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Good morning, and welcome to the Fresnoland Lab newsletter. Today is Friday, May 22.
This is Danielle, your Fresnoland policy editor and writer, here.
This week we published a story on Chinatown’s resilience, against the odds. Have you been to Kogetsu-Do, the Japanese confectionary, on F Street? It is the only store of its kind in the San Joaquin Valley to make mochi and other delicacies used in traditional Japanese ceremonies. The store has been around since 1915 — surviving pandemics, forced incarceration of its owners during World War II, and decades of abandonment. According to owner Lynn Ikeda, the coronavirus pandemic won’t have an impact on the future of the store.
Business owners say they are more concerned about the disruptive high-speed rail construction and frequent street closures. They are employing different strategies to save the district’s unique culture and history. For Morgan Doizaki, who helped form the Fresno Chinatown Partnership, the key is having local ownership over new development. His family has purchased a few buildings in Chinatown. For Kathy Omachi, long-time neighborhood organizer, establishing a historic district is the best way to make sure Chinatown does not lose any more of its character, especially as future investments occur.
As one of our first feature stories for Fresnoland, we’d love some feedback. Could you take a few minutes to let us know what you think?
Did this story hold your interest from the beginning? If not, why not?
How has this helped your understanding of Chinatown?
What additional information would you have wanted to see?
What other neighborhoods would you like us to report on?
Places are opening up slowly. Could your community be next?
Statewide: The state is currently in its second phase of reopening, but some counties are ahead as Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to adjust the reopening benchmark requirements. Here is the state’s quick guide.
Locally: Fresno residents can enjoy dine-in restaurants activities right after Memorial Day. According to the California Department of Public Health, Fresno County has met the necessary criteria to reopen dine-in restaurants, but the businesses must conform to strict conditions to keep people as safe as possible. Here is what it will look like in Fresno County.
In Tulare County, despite a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, and defying state public health orders, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted to reopen. The move puts the county at risk of losing disaster funding. Supervisor Eddie Valero isn’t exactly pleased with the vote.
This Week’s Top Reads
Undocumented workers rush to apply for coronavirus aid, overwhelming California system. Fresno Bee
Masks urged for Fresno County residents when in public, working indoors. Fresno Bee
Fresno and Bakersfield remain nearly last when compared to the 100 largest cities for park space and investment, study finds. Valley Public Radio
Unemployment in Fresno County at 16.7% in April, compared to 7.6% one year ago. Fresno Bee
The pandemic hasn’t killed California’s big housing plans, but they have mutated. CalMatters
Essential workers go hungry as food rots in the San Joaquin Valley. The Groundtruth Project
Will Groundwater Sustainability Plans end the problem of dry wells for drinking water? PPIC Blog
With rapidly rising unemployment and economic meltdown, a Columbia University professor is predicting that homelessness in the United States could grow as much as 45% in a year. Los Angeles Times
Clean air: the coronavirus shutdown’s unintended but positive consequence? Los Angeles Times
The striking racial divide in how COVID-19 has hit nursing homes. New York Times
Groundwater recharge is the new hot topic in California water. But where are the hotspots? A new data tool explores this question. SJV Water
With droughts increasing, more San Joaquin Valley farmers are switching from almonds to pistachios. Spoiler alert: they still use a lot of water. Comstock Magazine
The chilling effect of the public charge rule on undocumented people and mixed-status families. CityLab