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California Heartland

This Season on California Heartland

Chris Burrous

Chris Burrous, Reporter/Narrator
    Chris Burrous has deep roots in California's Heartland. His family operated a Cherry orchard in the "Valley of Heart's Delight" in Santa Clara Valley Clara Valley. His family did this for many years before moving to Patterson and tending to an apricot and fig orchard in the "Apricot Capital of the World". The family still operates the twenty acre farm with a collection of D-4's, hand-welded springtooths, homemade forklifts and a couple of Massey Ferguson Tractors.
    Chris has fond memories of picking fruit, cutting apricots and scraping trays of dried fruit, and selling fresh fruit at farmers markets throughout Northern California.
    Chris' Grandmother was the first female manager of a Sunsweet prune dehydrator in Morgan Hill. His Grandfather managed the dryer in San Jose.
    Chris has served audiences up and down our Central Valley at KGET in Bakersfield and KGPE in Fresno and currently anchors the morning news at CBS-13, KOVR and co-anchors the 9AM hour of Good Day Sacramento on CW-31, KMAX - both stations are located in Sacramento.
    Chris would love to hear your story about family farming in our state or how you're involved with California grown food.


Kristine Hanson

Kristine Hanson, Master Gardener
    Kristine Hanson has turned a hobby into a passion, blending a love of television with her fervor for gardening. As a master gardener, she loves digging through all things green and growing, and sharing that information with those around her.
    Kristine grew up in Sacramento, California, where she received her degree in communication studies and theatre arts from California State University Sacramento. She then pursued a degree in meteorology from San Francisco State University. Her studies in meteorology led her to gardening. Kristine received her master gardener certificate from UC Davis in Northern California, and immediately put it to work. Extending beyond home gardening, Kristine was the director of horticulture at the Ceago Vinegarden in Mendocino County. While in Mendocino County, Kristine even spent time as a sheep rancher.
    Kristine's broadcast career has taken her from KCRA in Sacramento to KGO, KTVU, and KRON in San Francisco, and on to ESPN where she reported, anchored and color commentated for many sporting events. She won an Emmy® Award and a first place award for American Women in Radio and Television.
    In addition to conducting landscaping and gardening seminars, she stays busy helping people perfect the art of gardening as a guest on various radio shows and writing for different magazine Q&A columns.


John Lobertini, Reporter
    John Lobertini is a 10 time Emmy-Award Nominee, was an AP Reporter of the Year Nominee in 2006/2007 and has won several other awards during his television career.
He graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in broadcast journalism and a minor in political science. He has worked as a reporter and anchor around California and Alabama, from WAAY TV, Huntsville, AL to KPIX TV, in San Francisco, CA.
    John’s hobbies include soap box derbies, going to the beach and watching college football.
    John is married with 17-year old twins & a 6-year old son.


John Alston

John Alston, Reporter
    John Alston has been in the news profession for 25 years. He most recently anchored the #1 rated 6 & 11 PM news at KCRA in Sacramento. John has also anchored and reported the news at stations in Philadelphia and Atlanta after starting out as a reporter in Albany and Rochester, New York. He has covered national political conventions (Democratic Convention, Atlanta, 1988 and Republican Convention, Philadelphia 2002). He has made an aircraft carrier landing in the Adriatic Sea while reporting on the no-fly zone over Bosnia in 1994. John has also traveled to Macedonia for a story on refugees fleeing Kosovo. Closer to home, John covered the Northern California floods of 1997. He is a graduate of Syracuse University.


Laura McIntosh

Laura McIntosh - Bringing It Home
    Laura McIntosh is no stranger to the farming business. Raised in the small town of Linden in Northern California, she developed a love for food through her close-knit family who has been farming for generations. Today, Laura shows her passion for food by demonstrating fun and easy ways to cook your next meal. 
    Laura was accepted into the prestigious American Conservatory Theatre program in San Francisco after studying Theater Arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She’s worked for E&J Gallo Winery and hosted and produced The Full Bloom Show, which aired on the ABC affiliate stations in the Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto media market
    Carrying on the family tradition, Laura and her brother, Daniel Moznett founded M.Entertainment in Lodi, California in 2001. The team launched the half-hour television program Bringing It Home with Laura McIntosh in 2002. Laura helps coordinate  with local and world-renown chefs, growers and farmers in her role as the show’s executive producer. 
    When Laura is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and two children. Laura says, “they always manage to share Sunday dinner together at home to celebrate life, food and family." 


Abbott Dutton

Abbott Dutton, Reporter
    Abbott Dutton was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. She grew up on a family farm that is still part of her family to this day. Growing up on the farm ingrained wonderful childhood memories that still stick with her today. Abbott remembers feeding the rabbits and planting the vegetable garden as a child.
    Abbott has a B.S. degree in Tele-Communications and Film from San Diego State University and has had the opportunity to work up and down the state of California in her broadcasting career as an anchor and reporter in San Diego, the High Desert outside Los Angeles and Sacramento. Abbott says she loves California because there's always something to do and someone to meet.
    Along with her California Heartland reporting duties—Abbott is a state correspondent for a national radio network, where she covers politics and other news about the Golden State. As busy as she is Abbott still finds time to golf, bike, and explore California with her husband! The show is proud to welcome the farm raised, California-lovin’ host!


