KCBX News

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The award-winning KCBX Newsroom works to bring you local stories that represent our Central Coast listeners and supporters.

KCBX News began covering stories in February, 2014. The first on-air newscast happened during All Things Considered on March 3, 2014. KCBX added local news content to Morning Edition in September, 2014.

In the years since, KCBX News has had local stories featured on NPR and The California Report.

Gas prices are on the rise nationwide, and once again drivers on the Central Coast are paying far more than most.

As of Friday night, Drivers in San Luis Obispo County were seeing, on average, $4.11 for a gallon of regular unleaded—up more than 16 cents from a month ago. This makes it the highest metro average for the entire state.

Santa Barbara County drivers were paying the second highest rate at $4.07 a gallon.

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A special session of the Santa Maria City Council drew an estimated 1200 people to the Fairpark on Thursday, ending with a 3-2 vote in favor of moving forward with the planning department's recommendation for the development of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility.

The session ran roughly from 3 - 11:00 p.m. with a strong protest presence against relocating the ICE office within Santa Maria.

Public support growing for Pismo Preserve

Mar 26, 2014
Kaila Dettman - The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County

Public support is growing for a plan to set aside a large chunk of land in San Luis Obispo County as scenic open space. It's called the Pismo Preserve, 900 acres that encompass much of the land to the northeast of Pismo Beach and Highway 101.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County says tens of thousands of dollars in matching funds have gone a long way to help reach the project's goal.

UCSB Athletics

The 19-year-old UCSB student found at the bottom of the Santa Barbara High School pool Monday morning died of an accidental drowning, according to a preliminary autopsy report.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Lt. Butch Arnoldi says the finding is pending toxicological results which usually take two weeks, and is a normal part of the investigation "when a young healthy person dies."

Santa Barbara County job fair series

Mar 24, 2014

A series of job fairs are coming to Santa Barbara County as local leaders work to improve the county's unemployment numbers.

The Santa Barbara County Workforce Investment Board and the California Employment Development Department will launch the effort this Thursday at Santa Barbara's Westside Community Center from 11a-3p.

A Lompoc job fair will be held on May 1 at the Veterans' Memorial Hall from 1-4p. The Santa Maria version is scheduled for June 12 at the Veterans' Memorial hall from 1-4p.

Atlas V launch scheduled at Vandenberg AFB

Mar 24, 2014
NASA Goddard Photo and Video

An Atlas V rocket  is scheduled for a launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Thursday, April 3. The window for launch opens at 7:46 a.m.

The rocket's payload includes a satellite for the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. It was built by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. United Launch Alliance builds and flies the rocket.

Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander will be in charge of the launch decision.

Rain headed to the Central Coast

Mar 24, 2014
National Weather Service

A weak spring storm is headed toward the Central Coast Tuesday night and it appears San Luis Obispo County is poised to see the most rainfall out of this one. The northern portion of Santa Barbara County could see some measurable precipitation too.

The National Weather Service predicts less than a half an inch of rain will accumulate through Wednesday night.

Clearing skies are likely on Thursday, but a stray shower is still possible.

Paso Robles Daily News

Paso Robles Daily News

The city of Paso Robles offered $125,000 to settle a lawsuit by a former police officer who accused the department of traffic ticket quota system. The agreement was reached between the city and former officer Jon Tatro after opening statements of the trial concluded on March 13. The two parties signed the agreement March 20.

Curb scam hits Paso Robles neighborhoods

Mar 21, 2014

Police in Paso Robles want to let you know about a scam currently circulating in the city.

The set-up involves a crew who paints your house numbers on the curb in front of your residence and then says payment is necessary.

Lieutenant Timothy Murphy says none of these companies are affiliated with the city and you are not required to pay if the numbers were added without your prior approval.

Murphy also says don't be surprised if similar crews show up in other locations along the Central Coast.

Watch: Lady Gaga video featuring Hearst Castle

Mar 21, 2014
Tom Wilmer

The music video that Lady Gaga shot at Hearst Castle was released on Saturday night during NBC's Dateline. The nearly 8 minute long piece features several shots of the castle, both pools, and it's surrounding Central Coast landscape. 

