News Briefs 4-7-2022

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.

April 7, 2022


Cal Poly has awarded more than $108,000 to support 33 student research projects through the university’s Baker/Koob endowments, which support hands-on, project-based learning opportunities for individual students and groups. Student projects will focus on issues including space exploration, machine learning and climate change. 

Students from four of Cal Poly’s six colleges were awarded funding and will work with faculty advisors to complete their projects. For many, the projects will serve as part of senior projects or master’s theses.

Funding for these projects comes from the Warren J. Baker Endowment for Excellence in Project-Based Learning and the Robert D. Koob Endowment for Student Success. Because of the endowments’ similar purpose, distribution of the two endowments are pooled and used to fund multiple student projects via a competitive process. 

Funds may be used for, but are not limited to, student support; student and faculty travel; student and faculty expenses associated with participation in student research; group projects; conferences; competitions; and equipment and materials related to student research. 

“The Baker/Koob endowments provide a great opportunity for students to take the lead in research projects and to get involved with ongoing faculty research,” said Dena Grossenbacher, assistant professor in the Biological Sciences Department, who has served as an advisor on several Baker/Koob projects focused on the impacts of recent climate change on alpine plants in California national parks. “Thanks to this funding, my students have been able to travel across the state identifying plants that hadn’t been relocated since the 1980s.”

A full list of the projects is available on the website search for Baker Koob.

No-Cost Antigen Tests

San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department COVID-19 testing sites are offering faster antigen and PCR tests at no cost. Tests are available at community testing sites in Grover Beach, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. The site in Morro Bay closed on March 30 due to a sustained decrease in demand.

Antigen test results will be available in less than two hours (often within 30 minutes), and PCR test results will generally be available in less than two days, Public Health said in a new release.  “Since the pandemic began, we have been working toward a day when residents could easily access free, plentiful COVID-19 testing with results available quickly,” County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said. “This is now a reality in SLO County.” 

Folks with COVID-19 symptoms who receive a negative antigen test will be offered the more sensitive PCR test. All tests will be performed on-site by a clinician and will not be distributed for use at home. Home tests may be ordered at no cost from and are available for purchase, with insurance reimbursement, at pharmacies and other retailers.

Health insurance is not required to receive a test, and public health officials recommend making an appointment to be tested at Walk-ins are accepted as availability allows. 

All sites are open 7 a.m. – _7 p.m. and are closed from 11 a.m.–12 noon and 4-5 p.m. The Grover Beach site is closed on Fridays.

Morro Bay Tree City 2021

Morro Bay was named a 2021 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

Morro Bay received the honor after meeting several requirements for recognition, these being: forming a tree board or department, creating a tree care ordinance, having an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. 

According to a press release by the Arbor Day Foundation, urban tree planting can help in reducing energy consumption up to 25%, which reduces general energy costs as well as help with over all cooling in the city, and increase property value among other benefits. 

“Tree City USA communities benefit from the positive effects that an urban tree canopy has year after year,” said the foundation’s president, Dan Lambe. “The trees being planted and cared for by Morro Bay ensure that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life. Additionally, participation in this program helps cultivate a sense of stewardship and pride for the trees the community plants and cares for.”

The program is sponsored by Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. Arbor Day Foundation will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.

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