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

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

When experts and policymakers from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention land in Bakersfield next week, they will be met by many smart, well-meaning individuals hoping for better treatments for valley fever and, ultimately, for a cure.

But they won’t be met by a movement.

Despite its severe toll in California’s Central Valley and other hot spots, valley fever has remained overlooked and underfunded for decades. The absence of a strong patient advocacy movement has contributed to the chronic neglect, experts say.

http://centralvalleythreads.ucdavis.edu/

In the first half of this week’s Valley Edition we talk about issues that plague almost every community in the San Joaquin Valley: gangs, drugs, violence, poverty and dropouts. FM89 reporter Rebecca Plevin tells the story of a Tulare County teen named Geronimo. He's a kid caught in the middle, between his gang and those who are fighting for him, and for the future of the valley. He's a high school dropout, but his future is far from certain.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

From a young age, Geronimo Garcia wore a uniform to school: high socks, shorts and a white T-shirt.

It wasn’t a school requirement. Rather, it was an older brother requirement.

“They used to dress me up like a little gangster,” Geronimo says. “To me I always thought that was cool, but you know, as I think of it now, I don’t think that was cool when I was young. Come on, looking at a little kid dressed up in gangster?”

Since then, his clothing has determined who he hung out with at school.

www.valleyfirsts.com

This week on Valley Edition we focus on a variety of issues that are impacting the region.

Madera Community Hospital

If Madera Community Hospital is a safety net for county residents, then medical professionals like Stephanie Rolfo are a crucial link. On a September morning, Rolfo greets a patient who’s coming to the hospitals’ on-site clinic for a physical.

The hospital has 106 beds, and is the only adult acute care facility in the county. It also operates three rural health clinics, like the one where Rolfo, who’s a nurse practitioner, works.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

On Monday morning, Pastor Ray Polk comforted a man who was packing up everything he owned.

“You alright?” Polk asked. As the man expressed his pain and frustration, Polk replied, “I know, I know, I know, we got to keep going forward.”

Along H Street in Downtown Fresno, the homeless were stuffing their possessions into plastic bags and shopping carts, as city workers bulldozed and raked the debris left behind.

Yesterday, City of Fresno workers dismantled the third homeless encampment in three weeks. Overall, the effort has displaced a total of about 250 people.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

The almond harvest is well underway in Madera County.

Along a tree-lined, rural road, about a dozen Agriland employees are loading almonds into a huge elevator. The nuts will then be loaded into a truck. They will appear on the shelves as Blue Diamond-brand almonds, among others.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

In 1948, a plane chartered by the U.S. Immigration Service crashed in Los Gatos Canyon, near Coalinga. Everyone on board died. Immediate news reports named the flight crew and an immigration officer, but referred to the passengers as “28 Mexican deportees.” The crash was immortalized by folk singer Woody Guthrie, who wrote a poem about the tragedy, and assigned symbolic names to the Mexican nationals. On Monday morning, those passengers were formally named and recognized.

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Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at what we are calling "Alt. Farmers."

In a region where big agriculture is big business, a new generation of farmers is challenging our notion of what life on the farm is all about. These socially conscious, technology savvy boutique growers and ranchers are going beyond organic to embrace the latest trends in food and popular culture.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

A new generation of farmers is challenging our idea of what it means to work in agriculture in the Central Valley. Two special Valley Edition reports examine who these modern farmers are, and how they're connecting with the burgeoning, nationwide interest in boutique culture.

In this audio postcard, 30-year-old Allen Mesick introduces us to Eureka Mohair Farm in Tollhouse, where he and his partner Randy Shumaker raise Angora goats for mohair.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Amber Balakian grew up on a farm in Reedley. Her family grows 80 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, plus a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

But it took her attending Harvard University’s Extension School to realize that her family’s business was pretty cool. She returned to the 20-acre farm after she earned her master’s degree in 2009.

“My main goal coming back and working here was to make things more efficient,” Balakian says. “I just didn’t know how. One of the main things – we were dumping a ton of fruit, ton of vegetables.”

Rebecca Plevin

A lawsuit against the operators of a controversial rendering plant in southwest Fresno can move forward, according to an order issued Monday by Superior Court judge Mark Snauffer.

The judge ruled that a community group – Concerned Citizens of West Fresno – could seek an injunction to prevent Darling International Inc. from operating the rendering plant without a conditional use permit, based on their claims that it’s a public nuisance.

David Loftus / www.JamieOliver.com

The star of this year’s Big Fresno Fair may not be a musical act. Celebrity chef and social activist Jamie Oliver’s big rig teaching kitchen will roll into the fair in October.

Through a partnership between the Jamie Oliver Foundation and The California Endowment, Oliver’s mobile kitchen will also make stops throughout the San Joaquin Valley, from Kern County to Merced County, between September and March 2014.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

 

Lawyers representing inmates at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Fresno County and Avenal State Prison in Kings County filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court Tuesday.

The suit is on behalf of black, elderly, and immune-compromised inmates who acquired valley fever since July 2009, while serving time at the two institutions.

The complaint alleges that state and prison officials knew these groups were at high-risk of contracting the serious, potentially fatal form of the disease, but failed to take adequate steps to protect them.

Fresno Bee / Fresno Bee

This week on Valley Edition FM89 reporter Rebecca Plevin examines how Madera County's only federally qualified health center is gearing up for Obamacare. Also on the program host Joe Moore speaks with Rick Chavez, the Fresno County Chief Probation Officer to replace Linda Penner come August. 

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