Atascadero News Magazine #31 • January 2021

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Business • Shopping • Dining • Events • Arts • People

Formerly known as Colony Magazine

ᄖappy New ᅒear JANUARY 2021 Prsrt Std US Postage PAID Permit 19 13Stars Paso Robles CA ECRWSS

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January 2021

fe at ures

Issue No. 31


Nautical Cowboy

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Martin Luther King, Jr. by hayley mattson

January 18, marks America’s 36th celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day of service that honors the Civil Rights leader’s life and legacy.

Family Farms, Local Harvest by camille devaul

Living on the Central Coast, we are privileged to eat fresh and local food every day. Farmers provide produce, fruits, olive oils, meat, and honey for locals throughout the year.

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Vision of 2021

by heather moreno, mayor of atascadero

Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno shares her thoughts on 2020, the lasting affects going into 2021 and what the New Year holds for the citizens of Atascadero.

Taste of North County by hayley mattson

“Foodies” from both near and far visit to enjoy the roots of our communities. From the farmers to the aspiring artisans, chefs, and bakers we have a plethora of culinary and gourmet tastes right in our own backyard.

On the Cover As we head into 2021, with the weight of the pandemic still on our backs, we continue a journey into the unknown, what we make of it is up to us and what we want it to be. #atascaderostrong Photo by Hayley Mattson of our very own superhero Max and the Atascadero “Monolith” 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.

co nte nts publisher, editor-in-chief

Hayley Mattson

managing editor

Brian Williams ad design

Nicholas Mattson layout design

Michael Michaud

community writers

Denise Mclean Jen Rodman


publisher, editor-at-large

Connor Allen Camille DeVaul

ad consultants

Dana McGraw Jamie Self

office administrator

Cami Martin |


Barbie Butz

Mira Honeycutt

Heather Moreno

Simone Smith

James Brescia, Ed.D.

The Natural Alternative

Josh Cross





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Something Worth Reading Publisher’s Letter Round Town Cross Talk with Josh Cross: Could 2021 be the Year you Start a Business in Atascadero? The Natural Alternative: Happy New You! 13 Stars Media Report: Good News. Community News. Santa Margarita: Making a Fresh Start in 2021 Colony People Isabella Otter: Atascadero Archer Makes USA Archery Team Did You Know?: Who Was Charles Paddock? Features State of the North County: Community and Economic Updates from Local Mayors Taste Of Colony Sip & Savor: Tablas Creek: First Winery to Receive a ‘Regenerative Organic Certificate’ Taste of Americana: From the Kitchen of Barbie Butz Tent City SLO County Office of Education: What Will 2021 Hold? Photography: Rick Evans Captures Moments in Atascadero 2021 Best of North SLO County: 2021 Reader’s Poll Last Word Aliens Off the Hook: The Story Behind the Monolith of Atascadero Directory to our Advertisers

February 2021

PUBLICATION DELIVERY DATE January 28, 2020 ADVERTISING DEADLINE* January 10, 2020 * 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 | January 2021

Call today for Air Conditioning System Service & Maintenance

January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 7

Something Worth Reading


s we start our journey into 2021, we want to share our deep appreciation to our all our advertisers for their ongoing support that allows us to bring our community your hometown magazine. When we launched Colony Magazine in 2018, it was an important step in bringing community information to a wide audience in Atascadero, Creston, and Santa Margarita. We even spent several months mailing out to Morro Bay. The glossy magazine brought the community to life and delivered it to tens of thousands of homes around the area to connect people with what matters. After what is widely considered the most challenging year in a century of America, we continue to provide this community service and advertising opportunity that keeps our community connected and informed.

are also a “colony” of people working together for common interests. We produced a wide range of historical articles to inform our community about the rich history that created Atascadero as it is today. We covered the nature of the founding and the things that inspire our community to be patriotic in the development of the Veteran’s Memorial, the American Heritage Monument, Colony Days parade, and the 4th of July Bluegrass Freedom Festival. Our magazine publishes the history and is part of making history happen.

In 2019, we purchased the Atascadero News, and we further enriched ourselves in being a part of Atascadero’s history. As we head into 2021, we wanted to rebrand Colony Magazine into something that embraced the future of our company and reflected an inclusive approach to our continued mission of Making Our Communities Better Through Print.™ That conclusion was reached with our decision to rebrand as the Atascadero News Magazine and adopt We do this with our strong partner- the American flag as our logo for the ships and active community members magazine. that have locked arms and marched together through the difficulty of We feel strongly that our commu2020 with the resilience that inspires nity represents the quality that can us to continue working as hard as continue to reflect a pursuit of the we do to make our local magazine a highest ideals in making a great staple. We connect people to events, place to live, and our magazine will provide quality insight into local continue to deliver the quality content issues, bring reminders to those who that makes it a part of the fabric of our need it, that we live in one of the most community. We want to thank you for beautiful places in the world, and your continued support as we venture shine a spotlight on those people who forward into a successful 2021. We work together to make it all better hope you enjoy this month’s issue of every day. Atascadero News Magazine. When we launched Colony Magazine, we chose that name to recognize the history of Atascadero and the concept that we as a community

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.

Be well, share love, and be a good human. Nic & Hayley

The new standard in

Senior Living






(805) 296-3239 ï‚&#x; 2025 Union Road, Paso Robles, CA

January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 9

Round Town

Chamber of Commerce



COULD 2021 BE THE YEAR You Start A New Business in Atascadero?






Interim CEO/President | Atascadero Chamber of Commerce

Welcome to Our New November Chamber Members! • A.C.E. Promotions • Commission Buddies • Mari Landscaping Inc. • REMAX Success • Ryan Brockett Architect, Inc. • Cool Marketing • War Room Cellars

think I speak for all of us when I say, “so long 2020 and good riddance!” There is something about a new year and a blank slate that invites new dreams and anticipation. More than others, 2021 brings increased opportunity and support for entrepreneurs and dreamers to start their new business in Atascadero. What are these opportunities? Right off the bat, La Plaza in downtown Atascadero is set to finish and open in early 2021. That’s 30,000 square feet of commercial space just waiting to be used! Their adjacent retail spaces, Block Shops, are made from used shipping containers offering a unique and innovative twist on your standard retail space. Even better news? If you choose to open a business in the La Plaza space, you’ll be opening alongside several new shops, which is great for community and foot traffic. Imagine your business being in the center of the action! As Atascadero’s downtown continues to grow, you’ll have increasing opportunities to reach customers who are already walking and shopping downtown. It’ll come as no surprise that a vibrant downtown is absolutely great for business.

If you are not ready for a retail space yet, or your dream business doesn’t need one, Atascadero still has plenty of opportunities for you. With more people online than ever before, e-commerce and online businesses are booming! Take advantage of the wave on online shopping by launching your concept at one of the new private offices at BridgeWorks Co-Working. Like the La Plaza project, these private offices will be available for entrepreneurs in early 2021. It’s not just private offices that budding businesswomen and men will have access to at BridgeWorks. This space also offers complimentary use of a fully equipped conference room, kitchen, and a fantastic and supportive coworking community. With some of the best high-speed internet around and in the heart of Atascadero’s downtown, you just can’t beat it! The time is now; your dream business is waiting. Let’s get started. If you have questions about what you need to get started as a local business, give the team and me a call. Not only will we give you the resources you need to get started, but we’ll also connect you with SCORE Mentors, an organization that connects individuals with experienced business mentors for free. 

