Colony Magazine #9 • March 2019

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MARCH 2019


Hiking | Biking | Riding ISSUE



March 21, 22, 23, 2019 - Pavilion on the Lake - 5:30 pm Proceeds Benefit 7 Community Non-Profit Organizations Atascadero Printery Foundation Atascadero Library El Camino Homeless Organization Atascadero AAUW Atascadero Greyhound Foundation Atascadero Kiwanis Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation

Dinner Show Tickets On Sale Now! (Ticket Sales Close March 13 at Noon) Event is Produced by Jeannie Malik and Friends of the Atascadero Library

2019 Theme “Atascadero Time Machine: Back to the 80’s!” Directed By Molly Comin Directed MollySPONSORS Comin 2019 DWOSby EVENT Diamond Sponsor $10,000 Opolo Vineyards Platinum Sponsors $5,000 Vicky Morse Julie C Fallon MD John & Yvonne Webster Wysong Construction Emerald Sponsor $3,500 Donna O'Shaughnessy Atascadero 76-Don Giessinger Awakening Ways Spiritual Community Gold+ Sponsors $2500 Colony Magazine Howard Products, Inc.

Gold Sponsors $2,000 Eric J. Gobler, Civil Engineering Greg Malik Real Estate Ron & Liz Helgerson Atascadero News Bill Gaines Audio BHE Renewables Justin Vineyards Rabobank So Cal Gas

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

Silver Sponsors $1,000 Sue Hayes DJ Joy Bonner Brian Reeves KPRL-1230 am Highlight Media MGE Underground The Real Estate Book Geo Solutions Bloom N’ Grow Florist Central Coast Brewing Mid Coast Geo Technical Ingram & Greene Sanitation On the Wall Theatre Advertising Quota International of Atascadero

2019 Community Star Dancers, Professional Choreographers & Artistic Director Molly Comin

March 12, 13 & 14 CALL 805-434-6659

c ontents March 2019












ROUND TOWN Colony Buzz: Colony Days Theme Announced 10 Colony District: Joy Park Opens April 5 11 Santa Margarita: Welcome Home 12 Two in Tow & On The Go 13 Supervisor Debbie Arnold Talks Outdoors 14 Atascadero Hiking Trails: The Big 3 08

COLONY PEOPLE 16 Kiwanis Club Marks 50 Years 18 Dancing With Our Stars 2019

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TENT CITY 35 Atascadero City Hall Report 40 4th Annual LakeFest MORE FEATURES 42 Lighthouse 5K and Reality Tour® 20 Templeton Granary: Standing Tall 44 It's A-Beach! Long-time surfers recall Atascadero's beachy history EVENTS 45 Bulletin No. 9: Selling Utopia 26 WCT: Over the River and Through the Woods 46 Atascadero History: E.G. Lewis Highway 27 Activity & Event Guide 48 Estrada Adobe Memorialized 27 Wellness Kitchen Returns Home LAST WORD 28 Cattlemen's Western Art Show 50 Let's Go Camping! 34 Education & Art Partnerships COLONY TASTE 36 Taste of Americana: A Wee Bit Irish BUSINESS 32 Idler's Home Celebrates 65 Years 38 "Mr. 76" Don Giessinger turns 76 39 American Barn & Wood: Preserving America

ON THE COVER Morro Rock from the summit of Cerro Alto. Photo by Nicholas Mattson

Colony Magazine, March 2019

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“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." — Vince Lombardi “When you cook under pressure you trade perfection." — Gordon Ramsay "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." — Antoine de Saint-Exupery


can always do better. That fact for me is a perpetual taskmaster. It is a blessing and a curse, because attempting perfection under the weight of human frailty asks a person to decide between mediocrity of attempting only that which one can comprehend and execute at level that looks like one accomplished perfection, or to push beyond the limits of knowledge and into the realm of unlimited possibility, however incremental. NASA lost the Challenger and the Columbia, in 1986 and 2003, respectively. Will you become the next astronaut who pushes the boundaries of the known universe, knowing that perfection is not tangible even at the highest level of any given field? Will you become an artist, musician, or engineer, knowing that every attempt at bearing your soul will be subject to scrutiny? Every month, now 19-and-counting since Hayley and I purchased Paso Robles Magazine and nine months since launching Colony Magazine, we hope to push a limit to what we can do as a publication and … well, we are not perfect, but we hope you follow your passion to the furthest reaches. So if we can’t be perfect, can we be the best in our field? Categorically? We sure try. It is an exclusive club. Is it human to want to be a part of an exclusive club that is also seeking the approval of the widest possible audience? Or is it programming? Who are we really trying to please? What are we trying to prove? What are we trying to be a part of? So many existential questions! Golly! Being at the head of a small town magazine gives my wife and I a great deal of joy in hearing from our readers and advertisers about how our publication makes a difference. But it isn’t just praise we hear. We don’t get everything right, or get everything in. But we listen with open minds and hearts. Our goal every issue is to provide our readers with something worth reading and hope to provide some inspiration for others to do something worth writing. We love covering the great things we have going on in the community, and it is because people do things worth writing that we get to write something worth reading. But we are more than just a newspaper. Our publications are hand delivered to 42,000 mailboxes every month because everyone from our writers, designers, ad consultants, and advertisers believe that we are sharing something special. Paso Robles Magazine has been doing it for almost 18 years and every issue is special. We want to say to our critics, post-editors, and fans, thank you for reading! It is a pleasure to serve you something worth reading.

Please enjoy this issue of Colony Magazine. Nicholas Mattson 805-391-4566

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

Colony Magazine, March 2019

"California Dreams" By Heather Young


alifornia Dreams is the theme of the 2019 Colony Days Parade, set for Saturday, October 5 at 10 a.m. The parade will be followed by a historical re-enactment of Tent City in early Atascadero, wiener dog races and various vendors. The annual fundraiser concert, Tent City After Dark, will kick off the weekend on Friday, October 4. The theme was chosen at the annual dinner of the Colony Days Committee in January. That was the same night that Nic Mattson was named as Colony Days Chair for the 2019 and 2020 events. “'California Dreams' is really exciting for a theme, as it touches on so many aspects of life here in Atascadero,” Mattson said. “From

E.G. and Mabel Lewis’ dream of utopia, to the classic Mamas and Papas song about California. Beaches, mountains, lakes, rivers, hiking, and great events… everything starts with a dream … catching your first wave to reaching the top of the great hiking peaks we have here in the area. Not to mention the bright colors that ‘California Dreams’ inspires. I’m excited to see what people do with this theme for the parade.” Parade entries will be accepted over the summer. More information, the entry form and a place to sign up for various email lists can be found at While the annual celebration is still many months away, volunteers are busy planning the coming

Cindy Gould named 2018 Hero Photo by Heather Young

event and there are still a number of jobs available. “We have some great opportunities,” Mattson said. “From joining the parade to selling food or other goods as a vendor. Or if someone is really excited, we have volunteer positions available on the board that can really help make the parade great. Volunteer opportunities can be a board commitment or just offering to help during the week of the event as we set up or manage the event.”

In addition, there are a variety of committees that plan different aspects of the event that need new members to continue to make the event a success. “My favorite part is seeing smiles and a sense of wonder on the faces of Colony Days attendees,” Mattson said. “It takes a lot of work organizing, and a lot of work by dozens of entries to get

Free Admission • Food • Wine • Beer • Vendors Kid Zone • Bounce House • Americana Games • Playground

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Colony Magazine, March 2019

2018 City Council members Charles Bourbeau and Heather Moreno, 2018 Marshal Bob Brown, Colony Days Royalty Chair Kent Kenney, 2018 Queen Jeanne Colvin, 2018 King Lamon Colvin, 2018 Mayor Tom O'Malley stand for pledge of allegiance for the 2018 Opening Ceremonies. Photo by Heather Young

their floats made and groups organized, so it is great to see that leave an impression on people. Colony Days is an open event where the imagination is allowed to run wild. If something is missing, it is because someone didn’t bring it.” The 2017-18 Committee Chair Karen McNamara said that it’s pretty amazing that the committee can put on the event every year.

March 2019, Colony Magazine

“It’s very well attended and very well loved,” she said, adding that there are many free things for people to enjoy during and after the parade.

Parade entry forms, vendor forms, theme info, sponsorship forms, and volunteer information will be available throughout the year online at Sign up for email notifications.

Schedule your routine maintenance today! | 9

JOY PLAYGROUND OPENS APRIL 5! PARENTS FOR JOY working to raise remaining funds


fter nearly six years of work, Joy Playground next to Colony Park Community Center in Atascadero is getting closer to opening. Parents for Joy, the group of community members who came together to make this park a reality, will hold a grand opening on Friday, April 5 at 4 p.m. Parents for Joy member Geoff Auslen said that the group will keep its promise to open the playground within a year of breaking ground, which happened in May 2018, despite setbacks. “Originally, [the park was] supposed to be three feet below grade,” Auslen said, adding that after ground was broken, it was discovered that there is city infrastructure under the where the playground will be. Having to redesign the park to be at ground level set the park’s progress back by three months, he said. “One thing about this project, unlike any other project, [is that] we have to be 100 percent right because it’s 100 percent ADA,” Auslen said. “There’s no room for error. Everything has to be absolutely precise.” The first things that went in were the two ramps that would allow people in wheelchairs to access the playground. Auslen said

and organizations are invited to register with Parents for Joy to be added to the map. The cost is $15 for a household and $40 for an organization. K Jons is also donating $25 from each ear piercing to the project. The idea for the project began years ago when special needs moms Sarah Sullivan and Jenelle Allen decided that they could get a special needs park built in Atascadero. They took that idea to the Atascadero City Council in May 2013 and were met with enthusiastic support, so they got started on fundraising and planning the park. To be fully inclusive, it will be completely fenced in so those prone to elopement are safe and it will feature ramps to allow those in wheelchairs to access the equipment. Auslen said that Joy Park will be the only inclusive playground in the county and that the closest inclusive park is in Salinas, although that one is not fenced in. “Parents who are in wheelchairs can finally get on the playground with their kids,” Auslen said, adding that even those in wheelchairs can get on the swings. “That’s what inclusive means — it’s for everyone.” To learn more about the playground, visit

By Heather Young

Rendering of what Joy Playground will look like. Submitted by Parents for Joy

that the largest ramp needed to be in so the treehouse could be aligned with the ramp and then the rest of the equipment will be set off the treehouse. The playground, which is a fully inclusive facility for all abilities, is nearly fully funded. Out of the $1.2 million needed for it, as of mid-February only $75,000 still needed to be raised, Auslen said. “We have a Bridge Loan for the

A crew installs the treehouse in Joy Park next to Colony Park Community Center. Photos by Heather Young

remainder, but we want to have it all paid by the grand opening,” he said. For those who would like to donate to the playground, Parents for Joy has a GoFundMe campaign. Search for Parents for Joy Atascadero for the campaign. The group will have a community-wide yard sale on Saturday, April 13 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. around Atascadero. Individuals

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Colony Magazine, March 2019


By Simone Smith


hether you rent or own, are a long-term resident or in the market to sell, first impressions are important and what’s outside your home should be just as important as what’s inside. Your front yard is usually the first thing you see when you walk out the door and the view that signals your return home, however, if upon arrival you’re only greeted by words on a doormat, you’re doing it wrong. All too often our outdoor areas are given low priority, receiving the least amount of attention physically or financially and treated simply as spaces to rush through from here to there. However, whether you are conscious of it or not, these areas can have an impact on your daily life both negatively and positively, so let’s go through a few very simple steps that can help you create an enjoyable area to have you starting out on the right foot and welcoming you, your family and your guests to your home.

March 2019, Colony Magazine

WELCOME HOME: It's more than just a saying

STEP ONE: I like to call this the Annoyance Reduction Plan. Before you start adding anything you must first assess your situation. We’ve all been in places that either make us happy and comfortable or maybe a little on edge and uncomfortable without even being aware of why. Take a walk out your front door going your usual route away from your house as well as back to your house — what stands out? Make notes physically or mentally of what makes you happy or not. Is there clutter? (It happens easily when an area is used as the drop-off spot to or from your home). Are there obstacles to step over or go around? Overgrowth? Dim light? Are there beautiful plants, sounds of birds, a fountain or inviting furniture? Whatever affects you, just be aware of how it makes you feel. Much like in the popular show “Tidying Up,” the idea is to keep what makes you happy and get rid of or change what doesn't. Those

little annoyances are the last thing you want at the beginning or end of the day, that’s why I consider the Annoyance Reduction Plan the first and best step to being welcomed home. STEP TWO: Work from big to small. Planting a few 6 packs of colorful bedding plants might be nice temporarily but in Santa Margarita and other hot inland areas the addition of a tree can make the single biggest impact to your yard. Trees can provide a multitude of benefits including shade, shelter, nesting areas, colorful foliage, blooms, fruit and year-round interest as well as modifying the immediate climate by not only cooling temperatures in the summer but also slowing wind and rainfall, capturing CO2 and producing oxygen. By the way, California’s Arbor Day is celebrated March 7 and continues for the week! STEP THREE: Add some lighting. A little bit of strategic

lighting can go a long way and doing it right can make the difference between being blinding, utilitarian, or magical. Our night skies are amazing here and our human eyes are made to adjust to various lighting so there is really no need to try to light a yard like it’s daytime. With the lighting options available your yard can be beautiful, well lit and inviting. Some simple solar lights can light the path to your door, uplighting can highlight the structure of a tree or statuary and string lights can add a festive air to a courtyard or fence line. Have some fun being creative. By implementing these three simple steps beginning with the Annoyance Reduction Plan, working from big to small and adding lighting, you will be amazed at how welcome you will feel coming home, even before you reach your front door. Have ideas for Simone? Email | 11

Two in Tow & On The Go

A Family Adventure Column By Tonya Strickland


n a crisp January afternoon, the kids and I explored a segment of the Salinas River Walk in Atascadero that offers creek access, a picnic bench and a quaint meadow off San Gabriel Road. We played. We splashed (bring rainboots!). We found a giant leaf. And then we went home and learned about how this area is related to one of the largest National Trails in the United States. But first, let’s talk about how to get there: head west on Highway 41, then turn right at San Gabriel Road stoplight. Immediately on your right, you’ll find two off-shoulder dirt parking spots. It’s there you’ll see the little grassy meadow along the shore of Atascadero Creek with

Kid-Friendly Trail to


a dirt footpath toward the water. The meadow is also adjacent to the northernmost point of the half-mile paved trail the City of Atascadero calls the Route 41 Multi-Purpose Pathway Project. This 8-foot-wide path runs along the western edge of Highway 41 between Portola Road and San Gabriel Road. I’ve only seen it while driving to the Charles Paddock Zoo, but it seems super popular with dog walkers, joggers and cyclists. It’s also populated enough to feel safe. MOM TIP: The kids and I played “red light/green light” up and down the paved pathway for a while. It was a nice way to burn some energy. I also like that game because it teaches the kids to STOP when I tell them to.

