Rachel Showalter

Reporter/Host

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 host in October 2020 and regularly hosted middays. She now reports daily for 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: City of Santa Maria

For the first time in five years, Santa Maria residents could see a rate increase for trash and recycling services.

Feeding America estimates one in six children are food insecure in the United States. Local Congressman Salud Carbajal visited Laguna Middle School in San Luis Obispo as part of a tour to address food insecurity on the Central Coast.

Randol White/KCBX News

Governor Gavin Newsom will remain in office after a majority of Californians voted against the recall.

Courtesy: Stilson Cellars

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and one local winery is remembering a family member lost to suicide.

Courtesy: Cal Poly

The need for mental health services has increased in recent years, especially during the pandemic. Colleges and universities across the nation have had to figure out alternative ways to address their students’ needs.

County of San Luis Obispo

Officials say the City of San Luis Obispo is water-secure for now, despite several years of drought conditions.

Courtesy: City of San Luis Obispo

23 new lots could be made into residential units in San Luis Obispo after the City Council approved a tentative map of a proposed development project.

Courtesy: Alta Colina

Harvest season for wine grapes in Paso Robles is underway, and locals in the industry say it’s going well despite the persisting impacts of drought.

Wine experts say years of continuing drought and wildfire exacerbated by climate change has impacted grape yield and harvest.

Last year, longer heat waves paired with smoke affected the fruit quality in Paso Robles. Molly Lonborg is the Winemaker at Alta Colina in Paso Robles. She said this year, things are off to a good start.

Courtesy: Leah Wood

HelpSLO is a local mutual aid Facebook group that started back in March of 2020 in response to the pandemic.

In addition to other activities, group members began building and filling pantries around the county where people can visit to pick up things like food or hygiene products for free.

Leah Wood is the founder of HelpSLO. She said the mutual aid group is a way for people in San Luis Obispo County to come together. She said people use the group for all kinds of help.

Courtesy: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

Local law enforcement personnel from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties are providing assistance in El Dorado County in response to the Caldor Fire.

Local departments deployed law enforcement on September 1 to fulfill a request for mutual aid through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The personnel sent are part of more than 100 law enforcement members deployed from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

Courtesy: Francisco Martinez

An indefinite mask mandate went into effect last night for San Luis Obispo County and local businesses are now enforcing it.

The mask mandate applies to all indoor public spaces including restaurants, retail stores and fitness centers.

Several businesses are openly expressing support for the new mandate, echoing the need to keep the community safe.

Zoom

In a public briefing Tuesday, San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein put into effect a mandatory mask mandate for all public indoor operations.

Rachel Showalter

The San Luis Obispo County League of Women Voters hosted a virtual Lunch with the League today to help voters understand the September 14 recall election for California Governor Gavin Newsom.

The San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) is asking for the public’s help in expanding its air quality monitoring on the Central Coast.

The APCD manages and operates regulatory monitors across the county to track air quality. The county also has a number of PurpleAir particulate matter sensors across the Central Coast that contribute to air quality tracking.

The APCD is looking to expand its breadth of tracking by encouraging people to host a PurpleAir sensor at their home in areas that have fewer existing monitors and sensors.

Phillips 66

The Central Coast Economic Recovery Initiative (ERI) partnered with a group of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students to produce two reports on six potential repurposing uses of the Phillips 66 Oil Refinery in Santa Maria.

The repurposing reports were produced through student-led projects at Cal Poly for the Phillips 66 facility that is expected to shut down in the next few years.

The Center for Biological Diversity is claiming that the operator of the Arroyo Grande oilfield has been drilling illegal wells for years.

Courtesy: REC Foundation

A new bicycle pump track is coming to Paso Robles — and it’s being designed by the same firm that designed the skatepark at the Tokyo Olympics.

Courtesy: Keith Kidwell

The City of San Luis Obispo is beginning work next week to restore Laguna Lake after years of sediment buildup has impacted the water quality and the lake’s recreational usage.

As a part of the Laguna Lake Natural Reserve Conservation Plan, the city will start a two-week project in mid-September to dredge the lake.

Bob Hill is the Sustainability and Natural Resources official for San Luis Obispo. He said this restoration project has been decades in the making.

Courtesy: California State Parks

The Spooner Ranch House in Montaña de Oro State Park is hosting a traveling exhibit that explores the histories of Black Americans across rural California.

The exhibit is called ‘We Are Not Strangers Here: African American Histories in Rural California.’

Amy Hart is the state historian for the San Luis Obispo Coast District of California State Parks. She said the exhibit is made up of a number of panels meant to highlight unknown and untold stories of Black farmers, ranchers and rural residents across the state.

Courtesy: Home Instead Senior Care

According to a survey done by Home Instead, a senior in-home care service in Santa Barbara, seniors who eat most of their meals alone are more than twice as likely to feel lonely compared to those who enjoy meals with others.

Home Instead Senior Care assists seniors who are living independently at home by helping them with daily living activities like meal preparation, housekeeping and making it to appointments. The organization also helps manage end-of-life care.

Courtesy: San Luis Obispo County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls

The San Luis Obispo County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls is holding a panel and menstrual product collection drive to address ‘period poverty.’

New research led by scientists at UC Santa Barbara and the University of Washington suggests Western wildfires are likely to intensify over the next 10 years before experiencing a gradual decline.

Courtesy: Nature

The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at UC Santa Barbara is hosting a new virtual series called The Art of Doing Science.

KITP is a world-renowned physics institute that welcomes scientists from around the world every year to collaborate and do physics.

Lars Bildsten is the director of KITP and a professor in the UCSB Physics Department. He said there is no other institute in the world where scientists come together at this scale.

Rachel Showalter, KCBX

A second mural was unveiled this weekend in Atascadero as a part of the Equality Mural Project.

Zoe Zappas started the Equality Mural Project two years ago with the goal of adding 10 murals to Downtown Atascadero that all depict different aspects of equality.

Courtesy: City of San Luis Obispo

The City of San Luis Obispo is looking to add another mental health clinician and specially-trained police officer to its Community Action Team (CAT).

Courtesy: City of SLO

The intersection at Orcutt and Tank Farm in San Luis Obispo is getting a makeover as crews begin work this week to install a new roundabout.

The city’s goal with the roundabout is to reduce traffic delays and improve public safety.

Jennifer Rice is a Transportation Planner Engineer for San Luis Obispo. She said the city is prioritizing roundabouts because they generally result in fewer traffic delays and emissions compared to signalled intersections.

SLO County Parks and Recreation

Lopez Lake is in the height of summer visitor season and its boat access is a big draw for people coming from across California.

But because of drought conditions and a decreasing lake level, the San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Department expects to close the lake’s boat launch ramp in the next month.

Courtesy: Rick Ineman

This year’s Solvang Danish Days celebration is officially canceled, as the organizers felt uncertain about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtesy: CDFW

More than 70 groups formally filed a request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-list the gray wolf as an endangered species, citing inadequate protections and a small population.

Jeff Kuyper is the executive director for the Los Padres ForestWatch, one of the 70 groups filing the protection petition. He said re-listing the gray wolf as federally endangered is really the only way to ensure the species’ safety.

Personal finance website WalletHub released a report Tuesday ranking the Templeton Unified School District in San Luis Obispo County among the top 10 most equitable school districts in California.

WalletHub ranked the school district as 8th most equitable among more than 900 California districts.

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