County Roundup: body found near San Simeon; fast-food drivethroughs still banned in SLO

San Simeon

Sheriff’s investigators on Wednesday were looking into the death of a man whose body was found alongside Highway 1 near Little Pico Creek.

A passer-by found the man, who deputies believe was homeless, at 1:40 p.m. near the highway, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Brian Hascall said. No additional details were available late Wednesday.

The area is home to a fairly large homeless population, Hascall said.

Investigators have not yet determined a cause of the man’s death, Hascall said.

—Stephen Curran

San Luis Obispo

Fast-food restaurant drive-throughs will stay banned in San Luis Obispo, after the City Council this week refused to ask staff to explore changing the 25-year-old prohibition.

Keith Handley —owner and operator of six McDonald’s restaurants in the county, including two in San Luis Obispo—appeared before the council Tuesday night to dispute the original intent of the drive-through ban.

In 1982, the council said it was to avoid litter and air pollution.

But Handley said research has since shown that stopping and starting cars can use more fuel than leaving them running for up to six minutes.

Councilmembers Paul Brown, Andrew Carter and Christine Mulholland said they didn’t support changing the rule. Brown said the issue isn’t just about pollution but also getting people out of their cars to enjoy the city.

“I’m not interested in changing it. I think our citizens support this,” Carter said.

—Sally Connell

Los Osos

County officials are taking steps to determine the estimated cost to ratepayers for a Los Osos sewer, as a task force analyzes possible sites for a sewage treatment plant.

Paavo Ogren, the county’s deputy director of Public Works, said a staff accountant will soon start estimating rates based on 30-year cost projections.

The proposed cost estimates are expected to be available in late July.

At the same time, county staff is working on ways to secure state and federal grant funding and loan money to help pay for the sewer.

A previous project in the town, which broke ground but was halted in 2005 after a recall of most of the Los Osos Community Services District Board members, was estimated to cost about $150 million.

—Sona Patel

Paso Robles

Former Paso Robles High School Principal Greig Welch will lead Paso Robles Mayor Frank Mecham’s campaign for county supervisor.

Mecham, who recently announced he will challenge longtime 1st District Supervisor Harry Ovitt next year, and Welch have been friends for many years.

Mecham said he was compelled to choose Welch because of his “close community ties, his experience with our local families, his positive can-do attitude and strong organizational skills.”

Campaign headquarters have been set up at 1245 Vine St., and a Web site is under construction.

—P. Kim Bui

San Luis Obispo

A 27-year-old San Luis Obispo man credited with saving his neighbors’ lives when he woke them during a fire May 7 was given a certificate for exemplary public service by the city this week.

Josh Kelly was getting ready for work at 5:50 a.m. that day when he noticed a fire in the small backyard unit next to his on Cypress Street. He raced to the house, kicked in windows, asked the tenant where to find a hose and played a key role in putting the fire out before firefighters arrived.

Fire Chief John Callahan praised Kelly’s bravery at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. Chris Burd, the resident of the house, and his girlfriend survived the fire and were at the meeting.

Callahan’s department later determined the residence did not have a working smoke alarm.

—Sally Connell

SLO County

People who take care of the elderly, the infirm, children and others with special needs can learn how to keep them safe if a disaster strikes, at a readiness workshop June 28 at the Embassy Suites in San Luis Obispo.

Attendees will learn how to prepare disaster plans, respond to pandemic influenza and coordinate government agencies, nonprofit groups and private providers.

All attendees will receive a disaster preparedness guidebook and the opportunity to participate in a pandemic influenza tabletop exercise.

Organizers are inviting licensed care facility operators and staff, home care and Hospice agency staff, care managers, child care providers, individuals with special needs and all other service providers working with special populations.

For more details or to register, call the Long Term Care Ombudsman office at 785-0132 or Tracey Vardas at the county Office of Emergency Services at 781-5011.

—Bob Cuddy

Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune