Interview

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. 

Chef Paul's Cafe, Max's Bistro and Bar, and Vino Grille & Spirits

Restaurant dining rooms have been closed since the stay-at-home order was issued in March in response to COVID-19. To learn more about how the dining industry is coping with the pandemic, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with the owners and operators of three well known Fresno restaurants: Chuck Van Fleet from Vino Grille and Spirits, Paul Pearson of Chef Paul’s Cafe and J.J. Wettstead from Max’s Bistro & Bar. 

 

May 1 is College Signing Day for many students, although some universities have extended their deadlines. Valley Public Radio’s news director Alice Daniel spoke with three seniors from the farming town of Woodlake about what it’s like to make such an important decision during a pandemic. Selina Lopez-Curiel, Rogelio Chavez and Daniela Frausto-Santoyo are seniors at Woodlake High School; all three will be first-generation college students in the fall. Listen to their audio postcards above.

 

Armen Bacon

Author and former Fresno Bee columnist Armen Bacon is known for exploring her emotional life through her writing. She spoke to FM89's Kathleen Schock from her home in Fresno about how to navigate our emotions during the pandemic and the ways our reactions to COVID-19 resemble the grief process.

 

 

These days, do you ever find yourself looking out the window of your house or apartment and wondering ‘how are my neighbors doing during this pandemic?’ I was thinking a lot about my neighbor Dorothy Jones so I reached out to her. She turns 100 this year and she still lives in her Fresno High home.

When Dorothy calls me back, she gets my voicemail. She leaves this message: “Well Alice, I’m delighted we’ll be seeing you. The fact that we’ll be sharing some thoughts and visitation is exciting!”

Lisa Blecker, Kristen Beall Watson and Laura Moreno

COVID-19 is disproportionately hurting vulnerable communities like seniors, ag workers and the homeless. To learn about efforts to protect these at-risk populations, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Lisa Blecker, pesticide safety education program coordinator for the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Laura Moreno, chair of the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care, and Kristen Beall Watson, CEO of the Kern Community Foundation.

Donald Barclay

One of the most important tools to fight a pandemic is a well-informed public, but much of the information online is questionable or outright false. FM89's Kathleen Schock discussed how to separate fact from fiction with Donald Barclay, a UC Merced librarian and the author of Fake News, Propaganda and Plain Old Lies. 

Fresno State history professor Ethan Kytle has been reviewing news reports about a pandemic, but not this one. He’s been reading the Fresno Morning Republican. That’s the newspaper that covered the Spanish Flu in 1918.

Mark Arax

As California’s stay-at-home directive in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the pace of life has slowed for many. FM 89's Kathleen Schock spoke with journalist and author Mark Arax, who said that now is the perfect time to discover or revisit the work of the Valley’s most famous writer, Willam Saroyan.

 

 

What’s it like to be on the frontlines of medicine during a pandemic? FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel got a firsthand account from Dr. Patil Armenian. She’s an associate professor of clinical emergency medicine at UCSF Fresno and she works at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. 

 

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.

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