Monterey County

Randol White/KCBX News

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It's no surprise that housing on the Central Coast is expensive making it hard for young people to afford to live here and for businesses to attract and retain a solid workforce. 

CDC - James Gathany

The first Zika virus case on the Central Coast was reported recently in Monterey County. 

Cal Fire Twitter: video credit - Keith Vandevere

UPDATE: July 26, 2016 at 12:43 p.m.

Air patterns over California's Central Coast are pushing smoke from Monterey County's Soberanes Fire south into San Luis Obispo County, initiating an Air Quality Alert on Tuesday.

Flickr member: Dylan's World

The City of Salinas is the latest Monterey County city to pass an ordinance on how marijuana can be grown and sold.

Monterey County Water Resources Agency

One of the biggest Central Coast water projects in decades is moving forward along the San Luis Obispo-Monterey County line.

Randol White, KCBX News

Home prices are on the rise along the Central Coast according to the latest numbers reflecting the local real estate market. 

King City's former police chief accepted a plea deal Wednesday, pleading no contest to embezzlement and obstructing a peace officer by lying to investigators—both misdemeanor counts.

A Monterey County Jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on felony charges against 50-year-old Dominic Baldiviez, so the deal was offered to avoid a re-trial, according to Monterey County District Attorney Dean D. Flippo.

California Flats Solar Project to meet new wildlife guidelines

Jul 28, 2015
Pacific Southwest Region USFWS

A large solar farm proposed for agriculture land near the line between Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties can now move forward following a deal over environmental issues. Construction on the California Flats Solar Project is set to break ground later this year.

King City appoints new police chief with community input

Jun 22, 2015
City of King - KingCity.com

King City named new Chief of Police on Monday. The city has been looking for a new police chief since a corruption scandal surfaced in February of last year.

The police department is in the middle of rebuilding it's strained relationship with the community.

Flickr member Betsssssy

Officials recently announced Lake San Antonio will be closed this summer.

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved a budget Tuesday that included the hard closure of Lake San Antonio's south and north shores.

Mark Mariscal is the Director of Parks and Recreation for Monterey County and said when the budget was compiled, it was understood water levels at the lake would not increase. 

Salinas Police Department

The Food Bank for Monterey County is working to restore its services following last weekend's arson fire.

Officials say that they have seen a lot of community support in the wake of the incident.

Food Bank Executive Director Melissa Kendrick says her organization's programs should resume soon, and emergency food deliveries picked up again on Tuesday.

The organization's delivery truck fleet was destroyed and half of the facility's refrigeration storage was knocked out Saturday.

Flickr member Loco Steve

A temporary ban on fracking in Monterey County was not approved at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, following passionate public comment and split opinions from the board members themselves.

A majority of the board indicated there is no need for a moratorium sighting that there are currently no oil and gas operations in the county using hydraulic fracturing.

Much of the conversation at the meeting was also focused on the state's obligation to regulate the industry under SB-4.

Flickr member ptwo

A massive solar project planned near the Monterey- San Luis Obispo County line will be paid for in part by Apple Computer, and could be the largest solar deal of its kind in history.

Apple Computer says it's committing $848 million to help build the California Flats Solar Project. In exchange the company gets a 25-year power source, tapping nearly half of the farm's 280 megawatts.

That energy will run Apple Computer's Cupertino headquarters, a data center and some 52 Apple Stores throughout the state. 

Flickr member: Fried Dough

The latest annual report from the American Lung Association shows smoking on the Central Coast is still a problem in many communities.

The report gives mixed grades for Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Not a single city got an "A" grade, but Carpinteria and San Luis Obispo got B grades, as did unincorporated Santa Barbara County.

Vanessa Marvin is a senior director with the Lung Association and says there's still a lot of work to be done by many of the other the area's other communities.

USGS 'Did You Feel It?' Map

A light-to-moderate earthquake hit the Central Coast this morning with people throughout Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties reporting to have felt it. 

The 4.4 temblor struck along the San Andreas Fault east of Greenfield and Soledad.

The quake was also felt in the Central Valley areas of Fresno, Madera and Visalia.

No damage has been reported.

First Solar

A massive solar project in southeastern Monterey County got a unanimous thumbs up Wednesday from the Monterey County Planning Commission.

First Solar spokesman Steve Krum said members voted 8 to 0 in favor of approving the California Flats Solar Farm.

"The decision was to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to Certify the EIR, to approve the Development Agreement and approve the project," said Carol Allen, Senior Secretary for the Monterey County Resource Management Agency.

