Atascadero News Magazine #38 • August 2021

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REMEMBERING LOGAN CASTILLO

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August 2021

fe at ures

Issue No. 38

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A New Queen is Crowned by patrick patton

Eight young women contended in the California Mid-State Fair Pageant, after the longest-reigning court in the Fair's history dubbed the “COVID Court,” comes to an end.

In Memory of Logan Castillo by camille devaul

Community comes together to honor the untimely passing of ten year old Logan, who is remembered as a brilliant, super smart, and kind boy.

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Adam Eron Welch by patrick patton

The artist hosted four live-painting sessions over four days in July at Farron Elizabeth in Atascadero and Brecon Estate in Paso Robles.

Stephanie Nash AgVocates Against '30 by 30' Plan by camille devaul

Singer/songwriter, dairy farmer, and agricultural activist, speaks loudly against legislative threats made against farmers and ranchers.

On the Cover

As the late summer months settle in and the unprecedented times continue, may we take a moment to soak in one of our magnificent sunsets and remember today is the only day that counts. Photo by Nicholas Mattson 20,000 PRINTED | 17,000 DIRECT MAILED LOCALLY!

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co nte nts publisher, editor-in-chief

publisher, editor-at-large

Hayley Mattson

Nicholas Mattson

assistant editor

layout design

Melissa Mattson ad consultants

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Michael Michaud ad design

Dana McGraw Jamie Self Jessica Segal

community writers

Connor Allen Camille DeVaul Patrick Patton

Jen Rodman

office administrator

Cami Martin | office@13starsmedia.com

contributors

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Barbie Butz

The Natural Alternative

James Brescia, Ed.D.

Mira Honeycutt

Jennifer Scales

Rachelle Rickard

Josh Cross

Simone Smith

OUR NEXT ISSUE:

Something Worth Reading Publisher’s Letter

Round Town Cross Talk with Josh Cross The Natural Alternative: Why Am I So Tired? News from the City: It's Time to Start Having Fun Again! Santa Margarita: Back to School Excitement; Learning Among the Oaks 2021 Student Leaders: Emma Hanson and Oscar Perry It's Happening: Atascadero's Bustling Downtown

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12 13 14 16 17 19

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Atascadero People Sally Dallas: Death is Personal

Taste of Atascadero

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Sip and Savor: Dusi Family Paper Street Vineyard – A True Family Undertaking

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Taste of Americana: Summer's Bounty

Tent City

26

Retrospective: Time, Precious Time

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SLO County Office of Education: Service to the Community

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The Atascadero News: Trustees Prepare for '21-'22 School Year

32

Agriculture: The Great Cannabis Debate, Part 2

Last Word Atascadero News Magazine Manifesto Directory of our Advertisers

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HARVEST SEASON September 2021

PUBLICATION DELIVERY DATE September 2, 2021 ADVERTISING DEADLINE* August 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 atascaderomagazine.com/advertise

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Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


August 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

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Something Worth Reading

Publisher's Letter If it were not for hopes, the heart would break.

~ Thomas Fuller

T

he beautiful summer months were just what we all needed, warm days full of sunshine, smiling faces, concerts in the park, festivals, and the California Mid-State Fair. For a short time, we were able to remember what it felt like to live just for today, enjoy every precious moment together, and realize how important our freedoms are. In July, we celebrated our Independence Day, filled with parades, dog shows, and fireworks! Elle turned 17 and our sister Melissa married her new husband Mario (bottom photo). Melissa joined our editorial team back in February as the Assistant Editor, and it is has been such a blessing having her on board. The boys went on their first overnight camping trip without us at Camp Natoma in mid-July. After seven days and six nights, we were beyond ready to have them home (actually, we were ready after the first night). They both returned as young campers should, covered in dirt, older and wiser, with lots of stories that continue to be told even a few weeks later. This month Mirac turns nine, and Maximus turns seven. Two big birthdays that they are excited to celebrate with family and friends full of Star Wars, Nijas, and of course, Lego. The times we are living in are not like any other, and we need each other more than ever. We live in one of the most incredible places in the world, with some of the most caring and inspiring people. Each and every month, as we put the magazines together, we strive to show you all just that. Along with a reminder that our locally owned businesses are the heartbeat of our local economy, and when we invest together in each other, we invest in the future of our communities for generations to come. The time to make a difference is now; we decide how this part of the story will be written; it is up to us...We the People. We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Atascadero News Magazine. Much love, Nic & Hayley

All things are difficult before they are easy. ~ Thomas Fuller 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.


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Round Town

Chamber of Commerce

Cheers To Supporting Our Wineries, Breweries, Cideries & Distilleries

talk H

W I T H

J O S H

C R O S S

CEO/President | Atascadero Chamber of Commerce

New Chamber Members • San Luis Obispo County Integrated Waste Management Authority iwma.com • New Horizons Landscape Company newhorizonslandscapeco.com

All Year Long!

ow do you support an entire industry of local, family-owned wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries? In previous years, our team partnered with the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival Committee to host the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival, a weekend event full of tastings, music, and good old-fashioned fun. It's a fantastic event, but our team wanted to explore a way to support these remarkable businesses all year round rather than over the course of one weekend. By coordinating with the Atascadero Lakeside Festival Committee, we discovered an opportunity to do something more. That's why, this year, we rolled out a pilot program, The Atascadero Lakeside Wine Passport. Participants can now enjoy complimentary tastings, one per location, at eighteen wineries, four breweries, two distilleries, and one cidery for the rest of the year! Our goal is to encourage people to visit the businesses behind the drinks they enjoy and perhaps discover a few new ones. We want to see people visiting businesses with their friends and family and learning about the

incredible team of people behind our region's important beverage industry. However, we didn't stop there. After all, restaurants seemed like a natural fit after an afternoon of wine tasting; who doesn't want a delicious meal? So, we added a few of them to the passport (some offer complimentary corkage, appetizers, and discounts). Then, we partnered with local hotels for deals to provide an accessible way for visitors to participate when they come to town. Thanks to this new passport program, residents and visitors can visit and support local businesses for the remainder of 2021. Passports are $75 and can be purchased at atascaderolakesidewinefestival.com. Participants can then pick up their passport from the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce (located at 6907 El Camino Real, Ste. A Atascadero) or have it mailed. If you complete your passport, you can submit it to the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce for a 25 percent discount coupon for 2022's in-person 25th anniversary of the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival to be held on June 25, 2022! 

Upcoming Events For August CHAMBER MONTHLY MIXER Thursday, August 19 | 5 – 7 p.m. Get ready to connect with other local businesses at our Chamber Mixer! Join us at the Home2 Suites by Hilton on August 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. Tickets for the mixer are complimentary; however, registration is required. Sign up for the event at the following link: atascaderochamber.org/events/events-calendar/#!event/2021/8/19/chamber-monthly-mixer. ATASCADERO LAKESIDE WINE PASSPORT Ends December 31 Drink wine and support the Charles Paddock Zoo, the only zoo on the Central Coast accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums! For only $75, you can enjoy complimentary tastings, one per location, at eighteen wineries, four breweries, two distilleries, and one cidery. You will also receive complimentary corkage fees at participating restaurants and discounts on local hotel stays. A portion of the proceeds will help support the Atascadero Charles Paddock Zoo. In addition, for those that visit all participating tasting locations and complete their passport can submit it to the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce for a 25 percent discount coupon for 2022's in-person Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival! Purchase your passport at the atascaderolakesidewinefestival.com/

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

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Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


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News From the City

It’s Time To Start Having Some Fun Again!! By Rachelle Rickard, Atascadero City Manager

