SLO County Roundup


A campaign to raise funds needed to reopen the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria was called off after lease negotiations reached an impasse, the nonprofit group that staged shows at the theater announced Tuesday.

The building is owned by Jim Buckley, 97, who, with his late wife, Olga, opened the West Village venue in 1976, attracting theater-goers from across the county and the state.

When public safety officials ordered the building closed until a fire-prevention sprinkler system is installed, the Pewter Plough Players nonprofit group began raising the $32,000 needed to install the system.

Lease negotiations broke off Monday, according to Viv Goff, a member of the nonprofit group’s board of directors. She said all money donated to the nonprofit group to pay for the sprinklers will be returned to the donors, and a previously announced fundraising dinner set for April 18 has been canceled.

According to a statement issued by Jim Buckley’s son James Buckley, who is listed in the nonprofit’s press release as trustee for the Buckley Trust, negotiations had reached “99 percent agreement.”

The Buckleys will continue to search for funds to install sprinklers.

The theater closed Feb. 28.

A permit to install the sprinklers expires July 31.

— Bert Etling

San Luis Obispo County

A Los Osos man was sentenced Monday to 90 days in County Jail and must pay restitution for the money he took from a Paso Robles youth soccer organization, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Douglas Andrew Smith, 40, pleaded no contest to grand theft for embezzling $24,000 from the Paso Robles American Youth Soccer Organization in September.

A no contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt and is similar to a guilty plea.

Smith also was sentenced to three years probation and must pay restitution of $26,400.

Smith readily admitted his mistake and cooperated with the police investigation, his lawyer, Ken Cirisan, has said.

Cirisan said Smith was investing the money in day trades to try to earn more for the organization, but he lost the funds.

Also as part of his penalty, Smith can’t act as a treasurer for any organization during the time that he’s on probation, according to prosecutors.

— Nick Wilson