The pop star didn't only make that video while at the castle. She also created a water conservation video and a piece supporting the castle itself.

Lady Gaga's popularity can really go a long way in introducing a new generation to the California landmark, according to Remar Sutton with the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation.

Hundreds of latino teens tour Cuesta College

Mar 21, 2014
Lauren Milbourne, Cuesta College

Hundreds of Latino high school students from throughout San Luis Obispo County visited Cuesta College Friday, and for many it was their first time ever on a college campus.

The day was part of the Educate Si Se Puede outreach conference to help motivate the teens toward education after high school.

In addition to motivational speakers and college-related information, the students were also treated to lunch and a bit of music.

The event was organized by the Latina Leadership Network and Cuesta College

It's Craft Beer Week on the Central Coast

Mar 21, 2014
Randol White

The inaugural Central Coast Craft Beer Week kicks off this weekend and continues through Sunday, March 30 with events throughout Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties.

First up is Cambria Beer Company where owner and brewer Aaron Wharton says he's happy to be celebrating two years in business in addition to helping kick off the event.

Oscar Flores - Twitter @oflores

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit the Central Coast on Friday and Saturday. He and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, met with teachers from the Santa Barbara Unified School District immediatly after landing at the Santa Barbara airport.

The Vice President is scheduled to attend a Democratic National Committee fundraising dinner in Montecito on Friday night. It's a gathering of just 25 people at $5000-a-plate, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.

Happiness Wall comes to San Luis Obispo

Mar 19, 2014

San Luis Obispo is often called the 'happiest place to live' in the nation, and this week the city is making an effort to live up to that title.

Thursday March 20, the first day of spring, is the International Day of Happiness as designated by the United Nations.

Acts of Happiness walls are being assembled in 30 cities throughout the U.S., Canada and England, with San Luis Obispo among them.

One dead, one injured in Cold Spring hiking fall

Mar 18, 2014
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department is looking into a weekend hiking incident along Cold Spring Trail that killed one person and seriously injured another.

Investigators say 22-year-old Saylor Guilliams of Ventura is recovering from two broken ankles at a Santa Barbara area hospital. She was rescued by helicopter after being spotted by a group of hikers on Monday afternoon.

Santa Barbara County Parks

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to keep the rock revetments and parking lots in place at Goleta Beach Park.

The large chunks of rocks in question work to halt erosion into the parking lot and grassy areas. But local environmentalists, including the Santa Barbara Surfrider chapter, argue that studies show rock seawalls eventually work against sandy beaches, causing them to disappear.

It's now up to the California Coastal Commission to issue a permit for the park to keep everything as is.

Air quality alert for Santa Maria area

Mar 17, 2014

Air quality control officials in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties say strong winds are whipping up some unhealthy air over the Nipomo Mesa and Santa Maria areas.

Blowing sand and dust are the problem with the peak periods expected in the afternoon and evening. An Air Quality Watch is in effect through Wednesday morning for northern Santa Barbara County.

Hancock College up for $1 million prize

Mar 17, 2014
Allan Hancock College

  Santa Maria's Allan Hancock College is one of just seven community colleges in California that are up for a $1 million prize, and the only one selected on the Central Coast.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence is handed out every two years with a finalist list of 150 schools chosen nationwide. Hancock was picked as a finalist for its success with institutional performance, improvement and equity on student retention and completion measures.

Hancock also showed high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students.

Calif. DMV

The California Department of Motor Vehicles computer system is back online, after a brief statewide shut down on Friday. It was actually the second consecutive day an outage occurred.

The glitch affected Central Coast offices in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta and Santa Barbara.

The DMV's Jessica Gonzalez says the cause of the computer problem isn't yet know, but she said future problems aren't anticipated.

Gonzalez says the department's online services were not affected by the outage.

San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Department

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office is asking for your help in locating a missing person, and Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward  for information leading to Gonzalez being located.

66 year old Rafael Chavez Gonzalez was last seen on October 22, 2013 on the Nipomo Mesa. The Sheriff's Department says transient was often seen in the Oceano area.

He is described as 5’9”, 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He is missing his left arm from a previous accident.