UPCOMING EVENTS FOR JANUARY Harassment Prevention Training | Ongoing Did you know that California mandates harassment training for companies of five or more employees every two years? The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Diversys Learning, Inc. to provide ongoing Harassment Prevention Training. This service will be available throughout the year, so if you add new employees, they can be certified easily or be recertified when due. Food Handler and California Responsible Beverage training is available as well. Sign-up at Design Thinking For Entrepreneurs / Workshop Wednesday Wednesday, January 6 from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Discover how to create a collaborative environment where everyone is responsible for design. You will go through design challenges and sprints that can be incorporated into any workplace or startup to unlock creativity and innovative thinking. Make Your Website Work For You / Workshop Wednesday Wednesday, January 13 from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Learn how to create a search-friendly website that drives user action and supports their goals. Whether launching a new website or sprucing up an old one, this workshop will help.

Register for the above virtual events at or by calling (805)466-2044. Are you a Freelancer or Entrepreneur? Tired of Commuting? The BridgeWorks offices are perfect for anyone looking to eliminate distractions, get plugged into a community, enhance productivity and stay motivated. We’ve ensured that our prices are low for OUR community to ensure you can focus on work and not have to sweat affordability.

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Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021



Happy New You!!

s the year 2020 has been challenging, to say the least, I resolve to maintain gratitude for all that I am blessed with, even during difficult times. I am so grateful for my wonderful team, loyal and supportive customers, family and friends, my health, and waking up to another beautiful day! If you are fighting pandemic weight gain, dealing with anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness, we’re here to help! Starting with the obvious - healthier food choices, exercise, and managing stress will lead to better sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to increased hunger during the day, especially for sugar and refined carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Stop by and let my team show you the selection of quality B vitamins (important for nervous system support), as well as adaptogens for supporting those important stress glands, the adrenals. When under chronic stress, the adrenals may inappropriately secrete high levels of cortisol, which will definitely put you in weight gain mode. Not good. Customers rave about Ortho Molecular AdrenAll, which will not only boost your daytime energy but also support a

proper cortisol release allowing you to have energy during the day and better sleep at night. Win-win!! Some of the most severe insomniacs have found relief with our selection of sleep formulas that include Charlotte’s Web CBD Sleep gummies, Life Extension Time Release Melatonin, CALM magnesium sleep gummies, powder & capsules, Pure Encapsulations Best-Rest Formula, Integrative Therapeutics Cortisol Manager, and many more! Brewing a cup of Sleep & Relax tea is a great way to promote a sense of calm to prepare you for a great night’s sleep! Detox/Weight Loss Programs If you’d like to jump-start effective weight loss, you can sign up for a 10 day or 21-day weight loss program. We are here to help you through these programs, which are balanced, safe, and effective for not only effective detoxification but also support healthy weight loss! Say goodbye to 2020 AND Covid weight gain. Call or stop by for more information and kick-off 2021 in a healthy way! Wishing you a blessed new year, Bobbi & Team


Happy Holi days ( 805 ) 466-7744

HOME  AUTO  LIFE  FINANCIAL SERVICES January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 13

January / February 2021


HOW TO GUIDE March 2021

CC TRVLR + VINO Spring 2021


Our Bi-Annual How to Guide is back; need assistance on how and when to buy a home or pick your next heater or home appliance? We have you covered. The How to Guide is designed to give you informative information straight from the experts in North County.

Central Coast TRVLR + Vino takes you on a unique adventure along the Central Coast from Monterey to Malibu. Introducing travelers to new restaurants, tasting rooms, museums, parks, beaches, and so much more. We are planning on 2021 to be the year of stay-cations and playing in our own backyard.

We are excited to announce the re-brand and launch of Central Coast Ranch Life + Equine Enthusiast. Advertising and Editorial will include Ranch and Farm life, Equine, Agricultural, Rodeo, and Farming along California’s Central Coast.

PASO ROBLES MAGAZINE, COUNTDOWN TO 20 YEARS May 2021 marks the 20th Anniversary of Paso Robles Magazine. As we countdown the months, we will be honoring the original logo and some of the stories that we all know and love that have been featured over the years.



Our 8th Annual Best Of North SLO County! After 2020, we hope to believe it will be better than any in recent memory! So many businesses dug in and made the best of a very challenging year, and now is your chance to give them some much-needed love. Be sure to cast your vote today! Voting ends January 10.

Support Local Journalism by subscribing to our weekly newspapers, and for a limited time when you sign up online, use code 2021 to get 10% off your annual subscription today! LIMITED TIME ONLY

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ATASCADERO NEWS MAGAZINE, FORMALLY KNOWN AS COLONY MAGAZINE After purchasing the Atascadero News in 2019 and we further enriched ourselves in being a part of Atascadero’s history, we wanted to re-brand Colony Magazine into something that embraced the future of our company and reflect an inclusive approach to our continued mission of Making Our Communities Better Through Print.™ That conclusion was reached with our decision to re-brand as the Atascadero News Magazine and adopt the American flag as our logo for the magazine. Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021

Santa Margarita

Simone Smith

Making a Fresh Start in



ahoo! Congratulations and welcome to 2021, a new year that is FULL of potential. After our holiday clean-ups are done, we can finally relax a little, reflect on lessons learned from this past difficult year and begin to move forward. With knowledge, a shift in perspective, and a few adjustments in using what we have available right outside our doors, we can begin planning a fresh start into a happier and healthier new year. After a year that seemed to alternate between paralysis and running through an endless gauntlet, 2020’s “word of the year,” according to Merriam-Webster and, was PANDEMIC (really no shock there). We have made it through a crash course in creativity, learning to adapt and modifying our lives to help keep ourselves and our communities healthy and safe. Vaccinations are on their way, and It’s been drilled into our heads to wash our hands, avoid crowds, keep social distance, limit our indoor exposure time, and wear a mask when outside of our homes and around others. Taking these simple precautions has proven to be the most effective means to prevent the spread or contraction of COVID-19. Although much is still unknown, public health officials encourage people to participate in outdoor activities for physical and mental health, stay home and help our communities by shopping local and ordering take out until our situation improves. So, what else can we do? In talking to people over the past year, the biggest thing many missed was having a social life; we know that with more people, the greater the risk, but there are ways to have fun and be responsible. Here are some ideas to get started. Plenty of space for good air circulation is key so give fresh air a top priority when looking at your living situation. It’s nice to have a quiet place to relax or fun to get together for a meal, games, or entertainment, and depending on space, your surrounding yard can easily be turned into an inviting outdoor extension of your home with different areas designed for different uses, perfect for you, your family or a small gathering of friends. Do you love to cook? An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a barbeque with prep and serving spaces, preferably located close to the house for convenience and near seating, or an outdoor dining area. Games are always fun with family and friends, and Bocce Ball, Horseshoes, Croquet, and Cornhole are four examples of games that are naturally socially distant and fun, suitable for a back open area with more space. Ready for a movie night? An outdoor theater can be created in a dark part of the yard and as simple as a flat wall or fence with a white sheet for a screen, portable projector, and seating area. A fire pit is always an inviting evening gathering spot, and a vegetable garden is a must-have for the freshest and most flavorful produce. Don’t have much outdoor area of your own here in Margarita? Don’t fret, you’ve got options without even leaving town. All you need is to gather up some gear and meet up with a friend or two for a friendly game of Tennis or perhaps practice a few jump shots on the half-court located behind the Community Hall. Bring your own set of horseshoes to play a game at the pit located on the north side of Santa Margarita Community Park, or bring and set up a game of Badminton, Croquet, or Cornhole on the park lawn. Will there be a tournament in the future? It only takes a little organizing! Also, remember there are still opportunities for outdoor yoga to refresh your mind and body, and it’s always easy to meet up for a dog walk, bike ride, or hike. Hmmm, I think I feel better already and am ready to get started on some plans for outdoor fun. Masks are really not a big deal if we are going to be close or indoors, but fresh air is calling, and the possibilities await.  January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 15

