Atascadero News Magazine • #70 • April 2024

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2024 Citizen of the Year Jerry Tanimoto Jerry Tanimoto APRIL 2024 Marketing Mail US Postage PAID Permit 19 13Stars Paso Robles CA EDDM | ECRWSS Local Postal Customer INSIDE Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Awards Lifetime Legacy, Business, and Community Organization of the Year Wedding Season Trends and tips for the big day Wine 4 Paws 16th annual weekend returns

“Peter is an incredible person who is willing to listen and work with you to find an appropriate solution. His office is welcoming and he has all the latest equipment to treat hearing loss. Don’t wait or cheap out when it comes to your health, this is the type of practice that is worth every penny.” ~ S. Daly

Have you had your hearing tested recently? Not sure

of patients the past 21 years. We can help you too.

We now accept PG&E, Anthem Blue Cross, PERS, AARP, Alignment and many other insurance plans. (805) 460-7385 ATASCADERO 7070 Morro Road, Suite D (805) 439-3586 SAN LUIS OBISPO 12326 Los Osos Valley Road Bear Valley Plaza 2023 BEST HEARING AID SPECIALIST
our office take you on the journey to better hearing.
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Presented by the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, Jerry Tanimoto is named Atascadero's Citizen of the Year for his extensive community involvement, demonstrating a lifelong commitment to serving others.

The Big Day

We talked to



wedding industry here in North County and got their take on new trends, traditions, and advice on weddings this season.

Wine 4 Paws

of the Year: Jerry Tanimoto
Photo by Rick Evans
the best
4 Paws
10 percent
FEATURES CONTENTS Publisher’s Letter
Something Worth Reading Round Town 10 Downtown Happenings 11 The Natural Alternative
Realty Report
Shift'N Gears Features
Lifetime Achievement Award 18 Business of the Year
Hispanic Business of the Year
Community Organization
Woman of Influence
Robert Hall Winery Tent City
SLO County Office of Education
Taste of Americana Calendar
April Events
In memory: Robert 'Bob' J. Wilkins Jr. 34 Directory of our Advertisers 17,000 PRINTED | 15,000 DIRECT MAILED LOCALLY! Atascadero 93422 • Santa Margarita 93453 • Creston 93422 3,000 DROPPED AT HIGH TRAFFIC LOCATIONS IN SLO COUNTY Hotels • Wineries • B&Bs • Waiting Rooms • Restaurants • High-traffic Visitor Hotspots 14 24 28 ISSUE NO. 70 APRIL 2024 CONTENTS 4 |
This April,
fundraiser returns to aid Woods Humane Society, features over
Central Coast businesses donating
of sales.
Taste 32
"Community is the heartbeat of humanity, where differences dissolve, and unity thrives in the harmony of shared purpose and support."

April is one of my favorite times of the year. With longer days and warmer nights, it's perfect for enjoying mornings outside with coffee and evenings and weekends filled with community events as the countdown to summer begins. This year, our sweet Mirac prepares to graduate from 6th grade, reminding us of how quickly time flies. With Max not far behind, we feel so grateful to be raising them here in our wonderful community.

This month, we are thrilled to spotlight the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Community Awards. Starting with our cover, Jerry Tanimoto, this year's Citizen of the Year, followed by Doug Filipponi, receiving the Legacy Award. The Pottery earns the title of Business of the Year, while La Padilla Mexican Grill is recognized as Hispanic Business of the Year. ALF Pantry is the Community Organization of the Year, and we round it off with Wendy Lewis, our Woman of Influence. We look forward to celebrating them all with you at the Award Gala on April 20.

April 20 also marks the return of Wine 4 Paws, now in its 16th year, a fundraiser supporting Woods Humane Society. For avid treasure hunters, don't miss the City Wide Yard Sale, also on the 20th. You still have time to get your address on the printed map published in the Atascadero News the Thursday before.

In other news, we are thrilled to announce our recent move downstairs to 5850 El Camino Real. Though we are currently under construction with a new project, we are open to visitors for newspaper and magazine business. As part of our new home on the ground floor, we are excited to announce the upcoming opening of Atascadero Marketplace. The Marketplace will be an outlet featuring unique goods from local artisans, Central Coast branded goods—Atascadero, Paso Robles, SLO—and more. The Marketplace will be positioned as the "North County Visitor Center," where locals and visitors alike can pick up the latest copy of our publications, a cup of our own brand of Joebella-roasted coffee, and some locally branded merchandise on their way to visiting all the great people and places SLO County has to offer. If you are a local artisan who has items you think will fit in an upscale local marketplace, go to our website — — to submit information. We will announce the grand opening date of Atascadero Marketplace next month, so stay tuned!

We hope you take the opportunity to attend one of the wonderful events our community has organized. We look forward to seeing you out and about, embracing the spirit of togetherness, and making memories this Spring!.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Atascadero News Magazine.

Hayley & Nic

This month’s edition of Atascadero News Magazine is brought to you by all the local advertisers that fill our pages. Thanks to them, we are able to bring you your local Hometown Magazine. if thou wouldest win immortality of name, either do things worth the writing, or write things worth the reading. — Thomas Fuller, 1727

OUR NEXT ISSUE: OFFICE 5860 EL CAMINO REAL STE G, ATASCADERO, CA 93422 MAIL P.O. BOX 427 PASO ROBLES, CA 93447 ATASCADEROMAGAZINE.COM • (805) 237-6060 SUBSCRIPTIONS Annual subscriptions are available for $29.99 Subscribe online at EDITORIAL POLICY Commentary reflects the views of the writers and does not necessarily reflect those of Atascadero News Magazine. Atascadero News Magazine is delivered free to 17,000 addresses in North San Luis Obispo County. Our costs are paid entirely by advertising revenue. Our Local Business section spotlights select advertisers. All other stories are determined solely by our editors. PROUD TO BE LOCAL! Atascadero News Magazine is a local business, owned and published by local residents Nicholas & Hayley Mattson Atascadero News Magazine is a trademarks of 13 Stars Media. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by any means without written consent. Like and Follow us: designed & printed in california COMPANY ADMINISTRATOR Cami Martin PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Hayley Mattson BUSINESS & PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Nic Mattson AD DESIGN Jen Rodman AD CONSULTANTS Dana McGraw Ellie Baisch COMMUNITY WRITER Christianna Marks CONTRIBUTORS Barbie Butz Jaime Silveira James Brescia, Ed.D Kyla Skinner Shift'N Gears The Natural Alternative LAYOUT DESIGN John Nygaard Neil Schumaker Anthony Atkins CONTENT EDITOR Camille DeVaul COPY EDITOR Michael Chaldu PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES NATIONAL TOURISM MONTH May 2024 PUBLICATION DELIVERY DATE May 3, 2024 ADVERTISING DEADLINE April 10, 2024 For more advertising information, contact our advertising representatives above, or see our media kit at: Publisher's Letter • Something Worth Reading
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April showers bring May flowers, though with all this rain we’ve already had, flowers will be blooming early, I bet! What’s a better way to welcome spring than by celebrating with our beautiful Farmers Market? Its seventh-year anniversary is Wednesday, April 3, from 3 to 6 p.m. Go buy yourself some flowers (you have my permission!) and support our local growers and small businesses. I love our little Farmers Market. There’s something about being able to relax in the huge fountain with a basket of strawberries and the gorgeous City Hall in the background. Remember when Farmers Market was in the Smart & Final parking lot? Much better now!

And moving on to more earthy goodness, it’s Earth Day. April 22 is a day that is acknowledged globally to learn about and acknowledge the importance of protecting our beautiful home. In honor of this, Charles Paddock Zoo is hosting a Party for the Planet on April 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At the cost of normal zoo admission, you and your kiddos can experience hands-on

interactive workshops, exhibits by environmentally conscious companies and earth-focused adventures for all ages. Say hi to the meerkats for me while you’re there.

