We start our show with a man on a mythological mission. His name is Ahmet Ustunel. He lives in San Francisco, and he has a dream. He wants to return to his homeland of Turkey and take a big journey on a tiny kayak across the Bosphorus Strait, one of the busiest shipping channels in the world. Think enormous freighters. And his little human-powered boat. But Ahmet Ustunel faces a unique challenge that will make this much harder for him. The California Report’s Laura Klivans joined him at a lake, where he’s training to make the journey.
You May Have Seen This Man Zipping Around Berkeley, but Did You Know He’s the Godfather of Disability Rights?
“Hale” is a new short film exploring activism around people with disabilities. It tells the story of Hale Zukas, who helped make Berkeley the birthplace of the disability rights movement. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child. He went on to study Russian and math at UC Berkeley in the 1970s and he helped found Berkeley’s groundbreaking Center for Independent Living. Filmmaker Brad Bailey made the documentary as his thesis project at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. He just picked up a Student Academy Award for the project.
We introduced you to this family a few months ago, when they found themselves in limbo because of new immigration policies under President Trump. The father, Maguiber — he’s named after the guy in the TV show MacGyver — is from Guatemala. He’s 27, and undocumented. He was arrested by immigration agents in February, and held in a jail in the Bay Area city of Richmond. Meanwhile, his wife has been struggling to care for their three children on her own. Maguiber has no serious or violent criminal history. In the past someone like him probably would have been released within a month or two on bond. But Maguiber spent over half a year in detention, before he got his day court. KQED’s Julie Small brings us this update on his story.
A Day of the Dead Tradition Blooms in the Central Valley
In some California communities with roots in Mexico, the last days of October are spent getting ready for Day of the Dead, and that means making altars for loved ones and covering them with marigolds. Those bright orange flowers aren’t always easy to find. The California Report’s Vanessa Rancaño met a farmer who’s growing them in the Central Valley for people longing for a piece of home.
A lot of us Californians like to hit the open road, explore miles of highway, or venture off into some back roads. Sometimes, we come across towns with some pretty bizarre and surprising names, from Rough and Ready to Bumpass Hell. So today we’re launching a new series we’re calling “A Place Called What?!” For our first installment, we head to Zzyzx. If you’re driving on I-15 near Death Valley, you might spot the sign. You won’t find any shops or restaurants or even houses there. But you will find the Desert Studies Center, a research station operated by a consortium of seven California State Universities. Rob Fulton manages the center, and he’s the only permanent resident in Zzyzx.