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

Several hundred people gathered in Ventura County to remember heroic firefighters who died in the line of duty. This 12th annual remembrance ceremony was held Saturday on the lawn surrounding the Ventura County Fallen Firefighters Memorial just outside the Government Center.  

A student at a South Coast university has invented an app to help police detectives solve crimes.

Henry Bulmer, who studies computer science and criminal justice at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, developed an app that would direct a drone to take comprehensive crime scene photos .

“Because you don’t know what necessarily is going to be important in a case, you have to take photos of everything,” he said.

A fiery head-on collision has killed a man and a woman in Oxnard.

It happened at about 2 am Saturday on Harbor Boulevard just north of Gonzales Road. The California Highway Patrol said a 33-year-old man was driving northbound on Harbor Boulevard when he drove into the southbound traffic lane and slammed into a car head-on.  The man, who had driven into oncoming traffic, got trapped inside his vehicle, which then burst into flames.  The 44-year-old driver of the southbound vehicle was able to get out of his car. But his 43-year-old female passenger remained trapped in the front seat. Ventura City firefighters responded and extinguished the flames.

As rain comes to the South and Central Coast, Ventura and Santa Barbara County health officials are warning about the potential of storm water runoff contamination.

Authorities say rainfall could cause runoff that can flow into storm drains, channels, creeks and rivers that empty onto the beaches. Studies suggest that the runoff water carry disease causing bacteria to the beaches and into the ocean water.  Contact could pose health risks including rashes, fever, chills and ear infections. Beachgoers should avoid coming into contact with this water.

ScienceLine

Kids in the Tri-Counties who are curious about anything science-related can get their answers from real-life scientists.

It’s called ScienceLine. It’s a website in which students and teachers from local elementary, middle and high schools submit science questions, and UC Santa Barbara scientists answer them.

“It’s a good way to encourage kids not only to learn science but to develop curiosity and think about how to do science,” UCSB Emeritus bio-physics professor Helen Hansma said. 

Sexual predators who use social media and other online portals to target their victims have increased dramatically in recent years. That has prompted the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department to work with a university in hopes of better targeting these criminals.

The Department has partnered with Purdue University professor Dr. Kathryn Seigfried-Spellar, who specializes in behavioral sciences and cyber crime.

"We're working with her to try and identify patterns of online predators in an attempt to see which predators might actually lure victims to come and meet with them," Ventura County Sheriff's Sergeant Eric Tennessen said.

A local law enforcement agency assisted federal agents in intercepting more than a million dollars worth of illegal drugs.

The Simi Valley Police Department says its officers worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration Friday when they arrested 61-year-old Luis Chavez and 47-year-old Sergio Vega for federal drug violations after seizing 46 pounds of cocaine and two pounds of heroin. The street value is over $1.2 million. The amount of drugs seized would have provided more than 200,000 doses of illegal drugs to drug addicts.

Gun sales in California have been rising over the last two decades, and one county on the South Coast is significantly adding to that increase. That’s according to new numbers released by the State Attorney General’s office on a website called “Open Justice.”

It shows that Ventura County has disproportionately contributed to the growth of gun sales in the state. Among 13 of California’s most populous counties, Ventura County has the third highest increase in gun sales between 2001 and last year at 256%, behind only Sacramento and San Bernardino counties.

Authorities are investigating a string of burglaries that happened overnight on the South Coast.

Ventura County Sheriff's officials said burglars broke into businesses in Thousand Oaks between Friday night and early Saturday morning and stole cash.

"Money from registers, potentially cash drawers," Captain Ian Laughlin said. "But some of the locations had been ransacked, so typically that will take a little longer for the employees or management to figure out what specifically was taken.  So, I don't know if there are any specific items of value taken."

A presidential candidate, who did not qualify to be in Sunday's debate, campaigned on the South Coast this past weekend. 

Green Party Candidate Jill Stein held a rally at De La Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara on Saturday in front of a crowd of supporters. She tells KCLU that it was nice to be in a city that shares her environmentally progressive agenda.

“It was the kind of vision and passion that we’ve seen from Santa Barbara for so many decades, with Santa Barbara leading the charge to stop the plundering of our coastlines and the climate itself,” she said.

Hundreds of people attended an autism conference on the South Coast that focuses on communication strategies.  

The Spectrum of Opportunity conference held at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks on Saturday brought together those with autism and their families, along with educators, speech pathologists and therapists to take a closer look at autism and communication. The event taught them how to support and include people with autism who experience communication challenges.

If you live on the Central Coast, you may have felt the earth shake this weekend. A small earthquake hit Friday night.

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a magnitude 3.4 quake struck near Los Alamos in Santa Barbara County at 8:25 pm. That’s about eight miles northwest of Buellton and 11 miles northeast of Lompoc. People reported feeling the quake from Santa Maria to Goleta. The quake was followed by a small aftershock. 

A UC Santa Barbara professor emeritus is advocating for young children to be educated in “emotions.” 

Sociologist Thomas Scheff says there’s a problem with how people deal with their feelings.

“Modern societies tend to ignore emotions, and that’s a big mistake,” he said.

In his paper titled “An Emotion Problem in Cooperative Education” that was recently published in the journal “Medical Sciences,” he makes the case for instruction in emotions beginning as early as kindergarten.

Three people from out-of-state who appeared to be impersonating members of the military have been arrested in connection to stealing money from banks on the South Coast.