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By Hayley Mattson


I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. 16 |

onday, January 18, marks America’s 36th celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. Honoring King with the sacred status of a federal holiday, of which there are only ten, none other named for a 20th-century figure, is a testament to the unifying power of his legacy. King’s most important work applied America’s Founding ideals to the cause of civil rights. The last best hope for true racial progress, King realized, was solidarity: For people to see and treat one another as equals, they had to feel the tugs of a bond far stronger than either race or politics. For King, that bond was America. After all, there are two words in the phrase “civil rights,” and King grasped that both are crucial. Civil rights are about the fair and equal participation of all citizens in the American community. For those rights to have any power, the bonds of that community must be close-knit and resilient. “King’s greatest legacy is helping secure those rights while strengthening our national idea, not undermining it. He understood that so much of our country’s racial history, from the Civil War to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, was not a rejection of American values. To the contrary, these episodes

were parts of a long struggle to live up to our Founding ideals of equality, liberty, and democracy.” President Donald J. Trump stated in a proclamation last year of the 35th celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. “I criticize America because I love her,” King said in a speech about the Vietnam War, “and because I want to see her to stand as the moral example of the world.” All American’s alike can learn from King’s example. “In the United States of America, every citizen should have the opportunity to build a better and brighter future. United as one American family, we will not rest, and we will never be satisfied until the promise of this great Nation is accessible to each American in each new generation.” The premise and promise of King’s dream is that we don’t need to replace or transform our Nation’s shared ideals to make our country a better place. We simply need to live up to them. “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” Martin Luther King, Jr.  Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021

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Colony People

Community Champion

Atascadero Archer Isabella Otter

Makes USA Archery Team


ollowing her historic run through the indoor season in early 2020, local archer Isabella “Bella” Otter competed in the outdoor archery circuit. She performed so well that she officially earned herself a spot on the USA Archery Team. Otter began 2020 with a completely dominant indoor season. The Atascadero High School (AHS) junior reeled off two state championships, a sectional championship, and a national championship, all in the span of three short months. Following her record-setting indoor season, Bella was surprised in May with sponsorship and a new bow from one of the world’s top companies, Precision Shooting Equipment (PSE), just in time to train for the outdoor season. Riding a tidal wave of confidence and with new equipment in hand, the now Greyhounds senior set her sights a little higher and entered the second half of 2020, aiming for a spot on the USA Archery Team. With her goals set, Bella put in the work and preparation needed to achieve her dreams. First and foremost, she calibrated her new bow, which took nearly four months. She also wanted to approach this

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By Connor Allen

season a little differently than in years past. “I transitioned from a lot of physical training into mental training,” Bella explained. “Because they are such a talented group of girls, you know the skill is there, and you know that you have the skill, so really it comes down to your mental game. Who can keep their head in the right place in high-pressure situations.” For the next couple of months, while waiting for her bow, Bella focused on developing mental toughness and the ability to stay calm and relaxed during tense situations hoping that it would help later in the season when she needed it most. “Everyone has their own method of doing it,” she said. “I meditate; my mom is a life coach, so she has tactics and tools that I learn from her. I read a lot of books from other competitors and talk with them to see what their process is like.” In September, after four months of waiting, Bella’s bow was perfectly calibrated thanks to help from her coaches and generous sponsors like PSE, AAE, Truball, Bee Stingers, and the people at Central Coast Archery. For the next month, Bella dialed it in, shooting at least 72 arrows each day and heading out to small competitions to prepare for the gauntlet she was about to run. Entering the season, the AHS senior thought she would have to enter and perform well at three of the four USAT tournaments, but after COVID-19 caused a cancellation in Arizona, she realized that her national championship performance would count in its place. Suddenly, the impossible mission moved to just improbable. In early October of 2020, Bella made the trip to Chula Vista for the SoCal Cup. A strong opening round carried her into the eliminations, where she made it into the quarter-finals and was outshot. With points from her national title and the SoCal Cup, Bella knew she needed a great weekend in Florida at the Gator Cup in November to achieve her ultimate goal. To make the USAT, archers must rank in the top five of their age group, gender group, and bow style. Bella’s class called the Compound Cadets, is for girls ages 15 to 17 that shoot with a compound bow. To make the team and officially don the red, white and blue, she would need to finish in the top five of over 100 qualified competitors.

The Gator Cup was held the weekend of November 7 in Newberry, Fla. Standing 50 meters away from her target as she warmed up on Friday, Bella realized this weekend was going to put her mental strength to the test. Not only did she have to deal with nerves and the everyday stresses of a big competition but also with tropical storm Eta that was rolling into Florida that weekend, bringing lots of wind with it. Even with the wind, Bella rolled through the qualifying rounds and advanced to the first stage of eliminations, where adversity finally struck. “Just as I release, this giant gust of wind comes up and adjusts my release and makes my arm fly open, and I shoot just outside the five-ring,” Bella shared. Her shot earned her zero points and put her behind her competitor with just two rounds to go. The Atascadero superstar focused on what she needed to do, shot herself back into the competition, and advanced to the next round. Bella rode the bounce-back win into the next round and again advanced, this time by just a single point, and punched her ticket onto the USAT. The announcement did not come immediately. Following the Florida tournament, Bella and her family returned home, and for the next three days, she checked her phone every 30 minutes dying with anticipation. “I had it bookmarked so I could go right to it. Tuesday (November 10), I refreshed it after coming home from cross country practice, and I froze. I couldn’t move,” she said, recalling when she saw her name. Unfortunately, the Compound Bow is not currently an Olympic sport, but it becomes more and more of a possibility as each year passes. “Really, I just get to wear USA on my back during competitions, which is the coolest thing,” Bella said. “It is totally fantastic, and I am over the moon about it, but there is obviously a lot more to be learned.” While many may have struggled through 2020, Isabella Otter excelled, and while she isn’t quite sure what her future holds, she knows that archery will likely be a part of it. However, finishing school is her primary objective before worrying about turning to the professional ranks. For anyone interested in archery or meeting perhaps a future Olympian, Bella works at Central Coast Archery on Saturdays and encourages anyone to come in that wants to learn to shoot.  Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021




ew questions go unanswered in a small town such as Atascadero. Seemingly everyone knows a little bit about everyone’s business, and if they don’t, they can point you in the direction of somebody who does. However, over the years, it has become increasingly hard to find information about the founder of perhaps Atascadero’s most unique and unexpected feature, the Charles Paddock Zoo. There are no books in the Library about Mr. Paddock, whose friends referred to as “Chuck,” and a slew of Google searches using different keyword combinations returns only calendar reminders for upcoming zoo events and various articles on some of the newer animal attractions. In speaking with community members who knew and worked with Paddock, they fondly remember a man whose vision led to Atascadero having its very own Zoo and the history behind it. Paddock worked as a San Luis Obispo County park ranger and was responsible for the lake and park itself and the other parks in town, including the Sunken Gardens and the grass mall that ran below the high school grounds around the city administration building. As he oversaw the grounds of Atascadero, Paddock took up an affinity for collecting animals. In 1955, the County permitted him to move his enclosures from their old place to the spot they occupy today. By 1959, Paddock was watching over 125 animals with mostly birds and a few mammals. In 1962, the Zoo’s original version was formed as the “Children’s Zoo Friendship Society,” which held its grand opening in 1964. Over the years, especially while Paddock was in charge, the Zoo contained a wide variety of exotic animals acquired in various ways. Paddock would take in some animals that were sick and rehabilitate them. There are stories of him trading with the circus that ventured into town once a year, and he even once came to own a “retired” chimpanzee that used to appear on television. The most prestigious of his early animals were a pair of African Lions named Nathan and Valley Joey, according to a chapter on the Zoo in L.W. Allan’s book “Atascadero The vision of one — the work of many.” While the Zoo did contain exotic animals, it also had a section with farm animals and an exhibit for his very first animal, a possum named Cosmo Topper. There are many stories about Paddock, from giving lion cubs to families in town to watch over as well as tales of him walking the lions and other animals around the lake that it becomes difficult to tell fact from fiction. January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine





By Connor Allen

The 1960s were a much different time. By all accounts, Paddock was a quiet, tough, compassionate man that always helped where he could. As a park ranger, he was also a big part of the Boy Scouts and taught many in the City the fundamentals needed to be handy and self-sufficient. He believed in the power of hard, honest work and regularly employed boys in the City for manual labor needed around the parks. One former journalist, Brad Humphrey, is quoted in Allan’s book talking about working for Paddock, “At the time, I didn’t believe the job would build character, but it did. Many a young person’s characters was shaped by Charles Paddock.” Former Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley remembered compass hikes where Paddock would drop a troop of scouts off at the top of the SLO Grade and provide them with only a map and compass and wait for them at Cerro Alto. He also organized occasional boxing nights for boys to work through their problems with one another with supervision. He was, in a manner of speaking, old school. Paddock would have to get creative to feed his exotic animals. Atascadero’s version of “Joe Exotic” would pick up “roadkill” such as deer or acquire old, dead horses and grind them up to provide food for the lions. He even once borrowed a truck to load up many rejected frozen turkeys from a processing plant in Bakersfield. The County took formal ownership of the Zoo in 1967 and changed its name to “Atascadero Children’s Zoo.” It wasn’t until 1977 that the County recognized Paddock’s work and officially renamed it the Charles Paddock Zoo. Unfortunately, the founder’s story does not come with a happy ending. After decades of fighting to keep the Zoo open and alive, Paddock resigned amid dealing with the loss of his son, Michael, who had recently given his life fighting for his country in Vietnam. Michael was a corporal in the US Marine Corps and received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars of Valor for his service and sacrifice. Paddock took his own life not long after, in April 1980. The County relinquished ownership of the Zoo in 1979 when Atascadero voters approved incorporation, and it has been under the City’s control ever since. Since 1979 the Zoo has undergone a number of improvements and is now accredited by the American Society of Zoos and Aquariums. On July 4, 2015, the City of Atascadero celebrated the Zoo’s 60th Anniversary, debuting Paddock’s bronze statue out front with his first furry friend, Cosmo Topper, smiling on his shoulder.  | 19

A Special to Atascadero News Magazine Atascadero and Paso Robles Chamber present the





n December 10, the Atascadero and Paso Robles Chambers of Commerce teamed up virtually for the fifth annual State of North County. The Chamber event featured speakers from the Economic Vitality Corporation, Dan Baum, Shutterfly’s founder, and community updates from Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno and Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin. Newly-elected District 17 State Sen. John Laird opened the event with brief remarks, expressing his excitement in serving San Luis Obispo County and the rest of his constituents. Laird, who was sworn in on December 7, said he had begun working on getting San Luis Obispo County out of the Southern California Region as it relates to the regional stay-at-home order. Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno shared what the City has done during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as what the City plans to do in the future. Atascadero hosted Movies in the Park drive-in style, a virtual Brew at the Zoo, and a Santa’s reindeer pop-up and Trail of Lights for the holidays. Charles Paddock Zoo has been focusing on a virtual education video series with zoo tours. Moreno touched on a variety of topics, including the information meetings coming up for measure D-20, the City’s continued work with Bridgeworks, a co-working space with the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, and a focus on improving the connectivity and broadband issues in North County. The City also completed its Housing Element Update. “What is really important for us in the City is to hear from our constituents and our business owners. We are having a series of public meetings that are being scheduled in early 2021,” Moreno said regarding the passing of Measure D-20. Atascadero’s 1 percent sales tax increase,

20 |

By Connor Allen and Camille DeVaul

Measure D-20, was passed by voters on November 3 and is expected to bolster the City’s fire and police departments. Moreno said 2021 was going to be significant for the City as it begins updating the General Plan. Following Moreno was a spirited presentation from Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin, where he transported the listeners to the “Reimagination Zone” while talking about Paso Robles’ sales tax Measure J-20. Of course, this was related to the alternate universe created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Martin went over challenges Paso faced before and after COVID in various categories like street repairs, local economy, housing, and homelessness. The recently passed tax measure J-20 is set to prioritize fire, police, and street repairs. The Grandview Apartments on Spring Street have been refurbished and are ready to be rented, increasing housing in the city. Before the pandemic, there was no homeless shelter in Paso Robles. Martin said this led many to seek shelter in the Salinas Riverbed, leading to numerous fires and water contamination issues. Thanks to organizations like the El Camino Homeless Organization, part of Motel 6 in Paso Robles will be a homeless shelter. Since COVID started, it became evident that employment opportunities in Paso Robles were primarily tourism-driven. Not ideal in a world where stay-at-home orders have stalled tourism. Thus telling Martin Paso Robles needs to diversify its employment opportunities. How this will be done is still up in the air. Overall, Mayor Martin remained optimistic that Paso Robles will return to its pre-COVID bliss. Martin brought the audience back to the “Reimagination Zone” and closed with, “We

remain a can-do city and a can-do county.” Maria Kelly, Interim Executive Director of EVC, and Loreli Cappel, EVC Senior Project Director, gave presentations on the economic state of North County. The pair said 2020 has been challenging due to COVID-19. Kelly pointed out that before the start of the pandemic, wages had increased from 2019 to 2020 in San Luis Obispo County. According to Kelly, in October, SLO County’s economy was in a slight recovery, and unemployment was 6 percent. Cappel highlighted some of the efforts of ECV, including organizing a broadband summit on February 18 and working with SLO Partners on a 10-week virtual digital marketing course. Keynote speaker Dan Baum founder of Shutterfly began his presentation with a little background on himself before analyzing a couple of businesses in North County that have successfully pivoted during the pandemic. Baum highlighted local restaurant Thomas Hill Organics, which shifted to a stronger online presence and family-style meals to help them navigate the ever-changing business landscape in front of them. Monica Gibbs, Area Director of External Affairs at AT&T overseeing San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Kern counties, gave a presentation on workplace diversity. “I was extremely pleased with the quality of speakers and the content they provided,” Atascadero Chamber Of Commerce CEO Josh Cross shared. “Attendees have commented how much they enjoyed learning about what’s happening in the North County and that there is progress on issues of economic development, diversity, and broadband connectivity. To find more events or to stay connected to the community, visit the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce at  Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021

A Special to Atascadero News Magazine



Vision for


y favorite thing about Atascadero is the people. We work hard and pull together to achieve great things. I strongly believe that the future of our community is not about “my” vision but instead must be “our” vision for Atascadero, with everyone planning, contributing, and working as a team to determine and then achieve that vision. Two years ago, I was invited to describe my vision for the future of Atascadero. I noted then that back in 2014, our community had set forth a 10-year vision as a city offering outdoor recreation, culinary adventures, thriving arts, historic vibe, and a diversity of experiences to be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. Over the past six years, we’ve made a great deal of progress and are well on the road to fulfilling that vision. Our downtown is more vibrant with the opening of many new shops and businesses. The Chamber of Commerce and Bridgeworks offices, along with Wild Fields Brewhouse, have heightened economic activity at Colony Square. The exciting La Plaza mixed-use development in the downtown will house residential units together with commercial space and be bordered by a new public plaza, providing a new locale for events and outdoor dining, adding to the excitement and vibrancy of this burgeoning area.