It’s that time of year again for the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce’s annual Gala, which will honor the leaders in our community, including Business of the Year and Woman of Influence, which has already been announced as the well-deserving Wendy Lewis of ECHO. The Community Organization and Hispanic Business of the Year will also be honored at this event. I hear it’s going to be a Latin-themed party. You can check to see if tickets are still available to this always sold-out event at

Since I have this lovely platform, I’d like to give a shoutout to a few new businesses I’m excited to have downtown. I recently ventured out of my little corner shop on a sunny afternoon to check out some of them out. I started across Traffic Way at Dewy Rose Clothing, 5863 Traffic Way, a light-filled space full of new gorgeous clothing for a variety of sizes and ages, candles, accessories, and more. The owners had a successful business in Georgia and have brought their goodness to our downtown. I chatted with their son, Cody, who was

running the shop, and I look forward to returning when I have time to try things on.

Next up, I wandered into Kelly Archer Interiors, 6195 El Camino, and was greeted with the intoxicating smell of coffee and comfortable and stylish home decor. Heidi Faber, a local rockstar mama who many of us know, is running the shop for the owners, and I picked out some French Roast whole coffee and some woven tea towels for a friend’s wedding as a gift. They offer interior design services as well as items ready for purchase in the shop.

On my walk back to my shop, I stopped into Golden State Goods, 5880 Traffic Way. Many of you remember the shop full of treasures by the same name years ago, where The Pottery is now. This is the same sign, un-earthed and revived — but with different owners. Amy runs the shop and has filled it with lovely vintage clothing, cards, gifts and just a cool vibe. Snagged a T-shirt for my husband and some pretty cloth napkins. I stopped into Rumor Goods, next door to grab a card for the aforementioned wedding gift and then hoofed it back to my shop before I missed any of you, spectacle wearers! Happy Spring and get out there and enjoy the sunshine and our spec-tacular downtown!

and new businesses
April events

We personally want to thank you for supporting The Natural Alternative since we opened our doors 29 years ago. We are planning a special day just for you on Saturday, April 27, where you will enjoy 25 percent off storewide. We will also have multiple raffle baskets to give away to participating customers, vendors sampling out their goods, as well as free samples galore. Mark your calendar and don’t miss

When the store opened in 1995, little did we know it would explode into “the store that’s so much more” — all thanks to you. We have continued to expand our product lines, maintaining the exceptional quality supplements you’ve learned to trust. All of our hair and skincare lines are clean and free of chemicals. We are extremely proud to offer a variety of meal replacement shakes, greens, high quality CBD products, children’s supplements, and even products for pets. We also carry a selection of beautiful SoulKu bracelets and necklaces.

There will be free mini consultations with our in-house nutritionist Margaret Pauls to help you focus on your health. We will have local esthetician Lauri O’Neill promoting our amazing line of

Derma-E products. The amazing Jena Baird from Dharma YofaLoft will be in the house to answer all your questions about starting a Yoga practice. Our wonderful reps from Gaia Herbs and Standard Process will also be celebrating with us. Last but not least, you will get to enjoy our Ancient Nutrition drink table that will keep you energized as well as hydrated while you shop.

Our talented staff will be on hand all day to answer your questions and assist you with your special shopping needs. Mark your calendar — this is a big one: Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., we have our storewise sale. Enter to win one of our many raffle baskets and receive tons of samples with each purchase. It’s our way of saying thank you to our wonderful community for supporting The Natural Alternative since 1995!

Don't forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for product discounts, updates, and exclusive giveaways.

We look forward to helping you, The Team @ The Natural Alternative




THE NATURAL ALTERNATIVE NUTRITION CENTER You’re invited to Customer Appreciation Day 2024! 20% OFF Any One Item Some exclusions may apply. Expires 4/30/24 Limit 1 coupon per customer per transaction 1213 PINE STREET ∙ PASO ROBLES Ask about our “ WISDOM” and Military discounts. Join us in celebrating our 29th Anniversary at SATURDAY, APRIL 27TH 10AM-5PM 25% OFF The entire store! Excluding Standard Process GIFT BASKET RAFFLES TO-GO SAMPLES Customer Appreciation Day! April 2024 | 11
Shop online with us today at or visit us on Instagram and Facebook

Whew! Spring is here. It is a season to welcome change. The world is coming alive again, and everything is in bloom—hopefully, allergies aren’t getting you down. Sometimes, in life, we have to take the good with the not-so-good. This might be a similar analogy to making a real estate move. We are hopeful, if not excited, about what the change can bring. We envision what that new home will look like or what life will be like in a new home. Yet, we think about “move” as being a four-letter word. We start to think about cleaning out all the closets and cupboards throughout our current home. Having to finally go through and purge all the things we’ve shoved in there over the years. The garage is another daunting task. It has become a place where you not only store your seasonal items but all those other items that you thought you’d need someday but never touched again. All this can seem overwhelming, but just take it in steps. Do one room at a time. Know that going through and purging unneeded clutter from your home now will make your eventual move easier.

Historically, spring is a great time to sell your home. We’ve made it through the holidays, the weather is warmer, and our yards are

Spring is in the Air

starting to look better with trees and flowers blooming. This isn’t a well-kept secret, though. The numbers show that spring and summer produce the highest number of sales throughout the year. In 2023, Atascadero had 52 sales from January to March, 77 sales from April to June, 71 sales from July to September, and 59 sales from October to December. Paso Robles and Templeton show similar trends, higher sales in April to September and much lower sales in January to March and October to December. When tracking the numbers, typically, home sales gradually rise from the beginning of the year, peak around June, and then slowly trail off the rest of the year.

Now that we’re in April, we can logically expect to see more inventory hitting the market over the next few months. You can’t have increased sales without increased inventory. And according to, home sellers who list during the second week of April will be able to take advantage of the spring buying season’s anticipated demand and all the pluses that come along with having an eager buyer pool.

With increased inventory comes increased competition. To ensure your home sells as quickly as possible you’ll want to make sure it stands apart from the competition. By meeting with your Realtor ahead of time they can help you to evaluate your home and recommend any improvements or repairs you may want to consider making before you list your home for sale. Common suggestions include decluttering and cleaning your home

from top to bottom, removing excess furniture (makes it feel like there’s more space in a room), yard clean up (curb appeal is a key factor to get a buyer to come through the front door) or finishing projects around the house that you haven’t gotten around to completing (think painting, patching drywall holes or installing the last baseboard from a flooring project). By putting in the work ahead of time, you can make sure your home is in the best position to attract the largest pool of buyers it can.

So, is spring the best time to sell? The numbers certainly suggest it is. But truth be told, it depends on many factors. What do mortgage interest rates look like? Is your home market ready? Do you need to find a replacement home? Are there any significant events happening in your life that can affect the sale? But the biggest determining factor, is the time right for you? Only you can decide if you’re ready to put your home on the market.

What I can say for sure is that spring kicks off the year’s strongest listing period. I suggest you get involved with a Realtor early on to help step you through the process. Ensure you’re in the best position to take advantage of the market by making sure your home is in the best shape possible. This way it will attract buyers with strong offers and hopefully have you moving to your next home in a timely manner. If you’re interested in either selling your home or purchasing one, this is an opportune time.

Business • North County Realty Report 12 |

We are Jimmy and Leigh-Ann of Shift’N Gears Auto Repair, an ASE Master Certified full-service auto repair shop. We are here to offer some monthly tips, tricks and tales from the automotive industry. Whether you are fellow gearheads, garage aficionados, or maybe you think about blinker fluid (Hint, Hint, you don’t have any blinker fluid), we are here for you.

Balancing act: Staying centered!


wheels are squared with one another. This type of alignment is usually recommended for vehicles with a solid rear axle.

Four-Wheel = For all vehicles with adjustable/independent rear suspensions.


Toe = Even and parallel tire traction — Toe alignment is like aligning the wheels of a shopping cart to roll smoothly in the same direction.

