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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.

Wikipedia user: Coolcaesar

All classes are canceled Tuesday on the UCSB campus in an effort to give the campus community time to grieve for the six students who were killed Friday in Isla Vista by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger.  

While classes will not be held, UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang is asking faculty members to make themselves available to students on campus. Counselors are also available at the Student Resource Building.

There will be a memorial service at Harder Stadium on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. organized jointly by students, staff, and faculty. 

Oscar Flores - Twitter @oflores

UPDATE: May 26, 2014 at 5:36 p.m.  

Seven people are dead, including the suspected gunman, and several people are still recovering from injuries following a series of shootings and stabbings in Isla Vista on Friday night. One of the hospitalized victims was still in serious condition as of Saturday.

Investigators believe 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, a Santa Barbara City College student from Woodland Hills who was living in Isla Vista, started his killing spree by stabbing to death his two roommates and a third man.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department

A 7-month-old Atascadero boy has been placed into protective custody, after the baby's urine tested positive for cocaine.

The boy's father, 26-year-old Billy Lee Remick, Junior, was arrested last Friday by San Luis Obispo County sheriff's deputies on charges of child cruelty and possession of a controlled substance.

Deputies searched Remick's apartment last week following up on a marijuana investigation. The sheriff's department says Remick had attempted to illegally ship 559 grams of marijuana to a location in New York state a week earlier.

SLO HotHouse churns out Cal Poly success stories

May 22, 2014

The SLO HotHouse tops our conversation this week with Mike Manchak, President and CEO for the Economic Vitality Corporation (EVC), regarding the latest business news and trends along the Central Coast.

Cal Poly's successful program in downtown San Luis Obispo is funded by Cal Poly and the business community. It's hosting a summer accelerator program for student startups. The venture has successfully incubated companies that have since been acquired by large corporations.

Pacific Business Times reporter Stephen Nellis has an upcoming piece on this program.

Flickr member HarmonyRae

The City of Lompoc is considering reinstating its ban on "Safe and Sane" fireworks following last week's Miguelito Fire. Council members will take up the issue at the next scheduled meeting on June 3.

The long-standing ban on fireworks was lifted last year during the lead-up to the Fourth of July holiday.

Council member DeWayne Holmdahl says he voted against allowing fireworks last year, and will vote the same way at the next meeting, should it come up for a vote.


A long-awaited project for those in North County San Luis Obispo officially wrapped up Wednesday with a ceremony on Highway 46.

The new Estrella River Bridges—just east of Paso Robles—are part of a multi-phase $265 million Caltrans project that is upgrading 15 miles of the roadway.

The stretch is being converted from a two-lane highway to a four-lane expressway between Paso Robles and Shandon.

The new bridges are 1000 feet long and 100 feet high, replacing the original bridge built in the mid 1950s.

UPDATE: Missing Atascadero boy found

May 21, 2014
Atascadero Police Department

UPDATE: Thurs., May 22, 2014 - 6:12 p.m.

The Atascadero Police Department confirmed on Thursday afternoon that 13-year-old Jeremiah Austin Valdez was located and would be reunited with his family. No other details were given at that time.

Original story: 

The Atascadero Police Department is looking for a missing 13-year-old boy who was last seen by his guardians on Monday.

Jeremiah Austin Valdez is considered "at risk" because of his age, and because he takes medication for depression, according to police.

Bryce Cosio

UPDATE: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 4:07 p.m.

A man wanted by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department's Gang Task Force surrendered to law enforcement Wednesday afternoon, according to Lt. Smith with the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

"Based on the criminal history, and he's known to fight with officers, and has had firearms in the past, the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT Team was activated," said Lt. Smith. "We basically shut down the area and had all of the pedestrians move out of the area."

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County - video still

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to use $1.1 million dollars as part of an effort to buy land that could one day make up the Pismo Preserve.

"Thrillingly we just approved $1.1 million!" Supervisor Adam Hill, whose district includes the proposed project, said in an email to KCBX.

The money will come from a fund known as the Park Public Facility Fee.

Flickr member Mike Baird

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has ordered a report to detail how a ban on specific methods of oil extraction would affect the local economy, and any legal ramifications that might stem from implementing such a ban.

