to the guilty verdict. They acknowledged the event as a way to connect and heal with others who have felt a mix of emotions after the verdict was read. 

 

On this week's Valley Edition: Latino immigrants have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, especially in Kings County where deaths increased by 90% last year due to COVID.

Plus, filmmakers document intergenerational trauma a century after the Armenian genocide.

 

And a new guidebook uncovers some of the lesser-known highlights of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

An encampment at Broadway and San Benito in downtown Fresno is dotted with rows of tents. Many are the newly built and more sturdy tent sheds.

Camp manager Dez Martinez unzips a tent belonging to one of the newest residents, Norma Chapa, who has been here for three weeks.

“I have some books for coloring using colored pens, and I have my stuffed animals and this is how I made my room,” Norma, 52, says, showing off what’s inside.

In a news conference Wednesday, Fresno city leaders denounced the violence that erupted last Sunday at a Tower Theater protest. The protests organized by the Save the Tower Theater Demonstration Committee have largely been peaceful, but this past Sunday, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said as many as 60 Proud Boys attended. He said they wore ballistic vests, carried hunting knives, tear gas and mace.

“The proud boys were very, very vocal, threatening and intimidating towards the Save the Tower protesters who were also there,” he said.

 

Mee Vue stands in the middle of tidy dirt rows, looking down as she points out the watering line running the length of her garden. The drip system feeds her newly planted corn crop and cabbages, all flowering in various stages.   

She’s busy moving her garden hoe, getting rid of weeds that have sprouted since her last visit to the community garden at Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries, or FIRM.

Vue lives right across the street and often spends time in the garden. A translator speaks for her. 

On this week's Valley Edition: Fresno leaders respond to a rise in anti-Asian racism. Why some crimes go unreported, and details of a proposal to hire a diverse outreach team.

Plus, award-winning NPR talk show host Diane Rehm discusses her new PBS documentary about medical aid in dying. 

 

And community organizers are providing support to street vendors after a deadly attack on one this year. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

 

More Fresno County businesses opened this week as the county moved into the second-most restrictive tier Wednesday. It must remain there for three weeks before it can advance to a less restrictive tier.

 

David Luchini, assistant director of the Fresno County health department, said two key indicators -- the county’s overall positivity rate and its health equity positivity rate -- are both below 5%. That could allow the county to reach the next tier even sooner, he said.

First Lady Jill Biden spent time in Delano Wednesday to honor civil rights leader and farm labor activist Cesar Chavez. She was there to take part in a Day of Action, alongside the Cesar Chavez Foundation, the United Farm Workers and the Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force. 

Pages