Since the meadow isn’t physically located along the Salinas River (quite a bit inland, in fact), the Salinas River Walk sign surprised me. But, I’m guessing that since Atascadero Creek feeds into the Salinas, that makes it part of it. But just what is the Salinas River Walk, exactly? Well, it’s a master-planned 35-mile walking trail system that will one day connect Santa Margarita to San Miguel. Except, the sections aren’t all connected, or even all in existence yet. But that’s the endgame. The most well-known parts of the Salinas River Walk constructed today are in Paso Robles. FUN FACT: Much of the Salinas River Walk is also part of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Stretching a whop-

Exploring a segment of the Salinas River Walk @TWO IN TOW ping 1,200 miles, the trail celebrates the original route Col. Juan Bautista de Anza trekked in the 1700s as he led colonists from Mexico to California to establish a settlement in San Francisco. A portion of that route was along our very own Salinas River corridor. Lots of reasons to celebrate the river, outdoor walks and how kids can enjoy nature here in the North County. Two In Tow & On The Go is a SLO County Mommy Blog that details pictures, tips and stories about things to do with kids on the Central Coast. Follow the adventure at @two.n.tow on Instagram and Facebook & at

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Colony Magazine, March 2019

A message from

County Supervisor Debbie Arnold


want to thank Nic and Hayley for the opportunity to share some news and information with you. This year has really started off with a bang when it comes to some much-needed rainfall. On February 6, County Public Works reported that the Salinas Dam Reservoir (Santa Margarita Lake) was 100 percent full. Whale Rock Reservoir was reported to be 77 percent full, Lopez Reservoir 44 percent full, and Nacimiento 48 percent full. With more rain on the way, I am confident we will see all of the reservoirs full by spring. Besides a plentiful seasonal water supply, the rains have turned our hillsides a beautiful shade of green. The County Public Works Department has been very busy removing down trees, clearing mud from roadways, and monitoring hazardous conditions, but I know that through it all, they are grateful for the full reservoirs. Another plus to a wet winter is the beautiful spring that is sure to follow. We live in such a scenic county and following these winter storms will be warmer sunny weather. I’m looking forward to some San Luis Obispo County outdoor activities and the kind of days that make us all appreciate where we live. For a real adventure, a trip to the National Monument out on the Carrizo Plains in the springtime can’t be beat. Another opportunity to enjoy breathtaking scenery here

March 2019, Colony Magazine

at home is a visit to the Los Padres National Forest. The National Forest can be accessed throughout the County, including High Mountain Road in Pozo or Lopez lake. Both locations offer trials for hiking, biking, horseback riding and four wheeling. The County Park System offers many recreational opportunities for all ages including campgrounds, pools, playgrounds, golf, picnic areas and more. The County offers golf courses at El Chorro Regional Park, Morro Bay, and Chalk Mountain in Atascadero. There are a host of trails and camping opportunities at Santa Margarita lake. The Jim Green Trail at Heilmann Regional Park offers hiking trails through beautiful oak woodlands just minutes from downtown Atascadero. And of course, Lopez Lake Recreational Area offers many miles of trails as well as camping and boating activities. Over the past few years, the County has partnered with other organizations to bring more parks and trails to the area. The 900+ acre Pismo Preserve, when fully open, will provide trails with breathtaking views along the coast. The County has also financially supported the expansion of the Bob Jones Trail, as well as the turn lane to the Octagon Barn staging area. Most County, State and Federal parks offer trails and activities for hiking, biking and horseback riding and are dog friendly. For a list of local trails, please visit I hope you and your family will take the opportunity to explore the outdoors. It’s an honor to represent the 5th District. - Debbie Arnold, 5th District County Supervisor | 13

Happy Trails in Atascadero


A switchback trail leads from the trailhead at Stadium Park to the top of Pine Mountain.

By Luke Phillips

Photos by Luke Phillips

or some people, being alone in undisturbed nature, enjoying the peace and quiet and the sights of lush and varied vegetation, playful wildlife and beautiful vistas is not only highly enjoyable but is essential for a happy and healthy mind. I happen to be one of those people and I feel very lucky to live in Atascadero where we have several huge, undeveloped forest areas inside the city limits. The open areas along the banks of the Salinas River and the path around Atascadero Lake both receive honorable mentions as two of my favorite places to hike and enjoy nature in Atascadero but there are three other areas that I like even better and many people don’t even realize they exist. At the risk of destroying the peace, quiet and isolation I enjoy at these three local destinations (you can’t keep a good thing secret for long anyhow), I’d like to let our Colony Magazine readers in on the secret and share some of my knowledge about Stadium Park/Pine Mountain, the Three Bridges Oak Preserve and the Jim Green Trail:


t is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of the air, that emanation from the old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit."

- Robert Louis Stevenson

Hikers make their way down the trail from the top of Pine Mountain at Stadium Park.

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A lizard perched on a log at Stadium Park.



n easier hike than the first two on my list, the Jim Green Trail doesn’t feature the sweeping vistas and grand views I previously mentioned but it does have charms of its own. The 1.6-mile loop trail is easy enough for even the most inexperienced hikers. After one small initial climb up a small hill, the trail levels off and takes visitors for a peaceful stroll through oak forest and cliffs overlooking the greens at Chalk Mountain Golf Course. Also visible to the east are a series of large settling ponds operated by the Atascadero Mutual Water Company, adding the silver sheen of water on the horizon. To find the Jim Green Trail, head east on Curbaril Avenue from El Camino Real. Just past the railroad tracks, take a right onto Cortez Avenue and continue a few hundred feet until the street deadends at a dirt parking lot. You’ll walk along a dirt trail next to a fence and the railroad tracks for another few hundred feet before reaching the trail proper. The Jim Green Trail might have slightly more traffic than the other two trails on my list but nearly everybody I encounter on my hikes there has a smile on their face and greets me warmly. Can’t beat that A-town friendliness. Due to the lack of major elevation changes, the Jim Green Trail is my favorite local trail for morning jogs and it also seems to be a popular destination for those on horseback or mountain bikes.

Colony Magazine, March 2019



’m surprised that more people don’t know about this gem of a park located right in the center of the city. You can find the trailhead just off of Capistrano Avenue, right up the block from the Atascadero Library. After passing through the front gates and beneath the Highway 41/Mercedes Avenue bridge, you’ll have the option of staying right and continuing on a flat, level path to the center of Stadium Park, an open grassy meadow surrounded by trees and hills, or heading up a system of switchback trails on the left that will eventually take you to the top of Pine Mountain. One of the best things about Stadium Park is that there are multiple pathways all around the stadium bowl, winding up to the top of Pine Mountain from three different directions. There are even unofficial trails that lead to the cemetery on the other side of Pine Mountain and the completely unimproved, wilderness area on the mountain’s southeast side. The multiple trails, along with the park’s rugged landscape add to a great sense of adventure for those who like to explore and the view from the top is stunning. On a clear day, you can see Paso Robles in the North and the Cuesta Grade in the south all from the same spot and the normally hulking monolith of Atascadero City Hall looks tiny down below. The hike up to the top is not very long at just over a half-mile but is steep enough in parts to leave those of us who are not in the greatest shape making at least one or two pit stops to catch our breath.

Views from Chalk Mountain Golf Course from the Jim Green Trail.

AMWC setting ponds near the Jim Green Trail.

March 2019, Colony Magazine

This panoramic view rewards those who reach the top of the Three Bridges Oak Preserve trail.

THREE BRIDGES OAK PRESERVE The Three Bridges Oak Preserve, named for the nearby three bridges over creeks on Highway 41 west just past San Gabriel Road. Many locals will be familiar with the large dirt area on the right side of the highway just past the third bridge that serves as a defacto parking lot for those using the unofficial entrance to Three Bridges, a green maintenance access gate on the left side of the highway but most are probably less familiar with the actual entrance to the park. To find the official trailhead, turn left on San Gabriel Road from Highway 41 and then turn left onto Monita Road. Bear right onto Sierra Vista Road and then immediately take another left onto Andrita Road, which turns into Casanova Avenue. After winding down the hill on a series of switchbacks, Casanova Avenue will become Carmelita Avenue, which deadends at the trailhead parking lot for Three Bridges. After passing beneath the Highway 41 bridge and crossing Atascadero Creek, visitors are greeted with an informational kiosk illustrating the wildlife found in the park. Developed by members of the Atascadero Land Preservation Society, the Three Bridges trail abounds with informational signs every few hundred feet, providing details on the huge variety of plants and animals that can be seen from the trail. The Three Bridges trail is a two-part hike. Beginning with the lower loop, the trail meanders through thick stands of oaks and moss-covered boulders, switching back and fourth up a series of hills. The climb is gentle and moderate and should be suitable even for beginning hikers. At the top of the lower loop, you have the option of looping back to the trailhead or taking the spur up to the top of the hill. The trail becomes a bit more difficult from there but is also more rewarding as the forest clears into chaparral and the awe-inspiring views to the east appear. After climbing yet another series of switchbacks, hikers will pass a gate warning those on bicycles and horses that the uppermost part of the trail past the gate is only suitable for those on foot. Past the gate, the tree cover returns again and the climb resumes, ending atop a peak at a pile of boulders and an informational sign featuring a panoramic photo of the view that points out all of the landmarks that are visible below, including Atascadero Lake, City Hall and even the Paso Robles Downtown City Park. The climb is a bit more arduous than Pine Mountain at a total distance of three miles, but the amazing views make it worth every step. It should be noted that the Three Bridges trail is mostly closed this time of year with rain runoff making Atascadero Creek dangerous to cross. | 15

KIWANIS CLUB marks 50 th anniversary


By Lon Allan

he Atascadero Kiwanis Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The club was chartered on May 22, 1969, and currently has very close to 100 men and women in its membership. Over the past 50 years, those members have provided more than 200,000 hours of labor to projects that benefit senior citizens, teens, school and community sports, nonprofits and individuals. Monetary donations from the club, for everything from scholarships to a new bandstand at the edge of Atascadero Lake, total more than $1 million.

COMMUNITY PROJECTS The club’s first community project in 1969 was to rebuild the dilapidated bandstand at the lake park. And for the past half-century, that performance venue has remained important to the club. In 2010, Kiwanians led the construction and financing of a completely new bandstand. Many local clubs joined the Kiwanians in funding the construction of the new “Centennial Bandstand” which was dedicated to the City of Atascadero in 2013, the city’s 100th anniversary. Over the years, Kiwanians have built concrete tables and benches throughout the community, set in

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place benches and bus stops on El Camino Real, helped construct an equestrian arena and barbecue facilities at Paloma Park, partially financed and totally constructed a children’s facility at the El Camino Homeless Organization homeless shelter and more.

The club sponsors a teen group at Atascadero High School called Circle K, and Aktion Club for adults with physical or mental challenges. With Kiwanis dollars and/or muscle — in many cases both — the club has helped Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the library, the Women’s Resource Center, Charles Paddock Zoo, Loaves and Fishes food bank and the Salvation Army, just to name a few. Nine years ago the club started its Kiwanis and Mayors’

Winemaker Dinner. The club made the first significant monetary donation to the construction of the Parents for Joy inclusive playground, more than $90,000 over three years to Boys & Girls Club of North County (which was matched by Must! Charities) and last year awarded $62,000 to the Atascadero Lighthouse program’s L.A.M.P. — Lighthouse Atascadero Mentor Program. From building a mountain of snow for the city’s seasonal Christmas celebration to sponsoring the school district’s Battle of the Books each Spring, the club adheres to Kiwanis International’s mission: “…a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.” The organization now owns its own meeting hall, the former American Association of Retired Persons building near the Pavilion on the Lake. Improvements have already been made on the inside and outside, and earlier this year a barbecue facility was completed which is available for rent by the public. Membership is open to adult men and women. For additional information, visit the club’s website at kiwanisclubatascadero or call 805-466-8529.

Colony Magazine, March 2019 Home • Auto • Life • Bank • Financial Services

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March 2019, Colony Magazine | 17

Dancing WITH OUR STARS 2019 Annual Fundraiser Coming to Atascadero Lake Pavilion March 21-23 T

he 10th annual Atascadero’s Dancing With Our Stars is just around the corner and will raise funds for nonprofits around the North County. This year’s theme is “Time Machine: Back to the ‘80s” and will explore different dances and music from the ‘80s on Thursday, March 21, Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. at Atascadero Pavilion on the Lake. The champion of the event is chosen by how much money is raised by the dancer. Each vote is $10 through March 19 and then $20 per vote through the final night. Votes are cast by putting cash or check into the dancer’s collection container or by donating online at FriendsoftheAtascadero “The idea of using ’80s music was already in hand when I sat down with Jeannie Malik to brainstorm,” Dancing With Our Stars Director Molly Comin said. “I graduated high school in 1988, so this music is definitely in my wheelhouse.” This is Comin’s first year as director, but not her first participating in the event. She and her husband, Giovanni, competed in the first event in 2009. “I have also appeared as a guest performer throughout the years, dancing in the Can-Can with Christina Troxel and Janet McClellan. I performed a Folklorico piece with Eddie Rodriguez, a solo tap performance to ‘Singing in the

18 |

By Heather Young

Rain,’ as well as a Flamenco number to the Maleguena with Oscar Gutierrez and Koby Wescom,” Comin said. “When I was contacted to consider the director's position for 2019, I was quite honored and confident that my experience as a dance teacher, choreographer, stage actor and Dancing With Our Stars alumni would make this a fun challenge for me.” Comin takes over as director from Frank Sanchez who had directed the show for four years. He decided, at 90 years of age, to step down as director for this year’s fundraiser, but he’s not gone. “This year I needed a rest and we were lucky that Molly Comin took over as director,” Sanchez said. “I thought I would just enjoy watching from the audience. Then, I got a call that someone had dropped out and could I choreograph for one star? I said yes. Then another call for another star, I said yes again. Then “how about one vignette?” I said okay. So, I’m involved and having a wonderful time. Director Molly is a polished performer and extremely talented. I know it is going to be great.” Sanchez will participate in a vignette with his granddaughter, Mia, who is 20 years old. He is also choreographing numbers for two stars and their partners: Jan Lynch and Steffi Ketzler. “I wrote, directed, and choreographed the last four 'Dancing With Our Stars’ years,” Sanchez said.

