Atascadero News Magazine • #44 • February 2022

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health WELLNESS & SELF CARE

local INSPIRING ARTIST SHARES HOPE

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fe at ures

February 2022

Issue No. 44

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16

Thousands Attend Atascadero’s 6th Annual Tamale Festival By Christianna Marks

On Saturday, January 15, around 10,000 locals and tourists headed to Atascadero’s Sunken Gardens to celebrate their love of tamales. Not even on-and-off-rain could affect the turnout!

24

Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation Spreads Community Love By Christianna Marks

The foundation has been changing the lives of local athletes for the last four years while keeping the Bitti and Brynn Frace’s memories alive.

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Lighthouse Coffee Classroom

By J. Scott Killen and Alex Buckley

As part of the LIGHTHOUSE Program established in 2012, LIGHTHOUSE Coffee strives to spread awareness, prevention, intervention, and education to combat drug and alcohol addiction in our hometown.

Local Artist’s Vision Comes To Traffic Way By Christianna Marks

Local artist Michelle Watson and Specs owner Kyla Skinner became fast friends and in February, the two artistic ladies are teaming together to bring a fun and colorful collaboration to downtown Atascadero.

On the Cover

Atascadero Creek, as seen from old Morro road after the January rains.. Photo by Rick Evans 20,000 PRINTED | 17,000 DIRECT MAILED LOCALLY! Atascadero 93422 • Santa Margarita 93453 • Creston 93432

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Publishers Note

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Do you have an inspiring image of our amazing community? Do you know of a story that needs to be shared? Email us today at

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18 HAVE A NEW BUSINESS? NEED TO FILE YOUR FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME, LEGAL NOTICE OR CLASSIFIED AD? Contact The Atascadero News at (805) 466-2585 or office@13starsmedia.com your local hometown newspaper since 1916. We are here to help!

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26 Something Worth Reading Publisher’s Letter Round Town Atascadero Chamber of Commerce | Cross Talk with Josh Cross The Natural Alternative: Maximize Your Workout Santa Margarita: Shifting Our Focus to Health and Wellness Atascadero People Henry Barba: Santa Margarita Native Passes at 108 Dr. Robert Schechter: My Small World

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Taste of Atascadero 26

Sip & Savor: Month of Love

HowUIDE to G

Business Spotlight 28 29

Dianne Cassidy: There’s A New Real Estate Team in Town Solarponics Brings the Power of the Sun to the Central Coast

2 0 2 1 FA L L E D I T I O N A Special Supplement to The Atascadero News & Paso Robles Press

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Tent City SLO County Office of Education: What is an Apprenticeship? Another Rick Evans Photo: A Special to the Atascadero News Magazine Last Word Almond Quilt Guild: Local Guild Gifts Donations to Local Non-Profits Directory of our Advertisers

6 | February 2022

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Something Worth Reading

Publisher’s Letter

T

he month of January was a cold one; we are looking forward to warmer, longer days ahead. Our family went through some significant changes this past month; we sold our beautiful home in Atascadero with sights of moving to more land for the boys to grow up on. That plan has yet to come to fruition, so for the time being, we are a traveling family in a 41-foot fifth-wheel trailer. It is something to get used to, but we are enjoying it for now. February brings out all the hearts and love; we were excited to hear that this year’s Sweetheart Stroll is back on February 11; contact the Chamber for more details, and the annual “Father Daughter Dance” is back as well on February 4 and 5. March will bring the announcement of this year’s Chamber of Commerce annual awards, which we will feature in the April issue with hopes of an event as well. More to come on that. We are excited to announce that this year’s “Best Of ” winners have been chosen! Your votes were counted, and next month we will reveal the winners in our March “Best Of North SLO County” issue.

publisher, editor-in-chief

Hayley Mattson layout design

Neil Schumaker Evan Rodda ad consultants

ad design

Dana McGraw Jamie Self

community writers

Jen Rodman

Camille DeVaul Christianna Marks

office administrator

Cami Martin | office@13starsmedia.com

Barbie Butz

contributors

Alex Buckley

J. Scott Killen

The Natural Alternative

James Brescia, Ed.D.

Simone Smith

Josh Cross

OUR NEXT ISSUE:

In this month’s issue, we focused on Health and Wellness, which given the current day concerns with COVID-19, is a critical focus that can help us all (pages 23-26). We also meet Local Veterinarian Robert Schechter who Published a Memoir (on page 19); Local artist Michelle Watson who has partenered with and Specs owner Kyla Skinner to bring her art to the public (page 27) and honor Henry Barba, a local veteran hero, who was 108 when he passed (page 21).

BEST OF NORTH SLO COUNTY 2022 SPRING • WEDDING ISSUE March 2022

PUBLICATION DELIVERY DATE March 3, 2022 ADVERTISING DEADLINE February 10, 2022 For more information about advertising, contact our advertising representatives above, or see our media kit at atascaderomagazine.com/advertise

Each month we have so many wonderful stories to tell, and coming out of a very challenging two years, we are honored to be able to continue to share them with all of you. We value all of our loyal advertisers and readers; thank you for sharing your stories and following our journey. We love our community, which is why we are building our company here to be able to offer career positions to local people who love California and the North County. Our team is growing, and we are so proud to work with each one of them. Thank you for supporting our mission and our team. Together we are so much more.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Atascadero News Magazine.

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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.

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Round Town

Chamber of Commerce

Get Rewarded For

O

CEO/President | Atascadero Chamber of Commerce

SHOPPING LOCAL

ur Shop Local Bonus program is back! Here at the Chamber, we wanted to start the new year with a big program supporting Atascadero businesses and rewarding shoppers. There’s no better way to accomplish that than with our Shop Local Bonus program! Starting February 1, you can start earning $20 gift cards for every $100 you spend at qualified Atascadero businesses. This program goes until March 31. It’s just another great reason to support local! Here’s how you can get started – start saving your receipts to every retail, restaurant, and personal service business you shop at in Atascadero (excluding receipts

from grocery stores and gas stations). Your receipts from February 1 to March 31 can be cumulative to equal $100. However, taxes, delivery fees, and shipping costs are not eligible toward your purchase total for the gift cards. Then redeem your receipts by either bringing them into the Chamber or submitting photos of them online at our website, AtascaderoChamber. org/shop-local-bonus/. You’ll be able to choose your free $20 gift card to local participating businesses in OUR community. You can view the businesses available for gift cards on our website at the above link. It’s important to note, gift cards to participating businesses may run out!

New Chamber Members

So, we encourage all shoppers to get their receipts turned in quickly for their gift cards. You can earn up to two free gift cards! We have a fantastic business community that has been incredibly supportive of the Chamber and the folks in our community! Local businesses hire local workers, support local families, donate to local youth programs, and support local nonprofits. Now’s our chance to give back and support them. As the Chamber, our goal is to lead the way in creating initiatives and programs that support local businesses and entrepreneurs. We hope you’ll join us in supporting and shopping locally!