Camber = Stability control — Think of adjusting the tilt of a book on a shelf. Just as adjusting the tilt affects how the book sits on the shelf and how it wears over time.

Alignments are the needed choreography to make dances look beautiful and effortless; making sure each dancer (or wheel) is in the right place and angle. It's all about making sure the wheels are facing the same direction, standing up straight, and not leaning in or out. When they're perfectly aligned, your car moves smoothly, handles well, and tires wear evenly, just like a dance performance that's in sync and looks awesome!.


The type of suspension that your vehicle has determines what kind of alignment your car will receive.

Front-End = Front axle only. This is the most basic type of alignment and is not always recommended for modern vehicles.

Thrust = A thrust alignment combines a front-end alignment with a thrust alignment to ensure all four

Caster = Directional control of steering — If Caster is off it gives a “squirrely” quality.

Thrust = Ensuring front and rear axles are parallel — If thrust is off your vehicle can look like a sidewinding snake, or in our area a wine-happy tourist.


Feel Safer = No drifting and Peace of mind

Extended Tire Life = Saves $, no premature tire wear here

Visit the Pump Less Often = Tires won’t drag, causing excess fuel consumption to keep moving

Avoid Expensive Repairs = Premature wear on steering and suspension mechanical parts. The damage will get worse the longer you wait.

Solutions You Can Trust! Smog for all Makes & Models Solutions You Can Trust! Smog for all Makes & Models Mike Dean's Auto Repair 4597 Traffic Way • Atascadero, CA (805)538-8109 Complete Auto Repair and Service (805) 238-6202 1621 N River #7, Paso Robles Full Service Auto Repair Shop in Paso Robles, CA Check out our show Gear Head Radio on KPRL Saturdays 9-10am
Your Go - To - Garage Where SHIFT Happens! Introducing Alignments & Alignment Services
We Are
The Gearhead Corner! April 2024 | 13

JERRY TANIMOTO Citizen of the Year

It has been announced that the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce’s 2024 Citizen of the Year is Jerry Tanimoto. Jerry has been building relationships within the community through teaching and volunteering since he moved here in the ‘70s, and it’s no surprise that he’s being honored for all his hard work in Atascadero.

“I feel honored. I mean, I really do. It’s a great community. I love this community. I had no idea,” said Jerry.

In fact, Jerry added that he almost dropped his phone when Julie Matthews from the Chamber called to tell him that he had been chosen this year.

Though Jerry grew up in the Central Valley, he was not a stranger to the Central Coast or Atascadero, but growing up, he would have never guessed that his life would bring him here or that he would end up in Atascadero long term.

“As a kid, we used to drive through Atascadero. We’d go to Pismo Beach. My dad, my uncles, and everybody used to go clamming and also abalone hunting and fishing. And we used to stop by Atascadero and get gas before we went over. We lived in the valley, so it was an automatic thing. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I was going to settle here, but then the job came up, and they needed somebody,” Jerry stated about starting his teaching job at Atascadero High School in 1976.

Originally, Jerry taught social science at AHS, but during his 31 years at the school, he

also taught World History, US History, World Geography, Political Science, AP World History, and AP US History. He was also the Director of Activities and coached multiple sports teams.

“It was a good career in the sense that I had some great kids. I had wonderful kids,” Jerry said of his students. “I just did my job, and I tried to help out any way I could. When an opening came up for coaching, and they needed somebody, I took it. When they needed somebody to be an advisor, I took it. They wanted somebody to work with the kids on a Saturday, I volunteered. When they said they needed somebody to teach drivers training, that’s what I did. That was my capacity. I felt that if somebody was in need, I could fill it, and other people couldn’t because they had families and so forth, and I didn’t. So I didn’t mind, so I got ingrained in this particular community.”

He wasn’t just a teacher in the classroom and a coach on the field; he went to games for sports that he wasn’t coaching to support the AHS students. He attended a ton of band concerts, choir performances, and plays. He also made a point of being a chaperone when one was needed

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for dances and other school functions. Jerry also covered AHS football games on the radio for 35 years.

“I thought, you know, that’s part of being a teacher, being involved with the kids and supporting them,” Jerry said. “I just felt that was part of being an educator, not just in the classroom but outside the classroom.”

He added that he runs into a lot of his prior students around town when he’s out and about. When he travels around the country, he reaches out to his now-adult students to meet up when he’s in their new towns. He says investing in his former students’ lives was important to him, and his friendships with them now mean a lot.

“I don’t mind giving back to the community because the community has given me a great feeling of belonging and that kind of thing,” added Jerry.

But Jerry’s willingness to help didn’t and continues to not stop within the campus of AHS. He’s also made sure to be a part of every facet of the community around him. If there is a need, he is always willing to fill it, and he supports Atascadero’s local organizations in any way he can, whether it’s just showing up or being a part of their events.

“I try to support as many different groups as I can if they are fundraising. I’ll attend it or whatever,” he added.

Not only was he Chairman of Colony Days for around five years, Jerry now puts together the announcers for the parade every year. You can also see him helping out at the Charles Paddock Zoo, Tamale Fest, Beer Fest, and Brew at the Zoo. He also supports the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Atascadero Kiwanis and Rotary charters. Jerry also makes it to all of El Camino Homeless Organization’s events and helps Barbie Butz with Coats for Kids. And for the last 10 years, Jerry has also owned and operated Tanjerine Laundromat.

“If I have the time and I have the interest, I’ll do it,” said Jerry. “I enjoy it. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. I think the joy comes after you do it. You want to try to help out, and then it goes good, and you go, this was fun. I wanna do it again.”

Jerry has also been involved with local elections and was a precinct person for years, which is how he got involved with the Optimist Club. To date, he’s still a member of the Optimist Club, which provides scholarships to students graduating from AHS and Paloma Creek who are going into junior college or straight into trade school. Last year, the Optimist Club put on festival of trees in November and they sold 41 trees at the Pavillion on the Lake. Jerry said that has been a highlight of the past year and everyone had so much fun.

“That’s part of life, to give back to your community. As a member of the community and as an educator, giving back is what drives us,” stated Jerry.

Celebrate Mother’s Day Weekend with the entire family in a production you’ll remember for the rest of your lives! This marks the region’s first full-scale Disney musical: perfect for all ages featuring expansive sets and costumes, dance, chorus, a nationally acclaimed leading cast led by Hilary Maiberger as Belle (national and international tours) and Grant Garry (Beast), all accompanied by the OperaSLO Grand Orchestra!

April 2024 | 15

DOUG FILIPPONI Lifetime Achievement Award

This year the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Award for Lifetime Achievement is going to Doug Filipponi. Doug has been an Atascadero resident since the age of 7, and in all his time in the area, he has created multiple businesses and helped the community in some really big ways.

“I had to have her (Julie Matthews of the Chamber) repeat it because it was definitely an honorable shock. To say the least. I was thinking, ‘Oh God, do you guys know something I don’t know? Is this it? Am I done?,’” Doug said with a laugh. “Of course, it’s an honor to receive the award. It’s an honor to be considered for it and as far as the community and my 62 years of being here in Atascadero and my whole life as a North County resident. I was born in Paso Robles and moved here when I was 7 years old. Pretty much didn’t get too far from where the birthplace was. But it’s always been, Atascadero’s been the hometown.”

Growing up as one of Ross Filipponi’s kids, Doug was raised on the family dairy in South Atascadero, off the beaten path. He attended school in the Atascadero Unified School District, starting at Santa Rosa Primary School, and then going to what used to be Lewis Avenue before it became the junior high, and then he attended Atascadero High School.

“We had to ride to school in a bus. We were never really town kids because as soon as we got out of school we would go back out to the

dairy,” Doug added. “We were ranch kids and had been raised on a ranch from the day we were born. We were a little different from the other kids in town.”

He headed off to college at Cal Poly after that and when he was getting ready to graduate, that was when his future business partner, Ned Thompson approached him with the idea to start their own well-drilling company.

