Colony Magazine #11 • May 2019

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May BEST of the 24-26

West Antique Equipment Show

Santa Margarita Ranch

Warbirds, Wings & Wheels 11 Memorial Day Events Frank Sanchez Emily Reneau


MAY 2019

c ontents May 2019
















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Business Spotlight: American West Tire Pros Business Spotlight: North County Pilates

TENT CITY 42 Atascadero Plans & Development, Pt. I 44 Relay for Life 45 Education First: Exchange Program

SOMETHING WORTH READING 06 Publisher’s Letter ROUND TOWN Colony Buzz: Joy Park Opens, For All! 09 Colony District: The Renaissance Continues 12 Santa Margarita: 130 Years of History 13 Summer Fun with the Kids 14 Atascadero Printery: Performing Arts Future 08

COLONY PEOPLE 16 Frank Sanchez' Fingerprints on Atascadero 18 Friends of the Lake Protecting Our Jewel

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EVENTS 28 Memorial Day Events Around North County 29 Golden State Classics Car Show in Paso 30 37th annual Paso Robles Wine Festival 31 SLO Train Day 32 Experimental Aircraft 33 Hoofbeat & Calendar 34 SLO County Education By Dr. James J. Brescia, Ed. D. CITY & CHAMBER REPORTS 35 Atascadero City Council Report 36 Emily Reneau Takes Helm at Chamber TASTE OF COLONY 37 Tuesdays in the Park BBQs Scheduled 38 Dancing With Our Stars Winners

TIDES Embarcadero Improvements Continue 47 City Changes Spark Growth Concerns 48 Cruisin' Morro Bay Car Show this Weekend


LAST WORD 50 CASA: Hope for the Future Fundraiser

ON THE COVER Santa Margarita Ranch Pacific Coast Railroad Blowing Smoke Photo by Nicholas Mattson

Colony Magazine, May 2019

2019 Grand Champions Tom Butler & Pro Choreographer Kara Frenzel

2019 DWOS Event Results!

Proceeds Raised by 7 Community NonAtascadero Greyhound Foundation Atascadero Kiwanis

Tom Butler Jan Lynch

$48,855 $35,191

Atascadero Printery Foundation

Karen McNamara $24,231

Friends of the Atascadero Library

Terrie Banish $20,684 Heather Moreno

El Camino Homeless Organization

Steffi Ketzler


Atascadero AAUW

Susan Funk


Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation

Nancy Beckett


Total Gross Funds Raised (before expenses) $211,000 Interested in Applying to Participate in

2020 DWOS?

Cheryl Strahl Photography

Eligibility: 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organizations in SLO North County Application: Available online May 1st: Applications must be received no later than May 31st, 2019.

Directed by Molly CominEVENT SPONSORS! We Appreciate our 2019 DWOS Diamond Sponsor $10,000 Opolo Vineyards Vicky Morse Julie C Fallon MD John & Yvonne Webster Emerald Sponsor $3,500 Howard Products, Inc. Donna O'Shaughnessy Atascadero 76-Don Giessinger Awakening Ways Spiritual Community Gold+ Sponsors $2500 Colony Magazine

Gold Sponsors $2,000 Eric J. Gobler, Civil Engineering Greg Malik Real Estate Don & Helen Jernigan Ron & Liz Helgerson Atascadero News Bill Gaines Audio BHE Renewables

Silver Sponsors $1,000 Bill & Grenda Ernst Grigger & Alice Jones American Riviera Bank Hope Chest Emporium Leon & Sandy Fairbanks K.Jons Diamonds & Gems Cheryl Strahl Photography Richard & Marguerite Pulley David Burt & Virginia Severa El Camino Veterinary Hospital Rob Garcia Wealth Management County Supervisor Debbie Arnold

Silver Sponsors $1,000 Sue Hayes LUBE-N-GO Idler's Home DJ Joy Bonner Brian Reeves Highlight Media MGE Underground The Real Estate Book Bloom N’ Grow Florist Central Coast Brewing Mid Coast Geo Technical Central Coast Tent & Party

2019 DWOS Champions 1st Place Tom Butler 2nd Place Jan Lynch 3rd Place Karen McNamara Save the Dates for DWOS 2020

Rabobank So Cal Gas

March 26, 27 & 28th!! Cheryl Strahl Photography




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“ You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.” — Rumi “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” — Rumi “I've found in life the more you practice, the better you get. If you want something enough and work hard to get it, your chances of success are greater.” — Ted Williams


ell, May is a big month around here. And by around here, I mean around here but also personally.

I'll tell you why. My wife and I met in high school. Actually, my friend Josh who had just finished his freshman year at Templeton High School was explaining a bit of what the school was like as I was transferring in from North County Christian School as a sophomore. Hayley Hickox was on his list of girls who dated guys out of our league. For some reason, her name stuck out to me like a cosmic chime. Well, I must have played my cards right in biology class with my pullover hoodie and Shaquille O'Neal Orlando Magic jersey overtop — I think I wore that outfit a couple times a week — because in my junior year, Hayley asked me to the Sadie Hawkins dance and we dated for a few months. Sadly, I wasn't ready for that level of commitment, so I had to call it off. I regretted that for the next 13 years. Fast-forward to May 2, 2009 when I picked Hayley up from her hotel room in San Luis Obispo. She was visiting from Colorado for a job interview. Her birthday was May 6. We got married May 5, 2012. And of course, Mother's Day is May 12 this year. You can't forget May the 4th (be with you) is international Star Wars day. The last Monday in May is Memorial Day. May 11 is Warbirds, Wings, and Wheels 11 at Estrella Warbirds Museum. May 24-26 is Best of the West show at Santa Margarita Ranch. Paso Robles Wine Festival Weekend is May 16-19. May 5-11 is National Travel and Tourism week. My sister's birthday is May 20. And there is much more. So yeah, May is a big month around here ... like around here. So we hope you enjoy reading the magazine as much as we enjoy putting it together. Get outside, and enjoy the great people, places, playthings, and great natural beauty that our home provides and the visitors that come to enjoy it with us. Remember to slow down and smell the flowers, and don't get too bent out of shape on the road. As traffic increases with new residents and visitors, some of the first places we make an impression is on the roads, which can be impersonal and sometimes a bit awkward. The absolute best thing about about our community is the people, and that is our body politic. Every one of us is an ambassador, and an advocate. Each one of us has patience, kindness, goodwill, mercy, love, respect, and gratitude of which we carry an endless supply. We do. Don't forget that.

Please enjoy this issue of Colony Magazine. Nicholas Mattson 805-239-1533

If thou wouldest win Immortality of Name, either do things worth the writing, or write things worth the reading. — Thomas Fuller, 1727

Colony Magazine, May 2019

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May 2019, Colony Magazine | 7



After nearly six years of work, Joy Park has opened in Atascadero next to Colony Park Community Center. The park is an inclusive park that has something for those with all abilities. One feature is that the entire playground is fenced in to give parents of elopers peace of mind at the park. Photos by Heather Young

Atascadero Planning Commission Vice Chairman Mark Dariz enjoys the treehouse at Joy Park.

All ages and abilities enjoy the new playground near Colony Park Community Center

The Hope Chest Emporium



Old Ranch and Antique to Just-Made Local Goods We Carry a Unique Blend 8 |

Colony Magazine, May 2019

Atascadero Downtown

COLONY DISTRICT The Renaissance Continues...

More places to eat and drink make downtown a walkable ecosystem By Nicholas Mattson


n 2017, when it was announced that Mike Zappas planned to develop the west side of El Camino Real between West Mall and Traffic Way, I immediately hit Facebook with a vote for him as the Citizen of the Year in Atascadero. Of all the fighting for Walmart, schemes to move dentists away from Sunken Gardens, attempts to secure more downtown parking, or bridges here and there — nothing can match the real and positive impact that a useful, massive, thoughtful development would have in the heart of the Colony District. I didn’t know Mike Zappas well, but I knew enough to know that he was capable of developing something truly ben-

eficial — and like a defibrillator that hit the chest of the city, the pulse came back. I spent the last two years connecting with downtown and with the business community as a whole, and the buzz of the Zappas’ La Plaza project was universal and palpable. I credit their plans and efforts over the past years for the state of Atascadero’s downtown now, and the growth we can expect to see in the future. Many of the business owners downtown raved about the excitement the project brought and businesses over the past year have sunk their teeth in downtown to move in, or stay, with great expectations. Directly across from the project, Entrada Avenue is seeing a bloom of new business and has the makings of a special atmosphere that makes it, arguably, the best street in the Colony District. With earthmovers now getting foundations ready, the vision is coming together. Let’s go downtown to see what has happened in the past year. We ran an article in Paso Robles Magazine in March 2018,

May 2019, Colony Magazine

when a feeling of “renaissance” was surging. It has certainly grown since then, and nothing has matured as nicely as Entrada Avenue, which is becoming an entity of its own. About a year ago, it was a street with nothing to eat. Now, it is literally its own ecosystem that can support life indefinitely. Start at Dark Nectar, waking you up in the morning with a fresh cuppa Joe, you can hit lunch at Phō 4 U. Top the afternoon off with a brewski from Dead Oak, or stop by Fossil Wine Bar for a variety of tastings — or if you are looking for something that won’t raise your BAC, head back to Dark Nectar for a pint of Whale’s Tale kombucha. Within a few doors, there is shopping for almost the whole family with Baby’s Babble serving the young’ns, Anna & Mom hitting a variety of notes that really demands firsthand experience, and Farron Elizabeth putting it down for the ladies with custom threads for a bevy of occasions. You could possibly stay on Entrada long enough to need a haircut and Nate’s Barbershop is there to clean you up with a fresh look in a classic barbershop in which you might expect a quartet to serenade the snip. That is just a taste of Entrada, and we’ll head back down there for more in our Art issue in June. Some of the new businesses we covered last year are maturing. Mr. Putter’s Putt Putt had been recently installed as SLO County’s only miniature golf. Pair that with Hop’s Bounce House, and you have a nice set of family entertainments where once was not. Continued on page 41 | 9


By Simone Smith


o you hear it? Off in the distance is that unmistakable sound of a train whistle before the increasing engine rumble and clack screech of the metal wheels following the track, finally bringing the familiar sight of a train as it thunders through town. On Saturday, April 20, 1889, it was the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad that announced to the world the birth of the new town of Santa Margarita. An arrangement had been made between Patrick Murphy, the owner of the Santa Margarita Ranch, and Southern Pacific for the railroad to run through the ranch on its way south and for the development of a new town in which Murphy would receive a share of the profits. An exciting day was planned with a grand auction to sell off lots in town. Special railroad excursion rides were available and a “grand barbeque” was hosted by Patrick Murphy, assisted by his “vaqueros.” From that point on, the town of Santa Margarita has had a view of progress as the rail connection was made over the grade and people and goods, including cattle and grain from local

“Santa Margarita has seen history as vehicles parade through town by rail and road” ranches and farms were more easily transported across the state. As time progressed, sights and sounds changed. El Camino Real running parallel to the rails was paved to better serve the automobiles and trucks moving through town. The view from Santa Margarita has seen history as vehicles parade through town by



rail and road, with each new sound signaling the arrival of something different and exciting. Kids young and old perk up to watch the train coming through, whether it’s passenger, freight or something special. We’ve been privileged to have had a front-row view when the Ringling Bros. Circus train made its final trip, or when American Orient Express, military or other trains with private cars were added. Our short section of El Camino Real has treated locals to the viewing of everything from scooter and antique motorcycle clubs to antique car tours and luxury sports car rallies passing through on their way north-south or east-west.

On Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26, you will certainly hear that unmistakable sound of a train whistle blowing, however, this whistle will be that belonging to a steam train offering rides on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch as part of the festivities for the annual Best of The West Antique Equipment Show. The show is fun for all ages and includes earth moving demonstrations, equipment displays, food and drink, military and tractor parades and more. For more information, go to

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Colony Magazine, May 2019

Camps and Parks, from the North County to the Coast By Sarah Pope

he tail end of our much-needed rain has left the boys and I dreaming of summertime. Enjoying the endless hours of splashing around at the waterpark and eating ice cream for dinner, living without a care in the world but only to make sure we have on enough sunscreen. Three entire months of NO homework, NO early bedtime, just fun in the sun! I will not miss having to pack the kids lunches in the early morning or waking up the little one so we’re not late to school. But, let’s be real, three months free of structure and routine could possibly drive a mama (and some kids) a bit cuckoo. There are a few summer staples that get us (me) through the break like Playtime Discoveries summer camps for ages 4 to 11. They also offer year-round programs. My 3-year-old and I took advantage of the Mommy and Me classes with program director Dorothy Nelson. It was fun to meet new mommies while watching my little guy interact with babies his age.

My boys and I look forward to the summer Lego Construction Camp, Harry Potter, Mermaids, Unicorns and Fairies, Oh My!, Creative Campers, and a Mad Scientist Camp being offered this summer. Check out and get your mad scientist ready. The Paso Robles Sports Club is where we like to spend some of the hottest days. Most times we arrive with our packed lunch and swim noodles to a pool all to ourselves. It was always a nice change of pace from the wet and wild Ravine Water Park! The Sports Club also offers a Summer Sports Program for kids. The camp includes swimming, tennis, soccer, basketball, FitKids and other fun activities. One we personally haven't tried (but is definitely on our 2019 summer bucket list) is the Scoot & Skate Camp offered by The Templeton Recreation Department. The Scoot Camp starts in mid-June and Skate Camp in mid-July, running for one week each. The cost includes a snack, Templeton Skatepark T-shirt and a

group photo. Maybe we’ll see you there! Del Mar Park in Morro Bay is on our weekly itinerary. There is a magic spot on Highway 41 where the temperature drops from 100 degrees to a refreshing 70 degrees. Del Mar Park is a hidden gem, tucked away behind a lovely Morro Bay neighborhood. Their amazing four-story playground is surrounded by green grass and hills and a running seasonal creek surrounded by trees (aka “the forest”). We have yet to forget our Nerf guns because Del Mar has been named (by my boys) as one of the Top 5 parks to have Nerf gun battles. So, whether you are escaping the heat on the coast or cooling off from the heat in one of the pools at the Paso Robles Sports Club, enjoy your summer and don’t forget your sunscreen!

