KQED Radio Staff
Host and Reporter, The California Report
Rachael caught the bug for journalism in high school, where she started on the opinion page before realizing the world is infinitely more interesting when you don't think you know everything.
While getting her bachelor's degree in English at UC Berkeley, Rachael got hooked on public radio at the campus station, KALX-FM. After hosting and co-producing "Film Close-Ups," a radio magazine on Bay Area film, she returned to UC Berkeley for a graduate degree in journalism.
She landed her first job as a producer with Marketplace Radio in Los Angeles, and by the time she left, four years later, Rachael was an all-purpose editor, reporter and fill-in host. Rachael then spent six years reporting full-time for KPCC-FM in Los Angeles before returning to the Bay Area in 2007 to host the daily edition of KQED's California Report. Over the years, she's covered the explosive growth of trade through Southern California's ports, Irish snowballs in San Francisco, and the housing crisis across the state.
Rachael's work has won her awards from the LA Press Club, the Radio and Television News Association, the Associated Press Television-Radio Association of California and Nevada, the Radio-Television News Directors Association of Southern California, the Northern California RTNDA, SPJ Northern California Chapter, the San Francisco Peninsula Club Greater Bay Area and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
Stories (242 archives)
With no deaths reported, Sunday morning's 6.0 earthquake centered near Napa could have been worse. Still, around 200 people were taken to hospitals, and the destruction of homes and infrastructure led Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency.
While many run from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, some brave souls are running toward the region to help. Dr. James Appel is one of those. Trained in the Inland Empire at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, he's been working for Adventist Health International at hospitals in Chad for the last decade. Last week, Dr. Appel flew to Liberia to keep the doors open at Cooper Adventist, a small hospital in the capitol, Monrovia.
Over the last 25 years, the number of assisted living facilities in California has almost doubled. The homes are intended to care for relatively independent, healthy seniors -- but that doesn't describe a lot of the people living in them today. In Sacramento, where regulations haven't changed much in close to 30 years, lawmakers held hearings featuring reform advocates like Aaron Byzak, whose grandmother Hazel died in assisted living. "If somebody parked in my grandmother's disabled parking lot illegally, they'd be fined $450," he told reporters in the state Capitol. "But they kill her, and it's $150."
When families place a loved one in an assisted living facility, there's an expectation that if something goes wrong, there will be consequences. Mistakes will be addressed. Crimes will be prosecuted. But that's not always the case in practice. Recent reports in the media detailed stories of abuse so dramatic, they inspired a round of legislative reform in Sacramento not seen in 30 years. But the proposed reforms come too late for some, like Stacey Siriani of San Diego County.
A lot of us have this idea that when we get really old, we'll die with our boots on. But just as likely there will be a long, slow journey between here and there, one that could take years. Many of us start to realize that's true for our parents when we notice mom is walking with a new shuffle, or dad is mixing up his meds. In the first of a four-part series, we examine the state of assisted living in California.