Great strides were being made. Then 2020 and COVID-19 struck, waylaying just about everyone’s best-laid plans. Even so, Atascadero continues to make progress and move forward. A diverse economy, where the amount of jobs, especially head of household, is on par with housing supply, is key. More jobs in Atascadero means more success for our retail and restaurant sector. More jobs means fewer people on the freeway, helping the environment. More jobs mean a better quality of life for our residents. In order to support head of household jobs and working from home, as well as today’s online education needs, SB1090 funds could be leveraged to help obtain grants to support investments in technology and infrastructure, expanding our broadband connectivity capabilities. We can seek opportunities to work with local partners for a regional strategy to acquire funding and identify the best providers to bring improved connectivity to Atascadero. To further encourage head-ofhousehold jobs, we can consider committing SB1090 funds to support expansion of the Chamber’s Bridgeworks Co-Working space, bolstering funding already provided by the City. In November, Atascadero voters passed D-20, the City’s 1 percent Sales Tax Measure, an investment in

January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

public safety, infrastructure, economic development, and more. One of the Council’s highest priorities when considering this measure was to ensure a high degree of community engagement in determining where and how these funds should be invested. A series of Public Meetings and Study Sessions are scheduled for early 2021 so that members of the community can attend and have their voices heard. Our General Plan was last updated in 2002, and it is time for us, as a community, to envision the next 20 years. We’ll identify commercial and residential development opportunities and bring more consistency to our zoning code, enabling us to work with landowners to optimize under-utilized properties along El Camino, Morro Road, and in the downtown to the benefit of property owners and residents. We will also consider multi-story use around Sunken Gardens, which has the ability to increase the value of these properties, perhaps providing the needed incentive for medical office property owners to sell to others or invest themselves in repurposing the use of these lots. And the Downtown Enhancement Plan will increase safety and provide a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere to draw more people into our downtown businesses.

Atascadero’s new Housing Element adopts policies to help guide the City towards supplying ample housing, and there are already several projects in development that will provide new housing for a wide variety of family sizes and income types. The City will continue to work to fulfill a vision of the Del Rio commercial area being built out with a business park, tourist, retail, and residential uses. Like elsewhere in California, Atascadero continues to face the challenges of homelessness. The City is connected and involved with local organizations providing food and shelter, counseling, in-patient care, sober living, and many other services. The City supports the partnership between ECHO and the City of Paso Robles to encourage a robust regional response to this issue. Atascadero is a unique, vibrant, generous community with a volunteer spirit second to none. We’re warm, welcoming, and love our small-town feel – something we never want to lose. We think it’s vital, and we work to ensure that every member of our community feels valued and respected. My vision is that Atascadero is a place where our residents can live, work, and shop. We will keep our unique charm and genuine hospitality, never having to trade it for economic vibrancy. We will have both.  | 21


Local Harve st


By Camille DeVaul

North County Farmers Markets & Hours:

Paso Robles | Tuesday & Saturday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Templeton | Saturday 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Atascadero | Wednesday 3 - 5 p.m. Baywood | Monday 2 - 4:30 p.m.

Local Farms: Atascadero • Mt. Olive Organic Farm • Rocky Canyon Farms • Fair Hills Apple Farm • Farmer Frank’s • Beewench Farms Mushrooms • The Groves on 41 • Foss Farm • Loo Loo Farms Templeton • J&R Meats • Magnolia Produce and • Twisselman Ranch Beef Flowers South County • Homestead Olive Ranch • Bear Creek Ranch • Templeton Valley Farms • Los Osos Organic Farm • Outlaw Valley Ranch • De La Cruz Farm • Templeton Hills Beef • Mauro Perez Paso Robles (and surrounding) • California Bee Company • Matthew’s Honey • Farmermaid Flowers • Hernandez Larsen • Cirone Farms Family Farm • Dragon Spring Farm Farmers Market Food Vendors and Restaurants using Local Ingredients: Paso Robles Atascadero: • Ben’s Custom Meat Cutting • A-Town Humble Pies • Negranti Creamery • Garcia’s Tamales • Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ • LaDonna’s • TASTE! • Colony Market & Deli • Alchemist Garden • Nautical Cowboy • Thomas Hill Organics • Nogi Sushi Restaurant • McPhee’s Canteen • Street Side Ale House • Red Scooter Deli • Guest House Grill • Odyssey World Cafe South County & other: • Firestone Walker • Vintage Cheese Company Templeton: • Breaking Bread Bakery • BellaVia • Good Tides Organic Bistro • Pier 46 Seafood Market • Old Port Fish • Charter Oak Style Meats • Stepladder Creamery • JC’s Kitchen • Farmers Market • Jacks Bar and Grill Inspired Soup • Kitchenette Just to name a few!

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here once was a time when everyone grew their food. Everyone had a garden, a flock of chickens, dairy cows and goats, and maybe a few hogs. You only ate what you grew or raised yourself. Then came the grocery store. People became used to the convenience of running to the store to grab what they needed for dinner that night. Soon, many of us lost the art of garden and husbandry. But there are those out there who keep the tradition of growing their food alive. They grow for themselves, and they grow for you, the consumer. And in North County, we have a lot of those gifted people. Living on the Central Coast, we are privileged to eat fresh and local food every day. Locally grown means the product was grown and harvested within 100 miles of your city. We are lucky enough to have an abundance of local farmers who provide various produce, fruits, olive oils, meat, honey, and almost anything you can think of. Please take advantage of it! Did you know there are several health benefits to eating locally grown food? Bobbi Connor, owner of The Natural Alternative Nutrition Center and Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbalist, always suggests local honey for those struggling with allergies. Bobbi also suggests eating locally grown food because you know where it is coming from, and you know it is fresh because it hasn’t been shipped from all over! One of the best places to purchase from local farmers is by shopping at farmers’ markets. There are four farmers’ markets each week in North County alone. “I believe that one of the best places to support locals is your little farmers’ markets in each little town,” says Robyn Gable, manager of the North County Farmers Market Association, “You can get fresh produce, it lasts longer, and it’s fresher. The people, a lot of times, pick it fresh that morning to sell.” Most importantly, eating locally means supporting local families and your local economy. “You’re also going to be supporting so many families. Not only the farmer’s families but sometimes they hire people to sell for them, so at this market today, you’re supporting maybe 13 families, maybe more. All you have to do is buy eggs over here and get some bread over there and some fresh produce here and there,” Robyn shared. Shopping at farmers’ markets ensures you will be eating seasonally. Seasonal produce has been harvested at prime ripeness, creating nutrient-dense produce. When shopping at farmers’ markets, consumers can build a relationship with the farmer. Meet them face to face and ask about their practices, their history, why they love farming their crop. Several restaurants take advantage and use local ingredients for specials on their menu, and the majority of the food vendors at farmers’ markets use produce from the market. Alicia Denchasy, an owner of A-Town Humble Pies, says, “90 percent of all our products are all through what we can get through the farmers market.” When asked why Alicia chooses to source her ingredients locally, the answer was simple, “It just seems like the right thing to do. I mean, that’s what they are here for. For us, it was great just because we want to support each other. This is our community—we’ve met all these people and learned about what they have, learned how we can use it in our product, and then we’re also educating our other consumers about the different kinds of fruits and vegetables that are out there.” Eating locally in North County is easy to do. And doing it benefits your health and community in more ways than one. Visit for more information on North County Farmers Markets. See below for market locations and hours.  Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021

Taste of

North County vol. 2

Discover delicious cuisine, right in your own backyard

Hush Harbor Back Porch Bakery The Nest The Porch Santa Margarita Colony Market & Deli Street Side Ale House Byblos Mediterranean Grill Guest House Grill Nautical Cowboy Odyssey World CafĂŠ

January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 23

Taste of

North County By Hayley Mattson


ver the last decade or so, North County has grown to be a Mecca for award-winning wines, organic produce, and delectable dining. “Foodies� from both near and far visit to enjoy the roots of our communities. From the winemakers to farmers to the aspiring artisans and chefs, to the bakers and the roasters, we have a plethora of culinary and gourmet tastes right in our own backyard.



hen choosing a breakfast location in Atascadero or Santa Margarita, you have an array of options that are sure to satisfy every taste bud. Out of all the bakeries the North County has to offer, Atascadero is home to two of the very best. Both Hush Harbor and Back Porch Bakery offer delicious freshly baked breads, pastries, and muffins that they also provide many restaurants in the county with. Hush Harbor serves up one of the best Quiches along with their Blueberry Pancakes and Stuffed Croissants. Another option and family favorite is The Nest. Their Pancakes and French Toast are served up covered in fresh berries and real maple syrup (on request). Now, if you are a fan of hearty breakfast, you are in luck; The Porch Santa Margarita has you covered with Biscuits and Gravy to Chicken Fried Steak and several different options for Breakfast Burritos that include, Veggie, Meat-lovers, and Margarito.

