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Gov. Newsom signed a $15 billion climate change package Thursday, the largest investment of its kind in the state’s history. He signed the bill in Three Rivers, near the site of the KNP Complex fire that continues to threaten the giant sequoias.  

 

“You've got trees that quite literally date back over 3300 years ago. You can't rebuild a giant sequoia,” he said.

 

He emphasized the devastating effects of climate change when he referred to the strategies firefighters are using to protect the giants.

The fires inside Sequoia National Park continue to grow, now burning nearly 6,000 acres. The Colony Fire and the larger Paradise Fire make up the KNP Complex. Monday night, the Paradise Fire moved downhill, crossing the middle fork of the Kaweah River and the Generals Highway. The complex is currently threatening the communities of Mineral King and Three Rivers. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for Mineral King and orders have expanded for parts of Three Rivers. 

 

The KNP Complex Fire, which started Thursday after lightning strikes, has burned just over 3000 acres in the Sequoia National Park. There are two fires making up the complex, the Colony Fire located near Crystal Cave Road and the larger Paradise Fire near Paradise Ridge, northeast of Mineral King. 

Alex Tettamanti

For 17 years, Karla Carcamo’s family had a Labor Day tradition: they gathered all their cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, family friends, and even family members of family friends, and spent the long weekend camping at Mammoth Pool Reservoir in the Sierra Foothills.

 

Alex Tettamanti and her husband Raul Reyes were regulars at Mammoth Pool, too – the off-roading club they belong to with Vicky Castro and her husband Rolando Rosales also visited the reservoir every Labor Day to play with their quads and jet-skis.

Healthy Fresno County facebook page

Coronavirus infections are now spreading faster in the San Joaquin Valley than in any other region of the state. And as hospitals reach critical capacity, health officials are warning that patient care is at risk.

 

 

An Afghan woman who asks to be called Sana places a spread of dried fruit and nuts on the dinner table in her small apartment. It’s in keeping with Afghan culture.

“When we have guests, it's must,” she says, getting ready to pour a cup of tea. “You should serve them green tea or black tea.”

The California Department of Justice has reached an agreement Monday with the Bakersfield Police Department to implement a wide-range of policing reforms.

The state began its investigation in 2016 following a surge of citizen complaints, said Attorney General Rob Bonta.

“The California Department of Justice launched an investigation that in our estimation revealed that the Bakersfield Police Department failed to uniformly and adequately enforce the law, leading to a pattern or practice of conduct that deprived Bakersfield residents of their constitutional protections.”

Reggie Bess has been building his coin collection for the past 30 years.

“And so this is my penny collection, this is what I'm working on today,” he says unfolding a cardboard panel with rows of coins.

When he lost his home two years ago, he parted with a lot of other things but his coin collection? It mattered too much.

“That there is 1884,” he says pointing to a penny in his collection.

But now he doesn’t have to drag it from place to place. He’s relieved to have a motel room to himself. He just moved into the Travel Inn off Parkway Drive.

Mariposa County Public Health Facebook page

In the last month, Mariposa County has surged from one of the state’s lowest rates of new COVID-19 cases to one of its highest. As a result, county supervisors recently approved mask and vaccine mandates for county employees.

 

The school bell is ringing, signaling the end of the first day back at school at Lowell Elementary near downtown Fresno. Parents gather just outside the gates of the campus, eagerly waiting to pick up their children. Some stand under the shade, while others wait in a line of cars. Slowly, students begin filing out of class.

The once-empty playground is now filled with kids and the bustle of parents and siblings arriving to pick their student out of the crowd. 

JOHN WALKER JWALKER@FRESNOBEE.COM / Fresno Bee

It’s a hot Tuesday afternoon in Tipton. Residents from across southern Tulare County stop at the unincorporated community’s only minimart to pick up food or to cash their checks. 

Junior Toscano, 29, works in agriculture and lives in Tipton. He walks out of the minimart without a mask and he says he doesn’t have the COVID-19 vaccine either. 

