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The Fresno County Public Defender's Office held a protest Monday against police brutality and in honor of George Floyd. About a hundred protesters started at the public defender’s office and walked to the Fresno Police Department. 

Organizers said this protest had a specific message for police officers. Camille Slack, a paralegal, said the organization is calling for police to intervene when they see other officers abusing their power.  

More than a hundred people gathered at an elementary school on Friday in Madera to protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The people behind the protest were black high school students.

Eighteen-year-old Mary Idowu led the protest which started with a “No Justice, No Peace” chant. A recent graduate of Madera South High School, Idowu said it’s important for society to see a well-organized peaceful protest from young people.

Alice Daniel

Last November, we brought you the story of Manuel and Olga Jimenez. They’re a Woodlake couple who created a mile-long community botanical garden in their town to inspire and teach kids. Hundreds of young people have volunteered at the Bravo Lake Botanical Garden since it was started 17 years ago.

Courtesy of Ana Cornejo

In two separate incidents this weekend, cars intentionally drove into pedestrians at rallies protesting the death of George Floyd, a black man murdered by Minneapolis police. 

In Bakersfield Friday night, around 300 people gathered in front of the city’s police department, holding signs and rallying peacefully. Ana Cornejo, a grade school teacher, was among them when a gray SUV sped through the street.

Madi Bolanos

 

More than 3,000 people gathered in downtown Fresno Sunday to protest the murder of George Floyd and other black lives lost to police violence. 

The Fresno State NAACP and other black organizations in Fresno organized the peaceful protest which started in front of City Hall and lasted for about three hours. Student activist Aislyn Brown said she's tired and ready to see a change in the country’s justice system. 

Lilian Marquez

Karla Lopez, 32, currently lives in Stockton with her friend Lilian Marquez. The two met at the Mesa Verde ICE Processing Facility in Bakersfield nine months ago and have been friends since then. But Lopez’ journey to get here started way back in November of 2018. 

That’s when a caravan of thousands of migrants made national news walking from Central America to the United States. Lopez decided to join the second wave of people heading to this country.

Kaweah Delta Medical Center

Tulare County has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in California due in part to outbreaks in nursing homes - and the county just voted to reopen businesses before meeting health benchmarks set by the state.  FM89’s Alice Daniel spoke with Dr. Harjoth Malli, medical director of Critical Care at Kaweah Delta in Visalia about the patients he’s seeing, what it’s like to work in the ICU, and what advice he has for the public.    

 

New Wrinkles Website

 

 

Normally, a group of singing, dancing senior citizens would be taking the stage at Fresno City College starting this month. But the group dubbed “New Wrinkles” has postponed its 2020 season, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the group is staying connected and performing solo on Youtube, in a series called, “New Wrinkles Unplugged.”

City of Fresno Facebook

With state approval, dine-in restaurants can now reopen in Fresno County, as long as measures like social distancing and employee face coverings are used. This comes just after the city of Fresno announced an end to its shelter-in-place order, starting Tuesday.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said the decision to end the order was not made half-heartedly.

Fresno County Department of Public Health Website

Fresno County’s Public Health Department announced a county-wide mask recommendation this week that takes effect Friday. Officials say it’s one more layer of protection as the county starts to reopen.

At a media update Wednesday afternoon, Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra compared wearing masks to using speed bumps, helmets, and seatbelts. 

Courtesy of Tali Whelan

Tali Whelan is a registered nurse. 

“I have worked the long 12-hour shifts in the past, and so I know how difficult it can be to be on your feet for so long and constantly on the go,” said Whelan. 

She normally works in a dermatology office, but right now, because it’s not busy, she’s on furlough. So she started a one-woman, local chapter of Front Line Appreciation Group, or FLAG.

Elieth Martinez

The Latinx community is being hit the hardest in terms of the number of COVID-19 cases, according to the latest demographics from the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

Courtesy of Benfie Liu

A couple weeks ago, we told you about how the Central California Blood Center is collecting plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients. Since then, a number of people have stepped forward to donate, including Benfie Liu. 

Liu is 29 years old and a medical resident at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia. She works in emergency medicine, but she never expected to encounter a pandemic, let alone get the virus. 

 

 

April Imboden knows many places where people who are experiencing homelessness live in Fresno. On this day, she’s parked her car in an alley near Fruit and Dakota. 

“Do you want some pizza? Do you want a piece of pizza?” she yells from her car. 

She has a couple of boxes she’s purchased from Little Caesars, and she’s passing out slices to folks who might be hungry. 

“What’s your name?” she asks one man. “Ronald,” he says. 

ACT for Women and Girls

Mi Familia Vota is an organization that focuses on Census outreach for communities who typically do not fill out the form. Prior to COVID-19, the organization had planned to co-host events with Fresno Barrios Unidos and the Fresno Unified School District. 

That all came to a screeching halt in mid March when shelter-in-place orders took effect. Mi Familia had to come up with new strategies for reaching out.  

Immigration and Customs Enforcement released 18 women this week detained at the Mesa Verde Detention Center in Bakersfield. But neither the women nor their attorneys were given advance notice to make accommodations. 

Lilian Marquez, 45, was detained at Mesa Verde for 11 months. But on Wednesday, she and another woman were released without explanation. 

Central Valley Meat Co.

 

Rural Kings County has seen a large spike in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks. The majority of those cases can be traced back to the Central Valley Meat Company in Hanford.

As of Wednesday, Kings County reported 211 cases of the coronavirus; 138 of them are connected to the meat packing facility, which is still operating.  County Supervisor Doug Verboon says he’s not surprised by the spike.   

It got into the facility, said Verboon. “Someone got the virus and took it into the workplace and it spread pretty fast there.”

U.S. Census Bureau Website

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the census is still taking place. But so far only half of the families in the San Joaquin Valley have responded. In contrast, 58 percent of California residents have responded to the census as of Monday.

Mariposa County confirmed its first coronavirus case last Tuesday. Within two days, the total number jumped to 13. Despite the rapid increase, county officials said they’re containing the spread using contact tracing.

Health Director Dr. Eric Sergienko said his department was ready to act when the first case showed up. Within 24 hours, a team of two nurses and three sheriff’s detectives tracked down more than 20 people, all of whom had been in contact with the first patient when she was contagious. Twelve of them had the virus.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It’s hard enough for any kid to shelter in place. They can't go to school, do team sports, or physically hang out with their friends. But for foster kids already struggling to maintain relationships, social distancing can be even more challenging. 

Renee is 15 years old, loves the “Twilight” series, and wants to be a social worker when she grows up. 

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