audio postcard

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Jordan Pulido lost his grandmother to the coronavirus, and says the pandemic has derailed most of his plans for his last year at Fresno State. 

The 22-year-old is studying music education, and this year, he was supposed to perform in the university’s rendition of “Carmina Burana,” travel to Italy, and participate in the Disney College Program in Florida during the fall semester. 

Instead, he’s been home, avoiding outings as much as possible to protect his family. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: A well known Hmong filmmaker who documented the lives of Hmong communities all over Asia died of COVID-19 in July. With his funeral this week in Fresno, his family recalls his legacy. 

Plus, a century after white women gained the right to vote, we explore the history of the 19th Amendment, and how it changed the U.S. forever. 

Farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley are facing higher risks of contracting COVID-19 compared to non-agricultural industries, according to a new farmworkers study. That’s on top of dealing with extreme heat and pesticide exposure. 

Courtesy of Patrick Contreras

This week we spoke to a musician who, like others, lost a lot of work when the pandemic hit: Performances were postponed, or cancelled altogether. Patrick Contreras, a Fresno violinist, started to offer front lawn concerts to make ends meet, and the idea has taken off. He says he’s heard from other musicians across the country, asking how he’s made it work. 

Youtube Screen Capture

Last August, we introduced you to a Delano teen who had just released her own mariachi album and was preparing to attend Harvard University with her older sister. In mid-March, sisters Anaí and Xóchitl Morales returned home to Delano to finish their semester at Harvard online, due to COVID-19. Since being home, they’ve joined their father, Juan Morales, in moving music instruction for The Mariachi Studio online. 

 

We know the San Joaquin Valley is home to diverse communities and cultures, and this year we’re bringing you audio postcards from some of the families who settled here a little more recently. Today we’re going to hear from Amanprit Singh Dhatt at his home in Kerman. The city is home to a large population of Punjabi speakers, including Amanprit. He came to California in 2005, after marrying his wife, Rupinder Kaur in India. Rupinder sponsored Amanprit to come to the U.S., and they've raised their daughter to embrace both Indian and American culture.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s time for the Weekend, and we’re taking you straight up Highway 180 to the Giant Sequoia National Monument. There’s the Kings River, and the beautiful trees that give the monument its namesake. But there are also caves up here, lots of them. While most aren’t easily accessible, one cave just reopened to the public - Boyden Cavern.

 

People have been touring it for over a hundred years now, ever since J. Putnam Boyden found it in 1906.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s clear that some non-profits, also called community benefit organizations, can really change a place through advocacy and education. However, keeping those organizations going is often dependent on gifts, grants, and fundraising.

Fresno State’s Humanics Program teaches students about philanthropy, leadership and how to run a CBO. Yesterday was the annual Students4Giving presentation -- students awarded three $5,000 grants to CBOs in the Central Valley.

Alice Daniel

We're introducing an occasional series called Mind the Gap, where we ask people at least 60 years apart in age for their take on topics both personal and political. For our first Mind the Gap, you’ll meet Raymart Catacuton. He’s 18, attends Fresno City College and works at a thrift store in the Tower District. And you’ll hear from Rose Marie Carillo. She’s almost 80, and she’s very active in her church where her husband of 59 years was the pastor. She says it's been tough since he died, back in September. One way she passes the time is to shop in the same thrift store where Raymart works.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

We’re going to hear from a few San Joaquin Valley residents about how they celebrate Thanksgiving. Like most families, it’s a time for them to gather, cook, and the menu usually includes the expected turkey and mashed potatoes. But they also incorporate other cultures into their gatherings.

 

You can hear the five stories by listening above. Below is a bit about each person's story.

 

Alice Daniel / Valley Public Radio

In honor of Veterans Day, we went to the Veterans Home of California in Fresno to hear stories from residents. We spoke to three vets about their experiences in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Listen to the audio above hear an audio postcard from Fresno veterans Jim Appleton, Elsa Barry and Gordon Scott.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

During the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead,) people remember loved ones who have died. Traditionally, they honor the deceased with altars featuring sugar skulls, marigold flowers, photos and their favorite foods and drinks. This month, Arte Americas, in downtown Fresno, is exhibiting altars in memory of local residents and Latino icons.