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Education
5:12 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Lucia Mar School District and Teachers Union compromise to avoid strike

Credit Teachers Market

There is a potential contract in place after months of negotiations between a Central Coast school district and its teachers union. 

Both sides compromised to avoid a strike. Teachers in the Lucia Mar District which covers most of southern San Luis Obispo County were prepared to strike as early as next week over salary concerns.

A new agreement which still needs ratification by the union's members calls for a three percent salary increase starting April first and an additional three percent at the start of next year.

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Health
6:30 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Drought, warmer temps spell bad news for spread of West Nile Virus in California

Mosquitos transmit West Nile virus to birds and then birds serve as carriers to transmit the disease back to mosquitos.
Credit Flickr member Enrique Dans

Warmer temperatures and the lingering drought in California could lead to increased levels of West Nile Virus, according to medical experts.

The California Department of Public Health said Wednesday that the state saw record virus activity in 2014.

Doctor Vicki Kramer runs the Vector-Borne Disease Program in the Department and said the Central Coast has been protected somewhat because of it's cooler temperatures. But, the drought and record warmth during the first few months of 2015 could make maters worse.

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Politics
11:25 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Candidates already lining up to run for Lois Capps' seat in 2016

Credit Roll Call video

Central Coast Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) announced Wednesday that she will not run again for her seat in Nov. 2016. She made the announcement in a video saying, "it's been a hard decision to make."

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Energy
6:11 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Santa Barbara ready to fire up hydroelectric power plant

The Gibraltar Reservoir, pre-drought.
Credit City of Santa Barbara

The City of Santa Barbara will soon be in the business of generating hydroelectric power with the completed upgrade of a plant connected to Gibraltar reservoir.

The facility was built in the 1980s and went online in 1985, but it was taken offline in 1998 when the costs to run the plant—including federal regulatory fees—exceeded the revenue from power sales.

Cathy Taylor is the Water Systems Manager for the city and says Mayor Helene Schneider was passionate about restarting the power plant. The Mayor even took the issue to the lawmakers in Washington D.C.

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Education
6:19 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

SBCC campus to discuss emotions surrounding controversial teepee art project

SBCC art students pose with their teepee structure.
Credit SBCC Facebook Page

A controversial art display at Santa Barbara City College last month will be the topic of a campus discussion on cultural sensitivity. It's scheduled for Tuesday, April 7.

Native American students were offended by a wooden teepee, constructed on campus by art students.

Representatives from the various sides met last month, resulting in the dismantling of the teepee a couple of days ahead of schedule.  SBCC President Dr. Lori Gaskin said that decision was made entirely by the students. 

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Community
4:52 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Is Isla Vista's party culture showing signs of change?

Crowds from Deltopia 2015 in Isla Vista
Credit Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

    

Santa Barbara County law enforcement is saying a big thank you to the Isla Vista community for its cooperation during Deltopia this weekend.

The sheriff's department estimates the Deltopia crowd at roughly 10,000 people, a major decrease from last year's nearly 25,000 party-goers.

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Science & Technology
6:00 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

New agreement keeps bus tracking app around four more years

Credit Transit Unlimited Wiki

A smartphone app that makes it easier for thousands of Central Coast residents to use public transportation will officially be around for four more years.

The "Bus Tracker" app gives users real time information of bus locations throughout San Luis Obispo. Its creators and the city announced this week that they have entered into a formal, four-year agreement.

John Osumi is the CEO of Bishop Peak Technologies and said their agreement will allow them to deliver the mobile app and it's expanded administrative applications.

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Environment
5:53 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Grunion runs expected on Central Coast beaches Saturday through Tuesday nights

Taken at Belmont Shore, Long Beach.
Credit Kimberly Walker: Environmental Scientist, Marine Region Fisheries Research and Management Project, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Central Coast residents and visitors should get a chance in the coming days to see a natural phenomenon that is expected to peak along local beaches.

