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Valley Public Radio
1 minutes | Nov 16, 2021
Valley fever researchers have developed a vaccine—for dogs
Each year, the fungal disease valley fever infects tens of thousands of people in the American Southwest. Studies suggest infection rates could be even higher among dogs, however, and researchers in Arizona are now announcing progress on a canine valley fever vaccine. Valley fever is caused by a fungus that grows in arid soil. Fungal spores can become airborne due to wind, construction or other activities that disrupt the soil, and inhaling the spores can lead to an infection in the lungs that can spread throughout the body if not treated promptly . Around half of those who develop an infection overcome it without ever knowing they had it, but symptomatic cases can resemble anything from mild flu to pneumonia to lung cancer. In rare cases, the disease can be fatal, or it can spread to other parts of the body and require life-long treatment. Researchers estimate the disease’s financial burden annually tops $700 million in California and $736 million in Arizona , between direct and
1 minutes | Nov 16, 2021
As temperatures rise, air quality experts keep an eye on ‘ozone climate penalty’
Over the last few decades, air quality in the San Joaquin Valley has greatly improved. But climate change could jeopardize those gains, and researchers are trying to figure out by how much. One of the Valley’s summertime air pollutants is ozone. High in the atmosphere, the gas protects the Earth, but at ground level it’s a contributor to the summer smog that obscures views of our surrounding mountains and turns the sky a sickly brown. Exposure to ozone is known to exacerbate respiratory ailments , and recent research out of UCLA suggests it’s associated with the development of type-II diabetes . Ozone itself is not directly emitted, but it’s produced when other harmful pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) combine in the air. Both ozone precursors are emitted by combustion engines and many industrial sources including manufacturers and refineries, although VOCs are also emitted naturally by plants and released during forest fires. As a result of
6 minutes | Nov 15, 2021
‘We are still here’ - Valley Native Americans on the challenges of keeping their culture alive
Jennifer Malone mostly goes by her English name but she has another name in Wukchumni. “My Indian name is Haiyelihx,” she says, adding that the word s ummer in Wukchumni is haiyel . “So my great grandma named me Haiyelihx because that means summer. I was born July 31st.” She can’t remember where the name Jennifer even came from. Her mom mainly called her Haiyelihx . “Especially when she wanted to get my attention. ‘ Haiyelihx!’ she would say. “When I was in trouble I guess,” Malone says laughing. Her mom, Marie Wilcox, was at one time the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni. But she taught relatives the language and for years pecked away at a computer one letter at a time to write a Wukchumni dictionary. “Her grandma passed away when my mom was 7 years old and that's why, to me, it amazes me how she remembered all of these words, you know, and to be able to put them into a dictionary because she was just 7,” Malone says. Wilcox died last month at the age of 87. Now Malone teaches the
54 minutes | Nov 13, 2021
Valley Edition - November 12, 2021 - Transportation in Fresno County, Climate Change, Chris Colfer
On this week’s Valley Edition:What’s at stake for the future of transportation in Fresno County? Plus, how growers and academics are working to make Valley agriculture more resilient to climate change. And the TV show Glee made Clovis native Chris Colfer famous. This weekend he returns to the Valley to support a local theatre company. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.
10 minutes | Nov 13, 2021
For agriculture, a changing climate brings challenges—but also opportunities
In many ways, climate change has already hit home here in the San Joaquin Valley—especially for the agricultural industry, which produces as much as a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts and brings in billions of dollars each year to the local economy. Already, climate change is bringing higher temperatures, more variable precipitation and more extreme weather events like drought. But even though these changes herald significant problems for ag, they also present opportunities to adapt. For example, some crops can be switched out for more drought-tolerant varieties, and for others, the practice of deficit irrigation can deliver less water with few adverse impacts. In this interview, KVPR’s Kerry Klein spoke about those challenges and opportunities with Tapan Pathak, a professor and climate adaptation specialist with UC Merced and the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
1 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
Bonus: Escape From Mammoth Pool on 'Science Friday'
We're very excited to announce that we have shared another adaptation of this series with Science Friday , the national radio show produced by WNYC Studios. As " the source for entertaining and educational stories about science, technology, and other cool stuff," t hey were interested in the wildfire outlook for California given climate change and the vulnerable state of our forests, and, more specifically, the effects of all of this on people. The segment features excerpts from the original podcast plus a new feature that pulls together lessons learned from throughout the series. Take a listen online, or subscribe to the Science Friday podcast.
