Autumn Labbe-Renault's blog

COVID-19 Community Report, Feb. 16 2021

This month I’m conducting a series of interviews devoted to the reopening of in-person instruction in the Davis Joint Unified School District. Last week I spoke with DJUSD Superintendent John Bowes, and I have two interviews today: teachers Amy George and Dianna Stommel. Dianna is also the current president of the Davis Teachers Association. Next week, I’ll speak to parents with different opinions about reopening.

Both teachers share what's it been like to teach remotely this year, and how they've worked to build and maintain community in their classrooms. We also discuss what would make them feel safe and valued as the shift to hybrid and in-person instruction commences. Dianna addresses the DTA's position on reopening.

The Davis Joint Unified School Board meets again this Thursday to continue discussions around reopening. In a previous interview, Bowes said the trustees had identified the first week in May as a timeline -- if schools have not returned to in-person instruction by then, they would remain virtual through the end of the academic year.

Tune in live today (Feb. 16) at noon at KDRT95.7FM or

COVID-19 Community Report Feb. 9, 2021

This month, I'm doing a series on the return to in-person instruction in area schools. This is Part 1, and future episodes will feature teachers, parents, and hopefully students.

My guest for Episode 51, which airs Feb. 9, 2021 is Dr. John Bowes, who has served as superintendent for the Davis Joint Unified School District since July 2016. For the past 30 years, he has led thousands of certificated, classified staff and students throughout the state, working to promote 21st century teaching and learning; to create safe and welcoming campuses; to close achievement and opportunity gaps, and to further the work of diversity, equity and inclusion.

I want to note we recorded this interview last week, on the heels of a school board meeting that lasted until 12:30 am—just one of many long meetings in recent weeks—and in the midst of a several-day website outage that’s part of a widespread external platform problem.

COVID-19 Community Report Feb. 2, 2021

It's astonishing to me that we're at Episode 50, with nearly 85 people interviewed over the last 10+ months. Thank you to all who have listened and/or supported, agreed to be interviewed, and provided feedback. The stories we tell and the narrative we weave about the impact of the pandemic in Yolo County will be an important part of our collective archives. 

On Jan. 30, The New York Times ran a lengthy feature on one community in California and its efforts to model a plan for curtailing the Covid virus. Spoiler alert: that's our community, Davis, CA, and we're on the map as being at the forefront of community engagement and science during the pandemic. One of the benefits of having a world-class university here.

COVID-19 Community Report Jan. 26, 2021 - Lucas Frerichs

Lucas Frerichs was my first interview on this program, which debuted March 17, 2020. Since then, he's been re-elected to the Davis City Council to represent District 3, and now serves as Vice Mayor.

It's never an easy job to help govern a city, but of course it's been endlessly complicated during a pandemic. This weekend Lucas and I got together over Zoom and in Episode 49, had a far-ranging conversation touching on virtual governance; testing in Davis; the uptick in cannabis tax revenue during the pandemic, as well as the overall financial situation facing municipalities; traffic, crime, and more. I'm sure we could have talked for hours, but I always appreciate the opportunity to sit down with our local elected officials and touch base about community issues through their lens. Tune in Tuesday at noon on KDRT 95.7 FM, or anytime after that to listen online or download a podcast.

COVID-19 Community Report Jan. 19, 2021 - Tree Davis

It's Episode 48, and time to check in with  Tree Davis.

As I've said many times during the course of this show, it's not just the pandemic we're dealing with, but the attendant mental and physical health challenges, and dramatic social/political and  economic concerns. As well, things like the climate crisis haven't just disappeared.

That last point became a fascinating talking point in my interview with Erin Donley Marineau this week. As Executive Director of Tree Davis, Erin ovesees an organization that plants trees and does enviromental stewardship in communities around Yolo County, not just Davis. In normal years, she says, 40 Saturdays each year are devoted to working with volunteers in various cities. Obviously that scale of work has not been possible during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Community Report Jan. 12, 2021

I've interviewed many people in the last 10 months. With each conversation, I aim to let people tell their stories--whatever they may be--about the impacts of the pandemic.

