Interview

StoryCorps

Valley Public Radio has partnered with the personal history project StoryCorps and its 2020 mobile tour. Since February 12, StoryCorps has been in Fresno and Bakersfield documenting the stories of residents in the San Joaquin Valley. As part of our collaboration, we’ll be airing segments over the next year based on some of these recorded conversations.   

Alice Daniel

 

With the arrival of travel-related cases of COVID-19 to the San Joaquin Valley, FM89's Kathleen Schock looks into how the disease is affecting the local healthcare system, higher education and the economy. She speaks with Dr. Rais Vohra with the Fresno County Department of Public Health, Dr. Terrance McGovern with Madera Community Hospital, Charles Nies, vice chancellor of student affairs at UC Merced and Nyakundi Michieka, assistant professor of economics at CSU Bakersfield.

 

Courtesy of Bob Fitch Photography Archive, Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries

The United Farm Workers movement immediately brings to mind Cesar Chavez and Mexican laborers. And if you know your history really well, then you might also think of Larry Itliong and Filipino farm workers. But there’s another community in the Central Valley that was deeply engaged in the movement. Writer Neama Alamri has been researching the history of Yemeni farm workers as part of her doctoral dissertation at UC Merced.

Fresno Rogue Festival

This weekend and next, take a chance on Fresno’s Rogue festival, an annual tradition in the Tower District that has performers and attendees bustling from show to show. 

To preview the fringe festival, we spoke to Donald Munro who covers art and culture in the San Joaquin Valley on his website, The Munro Review. We talk about how the festival has changed over the last 19 years, and how Munro decides what shows to see: he starts with a program, a block of time, and open expectations. 

Kathleen Schock

Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, African Americans gained access to professional and educational opportunities never before available. However, coverage of those success stories was largely ignored by traditional media outlets. That’s why six young friends in Fresno set out to create Grapevine Magazine, a publication that from 1969 to 1982 shared the life and style of prominent African Americans in the Valley. An exhibition at the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State honors the magazine.

Miriam Jordan & Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado

Immigration is one of the most complex and entrenched issues facing the Valley. To find out more about what it takes to keep the public informed on the topic, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with New York Times National Immigration Reporter Miriam Jordan and Fresno Bee Reporter Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado.

Courtest Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

Alfredo Rolando Ortiz is an internationally acclaimed harpist who will perform Saturday March 7, 2020, with the Bakersfield Symphony at the Mechanics Bank Arena in a concert entitled “Sound of South America.” The concert will feature works by Copland, Marquez, Moncayo, and Alfredo Rolando Ortiz himself, specifically his acclaimed “South American Suite for Harp and Orchestra.” Ortiz recently joined FM89’s David Aus to talk about his musi

Alice Daniel

 

The Armenian oud master Richard Hagopian has been playing the instrument, similar to the lute, since he was a kid. He’s 82 now. This Saturday Feb. 29, he’ll be speaking and performing at a public memory event at Fresno State documenting the history of local Armenian-American music production in the San Joaquin Valley.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The San Joaquin Valley lies underneath one of the two most polluted air basins in the country. That’s why, in 2018, two communities here – one in Shafter and one in south-central Fresno – were selected among the first to participate in Assembly Bill 617, an ambitious state law that enables local involvement in air protection.

Kerry Klein

If you’re a regular NPR listener, you probably know StoryCorps. It’s a weekly radio show that produces uniquely poignant, intimate interviews. “The summary that I always give participants is that we’re a non-profit that travels the country and collects people’s stories as part of adding to this oral history that we have,” says Ava Ahmadbeigi, site manager for the organization’s mobile storytelling booth.

Still Image from "Norman Mineta And His Legacy: An American Story" / Mineta Legacy Project

Next Wednesday, February 19, is Day of Remembrance. It’s the 78th anniversary of when President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which sent West Coast Japanese Americans to concentration camps. A note on terminology: These were not Nazi death camps in Europe, but they were spaces that Japanese Americans were forced to live in. 

https://encyclopedia.densho.org/sources/en-denshopd-i226-00044-1/ / Densho Encyclopedia

This year is the 78th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066. That’s the order that sent Japanese Americans to internment camps in 1942. Many Japanese Americans in Fresno County were sent to the Gila River Indian Community in the Arizona desert, including local baseball legend Kenichi Zenimura. Reporter Laura Tsutsui traveled to the former site of the camp to report on Zenimura’s legacy. 

 

Listen to the interview above to hear more about the connection between Japanese Americans from the San Joaquin Valley and the camps.

Department of Pesticide Regulation Youtube Page

Pesticide regulations can be tough to understand, especially among communities that don’t speak English. Recently, however, with the help of local ag advisors and video production students at Fresno State, California’s Department of Pesticide Regulations released a series of how-to videos about pesticides in Hmong.

California has moved its primary election earlier in the year. Instead of June, voters will now cast their ballots in March. For Fresno and Mariposa Counties, there are other changes intended to update voting technology and increase voter turnout. Fresno and Mariposa have adopted the new Voter's Choice Act Model, which means voting centers have replaced polling places, and every voter is mailed a ballot. Madera County adopted the model in 2018. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Chronic absence plagues most school districts in the San Joaquin Valley. We know that students who can’t make it to school miss out on learning, and research shows that missing even three days a month over time can put students a year or more behind their peers. Thursday, the Fresno County Office of Education hosted a conference looking at ways to reduce chronic absenteeism. 

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.

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