San Luis Obispo County

Battle lines are drawn over oil drilling in California

Dec 6, 2019
Adria Watson/CalMatters

Two announcements with implications for California’s oil industry whizzed past each other in recent weeks, revealing starkly conflicting visions for energy development.

After a five-year hiatus on auctions for oil-drilling rights on federal land, Washington finalized a plan to allow them on more than 700,000 acres in 11 Central California counties. A more significant proposal to include parcels on more than 1 million acres in the Bakersfield area is due in the next few months.

Courtesy of USLT RCD

Have you heard of Resource Conservation Districts—or RCDs? They are organizations focused on helping landowners make the most of their resources, and much of the work of the RCD in Templeton is with vineyards and agriculturists in northern San Luis Obispo County. RCDs serve as a bridge between government agencies like the California Department of Food and Agriculture and farmers and vineyard owners. Here's KCBX's Greta Mart in conversation with Andrew Johnson, program manager at the Upper Salinas/Las Tablas RCD, on the district's latest grant opportunities and projects.

Flickr/Clint Gardner

In an instance of déjà vu, there’s a new E.coli outbreak in late November linked to romaine lettuce. The outbreak was quickly traced to romaine lettuce grown near Salinas

California halts new fracking permits

Nov 21, 2019
Greta Mart/KCBX

California Governor Gavin Newsom's administration has announced the state will issue no new fracking permits for oil companies. 

San Luis Obispo County Administrative Office

What is the financial outlook for San Luis Obispo County? It depends on a lot of factors. County officials got a five-year financial outlook this week and it covered a lot of “what-if” scenarios.

Courtsey PG&E

The most recent announcement from energy company, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), listed San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties as “elevated” for potential Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, which could begin Sunday and Monday.

Wikimedia commons

There has been a dramatic rise in deaths this year from fentanyl in San Luis Obispo County. The news comes from the county’s public health department, which says 10 people have died since May.

Wikimedia Commons

Products made out of polystyrene and expanded polystyrene (EPS)—commonly known as Styrofoam—will soon be prohibited in all of San Luis Obispo County. A years-long effort by many to pass a countywide ordinance aimed at stopping the use of polystyrene ended Wednesday. The ban will go into effect in six months.

Google Maps

Plans for more affordable, supportive housing in San Luis Obispo County are underway, and the project may signal an end to a south county skirmish over where to place shelter for the homeless. The nonprofit affordable housing developer Peoples' Self-Help Housing (PSHH) met with Pismo Beach officials in September to negotiate a possible location in the city. On Tuesday, the nonprofit announced it had gone into escrow on a new site.

Greta Mart/KCBX

Law enforcement in San Luis Obispo County has a new tool to help fight property theft, particularly farm equipment. It’s called SmartWater, but it’s not the bottled water you can find in a convenience store.

Courtesy of the Oceano CSD

Next year there’s going to be a big change in voting dates in California. Instead of the primary election being held in June, it’s moving up to March 3, 2020. On that ballot, Oceano voters will decide a special tax measure to fund fire and emergency medical services.

Courtesy of KING 5

The number of homeless people in San Luis Obispo County increased this year. A recent report from the county’s social services department revealed the number rose by more than 30 percent in 2019, compared to two years ago. A group of people are hoping to help lower the numbers, by trying to create a village of tiny homes to house a portion of the county’s homeless, but there are still hurdles to overcome.

SLO County

Residents in the San Luis Obispo County town of Santa Margarita are facing a rise in their water bills, after the county board of supervisors held a hearing Tuesday to hear protests to the proposed increase. Since the county received just 23 written protests out of 500 water customers, the increase went through.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

If you’ve been on the north San Luis Obispo County coast in the past few weeks, you may have noticed some new fauna off the side of the road: goats. A state agency has been using goats to remove non-native plants from a former stretch of highway, and if all goes well, they could become a regular sight on Central Coast roadways.

SLO County Homeless Census & Survey/ASR

According to the county’s department of social services, the number of homeless people in San Luis Obispo County rose by nearly 32 percent in 2019, compared to a count two years ago. The latest estimated numbers were released Thursday.