Guest House Grill Panko encrusted, sushi-grade ahi tuna on a bed of Asian slaw with pineapple teriyaki.

This industry, throughout the pandemic, has been significantly impacted. We have seen the true love and passion for their craft shine bright through the darkness. This year we dedicate our Taste of North County to all the hardworking individuals that indulge us with some of the finest foods a person can find anywhere in the world. From breakfast to dessert, we highlight some of our favorites.

Back Porch Bakery Freshly baked breads, pastries, and muffins are prepared daily for restaurants and walk-in/ drive-up customers

Hush Harbor, Back Porch Bakery, The Nest, The Porch Santa Margarita,

24 |

Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021



ome days call for a quick bite, while other days allow you to sit and enjoy the California breeze. Colony Market & Deli in the heart of downtown Atascadero offers a variety of options that can fit into any schedule. Try one of their hand-crafted sandwiches like the Triton Tuna Salad, or the Hot Ruben Mess that can be paired with any of their fresh made soups, salads, or signature Duck Fat Fries served with their homemade caper sauce that will make your taste buds happy for sure! Another stop for lunch downtown is Street Side Ale House. A family favorite is their tasty street fries, covered with pepperoncini’s, bacon, pepper jack cheese, rosemary, and parmesan, and for the vegetarians out there, you can order without bacon! Another good one is the grilled salmon sandwich, among various choices like street tacos, loaded pastrami served on marble rye, and the taco salad. And right around the corner, be sure to stop by Byblos Mediterranean Grill and pick up an order of fresh Falafels made to order with cucumbers, tomatoes, pickles and a side of hummus and tahini.

Street Side Ale House Irresistible Street Fries made with pepperoncini, bacon, pepper jack cream sauce, rosemary and Parmesan, alongside some carnitas Street Side Tacos.

Colony Market & Deli, Street Side Ale House, Byblos Mediterranean Grill,



ine dining in Atascadero and Paso Robles offers a real treat for any food connoisseur. Restaurants like the Guest House Grill who focus on feeding the community quality fresh meals like their signature Baby Back Ribs, homemade Spaghetti, and personal favorites Ahi Poke and their Salmon Salad served with edamame, red onion, candied walnuts, feta cheese, and honey citrus vinaigrette. The Nautical Cowboy in the Carlton Hotel features their family-style meals like Santa Maria style BBQ and Fried Chicken Buckets that you can pair with award-winning mac & cheese or mashed potatoes. And if you are looking to venture up to Paso Robles, be sure to stop by Odyssey World Café, where you feel like family from the moment you walk in. The smell of freshly baked bread, homemade soups, and delicious cuisine will keep you coming back time and time again. While visiting, you will want to try the Creamy Cajun Shrimp with fresh parmesan and cream, mushrooms, red Onions, bell peppers, and linguini, as well as the Ahi Tuna Stir Fry, served with fresh vegetables, rice, and homemade creamy wasabi. To finish off the evening, you cannot leave without trying their mouthwatering desserts. A personal favorite their famous cheesecake. Guest House Grill, Nautical Cowboy at the Carlton, Odyssey World Café,

Other Local Favorites Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant, LaDonna’s, Kochi Korean BBQ, Wild Fields Brewhouse, and Nogi Sushi

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, please be sure to call ahead for hours of operation.

January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

Odyssey World Café Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta, made with linguini, mushrooms, red onions, bell peppers, cream and Parmesan cheese. | 25

Colony Taste

Sip & Savor


First Winery in the World to receive Regenerative Organic Certificate

26 |

ablas Creek Vineyard understandably prides itself on the number of “firsts” achieved by the winery. It is certainly the first — and only — winery to import all grape varieties that grow in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region of France. Consequently, Tablas Creek is the first to establish a style of wine that hasn’t existed before in North America —namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape-style blends and single varietal wines. Jason Haas, Tablas Creek’s partner and general manager is also pretty certain the winery on Paso Robles’ westside was the first to farm organically in Paso “other than hobby vineyards” and the first American-French collaboration in the Paso region. But the winery’s latest “first” is truly a first among firsts. Tablas Creek Vineyard is the first winery in the world to receive the Regenerative Organic Certificate (ROC), a certification dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming, with an emphasis on climate change and reforming agriculture. The certification came from the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA), based in Santa Rosa, California, an organization focused on three pillars of farming, namely soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness. Launched in 2017, ROA was created by a group of farmers and businesses, spearheaded by Patagonia clothing company, the Rodale Institute, and Dr. Bronner’s, a producer of hair and body products. “The idea was to create a gold standard for farming that was not industry specific but would have modules specific to row crops, to orchards, to chocolate, to cotton — and we were the wine representative,” said Haas, when I met him on brisk fall afternoon at the winery. The pilot program had 19 participants, of which 14 received certification, explained ROA’s executive director Elizabeth Whitlow in a phone conversation from Sebastopol, California. These certifications were given to farmers in six countries. Biodynamic farming was introduced at Tablas Creek in 2010, with the entire 175-acre property farmed to biodynamic by 2016. Thus the winery’s all-encompassing farming practices were on the radar of ROA when they asked the winery to participate in the pilot program in 2019 after Fetzer Winery dropped out. ROC requires high standards to get even to the baseline, Haas noted. “Nobody got a Gold the first time around. We got a Silver award in August.” So starting with the 2020 vintage, Tablas Creek’s 22,000 cases of estate wine will bear the ROC certification stamp. So what exactly is regenerative organic farming, I ask? “The baseline for it was to create a truly rigorous certification program that wasn’t limited to just the soil but incorporated business practices, climate mitigation so you can show you’re capturing carbon into your soil and resource use reduction, so you’re using less water and energy,” Haas replied. “And then there’s a social welfare piece that shows you’re treating farmworkers well, not just that they just have a living wage and safe working conditions but also that you’re working collaboratively so [the workers] are involved in the discussion and decision-making.” As for the auditing process, Haas said that on-site inspection is conducted by ROA auditors. For carbon capture, soil samples are sent to laboratories that certify the results. While Tablas Creek is the first winery to receive the ROC’s certification, Haas hopes that won’t be for long. “This is still essentially a pilot program,” he noted. “We’re talking thousands of acres [worldwide] that have been certified. That’s a drop in the bucket. “It’s great we’re doing this on 175 acres here, but their goal is to get millions of acres farmed this way, at which point the amount of carbon pulled out of the atmosphere is meaningful.”  Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021

Taste of Americana In this traditional New Year’s recipe, the peas represent coins, and for extra luck, you can serve it with a side of stewed collard greens, the color of dollar bills. This dish, with the black-eyed peas, ham, rice, and a side of collard greens, makes a wonderful winter meal. Don’t forget to serve with cornbread!

From the Kitchen of

Barbie Butz


he holidays were very different this year. The only thing that was consistent was the food I cooked, along with, of course, the meanings of the celebrations. Thanksgiving was a time to appreciate our great country and a time for sharing, caring, and giving thanks. Christmas, despite all the lights and glitter, was once again an opportunity to celebrate the birth of Christ and to remember the true meaning of the day. With great relief, we now welcome in the new year, with hope that 2021 will somehow lead to the end of the pandemic and allow us to get back to something close to normal. For an extra bit of luck on that issue, you might prepare some Hoppin’ John. Even if you ate some during your New Year’s celebration, it can’t hurt to have some more “luck.” Cheers!