“Ned Thompson and I were friends since we were 10 years old. We were basically out deer hunting in south Atascadero and just talking about, ‘what are you gonna do when you get out of school?’ He had just recently went into partnership with his father. His father passed away and he had this other drilling rig that was his dad’s that he was running. Got another one. We just decided that night that we’d start a partnership on January first of 1974, and that was in September/October of 1973, and that we would start this company. [We would] see if we could make a go of being in the well-drilling business,” added Doug of what would become Filipponi and Thompson Drilling Inc.

Doug added that he would never forget his

16 |

mom’s dismay after he went to Cal Poly for four years and then ended up becoming a well-drilling contractor. Though he got his degree in agricultural business management, which he’s used almost every day since starting his well-drilling business 50 years ago.

“Once we started our well-drilling company, we located in Atascadero and our kids were raised here, grandkids are still going to school here. It’s been a lifelong relationship,” Doug said.

Even though Doug and Ned started out with Filipponi and Thomas Drilling Inc. as their first business, they slowly moved into agriculture. They grew hay and vegetables and in 1989, they joined the wine business by growing their own grapes. They planted about 300 acres of wine grapes from 1989 to 2000 and then joined up with a couple other partners, bought the vineyard next door, and continued to be a part of the business through the 2000s, while still drilling water wells.

“During that time period, of course, we raised our children and they went to school and got married. They’re all pretty much local. Still here, all the kids,” Doug said of his kids and wife Kathy.

Doug said that without both of their wives working when he and Ned started Filipponi and Thompson Drilling Inc. He added that they would have probably never made it otherwise and that he’ll always be grateful for Kathy, who is his No. 1 partner in all of this. They’ve been married for 51 years.

In 2001, Doug became co-owner of Santa Margarita Ranch with Rob Rossi and Karl Wittstrom. And in the meantime Doug also started Ancient Peaks Winery in 2006.

“I have a rule. I don’t do anything unless it’s fun,” Doug added.

On top of all of his business ventures, Doug has also been a part of the Rotary Club for 40 years as he joined in 1984. He’s also been a part of the Chamber of Commerce since he can remember.

“I was president of the Rotary Club in ‘96, ‘97. I served all that time,” Doug said. “I’m less present now because I can tell you the wine business takes you everywhere. I was in Dallas, I was in D.C., I’m gonna be in Maui. I travel an awful lot for the wine business.”

Doug also had a hand in helping Donn Clickard create the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, now known as LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero. He said that getting the all-weather track built at Atascadero High School and helping create the LIGHTHOUSE program for promoting a clean and sober life to youth has been a highlight of his time in Atascadero.

“I’m just really grateful and humbled to receive it [the award] and I appreciate being a member of this community.”

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THE POTTERY Business of the Year

The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce has announced The Pottery as their 2024 Business of the Year. The art studio is a place for the creatives of the city to create beautiful and useful items with their own hands while also building a place for community.

“It was really emotional, if I’m perfectly honest. I got the phone call, and I didn’t quite believe it,” said The Pottery’s owner, Alecia Teague. “I think I’ve been feeling like head down and focused on setting this up so much that I hadn’t even really thought about something like that [happening]. But I felt really emotional, and I felt like it’s such a community that’s here, and it’s because of this whole community that it happened.”

Alecia and her family moved to Atascadero in 2011, which is where they have raised their three kids. Once here, Alecia started teaching art history

and art appreciation at Cuesta College. The family was happily settled when Alecia’s husband was asked by the software company he was working for to move his family to Sheffield, England, in 2016.

“We’re in England, and my kids were in school, my husband was traveling all the time, and I started to get kind of bored and, honestly, pretty depressed,” Alecia said. “I’m in a foreign country. I don’t know anybody. I don’t have much purpose. I don’t have a studio setup. I found a community pottery studio. I have a Master’s degree in drawing and painting, but I had never done ceramics before. So I found this studio. I walked in. I signed up for a year-long ceramics class. Became obsessed. Then, I signed up for another year-long class and became a studio member. I found my people, and I found my place.”

The Teagues moved back to Atascadero in 2019, right before COVID struck. This led Alecia to set up a private studio in her house, where she produced pottery from customers who kept placing orders.

“I really honed my craft on the wheel,” Alecia said. “Then I started getting this feeling. I was really missing community, and I wanted to recreate what I had found in England.”

The Teagues had just sold a house in Atascadero, and Alecia asked her husband if they could take the money from the sale and invest it in a studio space for the community. And that’s how the original Pottery was born on Entrada Avenue.

“My plan was, well, I’ll open it up. I’ll buy some wheels. I’ll buy some supplies. I’ll teach a couple classes a week, and then I’ll spend the rest of the time making my own work. The community had a different plan for us. Everybody took classes. Other

teachers found me, and I hired other teachers,” continued Alecia.

Instead of a couple of classes a week, The Pottery quickly started hosting classes five to six nights a week during the day, and with its small space, it was starting to feel cramped. But that didn’t stop Alecia, and when a new location on El Camino Real opened up, she jumped on the chance to move. Once she saw the potential of the building, Alecia placed an offer on it the same night she officially looked at it and moved in by the end of January of this year.

“I’m pretty scrappy. I don’t need things to be perfect,” Alecia continued. “You just start. You don’t wait it out. Just do it. Which I think is part of working with ceramics. I feel like the skills that ceramics have taught me allowed me to do this as well. You just get going, and you don’t really think about the final product. It’s all a process, and it will build itself.”

The Pottery isn’t just a place for people who are used to working with ceramics either. Alecia has built a place for people of all skill levels and ages to come through the door.

“The people that come and take classes have found us, and they have created this community, which is beautiful. It’s beautiful. I think I have a sensitivity to it because I myself was feeling lost and wanted a place to belong, so I know what it’s like to walk into a community studio and find your people,” added Alecia. “I’m so grateful, and so appreciative, and so happy that I opened this in Atascadero. I don’t think there would be a better place for us to be right now. I think the community has been so supportive and really encouraging to us.”

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LA PARILLA MEXICAN GRILL Hispanic Business of the Year

for their contributions to the community.

For the first time, the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce is honoring a Hispanic Business of the Year at its annual Awards Dinner and Gala this April. Nominated by the community, La Parilla Mexican Grill will be recognized as the inaugural winner of the award.

In May of 2023, the Hispanic Business Association merged with the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce. The association was founded in 2011 by community member Sue Hubbard to assist Spanish-speaking clients in finding businesses that understand their culture. It began with five businesses and grew through networking events and community involvement. Today, it holds monthly meetings addressing Hispanic community issues on the Central Coast. Part of this merger introduced the Chamber’s new Hispanic Business of the Year award, celebrating a local Hispanic business chosen by the community

With La Parilla being the first to receive the honor, a high standard has been set for future Hispanic Business of the Year award winners.

After successfully opening their first location in Atascadero six years ago, cousins Edgar Valencia, Pepe Fonseco, and Lisandro Arriaga opened their second location in Arroyo Grande almost three years ago. Then this March, they opened their third location in Paso Robles on 6th Street which has been widely welcomed by the community.

“I have been doing this since I was 11 years old,” says Edgar who grew up cooking and working in his grandpa’s restaruant until he was about 19 years old.

While La Parilla isn’t Edgar’s first restaurant he has owned, this one seems to hit differently for him. He credits the restaurant’s success with the great people he surrounds himself with working at all three locations.

It works because, he says, “We all like what we do.”

When building the concept for La Parilla, Edgar and his cousins took some time to play with recipes.

“I love food. I actually like to try different recipes, better my recipes,” says Edgar, who ensures fresh ingredients are used at their restaurants, which definitely doesn’t go unnoticed by customers.

This year, La Parilla was also the 2024 winner of Best Tacos for Best of North County — a true testament to their work.

Not knowing about the new Hispanic Business of the Year award, Edgar and his teammates were surprised when they got the call announcing their win. Actually, they thought it might be a scam, but once it sunk in, they were grateful to be thought of

by the community.