2018 Champions Brian Reeves and Brenda May Photo by Cheryl Strahl

2015: “Wonderful World of Dance” 2016: “Musical Movie Magic” 2017: “Show Stoppers” 2018: “Dancing on Broadway” “When Jeannie Malik asked me for help, she allowed me the freedom to change the format completely,” he said. “I added big musical production numbers between each of the star’s dance performances. The audience seemed to love the shows as the demand for tickets went up tremendously.” The idea for this year’s theme was cemented when Comin was visiting her brother-in-law Joel Mason, a comedian and tribute artist. They were watching “Back to the Future” and knew that it would be a great guide for the show. “Joel, Jeannie and I came up with ‘Atascadero Time Machine: back to the ’80s' and I made a phone call immediately to Paso Robles Mayor and Dancing With Our Stars alum Steve Martin to see if he would play the part of the wacky Doc Brown from the movie,” Comin said. “His

response [was], ‘I think this role may be perfect for me.’” Comin said the audiences for this year’s performances will be in for a treat. There will be a live pianist playing before the show during dinner. "The fast-paced competition will be filled with music from country to Samba, ZZ Top to Michael Jackson, and even Joy Bonner will sing fabulous ’80s diva songs while we wait for the votes to tally,” Comin said. “Name your favorite artist from that era, and we probably squeezed it in. We highlight the greatest movies of that decade too. ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Ghostbusters,’ and ‘Dirty Dancing’ are just a few. This show is crazy fun and if the audience is not exhausted from laughing, singing along, and dancing at the end of it, I'll be surprised.” Tickets went on sale in mid-January and are expected to sell out quickly. Tickets are $85 per person and include wine from Opolo Vineyards, beer from Central Coast Brewing, appetizers, a buffet dinner catered by Pacific Harvest Catering, plated dessert, coffee and the show. There will also be a silent auction during the event each night. The championship trophies will be presented only on Saturday, March 23 at the conclusion of the show. “It's amazing that the ‘80s ended 30 years ago,” Friends of the Atascadero Library President Linda Zirk said. “MTV had a big impact on almost all young people at that time — and I'm sure our choreographers learned to dance to those tunes, perhaps to Madonna or Michael Jackson.”

Colony Magazine, March 2019



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The Story of Us| 19




mack dab in the middle of Templeton, a 105-foot-high structure serves as an iconic reminder of the enduring character of a community.

Templeton Feed & Grain has operated through 13 U.S. presidential administrations, wars, economic upheaval, has withstood earthquakes and even a major fire. Rod Hewitt, a 36-year member of the Templeton Fire Department, was working at his family-owned Hewitt’s Hardware store in 1979 when he heard a commotion outside. “I laid fire hose at the hydrant in front of the hardware store at 5th and Main,” Rod said. “We’d bought a new engine but we had no ladder trucks then. Water from our hoses just bounced off the metal roof. It burned like a fuse up the side and the grain smoldered.” Mutual aid agencies helped fight the blaze but it took a week to fully extinguish. The 2003 San Simeon Earthquake further tested the structure’s mettle. Today, all remains sturdy. A slight lean serves as a souvenir of the 6.6 magnitude temblor.


Tom Jermin Sr., who passed away in 2004, founded Templeton Feed & Grain in 1946. His son, Tom Jermin Jr. grew up in the business. Not counting a four-year Navy enlistment, Tom has worked it fulltime since 1967. Tom’s wife,

Tom Jermin

Bobbie, runs the office. They are parents to Laura, Tom, and Rick, who serves as operations manager and company vice president. “The poured-in-place concrete portion of the building was constructed in 1912,” Tom said. “The granary is made of 2x6 Douglas fir, laid flat, and 50 tons of nails. About half of Templeton pounded nails to get it built. At one time, there was a drivethru grocery and a dentist’s office in the corner, and in the 1920s, there was a Model B Ford garage.” Thousands of tons of feed were manufactured in Templeton, including alfalfa meal, barley, wheat, and oats. Local farm commodities were gathered during the summer harvest for storage to last through winter. Tom recalls how they served 400 area dairies when turkey feed was a chief commodity, and plums and almonds were among the area’s top crops. “Atascadero had a turkey processing plant on Traffic Way,” Tom said. “We supplied feed several flocks in Pozo, Parkfield, Paradise Valley, and Nipomo — that’s about 100,000 turkeys per flock. Back then, ten percent was sold through the front door and 90 percent was sold out the back. Now, it’s the opposite.” In 2018, Tom sold 3,000 tons of product. Surprisingly, 1,800 tons of that was rabbit feed, mostly for show rabbits (who knew?). Among his sales were 1,300 tons of barley, including 60 tons of seed barley for vineyard cover crops and erosion control, 40 tons of wheat and 28 tons of oats — all sourced through local farms. Tom also sold 360 tons of alfalfa grown in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Photo by Rick Evans

“We take pride in our 73 years of operation,” Tom said. “All our grain purchases with local farmers has been done on a handshake. No written contracts.” Little is mentioned of continued sponsorship that the Jermin family provides to area FFA, youth sports, and events “Dad was private about that,” Tom said. Equally tangible are the green and white hats that match nicely with Templeton’s school colors. “We sell 5,000 to 6,000 hats and beanies a year at cost for $6,” Tom said. Many were worn by soldiers during Operation Desert Storm and one Templeton High senior class chose them as gifts for their graduates. Tom heard of two hat-wearers who ran into one another while visiting the Great Wall of China. Thus far, at least five locals have even been buried with their green hats as an essential part of their heavenly journeys. Templeton Feed & Grain at 405 South Main Street in Templeton is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon.- Fri. and 7 a.m. to Noon on Saturday. Call (805) 434 -1136.

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March 2019

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Register now for the April ride to Cambria

By Melissa Chavez

Eroica California is switching into high gear on April 5-7 when it journeys to Cambria, where riders can ride past azure seas before touring through the pastoral hillsides of Paso Robles.


n 2015, longtime Paso Roblan Wes Hatakeyama founded Eroica California, the Central Coast’s newest ride for which to train, invest and participate. Originated in Italy in 1997, there are now nine Eroica events worldwide. Eroica California is the only official U.S. event. “By 2018, we welcomed over 1,200 riders from as far as New York and throughout the world, including UK, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, China, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and more,” said Amedeo Polito, director of Eroica California and Italy’s Inter-

national Eroica Event Coordinator. “This year, the Eroica festival will start on Friday. The Nova Eroica ride is on Saturday, and the Classic Eroica rides (with four route choices) will be on Sunday. You can take part in both rides if you like.” Four Eroica Classic Day routes include the new 35-mile Piedras Blancas Route on Highway 1 with a food and drink rest stop and lighthouse tour and the 110-mile Heroic Route with stops throughout Paso Robles’ wine country. Sponsors include Linn’s of Cambria, Halter

Ranch Vineyard, Olea Farm, and Cass Winery. “Riders commented that ‘this is the most challenging ride they have done.’ They understand our motto, ‘the beauty of fatigue and the thrill of conquest,’” said Polito. “This is a ride (non-race) where people communicate and make new friends. Everyone can enjoy a variety of food, drinks, and have time to rest, and enjoy the company of others at the rest stops without rushing. Riders find the Vintage bicycle concours to be fun and educational. It’s a unique cycling event like no other.” The 82-mile Nova Eroica route is open to road racing and gravel bicycles.

“Many riders never knew that our area had such wonderful routes, how beautiful it was compared to other gravel rides, and the wonderful concept behind the ride,” Polito emphasized. “They enjoy real food provided at the rest stops and seeing vintage bikes at the start and finish line. “We want people to get to know the beauty and hospitality of SLO County’s Central Coast while meeting people from all over the world,” Polito said. “Our ride is a self-challenge, but also a genuine opportunity to rediscover the roots of cycling.” For more information, registration, sponsor and route information, visit

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22 | The Story of Us

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

March 2019

By Pat Pemberton


heck out K-Man’s athletic resume: He swam to land from Alcatraz Island. He won the SLO Triathlon at age 45. And just last fall — at 57 — he climbed Mount Whitney. Impressive, right? But check out his wife’s resume: Cal Poly Athletics Hall of Famer. Qualified for Olympic trials twice. Ninth woman to cross the New York City Marathon finish line in 1987. If you’re thinking, “This is one competitive couple,” then, ah... good call. “We say we’re not, but we are,” Robyn admits. And, if that wasn’t enough, their accolades go beyond sports: Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Champion of the Community. Just imagine what their trophy room would look like — if they had one. “We’re not much for showing off our stuff,” Robyn said. “There’s much more to it than just the trophy — it’s the satisfaction.” Today, much satisfaction comes from the work they do for the community — be it donating shoes to the homeless or coaching kids or raising money for teachers. Keith — a.k.a., K-Man — grew up in Atascadero where his basketball prowess earned him a scholarship. Eventually, he transferred to Cal Poly, where he turned to cycling, first as a practical matter. “I didn’t have access to a vehicle when I was going to Cal Poly so I decided to ride my bike to school,” said Keith, who biked from Atascadero three times a week. Meanwhile, Robyn grew up in Orange County where she was a high school gymnast and started college at Cal State Fullerton. “I wasn’t a good enough gymnast so I started running,” she said. Eventually, Robyn transferred to Cal Polywhere she became a five-time All-American — three in cross country and two in track and field — as a walk-on. “I worked my way up from the bottom of the team to the top of the team,” she said.

24 | The Story of Us

Keith and Robyn Schmidt Share athletic fire for service Her 10,000meter time in 1985 — 33 minutes and 12.86 seconds — made her a national champion and set a school record that remains unbroken. The couple met in 1984 while Robyn was training for the U.S. Olympic qualifying race and Keith was training for a triathlon. While Keith began his professional triathlon career the following year, Robyn finished ninth among 3,675 women and 193 out of 21,097 overall running the 1987 New York City Marathon. Eventually, careers took over — Robyn working as a veterinarian and Keith as the manager of a bike shop for a decade before they opened K-Man Cyclery, which now has shops in Atascadero and Paso Robles. And with that shift came a realization: “I spent most of my life being a selfish triathlete,” Keith said, “thinking about nobody but myself.” The fire that drove their athletic endeavors soon led to community activities: coaching swimming, after-school bike programs, coaching track and cross country programs, basketball referee, directing the Hares N Hounds 5K — and much more. Once they donated 50 pairs of shoes to a local homeless shelter. “I hate to see people suffering,” said Robyn, who works at Woods Humane Society. “Most of the people there are trying to get back on the right track.” Standing in their Atascadero shop, a sign

reads, “Free Hugs” as music by Elton John, the Bee Gees and Journey emits from a stereo. If you haven’t been inside the shop, chances are you’ve seen their Superman-inspired logo, which was created by a shop regular who was then a high school graphic arts student. The shop gets requests for K-Man stickers nationwide. “There’s a lot of people nicknamed K-Man,” Robyn explained. While volunteering takes up much of their time, the competitive fire remains. “She can still shred on a trampoline at 59 years old,” Keith said. Robyn’s 5-foot-2 frame is a stark contrast to Keith’s 6-foot-4. But both are still fit. Which is why Keith — a novice hiker — could climb Mt. Whitney, elevation, 15,500 feet. “A buddy invited me, said, ‘I have an extra pass to Climb Mt. Whitney — wanna go?’” Keith remembered. “I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa — I don’t really hike.’” Yet, he did. “Like Alcatraz, I can’t say it was fun, but at least I can tell people I did it.” Today, two managers handle most of the shop business, leaving the Schmidts more time with their kids, aged 15 and 20, and the kids of the community. “You know, they say it takes a village to raise a child,” Robyn said. “We feel like we’re part of that village, raising lots of other children, and that village is also part of us, raising our own children.”

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March 2019

The Story of Us| 25

Over the River and Through the Woods A Heartwarming Comedy


ine Country Theatre, of Paso Robles, will present a loveable comedy that explores family and the manyways we stay connected in the upcoming production of OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS by Joe DiPietro. Performances run from Friday, March 22, through Sunday, April 7, at the Park Street Ballroom in Paso Robles. The comedy focuses on Nick, a young Italian-American, and his adoring (and annoying) four grandparents. Every Sunday he goes “over the river”, meaning the Hudson river, to “grandmother’s house” in Hoboken, New Jersey for a big Italian dinner. The long-held tradition is disrupted when Nick announces a job change. His grandparents, eager to keep him close by, hatch a scheme to persuade him to

26 | The Story of Us

stay. Nick faces the questions, “How much do you owe those who care for you? How much is enough? How does one combine obligations to family with the pursuit of personal dreams?”. Director Kristen Saunders (who directed last year’s successful musical, Gypsy) chose this play because “Our audiences love a great comedy, actors love well-written characters, and this play offers both. Over the River and Through the Woods is an endearing look at the generation gap and trying to keep loved ones close. It’s something we can all relate to and also delivers on its laughs!” Wine Country Theatre continuously brings new talent to their stage, and three actors make their Wine Country Theatre debut, although they have been performing for decades in television, film and on stage. Dori Duke plays

Aida, the grandma that cooks with love. Her husband Frank, an Italian from the old country, is played by Bill Jackson. Greg DeMartini plays Nick, who gets stuck between a well-meaning family and a well-paying job. The three other actors returning to the Wine Country Theatre stage are Tracy Mayfield playing Nunzio, the loving grandpa with a secret, Cynthia Anthony as Emma, the loud grandma with a big heart, and Haley Przybyla plays Caitlyn, a young woman who attends one of the Sunday dinners, to much hilarity. Shows are on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, and Sunday matinees at 2 pm at the Park Ballroom in downtown Paso Robles. Wine, snacks and desserts are available for purchase; generous table seating allows refreshments to be enjoyed during the show. Tickets are $25 general public; $20 for groups of 8+; $15 student.

For ticket information go to or

March 2019

North SLO County Activity & Events Guide |

no SLO c o

N o r t h • S a n Lu i s O b i s p o • County

• Special Events

Entertainment • Fundraisers • Community • Service • Government

March 3 — Symphony of the Vines presents "Harp Chamber Music" with Catherine Litaker on harp; Carol Houchens, flute; Michael Whitson, viola; and Hilary Clark, cello, 4 - 5:30 p.m. Pear Valley Estate Wine, 4900 Union Rd, Paso Robles. Tickets are $15 - $30, students K-12 are free with a paid adult. March 29-31 — San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen's Association presents the 29th Annual Cattlemen's Western Art Show and Sale at the Paso Robles Event Center. Free show admission. BBQ lunch, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm both days for $10. Evening artist reception Friday 5 to 9 pm, $20 at the door. Featured artist Vicki Catapano. March 24 — Come enjoy "Mendelssohn in Scotland" at the San Miguel Mission. Presented by Symphony of the Vines, this full orchestra concert begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 - $30, students K-12 are free with a paid adult.

