Beth Thornton

Reporter/Contributor

Beth Thornton is a freelance reporter for KCBX, and a contributor to Issues & Ideas. She is especially interested in how our daily lives are affected by the convergence of words, images, and technology.

Before radio, she worked in print and video for newspapers, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Most recently, she was the editor of Connections, a monthly e-newsletter published by the Center for Media Literacy that includes research and media activities for K-12 educators. Beth received her BA from UC Santa Barbara, where she wrote for the college paper, and also has a certificate in creative writing from UCLA Extension Writers' Program. She listens to public radio at every opportunity, and enjoys cycling on the Central Coast.

sbiff.org

On this edition of Issues & Ideas, we take a look at a new virtual art exhibit in San Luis Obispo, which documents the local Black Lives Matter Movement. In Santa Maria, local artists and advocates are working together to bring new art to public spaces. Santa Barbara community members gathered in solidarity with the Asian Pacific Islander community last month, after the violence in Georgia. San Luis Obispo County Public Health Director Penny Borenstein looks back at lessons learned about the COVID 19 pandemic. And finally, we check out the 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Frank Chen / Stanford Repertory Theater

On April 22, 2021, Earth Day will celebrate its 51st year, but environmental pioneers and poets have been writing about the need to care for our planet much longer. A new audio production called "Voices of the Earth" presents thoughts about the environment from across the ages.

Alle Pia

On this episode of Issues & Ideas: the Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery at Cuesta College is using virtual reality to bring the art to the people. We’ll take a look at some new trends in the local green building industry. The Foundation at Hearst Castle has an ongoing educational STEAM program aimed at inspiring and empowering young students from underserved communities. Finally, on “Playing With Food” you’ll get a closer look at a local artisan salumiere.

Beth Thornton

UC Santa Barbara issued travel guidelines during spring break and testing requirements before students return to campus.

PRJUSD livestream

The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board of trustees moved forward with resolutions related to diversity and anti-racism at their March 23 meeting.

slopartners.org

 

 

Digital Marketing is one way businesses can stay in touch with customers during uncertain times.

SLO Partners, a local nonprofit that supports businesses and local residents by aligning workforce needs with training opportunities, is now expanding their Digital Marketing Bootcamp on the Central Coast.

Beth Thornton

For the last year, art exhibits have been closed around the world, leaving museum spaces empty and art enthusiasts stuck at home. But now, some venues have come up with creative ways to bring the art to the people.

On this episode of Issues and Ideas: Direct Relief, headquartered in Santa Barbara, has a long history of providing aid for medical emergencies around the world, and you’ll hear from Thomas Tighe, president and CEO, about responding to the Covid19 pandemic here on the Central Coast and abroad. You’ll also meet Cal Poly faculty member Michael Whitson, to learn about Pacific Crest Music Festival, a summer program that takes place in Northern California. Donn Clickard, of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation talks about how the organization has helped many young people in the community face the challenges of drug abuse through a variety of programs, and now, there's a book aimed at helping other communities find the same success. And finally, we take a quick look back to 2012, when KCBX contributor Tom Wilmer took part in Dublin Ireland's St. Patrick's Day Parade; this year the famous parade is cancelled due to the pandemic.

Direct Relief

 

The international non-profit organization Direct Relief, based in Santa Barbara, provides humanitarian support free-of-charge to people around the world. Over the past year, the Central Coast has also benefited from their support.

City of SB CWPP

 

California's 2020 wildfire season burned more than four million acres and broke numerous records for increased size and intensity, according to a recent report from the state’s Forest Management Task Force.

Cal Poly Theatre and Dance

 

 

The Cal Poly Theatre Department is exploring a new type of storytelling that’s meant for this moment in time. The experimental production called Shelter includes scenes students created from their homes.

Issues & Ideas: Hwy 1 repairs, STEM, the Son Care Foundation, and a first time filmmaker.

Mar 3, 2021
photo courtesy of Cal Poly Theatre and Dance Dept.

Repair work has begun on a section of Highway 1 on Big Sur’s south coast after a debris flow washed out both lanes. You’ll learn about local businesses that have remained closed for almost a year. UCSB’s student-run radio station KCSB reports on a new effort to bring people of color into STEM fields. Son Care Foundation, a local nonprofit organization, rehabilitates young men using the human-canine bond. A new theatre production from Cal Poly students is all about being at home. Finally, the SLO International Film Festival starts next week, and you’ll hear from a first time film maker about her journey from concept to screen.

Dunes Center / DunesCenter.org

 

The California Coastal Commission and State Parks want to hear from residents on plans to expand recreational activities at Oso Flaco Lake near Guadalupe.

Beth Thornton

 


Since COVID-19 positivity rates are down and safety programs have been approved by the county, Santa Barbara Unified School District is ready to re-open elementary schools.

California Coastal Commission

 

Plans to create public access to the beaches on privately-owned land at Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara County is ongoing, but the pandemic has slowed the process.

photo courtesy of KVPR

UC Santa Barbara recently opened a certified Covid19 lab to meet the testing needs of students, faculty, and staff; you’ll hear from two of the doctors overseeing the process. Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada foothills are home to the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation, and you’ll learn about the tribe’s battle for recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. We'll hear a conversation with a local investment advisor about what's going on with the stock market. And finally, on Playing With Food, we take you east of Hwy. 101 near Carpinteria for locally grown passion fruit.