But even still, Pepe says, “I don’t think it [feels] real yet.”

Being a part of the community is what owning a business is all about to the La Parilla team.

“It’s about that connection with people,” says Edgar.

The entire team at La Parilla are also big supporters of local youth sports. With their new Paso Robles location next to the Robbins Baseball Field, its been fun to have families come into the restaurant after practice and games. Edgar’s son plays on a team that practices on the field and so does Edgar himself.

“As a community, I see support from the local families,” Edgar adds that families see La Parilla supporting local organizations, and the thanks is happily returned by the community.

“We try to help where we can,” added Pepe. “I think we really are community.”

Edgar explains that everything they do at La Parilla is done with teamwork. There, they are family.

He explains, “You have to want to do this ... you have to love what you do.”

The family behind La Parilla have set a high standard and set an example of what fostering and supporting and celebrating community should look like.

In earning the recognition, Edgar says, “For me, anytime that I feel appreciated for what we do whether it be an award or a customer saying thank you, the food was great, thats what its all about. I feel pride in what I do.”

Learn more about La Parilla by visting

April 2024 | 19

ALF FOOD PANTRY Community OrGanization of the Year

ALF Food Pantry has been named Community Organization of the Year by the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce. Formerly known as Atascadero Loaves and Fishes, the nonprofit has been providing groceries free of charge for more than 30 years. Their humble beginnings took shape in the basement of a local church and is now located at 5411 El Camino Real in Atascadero.

We spoke with the ALF Food Pantry President Tim Eckles to learn more about their organization’s role in the community and what it means for their contributions to be recognized

by the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.

What motivates your nonprofit to engage with the Atascadero community?

The need for food and support for those living on marginal incomes in our community.

Can you share a significant milestone or achievement that your organization has accomplished in the last few years?

During the pandemic, we were able to adapt to increased demands for services, which have nearly doubled since 2019. Our doors never closed during those difficult times. In 2023, we distributed the equivalent of 306,000 meals to our clients, a third of whom are children. That’s nearly half a million pounds of quality food.

What does it mean for you to earn recognition as Community Organization of the Year?

It is the nature of ALF Food Pantry volunteers to be humble as they serve those in need. This recognition brings with it the satisfaction the Atascadero surrounding communities value our service. Every day our doors are open represents our reward.

What are some ongoing challenges your organization faces in addressing the needs of the Atascadero community, and how do you plan to overcome them?

Our nonprofit food pantry operation depends primarily on private individual donations. ALF earns this support because we offer consistent services to our dependent clients. To sustain our operation despite increasing demands, we must find/purchase a new efficient, more spacious facility. We are also maintain our association with the SLO Food Bank to obtain the lowest cost quality food available.

Can you discuss any upcoming initiatives or events that your nonprofit will be organizing in Atascadero to continue its communitybuilding efforts?

ALF will continue to be an active Atascadero Chamber of Commerce member. We are hosting the Chamber’s Membership Mixer at our facility on May 16.

Looking ahead, what are your nonprofit’s goals and aspirations for its continued involvement and contribution to Atascadero?

A new facility is crucial to sustaining services. We maintain relationships with several essential service nonprofits who would consider colocating with us. While we search for a new facility, we are also working to build our reserve investments which are designated for the new building. We also need continuous monetary and food donations and volunteers to run our operation.

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WENDY LEWIS Woman of Influence

The inaugural Women of Influence North County program (WINC) will be honoring Wendy Lewis as its first WINC this April. The new annual award is a collaboration between the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce and Atascadero’s chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

This program highlights women in business who are making a difference in their industries and communities. WINC serves as a platform to celebrate their achievements, inspire future leaders, and foster meaningful connections within the business community.

We sat down with Wendy, who serves as the CEO of the El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) and asked her about what drives her to serve her community and how she wants to inspire other women.

Congratulations on winning Woman of Influence! What drives your passion for making a difference in the Atascadero community?

One of the most rewarding aspects of my commitment to making our community a better place is the immense feeling of pride that

accompanies witnessing someone’s joy when they successfully embark on their journey back into housing.

As I receive the Women of Influence award, this deep connection to the joy of successful transitions serves as a powerful motivator to continue the work of creating positive change within our community. It underscores the importance of fostering a compassionate environment that celebrates each individual’s success, contributing to a stronger and more resilient community for all.

Can you share a significant accomplishment or project that you’ve led in Atascadero, which you believe has had a positive impact on the community?

During my transformative tenure as the CEO of ECHO homeless organization in North San Luis Obispo County, spanning over six years, I have spearheaded significant accomplishments in expanding and enhancing our services. In the early days, we operated with a single overnight shelter of 40 beds. However, through strategic vision and dedicated efforts, we successfully enhanced our shelter in Atascadero and, subsequently, added one in Paso Robles. This expansion not only increased our capacity to 130 beds, but also broadened our geographical reach to better serve the community.

What fills me with immense pride is the evolution of our visionary 90-day program, a proven model that boasts a remarkable 60 percent success rate in transitioning individuals and families from homelessness to permanent housing.

How do you envision using your platform as Woman of Influence to inspire and empower other women in Atascadero?

Receiving the award as an inspiring women leader is truly humbling, and I see it as an opportunity to amplify the incredible work of the amazing women at ECHO and other homeless services organizations. This recognition is not just about me but shines a spotlight on

the dedicated individuals who are the driving force behind the positive impact we make.

My primary goal is to use this platform to celebrate and elevate the voices of the remarkable women within our organization. These unsung heroes at ECHO and other homeless services organizations are the backbone of our efforts, tirelessly supporting individuals and families on their transformative journey from homelessness to permanent housing.

I want to foster an environment where the accomplishments of these women are not only acknowledged but also serve as a source of inspiration for others aspiring to make a difference. Together, we can build a stronger, more compassionate community that empowers everyone, irrespective of their circumstances. What advice would you give to other women aspiring to make a difference and become leaders in the Atascadero community?

My advice to other women aspiring to uplift their community is grounded in the power of openness and continuous learning. Embrace the courage to try new things, as stepping outside of your comfort zone often leads to personal growth and innovative solutions for community challenges. Never underestimate the impact of a curious and open mind. Always be ready to learn and explore, whether it’s acquiring new skills, understanding diverse perspectives, or staying informed about community needs. Education is a powerful tool for empowerment.

Additionally, be open to giving of your time, talents, or what truly inspires you. Generosity, in whatever form it takes, can create a ripple effect of positive change. By contributing your unique strengths to the community, you not only uplift others but also cultivate a sense of purpose and fulfillment within yourself. Collaboration, openness, and a commitment to lifelong learning can be transformative forces in creating positive change.

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o you hear the bells? You should, because the wedding season is practically here. We spoke with three local wedding industries and asked them what wedding trends they are seeing for this season and what advice they might have for those of you currently planning a wedding.

Long gone are the days of having to modify wedding plans due to the pandemic. Are you back to seeing a larger wedding guest list, or has the intimate wedding trend continued?

We are continuing to see an intimate wedding trend. Most weddings are 100 people and below. I think right now, people are being more financially cautious, and the bigger the wedding, the more wedding expenses grow. Weddings are very expensive now and to reduce cost people are being more cautious with their guest count. Ditching traditions is becoming the new trend. What are some new traditions your brides and grooms are bringing to the venue?

A few new trends we are seeing are:

• Out with the traditional wedding cake — Lots of desserts and s'mores bars! An added bonus is some late-night snacks.

• The Table Dash Pictures Game

— They have a certain amount of minutes to go around to every table and take a picture. This ensures the bride and groom get a picture with every guest and it is fun!

• Outfit changes — Brides change

into another bridal outfit for the evening.

• Last dance — Adding a last dance at the end of the night for the bride and groom to solo dance to.

• Colorful palettes for wedding colors rather than neutral hues.

• Audio guestbooks — Instead of the traditional hand-written guestbook, couples are opting for an audio version where guests can record messages with advice and congrats.

