SLO County Roundup

Arroyo Grande

County planners will have a public meeting Monday to take comment on the proposed Huasna Valley oil project.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the South County Regional Center, 800 W. Branch St. The intent is to take suggestions from the public about which issues associated with the project should be included in the county’s environmental review.

The issues include groundwater quality, traffic and noise. Individuals may speak for up to three minutes.

The Australian oil company Excelaron has proposed drilling as many as 12 wells on the Mankins Ranch in the Huasna Valley and trucking the oil out to refineries. The project was initially proposed nearly three years ago, and county planners are requiring that Excelaron prepare an environmental impact report.

— David Sneed

Arroyo Grande

Lucia Mar school district officials will kick off efforts to set a new strategic plan for the district with a community forum on Tuesday featuring educational and business leaders.

Scheduled speakers are Cal Poly President Warren Baker, Allan Hancock College Superintendent/President Jose Ortiz and Cuesta College Interim Superintendent Gil Stork. They will focus on what skills students need to be successful in the 21st century.

Bernie Trilling, global director for Oracle Education Foundation, and Keith Lovgren, senior manager of workforce development for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., are also scheduled to speak.

On the district’s visioning plans, school board President Colleen Martin said: “We’re doing this now because we need to know what’s really important to our core values and what we have to preserve and protect. We’re excited about this not only to get our own staff but people from the community saying, ‘This is what I want from our kids.’ ”

The event will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Clark Center, at 487 Fair Oaks Ave. in Arroyo Grande. Tickets are complimentary and can be reserved at www.clarkcenter.org.

— Cynthia Lambert


A celebration and fundraiser for local Vietnam War veterans will be held today at the Vietnam War Memorial on Guadalupe Street, followed by a chicken barbecue and live music. A $6 donation is requested for food. The event is hosted by the Central Coast Vietnam Veterans of America, a group that assists homeless veterans and local children. All veterans are welcome. For details call Jerry at 481-4140.

— Julia Hickey

North County

High school student artists who live in the 22nd Congressional District, which encompasses most of North County and portions of South County, can enter the 2010 Artistic Discovery congressional art competition.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, says students can submit artwork in a variety of media, including paintings, computer-generated art, photography, drawings, collages and prints.

The artwork must be an original concept, two dimensional and no larger than 30 inches by 30 inches.

McCarthy will accept entries at his Atascadero office, 5805 Capistrano Ave., Suite C. The deadline for submission is April 23.

The winning entry from McCarthy’s district will be displayed for one year in a corridor leading to the United States Capitol.

The winner of the overall competition will receive roundtrip airline tickets to travel to the exhibit opening in Washington, D.C., on June 17.

In addition to the overall winner of the competition, awards will go to those who place first, second and third in photography, computer-generated and artwork of all other mediums. For further information, contact McCarthy’s Atascadero office at 461-1034 or any high school art department in the 22nd Congressional District.

— Bob Cuddy


A second North County city has started using the community information service Nixle LLC.

The Atascadero Police Department will now send safety alerts through the system via text message and e-mail to residents who sign up.

Paso Robles has also been using Nixle since the summer.

The alerts notify users about reports of missing children, evacuations, high-profile crimes, violent offenders at large, significant road closures and other events.

“We’re hoping we can get as many residents to subscribe as possible, particularly considering fire season is approaching,” said Atascadero Police Department Cmdr. Steve Gesell.

Those interested can register free of charge at www.nixle.com.

The privately funded company provides its service free to governments, their agencies and organizations, nongovernmental organizations and consumers, according to its Web site.

— Tonya Strickland

Grover Beach

The city’s annual Spring Garden Tour and Plant Exchange highlighting gardens will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 6.

Those wishing to showcase their garden, nominate a garden, or volunteer for this year’s tour can do so through the Grover Beach Parks and Recreation Department by May 14 at 473-4580 or in person at 154 S. Eighth St.

The city’s Parks, Recreation and Beautification Commission will tour all of the nominated gardens and select the ones to be included in the event.

The self-guided tour is free. Participants are encouraged to bring a plant or plant cutting and trade it at the Plant Exchange.

— Cynthia Lambert

SLO County

Caltrans is looking for people willing to make a commitment to keep highways clean by being part of the Adopt-A-Highway Program.

The program encourages volunteer and sponsor groups to promote civic responsibility and community pride by litter and graffiti removal, vegetation control and tree and wildflower planting.

If interested in adopting a section of a highway or being placed on a waiting list, visit the Adopt-A-Highway Web site at www.adopt-a-highway.dot.ca.gov.

— Staff report


Members of the Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos are interested in finding old photos of the Nipomo area to add to the organization’s Web site as well as to inspire artists for its “Views of Rancho Nipomo, Then and Now” art event on May 16.

Completed artwork will be on display from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will give community members a chance to support local artists, the Nipomo Arts Commission and the Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos.

“The photos will stir up the artist in us all,” DANA Executive Director Marina Washburn said, “and expand the Dana Adobe’s role as a site for cultural events.”

The photos will be scanned and returned to their owners on the same day. Photos already in digital form can be e-mailed to dana@danaadobe.org. For more information, call 929-5679.

— Cynthia Lambert