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May 2019, Colony Magazine

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PRINTERY to be New Performing Arts Center

By Mark Diaz


he foundation created to reclaim, rehabilitate and repurpose the oldest building in Atascadero's original Civic Center, the Printery, continues to make progress on the historic project. Karen McNamara, Atascadero Printery Foundation President, founded the organization to honor her late husband who had worked on plans to restore the building. McNamara’s work to return the Printery to its former glory encapsulates an Atascadero motto, “Vision of one — work of many.” Last year, the APF took possession of the building’s deed and partnered with the Atascadero Performing Arts Center Committee. The goal of the two organizations is not simply to restore the dilapidated structure but to establish it as a community performing arts center. “If you look at the studies, it’s incredible what a performing arts studio does for a community as far as reducing drug use among the kids,” McNamara said. A 2012 report by the California Cultural and Historical Endowment researched 22 separate impact studies to assess the benefits of historic restoration. The report states that studies are “overwhelmingly consistent regarding the beneficial impacts to a community’s economy from rehabilitation activities” and the “most common and most significant benefits involved job creation, property value stabilization, growth and cultural tourism.” “We’re on our way to doing bigger and better things,” McNamara said. For the past three and a half years, the Atascadero Printery Foundation has attained money through the community’s generosity. This type of 'bake sale' fundraising encourages local awareness and personal investment in the project

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to appreciate the Founders and present up-to-date information about the efforts and actions of the foundation. The reception is open to the public, and anyone interested in more information can attend.

Saturday, May 11 • 6 -10 p.m.

through the pride in contributing to a worthy cause. One way the APF offered the public to participate is the Founder’s Club which honors the first 100 people to donate $1,000 or more to the project. Approximately 60 people currently claim the Founder title. McNamara said that the nonprofit is launching a capital campaign with the goal of reaching $1 million. In the past two years, the APF raised $150,000, a remarkable achievement for a fledgling organization and a small group of very dedicated people. The amount does not include the many hours donated to the cause. Volunteer hours for APF contain real sweat in their sweat equity by putting their time to not only raise money for the Printery but also cleaning the building and protecting it from further harm. The nonprofit is exploring matching funds grants that help capitalize on those volunteer hours. In some instances, grants will award a monetary value to in-kind services and APF requests volunteers to log their hours with this in mind. For instance, McNamara mentioned a lady who made a quilt to be offered in a silent auction, her hours spent in creation also can go to-

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ward the matching monetary value from a grant. The foundation continues to work with the City, meeting every other month. With its capital campaign, the APF plans to expand its focus of fundraising to include state and federal grants. McNamara said that City Manager Rachelle Rickard suggested various state agencies to contact in order to garner more funds for the project. Another boon for the APF is the possibility of Atascadero entering into the Certified Local Government Program. The jointly administered program of the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Offices gives communities the opportunity to receive federal funds for the preservation of historical sites as well as a dedicated federal staff that offers training, general preservation aide and other benefits. Local communities work through a certification process to become recognized as a Certified Local Government. Once certified they become an active partner in the Federal Historic Preservation Program. McNamara pointed out that the Printery falls under federal protection being listed in

the National Register of Historic Places. Therefore, the building's federal status offers two choices to the community, either make it into something useful for the public or let it remain a blight on the City — tearing it down is not an option. All things being equal, if the foundation’s estimation of $8 million to rehabilitate the building were met tomorrow, McNamara said that the Printery could be available for public use in a little as one year’s time. She said that a recent evaluation by a brick mason working for the APF gave promising results. McNamara stated that the mason was amazed at how well the structure had endured the test of time and attested to the fact the repairing the building was not what he would call a “big job.” “He was absolutely in awe at the condition of the building and the brick,” McNamara said. Representing APF, McNamara participated in Dancing with Our Stars, a fundraiser established by the Friends of Atascadero Library. APF placed third in the fundraiser effort hauling in approximately $25,000 for their mission. The DWOS was first created to garner funds to in order to provide the City with a larger public library. With its goal completed, DWOS continues on by providing local nonprofits the change to raise awareness and funds for their causes as well as show off their new dance moves. Over the years, valuable things have gone missing from the building. One such item is part of a mural that greeted visitors in the main entrance. The painting holds significance for the City and the building. McNamara asks for the one of a kind artwork to please be returned. For more information about the organization, visit

Colony Magazine, May 2019

The 7th annual

Lighthouse 5K Fun Run & Family Day

June 1, 2019 8 a .m. to 11 a .m. Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery

5036 S. El Pomar, Templeton

Presenting Sponsor:

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• Run or walk! • Kids 1/2 mile & 100-yard dash • Food, vendor fair & bounce house • Register online: The 7th annual

Lighthouse 5K 8 a .m. to 11 a .m.


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5036 S. El Pomar, Templeton

Presenting Sponsor:

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• Run or walk! • Kids 1/2 mile & 100-yard dash • Food, vendor fair & bounce house • Register online: A




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June 1, 2019




Fun Run & Family Day

FRANK SANCHEZ Owns a Living Legacy of Local Artistry By Melissa Chavez


hen meeting Frank Sanchez, one sees a genial man from a bygone era. He was born Jose Francisco in 1928 in Los Angeles to Francisco and Escolastica of Zacatecas, Mexico. Frank grew up in Santa Paula where his family worked as migrant laborers before moving to Sanger to manage a 40-acre vineyard. The ninth of 11 children, Frank was raised in a home filled with music. “My older brothers were always singing and there was always a guitar playing in the house,” said Frank, who preferred the piano. “When I was 10, I got into folkloric dancing. When I was 15, a carload of siblings and cousins would drive to Fresno for the weekly dances and the tardeadas. I’ve been dancing ever since.” In the army, Frank trained at Camp Roberts and was assigned to the Presidio in San Francisco. There, he continued his study in ballroom dance as an instructor. It was on a weekend pass to Fresno that Frank met Mary Louise Torrez in 1951 and they married in 1956. In 1959, Frank and Mary moved to Atascadero, where he worked at Atascadero Guarantee Savings and Loan and in real estate. But he impacted his community most significantly through his sense of creativity — designing parade floats and construction projects, fundraising with the Lions Club, and choreographing the Miss California Organization. He even shared the screen with Donald O’Connor in the film “Out to Sea.”

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Frank Sanchez accepts the "King of Dance" award during his 90th birthday party.

A charter member of Pioneer Players community theater, Frank performed as a singer, dancer, choreographer and director. He also painted sets and served as president in what was the longest-running live performance organization in the North County. For years, Frank taught dance and performance etiquette to the next generation at schools and studios throughout the county, including with local icon, the late Pat Jackson. At Jackson’s memorial service, Frank and dancer Theresa Slobodnik performed a Bolero in her honor. To Frank’s many talents can be added sketch artist. His large, hand-drawn image of wife Mary hangs near his home’s front door and serves as an early testament to the love of his life. In her 2011 obituary, Mary was recalled as “beautiful, feisty,

Atascadero resident Frank Sanchez, pictured above dancing with his sister Lola, has built a legacy of artistic contributions in the community including designing the Colony Days Parade float pictured at left.

funny, and passionate.” It’s evident that his wife is quietly but profoundly missed. Together, Frank and Mary raised Doriana, Dana, Mara and Steven, the eldest of whom followed Frank into the performing arts. An Emmy nominee, Doriana has for more than 30 years directed and choreographed tours for Cher and worked extensively in the entertainment industry. As a costumer, Dana worked in film and television for a decade. And Mara’s daughter, Mikaela, is a professional dancer who has traveled the world. In 2013, Frank joined the Friends of Atascadero Library’s Dancing with Our Stars as a choreographer and served as Artistic Director from 2015 through 2018 and created three dance numbers for the 2019 show. Now the largest annual event in Atascadero, DWOS grossed $210,000 in 2019. Approximately $173,000 will benefit local nonprofits including Atascadero Library, Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation, Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, American Association of University Women, ECHO Homeless shelter, Atascadero Printery Foundation, and the Humane Society Education Program, sponsored by Kiwanis Club of Atascadero. “Frank is the epitome of a classic gentleman — perfectionism and kindness. It’s an honor to know and love him,” said Jeannie Malik, vice-president of Friends of the Library. An early supporter of DWOS, Jeannie took on the role of Event Coordinator in 2012. When she approached Frank to serve as Artistic Director.

Colony Magazine, May 2019

Frank Sanchez poses for a publicity photo during his younger days. All photos contributed by Frank Sanchez

May 2019, Colony Magazine

“He raised the professionalism tenfold,” Jeannie said. “‘Do it again’ is his favorite phrase. Frank has this saying, ‘You have to plan your entrance and exit and you strive to make a show-stopper routine.’ And Frank does just that. He’s a perfectionist!” After a busy, four-year stint with DWOS, Frank turned over the reins to Molly Comin, a DWOS alumnus and Tap Director at Artistry in Motion, who agrees with Jeannie about Frank’s work ethic. “Frank is a perfectionist and he likes to take his time, much like a painter with an easel,” Molly said. “He doesn’t have everything choreographed in his head; he creates a masterpiece on the spot. Even at 90 years old, he’s bank!” The Mercer-Sanchez Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit administrated by the North County Dance and Performing Arts Foundation, reflects Frank’s desire to support male dance students who hope to perfect their crafts. Approved scholarship recipients must prove their eligibility by attending Class Act Dance and Performing Studio classes in ballet, jazz, hip hop and tap dance and take part in local performances. The recipient for 2019 was local dancer Oscar Gutierrez. Since his youth, Frank has observed how music has the capacity to unify people from all walks of life, including his own family. “I’ve learned that music goes ‘over the fence’ in our understanding of one another and crosses all cultures,” Frank said. “For my children, I want them to be happy and continue to be close to each other.” In addition to being crowned Colony Days King in 2016, Frank was crowned the “King of Dance” in a room of 180 people for his 90th birthday at Atascadero Lake Pavilion in September 2018. Frank cheered on his son, Steven, who surprised his father with a performance of “Cuban Pete,” a lively Desi and Lucy Arnaz comedic dance routine with Christina Troxel that had Frank on his feet in applause. A stroke several years ago sidelined Frank for a time, and he now uses a cane to maintain his balance. But when the music starts, physical distractions fall by the wayside as sense memory, rhythm and elegance take over. “He’s earned respect his entire life,” Molly said. “In North County, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has earned more respect in the ballroom dance community and countywide. He’s a performer, he has a lot of vision and he knows what he wants to do. Don’t argue with him. He’s always right as rain. That’s Frank!” | 17

Friends of

Atascadero Lake Nonprofit works to keep Atascadero waterway clean and healthy by Mark Diaz


espite the fact that Atascadero Lake falls under the jurisdiction of the City Parks and Recreation Department, a group of dedicated citizens is responsible for accomplishing leaps and bounds in the restoration and maintenance of the lake. Friends of the Atascadero Lake, a nonprofit dedicated to the wellbeing of the body of water, has for years worked to restore, protect and improve the lake. Founded in 2013, FOAL maintains its staunch advocacy of the lake and contributes to its wellbeing on a daily basis. Though the organization strives to maintain a cooperative approach with the City instead of an adversarial one, it took years for the City to take the group seriously. FOAL President Bob Edmond said that it was only until the council realized that the group was not going to give up lobbying and that they had the best intentions in mind for the lake that the City began to work with them. “We’ve been recognized at this point,” Edmond said, “and initially we were not.” FOAL secretary Nancy Hair said that the City offers fundraising opportunities for the organization. She referred to the Tamale Festival where the council allowed FOAL to host beer and wine sales for the event and collect the proceeds, which earned them approximately $14,000. That being said, both FOAL and some private citizens have voiced how they would like to see the council dedicate a certain percentage of the city’s budget to the lake. The city council works with several nonprofits to help them raise money for their individual causes and must make tough decisions between what they can do and what they must do. Still, those in favor of the lake contend that it is a public attraction and should be maintained by the City.

Quota presents Friends of the Lake with a $500 Check FOAL spends $5,100 for electricity to pump water into the lake six months out of the year. Issues surrounding Atascadero Lake can be as The nonprofit would like to see the City take re- murky as the water can get and there is no easy sponsibility for the general maintenance of the solution. Hair said that since the lake is publiclake so its members can focus on beautification ly owned, any changes or maintenance the City and enhancement. A portion of the check donat- wants to undertake must go through governmened by Quota International of Atascadero, a local tal entities that snarl any process with red tape. nonprofit, would go toward the lake’s electric bill. To further muddy the waters, the lake is desigFOAL has already provided three aeration de- nated as part of a Blue Line Stream by the U.S. Devices to improve the health of the body of water partment of the Interior Geological Survey because and plans to add more when funds become avail- it shows a solid or broken blue line on 7.5 Minute able. The organization also paid for the drilling Series quadrangle maps which makes it subject to of a new well and the installation of pipes to help federal environmental regulations. In short, nuprovide water to the lake during the dry season. merous studies and reports must be completed The lake was originally fed by three wells but due before anything can be done to the lake. For exto lack of upkeep, they filled with silt and became ample, in order to curb the overgrowth of algae, a useless. Hair said they sent a letter to the City consultant was hired to do a study on how to adrequesting that it maintain the new year well pro- dress the issue. Once the protocol was devised it vided by FOAL, but have not received a response. had to go through multiple approvals before it could The nonprofit continues to work on the develop- be implemented. Furthermore, when the lake was ment of high-quality trail placards that will be dredged, agricultural businesses wanted to purchase placed along the 1.3-mile path around the lake. the soil as fertilizer, however, the government would FOAL volunteers work to keep the lake beau- not allow it to be sold due to contamination issues. There are some benefits of having Department tiful in more ways than just acting as advocates. Every day — sometimes two times a day — of Fish and Wildlife oversight. Edmond said that volunteers clear the screen on the intake pump the department agreed to stock the lake with sterile located in Atascadero Creek. The screen is de- trout for fishing once the City builds a fish screen at signed to keep Steelhead trout, an endangered fish, the spillway. Evidently, the lake does contain some from getting killed by the pipe that feeds the lake fish — at least enough to support the bald eagles but easily becomes clogged with debris, making that have taken up residence at the park. On May 18th the Friends of Atascadero Lake it inefficient. Incidentally, steelhead and rainbow trout are genetically identical. The only difference will host its fourth annual LakeFest. The orgabetween the two fish is that steelhead migrate from nization also hosts cleanup days throughout the the ocean and into freshwater streams for breeding year where the public is invited to help keep the purposes from December to May while rainbow lake’s perimeter clear of overgrowth and trash to trout spend the entirety of their lives in freshwater. help maintain its natural beauty.

For more information or to join FOAL, visit their website at

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Colony Magazine, May 2019

MAY 11 By Meagan Friberg Photo by Steven Lochen

11th Annual Event Showcases Military Vehicles, Planes, BMX Stunts, Displays, Classic Cars, Kids’ Zone, Swap Meet, Food, Drink, And More! There truly is something for everyone at Warbirds, Wings, and Wheels 11, taking place on Saturday, May 11 on the grounds of the Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles. More than just an air or car show, this annual event with a All museum buildings will be open throughout the day. Families are encouraged to

May 2019

festival atmosphere is chock full of exciting activities and plenty to do and see for the entire family. “This event is for kids of all ages, from the little ones all the way up to the grandparents,” said Carol Verstuyft, WWW11 coordinator. “Youngsters will enjoy our Kids Zone with bounce houses, face painting and, new this year, the StuntMasters BMX with amazing stunts and jumps to keep the crowd engaged. We will also have a swap meet, vendor fair, live music, raffle prizes, a 50/50 drawing, and expanded food court. Warbirds, Wings, and Wheels is a spectacular event with so much excitement going on!”

browse through hundreds of displays, situated inside and outside, with many in chronological order thanks to Curator Jill Thayer.

