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Reflecting on the top local stories of 2022


SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - As we turn the calendar to 2023, we look back at the highlights and memorable moments of 2022 up and down the coast.

Our world began to open up in the beginning of 2022.

State and local health departments ended the COVID mask mandate in February, but as daily activities expanded, water sources shrank under record low rainfall up and down the coast.

The new year saw projects years-in-the-making finally coming to fruition: The opening of the new North County Jail near Santa Maria and the expansion of Highway 101 through Carpinteria.

The brakes were put on ExxonMobil's controversial oil trucking plan in March.

On the energy spectrum, Diablo Canyon received a funding extension from the feds.

New green technology saw a parade of massive blades and towers through Lompoc for a future wind farm on land. Offshore leases sold for a similar farm off the coast of Morro Bay.

2022 ushered in new district elections and partially cemented outdoor dining parklets along State Street in Santa Barbara.

Housing mandates and stalemates, which snagged UCSB's massive and windowless Munger Hall, are now under new review.

A house in Goleta became home to the first family to flee to our area from the war in Ukraine.

Cheers echoed from local bars and restaurants as the Rams won the Super Bowl.

Between spring and summer, crowds began to swell. Many went to our beaches during unrelenting heat waves. Tourists and locals celebrated Stearns Wharf's 150th birthday, and new parade routes for Solstice and Fiesta.

Tour groups descended on San Simeon for the reopening of Hearst Castle.

In June, crowds gathered for a different reason. Some cheering, others protesting the Supreme Court's historic and stunningly controversial ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

That same month, Monkeypox became a new local and global health concern.

Vandenberg Space Force Base made headlines throughout the year with a series of Starlink satellite launches, and an unexpected rocket explosion.

The Kristin Smart Murder Trial, which started in July, ended in October with a guilty verdict for Paul Flores. His father, Ruben, who was accused of helping hide Kristin's body, was found not guilty. Paul's request to delay the sentencing was granted later in the year, and another hearing is set for early 2023.

Good and quirky news included the discovery of an empty coffin off the highway shoulder in San Luis Obispo County, the $27 million winning Super Lotto ticket sold at an Oxnard liquor store, and a Capuchin monkey accidentally calling 911 from an animal organization in Paso Robles.

Two notable wins in local sports: The Foresters clinching their 10th national Baseball Congress World Series Title and Atascadero grabbing the CIF-State Division Championship in torrential rain.

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here


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