KCBX News

Monday through Friday during All Things Considered

We are very excited for the launch of KCBX News this March. Listen for our local updates during NPR's All Things Considered each weekday. Later this summer, our local coverage expands to Morning Edition as well.

  • News tips, story ideas, and coverage comments are always welcome. Send your thoughts to news@kcbx.org or call the newsroom at: (805) 549-8855 ext. 115.
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Education
5:45 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Free income tax help being provided by students at UCSB and Cal Poly

Credit Flickr member Chris Potter

Volunteers at both Cal Poly and UCSB are set to begin helping Central Coast residents prepare their tax returns—for free. The program is called VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance).

Levi Satterthwaite is part of the program at Cal Poly and says he's excited to be involved.

"As college seniors at Cal Poly we're trained and we're IRS certified to prepare tax returns and to help them out," said Satterthwaite. "It's a wonderful opportunity and we love to give back to the community."

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Water Issues and Drought
5:39 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Cal Poly experts working to solve drinking water problems in California

Cal Poly's ITRC Water Resource Facility
Credit Jordan Bell

Experts at Cal Poly are starting work on a project to help disadvantaged communities in California access safe drinking water.

The ongoing drought has left communities particularly those in California's Central Valley with two major problems: a lack of water, and the water they do have contains concentrated contaminates like nitrates.

Water is the main focus at Cal Poly's Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC) for Dr. Stuart Styles. He says because of the drought a lot of farmer's turned to groundwater, drying up surrounding wells.

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Environment
5:23 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Sea creature that prefers warm water found moving farther up California's coast

Hopkins' Rose Nudibranch - Pink sea slug
Credit Jeff Goddard, UCSB

Central Coast scientists are seeing a number of species show up along the California coast, far north of their usual range. One of these animals is the Hopkins' Rose nudibranch, a pink sea slug.

Jeff Goddard, a project scientist at the UC Santa Barbara Marine Science Intstitute says the Rose nudibranchs are normally found in Southern California, but last year's warmer ocean conditions may have pushed them north. 

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Agriculture
4:29 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Organics hit agricultural mainstream with latest USDA census

The Salinas Valley is seeing a growing number of organic farming operations as the demand for organically-grown produce rises.
Credit Flickr user: dianejp

Farmers and ranchers throughout the Central Coast and around the nation are being asked to take part in a first-of-its-kind government survey on organic food production.

It's part of the US Department of Agriculture's regular census, but marks the first time questions involving organics have been included.

Congressman Sam Farr is the ranking member on the House Agricultural Appropriations Committee and represents much of the Salinas Valley. He also helped legitimize the organic industry in California when he was a state assemblyman. 

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Science & Technology
3:18 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Cal Poly students and scientists are a big part of Friday's Delta II launch at Vandenberg

NASA's Scott Higginbotham showing off the "loaf of bread-sized" ExoCube satellite designed at Cal Poly.
Credit Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

The launch of a soil moisture monitoring satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base was in a 24-hour delay cycle on Thursday afternoon because of a problem with upper level winds Thursday morning.

The SMAP satellite (Soil Moisture Active Passive) is now scheduled to launch Friday morning at 6:20.

Three other nano-satellites—or CubeSats—are also onboard the Delta II rocket sitting on the Vandenberg launchpad, and they're what scientists and students from Cal Poly will be watching.

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Health
5:49 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

UPDATE: Test for possible measles case in Santa Barbara County comes back negative

Credit Centers for Disease Control

UPDATE: Jan. 29, 2015 at 4:50 p.m.

The Public Health Department in Santa Barbara County said Thursday afternoon that it has received the laboratory test results for a possible measles patient, and says they came back negative.

All those who were potentially exposed will be notified directly and immediately released from any quarantine or isolation status.

The department still wants to urge residents to get vaccinated.

Original Story

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Science & Technology
12:57 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

SMAP satellite will help scientists track drought and improve weather forecasts

Video still of the SMAP satellite
Credit NASA

Scientists are looking forward to using a new satellite that will help them track California's ongoing drought and create more accurate and longer-term forecasts.

It's known as SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) and is scheduled to launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base Thursday morning at 6:20 a.m.

It's main purpose is to observe the entire surface of the Earth with a focus on soil moisture and the world's freeze and thaw zones.

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Energy
5:30 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

No new oil and gas leases for sale along California coast under new federal proposal

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

There will be no new oil or gas leases offered along the Central Coast in the immediate future according to a draft proposal by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Central Coast Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) said she applauds the decision to protect the area from new drilling.