“Recently, we installed a 27-foot digital mural of C-47s with paratroopers landing in Normandy to honor those who served, and

The Story of Us | 19

Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber, a WWII C-47 owned by the Gooney Bird Group that is a featured display at the museum,” Thayer said. “The aircraft is participating in the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy this summer and will travel across the U.S. and abroad in air shows and displays.” See new aircraft onsite, dozens of military planes and vehicles, vintage cars, tractors, and more. The Woodland Auto Display recently expanded, gaining an additional 3,700 square feet for cars and memorabilia. Fly an F/A-18 “Hornet” flight simulator, with a 4K screen, or take photos of the kids on a tank, a bumper car they can sit in, and a quarter-size midget car inside Woodland Auto Display. This year marks JB Dewar and The Tractor Restoration Education Program’s first time being part of Warbirds, Wings, and Wheels. “We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to display our tractors and see all of the amazing features that are displayed at the event,” said Rachel Dewar, Tractor Restoration Education Program Coordinator. “We will have a handful of tractors from past and current contestants as well as their record books to display all the hard work that goes into their projects. We hope you get the chance to stop by and honor our contestants on a job well done.” Paso Robles native John Parker and his fellow riders will thrill the crowd with the Stunt Masters BMX Impact Show during three 20-minute performances. “Our show is fast, action-packed fun but we definitely leave the kids with a positive message,” Parker said. “They’re going to take something away from the show and we want it to be a good vibe. We also talk about safety because we don’t want the kids to go out and try any of these crazy stunts; we want them to have fun without getting silly. It’s mostly about getting out, doing things kids like to do, and being the best at it they can be.” The StuntMasters shows are interactive with the entire crowd involved in these world-class performances. “We want to hear everyone yell, scream, and get behind us, but we also do fun trivia quizzes and get volunteers to name tricks for us,” Parker said. “Come on out and interact with the StuntMasters at the Warbirds Museum!” Be sure to bring your earplugs for Cacklefest! Get up close and personal with historic vintage dragsters — many front-end with drive shaft detached — and thrill to the cackle of their engines! “It really is quite a thrill for people to see these nostalgic dragsters,” said John Husmann of the

20 | The Story of Us

Throttle Merchants Car Club. “The majority were raced in the early to mid-1960s and were used in a lot of movies during that era.” Referring to their appeal as, “taking a step back in time,” Husmann said the excitement surrounding the machines is truly contagious. “Us gear heads really enjoy all the excitement and the running of the cars,” he said. “Really, everyone loves these!”

hunter, it was converted to a contract fire bomber. “We also just received a beautifully restored 1936 42hp J-2 Piper Cub, which is currently in our main hangar and will eventually be hung for permanent display,” Eaton said. In addition, the restoration department just completed renovation of the museum’s Huey helicopter which is now sitting with two other restored helicopters on display.

Among the many cars on display inside the Woodland Auto Display and on the grounds will be Bill Maropulos’ 1923 Model T, this year’s poster car. A highly-modified hotrod, the shiny burgundy-maroon vintage replica is an attention-getter. “I drive this car almost daily, so it didn’t start out as a competition car,” Maropulos said. “But, I have to tell you, it’s so much fun to bring it out to shows.” Maropulos enjoys talking with people about how he built his unique car. One of the biggest draws, he said, is the engine; it’s not built in the traditional manner but with many handmade, one-off parts. “I’m excited about bringing this to Paso Robles and talking with people who appreciate what goes into building an engine and a replica car,” he said. “Car shows are great; there is something for the whole family. Different cars appeal to different people, so it’s fun to see all of the cars and the reactions from everyone.” A raffle for a Tour for Two to Jay Leno’s Garage and an overnight stay at a hotel in Burbank will be drawn at the awards ceremony. Tickets will be available all day during the car show.

With expanded parking, there is plenty of space for visitors. Keeping the costs family-friendly, the entrance fee per person includes free parking! Be sure to bring your appetite and some cash as there will be plenty of vendor offerings in the food court. The popular Firestone Walker Brewing Company Beer Garden returns and craft vendors will be situated nearby. “We gear the entire Warbirds, Wings, and Wheels show for families,” Verstuyft said. “And we like to get the younger generation involved in the military history so they understand how our freedoms come with a price. There are a lot of things that have changed and happened over the past few years because we are always growing and expanding! For those who think they’ve seen everything we have, I would encourage them to come out and take another look.”

Estrella Warbirds Museum Hangar One May 10 • 6 to 10 p.m. Enjoy dinner and dance to the foot-stomping tunes of Central Coast icon Monte Mills and his Lucky Horseshoe Band. $35/person Limited to the first 250 ticket-buyers On the aviation side, WWW11 will have 8 and 10-person table discounts some extra airplanes on static display including Beer and wine available for purchase two large firefighting planes from Cal Fire. In addition, several privately owned vintage war- RSVP to 805-286-5566 by midnight, May 7 birds will be onsite. or go to for more info The Estrella Warbird Museum Plane Captains Monte will be back on Saturday to prowill be in and around the aircraft displays to asvide live music during the car show! sist and answer questions. Brad Eaton, an F-18 simulator instructor, displays his antique aircraft, a Stearman PT-17, at the museum. He is a volunteer advisor to the Estrella Warbird Museum Estrella Warbirds Museum High School Aviation Club, promoting interest in 4251 Dry Creek Road, Paso Robles aviation vocations and conducting lunch clubs at Saturday, May 11 • 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Paso Robles School and Templeton High School. *pre-registration required for swap “Both form the Estrella High School Aviation meet vendors; no drive-ups; no dogs Club, which promotes motivation through field *museum buildings open at 10 a.m. trips, guest speakers, and community service,” $5 suggested donation, free parking Eaton said. and entrance to all museum displays New aviation displays at the museum include Kids 12-under & active duty military FREE a P-2V aircraft, now on permanent display next For more information, call 805-286-5566 to the C-47. After serving as a U.S. Navy sub or see

May 2019

May 2019

The Story of Us | 21


“That really sparked his interest,” Hanes said. “He asked if I would be interested in riding herd on the military portion of the show and the rest is history.”

By Meagan Friberg

ead on out to one of the most family-friendly celebrations in San Luis Obispo County this Memorial Day weekend as the Best of the West Antique Equipment Show rolls into the Historic Santa Margarita Ranch. Hosted by the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Committee and Rossi Foundation, this not-to-be-missed annual event happens Friday through Sunday, May 24-26, and showcases the heroes and history of America with parades, activities, food, music, and more. In addition to the historical and patriotic aspects, this popular event is just plain fun! A precursor to the now-annual show took place in 2010, according to Founder Tom Madden. It was so well-received by the community that organizers decided to make Best of the West happen yearly starting in 2015. Proceeds from the event help fund the annual Paso Robles Pioneer Day celebration. “We have daily parades and a tremendous children’s play area, food and drink vendors, and much more,” Madden said. “This event is Americana in every sense and we want the younger generation to understand what Memorial Day truly represents.”

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In addition to the historical and patriotic aspects, this popular event is just plain fun!

The 2019 show will include plenty of Jeeps, Weapon Carriers — all four-wheel drive, some armed and some not — and more. Most of the vehicles displayed are from the WWII era and Korea, according to Hanes.

“So much was produced in the relatively short duration between those two wars,” Hanes said. “With Vietnam, we get mostly big trucks, but a lot of the smaller stuff and armor was left in the country for our allies. Two major problems exist on getting military vehicles to a show. They either have to be driven and they are not very reliable for 300-400 mile trips, or they have to Held intentionally on Memorial Day Week- be trailered and not everybody has the equipend, Best of the West not only features antique ment to haul 25 to 50 tons.” tractors and equipment, planes, trains, horses, and automobiles, it is a patriotic event as well. Fallen service members are honored each day at noon with a flag salute, and there will also be speakers, music, and flyovers from Estrella Volunteer and Board Member Ashely Boneso Warbird pilots, present to pay tribute. Families oversees the Kids’ Corral, ensuring there are are encouraged to arrive earlier than noon to be in plenty of activities to keep the entire family enplace before the tributes begin. tertained and involved. Kids can try their hand at roping, participate in pedal tractor races, bob Be sure to stop by the extensive display of for apples, and enjoy cotton candy. They might military vehicles. Gary Hanes organizes this like the John Deere teeter-totter, and they can portion of Best of the West. He first became get the wiggles out while playing in the giant involved when Madden saw his 1941 Dodge sand pile and tire-climbing gym or participating Weapons Carrier. in a scavenger hunt.

May 2019

MAY 24 -26 Displays and exhibits over the years have included tractors, vintage farming equipment, steam and gas engines, fire trucks, and classic automobiles and motorcycles. In addition, see antique trucks and trailers from the farming, ranching, logging, and construction industries. Always popular with the younger crowd, the “original tractors” — horses and Bring the youngsters to experience gold pan- mules — are often accompanied by wagons, ning, a Farmers’ Market stocked full of fresh, carts, and plows. local fruit and veggies, and self-paced stations Find information about volunteering, forms showcasing vintage water pumps, grain buckets, butter making, and more. In addition, a local for exhibitors, vendors, RV & camping registrain club sets up tables filled with model trains tration, dinner tickets, golf cart rentals, and dog rules at and tracks — always fun for kids of all ages. “You can quite literally spend the entire day at Kids’ Corral,” Boneso said. “Bring your kids out and let them be a cowboy or cowgirl for the day; it’s like taking a step back in time. We are located right next to the barbecue area, so it’s convenient for families to have lunch nearby and let their kids explore.”

The steam-powered Pacific Coast Railroad is another favorite at Best of the West. Following a narrow-gauge loop around the Santa Margarita Ranch headquarters, it allows for wideopen views of the surrounding meadows and mountains. There are three engines and four 5/8 scale passenger coaches from the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad, dating back to the 1950s.

“We are really ramping up the blacksmith display, grain threshing, hay booming, and showcasing more of the old-time farming techniques,” Madden said. “A big portion of the show is the school field trips that happen on Friday. We set up various stations and the kids get to see history in the making. It allows them to see just how the crops are grown and harvested that later end up in stores as the foods they eat. It’s fascinating for these kids and they love bringing their parents back to the show on Saturday and Sunday to experience it as well.”

May 2019




General admission, day pass, $10 Weekend pass, $25 FREE admittance for active duty military in uniform FREE admittance for children ages 10 & under Join together to celebrate the heroes and history of America For information or to purchase tickets, see •

The Story of Us | 23

Tractor Restoration Program By Mark Diaz

program coordinator, said that there are numerous local businesses who lend their support to the participants. The JB Dewar program directly reflects the requirements of the Chevron Delo Tractor Restoration Competition, so if the student wishes they can compete on a national level. A major difference from the Chevron program is that it only accepts 12 entries whereas Dewar does not limit

the number of participants. reer as a diesel mechanic by attend“We accept as many people who ing the Caterpillar Service School ince 2001, the J.B. Dewar, Inc. want to restore a tractor,” Dewar and felt that the program was a Tractor Restoration Program said. “We love it, the more people good idea. has helped promote ingenuity, hard the better.” Casey Havemann, a sophomore work and determination in Central Kyle Sorrow, a senior who has who worked on a 1951 Farmall SuCoast youth. The program not only restored two tractors in two years per C, became interested through encourages budding entrepreneurs — a 1948 Farmall Super A and a his brother’s involvement when he to learn the logistics of record keep1958 Farmall 460 — said he first made the cut in the Chevron Delo ing, the importance of time manbecame interested in the program contest in 2017. agement and the value of sweat from his friends’ participation. “It was more fun restoring a equity but also offers cash prizes up He also plans on furthering his ca- tractor than playing sports for me,” to $4,000 and all participants retain Havemann said. the rights to their tractors. Any high schooler living VIEW THE TRACTOR PROJECTS in San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara Counties are welTractors will be on display at the Warbirds Wings and Wheels comed to participate in the Car Show and Swap Meet happening Saturday, May 11 from competition. For those who 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Estrella Warbird Museum, located at do not have access to a di4251 Dry Creek Road in Paso Robles and the Best of the West lapidated tractor, JB Dewar Antique Equipment Show Friday through Sunday, May 24 company will provide a trac– 26 at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch. The tractors are tor free of charge as long as displayed at the Mid-State Fair each year. People can also the participant signs a consee them annually at the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade. tract promising to finish the Casey Havemann with his 1951 Farmall Super C restoration. Rachel Dewar,


24 | The Story of Us

May 2019

Business owner and former Cal Fire Captain Lisa Marrone wants Paso Robles to have a train museum and a disaster preparedness education center.


arrone acknowledges that her ideas tend to fall on the side of being a bit grandiose, but that does not hinder her enthusiasm for the project. Her goal is to produce a ‘Smithsonian style’ attraction that would provide a multi-sensory adventure. Marrone imagines people entering the complex and seeing a 3D silhouette of a train, feeling the rumbling of the floor, walking into a cloud of steam and being able to smell the creosote from the railroad ties. People would get a glimpse into the past as they

May 2019

hear the conversations of passengers from long ago discussing their plans or what brought them to the area. “I envision where you can experience that feeling when a stake drives in,” Marrone said, describing her desire to make the production and interactive experience that would also have educational information coordinated with the patron’s participation. As a former firefighter, safety and preparedness have always been at the forefront of Marrone’s mind. In 2011, she began The Mobile Oil Changers, which

By Mark Diaz

donates proceeds for disaster preparedness. Marrone explained that instead of saving one person at a time she could create an educational and entertaining experience that could help people to be ready when a natural disaster strikes.

at 800 Pine Street. However, both sides of the building were rented out in March. Not to be deterred, Marrone says she is looking for another building close to the train tracks to host a location or even have them on the tracks

Her goal is to produce a ‘Smithsonian style’ attraction that would provide a multi-sensory adventure. Along the same lines of the train themselves in a converted railcar museum, Marrone also wants the and have the ability to travel all safety preparedness attraction to across America. expose people to what it feels like to be in an emergency situation. Marrone is actively seeking people from the commuIt’s one thing to know what to nity to help organize and do in an earthquake, being in one develop her dream. (or even a simulated one) is a completely different thing altoFor more information, gether. visit Facebook pages: An ideal location for both faPaso Robles Railroad Museum cilities would have been the Paso and Paso Robles Disaster Prep Education Center. Robles Intermodal Station, located

The Story of Us | 25

Trains, Planes and Battleships

Local veteran Mike Fitzgerald toys with trains in a big way


hen retired Navy Captain Mike Fitzgerald received his first model train, the world around him was in the throes of chaos. The year was 1941, the place was Pearl Harbor. Fitzgerald’s father, William, served as Operations Officer and had the weekend staff duty on the USS Maryland (BB-46) on the infamous day. William survived the attack on Pearl Harbor and earned the Navy Medal of Commendation for valorous actions. William served in both of the Great Wars and when he retired from his military career he held the rank of Rear Admiral. William was stationed aboard the Colorado-class battleship Maryland which survived the Pearl Harbor attack. The USS Oklahoma that sat outboard (farther from the dock) beside the Maryland, capsized from being his by several torpedo bombs.