Any tips for those planning weddings this year? How far in advance should they be booking and what are some details they should keep in mind when looking for a venue?

The post-COVID rush and demand have settled. However, we still recommend booking a year in advance. When looking for a venue keep in mind: How much decorating will be needed ($$$). If it is outdoor venue, what time of year would be best to book the space due to weather, what is included in the venue costs, what would the event layout look like, ambiance, noise restrictions, contract and outside vendor flexibility.

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Photo by Kelley Williams Photography

What floral trends do you anticipate being popular for weddings in the 2024 season, and how are you incorporating these trends into your floral designs?

I’m working with brides wanting larger statement pieces to make more of an impact, with an array of vibrant colors and trending away from classic whites and softer colors. There was a lot of repurposing of floral elements from the ceremony to the reception. I look forward to working with herbs and fruits to add a touch of Earth on tablescapes. The days of boring centerpieces from Grandma’s floral shop are gone.

How do you work with couples to create customized floral designs that reflect their unique style and vision for their wedding day?

It’s a process. Couples come to me with a variety of inspiration photos that they have gathered. Many are all over the board, so to speak. As I create, I consider first and foremost the venue they have selected to set

Traditionally, we think of cake for dessert when we hear wedding bells, but are there any new trends and desserts people are requesting at their weddings?

Well — cake is still holding on strong but couples are asking for heart shaped vintage piped cakes this year. I quoted five of those cakes in one day, it’s totally wild but that is what everyone is asking for. Additionally, people are moving away from the huge, tiered cakes and really going for elevated dessert bars with something to please everyone! Think: lemon curd cups with fresh, edible florals.

How is your bakery preparing to meet the anticipated demands and trends for wedding cakes and desserts in the upcoming 2024 wedding season?

We are actually finding that people are booking a little slower this year, and then they are kinda sad when we say, “Sorry, we are booked!”

We have two cake decorators on staff, and our executive chef helps out as needed, but since opening our new shop in Downtown Paso Robles, we are spread a bit thin this year. We feel so fortunate to be chosen to help celebrate with our couples on

the backdrop. Then, I learn about the couple and their specific tastes in general. I also need to understand how they want their guests to feel. Just as our taste in clothing, cars, and homes are unique, so is the dream for each wedding. I can work with just about any vision and budget as long as the client understands the importance of florals adding to the ambiance and joy of their special day.

How far in advance should couples book their floral services for a wedding, considering potential demand and availability? Any tips for couples planning their wedding florals?

their special day though and we are just trying to stay ahead on social media, finding what is really going to stick around and what is going to fade away. I think that the Vintage Cake or Lambeth design is here to stay this year.

Any tips for those planning weddings this year? How far in advance should they be booking their dessert and what are some details they should keep in mind when looking for a bakery?

Book early, please! We hate to turn anyone away. When you book your venue, you should also be booking your food and that includes dessert. Also, don’t skimp on dessert, thinking, “Hardly anyone eats dessert, right?” That might’ve rung true for just cake, but these full dessert bars that we are providing are a snacker's heavens at the end of the night. Additionally, make sure that you find a bakery that suits your needs. We try to be super clear and upfront about the fact that we are a full-service bakery up front and not just weddings only. We can actually accommodate your rehearsal dinner as well as brunch before everyone heads out, and we can handle the entire wedding weekend.

I find florals to be about in the middle of the planning process. Six months out is pretty typical. But I’ve had large weddings pop up with two weeks notice due to certain circumstances. Then it’s all hands on deck to pull it off. We are creatives, so we can pull off just about anything, with the exception of balancing our checkbooks.

Photo Courtesy of Just Baked
April 2024 | 25
Photo Courtesy of Floral Parlor

Raising a glass at Winery

Where there is wine, there are weddings, so it's not surprising that Paso Robles has become a wedding destination. We are lucky enough to have access to wineries with beautiful hilltop views and immaculate architecture to go with it. These locations are perfect for wine tasting with friends and family before or after the wedding day, your rehearsal, reception, or even bridal shower.

Robert Hall Winery is just one of those scenic locations ideal for wedding-related excursions or staycation visits. There are several ways to experience Robert Hall Winery, including its underground wine cavern. As part of the Grape to Glass Excursion, guests get the opportunity to explore the winery's cellars, including their underground one where there is a chance to taste straight from the barrel. The behind-thescenes tour truly offers an insightful look into the winery's grape-to-glass process — hence the name. To end the experience, guests are greeted back into the tasting room with an offering of small bites to harmonize with the different selections of wine.

On a sunny day, you can take that dream for a bike ride through the estate on their E-Bike Vineyard Tour. This tour takes you personally through their regenerative viticulture case study and compares it with their sustainably farmed vineyards. For this adventure, you earn a walk through their cavern and barrel room (underground cellar), an electric-assisted bike ride through the vineyards, and, of course, a wine tasting accompanied by a cheeseboard.

Throughout these tours, you also get to know the backstory of the winery and how its founder and Minnesota man, Robert Hall, built his dream in Paso Robles. After a trip to France, Robert came back to the States enamored with the world of wine.

"He came back with this passion to start a wine project somewhere in the U.S.," says Managing Director Caine Thompson, who developed his own passion for the industry growing up in

New Zealand and getting to know their wine country.

Once back in the states, Robert searched the West Coast for the perfect location. A natural entertainer, he hoped to find a place that was close to town and allowed to produce the world-class wine he fell in love with.

In the mid '90s, Robert found Paso Robles and was immediately impressed with the regions current exportation of wine grapes.

"He wanted to find a place that was close to town because he was a big entertainer and believed that wine, family and friends should all come together," Caine shared.

Robert then worked alongside acclaimed winemaker Don Brady, who has been the creative force behind Robert Hall's award-winning wines since day one. The two tirelessly worked hands-on at the winery to build it into the elevated fixture it is today.

Soon, they began to create wines of the highest quality is their promise, with each one of them made by hand with a simple goal — enjoying The Good Life. Well-Earned.™

Sustainability has been a core value since the winery's inception, with Robert Hall Winery obtaining official certification for its winery and estate vineyards from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. A pioneer in the industry, the winery has initiated a living case study on regenerative viticulture, paving the way for regenerative organic farming that is an open case study for others to learn from this way of farming.

Next time you enjoy a glass of wine, think about the grapeto-glass effect. Each sip holds a piece of that bottle's history, and that is why Caine fell into this industry head first, "I fell in love this whole notion of being able to grow something and turn it into wine to be this time capsule of history of all the people involved with pruning the grapes, and harvesting the fruit and making the wine."

For more information on Robert Hall Winery, visit

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Robert Hall Cavern Select Rose


Robert Hall Cavern Select GSM


Robert Hall Cavern Select Vermentino


Robert Hall Cavern Select Sparkling Grenache Blanc


Robert Hall Cavern Select Cabernet Sauvignon

April 2024 | 27

Sipping to save at Wine 4 Paws

Sipping wine on a Spring day is good, but sipping wine on a Spring day while also helping animals in need is even better. This April 20-21, Wine 4 Paws is back for its 16th year and over 80 wineries, cider and olive oil producers, restaurants, and hotels on the Central Coast are participating.

The fundraiser, founded by Sarah Tomasetti, benefits Woods Humane Society, a nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless animals since 1955. During Wine 4 Paws, participating businesses donate 10 percent of their sales to Woods Humane, and for many, the weekend is dedicated to your pets with dog days and activities.

While living in Arroyo Grande, Sarah and her husband volunteered regularly at Woods Humane’s location in San Luis Obispo. However, after moving to North County, it wasn’t as easy to get to the shelter, so Sarah thought of another way she could help. After discovering the wine life and getting to know winery owners and producers, she came up with the Wine 4 Paws concept.

“I know that the money that is raised is going to an organization that is going to spend it well and make a difference for the greatest number of animals,” said Sarah, who said that the first year of the fundraiser, they raised $6,000 with

the help of 22 wineries.

