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: 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. 

 

Rain Chamberlain, who identifies with the pronoun they/them, lives in a small stucco home in Fresno with their child and a roommate. Chamberlain’s workspace is tucked into a corner of the living room.  

“This is my desk area over here,” they say as they sit at the desk and begin a usual routine, signing into one of several government websites they use to access assistance programs. 

“So if I were to go to 'My Benefits Calwin’,” they say, waiting for the page to load.

“Oh hey, guess what. The internet decided it wasn't there,” Chamberlain says with a laugh.

 

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. 


 

Four people seriously injured Thursday afternoon when they were struck by a falling tree were released from the hospital Friday morning. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park officials say of the four injured, one was from CALFIRE and three were Corpsmembers with the California Conservation Corps. The group was working on the southern end of the KNP Complex in Sequoia National Park when the tree fell around 3 p.m. Thursday. All four were airlifted to a hospital and treated overnight. 

At Sunset Elementary in southwest Fresno Tuesday, Governor Newsom announced sweeping investments in early education. As part of his California Comeback Plan, he said universal transitional kindergarten will soon be a reality. 

“Finally, we're in a position to create a brand new grade, TK for all in the state of California,” he said.

The legislation will help school districts create transitional kindergarten programs starting in 2022. The goal is to make the programs free and available at all schools by 2025.

An air quality alert first issued last week was extended until Thursday morning due to continuing wildfire smoke. The San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District says there are intense amounts of smoke from the KNP Complex and Windy Fires in Sequoia National Park and nearby forest. 

NPS / ACholo / Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Fire crews are starting to gain ground on wildfires burning in Sequoia National Park and Sequoia National Forest. But the effects are still being felt as far as Fresno County.

In Fresno, you can clearly see and smell the smoke. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued an air quality alert through Monday, all of it due to the Windy and KNP Complex fires burning for the past three weeks.

Sharrah Thompson lives on the second floor of an older apartment complex in central Fresno. Downstairs, dogs in a neighbor’s yard that is separated by a chain link fence won’t stop barking.

“It's not an area you want to live in, but if you got to and you need a roof over your head, definitely, obviously it's going to be cheaper,” she says.

Outside her building, a crime scene investigation vehicle pulls up and parks on the street. A police officer talks to people in a nearby home. 

 

 

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. 

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. 

 

Gov. Newsom signed a $15 billion climate change package Thursday, the largest investment of its kind in the state’s history. He signed the bill in Three Rivers, near the site of the KNP Complex fire that continues to threaten the giant sequoias.  

 

“You've got trees that quite literally date back over 3300 years ago. You can't rebuild a giant sequoia,” he said.

 

He emphasized the devastating effects of climate change when he referred to the strategies firefighters are using to protect the giants.

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. 

The fires inside Sequoia National Park continue to grow, now burning nearly 6,000 acres. The Colony Fire and the larger Paradise Fire make up the KNP Complex. Monday night, the Paradise Fire moved downhill, crossing the middle fork of the Kaweah River and the Generals Highway. The complex is currently threatening the communities of Mineral King and Three Rivers. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for Mineral King and orders have expanded for parts of Three Rivers. 

 

The KNP Complex Fire, which started Thursday after lightning strikes, has burned just over 3000 acres in the Sequoia National Park. There are two fires making up the complex, the Colony Fire located near Crystal Cave Road and the larger Paradise Fire near Paradise Ridge, northeast of Mineral King. 

 

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. 

 

A third group of people now involved in the weekly Tower Theater protests say they were forced into an unsafe situation last Sunday when they were told to move from outside the theater to a corner across the street. 

The protests ended in five arrests for the group led by Fresno homeless advocate Dez Martinez. She began her protest three weeks ago in front of the Tower Theatre, where Adventure Church has been operating weekly church services. She said the church mistreated and kicked out an unhoused individual who was trying to attend services.

 

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. 

 

 

An Afghan woman who asks to be called Sana places a spread of dried fruit and nuts on the dinner table in her small apartment. It’s in keeping with Afghan culture.

“When we have guests, it's must,” she says, getting ready to pour a cup of tea. “You should serve them green tea or black tea.”

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. 

The California Department of Justice has reached an agreement Monday with the Bakersfield Police Department to implement a wide-range of policing reforms.

The state began its investigation in 2016 following a surge of citizen complaints, said Attorney General Rob Bonta.

“The California Department of Justice launched an investigation that in our estimation revealed that the Bakersfield Police Department failed to uniformly and adequately enforce the law, leading to a pattern or practice of conduct that deprived Bakersfield residents of their constitutional protections.”

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