By Mark Diaz

“The Japanese. when they attacked. did a very efficient job on the naval forces that were there,” Mike explained, “but they did not go after the fuel dumps and they did not go after the shipyard repair facilities, both of which played a major part in the U.S. getting offensively involved in the war.” Marjorie also made the executive decision to move up Christmas to help keep the 4-and-ahalf-year-old Mike distracted from the turmoil.

Mike Fitzgerald has created a vast rail system that surrounds the engineer.

The 429 souls stationed on the USS Oklahoma lost their lives in the assault but a brave few survived by jumping into the fuel-burning waters 50 feet below or traversed mooring lines to the Maryland. Mike said that despite being sunk, the ship continued to protect the Maryland with its ruined hull due to the shallowness of the bay. In the wake of the attack, Mike’s mother Marjorie relocated the family to the other side of the island where it was “safer.” Part of the logic of moving the family, Mike explained, involved the fact that the Japanese had failed to destroy key naval facilities and could possibly return to finish the job.

26 | The Story of Us

The train set was a gift from his uncle and had to be assembled under the cloak of darkness, not only for a holiday surprise but also because of the established mandatory blackouts. Civilians were ordered to eliminate all forms of light to help remove reference points for enemy bombers. Mike said that he recalled seeing pictures taken with “Santa’s elves” hiding beneath a blanket and assembling the train set by flashlight. Like his father, Mike devoted thirty years of his life to the Navy that included command of ships in the Mediterranean, Black and Baltic Seas and the North Atlantic Ocean until finally retiring in Paso Robles. With the nearly constant relocating of the military life, Mike never had the chance to put down roots and create the elaborate train set he wanted. It took retirement from the Navy to finally allow Mike the time and space to create a dedicated train system. Residing in Paso Robles, Mike began his teaching career in San Luis Obispo’s Mission Preparatory High School where he taught mathematics for 18 years. He dedicated a room roughly the size of a two car garage by his estimates to construct an intricate model train system. “I couldn’t really make an elaborate layout like I have here until I retired in ’89,” Mike said. Mike named his railway the C, K and D after his three sons — Chris, Kevin and David.

All three contributed to the development of the system before leaving home. Kevin and Mike created a model of the San Luis Obispo Mission for a school project. They designed the building to scale so they could put it in the train system.

As one can imagine there is a slew of ways and methods of modeling. Scale/size typically range from the smallest from Z (1:220/.25”) to the largest G (1:25/1.75”) which comes with their own standard of detail and emphases. Mike still works in the scale he first received as a gift, O Gauge (1:48/1.25) made popular by the manufacturer Lionel. Originally Lionel trains were also foreshortened to accommodate for the sharp turns on their 3-rail track. Mike’s system is an O gauge "High Rail” layout meaning that a true 1:48 scale is always maintained. The differences between the two systems are generally not noticeable until the two styles are placed side-by-side. Model train aficionados may like to know that Mike is a High Railer and works on a 3-Track system, but the casual observer is automatically drawn to the vastness of Mike’s rail system. Instead of the typical railway placed on plywood that a person can walk around, Mike has created a world that can surround the engineer. There are buses, cars and boats all depicting their own era and way of life as the toys trains move to each destination, and yes, there is even a Starbucks. He has also incorporated sound chips with his system that helps with the immersion of the experience and now with the digital age, he can run the whole railway from his smartphone. “It’s a hobby that’s never completed,” Mike said. “There’s always something to do, more to do and more fun to have.” Sadly, Mike noted that playing with model trains has fallen out of popularity. He says now there are only a handful of stores in California that are dedicated to model trains. Train shows are still held, but Mike said that the majority of attendees tend to be elderly. Even his boys, who helped build the set with their father, have not carried on with the tradition.

May 2019

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May 2019

The Story of Us | 27

Publisher’s Note: Traditions are tricky. Like everything else, traditions change over time — but over time they come to appear as if they were always celebrated in their current iteration for their contemporary reasons. While there is much to be gained from this practice, it is beneficial and edifying to recall the origins of our traditions, lest we forget why traditions came to pass.

By Nicholas Mattson

emorial Day is set aside as an observation of those who gave their lives in service in the United States armed forces — those who will never experience another day of sweet freedom and the American lifestyle that is so coveted around the world. So often, it seems, we lose our perspective and Memorial Day helps us regain a sense of gratitude for what others have done for us through sacrifice. We go about our daily lives, with opposing views, financial and relationship stresses, comparing ourselves to others who seem to have it a little better or worse than we do, arguing over political, religious, and cultural differences, and trying to gain an edge against our neighbor so we don’t lose our place in line… or in the pecking order. We don’t all go to such extremes of course but there can be no doubt the state and national discourse, especially between major political or religious factions, has reached a fervor that has impacted even the most neutral parties — almost as if the developing culture is demanding people take sides. The message today is quite distant from the melodic chant of “one nation, indivisible” that stitched two parts of the Pledge of Allegiance together in 1892. The volume and demands of partisanship seem to be elevating. My great-grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1856 from Sweden. A few years later, the Civil War broke out — calling for even the pacifist to choose a side. My family lived in New York, and then Minnesota, so I’d guess we were Union soldiers, but I have yet to discover what extent my great-grandfather participated in a war in his new country that broke out only five years after his arrival to the New World. The Civil War cost more U.S. lives than any other war — 1.03 million died — and inspired Decoration Day, which was renamed Memorial

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Paso Robles District Cemetery Memorial Day Program

Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m. Paso Robles District Cemetery, 45 Nacimiento Lake Drive, Paso Robles. In cooperation with American Legion Post 50 and VFW Post 10965, the commemoration will feature an 11 am military flyover in V-formation by Estrella Warbird Museum’s Freedom Flight. Guest speakers, patriotic songs, Pledge of Allegiance, wreath laying, a closing prayer and Honor Day in 1967. Decoration Day was named for the Guard. Call Tom or Brian at 805-238-4544. strewing of flowers or other decoration of graves of those who died to change this country. Templeton District Cemetery So as we celebrate Memorial Day, the free- and American Legion Post 220 dom of our American lifestyle, our friendships Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m. and brotherhoods, and the great country we all Ceremony at Templeton Cemetery, love and cherish, let’s remember that we celebrate 100 Cemetery Road, Templeton. Memorial Day because some things are worth American Legion Hall Post 220 will honor fighting for, and some things are worth dying for. local veterans in a Patriotic Ceremony at TemBut let’s also recall that this day of remembrance pleton Cemetery and Estrella Warbird flyover at began because the nation of the United States of approximately 11:05 a.m. The commemoration America was divided and did not come to agree- will be followed by a Legion Hall barbecue ment on issues of civil and human rights that all (limited tickets available at the door) beginning people deserve — or as prescribed in the Decla- at noon at 801 South Main Street, Templeton. ration of Independence, the inalienable rights of For pre-event tickets please call Les Nye at “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 805-434-1402 for more information. All those who died, who we honor in our solemnity on Memorial Day, died for a promise to Atascadero Cemetery protect the highest ideals of citizenship ever ad- Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m. opted by any nation, but we continue to evolve our The cemetery will have a commemorative understanding and application of those ideals. In Memorial Day flyover above the Atascadero pursuit of ulterior ideals, we still impede life, liber- Cemetery to honor our departed veterans at ty, and the pursuit of happiness but we are getting 11:09 am. The flight, in V-formation, will be better in a relatively short period of time — 151 performed by Estrella Warbird Museum pilots years since the first Decoration Day is a blink of an of the Vietnam combat era. eye, and the next 151 years will go by even faster. Remember the fallen but remember why they Atascadero Faces of Freedom gave their lives and why we decorated the first Veteran’s Memorial graves as a country and remember that some who Monday, May 27 at noon will give their lives have not yet been conceived. 8951 Morro Road (Hwy. 41) Atascadero, SLO County Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial Estrella Adobe Memorial Celebration Friends of the Adobes, Inc., will host a non- The impressive memorial sculpture onsite dedenominational service at the Estrella Adobe picts an American soldier in a pantheon of Church on Airport Road, north of Paso Robles other historic military heroes. Stretched across Airport. Traditional hymns will be sung with an open courtyard are nine, seven-foot-tall accompaniment at this annual event. Quester panels that form a 70-foot-long wall. Inscribed members will provide refreshments. Enjoy in granite are over 231 names of soldiers from self-guided tours through the church grounds SLO County who died while defending our and old cemetery. Call 805-467-3357 or nation. Freedom Flight will soar overhead in visit Rios-Caledonia Adobe on Facebook for formation at 12:10 p.m. Call 805-462-1267 for more information. more information.

May 2019

Whoo Hoo - It’s Car Time!

Friday through Saturday May 24 & 25


Cruise and Car Show Downtown Paso Memorial Day Weekend By Chuck Desmond o matter your pleasure, May has something going on in Paso all month long. There is sure to be an event for you. And for sure, one of the funnest things is the Classics Cruise and Car Show. This is the show’s seventh consecutive year. Friday night, May 24 and Saturday the 25th are the days for the seventh annual Classics Cruise and Car Show sponsored by the Golden State Classics Car Club. Naturally, this is a family-oriented two-day event for those of all ages. But, before it officially begins, the vehicles have to show up. Beginning on Thursday and then all day long on Friday, before the parade starts, vintage vehicles start to roll into town. It’s just fun to be on the sidewalks downtown and watch them ease their way into Paso. Here’s a secret: the best viewing spots are around The Inn (across from City Park) as that’s become the de facto gathering place for the cars’ owners to get together and catch up on their car tales while they dust the metal to bring back the perfect shine. Please drive extra carefully because there are always groups of people gathered around the parked cars and folks sometimes spill into the street for a better glimpse. Later, on Friday afternoon, those same sidewalks begin “sprouting fold-

ing chairs” to hold viewers’ spots before the parade actually starts down Spring Street at 6 p.m. And what a parade it is! Just like Paso’s other parade on Pioneer Day, this is a Paso event showing off decades of beauty as the vehicles “strut their stuff” while cruising. About 300 classic vehicles are going to be in town over the weekend. The vehicles cruise back and forth from 6th to 23rd streets so you can get a good look from both sides and snap photos. Their owners put on a great exhibition and it’s often difficult to figure out who is having a better time — the spectators or the drivers. If you are into classic cars, and even if you’re not, there are only a couple words to use: Beautifully enticing! Saturday, the Downtown City Park is the place to be to see these wonderful American memories because you can get up close and personal to both the vehicles and owners. Officially, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., there is a full cadre of classics, custom rigs, woodies, street rods, and VWs along with their owners to tell you about them. Marvelous paint jobs, massive grills, real leather for upholstery, white-wall tires, stick shifts and AM radios. If you’re old enough to remember, it’ll take you back. If you aren’t of “that certain age to recall these beauties,” one often hears, “Why don’t they make these today?” These classics truly display the USA dominance of automotive engineering from “those

by-gone days.” They make you drool and all of a sudden, before you know it, you’ve mentally added one to your Christmas list! Wandering through the cars in the park, there’ll be plenty of vehicle-related vendors, food booths and vehicles for sale. A DJ plays the music that’s upbeat and surfin’ for cruisin’. You’ll be busy for a while.

An important part of the weekend event is that all the funds raised by the car club during the weekend go back to local organizations. It was back in 1986 when Golden State Classics Car Club was started to simply keep the memories of antique motor-vehicles alive. The founders also wanted to bring awareness and restoration-knowledge that provide a pathway for folks to learn and become involved while encouraging them in a club setting. GSCCC is alive, strong and vibrant. “The Cruise” that was begun by Russ Johnson 7 years ago as a concept is great to have here in town. Russ is being honored this year for doing just that. We thank him for persevering. It’s no accident that the club instigated another reason to bring residents and visitors together in Paso. The Central Coast had rain by the foot and our picturesque country roads winding through vineyards and ranches provides the gorgeous locale for driving

the oldies around. As Paso’s recognition and reputation grow, so does the desire for car owners to simply drive to our pueblo and enjoy the super country scenery to leisurely cruise and hang out. As a logical place to gather, we, the residents are often rewarded throughout the year when we see an ad-hoc group of classic autos in the area. Don’t we always slow down to stare and smile — probably dream just a little bit too? An important part of the weekend event is that all the funds raised by the car club during the weekend go back to local organizations. As always, Paso is a give-back community. Our residents know and respect Golden State Classic Car Club because it donates a tall stack of dollars that allow for great community work. With regards to that, sponsors also donate T-shirts, awards and posters to name a few items. Last year, donations from GSCCC went to at least a dozen worthy causes from school groups to scouting, our local museums and to outreach programs. This club is truly involved and committed to Paso. Learn more at Shawn Van Horn (805-610-8400) is in charge of this year’s event. The club president is Ronnie Maxwell (805312-2583). Paulette Pahler is club VP and is available with information about virtually anything (805-459-6711).

Reliable Power. Performance you can trust!

Atascadero Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business of the Year

805-466-2218 • 5025 El Camino Real • May 2019

The Story of Us | 29

37 th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival Where Small Town

Charm Wine

Meets World Class


he 37th Annual Wine Festival brings yet another episode of Paso Robles’ signature annual wine event. Under newly-minted Executive Director, Joel Peterson, the wine festival is scheduled to bring you all the things you love for the 2019 edition. It all kicks-off Thursday, May 16 with two Winemaker Dinners at The Hatch and Thomas Hill Organics restaurants. Tickets available now. On Friday, May 17, select wineries feature their Library, Reserve, White/Rosé, and Futures complemented by fresh and local gourmet bites at the RESERVE Event. Start your morning on Saturday, May 18 with a fun and educational Winemaker Seminar. Listen and taste along as a panel of winemakers share their stories, behind the label. Each will feature a wine that complements the story and personality of the story teller. Sit back, have a sip, and enjoy the show. Following the seminar, more than 70 wineries come together in the Paso Robles Downtown City Park to showcase their wines during the Grand Tasting. Wineries at the Grand Tasting will be arranged by “regions” for a seamless and focused tasting experience: Bordeaux-style, Rhône-style, Zinfandel, Burgundian-style, Italian varieties, and Other Wild Wines for your tasting pleasure. On Sunday, May 18 and all weekend long travel beyond the Park to enjoy wine tasting, seminars, mouthwatering BBQs, live music, winemaker dinners, and more! Visit to see the more than 100 weekend events. As a special gift from Paso Wine to Paso Robles Magazine, readers are encouraged to use code:


to save $20 on a Saturday, General Admission ticket! Buy tickets at

30 | The Story of Us

celebrates the transcontinental railroad

The heritage of those that built the railroads will be honored By Heather Young


he annual San Luis Obispo Train Day, put on by the SLO Railroad Museum, will be held on Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Train Day celebrates the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10, 1869, and when the railroad arrived in SLO 125 years ago. “Train Day is a commemorative event,” SLO Railroad Museum Board Vice-President Stephanie Hovanitz said. “We focus on when the railroad arrived in San Luis Obispo.” Hovantiz’s husband and past board member Karl Hovanitz said the first train to San Luis Obispo was southbound from San Francisco.

