SLO County Roundup

Morro Bay

A 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking and pandering after a traffic stop on Highway 1 in Morro Bay on Friday, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Santa Barbara authorities arrested Patrick Boughton after an 18-year-old Nebraska woman reportedly called her mother about 11:30 a.m. Friday saying she was being held against her will and forced into prostitution at a Santa Barbara motel.

Police learned that three people, including one matching the Nebraska woman’s description, had checked out of that motel an hour earlier.

Santa Barbara authorities worked with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department to find what was described as a newer white Cadillac sedan with Oklahoma license plates in Morro Bay.

Boughton, the 18-year-old woman and another woman were in the car when deputies pulled it over, police said.

Detectives allege that Boughton used threats, coercion and physical abuse to force the 18-year-old woman to engage in prostitution and prevent her from fleeing.

Detectives are investigating their recent travels and the relationship of the second woman to the allegations.

Boughton’s bail has been set at $100,000, according to Santa Barbara police. His photo and additional information is not being released pending further investigation, Lt. Paul McCaffrey, a Santa Barbara Police Department spokesman, said Tuesday.

— Nick Wilson

San Luis Obispo

City officials will host an informational meeting today to discuss changes to the way it provides water to the community.

The water and wastewater management element of the city’s general plan is set to go before the City Council on July 6.

City staff is slated to present proposed changes and answer questions today from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Ludwick Community Center, 864 Santa Rosa St. in San Luis Obispo.

City officials say the changes are needed because San Luis Obispo’s water and sewer policies are out of date. Call the Utilities Department at 781-7215 for details.

— Stephen Curran


County supervisors have unanimously rejected attempts to overturn planning staff’s approval of a proposal to replace a narrow bridge on Main Street near Santa Rosa Creek Road.

The old bridge, built in 1922, with two 12-foot lanes and no shoulders, does not meet current standards.

Plans for the new bridge call for a 5-foot shoulder on each side. The new concrete bridge — 37.5 feet wide and 150 feet long — would not have an in-creek pillar, allowing more space for floodwaters to flow underneath.

The existing bridge spans about 90 feet, with a center pier that’s subject to creek-bed erosion.

Lynne Harkins of Cambria appealed the county Planning Department’s April approval of the project, claiming it will stir up mercury in the soil and destroy too many large trees.

Supervisor Bruce Gibson, citing reports from Regional Water Quality Control Board and county staff, said before last week’s vote that Harkins’ calculations on “the environmental effects of mercury here are speculative.”

The $3.2 million project could still be appealed to the California Coastal Commission. County staff said in February construction could begin in the spring of 2011.

— Kathe Tanner

Cal Poly

A free exhibit at Kennedy Library highlighting Cal Poly’s Japanese-American students who were unable to finish their college education because of forced relocation and internment in World War II will be open through Tuesday.

The exhibit, Nisei Diploma Project: Stories from California Polytechnic State University, is showing during regular library hours in the first-floor gallery.

The exhibit is presented in collaboration with Cal Poly’s Nisei Degree Program, which honored alumni forced to leave Cal Poly and report to relocation centers under Federal Executive Order 9066.

Cal Poly identified about 30 former students and awarded honorary bachelor’s degrees to those who attended a special commencement ceremony June 7.

— Nick Wilson