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Weather
6:23 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

December storm expected to slam Central Coast with huge waves

Large waves roll into Pismo Beach Wednesday evening. Forecast calls for wave heights to peak Thursday night into Friday.
Credit Amy Joseph - centralcoastpictures.com

In addition to the strong winds and significant rain expected Thursday and Friday, the Central Coast is likely to get hit was some very heavy surf.

The National Weather Service says western-facing beaches are most at risk from a major swell arriving late Thursday night and continuing through Saturday. Forecasters expect serious beach erosion because of the duration of the event.

Waves as high as 25 feet could be possible in some areas, and it's predicted that jetties and sea walls could be breached during periods of high tide.

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Lifestyle
3:00 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Sphinx restoration nearly complete for Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes excavation project

Restoration artists work on a recently-excavated portion of a sphinx statue dating back to a 1920s Hollywood film set.
Credit Randol White/KCBX

A major restoration project is underway behind a nondescript garage door at a home on the Nipomo Mesa. The large space was donated to the nearby Dunes Center as a location to work on a big chunk of a sphinx statue, buried along with other Hollywood set pieces under the sands of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes for the better part of a century.

Restoration artist Amy Higgins travels up the coast from her home in Los Angeles to do this highly detailed work.

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Politics
2:36 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

San Luis Obispo Supervisor-Elect discusses her take on key issues

The Oceano/Nipomo Dunes and Phillips 66 refinery as seen from Highway 1. San Luis Obispo County Supervisor-Elect for District 4, Lynn Compton, will be addressing air quality issues related to these locations early in her term.
Credit Randol White/KCBX

KCBX News Director Randol White speaks with San Luis Obispo County’s new 4th District Supervisor, Lynn Compton (R-Nipomo), about her visions and plans for her tenure.

Top issues for the politician include a new rail spur to the Phillips 66 refinery, air particulate matter generated by the Oceano/Nipomo Dunes, groundwater management, and Huasna Valley oil exploration.

Compton is a longtime resident of Nipomo and beat incumbent Supervisor Caryn Ray (D-Arroyo Grande) in the November Mid-Term Election.

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Wine Country
4:01 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

California drought amounts to mixed blessing for winemakers this harvest

Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, Calif.
Credit Julian Del Gaudio

When you walk around Tablas Creek vineyard in Paso Robles, there are few obvious signs that California is in one of its worst droughts on record.

“It actually looks less different than you would expect grapevines have evolved to grow well in climates that are dry” says Jason Haas who runs this vineyard.

Grapes have their origins in the Middle East and Mediterranean, two regions with similar and sometimes even drier climates than the Central Coast.

Vines have adapted ways to protect the plant when rainfall is scarce and that included changes to the fruit production.

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Science & Technology
4:42 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Larger Atlas V scheduled for Vandenberg launch this Thursday

The launch of the Atlas V 541that carried the Mars rover Curiosity.
Credit NASA

An Atlas V rocket—unlike any other launched on the West Coast—is scheduled for lift-off this Thursday at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

It's called an Atlas V 541, and it's the same type of rocket used to launch the Mars rover Curiosity back in 2011.

The rocket is larger than the most recent Atlas V to launch at Vandenberg because it has booster rockets.

Thursday's mission, named NROL-35, is in cooperation with the National Reconnaissance Office and is highly secretive.

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Politics
4:05 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

All eyes on new member as SLO City Council prepares for LUCE vote

San Luis Obispo city leaders will take another stab at passing a blueprint for the city's development at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

The Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) looks at traffic and housing through 2035. Aspects of the plan don't agree with guidelines established by the state-run Airport Land Use Commission, so the council will need at least four members to vote for an override in order to push the LUCE through.

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Lifestyle
1:46 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Bob Jones Trail expansion still a few years off, but plans are moving forward

A portion of the completed Bob Jones Trail near Avila Beach.
Credit Clara Knapp

A long-awaited addition to the Bob Jones Trail, also called the “City to the Sea Trail,” finished another round of public review on Monday.

