SLO County Roundup

Cal Poly

The California Supreme Court has denied review of the legal petition filed by two Cal Poly fraternity members charged with crimes in connection with the alcohol-related death of freshman Carson Starkey in 2008, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Haithem Ibrahim and Abraham Ellis sought the dismissal of the case against them, arguing that Starkey made the choice to consume the alcohol that led to his death.

They have pleaded not guilty to felony hazing causing death and misdemeanor furnishing alcohol to a minor causing death.

Ellis and Ibrahim now are scheduled back in San Luis Obispo Superior Court for a trial-setting conference May 25.

Starkey died on “Brown Bag Night” in which a group of pledges allegedly were assigned quantities of alcohol to consume by the active fraternity members.

The alcohol allegedly given to the 18-year-old included rum, beer, a Sparks alcoholic beverage and Everclear, a natural-grain spirit that consists of 75 percent alcohol.

— Nick Wilson


The Atascadero Unified School District will hire an assistant director to handle food service and transportation duties next year.

On Tuesday, the district Board of Trustees narrowly approved the new classified management position, which would replace two support services jobs eliminated in April.

Although those positions will remain on the salary schedule, they will not be filled, said Kim Spinks, the district’s director of human services.

According to Spinks, the new assistant director would oversee “personnel involved in all aspects of the District food services operations, school transportation systems, fleet operations and vehicle maintenance.” That person would earn a base annual salary of $77,300 to $85,704.

Although the proposal passed 4-3, board member Tami Gunther expressed concern that the district is allowing new hires at a time when many jobs are in jeopardy.

On Tuesday, the board voted 6-1 to lay off 18 certificated employees.

Board members unanimously approved a new early retirement incentive program, as well as unpaid furlough days for Superintendent John Rogers and other staffers.

Spinks said the new assistant director would also be required to take off work days without pay.

— Sarah Linn