Atascadero News Magazine #34 • April 2021

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Business • Shopping • Dining • Events • Arts • People

Formerly known as Colony Magazine

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April 2021

fe at ures

Issue No. 34


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Atascadero Lake Rock Snake by connor allen

When Atascadero resident Wanda Kohl started the Rock Snake, she had no idea it could earn a Guinness World Record.

Headhunters Barber Shop by camille devaul

After 58 years of service in Paso Robles, Headhunters closes its doors, and Atascadero Hair Cut Shop gains a new barber.

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‘Where There Once Was Water’ by camille devaul

Local photographer and now film director, Brittany App produced her first film, which debuted at the San Luis Obispo Film Fest.

The Beacon on the Bluff

a special to atascadero news magazine

Kathy Mastako, member of the Board of Directors, Volunteer Docent, Researcher, and Writer for Point San Luis Light Station brings us ‘The Beacon on the Bluff.’

On the Cover Cover inspired by the sweetness of spring. The warm sunshine feels so good on our skin, and melts away our long winter blues and rejuvenates our souls. Colorful blooms are popping up everywhere so get out and enjoy the fresh air. Photo by Joshua Miller 20,000 PRINTED | 17,000 DIRECT MAILED LOCALLY!


Atascadero 93422 • Santa Margarita 93453 • Creston 93432 Hotels • Wineries • B&Bs • Waiting Rooms • Restaurants • High-traffic Visitor Hotspots for advertising inquiries and rates email office @, or contact one of our advertising representatives.



gala - april 17, 2020 7:00 PM VIRTUAL GALA & AWARDS 5:30 PM VIP EXPERIENCES

co nte nts publisher, editor-in-chief

Hayley Mattson

publisher, editor-at-large

Nicholas Mattson

assistant editor

layout design

Melissa Mattson ad design

Denise Mclean Jen Rodman


Michael Michaud

community writers

ad consultants

Connor Allen Camille DeVaul

Dana McGraw Jamie Self

office administrator

Cami Martin |


Biddle Ranch, Edna Valley



Barbie Butz

Josh Cross

Counter-Human Trafficking Board

Kathy Mastako Mira Honeycutt

General Store

The Natural Alternative

James Brescia, Ed.D.

Sarah Santana



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Something Worth Reading Publisher’s Letter Round Town Cross Talk with Josh Cross General Store: ECHO Filling the Bowls of Those in Need Santa Margarita: Lessons from Santa Margaritas Historic Street Trees – Part Two The Natural Alternative: Celebrating 26 Years! In Other News: The Atascadero News Page San Benito: The Bengal Bugle Future Farmers of America: Carly Dabbs Takes First in Speaking Competition Chicken Run: 3rd Annual Virtual Run a Success Amid the Pandemic Taste of Atascadero Sip & Savor: The Road Less Traveled – Wineries of Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande Taste of Americana: Happy Easter Dinner Recipes

Business Sarah Santana: Financial Literacy is a Gift That Lasts a Lifetime

Tent City SLO County Office of Education: Staffing Post Pandemic Counter-Human Trafficking: Team Partner Spotlight – DeliverFund Photo Page: ‘Another Rick Evans Photo’


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Last Word Atascadero News Magazine Manifesto Directory to our Advertisers


PUBLICATION DELIVERY DATE April 29, 2021 ADVERTISING DEADLINE* April 10, 2021 * Ad reservation deadline is the 10th of each month preceding the publication. For more information about advertising, upcoming issues and editorial themes, contact our advertising representatives above, or see our media kit at

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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.


Atascadero News Magazine ©2021 is a local business owned and published by local people — Nicholas & Hayley Mattson No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by any means without written consent from Atascadero News Magazine.

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Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021

April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 7

Something Worth Reading

Letter fRom tHe EditOrs


t’s spring, and we are feeling good. Flowers are in bloom, the weather is warming, daylight hours are getting longer, and you can feel the healing begin.

The human spirit is resilient. We celebrate that resilience with you and your shine. We remind you that the wildflower’s seed grows in the darkness of the soil, toiling and reaching for the sky. Take advantage of today to meet the world with your head up, and look it in the eye with acceptance. This last weekend we took advantage and enjoyed a movie at Galaxy Theater. We watched “Raya and the Last Dragon,” which the boys enjoyed but carried a deeper message. The question is, who is going to take the first step? How do we meet the world with trust in place of fear? Are you waiting for the world to change? Are you willing to take a courageous step? Over the past decade, we have spent countless hours volunteering with nonprofits, cleaning up trash in our city, contributing to the public events where everyone is invited, and going the extra mile to make the community a better place. It is our home, just like it is yours. When we dreamed up this magazine and launched it together almost three years ago, we wanted to let you know you live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with beaches, mountains, hills, rivers, and trails all around that are free for all of us to enjoy. We may not know you personally, but we care about you and appreciate all your kind words. We hope that what we do brings you a sense of belonging because each issue is delivered as a labor of love to our community. We have yet to make a profit. But we believe in our community. There is a common saying in the poker world, “Look around the table and find the sucker. If you don’t see one, the sucker is you.” We are hopeful that you will see the good in your community, and if you don’t see the good, then maybe the world is waiting for you. Be the good. Be the kindness. Be the renewal of spirit spring brings us this year and take the first turn toward a better community. We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Atascadero News Magazine.

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes You can steer yourself Any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. ~ Dr. Suess

Much love, Nic & Hayley

if thou wouldest win immortality of name, either do things worth the writing, or write things worth the reading. — Thomas Fuller, 1727 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.

Round Town






• Re/Max Success • JUICEBOSS • Pacifica Commercial Realty

Upcoming Events For April

• The Source SLO

New Chamber Members

Interim CEO/President | Atascadero Chamber of Commerce

you (a great way to kick off a morning)! You can order your juice online at or swing by Do you want to shop locally, supporting arti- their shop on 540 Entrada Ave. in downtown Atascadero. sans, but don’t know where to begin? I’ve received a number of questions regarding finding and The Groves on 41 supporting local makers in our community. So Known for their award-winning olive oil, Groves on 41 is today, I’m going to share a handy guide of incredi- a must for fresh and tasty oil. Located at 55 Highway 41, ble local crafters. The following isn’t a comprehen- you can go olive oil tasting here, just like you’d go wine sive list of all local makers, but it is a snapshot of tasting. You can also pick up a few of your favorites in some of our community’s creative, hardworking person or online at artisans. You can find plenty more in local shops in our community that showcase local creators like I’m excited to see the creativity and art blosBlack Sheep Finds, Farron Elizabeth, Mercantile soming from local artisans, crafters, makers, and Irish Oaks Ranch, LouLou Cheese Girl, Alle- more in our community. In all honesty, the list Pia, and Colony Market and Deli, to name a few. of phenomenal makers in our community could run on for pages, especially if I mentioned all of Bren’s Original Blends the superb craft brewers, winemakers and distillBring out the flavor of your meals in a whole new way ers. That’s why I want to encourage you to go out with Bren’s four unique blends, Original, Spicy, Smokey, and explore all of these local artisans. If you need Savory, Lemon Pepper, and a South West Blend. You can ideas – check out our site find his spices at or in various local business-directory or give the Chamber team a shops in downtown Atascadero and beyond. call at (805)466-2044. Chaparral Gardens WOMEN’S BUSINESS COUNCIL Blossoming on 20 acres of the countryside off of 41 west IT’S SCHOLARSHIP SEASON is where Chaparral Gardens creates their unique blends of fruit and balsamic vinegars. They also make specialty The Atascadero Chamber is proud of its history oils cold-pressed with fruit and herbs without any added of encouraging women to pursue their dream flavors. You can find their creations at chaparralgardens. careers. In association with the Women’s Business com/. Council, the Chamber is awarding scholarships to help local women pursue their future vocations Cookie Momo and enhance their education. This includes those Fresh out of the oven are mouthwatering cookies for fun who are pursuing career training or those who seek creative cookie kits. Every kit comes with fresh cookies, funding assistance to help with college expenses. icing, and decorative sprinkles so that you can unleash Applicants can find the application on the your creativity in a tasty way. You can find them and Chamber website at Our Councils, Women’s request a kit of your own on their Instagram page, @ Business Council, Apply For Women’s Business cookiemomo805. Scholarship. Applications must to be submitted no later than April 23, by 5 p.m. Up to four scholJuice Boss arships will be awarded and recipients notified by Right here in downtown Atascadero, Juice Boss is bring- May 28. Please contact us with any questions. We ing cold-pressed daily fresh, delicious, flavorful juices to are looking forward to your future! 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SERIES Grow Your Business With Google AdWords Wed., April 7 from 12 – 1:30 p.m. Is your advertising bringing customers to your site? Does your advertising improve your sales? Do you know how to capture the attention of potential customers? Learn the power of Adwords in this virtual workshop! VIRTUAL ANNUAL GALA & AWARDS Speakeasy Night Sat., April 17, 7 p.m. | VIP Experiences 5:30 p.m. The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce cordially invites you to join us for our Annual Gala and Awards Dinner held virtually this year. This year’s theme? Speakeasy Night! Get out your pinstriped suits and flapper dresses; we’re going old school and jumping back into the roarin’ 1920s. The Annual Gala and Awards Dinner will be held virtually via YouTube Live.