“This year, we’re putting a twist on the event by celebrating the heritage of those who built the railroad,” Stephanie said. Workers from Ireland and China had a huge impact on the railroad, so they will be honored for making the railroad happen, Stephanie said. The event is a family-friendly and open to all ages. “I think it’s a great family event,” Stephanie said. “Kids of all ages love it. As adults we still love trains. We’re all kids at heart.”

In addition to learning the history of trains and the railroad in SLO County, there will also be a chance for attendees to become a member of the museum. “The youngest docent is 12 years old,” Stephanie said. “He’s been a train fan for as long as his mom can remember.” The week before Train Day, a presentation about Southern Pacific arriving in San Luis Obispo in 1894 will be given on Saturday, May 4 at 11 a.m. This linked San Luis Obispo and other coastal cities with the railroad’s Coastline route to Northern California. The PowerPoint presentation will be given by Andrew Merriam, railroad historian and SLO Railroad Museum board member. There will be no train rides during the event, though Stephanie said there will be a children’s area with toy

Model trains are on display in the SLO Railroad Museum

trains. For those want to add a train ride to their day, the Coast Starlight departs the San Luis Obispo at 3:35 p.m. and arrives at the Paso Robles train station at 4:37 p.m. There are no trains going south after 4:37 p.m., though the RTA has buses running between the Paso Robles Train Station and SLO. To get the bus schedule and fares, go to To book a ticket and see fares for Amtrak, go to Admission to the museum is $5 per visitor 16 and older, $3 for those 4 through 15 and free for museum members and children 3 and younger. For more information about Train Day or the SLO Railroad Museum, go to

Appetizers Salads & Soup Fish & Seafood Meat & Fowl Vegetarian

Sculpterra Winery hosts



Paso Robles Cambria Innovative

Farm Fresh Fare

Reservations 805-434-3653 or Table for 8 - $450 Table for 10 - $500

Table sponsorship, contact Cheryl 760-774-4478 or Come celebrate our next trip to the Philippines from May 24 to June 1. Through Evangelistic Festivals, we’ll share the gospel with thousands including law enforcement, soldiers, elected officials, medical professionals, students and the local prison. Through our medical clinic, staff and volunteers give FREE medical care and share the gospel with patients. A recent medical mission treated over 1,100 patients, 700 agreed to receive the gospel, 178 placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior.

All thanks to the partnership of His Healing Hands.

Sharing the Gospel of Christ through Short Term Medical Missions

May 2019

Early Bird Dinners 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM Sunday through Thursday 1218 Pine Street Paso Robles, CA 93446

Tri- Tip Dinner by Open Range Catering

Elegant Atmosphere Downtown Pine Street

Open Daily 5 -9p m

June 22, 6 - 9:00 pm

Sculpterra Winery 5015 Linne Rd. Paso Robles Special Guest Comedian Nazareth



e los

ednesdays dW

FREE APPETIZER with purchase of two entrees, excludes abalone The Story of Us | 31



By Mark Diaz


n Saturday, May 18, 2019, members of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 465 of Paso Robles will offer free airplane rides to youth from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (weather permitting) at the Paso Robles Airport, located at 4912 Wing Way. The aeronautical experience called the Young Eagles Free Flight Program, created by the national EAA, is open to youths between the ages of 8 and 17. A parent or legal guardian will be required to sign a permission form prior to the flight. Launched in 1992, the program strives to show children and

young adults the wonders of flight. According to EEA, more than 2 million have taken advantage of a free airborne jaunt since its inception. The program also introduces fledgling aviators to the Young Eagles program that encourages youngsters not only to become pilots but also open their eyes to the possibility of a career in the field of aviation whether it be as a mechanic or air traffic controller or any number of aviation based jobs. Former Naval Aviator and retired airline pilot Bill Siegel offers free flights to those interested in joining the Young Eagles program year-round. He and several of his

fellow EAA pilots will facilitate the free 20-minute long flights and happily answer any questions the young ones toss at them. Participating in the program automatically allows youths to become EAA members free of charge until they turn 19 and gives them access to a free online

ground school and flight training course. They will also receive a voucher for their first flight lesson and the opportunity to win scholarships that start at $5,000 to help pay for their flight education. For more information on the Young Eagles program, visit


32 | The Story of Us

Joint Replacement, PRP Injections Sports Medicine, Fractures, Arthroscopy Joint Pain and General Orthopedics

May 2019

By Bec Braitling


questrian enthusiasts on the Central Coast have been lucky enough to experience a picture perfect start to spring, I for one am enjoying some warmer weather after quite the winter! It’s time to work on those biceps and grooming muscles as we finish extracting those final layers of shedding hair off our equine friends (which inevitably relocates directly into my eyeballs for the rest of the day!) There’s plenty of great local shows and events coming up this month so be sure to check some of them out. Now is a great time to head out and hit your local trails, most of which are starting to dry up a little so get out and enjoy the beautiful spring bloom in your area. Meet the Central Coast of California Arabian Horse Association

The CCCAHA was formed by local Arabian Horse owners to further the enjoyment of the Arabian breed and increase the knowledge, care, and safe use of the Arabian and Half-Arabian Horse. The club is an avenue for members to share their common interests and celebrate diversity within the horse community. The club (which is affiliated with the national Arabian Horse Association of America) is open to Arabian and Half-Arabian horse owners, fans with horses of other breeds, and people who don’t own horses. The horse world is littered with people of many backgrounds: the young and those with more years, the very rich and those who save on other things to support a horse, those with thousands of acres and those with just one horse on an acre; together we share the same love of the horse.

The CCCAHA invites all to join in the enjoyment of life with horses. Many members take advantage of the trails and beaches for pleasure riding, either independently or throughout the year at organized events. Trail riders take part in competitive trail rides and even endurance rides between 25 and 100 miles. For many the motto is,”to finish is to win,” with the goal to finish in better condition or in a faster time than before. The CCCAHA provides local Open All Breed Horse Show series for exhibitors with a competitive spirit. These shows have open, all breed classes for jumping, hunter, western, halter, driving, handling, trail, pony/very small equine, lead line, and Arabian classes. Walk-trot classes are provided for all ages. For more information on this fun group and how to join visit or their Facebook pageant catch up on all the upcoming events including the May Trail Ride in Santa Margarita. Cal Poly Performance Horse Sale and Preview

The upcoming Quarter Horse Enterprise Project and Sale is managed entirely by Cal Poly students. This year, 27 Cal Poly horses will be in the sale with 25 students in the class heading up the organisation of the sale in addition to presenting and preparing the horses. Students have on average spent the last 4-5 months training them for the sale, some of which have been bred by the program in addition to some donated horses. The goal is to produce a versatile, quiet and talented horse that can be used for a variety of equine activities. The proceeds from this sale will support the equine educational programs at the school. This is a fantastic opportunity to support our local students who strive to better the lives of these horses whilst learning skills ‘on the job’, ensuring these students graduate with the best opportunity to succeed in the super competitive horse industry.

Calling all local horse owners!

Can you give a horse in need a loving home? San Luis Obispo County Animal Services recently seized 33 horses and 1 mule from a situation of cruelty and neglect in Paso Robles. The horses were all malnourished, and some were in desperate need of medical, dental and hoof care. After several months of good care, including veterinary care, vaccinations, deworming, and a consistent diet to help them regain body condition, the horses are now ready to find their forever homes. There are many wonderful horses with good dispositions in this group, with different breeds, colors and ages to choose from. If you are looking for your next horse, please consider adopting one of these rescues. Appointments to see the horses can be made by contacting SLO County Animal Services: 805-781-4400.

May 2019

M ay C a l e n d a r May 5 Doreen and Kent Gilmore Memorial Dressage Show, hosted by CDS San Luis Obispo Chapter at Golden Hills Farm, Paso Robles. Traditional and Western Dressage classes offered, Judge Brent Hicks, 8- 5pm. Visit www. for on-line entries and for the premium. May 11 CCCAHA Spring Trail Ride, La Riata Ranch, Pozo Rd, Santa Margarita. Event starts at 9am contact Ashley Dillard at jadillard@live. com for more information. May 11- 12 Spring Fling Schooling Show at the Paso Robles Horse Park. Great schooling experience and look out for added new Thoroughbred multi- show competitions. Visit for more information. May 16- 19 Rosé in May (B rated show) Paso Robles Horse Park, enjoy watching Medal Finals and other great jumper classes as this B- Show series kicks off. Visit for more information. May 19 Twin Rivers Ranch One Day Horse Trials, Combined Test and Schooling Rounds. Visit for more information. 8715 N River Rd, Paso Robles. May 24-26 Parkfield Rodeo, V6 Ranch Parkfield again hosts this fun event including branding, barrel racing, roping, steer stopping, team sorting and saddle bronc riding. Visit the Parkfield Rodeo Facebook page for more information. May 31- June 1 Cal Poly Performance Horse Sale and Preview. Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo. Meet and greet Saturday, Live auction Sunday. Visit their Facebook page for more information on the event. Saturday preview starts at 3.30pm with the Silent Auction and riding demos/clinic at 4:00pm. Sale Day is Sunday, Lunch 12:00pm, Preview 1:002:00pm, Silent auction closes 2:00pm, Auction Starts 2:30pm. June 1, 10am-12pm Equus Coaching Demonstration with Master Facilitators Kasia Roether and Jutta Thoerner, in partnership with the Koelle Institute for Equus Coaching®, in Paso Robles, CA at the Nacimiento Ranch. No previous horse experience (or riding) required. Please wear closed toe shoes to the event. Each Equus Demo Day event is designed to make the transformative power of Equus Coaching® not only affordable—but accessible—for all. It’s only $25. Invite your friends and family to join us for this fun, meaningful event. Have a question? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at or call 805975-5443.

The Story of Us | 33

North County Students at the PAC James J. Brescia Ed.D.

“ It is so important for people at a young age to be invited to embrace classical music and opera.”

County Superintendent of Schools


hen I first entered North County classrooms as a teacher in the late 1980s, I observed how the arts are part of a well-rounded education. Arts education refers to the disciplines of music, dance, theatre, and visual arts. Even the early writings of Plato emphasized the important role of the arts in education. I believe the arts are part of what makes us most human, or more complete as people. Throughout my career, I have read, participated in, and conducted research that illustrates some of the many reasons why the arts can serve to improve learning in all academic areas. Brain research data indicates that

Luciano Pavarotti

neural systems that influence fine motor skills, creativity, and even emotional balance are developed through the arts. Judith Burton of Columbia University researched the complex cognition and creative capacities required in the subjects of math, science, and language arts. Her research linked academic achievement and the arts (Burton, Horowitz, & Ables, 1999). “The arts enhance the process of learning. The systems they nourish, which include our integrated sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional, and motor capacities, are, in fact, the driving forces behind all other learning” ( Jensen, 2001). My office is committed to pro-

moting the arts by facilitating professional artists working alongside local students in professional settings. A few of the upcoming highlights include: • A dedicated space for all North County schools will be provided at Studios on the Park to display student art beginning this summer. • The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art is currently sponsoring AWAKEN, a year-long program celebrating art and community expressed through the imaginative creations of our county’s students. • On Saturday, May 11 (Mother’s Day weekend), Opera San Luis Obispo will produce the first Countywide Arts Extravaganza.

The Opera San Luis Obispo Gala Extraordinaire will feature student artists from throughout the county working with Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo, Civic Ballet San Luis Obispo, Opera SLO Resident Artists Holly Banfield, Alba Franco Cancel, and Amy Goymerac, in addition to students from north and south county who are involved in school dance, choral, and instrumental programs. The Gala is another example of arts organizations linking hands with education to promote the arts. For ticket information, visit or call 805-756-4849. I am proud to serve as your county superintendent of schools and to promote the arts.

Hands-on experience and quality education. This is career and technical education at its finest. Future Careers. Locally Grown.

34 | The Story of Us

May 2019


Downtown Vitality, the Establishment Clause, and Progress on a North County Homeless Shelter


By Mark Diaz

n her monthly report, Atascadero City Manager Rachelle Rickard informed the council that downtown continues to grow with new businesses. Locally grown favorites such as Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab, Jamba Juice and SloDoCo doughnuts are expected to go a long way in revitalizing the historic downtown and possibly expanding local waistlines. Malibu Brew Coffee moved its location to a new spot on East Mall across from the Sunken Garden and Colony Market and Deli, located at the corner of Traffic Way and El Camino, opened at the end of March. *** Community Liaison for Atheists United San Luis Obispo, Dan Feldman, addressed the council during the time set apart for public comment. Reading from a prepared statement, Feldman said that the organiza-

May 2019, Colony Magazine

tion consists of more than 600 members and advocates for the separation of church and state. *** The City voted to postpone a request to investigate changing the zoning of a property located at 10080 Atascadero Avenue in a three-to-one vote with councilmember Funk opposed. The proposed “one-off ” zoning exception would have begun the process of subdividing the parcel into four separate lots approximately 1.11 acres in size. Councilmembers in favor of tabling the project voiced their concerns that the City staff already has enough work and does not have time to dedicate to another project that would “benefit almost exclusively for the property owner.” *** The council approved the adoption of a draft resolution supporting the grant application by the City of Paso Robles for San

Luis Obispo County Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funding. Paso Robles City Council continues to move forward in the creation of a new North County homeless shelter. In November 2018, the City adopted a resolution to declare a citywide homeless shelter crisis in order to be eligible to receive a portion of the $500 million in California State Grant Block funds set aside to address the homeless issue. Rickard said that San Luis Obispo County is expected to receive approximately $4.8 million from the grant block. “It has been difficult for the available resources that we have here in the North County to meet the needs of the North County homeless population,” Rickard said. According to the 2018 U.S. Census, 19 percent of Californians live in poverty, which ties with Florida and Louisiana for the highest rate in the United States. | 35

Emily Reneau named President/CEO of Atascadero Chamber By Melissa Chavez

On April 18, Emily Reneau greeted merchants at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Mixer. It was a golden opportunity for business owners and residents to meet the new CEO/President of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.


e are excited to have Emily Reneau as our incoming CEO,” said Angela Cisneros, the 2019 chairperson of the Atascadero Chamber Board of Directors. “As a longtime resident of North County, Emily has a passion for the community, and she succeeds wherever she directs her energy.” Emily and her husband Scott Reneau moved to north San Luis Obispo County from Southern California in 1996 with their then18-month-old baby girl to work for Scott’s family dealership, Jerry Reneau Chrysler Dodge. Emily, the consummate volunteer leader, donated her time for many local charities. Once her children were in school, Emily landed the role of Parent Teacher Organization president and auction chair at Saint Rose Catholic School. As non-traditional as she may seem, Emily finds motherhood to be the biggest accomplishment of her life. Her daughter, Shelby, 24, is a comedian in Los Angeles. James Sloane, 20, is a musician who attends Cuesta College. Carson, 15, is a high school student who is active in drama and choir. Emily’s relational approach to community involvement has extended to performing arts in previous stage work with Pioneer Players community theater and in education as a board member of the Paso Robles Library Foundation, the Paso Robles Education Alliance, and the REC Foundation in Paso Robles.