W

elcome back! Doesn’t it feel great to get out of the house and be able to appreciate all that our community has to offer again? It seems like we’ve been gradually emerging after a very long hibernation, and I think we’re all ready to have a little sense of normalcy and pleasure back in our lives. Atascadero is the perfect place to start enjoying the summer of 2021, with lots of fun and exciting activities! Come out and enjoy the AZA-accredited Charles Paddock Zoo, located at Atascadero Lake Park and home to hundreds of small animal species from around the world, including red pandas, monkeys, meerkats, parrots, a Malayan tiger, a variety of reptiles, and so much more. Many of the zoo residents are part of globally managed programs to preserve animals and their habitats. What’s new at the Zoo? There are several adorable baby flamingos and turtles, and you don’t want to miss seeing Wally, the Zoo’s alligator, in his new exhibit! There are plenty of other events to enjoy at Atascadero Lake Park throughout the summer, including the 2021 Saturday Summer Concert Series, being held most Saturday evenings beginning July 24 through the summer, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lake Park bandstand. These concerts feature great local bands and a wonderful variety of music styles. All of the summer concerts are free and open to the public. For even more fun at the Lake for the whole family, Mr. Putter’s Paddleboats is open every day throughout the summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with paddle boats, kayaks, and surrey bike rentals, along with cold drinks, candy, and ice cream for sale! Join the Summer Sizzle at Farmer’s Market, Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at Sunken Gardens. Summer Sizzle includes live music, a featured Chef providing samples and a complimentary recipe with ingredients available at the market, and cider and wine tastings from Bristol’s and Lone Madrone. Get ready to start your engines once again at Cruisin’ Weekend! This very

exciting two-day-long event will be held from August 20 to 21. The weekend kicks off Friday evening with the 28th Annual Hot El Camino Cruise Nite, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and featuring hundreds of beautiful classic cars cruising up and down El Camino Real for everyone to enjoy. The 5th Annual Dancing in the Streets will be back on Saturday evening from 5 to 9 p.m.! This summer concert blowout and dance party will be sure to have lots of head-bopping-feet-tapping music and a variety of live bands located throughout the Downtown. Enjoy more great family entertainment at Movies in the Gardens, which will be held on Saturday evenings in August-September at Sunken Gardens. Bring the kids some low-back chairs and blankets to sit back, relax and enjoy a warm summer evening with a movie under the stars! The schedule includes Scoob (PG) on August 7, Raya the Last Dragon (PG) on August 14, The Secret Garden (PG) on August 28, and then Solo: A Star Wars Story (PG-13) on September 4. All family-friendly movies begin at about 8 p.m. Patriot’s Day, on Saturday, September 11, will be the 20th anniversary of 9/11. We will move that evening’s Summer Concert from the Lake Park over to Sunken Gardens and Historic City Hall to have a very special evening, including patriotic music and an Estrella Warbirds Freedom Flight flyover. More information about this event will be shared soon. And last but not least, we’re very excited that the Cornhole Tournament is back! On Friday, September 17, the Central Coast Challenge will be held at the Ravine Water Park in Paso Robles, at their Miniature Golf area. Then on Saturday, September 18, the Showdown Main Tournament will be held in Atascadero at Sunken Gardens! You can find all of the scheduling information and other important details for these activities and much more at visitatascadero.com/events. As always, if you have questions regarding this or other City related activities, please feel free to email me at rrickard@atascadero.org. 

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Santa Margarita

Back to School Excitement Learning Among the Oaks

Simone Smith

“B

ack to school,” for some elementary-age kids on summer break, those three simple words just might be the WORST possible. “Back to school,” three words that even surpass “time to leave” or “time for bed” with the ability to strike dread, spell doom and signal the end of fun FOREVER! However, the past year’s COVID-19 concerns, restrictions, and closures have given many people (including kids) a new perspective, and the excitement is building for a great school year with classes returning to a 100 percent in-person, regular schedule on Wednesday, August 11 at 8:20 a.m. For those involved with Santa Margarita Elementary, I got the chance to speak with the Principal, Mrs. Marshawn Porter, and others for a glimpse of the year ahead, expectations, and what to look forward to during the upcoming school year. The Atascadero Unified School District’s Reopening Plan for COVID-19, approved by the Board of Trustees back on March 2, was “developed to ensure students receive an outstanding education in a safe and healthy environment.”The plan allows for flexibility based on local metrics, collaborating with the County Public Health Officer to address any positive COVID-19 cases or community surges. According to a May 18 message to the Atascadero Unified School District community, Superintendent Tom Butler said there are “no plans now or in the future to require AUSD employees nor students to be vaccinated

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for the COVID-19 virus.” Speaking to Santa Margarita Elementary school’s Principal, Mrs. Porter, I was told that the partial opening of schools during the last school year gave a big boost to positive morale for staff, parents, and kids and that “everyone wants to be back at school, in class with their friends.” She also said that last year when kids came back to school, there was only one positive COVID case, with little to no symptoms and no traced school transmission. “The kids are very conscientious about cleanliness, great at washing their hands, and very respectful with personal space.” With the average size of 26-29 students, mask-wearing in the classroom may be required; however, the County Health Department will determine that, and Mrs. Porter says she is quick to communicate any changes as soon as she knows. This year’s school schedule will be Mondays through Thursday from 8:20 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and transitioning from an “Early Release Friday” (previously 8:20 a.m. to 1:40 p.m.) to a “Late Start Friday” from 9:20 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., allowing for the students to have an extra hour on Friday mornings, and teachers professional development time. Mrs. Brook Black will be the “learning loss” teacher working with the Intervention Coordinator to address learning challenges due to COVID-19. This program aids children who were assessed at the end of last school year

and found to be below grade level in Reading and Math to help them get caught up. Mrs. Black has also been instrumental in proposing and organizing a new Maker Space at Santa Margarita Elementary. This exciting new space will be available for students and teachers to use, thanks to the school’s awesome, strong, and active Parent Teacher Association (PTA). The PTA embraced the idea and purchased four science lab tables with bar stool seating for eight, shelving, cubbies, and some basic materials. Additional programs added to Santa Margarita Elementary will include Learning Among the Oaks, the One Cool Earth/ Earth Genius program, and the return of Mrs. Susan Mathiesen for the school’s Artist in Residence program. Mrs. Mathiesen will be “reintroducing art and artists from around the world to incorporate their different techniques and inspiration into artwork that the kids can relate to.” The kids will also continue to work on designing and painting the murals that began prior to the pandemic through the program. As for parents, Samadhy, whose son Teio will be entering second grade, said she “is thrilled” about her son going to school full time. He missed out on time spent in school with others for first grade and said he hasn’t had time socializing with many other kids or have the focused time for class learning. Currently, she had him sitting down with a second-grade workbook for several hours a day to help with focusing and believes it has helped but wonders what the situation will be with other kids. Nevertheless, she is feeling cautiously “optimistic” and looks forward to this school year. Teio, entering the second grade at Santa Margarita Elementary, says, “I think this year will be pretty fun!” Although he misses having the school computer at home and doesn’t like the idea of having to be at school so early in the morning, he’s really looking forward to playing with friends on the playground. Additionally, Teio shared, “I like that I’ll have my own desk with all of my stuff in it,” his favorite subject is Math, and he’s looking forward to eating lunches made by his dad because he makes good sandwiches. 

Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


Summer Internships

Emma Hanson & Oscar Perry

Chosen As 2021 Student Leaders By Patrick Patton

B

ank of America announced in July that two Atascadero High School students were selected to be their inaugural San Luis Obispo 2021 Student Leaders. Emma Hanson and Oscar Perry have each started an eight-week paid summer internship experience with Habitat for Humanity, are earning $17 per hour, and have received a Chromebook as part of the internship. They are among 300 community-focused juniors and seniors from across the United States recognized by Bank of America's Student Leaders program. "Bank of America is committed to supporting young adults by connecting them to jobs, community engagement opportunities, and leadership development to help get them on the path to economic success," said Greg Bland, president, Bank of America San Luis Obispo. "We recognize young adults are the future of our community, which is why programs like Student Leaders are one way

we can provide paid opportunities for teens to gain job experience while developing a diverse pipeline of talent as they enter the local workforce." Inspired by her brother with autism, Emma Hanson is heavily involved in community service to help those with special needs, including working with the Special Olympics and volunteering as a teacher's aide with special education students at local schools. She is excited about working with Habitat to learn the inner workings of running a nonprofit. "I am inspired to create a nonprofit that focuses on developing social skills in the disabled community because I have seen the positive impact programs like these...have had on his life, and I would like other people to have those types of opportunities as well," Emma said. "Everything that I have learned about how nonprofits operate will greatly benefit me as I take the next steps in forming my nonprofit." Oscar Perry—a Templeton resident—has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and has started multi-

ple ventures, including a local dog-walking business, selling candy, and re-selling designer shoes online. When he's not busy working as a registered dental assistant in his father's dental practice, he's interviewing other entrepreneurs for his podcast, Venture Started. Oscar's favorite venture to date is a company he helped to start with the Atascadero High School Entrepreneurship Club this past year called Zumr Media. The company creates digital marketing videos for local businesses here in San Luis Obispo County. Oscar enjoys improving his community "with video production bringing more client reach to local businesses here in SLO County will impact them, but also SLO County as a whole as those local businesses are representing SLO County." As part of their internships with Habitat for Humanity, both Emma and Oscar are working to re-open Habitat Restores in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. They are also helping with Oceana, a nine home-build in Paso Robles. 

