Interview

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.

Valley Children's

 

A month after COVID-19 infections began to surge following the Thanksgiving holiday, the virus continues to devastate the San Joaquin Valley. Hospitals are reporting more patients with COVID-19 than ever, intensive care units continue to report only a handful of open beds each day, and hundreds of healthcare workers who could otherwise be caring for patients or staffing medical facilities are currently unable to work after either testing positive for the virus or entering quarantine following a close exposure.

Jackie Botts, Kate Cimini and Georgia Gee

In an effort to assist farmworkers who test positive for COVID-19, California launched the Housing for the Harvest program. It provides free hotel rooms so farmworkers can self-isolate and not infect family members. But a recent investigation found that of the 800,000 farmworkers in California, only around 80 have utilized the program since it was announced in July.

John Branch

Joshua trees, redwoods and giant sequoias are some of California’s most iconic trees, and all three have been deeply impacted by climate change and wildfires. John Branch, a Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times journalist, recently explored this issue in an article titled “They’re among the world’s oldest living things. The climate crisis is killing them.”  Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Branch about his reporting and what the future holds for these beloved trees.

 

Hye Quality Bakery in downtown Fresno closed at the end of December after 63 years in business. In this audio postcard, Sammy and Paula Ganimian tell FM89’s Soreath Hok about the role this iconic business has played in the Armenian community.

 

With the latest COVID-19 surge, we know that hospitals are in crisis: Patients are being cared for in hallways and conference rooms, nurses and doctors are being forced to take care of larger patient loads than usual, and field hospitals are being opened to take care of those who aren’t in need of critical care.

Kaiser Fresno Medical Center/AFL-CIO Websites

Amy Arlund, a registered nurse who works in the ICU at Kaiser Fresno Medical Center, spoke with Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock in May about the loss of one of her colleagues to COVID-19. With ICU capacities in the Valley now at the breaking point, Schock checked back in with Arlund to see how she is holding up.

Daniel Casarez

The nonprofit news organization Retro Report is working on a documentary project looking at the high eviction rates of three cities in the U.S., including Fresno. According to Retro Report Field Producer Daniel Casarez, the roots of Fresno’s eviction rates go all the way back to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and the discriminatory practice of redlining. That’s when people of color are denied access to housing and loans within specific neighborhoods. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Casarez about the project.

Kaweah Delta Health Care District

Five days into a regional stay-at-home order, COVID-19 infections in the San Joaquin Valley are soaring and hospitals are scrambling to make space on floors already crowded with flu patients. On Thursday of this week, the California Department of Public Health estimated that intensive care units in the San Joaquin Valley reported fewer than 2 percent of their beds were available, all while more people are dying of the virus than they have in months.

For months, even as other parts of the U.S. hit record after record for newly reported COVID-19 cases or the number of patients being treated in hospitals, virus infections in California and the San Joaquin Valley had been holding steady. In the last few weeks, however, the numbers suggest our local bout with the pandemic has taken a turn for the worse.

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