Hoppin’ John with Rice Ingredients: • 2 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas • 1 to 4 cups water • 2 tablespoons olive oil • ¼ pound smoked ham, diced • 1 small red onion, diced • ½ red bell pepper, diced • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced • 1 cup long-grain white rice

• 2 teaspoons fresh thyme • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste • 1½ cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes • Freshly ground black pepper • Salsa • Scallions, trimmed, chopped, for garnish

Directions: Place peas in a saucepan with water. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, place olive oil in a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add ham and cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until ham is light brown around the edges. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, bell pepper, and jalapeňo. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add rice, thyme, and salt. Cook and stir until rice is coated. Add broth and stir only once to mix. Reduce heat to low, cover; simmer for 10 minutes. Drain peas and add to pan with rice; continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes until liquid is absorbed, peas are tender, and rice is fluffy. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, cilantro, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm, topped with salsa, and garnished with scallions. Serves 4 to 6. This next recipe can be served with grilled cheese sandwiches for a quick-fix meal. Herbed Tomato Soup Ingredients: • ½ cup sliced onion • 2 tablespoons butter • 1 (14½-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes, cut up (save juice) • 1½ cups chicken broth

• 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce • 1 tablespoon snipped basil, or ½ teaspoon dried basil, crushed • 1 teaspoon snipped thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed • Dash pepper

Directions: In a large saucepan, cook onion in butter till tender but not brown. Add canned tomatoes with juice, broth, tomato sauce, basil, thyme, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover; simmer for 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Place mixture, half at a time, in a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover; blend or process till smooth. Return mixture to saucepan; heat through. Makes 4 servings. For years Central Coast Funds for Children held a “Soup Supper” Fundraiser at the Monday Club in San Luis Obispo. Chicken Curry Soup was extremely popular. Chicken Curry Soup Ingredients: • ½ cup onion, chopped • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine • ¼ cup carrots, chopped • ¼ cup celery, chopped • 3 tablespoons flour • 1 (16 ounces) can tomatoes with liquid, cut up • 1 teaspoon sugar • ¼ teaspoon salt

• • • • • • • • •

1 cup cooked chicken (white meat), diced 1½ teaspoon curry powder 1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and chopped 2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped 4 cups chicken broth 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 2 whole cloves Dash of pepper

Directions: In a large pot, cook onion and curry powder in butter until onions are tender. Stir in apple, carrots, celery, and green pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and mix well. Add broth, undrained tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, sugar, cloves, pepper, and salt. Bring to boil. Add chicken and simmer, occasionally stirring, for 30 minutes. January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 27

Tent City

San Luis Obispo County Office of Education


Dr. James J. Brescia, Ed.D.


What Will


Hold? Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’ Alfred Lord Tennyson NOW OFFERING TELEMEDICINE CONSULTS

here will education go in the new year is a question presented every time the conversation turns to schools. 2020 and the effects of COVID-19 have taught us that nothing we believe as certain was a guarantee. The pandemic has changed how instruction is provided, buildings are staffed, meetings take place, parent-teacher conferences are held, school board meetings are conducted, and professional workshops occur. Many who previously considered distance interactions inferior now predict the leveraging of technology and distance services post-pandemic to improve educational engagement while saving limited funds. Consider regular school board meetings that might have 15-20 people in attendance are now averaging hundreds of participants. As part of my regular community engagement, I attended every school board and city council meeting in the county annually. In 2019 I struggled to attend every agency meeting because many are scheduled on the same evenings. During the first five months of the transition to online platforms, I was able to attend every school board and many of the city council meetings multiple times. The on-demand ability to replay meetings has enabled additional review of materials and promotes subsequent factual engagement of the issues. Costs have been reduced by holding meetings online. Transportation, hospitality, utilities, maintenance, and overtime traditionally associated with evening meetings have been significantly reduced because of the online format. My total travel, conference, and mileage reimbursements for 2020 were reduced by 84% compared to 2019 because of the forced transition to distance platforms. Because the equipment and connections required for distance services have been established, it will be very easy for organizations to leverage these technologies engaging larger portions of the community and saving the tax dollars. Remote and online instruction, meetings, conferences, and professional learning opportunities are newbies to education compared to the brick-and-mortar buildings, convention centers, and meeting rooms. The potential for taking the lessons learned about technology, online learning, virtual meetings, and rapid real-time feedback during COVID-19 conditions can improve our organizations. We can evolve as a service to our students, families, and the community. Some argue that remote services are inferior, and only in-person services should occur. Most educators,

administrators, and researchers agree that the traditional approaches applied for hundreds of years must continue and are necessary for fields of study where hands-on work is essential. Many fields of study, materials, and activities do not always require onsite or in-person activities, and the potential for remote content delivery should be explored post-COVID-19 conditions. Technologies such as virtual field trips, electronic textbooks, online labs, and artificial intelligence tutorials can be considered alongside in-person instruction as additional educational tools. Students, educators, and families can enrich the academic environment with digital resources and study apps. The rapid feedback, ability to repeatedly review materials, and on-demand access have tremendous power if leveraged successfully. Consider a student home because of illness having the ability to watch a classroom activity instead of simply relying on someone else taking notes or a summary sheet from the teacher. The graduate-level university courses I teach at Cal Poly include activities that explore Artificial Intelligence apps for writing and research. Many in-person classrooms were implementing the use of mobile devices for research, reporting, and experimentation. What lessons have we learned during distance learning that we can implement when in-person becomes the norm again? Perhaps our schools will explore moving to a year-round or extended day schedule with the assistance of technology? What about the students that have excelled in virtual classroom settings? Many students find high levels of success with in-person instruction, but some do not function well in a traditional classroom setting. My final thoughts for where education will go in 2021 include the expansion of higher education’s online learning programs, additional technology partnerships with schools, expansion of mobile and microlearning, Artificial Intelligence providing personalized learning pathways, video-based recording of classroom activities, virtual field trips, gamification as an expanded career pathway, and technology-powered tools more fully integrated into student academic assessment. Whatever 2021 brings, I sincerely thank the entire community for their continued support of our students, families, employees, and schools. It is an honor to serve as your County Superintendent of Schools. 

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805-434-4848 Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021



2021 NORTH SLO COUNTY READER’S POLL 2020 was a tough year! Help us celebrate those local businesses that have risen to the occasion and made our community great against the odds. Now is your chance to bring some love to your favorite local businesses and attractions! Vote today for the Best of North SLO County! Vote by December 15 for your chance to win $500 to your local favorite store. See survey for details. Best of Voting ends on January 10, 2021.

Scan the QR Code and go directly to the voting form.


January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 29

A Special to Atascadero News Magazine




orn and raised in Atascadero, Rick Evan’s interest in photography started at an early age, but his love and passion started after working at the local paper. Over the years, Rick now specializes in freelance photography, photographing community events, local news, family photos, and San Luis County’s breathtaking scenery. This month we are excited to introduce “Another Rick Evans Photo” photo page as a “Special to” our Atascadero News Magazine each month. This month Rick brings us an intimate look at our visiting wildlife friends at the Atascadero Lake. A pod of Pelicans (1,3), a family of turtles (2), a mysterious Great Egret (4), and a beautiful fish-eating Osprey (5). If you have not visited the Atascadero Lake recently, you may want to add that to your New Year’s “to-do list.” 

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5 Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021

8th Annual


READER’S POLL Atascadero 805.461.3283

Cambria 805.927.0709

WIN $100

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Scan the QR with your camera or visit pasoroblespress. com/ReadersPoll/ for the full poll and a chance to win!






