CalCoastNews Contributor

Karen Velie

Karen Velie lives in San Luis Obispo County.

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Unequal justice favors sheriff in domestic fight

By KAREN VELIE Laws written to protect domestic abuse victims were apparently sidestepped by officials of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department in an attempt to protect the county’s top cop, Sheriff Pat Hedges. Hedges' wife, Sandy Oneal-Hedges, called a 911 operator in January after the sheriff, according to sources, blocked her exit from a room while screaming profanities at her. Frightened... (Continue Reading)

Deputies seeking sheriffs’ union split

By KAREN VELIE Members of the county’s largest and most influential union have mounted an aggressive campaign to divide the Deputies Sheriff’s Association (DSA) into two separate unions. If the action is successful, one union would be comprised of sworn peace officers, the other of non-sworn sheriff personnel. A break would damage the effectiveness of the association, said DSA President Dale Strobridge. “The... (Continue Reading)

Length of deputies’ visit to sheriff differs

By DANIEL BLACKBURN and KAREN VELIE How long did sheriff’s deputies spend at the home of Sheriff Pat Hedges and his wife, Sandy Oneal-Hedges, following a reported domestic disturbance? Official reports vary from more than an hour, to just 15 minutes, depending on who provided the information, and when it was divulged. San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputies responded January 19 to... (Continue Reading)

War of the Hedges

By KAREN VELIE San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies responded Monday to a domestic disturbance call at the North County home of Sheriff Pat Hedges and his wife, Sandy Oneal-Hedges, according to the sheriff’s log. Sandy Oneal-Hedges called 911 at 5:36 p.m. to report her husband was screaming at her and asked for assistance, said Undersheriff Steve Bolts. “A sergeant and a beat... (Continue Reading)

Housemate cops cruising to cash in

By KAREN VELIE Atascadero City Manager Wade McKinney probably isn’t feeling very gay this holiday season after getting some straight talk about a looming and large payout of taxpayer money to settle a police department dispute. McKinney, who heads SLO county’s most litigious city, learned recently that a mediator’s decision that favors Police. Lt. Carole Robinson will cost the city heftily, according... (Continue Reading)

Santa Margarita School principal convicted of DUI

By KAREN VELIE Santa Margarita Elementary School Principal Melanie Karp has been sentenced to two days in the county jail and three years probation for driving under the influence of alcohol. Commissioner Stephen B. Sefton also levied a fine of $1,726 and ordered the school official to attend alcohol abuse classes after she pled no contest to a drunk-driving charge.... (Continue Reading)

FBI busts sheriff’s deputy Goossens for child porn

By DANIEL BLACKBURN and KAREN VELIE San Luis Obispo County Deputy Sheriff Bryan Goossens was arrested Monday by federal agents as part of a widespread roundup of suspected members of a child pornography ring. Two other county men also have been named and face charges. Officials said the suspects used the Internet to trade photographs. Goossens, who caused a five-car accident in Atascadero... (Continue Reading)

FBI agents seize deputy sheriffs computer

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN A San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s deputy is the target of an FBI investigation which has included a search of the deputy’s house and the seizure of his computer. Bryan Goossens, a 20-year employee of the sheriff’s department, was placed on paid administrative leave July 11 by Sheriff Pat Hedges.... (Continue Reading)

Sheriff’s deputy slams four parked cars

By KAREN VELIE and DANIEL BLACKBURN A San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputy on administrative leave drove into four parked vehicles before flipping and rolling his pickup truck in a July 19 mishap. Deputy Bryan Goossens was northbound on Traffic Way in Atascadero at 8:50 a.m. when the chain-reaction collision occurred. Currently on paid administrative leave in an unrelated matter, Goossens was not... (Continue Reading)

Ill man tossed under wheels of county justice

By KAREN VELIE Les Harvey’s nightmare encounter with “the system” started with a hamburger. Outside a McDonald’s in Arroyo Grande, Harvey, 64 and terminally ill, sat in his parked van and started to eat his dinner, the burger he had just purchased from the fast-food eatery. For that, he was about to be forcefully arrested, stripped of his earthly belongings, and sentenced... (Continue Reading)

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