Debra Greene

Weekend On-Air Host / Reporter

Debra Greene is an award-winning broadcast journalist. She is a native Southern Californian, Phi Beta Kappa graduate from UCLA with an M.A. in broadcast journalism from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. She started her career as a weekend news writer for a station in Los Angeles and then moved to Northern California to become a news reporter for a top Sacramento radio station. She returned to Los Angeles to report for radio, with a stint at KCET’s newsmagazine show, SoCal Connected. Before joining KCLU, Debra anchored at an Inland Empire-based radio station and worked as a radio news correspondent for 24/7 News Source, where her reports were aired on stations across the country.
Debra has earned numerous journalism awards including the Simon T. Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism from USC, two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, an APTRA Mark Twain Award, a NorCal RTNDA Award and four Golden Mikes.
You can hear Debra anchoring on weekend mornings and her reports during the week, and you can reach Debra here.

Ways to Connect

Photo by UC Santa Barbara

Humans have produced an enormous amount of plastic, and most of it ends up in landfills. A South Coast researcher took a closer look at the production, use and fate of all plastics ever made.

UC Santa Barbara industrial ecologist Roland Geyer led a study to see just how much plastic has been created since the large-scale production of synthetic materials began in the 1950s. His finding was 8.3 billion tons -- enough to cover the entire country of Argentina.

Photo by the Music Academy of the West

The internationally known Music Academy of the West in Montecito has brought the New York Philharmonic to Santa Barbara for what's being called the largest classical music event to ever hit the South Coast city.

A good Samaritan is among two people killed in a crash on the South Coast over the weekend.

The California Highway Patrol says a 24-year-old man from Moorpark was driving an Acura TSX at a high rate of speed on the westbound 118, just west of Stearns Street, in Simi Valley around 4 am  Saturday when he rear-ended a Toyota Camry. The collision caused the Acura to overturn in lanes onto its roof.

There’s an effort across the country to encourage students to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering and math because there are plenty of job opportunities in those industries and not enough people to fill them. But, a South Coast university is going one step further. The university is targeting students from underrepresented groups.

Students and professors hike up Mountclef Ridge and through Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks in the name of science. They’re exploring nature -- jotting down notes and snapping photos of the plants and animals they encounter.

Authorities are investigating a double fatal accident on the South Coast.

It happened on Saturday just after 4 am on the westbound 118, just west of Stearns Street, in Simi Valley. The California Highway Patrol says two people were killed. The accident involved multiple vehicles. No other information has been released.

Photo by Nick Schooler

Scientists on the South Coast who study the biodiversity of California beaches are finding that it’s the management of those beaches – and not necessarily climate change – that’s causing major impacts.

UC Santa Barbara researchers evaluated the biodiversity of 13 beaches across the state and compared their results to those of the 1970s. They found that on some beaches, the biggest decline was in intertidal animals like crustaceans and insects that live in the sand near the high tide line.

Photo by Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition

Bicycle advocates are hoping to bring a bike share network to the Santa Barbara area.

The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition envisions a fleet of self-service bikes available 24 hours a day in locations all around the Santa Barbara area. While this is only an idea, it’s a concept advocates are hoping to implement.

Eve Sanford with the Coalition says a bike share feasibility study was conducted and found that such a system could thrive in the region.

Photo by UCSB College of Engineering

Robots have been around for a long time. But, now, scientists are finding some amazing ways that they can help us. Imagine a robot that can do things humans can’t. South Coast researchers are developing robots with x-ray vision.

A robot that’s only about two feet tall can do some big things.

The labor market on the South and Central Coasts is experiencing a slump with unemployment rising.

The California Employment Development Department says the jobless rate in Ventura County increased to 4.5% in June from 3.8% in May. In Santa Barbara County, 4.3% of people were unemployed in June, which is up 0.8% from a month earlier. The unemployment rate in San Luis Obispo County jumped to 3.8% in June from 3% in May.