April 6 — Wild Wild West Casino Night to benefit the Paso Robles Youth Sports Council. Centennial Park, 600 Nickerson, Paso Robles. Doors open at 6 p.m., casino gaming 6:30, dinner until 8, silent auction until 9. $45 ticket includes tri-tip dinner, two drinks, a bingo ticket and $100 in gaming chips. PRYSC supports sports organizations and improves sports playing fields. April 13 — The Creston Garden Club Annual Plant and Bake Sale. Local nurseries and growers donate plants, trees, and vegetable starts. This is the principle fundraiser for the support and maintenance of the Creston Garden. Baked goods are homemade pies, cookies, and things for your “sweet tooth”. We are open from 8 a.m. until noon. Come early if you want a pie as they go fast. We are located in the village of Creston just pass the Rodeo Grounds on Hwy 229. May 4 - 5 — 3 Speckled Hens Old Stuff Show. Paso Robles Event Center, 150 Vintage and Antique Dealers. General, Early Bird and Super Early Bird tickets available on March 15.

Submit listings or corrections at by the 5th of the month. Visit for more info & events. Events listed are both free and paid. All entries are published based on our editorial standards. Only paid entries can be guaranteed.

Wellness Kitchen Returns to Templeton Location By Millie Drum

After a temporary displacement to Atascadero due to a fire on October 21, The Wellness Kitchen and Resource Center re-opens in its Templeton location on March 1. Since December 3, the meal programs continued thanks to the use of the commercial kitchen at the Atascadero Bible Church; Fig at Courtney’s House for distribution; Idler’s in Paso Robles for hosting the monthly cook-

ing classes; and the Dusi Family for hosting the administration team at their warehouse. Executive Director Gina Grieb says, “Thanks to our dedicated board of directors, staff, volunteers, donors, in-kind sponsors, media and patrons; together as a community have made it possible for us to get our commercial kitchen ready for daily operation. Without this support, we wouldn’t have been able to resume our Heal-

ing and Wellness Food programs and cooking classes.” GRAND RE-OPENING WEEK The week of March 11 through March 15 is dedicated to welcoming the community back to The Wellness Kitchen and showing appreciation for the outpouring of support. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., samples of healing tea will be served, deli lunches will be available for purchase, along with ordering wellness/healing foods and

sign-ups for cooking classes. “It takes a community to make a difference in those we serve,” Grieb said. “The Wellness Kitchen couldn’t operate and serve our patrons without you. Thank you!” For more information on meal programs, education and events, go to thewkrc. org, call 805-434-1800 or better yet, visit 1255 Las Tablas Road in Templeton.

“Safety with Pride”



March 2019

The Story of Us | 27

By Millie Drum

29 th

The Annual Cattlemen’s Western Art Show and Sale returns to the Paso Robles Event Center from March 29 to 31. In 1990, the Cattlemen’s Western Art Show got a modest start at the old Cooper Ranch outside of Paso Robles. Three artists gathered with a spouse and a cowboy. Artists Larry Bees and wife Jackie, Ernie Morris, Susanne Williams and cowboy Gary

Williams. They decided there was a need for a Western art show on the Central Coast. Thanks to the San Luis Obispo Cattlemen’s Association, the show was established in 1990. It has become nationally recognized, drawing artists and art collectors from all over the Western states. This year, the featured artist is Vicki Catapano. She’s one of the West’s most respected and collectable realists and attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.

Whether you’re a serious or novice collector or just enjoy original paintings, prints and sculpture, this show offers something for everyone. Being one of the only shows of its type on the Central Coast, this is a unique chance to meet the artists; step into their world of creativity and hear the stories behind their art. Over 400 new works in acrylics, oils, pencils, pastels, scratchboard and sculptures of Western themes will be on

display and available for purchase. If an original piece is outside your budget, a reproduction may be available. The evening artist reception is Friday, March 29 from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets for $20 includes hors d’oeuvres, wine tasting and no-host bar. The free show and sale runs from Saturday through Sunday, March 30 and 31. A Cattlemen’s BBQ lunch is available both days from 11:30 to 1:30 for $10. For more information, go to cattlemenswestern This year’s featured artist is Vicki Catapano. Her works (shown here), will be on display and for sale, along with over 400 new works by many other talented artists.


Cattlemen’s Western Art Show & Sale Friday, Saturday & Sunday MARCH 29-31 Paso Robles Event Center Free Admission

Featured Artist Vicki Catapano

The Guiding Hand

ARTIST EVENING RECEPTION, FRIDAY - 5 TO 9 - $20 at the door SATURDAY 10-5 SUNDAY 10-3 Cattlemen’s BBQ lunch for $10 from 11:30 to 1:30 BOTH DAYS

28 | The Story of Us

March 2019

North SLO County Activity & Events Guide | At



Atascadero Library 6555 Capistrano, Atascadero • 805-461-6161 Special Events Ongoing Programs Tuesday & Wednesday — 10:30 a.m., Preschool Story time for 1-5 year olds Friday — 10:30 a.m., Toddler Story time for 1-3 year olds 1st Tuesday — 11 a.m. Lego Club 1st Saturday — 2 p.m., Family Movies 1st Tuesday — 11 a.m., Gems in the Stacks Book Group 3rd Thursday — 2:30 p.m., Mixed Minds Book Group Paso Robles Library 1000 Spring St., Paso Robles • 805-237-3870 Monday — 11:30 a.m., Preschool Story time for 1-3 year olds Thursday — 10:30 a.m., Mother Goose on the Loose for ages 0-18 months Fridays — eBook Clinic with Patrick McCoy, 2 p.m., 2:20 p.m. and 2:40 p.m., open to 16 and over. See Library Events Calendar for more information. Special Events For Adults: • Tax Preparation Assistance by appointment only, Saturdays March 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30;

call the Library at 805.237.3870 to schedule an appointment • Make It @ the Library! Felt Appliqué, Saturday, March 2, 10:30-12:30 pm • Drop In and Color! Celtic Designs, Thursday, March 14, 6-8 pm • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah book discussion, Thursday, March 21, 7-8 pm • Learn to Knit or Crochet! Saturday, March 23, 10:30-noon • Tabletop Game Day, Saturday, March 23, 1-4 pm For Children: • Story Times, check online calendar for days and times • Dr. Seuss Day, Monday March 1, 2-5 pm • Lego Build, Monday, March 11, 4-5 pm. • Family Game Day, Friday March 15. 3-5 pm. • Spring Drop-In Craft, Tuesday, March 19, 3-4 pm. • Maker Monday series — Optical Illusion Spinning Tops! Monday, March 25, 4-5 pm For Teens: • Teen Tech Week — Exploring Circuits, Tuesday, March 5, 4-5 pm For more information about classes or events, including age requirements, or to sign up for them, visit The Paso Robles City Library is located at

1000 Spring Street and is open Monday – Friday 10-8, and Saturday 10-5. For more information on library programs and events, please call 237-3870 or visit Creston Library 6290 Adams, Creston • 805-237-3010 Friday, February 1 — Valentine Card Making, 1 p.m. Thursday & Friday, February 7-8 — Sugar Cookie Decorating & Heart Pencil Craft, 2 p.m. San Miguel Library 254 13th St, San Miguel • 805-467-3224 Saturday, February 9 — Movie & Craft Saturday Wednesday, February 13 — Mexican Tin Art Craft, 2 p.m. Santa Margarita Library 9630 Murphy Ave, Santa Margarita • 805438-5622 Saturday, February 2 — Young People’s Reading Round Table, 4 to 5:30 p.m., open to 12 to 16 year olds Saturday, February 23 — Coding with Matt Shandon Library 195 N 2nd St, Shandon • 805-237-3009 Call for info

Above the Grade Advanced Toastmasters — first Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m. Kennedy Club Fitness, Paso, 805-238-0524, Partners in $uccess — Business Networking International — Thursdays, 7 to 8:30 a.m., Paso Robles Assn. of Realtors, 1101 Riverside Ave.

Speak Easy Toastmasters Club — every Friday, 12:10 to 1:15 p.m. Founders Pavilion, Twin Cities Community Hospital. 805-237-9096 Coffee at the Carlton — Entrepreneurs and business leaders meet Wednesdays at 9 am. Carlton Hotel in Atascadero.

Key Club — every Wednesday, 11:55 a.m. Kiwanis Club — every Thursday, 7 a.m. Paso Robles — 1900 Golden Hill Rd. (Culinary Arts Academy) Kiwanis Club — every Tuesday, 12 p.m. Board Members — first Tuesday, 1 p.m. Night Meeting — third Wednesday, 6 p.m., Su Casa Restaurant (2927 Spring St.) Lions Club Atascadero Club #2385 • 5035 Palma Ave. Meeting — second & fourth Wednesday, 7 p.m. Paso Robles Club 2407 • 1420 Park St. Meeting — second and fourth Tuesday, 7 p.m. San Miguel Club 2413 • 256 13th St. Meeting — first and third Tuesday, 7 p.m. Santa Margarita Club 2418 • 9610 Murphy St. Meeting — second and fourth Monday, 7:30 p.m. Shandon Valley Club • 630-571-5466 Templeton Club 2427 • 601 Main St. • 805434-1071 Meeting — first and third Thursday, 7 p.m. Loyal Order of Moose Atascadero #2067 • 8507 El Camino Real • 805-466-5121

Meeting — first and third Thursday, 6 p.m. Bingo — first Sunday, 12-2 p.m. Queen of Hearts — every Tuesday, 7 p.m. Pool League — every Wednesday Paso Robles #243 • 2548 Spring St. • 805239-0503 Optimist Club Atascadero — dinner meetings second and fourth Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Outlaws Bar & Grill, 9850 E. Front Rd. or call 805-712-5090 Paso Robles — dinner meetings second and fourth Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Paso Robles Elks Lodge, 1420 Park St. Rotary International Atascadero — 9315 Pismo Ave. Meeting — every Wednesday, 12 p.m. at Atascadero Lake Pavilion Paso Robles Rotary — 1103 Spring St. Meeting — Thursdays at noon at Paso Robles Inn. Paso Robles Sunrise — 1900 Golden Hill Rd. Meeting — every Wednesday, 7 a.m. at Culinary Arts Academy. Templeton — 416 Main St. Meeting — first & third Tuesday, 7 a.m. at McPhee’s Grill

Business Networking North County Toast ‘N Talk Toastmasters — Mondays, 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. 1101 Riverside Dr, Paso, 805-464-9229 Early But Worth It Chapter — Business Networking International — every Tuesday, 7 to 8:30 a.m., Culinary Arts Academy, Paso, Visitors welcome,

Service Organizations American Legion Post 50 240 Scott St., Paso Robles • 805-239-7370 Commander John Irwin, 805-286-6187. Hamburger Lunch— every Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., $5 Pancake Breakfast — third Saturday, 8 to 11 a.m., $6 Post Meeting — fourth Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. American Legion Post 220 805 Main Street, Templeton • 805-610-2708 Post Meeting — second and fourth Wednesday, 6 p.m. Elks Lodge Atascadero Lodge 2733 • 1516 El Camino Real • 805-466-3557 Lodge Meeting — second and fourth Thursdays Paso Robles Lodge 2364 • 1420 Park Street • 805-239-1411 Lodge Meeting — first and third Wednesdays El Paso de Robles Grange #555 • 627 Creston Rd. • 805-239-4100 Pancake Breakfast — second Sunday, 7:30-11 a.m., January 13 — Grange Meeting, 12 to 1 p.m. Kiwanis International Atascadero — 7848 Pismo Ave. • 805-610-7229

March 2019

The Story of Us | 29

| North SLO County Activity & Events Guide Chambers



Atascadero Chamber of Commerce • 805-466-2044 6907 El Camino Real, Suite A, Atascadero, CA 93422 Leaders Lunch — Friday, March 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Build relationships with other leaders in the community while enjoying a catered lunch, and a talk from one our region’s leaders. Member: $25, Non-Member: $35. Business Mixer: Parents For Joy — Thursday, March 21, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hosted by Sunset Honda Service Center. Good Morning Atascadero — Friday, March 22, 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. at Galaxy Theatres, 6917 El Camino Real, Suite I, Atascadero,



CA 93422. Catch up on the latest news that you need to know for your business. Join us for a variety of speakers, mimosas, and light breakfast. Members: $15, Prospective Members: $20. Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce • 805-238-0506 1225 Park St, Paso Robles, CA 93446 Office Hours with District Supervisor John Peschong — third Thursday, 9 to 11 a.m., Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Conference Room. Contact Vicki Janssen for appointment,, 805-781-4491 Office Hours with Field Representative for Senator Bill Monning — third Thursday, 2 to

4 p.m., Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Conference Room. Contact Hunter Snider for appointment, 805-549-3784 Membership Mixer — Wednesday, March 13. Community West Bank, 541 Spring Street Paso Robles. 5:30 p.m. Wake Up Paso — Wednesday, March 27 at Paso Robles Inn Ballroom, 1103 Spring Street, Paso Robles; breakfast at 7:30 a.m., program at 8 a.m.; members $22, general admission $28 Templeton Chamber of Commerce • 805-434-1789 321 S. Main Street #C, Templeton, CA 93465

805-296-1935 for dinner reservations, Paso Robles Democratic Club — third Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. at Centennial Park, 600 Nickerson, White Oak Room. All meetings are open to the public. For further info visit our Facebook page or visit North County Newcomers — General Membership Meeting and Luncheon: Wednesday, April 3 The Groves on the 41, 4455 Hwy 41 East, Paso Robles from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $30; must RSVP by 3-24. Visit Active Senior Club of Templeton — first Friday, 10:30 a.m., Templeton Community Center, 601 S. Main St. Meetings include a presentation on relevant local issues, often followed by a luncheon. Membership is $5 per year. Contact Templeton Recreation Department with questions. 805-434-4909 North County Wines and Steins — first Friday of the month (Jan-May; Aug-Nov), 6 p.m. at Templeton American Legion Hall, 805 Main St. Meetings include wine and beer tasting,

speaker or program and potluck., 805-235-2048 Central Coast Violet Society — second Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Creston Village Activity Room, 1919 Creston Road, Paso Robles. Email with any questions. Golden State Classic Car Club — first Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Paso Robles Elks Lodge, 1420 Park St., Paso Robles. Classic Car Cruise Night — second Saturday (weather permitting), 5 to 7 p.m. at King Oil Tools, 2235 Spring St., Paso Robles. Contact Tony Ororato, 805-712-0551 Daughters of the American Revolution — first Sunday. For time and place, email Atascadero Republican Women Federated 4th Tuesday at 11 at Atascadero SpringHill Suites Marriott Paso Robles Republican Women Federated 3rd Monday at 11:30 a.m. at Paso Robles Inn Ballroom. Reservations required.

flavor foods using fat/acid/salt/sweet. Class is free for those individuals dealing with illness through our Pay It Forward Education Program. Friends and caregivers are welcome to join the class for a suggested love offering of $20, however no one will be turned away for lack of funds. RSVP required 805-434-1800 or Taught by Evan Vossler. Cancer Support Community 1051 Las Tablas Road, Templeton • 805-238-4411 Open Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to provide support, education and hope. Cancer Support Helpline: 1-888-793-9355, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST. Visit for description of support groups, social events, education and kid’s programs. Living With Cancer Support Group — 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, 10am –11am. Facilitated by Jamie Dunn, LMFT & Katie Boucher, AMFT. Contact Jamie: 805-238-4411.

