Autumn Labbe-Renault's blog

COVID-19 Community Report Nov. 17, 2020

At a moment where Yolo County has been returned to the most restrictive tier under the State's COVID-19 protocol, we hear two pespectives about the pandemic's impact on school-aged populations here in Davis.

My first guest today is Lorraine Nail-Visher, President of the Davis School Arts Foundation, which supports culturally relevant arts education for children in Davis public schools through project grants, advocacy, and arts integration training for educators. We'll hear about the foundation's work in general, and its recent decision to concentrate its efforts on one grade and one centralized effort during the pandemic.

Then we'll hear from 9th-grader Rohan Baxi about his experiences with distance learning, and the hobby he took up at the start of the pandemic that's given him purpose during this time.

LIVE Tuesdays at noon, anytime at

COVID-19 Community Report: A Visit with the Davis Area Interfaith Religious Leaders Network - Oct. 27, 2020

So, a group of local clergy walks into a community media station…it sounds like the start of a joke, but rest assured it’s not. More like, a sign of the times.

For the past seven months, I’ve been talking to people about how COVID has impacted their lives — how it’s changed their business, their operations or services, and their lives. As I’ve also mentioned many times during this course of this show, it’s not just a global pandemic we’re weathering--2020 has been a highly complex year, one where layers are being peeled back on institutionalized racism, where fear and scarcity loom large, and where divisiveness seems to be the order of the day. In short, we’re a highly stressed populace. 

COVID-19 Community Report Oct. 20, 2020

Each October, the Davis Cemetery District & Arboretum holds a marvelous Dia de los Muertos celebration. Can you think of a more fitting setting for our local adaptation of this beautiful celebration of life and death that originated in Mexico, and today is celebrated all over Central America and here in the U.S.? Despite COVID, the celebration is on, and we'll hear from Executive Director Jessica Smithers how it's been adapted for this year. We'll also learn about some of the other unique features of this suprising local resource.

Also joining us with news of a big COVID pivot is Bobby Weist, president of Davis Firefighters Local 3494. In addition to being heroes on the frontlines, our local firefighters are tireless in their efforts to help others, all year long, and many of us are familiar with their "Fill the Boot" effort prior to each Thanksgiving, where these men and women stand on street corners at busy intersections and collect cash donations in a fire boot, all of which go to fund their Turkey Basket program. This year's effort is virtual, and he'll share how and when and why to donate.

COVID-19 Community Report Oct. 13, 2020

The more I keep digging, the more stories I find there are to be told.

Today we'll hear about families who may have reached such a tough place that they are in true crisis, and we'll hear about the many ways Yolo Crisis Nursery steps up to help. Executive Director Heather Sleuter joins us to chat about the Nursery's services, and the ways it's had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We'll also hear from Evie Wright, president of Soroptimist International of Davis, which works to empower women and girls through education, training, and financial support as stepping stones to economic empowerment. With its most consistent fundraiser out of the running due to COVID, how is the club adapting, and what's new in its offerings?

Live today at noon on KDRT 95.7FM, and available anytime at kdrt. org.

COVID-19 Community Report Episode 38: Checking in with the Yolo Food Bank and the Pence Gallery - Oct. 6, 2020

I spoke with Michael Bisch, the executive director of Yolo Food Bank, earlier in the pandemic, and since then, the Woodland-based non profit has continued to up its game and live its mission of reducing food insecurity in our county, to the tune of 60,000 meals per month. Michael joins me again this Tuesday to talk about bringing food security to Davis during the pandemic, including partnerships with local college campuses and the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter.

My second guest is Natalie Nelson, executive director of Pence Gallery. When what you do is bring people into your facility to experience art, and you can't do that, how do you pivot? You'll hear about some of the creative changes the Pence has made, and also learn about the current exhibit featuring work by renowned local artist Sara Post.