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Tune in as we recognize and celebrate our Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Non-Profit of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Ambassador of the Year. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in a live and silent auction and exclusive VIP experiences. As our largest fundraiser of the year, this year’s proceeds will go towards funding the expansion of BridgeWorks Coworking. Expanding the coworking space will create dozens of new jobs, generate economic prosperity, and stimulate Atascadero’s economy. This is your moment to help the Chamber create opportunities for your children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors by ensuring a future filled with local possibilities. Every ticket you purchase and every item you bid-on all supports our community’s entrepreneurial infrastructure and brings us one step closer to capturing our own economy. Besides, we guarantee that this event will be the bee’s knees!

To Register: Visit or call (805)466-2044

Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021



2021 ECHO EMPTY BOWLS FUNDRAISER, APRIL 29 By General Store hances are good that, if you were to pop into the store right now, and if you were there long enough, you’d hear one of two things: one of us raving about Ted Lasso (just watch it), and/or you’re probably going to hear some Brandi Carlile. (We marveled at her performance at the Fox Theater in San Luis a few years back. Like cried a little. Like bought a concert t-shirt even though you’re 50.) You might also hear her band, The Highwomen, who recently won a Grammy for a song we adore called “Crowded Table.” Its lyrics seem especially poignant now, when many of us long for a table filled with the people we love, overflowing with food and noise, seated close to each other, reaching to pass the sourdough or refill a wine glass. For many in our community, and certainly, more since the pandemic started, the table would be empty if it weren’t for caring, selfless people willing to step in when help is needed. ECHO Homeless Services does just that. ECHO operates three


April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

facilities in North County; each provides meals and a safe and secure overnight shelter to meet the immediate needs of families and individuals facing hunger and homelessness. General Store Paso Robles is thrilled to support their work by being a sponsor of ECHO Empty Bowls 2021. This event combines two of the things we are most passionate about service and delicious food. And to make it even easier, ECHO Empty Bowls 2021 is a Drive-Thru! Pick up dinner for the family, enjoy soups from your favorite restaurants, and support ECHO during their 20th year.

Date: Thursday, April 29 Time: Lunch! 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Place: ABC Bible Church Atascadero One $50 ticket purchases soup, bread, and dessert for a family of four. One $60 ticket purchases the same meal and adds a souvenir bowl. Visit to buy tickets. We know we will! And if you get the chance, give “Crowded Table” a listen. What could be better than “a place by the fire for everyone,” right? Happy Spring, neighbors. We appreciate you! Visit us online at  | 13

Santa Margarita



Part Two: Combating the Elm Leaf Beetle

he historic street trees of Santa Margarita have been providing shade and shelter for residents and visitors alike since their first planting over 120 years ago. Elm trees grow strong, tall, have beautiful arching canopies, and can live between 100-150 years, but Santa Margarita’s Elms (and residents) have been plagued by the invasive and non-native Elm Leaf Beetle, which have weakened trees and pestered locals since the 1920s. The Elm tree population of Santa Margarita has been in decline, but the mystery of the missing Elm Leaf Beetles has people wondering... Elms became a popular choice for street tree plantings after a New York physician’s 1870’s groundbreaking research project (later referred to as the Washington Elm Study) was able to calculate and illustrate the “vast potential of a single large tree’s foliage to absorb carbon dioxide, emit oxygen and provide shade” and thereby launching the street tree planting movement across the country in order to “mitigate oppressive heat and save lives.” Since the arrival of non-native Elm Leaf Beetles to the area sometime after 1924, Santa Margarita has been tormented by the repeated annual cycles of chewing, defoliating, and weakening of its street trees, littering areas below with droppings and flying into homes, garages, and woodpiles by the hundreds or thousands for winter hibernation. For years residents have been trying to find a way to get rid of the pests. Various methods of ELB control have been tried, from scooping and disposing of pupae to the most effective but controversial use of a neonicotinoid called Imidacloprid as a systemic tree injection, but without treating 100% of the trees, the population would get knocked down but never completely wiped out. Over generations of beetle battle, the usually strong but aging Elm trees have weakened, becoming susceptible to weather damage and leading to

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subsequent or preemptive removal, as seen with the recent loss of the large, stately Elm in front of the Santa Margarita Fire Department this past month. Interestingly, last year was the first in memory with very little leaf damage and no reported sightings of even one, much less than the hundreds of Elm Leaf Beetle larvae over several generations per season that normally make their way down tree trunks to pupate in the ground into adults. For the first time in memory, the historic Elm trees of Santa Margarita went into Fall of 2020 fully leafed, and the adult ELBs didn’t invade Margarita homes for Winter hibernation. The ELB disappearance is a bit of a mystery, but UCANR IPM Pest Notes says that ELB populations normally fluctuate and can be reduced by a warm or wet winter which can cause the adults to emerge from hibernation before the trees have leafed out or by an early freeze before the adults have gone into hibernation. Pest Notes continue to say that natural beneficial predators can also reduce the ELB populations (as well as other unwanted pests) and “include certain bugs, earwigs, lacewing larvae, and predaceous ground beetles in addition to a parasitic black tachinid fly and a tiny parasitic wasp.” Could it be that Santa Margaritas Elm Leaf Beetle population finally was confronted by their “perfect storm” of unfavorable weather, knocking down their populations low enough for the natural predators to do them in? Time will tell, but we’ll be on the lookout for any adult beetles to emerge in the warming weather and restart their cycle of annoyance and destruction. It’s interesting to note that according to the National Pesticide Information Center, “out of

Left, accidentally introduced to North America, the Elm Leaf Beete are now widespread and are serious pests. Photo by Didier Descouens. Top, the skeletonized leaves of parasitized elm. Photo by Georg Slickers

nearly one million known insect species, only about one to three percent are ever even considered pests.” Maybe it’s time to look at a more nuanced approach to pest control in general? To support beneficial predators and parasites in your garden and to obtain the maximum benefits from these biological controls, UCANR recommends “avoiding foliar applications of residual (long-lasting), broad-spectrum insecticides, minimizing pesticide application and using less-persistent products.” We can also plant our gardens to attract and support beneficial insects, natural predators, and parasites, including black tachinid flies and tiny parasitic wasps who sip nectar from plants such as Ceanothus, Yarrow, Asters, Pearly Everlastings, and much more. Today few of the original stately Elm’s remain around town, but even at the end of their long lives, these 100+-year-old trees are still providing shade, emitting oxygen, absorbing carbon dioxide, slowing and spreading rainfall, as well as providing necessary habitat and roosting spots for hawks, vultures, and many other birds; squirrels, opossums, and raccoons. As Santa Margarita’s historic Elm trees are disappearing, it’s time to consider planting the next generation of street trees to take their place. By making conscientious planting, design, and maintenance decisions we can, not only provide shade and beauty for future generations but also attract and support beneficial insects and enjoy the benefits for years to come. 

Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021


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ue to last year’s COVID lockdown, we, unfortunately, had to cancel our annual Customer Appreciation Day that so many of our loyal customers look forward to. Last year was our official 25 years in business!! With all safety precautions in place this year, we have decided to celebrate!! We are planning a special day just for you on Saturday, April 17 where you will enjoy 25% off storewide, along with amazing basket raffles & samples galore! When we opened the store in 1995, little did we know it would explode into “the store that’s so much more” – all thanks to you! We continue to expand our product lines while maintaining the exceptional quality supplements you’ve learned to trust. From hair and skin care products free of synthetic fragrance and parabens to a variety of meal replacement shakes, the highest quality CBD products, children’s supplements, and pet care. We also have great gift ideas, including beautiful SoulKu bracelets and necklaces! This line of jewelry is handcrafted by stay-at-home moms from Asheville, NC.

