News Briefs 12-2-2021

Written by Theresa-Marie Wilson

Theresa-Maria Wilson has been a journalist covering the North Coast and South County area for over 20 years. She is also the founder of Cat Noir CC and is currently working on a novel.

December 2, 2021

Cuesta Recognized for Equity Champion

Cuesta College has been named a 2021 Equity Champion for Excellence after demonstrating exemplary work in supporting Latinx students on their path to completing a bachelor’s degree. The Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit California education advocacy and policy organization, recently recognized Cuesta College at its annual “Champions of Higher Education for Excellence in Transfer”

“I am thrilled to accept this recognition on behalf of our faculty and staff whose tireless work and dedication help guide the success of our Latinx students,” said Dr. Jill Stearns, superintendent/president. “Cuesta College remains committed to closing gaps in equity and student achievement and will continue to create opportunities and programs to ensure that our students reach their educational goals.”

According to the Campaign, Cuesta College was honored among dozens of leading California community colleges and California State Universities for demonstrating that “a high proportion of degree or transfer seeking Latinx students received an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) in the 2019-2020 academic year.” The ADT allows students who meet minimum eligibility requirements guaranteed admission to a CSU campus.

In the 2019-20 academic year, Cuesta had 4,432 Latinx students, representing 34.5% of the student population. Latinx students earned 193 associate of arts or science degrees for transfer representing 33% of the total degrees awarded
In Fall 2020, 189 Latinx students from Cuesta College were admitted to a California State University. The top five CSU campuses for Cuesta College’s Latinx students transferred to were:

  1. Cal Poly SLO: 56 students (47%)
  2. San Jose State: 11 students (9%)
  3. Fresno State: 8 students (7%)
  4. Sacramento State: 7 students (6%)
  5. Chico State: 6 students (5%)
    Due to racial equity gaps that persist in transfer rates between Latinx and Black students and their peers, the Campaign developed an equity measure that assesses how these students access and earn an ADT relative to the campus average. To learn more about how the honorees are selected, go to

Flu Season Has Begun

The flu is circulating throughout the county as confirmed by the County of San Luis Obispo Public Health laboratory.
Public Health officials are reminding folks that staying home when sick and washing hands well and often are effective tools in curbing spread of many different viruses that circulate now and throughout the year.

“Our community is fully reopen and we are seeing more activity in terms of flu and other viruses than we saw last year, in addition to COVID-19,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer.”
COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold are all respiratory viruses that spread the same way: close contact with someone who is infected, or touching your face with unwashed hands.

Proactive steps to staying healthy:
• Get your flu shot and your COVID-19 vaccine — even at the same appointment (children included).
• Wear a mask in public indoor spaces — preferably a well-fitting N95, KN95 or KF94, or surgical mask. If you wear a cloth mask, more layers provide more protection.
• Avoid crowds.
• Keep gatherings small, brief, and outdoors — or well ventilated if they must be indoors.

If you are feeling sick, get tested for COVID-19 — it’s free and convenient. If that comes back negative, but you still feel sick, stay home to avoid spreading the flu or common cold.
Seek medical care if your symptoms get worse or are unusually prolonged, advised public health.
Both COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots are widely available at no cost at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, public health department clinics, and mobile clinics countywide. Visit to schedule vaccine appointments for COVID-19 or flu.

PG&E Testing Artificial Intelligence

During extremely dry, hot, and windy weather, being able to differentiate wildfire smoke from fog and other false indicators is invaluable to analysts in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) Wildfire Safety Operations Center and fire agencies. That’s why PG&E is testing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning capabilities in the growing network of high-definition cameras across Northern and Central California to see how it can enhance fire-watch and response capabilities.
This year, PG&E, in collaboration with Alert Wildfire, has installed 138 new HD cameras across High Fire-Threat Districts, in accordance with its 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan. PG&E began installing HD cameras in 2018, as part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program. As of October 31, 487 cameras are now in operation.
The pilot program is already demonstrating the AI’s potential to reduce fire size expansion. On August 4, 2021, PG&E’s Howell Mountain 1 camera located in Placer County spotted smoke one minute before the actual fire dispatch and several minutes sooner than the manual movement of the camera. That smoke ended up becoming the River Fire. This is one example of many noted during both pilots confirming the value of early fire detection technology.
Agencies use the fire-watch cameras to monitor, detect, assess for threats, and respond to wildfires. The AI test program includes PG&E determining a way to get the new data to the right people quickly and effectively. The quicker the data is received, the more rapidly first responders and PG&E can confirm fires and move the right resources to the right place.
The cameras provide 360-degree views with pan, tilt and zoom capabilities and can be viewed by anyone through the Alert Wildfire Network at By the end of 2022, the company plans to have approximately 600 cameras installed, providing an ability to see in real-time more than 90% of the high fire-risk areas it serves.


Last week’s story about paid parking on the Morro Bay Embarcadero misstated the date of the City Council’s actions. The meeting wasn’t held on “Nov. 90” but on the 9th, a mistake owing no doubt to fat fingers flying too fast on the keyboard.

Also last issue the front page image of Buttercup Bakery photo was by Kori Savoie and the cake image was Antonia (Toni) Walsh. We wanted to make sure they got credit for their images

Send your news, community and business briefs to Be sure to include the who, what, why, where and when information along with a contact person.

You May Also Like…

New City Engineer Hired

New City Engineer Hired

Cindy Cecil has been hired as Morro Bay’s new City Engineer. Submitted photo Morro Bay has a new City Engineer,...