Caregiver Support Group — 4th Wednesdays - concurrent with patient group in a separate room. 10am –11am. Facilitated by Jamie Dunn, LMFT & Katie Boucher, AMFT Contact Jamie: 805-238-4411. Breast Cancer Group - Templeton — Last Thursday of each month, 11am-12pm Facilitated by Lindsey Levenson, LMFT, 2-time breast cancer survivor. Contact Jamie: 805238-4411. Mindfulness Hour — with Katie Boucher, AMFT. Last Wednesday. 11:30am - 12:30pm Learn to practice the concepts of mindfulness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation. Open to patients & caregivers. Space is limited. RSVP Required. Therapeutic Yoga — Mondays, 11:30am– 12:45pm with Sue Larson. Therapeutic yoga designed for cancer patients. Poses can be modified to accommodate various needs and abilities. All levels welcome. Held at Dharma Yoga (1329 Spring St., Paso Robles).


Almond Country Quilt Guild — Guild Challenge, Trash (Stash) to Treasurers. General Meeting: Friday, March 4 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 6:30-9 p.m.; Community Quilts: Saturday, March 16 at Bethel Lutheran Church, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Coffee with a CHP — second Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., Nature’s Touch Nursery & Harvest, 225 Main St., Templeton. Exchange Club — second Tuesday, 12:151:30 p.m. at McPhee’s, 416 S. Main St., Templeton. 805-610-8096, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 465 — second Wednesday, 7 p.m. at Paso Airport Terminal, 4900 Wing Way. Getting youth involved with aviation, North County Multiflora Garden Club — second Wednesday, 12 to 3 p.m. at PR Community Church, 2706 Spring St., Paso Robles, Public is welcome, no charge, guests welcome. Call 805-712-7820 or visit Monthly Dinner Estrella Warbirds Museum — first Wednesday, 6 p.m., guest speakers.

Health & Wellness Wellness Kitchen and Resource Center Visit, 805-434-1800 for information on Healing and Wellness Foods meal programs, volunteer opportunities, and classes. The Wellness Kitchen and Resource Center Grand Re-opening Appreciation Week, March 11 - 14, 10 am to 4 pm. Samples of healing tea, deli lunches available for purchase, order wellness/healing foods, sign up for cooking classes. The Wellness Kitchen re-opens March 1 after operating in a temporary location. Healthy Cooking Class: Portable Snacks Thursday March 14th 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Idlers in Paso Robles & Friday March 15th 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Idlers in San Luis Obispo. Designed especially for individuals facing a life-altering disease. Learn how to prepare nutrient-dense foods with the intent to create the "most inhospitable environment" so disease does not have the opportunity to grow. 3-Recipes and lessons are both therapy supporting and delicious. Learn how to

30 | The Story of Us

March 2019

Commission Celebrates Exemplary Women

6th Annual Women’s Wall of Fame Luncheon set for March 9

Madonna Inn will fill with apprecation for women in San Luis Obispo County as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) host the 6th annual Women’s Wall of Fame Luncheon to celebrate this year’s awardees. Keynote speaker Delaine Eastin will provide inspiration through her experience as the first and only woman elected as California State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1995-2003). The CSW is commission of women appointed by the County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors to advocate for women and girls and inform the Board of Supervisors of unmet needs in the county. Women named to the wall of fame were nominated from organizations and individuals throughout San Luis Obispo County who embodied exemplary service to better the lives of others throughout the year. All nominees will be recognized at the luncheon. Photos of the top three nominees will be placed on the Women’s Wall of Fame in the County Government Building. Their names and year of the award will be inscribed on a permanent plaque next to the Wall of Fame. The 5th annual Women’s Wall of Fame nominees included our North SLO County’s own Elena Twisselman Clark, Nancy Fiske, Maria Elena Garcia, Liz Lee, Ashley Aiello, Amanda Gonzalez, Janet Morales, and Julia Boyce. The luncheon will take place at Madonna Inn on Saturday, March 9 from noon to 2 p.m. Go to for info.

6th Annual

March 9 Madonna Inn Noon - 2 pm

The Hope Chest Emporium

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

March 2019

The Story of Us | 31

Bud and Avis Idler

Jennifer and Don Idler

By Mark Diaz



hat started out as a way to make money while going to college evolved into an iconic feature on the Central Coast landscape. Idler’s Home first began in 1954 when W. C. “Bud” Idler purchased the appliance store where he worked from his boss. A World War II veteran, Bud moved from Montana with his wife Avis in the 1950s to study poultry science at Cal Poly. Bud purchased the store and renamed it Idler’s Appliance and the whole family worked the business. “Everybody in the family worked there,” Jennifer idler said. “Grandma Avis, brothers and sisters, everybody. My dad’s two older sisters worked in the office and helped sales. Brothers worked in the warehouse and delivered appliances.” Bud and Avis’ son, Don, took over the company in the ‘70s and continues to head the business with his wife Janis. Their children, Jennifer and Bryan didn't start with intentions of joining the company. Their parents did not pressure them to work the family-owned business but respected their decisions to seek their own paths, which eventually led them back home. Jennifer works as the human resources manager and special events manager, and Bryan manages the San Luis Obispo location. A lot has changed over the past 65 years for the company but a lot has remained the same. With the induction of chain stores coming to

32 | The Story of Us

Third from left Kaeleigh, Jennifer, Bryan, Don

the San Luis Obispo County, the company found that adaptation, evolution and flexibility are essential components that keep them thriving. Initially, the focus of the business was repair but to remain contemporary, the company branched out into different indoor and outdoor home furnishing items. During the Great Recession, the company started promoting “Scratch and Dent” appliances or “blems,” (short for blemish) that would attract customers looking to replace big-ticket items while on a budget. In 2014, Idlers dropped ‘Appliance’ and replaced it with ‘Home’ and also created a new logo. The goal of the rebranding was to demonstrate the diversity of products the business offers. Another innovation Idlers embraced is the Culinary Throwdown event co-hosted by The Cork Dorks from The Krush 92.5 where local chefs faceoff at Idler’s locations. These events are open to the public and have been received with enthusiasm. The culinary collisions are sponsored in part by KitchenAid and Whirlpool. “That’s been something that was really new for us,” Moss said, “having your radio personnel coming into your kitchen and then it’s also on Facebook live.” Moss explained the complexity of the event

operating on two different mediums and essentially reaching two different demographics — radio listeners and those who watch live streams on Facebook. One thing that has not changed is the culture of the business which is based on teamwork and customer service. One way the company achieves better customer service is through education about their products. Jennifer explained that a solid relationship with companies that provide the sales items gives the idlers sales team an edge above the competition. 
 “Our vendors come in weekly,” Jennifer said. “That is something that Home Depot and Lowe’s don’t have. We have really close relationships with our vendors.” “They [vendors] work with our customers too,” Marketing Director Kaeleigh Moss said. “They actually come in and they will talk with our customers and help us. You don’t see that with a lot of vendors, where they are invested in us.” One of the biggest hurdles Jennifer said the company faces is the public’s assumption that big box stores will always beat the pricing of family-run businesses. “That’s our hardest challenge,” Jennifer said. “People don’t know that we are the same price. People think that we are more expensive. We’re the same price, but we really focus on being better in quality when it comes to customer service.” Although the ability to instantly compare costs online has helped to diminish the misconception, Jennifer said it is still surprising how many people believe that Idler’s products are not competitively priced. We’d like you to go see for yourself in the store or online. Tell them we sent you and let their team do the rest. Don’t forget to tell Don we said hi!

March 2019






SLO County Arts Education Partnerships James J. Brescia Ed.D.

County Superintendent of Schools


ur county is fortunate to have growing arts partnerships for many of our schools. Four wonderful organizations supporting students in all North County schools are Opera San Luis Obispo, Vina Robles Amphitheater, Symphony of the Vines, and Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. These arts organizations are partnering with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education in support of arts outreach. The partnerships are designed to encourage the arts by providing opportunities for students to experience and participate in the arts with professional artists in professional settings. We hope that our arts nonprofits stoke

“ There is no half-singing in the shower ; you are either a rock star or an opera diva.” Josh Groban

the embers of San Luis Obispo County’s creative spirit by working with our schools. According to the most recent Arts and Economic Prosperity Survey, San Luis Obispo County arts and arts-related activities enhance our local economy with approximately 27 million in funding and expenditures. The arts is one of the most popular Career & Technical Education pathways selected by San Luis Obispo County students, and the Central Coast Economic Forecast refers to the positive impact the arts have on our local economy. Our county is also growing in cultural and artistic vibrancy because of the dedicated individuals who make the Central Coast their home.

The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education Arts Partnership along with Opera San Luis Obispo and Vina Robles is currently planning an evening event in May for students, families and the community. To date, this partnership has afforded more than 6,000 North County students the opportunity to experience and work with professional artists in a professional venue. Funds for the event are provided by Mary Bianco, David Burt, Virginia Severa, the Moca Foundation, the Paso Robles Education Alliance, and the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. A partnership with Symphony of the Vines is providing complimentary admittance to students for the North

County concerts, opportunities to meet the performers, and classroom outreach activities. Studios on the Park in Paso Robles is working with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education on plans to provide display space for all North County schools throughout the 2019-2020 school year. Local arts organizations support students in the arts by building a sense of community, communication skills, collaboration skills, public speaking experience, empathy, and compassion. It is an honor to serve as your county superintendent and I hope that this article will spark discussion among all educational stakeholders about the power of becoming involved in arts outreach as a volunteer, patron or participant.

Future Careers. Locally Grown. "It's been really great learning new things, and having a teacher who is willing to bring us opportunities like this." Grace - Student, Templeton High School

Watch the Video @San Luis Obispo County Office of Education YouTube 34 | The Story of Us

March 2019

City Council talks roads, trees and pigeons


n January, the Atascadero City Council eased into the new year with budget approvals and presentations. During the public comment portion, Atascadero resident Richard Moen stepped forth and voiced his concerns about several roads that “are in dire need of repair” and require the City’s attention. Moen named the degrading San Anselmo Road on both sides of the overpass, the needed repairs on Santa Lucia and Portola roads near Atascadero High School and the ubiquitous pigeons and their droppings at the Traffic Way and El Camino intersection. Public Works Director Nick DeBar was pleased to say that solutions for each of the roadway issues are currently in the works. The pavement repair and rehabilitation on El Camino Real from San Anselmo Road to San Benito Road is one of the City’s Capital Improvement Projects and after some preliminary design and samples are taken, work should begin in 2020 to improve the road. The estimated project cost reaches $697,660 with almost half of the price to be paid from state and local grant funds. The Sana Lucia road project will commence this year at the cost of $975,000 and will be paid from local transportation funds. DeBar also assured the Council that through taxes approved by the public in the F14 sales tax, the transportation projects are well-funded. Mayor Heather Moreno affirmed that transportation funds are solely designated as such and that even if it were possible, the Council has no intention of reallocating that money to other projects. Council member Roberta Fonzi asked for clarification between road rehabilitation and resurfacing. DeBar stated that rehabilitation addresses “a more structural deficiency in the pavement” as opposed to sealing cracks in the asphalt or applying a topical slurry seal or crack sealing.

March 2019, Colony Magazine

By Mark Diaz

The problem with pigeons is pointedly peculiar. In large part, the birds roost under the bridge which lands in the Caltrans jurisdiction. Therefore, any construction to deter fowl activity must be performed or approved by the state. DeBar said the City is looking into hiring an individual to trap and ‘relocate’ the birds and the City is also talking with Caltrans about possible deterrents such as netting under the bridge. Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore addressed the dying magnolia tree in Sunken Gardens and put forth a request to have it removed. Demonstrating how badly off the tree is, Dunsmore showed pictures of mushrooms sprouting around the base of the magnolia. Since it is designated as a “heritage tree,” the Council must approve its removal which it did with a 5-0 vote. During his presentation, Dunsmore brought to the Council’s attention a desire to begin landscape planning for the park and took a look back at the history of the public place. “I wanted to introduce the topic about

what I call reforestation or replacement of the trees,” Dunsmore said, “and looking at the possibilities of planting now for succession to get growth while the old ones are phased out.” Initially, the park was designed as a more formal garden with pathways and smaller plants. When first planted, the cedars that now tower over the space were the size of Christmas trees. Dunsmore remarked how in the 1950s there was a gas station on the El Camino side of the park that was later removed in the ‘60s. Dunmore noted that the latest remodel in 2005 brought designated pathways and additional trees. Council member Charles Bourbeau asked what the anticipated lifespan of the larger trees are in the garden. Dunsmore answered that the cedars are reaching their life expectancy. “The Cedars,” said Dunsmore “they do appear that they are reaching their max peak for a park-like setting. We got a hundred years or so out of them, and that’s pretty darn good.” Fonzi asked if the Coast Live Oaks are susceptible to fungus and disease when planted in highly-irrigated areas. Dunsmore answered that these trees do well if planted initially in irrigated regions but problems arise if they are accustomed to drier areas and then irrigation is introduced. After the vote, the Council directed Dunsmore to proceed with developing reforestation options for the park. Mayor Heather Moreno stated that the board would be open to any suggestions his department offered. The Atascadero City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at City Hall, located in the historic Atascadero Colony Administration Building at 6500 Palma Avenue. Attendees should enter on Lewis Avenue side of the building. | 35


Traditional ST. PATRICK'S DAY recipes straight from the Emerald Isle TASTE OF Americana

By Barbie Butz


eing a “wee-bit Irish” has always been fun for me, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. My mother’s family name was O’Haver, so my claim to being Irish was helped by the apostrophe! For years I have collected little cookbooks featuring classic Irish recipes and I’d like to share a few of them in recognition of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. Let’s start with Colcannon or “cal cean fhionn” which literally means “white-haired cabbage.” This Irish ditty preceded the recipe in a book titled “So You Think You’re Irish” by Margaret Kelleher: Did you ever eat Colcannon When ‘twas made from thickened cream, And the kale and praties blended Like the picture in a dream? Did you ever take a forkful And dip it in the lake Of the clover-flavored butter That your mother used to make?


