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Twenty minutes outside of Visalia, amidst the seemingly endless rows of citrus trees, Yolanda Cuevas packs enchiladas with shredded chicken for her husband Benjamin, their adult daughters and two teenaged grandchildren in her modest single-story home. Their house is the first one off the main drag, one of 83 lining the two crumbling roads that comprise the tiny town of Tooleville. Yolanda must wash the tomatoes for the salsa first in the sink and then again with a splash of clean water from a 5-gallon jug. The process is arduous, and though she’s resigned to do it, she’s not happy about it. Along with Tooleville’s several hundred other residents, Yolanda’s family has survived on bi-weekly delivery of water to their homes for the past 12 years. It’s an annoyance for the family, and it’s expensive for the State of California, which has been paying for the replacement water since the discovery of Chromium-6 (the same chemical featured in Erin Brokovich) in the water. The simpler solution would be to consolidate the town’s water system with that of its larger, affluent neighbor to the west, Exeter. And for this purpose, Yolanda has become a reluctant activist, attending community meetings in Tooleville and lobbying for consolidation at Exeter’s city council meetings under the expert guidance of Pedro Hernandez, an organizer with the Leadership Counsel. While Exeter has resisted the consolidation since it was first proposed, organizers like Pedro feel that this could be the year Exeter finally succumbs to the growing community pressure and brings Tooleville into the fold. The decision will echo around the Central Valley and across the state, as hundreds of similar community water systems find themselves in a nearly identical predicament.
An experimental short film from Iran.
Talitha, who works in the non-profit sector, finds ways to make her dollar stretch by dumpster diving* to rescue and reclaim unused food. Director How is a graduate of the prestigious MFA Directing program at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. *Miriam-Webster: The practice of searching through public trash receptacles for edible food or discarded items that retain some use or value.
“If you’ve ever thought ‘Someone should do something about that litter problem’, remember, you’re someone.” Joel Goldes has visited the creek in his suburban Southern California community nearly every day. And for the past 10 years, he’s been picking up litter, trapping invasive crayfish, opening blocked channels, and testifying at local hearings – often the lone voice in support of the under-appreciated ecosystem near his home.
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