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What the County's Talking About This Week 

Blakeslee to donate pay increase to charity

California rank-and-file legislators were awarded a 12 percent pay raise this week. Local Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee said he would donate his raise to the Prado Day Center and North County Women's shelter.

"You know, I was hired at this rate and I'm not comfortable accepting a raise in this term," he said. "At a time when we're trying to make cutbacks it's only appropriate [to donate the money]."

Blakeslee said he chose the two charities because he was familiar with them and had a lot of respect for the work they do. "They do a great job helping people in need," he said.

The Prado Day Center and North County Women's Shelter will each receive half of Blakeslee's $12,000 raise. Blakeslee said that these are difficult budget times and that "the legislators should be mindful of the cuts we're asking people to make."

-John Peabody


Scuba diver dies at Nacimiento

Milton Ratzlaff, a lieutenant at California Men's Colony, died while scuba diving at Lake Nacimiento. The California Department of Forest and Fire Protection (CDF) received a call of a diver down at 11:38 a.m. May 23, said CDF spokesman Mike Cole.

Park Rangers from Monterey Parks were the first ones to arrive at Bee Rock Cove on the lake's North Shore. They attempted CPR on Ratzlaff. CDF, San Luis Ambulance, and a CALSTAR helicopter then arrived but the victim was pronounced dead at the scene, said Cole.

-John Peabody


Third sewer suit fails

Los Osos inched closer to construction of its long-awaited, state-mandated sewer this week when a Superior Court judge ruled that the CSD's three-fifths majority was adequate to approve the project, which carries a price tag of $150 million, according to the most recent estimates.

The Concerned Citizens of Los Osos (CCLO), headed by Keith Swanson, cited a law that would have required a four-fifths vote to approve the use of state bond monies for public work projects. The court recently dismissed two other lawsuits filed by the CCLO, which has been committed to moving the wastewater treatment facility from its controversial downtown location.

Two special elections, expected to be held in September, could still stand in the way of the contentious project. A recall vote could ouster the three pro-sewer CSD board members, Stan Gustafson, Gordon Hensley, and Richard LeGros. The other vote could allow the citizens of Los Osos to decide for themselves on the sewer's location.

As of now, the sewer project is moving forward. And if all goes according to plan, construction will break ground in July.

-Jeff Hornaday


If they build it, you will come

The new Damon-Garcia Sports Fields across from the Marigold Center at 3615 Broad St. will be hosting a grand-opening celebration this Friday, May 27, at 4 p.m.

Six years in the making, the 24-acre facility is big enough for up to four tournament-size soccer fields and can accommodate a combination of other turf sports as well. The sports field also has lights for night games, a 156-car parking lot, a recreational bike path, and permanent buildings for restrooms and concessionaires.

Field activities on Friday evening will run from 5-8 p.m., including a variety of sports demonstrations and a mini-carnival. Festivities will continue throughout the weekend, with a barbecue and sports festival from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and continuing on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

-Jeff Hornaday


Commemorate those lost at sea

Those that lost their lives at sea while either serving in the military or fishing industry will be honored in the fifth annual "Lost at Sea" ceremonies Monday, May 30 at 4 p.m. at the Cayucos Pier as part of Memorial Day weekend services.

Spokesman Doug Carroll says the event was created to give closure to family and friends of seafarers who never returned.

-Abraham Hyatt



Last week New Times incorrectly reported in the story "A permanent fix" that Seth Souza got a tattoo after leaving prison. He actually got the tattoo after he was in jail. Also, Souza had been in the Liberty Tattoo Removal program for three months, not seven, as stated in the article. ³


This week's News was compiled and reported on by staff writers Abraham Hyatt, John Peabody, and Jeff Hornaday.

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