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.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Wednesday marks the second day of the San Luis Obispo County employee strike. Members of SLOCEA, the county’s largest union, didn’t go to their jobs Tuesday—affecting social services, clerical positions and prompting library branch closures. Instead, many showed up to protest at the county board of supervisors meeting.

County of San Luis Obispo/SLOCEA

San Luis Obispo County is preparing for an employee strike. For the first time in its history, SLOCEA—the county’s largest employee union—plans to strike Tuesday, December 11 through Friday, December 14. The county and union have not been able to come to an agreement over current and future wages and benefits. KCBX News recently sat down with San Luis Obispo County’s manager and met with a SLOCEA member to learn more.

Greta Mart/KCBX

San Luis Obispo County is preparing for an imminent employee strike. Members of the SLOCEA union plan to strike Tuesday, and potentially continue through Friday. The county and union have not been able to come to an agreement over current and future wages and benefits, and while the strike is expected to happen, what’s not certain is who will strike and what all will be affected.

Amarica Rafanelli/KCBX

UC Santa Barbara has broken ground on a new student farm, in an effort to address on-campus food insecurity.

Menaka Wilhelm/KCBX

In the earliest days of cartoon movies, hopeful artists had to make their way to Los Angeles studios to learn animation. Now, digital tools let students learn the basics in far more places—including Allan Hancock community college in Santa Maria, which offers an associate degree in the field.

Courtesy of Dennis Eamon Young Photo

The county board of supervisors have agreed on a plan to help build affordable homes for the county’s workforce. But while the move is being heralded for bipartisan—and multilateral—agreement, some say the real work is still to come.

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San Luis Obispo County officials held a public hearing this week about U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) access to people arrested and held at the county jail. The California TRUTH Act, aimed at bringing transparency to local law enforcement participation with ICE, requires a community forum be held once a year.

Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the day a SoCalEdison electrical transformer blew up and sparked a small brush fire in Ventura County. 60-mile-an-hour winds fanned that into the Thomas Fire, at the time considered the largest wildfire in California’s modern history. That was, until the Mendocino Complex and Camp Fires eclipsed it.

On this week's show, we spoke with a local doctor about his personal experience as a care provider within the American healthcare system. 

CALMatters: What happens if PG&E goes bankrupt?

Dec 3, 2018
Courtesy of PG&E

Investigators are massing. Lawsuits are mounting. The death toll in Butte County's historic Camp Fire stands at 88, so far.

Another year, another megafire, another calamity in which faulty Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) equipment is a prime suspect. And once again, Californians face a familiar question: What’s going to happen to the behemoth power company in the thick of the fire zone?

PG&E video still

Diablo Canyon Power Plant owner Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is looking for community input on its plan to decommission California's last nuclear power plant. A panel tasked with helping to plan the closure has released a draft report, and Dec. 10 is the deadline to provide public comment on the panel's "strategic vision." 

awareawakealive.org

On December 2, 2008, 18-year-old Carson Starkey was involved in a fraternity ritual at San Luis Obispo's California Polytechnic State University. As part of an iniation hazing, he was compelled to drink large quantities of alcohol. After becoming unresponsive, instead of taking Starkey to the hospital, Sigma Alpha Epsilon members left him to sleep it off on a mattress, out of fear of getting themselves in trouble. Starkey never woke up.

Caitlin Cocuzzo

Up next, we learn about an innovative high school class in San Luis Obispo County. KCBX News invited a teacher and two students from Central Coast New Tech High School to the studio for a discussion about learning civics and government, by starting from scratch.

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UPDATE Nov. 27, 2018: The Federal Drug Administration says its investigation has narrowed down the source of the current E. coli outbreak to romaine lettuce grown in Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Ventura counties. The CDC says packaging should indicate where the lettuce was grown, and if it does not, do not eat it. 43 people are now reported ill connected to the outbreak. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration urged consumers to toss out any romaine lettuce on hand in connection to an E. coli outbreak, and Monterey County's top agricultural official said romaine grown on the Central Coast is possibly the source.

Coming storm triggers Highway 1 closure alert

Nov 27, 2018
Greta Mart/KCBX

UPDATE TUESDAY, NOV. 27, 2018 10 A.M. Caltrans announced Tuesday morning it plans to close two sections of Highway 1 around Paul's Slide and Mud Creek. The closures go into effect at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Here's part of the advisory from Caltrans, alerting the public "to be prepared for closure of the roadway tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28 mid-morning due to a significant storm. A final notice will be sent when the roadway closes. Caltrans will have our Geotech, Maintenance and Construction units on call and prepared to inspect/clean up during daylight hours when the storm ends and it is safe to be onsite again. The gates on either side of Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide will be key locked. These gates will not be manned when the highway is closed. No one, including Emergency Services or Caltrans employees, will be allowed access until a proper assessment can be made and any necessary cleanup has been completed."

