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Pets & Animals
6:03 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

King tides pose danger for newly born elephant seal pups

An elephant seal mother works to protect her pup as the king tide encroaches into the rookery.
Credit Christine Heinrichs

The highest and lowest tides of the year are peaking Wednesday morning along the Central Coast. They're known as King Tides and could cause some minor coastal flooding.

The National Weather Service in Oxnard also warns of strong rip currents at the beaches during periods of low tide.

The extreme tides also pose a danger for the newly born elephant seal pups at the rookery on the northern San Luis Obispo County coast. 

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Environment
3:45 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Volunteers asked to take photos of upcoming King Tides event in California

King Tide on December 12, 2012 at Port San Luis in San Luis Obispo County.
Credit Gordon Hensley - San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper

Volunteers are set to record thousands of images of the California Coast next week as the highest tides of the year are expected to hit the area on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The volunteers are part of an effort to help people visualize how sea level rise will impact the lives of coastal Californians. It's called the California King Tides Project, and Central Coast representatives are on board to help document the event.

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Central Coast
12:06 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Plane with engine trouble makes emergency landing in riverbed near Hwy 166

Nobody was injured in Friday morning's aircraft incident near Highway 166 in southern San Luis Obispo County.
Credit Twitter: CALFIRE_SLO

Central Coast Investigators are working with federal agencies to follow up on an emergency plane landing Friday morning in southern San Luis Obispo County, near Highway 166.

"A portion of that highway was closed to allow the plane to land," said sheriff's spokesperson Tony Cipolla in an email to KCBX.  "The aircraft landed in a riverbed adjacent to highway 166 and flipped upside down."

There were two occupants on board the plane at the time of the landing, a male and female. Neither needed any medical attention, according to Cipolla.

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Education
5:49 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Paso Robles elementary schools placed on lockdown, cleared to reopen Friday

Concerned residents gather at police barricades near Pat Butler Elementary School on Nicklaus Street.
Credit Paco Guzman / Paso Robles Daily News

Two Paso Robles elementary schools will reopen as normal Friday morning, after both were put on lockdown Thursday for separate, unrelated causes.

Pat Butler Elementary School was the first affected, after two students reported they were threatened by an armed man near the campus during recess. The kids say the man was just outside the athletic field fence and had a shotgun or rifle.

The lockdown stayed in place until 2:15 Thursday afternoon, following an orchestrated search of the area.

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Politics
6:32 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

San Jose City Council unanimous in concern over planned Phillips 66 oil-by-rail expansion

The potential for increased oil shipments along the Southern Pacific rail line through San Jose is cause for concern among council members.
Credit Flickr member Drew Jacksich

The City of San Jose is the latest California municipality to express concern over an increase in crude oil shipments by rail.

The San Jose City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to instruct the city manager to send a letter to the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission, asking members to take into consideration their concerns as part of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Phillips 66 refinery rail spur.

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Energy
6:08 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Large solar project gets unanimous support from Monterey County Planning Commission

Solar panels similar to the ones planned for the California Flats project in Monterey County.
Credit First Solar

A massive solar project in southeastern Monterey County got a unanimous thumbs up Wednesday from the Monterey County Planning Commission.

First Solar spokesman Steve Krum said members voted 8 to 0 in favor of approving the California Flats Solar Farm.

"The decision was to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to Certify the EIR, to approve the Development Agreement and approve the project," said Carol Allen, Senior Secretary for the Monterey County Resource Management Agency.

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Politics
3:52 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Central Coast expert on Cuba discusses changes to US foreign policy

"Colors of Havana"
Credit Flickr member Anton Novoselov

Last month, the Obama Administration drastically changed decades of foreign policy guidelines for relations with Cuba.

A Washington Post poll released in late December showed nearly 75 percent of Americans support the lifting of travel restrictions to that county, and roughly 2-out-of-3 back ending a trade embargo, and improving relations.

Charles Barclay is a former U.S. diplomat in Havana and was among the key players working to free Alan Gross, the U.S. contractor released as part of the sweeping changes.