A new local public safety app went live this week, and it’s meant to save the lives of heart attack victims. At the same time, it alerts users to emergencies in San Luis Obispo County.

Issues & Ideas: A solar sail, command change and tech trends for the over-50 crowd

Jul 17, 2019
Photos courtesy The Planetary Society, Fort Hunter Liggett and the AARP

On this week's Issues & Ideas: A unique spacecraft is now orbiting the earth and soon a team at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo will command it to unfurl a super-thin Mylar sail. The craft will then glide through space, propelled only by sunlight. We talk to the mission's project manager to learn more. Also, there was a recent change of command ceremony at Army Reserve Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County. We hear from both the outgoing and incoming commanders.

SLO County Ag Commissioner

The latest crop statistics for San Luis Obispo County are out, and in 2018, San Luis Obispo’s agriculture industry exceeded one billion dollars in overall value.

Courtesy of Credit Debit PRO

The wife of San Luis Obispo County’s top election official has admitted to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from a high school fundraising club. A criminal complaint filed by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office alleges Sherry Gong stole more than $32,000 from an Atascadero booster organization.

Flickr/Tracey Adams

The economic hit faced by San Luis Obispo County when Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DPCC) closes won’t be as bad as previously estimated, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Thomas Wilmer/KCBX News

Summer has arrived on the Central Coast, and that means birthing time for sea lions and large gatherings of sea lions and other marine mammals. But something in San Luis Obispo County ocean waters may be affecting the behavior of area marine mamals. A recent video went viral of a sea lion biting a Paso Robles teenager at a south San Luis Obispo County beach. It's a rare event that could be the result of toxic algal blooms. 

Michael Barros/KCBX

In an about-face vote from exactly one year ago, San Luis Obispo County officials enacted a temporary ban this week on new industrial hemp production. The ban will be in effect for at least 45 days.

Greta Mart/KCBX

There's a new type of recycling facility in San Luis Obispo County that's turning food and green waste into power and compost. It's called an anaerobic digester, and it was built by global engineering firm Hitachi Zozen Inova. The company is touting it as the first of its kind in the United States for the specific way it recycles waste. 

Courtesy of San Luis Obispo County

San Luis Obispo County’s legal department has released more information about the recent resignation of the county's public works director. The documents include several written complaints about a sexually-inappropriate management style of a department head who held the job for over a year.

The use of a dangerous pesticide will soon be phased out in California. The California Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) will start the process to cancel the registration of the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Courtesy Cal Poly Campus Dining

Cal Poly's Academic Senate, the governing body for the university's faculty, voted Tuesday overwhelmingly in favor of removing a Chick-fil-A restaurant outlet from the university's San Luis Obispo campus. The resolution was proposed in light of recent news the fast food chain's charity arm, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, continues to give money to anti-LGBTQ organizations. The vote by the Academic Senate comes after another university and two cities moved to block Chick-fil-A outlets from opening in recent weeks due to the company's perceived opposition to the LGBTQ community. 

CDC

Following a measles quarantine of hundreds of students at Los Angeles universities, Central Coast health officials are on high alert, they say. Since January, over 700 cases of measles have been reported in 22 states.

Courtesy of the Hind Foundation

A north San Luis Obispo County government office may close or possibly reduce services. The county’s clerk-recorder says time constraints and looming budget cuts are prompting reconsideration about operations at its small Atascadero office. But for north county residents who frequent the office, this may mean more expense and longer drives to San Luis Obispo to file documents.

Greta Mart/KCBX

This week San Luis Obispo County officials voted to ask the state transportation agency to close middle sections of Highway 101 south of Arroyo Grande to prevent further collisions and deaths.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX News

San Luis Obispo County officials, service providers, non-profits and residents gathered Wednesday to discuss what to do with millions of dollars in state funds, aimed at supporting the county’s homeless population. But the meeting became a passionate debate between recognizing a need for more homeless services, and concern over where to put them, particularly a shelter proposed in South County.

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