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5-Year Work Warranty Rain Chains


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BEST VETERINARIAN in the North SLO County!

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Brunch Special: Burger Joint: Cheese Shop: Coffee House: Dessert, Bake or Cake Shop: Family Restaurant: Farm-to-Table: Health, Natural or Grocery Store: Lunch Spot: Mexican Restaurant: Overall Restaurant: Pasta Joint:

Continued on 32 January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 31

2021 Reader’s Poll Pizza Delivery: Pizza Dining: Seafood Restaurant: Steakhouse: Sushi Restaurant: Vegetarian or Vegan:

Best of Specialty Items Appetizer: Cup of Coffee:

E85 Diesel

French Fries: French Toast: Kombucha: Mocktail: Pastry:

Propane ® Car Wash

Salad: Taco: Tea:

Best of Local Artisans

Hwy 41 & 101 Exit 219

Best Bread:

Atascadero, CA 93422

Best Cake: Best Farm-Fresh Fruit: Best Farm-Fresh Ingredients: Best Farm-Fresh Nuts: Best Gelato, Ice Cream, Frozen Dessert: Best Local Beef, Poultry, Dairy, or Pork: Best Local Seasonings: Best Olive Oil:

Best of Travel, Entertainment, Leisure & Events Art Gallery: Event or Wedding Venue: Girl’s Night Out: Golf Course: Guy’s Night Out: Hotel: Park:

Best of Pets & Animals Dog Park: Feed Store: Continued on 33

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Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021

Pet Grooming & Care: Pet Store: Veterinarian or Pet Hospital:

Finance, Real Estate, or Legal Services Bank or Credit Union: Real Estate Agent: Mortgage Company: Insurance Company: Financial Planning Company: Attorney or Lawyer: Tax Preparation: Bookkeeping Service:

Home Improvement

Happy New Years!

Paving, Concrete & Driveways: Flooring: Plumbing: Roofing: Solar: Electrician: Rain Gutters: Landscaping, Lawn & Garden: Propane: Furniture: Pest & Rodent Control: General Contractor: Cleaning Service: Construction/Building Supplies: Storage Company:

Shopping and Retail Antiques, Thrift & Consignment: Repurposed, Renewed & Resold: Flowers & Florists: Books, Stationary & Gifts: Men’s / Women’s Clothing: Children’s Clothing:

Thank you for taking part in our 8th Annual Reader’s Poll! Email the above survey to office, or call us at 805.466.2585 for assistance. This is only part of our full survey. Additional parts will be found in our upcoming editions of The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press on Jan. 14, 21, & 28. Go online and complete the full survey at and January 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine | 33

Last Word

The ‘Monolith’ of Atascadero

Aliens Off The Hook Story Behi n d The Monolith on Pi n e Mountai n By Con nor Allen


n December 2, Atascadero officially entered the national lexicon thanks to the installation of a giant steel monolith at the summit of Pine Mountain. With its origin, a mystery, the internet, and its 7 billion detectives went to work guessing who, what and why this monolith appeared and turned the town forever into a Final Jeopardy answer. Many speculated that the mystery object with a mesmerizing metal shimmer had to be the work of some major production company or movie studio preparing for a worldwide release. While those that thought it was a marketing stunt bickered over what movie was coming out next, others pondered if it might have been planted here but our very own space invaders. For 12 hours, though, Atascadero was the place to be in America. The next morning, tourists from Fresno, Visalia, Ventura, and many areas in the county ventured to the top of the Pine Mountain to see the San Lucia Mountain’s reflection in the shine of the steel. Instead, they found some exposed rebar and a hole in the ground where the monument once stood. However, unlike its appearance, a video of a group of teens tearing it down removed all doubt as to if the aliens had returned for their mystery item. For a day, the City sat still, almost unsure how to react to a group of guys coming into their town and removing something that many had claimed as theirs. Saturday morning, the 10-foot tall, 18-inch wide steel object was resurrected in its place, this time cemented into the ground with its architects ready to come forward. It was not aliens, Steven Spielberg or Banksy. Instead, the work of two local North County men and the help of one of their cousins from Pleasanton. Travis Kenney, who graduated from Atascadero High School in 1990, and Wade Mckenzie, who graduated from Paso Robles in 1989, are the master architects behind the monolith, first reported by “We all saw the first one in Utah, and Wade is really into art,” Travis said. “We’re fabricators, both of us, and he [Wade] has a steel construction business. We are avid hikers, avid mountain bikers, we love our community, we were raised here, and it was really cool to see people out and about in Utah during these hard times that we have going on.” The structure was erected as a guerilla-style piece of art and has stood, stoic and symbolic, shining bright representing the hope that it has brought to a small town struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic together. Inspired by the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the 13 Stars Digital....................................5 76 Gas Station.................................. 32 A Heavenly Home...............................9 American West Tire & Auto..................7 Atascadero Pet Hospital................... 31 Best of 2021..................................... 29 Educated Gardener.......................... 25

Five Star Rain Gutters....................... 31 Frontier Floors................................... 32 Greg Malik Real Estate Group.......................10, 11 Happy New Year 2021..................... 35 Hearing Aid Specialists of The Central Coast.............................3

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two men, with the help of Kenney’s father, Randall, and cousin, Jared, put the first monolith up Tuesday in the middle of the night, intending to take it down in a few days later if it didn’t first end up in a frat house. “Then we saw that absolutely crazy way that it was brought down,” Travis said. The City seemingly mourned along with Travis and Wade at the bizarre disappearance of the beacon on the hill and the newfound fame it brought as a hotspot in the intersection between pop culture and alien fever. “We are upset that these young men felt the need to drive 5 hours to come into our community and vandalize the monolith. The monolith was something unique and fun in an otherwise stressful time,” Mayor Heather Moreno said in a press release on December 3. Inspired by the response from the first one, Travis and Wade went back into the shop and made a second monolith that a group of overzealous teens could not topple this time. The night of December 4, the two men enlisted the help of 12 or so of their friends and headed to the top of Pine Mountain, this time bringing with them 700 pounds of concrete to pour a foundation that would hold. “Visually, nothing is different; it Atascadero “Monolith” creators Wade is just all the inner structure,” Travis McKenzie and Travis Kenney and a said. “Wade has a steel construction group of their friends resurrect a second company, so we designed it more struc“Monolith” with hopes to instill hope in a time of struggle. turally so that if it does stay, it is safe.” Will the monolith stay is a different story with some hurdles in front of it. Currently, the monolith is on part of the 75 acres of land in Stadium Park-Pine Mountain that is City-owned. As of now, the City is in the process of evaluating the placement of the structure but has deemed it safe and secure until a more detailed evaluation can be performed. “We are delighted that the monolith has returned to Atascadero and the way it came back to our City. It brought back the joyful spirit that was abruptly taken away,” Moreno shared. While it appears that the monolith is now set in stone, at least for a little while, the architects have begun thinking of ways for their piece of art to earn its keep. Kenney and Mckenzie have purchased and want to use it to generate revenue that could be given to the City to maintain its hiking trails and parks. “We are going to try and do some fun things and see if we can’t generate some revenue and give the proceeds back to Atascadero,” Wade shared. “At the end of the day, that is what it is about.” 

DIRECTORY TO OUR ADVERTISERS Atascadero News Magazine is brought to you by John Donovan Insurance & Financial Services, Inc................... 13 Megan’s CBD Market..........................9 Morro Bay Hearing Aid Center......... 33

Native Landscape............................. 17 Nick’s Painting.................................. 33 O’Conner Pest Control...................... 32 Odyssey World Cafe......................... 25

Thank you for being #atascaderostrong

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Atascadero News Magazine | January 2021

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