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Event

Queen is Crowned A New

By Patrick Patton

E

ight young women contended in the California Mid-State Fair (CMSF) Pageant on Wednesday, July 21. After showcasing her unique talent of speed-painting, modeling a glittering emerald evening dress, and answering a final question, 21-year-old Yvette Fiorentino of Arroyo Grande was officially crowned as the 2021 CMSF Queen. “I’m overly thrilled and excited!” Fiorentino said. “I actually had to stop myself from crying on stage. It’s been a long time in the making—four years working at this—and I am just so thrilled, and I honestly feel like I couldn’t have followed up a better Queen. Mikaila Ciampi was amazing, and I just hope I can live up to what she did for this pageant and the Mid-State Fair.” Fiorentino is attending Cuesta College, and her hobbies and interests include painting and horseback riding. She’s a board member of the Woods Humane Society, Portuguese Holy Spirit Society, a regular contributor to Vitalant, and a support assistant for RISE. Her awards and achievements include becoming 2019 Miss Congeniality, creating blankets for PAWS, and becoming a Veterinary Judge for FFA. Five words that describe her are outgoing, hard-working, compassionate, adventurous, and sassy. First Runner Up was awarded to 18-year-old Cassidie Banish of San Miguel. “I’ve made my dream come true,” said Banish. “Being able to be a face of the Fair is something that is so exciting to me, and it’s just an amazing opportunity to have this spot for a year.” Second Runner Up was awarded to 23-year-old Megan Moffat of Paso Robles, who said of the title, “it means so much to me. I’ve always wanted to do this, and now I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, and I did it, and I was rewarded for all my hard work.” The title of Miss Congeniality was awarded to 20-year-old Haley Fredrick of Paso Robles. She said the title meant she was “the mom of the group basically, the one who is always prepared, so it was really fun to take care of everyone in this pageant.”

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CALIFORNIA MID-STATE FAIR

Mikaila Ciampi, 2019’s CMSF Queen, along with 2019 Princesses Mary Hambly and Cara Bullard, will go down as the longest-reigning court in CMSF history due to the cancellation of last year’s CMSF and have dubbed themselves the “COVID Court.” Ciampi handed down the sash and crown to Fiorentino after a touching farewell speech. “These past couple years as Miss California Mid-State Fair Queen have been quite a whirlwind,” said Ciampi. “Being the first queen to reign for two years has been an exciting adventure that I am so blessed to have embarked on. I am grateful to have served the Fair and my community during the pandemic. Selling popcorn for the Fair’s drive-in movies, attending all the Fair markets in crown and sash are some of the great memories that no other Queen in history has been able to share, and I wouldn’t have wanted to experience these unique events with anyone other than Kara and Mary [2019 CMSF Princesses]. You both have offered me so much support the past couple years. From parade waves to fancy dinners to becoming the ‘COVID Court,’ I am so glad we were able to join the sisterhood together! Thank you for our friendship.” “It will be bittersweet to hand the crown down to the next court,” said Hambly, 2019 First Runner Up. “I’ve enjoyed being a part of the ‘COVID Court.’” “It’s been crazy,” said Bullard, 2019 Second Runner Up. “We had all the usual business of the Fair. Then COVID hit, and we got to do all of the parades and events all over again!” Uncertain whether the Fair would be held this year at all, this year’s group of contenders had a much shorter preparation period than is typical. “I’m looking forward to seeing the girls who have worked so hard these past six weeks,” said 2012 CMSF Queen and Pageant Coach Savannah Romero. “They usually have two months to prepare.” “It means the world to me,” Fiorentino said. “It means that I get to watch little girls’ and boys’ faces light up when I walk down. I get to see them say, ‘it’s the queen, mom, it’s the queen!’ I’m planning to fulfill my duties by showing up at every event I’m needed at and doing to one hundred percent of my ability and making sure my girls are with me for everything, so none of them feel left out.” 

Yvette Fiorentino of Arroyo Grande was crowed this years Miss California Mid-Sate Fair, followed by First Runner Up Cassidie Banish of San Miguel (bottom photo, left) and Second Runner Up Megan Moffat of Paso Robles (bottom photo, right). Photos by Patrick Patton

Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


It’s Happening Downtown

Ancient Owl Beer Garden

Pair With at Dead Oak Brewing Co.

Traffic Records at Ancient Owl

Bramble Pie Co.

By Patrick Patton

W

hether you stayed indoors or ventured out during the recent government-mandated lockdowns in response to COVID-19, there is no doubt that much has changed in Atascadero over the recent months. Here is a rundown of a few things that have been happening in Atascadero that you may have missed. Spoiler alert: A-Town is thriving as Atascaderoans reclaim their lives in a post-lockdown summer that looks to be a long-awaited rebound for local businesses. Judging by the crowds alone, the Atascadero business that seems to be making the biggest splash downtown is Ancient Owl Beer Garden and Bottle Shoppe. It’s hard to miss on the weekends due to the large crowds and loud music courtesy of Traffic Records, who will be spinning at Ancient Owl every Friday night. They boast a wide variety of beer, hard seltzer, hard kombucha, and more. The beer garden is located on El Camino Real, between Traffic Way and Entrada Ave. Bramble Pie Co. opened its doors in the middle of the lockdowns, and since then, they’ve been

slinging pies, quiches, empanadas, and more every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bramble Pie Co. is located on Entrada Ave in between Farron Elizabeth and Baby’s Babble. There’s a new Thai restaurant in town, and it’s located in the old Thai-riffic building at the corner of El Camino Real and Curbaril. Go Go Thai is still in its soft opening phase and is due to open shortly. The Poisoned Apple Cider and Craft Tavern opened up on El Camino Real, just north of Traffic Way. The tavern is open Wednesday through Monday and offers cider, beer, mead, wine, and kombucha. There are a couple of new breweries in town as well. Colony Mash Brewing is on El Camino Real, on the North End of town between San Anselmo and Del Rio, and Wild Fields Brewhouse on Capistrano is near the Chamber of Commerce and the Galaxy Theatre. There’s also a new winery and tasting room on Traffic Way. MEA Winery recently opened on Traffic Way and is open Thursday through Sunday. Check meawine.com for hours. Appointments

are preferred. There have also been some notable upgrades to existing businesses. Dead Oak Brewing Co. on Entrada Ave. has installed a full kitchen and is now providing unique food pairings and recipes from “Pair With.” Colony Market and Deli has been working hard on a brand new pizza oven and plans to extend their business hours to 8 p.m. once the oven is finished. Patrons will be able to pop in for some wood-fired pizza or mobile order from Ancient Owl Beer Garden and have their pizzas delivered. Aside from food and drink, A-town shoppers can now find gifts for the soul, intuitive readings, and community workshops at Oracle on Palma Ave. as well as a refreshing array of stylish eyewear at Specs by Kyla on Traffic Way. Then on July 9, the Downtown Atascadero Pub Crawl returned after having to cancel last year’s event. The event’s focus is on supporting local breweries, wineries, and bars in Atascadero. The event was a huge success and introduced many locals and travelers alike to all the new exciting businesses in town. 

SCAN ME

August 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

atascaderomagazine.com | 19


Arts & Culture

Adam Eron Welch, The Artist,

Hosts Live Paintings

A

By Patrick Patton

n eclectic array of books and magazines lie scattered at the artist's feet—the art of ancient cultures alongside modern fashion magazines. Nine separate canvases are arranged before him, all in various states of completion. A jet-black set of headphones keeps him focused on his work. Artist Adam Eron Welch hosted four live-painting sessions in July over four days. The first two were at Farron Elizabeth in Atascadero and then the final two days at Brecon Estate in Paso Robles. Visiting from North Park, San Diego, Adam is no stranger to the Central Coast. "I arrived in Paso for the first time in 2003, did my first wine tasting at Linne Calodo, took one sip of the LC Red & Cherry Red, and suddenly understood that I had found a magical location on Earth," Adam shared. "Tasting my first Paso wines was a transcendental experience." In 2018 the artist had his first major solo art exhibition, "Urban Archaic," in downtown Paso Robles, which sold out in four hours. His art now appears on numerous wine labels, album covers, murals, and magazines. "It was my first time allowing people to watch me work," Adam explained, "which was terrifying at first because I am generally a very solitary person. When I'm painting, it requires total concentration for the nearly constant decision-making that I have to do... I wanted to do it, though, to involve the viewer in my process and to talk with them about the work. Even [Atascadero] Mayor Moreno stopped by to say hello and to watch for a bit. All in all, it was very rewarding and, I think, successful." Influenced by Pre-Colombian pre-hispanic mesoamerican art, the sacred art of the Maya, the Aztec, the Zapotec, the art of the Pacific Northwest tribes— the Salish and Kwakiutl tribes of British Colombia and Washington, by art that would be called "primitive" by some.

