Kemba Shakur founded the nonprofit Urban Releaf in 1998 with the goal of transforming some of the poorest most barren parts of Oakland into friendly verdant neighborhoods with tree lined streets. In a previous life, Kemba worked as a prison guard at Soledad and ironically noted that there were more trees on the grounds of the prison than on the street that she lived on in Oakland. Since moving to Oakland and starting Urban Releaf, over 20,000 trees have been planted in various neighborhoods in Oakland and Richmond.
Part of Kemba’s childhood was spent growing up in Hunter’s Point in San Francisco with her mother and 5 brothers and sisters.  Her mother would take the whole family on hikes and backpacking trips to some of the national and state parks and passed on an appreciation of nature’s beauty to Kemba.
Kemba sees planting trees, growing gardens and sharing her love of nature as only one aspect of improving communities.  Equally important  is a strong sense of social and environmental justice.  She refers to the MacArthur Maze, simply called “Maze” which reportedly is the world’s largest freeway interchange and is part of 880.  The 880 freeway has at least twice as much pollution because trucks cannot go on the part of 580 that traverses the wealthier hills of Oakland. Poorer residents, many of whom are people of color inhabit neighborhoods within short distances of the Maze.  There is one elementary school practically contiguous with this freeway interchange and a higher incidence of asthma has been documented among the students. Urban Releaf is applying for a grant to plant thousands of trees along the freeway which will reduce pollution and dampen the noise from the thousands of trucks and cars that traverse the freeway.
Urban Releaf survives on grants that barely cover the costs of the trees, equipment and the salaries of the many adolescents Kemba hires. She is committed to educating youth about planting, care and maintenance of trees and in so doing, teaching them the skills necessary to get a job and advance careers.
Interestingly as the neighborhoods start to look better with trees, people start talking to each other, walking the streets and generally looking after each other.  Communities are revitalized.  There is a flip side.  Real estate prices go up and some of the original residents have to move out.  The streets become greener and the residents paler.  But Kemba adamantly maintains that it is vitally important to continue to plant trees.  She shares her love of trees in a poem she wrote:
There’s a tree that grows in Oakland.
It’s not just any tree, it’s a poor man’s tree.
It’s a tree that grows out of cracks in the sidewalk,
and out of abandoned lots, or discarded tires,
and if you cut off its trunk, it’ll just come back.
To behold such a tree is a magnificent sight,
trees that survive no matter what.
To listen to and/or download this segment click the following link: 


IMG_2294“Fuck you, you don’t know me.” That’s what Star Pahl would have said, had she been able to talk, to the doctor who told her she was never going to regain movement of her right arm. Ten months later, the busy single mother of two can talk and walk and use her arm very well, thank you.

If you’re lucky enough to have medical insurance in America, and you’re somewhat healthy and somewhat young, you’re aces. Right? Perhaps you’ll have a health catastrophe, and you might even rack up some debt, but you’ve got insurance. Things are going to be dealt with. How bad can it get?


Maybe young and healthy you will wake up tomorrow knowing something is horribly wrong. Maybe you’re having a stroke at the tender age of 39.

Find that insurance card.

Call a friend with your one working hand.

Try to form the words to ask for help.

Get a quick ride to the hospital, and….


And nothing. That unfortunately is what Star Pahl got from her insurance-paid medical providers when it happened to her last year.

Despite her outrageously positive attitude and feisty spirit, Pahl’s insurance-paid doctors gave up on her almost immediately, leaving her alone in an examining room for several of those critical early hours when treatment makes all the difference. Failing to diagnose the stroke for three and a half months. Leaving her on her own to teach herself to speak and move again, so she could call other specialists and ask for the help she was not getting. “If I left it up to [my physicians], I’d be dead,” Pahl says.

Fortunately, Pahl ultimately decided this was all just wonderful. She found astounding reserves of grit, resilience, and positivity that allowed her to embrace the experience and begin healing. She’ll tell you it’s a wonderful thing that has happened to her. She’ll tell you it has taught her to accept the love that was always so easy to give and hard to take. And since this attitude is pretty much the only thing that kept her alive and got her walking and talking again, you just might believe her.

Pahl is currently drawing on her personal experience to become a traveling spokesperson for the “alternative” methods – cannabinoids in particular – that are healing her body and spirit, and she’s hoping her story encourages rapid change in the American medical industry as we know it.

Listen to Pahl explain the tremendous journey of this past year and why she insists “I love my stroke.”

To listen to and/or download this segment click the following link: TTEOW Emma interviews Star 5-30-16

This show was originally broadcast on May 30, 2016

Here are some of Star’s favorite resources:

Amber French~


Marjorie Auckland~

Creating Heaven on Earth


Jamie Kessloff~

Acutonics & Massage Therapies, Reiki, Yoga Classes, Nutritional and Life Coaching, CranioSacral.


