Rebecca Plevin

Reporter

Rebecca Plevin was a reporter for Valley Public Radio from 2013-2014. Before joining the station, she was the community health reporter for Vida en el Valle, the McClatchy Company's bilingual newspaper in California's San Joaquin Valley. She earned the George F. Gruner Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism and the McClatchy President's Award for her work at Vida, as well as honors from the National Association of Hispanic Publications and the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Plevin grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is also a fluent Spanish speaker, a certified yoga teacher, and an avid rock-climber.

Ways To Connect

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

This year, you’re likely to hear a lot of predictions about how the drought will impact our health, environment, and food.

But one thing you won’t hear is whether the dry conditions will – without a doubt - increase the risk of valley fever in California. Sure, it makes sense. Even microbiologist Antje Lauer expects that drought conditions, and drier soil, would increase the risk of valley fever.

“If we want to have less of the valley fever fungus in the soil, you would pray for more rain,” Lauer says. 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

In a cramped cubicle in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Fresno County, Neng Yang is playing a small role in the country’s healthcare overhaul. On this afternoon, she’s helping a Hmong woman enroll in Medi-Cal.

“She prefers English, so her kids can read to her, because she doesn’t read and write in Hmong, and sometimes the translation gets lost when it’s sent to her in Hmong,” says Yang, a certified enrollment counselor at Fresno Center for New Americans.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

During his visit Friday to the Central Valley, President Obama discussed the   drought with community leaders in Firebaugh. FM 89’s Rebecca Plevin asked residents there what they would tell the President about the region, if they had the opportunity.

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If President Obama had time to stop by the Farmer’s Daughter restaurant in Firebaugh today, he would hear a strong message from owner LaVonne Allen.

“We need more water storage, there’s no ands, ifs, or buts about it,” she says.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

When farmworker Jose Gonzalez Cardenas can’t find work, he heads to the Westside Pool Hall in Mendota. Planting has hardly begun in the Central Valley, but everyone here is talking about the state’s drought, and what it could mean for the growing season.

“If there’s no water, we’re not going to have work,” Gonzalez says in Spanish.

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the issues of drought, changing culture among Hmong youth, the health of public forests and more.

Leading the program, Moore speaks with Lois Henry of the Bakersfield Californian and Kerman farmer Paul Betancourt about the drought, farmers fallowing fields, well drilling and more.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Starting this week, Valley Public Radio will share an occasional series, called Voices of the Drought. First up, is the story of small farmer Chia Lee.

Back in Laos, Chia Lee grew rice and corn on a mountainside. He never worried about rain there.

“We’re waiting for the monsoon rain in Laos, once a year, so we don’t worry about anything,” Lee says.

Anil Verma Associates / Fresno FAX

Following a public hearing last night that lasted about seven hours, the Fresno City Council voted four-to-three against two contracts needed to move forward with the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system. The high-capacity express bus system would have been funded through a $50 million federal grant.

http://www.cs.csub.edu/~donna/kie/Lectures/masumoto.php

This week on Valley Edition our reporting team discusses how Valley air quality may affect our genes, a library vending machine that dispenses books, hockey in the region and much more.

Starting off the program, Valley Public Radio Reporter Rebecca Plevin reports on the issue of pollution and how it relates to our health. She explores the question of whether pollution is affecting Valley residents at cellular level.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Here in the Central Valley – in one of the most polluted air basins in the country – we know that poor air is bad for our health. We feel it in our eyes and throat, and when we struggle to breathe.

But what if air pollution is affecting us at a deeper, cellular level?

That's exactly what Dr. Kari Nadeau discovered a few years ago. She’s a Stanford School of Medicine professor with an expertise in asthma and allergies.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

A local organization has developed a bilingual storybook – or fotonovela, in Spanish – to educate Fresno County residents about human trafficking.

The book is, “something they can take home, use, read, re-read, share it with others, share it with their families,” said Margarita Rocha, executive director of Centro La Familia Advocacy Services, as she introduced the book this morning at the Mexican Consulate in Fresno. “It’s a very powerful tool.”

It’s designed like a comic book, with bright pictures and quote bubbles. But the subject matter is serious. 

Community Hospitals/ UCSF Fresno

In Fresno County, implementation of the federal healthcare law has had some unintended consequences.

For one, the law expanded the insurance program for the poor, known here as Medi-Cal. That’s a huge benefit to uninsured people who could not previously afford health coverage. But it’s turned out to be a problem for the county. It’s now receiving less state funding for its medical safety-net program, based on the assumption that less people will need it. The county contracts out this care to Community Regional Medical Center.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

A statewide renters’ rights organization has filed a class action suit against JD Homes Rentals for operating what it calls ‘slum’ rental housing in Fresno. FM89’s Rebecca Plevin reports:

Jesucita Esteves grew up in one of JD Homes’ rental homes.

ESTEVES: “We were living in ugly conditions. Our rooms were full of mold. Our carpet wasn’t even carpet anymore, it was like dirt. It was nasty.” 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition host Joe Moore recaps the year with Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. The two discuss everything from high speed rail to law enforcement.

Just walking into this room with Emily Grant makes you want to slow down and take a deep breath. The lights are dimmed, there’s soft music playing, and the room smells sweetly of lavender.

“Take a few deep breaths in, and exhale," Grant says. "Take another deep breath in, and exhale.”

This isn’t a yoga studio. It’s a classroom, where Grant guides Sunnyside High School’s meditation club.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Maricela Mares Alatorre says she has a “hate-hate” relationship with Kettleman City’s water, which contains unsafe amounts of naturally occurring arsenic.

“Usually, very early in the morning or late at night, there’s like a petroleum smell, like gas,” Alatorre says. “Sometimes during the day, while we’re washing the dishes, we’ll have a white dish, and all of a sudden, we’ll see the water is totally brown.” 

Courtesy of Teresa De Anda

When you arrive at Teresa De Anda’s house on the edge of Earlimart, you might think the biggest health threat here is her pack of dogs. But from De Anda’s perspective, the almond orchard directly across the street, and the nearby vineyards and fields, are much more dangerous.

“It’s nice not having neighbors across the street, but it’s not nice having all the spraying and the tilling and the dirt and the bees,” De Anda says.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

More than a dozen immigrants and advocates gathered outside of Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s office in Bakersfield this morning and called on him to support comprehensive immigration reform. The event marked the start of an 11-day push for immigration reform, in honor of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the country.

“We want our congressional representative to pass comprehensive immigration reform, with a path to citizenship, now!” said Camila Chavez, executive director of the Dolores Huerta Foundation

The second book in ‘Homegrown,’ Valley Public Radio’s book club about the San Joaquin Valley, is ‘What You See in the Dark,’ by Dinuba native Manuel Muñoz.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at the effect of fires on the Sierra Nevada.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we explore the once in a lifetime experience of “Thanksgivukkah” –Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap this year and won’t happen for another 70,000 years – through the culinary creations from the only Jewish Chef in Fresno. FM89 Reporter Rebecca Plevin reports.

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