The board will meet again next month in Santa Maria to finish discussing the proposal, and whether it will end up on this November's ballot.

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

Pismo Beach City Council votes to allow goats

May 20, 2014
Facebook page: Goatee "The Surfing Goat"

UPDATE: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 10:41 a.m.—

The Pismo Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to have city staff write up an ordinance to allow residents to keep up to four goats with an annual permit.

Goats would be allowed in public parks as well.

The council voted 4-1, with the only one dissenting vote from council member Mary Ann Reiss. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2014—

The Pismo Beach City Council will consider changing its policy on goats within city limits at Tuesday night's meeting.

Jason Lopez

Not so long ago, the Paso Robles groundwater basin was thought to be practically limitless, at least by pro growth adherents. But times have changed, and this Central Coast wine growing region is now facing the most severe drought in recorded history. As might be expected, many are now looking for ways to protect the basin from further depletion, including a limit on further vineyard expansion.

Later this week, students attending Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria will received the largest scholarship distribution in the history of the school, totaling $478,000.

This year's total is a 56-percent increase over last year, according to the foundation.

All of the money comes from donors based on the Central Coast, with awards ranging from $500 to $10,000.

The 266 students receiving the scholarships will get to meet the very people behind each award during a dinner Thursday night.

Cal Poly Baseball grabs Big West Championship

May 19, 2014
Owen Main/ Fansmanship.com

 The Cal Poly baseball team is celebrating its first-ever championship in the Big West Conference. The title comes after a weekend sweep over Cal State Northridge in Southern California. 

The Mustangs finished the season with six straight victories, increasing the team's standings nationally to as high as No. 4 with the ESPN-USA Today poll. The team now moves into the post-season with the Division I regionals set for next week.

This will be the third time the team has made it this far, all three within the last five years, and all under Coach Larry Lee.

Central Coast sees more good jobs numbers for April

May 16, 2014

The latest unemployment numbers from the state of California show the Central Coast continues to have among the lowest unemployment rates in the state.

San Luis Obispo County's April jobless rate was 5.2 percent, while Santa Barbara County came in at 5.4.

Raymond McDonald is with the Santa Barbara County's Workforce Investment Board and cautioned that these numbers are new and will be adjusted over time, but he says it is encouraging to see numbers return to pre-recession levels.

The man who has been in charge of San Luis Obispo County's public works department for the past several years will become Oceano's new general manager this summer. Paavo Ogren is expected to begin running the Community Services District in July.

Mary Lucey is the vice president of the district board and told KCBX Friday, they're very excited to have somebody of Ogren's caliper ready to take charge.


Issues and Ideas, May 21, 2014:

Who are you voting for in the race for San Luis Obispo District Attorney? Those running include:

  • Tim Covello (on ballot)
  • Dan Dow (on ballot)
  • Paul Phillips (write in)

If you haven’t made up your mind, listen to all three candidates—two on the ballot and a third official write-in—discuss their platforms. Debate moderated by Larry Rutter. 

Wave energy, business incubators, local events

May 16, 2014


Mike Manchak, President and CEO for the Economic Vitality Corporation (EVC), a non-profit working to generate jobs, promote start-ups, and increase investment throughout SLO County.


  • Potential Wave Energy Projects are being considered for the central coast from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo
  • Business incubators are starting to spring up, including a new one in Goleta.
  • Business-related events coming to the Central Coast in the coming weeks.


A 32-year-old Goleta woman faces a possible child endangerment charges after the sheriff's department says she left her nine-month-old son unattended in a hot car Thursday afternoon, with only the back windows partially rolled down.

The incident was reported to 9-1-1 by somebody at Goleta's Magnolia Shopping Center, where the woman had gone into a grocery store.

The temperature outside at the time was around 95 degrees, according to the sheriff's report.

VIDEO: Pismo Pier start to Stage 5 of Amgen Tour

May 15, 2014
Courtney Winters, City of Pismo Beach

The temperature was hovering near 90 degrees as the Amgen Tour of California's Stage 5 kicked off along the Pismo Beach pier Thursday morning, well above normal for mid-May along the Central Coast.

Suzen Brasil with the City of Pismo Beach estimates some 5000 people showed up to cheer the riders at the pier and on connecting streets.

