Greta Mart

News Director

Greta Mart is a seasoned radio, web and print journalist. Greta hails from a media family - her late father started his career as a news cameraman in Seattle before he bought the world’s first commercially-available Steadicam and became one of Hollywood’s top operators. Greta spent every free moment during her high school years working with him.

Greta earned a BA in political science at the University of Massachusetts and spent a year studying history at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. She moved to the Bay Area in 1995 and worked in publishing before launching a career as a theater technician. She worked freelance gigs until joining the crew at Beach Blanket Babylon, the San Francisco comedic institution, where she served as prop mistress and made the magic happen backstage.

In 2005, a reporting opportunity sent Greta’s career on a new trajectory as a reporter in print media. In 2013, she was accepted into the intensive two-year master’s program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where her thesis advisor was the food writer Michael Pollan and All Things Considered’s Kelly McEvers her instructor. At the J-School, Greta transitioned to broadcast radio journalism and has since worked at three Alaskan public radio stations - KCAW in Sitka, KHNS in Haines and KUCB in Unalaska.

Greta loves to hike, camp, cook and read. She considers Port Townsend, WA her hometown and when in the Bay Area stays aboard her ’30 Catalina sailboat berthed at the Berkeley Marina.

You can reach her at gmart@kcbx.org or on twitter @greta_mart.

Ways to Connect

SLO County Homeless Census & Survey/ASR

According to the county’s department of social services, the number of homeless people in San Luis Obispo County rose by nearly 32 percent in 2019, compared to a count two years ago. The latest estimated numbers were released Thursday.

A new local public safety app went live this week, and it’s meant to save the lives of heart attack victims. At the same time, it alerts users to emergencies in San Luis Obispo County.

Issues & Ideas: A solar sail, command change and tech trends for the over-50 crowd

Jul 17, 2019
Photos courtesy The Planetary Society, Fort Hunter Liggett and the AARP

On this week's Issues & Ideas: A unique spacecraft is now orbiting the earth and soon a team at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo will command it to unfurl a super-thin Mylar sail. The craft will then glide through space, propelled only by sunlight. We talk to the mission's project manager to learn more. Also, there was a recent change of command ceremony at Army Reserve Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County. We hear from both the outgoing and incoming commanders.

Greta Mart/KCBX

An oil company's plan to build a new oil well and pipeline in the Carrizo Plain National Monument has been blocked, after the California Bureau of Land Management (BLM) overruled a 2018 decision by the BLM’s Bakersfield field office.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

At the end of June, a San Luis Obispo resident was arrested for threatening to shoot minorities in his neighborhood. As word of the arrest made its way through the community and across social media, local law enforcement officials say misinformation was also spread about the case. So this week, the San Luis Obispo Police Department held a community forum on hate crimes in the city. Listen above for a conversation between KCBX’s Greta Mart and KCBX’s Tyler Pratt, who was at the meeting. Transcript is below.

SLO County Ag Commissioner

The latest crop statistics for San Luis Obispo County are out, and in 2018, San Luis Obispo’s agriculture industry exceeded one billion dollars in overall value.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Off-highway vehicle riding across the sand dunes and beach at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area on the Central Coast will continue as is, at least for now. The California Coastal Commission has voted to continue the conversation for another year, with eight of the ten commissioners in favor of sending a letter to California State Parks, asking that several issues within the park be addressed by that agency between now and summer of 2020.

Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society

Update July 9, 2019

The deployment of Lightsail 2’s solar sails has been delayed until at least Sunday, July 21. Bruce Betts, Lightsail 2 mission program manager, said the spacecraft is stable and healthy; however, some unexpected behavior in altitude control system sensors has the mission team slowing down. “We don’t want to rush it,” Betts told KCBX News on Tuesday afternoon. “We may have to upload fixes and we want to do it in a methodical way.” KCBX News will continue to check in with the team at Cal Poly for updates.

ORIGINAL STORY PUBLISHED JULY 3, 2019

A unique spacecraft is now orbiting the earth, and soon a team at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo will command it to unfurl super-thin stretches of Mylar, serving as sails. The craft will then glide along, propelled only by sunlight.

Courtesy of the Friends of Oceano Dunes

Off-highway vehicle riding across the sand dunes and beach at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area on the Central Coast may soon be curtailed. The California Coastal Commission is slated to take a hard look at park operations in July.

Flickr/Tracey Adams

The economic hit faced by San Luis Obispo County when Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DPCC) closes won’t be as bad as previously estimated, according to a new report released Wednesday.

KCBX News

Fracking has been a hot topic on the Central Coast ever since the Trump administration released an environmental review about the possibility of expanding hydraulic fracturing on federal lands in Central California. We hear reactions from some in the neighboring community of Kern County to the plan. And Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback explains some fracking basics, including what is and isn’t known about the technique's impact on the environment. We also talk about emergency preparedness in San Luis Obispo County. KCBX's Greta Mart sits down with county planner Jillian Ferguson and emergency services coordinator Scott Milner about how they are planning for possible future man-made and natural disasters. Also, if you’re a Democratic presidential primary voter, how will you decide who gets your support? We chat with four undecided California Democrats. And we previously reported that Santa Barbara’s landfill is filling up. Soon, in July, trash and recycling curbside services will go up. We’ll find out how the city plans to use the fees to in an effort help improve how the city manages recycling and trash.

