Interview

Kern County Museum

A project is underway throughout July to remember when the now dry Kern River flowed through the city of Bakersfield. The organization Bring Back the Kern is collecting photos, videos and stories of the once moving river for an upcoming exhibit. Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke with the project’s organizer Miguel Rodriguez about what the river once meant to the community and why he wants to bring it back.

Amy Wu

A new book from journalist and author Amy Wu explores how a growing number of women are blending agriculture with technology to find new solutions to feed the world. Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke to Wu about her book, “From Farms to Incubators: Women Innovators Revolutionizing How Our Food is Grown,” and how women are bringing a diversity of perspective to the agricultural industry.

Tarjan Center at UCLA website, Barc website, John Bolle and Vivian Haun LinkedIn

Since 1938, employers in California have been able to apply for a certificate that allows them to pay employees with disabilities less than minimum wage - in some cases as little as $2 an hour. Some say the program, called 14(c), creates opportunities for people who otherwise could not find employment. Others say it is exploitative, and a state bill has been introduced to end the practice.

Data from EPA and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

California’s 2020 wildfire season was indisputably historic: Fires burned a record-high 4.3 million acres in the state, and five of the blazes went down among the 10 largest in our recorded history. Many were touched off by widespread lightning sieges, which hadn’t occurred at such a high rate since 2008.

USFS INCIWEB

 

 In 2020, the Creek Fire and other blazes throughout California billowed so much smoke into the San Joaquin Valley that, at times, the sky turned brown and ashes accumulated on cars and sidewalks like snowflakes. 

Office of Senator Melissa Hurtado

When the one working well serving the unincorporated community of Teviston in Tulare County stopped working last month, the roughly 1,000 people who live there were left without running water in the middle of a drought. As the community waits for bureaucracy to clear the way for the well to be repaired, State Senator Melissa Hurtado has been pushing for a legislative fix to the Valley’s water infrastructure. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with her about the status of the bill she authored, and what’s next for the people who call Teviston home.  

Derek Kravitz, Caitlin Antonios and Laura Salcido

Vaccine rollout is proving far more challenging in rural communities, creating what are called vaccine deserts. And according to the Documenting COVID-19 project, a national effort to make pandemic related data more transparent, vaccine deserts are springing up across the San Joaquin Valley, causing concern among public health professionals. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the project’s lead, Derek Kravitz, who works at Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

Last year, 30 patients died at Coalinga State Hospital, a psychiatric facility in western Fresno County. That's more than 2 percent of the population--a death rate that's almost twice the average of California’s entire state hospital system, and almost seven times higher than the rate within the state prison system. 

Recently, we investigated why, and whether any of those deaths could have been prevented.

Bakersfield Museum of Art

In the 1950s, a new style of country music, influenced by rock-n-roll, emerged from Bakersfield’s honky-tonk bars. Pioneered by music legends like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, the Bakersfield Sound became one of country music’s most influential sub-genres. And now it is being celebrated with an exhibit that runs through the end of August at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. To find out more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the museum’s curator of collections and exhibits, Rachel Wainwright.

Fresno State

On July 4th, 1776, the United States declared its independence from Britain, a monumental move that many at the time thought was a bad idea. The new book, “Resisting Independence” by Fresno State history professor Brad Jones, explores the reasons why British loyalism deepened for some following the War of Independence. Jones spoke with Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock about the popularity of loyalism in the revolutionary British Atlantic.

Scott Rodd

Last week, CapRadio, along with NPR’s California Newsroom, reported that Governor Gavin Newsom dramatically overstated the amount of wildfire prevention efforts that had taken place leading up to this year’s fire season. CapRadio's Scott Rodd was the journalist behind that investigation. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with him about how lawmakers are responding.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Wherever you are in the Valley, you’ve likely been enjoying the reprieve from the heat wave that left us all sweaty and guzzling water earlier this month. Beginning Saturday, unfortunately, most of us are in for another round of triple-digit days, this one even longer.

Paul Hernandez

 

Paul Hernandez designs and sews his own costumes and entertains audiences  through the art of drag with his alter ego Leilani Price. He also does his own makeup before performing at LGBTQ night clubs like Fab in Fresno’s Tower District.

Take a minute and think back to the last time you really listened to someone whose political opinions were very different from your own. Was it a few weeks ago, a few months ago, was it ever? Valley Public Radio and the public history project StoryCorps are inviting you to meet the challenge. It’s called One Small Step; meet a stranger with a different political view for a personal, 50 minute conversation about your lives.

Fresno Unified School District, The Education Trust-West, Alyson Crafton and Heather Hough

To learn how school districts plan to make up for the lost learning that occurred for many students in the past academic year, Valley Edition Host talked with Alyson Crafton, director of student services for Madera Unified, Natalie Wheatfall-Lum, director of P-16 education policy at The Education Trust-West, and Heather Hough, executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE).

UC Merced

Yesterday, President Biden signed a bill to make June 19th, known as Juneteenth, a federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when Union soldiers brought word to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas that they were free, roughly 2 ½ years after the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. UC Merced Associate Professor of History Kevin Dawson published a column in the Sacramento Bee last year calling on the federal government to recognize the day as a holiday. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock checked in with him about the significance of this week’s news. 

Anne Daugherty

Over a four year period, police officers in Bakersfield broke 45 bones in 31 people, and in no case did the officers involved in those encounters violate departmental policy.

California Governor Facebook Page

After 15 months of pandemic-related restrictions, California is back open for business. In downtown Clovis, reactions ranged from cautious optimism to elation.

“I still think we should keep our precautions, just to be on the safe side,” says emergency room nurse Angelica Martinez. She’s grateful she hasn’t contracted COVID, but knows the risks aren’t completely gone.

 

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.

Christopher Goffard

Christopher Goffard is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with the Los Angeles Times and the host of the popular podcast, “Dirty John.” His current project is another crime related podcast, this time set in Stanislaus County. It’s called “The Trials of Frank Carson.” Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Goffard about the podcast and what it has to say about the inner workings of the criminal justice system.

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