Show airs live on Tuesdays at noon, repeats during the week, and is available anytime right here at

COVID-19 Community Report Sept. 29, 2020

My guests on this week's Episode 37 will be Jesse Salinas,  Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters for Yolo County, and artist and community organizer NJ Mvondo, to speak about the new Healing Art Project unfolding in Davis.

Jesse's office  is responsible for multiple key functions within Yolo County, but for this show,  we’ll focus on his role as registrar of voters. Jesse’s team has been very busy getting out information about the changes to voting during the Nov. 3 election cycle, and I'm delighted to speak with him and get fully up to speed on what we need to know here in Yolo County.

Artist and organizer NJ Mvondo is best known for her blog, Multiculturalism Rocks!, which celebrates diversity in children's literature. She's currently in the process of launching the interactive Healing Art Project in Davis. Borne out of her concern about our collective stamina in the face of a pandemic, wildfires, and the harms caused by structural racism, she says her hope is that the project proivides ways for us to lift each other up.

COVID-19 Community Report Sept. 22, 2020

Today my guest is UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, who happens to be my most-requested interview.

May became UC Davis’ 7th chancellor in 2017. He leads the most comprehensive campus in the University of California system, with four colleges and six professional schools. UC Davis enrolls more than 39,000 students, brings in nearly $850 million annually in sponsored research, and contributes $8 billion annually to California’s economy. It’s an institution that brought many alums, like yours truly, to Davis and helped us find a home and make a difference locally.

This week, UC Davis was once again rated among the top colleges in the country in the latest “Best Colleges” rankings by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked UC Davis the 11th-best public school in the United States, and the 39th-best school overall.

COVID-19 Community Report Sept. 8, 2020

Each week on the "COVID-19 Community Report," we share local news and resources, focusing on what’s impacting Davis and nearby cities in Yolo County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today on Episode 35, I'll interview Koren Motekaitis about her longtime role co-directing youth swim program Davis AquaMonsters. We'll discuss impacts of the pandemic on youth sports, including how it's narrowing future options for recognition and scholarships.

I'll also talk with Stacie Frerichs, executive director of the Davis Arts Center, about how they've had to pivot and change during the pandemic.

Tune in live Tuesdays at noon on 95.7FM or online, where you can also see the entire show archive.

COVID-19 Community Report Sept. 1, 2020

This unparalleled time we're living through affects not only our physical health, but our mental health as well. Today I'll speak with Sara Gavin, LMFT/LPCC. She serves as Chief Behavioral Health Officer at CommuniCare Health Centers, overseeing a 100-person team of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder services in Yolo County,  and also sits on the Board of Directors of National Alliance for NAMI-Yolo. We'll speak about current mental health challenges, how providers have pivoted in response to COVID, and what kinds of resources NAMI offers.

In our second interview, I'll also chat with Melanie Carr, a Davis resident who's been offering a "Tuesday Table" through the pandemic, a "take what you need" offering in one Davis neighborhood. We'll hear about why she started it, and what it offers.

Show airs live today, Sept. 1, at noon, and repeats and is archived at


COVID-19 Community Report Speaks with Dr. Larissa May - Interim Yolo County Public Health Officer -Aug. 25, 2020

My guest tomorrow will be Dr. Larissa May, MD, MSPH, MSHS, who began serving as Yolo County's Public Health Officer earlier this Dr. May is a professor of emergency medicine and a public health expert at UC Davis Health. She is a board certified emergency physician, with an interest in quality improvement and patient safety. Her work has often focused on the epidemiology and management of infectious diseases, including best practices for diagnostic testing, outbreak response and infection prevention. Dr. May has many accomplishments and awards in the medical field, including recently receiving the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Section Service Award. She also was honored with a Chief of Staff Award for her outstanding contributions as leader of the Outpatient Antibiotic Stewardship Program at UC Davis Health. Dr. May received her Bachelor of Science (BS), Medical Degree (MD), Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) and Master of Science in Health Science (MSHS) from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.