The annual grunion run is predicted to take place Saturday through Tuesday nights, April 4-7. When the conditions are right, thousands of the small fish beach themselves as part of their mating cycle. There will be another run this month, April 18-21, and two more in May.

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Education
6:54 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Cal Poly opens new center to help veterans with their education, careers

The official ribbon-cutting portion of Thursday's dedication ceremony for Cal Poly's Veterans Success Center.
Credit Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

A new Veterans Success Center was officially dedicated Thursday on the Cal Poly campus. It's designed to help veterans and their dependents become successful students, and move on into their careers.

The number of vets and their dependents attending Cal Poly is on the rise with more than 300 enrolled in the 2014/2015 school year.

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Environment
6:01 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

California condors having 'banner year' on the Central Coast

A California condor protecting its egg during the 2015 breeding season.
Credit Pinnacles National Park

The endangered California condor is having its best spring to date with at least 16 active nests identified statewide by biologists.

More than a third of those nests are within Pinnacles National Park in Monterey County, the park stated on its Facebook page. 

The range of the condor is big, including much of the Western United States and even a portion of Mexico. But, the endangered birds seem to be doing especially well along the Central Coast this year at Pinnacles.

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Community
5:17 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Isla Vista community working toward a riot-free Deltopia weekend

Deltopia 2014
Credit Santa Barbara County Fire

A crackdown by law enforcement will start Thursday night in the Isla Vista area in anticipation of this weekend's Deltopia celebrations.

Safety preparations are coming from several fronts. More than 200 officers from a variety of local agencies and university campuses statewide  are involved with keeping the peace this weekend in Isla Vista.

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Community
6:14 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Can skaters self-regulate enough to keep new SLO park unfenced?

Man skating one of the bowls in the SLO Skate Park days after opening.
Credit Jordan Bell

San Luis Obispo city leaders are questioning whether the newly-opened skate park can continue operating as is, after some community complaints regarding after-hours use and trash.

Around nine o'clock on a Tuesday night, there are plenty of people of all ages at the park, mostly a cross section of the SLO community, but they're all males.  Lines form throughout the park as skaters wait for their turns, holding their boards.

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Water Issues and Drought
6:00 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

How Central Coast communities will be affected by mandated statewide water restrictions

Rebates will be offered under the state's new mandatory water rationing plan allowing residents and businesses to upgrade to more efficient water-saving appliances and hardware.
Credit Flickr member HereStanding

Governor Brown issued an executive order on Wednesday requiring mandatory water rationing for the first time in California's history. He announced the plan from a snowless Ski Resort in the Sierra Nevada.

The spot where Brown was standing would have had five feet of snow during an average year, but instead the ground at his feet was bare. The state's snowpack survey showed record low levels of water storage at just five percent of normal.

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Breaking
1:47 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

Brown issues first ever mandatory water restrictions for California

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown declares his executive order calling for mandatory water restrictions from a spot in the Sierra Nevada where several feet of snow should be this time of year.
Credit SaveOurWater.com

California's record drought has pushed Gov. Jerry Brown to order the first mandatory water restrictions in state history.  

Brown made the announcement following the latest snowpack readings from the Sierra Nevada, which showed the amount of water at its lowest level in recorded history.

"Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow," Brown said.  "This historic drought demands unprecedented action."

NEW RULES

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Community
5:28 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Efforts underway to keep small SLO County fire station from temporarily closing

Cayucos Fire Station No. 11
Credit CAL FIRE

Local leaders are working to keep a small San Luis Obispo County fire station from closing later this week. Cal Fire Station No. 11 in Cayucos is seasonal, and scheduled to temporarily shut its doors on Friday as part of a money-saving measure.

During the winter months, the station is operated under a joint agreement funded by the local Fire Protection District (FPD). To save money, the FPD wants to close early.

Cal Fire will reopen the station in mid-April as part of the state's fire season staffing plan.

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