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ONME Local Central Valley rundown: CSUB freshmen get iPads, EV car charging station in Fresno a hit

By ONME Newswire

In this episode of ONME Local Central Valley, producer host Julia Dudley Najieb reviews the Bakersfield Observer story on California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) is providing a free iPad to all incoming freshmen and new transfer students who register for the initiative, California State University Connectivity Contributing to Equity and Student Success (CSUCCESS); West Fresno receives new green commuter electronic charging station, a first.

Finally, Dudley Najieb ends with a quick review of the Yvonne Spence case update.

CSUCCESS program available to new students and transfers

According to the Bakersfield Observer, The vast majority of CSUB’s students are the first in their families to attend college, and 65 percent of undergraduates receive Pell Grants, a key indicator of financial need.

The vast majority of CSUB’s students are the first in their families to attend college, and 65 percent of undergraduates receive Pell Grants, a key indicator of financial need. During the pandemic, CSUB worked to bridge the equity divide by loaning hot spots and laptops to nearly 1,000 students so that they could continue their education in a remote-learning environment.

Though the numbers continue to shift as more students complete the enrollment process, CSUB is anticipating roughly 2,700 new students will be eligible for the program, which is operated by the California State University in partnership with eight of the system’s 23 campuses, including CSUB. Some 35,000 students from participating campuses will be eligible to receive the technology, beginning with the fall 2021 term.

Electric vehicle charging station in West Fresno is a unique first

The Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC) along with several other partners broke new ground in West Fresno this month, launching the neighborhood's first ever electric vehicle charging station as a part of the Clean Shared Mobility Network (CSMN) project that was funded by Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) gas revenue taxes.

At a press conference this month, FMBCC deputy director, Kaya Herron announced the completed 31 level two charges and eight fast chargers that have been installed and are fully operational across five affordable housing sites, deemed disadvantaged by the California Air Resources Board. These stations all are hosted by the Fresno Housing Authority.

Project manager, Troy Hightower said this is one of the first EV charging sites, they plan to have more during the five-year project which is just reaching the end of year two. He looks forward to the bike and car sharing programs coming this fall; he said they are in the implementation stage.

The project includes the following low- or no-cost services throughout the project area: an EV carsharing program for checking out cars hourly; a volunteer driver program providing EV rides to undeserved residents; Electric vanpools for accessing employment centers; an electric bikeshare program for checking out bikes and a mobility hub customer services center to provide a physical location for engaging with the program.

Jessica Buendia, acting executive director of the California Strategic Growth Council, State of California said they were proud to invest $7.7 million into the project to help residents with mobility and health benefits to the entire neighborhood. The TCC Strategic Growth Council awarded a total of $66 million to Transform Fresno toward the vision of preparing for EVs.

Derek Chernow, who attended on behalf of State Treasurer Fiona Ma, is the executive director of California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA). He said since California is anticipating the increasing number of EV owners due to the initiative, then California needs to provide convenient locations for EV cars--this is a great neighborhood example. Chernow also said California will be providing more incentives for EV buyers.

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner representing the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, said that in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the major challenges remains for the air quality, which is mobile source pollution. Governor Gavin Newsom's vision to transition roads to support Evs will directly affect California residents; there will be the challenge o meeting the goal to make sure there are enough charging stations at apartment and other obscure areas.

Matthew Grundy, deputy mayor for the City of Fresno, said that over 1/3 of the census tracts are above the 90th percentile as the most economically and environmentally disadvantaged in the state of California--a tough pill of information to swallow.

City of Fresno District 3 Councilman Miguel Arias said a majority of his City residents live in apartments and condominiums, and if they do no have access to a garage to plug in the car, then it is no secret why EVs have not been embraced as a car buying choice. He said it is important for the City to recognize the realities of infrastructure not set in place for these residents to buy EV cars and have a place to charge them.

Yvonne Spence firing still puzzling

As the events unfold, City of Fresno city clerk, Yvonne Spence's firing is still a mystery that will continue to evolve until a legal case ensues.

Dudley Najieb also reviewed a few strange instances that make Spence's firing puzzling along with the two other cases mentioned involving the illegal firing of two Black former employees.

Dudley Najieb encouraged viewers, readers and listeners to see the full 2-hour Special Report on Yvonne Spence by ONME News, hosted by Julia Dudley Najieb.


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