20 | atascaderomagazine.com

"I love the rawness of the work," Adam explained, "how honest it can be, how it was sacred to the people who made and used the objects and reflected their understanding of the world around them and their place in it. I want my paintings to be more than just decorations—I want them to be talismans, to be endowed with gravitas, to be painted with heart like the masks from Yoruba and Puget Sound, like the pottery of the Southwestern pueblos, like the sculptures of Zapotecs in Oaxaca. I want to make paintings that are modern and ancient at the same time." "All of this now intersects with my new interest— thanks to Farron—in women's fashion. She sends me magazines when she's done with them—Vogue, Cosmopolitan, etc., and I paint from the photos. I also use some of your [Patrick Patton] photos as reference material because they are so clean and gorgeous. I want my subjects to not just be pretty but radiating feminine resilience and power, like a diety. I call my subjects 'diosas.' I call my style 'Urban Archaic.'" "I've traveled all over the world," Adam shared, "to over 40 countries on six different continents. I've been to Jerusalem, Kathmandu, Istanbul, Rome, Bangkok, Cairo, Bogota...my favorite place on Earth is Paso Robles." 

All of Adam Welch's new paintings are sold exclusively through Farron Elizabeth Boutique in Atascadero and Brecon Estate Winery, which are also available to browse and purchase online at farronelizabeth.com and breconestate.com. Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


Novelist

Atascadero People

Sally Dallas:

Death is Personal By Patrick Patton

T

he first chapter of any novel is vital. It usually depicts the main character as feeling perfectly content in her comfort zone, though it’s all a set-up for the inciting incident—that moment when circumstances beyond the character’s control launch her into a brand new adventure she never saw coming. It’s a call to adventure that initially shakes her world but ultimately challenges her perspective on life and pushes her to live out her true potential. Enter Sally Dallas circa 2007—Vice President at a large, international bank, happily married, proud mother of three grown sons. That’s when the stage 3 cancer diagnosis came from out of nowhere and shook her whole world. “Thanks to aggressive treatment, I’m in long-term remission,” Sally shared. “As anyone who has experienced a life-threatening event will tell you, it changes your perspective on everything. You appreciate the simple things in life and realize your time is limited.” Two years post-diagnosis, in 2009, just when Sally was beginning to feel healthy again, the banking industry was in upheaval, and the bank laid her off. For the first time in thirty years, Sally found herself with time on her hands. “I’m talking about a WINDFALL of time,” Sally said. “It was fabulous. I thought, ‘I’m going to do what I want. I’m going to write, start my own consulting business, and travel.’ Thanks to my supportive husband, I have done exactly that. Fast forward ten years—my husband is now retired, I have four grandchildren, time to write, time to travel, and consider myself the most blessed person on the planet.”

Sally Dallas is the pen name of Paso Robles resident Sally Coons, who spent three years writing her first published novel, Deceptions of Chenille, which debuted in February of 2020. Sally describes it as “a clean romantic suspense novel and white-collar crime thriller.” “It was difficult to find a genre in which I felt immersed. Romance portrayed women as weak. Chick lit was too cheesy. Fantasy was, too, well, unrealistic. Crime thrillers were too graphic. I decided to write novels that I would like to read—suspenseful stories with strong female characters,” Sally explained. Sally recommends her books to “anyone who wants to read an intriguing thriller that’s free of graphic violence and erotica.” Simultaneously, Sally is writing books two and three of the Chenille trilogy, and in January, she published a novella titled “Death is Personal,” an ebook that is currently sitting at #886 on Amazon for Two-Hour Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Short Reads. That’s impressive, considering there are well over six million ebooks now available on the Kindle store. It’s safe to say that when life put substantial challenges in front of her, Sally accepted her call to adventure, overcame all obstacles, and is living up to her true potential. “What battling cancer did for me was boost my confidence. Pre-cancer I was too busy with everyday life and thought I wouldn’t be good at writing anyway. Post-recovery, I knew that physically I was never going to be my former self, but mentally I felt recharged—almost invincible.”  Sally Dallas’ books are available on Amazon, and you can find more information at sallydallas.com.

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The Heart of a Jedi

loGAN CASTiLLo

A Brilliant, Super Smart, & Kind Boy By Camille DeVaul

O

n Saturday, June 19, Logan Castillo passed away at 1:30 a.m. with his parents Leo and Katie by his side. Logan was ten years old. Logan’s father, Leo Castillo, said, “He was a stubborn boy, but he was brilliant. Super smart and super kind.” On Sunday, June 13, Logan was taken to the emergency room at Twin Cities Hospital in Templeton after having flu-like symptoms for a week. According to Leo, his son looked drastically different within that one week of being sick and lost 10 pounds in seven days. A tumor was found while at Twin Cities, and because Logan’s stomach was swelling, he and his father Leo were driven by ambulance to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. There, doctors identified that Logan had Stage 3 Burkitt’s Lymphoma in his abdomen. Quickly, Logan began chemotherapy, but his body was not responding to the treatment. Logan was then flown to a hospital in Los Angeles for dialysis treatment.

22 | atascaderomagazine.com

Unfortunately, that night Logan did not make it. “I want to reiterate to people how sacred human life is, and it’s so nice to see kindness in a world that we’re living in. [We are] complete strangers to the Santa Barbara area, but yet Santa Barbara went completely above and beyond,” Leo shared. A GoFundMe page was set up on June 17 to help the Castillo family with medical expenses. In roughly five days, the community raised over $50,000. “I want people to know how important these last few weeks have been because of the community themselves. I am baffled and floored by the amount of support in Santa Barbara, the amount of support that we’re getting here in town,” Leo explained. Leo wanted to especially thank Officer Craig Burleigh in Santa Barbara. Burleigh works with veterans in crisis and helped rally the Santa Barbara community to support the Castillo family. Logan’s father, Leo is a 20 year Army veteran currently stationed at Camp Roberts. He is getting ready to retire from the reserves this year. The GoFundMe page said, “Logan is a sweet, sensitive little boy who loves Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


Star Wars. Logan has two siblings, his twin sister Lainey and his little brother, Noah.” Logan and his twin sister Lainey turned 11 on July 4. “I think he would appreciate the love that everyone has shown,” Leo said. A celebration of life was held for Logan on June 24 at Riverstar Vineyards in San Miguel. According to Leo, over 700 people attended the service, which was an impactful and overwhelming experience. Staff from the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara continue to reach out to the Castillo family to offer support. Remembering Logan’s love for all things Baby Yoda, Mandalorian, and Star Wars, staff connected the family with a Mandalorian character to come to Logan’s memorial service. Members from all corners of Logan’s life attended the service and continue to support the family. Logan’s dad, Leo, explains his family went from dealing with Logan’s cancer to dealing with his death in a matter of six days. Now, Leo says, they are learning how to cope and move forward. “I think the hardest part about this whole situation is we had just six days to be with him, unknowingly that he was going to pass on the sixth day,” Leo shared. He continued, “There’s this level of what tradition tells us what that’s [grief ] supposed to look like, and yet it’s not a healing way of coping.” Leo says he and his wife Logan’s mother, Katie, are now working to find a balance between giving their other two children the love they need and learning how to also be there for themselves. “I think something that is good to know for families or people that do end up seeing this story or have dealt with it themselves is that the dynamic of their family changes,” Leo explained. For now, the family is taking things one step and one day at a time while they continue to Live for Logan.  You can donate to Logan’s GoFundMe page at gofund.me/515bb1c1. August 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

