Greta Mart

News Director

Greta Mart is a seasoned radio, digital and print journalist. Besides serving as reporter/newscaster/producer and helming the newsroom, Greta's work regularly airs on NPR and KQED’s The California Report.

Prior to joining KCBX in early November 2016, she worked as a Bay Area-based public radio reporter and earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. During the two-year program, Greta transitioned from print to broadcast radio news reporting, and spent the summers of 2014 and 2015 working at public radio stations in Sitka and Haines, Alaska, respectively. She also spent a year as acting news director/reporter at KUCB in Unalaska, Alaska, covering the Aleutian Islands.

From 2005 to 2012, Greta was a staff reporter at community newspapers in Washington and California, and her freelance print work has appeared in magazines around the world. Greta earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, studied history at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and when visiting the Bay Area, stays aboard her 30’ sailboat berthed at the Berkeley Marina.

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In late June, a mountaintop cross in Riverside that bears the name of Franciscan friar Junipero Serra became the most recent target of those who call for removal of all Serra statues and namesakes, part of a renewed focus across the country to remove monuments associated with racism, colonialism or slavery.

A statue of Serra at Mission San Luis Obispo De Tolosa is now in storage, after being removed by church administrators around June 23.

Courtesy Viridian

Located at the southern end of the Salinas Valley, King City in Monterey County is the first California city to outfit all of its police officers with cameras—on their guns. That's despite the city of just over 14,000 residents having no officer-involved shootings in recent memory.

Courtesy of the 5 Cities Fire Authority

A few hundred residents evacuated from a destructive brush fire in Paso Robles are now free to return home.

Courtesy of OpenSLO.org

June 18 marks the start of a new San Luis Obispo project aimed at providing more space for downtown restaurants and shops, doing so by closing down streets to car traffic.

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, Cal Poly grad student and photojournalist Diego Rivera discusses his  reporting on the SLO Police Department's explanations for using tear gas and pepper spray during the June 1 San Luis Obispo protest march. We’ll hear from Courtney Haile, co-founder of R.A.C.E. Matters SLO, describing the goals of the organization and the recent protests around San Luis Obispo County. Michelle Shoresman of the San Luis Obispo County Health Department talks about her job helping find medical coverage for poverty-level residents. And while government insurance covers the poorest of the poor, there are still millions of Americans who fall into a gap: they make too much to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford to buy insurance on the marketplace. The Noor Foundation in San Luis Obispo County aims to close that gap. Finally, UC Santa Barbara professor of communication Robin Nabi talks about her research on the positive effects of entertainment media as it relates to stress, illness, and goal attainment.

CalFire SLO

Update 6/16/20 10 a.m. All lanes of US Highway 101 are now reopened, although the northbound Avila Beach and Spyglass offramps remain closed. All evacuation orders have been lifted. Firefighters worked through the night trying to contain the fire. The strong winds of Monday evening have died down and homes in the area are no longer under threat. CalFire San Luis Obispo says 300 firefighters and multiple aircraft from across the Central Coast are on the scene this morning, and the fire's cause is under investigation. It has burned about 400 acres with 20 percent containment.

Tom Hilton/Flickr

The owners of San Luis Obispo County nail salons and tattoo parlors should start getting ready to reopen on or after June 19. That's the latest message from county health officials about the personal services sector.

MONDAY, JUNE 08, 2020

  • State officials announced movie theaters, bars and gyms can reopen as soon as Friday.

MONDAY, JUNE 01, 2020

  • SLO County health officer Penny Borenstein says as the state remains under shelter-at-home orders due to the pandemic, she’s worried about crowds gathering together in order to demonstrate and protest. Borenstein said she’s asking people to take the same safety measures against the spread of the coronavirus there as anywhere else; namely wearing masks and physically distancing.

Greta Mart/KCBX

BREAKING NEWS 5:30 PM: In Paso Robles, the suspect is dead and three police officers injured in a shoot out that took place in the 4 p.m. hour in a vineyard. The shot police officers were taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

In this edition of Issues & Ideas—protests, demonstrations and rallies continue across the Central Coast and nation, and one of the many issues brought into the spotlight is the racism that has shaped our cities over the past several decades, and how that racism intersects with climate change. We have an interview with Peter Rupert, director of the Economic Forecast Project at UC Santa Barbara, an initiative involved in Santa Barbara County's reopening after the pandemic shutdown. Consuelo Muets, CEO of SPOKES—which, for a membership fee, provides resources for nonprofits—talks with guests from OperaSLO and the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande. And finally, contributor Tom Wilmer traveled to Arkansas in 2016 and spoke with Robin White, superintendent of the National Park Service's Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. Given the national conversation at the moment, we're listening again to White's perspective. 

E Walden Bohnet

High school graduation ceremonies continue around the Central Coast this week, although in a very different manner than in years past. 

Marco Bruschi

Thousands on the Central Coast have been protesting police killings of black people this week, with over five days of demonstrations in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. A rally calling for action on racial justice attracted thousands more Thursday evening. 

Rich Appelbaum

Now that one of Santa Barbara’s main thoroughfares is partially closed to vehicles, city officials hope it will help some restaurants and shops practice distancing, and start drawing customers again to stay afloat after weeks of pandemic shutdown. As of May 22, State Street is closed to traffic for eight blocks.

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas, we hear from a SLO County infectious disease physician who is a key player in paving the way out of the pandemic shutdown; and from SLO supervisor Lynn Compton, who gives an update on the current status of the county's reopening plan. A founder of Lighthouse Atascadero talks about how the nonprofit has helped young people fight addiction since 1994, and how its programs have grown over the years. We’ll follow Father Ian as he hunts for local wild yeast in “Playing With Food,” capturing some yeast near a patch of poison oak and baking with it. And finally, we learn more about a fatal shark attack earlier in the month in waters off a state beach near Watsonville.