Always An “A” Painting alwaysanapainting.com

Bianchi Winery & Tasting Room bianchiwine.com Cool Water Productions instagram.com/explore/tags/ coolwatersproductions/top DJ Rrama/ MJ Smooth mixcloud.com/djrrama Elder Placement Professionals elderplacementprofessionals.com Mobile Wash and Detail (805) 975-9856 Nardonne’s La Fimiglia Pizzeria nardonnespizza.com On the Beach Bed and Breakfast californiaonthebeach.com Paso Bamboo Farm and Nursery pasobamboo.com Plaza Cleaners drycleanersatascadero.com/astascadero Savina’s Homemade Tamales facebook.com/milca.rangelsalazar.1 Tidemark Financial Partners tidemarkfp.com

FEBRUARY Promotions Chamber Mixer February 17, El Paseo Courtyard, 5 to 7 p.m.

S

ave the date, and join us for our first Chamber Mixer of 2022 at the El Paseo courtyard! El Paseo is home to businesses such as Central Coast Distillery, Grape Emporium, and Specs by Kyla. Join us and get to know local business professionals and our amazing community. Explore new businesses in OUR community at the Member Alley while enjoying complimentary drinks and bites.

T

ickets for the mixer are free; however, registration is encouraged to assist with food and beverage planning purposes. Even if you’re not able to register ahead of time, we still happily welcome your attendance! Register at atascaderochamber.org.

NEW 2022 - Atascadero Lakeside Wine Passport Excellent Holiday Gift!

Art, Wine, and Brew Tour February 11, Downtown Atascadero

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ood for all of 2022! For only $75, you can enjoy complimentary tastings at wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries. 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. urchase your passport at atascaderochamber.org/ wine-passport or by contacting the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce at (805)466-2044.

12 | February 2022

elebrate the new year with the Art, Wine & Brew Tour! Sip and shop your way through beautifully decorated downtown stores lit up to celebrate the holiday season. Enjoy some phenomenal wine, beer, coffee, and other treats from 15 to 20 businesses. Earlybird tickets are $20 in advance through February 4, $25 from February 5-10, and $30 at the door; every ticket comes with a complimentary wine glass. urchase your tickets at our website, AtascaderoChamber.org, or give our office a call to purchase your tickets at (805) 466-2044. Atascadero News Magazine

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

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gym, give one of these powders a try! Post-workout, it’s important to replenish with a protein powder. My go-to is Garden of Life’s Sport Organic Sport Plant-Based Protein (also comes in “whey”), mixed with 8 oz of water. It mixes well with the shaker and isn’t too sweet. I generally drink it towards the end or upon completion of my workouts, depending on how hungry I am. Another positive attribute that I like about this product is it can be used as a meal replacement for weight loss if that is your goal. As everyone is unique, feel free to stop by our store with questions. I’m always happy to help.” Stop by The Natural Alternative on Friday, February 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and meet Jessica, our sports nutrition expert! Samples of pre and post-workout formulas available, as well as special discounts on that day! February Savings! Enjoy 20% off all Garden of Life protein powders, and as February is “Heart Healthy Month,” 20% off all Carlson fish oils! Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil are essential for cardiovascular health, joint health (anti-inflammatory), as well as brain health! Wishing you the best of health! The Team @ The Natural Alternative Bobbi Conner, CNC, ACN, MH @ Natural Alternative

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Santa Margarita

Simone Smith

I

f you’ve paid attention to the news over the past two years, a main, if not the main topic, every single day, has been sickness, hospitalization, and death related to COVID-19, along with the associated local and global statistics informing the public on our dire situation. Yes, being aware and taking the recommended precautions of immunizations, mask-wearing, distancing and hygiene is important, but not the entire solution to our health woes. Isn’t it time to shift our focus to health and wellness and what we can actively do to boost our individual immune systems to improve our lives and increase resistance and resilience to a whole spectrum of illness and diseases? Risk factors: Topping the list of risk factors for severe Covid19 outcome is increased age, which, according to the CDC’s updated information, as of November 22, 2021, accounted for 81% of all Covid related deaths. Other risk factors include heart conditions, smoking and lung disorders, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and more. Some things in life are unavoidable, but we can make adjustments to our diets and lifestyles to live longer, healthier and happier. As for aging, everyone knows that the longer we live, the more wear and tear our bodies incur. Also, people tend to become more sedentary and have reduced diversity in their diets while at the same time, a small gland in the lymphatic system called the thymus actually shrinks, causing a decrease in the number of white blood cells it releases and lowering our immunity. We are all aware of the importance of a good diet and exercise for heart and lung health, but the lymphatic system is a major player when it comes to a healthy and resilient immune system. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the key functions of the lymphatic system are to maintain fluid levels in your body, absorb fats from the digestive tract, protect your body against foreign invaders; produce, mature, and release white blood cells (including T-cells) and to transport and remove abnormal cells and waste products from the lymph. The system consists of a network of

14 | February 2022

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tissues, vessels, and glands throughout the body, including the thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes. Together, the lymphatic system works to collect excess fluid (lymph) from between cells and tissues throughout your body and passes it along through lymph nodes where white blood cells engulf and destroy impurities such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Once the lymph is filtered, it is returned to the bloodstream to help maintain normal blood volume and pressure.

Movement and deep breathing are necessary to keep your lymphatic system properly functioning and healthy. Unlike the circulatory system, which relies on the heart to pump blood, the lymphatic system relies on muscular contractions to pump the lymph and keep it circulating. Without movement, the system gets bogged down, fluid builds

up, and our immune system gets compromised. Sleep is another key factor affecting our health and necessary for your body to rest, relax and repair. According to health experts, sleep affects nearly every type of tissue and system in the body. Good sleep habits have been found to help regulate the immune system, keep heart and lungs healthy, reduce stress, stabilize mood, regulate blood sugar, consolidate memories, and activate the recently discovered glymphatic system, which works during slow-wave sleep in place of but connected to, the lymphatic system to clear out soluble waste proteins and metabolic products in the brain. Other easy and healthy practices include drinking plenty of water, reducing or avoiding alcohol, which can interfere with your immune pathways; and cutting back on sugar, which can depress your immune system by increasing inflammation and adding to the risk of excess weight gain, the development of type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Last but not least, eat a healthy diet. Fresh is best and for the most diversity of potent nutritional health benefits, strive to “eat the rainbow.” We’re not talking Skittles here, but it’s been shown that particular phytochemicals and nutrients are responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables such as red (lycopene) for heart health, orange/ yellow (carotenoids) for decreasing inflammation, etc. Fresh is best when it comes to nearly all foods, as nutritional components tend to decrease from time of harvest, milling, or processing to when it arrives on your plate. You can’t get any fresher than growing your own, but if you can’t or want to supplement what you have, think about shopping at a local Farmers Market or subscribing to a harvest box. Two great options for subscription harvest boxes are available for pick up in Santa Margarita: SLOVeg delivers to Caliwala market on Wednesdays, and Talley Farms delivers to Santa Margarita Feed on Fridays. With a shift in focus to health and wellness and some simple lifestyle adjustments, we can enjoy increased health and, hopefully, long, happy lives. Atascadero News Magazine