Kausalya Denise Payne-Ollivier~


Maya Copper~


Joshua Hanna~ Holistic Evolution


Alyssa Melody~Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine


Stanford Stroke Center~


Care By Design

Martain A. Lee~ author of Smoke Signals



Jacqueline Dandeneau is the Executive Director of Arcata Playhouse.  Last year she appeared on TTEOW to discuss a new Festival called Zero To Fierce to discuss this magnanimous week of Discovery, Inspiration and Creativity.

Presented by PLAYHOUSE ARTS, Jacqueline Dandeneau & Sarah McKinney will explain, define and tickle your fancy with showcased Events, Workshops, Classes, Entertainment and so much more.


You can get a snapshot of the 02F Festival below:




For additional information about ALL the Events, Free and Otherwise by visiting:    or the 02F FaceBook page or contact the Playhouse at or calling 707-822-1575

To listen to/or download this segment, click the following link:20001_TTEOW -Zero to Fierce 2-26_programs


The Metropolitan Opera is the vibrant home for some of the most creative and talented artists from around the world. In December 2006, the company launched The Met:Live in HD, a series of live opera performances transmitted in high definition video via satellite from the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to movie theaters around the world, including the Minor Theater in Arcata, California. With these simulcast transmissions, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world can enjoy the beauty and drama of opera.

What does it take to produce an opera?  Sarah Billinghurst retired as artistic manager of the Metropolitan Opera in 2014.  During her tenure of 20 years, The New York Times labeled her as “one of the most important people in opera you’ve never heard of.”  In her position of power and influence, along with Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, she was responsible for the strategic decisions about the company’s repertory, watching out for artists at competitions and rival houses, finding directors, filling major and minor roles, coordinating rehearsals and producing more than two dozen operas a season. Ms Billinghurst was able to accomplish these feats with diplomacy, generosity and friendship.

Sarah Billinghurst was born in New Zealand and arrived in San Francisco in 1967 with a degree in political science.  She began doing volunteer work at the San Francisco Opera and after 4 years of licking envelopes and doing other various and sundreed tasks, she gradually worked her way into becoming the artistic administrator. In 1994 whe was offered the position as assistant manager, artistic at the Metropolitan Opera reporting directly to the then music director James Levine and the general manager Peter Gelb. All this while raising her two children as a single mother on a modest salary.

A colleague of Ms Billinghurst has written “In this business it’s hard to be universally adored and respected.  Sarah Billinghurst is one of those rare people.  Her capacity for thoughtfulness is boundless.  She can even deliver bad news in a way that creates no grudges.  To have risen from a secretary at the SFO to the second most powerful person in American opera is a breathtaking accomplishment.”

Since retirement, Sarah continues to live in New York and remains active lending her considerable skills to various philanthropic artistic endeavors around the world.

To listen to/or download this segment, click the following link: 20001_TTEOW 2-19_programs





superheroesLook, we don’t want to spoil the ending to the first book in the new Superheroes Club series. We’ll just say that it’s about some kids who manage to perform deeds that are both legitimately heroic, and attainable for the kids reading about them. Ta-da!

Dr. Madeleine Sherak enjoyed her own early school experiences before growing up to spend many years working in education administration as well as teaching math. Some of us may be surprised to learn that the modern education system has grown past the dread “Three R’s,” (reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic) to encompass lessons about empathy and inclusivity, and the superhero kids in Sherak’s book bring these values home.

In this conversation, Sherak talks about developing the Superheroes Club and sharing them with her three children and ten grandchildren.

To listen to/or download this segment, click the following link:

TTEOW Emma Breacain and Madeleine Sherak 2-12-18


While still practicing law Pamela Samuels Young began moonlighting as a mystery writer because of the absence of women and people of color depicted in the legal thrillers she so enjoyed reading. She is now author of multiple legal thrillers including Anybody’s Daughter, which won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction.

Her newest legal thriller Abuse of Discretion is a courtroom drama that tackles a troubling sexting case that gives readers an eyeopening look inside the juvenile justice system.  Fourteen year old straight A high school student Graylin’s naive adolescent curiosity gets him embroiled in a sexting scandal that threatens to ruin his life.  The book drives home the importance of keeping tabs on your child’s time spent on computers and cell phones.

Teen Sexting Facts:

30% of teens have sent naked photos, 57% have been asked to send one.

In many states, a teen who sexts could be criminally charged with possession/distribution of child pornography.