As the state's transportation agency warned earlier this month, a temporary closure of Highway 1 between Ragged Point and Big Sur is possible this week. The National Weather Service says a coming storm could be severe enough to warrant closures at two high-risk sections: Mud Creek and Paul’s Slide.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

When NASA’s InSight mission to Mars took off from the Central Coast’s Vandenberg Air Force Base six months ago, two little satellites piggybacked along for the ride. They’re called CubeSats, and they’re about the size of briefcases. Cal Poly students in San Luis Obispo had a hand in their departure from earth and the data they are sending back from Mars.

Greta Mart/KCBX

For the first time in county government history, San Luis Obispo County officials are gearing up for a potential employee strike. The county’s largest employee union, the San Luis Obispo County Employees' Association (SLOCEA), wants a higher wage increase than the administration has offered. But that’s not the only issue on the table.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Two weeks after the general election, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong says his office is still counting vote-by-mail ballots. He expects to release more numbers later this week, and next. But one thing has halted: those election mailers stuffing mailboxes since summer. How much do campaigns spend on mailers? How many mailers were there? And where do they end up when the election is over?

Courtesy of the Natural Healing Center

Up next, another segment from KCBX News’ Central Coast Curious project; we take listener questions  submitted at our website, KCBX.org, and send our reporters out to find answers.

Courtesy of the City of Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara may be adding some tiny homes to the city's housing stock. In hopes of securing more than $6 million in funding, the Santa Barbara City Council approved a grant application Tuesday that would provide money for 40 tiny houses for the city’s homeless population.

California wildfires: How you can help

Nov 14, 2018
NBC News

In response to the deadly fires that have burned through hundreds of thousands of acres and displaced thousands across California, organizations around the state are providing relief to the victims of these fires. Many are requesting monetary donations rather than items. Here are some of the ways you can help:

Flickr member davidsonscott15

The Paso Robles Police Department notified the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday morning of a threatening social media post made to a Santa Maria school. A 22-year-old Orcutt resident wrote on Facebook that he wanted to “shoot up a school" in the area, although he did not specify which one.

Carol Tangeman/KCBX News

There were hundreds of protests across the nation Thursday in response to President Trump’s recent firing of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Here on the Central Coast, there were rallies in Santa Barbara, Ojai, Paso Robles, and Cambria. In San Luis Obispo, hundreds gathered on the steps of the courthouse to express their concern for Trump’s placement of former Attorney General's chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, as head of the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Greta Mart/KCBX News

San Luis Obispo County’s legal counsel announced this week the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct an independent investigation into the medical and mental health care of inmates at the county jail. The county says the investigation isn’t focused on a single event, but the news comes less than two days after the wife of a former inmate in the jail filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county.

Greta Mart/KCBX

As of Wednesday afternoon, it appears unlikely Measure G, aiming to curb future oil extraction and fracking in San Luis Obispo County, will pass.

Menaka Wilhelm/KCBX

As of the latest unofficial election results published early Wednesday morning, Heidi Harmon is on her way to winning another two-year term as mayor of San Luis Obispo.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Depending on where voters are registered, there are a lot of candidates in one category on the November 2018 ballot: judicial. But unlike other offices, measures and propositions in this election, there are no judicial campaigns vying for votes. 

California governor's race comes down to its final day

Nov 5, 2018
Ben Adler/Capital Public Radio

Today is election day, and the candidates for California governor are barnstorming the state making their final pitches to voters. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

A handful of protesters gathered outside the California Men’s Colony prison in San Luis Obispo Thursday. The wives and loved ones of inmates say they are worried about a new policy change coming to the facility, and prisons statewide. It’s a program that merges two different populations of inmates; effectively ending the country's largest protective custody program.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Regardless of which candidates and ballot measures voters choose this November, San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said this year’s general election is remarkable. San Luis Obispo County has seen a surge in the number of registered voters.

“We shattered our voter count record,” Gong said. “And we sent out 130,000 vote-by-mail ballots—10,000 more vote-by-mail ballots than 2016’s presidential election.”

In terms of voter registration, Gong said, it feels a bit more like a presidential election year than a midterm cycle.

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