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Round Town

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TAMALE FESTIVAL 1st place best traditional tamale La Luz Del Mundo, Paso Robles

By Christianna Marks

O

n Saturday, January 15, locals and tourists headed to Atascadero’s Sunken Gardens to celebrate their love of tamales. Around 10,000 people attended the 6th Annual Tamale Festival, which has become an Atascadero staple. Not even on-andoff-rain could affect the turnout! The festival started off with a tamale contest, where judges privately gathered in City Hall and tasted 17 tamales provided by vendors at the festival. Among the judges was Atascadero’s Mayor, Heather Moreno, who’s been a part of the festival for all six years. “I was here from the very beginning. It’s exciting to see how it’s grown,” said Mayor Heather of the Tamale Fest. “The first year was small, but we had thousands of people

show up. We didn’t expect that big of a showing, and tamales sold out in under an hour.” Around 12:30 p.m., the winners of the Fest’s “Best Tamale Contest” were announced. Both Traditional and Gourmet tamales were judged during the contest. The Traditional Tamale Winners were: 1st Place: La Luz Del Mundo, Paso Robles 2nd Place: La Luz Del Mundo, Oxnard 3rd Place: Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales, Pacoima The Gourmet Tamale Winners were: 1st Place: Mary’s Cuisine Catering, San Luis Obispo 2nd Place: La Luz Del Mundo, Oxnard

3rd Place: Garcia’s Restaurant, Atascadero Best Overall Tamale went to La Luz Del Mundo, Oxnard! “It was honestly very exciting. We were working and were able to hear. So the moment when we heard Oxnard, we were like, ‘yay, we won!’ So we all started clapping. So honestly, it’s very exciting,” Liz from the La Luz Del Mundo Oxnard booth said of their big win. Attendees could also participate in a tamale eating contest and a chihuahua & pet costume contest. Though tamales are the main event at the festival, the streets surrounding the City Hall were also jam-packed with other food and merch vendors. And not one, but two stages. Entertainment was provided by soloist Manuel Enrique and his

horse, Mariachi Voces Tapatias, the Famous Dancing Horses, and the Folklorico El Padrecito Dancers from Guadalupe. Steppin’ Out, Los Gatos Locos, Outlaw Mariachi, and Brass Mash all played live sets for the attendees to dance to and enjoy. You could also find bounce houses and other activities to keep you and your kids busy while at the festival. The evening concluded with a massive firework show that crowds watched from the Sunken Gardens. “We get a lot of people from out of the area coming in for this. So it’s really grown through the years. And we’re excited to be back,” said Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish. The Tamale Festival was put on by the City of Atascadero and will be back for its 7th year on January 14, 2023.

Winners of this years tamale festival. Best overall tamale La Luz Del Mundo (right), best gourmet tamale Mary’s Cuisine Catering (top left), tamale eating contest 11 and under (bottom left)

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Atascadero News Magazine

1/26/22 10:36 PM


LIGHTHOUSE Coffee Classroom

By Guest Columnists J. Scott Killen and Alex Buckley

W

hile many folks in Atascadero have heard of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, including all of the wonderful work they perform in the community, very few know much about the LIGHTHOUSE Coffee Classroom that operates daily out of Atascadero Unified School District’s Paloma Creek High School. As part of the LIGHTHOUSE Program established in 2012, LIGHTHOUSE Coffee strives to spread awareness, prevention, intervention, and education to combat drug and alcohol addiction in our hometown. The LIGHTHOUSE Coffee Classroom operates as a subsidiary to the LIGHTHOUSE Program, helping to fund our numerous campaigns against addiction, such as the Reality Tour and the LASER Program. The LIGHTHOUSE Coffee Classroom is a small yet wonderful class. It is taught as a student business course where pupils actually run the business, selling locally roasted Joebella Coffee to raise money for the LIGHTHOUSE Program. All of our coffee is locally roasted, organic, and fair trade certified. As part of the partnership with Joebella, students market special blends of coffee made specifically for the LIGHTHOUSE Program, a dark roast, a medium roast, and “J-Cups” that fit in any Keurig. In the classroom itself, students work together to get things done in a consistent and professional manner, learning such essential skills as customer service, graphic design, daily business operations, marketing, and (of course) brewing coffee. They work hard to promote the LIGHTHOUSE Coffee cause, all while learning how to manage a small business along the way.

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In education, this type of class is considered Project Based Learning, a teaching style where students learn by engaging in real-world projects that are meaningful to those involved. Like too many in our community, most LIGHTHOUSE Coffee students either know someone close who has been negatively affected by addiction or have been negatively impacted themselves. Thus, the projects students complete in the classroom setting are more than just grades on a paper, but meaningful ways to give back and do good every day. Currently, the LIGHTHOUSE Coffee Classroom serves coffee and hot chocolate to the public at Paloma Creek High School on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 8 to 9 a.m. We do public events in our trailer, like Light Up the Downtown and Winter Wonderland, and make almost all of our profits from donations and coffee bag orders. If you would like to support the LIGHTHOUSE Coffee Classroom, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, or you can always swing by Paloma Creek High School for a bag of our beans. The LIGHTHOUSE Coffee Classroom is “Coffee for a Cause,” and that cause is the betterment of our students, our community, and those in need of a light at the end of addiction.

Robert Fry, MD

Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. Fellowship trained in Sports Medicine.

atascaderomagazine.com

LIGHTHOUSE Coffee Classroom serves at Paloma Creek High School on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 8 to 9 a.m. Submitted photos.

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People

HenryBarba

of Santa Margarita Passes at 108 Years Old

By Camille DeVaul

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WWII veteran Henry Barba was born on October 19, 1913 and passed away on December 24, 2021 which would have been his 81st wedding anniversary. Contributed photo.

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eloved Santa Margarita resident and World War II Veteran Henry Barba passed away on December 24 at the age of 108. It was his 81st wedding anniversary with his late wife, Jesse. Henry was born on October 19, 1913, in a home that still stands in Santa Margarita. But for the first two weeks of his life, he was known as Everett until his mother changed her mind. Henry’s parents were Mauricio Barba of San Luis Obispo and Catherine Walters of Arroyo Grande. The two married and built their home in Santa Margarita on five acres in 1900. Henry was one of seven surviving children. His parents buried six children, including Henry’s twin sister Henrietta who died during infancy. Like most in the area at the time, Henry grew up farming and ranching. As a young child, he worked on the Santa Margarita Ranch. He helped Freddy Higuera (yes, the same family as Higuera Street in SLO) put leather collars on the 10 and 20 mule teams, which pulled the harvesters. And in 1936, Henry, his cousin Juaquin Miller and a friend filled a large barn (also still standing) to the top with hay. That’s a successful hay season! Henry met his future wife, Jesse Hampton, when they were kids. Jesse’s family owned a large ranch near the Riconada Mine. Being six years Jesse’s senior, Henry would joke with her brother that one day he would marry Jesse, take over the family ranch, and throw the rest of the family off it! Henry did end up marrying Jesse, but instead of taking the family ranch, they had one child together, a son named Raymond Barba, born December 14, 1941. Henry comes from a long line of military men, going back as early as the Civil War. Many died in action and are buried in many Central Coast Cemeteries. And in 1940, it was Henry’s turn to follow in the footsteps of the men before him. He was drafted into the U.S. Army. When he heard he was drafted, it was no surprise. All he thought was, “Well, this is it.” Then Henry headed to basic training at Camp McQuaid in Watsonville. He was assigned to the 250th Coast Artillery Battery G, also known as the Glamour Boys, and off he went to Kodiak Island, Alaska. Despite the cold, life in Kodiak wasn’t so bad.The troops lived in tents, but coffee was always hot, and they got three square meals a day. Henry, who came from poverty, was lucky to get one, some-