Ingredients and Directions: Peel and boil four pounds of potatoes. Drain, mash until smooth. Add six chopped scallions to 10 ounces of milk and bring to boil. Add to potatoes and beat well until fluffy. Beat in one pound cooked curly kale or savoy cabbage (finely chopped) and one ounce butter. Reheat if necessary, Serve with butter. Note: Another recipe called for two pounds of shredded cabbage cooked in two cups of water for 10-12 minutes, then drained. Use the reserved liquid to cook the potatoes. Additional water is needed to cover the potatoes before

March 2019, Colony Magazine

bringing to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-17 minutes or until tender. Drain and keep warm. The remaining directions are the same as above except that crumbled bacon and minced fresh parsley are stirred in at the end. This next recipe was found in “Classic Irish Recipes” by Georgina Campbell that has turned out to be a wonderful “go-to” source for Irish dishes.


Ingredients: A little good oil for frying 4 round steaks 1 cup button mushrooms 1 onion 8 ounces Guinness Sprig of thyme Few strips of orange peel (optional) Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Directions: Heat the oven to moderate (350 degrees). Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and brown the steaks quickly on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Trim the mushrooms, halve or quarter them if necessary, then peel and finely chop the onion. Add a little more oil to the frying pan if necessary and toss the mushrooms and onion in for a few minutes until they just begin to color, then spread the mixture over the base of a medium-sized baking dish. Lay the steaks over the mushroom and onion mixture. Barely cover with Guinness, add the thyme and orange peel, if using, and season well. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and braise in the preheated oven for 1-1 ½ hours or until the meat is tender. Baked potatoes, which can be cooked in the oven at the same time, are ideal for soaking up the delicious juices when served with the steaks.

Finally, here’s a recipe for a moist cake known as Irish Apple Cake. Pears can be substituted for the apples as a good way to use under-ripe pears that are unsuitable for eating fresh. If using pears, substitute ground ginger for the cloves.


Ingredients: 2 cups self-rising flour Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon ground cloves 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature 3-4 cooking apples About ¾ cup granulated sugar, or to taste 2 eggs A little milk to mix Granulated sugar to sprinkle over cake dough. Directions: Grease an 8-inch springform cake pan and line the bottom with wax paper. Preheat a fairly hot oven (375 degrees). Sift the flour, salt and cloves into a bowl, cut in the butter and rub in until the mixture is like fine bread crumbs. Peel and core the apples, slice thinly, and add to the rubbed-in mixture with the sugar — the amount depends on how much sweetening the apples need. Mix in the eggs and enough milk to make a fairly stiff dough, then turn the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake in the prepared oven for 45 minutes, until crisp, golden brown and springy to the touch. Serve as a cake, or warm with cream or custard as a pudding. ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY REMEMBER THIS: 'Tis a grand day! For watching parades and enjoying the scene, For dancing a jig and wearing the green, For stories and singing and laughing a lot… ‘Tis a grand day for everyone — Irish or not! | 36

Reunion of '69

Atascadero High School class of 1969 preps for the 50 th anniversary

The graduating class from Atascadero High School in 1969 entered a very tumultuous period in the history of our country. No, I am not talking about the last couple of years; I am talking about 50 years ago! We graduated high school and were young adults ready to make our mark, big or small, on the world. Think back to that era when the Vietnam War was in full swing and had the full attention of our country in positive and/or negative ways. Richard Nixon was our President. We landed and took those first steps on the moon. The space race was big as the Beatles sang “Get Back” and “Space Cowboy” by the Steve Miller Band rocked our world. Those were some of the ideologies that formed our world. So why am I reminiscing?

March 2019, Colony Magazine

Thinking about the reunion can make you think about the last 50 years. We now are in a period of winding down as opposed to the winding up we were doing as we pursued careers, marriages and children perhaps or maybe we found other adventures. All our pursuits were credible and now we might be reflecting and remembering our pathways. Meeting up with old friends and acquaintances will provide a fun relaxed chance to revisit some of the influences that perhaps gave us direction or made us wander. We hope you might come to the reunion if you were a class member of the Atascadero Class of 1969. For info, visit Following you will find a summary of the planned activities for the weekend of August 16-18, 2019. You can check in early (10 a.m.) starting Friday, August 16 at The Carlton Inn (El Camino and Traffic Way). Some people will also end their Friday at The Carlton with spirits and conversation. Friday evening we will be “draggin’ the line” with cruise night down El Camino. You may see your old car or old buddies driving a car that night! There will be opportunities to tour some old haunts at the high school or the Atascadero Administration Building near the Sunken Gardens. Stop in at the Street Side Ale House, the modern incarnation of the old Virgil’s Drive In, and have a 5-OH burger created especially for our reunion. The big event will be Saturday evening (August 17) at The Portola Inn with dinner including wine and beer and mood music from the 1965-1969s. We hope you join us if you are a class member of Atascadero High School 1969. It is sure to create some fun memories you will cherish with smiles. | 37

The Station in 2001


wner of the Atascadero 76 gas station, Don Giessinger has seen and been part of the many changes that have come to our small town. Giessinger moved to the Central Coast from Los Angeles in the mid-’70s, back when the population hovered around 10,000 and the only traffic light in town sat at the corner of El Camino and Traffic Way. Giessinger’s station sits a stone’s throw away from one the busiest intersections in town, El Camino Real and Morro Road, a spot that used to be governed by a simple stop sign. Giessinger started his career as a business owner of a furniture store in Los Angeles. From furniture, he moved into the restaurant industry with the purchase of the A&W restaurant and eventually bought the lot next door to A&W and created a gas station. “My father was in the furniture business,” Giessinger said. “I worked for him and learned the business and then opened up my own store.” Giessinger purchased the property that had formerly been a gas station run by a

The Station under construction

38 |

By Mark Diaz

Tractors waiting to plow

Texas corporation. He said that the City helped him a great deal in the finalization and approval of placing a new gas station at the site. Then-mayor Ray Johnson and the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce drafted a letter to the California State Water Board requesting approval of the station. “They really did help a lot in making the process go a lot faster,” Giessinger said. Originally, Giessinger partnered with Tesoro but after his contract expired he decided to go with the trustworthy and recognizable name of 76. Giessinger said when owning a business that does not have a lot of inherent diversity

— all gas stations are technically selling the same gas and convenience items — a way to stand apart from the competition is cleanliness and kindness. “When it comes to gas stations, everybody has the same thing pretty much,” Giessinger said. ”So how you are going to get more business is to have clean bathrooms and a clean store.” 2019 celebrates the 18-year anniversary for the gas station and at the time of this article, Giessinger said that he was currently negotiating another 10-year contract with the parent company. He also said that he and the City are discussing the possibility of creating a few electric car charging stations on or near his property. After owning and operating small businesses for decades, Giessinger said that he is looking forward to moving into semiretirement. He said that one of his favorite pastimes is road trips where he and his wife explore the great American highways and byways and of course visit his four grandchildren along the way. Don turned 76 this year. Tell him happy birthday when you see him!

E8 Die

You can still pick up a 76 antenna ball from Don's Station. Wish him a "Happy Birthday" when you do.

Pro ® Car

Hwy 41 & 101 Exit 219

Colony Magazine, March 2019


PRESERVING AMERICA’S PAST American Barn and Wood Repurpose Midwest Heritage By Mark Diaz

hen it comes to barns, there may be no truer phrase than “they don’t make them like they used to.” It is also something John and Kira Olshefski have taken to heart. Several years ago, the Olshefskis stumbled upon the unique business of reclaiming wood from Midwest barns and saving of part of the United States’ heritage along with it Initially, they had planned on purchasing a barn from the Midwest and reconstructing it on their property. Instead, they found themselves selling the lumber from half a barn in an attempt to recoup their losses when a ‘dismantler’ skipped town with their money and only half the job done. The wood sold so well that John and Kira decided to create American Barn and Wood located at 3460 La Cruz Way, Paso Robles.

These centenarian structures are comprised of the ‘old growth wood’ that grew untouched in the lands of North America. Some of the lumber can only be found in barns. For example, the American Chestnut is extinct in the wild due to a blight brought over from the Old World. The magnificent trees that would reach heights of 100 feet now longer adorn the American landscape. California barns are generally made of dug fir and redwood. Midwest barns are constructed of a vast variety of American woods; maple, cherry, chestnut, the list goes on. Basically, whatever trees were on the property when the farmer settled the land. These trees that were hewed and smoothed by hand were essential in the survival of the first years of a family farm. John explained that people would build their barn and live in them with the animals while they built their homes.

The Olshefskis make sure to preserve the heritage of the barns they reclaim. They draft flyers that describe the history of the structure that goes with the wood purchased. The lumber from each barn is unique due to a host of conditions, weather, soil, latitude as well as the type of wood used. Each barn tells a story of its constructors, occupants and lifestyles. The boards speak of harvest festivals, stolen kisses and initials carved into their bones that seem to whisper as you are, I was. “We have a historian to research the barns,” said Kira, “and whatever she finds, we write up a story that goes with it.” It is evident that both John and Kira love what they do for a living. They enjoy meeting and talking to their various customers as much as helping them fulfill their dreams of that perfect fireplace mantel, farm table or rebuilding a home lost to fire. Learn more at

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March 2019, Colony Magazine | 39

4th annual LakeFest! Atascadero Lake 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Photos and story by Nicholas Mattson


he Atascadero Lake runneth over. Recent rains have pushed our annual rainfall totals beyond the annual average and the “Jewel of Atascadero” sits full-bodied and shimmering in the late-winter sun. There is no replacement for Mother Nature when it comes to keeping our Atascadero Lake full, but she is tended by a local group of lagophiles who have put in volumes of labor to maintain the beauty and health of our “jewel.” The Friends of Atascadero Lake are indeed that — friends of our precious lake — as well as the 2017 Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Organization of the Year. From towing out swampy algae bloom to financing the installation of a well up the hill on Portola Road that pumps thousands of gallons of water into the lake during the hottest and driest parts of the year. When the well is running, the electricity bill runs the organization thousands of dollars every year. You can find the inlet for the well water at the corner of Marchant Avenue and Portal Road from where it runs under the streets to the northern corner of the lake, and on really hot days it pours a steady stream into the lake to offset the constant evaporation of lake water. The Friends of Atascadero Lake formed by lake-area neighbors in 2013, when they saw a need for additional support for the lake and ongoing severe drought was in the midst of bringing water levels to the lowest known and in 2015 it was a field.

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Remember the goats? That was legendary. But I digress. All the while Mother Nature was reminding us all who is in charge of our little cosmic marble, the Friends were hard at work doing what they could to prepare for the return of water. That water came in 2017, when January saw 12.74 inches and the lake went from empty to full in one single season. It has thrived since, and in the past months, the lake has been a temporary residence for many wonderful birds of all kinds — hawks, pelicans, egrets, herons, ducks, geese, and falcons. Shout out to our bird-watcher camera folks for being dedicated to capturing the beauty — Sharon West, George Westlund, Rick Evans, Wesley Frame, Sam McMillan, and the others. When the lake is so full, and so beautiful, we might get complacent and forget how fragile and how special it all is. Oh, by the way … don’t feed the water fowl. That means ducks, geese, and other great birds around the area. Please, contain yourself and read the signs. Did I digress again? So, the Friends are like a team of superheroes looking after our lake. It is awesome to have them and there

are really cool things being planned. There is interest in stocking the lake with sterile trout, which is a multi-agency project with the State Fish and Wildlife involved. Another project that has some heavy lifting still needed is an information kiosk trail around the lake with multiple locations to provide a deeper education to the natural flora and fauna that inhabits the area. The lake is not just an attraction for traveling birds, but also a place where hundreds of people visit every day, walking around one of the most beautiful parks in the area. The recently installed playground at the park attracts hoards of parents and children. At times, the playground looks like an abandoned Jolly Rancher being swarmed by ants on a summer day, and there is no better backdrop than a sparkling lake to multiply the joy. If you want to see what I mean, mark your calendar for Saturday, May 18 for the Friends of Atascadero Lake’s 4th annual LakeFest. It will be epic. The event is a fundraiser for the Friends and is a treat. This year, The Long Shots play live at the bandstand from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. event. During the day, there will be wine and beer, food and vendors, and stand-up paddleboard races. But the crowds will tell you what

the highlight of the event is. Remember the playground-ants reference, the Cardboard Boat Races are like that, but for all ages so it is more like a swarm of fuzzy bees gathering on the shore of the lake as contestants ready to test if their feats of cardboard and duct tape engineering are seaworthy. There are two classes for the cardboard races — Open and Kids. Both classes have volumes of entertainment on the spectrum of what can happen when you get groups to build homemade cardboard boats.

Let the games begin! The race pits teams against nature as they attempt to paddle their boats out past the buoy and back on the lake, as gravity and water logging set to work on the watercraft. Some make it out and back, and some don’t. A lifeguard is on duty to assist. There are awards for the winners of the races as well as judges awards for Authentic and Unique; Best Costume/Theme; and Floatability. Kids are 14 and under, and it is hard to decide which is more entertaining — kids or adults. For more information about LakeFest or to get involved in one of the other projects the Friends are working on, go to or call Nancy Hair at 805-674-3850. Save the cardboard and start hoarding duct tape!

Colony Magazine, March 2019

Cerro Alto U

By Nicholas Mattson

ntil you breach the crest of Cerro Alto following a 2.75-mile incline hike, you may never fully understand the bewildering grace that inspired early pioneers in the area as they searched for the perfect place to begin the next big thing. It may be the best view in San Luis Obispo County, but the entrance to the trailhead is marked by a quiet little sign off the E.G. Lewis Highway CA 41 West halfway between Atascadero and Morro Bay. Braking to turn can be a challenge, as the turn sneaks up quickly and travelers on 41 are typically driving as fast as the curves allow. Drive carefully and use your blinker early. Entrance to the park requires a $5 fee, and parking is usually fairly easy after traveling along a one-lane road between 41 and the parking lot. The short, beautiful drive under the canopy is dotted with campsites on both sides that are usually well-occupied.