Teens convicted of child pornography charges as a result of sexting could be required to register as sex offenders.

This is Pamela’s advice for parents:

Talk openly with your kids about sexting.  Share online articles about kids who have face expulsion from school or criminal charges to they understand the consequences.

Model good behavior.  If you’re constantly posting sexy pictures online while telling your kids not to sext, you’re sending a mixed message.

Get social media savvy.  You may never be as proficient as your kids online, but never stop learning about the latest social media apps.  There are lots of free tutorials on You Tube.

Set ground rules for social media usage, including permissible and non-permissible apps and websites.  Be specific about what your kids should and should not be posting online.  for more information, visit


There’s a good reason that Pamela has been called a “John Grisham with a sister’s twist” but even more importantly her books reveal her passionate advocacy for creating a safer world for children.

E25We’re always mystified. Even though we’ve all experienced it. One day you’ve got a great relationship with a person who makes you feel like you could fly if you set your mind to it, then suddenly a switch has been flipped. Nothing you’re doing is right. You’re second guessing it all, desperate to fix it. Have you failed with this relationship? Are you unfit for society? Doomed to a life of lonely ineptitude?

Or have you met a hijackal?

“Hijackal” is a term coined by Dr. Rhoberta Shaler to name the malignant, sociopathic narcissists crashing through our lives like the proverbial turd in the punch bowl of our homes, workplaces and wallets. Sometimes, they just need us to feel lousy so they can feel good. Sometimes, they’re manipulating us with larger goals of control that can extend into parenting, careers, finances, every corner of our world. Either way, the harm they do is real.

Shaler is a relationship counselor who has met many hijackals in her practice. She wants us to know that they are definitely walking among us, and their numbers are growing. This is why Shaler has written an ebook series about identifying hijackals and freeing ourselves from them, and this summer she is releasing “Stop Tolerating Abuse.”

No need to live in fear! We don’t have to look under every rock for a hijackal, and we don’t have to tolerate them. We just need to arm ourselves with information. Good luck!


To listen to and/or download this segment click the following link20001_ Emma Breacain and Rhoberta 1-29_programs

Dr. Carola Leicht of the University of Kent Business School in Canterbury discusses her research on how women role models both both hinder and support women entering leadership positions. Her work examines how role models and break down stereotypical representations of women (and men) in the work place. As a special addition, Dr. Leicht discusses some of her work with in which she explores the intersection of stereotypes, religiosity, and science.


To listen to and/or download this segment click the following link:20001_TTEOW 1-22-18 final_features

Life’s challenges seem to collide with Chant’e Catt and she willingly and ably takes them on.  When Chant’e moved to Humboldt county as a transfer student she thought her biggest challenge would be attending class, completing her school assignments and getting good grades.  She wasn’t prepared for the extreme housing shortage in Humboldt and had to spend 3 months with her family packing and moving from campground to cheap motel and back to campground, depleting her student loans.    Chant’e finally did find an apartment for her and her family 26 miles from the campus.  What she also found was that many other students faced the same problems, scrambling for rooms, sleeping on couches and in cars, camping in the neighboring community forest while trying to study. Catt was one among the California State University system’s 57,000 homeless students across the state. A CSU study done in 2015 on student homelessness found that one in 10 students is currently homeless and one in five students does not have adequate access to food.

Never one to be deterred in the face of what some may consider insurmountable obstacles,  Chant’e co-founded and now leads the Homeless Student Advocate Alliance while majoring in Sociology.  Because of her advocacy on campus, the administration created the first homeless student liaison position and appointed Chant’e with an office of her own.  This is the first department within the  California State University system dedicated to helping students find secure housing.  Chant’e will shape her job description and will face many challenges from helping individual students to coordinating university, city and county policies that develop affordable housing for both students and local residents and above all locating funds.

The North Coast Journal, December 8, 2016, vol. 27, no. 49 lead article entitled “Homeless State University” provides an excellent resource on this issue.  Go to


To listen to and/or download this segment click the following link:

headshotThere are so many things we know we should be doing. We can be better. We have to become better! Who doesn’t want a healthy body, a happy family, a fulfilling career, an organized home, and a passion project brought to fruition?


How are you going to get those things?


How are you going to prioritize your goals, and how are you going to achieve them?


Sometimes it takes professional help.


413-VEeOwkLCarrie Williams is a leadership coach who helps her clients identify and progress toward their goals, and in her new book “Eyes On The Prize: A Kick-Ass Guide to Setting and Achieving G.R.E.A.T. Goals,”  we get an overview of her techniques and advice for getting out of our own way and getting closer to where we wish to be.  



To listen to and/or download this segment click the following link:TTEOW 1-8-18

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