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.

Flickr/Omar Bárcena

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced this week new efforts to reduce wait times, such as a new text notification program, self-service kiosks and extended hours. On the Central Coast, part of that reprieve is new Saturday hours at the Salinas and San Luis Obispo offices. San Luis Obispo County specifically has seen a huge jump in wait times over the past year, almost doubling. They’re not the longest wait times in the state, but long enough to have customers lining up outside every morning.

Flickr Commons/http://bit.ly/2AvLjN0

In a decision that surprised many, a federal court released a decision Thursday ordering the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to effectively ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Cascarones — or confetti eggs — are a long-standing Mexican tradition. Chicken eggs are hollowed out, cleaned and decorated, then filled with toys or confetti. And often, the resulting party favor is then cracked over people's heads as a gag. The colorful creations are frequently seen around Easter, as well as other holidays and festivals, like Santa Barbara’s Fiesta, a celebration of the city’s culture and heritage. But this year, state officials descended on the event, threatening to issue citations to cascarones vendors, unless they started paying state taxes on their sales.

Greta Mart/KCBX

In February, San Luis Obispo put out a call for artists, looking for local talent to submit ideas for painting 26 utility boxes around the city. The city’s park and recreation department received over 200 submissions, and in the end, 19 artists were selected. This week, those artists started their painting projects.

CityofSalinas.org/data

This week, the city of Salinas joined other cities across the U.S. that have created open data portals. Such portals are web tools that let anyone have a closer look at data that have been collected by different city agencies. Cities like Salinas provide data in the interest of being more transparent with their residents, but the practice could also help local governments function a little better.

Jeremy P. Jacobs/E&E News

Where does the Central Coast get its water, our most fundamental of needs? Some comes in the form of rain filling up local reservoirs; some from the State Water Project, a long system of pipes and canals that carry melted snow from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the central and southern part of the state. And a significant amount comes from underground, pumped up via wells.

Until just four years ago, groundwater was totally unregulated in California. But extended droughts made it clear that Californians needed to figure how to manage the underground water supply.

Pesticide that harms children’s brains could soon be listed as toxic in California

Aug 1, 2018
Jeff Vanuga

A group of nine scientists on California's Scientific Review Panel agreed that a pesticide used on more than 60 crops, grown in the Salinas Valley and around the state, should be listed as a toxic air contaminant.

www.flickr.com/photos/fairywren

In mid-July, after several months of Santa Barbara city officials engaging with restaurants and businesses in an effort to reduce waste in the city, the Santa Barbara city council voted to pass local laws banning plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery and polystyrene—also known as Styrofoam—food containers

But at their July 24 meeting, council members voted to dial that back a bit. City of Santa Barbara Environmental Services Outreach Coordinator, Bryan Latchford, worked on both ordinances and spoke with KCBX’s Tyler Pratt to help explain what happened.

Courtesy of SLO Opera

Every summer, a San Luis Obispo nonprofit puts on a kid's camp focused on an art form not usually considered a favorite of the under-18 set—opera. But as Carol Tangeman discovers, the region's professional opera company offers a whirlwind experience that gets local kids singing.

Charles Krupa/AP Photo, File

California’s unemployment rate remains at a record low of 4.2 percent in the latest jobs report. But a closer look shows 2018 has not exactly been a banner year for the state’s labor market.

Bryn Forbes

As part of this summer’s Festival Mozaic, renowned pianist Christopher O’Riley will push the boundaries of classical music by performing songs of the rock band Radiohead, alongside visual interpretations from photographer Bryn Forbes. So the question is: why Radiohead?

Dave Minsky/KCBX News

The United States Armed Forces just created the first Combined Space Operations Center. For short, it’s called CSpOC (think “See Spock”). It’s a partnership to improve coordination with Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Other U.S. allies like Germany are also involved, as are some private entities. CSpOC, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, is now America's official international militarized space command center. Staff at the facility will keep an eye on about 23,000 objects in the sky.

Wikimedia Commons/Horia Varlan

Santa Barbara officials decided this week to join other cities like San Luis Obispo in banning plastic straws and polystyrene. Most in attendance at Tuesday’s city council meeting were in support of the ban, but questions were raised about enacting one-size-fits-all rules for everyone.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX

UPDATE 07/19/18 9 AM

Calfire has revised the number of acres burned downward to 81 as of Thursday morning, and reports crews are about half-way (47 percent) to containing the blaze. 

