Telling the COVID-19 story for your great-great grandchildren

Central Valley Business Times

  • California Historical Society seeks personal stories of coping
  • “Stories can connect us, and they can help us see ourselves”

The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic will likely go into the history books as comparable to the so-called “Spanish Flu” of 1917-1923. The California Historical Society, which has troves of stories, newspapers and photos of that earlier deadly virus, hopes Californians will help it record to history of the current pandemic, which it calls a crisis of historic proportions.

“Modern historians have argued that history isn’t simply comprised of actions of remarkable or grand figures. The thoughts and experiences of everyday people are valuable keys to unlock what it’s like to live in any era,” the Society says.

To that end, it is creating a collection to document life in California during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want your stories, from the far north of the state, to the Bay Area, to the Central Valley and coastal communities, to desert areas, Southern California, and the border region, ” it says. “Stories can connect us, and they can help us see ourselves. They can shape future understanding and reveal aspects of our present world. Preserving your stories can reinforce that, together, we are the people making history.”

For more information and to participate:

Fresno State engineering students help make protective gear for health workers

Central Valley Business Times

May 4 2020

  • Work on masks just the start
  • “If time, complexity and resources allow, they will begin work on mechanical ventilator prototypes”

Engineering students, faculty and alumni from Fresno State’s Lyles College of Engineering have been working up to 10 hours a day in recent weeks to design and produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for Central Valley health care workers.

They plan to donate about 1,000 face shields to Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.

Last week during Fresno State’s spring break, the team completed the final design and began production of the face shields — the first part of a three-phase, innovative project to support the community at a time when protective equipment is scarce for doctors, nurses and other health care providers.

“The second phase includes rapid prototyping and testing of an FDA-approved mask and the third phase includes powered air purifying respirators (PAPRs),” says Ram Nunna, dean of the Lyles College. “If time, complexity and resources allow, they will begin work on mechanical ventilator prototypes.”

Dr. John McClain, a pulmonary critical care fellow, and Dr. Eric Day, a second-year internal medicine resident with University of California, San Francisco’s Fresno branch of its School of Medicine located on the Community Regional Medical Center campus, contacted the Lyles College in March to discuss the anticipated need for custom-designed PPE.

“We need protective equipment that is cheap to manufacture and designed to meet the needs of our doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals while caring for patients during the coronavirus pandemic,” Mr. Day says. “We already have a critical shortage of providers in the Central Valley, so we are obligated to give our workers maximal protection to prevent exposure and illness.”

During the testing phases, Mr. Day took several different prototypes to Community Regional, where nurses and physicians in the intensive care unit wore the face shields for several hours to test the comfort. Students worked to refine the face shields for both comfort, sanitation and reuse.

The final design was developed by Shervin Zoghi, a 2017 mechanical engineering alumnus, with the help of several Fresno State students. The design is made of 3-D printed plastic, transparency film and Velcro. Both the frame and Velcro can be sanitized for re-use. The shield is made of transparency film, which is inexpensive and can be disposed of or sanitized after each use. A new shield can be easily loaded onto the frame.

“Shervin was the undergraduate Dean’s Medalist for the Lyles College of Engineering in 2017. His great entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to service and community and willingness to bring people together really made an impact in this project,” Mr. Nunna says. “He, along with support from our graduate and undergraduate students, Mandeep Singh, Saule Bomar, Noah Haworth, Timofey Volkov, Anderson Medina Guerrero and Jaklin Rowley, made a great design. As for Dr. Day, he might as well be MacGyver. He enjoys experimenting with technology and coming up with innovative ideas using parts from various systems and has been an excellent collaborator.”

The team plans to donate face shields to Community Regional and surrounding clinics in hopes it will help keep the region’s health care providers healthy.

“For a nurse in the medical ICU who is taking care of a COVID-positive patient, they could probably go through as many as 10 face shields in a 12-hour shift,” Mr. Day says. “We need as many as we can get.” Mr. Nunna says each face shield costs about $1.50 to produce, and the mask and PAPR units would cost more. Fresno State President Joseph Castro and technology firm DPS Telecom, under CEO Bob Berry, provided funds for all the materials used. The 3-D printers were collected from the Lyles College of Engineering, Henry Madden Library, Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and technology firm 5 Microns and were pooled for the manufacturing of the shields.

“We were able to access cost-efficient, existing materials. These materials combined with donated 3-D printers and simple machining have allowed our students to design and produce low-cost, quick turnaround PPE,” Mr. Nunna says.