3 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
Ray Lee, 97, volunteered at Legion of Valor Museum for years; now he returns for Vets Day Parade
Ray Lee sits on a folding chair at the top of the stairs leading to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The height gives him a clear view of the Central Valley Veterans Day Parade route on Fresno Street. “I really enjoy it. Seeing some of my old friends I used to work with at the museum,” Lee says. For more than 25 years, Lee volunteered as the curator at the Legion of Valor Museum , located just inside the auditorium. Veterans Day is typically the museum’s busiest day. Since retiring a few years ago, spending Veterans Day here has become Lee’s new tradition. “Here I am again, and I'm 97 years old and I hope to hit the 100 mark,” Lee says. Today he’s wearing a hat that says “World War II Veteran.” He served for three years with the U.S. Army. “I served in Europe. We finished up there and then we got shipped back to Japan, occupation troop,” he says. Lee was given a congressional gold medal for Chinese American World War II Veterans in June this year. He was one of four veterans honored
13 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
In TED Talk, Irma Olguin Jr. shares how Bitwise uses tech to revitalize underdog cities
TED Talks, the popular videos about “ideas worth spreading,” invited Fresno’s Irma Olguin Jr. to take the stage this year to share her ideas about how to connect people from marginalized communities to training and jobs in the tech industry. It’s work she champions as a co-founder of Bitwise Industries, and from the TED stage she shared its formula for success. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to Olguin Jr. about her experience telling the story of Bitwise to a global audience.
9 minutes | Nov 12, 2021
Actor and author Chris Colfer returns to Clovis for theater fundraiser
Clovis native Chris Colfer found fame as an actor on the hit show Glee, and as a New York Times best-selling author of young adult novels like the "Land of Stories" series. But this weekend Colfer will come back to his roots, hosting and performing in a fundraiser for Good Company Players, the Fresno theatre company where he got his start. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Colfer about the event and what inspired his latest book.
7 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
Yosemite National Park revisits history to tell more inclusive story of Chinese immigrants
Ranger Adam Ramsey, the Supervisor for Wawona District Interpretation, was one of the researchers who poured over archives in Yosemite National Park’s library to find names and dates connected to the Chinese Laundry building. Ramsey unlocks the door to the small brown building on Forest Drive, near the Wawona Hotel. “So the first thing that people see when they walk in are these first exhibits here,” he says, surveying the industrial rectangular room filled with informational panels staggered throughout the space. The exhibits and artifacts inside detail the early history of Chinese immigrants in Yosemite. “The building was originally constructed as a laundry facility for the Wawona Hotel,” Ramsey says. The laundry operated from 1918 to the early 1930’s. The people who worked here were primarily Chinese immigrants who came to California during the Gold Rush. The building itself has been restored and was just re-dedicated and unveiled as an exhibit in October. Ramsey says the goal when
15 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
What to expect as state water officials weigh in on local groundwater sustainability plans
In 2014, California’s state legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), a sweeping law with the goal of balancing the amount of water pumped out of underground aquifers with the amount returned through recharge. How that balancing act would actually work was left up to hundreds of locally governed water agencies, which are now beginning to receive feedback from the state Department of Water Resources on the sustainability plans they submitted in late 2019 and early 2020. In this interview, KVPR’s Kerry Klein speaks with Lois Henry, CEO and editor of the non-profit news source SJV Water , about what’s next in the SGMA rollout, what water agencies should expect from the state’s comments, and how the latest drought is already foiling some long-term groundwater plans.
2 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
A national honor for Hanford’s China Alley Preservation Society recognizes efforts to save site
After a nationwide search, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently gave Hanford’s China Alley Preservation Society one of its most prestigious awards. The Trustees Emeritus Award for Historic Site Stewardship recognizes the all-volunteer group for its efforts to preserve the story and history of China Alley. The half-block street in downtown Hanford has 11 historic buildings that trace the roots of Chinese immigrants in the 1800’s. “I think people, a lot of people don't know what a little jewel we have in Hanford,” says Arianne Wing, president of the China Alley Preservation Society . She says the award came as a surprise, especially as the group is still dealing with the aftermath of a devastating arson at its main attraction, the Taoist Temple Museum. The fire in May destroyed and damaged artifacts and left the building in need of major repairs. Wing says it was news of the fire that caught the attention of the national trust. She hopes it will bring more awareness to
54 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
Valley Edition - November 5, 2021 - Chinese immigrants impact on Yosemite, Tooleville, Mai Der Vang
On this week’s Valley Edition: The vital contributions of Chinese immigrants to Yosemite National Park. Plus, the latest on the state’s effort to end Tooleville’s long fight for clean drinking water. And poet Mai Der Vang reads from her new collection about Hmong refugees escaping Laos following the Vietnam War. Listen to these stories and more in the podcast above.