Arrests made during Vandenberg AFB peace rally

Mar 14, 2014
Brad Wormdal, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

A couple of arrests were made Friday afternoon at an international peace vigil being held at the entrance to Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Longtime Central Coast peace activist Dennis Apel and Salinas-based peace activist MacGreggor Eddy were the two people taken into custody by military police, according to event organizer Bruce Gagnon with the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

Pi Day celebrated on the Central Coast

Mar 14, 2014
Dr. Jonathan Shapiro, Cal Poly Math Club

What started out as a small annual tradition at San Francisco's Exploratorium in the late 1980s, has turned into a widely recognized and good-spirited national holiday celebrating the mathematical symbol for Pi. The symbol (π) represents the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is roughly 3.14—however the number has been successfully carried out to more than a trillion decimal places.

It's actually a national holiday, named as such by congress back in 2009. And, this year the date takes on special significance because Pi Day (3.14) falls within Pi Month.

A Santa Maria couple is facing felony child endangerment charges, accused of leaving their four-year-old daughter in a car while they gambled at the Chumash Casino.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department says the girl was left to sleep in the vehicle on Tuesday around noon, but woke up and began wondering around the parking lot.

The department says 28-year-old Petra Zaragoza and 23-year-old Bulmaro Reyes are being held at the Santa Barbara Jail. Child Welfare Services placed the girl into protective custody.

Work continues on entrance to Santa Barbara Harbor

Mar 11, 2014
Flickr member Damian Gadal

A major cruise ship will have to bypass Santa Barbara this week because sand is blocking the harbor entrance. The Sapphire Princess was scheduled to arrive Wednesday morning and send its tenders into the harbor full of tourists.

Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman says the sand is a result of the recent stormy weather and a longer-than-usual period without dredging.

Arroyo Grande Fire

Arroyo Grande Police are investigating whether texting is to blame for a roll-over accident Wednesday afternoon that injured a local teenager.

A witness says the car flipped several times after leaving the roadway near Arroyo Grande High School where the 17-year-old boy is a student.

Five Cities Fire Battalion Chief Riki Heath was driving on Fair Oaks Avenue when he came upon the scene, just moments after the crash happened.

Drought affects Cambria's approach to Amgen Tour

Mar 7, 2014
Randol White

The drought is playing a big role in how the village of Cambria will host the Amgen Tour of California stage 4 finish in May. 

At the start of this month, leaders in Cambria put into effect mandatory water restrictions to deal with a declared water shortage emergency. At a town informational meeting Thursday night with Amgen organizers, city officials, local business owners and citizens, local concerns—including the water issue—were addressed. 

An administrative law judge says the City of San Luis Obispo needs to reverse course and bring back binding arbitration for the city's police and firefighter unions.

Back in 2011, nearly 3-out-of-4 voters approved Measure B, which put an end to the arbitation practice. Voters also created the binding arbitration method back in 2000.

The judge says the city didn't follow proper procedure before putting the issue back on the ballot with Measure B. The City Council will meet in closed session this Monday to discuss options, including an appeal.

Egg-producing states pile on against California law

Mar 6, 2014
Randol White

A growing number of states are joining a recently filed lawsuit aimed at bringing down a California law regulating egg producers.

Representatives from Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Oklahoma signed onto a lawsuit today, that was filed last month in Fresno's Eastern District Court by Missouri's Attorney General, Chris Koster.

The major egg producing states are worried about a law set to take effect next year that would require out-of-state farmers provide enough room for chickens to stand up and spread their wings, if they're to sell their eggs in California.

How tobacco and alcohol are marketed to kids

Mar 5, 2014
Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community

The smoking of electronic cigarettes will soon be banned in many public areas throughout Santa Maria and Los Angeles after city council votes in both cities on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, health leaders in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties are trying to bring attention to the way e-cigarettes, tobacco, and alcohol products are marketed to children.

SLO Film Fest on the rise

Mar 5, 2014
San Luis Obispo International Film Festival

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival is now underway, with opening night ceremonies at the Fremont Theater.

You may spot television's Adam West in town, as he's in San Luis Obispo to talk about the new documentary Starring Adam West, focused on his life and career. West played television's Batman in the 1960s, and is the voice of the Mayor West on the Fox cartoon Family Guy.

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