In addition to affordability and comfort, the face shield is produced in a stackable design that aids in production efficiency – cutting production time by 15 percent to 20 percent. Civil engineering senior and project teammember Jaklin Rowley said the use of advanced technology like 3-D printers have made it possible to share design files and send them to anyone with a 3-D printer.

“This creates a unique situation for people all over to ‘hive’ manufacture a product that can greatly help the community,” Mr. Rowley says. “It is through technology that we have been able to stay connected through this pandemic. People from all over have learned to communicate and innovate from remote places. Without modern-day technology, the extraordinary community response to create these face shields would not have been so easily possible.”

The design is available for anyone with a 3-D printer to print from the open source website.

“This experience is invaluable. This project has allowed students to apply knowledge obtained from their education at Fresno State to real-world problems, work as a team with other disciplines and under tight time constraints,” Mr. Nunna says. “Students are interested in making an impact on the world, and this work enables them to do so.”

Plant sales increase as more people take on gardening

by: Kaile Hunt

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — Throughout the Central Valley nurseries are deemed essential because they sale fruits, vegetables, and outdoor plants.

With numerous businesses temporary closed to stay at home restrictions, more and more people are turning to gardening swamping local nurseries with their business.

Geoffrey Callow works at Evergreen Nursery. He said for the past few weeks they have constantly had customers at their nursery buying fruit and vegetable plants.

“We have been swamped. We have been very busy but still doing what we can to keep the distancing measures in place and sanitizing things as much as we can but we have been busy selling tons of veggies,” said Callow.

Callow said since the coronavirus pandemic they can barely keep summer fruits and veggies on their shelves which is getting tricky to keep up with the growing demand.

“We get a shipment of veggies at least two to three times a week and a lot of the times like the squash and cucumber will sell out by the end of the day,” said Callow.

Callow said he believes since people are having to stay home they want to pick up some outdoor hobbies they can do while self isolating. So, gardening is the perfect thing to do.

Plus, while people stroll down their nursery looking at the different flowers and succulents it’s easy to stay six feet apart.

But, local nurseries are not the only ones having a problem keeping up with the high demand.

Many hardware stores are getting slammed in their gardening sections.

Elaine Kuramoto works at Fresno Ag Hardware. She said within the past week she has noticed a big uptick in plant sales.

“The biggest increase has been with the live plants and the soils,” said Kuramoto.

Kuramoto said fruit and vegetable seeds have been flying off of their shelves along with fertilizer, soil, and other planting essentials.

“Fertilizer all of the fertilizer,” said Kuramoto. “As soon as we put an order up it’s gone by the next day. It is just amazing.”

However despite the growing demand of outdoor plants and seeds hardware stores and nurseries will continue doing the best they can and ensure people get their hands on this hot items.

Plant sales increase as more people take on gardening

Virtual wine trail in Madera County brings community together

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — With tasting rooms closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Madera County wineries are pouring virtually.

Madera County is home to a variety of wineries like Toca Madera Winery, which are now coming to you with virtual tastings.

“We’ve turned into a virtual winery basically. So virtual tastings on Instagram and Facebook on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at 5. We do private virtual tastings and doorstep delivery has become our thing,” said Shayne Vetter, a winemaker for Toca Madera Winery.

Vetter says they’ve seen a lot of support from local wine drinkers. People purchase their estate wines, tune-in and drink up.

About five local wineries from Madera to Oakhurst are participating in the virtual wine trail.

“Even though you can’t be a tourist right now, you can be a virtual tourist and go to these places and go to wineries in a digital way,” said Brooke Smith with Visit Yosemite Madera County.

Idle Hour Winery in Oakhurst is doing tastings Friday nights on Facebook.
They make 15 different varietals.

“I miss seeing our club members, which is why these virtual tastings have become so important, so at least once a week, we can connect,” said Anne Marie dos Remedios of Idle Hour Winery & Kitchen.

Their customers are being delivered wine and keeping them in business.
Many wineries are offering free or low-cost deliveries or curbside pickup.

Toca is also doing private sessions on Zoom. Four bottles of wine are $75.

“We meet together on a time slot. I explain the wines, we talk about it and we have some fun and make some jokes and it’s a good time for everyone,” Vetter said.

The businesses are creating community over a shared glass of wine.

Winemakers hope to pour wine for the Madera Wine Trail in the first week of November.

Until then, here’s how to join a virtual wine tasting.

Fasi Estate Winery:

Toca Madera Winey:

San Joaquin Winery:

Quady Winery:

Idle Hour Winery & Kitchen: