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Sergio La Porta and Anna Ohanyan

Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, ending a six-week war that left thousands dead. The dispute was over Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory within Azerbaijan’s border but inhabited nearly exclusively by ethnic Armenians, many of whom are now forced to flee their homes - some reportedly burning them to the ground before they leave.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Ed Welker is relatively new to Avenal State Prison. He’s been incarcerated there only since March. But when he was recently moved to a new dorm in a different yard, he saw a familiar face. “One of the officers that are working right now in the building that I’m in, in the 2 yard, is the regular building officer over on the 5 yard, where I just came from,” he says.

https://covid19.ca.gov

A rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted another round of business restrictions in most California counties, including those in the San Joaquin Valley.

 

Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that 29 counties would be rolling back into the purple, most restrictive tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, including Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Merced Counties, which had been in the red tier for weeks.

 

Courtesy of Fresno Veterans Home

Wednesday was Veterans Day. In honor of the holiday, FM89’s news director Alice Daniel spoke with a couple who live at the Fresno Veterans Home and have been married for 70 years. They’ve had their share of challenges during the pandemic, including living apart for three months. But as you’ll hear in this audio postcard, they’ve gotten by with love and a sense of humor. 

 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

 

Later this month, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is set to release a report detailing how well its clean air programs are meeting federal requirements for reducing emissions. It’s called an equivalency demonstration, and it’s released annually every November.

Clint Olivier, Jim Boren and Amanda Renteria

Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock speaks with Jim Boren, executive director of the Institute for Media and Public Trust at Fresno State, Amanda Renteria, CEO of Code for America and Clint Olivier, former Fresno City Council member and executive director of the Business Federation of the Central Valley about how California voters decided some key issues, and how political divisiveness is affecting local politics.

Ivy Cargile, Jesse Rojas, Dora Westerlund and Adriana Saldivar

With just days to go in this election season, one key group has been drawing a lot of attention - Latinx voters. And their impact on elections is particularly important here in California, given that they make up the state’s largest ethnic group.

The Central Valley’s reputation as home to some of America’s greatest poets continues to grow. Fresno-based poet Anthony Cody was recently named a National Book Award finalist for his collection “Borderland Apocrypha,” inspired by a series of lynchings following the Mexican-American War. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Cody about being a finalist for one of the nation's most prestigious literary prizes.

Terry Delamater

 

Depending on a county’s status in California’s reopening blueprint, most of the state’s gyms are allowed to operate either exclusively outdoors or indoors with tight restrictions on capacity. In Kern County, however, some gyms have been designated as essential, allowing them to circumvent those guidelines.

Sammy Caiola, Tom Holyoke and Tad Weber

The future of stem cell research, cash parole and kidney dialysis clinics are now in the hands of California voters. And those are just three of the 12 propositions on the November ballot. To better understand the impact these propositions could have on the state, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to Tad Weber, Fresno Bee opinion editor; Tom Holyoke, Fresno State professor of political science; and Sammy Caiola, CapRadio health science reporter.

Courtesy of Vicki Blair

 

 

A cup of coffee in one hand, David Blair rolls up the garage door to his warehouse and points out a few remaining 55-gallon barrels filled with honey.  

“We send it off to Sue Bee as soon as we can. We don’t really store it here,” says the third generation beekeeper from Kerman.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 1,300 people have died of COVID-19 in the seven counties of the southern San Joaquin Valley and foothills, according to official counts by county health departments and the state. The tallies aggregated in those health department dashboards, which represent between one and two percent of all who’ve tested positive for the virus, capture those who were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 and whose death certificates listed the virus as a primary cause of death.

 

Ezra David Romero / KVPR

 

Kern County is known for Big Agriculture and traditionally leans to the right.  Many of the farmers there support Donald Trump. But when it comes to immigration—one of the President's signature themes—not all the farmers there line up behind him.  

Tom Frantz is a fourth-generation almond farmer in Shafter, California.  It’s a small town of 16,000 people— just up the road from Bakersfield. Fields in the area grow almonds, pistachios, cotton, grapes and alfalfa.  

 

Frantz relies on a local contractor to provide the workers he needs to tend his farm. 

Joshua Slack Facebook, Riddhi S. Patel and Alexandria Benn

There’s a prevailing narrative that young people in America are not politically engaged and are unlikely to vote. But Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock recently spoke with three individuals who are actively challenging that assumption: Riddhi S. Patel, a 24-year-old coordinator for Sunrise Kern in Bakersfield, Alexandria Benn, a 25-year-old community advocate in Fresno, and Joshua Slack, a 25-year-old activist who co-organized a protest in downtown Fresno following the death of George Floyd.

California Blueprint for a Safer Economy

 

After weeks of improving COVID-19 numbers, Fresno County has advanced to the next tier in the state’s reopening framework known as the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

KVPR / Madi Bolanos

For over 35 years, the United States has partnered with Mexico to share resources during peak fire activity. And right now, 100 Mexican firefighters are in Tulare County helping to battle the SQF Complex Fire.

The crew from Guadalajara arrived Friday at the Kern County High School in Lake Isabella, where they were greeted by California fire officials. It’s not the first visit for Ramon Silva, deputy chief of the National Forestry Commission of Mexico. He helped fight the Camp Fire in 2018 so he’s seen the devastation wildfires have wreaked on the state and it concerns him.  

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

On a weekday afternoon, Elvia Baies’ two teenage daughters finish up their school day while her younger children, a 4 and 5-year-old, play on tablets. 

Baies asks them to turn the tablets down and then points out the tight space where they’ve lived for nine months. 

“This is obviously the room that we're sleeping in, our two beds, we have a TV across from the beds,” Baies says. 

 

On the far end of the room, she opens a door. 

“Our bathroom, and our tub, our sink, along with our kitchen.”

Maya Washington

The Central Valley has been called “The Land of Poets,” and its rich literary tradition continues with Fresno poet Sara Borjas. She recently received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for her debut collection, titled “Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff.” Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Borjas about this deeply autobiographical collection, and why Fresno has inspired so much award-winning poetry.

Kern County Television Youtube Channel

Earlier this week, the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to challenge a part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to reopen counties during the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing a data algorithm unfairly penalizes the county.

California State University

 

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro has been appointed the eighth chancellor of the California State University, the CSU Board of Trustees announced Wednesday. Castro is the first California native and the first Mexican American to oversee the nation’s largest public university. 

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