times two meals a day. His family didn’t take assistance or food stamps. So for someone who came from hardships like that, camp life wasn’t so bad. In 1941 it was declared that anyone ages 29 and older was to be sent back to Seattle and discharged. Henry just missed the cut being 28 years old at the time. It turned out it didn’t matter anyway because then, on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed. The boat turned around and headed back for Kodiak Island. One of Henry’s duties was the spotlight. At night he would scan for enemy aircraft or their artillery. The only thing was if he did spot an enemy, all anyone had were wooden guns! The island had no cannons either. Just wood phone poles made to look like guns and decoy airplanes. There were only five rifles on the entire island. When the war finally ended in Europe, Henry felt happy and proud. When the war ended in the Pacific, where his brothers and friends were stationed, he was elated. Henry and many others who were in the military at the time knew Japan was ready to fight for ten years on their homefront. According to Henry, the U.S. anticipated so many deaths in the Pacific and had so many Purple Heart medals made that they are still giving out medals from the same batch made in WWII. He was one of the oldest living WWII veterans in California. One of Henry's greatest loves was baseball, specifically the Dodgers. He began listening to Dodger games on the radio when they were based in Brooklyn (1884-1957). And on October 11, 2021, he was honored at the Dodger game in Los Angeles. Henry was able to sit between home plate and third base. He even brought his childhood leather baseball glove, just in case he needed it. Henry Barba lived through the Spanish Flu, the prohibition, the Great Depression, World War II, the fantastic 50s, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the takeover of technology, and fast times. He lived through the turn of a century, the terrorist attack on 9/11, another recession, and a second pandemic. He will be greatly missed throughout the community, mowing his lawn and singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Memorial services will be announced at a later date. Atascadero News Magazine

1/26/22 10:36 PM


Small World My

By Christianna Marks

M

y Small World, written by well-loved Atascadero veterinarian, Robert Schechter was self-published in January 2021. The memoir spans Robert’s life, from his youth growing up in New York to moving his family to Atascadero in 1987 and then opening his veterinarian practice. “My wife and I came back from Australia in March of 2020. We got back, and COVID was here. We barely got out of Australia. I couldn’t go to work for two reasons. First, I might carry the disease, and two, at age 82, I couldn’t open myself to everybody and get the disease. I didn’t know what to do, so I said, “it’s time to sit down and write this memoir,” Robert shared about writing his book. Schechter faced many learning challenges from his early childhood throughout his medical career and has been diagnosed with an attention deficit with a visual memory disorder. It plays a large part in his book. Still, he didn’t let that stop him from succeeding in everything he set his mind to. He explained, “I was diagnosed with a problem with visual memory. I could never spell words. I don’t picture them. So when I wrote the book, I lived with my phone spellchecking or the computer spellchecking.” Robert’s father was a first-generation immigrant who only spoke Yiddish when he arrived in New York City. Still, he thrived at learning English before going on to be an executive at a big button company. atascaderomagazine.com

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“He would write letters that nobody would ever throw away,” Robert said of his father. “My parents supported me. I found out at age 12 or 13 that I loved farming, I loved cows, and I lived in the suburbs of New York City. And my family supported me in doing that. High school supported me. I went to the University of Wisconsin because that’s where the cows were.” Robert’s life also led him all over the world, allowing him to experience life not only as a veterinarian but also as a Naval Officer, a professor at Cal Poly Ponoma, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Columbia, a husband to his wife Pat, and a father. “I think it was time to tell the story of our experiences in Columbia. A good part of the book is about that. I went for one year because I didn’t make it through two years. It was so important to the rest of our life,” Schechter added. My Small World also highlights all the coincidences in Robert’s life over his 82 years on the planet. Including getting into the University of Illinois for Vet School when one of the people interviewing him ended up being a connection from his earlier college years at the University of Wisconsin. “This town is just wonderful. I opened the veterinary hospital, and everybody knew me,” said Robert of Atascadero. “I had four biological children, but I had five adopted children as well, and they all played sports, and I got to know everybody in town running from one [sports] game to the other.” A few years after moving to Atascadero in 1987, Robert bought then vet Dr. Vanderhoof ’s practice near Agriwood (an old feed store and dairy barn). Then in the early 2000s, a heavy rain season washed out the bridge over the Salinas River, and with a move into town, the Atascadero Pet Hospital and Emergency Center (as we now know it) was born. “So anyhow, I thought it was time to put it all down and let people here know me more, and also let people who want to become veterinarians

gain a lot out of my experiences as a veterinarian.” Robert is still working at the Atascadero Pet Hospital and Emergency Center to this day. Alongside his son, Aaron, and eight other medical professionals. “What was the most satisfying thing in my professional life? It wasn’t being a great veterinarian. That was okay. It wasn’t the medicine. It wasn’t caring for the animals. It was stimulating, encouraging, and helping people to develop self-esteem. Mentoring people. That was the best,” Robert reminisced. You can purchase My Small World from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Robert Schechter went from being a Naval Officer to Peace Core volunteer, to college professor to veterinarian to now, an author. Contributed photos.

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SUPPORT LOCAL JOURNALISM Subscribe • Advertise (805) 466-2585 office@13starsmedia.com atascaderonews.com • pasoroblespress.com