The route first took riders to Arroyo Grande for a sprint down Branch Street, then to a sizzling Santa Ynez Valley, up and over the San Marcos pass on Highway 154, with a finish finally in Santa Barbara around 4:00 p.m.

Cal Poly Student Affairs, the Mayor of San Luis Obispo, the Downtown Association, and local bar owners have all come to an agreement regarding the opening hours for local watering holes the mornings of graduation—they'll remain at 6 a.m.

Dominic Tartaglia, executive director of the Downtown Association, says the situation will be used as a way to educate students on responsible drinking. Cal Poly plans to roll out that campaign over the next few weeks.

Twitter feed @AmgenTourofCali

Riders in the Amgen Tour of California, the largest professional bicycle race in the United States, encountered temperatures well above normal for the Central Coast during Wednesday's Stage 4 along Highway 1.

Heat records were broken throughout San Luis Obispo County on Wednesday, with many inland locations hovering at or near 100 degrees. Along the coast, where the riders spent most of their time, temperatures were a bit more moderate with 80s and 90s.


THURSDAY UPDATE: 6:11 p.m.—Santa Barbara County Fire Department investigators have concluded that the Miguelito Fire was started when untrimmed trees came into contact with a live power line.

Investigators say a 12,000 volt power line feeding the plant located at 2500 San Miguelito Rd. in Lompoc, contacted a tree causing embers to drop down and ignite the dry brush along the hillside.

Santa Barbara plastic bag ban starts Wednesday

May 12, 2014
Flickr member Taber Andrew Bain

Don't forget your reusable shopping bag, if you're headed into a Santa Barbara grocery store or pharmacy later this week.

Single-use plastic carryout bags will no longer be available and paper bags can be purchased for 10 cents each at all large stores as of Wednesday. Small stores have until mid-November to comply.

Lorraine Cruz Carpenter is an environmental specialist with the City of Santa Barbara and says she's heard very little push-back regarding the ban.

Two pro-business groups are lining up behind a plan to extend San Luis Obispo's half-cent sales tax for another eight years.

The Downtown Association has joined the SLO Chamber of Commerce, in calling on the City Council to put the extension on the November ballot.

Voters first approved the half-cent tax, known as Measure Y, back in 2006. It's due to expire this year.

The Downtown Association's executive director, Dominic Tartaglia says the association wasn't always entirely behind the measure.

Flickr member Dan'o

The Central Coast is well known for its award-winning wines, and in recent years, the Paso Robles region has become a favorite of wine critics.  

The area also faces challenges from drought and rapid growth.

Randol White shares insight into the many aspects of our local wine industry during his latest interview.

Information on the 32nd Paso Robles Wine Festival can be found at PasoWine.com

An attorney from Pismo Beach is entering the race for San Luis Obispo County District Attorney—as a write-in candidate.

On Thursday, Paul Phillips submitted the final signatures he needed to qualify as an official write-in candidate, according to County Clerk Julie Rodewald.

Up until now, the contentious race for SLO County DA has been just between just the two candidates who will appear on June's ballot, Assistant District Attorney Tim Covello, and Dan Dow, the Deputy District Attorney.

Wikimedia Commons

The first woman appointed to the U-S Supreme Court will speak on the UCSB campus this Saturday at a free event that is open to the public.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will give a talk titled "Educating for Democracy in a Digital Age."

Wade Clark Roof is the director of the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life and says O'Connor's focus this weekend should be engaging.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department

A longtime youth soccer coach in the Santa Ynez area is in custody on $100,000 bail, charged with sex crimes against a child.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department says 42-year-old Jose Diaz was arrested Tuesday in Solvang for having sexual relations with a teenager when the girl was 14 and 15 years old. 

Diaz has been a coach with the local American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) girl's league for nearly two decades. Sheriff's detectives are concerned there may be more victims.

Randol White

Embarcadero Road is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and fishing businesses. Together they make up the community of Morro Bay’s celebrated waterfront.

All the lease sites along the waterfront are public property of the City of Morro Bay and are managed by the Morro Bay Harbor Department.

Eric Endersby oversees the waterfront leases as a part of his job as Morro Bay Harbor Manager and he says things are changing in the bay.