Insight With Beth Ruyak

Hosted By Beth Ruyak

Insight creates conversation to build community, exploring issues and events that connect people in our region. Insight covers breaking news and big ideas, music, arts & culture with responsible journalism, civil discussion and diverse voices.


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Monday, July 15, 2019 Permalink

CalFire & OES Directors, 'Scot & Soda' And Jazz

Noah Berger / AP Photo

Cal Fire Division Chief Mark Higgins directs helicopters dropping water as the River Fire burns in Lakeport, Calif., Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Noah Berger / AP Photo

The recent earthquakes in Southern California are reminders that nature can strike powerfully and unexpectedly. This is peak time of year for wildfires, too.  In this “best of” edition of Insight, we dip into the archives to hear conversations with CalFire’s new director, Chief Thom Porter, and director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci. The second half of the program features host Beth Ruyak’s lively chat with Davis-based Scottish writer, Catriona McPherson. She stopped by to talk about her Last Ditch mystery series’ latest book, titled "Scot and Soda."

The hour ends with the music of Vijay Iyer. The MacArthur Award “genius” is a jazz pianist, composer and bandleader. You’ll hear that conversation and some great music, too.

CalFire Director Thom Porter Talks Fire And Fire Preparedness

The past few years have been some of the worst on record for wildfires in the United States. The 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County in the town of Paradise was the deadliest and most costly in California history.  It’s still unclear what 2019 will bring. In May, CalFire’s new Director, Chief Thom Porter, talked about fires and fire preparedness. At that time, Porter had just been back in Paradise, to get an update on recovery efforts. He shared what people ask him when they find out he’s the director of CalFire. 

Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci Talks Disaster Preparedness

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, known as CAL OES, is always preparing for the state’s next big disaster. The office was activated when earthquakes shook Southern California around the desert town of Ridgecrest over the July 4 weekend. Cal OES plays a critical coordinating role between agencies, assists local governments and stages equipment to prepare for disasters all over the state. 

Recently, CAL OES Director Mark Ghilarducci spoke with CapRadio’s Randol White. They had a wide-ranging discussion about disaster preparedness, communication and communication problems, how to get you and your family prepared for disasters and evacuation, and at what point Cal OES gets involved. 

Catroina McPherson Talks About Her Latest Works

Catriona McPherson is a talented and award-winning writer. She was born in Scotland, but moved to Davis in 2010. Her Dandy Gilver mysteries are her most popular: thirteen books and counting. But in 2019, McPherson released the second novel in her new series, The Last Ditch mysteries. These books follow Lexy Campbell in her life at the Last Ditch Motel. Host Beth Ruyak spoke with Catriona McPherson In April to find out more about the various series she’s working on.

Jazz Musician Vijay Iyer Knows Few Boundaries

Vijay Iyer has quite the resume. He’s a pianist, bandleader and composer. Making music takes him around the U.S. and throughout the world. He’s recorded over 20 albums of original music with an amazing array of top musicians. But that’s not all. He’s also Professor of Music at Harvard University. And there are the awards. He was Jazz Times’ pianist of the year in 2017. DownBeat Magazine’s Artist of the year in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017. In 2013, he was a MacArthur award winner, often referred to as “genius grants.” The New York Times says “There’s probably no frame wide enough to encompass the creative output of the pianist Vijay Iyer.” 

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