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Health
6:45 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Infant becomes Santa Barbara County's first recorded death from whooping cough

California is in the middle of a whooping cough epidemic, the worst the state has seen in 70 years.

The outbreak's latest fatality was a 25-day-old baby in Santa Barbara County. It's the county's first recorded death from the disease—also called pertussis—and only the second death in California since the outbreak started last year.

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Education
5:55 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Cal Poly Greek life on social probation after string of sexual assaults

Credit Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

A Cal Poly fraternity is no longer welcomed by the university and the rest of the Greek System, including both sororities and fraternities, is on social probation. 

The university announced the moves Tuesday, following the third sexual assault reported this academic year associated with Greek houses.

Keith Humphrey is the Vice President of Student Affairs at Cal Poly and says these cases are affecting the health and safety of students. Although the university has paused all social activities in response, regular chapter operations can continue.

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Environment
5:28 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Monterey County reaches settlement over environmental lawsuits

A Salinas Valley strawberry field.
Credit Tom Wilmer

A couple of environmental lawsuits filed against Monterey County were settled Tuesday—at least for the time being.

Landwatch Monterey County and The Open Monterey Project sued back in 2010 following the adoption of the new county's General Plan. Those two lawsuits were combined.

The plaintiffs were concerned with management of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, encroachment of agriculture on the county's hillsides, blockage of wildlife corridors, and other aspects regarding the county's agriculture and wine industries.

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Politics
5:55 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

New DMV field office proposed to handle surging numbers in Santa Maria

The Department of Motor Vehicles field office in Santa Maria was built decades ago for a population just a fraction of the city's current size.
Credit Google Maps - Street View

Santa Maria may see a new DMV field office in the coming years, if one Central Coast lawmaker has her way. 

Local State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson helped get more than 15 million dollars added to the Governor's budget proposal to build a new DMV facility. 

The current field office was built in 1969 and since then the city's population has tripled. Senator Jackson says the city needs a new DMV now more than ever.

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Environment
5:41 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Monarch butterflies under consideration for federal Endangered Species List

Credit Flickr member Greg Hewgill

A process to place the monarch butterfly on the federal Endangered Species List is underway. It's part of an effort to protect it from rapidly declining numbers.

Over the past several years, the annual count for monarch butterflies has seen a gradual upswing at the popular grove in Pismo Beach. Cal Poly Professor Denis Frey has been tabulating the local migration numbers since the early 90s, and has shown wide swings in peak totals, according to the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove website.

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Weather
5:16 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Let's talk about the weather: what to expect this year

Last year was the warmest on California's record books and it continued to move the state into it's prolonged drought.

John Lindsey is PG&E's Corporate Relations Representative and Marine Meteorologist. He says 2014 broke the previous record by 1.6 degrees Celsius.

Lindsey explains what to expect from 2015.

"We're definitely looking at a changing climate, a warming climate. A hypothesis is that if we do receive rain, storms could be more intense and it may produce longer and more prolonged drought," Lindsey said.

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Santa Barbara County
6:26 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Santa Barbara newspaper vandalized, protest organizers not involved

Credit Twitter feed @KEYTNC3

The Santa Barbara News-Press office building was vandalized sometime late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning according to Sgt. Riley Harwood of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

He says comments were spray painted on the building and pink paint had been splattered on it. This comes after the paper released a headline Saturday which used the word 'illegal' to describe people applying for undocumented licenses under the new AB 60 law.

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Community
6:13 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Protest over Santa Barbara-based newspaper's headline to ensue Thursday

Credit Facebook event: Stop Biased & Irresponsible Journalism in SB

Santa Barbara community members have created a Facebook event called 'Stop Biased & Irresponsible Journalism in SB,' where more than 500 people have "joined" to protest the Saturday's headline in the Santa Barbara News-Press. In addition to the virtual protest, community members are planning a protest in Santa Barbara Thursday night in front of the paper's office. 

The headline which reads 'Illegals line up for driver's licenses" titled a story about AB 60,  a new law allowing people to apply for undocumented licenses in California.

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