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Health & Wellness For Another New Year

atascaderomagazine.com atascaderomagazine.com

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By Camille DeVaul

B

elieve it or not, humans have been making New Year's resolutions for over 4,000 years. Ancient Babylons are thought to be the first to start this tradition. Granted, instead of promising themselves that come January 1, they would start using their treadmill regularly but rather celebrated New Year's in mid-March and promised to give back whatever tools they borrowed the year prior. The point is New Year's resolutions can happen whenever you want and be whatever you want. If we as a society have learned anything the past two years, it's that there are no more rules. Gone are the days when we had to follow the cookie-cutter ways of doing things. In many ways, we have expanded our options of how something can be done. For example, who says that a New Year's resolution has to only be about physical health? Let's go back to making these annual resolutions about making positive changes and improving our quality of life. Let's be nicer to our neighbors, focus on supporting local businesses and services, call our friends and family more, and look forward to quality time rather than material items. Our health and wellness go well beyond what we put in our bellies. It is about balance, the relationships that we surround ourselves in, and doing things to make us feel our best. Rather than telling yourself, 'I have to lose 20 pounds,' say, 'I want to feel better and implement healthier lifestyle habits.' Serve yourself by being more active and moving your body. This doesn't have to mean going to the gym and lifting five days a week. Depending on where you are in your journey, start by going for a walk once a week or exploring different methods of exercise and finding something you have fun doing. Or maybe you struggle with digestive issues. Try diving into that by finally doing some investigation into why you are experiencing discomfort. Increase your energy by adding vitamin D to your morning routine or cutting back on your caffeine intake. Lower your stress by getting a good night's sleep. If you need to invest in a special pillow to do that, then go ahead. You deserve it. Most importantly, take your time making these changes. Throw the weight loss deadlines out the window and try making changes bit by bit. Everyone is different, and as they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Implementing healthier lifestyle habits and choices into your life can result in a ripple effect of good things to come. You might find new doors opening with opportunities you haven't had before. Let's live in the moment and serve ourselves in a way that actually makes us feel good. And for once this year, let's just focus on living.

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From Farm To Table By Christianna Marks

D

o you like tasty, fresh food? Are you utilizing the North County’s farmers’ markets? Here’s some reasons why you should be! Before the convenience of the supermarket, before refrigeration, and before it was easy to make a trip into town, people farmed on their own land and ate the food they grew there. Lucky for us, there’s a large group of local farmers keeping that tradition alive! And they’re bringing fresh, delicious produce to a farmers’ market near you. You can find everything at the farmers’ market; locally sourced veggies, fruits, meats, honey, and more specialty items to boot. We should all take advantage of it. “The produce you buy [at farmer’s market] is fresher and will last longer than anything you can buy in the grocery store because a lot of times it’s picked that very day or the night before if it’s an early market. So it will last longer in your fridge, and you’ll have more nutrients,” said the manager of the North County Farmers Market Association, Robyn Gable. But not only is heading off to your local farmers’ market a great way to keep a healthy diet, but you’re also able to connect with the people who are putting food on your table. “The relationship between the farmer and the shopper—it’s great as well. You’re getting to know the farmer that grows your products. They can tell you everything that goes into it, and they have so much knowledge. It really does become a personal relationship with your farmer,” shared Amy Einolander, owner of JUICEBOSS in Atascadero. The farmers who participate in the markets also make bonds with each other. “The farmers’ markets are great. It’s a great community. It’s a great group of small entrepreneurs and farmers from around the county. It’s a really great family,” said Peter Bigsby, cofounder and master

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grower at Zeste Farms out of Paso Robles. Frank Wall, who’s the owner of Farmer Frank’s Mushrooms in Atascadero, stated that “The best thing [about being a part of farmers’ market] is meeting other people, and getting to learn how other things are grown.” Robyn shared that the farmers’ markets are also a great place to shop if you’re a fan of supporting local entrepreneurs. “You can hit up to 40 local businesses at some of our markets. So you can truly support the local small businesses that are trying to make it happen. You can really make a difference in somebody’s livelihood.” Shopping at one of our four local farmers’ markets also means that you’re buying your food seasonally. So, on top of knowing who’s growing your food, you know just how fresh it is. There isn’t cold storage involved or produce brought in from other countries; you’re eating food your new friends are selling directly to you. “The produce is picked fresh. It goes straight from farm to market. You can’t get any better than that. It’s really amazing,” added Amy. Robyn suggests “window shopping” before filling your bags with local goods for first-time shoppers. “Brouse once, and then go back. If there’s two people baking bread, [figure out] which one appeals to you the most.” She also suggests having smaller bills with you when you head out shopping, but not to worry, if you don’t, there’s always an ATM at the markets. “We welcome all people that come and want to support everything. You know, all the vendors. It’s really a big deal in our area. We probably have 100 separate businesses in our four markets. So it’s a big deal to come and shop and enjoy,” concluded Robyn. So go out, get shopping, and don’t forget to make some new friends along the way!

Atascadero News Magazine

1/26/22 10:36 PM


North County

Farmers Markets & Hours: Paso Robles Tuesday, 9:30 - 12 pm Templeton Saturday 9 - 12:30 pm

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RUN FOR BRIT Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation

Spreads Community Love By Christianna Marks

B

rynn and Brittni (Bitti) Frace have left an indelible mark on the North County, and their parents and brother are continuing their legacy through the Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation. It’s a foundation that’s been changing the lives of local athletes for the last four years while keeping the girl’s memories alive. “They were just so closely connected. They just loved each other so much. They loved sports, they loved school, and they just loved going out and being with people, and helping people, and just finding positive things to do. It wasn’t like a show or anything; it was just who they were,” said Warren Frace about his daughters, who were not only sisters but also best friends. The Fraces didn’t just start the foundation but also started The Running Chicken Race in their daughters’ memory. It’s a yearly 5/10k that brings the community together to celebrate the lives of Brynn and Brittni with one of the things the girls loved most, running. The race also raises money for the foundation. “The race was very successful [this year], and [the money raised] will definitely cover our scholarship and other mission costs for the next year. That’s what we were hoping to accomplish, and we definitely did that,” added Warren. The Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation joyously supports local athletes who participate in running sports like track and cross country—providing scholarships and more to the local community. “What we’ve done for the last four years is scholarships at Atascadero High School. We do $1,000 scholarships there. And then we do the same thing at Paso Robles High School. Two separate, $1,000 scholarships,” added Warren. “We try to keep in contact with the students, and everybody’s gone on to some sort of university or college. We hear back from them. Actually, at the race, I think there were about three or four of our prior recipients that actually showed up!” atascaderomagazine.com

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Not only does the foundation help high schoolers get ready for their next step in life, it also includes an athletic shoe program, which provides shoes to athletes in need. “To date, I’d say we’ve given over 200 pairs of shoes,” commented Shari Frace, who’s the girls’ mother. “Primarily, they’re often running shoes. As well, we provide to pretty much any athletic program that approaches us. We’ve given them [shoes] to all ages. We want to make sure that [the athletes] can succeed to their highest levels by having really high-quality shoes.” Warren and Shari also commented on how they’ve been supporting the men and women’s track and cross country programs at Chico State through the foundation. It’s where Brynn and Brittni were attending college, and there’s even potential for setting up a scholarship in Brynn and Brittni’s names! On top of the monetary support to the North County and Chico State athletes, the Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation also does many community outreach programs.

