Valley Edition

On this week’s Valley Edition: We continue our podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool. This week: the heroes, big and small, who helped more than 200 campers survive being trapped by the Creek Fire.


Plus, the strain on local hospitals as they cope with the latest surge of COVID-19.   

And a never-before seen art exhibition is headed to the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 


On this episode of Valley Edition:  One year after the Creek Fire broke out, we debut a new series all about last year’s dramatic rescue of hundreds of people from Mammoth Pool Reservoir.

Plus, civil rights legend Dolores Huerta shares her vision for an upcoming peace and justice center in Bakersfield named in her honor. 


And music educators tell us how they’re handling the pandemic. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 



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.”

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.

On this week's Valley Edition: Fresno's homeless and affordable housing crisis has exploded in the wake of the pandemic. We take a closer look at the struggle to find shelter for the unhoused and the city policies in place to offer relief.


And a new study from Harvard explores the link between wildfire smoke and COVID deaths last year. Plus, how will the decennial process of redistricting shape politics in the Valley?   


And the Fresno Art Museum reopens to the public.


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. 


On the next Valley Edition: In Fresno County, the Disability Equity Project is offering targeted support to those impacted by COVID-19. 

Plus, a new study from the USC Medical Center shows ICE violated its own internal medical care standards during a seven-year period. Current and former detainees at Mesa Verde in Bakersfield tell us they’re not surprised.

And an art exhibition on the Stonewall uprising opens at Fresno State. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 



On the next Valley Edition: Access is not an issue, so what is stopping some Tulare County residents from getting the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Plus, Black entrepreneurs share how they are overcoming bias and racism within the wine industry.

And we hear from a travelling nurse who wrote a book about his pandemic work. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 



On the next Valley Edition: Now that pandemic restrictions on places of worship have lifted, some temples serving Punjabi Sikhs have partnered with COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

Plus, what happened after a brush fire tore through four immigrant-owned businesses in a Tulare County community. 

And the danger reckless driving poses to wildlife in Yosemite. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 



On the next Valley Edition: With the recent excessive heat wave and the drought, small farmers worry about the survival of their crops. 

Plus, the legislative effort to overturn a state law that allows some workers with disabilities to earn less than the minimum wage.   

And Fresno’s Cambodian community launches a weekly night market. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 



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.” 

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.


On the next Valley Edition: Rural communities throughout California lack vital healthcare infrastructure: how some local counties are grappling with vaccine deserts. 

Plus, the political fight to bring safe drinking water to San Joaquin Valley communities.

And how to prepare for yet another summer of dirty air. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 



On the next Valley Edition: When was the last time you really listened to someone with a different political view? We introduce our collaboration with StoryCorps’ One Small Step.   

Plus, author Mark Arax discusses how history intersects with race and real estate in the city of Fresno.  

And how the pandemic forced one LGBTQ entertainer to assess his mental health. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 


After over a year online, Madera South High School adopted a hybrid schedule in April so students could return to classrooms a couple of days a week. 

But inside Rodia Montgomery-Gentry’s 12th grade economics class in early June, it felt like school was already out. Desks with plastic dividers lined the room but there were only three students.

“Everyone, would you mind turning on your camera? It’s our last day might as well,” Montgomery-Gentry is heard addressing students on her screen.

On the next Valley Edition: A state law requires schools to track attendance during the pandemic, but the frustrations of teachers and students at one Madera high school tell a different story than the numbers.

Plus, we discuss how school districts are planning to make up for the learning loss students experienced during the pandemic?

And a local historian tells us why he thinks Juneteenth should be a national holiday. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.

On this week's Valley Edition: Beginning last summer, dozens of Fresno County non-profits came together to fight COVID-19. They’ve been so effective at community outreach, other counties are following their lead.

And, Corcoran is sinking. The local author of an article explaining it in the New York Times tells us why. 

Plus, Fresno State’s new president shares his vision for the university. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.

On this week's Best of Valley Edition: In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we revisit the story of an immigrant family from Vietnam whose generosity and foresight helped them get through the past year.

Plus, we take a look back at important conversations we’ve had in the past few months about anti-Asian rhetoric and violence during the pandemic, as well as the rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories.  

Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above. 

At the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, an animation video previews the upcoming Kingdoms of Asia attraction. It’s playing on a big screen TV near where the entrance of the exhibit will be.

“Guests are transported to a lush jungle landscape, teeming with sights and sounds,” an announcer says, as the video pans over to show trees and wildlife exhibits.

Jakara Movement

Naindeep Singh, the executive director of the Jakara movement, a volunteer training organization and a hub for Sikh Californian youth, has joined us as part of our series looking at how people are processing the magnitude of this pandemic. He spoke with FM89’s Alice Daniel for this audio postcard.