Purchases of SoulKu jewelry help to support non-profits that celebrate, inspire, empower, and connect women. Also, check out our Pine Street collection, which includes colorful bags for makeup, essential oils, as well as insulated lunch bags! Also part of that collection are handmade masks and neck and eye pillows! Treat yourself or someone you love! We will make every effort to keep you safe by allowing a limited number into the store at one time, in addition to offering curbside service for call-in orders. My talented staff will be on hand all day to answer your questions and locate what you need. Mark your calendars – this is a big one! Saturday, April 17 from 10 till 5 for the STOREWIDE SALE!! Enter to win one of our many baskets and receive samples with each purchase! It’s our way of saying THANK YOU to our wonderful community for supporting The Natural Alternative since 1995!! WOW! The Team @ The Natural Alternative Bobbi, Victoria, Moriah & Megan


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April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 15

In Other News...

Making Communities Better Through Print.™ GOOD NEWS



NEWS IN A FLASH SLO COUNTY Supervisors vote on groundwater management and address housing needs and water issues facing the county

CITY COUNCIL City Council Reviews Public Input On Measure D-20; 135 community members participated in the study sessions

EDUCATION Board of Trustees Receive Updates on AHS, ACE, and Paloma Creek; High School campus B-Building scheduled to be demolished

SPORTS Fifteen months after he was hired as head football coach at Cal Poly, the Beau Baldwin Era finally began

BUSINESS Link Family Resource Center expands services in 2021 thanks to an award from Mental Health Services Act Fund


Positive Step in Reopening | By Hayley Mattson


nce the State announced the change in tier status on Mar. 3, almost a year after the pandemic began, it meant that many businesses could resume modified indoor operations and activities. Some of those businesses included restaurant dining, movie theaters, and museums, all deeply impacted financially by the pandemic. “This is a positive step in the right direction for our community, and I’m happy that we’re able to re-open more parts of our community,” Dr. Penny Borenstein, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer, explained in a released statement. “But we cannot take this gift for granted. We must remain vigilant as we move forward so that we do not undo this good work.” // Published Mar. 11, 2021

Spring Sports Back in Full Swing | By Connor Allen


he Atascadero High School’s cross-country team was back in action this weekend, taking on the Titans in Nipomo. Atascadero and Nipomo raced on a flat 2.5-mile course that yielded some great times for both the boys and girls. The Greyhound girls defeated the Titans 40-71 while the boys lost 61-44 but were without their two captains. The Greyhound girls were able to run to victory behind strong races from Faith Rocha, who won her second race in a row, Anna Archibald and Kelsie Rigby, who each placed inside the top five. Rocha pushed the pace and led all runners with a time of 14:50. // Published Mar. 11, 2021

NON-PROFIT / EVENTS Tour of Paso Bike Ride Fundraiser Benefits Cancer Support Community on May 2, to raise funds for local cancer patients

COVID-19 UPDATE SLO County Vaccine Task Force Expand Eligibility; CDPH Announces that graduation and commencement ceremony organizers can begin to plan for events

CRIME / RECORD SLO County Sheriff served a search warrant at the home of Ruben Flores, father of Paul Flores in Relation to Smart Case

COMMENTARY How Recalling California Gov. Gavin Newsom Became My Business, Opinion piece by local business owner Aaron Bergh

FEATURE Senior Living: 90% of Americans Indeed Want to Age in Place, by Joanne Peters

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Newsom Visits Cuesta College Vaccination Site By Camille DeVaul


alifornia Governor Gavin Newsom visited the Cuesta College COVID vaccination clinic on Tues. Mar. 2. Newsom made an impromptu visit to the vaccination site following a visit to Palo Alto. The Governor planned to visit a vaccination site in Ventura County after visiting San Luis Obispo. Joining Governor Newsom was San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon, Cuesta College President Jill Stearns, and County Supervisors Bruce Gibson (District 2), Dawn Ortiz-Legg (District 3), and Lynn Compton (District 4). Supervisors John Peschong (District 1) and Debbie Arnold (District 5) were not present. Both supervisors represent the Northern San Luis Obispo County regions. // Published Mar. 4, 2021

SCAN THE QR, ENTER CODE SUB10 TO GET $10 OFF YOUR SUBSCRIPTION SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESS AND LOCAL JOURNALISM Subscribe today and get breaking news, in-depth coverage, people and business profiles, local heroes, and the voice of the community — delivered to your door, online, and inbox! Thank you for supporting local news, local publishing, and local business. ATASCADERONEWS.COM

Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021

San Benito Elementary



here is a new monthly newspaper in Atascadero that is starting to catch readers’ attention. It’s named the “Bengal Bugle,” produced by a student newspaper club at San Benito Elementary School of twelve aspiring journalists and graphic artists and assisted by fourth-grade teacher Kaylie Edgar. The team club is made up of fourth and fifth graders and is genuinely a studentdriven organization from selecting stories all the way down to editing. Cooper Cohen, Audrey Warren, and Karis Dadson make up the fifth graders in the club and are joined by Autumn Anderson, Alyssa Heredia, Charlotte Barazza, Luke Rigby, Coen Myracle, Bear King, Landon Chubon, Valerie Hubbard and Ariana Gomez who are in fourth grade. The newspaper began in January of 2021 as part of an idea that Ms. Edgar had to help the kids feel more connected to the school while dealing with distance learning. What began as a fun idea was quickly grabbed by the excited students who now sacrifice their lunch breaks once a week to meet and discuss their next issue and prepare for virtual publication. “It was something I had been thinking about doing; before this, I taught second grade, so this was my first year with the upper grades, which are a lot more capable of writing,” Edgar shared. “This is something that I have always wanted to do, and with distance learning and students being separated from each other, it seemed like there was no better time to start. Now they have become more connected with what is happening at the school, and it provides something for really

February 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

our whole school to feel connected together.” Not only does the Bengal Bugle produce great articles with insight into how students are liking and adapting to distance learning, but they also include book reviews and a book club, technology updates, Do-it-yourself guides for fun crafts, birthdays and some of the best comic strips in all the county, perhaps the state. On top of producing great content for the newspaper, the Bengal Bugle also encourages students outside of the club to participate and runs articles and competitions that bring in new students. Working together, the young journalists come up with their own topics, assist each other with fresh ideas, edit one another’s work and bring it to Ms. Edgar. She helps them combine it into virtual newspapers for the entire school to enjoy. In searching for new and fun ways to innovate their paper, Ms. Edgar and the Bengal Bugle staff reached out to set up a Zoom meeting in hopes of gaining insight into the world of journalism. The students asked many questions, including how to hit deadlines and what topics are the most important and fun to write about. The Bugle staff also was very interested in how newspapers choose comics as there are a few aspiring graphic artists in the club. So far, the Bengal Bugle Newspaper Club has produced three e-editions of their newspaper and had their newest one hit virtual newsstands on March 1. Each of the three online papers can be viewed online at  | 17

Future Farmers of America


Carly Dabbs

Taking First in the SLO Sectional Speaking Competition

By Connor Allen


he San Luis Obispo Sectional Future Farmers of America (FFA) Creed Competition was held on Wednesday, February 24, via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic and won by Atascadero High School freshman Carly Dabbs. Dabbs will be joined at the Regional competition in April by fellow Greyhound Kensington Witt, who placed fifth overall, and Mackenzy Tucker, who placed eighth out of around 40 other competitors. In the competition, which is only for freshmen in high school, students must memorize and recite the five-paragraph FFA Creed to a panel of judges and answer three random questions about agriculture and all things FFA. The students are given four minutes, and the judges look at memorization, stage presence, interpretation, and pronunciation, among other things. Points are deducted for each word added or redacted as well as for each second they go over the time limit. “It was a very fun experience. I had never done something like this before,” Carly shared. “It was definitely a shock. Earlier in the month, I went on a google meet with my FFA advisor, and we practiced going through the Creed, and he asked me questions. He told me I did well and that I should do well in the contest, but I definitely did not expect to get first because there are so many great people in FFA throughout the county. It was just really great to know my hard work paid off.” The San Luis Obispo section contains students from seven schools in the county, Atascadero, Templeton, Paso Robles, Morro Bay, Coast Union, NOW OFFERING TELEMEDICINE CONSULTS

and Shandon. In the regional competition on April 1, Dabbs, Witt, and Tucker will be competing against students from San Jose to Los Angeles. The FFA Creed, which was written by E.M. Tiffany, is: I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years. I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny. I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil. I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so–for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me. I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task. 

