Interview

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Ever since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began, every week has brought news of extremes, with success stories followed by supply problems and other hiccups in access and distribution. This week was no different, and included supply disruptions due to winter storms as well as an unexpected boost from the governor.

UC Merced

People tend to listen more when someone uses powerful, authoritative language regardless of whether the person talking is a man or a woman. At least that’s according to one new study, co-authored by UC Merced Assistant Professor of Economics, Ketki Sheth. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with her about the research, and what the implications are for women in the workforce. 

Madera Community College and UCSF Fresno

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that among Black Americans, only 42% intend to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Many have suggested that the reluctance to get vaccinated among Black Americans and other communities of color is a function of the mistrust that some in those populations have in the health care system. To better understand this issue, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Dr. Kamell Eckroth-Bernard, a vascular surgeon with UCSF Fresno, and Angel Reyna, President of Madera Community College. 

Early on in the pandemic, the state of California put an emphasis on equity in its pandemic response, requiring specific levels of testing and outreach in disadvantaged census tracts in order for counties to advance through the state’s reopening blueprint.

Now, obstacles to vaccine access have introduced the potential for new disparities, and newly published state data shows what many have feared: that the vaccine isn’t being distributed equitably among racial and ethnic groups.

Clay River

Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada foothills are home to the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation, but the tribe has been enmeshed in a decades-long battle for recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. To learn more about the current status of that fight, and how it’s been shaped by COVID-19, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Clay Muwin River, managing director of the Miwumati Family Healing Center.

Arthur Moye and Chantel Wapner

Restrictions on businesses designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 have been devastating for some entrepreneurs. But some Black-owned businesses say the power of community has helped them to adapt, and even thrive, in these uncertain times. To learn more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to Nick Hill, president and CEO of the Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce, Dee Slade, President of the African American Network of Kern County, Arthur Moye, CEO of Full Circle Brewery in Fresno, and Chanel Wapner, owner of Just My Essentials in Old Town Clovis.

StoryCorps

In this StoryCorps San Joaquin segment, 53-year-old Joan Yamate Taketa talks with her lifelong friend Celeste Johnston, 54, about what she has learned of her paternal family history. The two also talk about their decades-long close friendship. Joan calls Celeste the “repository of a lot of her memories” and shares a story about her father. When Joan’s father was a young boy in the United States, he travelled with his mother to Japan to retrieve his older sister, who had been going to school near Hiroshima. And then Pearl Harbor was bombed. Joan tells Celeste the rest of the story.

When Governor Gavin Newsom stopped in Fresno earlier this week, he was widely anticipated to announce that Fresno would be the site of the state’s newest mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The clinic, which he had alluded to earlier in the week, is expected to be run in partnership between the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and it would bring in thousands of vaccine doses each day beyond what the county already receives from the state.

Kristy Noble

Next week marks the one year anniversary of the fire in Porterville that destroyed the city’s public library and took the lives of firefighter Patrick Jones and Fire Captain Raymond Figueroa. It was a tragedy that shook the community and left its residents without the many resources a library provides. But a group of community members have launched a project to fill part of that void.

Jeanne Logan

When Black Americans fled the oppression of Jim Crow as part of the Great Migration, some came to the Central Valley to establish settlements like Fairmead and Allensworth. Among the largest of those communities was Cookseyville. It was founded by Sid and Olevia Cooksey, who purchased several acres of farmland in Atwater and invited family members to help them establish their own, self-sufficient community. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Sid and Olevia’s granddaughter Jeanne Logan, about her memories of growing up in Cookseyville.

Joel Martinez

Since the start of the pandemic, 43,000 Californians have officially died due to COVID-19. But a new research paper by a team of epidemiologists at the University of California, San Francisco suggests that the true death toll due to the virus is likely much higher, after studying deaths in California over an 8-month period from March to October.

 

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.

Nella Van Dyke and Magdalena Wojcieszak

Free speech, as enshrined in the First Amendment, is central to what many consider to be the American experience. But the debate over the limits of free speech has been ignited by how the use of social media contributed to the January 6 riot and violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. To better understand this issue and the rise of misinformation and conspiracy theories, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Magdalena Wojcieszak,  Professor of Communication at UC Davis and Nella Van Dyke, Professor of Sociology at UC Merced.

In a surprise move this week, Governor Gavin Newsom lifted shelter-in-place orders for our part of the state, even as San Joaquin Valley residents continue to die of COVID-19 by the hundreds each week. The decision came as a surprise to health officials in at least Fresno County, who said they appreciate that case numbers are finally trending in the right direction but warned against reckless behavior that could drive them back up again.

Today, more people are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than ever, and county health departments across the San Joaquin Valley have been building up the infrastructure at fairgrounds, schools, clinics and other sites in order to offer thousands of vaccinations each day.

Henry Madden Library

The Henry Madden Library at Fresno State is celebrating the tradition of spoken word poetry in the African American community with the “Lift Every Voice” virtual poetry slam Thursday, January 28 at 7 p.m. The event will be hosted by former Fresno Poet Laureate Bryan Medina. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to Medina about the event and the power of poetry to help us mark seminal moments in our history.  

Department of State Hospitals

In the months since the pandemic began, COVID-19 has taken a tremendous toll on hospitals, where bedspace is at a minimum and staff are overworked, and prisons, where tight living quarters and mixed enforcement of safety precautions

The Fresno Philharmonic, Rei Hotoda Music Director and Conductor, will present the free livestream premiere of its first Digital Masterworks concert on Saturday January 16, 2021 at 5:30 pm PST on the Fresno Philharmonic’s website and YouTube channel. The program, titled Intersections of Past and Present, features musicians of the Fresno Philharmonic under the direction of Rei Hotoda performing Adolphus Hailstork’s An American Fanfare, William Bolcom’s Commedia for (Almost) 18th Century Orchestra and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No.44 in E minor.

Mark Arax

The man who carried a Confederate flag inside the U.S. Capitol during last week’s insurrection was arrested yesterday for an act that served as a reminder that the roots of our country’s divisions run deep. The now infamous images of him walking through the Capitol with the flag resting causally on his shoulder raise questions about the history of the Confederacy, not just in the South, but also here in the Central Valley.

Fresno City College

The bubonic plague ripped through London in the mid 1660s, and a famous account of one man’s experience living through that pandemic became the source of inspiration for Fresno City College students living through this one. Students, instructors and community members teamed up to produce “Plague Diaries, Short Films of Life in the Pandemic,” which premieres tonight at 7 p.m. on the Fresno City College website.

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