Central Coast Voices

Thursdays, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Central Coast Voices addresses the many ramifications of change and how today's choices will affect tomorrow's community. This program is an extension and production of "Action for Healthy Communities" an organization committed to identifying and carrying out projects that will improve the quality of life in San Luis Obispo County. The show's topics and guests focus on raising public awareness through credible and valid information about local and regional concerns such as health care access, neighborhood design, the state of our education infrastructure, the economic impacts, and much more. Your hosts Kris Kington-Barker and Fred Munroe invite you to join the conversation. To participate, call 805-781-3875 during the program.

Ways to Connect

American Indian Health & Services, Inc. (AIH&S) is one of 41 non-profit Urban Indian Health Organizations nationwide which seek to provide culturally competent care to meet the needs of the Urban Indian communities they serve. For over 20 years, AIH&S has been committed to promoting and providing quality services to improve the health and well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives and all other community members of Santa Barbara. They envision a vibrant community where American Indians, Alaska Natives, and the community are nurtured and values include a balance of care for the mind, body, and spirit.

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with guests from American Indian Health & Services, Inc., Scott Black, Chief Executive Officer, Jessica Foster, Community Wellness Manager, and Dr. Jonnie Williams, Licensed Clinical Psychologist with AIH&S Behavioral Health Department as they discuss how the community health care center provides culturally-grounded and trauma-informed programs and services for the American Indian/Alaska Native (and entire community) in response to the unique needs of the community.

Scientists around the world agree that pollution, habitat destruction, and over-exploitation of natural resources have created a climate emergency that threatens great harm to human health, wellbeing, and livelihoods. Here at home in California and on the Central Coast, we are experiencing those effects first hand. The U.S. drought monitor reports approximately more than half of California is already experiencing a severe drought, and that we are primed for a severe 2021 fire season. And while climate change is a threat to everyone’s health and well-being, some groups—socially and economically disadvantaged ones—face the greatest risks. So, what can we do?

Join us as we continue our celebration of Earth Month! Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with an array of Central Coast organizations working on ways to protect and restore the environment, combat the climate crisis, and pursue environmental justice for communities that are most vulnerable. Fred will talk with Mary Ciesinski with EcoSLO, Lexi Bell with The Morro Bay National Estuary Program, Eric Veium with The San Luis Obispo Climate Coalition, and Lucas Zucker and Rebeca Garcia with Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) about the important work they are doing around these issues and how you can help create a better future and save the earth. 

The theme for Earth Day 2021 is Restore Our Earth, which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. Understanding the ocean’s role in climate change and how we approach business and conservation associated with the oceans are a critical part of the solution to the climate crisis.

Join us in a celebration of Earth Day, as host Kris Kington-Barker speaks with Benjamin Ruttenberg, Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and director of the Center for Coastal Marine Sciences. They will discuss the threat that climate change poses to our oceans, marine life, and coastal communities, as well as talk about how a move toward a blue economy can help.

 In 2020 while navigating the COVID pandemic, El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) successfully expanded homeless services in Northern San Luis Obispo County where they had been much needed for years. In one year, the organization grew from 50 beds and a small handful of staff to more than 100 beds and three shelters, and almost two dozen staff members.  How did this expansion come about? And how is it being managed? What other plans does the non-profit have to tackle the communities’ homeless issues?

Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with guests with El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), Wendy Lewis, President & CEO, and Jeff Al-mashat, Director of Homeless Services in Paso Robles as they discuss their expansion and how the program, in addition to providing shelter, offers services for these individuals to secure a job and find permanent and sustainable housing and how the community can help in these efforts. 

 

  Voices of the Earth deals with the troubled relationship between humans and the natural world. Compiled by Charles Junkerman and Rush Rehm Voices of the Earth brings together some of the greatest environmental voices from across the centuries to celebrate the anniversary of Earth Day. With a cast of 90 different characters – poets, naturalists, scientists, politicos, deniers, and heroes, Voices of the Earth presents a kaleidoscope of views on the earth we inhabit, and the existential crisis we face.

Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Rush Rehm, Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, and Classics, Stanford University and Artistic Director, Stanford Repertory Theater (SRT), and Magnus Toren, Executive Director of the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur about this inspiring work and its call to action.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 8th leading cause of death in San Luis Obispo County. This past week the County of San Luis Obispo, in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Council, made its draft Suicide Prevention Plan available for public review and comment. The Plan’s release comes at a critical time for promoting mental health and wellness after a year of COVID-19–associated stress. This Plan is the result of years of collaboration among community members, government agencies, and private and public organizations. It provides a framework of strategic aims, goals, and objectives that will work to guide prevention, intervention, and postvention support for those affected by suicide.

 

Each year, National Equal Pay Day reflects how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year. Due to a gender gap in pay, it takes women an extra three months of wages to make up the difference. On average, women working full time and year-round are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man who works full time and year-round. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.

What is fentanyl? It is powerful synthetic opioid, similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. Fentanyl was originally used as an anesthetic. It is approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. The CDC reports that rates of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, have increased substantially in the last few years and that most of these recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, including overdose, and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. What is the reason for this deadly increase? And what can be done about it?

Since 1970, the Community Environmental Council (CEC) has incubated and innovated real life environmental solutions that directly affect the California Central Coast. Their current work advances rapid and equitable solutions to the climate crisis – including ambitious zero carbon goals, drawdown of excess carbon, and protection against the impacts of climate change. At CEC, building community resilience is at the center of everything they do. 

The goal of Harvestly is to empower local vendors. To disrupt the global food system by creating a more efficient economy. Centered around health, sustainability, and the local economy, Harvestly aims to change the current food system and its devastating impacts on communities.

The 27th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) will be here soon and it will be one of our most unique Festivals ever — a predominantly virtual experience. This world-class annual festival, along with events throughout the year, provides a venue for international and local filmmakers, exposing an ever-expanding range of audiences to new ideas and experiences. This year’s film lineup will feature 111 presentations, including 30 feature films, 63 short films, and 18 music videos.

While the COVID-19 pandemic had changed lives across the world, numerous studies have shown that certain groups have been disproportionally affected by the crisis, among this woman. A recent report shows that a staggering 87% of women business owners say they have been adversely affected by the pandemic. What have been some of the greatest challenges for women business owners during the pandemic and why, and how have women managed to innovate, and find support during these difficult times?


The Peace Academy of the Sciences and Arts of San Luis Obispo (PASA) vision is a community of lifelong learners who become competent caretakers and peace leaders for our world. To do this they have developed programs for students to strengthen individuality, seek their potential, and maximize their opportunity to learn and contribute. Join Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with members of The Peace Academy of the Sciences and Arts of San Luis Obispo (PASA)—Sandra Sarrouf, PASA teacher, cultural worker and founder of Cultural Creations; and Dara Stepanek, PASA teacher, integrative nutrition coach, and restaurant owner. They will discuss the mission of PASA to inspire a deep understanding of self and others through a learning culture that celebrates creative innovation, enriched collaborative experiences, and connection through core human values.

In November, Americans overwhelmingly elected Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. The new administration inherits multiple crisis. A crumbling democracy, a devastating health crises, which has fueled an economic crisis, and a country with deep cultural and bipartisan divides.

As of today, the COVID-19 pandemic has killed over 400,000 people in the U.S. and while hope is on the arisen, with two vaccines currently being distributed, the virus is still considered to be “widespread” on the Central Coast, with hundreds of new infections reported daily. So, what should you do if you come down with the virus? Is it okay to go to the doctor? The hospital? How safe is the vaccine? And, how can you make an appointment to get vaccinated? 