California's jobless rate remained the same at 4.7%, which matched the record low that occurred in 2000.

Photo by California Lutheran University

The latest research by a scientist on the South Coast who studies DNA from shark teeth left behind after attacks will again be featured as a part of the Discovery Channel "Shark Week" TV specials.

Bryan Swig, a marine biologist and professor at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, has developed a process to extract DNA from the enamel of tooth fragments of great white sharks. Since sharks leave behind bits of tooth after taking a bite, he says his technique could eventually help identify the shark’s family group.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Firefighters are trying to get a handle on the Whittier Fire burning in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbara County that has grown to more than 18,000 acres. It's still only 36% contained.  

California Fire officials say they expect increased fire activity Sunday due to warmer temperatures, lower humidity and winds.

However, firefighters did get a break with the weather overnight from Saturday into Sunday when potentially strong sundowner winds in the forecast didn’t materialize. 

Photo by John Calambokidis

There are concerns about whales being hit by ships off the South and Central Coasts.  Now, a leading research biologist, who will be speaking on the South Coast, finds that whales don't try to get out of the way of ships.  

John Calambokidis with Cascadia Research in Washington state has spent much of his time studying whales along the South Coast where they’re abundant. He uses new research methods -- including video from tags on blue whales -- to better understand their underwater behavior.

He says he’s found that these whales tend to take little action to avoid ships.

Photo by American Red Cross

There’s a critical blood shortage, and South and Central Coast residents are being encouraged to donate.

The American Red Cross is hoping you’ll step up.

“We’ve issued an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors to give now and help save lives,” said Christine Welch with the Red Cross.  

During the last two months, 5,600 fewer donations were collected in Southern California. Welch says it’s especially important during this time.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Two wildfires are continuing to burn on the Central Coast as hundreds of people evacuate.

The Whittier Fire, which is burning in the Santa Ynez Valley, has grown to 7,800 acres. It’s only 5% contained. Firefighters are especially concerned because it’s near hundreds of homes. Santa Barbara County Fire officials say some structures have been destroyed, but it’s not clear if any of those were homes. Mandatory evacuations were issued for homes as well as campgrounds. The brush fire broke out Saturday afternoon off of Highway 154, about 12 miles east of Solvang.

It’s something that doesn’t sound very appealing. But lots of everyday people are doing it. They’re examining coyote poop on the South Coast to help advance scientific research.

About a dozen people from the community have gathered here at the National Park Service Headquarters in Thousand Oaks for a monthly coyote scat party.

“As a kid, I always enjoyed dissection whether that was at science camp or just in high school dissection. I think that’s still fun no matter what age you are,” said Jacob Walker, a recent college graduate who’s pursuing a career in film.  

He is among the volunteers who are analyzing scat to learn more about coyotes’ diet in an effort to reduce conflicts between both coyotes and people and coyotes and pets.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Department

A brush fire burning in two counties on the Central Coast has nearly doubled in size overnight to 6,000 acres.

Cal Fire officials say more than 1,000 firefighters are battling the Alamo Fire, which is located around the Santa Barbara County-San Luis Obispo County line near Highway 166 and Twitchell Reservoir. Five helicopters are dropping water and four fixed-wing aircraft are dropping retardent in an effort to contain the fire.

Photo by Alan Hancock College

A community college on the Central Coast is helping minority students pursue careers in science. 

Bridges to Baccalaureate at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria assists 29 underrepresented students who want to study biomedical or behavioral sciences.

It provided Jorge Del Pozo with a research internship to study proteins at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo last summer, which he says was an inspiring experience.

As people across the South and Central Coasts gear up to celebrate Independence Day, pet owners are being reminded to think about their furry friends.

The noise from fireworks can be terrifying for animals. As a result, many cats and dogs run away and go missing.

Jan Glick, Director of the Santa Barbara County Animal Services Department, says pet owners should take precautions.