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atascaderomagazine.com | 23


Taste

Sip & Savor

Dusi Family’s Paper Street Vineyard: A True Family Undertaking

Janell & Mike Dusi

A

long Kiler Canyon Road on Paso Robles’ west side lies an unmarked and seemingly abandoned narrow dirt road. If by accident you turn onto this road, you might find your car so hemmed in by the menacing forest; you might have to back up in reverse for half a mile. I know. It happened to me once. The second time I traveled down that road, though, I was expertly guided in a four-wheel-drive truck by winemaker Janell Dusi, owner of J. Dusi Wines. For this is the road that leads to Paper Street Vineyard. Few locals know of this vineyard. Winemakers do, or at least those who source fruit from this spectacular hillside vineyard that straddles the appellations of Willow Creek and Adelaide District. “We call it driving to Middle Earth,” quips Janell as we drive along the treacherous bumpy terrain. She is referring to the brooding landscape in “The Lords of the Rings” films. As her rugged truck snakes through the hardscrabble terrain, brittle calcareous rocks crumble off the hillsides as she dodges fallen tree logs, rocks, and piles of dirt. Although you feel like you’re miles from civilization, this woodsy pocket is no more than three miles from J. Dusi winery on Highway 46 West as the crow flies. Leave it to Mike Dusi, Janell’s father, and third-generation Paso vintner, to venture into this unapproachable parcel where others would not dare. But for him, unreachable as it was, it was perfect. The veteran farmer recognized its potential. A perfect mix of steep hillsides and the limestone deposits, this is where great quality fruit comes from, Janell declared, echoing her father’s belief in the abandoned ranch he acquired in 2013, which was then devoid of water or power. For the Dusis, Paso’s multi-generational farming clan, it was a true family effort to navigate the many hurdles it took to turn the rough into a diamond. Over three years, Mike and his sons Matt and Michael hauled dead trees with chains and bulldozers up steep hills, and, yes, there were accidents, like a tractor rolling off the hillsides. “And someone lost a finger,” Janell recalled. The Paper Street vineyard came across my radar when I tasted J. Dusis Paper Street wines — The Narrator, a Rhône style blend; Cornflower Blue mourvèdre; and a zinfandel. The wines were delicious, complex, and well structured. I was intrigued. That’s when Janell offered to take me on this adventure. The road itself is so unapproachable that it has no address; therefore, its

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name Paper Street. That’s the general name for a street that appears on maps but, in reality, does not exist. “It exists on paper only; there is no physical address or road,” Janell explained. After a good 15-minute bumpy ride, we pop up on top as if shot out of a cannon, transported to a completely different landscape, a Zen-like magical piece of terrain, with a patchwork of well-manicured vineyards. Currently, 110 acres are planted to ten varieties, mostly Rhône-style grapes and naturally zinfandel, a variety Dusi family’s vineyards are known for. Fruit from this vineyard is contracted by half a dozen or so Paso vintners producing wines for wineries such as Barton Family of Wines, Bodega de Edgar, Clos Solene, Turley, and Robert Hall. Before Mike began planting, he needed commitments from winemakers who would contract to purchase fruit from Paper Street vineyard. Veteran winemaker McPrice Myers of his eponymous winery was the first to sign on, committing to a 52-acre parcel. “When we went to the bank [for a loan], we needed someone to sign on to buy the fruit,” said Matt, who farms the vineyard alongside his father. “It was a huge leap of faith,” he said of Myers’ support. Matt and Janell set up a tasting for me at J. Dusi Winery to meet with two winemakers/customers of Paper Street vineyard fruit, Myers and Steve Glunz of Glunz Family Wines & Cellars. “I was nervous,” said Myers of his commitment. “But it was a good bet knowing the legendary farming family,” he said. “There’s a purity to these wines,” Myers commented. “They are exotic, and there’s plenty of energy.” While some winemakers commit to acreage, others like Glunz purchase by tonnage. We tasted a cross-section of Paper Street vineyard-designate wines, among them Myers’ 2017 clairette blanche, a floral wine with bracing acidity and an anise-scented grenache blanc from Barton Family Wines. Among the reds, we experienced a zinfandel spectrum from three vintages — a lush, ripe 2017 J. Dusi, a 2018 Glunz exuberant with fig and black plum flavors, and Myers’ 2019, rich and smooth hitting all the markers of classic zinfandel. At 2,200 feet elevation, Paper Street vineyard is surrounded by some pretty impressive wineries such as Daou, Law, L’Aventure, and Booker. “Serious wine is made here,” said Matt of his family’s vineyard, which is starting to garner a buzz with winemakers and wine aficionados. Just don’t go looking for it.  Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


Taste of Americana

Grilled Pineapple with Butter Rum Sauce

While it’s still grilling season, I think you’ ll like this first recipe using fresh pineapple, dark rum, and vanilla ice cream. Sound good? Yes indeed.

From the Kitchen of

Barbie Butz

SUMMER'S

BOUNTY W

hen I was growing up, and August came around, I sensed some urgency to get as much as I could out of the month because our schools opened in early September. I loved school, but I also loved summer’s carefree days. My family built a cabin at Big Bear Lake, and we spent much of the summer up there. I have fond memories of those days. I read a sign once that said “Goodbye August. Hello ‘Ber’ months” like Septem-ber, Octo-ber, Novem-ber, and Decem-ber. A friend said she thought, “August was like the Sunday of Summer.” I saw this poem on a greeting card, and it captured “August” very well, whether you are in the mountains or on the shore. Cheers!

INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

▷ 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter ▷ 1 cup packed brown sugar ▷ A pinch each of ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice ▷ ½ cup dark rum ▷ 8 1-inch-thick slices very ripe fresh pineapple, cored if not totally soft in the center ▷ Vanilla ice cream for serving

Cook butter, brown sugar, spices, and rum in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Bring to simmer and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly syrupy and coats the back of a spoon. Keep warm. Clean and heat grill, Brush or spray with touch of oil to prevent pineapple from sticking Grill pineapple slices until warmed and caramelized, about 10 minutes per side. Serve immediately, in rings or chunks, with warm sauce and ice cream.

Cold Berry Soup

Sweet chilled fruit soups were served as a refreshing first course that offset the savory second course and were popular for centuries but is no longer “in fashion” today here in America. However, I think this next recipe would make a wonderful summer dessert. It uses fresh strawberries or raspberries, which are in abundance at our Farmers Markets here in this area. INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

▷ 2 cups fresh raspberries or strawberries ▷ ½ cup sugar ▷ ½ cup sour cream ▷ 2 cups ice water ▷ ½ cup red wine

Clean and rub the berries through a fine sieve. Add sugar to taste and the sour cream. Mix. Add the water and wine and correct the sweetening, if needed, by adding a little more sugar. Chill. Makes 4 or 5 servings. Note: Serve the cold soup in a dessert bowl and garnish with a whole strawberry or 3 raspberries and a leaf or two of fresh mint.

Peachy Polka-Dot Crumb Pie

There’s nothing like a fresh peach pie, and this recipe will “take the cake” and have everyone asking for seconds! It comes from one of my Junior League cookbooks and is a recipe submitted by the Junior League of Cobb-Marietta, Georgia. INGREDIENTS:

▷ ▷ ▷ ▷ ▷ ▷

1 unbaked (10-inch) deep-dish pie shell 2 ½ cups sliced fresh peaches ½ cup blueberries 2 cups sugar 1 ½ cups flour 1/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

▷ ▷ ▷ ▷

½ cup sour cream 2 eggs, beaten ½ cup (1 stick) butter Sliced fresh peaches, for garnish ▷ Fresh blueberries, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the 2 ½ cups peaches and ½ cup blueberries; spoon into pie shell. Combine 1 cup of the sugar, 1/3 cup of the flour, and the salt in a bowl and mix well. Stir in sour cream and eggs. Spoon over fruit in pie shell. Mix remaining 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of fruit—Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until browned. Garnish with sliced peaches and blueberries.

August “Lazy summer afternoons, Walks along the beach, Balmy evenings, cloudless skies, Stars just out of reach, Sailing on a quiet lake, Hammocks in the shade… these are the simple treasures Of which August days are made.” Enjoy summer’s bounty while you enjoy the month of August. Cheers! 