9 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
How public input is dramatically shaping what local legislative districts could look like
The clock is ticking to redraw legislative boundaries following the 2020 census. This week California’s redistricting commission released a preliminary map of what the state’s congressional districts could look like. If finalized the new map could make it a lot more difficult for some incumbent representatives like Devin Nunes to hold on to their seats. To learn more about this process and its timeline Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock checked in with the non-profit California Common Cause. She spoke with the organization’s executive director Jonathan Mehta Stein and Central Valley redistricting organizer Luis Huerta-Silva.
11 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
Fresno poet Mai Der Vang explores a forgotten history in new book
Fresno poet Mai Der Vang looks back on a dark chapter of history in her new collection “Yellow Rain.” Hmong refugees fleeing Laos at the end of the Vietnam war reported being attacked with chemical and biological weapons that led to thousands of deaths, but American scientists dismissed refugee accounts, claiming that the mysterious substance raining down on them was the feces of honeybees. Through exhaustive research of once classified documents, Vang reveals the truth of what happened, giving voice to the victims of the attacks. Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to Vang about how she uncovered their forgotten stories.
10 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
The new state law that could end Tooleville's fight for clean water
For more than two decades the small Tulare County community of Tooleville has been without a secure supply of safe drinking water. The simplest solution would be to connect the town’s water system to that of its neighbor, the City of Exeter. It would take less than a mile of pipe to get it done. But years of red tape and failed negotiations have kept the consolidation from taking place. Now the state has stepped in with a new law, SB 403, which could bring safe drinking water to Tooleville and hundreds of communities like it throughout the Central Valley. To learn more, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke to Michael Claiborne , directing attorney for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.
1 minutes | Nov 5, 2021
This candidate could be Madera’s first Indigenous Mexican-American councilmember
City of Madera residents voted Tuesday to fill a vacancy on the city council. County officials are still counting ballots from the special election but as of Thursday, an Indigenous Mexican-American candidate has garnered 61 percent of the vote. The seat has been vacant since November 2020 when residents elected Santos Garcia to be mayor. Elsa Mejia, 32, who grew up in Madera’s fifth district, says that’s when community members reached out to her to run. “But I had already seen the need,” she says. “And I thought that I could do a good job with my education, with my volunteer experience, because I've been involved ever since I was a teenager.” At 17 years old, Mejia advocated for the city to create a community garden and won. Now, she says she wants to help invest in small businesses and revitalize the city’s downtown. District 5 is also home to the city’s largest Indigenous community from Mexico. “We’ve been established here for more than 30 years, and it was time to see
1 minutes | Nov 4, 2021
Six years in, dairy producers and conservation groups together are protecting endangered blackbirds
The tricolored blackbird, native almost exclusively to Central California, gained protection under the state’s Endangered Species Act in 2018. Since then, the most at-risk colonies have successfully been protected, thanks in large part to San Joaquin Valley dairies. Sporting distinctive red and white shoulder patches, tricolored blackbirds have a nasal buzzing call that’s sometimes described as cat-like. The tiny birds will spend most of the year in flocks with other blackbird species, then settle during breeding season in the region’s wetlands in “mega-colonies” that number in the tens to hundreds of thousands. Due to drought and human development, however, the tiny birds have been forced to find new breeding habitat and the population has been in decline. “The population remains at or near its smallest size ever recorded,” reads the 2018 Department of Fish and Wildlife report that recommended the bird be protected under the Endangered Species Act . “Coupled with the earlier declines
5 minutes | Nov 3, 2021
California Reporting Project develops tool to explore police misconduct files
The California Reporting Project has been gathering police misconduct files from departments around the state, including Bakersfield. The collaboration, which includes dozens of newsrooms including KVPR, is developing a web tool that will allow community members to explore misconduct files. They are also seeking feedback from the public to enhance that tool. To learn more about the project, Valley Edition Host Kathleen Schock spoke with Lezla Gooden, a reporter and engagement producer for the California Reporting Project.
53 minutes | Oct 29, 2021
Valley Edition - October 29, 2021 - Homeless encampment, nurses leaving, drought impact
On this week’s Valley Edition : How is Fresno managing the challenge of a homeless encampment downtown in the face of limited shelter beds? Plus, the struggle to educate enough nurses to replace those driven out of the profession by pandemic stress. And how the drought is impacting small farmers right now.
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