SLO County Roundup


An autopsy on the Guadalupe man found dead in Nipomo was completed Wednesday afternoon, but county sheriff’s Cmdr. Brian Hascall declined to release the results, citing the ongoing investigation into the death of Pedro Gonzalez.

The 32-year-old’s body was found Monday morning near a broccoli field along Bonita School Road about a quarter-mile from Division Street, amid hundreds of acres of farmland and about a half-mile from the nearest house.

Hascall did not release any new information Wednesday about the circumstances surrounding Gonzalez’s death. Sheriff’s officials have ruled it a homicide.

An employee of San Ysidro Farms, which owns the nearby broccoli fields, found Gonzalez’s body. Gonzalez was not an employee of San Ysidro Farms, office manager Tracy McGinley said Tuesday.

Anyone with information is urged to call sheriff’s detectives at 781-4500, 781-4550 (after hours), or Crime Stoppers at 549-STOP.

— Cynthia Lambert

South County

Lucia Mar district officials are expected to release on March 2 a list of positions that will be eliminated to help close a projected $5 million deficit in the school district’s 2010-11 budget.

“We are still hammering out how many positions will be eliminated,” said Michelle Ellis, the district’s deputy superintendent of business services.

District officials said they do not expect the number of initial layoff notices to be as high as last year, when 220 were given. The district ultimately laid off 90 teachers last year but was able to reinstate 30 of them.

The list of positions will affect certificated employees working for the district in full-time equivalent positions, she said. Some employees may be eligible to take another position with the district if their job is slated to be cut.

The district’s current general fund budget is about $57 million but is projected to drop to $54 million in the 2010-11 year.

The district faces its fifth consecutive year of declining enrollment. It currently receives about $4,960 per student from the state; that amount is also expected to decrease to about $4,740 in the 2010-11 school year.

— Cynthia Lambert


An energy-efficiency seminar is scheduled for Friday in Atascadero.

The event is sponsored by the San Luis Obispo Strategic Energy Alliance for Change. It is intended to show residents and business owners how to lower their energy costs and become more energy efficient.

It will be held at the Atascadero Lake Pavilion Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Two panels of experts will discuss energy efficiency. Keynote speaker will be Rick Stollmeyer, winner of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce 2009 Green award, who will discuss steps he took to drastically reduce his company’s energy usage.

The event is free to the public. For more information, go to www.sloseachange.org.

— David Sneed