August 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

atascaderomagazine.com | 25


Tent City • Retrospective

Time, Precious Time By Jennifer Scales

T

The world as we know it has become a strange and unfamiliar place, his prose assures us of power to remember the gift of life I the certainty and beauty was given. Fast forward to the presWhere fear and uncertainty have come to rob us of our joy. found in time. Looking ent; I continue to make a conscious We need to rest in the certainty and beauty of time, back at this past year, one true effort to live up to that promise, The grace in its patience in making us whole again. constant can be found, Time remembering that one moment in When the night seems cold and the world unfair, made things better. Time in and time when my time could have or of itself is just a measurement that should have ended. Sometimes, I A hope can be found in each moment called time. occurs in increments. Measured worry that I need to do more, love Slowly healing, gradually changing, eventually renewing, by seconds, minutes, and hours more, give more, care more. But the Strengthening and nurturing us as it passes. as the earth revolves around the truth is every day I wake up, I am sun, adding up to days, months, grateful for another day. When catastrophe hits or trouble abounds, when it all seems overwhelming, and years. My ideology about time is Just remember there will be a tomorrow, and the sun will shine bright again. The concept is easy; even a child simply finding that something Be assured time will make its way, can understand. My point is not to that makes you unique. Whatever bring light the obvious concept of that looks like, we all have someIt will change things; it will change us with each passing day. time. But, instead to inspire questhing we can contribute—merely We may not see it, but as days become years, we will look back without regret, tions, “How are you cherishing using your uniqueness to make a Only then will we see what time has accomplished moments in your life?” “Are your difference in this world. Your gift in making us who we are meant to be. moments each day creating lastmay take a lifetime to give, but ing memories?” “Is how you spend what a beautiful way to spend What an amazing life made up of this beautiful concept of precious time, your time meaningful to you and your time. When we smile at a Strangely, the seeming bad times and the unimaginable those around you?” stranger, show kindness to others, can create a strength within us all. Time is fluid. Time can heal. or when we love unconditionally, Time creates. The mere exiswe are closer to getting it right. A Let’s choose our time wisely, fill it with hope, love, kindness, and forgiveness, tence of time should give us soldier may lose their life in battle, May we never take it for granted and treasure it as a wondrous gift. pause. Wasting valuable time is but what an amazing gift they gave the saddest of outcomes. How we fill our time and the measurement of it us. His or her contribution of their time will live on in our memories forever. matters, or at least it should. Finally, our time is precious; every moment can only be quantified by June 29, 1988, I experienced a life-changing event that I have celebrated making these moments meaningful. My life is far from perfect, but I make every year since. I was involved in a serious car accident that transformed a conscious effort every single day to be mindful of my moments, smiling my way of looking at time and its value. The trajectory of this event made from my heart and spreading kindness like confetti. me realize, at 26 years old, that my life could have ended that day or shortly If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us is that life is fleeting. after. God spared me the memory of the actual car accident; only the scars Every passing segment of time we live matters; we need to express gratitude remain as a constant reminder that life is too short and should never be with humble kindness for the gift of life we are blessed to have and share. taken for granted. Live life with purpose and intention, expressing kindness and love in all I made a commitment during my healing that I would do everything in my you do. 

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San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

S

an Luis Obispo County enjoys beautiful topography, a pleasant climate, and a significant community service ethic. During the summer of 2021, civic groups, private businesses, non-profits, and government agencies have joined forces to best support our community as we exit the global pandemic. Sustainable practices that are interlinked as a mutually supporting process can create prosperity in society for generations. Civic responsibility moves beyond the legal duty of care requirements and can be considered an ethical or moral service. Two such agencies connected with my office that serve adults who in turn benefit our youth are the SLO Noor Foundation and SLO Career and Technical Education (CTE) Foundation. These agencies understand that helping those who provide for our youth is a variation of paying it forward. Both Noor and the CTE Foundation acknowledge the obstacles and challenges individuals face because of economics in San Luis Obispo County. Mitigating the effects of access to health care or educational training is a shared theme of both non-profits. The work of these agencies contributes to the well-being of internal and external stakeholders with a positive impact on the youth of our community. Because the families and primary caregivers of students throughout the county have economic challenges, serving the adults that provide for our youth is an investment in our future. To attract the best investment for business expansion, increase customer base sales, and create greater prosperity, the community must provide increased access to services such as health care, child care, and educational training. Employers throughout the county acknowledge the business benefits when a community provides for increased health and economic interests. My work as a classroom teacher, school principal, college instructor, district superintendent, and now as your county superintendent made me aware of groups providing health care, child care, and educational training to the economically challenged. I did not fully appreciate the positive impact of these services on the community until I became

August 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

James Brescia, Ed.D.

I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death... I think... peace and tranquillity will return again. ~ Anne Frank

CommunitY COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

S E R V I C E

more involved with Noor and CTE. Through Noor’s clinics, medical practitioners provide quality preventative and episodic primary health care to the uninsured. Educational literature, case management, and social work assistance are also available. Some of the individuals Noor serves are the adult family members of some of our most vulnerable students in the community. Noor’s medical, dental, and vision care strengthens families, economic prosperity, and the community. Noor has been in service for nine years, provided 2,000 prescription glasses, conducted over 40,000 patient encounters, and logged over 7,800 volunteer hours. The Noor Foundation is a partner in service with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. The SLO CTE Foundation is a non-profit organization aimed at improving the lives and economy of our community by supporting and inspiring transformative education opportunities. Our efforts support three proven initiatives of the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education: SLO Partners, the arts, and K-12 technical education. SLO Partners provides access for students to remain in the community while training in a new field or career path through fast-tracked boot camp programs. These boot camps work in partnership with Cuesta College, local industry, and educational leaders. Scholarships are provided by local businesses, grants, and donors that value the investment in our future. The digital marketing, web development, precision manufacturing, cybersecurity, trades, and

T O

T H E

the Ticket to Teach programs to connect local talent to the workforce and career pathways. The SLO CTE Foundation is committed to preserving and promoting the arts in education. An education system that teaches critical thinking, creatively approaching problems, and addresses challenges, equips students for long-term career development in our rapidly changing global economy. Our goal is to help all students become lifelong learners and enthusiasts of the arts. We actively envision each student’s limitless possibilities. Students’ technical, academic, and employability skills taught in CTE courses are essential for college and career success. Just as American businesses are redesigning how they deliver services, educational leaders, legislators, and policymakers should redesign how we provide for our community. Our service systems are social justice in action. A healthy and well-educated populous strengthens our democracy and grows our economy. America faces a challenge today of providing a safe environment, rebuilding our economy, and competing in the global marketplace. Although additional work is still needed to provide access to health and education services, this summer will prove that we are an adaptive, resourceful, and hopeful people. Anyone interested in supporting the SLO Noor Foundation or the SLO CTE Foundation and their services can find additional information online or contact the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. It is an honor to serve as your County Superintendent of Schools. 

atascaderomagazine.com | 27


The Atascadero News

School Board Addresses Mask Mandates for Upcoming School Year

By Patrick Patton

T

he Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) held a special School Board of Trustees Meeting on Thursday, July 22, at 11 a.m. The purpose of the meeting was to share information regarding the current restrictions which will be placed on children who plan on returning to in-person schooling next month. Public comment was also heard in the form of in-person audience members and letters sent in from parents. Open session began with the pledge of allegiance and a moment of silence. Next, board President George Shoemaker announced that there was nothing to report from closed session. He then explained the purpose of the meeting, which was to present an informational item and allow oral communication from the public. The board voted in favor to move for oral communications 7-0. Superintendent Tom Butler then gave his report in which he praised the summer school program, provided an update on the “good progress” being made on both the removal of the B building and on the tennis courts. The Trustees approved the minutes from the meeting on Jun. 29 in a 7-0 vote and then moved on to administrative business regarding the revision of the AUSD plan for the reopening of schools in response to COVID-19. Superintendent Butler reiterated that today’s meeting was meant to be informational only and that at some point prior to the start of school, at a future board meeting, “the board will need to consider voting and approving a plan just like the one that’s here today.” “One of the elements that I’ve been sharing,” Butler said, “is that the trustees...and our staff—we’re the educational agency for this district, and our backgrounds are in education. Clearly, we’re not the public health office. I want to make sure that there’s some clarity there... and so that agency in the state of California that’s responsible for the health of the citizens in our state is the California Department of Public Health, and then they will branch down into the county departments of public health. That’s where you hear the mandates on the mask come from.” Butler then reminded the public that AUSD is also an employer, which means that they have to be mindful of CalOSHA. He also informed the public that the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Department of Public Health

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has reasserted the mask mandate for students and staff to wear a mask in a classroom setting, regardless of vaccination status. This applies to both public schools and private schools. Masks will be optional in an outside setting, including before school, lunch, recess, passing periods, athletics, and after-school activities. Butler stated that vaccines are not required for students and staff at this time and that as a district, they are not collecting any information about vaccination status. He then presented a caveat in which an individual could be approached and asked about vaccination status by a San Luis Obispo County Department Public Health worker, as they are actively engaging in contact tracing. “Now it’s that individual’s choice whether they want to divulge that or not,” Butler said. “That’s their own private business, but you could hear people get questioned about it in a contact tracing scenario.” “To set the stage for the school year,” Butler continued, “we’re going to be fully open—a full school day, full class size... all extra-curricular, all co-curricular activities will be in full force, and we’re glad to have all those back.” Butler then encouraged the public to consider sharing feelings and opinions with the SLO County Department of Public Health, County Supervisors, and Elected State Officials. He shared that a resolution is being talked about among the trustees, which could come at the next board meeting, in which the board would communicate a public statement to a board of public officials. The resolution would make a case for safely opening our schools based on SLO County’s health metrics as opposed to state-wide statistics. Trustee Ray Buban brought up the issue of litigation protection. Butler responded by citing advice from legal counsel, which is to follow the public health agency’s guidelines. “If we’re following the general health guidelines established by health professionals, that would lower our litigation risk should anything happen.” Trustee Mary Kay Mills then asked about the recently released state guidance, which seemed to indicate that each individual district would have the option of whether or not to require masks. Butler called this “really misleading information, frankly. The masks are still required once again in a K-12 classroom setting. The level in which the districts have local control is in enforcing it...does it become a student Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


