A Tricky Halloween. The President Tests Positive. Wildfire Impacts On Local Flora And Fauna.

Oct 2, 2020

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup for 10/2/20. Here you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few select national stories from NPR.

Health officials haven’t cancelled Halloween, but they are strongly advising against it. Not the day itself, rather the parties, trick-or-treating for endless candy and indoor haunted houses.  Instead, there's an opportunity to reflect on the original meaning of Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve or Día de los Muertos. It’s a time to honor and celebrate family and loved ones who have died and this is a particularly poignant time to do so. We still mourn the passing of barrier-breaking Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg while the deadly COVID-19 virus has taken the lives of more than 207,000 of our fellow Americans and community members.

COVID-19 Updates as of Friday morning:

Late Thursday night, President Trump announced via Twitter that he and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus. Both are experiencing mild symptoms and are in isolation. For the latest on this developing story, stay tuned to 90.3 KAZU and click here for live updates.

As fires ravage other parts of California, the lands scorched by the fires in the Monterey Bay area are now being inspected, decontaminated and prepared for rebuilding. This week, Cal Fire released its WERT (Watershed Emergency Response Team) report on environmental damage from the Carmel and River Fires. The report details which areas pose an increased risk for environmental hazards, like falling rocks. Officials encourage people who live near these areas to read the study, especially as we move into the rainy season. The full report can be downloaded, or residents can visit an interactive map to view the hazards in their area.

New life can sprout from the ashes, but some things are lost forever. KAZU’s Michelle Loxton looked into the lasting impacts of these wildfires on local environmental jewels: famous trees, cherished condors and a beloved park.  

Eerie and thick with smoke -- Big Basin Redwoods State Park in early September. Experts say they don’t know why some trees were spared in the CZU Lightning Complex fire.
Credit Michelle Loxton

The U.S. Forest Service announced a reduction in the size of the Dolan Fire burning in the Los Padres National Forest. On Tuesday, officials said they discovered an area they thought was part of the fire’s footprint, but it was actually part of an earlier controlled burn. The Dolan Fire is 124,924 acres and 90% contained (as of Friday morning). The estimated containment date is October 13. 

As you’re planning your weekend activities, you can check air quality in your community.

Did you catch 1A on Tuesday? If yes, you heard Rosemary Soto, the head of Monterey County's Census Complete Count Committee. She spoke with KAZU’s Michelle Loxton about trying to get local residents to take part in the census. On Tuesday’s 1A show, Soto shared more about those challenges and why more time is needed to complete the count. (Listen about 19 minutes into the show to hear Soto.) The census has been marred by the pandemic and legal battles over the end date

Local Census Response Rates as of Wednesday:

  • Monterey County - 64.9%
  • Santa Cruz County - 71.2%
  • California - 69.1%

Have you filled out the census?

As of October 1, On Point has made some changes. The program, which airs midday on KAZU, has been shortened to one hour. Host Meghna Chakrabarti shared her vision for the revised show as well as the best way for you to share your perspective on the topics they announce. The reimagined On Point will air on KAZU Monday through Thursday, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and on Friday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

KAZU will air the BBC Newshour from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The BBC Newshour presents news, information and analysis from the BBC, the world's largest broadcast news gathering organization. Science Friday continues to air on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Check out the full KAZU Program Guide online and download your own copy of the KAZU Radio Schedule to post near your radio or smart speaker.

Election Day is now a month away. Mail-in ballots are beginning to arrive in mailboxes. KAZU’s Erika Mahoney interviewed Gail Pellerin, Santa Cruz County’s chief elections official, about mistakes to avoid, how signatures get verified and voter fraud. 

Up until November 3, we’re answering election questions: 

Q: Mail-in ballots are being sent to all registered California voters due to the pandemic. I keep hearing we should vote early, but how early?

A: If you are mailing your ballot back, the Postal Service recommends sending it at least a week before Election Day. You can also put your ballot in a drop box. They open next week and will close 8 p.m. on November 3. 

Ballot Drop Box Locations:

Q: When is the vice presidential debate?

A: That’s scheduled for next week -- Wednesday, October 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah at 6 p.m. our time. KAZU plans to broadcast the debate live on 90.3 KAZU and kazu.org. 

Until next week,

The KAZU Team