Valley Public Radio News

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Hear local reports on the economy, government, education, health and the environment on Valley Public Radio during All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Valley Edition. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many basic questions about the virus have been answered, including how it spreads, how it responds to treatment, and how it affects the body. But even those lessons learned apply mostly to generally healthy people and those with the most common pre-existing conditions, and unknowns still abound for many population subsets—including pregnant women.


Alice Daniel / KVPR


On this week's Valley Edition, we continue our series looking at how people are processing the magnitude of this pandemic. Today we hear from 79-year-old Dezie Woods-Jones. She’s the state president of Black Women Organized for Political Action and a former vice mayor of Oakland. Woods-Jones lives in Madera County. FM89’s Alice Daniel caught up with her there and produced this audio postcard. 

Henry Meraz, Leah Whitworth and Etisha Wilbon

On Thursday, the CDC announced something that many have been waiting for, permission for fully vaccinated people to take off their masks in most settings. It was presented as a significant step toward normalcy. But just before that announcement was made, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock had this conversation with mental health professionals about the complicated feelings some of us have about getting back to normal.

Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom extended the drought emergency declaration to much of California, including the San Joaquin Valley. To better understand the significance of that decision, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to journalist Steven Greenhut. He is a columnist for the Orange County Register and the author of a book for the Pacific Research Institute called “Winning the Water Wars.”


Medical care at California State Prison, Corcoran received a poor rating in a recently published state watchdog review. Now, prison advocates worry that doesn’t bode well for the quality of care during the pandemic.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

For a decade, the Central California Asthma Collaborative (CCAC) has aimed to reduce the burden of asthma in the San Joaquin Valley, which sits in one of the country’s most polluted air basins and reports some of the highest rates of asthma and asthma-related medical encounters in the state.

Kaweah Health Medical Center

For many of us, hospitals are pillars of communities, representing safety nets that we hope will always be there. But there’s no guarantee they will be. A new report estimates that California’s hospitals have suffered billions of dollars in losses in the last year, and that they could lose billions more before 2021 is through.

Library of Congress

While teaching a history course at Fresno State, professor Ethan Kytle stumbled upon the forgotten history of a farm labor crisis in 1942 that inspired Fresno residents to leave their jobs, and classrooms, in order to work in the fields. Kytle, along with co-author Blain Roberts, wrote about the crisis for the online magazine Boom California. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with them about the conditions that led to this labor shortage.

Nicole Nixon, Ben Christopher and Ivy Cargile

It is increasingly likely that Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a recall election later this year. What is less clear is when it will happen, how much it will cost, and what it will mean for the political future of the governor and those running to replace him. To discuss these questions, and more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Ivy Cargile, assistant professor of Political Science at CSU Bakersfield, along with political reporters Ben Christopher at CalMatters and Nicole Nixon at Cap Radio.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

The Fresno Arts Council recently announced the city’s fifth poet laureate, Megan Anderson Bohigian. In her new role, Anderson Bohigian says she hopes to facilitate healing around the pandemic with a community involved poetry writing project. FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel reached out to her to participate in our own narrative series: Processing the Pandemic. Daniel produced this audio postcard. 

California State Parks

The Cal Ag Roots podcast series “We Are Not Strangers Here” explores the history of Black Americans in rural California. This week's Valley Edition features an episode from the series, titled “Back to the Land: Allensworth and the Black Utopian Dream,” produced and hosted by Caroline Collins.  

@aydraj (with editing by @naliniasha_art)

The Cal Ag Roots podcast series “We Are Not Strangers Here” explores the contributions of Black Californians to agriculture and rural communities. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with its producer and host Caroline Collins about the importance of preserving that history and the origins of the podcast.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

On this week's Valley Edition, we continue our series looking at how people are processing the pandemic. Last week, we heard from a hip hop dance instructor who says she’s taking more time to slow down and enjoy simple pleasures. This week, a funeral manager talks about his experience. He says it’s been surreal and the grief comes in waves. FM89’s news director Alice Daniel produced this audio postcard.

California Department of Public Health Open Data Portal

*Correction 4/24: This interview inadvertently implies that Eric Bream employs undocumented workers, which he does not.*

Pace Press/Linden Publishing

The new historical novel “Tears of Honor” by Fresno author James Ardaiz documents the experience of Japanese-Americans during WWII. The sweeping narrative includes two boys from Calwa who are forced into an internment camp, and ultimately show their loyalty to America by joining the Army and fighting in the war. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Ardaiz about the novel and the extensive research he conducted while writing it. 

D’Aungillique Jackson, Arleana Waller, Aaron Foster and NaTesha Johnson

Last summer’s reckoning over police brutality against Black people, led both Fresno and Bakersfield to establish commissions of community members, charged with making recommendations for reform.  Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock checked in with some of the activists involved to see how the work is going, and to hear their response to the murder conviction of Derek Chauvin. She spoke with Bakersfield activists NaTesha Johnson and Arleana Waller, along with D’Aungillique Jackson, president of the Fresno State chapter of the NAACP, and Fresno-based anti-gun violence advocate Aaron Foster.

Kerry Klein


As of this week, more than a half million San Joaquin Valley residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For some, that means being able to more safely visit grandkids or elderly parents, while for others it’s a ticket to spending more time in public or feeling more secure in person-to-person interactions at work.

Alice Daniel

How do we make sense of the magnitude of this pandemic? We each have our own way of navigating through it. As part of a new series looking at how we process this extraordinary time, FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel produced this audio postcard from her conversation with Deborah McCoy, a hip hop dance teacher and photographer in Fresno.

UC Merced

Temperatures are on the rise, wild flowers are in bloom, and many are feeling pulled to the great outdoors. Among them is Leigh Bernacchi, a researcher at UC Merced and the author of the new guidebook “Sequoia and Kings Canyon: Hiking, Camping, Waterfalls and Big Trees.” She spoke with Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock about some of the best off-the-beaten-path places to visit in the parks.

Jared White and Stephanie Ayanian

Two upcoming documentaries on Valley PBS cover Armenian-Americans’ struggles grappling with cultural identity and intergenerational trauma, a century after the Armenian Genocide. Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke with Jared White and Lilit Pilikian, the husband and wife team behind the film “100 Years From Home.” It documents Lilit’s quest to find the home her ancestors fled during the genocide. She also spoke with Stephanie Ayanian, producer of the film, “What Will Become of Us.” It explores the lasting impact on the descendants of genocide survivors.