that have made quite the journey over the last four years. If you find one, the Fraces hope it brings a smile to your face! “We have easily over 5,000 pounds of rocks out there or more. I kind of lost track. It started within our county, and then it grew outside of our county within the country, and then, it’s gone outside of our country as well. It’s pretty much everywhere. The goal, in the beginning, was to get it into 50 states. It’s just been growing and growing,” added Shari. “It’s the happy part of our foundation, for sure.” The local community has played a massive role in not only the success of the Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation but also the Running Chicken. “There’s just so many people standing with us, together. This is when you really realize that you’re never alone,” Shari said of the local community and their role in everything. It’s a beautiful thing to see how Brynn and Brittni’s lives have impacted the North County and beyond. You can feel their spirit in everything the Run 4 Bitti and Brynn Foundation does. “That whole vibe of the race is who they are. And I think that’s why people come out because they remember Brynn and Brittni; they want to keep their memories alive. They were so inspiring to everybody. So full of joy. Their coaches keep helping us out. Their teammates show up, everybody has been affected by this, but everybody has tried to figure out a way to bring some purpose and positivity to all this. And that’s really what the foundation and the run is all about,” commented Warren. You can make a donation to the Run 4 Bitti and “It was really important to our son [Braedon] Brynn Foundation at any time at run4bittiandthat we did community connectivity within our brynn.org. All of the proceeds from your donation environment—such as the HiYa Rock Project. We will go directly back into the community. do outreach within the athletic programs, too. I’ve “I think the girls would be really humbled and done tie-dye parties for comradery with different really proud of what has been accomplished in the last four years. I think they’d just be really amazed,” teams. I’ve done several this year,” said Shari. The HiYa Rock Project features painted rocks concluded Shari. February 2022 | 24

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Brynn (left) and Brittni (Bitti) (right) Frace have left an indelible mark on the North County

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February 2022 | 25

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Taste

Taste of Americana

From the Kitchen of

Barbie Butz

O

ne thing I’ve learned in my many years is the importance of eating slowly and enjoying the “taste” of my food. That exercise came from my mother. She taught my brother and me that it didn’t matter if it was macaroni and cheese or filet magnon; we needed to take time to relax and savor our meal.

It may be a generational thing, but I often find that I am halfway through my food when younger people at the table are finished and ready for dessert. It’s like the meal I’ve prepared is “fast” food so they can get on to other things, like their cell phones. Perhaps, considering health and fitness, we should slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy the food set before us. A glass of wine can certainly help the process. I love the month of February. There are many things to celebrate, like Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Mardi Gras, George Washington’s Birthday, and my birthday! Those are all excuses to entertain. Happy February. Don’t forget your Valentine’s on the 14th. Cheers!

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T

he other day I did a trial run on tarts for Valentine’s Day. I used Trader Joe’s pre-made pie dough, lemon curd, and some of my cranberry-fruit sauce. I rolled out the pie dough to thin it down and cut heart shapes with a 3-inch wide heart cookie cutter. You will need two hearts of dough for one tart, so just pat them, if needed, to match. Place about one tablespoon lemon curd or your favorite jam in the middle of the heart. Using your finger and a little water, dampen the edge of that heart so it will stick to the other heart when you place it on top. After placing the top heart over the jam, use the prongs of a fork to press the two pieces together around the edge. Pierce the middle of the heart to allow for steam to be released. Whisk one egg in a small bowl, adding a tablespoon of water. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the heart with egg mixture and sprinkle with red or white sparkling sugar. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 8 or 9 minutes or until golden. Watch carefully so that the heart does not burn. Remove with a metal spatula and allow to cool. Note: With the leftover dough, I cut circles with a small jar lid and made as many as I had dough for. I also filled those with lemon curd, following the same directions as I used for the hearts. Chocolate Cabernet Truffles Ingredients: • Ingredients: • 1 cup Cabernet wine • 14-ounce semi-sweet chocolate, chopped fine • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 Tablespoons butter (room temperature) • ½ cup cocoa Directions: In a small pan over high heat, reduce wine to approximately 3 to 4 tablespoons, then transfer to a medium bowl and add chocolate. Heat in a medium pan the cream, vanilla, and cinnamon to a simmer over medium heat. Pour cream mixture over chocolate and wine reduction. Let sit for a minute. Stir until smooth. Stir in butter until creamy. Chill mixture until very firm. Using a small spoon, form small balls. Roll gently in cocoa; shake off excess cocoa. Store in the refrigerator, lightly covered. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes 32 candies.

Fudge Nut Cookies Ingredients: • 1 dark fudge cake mix • ½ (6 ounces) package peanut butter chips • 1 (8 ounces) carton sour cream • ¼ cup chopped walnuts Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix until well blended. Place a teaspoon of cookie mix on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool and place in an airtight container if they last long enough! Makes approximately 36 cookies.

Atascadero News Magazine

1/26/22 10:36 PM


lemon shapes hem, if ng your n top. e edge.

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oes not

o filled

Vision

Local Artist’s

COMES TO

TRAFFIC WAY

By Christianna Marks

L

ocal artist Michelle Watson and Specs owner Kyla Skinner became fast friends after Michelle and her mom came searching for the perfect eyeglass frames at Kyla’s Atascadero optical store. With an interaction or two on Instagram, the two solidified their friendship, and now, in February, the two artistic ladies are teaming together to bring a fun and colorful collaboration to downtown Atascadero. “I think I had sent her [Kyla] a couple of pictures of me wearing my new glasses that I had purchased, and then on Instagram, she was like, ‘hey, I actually really like your art, maybe we should do a collaboration for one of the months of the year when we do the art and wine walk?’ And I was like, ‘yeah, let’s do it!” said Michelle excitedly. While Michelle’s art, with its use of bright colors and geometric shapes, will be featured in Specs all of February, Michelle and Kyla will also participate in the Atascadero Art and Wine Tour on February 11th. Where they will pair their art and frames with wines from a local winery! “I started asking her [Michelle] about work, and she had told me she graduated from Cal Poly with an art degree right when COVID hit. So pretty much all of her employment and career opportunities, everything came to a slamming halt. And [after] discussing some of her health concerns. I don’t know; I was just excited to see her work and have her energy here in the shop. I just like her as a person too,” Kyla laughed. “We get along really well,” confirmed Michelle. The ladies are also excited to blend Michelle’s art with Kyla’s brand new line of frames straight out of France. Anne et Valentin is a line that features bold frames in wearable shapes and colors. Which will complement Michelle’s graphic art perfectly. “It’s a line that I’ve loved for the past 15 years,” said Kyla. “I wasn’t sure how conservative Atascadero was going to be, and so when I picked my original frames, I tried to keep it kind of lowkey and calmer, but the funky stuff has been flying out of here. People love the color, and they love the artistic lines of the fun frames. So, this line is all of that. And I know it’s going to do well here, even though we’re not a big city. I feel like people have an appreciation for atascaderomagazine.com