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. Consider the sports editor when there are no games, no practices, no preseason. What's a guy to do? If you're Bruce Gallaudet of The Davis Enterprise, you muddle through and cover the angles you can. Catch our conversation about the status of UC Davis athletics, and the trickle-down effect that happens when high-school youth don't have college-level opportunities to pursue.

Consider, also, the musician who has lost venues, and gigs like bars and weddings. I speak with Joel Daniel of the the Davis Independent Music Initiative (DIMI). In a nutshell: there's $6,500 available to support one local band or musician, and the deadline to apply is in March.

Tune in tomorrow at noon PST on 95.7 FM in Davis, or anytime, anywhere at

COVID-19 Community Report Jan. 5, 2021 - Shelly Gilbride

It's a new year, with hope on the horizon in the form of new vaccines, but the reality is we're still in this for a while, and the State's Stay Home Order is still in effect. The list of stats and updates I'll share on today's show is a bit daunting, which is one reason  I'm glad I have a great community leader to interview.

As Executive Director of International House Davis, longtime Davis resident Shelly Gilbride and her team have been guiding the venerable nonprofit through the challenges and changes of the past year. Before joining I-House, Shelly served  for five years as the Programs Officer of the California Arts Council,  where she was responsible for grant programs to support arts, culture, and creativity across the state. Shelly oversaw the programs at the Arts Council during a period of tremendous growth, initiating and implementing new programs that extended the agency’s reach to support cultural communities, artists, and grassroots organizations.

COVID-19 Community Report Dec. 15, 2020 - Jesse Salinas, Yolo ACE

My guest for Dec. 15 is Jesse Salinas, who serves as the Assessor/ Clerk-Recorder/Chief Election Official (ACE) for Yolo County. Jesse's purview and scope of work is broad and far reaching, but it was really the elections work---and the switch to vote by mail--that took center stage during this pandemic year.

I last spoke with Jesse back at the end of September, when he and his staff were ramping up for vote by mail. In this interview, we'll touch base about lessons learned during this time of COVID-19, voter turnout, and what voting in Yolo County could look like moving forward.  

 Tune in live at noon at 95.7 FM, or listen anytime at

COVID-19 Community Report Dec. 8, 2020 - Episode 44 w/ Davis Mayor Gloria Partida

Dec. 8 marks nearly nine full months since the first shelter-in-place order back in March, and also Episode 44 of the "COVID-19 Community Report" on KDRT. I've interviewed more than 70 people during this time, documenting the effects of the pandemic on communities, institutions, and individuals across Yolo County. Today we'll catch up with Davis Mayor Gloria Partida.

Municipalities have their own particular burdens to bear during this pandemic, from loss of sales tax and other revenue generated at the local level, to loss of income from state and federal governments. And yet, the work of running the City goes on. We'll hear about recent developments in Davis, from Commission appointments to police accountability, and learn more about a forthcoming Community Conversation on Public Safety Recommendations scheduled for Dec. 14.

Live Tuesdays at noon on LDRT 95.7FM in Davis, everywhere and archived after each show.

COVID-19 Community Report Dec. 1, 2020

As Yolo County saw its adjusted daily case rate for the week ending Nov. 22 jump to 28.2 per 100,000 residents--up from 20.9 just four days prior--many of us are wondering what the numbers might look like 7-10 days after holiday gatherings at Thanksgiving.

It's a good moment to check in with Dr. Aimee Sisson, who joined Yolo County as its chief Public Health Officer in October after resigning from the same position in Placer County when officials there decided to lessen restrictions around COVID-19.

We'll talk about our numbers, what we might expect in the coming weeks and months, and generally check in about the state of public health in Yolo County. We'll also talk about the hard and sometimes demoralizing front-line work that public health officers face as they carry out the state's often unpopular mandates.

Tune in live Tuesday, Dec. 1 on air, or  listen live or download the podcast anytime on