The 2017 Women’s March prompted 5-million-plus people around the world to hit the streets, in response to the then newly-elected President Trump and his administration. The moment quickly turned into an important worldwide effort, focusing on human rights and social and environmental justice issues. Four years later, what has this movement accomplished? And what more does it have planned? Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Dawn Addis, Rita Casaverde and Andrea Chmelik, organizers of Women’s March San Luis Obispo (SLO), as they talk about their work over the past four years, their future objectives and their upcoming annual (virtual) rally—Power Up Democracy.

Across the globe, businesses of all sizes are recognizing that supportive policies and practices increase organizational productivity, while also boosting the physical and emotional health of employees and their families. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the overlapping lines between work and life, and provides a unique opportunity to consider how family-friendly options may be incorporated at businesses everywhere. Join host Kris Kington-Barker as she speaks with Wendy Wendt, executive director of First 5 San Luis Obispo County; Maggie Payne, program director with Atascadero Children’s Center; and Molly Kern, director of governmental affairs with San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce. In the second part of the program, Kris will be talking with Kelly Boss, HR director with IFixit; Zihad Naccascha, partner and cofounder of Carmel & Naccascha LLP; and Angela Toomey, HR director with Morris and Garritano.  They will explore the many benefits of family-friendly workplace policies, and identify opportunities for change.

For 11 years, the dream of The San Luis Obispo (SLO) Jewish Film Festival has been to share with the community a broad spectrum of movies that celebrate the diversity of the Jewish experience.  Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with co-directors of the SLO Jewish Film Festival—Lauren Bandara, executive director of The Jewish Community Center (JCC)-Federation of and SLO, and Muara Johnston—as well as filmmaker Jody Belsher, director of Summer in the Country, as they talk about the upcoming SLO Jewish Film Festival, a unique cultural experience on California’s Central Coast celebrating Jewish life, community, and films.

In November, the city of San Luis Obispo released a draft Active Transportation Plan for public review. Over the past two years, staff have been engaging with the community to develop this plan—the first of its kind in the city—which will include both bicycling and walking needs. Join Kris Kington Barker and SLO active transportation manager Adam Fukushima and sustainability manager Chris Read,  as they discuss the proposed strategy for increasing bicycling and walking in San Luis Obispo and opportunities for the community to share their thoughts.

COVID-19 is currently surging across the United States, including the Central Coast. As cases explode, communities are grappling with another lockdown and the economic and psychological impacts of the pandemic. While hope is on the horizon, with vaccines looking to be out soon, what can the community and individuals do in the meantime to protect ourselves and others from this deadly disease? Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with San Luis Obispo County public health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, as she provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic response in the county, including information on new and expanded testing opportunities, and why testing is so important to fighting the pandemic. And we hear from local COVID-19 survivor John Porter, who will share his story and concerns as cases continue to rise throughout the Central Coast.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to widespread economic impacts. Rising unemployment has left a record number of individuals in possible housing insecurity due to loss of income as a result of shelter-at-home orders, quarantines, illness, school closures, and other COVID-related factors. In August, nine prominent institutes and organizations released new research that concluded that 30-40 million people in America are at risk of losing their homes by the end of 2020. What type of housing assistance is available during these difficult times? Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Central Coast legal experts—Kate Lee, attorney with Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, and Sadie Weller, attorney with San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation—as they discuss avenues available for rent and mortgage relief as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Data shows that immigrants are among those hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19. In California, undocumented immigrants represent 10% of the workforce, and paid approximately $2.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2019. Immigrants do the essential work that sustains us all, yet they have been excluded from many of the federal COVID-19 relief assistance programs. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with guests working as part of the collaborative effort with SLO County UndocuSupport and 805 Undocufund—Joel Diringer, San Luis Obispo County community health advocate; Genevieve Flores-Haro, associate director of the Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project; Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia, program director for the Center for Family Strengthening and Promotores Collaborative of SLO County; and Mariana Gutierrez, Family Resource Center program supervisor with Community Action Partnership of SLO County (CAPSLO)—as they discuss how to to provide financial relief to meet the basic and emergency needs of immigrants.