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A Trek to the Top of the Central Coast After parking, there are two trailheads to choose from. One is a moderately challenging 2.75-mile hike and the other is a more aggressive 1.95-mile trail. There are restrooms at the parking lot, but that is where the amenities end. Bring snacks, water and … use the restroom before you head up. Along the trail, you will find a treasure of flora and fauna that considers the area home, so tread lightly and watch out for red salamanders. If you head up near sunset, your trip down may get dark, so bring a flashlight and watch the ground for little glowing bugs — they are very small. If you head up in the morning, there is a chance that fog will block your views at the top. On the way up, there will be panoramic views from several plateaus, building the suspense of what you will see at the top. Spring flowers in bloom provide hikers and mountain bikers with cheering fans as you hit milestones.

Cerro Alto is not an easy hike, especially as hikers near the peak. The trail is well-worn, but loose dirt and rocky stretches can cause challenges. Wear good shoes — hiking shoes or boots recommended — and check the weather report. The elevation gain is 1,600 feet from the parking lot to the peak. At about 1.7 miles, 650 feet above the parking lot, a sign for Summit Trail invites those who will not be daunted to make the rest of the 950 gain in just about one mile. The rises begin to push back against hikers at this point, no longer offering gentle gains. The top of Cerro Alto is a reward for determination and grit. After traveling thousands of feet with endless inspiring views stretching as far as the eye can see, the final half-mile or so is run inside with hills extending on both sides of the hikers. Sweeping around the left side of the peak, after one of the most grueling portions of the hike — about 375 feet of gain in .3 miles — filled with rocky footing and

loose dirt, those who make it to the top are presented with 360-degrees of epic views. But for Tassajara Peak to the southeast, Cerro Alta is the tallest summit in sight as the Central Coast sprawls out in all directions with peaks and valleys to be soaked in by the heart, mind, and soul. One of the great sights is the entire string of the Seven Sisters — volcanic peaks that run from Islay Hill in Edna Valley to Morro Rock. The Santa Lucia Mountains lay out as conquerable children of the Cerro Alto master that hikers and bikers have just wrestled into submission. The top of Cerro Alto is unprotected from the elements and can be colder than expected. A tour around the top brings views that are unmatched locally, bringing the Pacific Ocean, Santa Lucia Mountains, Los Osos to San Simeon into a vista that was hard-won. We hope you are able to find your way to the top of Cerro Alto this spring and take a pic and tag us on your Instagram @colonymagazine.

Colony Magazine, March 2019

LIGHTHOUSE hosts 6th annual 5K Fun Run & Family Day

Saturday, June 1 8:00 – 11:00 am POMAR JUNCTION

VINEYARD & WINERY 5036 S El Pomar Rd, Templeton

Second date of Reality Tour® takes place on Monday, March 11 The sixth annual LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero 5K Fun Run & Family Day is coming up June and a sixth annual is one of those that can get a little lost in the weeds. It something that has gone on for six years. That is great. I mean really great — when you think about why it started and what it is working to achieve. Back in 2012, some key players in Atascadero had lost enough. Drug addiction and overdose had torn families apart and left wreckage that is still healing. The voices cried out that there might be an end to the pain for others — that there may be a solution to our local problem of addiction that could help prevent the losses felt by some from happening to others. A more challenging process can be summed up as the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, formed to support high school athletics programs and facilities, took the lead in forming the LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero committee. The benefit 5K was created to fundraise for a dedicated high school counselor to address student addiction issues as they attempt to finish high school — as if there wasn’t already enough pressure. Members of the LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero have suffered loss of their own, and have a personal story to tell about why they sacrifice part of their lives to raise money for the student counseling services provided to the students of Paloma Creek Continuation High School. The 5K and fun runs at Pomar Junction on Saturday, June 1 are a great way for the community to get involved in a valuable resource for the future of our society. As supporters of the awareness, prevention, intervention and education of drug abuse and addiction, we know how hard it is to measure success. So much of what we do comes

March 2019, Colony Magazine

from a deep faith that people are good and that helping others is a way to make a difference in the world, locally and beyond. There is no telling what a little kindness can become, or what can grow of the seeds of hope that might be sown in the hearts of those struggling. There is an ugly side to addiction that we might feel more familiar with, and fear. It is unusual for a healthy family to become intimately familiar with the nuances of drug use as drugs continue to change, and usage and transport of drugs becomes more difficult to detect. Reality Tour® is a nationally syndicated program that the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation produces annually. In fact, it has become so popular that two dates have been arranged to provide the experience to more than 100 people. With the help of Atascadero police, fire and emergency services, Reality Tour® takes attendees through a realistic and somewhat graphic presentation of the cycle of drug addiction — arrest, jail, overdose and funeral. The tour also provides information directly from local police about what drugs are being used currently and how those drugs appear, are used, and are transported. With online access to social networks and YouTube videos, it is amazing how fast a deadly cocktail of narcotics can be shared among children while parents are largely unaware that any danger actually occurred. Reality Tour® educates and supports parents and kids with information and help them have open conversations about drugs and addiction. For more information or to register for the 5K benefit fun runs or Reality Tour®, go to

6th annual LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero

5K Fun Runs & Family Day

• Races: 5K, Kids 1/2-mile, 6-and-under 100-yard dash • Family Activity Area: Bounce House, Face Painting, Crafts • Extras: Raffle Drawings, Breakfast Burritos, Music by DJ Guy Cooper Pomar Junction will be open to the public Cost: $0-30

Hares N Hounds

20 Years and Runnin'

• Races: 5K, 1-mile & 1/2-mile • Coffee, Awards, Fellowship

Satur day, 8:00 – March 2, 11:00a m

Reality Tour

Atascadero Pavilion on the Lake Monday, March 11, 6:45 – 9:00 pm Reality Tour® follows the fate of a fictitious teen addicted to drugs. Participants will witness dramatic scenes of arrest and booking, overdose, and a funeral. Children who talk to their parents about drug use are 42% less likely to use and develop a drug addiction. PO Box 3120, Atascadero, CA 93423 • 805-712-6356 | 43

It's A-Beach

As Tides Carry Away History, Long-time Surfers Remember Atascadero’s Beachy Past. By Patrick Pemberton


rowing up in the ‘80s, Mike Jones would surf a couple of times a week at a popular spot in Morro Bay. Located north of Morro Rock, it was still officially named Atascadero Beach then but surfers usually called it “A-Beach.” “Only the older guys call it A-Beach now,” said Jones, an Atascadero resident who owns Azhiaziam Surf Shop in Morro Bay. When those older surfers say, “We’re gonna hit A-Beach,” they’re channeling Atascadero founder E.G. Lewis’ savvy, albeit slightly deceptive, idea to market his city as a beach community. But outside of the surfing community and longtime locals, most people know the stretch of land from San Jacinto to Yerba Buena as Morro Strand State Beach, the Atascadero connection lost to time. “Some younger, newer crowds call it ‘the Strand’ now,” Jones said. Atascadero’s proximity to the beach — just 13 miles as the crow flies and 18 miles along the curvy Highway 41 — is part of its draw. But when Lewis founded his colony in 1913, it was more difficult to get there. As Lewis began to pitch his vision for a Utopian society, he realized that summers in Atascadero could get pretty toasty, so he promoted the construction of a highway that would provide quicker access to the beach. Construction on Highway 41 began in 1914, paving the way for his next marketing strategy: Sell Atascadero as a beach community. Lewis had already founded one city, University City, Missouri (which was definitely not close to the beach) and he was a successful

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magazine publisher, which gave him ideas to promote Atascadero. “He was a brilliant marketer,” said Len Johnson of the Atascadero Historical Society. “He was so far ahead of his peers in a numb er of ways.” In 1916, L ewis purchased plots of land on Morro Bay’s beachfront, named a stretch of it Atascadero Beach and presented an offer you couldn’t refuse: Buy ten acres of land in Atascadero, get a free plot at Atascadero Beach. Not a bad deal by today’s standards. While Morro Rock was still being blasted for a quarry, Lewis recognized its appeal long before it became a protected landmark. His brochures pitching Atascadero prominently featured Morro Rock, with no mention of the 18 miles between Morro Bay and Atascadero. “He featured the beach in almost all of his marketing materials,” Johnson said. In his defense, traveling to the beach was easier thanks to modern-

ized highways and an abundance of Model T Fords. But passing Atascadero off as a beach community was arguably a stretch. Had surfing caught on in the mainland at that time — George Freeth first brought it to California in 1909 — who knows what might have happened. But in the World War I era, you apparently couldn’t give away beachfront property. While hard to fathom to day, beach life just wasn’t as desirable then. “It wasn’t until the ‘40s that the beaches became important,” Johnson said. So before selling beachfront lots, Lewis knew he had to work to make Atascadero Beach more enticing, which he did with the Cloisters Hotel. Located roughly at the end of what is now San Jacinto, the hotel was a happening place with food, music and dance. “The Cloisters was a beautiful hotel,” Johnson said. Even then, Atascadero Beach

was a tough sell. And when Lewis encountered legal and money problems, his Atascadero Beach plans crashed like a winter wave. The Cloisters Hotel stayed in business through the 1930s, though, and was “invaded” by the Navy training for World War II, before the state bought the hotel and Atascadero Beach in 1948. While Lewis had a personal cottage at the Cloisters, after he died in 1950, he was laid to rest with a modest tombstone at the Pine Mountain Cemetery in Atascadero. A fatal great white shark attack at Atascadero Beach lent it an eerie reputation in 1957, but the popularity of the movie “Gidget” two years later led to a surf explosion throughout California that no apex predator could contain. The state combined Atascadero Beach and Morro Beach to the north in 1988 and renamed the entire stretch Morro Strand State Park. “I have never called it that,” Jones said. It still takes most A-Town surfers about 25 minutes to get to Morro Bay. But it’s a visually pleasing drive with canyons, mountainous terrain, old trucks and even a few surfboard-eating dinosaurs along the way. The land Lewis tried to sell decades ago was finally populated with houses, beginning in the 1990s, and a park built nearby was named after the Cloisters Hotel. You won’t find a sign for Atascadero Beach or Lewis anywhere. But next time you hear a surfer talk about A-Beach, remember that it’s short for Atascadero Beach — and a forgotten dream.

Colony Magazine, March 2019

By Nicholas Mattson

E.G. Lewis promoted Atascadero Beach as exclusive use to those who bought in, and in Bulletin No. 9 described “The Atascadero Estates proper, are divided from the sea beach below by a small chain of mountains on their western side. The estates are 900 to 1200 feet above the sea, nestling back of the mountains that divide them from the sea, in a series of valleys and rolling hills.” Those mountains are the Santa Lucia mountain range, and home to one of the great hikes in SLO County — Cerro Alto. Continuing, the Bulletin stated “Below the Atascadero Estates, is one of the finest sea beaches on the Pacific Coast, three miles in length and of great breadth, with a gentle sloping Beach free from undertow.” You can hardly argue against Morro Bay being one of the great beach towns and the beach as one of the finest sea beaches. The Cloisters was the name of the hotel built beachside, and The Cloisters is now a beachside community on the west side of US 101. Shortly after high school, I took a job with Heritage Cabinets and installed a few cabinets in those homes. Nowadays, we get from Atascadero to Morro Bay in about 25 minutes using what E.G. described as “A fine broad road” built from the Civic Center to the beach, through mountain passes. Back then, the beach was promoted as “restricted against all kinds of nuisances, assuring that this superb property of the Atascadero community will remain a strictly high class sea side resort for the use and enjoyment of the residents of Atascadero and of other cities accessible to it.”

March 2019, Colony Magazine

I’ve been told that this “restricted” verbiage is code for racial segregation, which is plausible given that Ruth Haynes of Paso Robles is quoted as not being able to purchase a home in her desired neighborhood because they “would not sell to ‘you people,’” as late as 1960. We have a long way to go as a society, but just a quick listen to some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches and you can find joy in recognition that we have come a long way since then. When you stop to realize that MLK’s granddaughter is only 9 years old, you realize that it wasn’t long ago and although I was not born or lived through the civil rights era of the 1960s, there are still those living who carry the scars, bruises, and weight of the first-hand experience. In fact, some live here in the Atascadero Estates proper where the echoes of Lewis’ promise of “superb property of the Atascadero community will remain a strictly high class sea side resort.” It’s getting hard to find, but some around here were actually alive when Lewis was recruiting investors for this “utopia.” Values were much different then. I wonder if those who bought into that California dream

back then would look at what we have today and say “That is it! That is the life we were promised for our children, and we sure hope you care for it and appreciate it for the magical place it is.” Are we living in someone else’s paradise? Someone else’s promised land? Somewhere people gave their lives for … gave their everything to get a piece of … and are we happy here? Or are we still looking to the sunset for a ship on the sea that carries that one thing we only wish we had to make our lives great? Well, if you need to stare down a sunset on a horizon, waiting for a ship … I know where you can find one of the finest sea beaches on the Pacific Coast. It’s about 16 miles of windy highway through a series of valleys and rolling hills we call the Santa Lucia mountains. I wonder if we still hear the same sales pitch today … that there is something we need that is just over the mountain … if only we could reach … but that we actually, are truly, already here in paradise. Maybe you're waiting for a brochure or for E.G. Lewis to send you a bulletin? I hope this issue of Colony Magazine helps you inspires you to go outside and find out. | 45

The Road to


ost readers of this column know that in 1913 E.G. Lewis bought the 23,000-acre Rancho Atascadero from Jason Henry. What many of you may not know is that in July 1915, E.G. and the Colony Holding Company bought 2,000 acres just north of Morro Rock from Baron von Schroeder, who was the owner of Eagle Ranch. E.G. renamed this property Atascadero Beach, a name still found on some maps. E.G. viewed this beachfront property as Atascadero’s private beach and set about to develop it. The photo below is of the property when it was purchased by E.G. Lewis, before any development. Initially, the area was subdivided into lots and common use areas. The location for the hotel and its guest cottages were laid out. Utilities, water, gas and power, were acquired and brought to the site. The hotel was designed and construction began. A small number of guest cottages were built. E.G. Lewis had a small cottage for his personal use. The first photograph below is of the Cloisters Hotel. Next is a photograph of the cottages. Prior to acquiring this beach property, in 1912 or 13, during his first visit to the area, E.G., his wife Mabel, and other members of their party spent a day at Morro Bay and had a picnic on the beach. The

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Atascadero Beach By Volunteers of the Atascadero Historical Society

A visitor enjoys the stretch of shoreline known as Atascadero Beach.