Greta Mart/KCBX

There's a new type of recycling facility in San Luis Obispo County that's turning food and green waste into power and compost. It's called an anaerobic digester, and it was built by global engineering firm Hitachi Zozen Inova. The company is touting it as the first of its kind in the United States for the specific way it recycles waste. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

The US Environmental Protection Agency has approved an aquifer exemption for the Arroyo Grande oil field near San Luis Obispo. This enables Sentinel Peak Resources, the current owner of the oil field also known as Price Canyon, to move forward with a planned expansion of wells for both enhanced oil recovery and dispoal of wastewater, or "produced water."

Greta Mart/KCBX

Work will resume this week on closing the El Campo Road and three other median crossings on Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo County. The project will permanently block four openings connecting the northbound and southbound lanes; motorists will no longer be able to make left-hand turns on to and off the highway via those medians.

On this week’s Issues & Ideas, we learn more about the large, immersive new light and art installation called Sensorio Field of Light coming to Paso Robles. 

On this week’s Issues and Ideas, we hear about a local mission to preserve the story of winemaking in our region. The Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County is a museum without walls; we speak with Heather Muran and Libbie Agran about the effort to bring the county's wine history to life through unique exhibits. Also, learn more about the sleep disorder narcolepsy from local patient-activist Ashley Allen.

The use of a dangerous pesticide will soon be phased out in California. The California Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) will start the process to cancel the registration of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Santa Barbara police engaged in a standoff Tuesday with a suspect barricaded in an apartment building off South Turnpike Road in Santa Barbara. The area was evacuated and Highway 101 closed in both directions between Turnpike Road and Patterson Avenue. San Marcos High School, located across the street from the apartment building, was placed in lockdown for the afternoon, but just after 3 p.m., the students were sent home.

Courtesy of the Friends of Oceano Dunes

Police have arrested a man suspected of shooting and injuring six people late Saturday night at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area in San Luis Obispo County. There were no fatalities in the shooting incident.

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, we revisit how the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II affected the Central Coast, in a conversation with local historian Jim Gregory. We also speak to the director of a documentary looking at the long history of negligence and institutional failings around what's called the deadliest aircraft in the U.S. military.

Greta Mart/KCBX

This week San Luis Obispo County officials voted to ask the state transportation agency to close middle sections of Highway 101 south of Arroyo Grande to prevent further collisions and deaths.

Courtesy Visit SLOCal, Shumash Sanctuary, and Michael Pollan

On this week's episode of Issues and Ideas, we talk with author and journalist Michael Pollan about his latest book on psychedelic drugs, and the resurgence of research into how these substances can be used to treat addiction, depression and help us understand consciousness. We'll also hear part two of a recent documentary exploring the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, with interviews of various stakeholders in the waters off the Central Coast. We'll have more on a California State Parks plan to make significant changes to the Oso Flaco Natural Area and Oceano Dunes SVRA in San Luis Obispo County. And we get a history lesson on San Luis Obispo County's missions and libraries. 

Airbnb

A task force charged with coming up with new rules regarding vacation rentals in Paso Robles has wrapped up its work, at least for the time being. On Wednesday, the city’s short-term rental (STR) task force met for the last time before sending its recommendations on to the city’s planning commission.

KCBX News

On this week's Issues & Ideas, we explore the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, via a recent documentary that focuses on different stakeholders in Central Coast waters. We hear from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla about Census 2020 and what an accurate count means for the region. We get to know some Central Coast chefs who are doing things just a little differently to bring food to the table. And we learn about an upcoming chorale concert series taking place in San Luis Obispo and some scientific effects of music on singers.

Carmen Allison

There are many more visitors than usual these days at the Carrizo Plain National Monument in eastern San Luis Obispo County. On Saturday afternoon, March 30, a steady stream of cars headed down the area's bumpy, lumpy dirt roads to check out the visitor's center and drive the length of Soda Lake, the "largest remaining natural alkali wetland in southern California," according to the Bureau of Land Management.

But there's room for everyone on this unique expanse of windswept plain, currently blooming in vivid, riotous yellow, orange and blue wildflowers. If you've had the chance to visit the Carrizo Plain during this super bloom season and would like to share a picture or two, please email to news@kcbx.org and we'll add it to this slideshow.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Police temporarily closed and searched one of the two brick-and-mortar retail cannabis shops operating in San Luis Obispo County on Thursday, but not at the command of local law enforcement.

Courtesy of SLO Wine Country

Anne Steinhauer recently took the helm of the San Luis Obispo Wine Association. We speak with her about member wineries and marketing wines made in the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande to other parts of the country, and the world.

On this week's episode of Issues & Ideas, major newspapers and public radio stations across California—including KCBX—are collaborating on a statewide project to look at personnel records from local enforcement agencies. 

Courtesy of the Hourglass Project

Diving into the subject of economic vitality and growth on the Central Coast, KCBX News speaks with Melissa James, CEO of a new collaboration among local private industry leaders. The Hourglass Project aims to encourage the mindful shaping of new industry and fostering future jobs across the region, particularly in light of the planned 2025 closure of a major economic engine in the area, PG&E's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

Greta Mart/KCBX

On New Year's Day, 2019, a new state law went into effect. SB 1421 insists that California police departments let the public see formerly-confidential misconduct records. Since then, more than 35 California newspapers and public radio stations—including KCBX—have joined forces to request those records. 

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