Ventura Police say employees from a Wells Fargo Bank on the 5700 block of Telephone Road reported that around 2 p.m. Friday someone tried to obtain a cash advancement using a fake ID and credit card. Thirty minutes later, a bank teller at the Wells Fargo inside Vons on the 100 block of Main street reported that someone tried to withdraw a large amount of cash using a fake debit card and then fled in a car that matched the description from the earlier call. The suspects were dressed as members of the Armed Forces.

A Conejo Valley walk on Sunday honored those who died  in the September 11th terrorist attacks, and it promoted peace. 

It was a walk through California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks with people holding up signs of peace heroes, who are individuals and organizations promoting nonviolent solutions to conflicts.

Organizer Shepha Vainstein said it is appropriate to hold this Peace Heroes Walk on the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

VCFD Photo

Bells rang Sunday morning throughout South and Central Coast fire stations to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Flags were lowered to half-staff, and there  were moments of silence for reflection.

In Ventura County, five bells were rung four times in a row at 6:59 Sunday morning, coinciding with the time of the collapse of the World Trade Center South Tower.

A Ventura mother accused of child endangerment and attacking officers is finally in custody. 

Police officers responded to the Bayshore Inn on Main Street Friday afternoon for a welfare check of a 29-year-old woman and her six-month-old baby.

Ventura Police Sergeant William Dolan said the woman – identified as Allison Silva – ran from officers holding onto her child.

Clothing can be more than a fashion statement. An art exhibit on the South Coast explores how clothes can represent serious social issues.

Rachel Schmid, curator of the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks created an exhibit called Material Culture.

“That idea of how much cloth means to society and particularly to women’s rights,” she said.

The music manager credited with introducing the rap group N.W.A. to the masses has died following a traffic collision in Ventura County.

Authorities said Jerry Heller may have suffered a medical condition while driving a Lincoln sedan on Triunfo Canyon Road in Thousand Oaks just before noon on Friday.

Sheriff's investigators say he was approaching Westlake Boulevard when he rear-ended a mini-van, pushing it up and over the center median and it came to rest in the eastbound lanes of the roadway. Heller’s Lincoln ended up on the center median.

The minivan driver was treated at the scene for injuries and released. Heller was transported to Los Robles Hospital where he died Friday night. He was 75 years old.

Photo by Alex Mooney

A little bit of Hawaii comes to the South Coast this weekend. It’s the 12th annual Aloha Beach Festival at Surfer’s Point/Promenade Park in Ventura. It features a longboard surf contest, paddle board and outrigger races and Polynesian and Hawaiian dancers.

Photo by Santa Barbara County Fire Department

The 1400 firefighters battling a large wildfire burning in Santa Barbara County are getting a better handle on it.

Officials say the 33,000-acre Rey Fire in the Los Padres National Forest has moved up to 54-percent containment and has not spread since Friday. Crews are concentrating on securing and mopping up the remaining uncontained fireline on the northeast corner of the fire.

Two suspects believed to be responsible for a large number of “window smash” car burglaries on the Central Coast have been busted.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s officials say deputies arrested 24-year-old Daniel Castro and 19-year-old Salvador Perez following a month-long investigation. Detectives are asking for the public’s help in identifying a third suspect.

“805” has become synonymous with the South and Central Coast. However, it appears a new area code is coming to the region.

Photo by Los Padres National Forest

The fast-moving brush fire burning in the Los Padres National Forest of Santa Barbara County has almost doubled in size within 24 hours. Officials say the Rey Fire has now scorched nearly 19,000 acres of land, and containment remains at just 10%.

VCCDC Photo

Ventura County residents who are struggling to buy a home can now get some “virtual” help. 

Ramiro Lopez lives with his wife and 20-month-old daughter in a small one-bedroom apartment that they rent in Oxnard.

“It would be nice to one day have a place that is ours,” he said.

They can’t afford a down payment for a house. So, they turned to the Ventura County Community Development Corporation, which provides services and resources for prospective homeowners.

“Free time isn’t a big thing right now for us,” Lopez said.  

Cal Fire Photo

A fast-moving wildfire in central California that started Saturday and forced evacuations of a lakeside community has now burned nearly 1,500 acres. It’s now 10-percent contained.

Authorities have arrested a wanted suspect on the South Coast, but not before a wild police chase.

Thousand Oaks Police detectives were investigating 34-year-old Joshua Nation of Newbury Park, who was accused of several counts of felony identity theft and felony domestic violence. When officers tried to stop him Friday afternoon in Simi Valley at East Los Angeles Avenue and 5th Street, the suspect sped away.

A group of college students from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties is on the East Coast for a two-week trip that could mold their future careers. 

Kendra Saunders, who will be transferring to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks from Ventura College this fall, is among 20 STEM students – mostly first generation and low income students– in this UCSB-Smithsonian Scholars Program.

Authorities on the South Coast are investigating a deadly crash that left an elderly woman and her dog dead.

It happened around 6:30 Saturday evening in Ventura at Telephone Road and Ramelli Avenue. Police say the woman was walking her dog along a crosswalk when a vehicle, driven by a 25-year-old man, plowed into them. Investigators say the man was traveling northbound on Ramelli and made a left turn onto westbound Telephone when he struck them.

Oxfam International

Researchers on the South Coast are helping African scientists stave off starvation.

Geographers with the UC Santa Barbara and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Climate Hazards Group will be using remote sensing and climate data to predict poor harvests so that they can mitigate them and prevent severe hunger.

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