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1111 Las Tablas Rd, Suite R Templeton, CA 93465

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805-434-4848 Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021


3rd Annual Virtual Chicken Run a Success Amid the Pandemic By Connor Allen


he Annual Brynn and Brittni Frace Memorial Running Chicken Fun Run Fundraiser was a success in its third year even though it was forced to operate virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual race has historically been held through the hills of Santa Margarita Lake, where the participants celebrate the spirit and love of running that Brynn and “Bitti” shared during their lives. This year from January 3 through the 31st, runners could share that same spirit from the location of their choosing. Brynn and Brittni were more than running enthusiasts — they were life enthusiasts. The light they carried with them wherever they went continues to shine through the Chicken Run event that carries their namesake, and although the participants were not allowed to gather all together for a day full of miles and smiles, this year, the public still showed their support as 320 people registered for the annual event. “We didn’t feel as though we lost out by going virtual in terms of participation this year. We were very fortunate,” Shari Frace explained. “We were

April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

able to carry on the race that we set out to do in the very beginning, and we felt it was personalized even though it was virtual this year.” As in years past, participants who registered received a swag bag complete with a personalized t-shirt, racing bib and socks, all based on something Brittni or Brynn created. “The shirt was made from a drawing our youngest daughter Brittni had done that was of a free-range chicken in training,” Shari shared. “It ended up being a perfect design for the race this year because we are all a bunch of freerange chickens in training right now. It was a perfect design with the race this year being virtual because we were able to challenge people to go out there and choose their course.”

The run was created to keep the happy memories alive and give back to the community. The monies raised each year from the race go to the nonprofit Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation, which funds scholarships for high school track and cross country athletes at Paso Robles and Atascadero High Schools. The foundation also focuses on community connectivity and providing athletic shoes for runners that need them. This year the foundation has set up four scholarships in the North County, with two for both AHS and PRHS. The scholarships are worth $1000 each and limited to only student-athletes that have participated in cross country or track and field for at least two seasons. The Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation has also donated towards Chico State and their athletic programs in cross country and track and field. The 4th Annual Chicken Run committee is already in the works and has set January 2, 2022, as their date, with the theme being “Keep on Trucking.”  For more information on how to get involved or to donate, visit | 19

Community Unity

Earning A Guinness World Record? Guinness World Record? Earning A ne day in late August, a sort of diamondshaped rock, painted to look like the head of a snake, appeared at the Atascadero Lake Park with a sign that read, "This is a Rock Snake. Add your painted rocks, and let's see how long it'll grow." For the past seven months, the snake has continued to grow and now stretches over 1,200 feet, but its origin has remained a mystery until now. The sparkling, twisting, curving collection of rocks down by the lake began as a way to spread positivity, beauty, and, really, in a way, relaxation. The Rock Snake was started by local Atascadero resident Wanda Kohl, who had taken up an old hobby she used to do with her kids while looking for something to do during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hobby, of course, was finding interesting rocks of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and contours and turning them into fun works of art. "Well, Covid had been happening, and we were

I will try it and see if people like it. Maybe they will want to get involved." Wanda created a sign, painted her snakehead, as well as a few other rocks, and went to the lake with no expectations, just a longing to spread positivity to those in her community through her art. The Atascadero artist follows the popular rock snake community Facebook group "SLO Painted Rocks" and a few other fun pages such as "Rocks Behaving Badly," where people hide rocks around the neighborhood but had never seen one that continued to grow. After placing her first few rocks, Wanda waited a week to return and suddenly found 20 more added to her snake. In early March, the Rock Snake measured over 1,200 feet long and contained upwards of 3,500 stones, each one representing a small piece of the person who made it. It has grown into a fantastic attraction that brings many people to the lake every day to see what new rocks have shown up and, most importantly, to find their rock and make

is totally a community art project. I couldn't be happier that it is going like it is." What started with just a few painted rocks that mostly looked like Easter eggs has now grown into a living piece of art. Those in Atascadero that have chosen to add to the Rock Snake have made it their own, and the creativity has exploded. There are now rocks for sports teams, superheroes, favorite movies, declarations of love, messages of faith, even advertisements for businesses, and ways to get help if you are struggling through the pandemic. There are rocks painted by professionals, amateurs, babies, and the elderly. It has truly become something that belongs to the community and all of the people within it. Perhaps the most interesting part about the Rock Snake is that it also keeps a chronological timeline with each of its scales like the rings inside a tree. If you start at the head, which is positioned at the bridge that crosses the overflow, and walk along the path, you will see where the snake was

all stuck at home. I was going crazy, so I started painting rocks," Wanda explained. "I mean, I would get up in the morning, and before breakfast, I would sit down and paint some rocks. It was really comforting to me; it became something I liked to do. I have some painted rocks from my kids when they were little. So, I just thought maybe

sure it is still in the spot they left it. "I never really thought about it growing all the way around the lake, but over time, I did," Wanda shared through a smile. "Sometimes, I will just walk around the lake and listen to people talk about it and just watch the little kids pick them up. I have seen kids come and place rocks, and it

during the holidays like Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day as the rocks reflect the themes. The art project that started with a humble beginning now has more aspirational goals in mind. In August, it was preposterous to imagine the snake of painted rocks could make it all the way around the lake, but with it about a quarter

By Connor Allen


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Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021

Atascadero resident Wanda Kohl took up an old hobby of rock painting during the pandemic and started the “Rock Snake” at the Atascadero Lake. Photo by Connor Allen

of the way there already, it's beginning to seem possible. The Atascadero News Magazine, along with the help of some community members, the City of Atascadero and the Friends of the Atascadero Lake, have set a goal even higher than anyone ever thought possible. Terrie Banish, Atascadero Deputy City Manager, released the following statement on the City's behalf. "The City is excited to see that our residents and visitors have taken an interest in the Rock Snake. Due to this level of participation, we have been asked to look into what it takes to be considered for the Genius Book of World Records. While we check on what that means, keep creating and adding to the Rock Snake!" Is it possible that the Atascadero Rock Snake could not only be the longest snake on the Central Coast or America but the entire world? It is not certain if the Rock Snake is eligible for the Guinness Book of World Records, but it could be as it meets the criteria. To qualify, the record must be measurable, breakable, April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

standardizable, verifiable, based on one variable, and, obviously, the best in the world. Atascadero is not the first place in the world to have an extensive collection of painted rocks. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the current record for the largest display of painted rocks is in the United Kingdom in memory of a young girl, Isla Tansey, who passed away. The Tansey collection of "painted pebbles" has 8,500 rocks but does not have them positioned into a long trail but rather in a display. However, it turns out that Atascadero may not be the only City trying to break this record during the pandemic. It has been reported that the town of Paignton, England, is also aiming for the record and was nearing 3,000 rocks in June. It is unclear if Paignton has applied for the record, but one thing is clear, Atascadero is making its push and needs more painted rocks from its residents if we want our place in the history books. 

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ocal photographer Brittany App debuted her first film, “Where There Once Was Water,” on the San Luis Obispo Film Festival’s final day, March 14. Brittany directed and produced the film, which took five years to complete. “The day that kicked it off, I was sitting on my porch, and I looked across the street, and my neighbor was power washing his boat in his driveway, and it just made me crazy. And so I thought I needed to do something as a creative person to bring a bit more attention to the issue because some of us are just not understanding what drought means,” Brittany explained. Brittany calls herself an accidental water advocate. After traveling the world in 2008 and seeing the lack of access to clean water, Brittany knew she had a calling to help the water crisis. In 2010, she raised money for WaterAid, an international non-profit providing access to clean water and sanitation globally, by bicycling across the United States and raising $15,000. Initially, Brittany set out to document the effects of the drought throughout the state with photos. That is when she realized there was so much more to the topic than she could cover with just photos, so she decided to create a film.

has become active in the non-profit DigDeep, an organization working to bring running water to Navajo Nation families. Over 1.7 million people in the United States are still living without access to clean running water. In the film, Brittany works closely with Indigenous communities, including Kandi White, native energy and climate campaign organizer. Brittany’s eye-opening film allowed viewers to see the effects of drought, lack of water access, water pollution and then explained ways to combat the crisis. Jason Haas, a partner and general manager of Tablas Creek Winery, was featured in the film as an example of water-conscious practices. Tablas Creek states on its website, “We believe in the potential for regenerative agriculture to make a meaningful contribution to solving the world’s most pressing climate and resource challenges. To that end, we are proud to have become the United States’ first Regenerative Organic Certified™ vineyard in 2020.” Tablas Creek, located at 9339 Adelaida Road in Paso Robles, is a primarily dry-farmed vineyard and uses similar practices in the South of France. According to Haas, grapes can be dry-farmed if they are set up to do

In 2014, Brittany raised funds for her film by placing the campaign on a Kickstarter page. The film has been funded entirely by donations. Brittany reports that she hasn’t made a penny from the film since its start. Brittany traveled around California and the Southwest, some of the driest places in the country. As a result, she

so at an early age. At Tablas Creek, new vines are irrigated for about the first two years, and then they are dry-farmed. The Tablas Creek winery philosophy is, “We believe strongly in wines of terroir—the French term best translated as “somewhereness”—and choose our vineyard and winemakAtascadero News Magazine | April 2021

ing practices to maximize our chances of expressing our terroir in our wines. Our goal is to produce wines with a true reflection of their varietal character, of the place where they were grown, and of the vintage that they came from.” In addition to being water conscious, Tablas Creek practices biodynamic farming. “We began farming the vineyard Biodynamically in 2010 and have incorporated a mixed grazing herd of sheep, alpacas, and donkeys into the vineyard since 2012. Our other Biodynamic practices include our extensive composting program; interplanting fruit trees among the vines, leaving sections of native vegetation, and planting insect-friendly flowering plants to attract and support a healthy mix of insects; building owl boxes to control rodent pests naturally; and keeping our own hives of bees. We received our Biodynamic® certification in 2017.” Throughout filming, Brittany decided she wanted to challenge herself. “I challenged my assumptions and was very happy for it, and it’s a very scalable solution to the problems we face,” Brittany shared. Going into the film, Brittany was convinced cows were an enemy to water.

