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Good afternoon, and welcome to the Fresnoland Lab newsletter. Today is Sunday, Sept. 6.
This week in Fresnoland, Danielle reported on new state and federal eviction protections for renters, but – the rent is not canceled. Dympna wrote about the high rate of infant and maternal mortality in Fresno’s Black community and what is being done to bring about health parity.
Fresnoland is co-hosting Fresno Voices’ live event on Wednesday Sept. 9 at 12:30 p.m. The event brings together people with diverse experiences and involvement — including representatives of government, neighborhood coalitions, health experts, educators and business leaders — to address the inequities and discuss home-grown solutions to racial disparity. Please reserve your spaces today and send in questions for our panelists.
It’s Dayana Jiselle, the engagement reporter for the Fresnoland Lab, here.
The last half of August and now the first part of September have brought us record-breaking temperatures, raging wildfires and some of the worst air-quality Fresno has seen this year — all these, while many people are still working and schooling from home.
Being indoors doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not breathing in harmful smoke.
And for those lucky enough to have central air conditioning, the filters in those systems can help minimize some of the harmful effects. For those living in older, leaky homes without AC — the air can be nearly as bad indoors as outdoors.
Indoor air filters that filter out particle pollution from smoke can cost several hundred dollars and can be difficult to find during wildfire season.
Arsenio Mataka, clean air advocate and an environmental justice attorney, tweeted a photo of a homemade filtered fan he made out of a box fan and the type of filter in a typical AC or heating unit. This fan has proven to reduce the Particulate Matter (PM) in homes when used correctly — up to 33% reduction in PM for one user.
“The idea is simply to show the fans on social media and other people can build them for themselves,” said Tom Frantz, president of the Association of Irritated Residents. The fan can be built with roughly $50 and a few tools that include a box fan, a Merv 13 or 12 filter, duct tape, and scissors.
Dr. Anil Ghimire, medical director with the Chronic Lung Disease program, said that last year’s dry winter season may mean this fire season can last well into the fall. “A prolonged period of poor air quality like this could lead to more hospitalizations for cardiovascular and respiratory issues as it appears that it will take some time to put out all the fires,” he said.
Residents are encouraged to constantly check their local air quality on the Real Time Air Advisory Notification, a free app which is accessible on a smartphone or computer, before scheduling to spend long hours outside during this fire season.
We also learned that 24 to 48 hours of continuous exposure to high levels of particulate matter can trigger asthma attacks, increased vulnerability to communicable diseases like COVID-19, the flu, or a common cold. Check out the steps in the story on how you can make your own filtered fan and help clean your indoor air safer for you and your family.
And now, the week’s top reads:
(For the most recent local coronavirus updates, visit www.fresnobee.com/coronavirus.)
Get live updates on the Creek Fire in eastern Fresno and Madera Counties, impacting the Shaver Lake area, here. Fresno Bee
The Fresno City Council approved additional funding to help residents, who are suffering economic hardship from the pandemic, stay in their homes. Fresno Bee
The California Independent System Operator issued a Flex Alert — a call for voluntary conservation — taking effect on Saturday at 3 p.m. Fresno Bee.
The heat is on! Last month was the second hottest August in Fresno’s history. Fresno Bee
Rais Vohra, the county interim health officer, cautioned against parties this Labor Day weekend to limit the spread of Covid-19. Fresno Bee
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week, but evidence that the pandemic continues to hurt the economy. Los Angeles Times
Unemployed Californians will soon start receiving a $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit retroactive to Aug. 1, during the week of Sept. 7. Los Angeles Times
California’s coronavirus stimulus was a bust. What now? CalMatters
Mayor Lee Brand and some of his staffers have been accused of acting in a conflict of interest by a prominent Fresno developer. Fresno Bee
To provide more relief to homeowners struggling with the financial pains of the pandemic, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will extend their suspension of mortgage foreclosures through at least the end of the year. Los Angeles Times
Should employers be held liable when their employees catch Covid-19 at work? Los Angeles Times
Experts are warning that six feet of distance may not be enough to prevent transmission of Covid-19. Washington Post
The U.S. government’s borrowing to offset the pandemic recession has put the country’s deficit higher than it has ever been since World War II. New York Times
Even though there are eviction bans in place, there remains no money or mechanism to cover outstanding amounts that tenants cannot pay. New York Times
Eviction courts are back in California. Los Angeles Times
More Americans, than ever, are relying on foodbanks to feed their families. New York Times