Education discipline issue? Are there procedures? How are we going to engage with families if they were to send their child to school without a mask?” Butler described a “compassionate” approach in which the parents would be contacted and provided with other options such as distance learning, independent studies, and homeschool. Trustee Mills pressed further, asking, “so like myself, if Cayden doesn’t attend school this year because she’s required to wear a mask, then is ACE Academy an option?” Butler affirmed that virtual learning would be an option in this case. Trustee Corrinne Kuhnle then asked, “should we open with the mask mandate, and then as time moves on...they take the mask mandate away if you are a parent who has enrolled your child into the virtual program, or ACE Academy, how difficult would that be for them to go back to the classroom after they’ve started?” “It won’t be difficult for our parents,” Butler responded. “It may take a little shuffling, but we certainly want to be very responsive at that moment. We want to do that in a timely turnaround so that we can act very quickly.” Trustee Buban then reminded parents that on Page 9, number E of the proposal, a doctor can provide a note of exemption from the mask mandate for students. Buban then asked, “If we don’t follow the mask mandate, what are the consequences to the district besides the litigation?” Butler answered that “there are some funding sources that are attached to following the guidelines and having a board-approved plan... and some of those are in the tune of millions of dollars, and so those would be at risk of being lost.” Executive Assistant to Superintendent Stacey Phillips then read aloud the correspondence the board had received, all of which addressed the mask mandate. There were nine letters read. Seven of the letters were in

favor of compliance with mask mandates, and two were in favor of personal choice for all families. Finally, members of the audience spoke on the mask mandate. Fourteen speakers weighed in, all of whom spoke in favor of personal choice regarding masks. The prominent themes were a need for tolerance toward children of all beliefs, the importance of following science and data as opposed to government regulation, the negative impact of masks on children’s physical and mental health, big tech’s censorship of accurate and pertinent information, and a conflict of interest in the source of funding for the one of the agencies guiding policy. “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is funded by Pfizer. That is all you need to hear about that. Every decision you’re making here today is money-driven, just as the AAP. All we’ve heard about is the funding. When are you going to start worrying about the well-being of the children?” said Jennifer Grainger, Chair of the SLO Chapter of Moms4Liberty. “We know that they are not at risk for getting COVID. Virtually no child is... you’re proposing causing other illnesses in children, causing lifetime mental health issues in children over a 0.0003 death rate.” Perhaps the biggest encouragement to parents struggling with the lack of educational options was the rise of practical solutions being proposed by the audience members. Parents have set up trailers with tutors to assist homeschooling families, and Moms4Liberty has a mask-free full-time school in the works for the fall. Grainger says they have secured funding sources, teachers, and churches who are willing to help make this a reality because they “are not willing to participate in the abuse any longer.” The sentiment of the public comment was perhaps best summed up by parent Kim Paul’s plea to “set our kids free.” Once all public comment was heard, the meeting was adjourned. The next AUSD Board meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 3, at 7 p.m.. 

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atascaderomagazine.com | 29


AgVocate

Singer and Dairy Farmer

STEPHANIE NASH

AgVocates Against ‘30 by 30’ Plan By Camille DeVaul

O

ne week after President Joe Biden took office, he signed an executive order known as the “30 by 30

Plan.” By 2030, the United States Government plans to “protect at least 30 percent of the states’ land areas and waters; to help advance the protection of 30 percent of the nation’s oceans; and to support regional, national, and international efforts to protect at least 30 percent of the world’s land areas and waters and 30 percent of the world’s ocean” according to the assembly bill text. In essence, the Country’s goal is to conserve 30 percent of its waters and land by 2030. The Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful preliminary report was released on May 6. According to the report it is, “only the starting point on the path to fulfilling the conservation vision that President Biden has outlined. Where this path leads over the next decade will be determined not by our agencies but by the idea and leadership of local communities. It is our job to listen, learn, and provide support along the way to help strengthen economies and pass on healthy lands, waters, and wildlife for generations to come.” But a deeper look into how those lands and waters will be protected has spurred controversy amongst farmers and ranchers across the Nation. Stephanie Nash, a singer/songwriter, dairy farmer, and agricultural activist, speaks loudly against legislative threats made against farmers and ranchers, especially the 30 by 30 plan. Stephanie’s family operated a dairy farm in California for 85 years until 2010, when they decided to purchase property in Tennessee and move their dairy farm operations there. Around 2008, Stephanie’s father began to see a shift in California. Increasing regulations set on farmers in the State showed him that life for farmers and ranchers in California would only worsen. For eight years now, Stephanie’s family

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has been successfully milking dairy cows in Tennessee. Stephanie says she learned her advocacy voice while participating in the dairy challenge at Fresno State. Dairy challenge is the evaluation of dairy farms to help other farmers financially, reproductively, and more. “I wanted to learn what the struggles were throughout our country regulation and bill wise,” Stephanie shared. Now, Stephanie works at her family’s dairy running their calf-heifer program and watches over 850 cattle. In addition, she gives tours and shows the community their operation, family aspect, and the importance of family farms. “Farms are trying to survive, and they aren’t getting the support they need,” Stephanie explained, referring to federal legislation and regulations in agriculture. In 2020, Stephanie began a video series called “The Life of a Farmer,” in which she travels to different family farms and shares their story. “It’s not even just about what we do on a daily basis, but it’s the importance of that farmer telling their story—they feature the farm, the family, and their operation. They feature what is going on in their state,” Stephanie explained. She also takes to TikTok, a social media app, where she voices her concerns for struggling farmers and educates people on how some legislative bills affect the agriculture industry. In particular, Stephanie often refers to the 30 by 30 plan. “The 30 by 30 bill is a threat in the biggest way because they are using climate change and people don’t understand—my experience has been they are going to regulate you, they are going to fine you if you don’t do exactly what they want from you and they are going to make it unaffordable for you to survive,” Stephanie said. Shortage of labor workers and the cost of feed and other essentials are constantly working against farmers. At Stephanie’s dairy farm, they are struggling to find people willing to work.

Stephanie Nash’s family owned and operated a dairy farm in California for 85 years, then decided to move the farm to Tennessee. Photo (left) Stephanie with her father Steve Nash.

Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


While prices for food goes up in grocery stores, the farmer doesn’t see an increase on their end except for higher cost for feed, equipment, and supplies. States are already moving forward with plans to comply with the 30 by 30 plan. California was the first state to begin creating a plan to conserve 30 percent of its water and land. However, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts describes the 30 by 30 plan as a “land grab” and is lobbying against the bill. The Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report says, “Federal agencies can and should advance conservation by supporting programs that incentivize voluntary conservation efforts and provide new sources of income for American farmers, ranchers, and forest stewards.” The section goes on to promote more use of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). CRP is a USDA Farm Service Agency program where in exchange for payment, farmers agree to “remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality.” While the program sounds enticing—money in exchange for not farming—that also means less land in service for farming and growing food. Governor Ricketts warns that because the President’s 30 by 30 plan is vague about obtaining land, private land rights could be threatened. He warns that at the county level, conservation easements could be put into effect. He says, “Once you’ve entered into a permanent easement, you have forever surrendered control of your land to the land trust or federal government. Future generations will not have the flexibility to develop or manage the land differently.” In California, the federal government owns 47 percent of the state’s land. But in Nebraska, 97 percent of their land is privately owned. Ricketts says, “If 30 percent of land in Nebraska is set aside for conservation, it will shift the property tax burden onto fewer farmers, ranchers, homeowners, and business owners. Right now, the federal government pays about $2.50 per acre on average in lieu of taxes on land it holds with conservation easements. Even if a land trust holds the conservation easement, the land’s potential taxable value is still greatly reduced. This leaves fewer taxpayers to pay for schools, roads, bridges, and other services.” Stephanie continues to push for people to support their local farmers. She reminds people that during COVID, large corporations like Walmart and Costco were allowed to stay open while the small businesses were forced to shut down. “It just makes you wonder what their actual end plan is with the 30 by 30 bill. The biggest plan is they are going to bankrupt family farms, and they are going to take over, and they are going to manage the price. And I tell you, if they get to that point, your food will be three or four times it is now. That’s a message for everybody to hear.” In recent years, many women in agriculture have risen up to be the industry’s voice, pushing back against misconceptions against the industry. “I just want to read about it [legislature] because I want my family farm to survive, and I want to tell people about where their food comes from and the importance of it.”  To learn more about Stephanie Nash, you can go to her website stephanienashmusic.com. Read the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful preliminary report by visiting doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/report-conserving-and-restoring-americathe-beautiful-2021.pdf. Read about Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts efforts to stop the 30 by 30 plan at governor.nebraska.gov/press/gov-ricketts-slams-“vague”-30-x-30-reportbiden-harris-administration-agencies. August 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