“I went into this with the assumption, and it’s a pretty common assumption because it’s an unfortunate assumption these days that all cows are bad and eating beef is bad—I forced myself to challenge that assumption because I thought nature designed animals and plants to support each other,” Brittany explained. April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

After meeting with a holistically managed ranch in Northern California, Brittany says she was amazed, “The biggest surprise for me is that it turns out that cows can actually be a champion for restoring water cycles-it’s not that the cows are good or bad it’s our management.” Brittany has been a photographer on the Central Coast for 20 years, growing up in Morro Bay and now living in Carrizo Plains. Since Brittany began her photography business, she has been a photographer for the California Mid-State Fair and says she has always loved the agricultural space. Brittany closed escrow on her Carrizo Plain’s off-grid cabin in March of 2020. Five days later, California went into its first lockdown for COVID. What great timing! Due to COVID, Brittany had to cancel and postpone almost all of her photography jobs. But there is a silver lining in every cloud. Being forced to stay home, she was able to finish her film and passion project finally. The film was featured on the closing night of the SLO Film Fest, on March 14, with a panel hosted by Pepper Daniels followed, all held virtually and through Zoom. From her film, Brittany hopes, “people feel empowered and that there is a way that they can get involved regardless of how big or small or how random or common it feels. I hope that people find a way in their own life where they can be a voice for the water.” She added that she wants people to “Develop a personal relationship with water and to find a way where they can speak up for our water by changing one small piece of their life.” Brittany’s director’s statement, “Through research, curiosity, and love, I have attempted, with this film, to be in service to the water that gives us life. To tell the story that connects us all... the story of water. Time is short. The climate has changed. Water is sacred. We must find a new way. We must write a new story. And we must write it together. The choice point has arrived.”  To learn more about Brittany App’s film, “Where There Once Was Water,” visit


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Sip and Savor




hile not the hidden-away paradise of Shangri-La in James Hilton’s famous novel “Lost Horizon,” Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande are two small wine appellations that wine adventurers have for so long passed by unawares. A sense of quietude blankets this bucolic valley cradled by the Santa Lucia range and Seven Sisters peaks and bookended by the appellations of Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County. The region is filled with a rich history of old vine plantings, one of which actually got revived In the mid-1970s. Bill Greenough painstakingly restored an abandoned vineyard (c.1880) when he founded Saucelito Canyon Winery in Arroyo Grande. Later, in 1982, Jack Niven planted the historic Paragon

Vineyard and established the Edna Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). There were other “firsts” in Arroyo Grande in the 1980s, such as Talley Vineyard’s plantings of pinot noir and chardonnay and Maison Duetz’s (now Laetitia) production of sparkling wine. John Alban made his mark by planting viognier at Alban Vineyard, a whopping 32 acres at a time when only 50 acres were planted in the world and none in North America. What makes the region special is its long growing season, cooled by the fog, kissed by the sun, and shaped by the wind. While this is exquisite pinot noir and chardonnay country, other varieties thrive here vigorously — exuberant albariño and pinot gris, fragrant riesling and gewürztraminer, finicky roussanne, and cool climate syrah.



aucelito Canyon, one of four wineries in Arroyo Grande appellation, prides itself in zinfandel planted in 1880, making it the oldest commercial vineyard in San Luis Obispo County. The Edna Valley tasting room offers a selection of zinfandels, including the 1880 Old Vine zinfandel crafted from that three-acre old vine heritage vineyard. Nearby at Talley Vineyards and Winery, Brian Talley takes justifiable pride in the family’s signature pinot noirs that are silky and lyrical with bright flavors and chardonnays expressing the vineyard’s calcareous soil and the maritime climate. Hailed as master of viognier, John Alban made his mark planting this little-known variety in 1982. More recently, Alban has added syrah and grenache to his portfolio of wines that are stunning and expressive of the hillside vineyard. We tasted barrel samples that included the 2018 amphora-aged viognier and 2017 vintages of three distinctly different syrahs, the white pepper-laced Seymour, the smoky Reva, and silky smooth Lorraine. The winery is not open to the public, but Alban wines are available through wine stores and restaurants.

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stop at the 19th-century townsite of Old Edna is a step back in time. The entire property was acquired by the Stoller family, with the main building transformed to its Sextant and Windemere Wine tasting room with a deli attached. While Windemere wines are for purchase only, Sextant tasting menu offers a Paso Robles selection. Further up, Center of Effort’s spectacular state-of-the-art hillside estate offers a flight tasting of its seductive pinot noirs and opulent chardonnays. Another scenic ambiance awaits at Tolosa, where your tasting experience ranges from lively chardonnays and silky pinot noirs to vibrant Spanish blends from Perinet, Tolosa’s sister winery in Priorat. Jean-Pierre Wolff takes pride in the oldest, “45-year old” chardonnay vineyard in this appellation. He crafts classic wines in an Old World style at his namesake winery, among them a cool-climate syrah and a silky petite sirah backed with supple tannins. Others in the area include Edna Valley Vineyards, Claiborne & Churchill, Chamisal, Kysni, and Biddle Ranch. 

Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021

Happy Easter

Taste of Americana

Red-Eyed Baked Ham

From the Kitchen of

Barbie Butz


don’t recall the source of this quote, but it was in one of my old cookbooks, and I have many. The quote was this, “Life is like a cookbook as each day offers a new recipe.” I tend to agree. I also believe that food and friendship intermingle. I can’t think of many gatherings that do not include some kind of food. And think of the holidays and the food that immediately comes to mind, like turkey and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day, ham for Easter, and hotdogs grilled on the 4th of July. Those gatherings always include family and friends. Many of us learned to cook by watching and helping our mothers and grandmothers in the kitchen. I know I learned many things from both of those women. Later on, after I married, I also learned from friends, just by sharing recipes and talking about food preparation and cooking experiences. Some of us use recipes as a guide to get our creative juices flowing, while others need to follow the recipe exactly as written. Either way, cooking can add so much pleasure to daily life. There’s nothing like hearing the words, “this is so delicious, will you share the recipe?” Of course, if you are creative and have tweaked a recipe, you need to write it down; otherwise, you might not be able to “create” it again! Since we will be celebrating Easter on April 4, I’ve been researching ham recipes and found this one in Bert Greene’s Kitchen, compiled by Phillip Stephen Schulz and published in 1993. Cheers! April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

The recipe is titled Red-Eyed Baked Ham, and the story goes that the dish originated over 150 years ago in the Klondike where the miners, living in lean-to’s or tents without kitchens, survived on a diet of smoked meat. A most enterprising gold digger, it is recorded, threw a spot of bourbon into his fry pan by accident one morning. When it caught fire—as alcohol is prone to do—he put out the flames with a cup of coffee. Thus one of the best boozy recipes of American cookery was created. Smoked ham is sometimes on the salty side. If you think your ham is too salty, give it a fast bath in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Drain it and cool it and dot it with whole cloves. Ingredients: • 1 smoked ham (about 7 ½ pounds) • Whole cloves • 1 clove garlic, crushed • ¼ cup Dijon mustard • 2/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar • 1 cup strong brewed coffee • ½ cup bourbon • ¼ cup heavy or whipping cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the heavy skin from the ham. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the ham in a diamond pattern and insert a clove at each intersection. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Combine the garlic, mustard, and brown sugar in a small bowl; blend well. Smear the mixture over the top and sides of the ham, and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Combine the coffee, bourbon, and cream in a medium-size bowl. Bake the ham for 1½ hours, basting every 10 minutes with the coffee-bourbon mixture. Serve the ham warm or at room temperature.