Photo by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

A body has been found in Santa Barbara County that authorities say is that of a five-year-old boy who’s been missing since April and whose father is charged with his murder.

The search for Aramazd Andressian Jr. continued on Friday.

“Based on additional leads developed in the Andressian case, Homicide detectives returned to the Lake Cachuma area of Santa Barbara County in an effort to locate additional evidence,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy Guillermina Saldana.

A tremendous amount of food goes to waste. So, a university on the South Coast is leading the way in diverting food waste from landfills. Students are composting on campus.

I step into an electric car here at UC Santa Barbara.

"This is our composting mobile. We use all electric vehicles here because our goal is zero waste," said Kaitlyn Haberlin, an environmental studies and archeology double major.

Photo by Fit Moms

A Central Coast professor helped create an online weight loss program that has led to significant weight loss for low-income mothers following their pregnancies.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Kinesiology professor Suzanne Phelan says it’s especially important to help low-income women lose weight postpartum.

“They lack access to effective empirical-based weight loss programs and low-income women are at high risk for long-term weight gain and associated comorbidities,” she said.

There are ways to make your home more energy efficient. You can learn all about it at a workshop this week on the Central Coast. 

Santa Barbara County has a program called emPower that focuses on helping single-family homeowners achieve energy efficiency. Ashley Watkins with emPower says there are a lot of things you can do.

(Ventura County Sheriff's Office Photo)

Authorities raid a large drug lab on the South Coast and make several arrests.

Ventura County Sheriff’s officials say on Friday they went to a home on the 5500 block of Heatherton Drive in Somis to serve a felony arrest warrant for Kooshawn Shokrai who was living there. When detectives entered the home, they discovered it was converted into an elaborate butane honey oil lab.

Scientists at biotech companies conduct genetic engineering in their labs to create medicines and other life-saving products to treat patients. And, some high school students on the South Coast are getting hands-on experience in biotechnology.

Students at Newbury Park High School are running their own biotech experiments in the process of producing a protein from genetically modified bacteria.

Photo by Ventura County Sheriff's Department

A body found near a hiking trail may be that of a South Coast man who has been missing for a week.

Ventura County Sheriff’s officials say 65-year-old Clyde Miller hasn’t been seen since June 17th, and his disappearance was reported to the department on Thursday.

Photo by Peter Allen/Brian Long

UC Santa Barbara scientists have corrected a flaw in antibiotic testing that could now help patients recover from infections.

The standard antibiotic test has been used worldwide since 1961. But UC Santa Barbara biologist Michael Mahan says it may not be working as well as it should be.

“People are not petri plates. And because the test is on a petri plate, it does not accurately reflect what may happen in the body,” he said.

Some changes are being made at a college on the South Coast in an effort to reach more people in the community.

Santa Barbara City College is undergoing a reorganization and expansion of some of its noncredit and fee-based programs. These courses will now fall under a new umbrella called School of Extended Learning.

A South Coast woman has been killed after authorities say her sister accidentally struck her with a car.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says 55-year-old Dora Perez was standing in her driveway on the 1300 block of Vallecito Place in Carpinteria around 7:15 Saturday morning when her 70-year-old sister was moving a nearby vehicle. Officials say the car suddenly sped out of control, hitting Perez and pinning her against the wall of the house.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

A law enforcement agency on the South Coast is mourning one of their own. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve lost a member their family.

Forty-one-year-old Custody Deputy Trevor Carpenter died on Wednesday after a fight with Leukemia. He had been with the Sheriff’s office since 2003. He was an avid photographer, supporter of the Boy Scouts and a huge Dodgers fan. He was also a family man. Carpenter leaves behind his wife of 19 years and four children.

Photo by Andrew Hill

There’s an effort to get Santa Barbara County residents to go solar.

The Community Environmental Council has launched Solarize Santa Barbara County, which is its first countywide group purchasing program.

April Price, a renewable energy specialist with CEC, says it provides residents with discounted solar electric systems while helping the environment.