Madi Bolanos / KVPR

Next Tuesday, California is slated to reopen its doors following more than a year of pandemic-related restrictions. The state’s reopening system, known as the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, will dissolve, and businesses and houses of worship will be permitted to open without capacity limits or distancing restrictions.

On this week's Valley Edition: Why one small town in the San Joaquin Valley is a destination for unaccompanied minors crossing the Southern border, and how it’s preparing for an anticipated increase this year. 

Plus, how has the pandemic impacted the Central Valley’s LGBTQ+ community? And a new podcast tells the story of a Stanislaus County defense attorney accused of murder. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.


Kerry Klein / KVPR

In early April, Monterey County and a group of community organizations held a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in a school gym in the rural city of Soledad. In a promotional video produced about the event, locals shared what brought them out to get their vaccinations. “I did it to protect my kids,” said Greenfield farm worker Rosa Chavez in Spanish. “My family encouraged me to take the COVID vaccine…and I feel more secure now,” said Soledad resident Maria Ruiz.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Last August, the state of California introduced a “health equity metric” in its method of evaluating progress in fighting COVID-19. Ostensibly, that meant the state would be grading counties not just on their countywide case rates, positivity rates, testing and (later) vaccine numbers, but also on all of those measures within their most disadvantaged census tracts.

Cal/OSHA Recommends New Mask Guidelines For Workers

Jun 4, 2021
Joel Martinez

The California agency in charge of workplace health and safety recommended Thursday to lift masking guidelines in certain cases. Cap Radio’s Steven Rascón has more.

The Cal/OSHA proposal targets employees who interact with the public and those whose workplaces aren’t 100-percent vaccinated. The changes come just two weeks before the state fully reopens.

It bucks the recent recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowing vaccinated people to unmask in most cases.

Alice Daniel / KVPR


For our series looking at how people are processing their experiences around the pandemic, we hear from Rodia Montgomery-Gentry. She’s a social science teacher and department chair at Madera South High School. As schools start to reopen, Montgomery-Gentry reflects on the challenges of connecting to students through online learning. FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel produced this audio postcard.

On this week's Valley Edition: Beginning last summer, dozens of Fresno County non-profits came together to fight COVID-19. They’ve been so effective at community outreach, other counties are following their lead.

And, Corcoran is sinking. The local author of an article explaining it in the New York Times tells us why. 

Plus, Fresno State’s new president shares his vision for the university. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.

More than two decades after coming to Fresno State to teach Spanish and Portuguese, Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval was recently named the ninth president to lead the university. Since last fall, he had been serving as the interim president. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with him about his vision for Fresno State, his approach to closing achievement gaps, and when fans can expect to return to Bulldog Stadium.

Anne VanGarsse via Zoom

As of earlier this month, 127 kids aged 12 to 17 years old had died of COVID-19 in the United States. The number may pale in comparison to the more than half a million adults who’ve died so far, but because deaths among kids are so rare, the total is still high enough to rank COVID-19 among the leading causes of death among that age group.


Young Latinx Women Celebrate Quinceañeras A Year Late Due To Pandemic

May 21, 2021
Navarro Family


Hermila Navarro had been anxiously awaiting her quinceañera. She already had her dress picked out and her little sisters loved it.


On a recent afternoon, Hermila’s little sisters sat at the edge of a bed in their apartment in Kettleman City, watching the 16-year-old pull the dress out of its wrapping. The top of the dress is made to fit like a corset, embroidered with gold sequins that flow down the dress in intricate designs. The bottom is filled with layers and layers of tulle. 


Jakara Movement

Naindeep Singh, the executive director of the Jakara movement, a volunteer training organization and a hub for Sikh Californian youth, has joined us as part of our series looking at how people are processing the magnitude of this pandemic. He spoke with FM89’s Alice Daniel for this audio postcard.


Monica Davalos, Fresno State and UC Merced

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness about the connection between race and health equity, raising the question - how might this experience change public health policy moving forward? Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock explored the topic, and the calls to declare that racism is a public health crisis, with Dr. Venise Curry, a health advocate and board member with The Climate Center, Monica Davalos, research associate with the California Budget and Policy Center, and Whitney Pirtle, assistant professor of sociology at UC Merced.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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. 

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. 

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.