Mustard Potatoes Au Gratin

Consider serving your Easter ham with this recipe for potatoes.

Ingredients: • 1/3 cup finely chopped green onions • 3 tablespoons butter, divided • 2 cups whipping cream • ½ cup Dijon mustard • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese, divided • 8 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, cook onions in 1 tablespoon butter for 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in cream, mustard, and remaining butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in half of the cheese until melted. Remove from heat. In a greased shallow 2-1/2-quart baking dish, layer a third of the potatoes; top with a third of the sauce. Repeat layers twice; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Cover and bake 25-30 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 12. | 25


Making the Cut


eadhunters Barber Service closes its doors after 58 years of service in Paso Robles, and Atascadero gains an legendary barber. At one time, there were barbershops around almost every corner in Paso. And for many of us who grew up here, Headhunters has always been a staple on Spring Street. Johnny Gates and A.J. Brown (Brownie) opened Headhunters Barber Service in November of 1963, approximately two weeks before the Kennedy Assassination. When Headhunters initially opened, it was inside the Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel. Not long after opening, the shop moved to its current location at 1220 Spring Street, which turned out to be pretty good timing because the Hot Springs Hotel burned down on November 22, 1963. Recently, I was able to visit Headhunters. Inside was a living timeline of the barbershop. Johnny Gates, Cletis Moore, Tim Lyons, and Don Pushea sat around the shop they all owned a portion of at one time. Seated in the shop was Johnny, one of the original owners of Headhunters. Johnny got his start working for Henry Frisby at Frisby’s Barbershop on Park Street. Long-time Paso residents have said they remember a new sign in front of Frisby’s saying “New Flattop Expert Inside.” The latest expert was Johnny, fresh out of barber school. Growing up, Johnny began giving his brother’s flat tops, and it became what he was known for. “I was giving my brothers flat tops and good flat tops too. I was surprised,” he shared. Others remember Johnny for being the “Flat top King.” Seated next to Johnny was Cletis Moore. “I worked for Tex Arnold. That was in ‘6o, ‘61, ‘62, and then I went back down South and came back home in ‘67,” Cletis explained. After working for Tex Arnold, Cletis bounced around to a few shops, including the Men’s Room on Golden Hill, before he landed at Headhunters. Johnny retired from the barbershop in 2011. About three days later, Cletis walked in and took

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over Johnny’s ownership of the shop. Cletis later retired in October 2019. In the corner was Tim Lyons doing what he does best, cutting Harry Ovitt’s hair. “My stepdad was a carpenter, but he always wanted to be a barber, so he’s the one that kind of got me into it. So I said, well, I’ll go try it, and if I don’t like it, I have something to fall back on. I liked it, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” Tim shared.

Previous Headhunters owners: seated Don Pushea, center Tim Lyons and right Johnny Gates.

Tim moved to Paso Robles in 1979 and in 1989 bought Brownie’s share of the barbershop along with Don Pushea. Working as a barber for as long as these men have, they have seen all the trends come and go and then eventually come again. “We used to get a lot of cowboy kids in here. They would get the mullet, but they’d get a flat top. I called them roper doper,” said Tim. But all of the men agreed the absolute worst trend they ever saw was, in fact, the bowl cut. I think it is safe to say that trend did not make a second appearance. Almost any long-time Paso Robles resident or local has been to Headhunters, known someone who goes there or has had their hair cut there for their entire life and now takes their kids there. Harry Ovitt, a former San Luis Obispo County Supervisor for 20 years, said, “Everybody new that comes to town, they would come in here, and it’s the old fashion barbershop, and you didn’t have

to have an appointment, they were just kind of smitten by the place.” “The only other place that was more popular than that was Busi’s [bar]--everybody went there,” Harry added. Johnny reminds me that being a barber was an honest living. “You bounced around a little bit, but you made a livin’, and everywhere you went, our clientele usually followed, which was the good part-everybody knew each other,” he said. After 5o years of cutting hair and over 30 years of cutting hair together, Don and Tim have decided to close Headhunters. Partly due to a rise in rent, Tim and Don have decided not to sign on for another three-year lease for the shop. Having to repeatedly close down the barbershop for COVID lockdown took a hard hit on the shop. “The COVID deal, every time they closed us down, you would see less clients came back,” Don explained. Both barbers say they can sense themselves being replaced by fast cuts and even faster-changing trends. “It kind of opened both of our eyes that we want to slow down-we’ve both been doing it for over 50 years,” Don said. Starting April 1, Tim will be moving to the Haircut Shop in Atascadero, and Don will be at the Men’s Room on Golden Hill Road in Paso. Headhunters is known to many as a reminder of “Old Paso.” Many have told stories of getting their first haircut there and later bringing their children. They remember when cuts were two dollars, the shoe shiners, and the barbers who came and went. To Johnny, Headhunters was a place for everyone. Cowboys, city folks, criminals, and judges, the barbers of Headhunters cut all their hair.  Don Pushea and Tim Lyons can be contacted at: Don Pushea | (805)712-7913 Men’s Room | (805)227-4001, 705 Golden Hill Rd #104, Paso Robles Tim Lyons | (805)550-3731 Haircut Shop | (805)466-2140, 5905 Palma Ave, Atascadero Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021

Financial Planning

Financial Literacy is a Gift That Lasts a Lifetime Sarah Santana Sarah Santana is an independent columnist for Atascadero News Magazine. She is the president of Santana Wealth Management and you can contact her at


inancial tradeoffs, interest rates, and the importance of having an emergency fund: Our current economic circumstances are full of teachable moments we can and should share with our children. After all, they’re probably not learning these topics in school. Only 1 in 6 students will be required to take a personal finance course before earning a high school diploma, according to nonprofit Next Gen Personal Finance. That’s why we’re equipping you with money tips and topics to discuss with the children in your life, plus independent study materials (ahem, videos and games) that will hold kids’ attention while teaching them money management. Keep reading to get to the head of the class. BEING IN CHARGE OF THE BUDGET Are your children constantly asking you for money? One Florida father found a way to nip that in the bud: He had his teen and preteen sign a contract stating what expenses he would pay for, then gave them a set amount of money to spend each

month for clothing, cellphone bill, and extras. “My son’s hard lesson came when his friend pushed him into a pool along with his cellphone. … He learned why it’s important to build a reserve for unexpected expenses,” the father said. Giving your kids a paycheck allows them the chance to make financial decisions – and experience the consequences firsthand. THE ECONOMICS OF HIGHER ED We’ve all asked a kid, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Instead, ask what their interests are and help them explore how they might be applied in a future career. This teaches them adaptability, something of value in a changing economic landscape. As they get closer to making a decision about whether to attend college or trade school, help them think through the costs and benefits. Junior Achievement’s Access Your Future app can help them crunch the numbers. And if you have a child already attending college, know that timing is everything. Yale researchers have found that graduating from college in a bad economy has a lasting negative impact on wages – and many students are considering gap years and grad school because of this. THE ROOTS OF RETIREMENT Raise your hand if you want to raise a child who will hit the ground running when it comes to saving for retirement. Personal finance experts say we should let our children know that retirement is the biggest expense they’ll ever save for, and it’s important to start early. To help them understand the value of compounding, help them open a savings account (or guardian-type brokerage account) where they can experience the power of this phenomenon for themselves.

EXTRA CREDIT KNOWLEDGE When you’re young and don’t have much money, it’s easy to rely too much on credit and jeopardize your financial future. Help your child understand the importance of a good credit score, and explain how you keep yours up. Share stories about how you financed your first car or house, and explain in concrete terms how the interest rate affected the overall purchase price. Finally, consider adding your teen as an authorized user on your credit card and teaching them how to read a statement and pay the balance in full each month. In giving your child the gift of financial literacy, you’re helping set them up for a brighter future. Through a purposeful approach, we can all do our part to raise the next generation of resourceful citizens. HOMESCHOOL RESOURCES For teens: • Search for web-based games like “Money Magic,” “Payback,” “Stax” and “Credit Clash” For younger kids: • Schoolhouse Rock! vintage videos like “Budget” and “Dollars and Sense” • offers Money Smart Kids videos like “Do it Passionately” and “Saving for Success” NEXT STEPS Have family or friends share stories of how they thrived during a recession or found creative ways to stretch a budget. Consider helping your child get started with investing; keeping in mind their investments will change calculations for college aid. Introduce your family members – even the younger ones – to your advisor, who can act as a teacher’s aide for financial literacy. 

