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. 

UCSF Fresno, American Ambulance, Sierra View Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center websites

Yet again, Central Valley hospitals are overflowing with COVID-19 patients, which has stretched our medical systems thin and created disturbing consequences for anyone in need of critical care. To learn more about how hospitals are coping with the most recent surge, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Donna Hefner, president and CEO of Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville, Dr. Danielle Campagne, medical director of American Ambulance, Dr. Robert Ferdman, assistant chief of hospital medicine at Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center, and Dr.

E.F. Kitchen / Courtesy of the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection

A never-before-seen collection of works by contemporary art legends like David Hockney, Helmut Newton and Jean-Michel Basquiat is headed to the Bakersfield Museum of Art. The exhibition, titled “On The Edge,” is comprised of more than 150 objects from the private collection of LA-based art enthusiasts Joan and Jack Quinn. In advance of the exhibition’s opening on Sept. 30, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to Joan Quinn about the close friendships she enjoys with many of these artists and why she wants to exhibit their works here in the Central Valley.  




Why is food insecurity so common in Kern County, and what can people do to solve it? Those two questions are at the core of a new documentary called "INVISIBLE: The Unseen Faces of Hunger." The film was produced by members of Transitional Youth Mobilizing for Change, also known as TYM4Change, a nonprofit that creates opportunities for young people to address issues in their community. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with its executive director, Dixie King, along with two of the young filmmakers, Nicholas Hulsey and R. Amaya. 


Hinds Hospice

For 40 years, Hinds Hospice has been working to comfort terminally ill patients and help their loved ones say goodbye. But their counseling services are available to anyone in the community in need of grief support, services that are proving to be particularly vital as we move through the pandemic. To learn more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Kathy Cromwell, the executive director of counseling and support services for Hinds Hospice.

Justin Kern

The Sequoia Parks Conservancy invites you to shift your gaze upwards this weekend as part of its annual Dark Sky Festival, which this year you can participate in from home. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock talked with Katie Wightman, one of the event’s organizers, about what to expect during this weekend’s virtual festival. 

Alice Daniel / KVPR


Just off Highway 99, halfway between Fresno and Bakersfield, lies the small community of Goshen. It’s mostly known for its ethanol plant, but among the warehouses and agricultural supply stores that line its commercial streets, there’s a jewel of a joint whose popularity goes well beyond even state lines: a food truck that serves Lao fried chicken and rice.

Dolores Huerta Foundation

Next spring, construction is expected to start on the Dolores Huerta Peace and Justice Cultural Center in Bakersfield. In addition to being home to the Dolores Huerta Foundation, the 36,000 square foot complex will also include an amphitheater, child development center, art gallery, and community organizing training academy. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to the civil rights icon about her vision for the center that will bear her name.

Laurel Rosenhall

Gov. Gavin Newsom has less than three weeks to convince voters to keep him in office, and recent polls indicate that the electorate is almost evenly split. To learn the latest on the recall, and why Latino voters could decide the election, Kathleen Schock spoke to Calmatters political reporter Laurel Rosenhall.

Jordan Mattox

High school teacher and Fresno-based podcaster Jordan Mattox recently founded The California Prison Poetry Contest. He’s currently collecting short poems from incarcerated men and women throughout the state. Entrants have a chance to win cash prizes and be published in a literary magazine. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to Mattox about what he hopes to accomplish with the contest, and how the idea grew from conversations with his wife, who works as a psychologist at Avenal State Prison. 

Mayya Tokman

A new children’s museum is opening to the public next month in Merced. It will be the first of its kind in the city’s history. To learn more about the Kids Discovery Station, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to one of its co-founders, UC Merced professor of applied mathematics, Mayya Tokman.

US Forest Service / Inciweb

Last year, the western states were hit with a double-whammy of natural disasters: Not just the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a historically long and intense wildfire season that blanketed the region with plume after plume of noxious smoke.

Randy Vaughn-Dotta

Last week, the Fresno Art Museum reopened its doors to the general public. It was a long awaited moment for the institution and art lovers in Fresno. To learn how it went and what new exhibits are on the horizon, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the museum’s executive director and chief curator Michelle Ellis Pracy.


R. Allen Bolar, Lori Pesante and Don Simmons

Now that the 2020 census data has been released, the work is on to redraw California’s political maps. To learn how the process is going and the political implications for the San Joaquin Valley, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Lori Pesante, director of civic engagement for the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Allen Bolar, political science professor at Bakersfield College and Don Simmons, retired sociology professor at Fresno State.

Mariposa County Public Health Facebook page

In the last month, Mariposa County has surged from one of the state’s lowest rates of new COVID-19 cases to one of its highest. As a result, county supervisors recently approved mask and vaccine mandates for county employees.

Felipe Baez

In 2019 the Brooklyn Museum in New York hosted an exhibition looking at art 50 years after the Stonewall uprising, a landmark moment in LGBTQ history. And on Thursday that exhibit will open for a second time at the Phebe Conley Art Gallery Fresno State. The exhibition, which runs through October, is presented by the university’s Center for Creativity and the Arts. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with its director, Cindy Urrutia, and Liz Looney with The James B. McClatchy Foundation, which is funding the exhibit.

This week the Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted to extend funding for the Disability Equity Project, a coalition of six local organizations that serve individuals and families living with a wide-range of disabilities. For the past year, these organizations have worked in partnership to help their clients through the pandemic. Exceptional Parents Unlimited, which supports children with special medical and developmental needs, has served as the project’s lead agency.


As the Delta variant continues to spread throughout the San Joaquin Valley, so do calls from public health officials to increase vaccination rates. But as KQED’s Central Valley reporter Alexandra Hall has learned, the reasons why some are avoiding the shot can be more complicated than many think. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with her about what she’s found.

Courtesy of JMFdeA Press


Throughout the pandemic, we’ve relied not just on the medical providers based at our local hospitals, but also traveling nurses who move from place to place, filling in wherever help is needed. 



One such nurse, Grover Nicodemus Street, is a military veteran based in Colorado. So far during the pandemic, he has served in five different states, ranging from major population centers like New York City and Miami to the rural town of Tehachapi. He recently published a book about traveling from COVID hotspot to hotspot called Chasing the Surge.

Paul Towers

Small farmers in the Central Valley operate on thin margins even in good years, and now they are also grappling with drought, wildfire and the recovery from market disruptions that were caused by the pandemic. To get a better sense of how family farms are weathering these challenges, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Paul Towers, executive director of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. 

UCSF Fresno

Dr. Sukhjit Dhillon, an emergency medicine physician at UCSF Fresno, says she is concerned that the recent increase in COVID-19 cases will once again overwhelm hospital emergency rooms.   

New hospital admissions due to COVID-19 have increased in Fresno County by 71 percent in the past week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

More and more people are coming in with respiratory symptoms likely due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, she says. Most are unvaccinated.