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atascaderomagazine.com | 31


Agriculture

THE GREAT

CANNABIS DEBATE, PART II

Cannabis Cultivation from the View of a Farmer

By Camille DeVaul

C

annabis cultivation continues to be a hot topic in San Luis Obispo County. Some SLO county residents are hesitant to share their support for the industry for fear of scrutiny. After Part One of this series, I received an email from someone who said they initially voted against the recreational use of cannabis but has since changed their mind and believes there are misconceptions on both sides of the debate. The same person said they are hesitant to voice their opinion because of fear of negative public comments. This is the second time someone has told me they feel this way. Steve Shelburne, a resident of Paso Robles, is currently in the process of getting a permit through the County to grow cannabis on his property. He wanted to share his viewpoint on the cannabis industry entering SLO County from a farming perspective. “I’ve had a little bit of push pack from various entities. It’s something I’ve done a lot of research on to understand what the points of contention were and what the reality is,” said Shelburne. Shelburne currently rents 80 acres of his property to an alfalfa farmer.

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When cannabis was legalized, the farmer approached Shelburne with the idea of trading some alfalfa acres for cannabis. “At first, I was reluctant, but then I did more research,” said Shelburne. He continued, “I don’t use cannabis. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I’m just an average guy, but understanding there might be a better opportunity return on investment, I partnered with him to try to move the process forward.” In June 2019, Shelburne and his partner formed SLOCann LLC, started the application process, and met with the County for their pre-application meeting. During that meeting, the County laid out the process for Shelburne to apply for a minor-land-use permit-which is step one if you want to grow cannabis for commercial use legally. Shelburne’s minor use permit is a public document that can be viewed by visiting energov.sloplanning.org His project number is DRC202000037 if you want to view his application. Currently, Shelburne’s minor use permit is 35 percent complete. But, according to Shelburne, he has paid over $30,000 during the application process and has around $20,000 to go before he can even be considered

for approval. Right now, Shelburne’s permit is on a temporary hold due to outstanding funds, according to County Planning and Building Executive Assistant Katie Martin. However, according to Shelburne, he does not show any outstanding invoices when he views his account. Out of the nine applications submitted for his permit so far, only “Distribute Referrals” is marked failed on July 14, 2020. Martin explained, “Distribute referrals pertains to the application referrals that are sent to various County and outside agencies, such as Public Works, Cal Fire, Environmental Health, the Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, etc.” She continued, “The fact that the dashboard indicates “failed” on July 14, 2020, simply notes that this step was canceled or redone for some reason. There is another entry right above this entry that shows Distribute Referrals is marked as passed on July 14, 2021. It is likely that there was an error with the first entry, and it had to be corrected. The only way to correct it is to “fail” the first attempt

and create a new entry.” Shelburne compares getting approved to grow cannabis to getting approved to build a strip mall. The first step to growing cannabis in SLO County is getting approved for a minor use land permit. To apply for a minor use land permit, the following documents need to be filed: • General Application Contact Information • Land Use – Project Information Form • Environmental Description Form • Information Disclosure form • Land Use Consent of Property Owner form (only if the applicant does not own the property • Hazardous Waste and Substances Statement Disclosure (PLN-1122) Within these documents, the applicant needs the following reports submitted: • Archaeological Report • Biological Report • Botanical Report • Geological Report These are just a few of the reports and documents needed. You can review the complete application package by visiting slocounty.ca.gov. Currently, there are 78 applica-

Atascadero News Magazine | August 2021


tions somewhere in the process of getting their minor use permit for cannabis-related activities in SLO County. According to Shelburne, the main concerns contributing to the negative stigma of cannabis are crime and odor. “I’m expecting there will be some push back, but my biggest concern is that there is a lot of subjective bias and misinformation—I just don’t think that they’re educated, and I don’t blame them,” said Shelburne. He continued, “At the end of the day, it will become a commodity—that will drive the price down. Once the price goes down, the illegal activity associated with cannabis will go away.” Again, because the legalization of marijuana is relatively new, data for crime rates and marijuana legalization is limited. According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) final report published June 2020: “We (NCJRS) found that marijuana legalization has not had an overall consistently positive or negative effect on matters of public safety. Instead, legalization has resulted in a varied set of outcomes, including concern about youth access to marijuana and increased drugged driving, a belief that there is increased cross border transference of legal marijuana to states that have not legalized, reports that training and funding for cannabis-related law enforcement activities have been deficient given the complex and enlarged role the police have been given, and the persistence of the complex black market. On the “positive” front, legalization appears to have coincided with an increase in crime clearance rates in several areas of offending and an overall null effect on rates of serious crime.” The full report can be read by visiting nij.ojp.gov/library/ publications/effects-marijuana-legalization-law-enforcement-and-crime-final-report To start, Shelburne and his partner plan to trade two acres of alfalfa for two acres of cannabis. Then, if all goes well, they will expand another acre. Those who oppose cannabis often use its high water needs as a factor against the crop. According to Shelburne, water usage for alfalfa and cannabis are comparable. Because he is trading alfalfa acres for cannabis, his water usage is not expected to change significantly one way or the other. One alfalfa farmer says that one acre of alfalfa needs about five inches of water every 25 days, depending on soil conditions and temperatures. Because cannabis is still relatively new to grow in some states legally, accurate water usage data is still hard to come by. In an article by Daniel Gaddy, “The Cannabis Water Report” on watertechonline.com, because cannabis is not federally legal, there is still a lack of accurate industry water usage data for the crop. August 2021 | Atascadero News Magazine

In April 2020, the Resource Innovation Institute (RII), a nonprofit that promotes energy efficiency for cannabis growers, formed the Water Working Group (WWG). WWG is made up of experts from various fields searching for a better understanding of cannabis water usage. The group partnered with New Frontier Data and the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center and created the Cannabis Water Report. According to the report, “Compared to major agricultural crops, including cotton, grapes, and corn, the total water used to grow cannabis has a nominal impact on total water use in farming.” The report found water use on cannabis highly depends on growing location and techniques. “A portion of our research was focused on understanding why cannabis had received such notoriety as a water-intensive crop,” said Christopher Dillis, a postdoctoral researcher at the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center. He continued, “We need to educate people about what is happening now in the legal industry and separate that from the old narrative around the illicit industry. The report reveals that water use practices are highly diverse in the new regulated cannabis industry, and we hope that this new data leads to well-tailored regulatory policies that are responsive to this diversity.” The report argues that the accusation of the cannabis industry contaminating water sources, being a water-intensive crop, and others can be addressed by placing specific regulations on the legalized industry. In contrast, no regulations can be placed on illegal grows. You can read Gaddy’s full article on watertechonline.com Download the full water report by visiting info.newfrontierdata.com/ cannabis-h2o Overall, Shelburne feels, “The negative stigma attached to it [cannabis] is unwarranted. I don’t think these people have done significant research. I don’t want to say that they’re not good people. I just think they bought into what the Federal Government has been telling them for 80 years.” He continued, “It’s [cannabis] changed, and I think people don’t understand CBD and THC and how they affect the system, and it’s just one of those things where I think there is a lack of education.” Cannabis is going to be an ongoing and controversial topic within our County. As we continue this in-depth series, we will look to bring more information, different perspectives, and outlooks from both sides of the subject. And as always, with an unbiased outlook.  If you or someone you know would like to share your insight into the subject, send an email to camille@13starsmedia.com. To read Part 1 of this article, please visit atascaderonews.com atascaderomagazine.com | 33


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