The mission of ACTION for Healthy Communities is to identify and address community needs to improve health and well-being in San Luis Obispo County. ACTION is a cooperative, collaborative effort of individual agencies and organizations, public and private, that are committed to improving the overall quality of life in SLO County. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with members of the ACTION for Healthy Communities steering committee—Jason Wells,  associate director of First 5 SLO County and new ACTION chair, and past chair Susan Hughes—as they discuss ACTION’s eighth benchmark study of community issues since 1999. 

The coronavirus crisis has made both businesses and individuals rethink the way they do things, and also what they do. While many businesses and employees are struggling to survive COVID-19 and may just be looking to adapt, for others the crisis is an opportunity to reinvent themselves. Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Central Coast organizations that are working to meet these needs. In our first half-hour, Fred speaks with mentors from SCORE of San Luis Obispo—Horace Morana and Carol Kerwin. SCORE of San Luis Obispo has been helping small businesses start and grow for over 30 years and are working to address concerns during this difficult time. In the second half -hour, Fred speaks with SLO Partners' Paula Mathias-Fryer and Luke Wallace. SLO Partners is taking the lead in creating upskilling opportunities for our local workforce by supporting those looking for new career opportunities by training them with skills in demand by local businesses. 

While we know that COVID-19 and school closures have been a hardship for parents and children, what has been the impact on teachers? After quickly pivoting to distance learning this spring and fall, local teachers face continued Covid-19 fears as school districts decide whether to reopen in person in coming weeks and months, while many juggle their own family’s well-being. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with the president of the Atascadero District Teachers Association and full time Atascadero High School teacher at Christine Williams and Emily Cappellano, president of the San Luis Coastal Teachers Association and a 3rd grade teacher, as they discuss how classroom educators are coping during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as their thoughts on upcoming plans to return to the classroom. 

Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all families, but for families caring for children with disabilities, it can be especially challenging. According to the last US Census Report, one in every 26 American families reported raising children with a disability. How are they coping? What resources are there for them in the community? Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with Kaycie Roberts, executive director with the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center, member of the San Luis Obispo County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Community Advisory Committee and parent of a child with autism; April Lewallen, board chair of the Central Coast Autism Spectrum Center and V.P. with PathPoint' and Rebekah Koznek, parent and chair of the Community Advisory Committee (C.A.C.) with SELPA, as they discuss how they are coping during the pandemic.

Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Joel Peterson, executive director with the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance; Jason Haas, partner and general manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard; and Adrienne Ferarra, co-owner of Clesi Wines and professor in the Department of Wine & Viticulture at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, as they discuss how the Central Coast wine industry is coping with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Voting is now underway for the 2020 General Election. This election will be like no other in U.S. history. So far, more than 5 million people across the U.S have already voted early in the presidential election. What do you need to know to vote safely and be sure your vote is counted? What options are there available for voting locally? How can you make sure that your absentee ballot is delivered and counted?

Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with guests about the 2020 election: in the first half hour with Tommy Gong, San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder, and in the second half hour with members of The League of Women Voters (LWV) of San Luis Obispo County— Julie Rodelwald  and Juliane McAdam. They will talk about the purpose of the LWV, commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment this year, and importance of LWV efforts to Get Out The Vote.

Domestic violence is an alarming and pervasive problem in our country. On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 12 million women and men. And while a the COVID-19 pandemic or a bad economy does not cause domestic violence, it can and has made it worse. Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with RISE SLO education and communications director Christina Kaviani, PhD., and Vivien Devaney-Frice, director of In-Custody & Reentry Programs with Restorative Partners, Inc.,  about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the impact of current events on the movement to end gender-based violence, and how restorative practices can support the healing journey of families who have suffered from violence.

 

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and intensified systematic racism in many of our institutions. In August the National Urban League reported that Black Americans are infected with COVID-19 at nearly three times the rate of white Americans.  Research suggests that Black Americans, and other communities of color, appear to be at greater risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 due to a history of racism that creates differences in health and access to care and other resources needed for good health. 

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