Fresno

 

The crowd is slowly filling in on this Friday, as triple digit temperatures blaze the grounds of Fresno’s largest Cambodian temple at Clinton and Valentine.

Guests are taking refuge in corners with shade, watching singers perform on the main stage. 

Other visitors braving the sun are lined up at vendor booths, set up in rows along the main courtyard. The smell of cooked meats fills the air. Danny Kim says this is all familiar to him.

“I travel to Cambodia a lot and night market is the most popular thing in Cambodia.” 

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

California's Central Valley expects record temperatures this weekend, reaching dangerous levels in places like Fresno. Valley Public Radio's Soreath Hok reports that people are looking for ways to defend against the heat.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news now - California's Central Valley is home to some of the state's most fertile land, and now the heat wave has farmers worried about whether their crops there will survive. On Sunday, temperatures climbed to 114 degrees. Valley Public Radio's Alice Daniel reports.

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.*

JOHN WALKER JWALKER@FRESNOBEE.COM

Angelita Rodriguez used to sell clothes and blankets on the sidewalk outside her apartment complex on South Maple Street.

“But it’s been awhile since I’ve done it,” she says in Spanish. “I haven’t gone out since they robbed me.”

The man who robbed her pretended to be an interested customer, Rodriguez says. He asked her which blankets were her most expensive. She says when she turned to grab some of the blankets hanging on the fence behind her, he took off with as many blankets as he could.

“I was scared,” she says. “More than anything it left me shocked.”

The Fresno Unified School District announced a potential reopening plan Tuesday for in-person learning. The new agreement between the district and the Fresno Teachers Association outlines a return to a hybrid model that includes in-person instruction by April 6th. 

Superintendent Bob Nelson says the increased ability to vaccinate all district employees changed the conversation. 

“This time last week, I could not have reasonably said we were going to vaccinate everybody by March. Today I can and that’s a huge change,” he said.

Soreath Hok / Valley Public Radio

Along Fern Avenue in the Tower District, businesses are boarded up, some lined with graffiti. There’s trash piled in the doorways.

But on this sunny Saturday afternoon, volunteers move brooms along the sidewalk and sweep the debris into boxes. There’s an upbeat feeling about their work. 

 

 

One of the cleaning crew is Kacey Auston. She grew up in the Tower and is now leasing the former Bank of America building on this street. It’s still empty but she plans on opening a marijuana dispensary called Cookies Fresno. 

 

So far, San Joaquin Valley residents have received nearly 200,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine—a sum that may sound high, but falls far short of the average per capita rate reported elsewhere in California. Plus, for the second week in a row, a low vaccine supply has kept many of the Valley’s mass vaccination clinics either open far below capacity, or closed entirely to people seeking to receive their first dose.

Daren Miller

In early October, complications from diabetes forced Bessie Miller into the operating room. The former state employee and well-known advocate for West Fresno had needed round-the-clock oxygen for years, and because of poor blood circulation, calf injuries that wouldn't heal eventually left her legs in need of amputation.

After theatres went dark as a result of the pandemic, Fresno native turned Broadway performer Salisha Thomas launched a new project in which she explores one of her favorite topics of conversation - hair. In the new podcast Black Hair in the Big Leagues, Thomas uses hair as a launching point to discuss identity, culture and self-esteem. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Thomas about the project and her journey from Fresno’s Bullard High School to Broadway.

A private philanthropic foundation is donating over two million dollars in grants to six organizations in Fresno as part of a nationwide

A Fresno police officer used excessive force on a black 17-year-old male during a January 2019 incident caught on camera, according to an independent auditor’s review released on Thursday.  

 

The audit says Officer Christopher Martinez continued to punch London Wallace after he was no longer resisting arrest or posed any threat to the officer. 

 

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.

 

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