California Update for Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jun 12, 2018

• Educators consider chronic absenteeism a red alert – a blaring sign that a student might be academically at risk. Now, schools and parents have a new tool to investigate this critical problem.

The report uses an interactive map to pinpoint the type of schools that struggle with chronic absences.

Today's reporting by Chris Nichols.

In this week’s encore broadcast, Grammy Award-winning bluegrass outfit Steep Canyon Rangers bring their energetic sound back to eTown to share music from their recent collection of songs, fittingly titled Radio.

This week we ask: who thought that would be a good for a kid? Neil Drumming looks back at a toy he loved that, in retrospect, probably wouldn’t love him back. And we go to a museum that educates children but also scares the hell out of them.

This American Life airs every Friday night at 7:00 pm and re-airs Saturday mornings at 9:00 am 0n KRCB-FM Radio 91!

This week on This American Life: Babysitting  

Stories of babysitters, and what goes on while mom and dad are away that mom and dad never find out about. Including the story of two teenagers who decide to invent children to babysit, as an excuse to get out of their own house.

Health Partnerships Aid First-Time Mothers

Apr 7, 2017

The months from pregnancy through infancy are critical for both mothers and newborns, and can shape the course of the child’s life into adulthood. It can be a critical time for a little constructive guidance, which is provided by a low-profile, but impactful county program.

Newborns don’t arrive with an instruction manual, so first-time parents are usually learning as they go. Supervising Health Nurse Lisa Fredrickson says that’s why the Nurse-Family Partnerships extend through the first 24 months of the child’s life.

Across the country, thousands of public schools are within 500 feet of pollution-choked roads like highways and truck routes. Next time on Reveal, we investigate the high levels of exhaust surrounding U.S. schools and how the bad air is affecting the millions of children who are breathing it in.  

Reveal is the Peabody Award-winning investigative journalism program for public radio from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.  

Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as abuse and neglect, have life-long effects on both mental and physical health. But recognizing, and working to prevent them, can begin to break that pattern. That’s what a new educational program in Sonoma County hopes to do.

Programs similar to the local ACES Fellowship have been offered on a statewide basis elsewhere, but Sonoma County Public Health Director Ellen Bauer says this is the first one to focus just on a single county.

'Cultivating Curiosity'

Oct 3, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

Efficiency and curiosity are fundamentally at odds with each other, says a Sonoma State liberal studies professor. And that basic conflict needs to be acknowledged in shaping our educational systems.

Curiosity and imagination are separate but closely linked qualities, says Wendy Ostroff. She cites a recent experiment that underscored their importance in problem solving.

A Small Park in Roseland Signals Bigger Things to Come

Aug 31, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  The official opening of a small new park at the site of the future Roseland Village complex offers further tangible evidence of bigger and better things to come.

    Caryl Hart, director of Sonoma County Regional Parks says that providing a free, outdoor exercise facility was a priority as they planned the new parkette.

Introducing Autism Kits for Restaurants

Aug 29, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Dining out with children who get overstimulated or impatient can present challenges for any parent; even more so for parents of children on the autism spectrum. A new program, being introduced in a few Santa Rosa area restaurants, is addressing that situation.

Health Games -- Innovation or Fad?

Dec 29, 2015

Medical professionals are increasingly using games in their efforts to make people healthier. Is the trend here to stay?

The games take many forms and are designed to address a host of conditions: from asthma to diabetes, depression or stroke. In fact, your doctor may soon be suggesting health games as a way to improve your well being.

Better Foster Care Provides a More Typical Life

Dec 14, 2015

  Children in foster care thrive when they are able to live a more typical life, a new study concludes. We hear more from Suzanne Potter.

Medi-Cal Turns 50

Jul 29, 2015

  The national health program for children, known in California as Medi-Cal, has now been in place for half a century, and it is continuing to expand. Suzanne Potter has details.

Learning Empathy in the Barnyard

Jul 19, 2015
Forget Me Not Farm

  Learning how to treat horses, chickens and sheep helps kids from troubled backgrounds develop compassion for more than animals.

  Rathman is fully convinced that the Forget-Me-Not experience is both instructive and healing. And even though it’s hard to quantify their results with hard data, the first-hand stories and other anecdotal evidence is overwhelmingly affirmative.

Forget-Me-Not Farm was also profiled on KRCB-TV's Community Health Connections. You can view the segment below.

Children’s Museum to Open Indoor Exhibits

Jun 18, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  The Children’s Museum of Sonoma County is opening its indoor Science and Imagination Gallery this weekend, with 15 interactive exhibits designed to keep kids busy—and eager to return.

There is a lot to see and do in the new museum space, and while it can be hard to choose, founder Collette Michaud does have a few favorite attractions.

Caravana 43

The 43 Mexican college students who disappeared last fall during a police assault on their demonstration in remembrance of a 1968 student massacre, have been declared dead by government officials, but their families dispute that. They’re now touring the United States to publicize the unresolved disappearance, and a group of them visited Sonoma County Tuesday.