Jennifer Harrison

Jennifer Harrison, Reporter
This season, California Heartland welcomes Jennifer Harrison, who brings her specialization in health, lifestyle and agriculture to the show! The California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo) graduate has interned at The White House for a health and wellness program for White House employees and ended up an intern on Capitol Hill. Working in Washington peaked Jennifer’s interest in news media—and she began to combine her science background with television.
    Producing and reporting for the national medical show, Pulse on Discovery Health Channel, she’s done various projects for HGTV and DIY Network (specifically reported for HGTV’s Christmas across America, field produced Designer's Finals and wrote for DIY's Yard Crashers) and reported for the last four years on the agriculture program, California Country.
    Jennifer’s hobbies and pastimes include; reading, yoga, running, spending time with her family in Santa Cruz and being with her husband and daughters.


Melanie Kim

Melanie Kim, Reporter “The Ag Traveler”
    Melanie Kim was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She then headed to Southern California to attend UCLA. As a certified EMT, she is currently working on getting a second bachelors degree, this time in nursing. She resides in the Sacramento area, and enjoys spending time on the slopes or on a trail in the nearby Sierra Nevada.
    Melanie is an Emmy-nominated television broadcaster who’s covered news, entertainment, sports, technology, health, agriculture, travel and weather stories during her career. She started out working the red carpet in Hollywood for CNN’s Showbiz Today and then for KNBC-TV Los Angeles. From there, she worked as a news anchor/reporter/producer for TV stations on Maryland’s Eastern shore and in California’s San Joaquin Valley. More recently, she’s reported for TechTV, Good Day Sacramento/CBS13, hosted a travel special for Fine Living Network, and co-hosted Resort Sports Network’s coverage of the Snow Sports Industries Association show.
    Now, Melanie brings her energy and enthusiasm, a love for learning and adventure to California Heartland! And, she’s no stranger to agriculture! While working at TV stations in Maryland and Fresno, she covered numerous stories affecting agriculture including the impact of extreme weather conditions on poultry producers, frost damage to orange crops and more!


Toan Lam

Toan Lam, Reporter
    Toan Lam is thrilled to add California Heartland to his list of television credits! He is also a reporter at KRON 4 News in San Francisco, and teaches TV Reporting at the University of San Francisco, his alma mater. With more than seven years of experience as a TV Reporter in local news and magazine shows, he now shares his talents with California Heartland!
    Toan was also a freelance reporter for Pacific Fusion, a national and internationally syndicated magazine show focusing on the Asian American lifestyle and trends.
    Toan started his TV reporting career at WAOW, the ABC affiliate in Wausau, Wisconsin. He then headed south to Midland, Texas to report for KWES, the NBC affiliate. He eventually ventured back west to Fresno, California, and was the morning reporter for KGPE. And to add to his list of experience, he is also a member of the Asian American Journalists' Association.


Jennifer Quinonez Johnson

Jennifer Quiñonez Johnson, Reporter/Producer
    Jennifer Quinonez Johnson is happy to be contributing to California Heartland this season! Jennifer is no stranger to PBS, and most recently produced at KCET in Los Angeles. “I’m most proud of my work that I’ve done for Public Television and so excited that we just received a daytime Emmy nomination for the PBS show I just wrapped called, A Place of Our Own”. She also won a Los Angeles Emmy in 2005 for the PBS show Los Ninos en Su Casa and in 2006 she was a host for America’s Heartland.
    Jennifer graduated from Cal State Northridge with a BA in Communications and has been in the television industry as an on-air reporter/writer/producer for the last 10 years. Her television experience includes writing and producing for TLC and The Discovery Channel, field produced on various productions for Lifetime Television and E! Entertainment and was an on-air reporter/anchor for various NBC affiliates. She is also a member of the Writer’s Guild of America.   
    Jennifer loves to travel, read and volunteer when there’s time. She’s married with a 2 1/2 year old son and resides in Pasadena.


Fred Hoffman

Fred Hoffman, Master Gardener
    University of California Cooperative Extension Lifetime Master Gardener Fred Hoffman is the host of the KFBK Garden Show, Sundays 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on News/Talk 1530 KFBK, and, since 1992, the producer and host of Get Growing, heard each Sunday morning from 10 a.m. to Noon on Talk 650 KSTE, both in Sacramento. Each week on the radio shows, Farmer Fred, interviews garden experts from throughout Northern and Central California, tackles your gardening questions and problems, and offers prizes for answers to the weekly Garden Grappler. Now, Fred, or “Farmer Fred”, brings his gardening expertise as the host for California Heartland’s gardening segment Homegrown!
    Fred can also be seen on TV, on recurring segments of HGTV's Gardening by the Yard and the DIY Network's The Dirt on Gardening.
    Southern Sacramento and Northern San Joaquin County gardeners can also get current gardening information from Fred in his Saturday gardening column in the Lodi News-Sentinel.
    When he's not in the garden, Fred can be found riding his recumbent bicycle. An avid bicyclist who logs over 100 miles per week, Fred raised more than $7,000 in pledges for the local chapter of the American Lung Association after completing a coast to coast bicycling trip, from Seattle to Atlantic City, in 1988.


