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KCBX News Update: Highway 1 resupply convoys, federal agriculture grants and new Morro Bay shelter

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CalTrans District 5
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A new rockslide area on Highway 1 in Monterey County just south of Mill Creek.

Resupply convoys coming to Highway 1 in Big Sur

Caltrans and Monterey County will hold a resupply convoy tomorrow for residents in Big Sur affected by the recent storms and the ongoing closure of Highway 1. The highway is closed from the elephant seal viewing area in San Simeon up to the area south of Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn in Monterey County.

The convoys will allow residents who live along that nearly-40-mile stretch of highway to go out and gather supplies. CalTrans said the closure could last months, so it will offer convoys as needed. The agency has to clear seven large rockslides and clear areas of bluff, along with other repairs that could cost millions of dollars.

Tuesday’s convoy starts at the north gate of Paul’s Slide at 8a.m. and will travel up to Lime Creek, then back down, then repeat that trip again. If you want to join, the agency said to wait outside your house until it passes you.

There will be another one on Friday at the same time, and CalTrans said it may do more next week. More information is online at CalTrans website or social media platforms including Twitter @CalTransD5.

Local, federal officials announce new USDA grant for agriculture innovation

This weekend, local and federal officials met at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to announce nearly $73 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for innovative projects in agriculture.

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Office of Rep. Salud Carbajal
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From right to left: USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jennifer Moffitt; Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24); Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-19); Cal Poly San Luis Obispo President Jeffrey Armstrong; Benoît Lecat, Wine & Viticulture Department Head at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences

The funding is available through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, where the USDA gives grants to state governments to fund projects that expand the specialty crop sector. That refers to crops like fruits, nuts, vegetables and horticulture products — all of which are grown on the Central Coast.

Congressman Jimmy Panetta represents the north end of the Central Coast, which includes major agricultural areas like the Salinas Valley.

“Crops in our district make up most of our agriculture. [As] I always say, 'You name it, we grow it.' And that really is the Central Coast. But we're not only proud of our products — [Congressman Salud Carbajal] and I are proud of our people, we're proud of our farmers, we're proud of our farmworkers. Because that really is what it takes to harvest our specialty crops," Panetta said at Cal Poly SLO this weekend.

The USDA is accepting applications for the grant program on grants.gov until May 1. More information is at usda.gov.

Red Cross shelter open in Morro Bay

The Red Cross now has a shelter open in Morro Bay for residents displaced by this month’s storms.

The shelter opened Friday at the Morro Bay Community Center on Kennedy Way, and it’s accepting displaced people from Morro Bay and surrounding areas including San Luis Obispo.

The shelter is open through today and closes tomorrow morning. The Red Cross said anyone who was displaced from the homes is welcome, along with their pets.

The nonprofit also has clean-up kits people throughout the county pick up, with locations in SLO, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, Morro Bay and Templeton.

SLO County also has collection sites throughout the county for storm-related debris in Oceano, Santa Margarita and Creston.

Meanwhile, the City of San Luis Obispo will also open a local disaster assistance center starting tomorrow where residents can learn about resources like loans, direct assistance from the federal government, legal assistance and more.

That center will be open seven days a week from 8a.m. to 7p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building in San Luis Obispo.

More information on this, the Red Cross shelter and other resources for people affected by the storm is online at RecoverSLO.org.

KCBX News is run by News Director Benjamin Purper and overseen by Program and Content Director Marisa Waddell. Gabriela Fernandez and Amanda Wernik are the current reporters. Posts by "KCBX News Staff" reflect collaborative writing and reporting from multiple news team members and may include work from Benjamin, Gabriela, Amanda and newsroom interns/volunteers.
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