36 |

As a longtime resident of North County, Emily has a passion for the community, and she succeeds wherever she directs her energy. Emily reached a satisfying milestone in 2007 as the project manager for the $1.5 million construction of Paso Robles Children’s Museum. The 7,000 square-foot former city fire department at 623 13th Street received extensive renovation to the ground-level space and basement. Emily achieved the $1.5 million dollar funding goal through generous community donors and memorial foundations, sweat equity, and a $135,875 Community Development Block Grant. When Paso Robles had fewer than 30 active wineries, Emily worked on the ground floor of Paso Robles Vintners and Growers Association. In her liaison role as the Marketing and Events Manager, Emily managed the Zinfandel Festival, Paso Robles Wine Festival, and Harvest Wine Affair. Emily planned and organized events at Cal Poly and managed the students who host the Cal Poly Wine Festival.

Over almost eight years at the American Heart Association, Emily worked as the Business Development Director, initiating a new heart walk and luncheon in the North County and overseeing the existing heart walk and luncheon in San Luis Obispo and events in Santa Maria. Most recently, Emily has worked as the Business Development Associate for H.M. Holloway, Inc., opening up the company’s Paso Robles office and leading the firm’s community outreach on the Central Coast. Emily’s hire at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce comes after much hope and anticipation of one day being the lead for a North County community organization.

“Ever since working with Walt Disney Company as the Community Relations Coordinator for the expansion of Disneyland Resort, I’ve always wanted a position as a chamber director,” Emily said. “For the past few years, Atascadero has made some fabulous strides. I’m excited to be part of the development going forward and helping to position Atascadero as a catalyst in tourism in North County.” “I’m thrilled about the La Plaza project to enhance Atascadero,” Emily said. “BridgeWork is another feather in the Chamber’s cap. Creating a coworking space for telecommuters and nonprofit executives can only help the economy in North County and allow for double-income families and young entrepreneurs to better their businesses.” The “Creekside Building” in Colony Square at 6907 El Camino Real, previously used for mixed retail and City Hall offices, has been repurposed courtesy of a $15,000 pledge and partnership with Pacific Premier Bank. The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce will oversee a new visitor’s center and 3,200-square-foot public office space will enable people to work remotely from downtown and even cross-pollinate skillsets with other professionals. “I am collaborative, yet competitive,” laughed Emily. “I believe in empowering people and using their creative energy to generate new ideas. It’s an exciting time in Atascadero and I’m so glad to take part in all of it!”


On May 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Chalk Mountain Golf Course will host an Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Business Mixer at Sunset Service Center, located at 8600 El Camino Real in Atascadero. Enjoy complimentary food and drink while connecting with fellow business professionals. The Business Mixer is a free service of Atascadero Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call the chamber at (805) 466-2044, email, or visit

Colony Magazine, May 2019

Tuesdays in the Park continue this summer Barbecues to raise money for local charities

SCHEDULE Barbecue 5 to 7 p.m.

By Heather Young

Concert by Atascadero Community Band 7 to 8 p.m.


he Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, Atascadero Elks Lodge and the Atascadero Community Band will be back this summer with its annual Tuesday in the Park barbecues and concerts. This year’s barbecues will span eight weeks and the community band will perform on 11 Tuesdays between June 11 and August 20. “I like it,” said Vicki Lee, interim CEO of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce. “It’s like a good ole Sunday picnic.” The event starts at 5 p.m. with a barbecue of tri-tip or chicken, beans, salad, garlic bread and a drink. Desserts are sold for an extra cost by the host organization. At 7 p.m., the event migrates from the barbecue area near the zoo to the bandstand by the lake. “There’s that hometown feel,” Lee said. “It’s a special thing.” While the event will run as it has in the past, there are a few changes. One is that the salad will not be pre-dressed, there will be a couple of salad dressings on the side. There will also be an express pass, which is a season pass purchased by June 11 for the entire summer of barbecues. “The person will come in and buy tickets for the whole summer and support all the nonprofits,” Lee said. “They get to use the express line and they get a free dessert.” Presale tickets are $12 for seniors 60 years old and older, $14 for those 11 to 59 and $9 for children 10 and younger. Tickets purchased at the event are $1 more each.

Weekly Hosts

June 11 Parents for Joy

June 18 St. Luke’s Episcopal Church St. Luke’s Episcopal Church members serve food. Photo courtesy of Atascadero Chamber

This is the 24th consecutive year that the barbecues have been happening. It all started, Lee said, because the community band would rehearse at the bandstand during the summer. People gathered to listen to the band and started to bring dinner to eat in the park while they listened to the band. It then became a fundraiser for community nonprofits. Each week there is a different nonprofit or two that hosts the event. The nonprofit gets all the proceeds made from the event after all expenses are paid. Tickets can be purchased at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce or from any of the host organizations.

June 25 Atascadero Historical Society and Atascadero Veterans’ Memorial Foundation July 2 El Camino Homeless Organization July 9

Rotary Club of Atascadero

July 16 Kiwanis Club of Atascadero July 23 Concert only, no barbecue July 30 Aug. 6

Philanthropic Educational Organization & Creative Alternative for Learning and Living

Quota International of Atascadero and Community Church of Atascadero United Church of Christ

Aug. 13 Concert only, no barbecue Aug. 20 Concert only, no barbecue

JOIN THE ATASCADERO COMMUNITY BAND The band is currently recruiting musicians who play woodwinds — flute, clarinet and alto/tenor saxophone — percussion, trumpet or coronet, trombone, euphonium and tuba. The band rehearses every Tuesday during the summer. The concerts are from 7 to 8 p.m. with rehearsal from 8 to 9 p.m. Those who would like to join the band and participate in the sum-

mer concert series are required to attend all regularly scheduled Tuesday evening rehearsals, which start on May 14 and runs through June 4. Auditions are not necessary; however, musicians must provide their own instrument — except for percussionists — and a music stand. For more information on how to join the band, go to

( 805 ) 466-7744

Home • Auto • Life • Bank • Financial Services

May 2019, Colony Magazine | 37

Photo by Luke Phillips

10th Annual Event Raises $170K for Local Nonprofits By Mark Diaz


his year marked the Friends of the Atascadero Library’s tenth annual Dancing with Our Stars celebration and it’s come a long way baby. DWOS coordinator Jeannie Malik said that the event’s first year raised $25,000 to fund the new library, a far cry from the $250,000 it garnered this year. Since its inception, the production has raised a total of $989,000. “Where we started in 2010,” Malik said, “with no stage, it was dark. We had one dancer that rode a bicycle up on [stage], that was Keith Schmidt.” This year, dancers sailed across a three-foot raised custom made stage under professional lighting to the beat of music from a hired DJ. For 2019, the pageant looked back to the 80s, featuring music from Huey Lewis and the News, ZZ Top and Madonna. Mayor Steve Martin co-emceed the festivities with professional performer Joel Mason, who took time off his current rock/comedy production ”Tribute Schmibute.” Along the lines of the 80s theme, the two showmen dressed as Doc and Marty from “Back to the Future.” DWOS began in 2009 when FOAL decided Atascadero needed a bigger library and proposed to move the facility from its 7,000 square-foot location to a new 22,000 squarefoot building. The move would cost approxi-

38 |

Dancing With Our Stars co-emcee Joel Mason performs as Marty McFly from "Back to the Future." Photo by Luke Phillips

mately $8 million. Fortunately, San Luis Obispo County agreed to foot half the bill along with maintaining and staffing the new location. Even with the county’s help, raising millions of dollars in a small town of 28,000 was not an easy task, especially given the fact the national economy was digging its way out of the Great Recession. Malik made clear that the fundraiser is not all about money but it is a great opportunity to bring people together as well as raise awareness for nonprofits and their volunteers who sacrifice their time and energy for the betterment of the community. Now that the library

is in its new location, the event continues on to help not-for-profit organizations in northern SLO County. “What keeps me going is the people,” Malik said. “I love my people. I mean, we’re just family.” This year’s dancers, supporting their nonprofits, were Susan Funk who danced with Aaron Avila for American Association of University Women, Tom Butler who demonstrated his swing skills for Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, Jan Lynch who spun an east coast swing with Charlie Bradley for the Atascadero Kiwanis Club, Steffi Ketzler who sambaed with pro dancer Justin McMillan for ECHO, and Karen McNamara who did her two-step for the Atascadero Printery Foundation. Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno and Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish also made the FOAL proud with their performances. Each dancer raised money for the organization they represented. Malik said that FOAL’s dancers also raise money to help recoup the cost for DWOS. She also wanted to dispel idea that ticket sales cover the cost of the production. The winners of the event were the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, Kiwanis Club and the Printery Foundation. Justin McMillian received the coveted Good Sport Award for answering the call at the last

Colony Magazine, May 2019

Photo by Nicholas Mattson

Photo by Nicholas Mattson

Photo by Luke Phillips

minute, learning a whole new dance routine to fill in for an injured dancer. People’s Choice awards were distributed each night. Winners who took home a sparkling trophy were Lynch, Banish and Butler, winner for the last night. Choreographer Frank Sanchez, who worked as artistic director for the production

May 2019, Colony Magazine

for many years decided to step down and take it easier this time around, meaning he only choreographed three numbers. Malik said that time and again Sanchez has proven himself an invaluable resource to the production. For 2019, Moly Comin, who has been involved with DWOS since its inception, took the reins of the show, demonstrating her

Photo by Nicholas Mattson

boundless energy and passion for the event. “She likes to have an upbeat, entertaining show,” Malik said about Comin. Comin and Malik each took about a week or so off to enjoy the success of the show and then could not wait to start working on next year’s program. The working theme for the 2020 production is “TV Shows.” | 39



By Mark Diaz

round the time that Atascadero was becoming an incorporated city, the Glasmeiers were getting into the tire business. Greg and Cornia purchase Atascadero Tire from her father and proceeded to build a small town business on the Central Coast. At the beginning of 2019, their son Kyle and his wife Bryttanie took the reins of the family business now known as American West Tire Pros. “When we started the business there were a lot of people who were just having kids,” Greg said. “We’re now dealing with their kids’ kids.” Being part of the community,

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Serving Atascadero through the generations

the Glasmeiers used the success of their business to give back to the town. With children in the school system, the business owners helped and continue to help with supporting booster clubs, sponsoring little

“When we started the business there were a lot of people who were just having kids. We’re now dealing with their kids’ kids.” league baseball and maintaining the Atascadero High School band trailer. AWTP also lends its assistance to those who are experiencing tough times by working on vehicles brought to them through the women’s shelter, churches and the El Camino Homeless Organization. Greg said that the business works with all the churches in the area, choosing not to focus on one particular denomination. “We worked out a deal where the people don’t come, the church would bring us people that need help,” Greg Glasmeier said. Kyle said that he and Bryttanie decided to buy his parents’ shares of the company for one reason — “family.” After working for the AWTP for a few years, Kyle decided to explore a career with PG&E.

Kyle and Bryttanie

Greg and Cornia

Unfortunately, the job required him to be away from his wife and children for weeks at a time. He said that another motivation was to keep the store in the family and not see it bought by some big corporation. Greg and Cornia say they are now happily retired except for their Monday babysitting duties for their two-year-old granddaughter Karson. Cornia said that the two plan on exploring Prague and Vienna in celebration of their 40th wedding anniversary, as well as visit another

grandchild who lives in Texas. Allin-all, they have four grandchildren with one on the way later this month. Much like their previous roles, where Greg managed the shop and Corina focused on accounting and payroll, Kyle follows in his father’s footsteps and Bryttanie (among the many hats she wears) took over the entire accounting department as well as expanding AWTP’s digital marketing footprint. Bryttanie said she is exploring ways to reach a younger crowd and is using social media outlets to broaden their customer base. Throughout the years of the shop’s existence, its name has evolved and its location has changed but the quality of service remains a family standard. After working with Kyle for the past year, Greg said that it is a great comfort to him that his son will carry on the legacy of customer satisfaction that he and Corina worked so hard to establish. “I am totally confident that he will always do the right thing,” Greg said. “That makes me really happy.”