805.975.2088 Keller Williams® Central Coast Each office independently owned and operated April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

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Tent City

Port San Luis

The Beacon on the Bluff A Special to Atascadero News Magazine

By Kathy Mastako, Board of Directors, Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers


hen the fourth-order Fresnel lens purchased for Point San Luis was installed in 1890, it alternated between red and white flashes every half-minute. The color was produced by ruby glass screens attached to every other one of the lens’s ten flash panels. The light had been a long time coming. As far back as 1880—perhaps even before—shipping companies had been clamoring for a light, either on Whaler’s Island or on the mainland. Agents for the Pacific Coast Steamship Company petitioned Congress in 1881, arguing that a light would not only benefit vessels entering San Luis Bay but also ships passing up and down the coast. The steamship company pointed to the unfortunate absence of any light between Piedras Blancas and Point Conception, “leaving a space of about forty miles which is not illuminated by the rays of either of these lights.” The company even went so far as to install its own private light and employ a man to tend it. How long this arrangement lasted is unknown. At about the same time the steamship company was writing to Congress, the Queen of the Pacific was being built in Philadelphia: “There is now on the stocks and nearly completed at the yard of Cramp and Sons…a splendid iron steamship for the Pacific Coast Steamship Company, for service on the [Pacific] coast… she will be the strongest and finest specimen of marine architecture under the American flag…” —San Luis Obispo Tribune, November 12, 1881 In 1882, while waiting to see if Congress would appropriate funds for a navigation aid for San Luis Bay, the lighthouse board considered whether Whaler’s Island or the mainland would be a more suitable site. Discussion also started about what type of light would be best. An 1880 lighthouse board report had recommended a third-order lens with a fixed white flash. In 1884, however, the twelfth district lighthouse engineer had other thoughts and wrote to the board’s chairman:

A close-up view of the fourth order Fresnel lens shows the multiple prisms. The chariot wheels underneath the lens allowed it to revolve. Photo courtesy of Bob Mihelic

At first a kerosene lamp inside the Fresnel lens was first used. When electricity came to Point San Luis in 1935, a 500watt lamp with two clear incandescent bulbs replaced the kerosene lamp. There were always two bulbs, in case one burned out. Photo courtesy of David Husted This poster explains how the Fresnel lens works. It has ten flash panels, each with a “bull’s eye” lens in the center. In 1890, a ruby glass screen attached to every other flash panel allowed the lens to emit both red and white flashes. Photo courtesy of Bob Mihelic

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Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021

Port San Luis As the steamers passing are always bound into the Port Harford roadstead, and as the coast both north and south is free from outlying dangers, the light does not need to be visible from any considerable distance, and I am now of the opinion that a fourth-order [lens] would suffice. As Piedras Blancas to the north is fixed white varied by white flashes, and Point Conception to the south is flashing white every thirty seconds, it would seem desirable to introduce red at San Luis as a better distinction. The engineer noted that the lighthouse board’s supply depot on Yerba Buena Island, Ca. had a fourth-order revolving lens in stock: …sent out here as a temporary substitute for Point Conception during the changes at that station. It is arranged for flashes at intervals of thirty seconds; by making each alternative one red, the requirement of the new station would seem to be fulfilled, and an important saving effected. Absent any money to establish a light, the lighthouse board nevertheless continued to discuss its location, going back and forth about whether Whaler’s Island or “San Luis head” would be the better site and whether it would be better to put a fog signal on the island and a light on the mainland. The federal government, by executive action, had acquired Whaler’s Island and planned to purchase thirty acres on the mainland from John Harford. In 1887, the matter was settled. The lighthouse board determined both a fog signal and a light should be placed on the mainland. Congress appropriated fifty thousand dollars for the project. The board agreed the light should flash red and white alternately at thirty-second intervals. The twelfth district lighthouse inspector told the board, once again, “a fourth-order lens and revolving apparatus flashing white every thirty seconds is now stored in the depot at Yerba Buena and could be inexpensively modified here to serve the purpose.” However, before the lighthouse board decided to give the go-ahead to build a light station, a near-catastrophe occurred. On April 30, 1888, at 8 a.m., the Queen of the Pacific groped her way into Port Harford, having sprung a leak: Before dawn, the steamer listed so badly that it was difficult to walk the decks, and when the port was reached, the railing on the upper deck was submerged, and when within about thirty yards of the wharf, the steamer settled to the bottom in about twenty feet of water. Some two hundred and forty passengers were aboard, and all reached shore in safety. During the voyage, the ocean was unusually smooth, which accounts for the happy termination of the affair. Had a rough sea prevailed, it is quite probable there would have been considerable loss of life. —San Francisco Bulletin, April 30, 1888. The sinking of the Queen seemed to fast-track, April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

putting a fog signal and light at Point San Luis. December. On December 2, 1915, the acting The following month, the government acquired commissioner of lighthouses wrote to the third title to Harford’s thirty acres. The twelfth district district inspector in charge of the Staten Island engineer began drawing up plans. In 1899, the supply depot, suggesting the eighteenth (formerly engineer solicited bids to build the light station twelfth) district inspector could use the modern and awarded the contract to George Kenney of fourth-order lens in the lighthouse exhibit if it was Santa Barbara. not intended for use after the Exposition ended. In November 1899, the lighthouse board The eighteenth district inspector wanted it for asked the engineer in charge of the supply depot Point San Luis “where a stronger light is required.” on Staten Island, N.Y., to fit up a fourth-order Perhaps Smith had the ear of the eighteenth lens in its inventory with ruby glass panels to make district inspector while he was tending the lightit flash both red and white. Perhaps the lens once house exhibit and pressed his case for needing a in stock at Yerba Buena Island had been deployed better lens, suggesting that Point San Luis should somewhere else. The lens at Staten Island was be given the modern lens after the Exposition made by Sautter Lemonnier in France in 1878 was over. and was numbered 325. Its various pieces—lens, The third district inspector replied right away, clock, flash panels, pedestal, service table, lamps, stating that the new lens had been purchased and fitments—were contained in five cases, specifically for the Exposition, and there was no numbered 991 through 995. The cases were requisition the supply depot had received that shipped from New York to San Francisco, then would require its use elsewhere. “If the Bureau to Point San Luis. does not desire to keep the exhibit intact, this On June 3, 1890, the lighthouse board issued office sees no objection to the lens, clock, and a Notice to Mariners: pedestal being used by the 18th inspector.” Notice is hereby given that, on or about June The offer, however, was not without strings. 30, 1890, a light of the fourth order, showing red The eighteenth district inspector could have and white flashes alternately, with intervals of thirty the apparatus, but he would have to pay for it. seconds between flashes, will be exhibited from This apparently was a deal-breaker. Point San the structure recently erected at San Luis Obispo. Luis never got the Exposition lens; the original Almost from the start, there was concern fourth-order lens, the one manufactured in France about how far out to sea the red flashes could in 1878, remained in the lighthouse tower. be seen. The red glass was too dense and not The lens flashed its welcoming beam from the proper shade. The suggested remedy, to insert panels of clearer red glass like the panels in use at Point Sur, could not be achieved. Better quality red glass could not be found. Finally, in 1912— twenty-two years after the light was first lit—the Bureau of Lighthouses approved changing the “charBoard member and docent Ed Taintor, in his Keeper’s uniform, explaining the acteristic,” or flash operation of the Fresnel lens to tour guests. Photo courtesy of Bob Mihelic pattern, of the light by removing the red glass screens. About September 1890 until 1974 when an automated beacon was 10, 1912, its characteristic was changed to flashing installed on the lighthouse grounds. In 1976, the white only, every twenty seconds. lens was moved for safekeeping to the museum In November 1915, Point San Luis Keeper in San Luis Obispo’s historic Carnegie library. In William Smith traveled to San Francisco to take 1999, it was moved again, this time to the nearby charge of the lighthouse exhibit at the Pana- San Luis Obispo city-county library. Finally, in ma-Pacific International Exposition for three 2010, it was returned to Point San Luis and weeks. installed in a special room inside the fog signal Keepers chosen to staff the lighthouse exhibit building, where docents explain its history and were selected by the Pacific Coast’s lighthouse operation to guests taking lighthouse tours. district inspectors as a reward for faithful service. Those interested in viewing the lens can do so as The keeper’s job was to care for and explain the part of a docent-led virtual tour. Public tours run equipment on display. Wednesdays at 2 p.m. (; private tours Smith returned to Point San Luis in early can be arranged (  | 29

San Luis Obispo County Office of Education



James Brescia, Ed.D.


