Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

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

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

  This year, the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. This once-in-a-lifetime holiday, that’s being called Thanksgivukkah, won’t occur again for another 70,000 some years, according to experts.

Andy Karsh, owner of Karsh’s Catering and Zen Wok Fusion in Fresno’s Tower District, developed a special menu that combines the rich culinary traditions of the two holidays. He’ll teach us how to cook these dishes during Valley Edition on Nov. 26.

 Tursket (Turkey and Brisket)

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Operators have responded to about 400,000 calls since Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, launched Oct. 1. Starting this week, employees at the new Fresno Service Center will also answer questions, and help people enroll in health insurance.

“Fresno is a community that reflects the diversity of California, and that’s who we need to have on our phones, serving Californians,” said Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California.

This week on Valley Edition we discuss the issues of homelessness, prisons and a new book about the legacy of the Dust Bowl.

Valley Public Radio Reporter Rebecca Plevin tells the story of how two women evicted from a Fresno homeless encampment chose entirely different homes after eviction - one an eco-home and the other a field.

‘What You See In The Dark,’ by Dinuba native Manuel Munoz, is the next book in Valley Public Radio’s ‘Homegrown’ book club.

The novel follows a director and actress who arrive in Bakersfield in the late 1950s to film a movie at a motel along the old Highway 99. Meanwhile, a love affair between the motel owner’s son and a Mexican-American woman becomes dramatic and deadly. The story is tied to the movie ‘Psycho,’ which includes scenes filmed along the 99 between Bakersfield and Fresno.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

For almost a year, Nancy Holmes and Sinamon Blake were neighbors in a homeless encampment in downtown Fresno.

But city employees bulldozed their camp a few weeks ago, in an effort to rid the city of illegal structures. The two friends, and the other residents of their camp, scattered. Nancy and Sinamon ended up on a huge, dusty piece of land outside the city's jurisdiction.

“I didn’t care for the path that Sinamon found us, but damn, we were safe,” says Nancy, 61, a borderline diabetic with asthma.

She lasted there for about two weeks.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Kern Medical Center has welcomed new classes of physician residents specializing in family medicine for more than 30 years. But last week, the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to close the family medicine residency program at the financially struggling medical center, and transition it to Clinica Sierra Vista.

For the county, this arrangement could mean financial savings. The struggling hospital was reportedly losing more than $3 million per year on the family medicine program.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at Fresno State football, veterans, the possibility of a new town in the region, water issues in the region and more.

Beginning the program, Valley Edition Host Joe Moore talks with Paul Swearengin, host of the Paul Swearengin Sports Podcast, about Fresno State Football. The two discuss the dispute over the team’s name, mascot, gangs and more.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

From the time he graduated from Dinuba High School, Matthew Walker was on a mission. And it didn’t include a college education.

“That was for ‘other people,’ that hadn’t gotten enough of that ‘book learning,’ he says, with a twinkle in his eye. “I was going to make a man’s choice, and not a geeky choice, and join the Marine Corps.”

He served as a Marine for six years.

M Street Arts Complex

    

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at the issues of immigration, high speed rail and agriculture in an interview with Republican Congressman David Valadao. 

UCSF Fresno

This Saturday, community members are invited to attend Valley Fever Research Day at the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research. The event is an opportunity for researchers from UCSF Fresno, UC Merced, and Fresno State to connect with community members who have been impacted by the disease.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

California has reduced its premature birth rate. The rate has dropped to 9.6 percent, earning the state an A on the March of Dimes annual report card for the first time.

"But unfortunately in the Central Valley, we’re still at a grade of C, although we’re trending downward on pre-term birth rates, as the state is," Gail Newel, director of the Fresno County Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, said at a press conference this morning.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we explore the issues that have plagued West Fresno and how California's future bullet train may impact one of the oldest districts in Fresno.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Bob Mitchell grew up in a vibrant neighborhood.

“We had cleaners, ice cream parlors, and the types of amenities that make a community whole,” Mitchell recalls.

But over the years, the community changed.

“As Fresno continued to grow, West Fresno began to see its demise,” he says. “West Fresno was one of the older communities, but as you can see now, it is just a shell of what it once was.” 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

 Cinnamon has lived in a make-shift structure near the grain silos, west of Palm Avenue and H Street, for more than two years. She says the homeless encampment there is different from others that have cropped up in downtown Fresno.

“We’re not a camp, we’re a neighborhood, a family,” she said. “We all look out for each other.”

The encampment has rules. For example, the residents decide – together – if a new person could move in.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

During the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead,) people remember loved ones who have died. Traditionally, they honor the deceased with altars featuring sugar skulls, marigold flowers, photos and their favorite foods and drinks. This month, Arte Americas, in downtown Fresno, is exhibiting altars in memory of local residents and Latino icons.

iStockphoto.com

The American Civil Liberties Union says that in the past year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested people at Kern County courthouses, while they were paying fines for tickets, obtaining marriage licenses, and appearing for court hearings.

In a letter sent yesterday, the ACLU asked ICE to investigate and halt this practice in Bakersfield.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Yosemite National Park reopened last night, and visitors are returning to the park today to snap photos and bask in the fall colors.

Park officials estimate that more than 150,000 people were blocked from visiting Yosemite during the 16-day government shutdown. That means lost entrance and campground fees, and concession sales, says spokesman Scott Gediman. 

“The loss of visitors has a huge ripple effect, from an economic perspective,” Gediman says. 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

About a dozen West Fresno residents and advocates gathered in front of Fresno City Hall today to express their disapproval of a text amendment that would pave the way for Granville Homes to plant a 360-acre almond orchard in their neighborhood.

Among them was Venise Curry, a West Fresno resident and physician. She’s concerned the proposed operation could expose residents to dust and pesticides, and harm their air and water.

Courtesy of Tim Z. Hernandez

Albert Franco recalls his late mother like any son might. 

He says she was a wonderful cook, housewife, grandmother, and mother.

But at Bea Kozera's funeral, in a Fresno cemetery in late August, Franco described what made his mother's personal story extraordinary.

“Some of you are aware of my mom’s notoriety,” Albert Franco said. “She was a famous person, which we never knew - never knew, for about 60 years almost.” 

www.whitehouse.gov

Last summer, President Obama announced a new policy, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It allows certain immigrant youth to remain in the country and obtain a work permit, without fear of deportation.

“This is a temporary stop-gap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely, while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven and patriotic young people,” Obama said, when he announced the program in June 2012.

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