Fresno

Monica Lam / KQED

More than 1,100 people at the Fresno County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The running tally of infections at the county-run complex actually surpasses those at all but two state prisons in California. But unlike the state’s careful tracking and reporting of cases at prisons and nursing homes, data on COVID-19 infections in county jails have not been consistently collected or made readily available to the public.

On Monday, the Fresno Police Reform Commission announced a new community survey that will assist it in making informed recommendations to the city of Fresno and its police department.

The survey asks community members questions like how comfortable would they be calling the Fresno Police for help and whether the community should have a say in the department's funding. D'Aungillique Jackson, the chair of the community input subcommittee, says the goal is to include responses from underrepresented communities. 

 

Anjeli Macaranas

Violinist Anjeli Macaranas recently graduated from University High School in Fresno and will be attending Harvard this fall, from home. She performed this spring on Valley Public Radio’s Young Artists Spotlight and as a guest on the Play On series early this summer. Valley Public Radio’s David Aus recently caught up with her to learn more about her Little Virtuosos Project and the interconnection between music and mental health.

Patience Milrod and Amber Crowell

California Gov. Gavin Newsom suspended most evictions in April. But now state lawmakers are debating whether to lift the moratorium, leaving renters who have lost their jobs to the pandemic facing an uncertain future.

Fresno’s new Police Reform Commission is 30 days into its 90 day timeline to produce a list of recommendations on police reform to the city. On Wednesday, some of its members provided an update to the Communities for a New California Education Fund.  

On Wednesday, the Clovis Unified School District voted to allow parents to choose between sending their kids to school five days a week or participating in online-learning. While many parents say they are on board, some parents are torn. 

 

Elvira Galindo’s daughter will be a freshman at Clovis North High School this fall. She said when she heard the district’s decision, she was shocked. 

 

Patrick Macmillan

Palliative care improves the quality of life for patients facing serious illnesses and these days, that includes COVID-19. FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel spoke with Dr. Patrick Macmillan, the chief of Palliative Medicine at UCSF Fresno, about what his work is like right now and how he uses music to cope with stress. She produced this audio postcard.

 

As positive case numbers continue to climb, FUSD announced Thursday plans to reopen schools in the fall. However, parents will have the option to continue online learning for their children or send them back to a school campus.

 

Fresno Unified Superintendent Bob Nelson announced parents must fill out a survey choosing which learning environment is best suited for their children before July 31st.

 

Joel Martinez

As COVID-19 cases in the San Joaquin Valley continue to climb, the Fresno County Department of Agriculture recently secured nearly one million masks to help protect the county’s agricultural workers.  

 

Melissa Cregan, the agricultural commissioner for the county, said the masks came from California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and the Office of Emergency Services.

 

“We’ve probably received over 800,000 of the face coverings and we’ve distributed probably over 700,000 of those,” said Cregan.  

 

Fresno State / Fresno State Official Facebook

 

As coronavirus cases are surging, so are reports of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. But even as mental health professionals are needed more than ever, those who graduated from one Fresno State nursing program are being told to return to school.

 

Office of the Governor of California Twitter page

On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars to close in seven California counties, including four in the San Joaquin Valley: Fresno, Kern, Tulare and Kings. He also recommended bar closures in eight others. Health officials in Kern County, however, say the order was made without consulting them.

 

Fresno Alliance

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department reported 507 positive COVID-19 cases at the county jail on Monday. That’s almost a quarter of the total jail population, but testing has still been limited to one part of the facility. 

The sheriff’s department reported its first cases of the coronavirus on June 19th. That’s when 13 incarcerated people who were being transferred out tested positive for COVID-19. The 13 had been housed in the jail’s north annex. 

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. 

Play On: Beyond Borders

Jun 24, 2020
Dinuk Wijeratne

In this episode of Play On, as we confront a global pandemic, we rediscover our shared humanity by exploring music with a global reach. Our guests include composer Dinuk Wijeratne and pipa virtuoso Wu Man. We’ll listen to work by Wijeratne, Zhao Jiping, and Gabriela Lena Frank. Hear host David Aus talk with Fresno Philharmonic Music Director Rei Hotoda and hear recent archival performances from the orchestra.

On this week's show:

Dinuk Wijeratne, Between Figure and Ground

Gabriela Lena Frank, Escaramuza

Fresno City Council Facebook page

An inflammatory phrase using the n-word was one of many disruptions to a Fresno City Council meeting on June 11, held online via the videoconferencing platform Zoom.

Dympna Ugwu-Oju

For many African-American parents, part of the responsibility of raising a child includes preparing them for the racism and violence they may experience because of the color of their skin. To discuss what it is like to raise a black child in the Valley, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Isaac Sandifer Jr., a retired educator and brigadier general from Bakersfield, Dr. Edythe Stewart, a general surgeon who practices in Merced, Shantay Davies-Balch, CEO of the Black Wellness and Prosperity Center in Fresno, and Dympna Ugwu-Oju, editor of Fresnoland.

Christian Viscarra

Protesters demanded justice Tuesday for a 16-year-old boy who was shot by Fresno police in 2017. More than 50 people gathered at City Hall chanting “Say His Name” and “Don’t Shoot.”  

The protest was in honor of Isiah Murrietta-Golding who was shot in the back of the head by Fresno Police Sgt. Ray Villalvazo. A surveillance video of the incident from a nearby daycare was released in 2019. Protester Dez Martinez says she saw the video.

  

The Fresno County Public Defender's Office held a protest Monday against police brutality and in honor of George Floyd. About a hundred protesters started at the public defender’s office and walked to the Fresno Police Department. 

Organizers said this protest had a specific message for police officers. Camille Slack, a paralegal, said the organization is calling for police to intervene when they see other officers abusing their power.  

Angelo Frazier

Following more than a week of protests over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, debate continues within the African-American community about how to bring about reform in policing. To learn more about how different generations are responding to this moment, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Pastor Angelo Frazier of the RiverLakes Community Church in Bakersfield, who has been leading prayer vigils in the midst of community protests. She also spoke with Fresno State NAACP Chapter President D’Aungillique Jackson, who organized the protest Sunday in downtown Fresno. 

Kenneth Chacón

This week on The Time of Our Life with Mark Arax Fresno poet Kenneth Chacón reads William Saroyan's "70,000 Assyrians" and discusses the impact of Saroyan on his own work and on our times.

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