Tom Wilmer

A couple of environmental lawsuits filed against Monterey County were settled Tuesday—at least for the time being.

Landwatch Monterey County and The Open Monterey Project sued back in 2010 following the adoption of the new county's General Plan. Those two lawsuits were combined.

The plaintiffs were concerned with management of the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, encroachment of agriculture on the county's hillsides, blockage of wildlife corridors, and other aspects regarding the county's agriculture and wine industries.

Flickr member Your Pal Dave

Safeway Inc. is paying nearly $10 million as the result of an investigation that found more than 500 stores, including some Central Coast stores, were violating environmental regulations. 

District attorneys in Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, along with 39 other California district attorneys and two city attorneys announced the settlement Monday.

The settlement resolved allegations that Safeway, Vons, Pavilions and Pak 'n Save stores and distribution centers were improperly handling and disposing of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste.

TASER AXON body

Several Monterey County police departments are moving forward with body camera technology to help document specific on-duty officer interactions with the public.

This week, Greenfield became the first department in the county to institute the technology. King City, Soledad and Salinas are expected to follow soon.

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillan says his department—by far the largest of any Central Coast police department—will purchase as many as 125 cameras.

Randol White - KCBX News

There is no sign of rain in the forecast for the Central Coast, according to the National Weather Service out of Oxnard. Temperatures are expected to be above normal through the weekend.

Local emergency officials say conditions are ripe for wildfire despite the rain received over Halloween weekend.

Average fuel moisture levels in Santa Barbara County are at 56 percent—drier than what is considered critical according to County Fire.

The threat of large wildfires will remain high until the Central Coast gets several inches of widespread rainfall.

Monterey County Sheriff's Department

A close race for Sheriff-Coroner in Monterey County was still considered too close to call Wednesday night as nearly 34,000 ballots were left to be counted—about 45 percent of the total votes cast in Tuesday's election.

The incumbent, Sheriff Scott Miller, was trailing Deputy Steve Bernal 51.4 to 48.6 percent in the numbers released by the County Clerk-Recorder Wednesday at 1:04 a.m. 

The remaining votes that still need to be processed and added to the totals consist of vote-by-mail (absentee), provisional, and other ballots that have some need for review.

U.S. Geological Survey, July 24, 2014

Officials in California are hoping Labor Day boaters will help keep invasive quagga and zebra mussels in check this Labor Day holiday weekend.

“Californians have a unique opportunity to enjoy numerous natural resources,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton H. Bonham. “Doing your part to clean, drain and dry before heading out to recreate will help keep them free of quagga and zebra mussels, as well as other invasive species.”

Twitter feed for Carrie Kelly ‏@CarrieHKelly

Increased numbers of blue jelly fish—known as velella velellas—are washing up on Central Coast beaches according to scientists with California State Parks. Reports out of Southern California show a similar situation.

This summer the large colonies have been spotted at several state beaches in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.

"The numbers have been large enough over the past several weeks to get people’s attention," said Vicky Waters, Deputy Director for Public Affairs with California State Parks.

Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey Counties all saw the median price for homes jump significantly in the latest year-over-year sales figures.

San Diego-based DataQuick says Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties had gains of more than eight percent, while Monterey County jumped nearly 12 percent for July.

The year-over-year number of homes sold is down in all three counties with Santa Barbara County seeing the largest drop.

YouTube video still: Paul Wilson

The park rangers patrolling Lakes Nacimiento and San Antonio—located along the Monterey-San Luis Obispo County line—are in danger of losing their jobs.

A total of 14 park employees have been handed the pink slips by the Monterey County Parks Department. Monterey County runs the lakes, including Nacimiento which is physically in San Luis Obispo County. 

The drought has drastically altered the revenue created through boating and camping fees, making supervision of the lakes a financial drain.

Unemployment rate continues to drop on Central Coast

Jun 23, 2014

The unemployment rate continues to fall along the Central Coast with Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties down to 5 percent for the month of May.

Monterey County's rate is higher at 7.4 percent, but that's down more than a full point from a year ago.

Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties have consistently been among the top performing locations in the state in terms of job growth, following the recession.

California's overall rate is 7.1 percent, which has also seen a downward trend this year.

Transit Unlimited Wiki

Students grades k-12 will have a free ride this summer on public transit throughout San Luis Obispo County. They just need to show their school ID in order to take any fixed route without having to pay cash.

The program includes RTA, SLO Transit, South County Transit, Paso Express and Morro Bay Transit.

Monterey-Salinas Transit offers a youth pass for $38, which is good for rides throughout the summer.

Santa Barbara County does not currently offer a summer student deal.

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