San Luis Obispo Tribune

KCBX Two-Way: Air quality on the Nipomo Mesa

Aug 21, 2019
David Middlecamp/San Luis Obispo Tribune

Earlier this week, we heard from veteran NPR journalists Renee Montagne and Kelly McEvers, talking about the craft of journalism and a specific approach called solutions journalism, defined by some as rigorous reporting on effective responses to social problems. Next, we speak with a staff reporter from the San Luis Obispo Tribune about another approach, called engagement journalism, and a current project focused on air quality on the Nipomo Mesa, in south San Luis Obispo County.

David Middlecamp/San Luis Obispo Tribune

For more than a century, mecury mines were active across San Luis Obispo County. The roughly 150 mines not only drove the county's economy, they helped establish Cambria as a city in the 19th century. They also played a role in America’s history—from the California Gold Rush to World War II. All of the county's mines have long since shuttered, but are still hiding in plain sight.

On this week's episode of Issues & Ideas, major newspapers and public radio stations across California—including KCBX—are collaborating on a statewide project to look at personnel records from local enforcement agencies. 

Courtesy of the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE)

Title IX is a federal law that is part of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. Its goal is to prohibit discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funding. One area Title IX presents itself on college campuses is in addressing allegations of sexual misconduct. A recent California court ruling has public universities scrambing to rewrite rules for how these investigations are conducted, but the coming changes have some administrators and students concerned. To learn more, KCBX's Tyler Pratt sat down with San Luis Obispo Tribune reporter Monica Vaughan, who's been covering this issue. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

The San Luis Obispo County jail has been under scrutiny for several years over inmate deaths inside the facility. The issue came to a head in 2017 after the death of Andrew Holland, a mentally ill inmate who had been tied to a restraint chair for almost two days. About 10 days ago another inmate inside the jail committed suicide.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

As part of our Central Coast Curious series, we received this question from Juliane McAdam: "Every time I drive past the San Luis Obispo Cemetery on Higuera, I wonder what the giant pyramid is all about. Is it a tomb or a monument?" KCBX News wondered the same thing and around the same time, so did reporter Andrew Sheeler at the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Sheeler reported on the history of San Luis Obispo's iconic pyramid for his series, "That's SLO Weird," and we invited Sheeler to the KCBX studio to tell us all about it.

Greta Mart/KCBX

This week in San Luis Obispo, the city’s planning commission voted in favor of the San Luis Ranch development, recommending the project to the city council for approval. Over the past two decades, various project iterations has been proposed for the piece of property bordered by Highway 101, Madonna Road, Dalido Drive and Oceanaire Drive.