Capital Public Radio / Andrew NIxon

This 1-hour documentary brings you first-person stories of people coping with food insecurity in one of the country's richest agricultural regions. Hidden Hunger explores the daily struggles of children, adults and seniors who live in overlooked neighborhoods of south Sacramento, where the stigma of poverty and hunger is high.


  Hispanic children are 1.5 times more likely to be uninsured than other children, and a new report says California is doing better than most states in terms of outreach to their families. Chris Thomas reports.

An Opportunity for Children with Autism

Aug 14, 2014


  Autism is a mystifying and growing issue for children worldwide. Here in Sonoma County, a unique partnership between the California State University and a local family-oriented non-profit is educating parents, caregivers, and future professionals about the many facets of autism. And they are looking for some additional children to include in the program.

Ripple Effects from the Immigration Impasse

Jul 17, 2014

  Thousands of undocumented refugee children are overwhelming immigration facilities and processes along the southern US border, but their presence is also creating a nationwide ripple effect, one that is being felt even here in the North Bay.

Flickr user Russ

Despite having one of the lowest rates of child abuse in the state, child abuse remains a huge problem in Sonoma County. According to the most recent numbers from the group Prevent Child Abuse-Sonoma County, last year there were more than 5000 reports of child abuse and nearly 200 kids were removed from unsafe homes. 

Traveling Previews Promote the Sonoma County Fair

Jul 2, 2014

County Fair season is fast approaching, and to help herald its arrival, a traveling preview will be making the rounds of Sonoma County, beginning tomorrow. Here’s Bruce with a preview of those previews.

  The Traveling Fair will make a total of 11 stops over the next two weeks, beginning tomorrow evening in Windsor’s Keiser Park. The full schedule is below.


JULY 3, 5-9 P.M.



JULY 5, 8:30 A.M. - 1 P.M.


Challanges Face Universal Preschool Goal

Jun 22, 2014

  Making preschool available to all Sonoma County’s 3 and 4 year olds is a noble goal, but getting there will be both expensive and complicated. 

A Festival of Conscious Parenting

Jun 17, 2014

  There’s a new event coming up this weekend and it’s not just new to Sonoma County—this will be the first time there has been a Festival of Conscious Parenting.. anywhere. To find out what that includes, all you need to do is listen.

You can find a full schedule for the new Festival of Conscious Parenting here.

Summer Lunch Program Seeks Volunteers

May 19, 2014
REdwood Empire Food Bank

  The school year is almost over, and with summer vacation comes the summer lunch program provided by the Redwood Empire Food Bank. But providing that service takes a corps of volunteers, and more are always needed. Today’s segment has all the details about how to get involved.

That training session Vanessa mentioned happens this coming Thursday. Find additional details, or sign up to volunteer here.

What is Behind Sonoma County's low Vaccination Rates?

Apr 24, 2014
courtesy Lily Borgeson

About a decade ago health officials declared an end to measles in the United States. But the disease is making resurgence due, in part, to a decline in vaccination rates.

New Life for Alternative Parenting Publications

Feb 6, 2014

  Parenting and progressive politics didn’t coexist, at least in print, until the emergence of a pair of Bay Area-based publications that made a point of speaking to that audience.  Hip Mama, addressed to mothers, came first, and inspired a counterpart for fathers, called Hip Dad. Both magazines have recently gone through some internal changes, and are doing a series of re-launch events, including one in Santa Rosa this weekend. Here’s Bruce Robinson with more.

New Life for Alternative Parenting Publications

Feb 6, 2014

  Parenting and progressive politics didn’t coexist, at least in print, until the emergence of a pair of Bay Area-based publications that made a point of speaking to that audience.  Hip Mama, addressed to mothers, came first, and inspired a counterpart for fathers, called Hip Dad. Both magazines have recently gone through some internal changes, and are doing a series of re-launch events, including one in Santa Rosa this weekend. Here’s Bruce Robinson with more.

Promoting Organ Donation in Russia

Feb 3, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

A Russian film crew visited Bodega Bay over the weekend to recapture the story of 7 year-old Nicolas Green, with the intent of boosting organ donation rates in their home country. 

The issue of organ donation—and the huge need for donors—is far bigger than the story of Nicholas Green, says his father, Reg. So he helped the visiting Russian film crew expand their focus during their visit to northern California last weekend.

Children and medical cannabis: Barriers abound

Jan 10, 2014
courtesy UCSF

Twenty five children with severe, uncontrolled epilepsy will begin trying an experimental new drug called Epidiolex this month. Epidolex is  a pharmaceutically pure form of cannabidiol -- a chemical derived from cannabis. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests cannabidiol can be successful in treating some children, yet its actions and effects remain poorly understood. Researchers say they are hampered by strict regulations and poor access to medical cannabis.