Interview

Fresno County Department of Public Health

California was one of many states to set a record this week for the number of new cases reported in a single day. For a closer look at what’s been happening in our seven-county coverage area of the San Joaquin Valley, we bring you this update for the week of June 19-26, 2020. Meanwhile, you can always find up-to-date information for your county here.

The outlook

Families United for the End of Life Without Parole

Although businesses are reopening, reports of new cases of COVID-19 are still on the rise throughout the San Joaquin Valley. You can find up-to-date information for your county here. Below is an update for the week of June 15-19, 2020.

The outlook

Estevan Parra

June is Pride month, but this year the worldwide event will largely be celebrated virtually in light of COVID-19. To learn more about the impact of the pandemic on the LGBTQ community, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke to Estavan Parra, the LGBTQ and gender coordinator for the Cross Cultural and Gender Center at Fresno State.

The Equal Justice Society

Racism in America can take on many different forms, and the nuance between things like overt and covert racism can make discrimination much more difficult to see, discuss and ultimately address. To learn more about this topic, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Chris Bridges from The Equal Justice Society. He is an Oakland-based attorney who also leads trainings on implicit bias.

Kern County Public Health Facebook page

As protests continue across the country, let’s not forget there’s still a pandemic in our midst. As of publication, 194 people across the San Joaquin Valley and foothills have died due to COVID-19 out of more than 8,000 known cases of the disease.

Angelo Frazier

Following more than a week of protests over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, debate continues within the African-American community about how to bring about reform in policing. To learn more about how different generations are responding to this moment, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Pastor Angelo Frazier of the RiverLakes Community Church in Bakersfield, who has been leading prayer vigils in the midst of community protests. She also spoke with Fresno State NAACP Chapter President D’Aungillique Jackson, who organized the protest Sunday in downtown Fresno. 

Teenagers are grappling with a lot these days, from having new caretaking roles to figuring out ways to fill the time. FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel spoke with Deshae Lee and Faith Vega. Both are high school seniors in Fresno and interns at a youth organization called Californians for Justice. In the interview, Deshae starts by describing what it’s like to be at home all day with younger siblings. 

Youtube Screen Capture

Last August, we introduced you to a Delano teen who had just released her own mariachi album and was preparing to attend Harvard University with her older sister. In mid-March, sisters Anaí and Xóchitl Morales returned home to Delano to finish their semester at Harvard online, due to COVID-19. Since being home, they’ve joined their father, Juan Morales, in moving music instruction for The Mariachi Studio online. 

 

Valley Writers Respond

Nikiko Masumoto and Brynn Saito founded the Yonsei Memory Project to honor the stories of Japanese-Americans. And when the pandemic hit, they created a new program to give voice to valley writers called Valley Writers Respond. With funding from the California Wellness Foundation, they asked three writers - Will Freeney, Samina Najmi and Steven Church - to share their wisdom about the times we’re living in. Each writer was given a prompt. Here are excerpts from their essays. 

Maurice O. Ndole

This week the staff at Kaiser Fresno Medical Center said goodbye to Sandra "Sandy" Oldfield, a registered nurse at the hospital who died of COVID-19 after treating an infected patient. On Wednesday evening, hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor her memory. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with ICU nurse Amy Arlund, one of the organizers of the observance.

UC Merced

The UC Board of Regents announced last week that Juan Sánchez Muñoz will become UC Merced's fourth chancellor. As a UC alum and first-generation student, he has a lot in common with the university's student body. He currently serves as president of the University of Houston-Downtown, and was still in Texas when Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with him about assuming leadership during a pandemic. 

African American Farmers of California

Small farms are at the heart of the San Joaquin Valley’s rich agricultural industry, but the challenges facing these operations are numerous. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock checked-in with three Fresno County farmers about the most recent obstacle they are facing: COVID-19. She spoke with grape and raisin farmer Steven Cardoza, Chue Lee of Lee's One Fortune Farm and Will Scott Jr. who in addition to running Scott Family Farms is also the president of the African American Farmers of California.

UC Merced

The San Joaquin Valley is accustomed to dealing with drought, but when those conditions last for decades, scientists call it a megadrought. According to a study recently published in the journal Science, the Southwest is currently experiencing a nearly two-decade megadrought that is fueled in part by global warming and is among the worst in human history. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with John Abatzoglou, a co-author of the study and climatologist who will join the faculty at UC Merced this summer.

 

Courtesy of Diana Vidales

Over the next month, many students will be graduating from college, but without the traditional pomp and circumstance or cap and gown. So we asked two students and their mothers about missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and what songs come to mind when they reflect on their journey.  

We spoke to Greyson Canterbury and his mom Kim Canterbury who live in Visalia. Greyson is a Fresno State Dean’s Medalist and is planning to go to Sri Lanka as a Peace Corps Volunteer, though the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed those plans.  

Rey León's Facebook Page

The population of Huron, California, a rural town in southwest Fresno County, more than doubles during harvest season with an influx of migrant farm workers. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with the city’s mayor, Rey León, about how the coronavirus is affecting this population and what it's like to lead a community through a pandemic.

UCSF Fresno

Near the beginning of the pandemic, we talked to an ER doctor who said the emergency room at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno felt like “the calm before the storm.” So, more than two months in, what’s it like now? FM89’s Alice Daniel spoke with Dr. Jim Comes, chair of the emergency department at Community Regional Medical Center and chief of emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno.

 

John Fensterwald, Monica Velez and Ema Sasic

This week governor Gavin Newsom announced a revised budget plan to address the more than $54 billion dollar deficit the state is facing in the wake of COVID-19. In his address, Newsom called on the legislature to dramatically reduce funding to public schools. It’s the latest blow to districts already grappling with campus closures and an uncertain future. To learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting education and school budgets, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with education reporters.

Noriega Hotel Facebook Page

When the news broke in late March that Bakersfield’s Noriega Hotel was closing its doors for good, it sent shock waves through the community. As the oldest Basque restaurant in town, and a winner of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award, the Noriega Hotel was a Bakersfield institution. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Bakersfield Californian reporter Steven Mayer, who was the first to report on the restaurant's closing.

Rudy Parris Facebook

This weekend, why not tune into a concert from home? Visalia musician Rudy Parris has been hosting live stream performances on his Facebook page every Friday and Saturday night for the past six weeks. He plays a little of everything: country, classic rock, and even his own songs. Parris is known for his time on the competition show, “The Voice,” and has spent the last year singing with the Buckaroos, the backup band of Bakersfield country legend Buck Owens.

Central California Food Bank

COVID-19, and the stay-at-home directives enacted to minimize its spread, have led to a shocking decline in employment. For many, the loss of wages means an increased reliance on food distribution centers. The Central California Food Bank works with churches, community centers and schools to distribute food in Fresno, Madera, Kings, Kern and Tulare counties. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the non-profit’s Chief Operations Officer Natalie Caples about how the coronavirus has escalated the Valley’s hunger crisis. 

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