KCBX News

Monday through Friday during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

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.

http://go.farmbot.it/

It's a tough spring in California for committed gardeners who need to contemplate how our record dry spell will affect what they plant and tend to for this year’s fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens.

The complexities of gardening are what drive the passion for some. But others don’t quite possess the knowledge, talents, time, or even the physical abilities it takes to successfully work the soil. That's where a new invention, something called FarmBot, comes in.

San Miguel man arrested in high tech peeping case

Apr 24, 2014
SLO County Sheriff's Department

A San Miguel man is facing charges of breaking into local homes and installing wireless cameras in the bedrooms.

On May 18, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a report of a burglary at a home in the area of Bonita Place and Verde Place in San Miguel. A suspect was identified at that time.

After a month-long investigation, deputies arrested 34-year-old Eutimio Contreras Anguiano in connection with the case.

The Atascadero City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to consider raising the city's sales tax by a half percent. The goal would be to raise nearly $2 million with the primary purpose of funding road repairs.

Tuesday's decision simply directs city staff to gather public opinion, as well as construct language for a ballot measure to put before voters in November. The council will consider the staff proposal in June.

2014 SLO Film Fest sees record numbers

Apr 22, 2014

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) saw record attendance and income in March, according to the festival's marketing director Wendy Eidson.

Organizers say the event has been growing steadily in recent years with ticket sales up 35 percent from 2013. Overall admissions increased to 8500, beating the previous record by more than 12-percent.

Popular Gaviota rest areas closing May 5

Apr 22, 2014
Flickr member Tom Hilton

The popular Cal Trans rest area on the Gaviota coast will shut down Monday, May 5 so work crews can give both the northbound and southbound Highway 101 facilities a major upgrade.

The project will include renovations to the plumbing systems, adding low flow fixtures and faucets that automatically shut off. In addition, the facilities will get cosmetic makeovers, including new landscape and irrigation systems.

Residents of Nipomo could face higher water rates as the ongoing drought continues to take a toll on groundwater reserves.

The major water purveyors for in the area, including the Nipomo Community Resources District (NCRD), have agreed to reduce their pumping rate by 30 percent should the basin reach "severe water shortage" conditions—a specific term defined by a court-appointed group. 

NCRD General Manager Michael LeBrun says they'll have few options should they reach that low water mark.

Southbound lanes of 101 in Santa Barbara were closed for much of Monday as investigators collected evidence from a deadly two vehicle crash.

Two 17-year-old girls and a 20-year-old man were killed after their Mazda flipped on the highway just around 12:45 a.m. Monday near the Castillo exit.

The California Highway Patrol says seconds later that vehicle was hit by a Ford Mustang driven by 52-year-old Kimberly Kreis who suffered minor injuries. Kreis was later arrested for DUI and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.

Cal Poly baseball team ranked No. 1 in the nation

Apr 21, 2014
Owen Main/ Fansmanship.com

The Cal Poly baseball team is having a record-breaking season this year, and with this weekend's sweep of Cal State Fullerton, the Mustangs now sit higher in the national rankings than any time in school history.

Just about every NCAA Division I poll released Monday ranks the Mustangs as the second best team in the nation, but one—the Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll—puts Cal Poly at the very top.

The Mustangs play again on Tuesday, welcoming San Jose State to the newly expanded Baggett Stadium for a 6:00 p.m. game.

Verification is currently underway on  919 signatures submitted to the City of Pismo Beach this week, aimed at limiting a large development that has the potential to double the size of the city.

The group Save Price Canyon is hoping to get an initiative on this November's ballot, and turned in hundreds more signatures than are needed to qualify.

California DWR

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced Friday a 5 percent increase in allotments for those using water supplied by the State Water Project.

The start of 2014 marked the third dry year for the state of California and the first year for a zero percent allocation of state water resources to cities. But, storms in February and March helped the state with some much needed rain, and snowfall in the Sierra.

This small increase is good news for Central Valley farmers, but won't change much for the agricultural community on the Central Coast.

SLO County Business Week

Apr 17, 2014

This week for the business wrap-up, we speak with the Economic Vitality Corporation's CEO/President Michael Manchak about the following topics:

  • SMS Masterminds goes public - raises more than $12 million
  • 805connect coming to SLO, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties

City of Paso Robles moving toward recycled water

Apr 17, 2014
Randol White, KCBX News

The City of Paso Robles is moving forward with plans to create a recycled water system with approval this week from the city council of $795,000 for the first step in the process.

The system, when complete, will send water through a "purple pipe" system to the city's big irrigation users like parks, golf courses, and even vineyards.

The recycled water delivery would be similar to what the City of San Luis Obispo already has in place. Several parks and the municipal golf course are irrigated with water that's been treated at the facility off of Prado Road.

UC Santa Barbara makes Green College Honor Roll

Apr 17, 2014
Flickr user Ricardo Diaz

The Princeton Review is out with its top picks for the nation's most environmentally friendly schools, and the University of California, Santa Barbara is among the top picks.

The 2014 version of the publications Green Colleges Guide includes 330 institutions of higher education in the United States and two in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. In addition, just 22 schools are chosen for the so-called Green College Honor Roll.

Prayer will no longer be a part of Pismo Beach City Council meetings following a unanimous vote last night by the three council members in attendance.