UPDATE 07/18/18 5 PM

Calfire reports the forward progression of the fire has been stopped, and the blaze is 20 percent contained. It has burned 120 acres since sparking just before noon. 

Joshua Green/Flickr

The 2015 Refugio oil spill in Santa Barbara County dumped an estimated 140,000 gallons of crude oil onto area beaches. It also effectively shut down operations at three offshore oil platforms.

UC admits record number of transfers

Jul 12, 2018
Bulmaro Huante/Flickr

The University of California says it's admitting a record number of transfer students for the upcoming school year. 

Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire

Firefighters have gotten a handle on a wildfire that whipped up late Friday night in the hills above Goleta in Santa Barbara County, and CalFire reports crews held the Holiday Fire at 100 acres. As of Monday, the blaze is 90 percent contained.  

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

Wildfires continue to burn across California. In the northern part of the state, a fire that’s burned tens of thousands of acres and forced many to evacuate has now jumped into Oregon. Over the weekend a rash of high temperatures and dry winds sparked fires across the Central Coast and in southern California. A fast-moving fire in the city of Goleta tore through 100 acres and destroyed 13 homes in a matter of hours.

Congressman Salud Carbajal/Facebook

Every Fourth of July, the Carnegie Corporation of New York releases a list of "Great Immigrants," people the philanthropic organization says have made notable contributions to the "progress of American society." This year’s list includes singer Regina Spektor, actor Kumail Nanjiani, the CEO of Uber, a UC Santa Barbara Nobel Prize winner in physics, and U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal. 

Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

Redwood City approved more than a year ago the kind of affordable-housing project California desperately needs: a 20-unit building, downtown, near transit lines, in the heart of Silicon Valley, where the state’s housing crisis is most severe. The developer was a nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. But today the lot remains vacant, except for a row of portable toilets, a trailer and a dumpster.

UCSB gets new BIFROST laser facility

Jul 3, 2018
David Weld/UCSB

In Norse mythology, the Bifrost is the rainbow bridge connecting the realm of the gods to Earth. At the University of California at Santa Barbara, it is also the name of a new laser facility.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX

On the same day Americans demonstrated across the country to protest migrant family separations, hundreds of protesters gathered in a Santa Maria industrial area, about a block away from a residential neighborhood. The group was chanting and singing in front of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility opened in the summer of 2015.

Salmon season cut short due to drought

Jun 29, 2018
Erika Mahoney/KAZU

Time is running out to buy salmon caught in the Monterey Bay. This year's commercial salmon season is short because of the recent drought.

Flickr/Watchcaddy

San Luis Obispo County recently initiated its cannabis abatement hearing process. That means if you are growing cannabis without a permit and county officials find out, you’ll have to go through what the county calls its new "streamlined civil hearing process," and your cannabis might be destroyed.

Ryan Vannucci/ Cal Poly California Cybersecurity Institute

More than 100  high school students from around the state took part in a two-day digital forensics challenge at San Luis Obispo's California Polytechnic State University this week. The California Cyber Innovation Challenge was designed to replicate threats that cybersecurity professionals face.

Flickr/Ben Klocek

More than 100 local elected officials across California sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown this week calling for a statewide plan “to phase out oil and gas drilling.” The letter included names of some recognizable Central Coast public figures.

Joe Flood/Flickr

Santa Barbara city officials unanimously passed an emergency ordinance this week to regulate electric scooter rentals. City officials were not pleased that Santa Barbara was was used as launch site for the newest trend in ride sharing services.

mikecross/flickr

A $26 million dollar convention center might come to Paso Robles. Members of the Paso Robles Event Center, Travel Paso and the City of Paso Robles met this week to explore the possibility of building a large-scale conference center at the Paso Robles Event Center on Spring and Riverside Streets. KCBX reporter Tyler Pratt spoke with the CEO of the Paso Robles Events Center to learn more about the proposed conference center, why the county might need  one, and why Paso Robles was chosen as the site.

Tara Jones/Flickr

Hemp production won’t be banned in San Luis Obispo County. The Board of Supervisors had been considering an urgency ordinance that would put a moratorium on industrial hemp.

UPDATE Friday, JUNE 22 6 P.M.:  San Luis Obispo County certified its election results Friday. Lynn Compton successfully defended her district 4 seat on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors against challenger Jimmy Paulding by just 60 votes.

Compton's victory will maintain the conservative majority on the board.

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