Capps led a California Congressional Delegation last summer urging the department to exclude in it's proposal any offshore oil and gas lease sales off the West Coast.

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Business
10:41 am
Tue January 27, 2015

GoDaddy CEO tweets Super Bowl puppy ad will be pulled from Sunday's broadcast

Buster the puppy featured in the Super Bowl ad pulled by GoDaddy.com
Credit GoDaddy 2015 Super Bowl ad still from "Journey Home"

Internet website giant GoDaddy.com is pulling the puppy ad it released Tuesday on YouTube, after a strong backlash of comments from people who support pet adoption and rescue.

"Thank you @animalrescuers for the candid feedback," tweeted company CEO and San Luis Obispo resident Blake Irving early Tuesday afternoon. "What should have been a fun and funny ad clearly missed the mark and we will not air it."

The YouTube posting of the clip was shifted to "private" Tuesday afternoon as well.

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Education
5:40 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Teachers upset over stalled salary talks with Lucia Mar School District

Students run toward the classrooms at Oceano Elementary School, one of the campuses within the Lucia Mar School District
Credit LMUSD Facebook Page

Teachers in San Luis Obispo County's Lucia Mar School District are preparing to show their frustration Tuesday night over a contract salary issue.

Their union, the California Teachers Association, is hoping to get roughly half of the district's 500 instructors to show up at the scheduled district board meeting in Arroyo Grande.

While the salary issue could boil over into a teachers' strike, Donna Kandel, President of the Lucia Mar Unified Teachers Association says she's hoping it doesn't come to that.

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Crime
5:19 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Troubled King City Police Department gets new interim chief

Credit City of King - KingCity.com

The beleaguered King City Police Department is hoping for some brighter days ahead with the addition Monday of a new interim police chief.

Retired Seaside Police Chief Tony Sollecito takes over for former Interim Police Chief Dennis Hegwood, who left in December.

The department was hit hard last winter when several officers and the then police chief Bruce Miller were arrested as part of a corruption investigation.

Sollecito says he decided to come out of retirement because he loves law enforcement and sees the King City situation as a worthy challenge.

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Water Issues and Drought
5:48 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Lake Cachuma emergency water system gets state funding

A boat ramp at Lake Cachuma sits well above the current water line. Nov. 2014.
Credit Randol White - KCBX News

An emergency addition to the water uptake system at Lake Cachuma will allow the Santa Barbara area to continue pumping, even as the lake level continues to drop.

Cachuma's gravity-fed system was near bottoming out due to the historic drought.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson along with Assembly member Das Williams announced Friday that $3 million dollars in state funding was being provided to help pay for the upgrade, with a million of that coming from Prop. 84 grant.

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Crime
5:26 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Man suspected of making anonymous threats against UCSB community could see charges by next week

Anonymous violent threats against the UCSB community last weekend instigated a beefing up of staffing by university police.
Credit Wikipedia user: Coolcaesar

Charges could be filed as early as next week against the man accused of making violent threats last weekend toward the Isla Vista community.  

The suspect is a Cal Poly student who made the threats were made on a social media app called Yik Yak. It allows users to post anonymously with messages showing up for other users within a ten mile radius.

San Luis Obispo Police Lieutenant John Bledsoe says they were able to track down 22-year-old Stefan Hall by tracing his computer's IP address.

Bledsoe says Hall identified himself as UCSB Psycho.

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Crime
4:02 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Santa Maria High School teacher and coach arrested on child pornography charges in SLO County

A teacher and coach at Santa Maria High School is facing child pornography charges and has been placed on leave by the school district.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office says 53-year-old Michael David Smith was arrested Thursday after deputies served a search warrant at his Santa Margarita home.

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Business
6:28 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Montecito's Miramar Hotel project passes Planning Commission vote

Developer Rick Caruso wants to build an updated resort where the abandoned blue-roofed Miramar Hotel once stood.
Credit Flickr member Damian Gadal

Plans to re-establish Montecito's Miramar Hotel now have a green light from the local planning commission.

The approved project is smaller than what was originally proposed, and as of Thursday, there was no word on whether developer Rick Caruso plans to move forward with the modified design.

If Caruso Affiliated does continue with the project, it would still needs to go through an appeals period and will also need approval from the Board of Architectural Review. There is no requirement for a Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors vote, unless it's appealed to that body.

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