The decision resolves a lawsuit brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and a member of Atheists United SLO asking the city to end the practice.

The Pismo Beach city manager says the council's move was made to avoid a costly trial using taxpayer funds. As part of the settlement, the city agreed to pay the plaintiffs' legal fees of $47,500. In addition, the position of city chaplain was abolished.

Flickr member Mike Baird

The Mission and State article The Student who took on Venoco raises questions about the notion of unauthorized acid use and disposal in oil extraction.

We interviewed the article's author, Natalie Cherot about the story and where the legal issues stand now. 

Flickr member DieselDemon

An effort to ban new forms of petroleum production in the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County is gaining momentum and getting support from at least one other organization.

Santa Barbara County Water Guardians is working to collect 13,200 signatures by May 7 to qualify The Healthy Air and Water Initiative to Ban Fracking for the November 4, 2014 ballot.

If passed by voters, the initiative would target newer forms of oil and gas extraction, including fracking. 

Last chance for Dunes Center to dig up film history

Apr 14, 2014
Dunes Center

Buried beneath the sand of the Guadalupe-Nipomo dunes are artifacts from the set of Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 film "The Ten Commandments."

DeMille buried his set 91 years ago but since then, the shifting sands have exposed pieces of the set. The Dunes Center of Guadalupe has discovered many pieces of DeMille’s set over the years, but they are running out of time to find more artifacts.

Flickr member easylocum

The Crown Princess is currently anchored off the coast of Santa Barbara with a reported 66 passengers and 17 crew members isolated in their cabins with Norovirus symptoms. They are expected to stay in their cabins until they are no longer contagious.

"We have implemented enhanced sanitation procedures onboard Crown Princess to interrupt the person-to-person spread of this illness," said Karen Candy, Manager of Media Relations for Princess Cruises. Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Mike Eliason/SBC

An estimated  15,000 people descended on Isla Vista's Del Playa Drive Saturday for the annual party known as Deltopia. The non-sanctioned UC Santa Barbara spring break party turned into a riot with hundreds of law enforcement officers from Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties responding.

The incident became national news on Sunday, and is tarnishing the image of students at the UCSB campus. 

Mike Eliason/SBC

Deltopia, the annual spring break party in Isla Vista, turned violent Saturday night as a crowd gathered to heckle officers making an arrest on the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department says a UC Santa Barbara Police officer received a serious injury when a backpack full of liquor bottles hit the officer's head. During an arrest following that incident, the crowd began to throw rocks, bricks and bottles at law enforcement.

April is 'Down to Earth' wine month in California

Apr 2, 2014
Wine Institute

Eco-friendly wines and winery events are featured this month as part of the Wine Institute's third-annual Down to Earth celebrations in California.

The month is aimed at bringing attention to the state's leadership in sustainable winegrowing and winemaking.

"Our California Sustainable Winegrowing Program leads the world in comprehensiveness and size with wineries and vineyards that produce nearly three-quarters of California’s wine grapes and wine participating,” said Bobby Koch, President and CEO of Wine Institute.

Controversial 'Glove Law' faces likely change

Apr 1, 2014
Shannan Baumann

California restaurants and bars may be in luck after a unanimous vote last week in favor of Assembly Bill 2130.

The bill is an amendment to the Retail Food Safety Bill, commonly referred to as the "Glove Law," which went into effect this January. According to Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who wrote the initial legislation and the bill in consideration, the law was intended to be a non-controversial update to the existing food safety code.

Whole Foods buys several New Frontiers locations

Mar 31, 2014
New Frontiers

The popular New Frontiers Natural Marketplace on Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo will soon become a Whole Foods Market.

The Austin, Texas-based chain announced Monday that it's buying four stores operated by New Frontiers, including the store in SLO. The three other stores are all in Arizona.

New Frontiers also runs a store in Solvang and an organic farm in Buellton, however the announcement did not mention anything about those locations.

Santa Barbara County Fire

Search crews have had no success looking for the body of a man swept out to sea Sunday during a baptism at the Guadalupe Dunes beach, directly west of Santa Maria.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department, California State Parks water rescue, and the US Coast Guard are the agencies working to locate the man.

On Monday morning, crews had reports of a body in the surf which turned out to be fishing buoys.

Flickr member Tracey Adams

Scientists are gathering in Southern California this week to consider methods for studying the cancer rates of those who live near nuclear facilities like Diablo Canyon. 

The National Academy of Sciences' project is in its pilot planning phase. This week's efforts will include appointing committees, considering current data, and identifying the concerns and perceptions of key stakeholders.

While the team will be working on the project for most of the week, Thursday's meeting at UC Irvine's Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center is open to the public and can be viewed online. 

Fire Cities Fire Authority

Fire  investigators are looking into the cause of a house fire Monday morning on Platino Lane in Arroyo Grande. Smoke from the hilltop blaze could be seen from as far away as Avila Beach, according to the Five Cities Fire Authority. 

The authority's public information officer Peter Klein said the fire may have started in a lower floor game room. The home's owner tried to initially put it out with a hose after being alerted by a smoke alarm.

A total of 7 people were in the home at the time of the fire, including small children. All made it out safely, said Klein.

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.

Google Maps

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."

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