“My mom is always telling me to get it but I just haven't done it,” he says. 

And he isn’t the only one in the predominantly Latino zip code that isn’t eager to get vaccinated.

UCSF Fresno

Dr. Sukhjit Dhillon, an emergency medicine physician at UCSF Fresno, says she is concerned that the recent increase in COVID-19 cases will once again overwhelm hospital emergency rooms.   

New hospital admissions due to COVID-19 have increased in Fresno County by 71 percent in the past week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

More and more people are coming in with respiratory symptoms likely due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus, she says. Most are unvaccinated.

Geri Yang-Johnson via Zoom, Blong Xiong

Early Thursday morning, gymnast Sunisa Lee became the first Hmong American to win a gold medal for team USA. And just as her hometown community in Minnesota cheered her on, the San Joaquin Valley’s Hmong community was watching as well.

The City of Fresno began inspecting a series of blighted, vacant commercial buildings on Monday as part of an ordinance the city council passed in June. 

The first is the former Gottschalks building on Fulton Street in downtown Fresno. On the outside, most windows are smashed out and boarded up. 

City councilmember Miguel Arias heads inside with inspectors. They’re all using cell phones as flashlights. 

“This is the kind of stuff we gotta look at, the gas line is off completely,” Arias says, pointing toward the ceiling.

 

The crowd is slowly filling in on this Friday, as triple digit temperatures blaze the grounds of Fresno’s largest Cambodian temple at Clinton and Valentine.

Guests are taking refuge in corners with shade, watching singers perform on the main stage. 

Other visitors braving the sun are lined up at vendor booths, set up in rows along the main courtyard. The smell of cooked meats fills the air. Danny Kim says this is all familiar to him.

“I travel to Cambodia a lot and night market is the most popular thing in Cambodia.” 

Alice Daniel / KVPR

Pete Oliver likes to say that his small green Army jeep is older than he is, and he’s 76. But it still runs well after a few starts, and he uses it to drive around his small farm west of downtown Fresno. On this day, he takes the jeep out to where his watermelons are fading in the heat. 

“See that little light area in the middle of the melons there,” he says pointing to white spots on the leaves that have been baked by the sun.

 

Gladys Dick McKinney has just made a quick stop for strawberry jello at the Dollar General on Highway 180.

She’s making a cake for her brother’s birthday but before she heads out, she takes a minute to talk to me about the proposed name change and even asks me to sit in her air conditioned car. 

 

She says she’s lived here all of her life and doesn’t mind the name.

 

“As far as Squaw Valley offending me, that name does not offend me. And I'm a Indian woman, a mother,” Dick McKinney says.

Department of State Hospitals

Earlier this year, Jeff Gambord realized he couldn’t remember the last time he had a physical exam. So he requested his medical record from Coalinga State Hospital, the psychiatric facility where he’s been a patient since 2006.

Gambord learned it’d been more than a year, and he was curious if this was common—so he encouraged others to request their records, too. “When we went back and looked up a couple other patients on this unit, some go back as far as two or three years as not having received exams,” he said.

 

 

As City Councilmember Tyler Maxwell and I get on the FAX bus at Shaw and Cedar, a cool blast of air greets us. Our fare is free but that ends in September. Maxwell says the zero fare experiment was helpful during COVID, especially for low-income residents without cars. FAX busses returned to full capacity last week.

“I can't tell you how many stories my office has gotten over text, email, phone call, just saying what a huge relief this has been for so many families, especially during the pandemic,” he says.

Mark Arax

Writer Mark Arax has been working to uncover some of the forgotten history that explains how many neighborhoods in Fresno were established. What he discovered was that some of the city's largest housing developers used restrictive real estate covenants to prevent Armenians and people of color from living in certain neighborhoods. Valley Edition host Kathleen Schock spoke with him about the legacy of this practice and what it might mean for Fresno’s future.  

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