It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. Albert Einstein

s we pass a year into the pandemic, local leaders, families, and state policymakers focus on increasing in-person safety and addressing learning gaps safely. An area in which I have conducted research and written for several years is the current and pending shortages of qualified education employees. Traditional education employee shortages are most evident in high-need fields and high-need schools. According to the Palo Alto Learning Policy Institute, these shortages are growing across the state due to a range of pandemic-related factors, including increased early retirements and resignations and a reduced pipeline of incoming teachers. When employers recruit and retain well-prepared employees, job performance, retention, and success in practice increase. As employee shortages in California worsen, many school districts are struggling to fill positions. The Central Coast has consistently enjoyed an adequate applicant pool. However, specialty positions such as teachers of children with disabilities, English Language Learners, and the hard sciences continue to present challenges. According to recent data, many school districts throughout the state are experiencing significant shortages of qualified teachers in these specialty areas. Three years ago, I presented a report to the state legislature based on research and proposed several strategies working across the state. Our study indicated that more than 80 percent of the districts reported staff deficits have grown worse in the past few years. Communities “are experiencing alarming rates of employee vacancies,” one administrator said. “A highly competent teacher workforce is a necessary foundation for improving children’s educational outcomes, espe-

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cially for those who rely on schools for their success.” In our 2018 research study, Dr. James Gentilucci, Professor Emeritus at Cal Poly, identified many communities throughout California that implemented successful local solutions to recruit and retain qualified educators. Many of these local solutions materialized as a grant or scholarship opportunity for individuals pursuing education as a career. Local Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham and local State Senator John Laird support homegrown efforts and continue to champion local solutions in our state legislature. Through the Local Solutions Grant, the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education offers scholarships to individuals seeking a teaching credential serving children with special needs. Contact our office or go to for additional information. We must maintain the emphasis on recruitment and retention at all levels of government. Legislative leaders are in conversations with Governor Newsom about next year’s budget and the challenges education faces because of pension costs, early childhood needs, special education costs, increased safety, and the aftermath of COVID. My office anticipates a need for 50-75 new teachers annually in San Luis Obispo County. This figure could climb if additional retirement occurs because of COVID. Cuesta College is exploring pathways for aspiring educators in coordination with my office as a long-term sustainable solution. Local and state efforts continue to present possible paths for additional homegrown courses of action. We anticipate that the Commission on Teacher Credentialing will again provide funding for non-teaching school employees to become teachers through a competitive grant process, and we intend to notify the community if this materializes. The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education was successful in our grant application and will again participate in the grant program. These grants, along with our apprenticeship grants, reflect the high level of dedication and talent our local schools and districts enjoy. I hope that some of the bright, talented, and caring individuals residing on the Central Coast consider serving as educators, support staff, and administrators in schools, preparing our future citizens. It is an honor to serve as your county superintendent of schools. 

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Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021





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Counter Human Trafficking Team Partner Spotlight:

By San Luis Obispo Counter-Human Trafficking Task Force Board


he San Luis Obispo County Counter Human Trafficking Team utilizes partnerships and collaborations to disrupt and dismantle human trafficking networks locally. Many of the team’s partners are local entities that come from the community, non-governmental organizations, and other law enforcement bodies. While the efforts of all contributors efforts are necessary, critical, and appreciated, one organization has provided consistent assistance and has been the primary collaborative partner in the fight against human trafficking since the inception of the Counter Human Trafficking Team. That organization is DeliverFund. DeliverFund is a non-profit counter-human trafficking organization headquartered in Dallas, Texas, dedicated to creating “scalable” solutions to impact the fight against human trafficking in the United States. DeliverFund is a private intelligence firm founded and operated by a team with a vast array of training and experience. They are a “private intelligence firm that disrupts human trafficking markets by providing intelligence and specialized analytics about human trafficking activities to law enforcement authorities.” Their team consists of employees with backgrounds in the CIA, NSA, special military operations, and law enforcement. In short, they are a cadre of highly skilled and highly motivated individuals with backgrounds in intelligence and investigations that are taking the fight directly to the pimps and traffickers across the nation.

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DeliverFund essentially takes the tactics that have been applied in counterintelligence settings across the globe and have put them to use domestically, assisting American law enforcement authorities to disrupt the domestic human trafficking markets. And they are very good at what they do. As an example of DeliverFund’s dedication to the fight against human trafficking, following the shutdown of “” in 2018, DeliverFund took over the website’s office space, converting what had previously been a workspace of evil and wickedness to a location completely consumed by the desire to fight the evil that human trafficking is. Prior to its seizure and shut down by the federal government, had become one of the largest online marketplaces for buying and selling sex. Essentially, was an online conduit that encouraged and supported the exploitation of humans and knowingly facilitated human sex trafficking. The irony of taking over what was previously enemy territory and converting it to use for good is not lost on anyone on the DeliverFund team. DeliverFund counters the subculture of human trafficking in a holistic manner by equipping, training, and advising law enforcement investigators and then providing support and resources to help victims of human trafficking thrive. These efforts are broken down as follows: EQUIP – DeliverFund has the largest “analyst curated human traffick-

ing database” in the United States. In short, DeliverFund has been able to reduce the time it takes to identify a potential trafficking victim from what may have been days to just a few hours using proprietary software to identify and locate traffickers and exploiters. TRAIN – DeliverFund provides training to law enforcement personnel that integrates the use of technology as well as practical, hands-on instruction in the methodology of identifying and rescuing victims while apprehending and holding traffickers accountable. The training provided by DeliverFund is all-encompassing in terms of how to conduct a solid investigation from beginning to end and includes a victim-centered approach teaching students how to best interact with trafficking victims, giving them the best chance at escaping a life of exploitation. ADVISE – the team at DeliverFund is top-notch with respect to their dedication to the fight against human trafficking. They are highly trained and are all consummate professionals. As mentioned, the team at DeliverFund come from a variety of prior careers, which include backgrounds in intelligence, special military operations, and law enforcement; their skills are used in their efforts to disrupt human trafficking networks. THRIVE – what is so critical is providing rescued trafficking victim’s support. DeliverFund provides the opportunity for victims to not only survive the trauma they have experienced but also thrive and heal by connecting them with support and services. The opportunity to connect with other

survivors is provided as well. DeliverFund’s goal is to rescue victims and turn them from survivors to “Thrivers” and, if appropriate, be connected to speaking and teaching opportunities so they can educate law enforcement and victim service providers on the reality of human trafficking. The goal of this type of training is to provide investigators and advocates a curriculum that focuses on a victim-centered approach and an overall awareness of human trafficking. There are many resources out there - but the San Luis Obispo Counter Human Trafficking Team has seen, time and time again, that a tried-andtrue partner has been and continues to be our friends and partners at DeliverFund.  Note: If any community group is desirous of a training session from the San Luis Obispo County Counter Human Trafficking Team, please contact the Sheriff ’s Special Operations Unit at the Sheriff ’s Detective Division or the San Luis Obispo Counter Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force at the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office. RESOURCES DeliverFund Newsletter DeliverFund Link Tree

DeliverFund Facebook

Froglogic Podcast Episode #62 – Hunting Human Traffickers open.spotify.comepisode/ 5YtNpg8xeSPLU1quCHN uHN?si=3acf953349b44523

Atascadero News Magazine | April 2021

A Special to Atascadero News Magazine



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his month Rick shares with us scenic sights throughout San Luis Obispo County. With Spring in the air, the wildflowers are starting to bloom, and the sunsets are getting later. Living where others dream of vacationing, the incredible sights are many. 1. Bald eagle on the hunt in Atascadero while its mate protects their nest. 2. Happy cows on Pozo Road one fine Sunday afternoon . 3. Freight train patiently waiting on a siding in Garden Farms. 4. Sunset, Morro Bay in the last days of winter.

3 April 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

5. Chinese Narcissus winter bloom in Atascadero.

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Last Word

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when they matter to you. we believe in art, music, sports, education, and kids. we believe in being the most fun. we believe handw e shakes and hugs believe are better than in our likes and history, and shares. our future. we believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. we believe culture eats strategy for breakfast. we believe to change anything, create a new model that makes the old model obsolete. we believe that all ideas are big ideas

and greeting strangers as new friends. we believe small business is a state of mind. we believe everything looks better on high-gloss pages. we believe in the magic of teamwork, hard work, and high fives. we believe in homemade lemonade and w e local honey. we believe believe in family, friends, main street is and sharing warm more powerbread. we believe ful than in lighting each wall street. we other’s candles. believe in holdwe believe in the ing the door, story of us. smiling, waving,

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