Colony Magazine, May 2019

North County

PILATES Local business helps North County residents find balance, achieve goals By Melissa Chavez


n the past five years, the United States Pilates industry has grown at an annual rate of nine percent, and for good reason. Pilates offers a low-impact, customizable and long-term source of physical fitness. Since 2006, North County Pilates, located at 5815 Traffic Way in Atascadero, has provided the North County with all the equipment necessary to equip both new and experienced clients to reach their fitness goals. “My clients’ concerns are being able to be active throughout their entire lives,” said owner Melissa Barton. “About 70 percent who come in have experienced an injury or have some sort of pain, which knows no age. Every exercise we do is modifiable. With individualized attention, we can take someone exactly where they are

Continued from page 09

Hope across ECR, and Hope Chest Emporium has continued to expand its square footage of old ranch and rustic furniture, housewares and unique just-made items. Shop owner Karen McNamara also recently took third place in the Atascadero Dancing With Our Stars event, raising almost $25,000 for the Atascadero Printery Foundation — #uninhibited. Running down El Camino, toward Traffic Way, you find some empty spaces that would once serve as fodder for criticism of Atascadero’s abnormally high vacancy rate. But today, there is more excitement than trepidation about who will take residence in the old Scotty’s BBQ space, and next to that a renovation is underway

May 2019, Colony Magazine

today and address any age, injury, or pain and work with them.” Among the early benefits of Pilates conditioning is concentration, breathing and self-awareness, of which are foundational for continued progress. With regular participation, clients begin noticing increased flexibility, control, stability, precision, balance, and renewed strength and stamina. Additional benefits are improved blood flow (which oxygenates the brain and body tissues), decreased stress and improved mental fitness. The correct posture used in Pilates also helps reduce muscle imbalance and pain previously experienced in everyday activities.

with an opportunity to customize a great space in a historic building that recently underwent a facelift to recover the brick facade that lay beneath years of caked-on exterior. Across the street, a Dunbar Brewing banner hangs in the former Camozzi’s window. On the southwest corner of Traffic Way and El Camino, Shane and Joanna Wemple rolled up the doors of a garage conversion to serve fresh and local grub from Colony Market and Deli. The corner has been transformed from a vacant parking lot to a picnic-tabled patio to add yet another lunch option to the Colony District. Across the street, Nautical Cowboy opened its doors in the Carlton Hotel a year ago and

Three class options with a variety of pricing are available for beginners and advanced clients, including private/semi-private classes, small group apparatus and drop-in classes, and mat Pilates classes. Monthly memberships are also now available with discounted group rates, guest passes, and priority booking. “Over the course of five private appointments, we learn about their bodies and it gives clients time to tune into their bodies and what they’re feeling. We teach you how to be functional and adjust to achieve the same tasks. I love how Pilates makes one think about how to carry their bodies,” Melissa said. “Three years ago, one client had lower back pain. When she returned today from vacation, she said, ‘I did fine. I hiked over these big boulders for miles and jumped off rocks. I feel safe now that I can do it because my muscles are supporting my bones. Activities are a joy!’’ What feedback does Melissa most often hear from her clients? “They tell me, ‘I’m not in pain anymore,’” Melissa said. For complete class information and pricing, visit or call 805-466-9642.

continues to serve surf and turf, adding a solid choice for dinner for families and dates. Chef Kurtis comes on to take the lead in the kitchen, with some signature dishes like Ora King Salmon with wild mushroom-fennel risotto. Traffic Way has seen a flurry of new businesses take residence, like Traffic Records, Bland Solar, Central Coast Cafe, She Shop Vintage, among the longstanding Traffic Way usuals. Also check out Malibu Brew’s new location and patio facing Sunken Gardens on East Mall, where you can pick up some coffee, lunch, or Doc Bernstein’s ice cream. All over the Colony District, it is happening, new, growing and changing … and worth a stroll. | 41

The Atascadero Plan & Development By Members of the Atascadero Historical Society


tascadero, since the inception of its name, traversed by Franciscan friars along the El Camino Real for nearly a century, has long favored the adventurous of heart. In the 1830s the mission lands were confiscated by Mexico and secularized. In 1845, the Estrada’s petition for land in the rancho was granted by Governor Pico. Through drought, hard times, gambling and alcohol they lost their land to Bernard Murphy in 1861. Murphy had traversed the Sierras in a covered wagon from Iowa in 1844. He dispatched his son Patrick, a general in the California National Guard, to operate the rancho. One account has Jason Henry, of San Jose, actually winning the Atascadero Rancho away from Murphy in a poker hand. This was not to be the last adventurer with a keen interest in the rancho. After a five-year battle with the post office, surviving 14 indictments, E.G. Lewis had saved his name. Congressional hearings followed and after a year of hearings and 30,000 pages of testimony, postal practices were forever changed. Nevertheless, Mr. Lewis found himself penniless and in bad health. With his second mayoral term in University City coming to a close, he

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chose not to seek a third term. His eyes and dreams were already cast westward. In November of 1912 he sent a letter to several thousand friends throughout the country stating his proposal to establish in California a great colony along entirely new lines, carefully thought out as a result of years of experience developing University City and a wide observation of conditions in both the crowded cities and the rural districts. He solicited applications of those who desired to secure tracts and homes in the proposed colony, limiting the option to 10 acres for any one person. On January 11, 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis departed St. Louis with $2,000 borrowed money. A month was spent investigating the properties offered by various real estate agencies or suggested by officials of the great railroad systems, ranging from Los Angeles to the middle Sacramento valley. More than 300,000 acres were personally inspected. The requirements for the colony were exacting and great difficulty was found in locating a property of sufficient size, which could fully meet his 11 specific requirements. Only the 23,770-acre Atascadero Rancho,

Part I

now owned by Jason Henry, met the requirements. The geography and location were perfect. Ideally located midway between two great centers of commerce, San Francisco and Los Angeles, on highway 101 and the Southern Pacific rail line with access to Port San Luis. In response to Mr. Henry’s asking price of $1,000,000, Mr. Lewis offered a $500 option with the $862,500 balance paid in installments. The announcement and a call for funds was made in Bulletin No. 1 with the motto of Atascadero as “All the advantages of country life with city conveniences.” Lewis raised $250,000 in 19 days, paying off the balance in four installments, ending on June 6. A month later, on July 4, the Honorable J.H. Henry ceremoniously transferred the title of the 40 square-mile property to Mrs. E.G. Lewis, representing the Women’s Republic. Three thousand people gathered for the festivities. They arrived by train, automobile, buggy, wagon, tally-ho and horseback. The transfer was signaled by the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” raising the flag high above a nearby hill, and by a great aerial bomb. This was the birth of the Atascadero Colony. The mail campaign promoting the development went all across America, Canada and

Colony Magazine, May 2019

The design of Atascadero was master planned in great detail. It was the first master-planned community in California Specifically designed to accommodate the automobile.

other English-speaking countries. Properties were offered for sale, secured with a 10 percent deposit. The response was outstanding. The Santa Margarita Index (December 19, 1913) reported “Telegrams came in by the hundreds, reading ‘remitting $300, will take $3,000 worth of lots,’ ‘pick for me $5,000 worth of lots, remitting $500.’ At headquarters (a house located where Vons stands today) it was estimated that $400,000 worth of lots were ordered by telegraph last week… This is nearly half a million dollars of Civic Center construction money.” Through the remainder of 1913, intensive planning and survey work was completed. The different phases of work were directed by experts in their respective fields. All engineering was under H.T. Cory, a nationally famed engineer who had just previously mended the break in the Colorado River that created the Salton Sea. Professor E.J. Wickson, head of school of agriculture of the University of California directed Ag and horticulture surveys and soil testing areas for orchard plantings. L.G. Sinnard, an urban planner for Southern Pacific, directed the allotment of land for industrial, commercial, residential and civic purposes. Bliss & Faville, architects of San Francisco began the design of the Civic Center build-

May 2019, Colony Magazine

ings. John F. Sullivan was the general manager of the entire project. In early 1914, a construction headquarters was completed. This included shops, warehouses, equipment yards, dormitories and a mess hall. Just south, along the rail line, a large lumber and planing mill was built and also a brick plant capable of producing 50,000 bricks a day. More than 5,000,000 were used in the construction of the Civic Center buildings. These plants supplied most of the material for the civic center buildings. One thousand workmen were employed from camps in four locations. Twenty-three miles of water mains were laid. Water tanks were erected on Pine Mountain and these were supplied from pumps in the Salinas River. Three thousand acres of orchards were planted, principally peaches, pears and plums. Cornerstones were laid and construction began on the major buildings in the civic center. Some construction equipment was used but mostly the work was the result of the energy of men and hundreds of mules. By April of 1914, the complete subdivision of the 40 square-mile property, showing lots, blocks and roads with exact dimensions, was filed with the county board of supervisors and the recorder. Almost one-fourth of the area was

reserved for parks and public open space. This included a generous reserve along the bank of all streams, one acre around each of the major springs, 70 acres at Atascadero Lake, the Administration and Civic Center Parks, Stadium Park and others. The design of Atascadero was master planned in great detail. It was the first master-planned community in California Specifically designed to accommodate the automobile. The Civic Center is one of the few extant examples in the United States of an executed original town plan that combined Beaux-Arts and Olmsteadian design principles, otherwise known as the Garden City Model. It included a skeletal street network, associated landscape features and buildings and structures of Italian Renaissance design, chosen because it was best adapted to the brilliant coloring of the native flowers, shrubs and foliage, and the clear southern sunlight. As originally planned, the Civic Center (aka Atascadero Estates Residential District Plan) was of such size, scope and design that it was determined eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places through consensus determination in 1987. Next issue, Part II | 43

North County Relay for Life Fundraiser set for June 15

12-hour American Cancer Society will take place in Sunken Gardens By Heather Young

For the second year in a row, a joint North County Relay For Life event will take place in Sunken Gardens in downtown Atascadero. The Paso Robles and Atascadero events merged last year in an effort to save resources from having two events, a trend that has been happening throughout the country. “We looked at some of our smaller communities that had smaller events [and combined

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events],” American Cancer Society Community Organizer Tony Gonzales said. The 2018 event, the first event for the North County together, had 15 teams with 70 participants. All-in-all, Gonzales said, the event raised $55,000 on and offline. “[The funds raised is] definitely up for each [event],” Gonzales said, adding that costs of having one combined event is half the cost of having two separate ones. He said that it is estimated that this year’s event will raise about $70,000. That amount is even with the event going from a 24hour event to a 12-hour event. The 24-hour event, Gonzales said, takes up a whole weekend with setup Friday night and clean up on Sunday. This year’s event will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on June 15. “There are no overnights this

year,” Gonzales said, “which is a change from last year.” Already the event has more teams and participants than it did in 2018. To get involved with the North County Relay for Life, go to and search by zip code.

“The No. 1 way [to help] is to be a participant on a team or start [your] own team,” Gonzales said. Teams have one to 20 people and the goal is for each person to raise $100. Each person who raises $100 will get a T-shirt. Gonzales said there are many ways people can raise money. While some people and teams are raising money during the relay, most of the fundraising is done in advance of the event as the event is more of a celebration of all the fundraising that has been done.

“[It’s] great to have North County communities reach for the stars as we work together to help raise awareness and necessary funds to help more people celebrate more birthdays,” North County Relay for Life organizer Dawn Daner said. “We are excited about the new 12-hour format and fun changes for this year. We will still have free Kid Zone with projects from Home Depot.” FREE LUNCH FOR NORTH COUNTY CANCER SURVIVORS

Cali Grill will host a free lunch for North County cancer survivors and one caregiver on Saturday, May 25 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Paso Robles restaurant at 711 6th St. To RSVP for the lunch, contact David Farelas at 805-835-6021 or The luncheon is to encourage local survivors to celebrate the strides made in fighting cancer and to raise awareness within the community.

Colony Magazine, May 2019


North County will host 148 foreign students in July and August Story and photos by Heather Young


ne-hundred and forty-eight students will descend onto the North County this summer for two, three and four weeks this July and August to improve their English and learn about American culture through Education First’s Educational Homestay Programs. Students from China, France, Hong Kong and Italy will arrive on July 18 and 25 with departures on August 6 and August 13. DATES AND COUNTRIES FOR THE 2019 NORTH COUNTY PROGRAM

July 18 - August 6: France July 18 - August 13: France & Italy July 25- August 6: China July 25- August 13: China & Hong Kong

“The EF programs on our Central Coast give such a unique view of life lived in California,” North County International co-Site Director Candice Hubbard said. “Students that join us not only get to experience larger cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, they get to see coastlines that are not littered with people and trash, agriculture that helps feed our country and a slower pace of life.” Buses will transport students each weekday from San Luis Obispo, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Santa Margarita, Atascadero, San Miguel and Paso Robles to the study center at Templeton Middle School. Host families are vital to the experiences the students have while abroad. The host families provide a safe and comfortable environment for students and the students get the best experience abroad as possible. “It is so much fun teaching our students about the culture of the Central Coast with our good food, slower paced lifestyle, outdoor living, and so much more,” Hubbard said.

May 2019, Colony Magazine

Co-Site Directors Heather Young and Hubbard will lead the program. Program leaders include Cody Elmer, Whittney Jackson, Kristin Thompson and Trudy Onings. The program still needs one program leader to work various times during the program. To find out more, email “Not only do we get to share our Central Coast lifestyle with them, they get to share their home culture with us,” Hubbard said. “It's like traveling without the cost of airfare. What a fun way to connect with others around the world.” Host families come in all shapes and sizes and we welcome such diverse families as single-parent households, empty-nesters, and families with small or grown children. "It was a great experience for our family,” Erica DeLaPaz said. “We met a wonderful young lady who was full of life and loved learning. She didn't hesitate to ask questions regarding culture and our way of life. She also shared with us about her country and customs. Information we all shared is something you cannot learn from a textbook.” Students will get English and cultural lessons with a full activities program that they will take part in every day and some evenings, along with optional excursions on the weekends. Bertil Hult founded EF in 1965. Hult was determined to develop a method of English through action learning. He took a small group

Mary Fiala and Ella Hodel say goodbye to their student, Julie, from France in 2018.

of Swedish junior high students to the South Coast of England to live the language — encouraging them to use their classroom language skills in real-life situations and acquire authentic accents through contact with native speakers their own age. "Hosting an exchange student is such a wonderful experience,” Linda Napoli said. “It's difficult to describe since every time is different but we get to meet such wonderful people and learn about how people in other parts of the world live." Educational Homestay Programs is a nonprofit program under the EF umbrella. The families that host through this program volunteer their time and homes to welcome students from around the world to the area. To learn more, contact Hubbard at (805) 602-8153 or email

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• •

Students from Finland, France, Italy and Sweden spend the mornings in English class during the program.

• •


A warm, friendly welcome A clean, comfortable well-lit room, with sufficient heating, a bed or air mattress, ventilation, natural light, storage for clothes and use of a table or desk Bed linen and towels which should be cleaned by the host family on a weekly basis Regular access to the bathroom as per a member of the family Transportation to and from a local bus stop in the area, where EF will provide the student transportation to and from the school Breakfast, a packed lunch, and dinner Access to laundry facilities at least once per week | 45


EMBARCADERO IMPROVEMENTS Work Progressing on Waterfront Lease Sites

By Neil Farrell

ork is progressing on major construction projects on the Morro Bay Embarcadero with a small vacation rental facility nearing completion and the roofline of another new building taking a somewhat Oriental shape. Bob Fowler is the master leaseholder for Morro Bay Landing, next door to the Harbor Hut. His project is the current iteration of a plan that was first approved about 15 years ago when Virg’s Landing held the lease and operated a tackle shop, sport fishing and whale watching charter business. Gene Doughty of Land-Sea Interface was the architect for the project and is also helping build it along with Fowler, who is acting as owner/builder. Doughty said he designed it to cantilever over the water, matching the way the old building was built. The design feels hefty with huge timbers and Doughty said that's intentional. "It's designed so when you're walking in it, it feels like you're under a pier or dock," Doughty explained, taking a short timeout. The concrete slab is hefty too. It's up to 24-inches thick using a "floating mat slab" design, Doughty said. The roofline is special too. Doughty said he wanted to pick up the flow and movement of the bay waters, and thus the sway of the timbers. "Some people say it looks Oriental," he said, smiling. Fowler said Patriot Sportfishing will reopen a tackle shop and Grassy Bar Oyster Co. will set up a processing and sales facility, too. There are a couple of other spaces available (call 805-701-5702) and Fowler said he was negotiating with someone for the restaurant space.