Manny Ramos

Manny Ramos, Reporter
   During his career in television news, Manny Ramos was the recipient of six Emmy awards including the Emmy for Outstanding Reporter. His work has been recognized with awards from, among others, the Radio and Television News Directors Association, the World Affairs Council, the Bay Area Press Association, and the Associated Press.
   The phrase “he’s seen it all” comes to mind in describing Manny’s career. As a young cub reporter in Sacramento, one of his first assignments was to cover then Governor Ronald Reagan. Manny has followed Pope John Paul II around the country, camped in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, been shot at during the Contra War in Nicaragua, and gone yachting with Queen Elizabeth. His work has been featured in many national newscasts and shown at the Smithsonian Institution.
   Manny has lectured at the University of California-Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and San Jose State University. He is a Silver Circle Member of the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. The first member of his family ever to attend college, Manny was named a Distinguished Alumnus of his alma mater, San Jose State University.
   Manny resides in Marin County, California with his wife, Robin, where they take orders from their amazing daughter Gracie and very energetic golden retriever Sunshine.
   In his spare time Manny “embarrasses” himself on local golf courses.


Stephanie O’Neill

Stephanie O’Neill, Reporter  
   California native, Stephanie O’Neill has been reporting since she was 16 and hasn’t stopped. Before joining California Heartland, Stephanie reported for the award-winning PBS shows, California Connected and KCET’s Life & Times. As a public radio reporter, she filed hundreds of stories for NPR, Marketplace, the BBC and Worldwide Monitor Radio. She won an Associated Press Radio Television Association award for Best Hard News Feature during her stint as Bureau Chief for The California Report, produced by KQED-FM in San Francisco. A former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, Stephanie’s print work also appeared in such magazines as New York Lawyer, Consumer Reports and Columbia Journalism Review.  She is a graduate of UC Davis and of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Away from work, Stephanie’s passions include hiking, riding her horse, cycling, vegetable gardening (with a specialty in eating tomatoes), wine tasting and oil painting. These days she splits her time between San Diego and the town of Ojai, where her grandparents settled in the 1940s. Among those with whom she shares her life: her daughter Austen, her horse, her three dogs and a svelte pet pig.


Rob Stewart

Rob Stewart, Reporter 
    Rob Stewart is an award-winning television reporter, producer and anchor. Rob joined KVIE in the summer of 2008 and is thrilled to be reporting and producing for both California Heartland and America’s Heartland. He joined KVIE after four years with PBS sister station WHYY in Philadelphia where he anchored the nightly news. In 2007, Rob was picked Best TV News Anchor by Delaware Today magazine for his work at WHYY. 
    Rob has 14 years of television experience, including extensive live coverage in Manhattan from the attacks on Ground Zero on September 11th, and the plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy, Jr. With years of entertainment reporting experience, Rob’s national stories have aired many times on CNN.
    Rob has received the Philadelphia Society of Professional Journalist Award four times, the Associated Press Award twice and the national Gracie Allen Award for entertainment reporting.


Kelly Peterson Kelly Peterson, Series Producer  
    Kelly Peterson has been a television producer for nearly 15 years. Her career started at CBS 13, where she line produced the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. She then changed paths and accepted a job working for Good Evening Sacramento as a segment producer. One year later, she went to San Francisco where she produced the morning show for CBS 5.
    Kelly enjoys cycling, traveling, reading, gardening and wine tasting. A two-time Emmy-award winning producer, she is thrilled to help re-launch California Heartland and can't wait to explore more of California's back yard with you.

Lynn Margherita, Executive Producer of Content Creation
    Lynn Margherita, a native of Northern California and a graduate of UCLA and Santa Clara University, has produced television both locally and nationally. She served as Producer and Writer for National Geographic Channel’s MegaStructures, E! Style Network’s A Modern Girl’s Guide to Life, the Travel Channel’s American Subcultures, and The Dr. Phil Show. She brings significant experience in the realm of new content delivery platforms and interactive television having worked for companies including TiVo, MSNBC, and Microsoft.
    Lynn previously served as the Executive Producer of the weekend edition at Good Day Sacramento, the local Channel 31 morning program. She was the Executive Producer and Director of Development for the Idea Factory where she supervised production staff for national cable programming and was instrumental in creating content for the Do It Yourself channel.
    Lynn serves as a board member for Heart to Heart Children's International Medical Alliance, a non-profit supporting the efforts of Californian heart surgeons who travel to Russia to teach pediatric heart surgery. She has also taught broadcasting courses at Santa Clara University in the Bay Area.



California Heartland® is made possible by:
The James G. Boswell Foundation      Bank of America     California Farm Bureau Federation       California Almond Board      CA Milk Advisory Board

A production of KVIE Public Television, Sacramento, CA. ©2008 KVIE, Inc. All rights reserved.