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

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. 

There have been record-setting hurricanes, floods and a pandemic. And this year in California six of the 20 largest wildfires in the state’s history have occurred, many of which are still burning.  News of mass evacuations are heard daily, often with little or no time at all to prepare. These hardships clearly illustrate the importance of emergency preparedness. If a disaster hits, will you be prepared? Would you be ready to go? Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with Paul Deis, Red Cross disaster volunteer, and Dan McGauley, retired firefighter and paramedic with the city of Atascadero, as they discuss the importance of being disaster ready.

Depression and anxiety continue to rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus continues across the U.S. it has created a level of isolation not previously seen before. Fear for our health, and that of family and friends, financial strain, food shortages, and much more brought on by the pandemic, can bring extraordinary stress into our daily lives. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in July 2020 found more than half of U.S. adults reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus, an increase of 20% from when the same question was asked in March 2020. 

Marking 36 years of insightful dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access, the Central Coast Writers Conference was named the “Best Conference in the West” by Writers Magazine. An essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors and publishers, this year’s three-day event will have 40 presenters offering over 100 classes—all available virtually. Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with  conference director Teri Bayus; Phil Cousineau, an award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer and travel leader, storyteller; and TV host, author and freelance manuscript editor Jordan Rosenfeld, as they discuss plans for this year’s conference and the artist's responsibility to create and heal in a pandemic and world at unrest.

With the rise of COVID-19, aging and isolation are more prevalent than ever. This year’s Aging Project aims provide an understanding of the aging process through a new lens, navigate social isolation versus loneliness and address wellness and mental health through the scope of aging. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Steve Willey, director of volunteer and community education at Wilshire Hospice and Community Services; Denise LaRosa, Wilshire Hospice’s bereavement manager; and Kelly Donohue, Wilshire Health and Community Services's public relations specialist as they discuss what the Aging Project is and it's goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected day-to-day life for nearly everyone around the world, and negatively affected many people’s mental health. For people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders, it has created new barriers to care and treatment. Behavioral health clinicians have found and are continuing to look for new ways to access and work with these individuals during this time of social distancing, and many of have found that this creative hard work is beginning to pay off, evidenced by client buy-in to treatment and anecdotal stories of personal success, improved relationships, etc.

One of the many untold effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the toll it is taking on patients without the coronavirus. During the initial wave of COVID cases, staying home was universally urged to protect people from exposure to the infection, but, in the process, many people ignored serious medical issues that should have sent them to their provider or an emergency room. 

For 30 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has transformed the landscape of our nation and created opportunities for the more than 60 million Americans. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Jerry Mihaic, advocate with the Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC); John Lee, assistive technology specialist with the Cal Poly Disability Resource Center; and Susan Chandler, president of Californians for Disability Rights, as we recognize and commemorate this important milestone, while also discussing how we can continue to advocate for a more equitable and inclusive communities.

While you may not be able to leisurely peruse the shelves of your local library right now, it doesn’t mean the library still can’t be your haven during the COVID-19 pandemic. Libraries have quickly changed how, where and when they offer services amongst the continuing pandemic, finding ways to allow the community to access the myriad of valuable resources they have to offer. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks with San Luis Obispo County Libraries' Christopher Barnickel, Chase McMunn, Aracelli Astorga and Sharon Coronado as they discuss how County of SLO Public Libraries are working to support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than five million Americans who make their living in the arts and cultural sector across the U.S. Cancellation of gigs, concerts, openings and engagements to quell the spread of the virus is wreaking havoc on artists, businesses, nonprofits, institutions and individuals of all types. As with other industries, the pandemic is bound to have a severe impact on the financial health of our local arts organizations and individual artists.

Despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic, this is not just an election year, but also a very important year for everyone to participate and be counted as part of the 2020 U.S. Census. Due to the pandemic, both of these civic duties have become more complicated. Join Kris Kington Barker as she speaks in the first half hour with Tommy Gong, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder, and Michael Latner, Ph.D., Cal Poly political science professor and Kendall Voting Rights Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists, as they discuss the integrity of the 2020 election and plans to make voting safe and accessible to everyone. In the second half hour, Kris speaks with representatives from local organizations, who amid COVID-19, are working to prevent an undercount in the 2020 Census within 'hard-to-reach' communities. Guests include Devon McQuade, development and communications coordinator with the 5Cities Homeless Coalition; Brandy Graham, veteran support programs manager with CAPSLO; and Micki Wright, a senior volunteer services representative.

California faced a crisis in affordable housing even before COVID-19, so how has the pandemic affected the situation? During shelter at home orders, and the continued restrictions, many low-income tenants have faced job and income loss that have prevented them from paying rent, buying food and accessing health care.  Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with John Fowler, president and CEO with Peoples’ Self-Help Housing (PSHH) and Morgen Benevedo, PSHH's director of multifamily housing, as they discuss how COVID-19 is affecting affordable housing, including issues such as increase in need, resident safety, a decrease in production and capitalization problems for the future. Plus, what role the government has, and strategies for increasing affordable housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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