Photo from UCSB

Experts say efficient testing and tracing are key components to limiting the spread of COVID-19. With this in mind, UC Santa Barbara has opened a certified clinical COVID lab on campus for students, faculty and staff.

Beth Thornton

 

Two congress members from the Central Coast and a senator from Oregon are calling for endangered species protections for the monarch butterfly. Western Monarch butterflies spend their winter months on the coast of California. They cling to eucalyptus trees in bright clusters of orange and black, but today very few can be found.

Issues & Ideas: Alzheimer's research, farmworker vaccinations and expanding inclusion

Feb 2, 2021

50 agricultural workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine at their workplace in Fresno, which advocates say is the best way to ensure all farmworkers get vaccinated. Governor Gavin Newsom has had mixed success modernizing state bureaucracy in the last two years. You’ll hear from a UCSB neuroscientist about a research project aimed at understanding Alzheimer's. Also, we’ll get an update from Michelle Call of GALA Pride and Diversity Center on the ways the organization has become more inclusive. And finally, you’ll get a closer look at the work being done at SLO’s Transitions Mental Health Association.

Courtesy of SBUSD

The Santa Barbara Unified School District has adopted a new grading policy for secondary students—grades 7-12—as they continue with distance learning.

By a unanimous vote, the school board passed a grading policy that now includes an option for a grade of 'No Credit' in lieu of an F.

Issues & Ideas: Monarch butterflies, a surfing pioneer and SLO Village

Jan 13, 2021

On today's show we’ll learn about the union that more than 200 workers at Alphabet—the parent company of Google—have announced they're forming with the Communications Workers of America. This winter, the butterfly sanctuary in Pacific Grove is empty, and monarchs across the Central Coast and North America are disappearing while federal protection is still years away. You’ll hear from Santa Barbara filmmaker Heather Hudson, who recently released her third film—a tribute to surf pioneer Marge Calhoun. We'll speak with the head of SLO Village, a local organization helping to keep seniors living independently in their own homes. And finally, we explore the way San Luis Obispo is using lights and activites to attract people to the downtown core.

Courtesy of Civic Ballet SLO

For many, December includes an outing to "The Nutcracker" ballet, and for dance schools up and down the Central Coast, holiday show ticket sales make up a large part of the yearly operating budget. But with theaters closed, performances of the holiday classic will be posted online for home viewing.

In this episode of Issues & Ideas, we learn about a year-long San Luis Obispo Tribune investigation into substandard housing in San Luis Obispo County. We also hear from Dawn Ortiz-Legg, chosen by California's governor to represent SLO County District 3 after the death of Adam Hill. Julie Rodewald talks about the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and how the recent national election broke all records in SLO County. Finally, we meet the newest lion at the Santa Barbara Zoo—a cub named Pauline—and hear how the zoo is dealing with all the operational changes of 2020. 

In keeping with California’s goal towards carbon neutrality, the state is giving Isla Vista money to pay for new, clean transportation in low-income areas.

On this week's edition of Issues & Ideas: Chris Lambert created the podcast "Your Own Backyard," about Kristin Smart and the nearly quarter-century-long unsolved case of her disappearance from San Luis Obispo's Cal Poly campus.

CA King Tides Project

King tides are the year’s highest and lowest tides, occurring when there is alignment of the gravitational pull between the sun, moon and Earth. California’s coast is seeing king tides this week—with more on the way in December and January—and with them a chance to participate in a statewide science project.

Issues & Ideas: SLO city council candidates, the changing media and the Elfin Forest

Nov 7, 2020

Six San Luis Obispo city council candidates answer questions posed by the KCBX newsroom, Pismo Beach residents decide their next mayor and a bed tax. We hear from Kim Bisheff of the Cal Poly Journalism Department, speaking about the changes in today’s media. And finally, we learn about the Elfin Forest Natural Area in Los Osos.

Courtesy of the Waage/Shadwell campaigns

Like in several Central Coast cities this election, Pismo Beach residents are deciding on the next mayor, two or more city council seats and a tax measure.

We hear from candidates running to represent the Central Coast in state and federal government; including California Assembly incumbent Jordan Cunningham and California’s 20th congressional district Congressman Jimmy Panetta. We also speak to the three mayoral candidates in Santa Maria. This is Media Literacy Week, and we speak with the executive director of a nonprofit organization that hosts a week-long event to highlight media literacy education. The KCBX Arts Beat reports on the local performing arts industry, which is taking a huge hit during the COVID-19 crisis without much direction for an eventual reopening. Finally, pumpkin spice season is here and KCBX contributor Father Ian explores some local holiday treats.

The city of Santa Maria has grown considerably in the last two decades. With more than 100,000 residents, it is the largest city, both in population and geographic area, in Santa Barbara County. This election, Santa Maria voters are currently deciding who will be the city’s mayor for the next four years.

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