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A look back at the Central Coast's top stories of 2022

Paul Ruben Flores.JPG
Posted at 9:11 AM, Dec 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-31 12:21:18-05

From the continuing twists and turns of the COVID-19 pandemic to soaring gas prices to a murder trial 25-years in the making, there were plenty of stories to keep our attention in 2022.

Here is a look back at ten of the most viewed and most watched stories of the past year.

Police identify driver in crash that killed San Luis Obispo couple:

Police thought the investigation was complete and released the driver of a single-vehicle crash in San Luis Obispo, but the case was apparently not quite that simple. A couple of days later the discovery of the body of a man and his girlfriend along with their dead dog have family members and concerned residents asking questions of the San Luis Obispo Police Department. It’s a case that will continue into the new year.

First homeless housing facility in south SLO County about to open up

Homelessness continues to be an issue across the state and locally, but some progress is being made. The 5-Cities Homeless Coalition unveiled a new “tiny-home” village in Grover Beach. After the final touches are complete, the facility will be the first shelter in South San Luis Obispo County and joins others located in San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Paso Robles.

Final SpaceX launch of 2022 successful out of Vandenberg Space Force Base

Viewer's eyes were trained on the skies above Vandenberg Space Force Base. New spy satellites, weather satellites and Starlink internet satellites all launched with help from both the U.S. government and private companies SpaceX and Firefly.

Mountain lion sightings continue to worry San Luis Obispo residents

Rare animal sightings got people across the Central Coast talking. Mountain Lions were caught on home security cameras and several additional sightings in San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach had authorities issuing an advisory to residents and closing a popular hiking trail for a time.

Pod of orcas caught on camera off the coast of Pismo Beach

A little less scary for residents but certainly still getting the attention of locals was a pod of Orcas spotted off the coast of Avila Beach. While Orcas typically stay north of our area, the Central Coast is part of their natural range.

Shark breach caught on camera off the Central Coast

Nearby off the coast of Grover Beach, a resident caught another unusual sight, a great white shark breaching. Experts say while sharks do occasionally jump out of the water, catching it on camera is rare.

Central Coast gas prices beat March records by nearly 10 cents

Central Coast residents felt the pain at the pump in 2022. Gas prices reached all-time record highs this year with the central coast and specifically San Luis Obispo some of the highest in the nation at times climbing about 6 dollars a gallon.

Lopez Lake closes boat launch ramp as lake levels reach record lows

While we have been getting some rain recently, 2022 was extremely dry with residents and officials alike worried about water. Boats were no longer able to launch at Lopez Lake in May after water levels dropped below 25%. Arroyo Grande and Pismo Beach have mandatory water restrictions in place for residents.

California lawmakers vote to approve the extension of Diablo Canyon for at least five more years

The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, set to be decommissioned beginning in 2024 may be generating power on the Central Coast longer than expected. Last-minute efforts by both the state and the federal government have P.G. & E. officials working on license extensions. While far from a done deal, viewers will no doubt be watching the eventual outcome as we move into 2023.

Paul Flores guilty of first-degree murder of Kristin Smart; Ruben Flores acquitted

And KSBY's most-watched story of 2022, was the trial of Paul Flores. Long considered a person of interest in the case of missing Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, Paul and his father Ruben finally faced separate juries in the 25-year-old case. Paul was convicted of first-degree murder and Ruben was acquitted of being an accessory after the fact. Both Paul Flores and viewers will need to wait until 2023 to learn his sentence which is expected to be 25 years to life in prison.