The first known photo of The Cloisters Hotel.

photo below, published in Bulletin #2 from April 1913, is of their trip “through the mountain pass to the seashore.” (Authors Note: The usual way to get from Atascadero to Morro Bay in 1912-13 was down

the state highway, over Cuesta Pass, down into San Luis Obispo then back up the coast to Morro Bay. However, there was a farm road, usually called a “two track,” from Eagle Ranch to Morro Bay.

Based on the details in the photograph, the author believes that the Lewis party took the farm road since the state highway would have been a better road than the one in the photograph). The early promotions for Atascadero included reports of this magnificent beach where “bathing may be enjoyed at this beach the entire yearround since owing to the warm current that comes close to the shore at this point, the temperature is about the same throughout the year…” In 1914, the Colony Holding Company, started a new, improved

Colony Magazine, March 2019

Teams work to construct the road to Atascadero Beach, which would later become Highway 41/Morro Road.

road to the beach in Atascadero, from the civic center, past the lake and through the “government” hills. This new road improved and shortened, by fourteen miles, the original road through San Luis Obispo that was used to get to the beach at Morro Bay. There are references in the early literature of Atascadero that San Luis Obispo County at least provided funds for the road, since much of it was built outside of the Rancho Atascadero property boundaries. One of the most fascinating aspects of the road-building was the extensive use of horses and mules. The photos below are from Bulletin #7 from 1915. This edition of the Bulletin has a series of photographs of the road building process. Some of these photographs are presented below. Once the highway was completed, you could drive from Atascadero to Morro Bay in about 25 minutes “using good speed.” So as we do today, when it is too hot in Atascadero, a short drive over a good road would take you to a beautiful beach with much lower temperatures. The following is quoted directly from the publication “Atascadero California “The Beautiful” THE LONG LIFE TOWN,” published in 1923: This beach, known as Atascadero Beach, is one of the finest, if not the

March 2019, Colony Magazine

ters" has accommodations for about forty guests, with twenty private cottages connected with it. A large dining-room, living-room, baths and bathhouses are shortly to be supplemented by the building of an additional wing with twenty bedrooms and private baths. The concrete paved highway from San Luis Obispo, where it branches from the coast state highway, runs to Atascadero Beach. From Atascadero Civic Center, through the mountain passes, one of the most beautiful roads in California has been constructed, making the beach immediately and easily available from all parts of Atascadero.

Travelers from Atascadero, including Mabel Lewis, the wife of city founder E.G. Lewis, make their way to Atascadero Beach.

finest, beach on the Pacific Coast. With a broad expanse of level beach wide enough for twenty automobiles to race abreast over its marble-hard and white sands, with a wonderful bathing surf, and with restrictions

that ensure its privacy to Atascaderans and guests of the beach hotel, "The Cloisters." The beach is an ideal summer resort for families, entirely free from those objectionable features which mar most beaches. "The Clois-

The hotel, the Cloisters, was built during the same time the road was built. Apparently, it stayed in operation as a destination hotel until the 1930s. The U.S. Navy took over the property during World War II. Currently, it is the location of a housing development known as the Cloisters and a large public park. The Atascadero Colony Museum has a display devoted to the Cloisters and the development of this large beachfront property. Please stop by and check it out if you are interested. There are also several photographs of the Cloisters and the road building effort, available on our website, www. under the ARCHIVE tab. Until next time… | 47


The last remenants of the Estrada Adobe can be seen in these photos, taken in 1962.

The Estrada Adobe


he earliest man-made structure in Atascadero is known as the Estrada Adobe. What remains of it — a pile of “melted” adobe blocks — sits next to Traffic Way, a little under two miles east of El Camino Real. Originally that historic trail and stagecoach route followed the alignment of what is today’s Traffic Way. The road was also known as La Plaza Boulevard in the earliest days of the Colony of Atascadero, which was developed by eastern publisher Edward Gardner Lewis. For the first time in the history of the site, there is now a posted sign and photograph marking what is this very important piece of ground. The signage was funded by a trio of local historians which includes Lon Allan, Brad Humphrey and Mike Lucas. Allan, former editor of the Atascadero News and author of two books on the history of the city; Humphrey, former journalist with the newspaper and author of many historic articles while with the publication; and Lucas, publisher of Allan’s first book, “Atascadero, The vision of one – The work of many.” Lucas, a printer by trade, has been a long-time enthusiast for telling Atascadero’s colorful history. All three felt the site, now owned by the City of Atascadero, was long overdue for site recognition. According to the late Wallace

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By Lon Allan

Ohles, author of “The Lands of Mission San Miguel,” this portion of Traffic Way was at one time the original El Camino Real. And just across the road is the pure-water spring known today as “Adobe Springs.” Undoubtedly, as Ohles points out, the presence of the spring made this spot a necessary stage stop in the days of horses and wagons. For many years water from the spring trickled across the road. Today the water, which flows into a gated residential community known as “The Lakes,” is directed beneath the paved roadway and railroad tracks. The water finds its way into artificially created lakes nearby. Ohles writes that in earlier days the spring was known as “Estrada Springs.” Steve Buelna, a local Native American, called the site “Sapo Springs.” The adobe was there when Southern Pacific Railroad laid tracks within 100 feet of it to take the railroad into Santa Margarita and eventually over the Cuesta Grade into San Luis Obispo. “Neophytes,” or Christianized Tulare Indians, built the adobe just after the turn of the century. At that time, what we know as Atascadero was the southernmost outpost of Mission San Miguel. The mission was founded in the summer of 1797, the 16th in the chain of California missions established by Spain. The adobe was built around 1812. The building was used by the

Standing next to new signage at the Estrada Adobe site, from left, are Lon Allan, Mike Lucas and Brad Humphrey. Photo by Rick Evans.

mission to store grain and provide a place to live for those who worked for the mission. Pedro Estrada didn’t occupy the building until about 1860. By the time Estrada acquired the adobe structure, it was almost a half-century-old. The roof and upper part of the walls were in horrible repair. Estrada had the Indians remove the top portion of the crumbling walls down to a single story which made them stronger. The old adobe at this time consisted of five rooms. A new roof was built atop the stronger single-story walls. A hole where the earth was taken to make the adobe blocks for the Estrada Adobe (mission outpost) had to be filled in in 1888 when the railroad was extended further south from Templeton to Santa Margarita. The rail line over the Cuesta Grade wouldn’t be completed into San Luis Obispo until 1894. Ohles writes that Fred Shoemaker, of Paso Robles, remembered a family living in the adobe in 1921 and ‘22. He said there were cement floors in the structure and a tile roof. By 1936

three rooms and a tiled shed were still standing. The Estrada Adobe served as a stop for the stage. A natural spring exists on the hillside above the old adobe, which is probably the reason for its location. Old grape vines still exist in the weeds around the adobe site, as does a fruit tree. In an interview with Shoemaker, Ohles was told that Estrada, while intoxicated, gambled away most of his ranch. When he became sober, he (Estrada) was supposed to have threatened to kill the man who had taken his ranch on a gambling debt. Pedro Estrada eventually lost control of the Atascadero rancho, just as his brother, Joaquin Estrada, lost control and ownership of Rancho Santa Margarita. Pedro Estrada ended up with about 200 acres located between Traffic Way and the Salinas River, referred to on city maps today as the “Estrada Tract.” It is the property on which the gated residential community of “The Lakes” was built. The historic dairy and reservoir were removed

Colony Magazine, March 2019

Adobe Springs, the former location of the Estrada Adobe, can be found near Traffic Way. Google Maps

to make room for the new homes clustered around the two manmade lakes. Estrada lost or sold the property to San Jose businessman Jason H. Henry but we don’t know exactly the year. But Estrada lived in the adobe until his death on January 30, 1897. There are some historians who believe Pedro Estrada may have been buried on his property. Others say he was buried in the Templeton Cemetery, but there are no records to support either view. A Native American cemetery nearby was destroyed in 1918 by the Colony Holding Corporation for Lewis’ utopian community. Native American remains and other historic artifacts have been found in the area of the Estrada Adobe and nearby hillside as developers have reshaped the property for housing. When Atascadero’s founder, E. G. Lewis purchased the Henry ranch, it included Estrada’s property which had the adobe structure on it. Delia Holden purchased the Estrada Tract from Lewis in 1917 and held the property until the early 1940s. Her home stands as one of the city’s premier Colony

March 2019, Colony Magazine

homes on Rosario Avenue. The long-abandoned Estrada adobe was used by workers from the railroad and transients for many years. Just prior to World War II, James McCloskey purchased the Estrada Tract from Mrs. Holden. He had noticed the lilac bushes in bloom on the property and had intended to raise those flowers on the 200-acre site next to the Salinas River. When McCloskey’s son was killed in the war, the broken-hearted father leased the property to Walter Goodell, who started a dairy on the site. The dairy barns and other agricultural buildings were all removed when The Lakes proj-

ect was approved by the city, in approximately 2000. In 1947 Bud and Bea Davis purchased all of the Estrada Tract and farmed the land for many years, as well as continuing to operate the dairy. Davis removed the roof tiles of the adobe in about 1948 in an attempt to dissuade youngsters from playing in the old building. With the roof tiles gone, the adobe walls were exposed to the rainfall. Adobe can withstand almost anything except water. The adobe began to slip slowly back into the earth from which it had sprung a hundred years before. In 1978 the landowner knocked over a remaining wall. He explained that he was tired of people telling him he should try to save the historic old adobe. Today, beneath a giant sycamore tree at a bend in Traffic Way, remains a few old grape vines, an old fruit tree, a door frame and a mound of adobe, as the only reminders of Atascadero’s earlier ties to a Spanish mission. In 1996, a survey team plotting the route of the water line from Nacimiento Lake to southern San Luis Obispo County, focused new attention on the old adobe. Surveyors said the floor was still there for the adobe. Water continues to bubble from the little spring on the hillside across the street as busy Atascaderans drive by, not more than 40 to 50 feet from the adobe’s crumbling walls and door frame. | 49

Let's Go Camping! Photos and story by Sarah Pope


amping year round is definitely doable in California! And when four out of five in the family LOVE to camp … we camp or “glamp”. It’s all about compromise, right?! On New Years, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Spring Break, and Labor Day, we are camping! A constant rotation of swimming, bike riding, and family bonding under the stars. No homework, no practice, and no bedtime … just that easy feeling of not having anywhere to be, but exactly where we are. I’m the ONE (out of the five) that’s not always thrilled about the packing and unpacking, but the memories we make, while roasting marshmallows by a toasty campfire, make it worth all the laundry in the world. With that being said, I’m much easier to be convinced on hitching up and hitting the road for a fews days. Camping with kids can be intimidating! What if I forget something they need?! What if they get sick or hurt?! I survive on a daily routine and set bedtimes! And that all goes out the window while camping! Well, guess what …it’s all happened, it still does and we all survive. In my opinion, lists are key. {clothes, toys, outdoor entertainment, food/snacks, bath and bed}, I start days in advance and keep adding as things come to mind. Things like glow 76 Gas Station.................................. 10 A Beautiful Face................................ 28 American West Tire Pros................... 09 Atascadero 4th of July...................... 08 Atascadero Greyhound Foundation.43 Atascadero Hay & Feed.................... 17 Atascadero Pet Hospital................... 05 Atascadero Yard Sale........................ 51 Atown Family Med........................... 17

Avila Traffic Safety............................. 27 Awakening Ways Spiritual Community....................................... 27 Bob Sprain Draperies....................... 25 Bottom Line Bookkeeping............... 28 CA Holistic Institute.......................... 19 Cattlemen's Western Art Show........ 28 County Commission on Women..... 31 Dancing with our Stars..................... 02

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sticks, bike helmets, your favorite swim shorts and the pancake syrup are way too imperative to leave behind. I like to get the kids involved. Since outdoor cooking plays a big part in camping, they enjoy helping to create the menu and grocery list. As most of you know, we are surrounded by some of the finest campgrounds. Morro Strand, Lopez Lake, San Simeon State Campground and Cava Robles are just a few of the “staycations” we take advantage of. Our calendar is always penned in with trips to all our prized spots. One of our favorites, Morro Strand Campground, where one of my boys decided it was time to ride a bike without training wheels. He had all the time in the world to practice, as we proudly watched while listening to the waves crashing in the distance. This campground is right on the beach. Morro Rock and the Embarcadero are just a stroll away and every day is perfect kite flying weather! Lopez Lake is awesome during the warm DIRECTORY TO OUR ADVERTISERS Five Star Rain Gutters....................... 12 Friends of Atascadero Lake..........07,41 Frontier Floors................................... 17 Glenns Rental and Repair................ 22 Grand Business Solutions................ 12 Greg Malik RE Group....................... 05 H&R Block......................................... 25 Hearing Aid Specialists.................... 03

Heart to Heart Real Estate................ 13 Hope Chest Emporium.................... 30 Idler's Home..................................... 33 John Donovan State Farm............... 17 K-Man Cyclery................................... 25 Las Tablas Animal Hospital............... 19 Lube N Go......................................... 28 Nautical Cowboy (The Carlton)......... 20

summer months, offering so many fantastic outdoor options. There are multiple hiking trails, Mustang Waterpark, and our personal favorite, the Vista Lago Adventure Park. The outdoor park includes multiple rope obstacle courses and ziplines, offering courses for beginners and experts. The general store offers boat and water toy rentals, bait and tackle and even a bar and grill with games and arcades. This is where my oldest caught his first fish. Another camping memory we will never forget. The memories are priceless. The places are endless. Breaking loose from the routine and embracing the slower pace of camping can reconnect family relationships and helps to recharge. Gather around that fire, sing songs, make smores and create some lasting memories. Happy camping! North County Pilates........................ 10 Odyssey World Cafe......................... 22 Robert Fry, M.D................................. 22 Santa Lucia School Annual Benefit Fundraiser......................................... 19 SESLOC.............................................. 52 SLO County Office of Education....... 34 Solarponics....................................... 31 Spice of Life....................................... 19

Sue Hubbard.................................... 49 Templeton Beauty Salon.................. 17 Templeton Door & Trim.................... 19 Tent City Marathon........................... 39 The Laundromat by Swish & Swirl... 25 The Natural Alternative..................... 49 Triple Seven Motorsports................. 09 Triple Seven Tractor Sales................. 05 Wine Country Theatre...................... 26

Colony Magazine, March 2019


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