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.

Ways to Connect

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.

On this week's episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear how the pandemic is affecting the hospitality industry in Monterey County, and operations at the SLO County airport. Cal Poly journalism lecturer Kim Bisheff talks about the current media landscape, and suggests ways we can find news outlets we can trust. We visit Atascadero Lake to witness the installation of a new bioswale project and learn how it will improve water quality. And we hear about the hundreds of 'catch-and-eat' rainbow trout just planted in the lake. 

On March 14, there was one confirmed cast of COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County. Nine days later, as of Monday afternoon, there are 33. Two of those patients have been admitted to a local hospital, one in the intensive care unit.

As of Thursday evening, county government and health officials are asking San Luis Obispo County residents to stay at home and refrain from gatherings of any kind. If you do go out, health officials want everyone to maintain a six foot buffer of social distancing.

In this episode of Issues & Ideas: Learn how the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council is helping local residents better prepare for fire.

Also, hear about REACH, which is the new iteration of the Hourglass Project, a year-old "action tank" focused on forming a viable plan to create new jobs and economic development across the Central Coast. 

HelpSLO.com

As health officials began confirming the first COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo County, one local woman decided to create a way for people to help each other. HelpSLO is the result.

As San Luis Obispo County’s public health officer warned earlier this week, it was only a matter of time before the novel coronavirus came to the county. Late Saturday evening, the public health department confirmed the first case—a North County resident has tested positive. 

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Sunday afternoon he is directing Californians aged 65-and-older and the chronically ill to stay home and self-isolate in the face of widening transmission of the coronavirus statewide. Officials are barring visits to hospitals and senior centers, except for end-of-life visits.

Additionally, all bars, nightclubs, wineries and brewpubs are to close, "for now," Newsom said.

Greta Mart/KCBX

The Paso Robles Unified School District is facing a $2.3 million dollar budget shortfall. Causes range from cut federal funding, low enrollment, increased insurance premiums, higher workers compensation costs and more.

Greta Mart/KCBX

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently serving a search warrant on San Luis Obispo County. FBI agents arrived early Wednesday morning at the main county building in downtown San Luis Obispo and began searching in government offices under a sealed search warrant.

www.diablocanyonpanel.com

While there are still no confirmed coronavirus cases in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, the spreading COVID-19 outbreak is now interrupting daily life on the Central Coast.

Michael Barros/KCBX

KCBX News is updating the results in this post as they come in.

The latest unofficial vote tally was released on Monday, March 9 just before 5 p.m. There are still 4,784 ballots to be processed by the San Luis Obispo County Elections division. Clerk-recorder Tommy Gong said it's "to be determined" when the next counting will take place. 

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, we hear from local winemaker Neil Collins, named 2019 “Person of the Year” by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. Collins visits the KCBX studio to talk about his background, changes he’s seen in the local industry and a coming new certification for products produced by regenerative operations. 

CDC

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department says despite reports, the novel coronavirus has not been confirmed in San Luis Obispo County. A local patient tested for the virus strain quickly recovered, according to health officials, and Thursday night, the department announced the test for COVID-19 came back negative.  

Today is Election Day, when California voters will decide the primary races—not only to select their presidential and congressional favorites, but local and state representatives as well. There are four candidates running for the 17th District seat, representing the Central Coast, in the state Senate. Senator Bill Monning, who has held that seat for several years, is termed out. 

Central Coast conservative activist Kevin P. Rice claimed responsibility for an election-related robocall earlier this week that asserted to be associated with the Klu Klux Klan. The recorded phone call targeted voters in supervisorial District 3 on February 25.

KCBX News and the San Luis Obispo Tribune hosted a candidate forum on February 10 in Paso Robles, between District 1 incumbent John Peschong and challenger Stephanie Shakofsky. About 60 people attended the forum at Cuesta College’s North Campus and listened to the candidates answer questions and comment on three main topics: homelessness, water and cannabis. 

Are the current local campaigns for San Luis Obispo County supervisorial seats more negative and rancorous than ever? Or have we seen this level of mudslinging in local elections in the past? 

ECHO

Months before the topic of homelessness came to dominate speeches by California’s governor, the city of Paso Robles moved forward with building a brand new homeless shelter. Located near the city’s water treatment plant, it will be called the First Step Homeless Services Center, and it will be run by ECHO, or the El Camino Homeless Organization.

City of SLO

A plan to refurbish San Luis Obispo’s downtown Mission Plaza is now several years in the making. But this week marked the first time elected city officials looked at and discussed an official draft design of the first phase of the project. The response was supportive overall, but with a handful of criticisms.

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