Greta Mart/KCBX

The news many have been looking forward to finally came Monday: California’s governor announced it is now up to individual counties to proceed on reopening after the two-month pandemic shutdown. San Luis Obispo County officials say the county is ready to go.

In contrast to decades of positioning itself as a travel destination, this week San Luis Obispo County started airing online ads aimed at discouraging tourism from the Central Valley and elsewhere. On Friday, county officials went a step further.

CSU officials say virtual learning to continue into fall terms

May 12, 2020
Andrew Epperson

Cal Poly students may not be heading back to the San Luis Obispo campus in the fall, as there will be no in-person classes at California State University’s 23 schools next semester, according to the system's chancellor.

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, the SLO Chamber of Commerce's Jim Dantona speaks with SLO County health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein—not just about public health issues, but Borenstein's personal path to the job that, before the current pandemic, was not often in the public spotlight. We visit with a retired pilot, Captain Karen Kahn, one of the first female pilots hired to fly with a commercial airline, and learn more about a nonprofit—where Kahn is a mentor—that teaches Santa Barbara-area youth all aspects of aviation and, ultimately, how to fly a plane. Tom Wilmer speaks with Christine Johnson, executive director of the Central Coast Aquarium, about the Avila aquarium and the planned Morro Bay expansion. Finally, Monterey County organizations pick up the phone to check in with people during the shutdown. 

San Luis Obispo County officials have released a framework for reopening the county—called the START guide—emphasizing that it's a draft outline. At times contradictory, nevertheless the guide is designed to “give our business partners, our organizations, places of worship the best ideas about how they can begin planning in the days and weeks to come,” said the county’s health officer.

SLO County

On Wednesday, the name of San Luis Obispo County’s reopening plan was revealed—the START guide, or ‘Steps To Adapt and Reopen Together.’ Expected to be released Friday, county health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said it’s not going to be a set-in-stone plan.

On this agriculture-themed episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear the second half of a conversation with Brent Burchett of the SLO County Farm Bureau, about issues facing farmers on the Central Coast. Father Ian takes us on a journey to explore growing and enjoying Central Coast artichokes. We learn more about a new research project in a San Miguel vineyard involving vermiculture, and tag along on a tour of a vermicompost production facility. And we get the lowdown on a state grant program designed to encourage healthy soils. Finally, meet the newest baby giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Courtesy of Festival Mozaic

A popular, summertime Central Coast festival announced Thursday it is postponing until 2021. The management of another major SLO County event is taking a more wait-and-see approach on whether to go ahead as usual. Stay-at-home orders have laid waste to all planned concerts, festivals and events this spring, and now summertime ones are falling like dominoes—all triggered by the pandemic.

On this week's Issues & Ideas, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, by speaking to its organizer, Denis Hayes, in a wide-ranging and in-depth conversation. Correspondent Tom Wilmer takes us to Camp San Luis Obispo to find out what the National Guard are doing there. To see how virtual learning is faring during pandemic school closures, we check in with school districts in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties. We also learn how Santa Barbara teenagers are helping seniors during the pandemic through a program called 'Zoomers to Boomers.' All that and more on this episode of Issues & Ideas.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. A half-century ago, environmental degradation in the United States had reached such an alarming point to so many people that a day was set aside to focus on protecting the planet. In 1990, the April 22 celebration went global and events were organized in countries around the world. The man behind both the creation and expansion of the annual Earth Day is Denis Hayes. KCBX's Greta Mart spoke via Zoom with Hayes, from his office in Seattle in what's considered the world's greenest building. 

SLO County

As part of the recent federal stimulus funding, Congress gave $10 billion dollars to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is now tasked with dolling out that money to airports across the country to help them weather a near-shut down of air travel and commerce.

Fr. Ian Delinger

Agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy of both California and the Central Coast. KCBX's Greta Mart talks with Brent Burchett, executive director of the SLO County Farm Bureau, about a variety of local agricultural issues and challenges for the county's farmers.

KCBX's Greta Mart has a conversation with Mindbody CEO Rick Stollmeyer about that company's decision to layoff or furlough a third of its employees. We hear from Col. Charles Bell, commander of Fort Hunter Liggett, about how the rural base community is trying to protect itself from an outbreak of COVID-19. From our colleagues in the Central Valley, we get a feel for what it's like to work in a Fresno emergency room during the pandemic. Finally, KCBX correspondent Brian Reynolds has a conversation with first-time novelist Jessica Winters Mireles.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Mindbody is a health and wellness technology company headquartered in San Luis Obispo, with offices in Santa Maria and around the world. While the current stay-at-home situation may be good for some tech companies, like Zoom, for Mindbody this is not the case. On Thursday, the company announced it is laying off or furloughing thirty-five percent of its workforce. 

On this episdoe of Issues & Ideas: We learn more about a STEAM—science, technology, engineering, the arts and math—program for middle school students offered by the Foundation at Hearst Castle. And a nationwide shortage prompts distilleries in San Luis Obispo County to turn production over to hand sanitizer. We hear more about a nonprofit organization called 'School on Wheels' that tutors homeless children in Santa Barbara County. And Father Ian takes us on an educational tour of Central Coast olive groves and olive oil producers. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

As the novel coronavirus pandemic widens, the acute shortage of personal protective equipment worsens; things like face masks and hand sanitizer. To help meet the great need, Central Coast distilleries are changing their production lines from booze to bottling ethanol-based sanitizer.

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