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Michelle’s art will be featured in Specs by Kyla through the month of February. Contributed photos

color and having [glasses] be like an accessory.” The Anne et Valentin line is usually found in large cities like The Bay Area and LA, but Specs will be the only one exclusively carrying it in the county. Kyla’s excited to be bringing this hard-to-find line to Atascadero this month, alongside Michelle’s art. “It’s been a really weird couple of years. So to have that feeling of community, start to come back, you’re meeting new people, and there are opportunities that exist in the world still. This is amazing,” Michelle says of her and Kyla’s collaboration. “Having life come back to Atascadero with this shop and having so much joy and color in it, it’s just been really awesome, I think.” Michelle was diagnosed with ADPKD polycystic kidney disease at the same time as being accepted into Cal Poly and has been living with the terminal illness ever since. The Art and Wine Tour will be the first time she has been a part of an art event since the beginning of COVID. “Having this opportunity, it’s like, oh you know what, I have so much creative energy and so much to give to the world! I’m really excited,” said Michelle. “She’s a young person dealing with a severe illness, and I just love seeing the joy and the bright colors and just her positive attitude, boasted Kyla of her friend. “I feel like hearts connect somehow. I feel like us meeting was just meant to be, and I’m proud of her for pushing through what’s a really depressing and hard situation. She’s doing her best every day and creating amazing things.” So, stop into Specs this month and check out Michelle’s art while shopping for some cute frames. A portion of Michelle’s art sales will go to The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo. For more information on Specs by Kyla, visit: specsbykyla.com Art and Wine Tour tickets can be purchased at the Atascadero Chamber’s website here: atascaderochamber.org February 2022 | 27

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Business Spotlight

By Camille DeVaul

T

he Central Coast is a diverse region. Anyone who has been here knows there is no place like it anywhere else in California. There are so many reasons to love the Central Coast, and because of that, many are looking to purchase real estate here or are looking for a change somewhere else — either way, real estate is booming in San Luis Obispo County. So when it comes to buying and selling real estate in a diverse area, instead of throwing your eggs in one basket or real estate agent, why not go through the process with a REALTOR ® team with a range of professionalism? The Central Coast Group is a new real estate team of four women serving San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Ventura County. They represent the purchase and sale of residential properties, ranch, land and luxury properties, commercial and investment properties. Third-generation agent Diane Cassidy and second-generation agent Jennifer Harris both decided they could better serve their Clients as a team of agents. They have joined forces with two other women, Alicia Walker and Megan Tannehill, to create a real estate team to offer Clients diverse knowledge when investing in property on the Central Coast. Rather than working with just one real estate agent, working with a team offers more opportunities and efficiency for the Client. Diane, a Santa Barbara native,

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has been a licensed real estate agent for 18 years and formerly owned a premier estate liquidation company — giving her ten years experience in Estate, Trust, and Probate real estate transactions. Adding to her list of experience, Cassidy earned the distinction of Fine Homes Specialist while working with a prominent Fortune 500 Company. Diane also offers services as a “Certified Home Staging Specialist” for listing properties. She has long been a part of Paso Robles. Her husband, Dennis Cassidy, was Paso Robles Chief of Police for ten years. Jennifer Harris is another lifelong resident of the Central Coast. She graduated from Atascadero High School and later from Cal Poly with a degree in Political Science/ Pre-Law. Previously, Jennifer owned and operated Paso Robles Gymnastics before opening Paradise Outdoors in Paso Robles. Her real estate career began working as a licensed assistant for two top producers in ranch land and vineyard properties. Her experience brings a better understanding of those specialty properties. “When Diane and I started

talking about joining forces for a Real Estate team, I couldn’t think of a better person to partner with! Putting together a strong team to be able to adequately represent all aspects of the real estate transaction makes for a stronger, less stressful Client experience! The goal is to create a seamless transaction with strong and direct communications, integrity, and always placing the Clients’ best interests as our top priority,” says Jennifer. Alisa Walker was born and raised in the ranchlands of San Luis Obispo County. Her family has been in the cattle and ranch business in SLO County for over 135 years. She graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in AG business in hopes of continuing her family’s heritage on the Central Coast. She says, “My Clients appreciate my local knowledge of the area and my connections when it is required to get work done on their property. I want to be a part of this great group of women because they are people I can depend on when I have a situation I may not know how to navigate. We all learn from each other.” Megan Tannehill worked in hospitality and corporate for 20

years before starting her own successful floral and event business on the central coast, Bella Bloom Events. She spent over 30 years competing in equestrian and rodeo events and breeding AKC Border Collies and ASDR Mini Australian Shepherds. As a real estate agent, Megan chose to work with RE/ MAX™ Success and the Central Coast Group focusing her efforts on farm, ranch, vineyard, and equestrian properties. Diane said, “Her [Megan’s] background in strategic planning and marketing is a valuable addition to our team.” Megan says she joined the team because, “I wanted to be a part of a professional, mature, and respected group of agents who had years of experience to lend to a powerhouse team. I found it!” Some of the many services offered by Central Coast Group include: •Estate Liquidation for Listings •Probate •1031 Exchanges •Relocation •Investment Properties •Professional Staging Diane said the Central Coast Group offers something different because “Diversity forms a stronger cohesive offering of real estate services and specialties offered to the Client.” The Central Coast Group can be reached through their REMAX Success Templeton office located at 408 South Main Street, Suite 120 in Templeton, or call (805)434-8300. Atascadero News Magazine

1/26/22 10:37 PM


SOLARPONICS BRINGS

THE POWER SUN OF THE

TO THE CENTRAL COAST

By Christianna Marks

I

n 1975 Solarponics started installing solar water heating systems in San Luis Obispo County. And now, all these years later, they’re still bringing the power of the sun to the local area. Their longevity as a company stands the test of time, and the Atascadero company now holds the record of being the oldest solar company in the whole of California. “Solar energy used to be called “alternative energy” in the 1970s. Sometime in the early 2000s, the term alternative energy became renewable energy. Today, our focus is a bit larger than that. We seek sustainably. Solarponics designs and installs sustainable energy systems. Our goal is that every structure in SLO County have a net-zero energy footprint using sustainable energy products and systems, not just solar electric. That’s why we have also embraced water conservation, radiant heating and cooling, and other new energy efficiency technologies like heat pump water heating and energy management systems,” said Solarponics Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Frank Scotti. The Atascadero company is proudly embracing all the changes in sustainable energy. As new technology comes out, Solarponics is

level. As far as the type of support, we are passionate about youth scholarships, activities, advancement, and supporting those organizations who help reduce homelessness in our county,” shared Frank. “It’s just what local companies do for the communities we serve.” With more than 60,000 owner-occupied homes currently in San Luis Obispo County, we’re happy to report that 17,000 of them have already gone solar! “Removing a system that we installed on a roof 25 years ago and updating it with a new system that will last another 25 years really makes us smile. To know that the homeowner saved a ton and is coming back for more. It feels good to have installed the first PV systems in the county, and now we’re on the second and even third generation of solar,” Frank added. He continues, “as far as the technology goes, solar is here to stay! The hardware is getting more efficient. Costs are getting even more Solarponics has been apart of the San Luis Obispo County since 1975. Contributed photo affordable. Functionality and energy As there is a continuing shift in to local non-for-profit organiza- management is really where we are solar power, Solarponics is seeing tions to date. going. There is no advantage to wait“Our focus is hyper-local, starting ing. Savings are savings. The longer their installations go from solar electric-only to solar + battery + EV with our employees and their fami- you wait, the less savings you realize.” lies. Then comes support for our charging systems. To get a quote, explore your solar “The biggest transformation we hometown, Atascadero. Next is San energy options, and see what Solarponsee for the near future is energy Luis Obispo County. We feel our management, the ability to monitor support is most beneficial on a local ics is all about, head to solarponics.com.

incorporating it into their options for homeowners. Saving local businesses and homeowners money while helping our planet at the same time. Frank says that a typical home can save around $70,000 or more over the life of a solar energy system. “If the savings isn’t enough, there is the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from reducing your carbon footprint. The average household rooftop solar energy system will offset 10,000 pounds of CO2 per year, or the equivalent CO2 offset of 50 full-grown trees… per year. It does feel good!”

