Morro Bay

Photo by Kathryn Barnes KCRW

Fishermen in Morro Bay are about to get a much taller neighbor than the ancient volcanic mound that stands like a giant at the tip of the harbor.

Wind turbines are coming.

“These things are as big as skyscrapers,” says Chris Pavone, who’s among roughly 120 fishermen who trap, troll, and drop lines off Morro Bay and Avila Beach.

He’s worried about what could become the first offshore wind farm on the West Coast. Approved by the Biden administration, the project would bring roughly 200 floating turbines into the open ocean off the Central Coast.

The City of Morro Bay

The City of Morro Bay now has 18 months to decide the fate of the three smokestacks at the decommissioned power plant in Morro Bay. This comes after the city council voted to enter an agreement with Vistra Corporation at a special meeting Wednesday.

Trident Winds Morro Bay proposal

Governor Gavin Newsom announced a partnership with the federal government May 25 to support California’s efforts to advance offshore wind energy development along the state’s north and central coasts.

Courtesy: Morro Bay WRF Program Team

A new water reclamation facility and its pipelines are under construction in Morro Bay. Crews will begin building a new section of the pipelines on Monday, May 10 at Main Street and Quintana Road.

Courtesy of SeaLife Steward volunteer Mike Miller

A group of about 50 volunteer kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders begin training in May to help prevent people from disturbing wildlife in Morro Bay as a part of the SeaLife Stewards program.

Rachel Showalter

Spring is the busiest time of the year for Pacific Wildlife Care (PWC). The nonprofit is getting ready for a seasonal influx of new animals, which means it's also time for them to offer tips to people who find orphaned or injured animals.

Jocelyn Brennan, South County Chambers

In response to the state’s stay-at-home order now in effect, local business groups are circulating an online petition, urging Governor Newsom to exclude San Luis Obispo County from the new lockdown.

CA King Tides Project

King tides are the year’s highest and lowest tides, occurring when there is alignment of the gravitational pull between the sun, moon and Earth. California’s coast is seeing king tides this week—with more on the way in December and January—and with them a chance to participate in a statewide science project.

Courtesy of the Waage/Shadwell campaigns

Like in several Central Coast cities this election, Pismo Beach residents are deciding on the next mayor, two or more city council seats and a tax measure.

More than 173,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the United States. We learn more about one of those who died of COVID-19 in July—Su Thao, a Hmong businessman and filmmaker who had a profound impact on thousands of others. Also on the program, Smart Share Housing Solutions helps people in San Luis Obispo County by matching homeowners who have extra bedrooms with those looking for an affordable place to live. Chuck Davison of Visit SLO CAL discusses the state of tourism on the Central Coast.

Angel Russell/KCBX

Staff at Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay say they are seeing far too many animals coming in for rescue and treatment due to rodenticide poisoning.

All bars across San Luis Obispo County are now ordered to close for the weekend, to "avoid large congregations of individuals in close proximity within a confined space."

Greta Mart/KCBX

An estuary is any body of water where freshwater streams and rivers meet ocean saltwater. Together, the estuary’s calm waters and abundant vegetation make the perfect haven for thousands of species—like the threatened southern sea otter.

The use of face coverings or masks has become one of the biggest debates nationwide during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Santa Barbara and Monterey counties have adopted a mandatory mask ordinance. But in San Luis Obispo County, it’s up to individual towns to decide.

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, emergency relief for undocumented immigrants recently became available in California, but demand outweighs the supply of cash. We’ll learn how the California NanoSystems Institute at UCSB is repurposing 3D printers to make face shields for healthcare workers. And hear about the challenges facing small farmers in California due to COVID-19. We get an update on First 5 SLO County from director Wendy Wendt; the independent public agency, created by California’s Proposition 10, uses a tax on tobacco products to fund programs for children through age five and their families. The city manager of Morro Bay, Scott Collins, talks about having to discourage vacationers due to the pandemic. And finally, we’ll learn about an award-winning book by UCSB professor emeritus Tonia Shimin featuring the art of her late father, Symeon Shimin.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer talks with the city manager of Morro Bay, Scott Collins, about the local government's response to the pandemic shutdown. As a popular seaside travel destination in recent decades, the economic health of Morro Bay has been dependent on tax revenue generated by hotel occupancy, retail sales, and rental income from waterfront business leases—all of which have plummeted due to COVID-19. For the first time in modern history, Morro Bay has instituted reverse tourism promotions to discourage visitors and vacationers.