Today, the fundraiser has grown to over 80 participating businesses and raised over $700,000. Even during the pandemic, when the majority of events and fundraisers were canceled, Wine 4 Paws was able to raise over $45,000 virtually — helping not only Woods Humane but also local businesses. Proceeds of Wine 4 Paws go towards the nonprofit's operation costs.

Woods cares for over 3,000 cats and dogs each year at both their San Luis Obispo and Atascadero facilities. It also works with other rescue organizations in the area by offering a low-cost spay and neuter clinic and taking in animals from other shelters. They are dedicated to providing the highest level of care to animals in need until they can be united with a loving home.

Sarah, who grew up surrounded by loving pets, gives the reason for why she wanted to help Woods, “I think that probably my mom was my inspiration to do this because my mom was a huge animal lover.”

Throughout the Wine 4 Paws weekend, wineries and businesses may plan their own animal related activities for the fundraiser. Many of the wineries will be extra pet friendly for the event but its best to check in with the winery you are visiting before bringing your furry friend.

There are at least two additional

Wine 4 Paws weekend events to participate in.

Join more of the fun at the official Wine 4 Paws Kick-Off Party hosted by Hayseed and Housdon at Cal Coast Beer Company. There will be beer, wine, food and entertainment with the Mark Adams Band to kick off the weekend. Last year, over $9,000 was raised at the event alone.

Tickets are available at Hayseed and Housdon at 1122 Railroad Street or online at

Bark After Dark presented by the Downtown Wine District features 18 participating wineries in Downtown Paso Robles. These businesses will be open until at least 8 p.m. to raise funds for Wine 4 Paws. If you aren't able to make it for the night-time festitivies, you can still participate that Saturday and Sunday where 10 percent of sales will still go towards the fundraiser.

As to why the fundraiser has become so successful, Sarah explains, “They [pets] might be a blip in your life, but you are their whole life. And there are a lot of people out there that feel the same way, and that’s why Wine 4 Paws has been successful.”

For more information on Wine4Paws and to find participating wineries, visit

Wineries participating in Bark After Dark include:

Alpha Omega

Bushong Vintage Co.

Cali Paso

Cloak & Dagger

Cypher Winery

Diablo Paso

Dracaena Wines

Hayseed & Housdon

Hoyt Family

LXV Wine

915 Lincoln

Pianetta Winery

Sea Shell Cellars

Serial Wines

Stilson Cellars


The Blending Lab

Timshel Vineyards

28 |
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How much do you know about U.S. educational history? Take this quiz

had a request to share some of the Education Trivia recently presented at a San Luis Obispo County Rotary meeting. Schools have changed a great deal over the years. Erasable slates, better known as chalkboards, were updated to whiteboards and replaced with Smart Boards. Laptops and iPads replaced notebooks and textbooks like ballpoint pens replaced fountain pens that replaced ink wells. Test your trivia knowledge and take some time to reflect on education as it was and is today.

1. In 375 BC, who wrote the Republic, a Socratic dialogue that discussed the role of education in a just society?

2. What method of teaching reading dating back to 1570 emphasizes the association of letters or groups of individual sounds?

3. Who is considered the father of modern education and wrote the 1762 influential work “Emile”?

4. In 1837, which country implemented the concept of kindergarten?

5. In 1875, who advocated for creating U.S. state-funded public schools?

6. In 1917, which state was the last to offer free public schooling in the U.S.?

7. In 1929, what event prompted what we know today as the school buses?

8. Why did students in the U.S. practice ducking beneath their desks in 1942?

9. What did the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Topeka unanimous Supreme Court ruling end?

10. Why was the Arkansas National Guard mobilized to Little Rock Central High School in 1957?

11. What education legislation was passed in 1958 because of Sputnik?

12. Which president signed the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the 1966 Child Nutrition Act that established the School Breakfast Program?

13. What is the Education Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1972 that prohibits discrimination in federally funded schools based on sex?

14. What is section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities called?

15. In 1979, which president appointed Shirley Hufstedler as the first Secretary of Education and cabinet-level position?

16. In 1983, which president’s administration published “A Nation at Risk” with recommendations for how schools should teach students?

17. In 1995, nine district teachers in Eugene, Oregon, introduced what non-traditional program for instructional delivery?

18. In 2001, NCLB was introduced; what does it represent in education jargon?

19. Which San Luis Obispo County school district still had student dormitories

operating in the 1980s?

20. In 1985, the State Legislature passed a minimum starting teacher salary of approximately how much?

Education is one of the most empowering forces in the world. Education can create knowledge, build confidence, break down barriers, increase opportunities, and promote social justice. Thank you for your continued support of education in our community. It is an honor to serve as your County Superintendent of Schools.


1. Plato

2. Phonics John Hart

3. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

4. Germany

5. Horace Mann

6. Tennesee

7. Great Depression

8. World War II Mock Air Raid

9. Desegregation

10. Safety and prevention of violence as the school began admitting Black students

11. National Defense Education Act

12. Lyndon B. Johnson

13. Title IX

14. Free Appropriate Public Education

15. Jimmy Carter

16. Ronald Reagan

17. Outdoor Preschool

18. No Child Left Behind

19. Atascadero

20. $19,000

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Chocolate for Tax Day recovery

In doing my usual cookbook research for this column, I came upon this recipe for a steamed chocolate pudding. It wasn't the word chocolate that caught my eye and my taste buds, but rather the note that accompanied the recipe.

Here's the note, word for word, by the author, John Hadamuscin, in his book titled "Special Occasions," published in 1988. "Serve

it immediately after reading the bottom line of your income tax return." He went on to call the pudding "one of the most comforting of comfort foods."

It's funny because I was looking at the month of April on my calendar to see what events and holidays were coming up, and sure enough, April 15 is tax day, as we all know!

Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Brandy and Almond Whipped Cream Milky Way Cake


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

3 ounces semisweet chocolate

1cup sugar

2 large eggs

2/3 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda


Melt butter and chocolate in a large heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, beat in sugar. Allow to cool 15 minutes. Put on a kettle of water to boil. Beat eggs into chocolate mixture, and then milk and vanilla. In a small mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; gradually beat this into wet mixture until well blended. Transfer batter to a well-greased 6-cup pudding mold and cover with the lid. Place mold in a large pot and pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the mold. Cover the pot and place it over medium-high heat. Steam pudding, keeping water at a gentle boil for 2 hours. Replenish the pot with more boiling water as necessary. allow pudding to cool for half an hour before serving with a generous dollop of the whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted almonds. Serves 6 generously.

Whipped Cream


1 pint heavy cream

2 tbs confectioners' sugar

1/4 cup brandy

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted


Whip cream until soft peaks form. Beat in confectioners' sugar, and gently fold in brandy and almond extract. Unmold pudding and cut into thick slices. Garnish slices with whipped cream and toasted almonds.


Melt candy bars and 1/2 cup butter in saucepan over low heat. Cream remaining 1/2 cup butter and sugar in mixer bowl until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add soda and sifted flour alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating well after each addition. Stir in melted candy, vanilla and pecans. pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool. Invert onto serving plate. Serves 12 to 24

Espresso Chocolate Martini

If the cakes don't comfort you, try this Espresso Chocolate Martini!


1 cup Grind Espresso Shot Liquor

1 cup Kahlua

1 cup vanilla vodka

1 cup (or to taste) strong coffee (room temperature or chilled)

Whipped cream

Chocolate liquor to taste

Chocolate syrup for glass rim


6 Milky Way candy bars

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon soda

2 1/2 cups sifted allpurpose flour

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans


Make ahead by the quart: put the top 4 ingredients in a quart container. Stir until thoroughly mixed. To serve, put the amount that you wish to make into a martini shaker with ice and shake rigorously for 45 seconds until chilled. You can mix in some whipped cream and shake it, or use whipped cream as a garnish. Add chocolate liquor to taste to the shaker before the ice and continue to make the Espresso Chocolate Martini.