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The wet winter slowed the job down but they expect work to progress quickly, now. "We're looking at July (to be finished),” Fowler said. "We didn't have a full, five day work week until the middle of January." Fowler said the new building will cost some $1.6 million. The Harbor Hut recently completed rebuilding a floating dock and connected it to the new docks at Morro Bay Landing and with Fowler's previous dock replacement. What was mostly empty

Each suite has a kitchen and other amenities one expects in a vacation home rental. And yet the interior can be opened up and the whole building becomes like one big house. It'll sleep 24, she said, with six master suites, six bathrooms, multiple kitchens and game rooms, a rooftop deck and more. Or it can be closed off into individual suites and rented separately.

water is now a very nice, modern marina for large boats. Sport fishing boats and cruise boats continue to operate from the docks. Fishing trips can be booked at a temporary tackle shop in a trailer at the front of the construction site. Across the Embarcadero, in the 1100 block of Front St., the finishing touches were going into a six-unit vacation rental/hotel called "Salty Sister Suites at Morro Rock." Terri Hicks of Seven Sisters Vacation Rentals is handling the booking and her husband, Brett Whitaker, built it.She said technically they're a hotel but it was "designed more like a home."

"People want to be together," Hicks explained, "but they still like their privacy." Two of the suites are handicap accessible too. Hicks said she's already booked the whole facility for one large family coming to town for Cal Poly graduation in June. But it still wasn't big enough, so she pointed them toward the Bayfront Inn a few doors down, and "We'll send them to Frankie & Lola's for breakfast," Hicks laughed. For information on booking, call (805) 900-6000. A third major construction project involves The Boatyard Center and Otter Rock Café lease sites in the 800 block of Embar-

cadero. The project is making repairs, rebuilding a failed seawall at The Boatyard and putting in new floating docks and slips, plus a tear-up/remodel of the old Otter Rock. The project has meant the temporary closure of Rock Kayaks and the dislocating of the Bay Cruisers Electric Boat Rentals to next door and moving the Lost Isle Tiki Boat to a public dock next to the Hofbrau. A small coffee and sandwich shop and other small retail shops have closed, too during construction. Lost Isle owner/Capt. Dane Jacobs, said they continue to run the Tiki Boat on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Call 805-771-1041, otherwise, the boat with a full bar leaves every hour. Jacobs said, "We're hoping they finish it up pretty quick." He added that it's been a tough go, as they also had to close their retail Tiki Store because of the construction. "But it's worked out OK," he said, because of all the bad weather this winter. He anticipates when the work is done, they'll go back to the operation they had before with a Tiki Store and cruise boat. Jacobs is optimistic it will all eventually "get back to business as usual." As for the new restaurant, according to City reports, the leaseholder, Cliff Branch, is planning to lease the restaurant space to Sunny Smith, who owns Willow Market Restaurants in Nipomo and Shell Beach.

Colony Magazine, May 2019


City of Morro Bay

land use changes spark concern


ould Morro Bay’s new sewer system and the land use changes it requires lead to a major growth spurt as well? That’s what a group of wary citizens wanted to know at a March 27 meeting with a City official and the executive director of the County agency that deals with annexations, organized by a local conservation group. Morro Bay Open Space Alliance or MBOSA, organized the public meeting to hear about the annexation process, in particular how it pertains to the so-called Tri-W property at the terminus of South Bay Boulevard, where the City is planning to build a new sewer treatment plant. Former City Councilman Noah Smukler emceed the event and explained that they were there to discuss Tri-W corporation’s ranchland properties that essentially “surround the east side of the City of Morro Bay.” He noted that one of the three large parcels — directly above the end of Morro Bay Boulevard — was the subject of a voter initiative in 1990 that sought to limit a major commercial development that the property owners, the Williams Family and now called Tri-W, had proposed. Indeed, that issue was practically a political battle royale in town and led to Measures H being passed. Measure H changed the zoning on that land (it had been commercial-visitor-serving) and limited the size that could be developed to just 13 acres. Another pertinent law, Measure F ( passed in 1980), requires the City to get a vote of the people before it annexes any land into the city limits, with some exceptions, such as for public facilities, i.e. a sewer plant. Community Development Director Scot Graham said with the Tri-W property that includes the sewer site (Tri-W2), the plan is to annex 30 acres needed for the plant and create a legal parcel. But Tri-W also requested, as part of the memorandum of understanding for the purchase, that the City would seek to have the remaining 396 acres brought into the City’s “sphere of influence” or SOI. That arrangement was put onto paper and the City’s planning maps changed in June 2018, he said. So far as he knows, there is no guarantee that request would be granted by the Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCo., just that the City agreed to make the request when the time comes. Graham also said that Tri-W has not indicated why they want the change made.

May 2019, Colony Magazine

By Neil Farrell

LAFCo., Executive Director, David Church, explained that his agency’s focus is on good planning, avoiding urban sprawl, making good use of resources and protecting agriculture, among others. LAFCo. oversees incorporations of cities, he said, the formation of special districts, dissolution of special districts, annexations by cities and detachments, which he said is when a City takes land out of its City Limits. They also update the sphere of influence areas, which he defined as lands adjacent to cities where logical and planned expansion might take place. The sphere of influence gets updated every 5-7 years, Church said, or as needed. That helps to determine the “probable service area 20 years out,” he explained, calling the SOI a “decision-making tool.” “The sphere of influence doesn’t require annexation,” Church said. “Annexation is a whole separate process.” It’s also involved and requires public meetings and several studies be done. He said that back in 2007, LAFCo. stripped just about all of Morro Bay’s sphere of influence, which he said he regrets doing. That was done after a required “municipal service review,” which is done to judge a city’s ability to provide services such as water and sewer, to the areas. At the time, Morro Bay was seen as unable to do so. “If you have a city with a tight water supply [like Morro Bay],” he said, “that goes into the mix and decision making on annexations.” If a property was being annexed for agriculture or open space, he said, LAFCo. would put a conservation easement over it in perpetuity. Former City Councilwoman Susan Mullen recounted the wars that were fought over the Tri-W property back in the 1980s and ‘90s, saying that she and others were fighting to save “Morro Bay’s small-town character.” She said the property owners tried to get voters to approve an 80-acre development but failed. Then they succeeded in passing a 32-acre development at the polls, which led to Measure H, which cut the development envelop down to 13 acres, and also led to she and former Councilman Ben Luna being sued. They won, and in 1999, the Coastal Commission wiped out the map that voters had approved too. Mullen admitted to being “a little biased” over the issue but cautioned residents. “I think to put a 13-acre commercial development within the sphere of influence is one thing,”

she said. “But more than 300 acres is scary. We have to really scrutinize this project.” Graham explained that the City “has no desire to do anything.” He explained that the updated land use map was finished more than a year ago and “then this issue was brought back up. I was unaware of it, and I guess that’s my fault.” He had to go back and amend the land use maps being included in the general plan update that’s winding down and the Tri-W2 property was included under an agriculture zoning. The other property, above Morro Bay Boulevard, is mostly already within the City Limits. Church cautioned that being included within the sphere of influence “doesn’t convey any extra authority” to the City, and it “doesn’t convey any rights” to property owners. Graham said the annexation of the treatment plant site’s 30 acres would be done at the same time as the request to expand the SOI onto the rest of the property.Should the City want to annex the remainder of the property someday, it would have to get permission from voters, he said.. “There is some question as to the legality of the voter initiative [Measure H],” he said, “but we still have an ordinance in place” which codified the initiative. However, “No one’s said they want to expand the City out there except for the wastewater treatment plant,” Graham said. Also, the City’s new SOI maps also include hundreds of acres of the Chevron property, which is essentially the hillsides above the residential neighborhood in North Morro Bay and extending north along Highway 1 to the old Chevron Marine Terminal Shore Plant at Toro Creek Road and Highway 1, and including the so-called “Dog Beach.” Graham said there is a “big effort to conserve those properties” involving numerous agencies including the Trust for Public Land, Cayucos Land Conservancy, MBOSA, SLO County, the City and others. Last year the State Coastal Conservancy granted $1 million toward the purchase of the Toro Creek Ranch and Dog Beach, which has a price tag of some $5 million. Barry Branin, a vocal critic of the City’s sewer project, said it looks like the City was opening the door to litigation. Mullen noted that in 2015, an economic development initiative sought to get rid of Measure H, which would open some 177 acres up to development, and in turn potentially open the nearly 400 acres of the Tri-W2 parcel to development. Graham said, “People can ask for whatever they want but the City of Morro Bay is not required to support it.” | 47


Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show This Weekend • May 3-5

The 23rd Annual Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show, set for Friday-Sunday, May 3-5 in Downtown Morro Bay will feature more than 500 classic and customized cars and trucks,and hot rods. The Car Show starts Friday with the Annual Cruise Night through the streets of Downtown Morro Bay from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Bring a folding chair and dress warmly as you watch millions of dollars of automotive history parade the streets. Saturday’s Show & Shine Car Show takes over Downtown from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday’s show runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with trophies being handed out at 1 p.m. at Main and Morro Bay Boulevard. The Morro Bay High Auto Shop will have an open house Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Bear Metal Customs, 1147 Scott St., has an open house from 2 to 8 p.m. The Old Soul Speed and Custom Shop, 339

Quintana Rd., will have an open house from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. Old Soul is owned by Ben Bright, who was on the TV show “Overhaulin’” with custom car builder Chip Foose. The show is a fundraiser for Police Explorers’ Post No. 43; Rotary Club of Morro Bay; the Morro Bay High School Athletics and Auto Shop Programs; the SLO Noor Foundation; Community Foundation of Estero Bay; and Womenade. From humble beginnings in 1997 with just 125 cars, the Morro Bay Car Show has grown into one of the biggest events and busiest weekends of the year in Morro Bay. All events at the car show are free to attend.


805.234.6882 CA Lic. #01918524 815 Morro Bay Blvd • Morro Bay, CA 93442

The ONLY Bead & Garden Shop on the Central Coast! OPEN EVERY DAY! EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO BEAD as well as a huge selection of succulents, air plants and miniature garden accessories

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Colony Magazine, May 2019


Serving Paso Robles, Templeton, San Miguel, Shandon, and Bradley Direct Mail | 30,000 copies | Since 2001

Serving Atascadero, Santa Margarita, Creston, and now MORRO BAY! Direct Mail | 25,000 copies | Since 2018

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CASA holds Hope for the Future fundraiser

North County Court Appointed Special Advocates continue ‘Giving Voice to the Children’ By Mark Diaz


n Saturday, May 4, the nonprofit organization Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will host its third annual Hope for the Future fundraiser from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Paso Robles Inn, located at 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles. The event welcomes people to dine in elegance and savor local wines while offering bids on silent and live auctions and features the return of its famous Cake Auction. In San Luis Obispo County, more than 460 children are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court because they were abused, neglected, or abandoned by their parents with approximately 40 percent of children in the foster care system being placed in the North County. Hope for the Future was launched in 2017 to gain more financial support for CASA to serve the children

living in Paso Robles, Atascadero, Templeton and the outlying towns in the area. Many of these children live in foster homes, moving from one residence to another with appalling frequency. CASA’s trained volunteers provide a consistent source of support to these children, advocating for needed services and appropriate placement until a permanent home is found. Funds raised at Hope for the Future are used for recruiting, screening, training and supervising volunteer advocates. As the only nonprofit organization working for the juvenile court, CASA is in a unique position to help children who’ve experienced the trauma of abuse and neglect. After completing a training program provided by the nonprofit, volunteer advocates are assigned a child or sibling group and these volunteers become a consistent adult figure in the lives of children during a very uncertain and stressful time. CASA of SLO County, in collaboration with must! Charities, has significantly increased its presence in the area, recruiting more volunteers and serving more of the children living there. At the end of 2018, a total of 67 volunteers were assigned to 89 children in the North County, increasing the number of children served in the area from 33 percent to more than 54 percent in the past three years. Since 2017, North County Program Manager Melanie Barket regularly staffs the new CASA

office in Atascadero, allowing volunteers to meet with supervisors in the North County office instead of being forced to travel over the grade to meet in SLO. “Spending time with the children, whether reading to them, going to the park or visiting the library, allows the volunteer to learn about the child’s or children’s needs and desires, all of which are considered when making recommendations in the child’s best interest to the juvenile dependency court,” said CASA SLO Executive Director Teresa Tardiff. “Many CASA volunteers find the experience of advocating for their child more rewarding than anything they have ever done.” For more information on the CASA or to volunteer, visit or call 805-541-6542.

Photos by Tina Clark

76 Gas Station.................................. 12 777 Motorsports.............................. 48 777 Tractor Sales............................... 35 A Beautiful Face................................ 27 American West Tire Pros................... 13 Arlyne’s Flowers................................ 08 Atascadero Greyhound Foundation.15 Atascadero Hay & Feed.................... 07

Atascadero Pet Hospital................... 07 Atown Family Med........................... 07 Avila Traffic Safety............................. 21 Awakening Ways.............................. 32 Beads by the Bay.............................. 48 Black Cat Bistro................................. 31 Bottom Line Bookkeeping............... 40 County Clerk-Recorder Notice.......... 36

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DIRECTORY TO OUR ADVERTISERS Thank you for choosing Colony Magazine

Dancing With Our Stars................... 05 Dutch Maytag................................... 21 Equine Experience........................... 27 Estrella Warbirds.............................. 02 Five Star Rain Gutters....................... 35 Glenns Rental and Repair................ 29

Grace Yoga Central Coast................. 07 Greg Malik RE Group..................10-11 Hearing Aid Specialists.................... 03 His Healing Hands........................... 31 Hope Chest Emporium.................... 08 John Donovan State Farm............... 37

Las Tablas Animal Hospital............... 32 Lube N Go......................................... 27 Mid Coast Mower............................. 24 North County Pilates........................ 12 Nautical Cowboy............................... 27 Odyssey World Cafe......................... 30 Pioneer Day - Best of the West......... 52 Robert Fry, M.D................................. 32

SLO County Office of Education....... 34 Solarponics....................................... 21 Stove & Spa....................................... 25 Sue Hubbard Farmers Insurance..... 40 Tari Haberfield - Keller Williams...... 48 The Laundromat by Swish & Swirl... 27 Wyatt Wicks Finish Carpentry.......... 27

Colony Magazine, May 2019

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