SLO County Roundup

San Luis Obispo

The Los Angeles man convicted of four counts of second degree robbery in a Downey Savings and Loan bank robbery case has lost an appeal.

Dejuan Javier filed an appeal with the Second District Court of Appeal, which upheld the trial court’s handling of the case.

Javier, whom the jury also convicted of committing the crime as a gang member, was convicted in May 2008 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

He contested the case based on a judge’s decision to keep the robbery allegations and gang allegations separate. Javier claimed the gang evidence was prejudicial to the jury, and he was denied a fair trial.

The appeals court filed its decision in late June, saying “we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in not excluding any particular evidence or in not placing limits on the amount of gang testimony.”

— Nick Wilson

South County

The Five Cities Fire Authority — comprised of the Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano fire departments — is official.

Firefighter personnel and staff took oaths of office during the authority’s first meeting Friday, at which numerous officials from the three communities praised the lengthy effort to join forces.

“This is an exciting day,” said Oceano Community Services District Director Jim Hill, who sits on the fire authority board. “It’s been a long journey.”

Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals and Arroyo Grande Councilman Joe Costello also sit on the board.

The new board set a meeting date and unanimously approved the authority’s agreement, a budget and a two-year deal with the firefighters’ union. The board will meet the third Friday of each month in the Grover Beach City Council chambers, at 154 S. Eighth St., at 3 p.m. Its next meeting is Aug. 20.

The department now includes 15 full-time fire engineers and captains and about 25 reserve firefighters. The annual cost of more than $3.2 million will be split among the agencies: Arroyo Grande’s share is about $1.4 million, Grover Beach’s is $1.1 million and Oceano’s is $657,000.

— Cynthia Lambert