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SLO County

Incoming San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson on Wednesday announced the appointment of a new undersheriff: Chief Deputy Martin Basti, a 32-year department veteran.

Basti, 59, oversees the sheriff department’s court services and custody operations. He will be sworn in, along with Parkinson and incoming Supervisor Paul Teixeira, during a ceremony before the Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Basti will serve as undersheriff for one year; he will also continue to oversee the custody division, which includes the main jail, its court services division and the department’s honor farm and about 160 of the department’s more than 370 employees.

The chief deputy position will remain vacant, according to department spokesman Rob Bryn. That arrangement is estimated to save $152,000 annually.

Former Undersheriff Steve Bolts retired Sept. 17. The salary when Bolts held the position was $170,476; Basti’s salary has not yet been finalized, Bryn said.

Basti has worked throughout the department during his career — he started as a dispatcher and has worked as a deputy, detective, sergeant and commander.

“Chief Basti has a long record of public service and community service,” Parkinson said in a statement. “I could not think of a better person to assist me in leading the department as we transition.”

Basti was named the 2003 Citizen of the Year for Los Osos. He lives in Templeton with his wife of 29 years, Diane. They have two grown sons.

— Cynthia Lambert

SLO County

Freezing temperatures are predicted across much of the county tonight and into Friday night as a cold front sweeps onto the coast, according to the National Weather Service.

The cold snap could be followed by a storm system that may bring rain. There is a 30 percent chance of rain Friday night and a 50 percent chance of showers New Year’s Day and into Sunday.

— Tribune staff report

Big Sur

Highway 1 through south Big Sur was closed for a period Wednesday morning, Caltrans reported on its website. Flooding closed the highway about 18 miles north of the San Luis Obispo/Monterey County line near Nacimiento Fergusson Road.

A highway patrol report said half-ton boulders were reported in the highway about 3 a.m. Wednesday, shortly after a weather front brought more than an inch of rain to the area starting before midnight.

Another CHP report said Caltrans crews went to clean up the debris about 30 miles north of the county line at the Esalen Institute on Wednesday morning. The debris was blocking the northbound lane of the highway.

— Bert Etling

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