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SLO County

The local League of Women Voters is seeking to arrange a forum at which the four candidates for state Senate can outline their views to voters.

Republican Sam Blakeslee, independent Jim Fitzgerald, Libertarian Mark Hinkle, and Democrat John Laird are seeking to replace Abel Maldonado in the 15th state Senate district.

The league is hoping to hold the forum the evening of July 19 at Cuesta College. That same day, vote-by-mail ballots go out.

All the candidates except Blakeslee have accepted the invitation, and the league said it expects him to attend.

Should the forum take place, the league said in a news release, candidates would be asked to share their view on children’s services, “although we will of course accept other questions.”

“We are proposing the ‘traditional’ League forum, with a theme or focus geared toward children, youth and families, especially on issues of education and health and safety,” the league wrote.

Maldonado resigned midway through his term in May after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named him lieutenant governor.

Schwarzenegger scheduled a special primary election June 22 and the runoff Aug. 17.

The district encompasses all or part of five counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara.

Laird has challenged other candidates to debate in all five counties.

— Bob Cuddy

Templeton

An Arizona man has been selected as the Templeton Fire Department’s new chief. Jim Langborg, who has 17 years’ experience in fire and emergency medical services, will begin his duties July 19.

Langborg will be responsible for the overall management and operations of the 25-person volunteer fire department, part of the Templeton Community Services District.

His starting pay will be $95,000, according to district General Manager Jeff Hodge.

Langborg is currently a deputy chief at the White Mountain Apache Fire & Rescue Department in Whiteriver, Ariz. Before that, he was with Clark County Fire and Rescue in Ridgefield, Wash., Hodge said.

Langborg replaces Templeton resident Greg O’Sullivan, who retired June 30 after a 38-year career. Twelve of those years were spent leading the Templeton Fire Department.

The search for a new chief began with 47 candidates nationwide, officials said. Assistant Fire Chief Rod Hewitt is interim chief.

— Tonya Strickland

San Luis Obispo

The city of San Luis Obispo Public Works Tree Division is sponsoring a woodchip and firewood giveaway starting at 8 a.m. July 24 at the San Luis Obispo Corporation Yard, 25 Prado Road. The giveaway continues to 2 p.m., or until the wood chips are gone.

The wood rounds and rough wood chips come from various tree trimming activities within San Luis Obispo. This greenwaste recycling program is for residential use only.

City staff will be present to assist with loading of pickup trucks and small trailers. Donations will be accepted to help cover future Arbor Day activities and tree plantings in the San Luis Obispo urban forest.

For more information, call Ron Combs at 781-7023 or Keith Pellemeier at 781-7022.

— AnnMarie Cornejo

Paso Robles

Lavender cuisine, oils, dipping sauces, ice cream and growing tips will be presented at the second annual Central Coast Lavender Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in Paso Robles City Park at 11th and Spring streets.

The free event also includes music, a children’s area and seminars on distilling lavender with demonstrations throughout the day. For details, visit www.centralcoastlavenderfestival.com or call 233-3288.

— Tonya Strickland

San Luis Obispo

The San Luis Obispo County Historical Society and Historical Museum recently changed its named to the History Center of San Luis Obispo County.

The center’s new website at www.historycenterslo.org includes a feature offering online access to a database containing more than 30,000 records.

— AnnMarie Cornejo

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