Valley Public Radio FM89 - Live Audio

Interview

Lisa Lee Herrick

Lisa Lee Herrick reads from her recent essay Eating Thirty In Fresno: Finding Home At Hmong New Year  in the online publication Boom California and talks with FM89’s news director Alice Daniel about why so many Hmong refugees came to Fresno after the CIA’s secret war in Laos under the guidance of their leader General Vang Pao and why decades later, the city’s Hmong New Year is still a global draw.

Alice Daniel

Fresno mayoral candidate Andrew Janz came to the studio to discuss his campaign strategy and vision for the city ahead of California’s March 3 primary. Janz is facing former Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

 

Researchers have been trying to understand valley fever for decades, but the playing field remained small until recently. 

“When I started in valley fever research just six or seven years ago, the field was largely full of professors and senior clinicians and really didn’t have many of the junior faculty and students as part of the group,” said Katrina Hoyer, an assistant professor at the University of California, Merced. “I think they really wanted people, there just wasn’t much funding.”

 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The Fresno League of Women Voters is kicking off its celebration with a month-long First Ladies portrait exhibit at city hall showcasing a rare collection of oil paintings. But just how active in the suffrage movement were some of the First Ladies? Here to talk with FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel is Fresno State Communication Professor Diane Blair. She studies the communications strategies, also known as rhetoric, of First Ladies. 

Flickr User Michael Patrick, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Farmers across the country have had a tough few years, between drought and climate change, evolving regulations, and of course, tariffs due to the Trump administration’s escalating trade war abroad. In one big way, however, 2019 was a good year for agriculture: Farmers received their largest subsidies in over a decade.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In January 2018, the Tulare County City of Woodlake became home to the San Joaquin Valley’s first-ever recreational marijuana dispensary. Two other businesses, a large-scale cultivator and extract manufacturer, opened in 2019.

As of early 2020, the city’s tax revenue generated by the industry topped $800,000—far more than the $20,000 per month originally projected. In this interview, FM89’s Kerry Klein sat down with Woodlake Community Development Director Jason Waters to learn about what the windfall has meant for the city and what’s in store for Woodlake cannabis in 2020.

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Fresno’s gangs have been in the news as details emerge about the mistaken retaliation by a Fresno street gang called Mongolian Boys Society in November that left four dead and six injured. Court documents related to arrests in the case include details about how the gang is organized and makes its money. That led us to wonder about the current state of gang activity in Fresno and how it’s being addressed. To find out more, Kathleen Schock spoke with Fresno County Lt.

Milken Family Foundation

Teachers often give their time and money in ways that are hard to quantify. But this year, one Fresno teacher has been recognized by the Milken Family Foundation for her work with the Sunnyside High School Video Production Academy. Katie McQuone is one of 40 teachers nationwide to receive this annual award. 

Listen to the interview above to hear McQuone talk about how she engages the at-risk students she teaches.

Valley residents give back to their communities in a variety of ways, ranging from donations and philanthropy to mentoring and volunteering within the community. Collectively, these volunteer efforts not only make a huge difference in the lives of others, but can also benefit those offering their time and money.

Courtesy of Christopher Moua

The arts can unite and heal us in immeasurable ways, and few people need more uplifting right now than Fresno’s Hmong Community. That’s in light of last month’s horrific mass shooting that left four men of Hmong descent dead and six others injured. Renee Ya is the co-founder of Tiger Byte Studios, which is putting on a seven day arts and media celebration in Fresno to coincide with the upcoming Hmong New Year.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Here in one of world’s most productive agricultural belts, we have lots of potential for community-supported agriculture—or CSAs—in which consumers connect directly with local farmers by subscribing to weekly boxes of fresh farm goods.

While many small-scale CSAs still operate in the San Joaquin Valley, some of the more prominent ones have been forced to shut down—including Fresno-based OOOOBY, a long-time service with thousands of subscribers that closed its doors very suddenly in November.

In The Studio: Making College Work After Foster Care

Dec 13, 2019
Courtesy of Guardian Scholars

Many students struggle to transition from high school to college, but that challenge is intensified for students coming out of the foster care system. At UC Merced, the Guardian Scholars program provides resources for these students that allow them to reach graduation at rates approaching the general student body. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Guardian Scholars Program Coordinator Edith Ramirez, as well as two UC Merced students who have benefited from the program’s support – Michael Grey and Alyssa Garcia.

Roque Rodriguez

And now for the Weekend, it’s time for Fresno’s Annual Swede Fest where amateurs and sometimes expert filmmakers take scenes from their favorite movies and remake them with friends and family using lots of household props. We hear from one of the founders, Roque Rodriquez.

 

We’ve told you about a podcast we’re hoping to roll out sometime next year called The Other California. It will take a more intimate look at the part of the state where we live, the area that is often considered fly-over or drive-through territory. The phrase comes from a book of essays on the Central Valley by the well-known author and Oildale native Gerald Haslam. I recently caught up with Haslam to find out why he called the book, The Other California: The Great Central Valley in Life and Letters.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

Students at Terronez Middle School joined us for a conversation about the Hmong New Year celebration taking place at their school Friday, Dec. 6 from 5 - 7:30 p.m. The event includes dancing, singing, games and lots of food.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

For many families that celebrate Christmas, picking out a tree is tradition. This year, families in the San Joaquin Valley can head into the Sierra Nevada mountains to pick the perfect pine, spruce or fir. For our Weekend Segment, we spoke to Denise Alonzo about how to get a permit to cut your own tree. She’s the public affairs officer in Springville with the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument.

In The Studio: Farming In The Age Of Climate Change

Nov 22, 2019
Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The unseasonably warm and dry fall we are experiencing in the San Joaquin Valley is a reminder of the changing climate, here and around the world. In the studio, moderator Kathleen Schock explores how climate change is affecting the region’s top industry: agriculture. Her guests are Renata Brillinger who is Executive Director of the California Climate and Agriculture Network, Dr. Tapan Pathak from UC Merced, Ruth Dahlquist-Willard who is an Advisor with the UC Small Farm Program, and grape and raisin farmer Steven Cardoza.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

At a press conference following the mass shooting that killed four and wounded six others in Southeast Fresno, Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall announced he had created an Asian gang task force, despite no definitive evidence the shooting was gang-related. Many members of Southeast Asian communities have since questioned why the police made the implicit association without definitive proof, and some worry it perpetuates stereotypes from which they’ve long sought to distance themselves.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders sat down for a brief interview with Valley Public Radio before he addressed a large crowd outdoors at Fresno City College Friday.  He  spoke with News Director Alice Daniel and FM89s Kathleen Schock about climate change and the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which aims to transform public housing into energy efficient homes. He also addressed DACA, education reform, unsafe drinking water and air pollution in the Valley.

Jason Pohl / Sacramento Bee

Since 2014, Kern County sheriffs have been putting more inmates into isolating suicide watch cells. The effort is to reduce suicide risk, but it hasn’t helped.

Instead, deaths by suicide have risen, although these deaths did not happen to inmates who were in suicide watch jails. Those who have died by suicide were not identified as having a suicide risk.

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