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SLO County Roundup

Paso Robles

Police are looking for a man who robbed a local retailer with a small kitchen knife Monday evening.

The clerk at Fatima’s Boutique at 1740 Spring St., reportedly told police that the man demanded money and was given cash from the register.

The 911 call came in at 7:15 p.m., and the man fled before officers’ arrival, police said.

The clerk told officers the robber was a white male, about 20 years old, with blue eyes and was wearing a black bandana to cover his face.

He was last seen running east on 18th Street, police said. Police dogs were used to search the areas immediately surrounding the business, but the robber was not found.

There were no other witnesses.

Those with information can contact police at 237-6464. Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 549-STOP or text message tip information to SLOTIPS (274637).

— Tonya Strickland

Cal Poly

The university’s graduation rate increased to an all-time high with the graduating class of spring 2009, Provost Bob Koob said.

Of the 3,011 Cal Poly students who enrolled in 2003, 74 percent graduated in six years, an all-time high for Cal Poly and the best graduation rate in the California State University system, according to Cal Poly officials.

Of the 3,575 students who enrolled in 2005, more than 30 percent graduated in four years, up from a 15 percent four-year graduation rate 10 years ago, university officials said.

The standard measurement for post-secondary graduation nationwide is based on a six-year rate, according to Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a subsidiary of the National Center of Educational Statistics.

An improved retention rate of freshmen is a key to the improved graduation rates, Koob noted. Of the 450 freshmen that attended Cal Poly in 2008, 91.4 percent returned as sophomores — the highest percentage in the history of the university.

In 2009, first-time freshmen had an average high school GPA of 3.81 and an average SAT score of 1201.

— Nick Wilson Atascadero

The Highway 101 southbound on- and off-ramps at Highway 41 will re-open Wednesday, though full project completion is still months away, Caltrans officials said Monday.

Motorists using the southbound off-ramp will only be able to make a right turn onto Highway 41 until summer 2010, when the full project is expected to be complete.

The ramps were closed as part of a $17 million interchange project to rebuild the Highway 101 overpass and widen Highway 41 from four to six lanes.

A new Highway 101 northbound on-ramp near Highway 41 is complete.

— Tonya Strickland

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