SLO County Roundup

San Luis Obispo

A 23-year-old Grover Beach man pleaded not guilty to an alleged carjacking and robbery attempt of a woman at gunpoint that began near Cal Poly on the night of Nov. 4, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Ryan Joseph Soqui entered his plea to charges of kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking, carjacking and second degree robbery.

Soqui allegedly approached Yi Tak Choi, 23, who was driving her 2000 Audi A6 at Campus and Crandall ways on Nov. 4 near Cal Poly, according to police.

When she stopped at a stop sign, Soqui allegedly knocked on her front passenger window and asked for directions.

Soqui then got in the car, pulled a gun on her and forced her to drive to a Wells Fargo Bank at the Foothill Boulevard branch and told Choi to withdraw $300 from the ATM, police said.

Once Choi was out of sight, she ran into Nucci’s restaurant, where she asked for help, police said. Soqui then allegedly drove away in her vehicle.

Police captured and arrested Soqui on Nov. 6 in Santa Barbara County near the Gaviota Tunnel.

Soqui is scheduled for a pre-preliminary hearing on Dec. 10.

— Nick Wilson

SLO County

Cal Fire is reducing its staffing at five of its 10 fire stations in San Luis Obispo County in response to a reduced risk of wildland fires.

The thinning of fire staff occurs seasonally. Each year, during heightened times of fire risk additional staff are brought in, said Nancy Koerperich, Cal Fire administrator.

When the risk is lower, for example during winter months, less staff is needed, she said.

All fire stations will remain open but staffing will be reduced from four firefighters to two at the following locations: Cambria, San Luis Obispo at Highway One, Cayucos, Shandon and Shell Beach.

In all, 20 fewer Cal Fire firefighters are on staff this time of year. Mutual aide agreements with existing services help accommodate any need that might arise, Koerperich said.

— AnnMarie Cornejo

Paso Robles

The Paso Robles High School drama department is starting its 2009-2010 season with the play “Deathtrap.”

The two-act show starts today at 7:30 p.m. at the campus activity center, 801 Niblick Road, Paso Robles.

The comic thriller won four Tony awards, including Best Play during its four-year run on Broadway.

The story revolves around a washed-up playwright, desperate for another hit show, who takes drastic measures to ensure his success.

The Paso Robles High School cast will present five performances at 7:30 p.m. today, Saturday, and Nov. 20 and 21. A 2 p.m. matinee show will also be held Nov. 21.

Tickets are $7 for students and $10 for the general public.

For more information call Anne Quinn at 835-8705.

— AnnMarie Cornejo