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SLO County Roundup

Cal Poly

Cal Poly and other state universities could soon benefit from $693,000 in federal funding for the California State University Agricultural Research Initiative — an agriculture and environmental research program, according to Cal State University officials.

The agricultural appropriations bill was approved by Congress and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it.

The federal government has awarded the program nearly $3 million over the past five years.

Cal Poly and three other state universities are the lead institutions in the initiative — which seeks to create new technologies for improving food safety and boost environmental stewardship, economic performance, and long-term sustainability of California’s agriculture industry.

— Nick Wilson

Paso Robles

The city has released additional details about its participation in the community information service Nixle LLC.

The city has been using the Web site, which is designed to deliver timely alerts to Paso Robles residents who sign up for it, since late summer to distribute neighborhood-level public safety and community event notifications via the Web site, e-mail and cell phone.

“In cases of emergency, police and fire services must be able to communicate important information to community members,” Police Chief Lisa Solomon said.

Recent alerts included Pioneer Day parade route road closures, evacuation details from a neighborhood bomb scare and a reminder to residents to lock up their properties after a string of recent burglaries.

Officials expect new types of information to be introduced in the future, they said.

Those interested can register for free at www.nixle.com.

The privately funded company, with offices in New Jersey and California, provides its service free to governments, their agencies and organizations, nongovernmental organizations and consumers, according to its Web site.

— Tonya Strickland

Atascadero

A festival aimed at raising awareness about global climate change is scheduled to be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Sunken Gardens.

The event will feature performances by local bands Questa Ridge Mountain Boys, Tropo and Up In the Air. Booths for green businesses and other green causes are planned.

About a dozen green businesses have committed to display their products during the event, organizers said. There will be a surprise event at 1 p.m.

The event is sponsored by Transition Towns, San Luis Obispo County and is one of thousands of events that will take place worldwide Saturday. Events in other locations in the county are planned as well.

The worldwide event is being coordinated by 350.org, an organization formed to call attention to the goal of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, a level that scientists say will prevent harmful climate change. The level is now 388 parts per million and rising.

For more information, go to www.350.org.

— David Sneed

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