Rachel Showalter

Midday Host/Reporter

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. She went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism and took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team as a substitute host in October 2020, and now regularly hosts middays. She also contributes feature reports to KCBX News. Rachel is a lover of storytelling, snacking and the outdoors. On her off days, catch her hammocking on the beach with vegan cheese, kombucha and a good book. 

Courtesy: Flores family

After being deported to Mexico two years ago, Goleta community member Juana Flores is now back on the Central Coast — and new legislation introduced by a local congressman could keep her here permanently.

Flores' deportation and return to the US exemplify the complicated system and issues immigrants and their families face.

Paso Robles Police Department

San Luis Obispo County’s League of Women Voters hosted its final Lunch with the League webinar on homelessness June 21.

This was the fifth webinar in the series meant to engage leaders and the public in the issue of homelessness.

Local policymakers and service providers offered solutions to address the crisis.

San Luis Obispo County Social Services staffer Carolyn Berg presented an overview of the county’s regional plans to improve the lives of the unhoused.

Zoo Med Laboratories is a San Luis Obispo reptile supplier for big box stores like PetSmart, Amazon and Walmart that was recently sued for allegedly listing false snake-care guidance on its website claiming that snakes may be held in an enclosure that is half the length of their body.

The consumer protection lawsuit, led by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), was dropped and Zoo Med removed the guidance from its website.

Courtesy: Francisco Martinez

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the City of San Luis Obispo is deciding whether to keep some pandemic-era changes, like dining parklets.

The city installed the outdoor dining parklets for restaurants when indoor operations were shut down.

The parklets are spaces that are built out onto the street and utilize parking space in front of the businesses, at no cost to the restaurants.

Luke Schwartz is the transportation manager with the City of San Luis Obispo. He said the city is asking people to fill out a survey about whether to keep the parklets.

Courtesy: SLO Hillel

Cal Poly graduates and their families gathered at a newly built outdoor Jewish community gathering space this weekend, June 12, for a commencement ceremony.

The new outdoor pavilion sits on a 10-acre gathering space known as Makom Hillel.

It’s a 60-foot-wide hexagon with an interior seating space that acts as a small amphitheater. It features a small fire pit in the center that can double as a prayer space.

Courtesy: Marian Regional Medical Center

A new facility designed to treat people having mental health crises is opening soon at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Courtesy: NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide

The City of San Luis Obispo is proposing improvements to several crosswalks throughout the city as part of a greater pedestrian improvement project.

Courtesy: San Luis Obispo Water Treatment Plant

San Luis Obispo’s 2020 Water Quality Report shows zero violations of health regulations.

Jason Meeks is the supervisor of the city’s water treatment plant. He has been working in water and wastewater for nearly 22 years.

Meeks said one of the most important things for city residents to know about the 2020 Water Quality Report is that it only shows substances that were detected in the water.

Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County Facebook Page

The San Luis Obispo County Food Bank honored Hunger Awareness Day June 4 by collecting donations across the county to support those in need.

This year is the 15th annual event held every year on the first Friday of June with donation booths at 12 different locations.

Branna Still is the development director at the SLO Food Bank. She said one in six people in San Luis Obispo County were experiencing food insecurity prior to the pandemic.

Vandenberg Space Force Base

The Central Coast’s Regional Economic Action Coalition (REACH) announced June 3 new progress made with Vandenberg Space Force Base and other partners to develop a plan for local space development.

Rachel Showalter

The San Luis Obispo City Council approved the 2021-23 financial plan at a meeting June 1. It includes an expansion of the city’s police budget, which has raised concern among some members of the community.

The two-year financial plan totals $173 million. The money is divided between a general fund, water, sewer, parking, transit and special revenue.

Photo by Vivint Solar from Pexels

A California lawmaker is proposing new legislation that focuses on how much people pay and save on their electricity bills when they invest in rooftop solar energy. 

AB 1139 focuses on net energy metering, which is a process that allows people with solar panels to sell the excess energy their home system produces back to the utility to be used in the greater grid.

Erin Johnston

A group of Cal Poly researchers is beginning a study to track Pismo Beach clams, with the hope of restoring the species’ population.

The research team will start the new ‘mark and recapture’ study May 29 on Pismo Beach. This kind of study involves tagging individual animals so researchers can track them over time.

In this case, the purpose of tagging the clams is to help their population recover by learning about their growth rates, mortality rates and how much they move on the beach.

Rachel Showalter

Central Coast Democratic Congressman Salud Carbajal announced new gun safety legislation that provides federal grants and resources to states that follow California’s lead in implementing red-flag laws.

Trident Winds Morro Bay proposal

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a partnership with the federal government May 25 to support California’s efforts to advance offshore wind energy development along the state’s north and central coasts.

Courtesy: California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Santa Barbara County authorities are conducting an ongoing investigation into alleged environmental crimes found at an illegal cannabis grow site in Santa Maria.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or CDFW, announced Wednesday that it partnered with the Sheriff's Department to serve the warrant at the cultivation site on Tepusquet Road in Santa Maria last month.

Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

$300,000 of redevelopment funding is being used to upgrade King City High School’s historic Robert Stanton Theater.

Now discussions are underway to secure several million dollars through a bond measure to modernize the theater even further.

The Robert Stanton Theater was originally built in 1939 on the King City High School campus. The National Historic Site held high school and community productions for years until King City hit financial trouble in the 90s.

Courtesy: City of San Luis Obispo

The City of San Luis Obispo is planning for the reopening of its facilities in the coming months.

City Manager Derek Johnson outlined a way forward for the city at the May 18 council meeting.

He said the city expects to reopen in alignment with future guidelines from the state.

“Really, we’ll be looking forward to the details that come out from the governor,” Johnson said. “He’s made some statements but the details are unknown.”

Courtesy: San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, or SBP, is conducting an emergency drill Wednesday, May 19.

If you see smoke and emergency vehicles between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., it’s likely part of the airport’s full-scale emergency response exercise.

Courtney Pene is the deputy director of planning and outreach at the airport. She said the goal of the drill is to test the capability of the airport and local response agencies to deal with a potential emergency or disaster.

Courtesy: Rachel Showalter

Cal Poly’s Alternate Care Site, or ACS, was built as an emergency site to treat COVID-19 patients. After going unused for more than a year, it’s now being taken down.

San Luis Obispo County decommissioning of the facility has been ongoing for the past month.

County health public information officer Michelle Shoresman said they expect to have it completely broken down by the end of May.

Video still: 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB

After 63 years, Vandenberg Air Force Base is now officially renamed Vandenberg Space Force Base.

A ceremony was held Friday, May 14 to rename the base, deactivate the 30th Space Wing and activate Space Launch Delta 30 under the United States Space Force.

The ceremony honored General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, for whom the base is named, and personnel unveiled signage with the new name.

On Thursday, May 13, Anthony Mastalir was Commander of the 30th Space Wing at the base. His title is now Commander of Space Launch Delta 30.

Courtesy of Restorative Partners

From now through June 30, locals can participate in the third annual San Luis Obispo Grilled Cheese Festival.

Courtesy: French Hospital Medical Center

French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital are being recognized for having some of the best patient care in the nation.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) said its customers are being targeted by scammers ahead of the May 17 tax deadline.

photo courtesy of KAZU

On this week's show, learn how sheep work to help prevent fires on the Central Coast. Also, after a wildfire in Santa Cruz County destroyed close to 1,500 structures, a local group experiments with fungi, which they say has the ability to remove and even heal toxic burn scars. You’ll hear about the traveling nurses who administer vaccines at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. Latinos make up the majority of the population in Fresno County, but they only account for about 36% of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine; we’ll explore some of the reasons why Latino residents are hesitant. There's a new monthly series of Zoom events put on by NAACP SLO County, called "Know Your Rights", and we’ll take a closer look. Finally, Cal Poly grad and author of the award-winning novel, “Prospects of a Woman”, Wendy Voorsanger shares insights about her work chronicling exceptional women throughout California's history.

Courtesy: Morro Bay WRF Program Team

A new water reclamation facility and its pipelines are under construction in Morro Bay. Crews will begin building a new section of the pipelines on Monday, May 10 at Main Street and Quintana Road.

Rachel Showalter

The COVID-19 vaccination site at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo administers around 1,000 doses every day to county residents.

Randol White/KCBX News

In a 3-2 vote, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors decided May 4 to move forward with using polling places instead of voter service centers for future elections in the county. That vote goes against the preferences expressed by respondents in a recent countywide voter survey.

Courtesy: City of San Luis Obispo

The City of San Luis Obispo will start construction in 2022 on a $2.5 million bicycle and pedestrian project after receiving a major grant.

Courtesy: City of San Luis Obispo

If you’ve parked your car in Downtown San Luis Obispo over the last week, you may have noticed new multi-space pay stations are now installed in the downtown core of the city.