Top Stories

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

 

People experiencing homelessness often rely on the hospital emergency room for medical care. In Porterville, Vera Miles has done it multiple times. She’s lived under the trees along the Tule River in Porterville for five years. The 60-year old shares the space with her partner. She says she isn’t worried about getting the coronavirus.

 

“I think we're safer down here than anywhere actually,” says Miles. “With this going on, I'd rather be here.”

Kaweah Delta Health Care District

 

Earlier this week, Kaweah Delta Healthcare District reported a record high of 68 COVID-19 patients in its hospital beds. Soon, however, the Visalia hospital and at least two others in the San Joaquin Valley will be receiving help from the armed services.

 

 

The Kern County Sheriff’s Department has agreed to collaborate with a community-led advisory council, officials announced on Tuesday. It will be the first of its kind for the county.

Arleana Waller, the founder of MLK CommUNITY, led the initiative to create the advisory council. She said the main goal is to have a diverse panel of community members to review policies within the department. 

 

Kern Medical / Kerry Klein

 

As COVID-19 case counts rise across California, prompting a new wave of business closures from Governor Gavin Newsom, hospitals are slowly approaching their capacities. Although Bakersfield’s Kern Medical is currently nearing as many patients as it can handle, it has plans to expand.

 

Patil Armenian / Community Regional Medical Center

Earlier this spring, even as hospital workers received new guidance for personal protective equipment and learned to strip off their work clothes before entering their homes, Dr. Patil Armenian, an emergency physician at Community Regional Medical Center and UCSF Fresno, told KVPR that the experience felt like “the calm before the storm.”

 

Fresno County Historical Society's Civil War Revisited Website

Last week, the Fresno County Historical Society announced that its annual Civil War Revisited event won’t be happening this year due to COVID-19. However, the Society is planning an event centered around telling more stories of the 19th Century, beyond the Civil War. 

Kerry Klein

The COVID-19 caseload continues to climb across the West, and in recent press calls, health officials in both Fresno and Kern Counties have expressed concern about the ability of hospitals to keep up with rising healthcare needs and potential surges.

Whitney Pirtle, Tania Pacheco-Werner and Chet Hewitt

Earlier this week, the New York Times published an analysis of national data that found that Black and Latinx Americans are three times as likely to catch COVID-19 compared to whites. To discuss the implications of those findings, and what it means for the battle against the virus here in the San Joaquin Valley, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Whitney Pirtle, assistant professor of sociology at UC Merced, Dr.

Beth LaBerge

KQED's Central Valley reporter Alexandra Hall spent more than a year investigating an Anglican priest in Fresno who some say is a miracle worker and others say is a sexual predator. The audio documentary that came from her reporting was produced for The California Report Magazine.

Joel Martinez

As COVID-19 cases in the San Joaquin Valley continue to climb, the Fresno County Department of Agriculture recently secured nearly one million masks to help protect the county’s agricultural workers.  

 

Melissa Cregan, the agricultural commissioner for the county, said the masks came from California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and the Office of Emergency Services.

 

“We’ve probably received over 800,000 of the face coverings and we’ve distributed probably over 700,000 of those,” said Cregan.  

 

Fresno State / Fresno State Official Facebook

 

As coronavirus cases are surging, so are reports of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. But even as mental health professionals are needed more than ever, those who graduated from one Fresno State nursing program are being told to return to school.

 

Office of the Governor of California Twitter page

On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered bars to close in seven California counties, including four in the San Joaquin Valley: Fresno, Kern, Tulare and Kings. He also recommended bar closures in eight others. Health officials in Kern County, however, say the order was made without consulting them.

 

Fresno Alliance

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department reported 507 positive COVID-19 cases at the county jail on Monday. That’s almost a quarter of the total jail population, but testing has still been limited to one part of the facility. 

The sheriff’s department reported its first cases of the coronavirus on June 19th. That’s when 13 incarcerated people who were being transferred out tested positive for COVID-19. The 13 had been housed in the jail’s north annex. 

Courtesy of Patrick Contreras

This week we spoke to a musician who, like others, lost a lot of work when the pandemic hit: Performances were postponed, or cancelled altogether. Patrick Contreras, a Fresno violinist, started to offer front lawn concerts to make ends meet, and the idea has taken off. He says he’s heard from other musicians across the country, asking how he’s made it work. 

Fresno Unified School District Facebook

The Fresno Unified School District announced Thursday that on-campus instruction will resume August 17. 

Superintendent Bob Nelson said based on parent survey results, the district expects 75 percent of kids to return to school in the fall. However, school will be a little different.

City of Fresno Facebook

More racist remarks were made during a public comment session at the Fresno City Council budget hearing on Monday. The council heard similar, vulgar comments last week, and members said they want consequences.

Two Zoom-meeting attendees used the n-word multiple times until they were cut off. Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said this is a reason to resume in-person meetings.

“Let’s open up this building and get back in the chamber because these cowards won’t come forward to speak; they do it anonymously on Zoom,” said Bredefeld.

CA Dept of Corrections

Paul Richardson was in prison in Fresno County in the 1990s when he first heard about valley fever, a mysterious fungal disease that could be caught from inhaling spores in airborne dust. He came to learn, however, that his fellow inmates had their own name for it. “We called it ‘instant AIDS,’” he says. “A-I-D-S.”

It hits people like a brick wall. In rare cases, it kills them. “Within 30 days, you lost about 50 pounds,” Richardson says.

 

Fresno City Council Facebook page

An inflammatory phrase using the n-word was one of many disruptions to a Fresno City Council meeting on June 11, held online via the videoconferencing platform Zoom.

Dympna Ugwu-Oju

For many African-American parents, part of the responsibility of raising a child includes preparing them for the racism and violence they may experience because of the color of their skin. To discuss what it is like to raise a black child in the Valley, FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Isaac Sandifer Jr., a retired educator and brigadier general from Bakersfield, Dr. Edythe Stewart, a general surgeon who practices in Merced, Shantay Davies-Balch, CEO of the Black Wellness and Prosperity Center in Fresno, and Dympna Ugwu-Oju, editor of Fresnoland.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Oliver Baines was the only African American serving on the Fresno City Council during his two terms in office starting in 2010. Prior to that, he spent nearly 12 years as a Fresno police officer. Yesterday it was announced that he will lead a new commission for police reform in Fresno, tasked with making a recommendation to the council in 90 days. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke with Baines about his experience with police brutality as a young man, and his vision for Fresno’s future. 

Pages