Marissa Ortega-Welch | KALW

Marissa Ortega-Welch

Reporter / Editor
Christopher Michel / Creative Commons, used under CC-BY-SA 4.0

Wildfires have caused record-breaking stretches of bad air quality in the Bay Area these last few years. In this interview, Dr. Gina Solomon from UCSF and the Public Health Institute speaks about the long term health effects of breathing in all this smoke.

Some Southern California voters have been shocked to find out they’ve been dropping their ballots off at unauthorized locations. Reports of the unofficial ballot boxes are limited to Southern California counties, but election officials say all voters should be careful when sending in their ballots.

By Flickr user Andrew Nash / used under CC / resized and cropped

A federal judge on Monday blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from allowing the dredging and filling of salt ponds in the South Bay.

California Climate Change Policy Will Stop Sales Of New Gas-Powered Cars By 2035 / 100 Hundred Firefighters From Mexico Assist U.S. Forest Service In San Bernadino / Dr. Joseph Castro Named As California State University Chancellor / Santa Clara County Declares Juneteenth An Official Holiday

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On Tuesday, State Health Officials announced that three more Bay Area counties will be allowed to reopen additional businesses. 

"Back to School" by Flickr user wtipton / used under CC BY / resized and cropped


A state audit released yesterday found that the University of California school system has been admitting wealthy students as favors to donors and well-connected families.


Alameda County To Pay COVID-19 Victims $1,250 To Stay Home / Sean Monterrosa Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against City Of Vallejo / California Testing Data Must Be Fixed Before More Counties Are Added To COVID-19 Watchlist

Jenny G. Shao / KALW

Life may feel like it’s on pause because of COVID-19. But climate change isn’t paused. How is the pandemic affecting the climate and the people working on solutions? 

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 8/5/20, PM

Aug 5, 2020

Teachers Union Cautions Against Reopening Schools / Hayward Charter School Wins Lawsuit Against District Over Classroom Space / Broken Data Collection System Hinders California's Battle With COVID-19 

Chasing Donguri CC-by-NC-SA 2.0

COVID has cancelled many people’s vacation plans, so more Bay Areans might be turning to camping. But can we go? Is it safe? And how can we do it responsibly?

Marissa Ortega-Welch / KALW

Melissa Jones is the Executive Director of the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiatives, a coalition of the region's public health departments. The coalition has been meeting regularly to discuss best practices for policy decisions around COVID19. One of which is whether or not counties should keep their parks open for residents to access during the shelter in place order. 

Remembering Phyllis Lyon / First Responders Free Lunch / Weather Report

Remembering Phyllis Lyon


Flickr Creative Commons, used under CC-BY-2.0

Every day, KALW reports the number of new coronavirus cases in the Bay Area. But, we also know there aren’t enough tests available to confirm every case. Some people who experience symptoms are told by their doctors to just stay home and quarantine.

Free COVID-19 tests in Hayward / Park visitation problems / Proposed ballot measures stymied

Marissa Ortega-Welch

Under the "shelter in place" order, we technically can go to parks and walk on trails, but should we and if so, how do we do it safely? KALW's science reporter Marissa Ortega-Welch spoke with UCSF hospitalist Dr. Sajan Patel about the “do’s and don’ts.”

Frank B. Rudolph

Oakland’s Lake Merritt was the nation’s first wildlife refuge, before Yosemite, before Yellowstone.

Jenny G. Shao / KALW

Most eyes were on the Democratic presidential primary, last night. When polls closed, NPR made a quick call: Bernie Sanders won California. But it wasn’t that simple.

wiki / City of Oakland

Measure Q is called the Oakland Parks and Recreation Preservation, Litter Reduction, and Homelessness Support Act. 

If that sounds like everything but the kitchen sink, you can think of it as a parcel tax to fund outdoor areas.

About sixty percent of the revenue would go toward maintaining and improving Oakland’s parks, from cleaning the bathrooms to fixing trails.

Anoka County Library, used under CC-by-2.0

San Francisco’s Prop C is an incredibly small and specific ballot measure, but it’ll likely mean a lot to the handful of people it affects. 

Marissa Ortega-Welch / KALW

Experts and enthusiasts discuss another year of data.

Marissa Ortega-Welch / KALW

Smartphones are making the wilderness easier to access, but no longer a place to escape and unplug.

Marissa Ortega-Welch / KALW

Meet a maverick fire chief in the Sierra Nevada who says California’s forests are actually not having enough fire, or, the right kind of fires.

Marissa Ortega-Welch / KALW

A statewide story about L.A.’s water use, Bay Area’s trash, and a whole lot of gulls. 

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Professor of Journalism Elena Conis wrote a book on the history of vaccines. She says, since we’ve had vaccinations in this country, we’ve had opposition to them. 

Marissa Ortega-Welch / KALW

The hype may feel new, but Californians have been excited about wildflowers for a long time.

Marissa Ortega-Welch


Biologists are trying to lure herons that have been nesting in downtown Oakland to move to Lake Merritt instead. Will it work?

Lars Hammers (CC BY-NC-2.0)

Five Bay Area counties have won millions of dollars in a lead paint lawsuit, but now they say, paint companies are doing everything they can to prevent them from getting it.

Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS, used under CC-BY-2.0

If we just focus on monarchs and not all insects around us, we’re missing the big picture.

Public Domain

Operation pest patrol, Part III: When the country was figuring out its pest policies, it was also figuring out its immigration policies. And those two debates had some very dangerous overlap.

Marissa Ortega-Welch / KALW

Operation pest patrol, Part II: An insect spreading a deadly citrus disease threatens to wipe out California’s commercial citrus industry. But environmentalists say, we’ve seen this headline before and what it really means is using a whole lot of pesticides.