On this episode of Issues & Ideas, the SLO Chamber of Commerce's Jim Dantona speaks with SLO County health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein—not just about public health issues, but Borenstein's personal path to the job that, before the current pandemic, was not often in the public spotlight. We visit with a retired pilot, Captain Karen Kahn, one of the first female pilots hired to fly with a commercial airline, and learn more about a nonprofit—where Kahn is a mentor—that teaches Santa Barbara-area youth all aspects of aviation and, ultimately, how to fly a plane. Tom Wilmer speaks with Christine Johnson, executive director of the Central Coast Aquarium, about the Avila aquarium and the planned Morro Bay expansion. Finally, Monterey County organizations pick up the phone to check in with people during the shutdown. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Christine Johnson, executive director of the Central Coast Aquarium, to learn more about the future of that facility, as well as plans for a new incarnation of the Morro Bay Aquarium.

Wikimedia commons

The San Luis Obispo County board of supervisors may soon introduce an ordinance to ban the sale of electronic smoking devices in the unincorporated areas of the county. According to the Dec. 10 board meeting agenda, a public hearing on the issue could be slated for January 14. The issue comes before county officials as a bipartisan group of national lawmakers—including seven from California—sent a letter to President Trump this week urging a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes.

Meanwhile, two Central Coast cities—Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande—have already begun the process of banning the sale of all vaping products in their jurisdictions. But not all city leaders are in favor of complete bans, and some business owners say the move will slash half their business and fortify the black market.

On this week’s Issues & Ideas, the city of Morro Bay continues its effort to build a $126 million dollar wastewater treatment facility near the north end of South Bay Blvd. But a group of residents are putting on the brakes with a referendum campaign; the county is currently verifying signatures that could trigger a public vote.

  

The advent of battery powered e-bikes and fat tire beach cruisers—along with good old knuckle-busting maintenance and repair—helps sustain independently-owned, neighborhood bike shops. Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Morro Bay, California for a visit with Dave Shultz, owner of the The Bike Shop, to learn the rest of the story.

Statoil

Recently there’s been behind-the-scenes movement in the effort to bring offshore wind energy development to the Central Coast.

On this week’s Issues & Ideas, one of the Central Coast’s most prominent music festivals starts soon. We chat with Festival Mozaic music director Scott Yoo and new executive director Lloyd Tanner about what to expect this year. 

Thomas Wilmer

Larry Newland, operations manager for the Morro Bay Maritime Museum, talks with correspondent Tom Wilmer about a historic World War II U.S. Army Air Force rescue crash boat that’s open for tours on the Morro Bay waterfront.

Courtesy of the Morro Bay Police Department

A rash of thefts in Morro Bay and other Central Coast locales has local authorities asking residents to be sure to lock their cars at night. Police say they have arrested two people who may be responsible for the Morro Bay thefts, but suspect more thieves are still in the area. 

Courtesy of the Morro Bay Police Department

A rash of vehicle thefts in Morro Bay has local authorities asking residents to be sure to lock their cars at night. Police say they have arrested two people who may be responsible for the recent thefts, but think more suspects are still in the area. And the crimes aren’t limited to the central San Luis Obispo County coast.

On this week's Issues and Ideas: Monday marks the transition from Jerry Brown to Gavin Newsom as California's next governor; we'll hear stories about "Brownisms" and Newsom promises. Tyler Pratt reports on a new California prison integration program has inmates' families worried for their safety. And Greta Mart attends a recent public forum on offshore wind energy and reports on how state and federal officials are taking public comment on locations proposed for offshore wind energy development—two of which are off San Luis Obispo County's coast. 

Community choice energy grows on Central Coast

Dec 28, 2018
Sarah Swenty/USFWS

In 2005, California passed a law allowing local governments to pool the electricity demand of their residents and then buy and sell electricity on their behalf. It’s called Community Choice Energy, and over 19 cities and counties have now established community choice agencies or programs.

Thomas Wilmer

The tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain are in port in Morro Bay, California until December 18. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer aboard the Lady Washington for a visit with Captain J.B. Smith, 3rd Mate Eric Dowell, and David Livingstone, chief mate aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain. 

Joe Johnston/Tribune

At the northern end of Morro Bay, demolition continues on a former U.S. Navy property that held two giant holding tanks for jet fuel. The 10-acre property on Panorama Drive is now being cleared of its former industrial use by a Santa Maria construction company and the work is expected to last through Thanksgiving. To learn more, KCBX News spoke with San Luis Obispo Tribune reporter Nick Wilson, who has been covering this story.

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