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KCBX News Update: SLO City to conduct paved road study, SLO County reports 110 new coronavirus cases, and Santa Barbara Zoo welcomes kangaroos

City of SLO
The IMS vans will drive around San Luis Obispo in January.

City of SLO to study its paved road conditions

The City of San Luis Obispo will conduct a study of its paved roads in early January to determine which streets are in good or bad condition.

City officials said they hired Arizona-based Infrastructure Management Services (IMS) to conduct the study in an effort to develop a “long-term infrastructure maintenance plan and budget.”

Matt Horn, the city’s Public Works Director, said in a press release: “The City’s roadway system is the backbone for all other community services. The roadways need to be assessed and maintained regularly.”

The IMS team will drive around the city in a white Ford Transit equipped with something called a “laser road surface tester” which gathers information on roads.

The Public Works Department will then use that data to recommend locations to improve.

SLO County officials report 110 new cases and one death since Tuesday 

San Luis Obispo County public health officials have announced 110 new cases of the coronavirus and one death from the virus since Tuesday.

The county’s known death toll from the virus now stands at 366.

The Omicron variant has yet to be detected in San Luis Obispo County, or anywhere else on the Central Coast, but Los Angeles County has seen several confirmed cases.

The county operates free testing sites in San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Grover Beach and Paso Robles.

More information on vaccines in SLO County is available at, and to schedule an appointment for a vaccination, visit

Santa Barbara Zoo/Twitter
The three male kangaroos join emus and wallabies at the Australia Walkabout exhibit.

SLO County has recorded 30,881 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

Santa Barbara Zoo welcomes kangaroos to Australia exhibit

The Santa Barbara Zoo has gained some new residents.

The zoo announced Thursday that three male Western gray kangaroos have arrived at the Australian Walkabout exhibit, which is under construction and set to open in January.

One kangaroo named Max comes from the San Diego Zoo, while the two others named Aspen and Coolibah come from the Los Angeles Zoo.

In a tweet, the zoo said the kangaroos are "acclimating to and cohabitating well with the emus and wallabies" that they share the Australia exhibit with.

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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