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Good afternoon, and welcome to the Fresnoland Lab newsletter. Today is Friday, May 15th.

Hello, readers: it’s Danielle, your Fresnoland policy editor and writer, here.

When we started Fresnoland, it was important to us to make sure that the stories we write and produce resonate with the diverse communities throughout the central San Joaquin Valley. Narratives are important, and we don’t want to misrepresent people or play into harmful stereotypes.

Our mandate is to go deep on the coverage of many of the local policy issues that shape our lived experience: housing, land use, water, and development policy. We want to explore how neighborhoods change, who is impacted by those changes, and the complex series of policies and historical context that influences those decisions.

We would like you, readers and community members, to become a part of what we do by having a say in our coverage. In doing so, we hope to gain insight into what our readers want from us, and in turn, provide better coverage overall. Join us in representing the community the way you want it to be represented.

An advisory board is one way to ensure that we provide better information to our readers.

That’s why I’d like to announce that we are opening up applications to sit on the Fresnoland Advisory Board.

This will be a 20-member group of people, representing different experiences from the central San Joaquin Valley, with the following purpose:

  • Review our coverage, making sure we are accountable to residents and readers throughout the region;

  • Help us brainstorm and uncover untold stories; and,

  • Help us think through larger challenges we have in reporting local journalism accurately and fairly.

We expect you to bring specific questions and feedback about how we’re doing. We want ideas and solutions.

So, what are we looking for?

Well, we want you to submit an application. Tell us who you are and why you think you would be a good member of the community advisory board for Fresnoland. We’re looking for voices that can provide a meaningful point of view on the issues and communities we’ll be covering. If you have experience working in media or storytelling, that’s helpful too.

To be eligible:

  • You must be a regular and thorough reader of our coverage at the Fresnoland Lab at the Fresno Bee. We want you to be informed when you show up for a meeting, and the only way to do that is to be familiar with the material.

  • You must live in the central San Joaquin Valley and have a vested interest and knowledge of your community.

  • You must be available to meet once every three months – four times a year — either during lunch or early evening to discuss the community and the Lab’s coverage.

  • You can’t be an elected official or work for one.

Advisory Board members will serve one-year terms. Our team at the Fresnoland Lab and The Bee will help to choose the advisory board members.

You can access the short application here. Applications are due by Friday, June 12th.

Young people and people from historically underrepresented communities are encouraged to apply!

(What stories are not being told in our coverage right now? Send tips to me: danielle@thefresnoland.com)

And now, the week’s top reads:

(For the most recent local coronavirus updates, visit www.fresnobee.com/coronavirus.)

Fresno City Council approves $1.5 million for emergency rent fund, another $2 million for small business grants, with a set-aside for small farms within city limits. Fresno Bee

Governor Newsom slashes $60 million from Fresno-area economic investments in his May budget revision. Fresno Bee

Fresno shelves plans to shelter homeless in hotels during coronavirus crisis. Is there a new plan? Fresno Bee

Fresno housing officials want HUD to halt plan that would force some immigrants and mixed-status families out of their homes. Fresno Bee

“We’re waiting for a hail mary.” Yosemite employees evicted amid coronavirus pandemic. Fresno Bee

Local experts weigh the future for multi-family real estate. Demand is down, and the future for multi-family construction, especially for lower or working class families, is uncertain. The Business Journal

Fresno Latinx community has highest number of COVID-19 cases, according to new data from the Fresno County Department of Public Health. Valley Public Radio

Rail consolidation of the two freight train lines in Fresno is dead. The bright side? A long awaited underpass is coming to Blackstone and McKinley, next to Fresno City College. Fresno Bee

Southern California Assemblywoman introduces legislation to redirect high-speed rail dollars earmarked for the Central Valley to rail electrification in Los Angeles. Streetsblog SF

How Fresno dealt with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19: after the armistice. Tropics of Meta

Coronavirus could worsen the toll of heat waves, experts warn. Los Angeles Times

How California’s recovery task force is aiming to build a more inclusive economy. Fast Company

COVID-19 deepens food insecurity in the San Joaquin Valley. Valley Public Radio

Are Calfornians getting a fair share of coronavirus loans? CalMatters

Lawmakers propose sweeping relief to homeowners, renters. CalMatters

SGMA is forcing a reckoning over what “groundwater sustainability” means – and for whom. KCET

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