San Luis Obispo County

Algae bloom suspected of sickening sea lions

20 hours ago
Jon Sullivan/Wikimedia Commons

A Central Coast marine mammal center is currently treating over 20 ailing sea lions that have washed up on San Luis Obispo County beaches this week.

Update: Alamo Fire 100% contained

Jul 20, 2017
Courtesy of CalFire

The Alamo Fire burned for two weeks near the Twitchell Dam east of Santa Maria. On Thursday, CalFire reported firefighters have totally contained the blaze and will spend the next few weeks mopping up. The fire destroyed 45 square miles of oak woodland and one home.

Green light for San Luis Ranch housing development

Jul 18, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

On Tuesday evening, city officials in San Luis Obispo approved the proposed San Luis Ranch housing development.

Sophia Mathews/@MsPhias

On the same afternoon the Whittier Fire ignited near a summer camp in Santa Barbara County, another fire broke out east of San Miguel, on the border of rural eastern Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Three San Luis Obispo County libraries are serving up free lunches and snacks for kids over the next month. Children up to age 18 are welcome to the meals - with no ID, income verification or payment required. 

Residents fleeing Hill Fire find refuge at Red Cross evacuation center

Jun 27, 2017
Megan Schelllong/KCBX

As of Tuesday evening, the Hill Fire burning east of Santa Margarita, in San Luis Obispo County, is 60 percent contained. Since the fire started Monday afternoon around 3:30 p.m., it has burned approximately 1600 acres and at least one home in a rural area of the county. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Monday evening - that order is lifted as of 7 p.m. June 27. KCBX News visited the evacuation center set up by the American Red Cross and there we met resident Marie Burd, who was forced to flee the home she shares with her husband, a Cal Poly professor, on Monday night.

CalFire

UPDATE 6-27-17 AT 1:00 P.M.: The Hill Fire is 40 to 45 percent contained, with an estimated 1500 acres burned since Monday afternoon. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

This week in San Luis Obispo, the city’s planning commission voted in favor of the San Luis Ranch development, recommending the project to the city council for approval. Over the past two decades, various project iterations has been proposed for the piece of property bordered by Highway 101, Madonna Road, Dalido Drive and Oceanaire Drive. 

Bree Zender

Discussions this week on the proposed 2025 closure of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant took a look at the safety of having a years-long transition from full operation to shuttering of California's last nuclear power plant. The facility's Independent Safety Committee met this week in Avila Beach for a two-day session. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

In late May the California Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved an “area code overlay,” meaning phone companies will start issuing numbers with a new area code on the Central Coast - and beyond - starting in the summer of 2018. 

SLO County's chief administrative officer resigns

May 12, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

The top administrator of San Luis Obispo County announced his resignation Friday. Dan Buckshi accepted a new job as the next city manager of Walnut Creek in the Bay Area.

Greta Mart/KCBX

A legal settlement this week will make it harder for the Trump administration to open federally-owned public lands to oil and gas development, particularly on the Central Coast.

Local government roundup: 05/01/17

May 1, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

Wikimedia commons/Marya Figueroa

Hearings start Wednesday morning in San Francisco for Pacific Gas and Electric’s request to retire the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. PG&E representatives will go before the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to ask for permission to decommission the plant, as well as approval of a joint agreement PG&E made between San Luis Obispo County and several cities, a school district, labor unions and environmental groups.

Mark Moz/http://bit.ly/2oIGvzG

The most recent market report from the Century 21 real estate company says the housing shortage on the Central Coast is at an all-time high. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

A 60-year-old inmate at the San Luis Obispo County Jail died in the early morning hours Thursday. It’s the second irregular inmate death since the start of the year and it prompted San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson to call a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce he has initiated an outside investigation into the in-custody death. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

It’s been several months since the Wonderful Company and its Justin Vineyards clear cut an oak woodland forest on its land near Paso Robles. That clear-cutting touched off a furor of public outcry, and prompted San Luis Obispo County officials to enact a temporary ban on oak cutting.

On Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a permanent oak ordinance designed to prevent such large-scale oak felling in the future. 

Thursday the San Luis Obispo local agency formation commission - better known as LAFCO - voted in favor of an application to form a new water district in the Paso Robles Area. In a five-to-two vote, the LAFCO commissioners approved the formation of the Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District, or EPC for short.

LAFCO

The San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission, better known as LAFCO, voted Thursday in favor of an application to form a new new, 40,000-acre water district in the Paso Robles area.

In a 3-2 vote, the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors opted Tuesday evening to reaffirm a contentious policy change made in early March, when the board majority designated the county as the Groundwater Sustainability Agency for the San Luis Obispo County groundwater basins.  

Greta Mart/KCBX

The future of garbage disposal  - and energy production  - was on display Tuesday morning at the San Luis Garbage Company facility on San Luis Obispo’s Old Santa Fe Road. It was the official groundbreaking for a new project called an anaerobic digester plant. 

Los Osos Groundwater Basin 2015 Annual Report

San Luis Obispo county officials will hold a public hearing on the topic of groundwater basin management after a recent vote provoked allegations of Brown Act violations.

Matt Toevs

The San Luis Obispo County Coroner confirmed the victim of a fatal car crash Tuesday morning as 30-year-old Matthew Frank, widely known as the SLO Stringer. Many didn’t know his personal identity but his breaking news coverage was followed by tens of thousands of San Luis Obispo County residents. 

Paso Robles Groundwater Management Plan

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) - passed into law in 2014 - for the first time requires organized management of the state's underground reservoirs of fresh water. It provides a framework for creating new governing agencies to do so,  and requires those agencies to create, maintain and enforce sustainable management plans.

Phillips 66 oil-by-rail plan rejected once again

Mar 14, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

Opponents of the Phillips 66 oil-by-rail project celebrated Tuesday after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted three to one to deny the company’s appeal. 

Local government roundup: 03/13/2017

Mar 13, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

On local government agendas this week, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors will continue the hearing that began Monday morning on the Phillips 66 oil-by-rail project appeal. A handful of supporters spoke in favor of the oil company’s plan to build a rail spur to its Nipomo Mesa refinery; dozens of speakers stated their opposition to the project. The Board will resume hearing public comment on Tuesday morning.

Local government roundup: 03/06/2017

Mar 6, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

On Central Coast county government agendas this week, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing on the Phillips 66 Rail Spur project set to go before the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on March 13, next Monday. Santa Barbara officials are urging their San Luis Obispo counterparts to reject a Phillips 66 appeal of the 2016 San Luis Obispo Planning Commission decision to deny the project. 

Cafe vibe, teen space at renovated SLO county library

Mar 6, 2017
Greta Mart/KCBX

The main branch of the San Luis Obispo County library system reopened this weekend, after being closed since October for an $843,000 renovation.

Library Director Chris Barnickel says patrons can expect to see a third floor and an extra 1800 square feet added to the library. And, the updated first floor resembles a coffee shop, but without the coffee.

PG&E video still

Templeton resident Jordan Cunningham was elected to the California State Assembly in November. The Republican lawmaker represents the 35th District, which encompasses all of San Luis Obispo County and a portion of Santa Barbara County. The second bill he introduced since being elected, AB 457, calls for feasibility study on repurposing the existing desalination plant at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant as a public water supply. KCBX spoke with Cunningham in a recent phone interview about his ideas for the PG&E-owned nuclear power facility scheduled to be decommissioned starting in 2025. 

Tess Whittlesey

Central Coast congressman Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) held a town hall meeting in Arroyo Grande Wednesday evening, attracting hundreds of people. KCBX asked Carbajal his reaction to the meeting and the most prevalent concerns voiced there.

“The most pressing concerns I heard last night were the concerns of repealing the Affordable Care Act, especially the attempts to repeal it without replacing it,” Carbajal said.

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