The popular San Luis Obispo County trail was first envisioned more than two decades ago, as an eight-mile-long, stand-alone, multi-use path connecting San Luis Obispo with Avila Beach. But to date, only a portion of that dream has been realized. 

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Science & Technology
5:51 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

UCSB brain scientists to study public's reaction to the Ebola threat

Credit Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Scientists at UCSB will soon begin studying how people around the world have responded to the Ebola threat, psychologically. The University's Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences is getting more $128,202 from the National Science Foundation for the project.

Professor David Sherman is working with lead researcher Dr. Heejung Kim on the project and says the goal is to help us understand how and why we respond the way we do.

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Business
4:56 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

New study shows women gaining in business, but California Senator says more progress needed

A speaker addresses a crowd at the Professional Business Women of California conference.
Credit http://pbwcconference.org/

A study released Thursday shows women in business have made some progress in serving on boards and securing high paid positions in California.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson says its a top goal of hers to increase the percentage of business women in leadership positions. She authored a resolution last year—the first-of-its-kind in the nation—urging California's 400 largest publicly-held corporations to do just that.

The UC Davis study shows only about one-in-nine top executives or board members are women, a slight increase over the previous year.

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Environment
3:14 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Lawsuit aimed at federal government over fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel

Platform Gail in the Santa Barbara Channel
Credit Flickr member Ken Lund

An environmental group took the first step toward suing the federal government on Thursday, over fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Interior Department for violating federal law in regards to offshore fracking approvals.

The group says the government did not evaluate how the enhanced oil extraction practice may pollute local waters, nor its effects on marine wildlife prior to issuing the approvals to oil companies. 

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Energy
6:35 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Diablo Canyon's seismic safety is focus of US Senate committee

Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) addressing the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The safety of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is being considered by members of the U.S. Senate. The Committee on Environment and Public Works heard testimony Wednesday from Central Coast political and community leaders.

Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) addressed committee chair Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) regarding recent earthquake information that suggests the power plant is not safe.

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Crime
5:51 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Body cams quickly becoming new tool for law enforcement in Monterey County

Demonstration still of a body camera in use.
Credit TASER AXON body

Several Monterey County police departments are moving forward with body camera technology to help document specific on-duty officer interactions with the public.

This week, Greenfield became the first department in the county to institute the technology. King City, Soledad and Salinas are expected to follow soon.

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillan says his department—by far the largest of any Central Coast police department—will purchase as many as 125 cameras.

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Weather
2:05 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Rock landslide forces closure of Santa Barbara County's Nojoqui Falls Trail

Credit Santa Barbara County Fire

The trail to Nojoqui Falls in the Santa Ynez Valley was shut down Wednesday following a series of landslides.

The path is closed at the trailhead over concerns of additional slides. Michael Allen is with Santa Barbara County Parks and says the trail is simply "not safe" right now, so it will remained closed until further notice.

Damage is severe to the trail making it impassible. Large boulders are on the ground, and more unstable rocks remain on the hillside. The parks department hopes to have a geologist come out to look at the situation.

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Politics
12:12 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Council delays Airport Commission override vote on SLO land use plan

Newly-Elected Council Member Dan Rivoire following his swearing-in ceremony on Monday, December 1, 2014.
Credit slocity.org video still

The San Luis Obispo City Council will vote next Tuesday on whether to move forward with its plans for future housing and transportation needs, despite restrictions that are currently in place for such development surrounding the airport and beyond.

The City Council discussed the topic at its meeting Tuesday night, but did not bring it up for a vote because newly-elected council member Dan Rivoire wants an extra week to hear from the public.

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Weather
5:58 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Santa Barbara County warming shelters set up for this week's heavy rainfall

Infrared satellite image of the West Coast taken Monday evening.
Credit National Weather Service

Tuesday and Wednesday could see the strongest storm to hit the Central Coast since a Pacific storm last March slammed into the area.

The bulk of the rainfall is expected to take place from Tuesday afternoon into the evening hours, with up to five inches of rain possible along the local foothills and mountains.

Maria Long is organizing warming shelters to bring people out of the wet and cold this week, through her organization, Freedom Warming Centers.

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