Taste • Taste of Americana
32 |

APRIL Calendar of Events





Enjoy delectable soups, artisan breads and take home a handmade ceramic bowl as your souvenir. Enjoy music while you visit with community members and supporters of ECHO. Celebrity servers will reprise their role to serve you. Take home an artisan ceramic bowl.

APRIL 19-22




Join in the festivities at the Earth Day Festival for weekend-long family-friendly celebration featuring workshops, local artisan vendors, garden demonstrations, and more to inspire and educate the community about sustainable living and gardening practices.




7th Annual Event, with 120+ yard sales and bargain hunters from throughout California. Digital map and printable list of locations will be posted on the week of the event. Printed map will be available in the April 18th issue of Atascadero News.



The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce cordially invites you to the Annual Awards Dinner and Gala at Rava Wines on April 20. This event is the Chamber's largest and most prestigious event of the year! Celebrate the accomplishments of the local business community and those who make a difference.

APRIL 20-21


With each purchase from over 80 wine, cider, and olive oil producers throughout SLO County, 10 percent of sales will go to Woods Humane Society. It is a win-win helping local homeless animals all the while supporting local businesses. For a map of participating vendors and more information, go to




The Cambria Land Trust is hosting a family-friendly afternoon centered on this year’s international theme, “Planet vs Plastic.” Local food from Soto’s True Earth Market, Robin’s Restaurant, and Plantae & Fungi,





EVENT DETAILS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE verify prior to attending.

complemented by wine and beer, will be available for purchase. Explore the kids’ zone for fun with science and nature, or enjoy live music, storytelling, and miniclasses at the learning center.





New this year is our Paso Robles Evening Reception hosted by Studios on the Park. Enjoy an evening of soup tastings, curated wine selections, studio art and live music. Take home an artisan ceramic bowl.

APRIL 26-28



Be enthralled by a high-flying weekend of family fun at the beloved annual event for kite flyers of all ages. For information, visit

APRIL 27-28



Immerse yourself in the vibrant display of hundreds of fresh wildflower bouquets, sponsored by


Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Saturday, April 27, from 12 to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., explore the diversity of the Central Coast’s flora. The flowers are labeled by both botanical and common names, highlighting rare, endangered, invasive, and poisonous species.





Go back in time at the vintage sidecar rendezvous, recycled treasures, vintage motorcycles, electric vehicles and PR comic book Expo.





Dinner and auction hosted by the Trinity Lutheran School Boosters benefiting Trinity Lutheran Schools.






Food, dinner, and entertainment to raise funds for the Paso Robles High School Athletics.


Saturdays Tuesdays Saturdays
3pm - 6pm
CA 93422
& 6TH ST,
9am - 11am
11TH &
9am -
April 2024 | 33

Residents in Atascadero were saddened to hear of the passing of Robert 'Bob' J. Wilkins Jr. on February 25. Wilkins was a much-loved public figure who was not only involved in Atascadero's government as the first mayor but also heavily involved with his family and multiple groups in the community.

"Bob Wilkins' influence on Atascadero holds special significance for me; he's been a steadfast source of support and mentorship since my earliest involvement in public service," said current Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno.

Wilkins was born in Atascadero on Oct. 13, 1932, and lived his life for the city and the people who lived here. Wilkin's grandfather, Harold, was actually Atascadero founder E.G. Lewis's bookkeeper. Harold sent Wilkins's father, Bob Wilkins Sr., and his uncle Joe to Cal Poly to learn the printing trade due to Lewis's influence, which led to Bob Sr. working at many local newspapers, including Atascadero News, which was held in the Printery at the time. The paper moved out of the Printery in 1945, and after that, Bob Sr. and Joe started their own business, Wilkins Studio. Bob Jr. helped out around the shop and took over the printing business in 1951.

Wilkins was also a veteran who served in the Naval Reserves for three years starting in 1949. In 1952, he married the love of his life, Bonnie Lyn Gates, a fourth-generation North County resident. Together, the lovebirds grew their printing business, now known as Wilkins

Creative Printing, and started their family. They had four kids: Kerrie, Joyce, Jim, and Jane.

In 1979, Wilkins was elected Atascadero's first official mayor. He then sat on the City Council for five years and was a part of Atascadero's becoming incorporated into the county as an official city.

"I deeply appreciate his pivotal role in our city's incorporation, which secured local control, especially in establishing our own public safety services," Heather said. "Bob's commitment to our community was contagious, and reflecting on his leadership fills me with gratitude, reinforcing my sense of belonging to this amazing city."

He was so well-loved by the city that Wilkins was a part of many local associations, including being president of the Businessman Association in 1961 and president of the Board of Directors of Atascadero Main Street in 2003. He was also the recipient of many awards, including Outstanding President of the Jaycees in 1962 and '63, Businessman of the Year in 1971 and '74, Chamber Citizen of the Month in 1976, Colony Days Royalty in 2003, and Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2004.

Wilkins was also a lifelong member of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, and he and Bonnie supported the Cattlemen Western Art Show for over 30 years. That led to the San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen's Association dedicating the show and its sale to the couple in 2011.

"Both he and Bonnie, other than the political part of being on the City Council and serving

as mayor, there's that other side of him, I call it the nonprofit side," said Atascadero resident Barbie Butz.

On top of everything else, Wilkins also made it a point to support the Face of Freedom Veteran's Memorial, where he donated lots of time and printing. He also provided printing for Hospice and gave them his support too. He was also dedicated to the Atascadero Historical Society, which his son, Jim, is now president of.

Wilkins also had a huge artistic passion for photography and made it a point to capture the realism of his subjects. Bonnie, on the other hand, had a natural talent for watercolor and acrylic painting.

"Their interest in art took them on many exciting and fun travels in their motorhome with family and friends," said the Wilkins family. "Bob always had his camera, and Bonnie had her paintbrushes."

Old age didn't stop Wilkins from living his best life. In fact, into his 90s, he was still walking two miles a day and would constantly run into friends and locals who loved having him in the community.

"With all of Bob's accomplishments and involvement in the community, he became known as Mr. Atascadero," added the family.

A Celebration of Life for 'Bob' Wilkins will take place on June 8 at the Atascadero Elks Lodge. Doors will open at 1 p.m., and the service will start promptly at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to Wilshire Hospice. They are much appreciated.

Last Word • Mr. Atascadero
A Heavenly Home 21 American West Tire & Auto 35 Atascadero 76 Gas Station 31 Awakening Ways Center for Spiritual Living 21 Brad's Overhead Doors 23 By The Sea Productions 10 California Mid State Fair 5 Central Coast Casualty Restoration 23 Citywide Yard Sale 2 Cohen Legal 31 Cuesta College Concord Chorus 21 Deep Steam Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners 23 Derek Luff Photography 17 Five Star Rain Gutters 23 Freedom Group - Monica Sheldon 10 Hearing Aid Specialists Of The Central Coast 3 Hedges Insurance 17 Kenneth's Heating & Air 30 Malik Real Estate Group 8, 9 Masterpiece Framing & Gifts 21 Mathnasium Back Cover Mike Dean's Auto Repair 13 Nick's Painting 30 North County Pilates 13 O'Connor Pest Control 31 Odyssey World Cafe 31 Opera SLO 15 Optometric Care Associates 7 Peace of Mind Massage Therapy 31 San Luis Obispo County Office of Education - SLOCOE 29,35 Shift'N Gears Garage 13 SLG Senior Care 31 Solarponics 29 Story Labs Coworking Space 11 Sunny Jaze 7 T&R Plumbing 31 Templeton Tennis Ranch 12 Teresa Rhyne Law Group 29 The Green Omen 12 The Natural Alternative 11 DIRECTORY TO OUR ADVERTISERS Atascadero News Magazine is brought to you by
'Bob' J. Wilkins
An ode to 34 |
Jr. Mr. Atascadero
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