Service ∙ Sales ∙ Installation Proudly serving all of the San Luis Obispo County

and manage our energy use in realtime. Every home will have solar energy, plus battery storage, plus an EV charger, plus a whole-home energy management interface. It’s no longer enough to simply produce cheaper, more sustainable energy. It is vitally important to improve how we use and conserve energy,” commented Frank. Not only is Solarponics helping homeowners with hefty savings on their homes, but they’re also focused on community involvement. The company has given over $500,000

E85 Diesel

Propane ® Car Wash

Hwy 41 & 101 Exit 219 atascaderomagazine.com

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Atascadero, CA 93422 February 2022 | 29

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San Luis Obispo County Office of Education James Brescia, Ed.D.

W

COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

hat is the next chapter in your story? How do we best prepare for life after high school graduation? What if I want or need to change employment opportunities? Our most recent SLO Career and Technical Education (CTE) foundation meeting fielded these questions. Similar to the 2015 Oxford University and 2018 Cambridge University conferences I have written about, these questions apply beyond the borders of San Luis Obispo County. Those international conferences addressed audiences from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa on the importance of thoughtful recruitment, training, and retention of employees. The U.K., London in particular, continues to face similar shortages to those in California. European, African, and Asian countries have consistently implemented aggressive CTE in secondary schools. Our CTE foundation reviewed successful programs and recommitted resources to additional programs. San Luis Obispo County is fortunate to have our local Assembly Member, Jordan Cunningham, and local State Senator John Laird also supporting these efforts in the legislature. Education in the United States and across the globe continues to experience challenging times. The recent census reports that one out of three Americans (33 percent) attained a bachelor’s degree, and 12 percent hold an advanced degree such as a master’s, professional, or doctorate. Almost 9 out of 10 Americans (88 percent) possess a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Educational attainment continues to vary by age, sex, race, nativity, and disability status. As America continues to navigate through federal and state mandates that impact our classrooms, our leaders must continue to include CTE as a piece of the educational puzzle. If you ask a puzzle master, you are advised to identify a suitable strategy leading to an acceptable solution.

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What is an apprenticeship ?

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” -Benjamin Franklin

Like the puzzle master’s advice, CTE is a vital piece of the educational quest for student success. As we face an ever-changing world, it is essential to explore avenues that present multiple paths for students. CTE curriculum and subsequent apprenticeship programs strive to pair academics and high-level workplace skills necessary for the 21st century. Students, administrators, teachers, business members, community leaders, and even politicians have endorsed CTE programs across the country for the following reasons: •CTE-related jobs are in high demand. •CTE preparation can meet individual and community workplace needs. •CTE programs reduce drop-out rates in research and practice. •CTE classes serve to increase student engagement in both CORE and CTE classes. CTE curriculum increases student achievement during and after school. •CTE has the potential to maintain a cutting edge for U.S. business interests. According to recent research, California is improving how it makes available timely and transparent information about career readiness and apprenticeships. However, we still have to prepare our community for post-secondary options and report our progress to the public. A central element of California’s positive move toward transparency and accountability is the California School Dashboard. The Dashboard shows how districts and schools are performing on a range of measures of student success, including tests, scores, graduation rates, and suspension rates. Our Dashboard is part of the significant shifts to the state’s public education system, including new standards, new assessment, and a locally driven funding formula. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) use state and local

indicator data from the Dashboard to monitor student progress. When Dashboard indicators identify student subgroups as low performing or low growth, districts should engage in continuous improvement to develop strategies and then monitor their effectiveness. Our regional consortium, SLO Partners, convenes business, industry, education, and community leaders committed to working together for collective impact in workforce and economic development by aligning education systems and employment programs with economic opportunities. The Workforce Development Board, County Board of Supervisors, the Community College Chancellor’s Office, and local funders have supported SLO Partners in Pre-Apprenticeship and CTE programs. The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education (SLOCOE), Cuesta College, every school district, and charter school in our county continue to join forces in leveraging CTE funding to best serve the students in our county. I encourage everyone to learn more about our highly successful partnerships with Cuesta College, businesses, participants, and the community. SLOCOE and SLO Partners continue to engage in discussions and reviews of research related to recruitment, training, and workforce retention. SLO Partners’ mission is to engage business partners and educators in aligning workforce needs with career and college pathways. We facilitate work experience opportunities to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the workplace. We promote opportunities for businesses to maintain skilled workers required for a sound, growing economy. SLO Partners facilitates industry certifications, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, and CTE dual enrollment. It is an honor to serve as your county superintendent of schools.

Atascadero News Magazine

1/26/22 10:37 PM

C

DUE TO C


Calendar of

EVENTS February

DUE TO COVID-19 ALL EVENTS ARE TENTATIVE AND DATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. PLEASE CALL AHEAD OR CHECK ONLINE FOR MORE DETAILS

FEB. 1 - 15

CHARLES PADDOCK ZOO DETAILS: This Valentines’ Day adopt a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach for your special someone (or lack thereof) and receive a certificate of adoption. Visit charlespaddockzoo.org for more details.

2022 VALENTINE MOVIE NIGHT

PARK CINEMAS 1100 PINE ST, PASO ROBLES TIME: 7pm DETAILS: Join us for Valentine Movie Night “Road To Morocco” at PARK CINEMAS . For tickets, call Paso Robles Main Street at 805-238-4103.

SUBMIT UPCOMING EVENTS TO: office@13starsmedia.com

FEB. 4 - 5

ADOPT A COCKROACH FOR A SPECIAL SOMEONE

FEB. 6

Stay up on all the events and happenings in North San Luis Obispo County!

FEB. 11 SWEETHEART STROLL DOWNTOWN ATASCADERO TIME: 5-8pm DETAILS: Stroll downtown Atascadero with a wine glass, over 15 different tasting spots, enjoy bands, entertainment, instore promotions and more!. More info: atascaderochamber.org

FATHER DAUGHTER DANCE

PAVILION ON THE LAKE, ATASCADERO TIME: Fri. 6:30-9:30pm( Ages 11 and under), Sat. 7-10pm (12 & up) DETAILS: Fathers, uncles, grandfathers, or anyone with a special girl is invited to spend a semiformal evening full of music, dancing, refreshments & more!.

FEB. 12 2022 VFW 2814 CHILI COOK-OFF

SWEETHEART BALL PUT ON BY THE MAIN STREET DANCE COMPANY

LIFE COMMUNITY CHURCH 3770 RUTH WAY, PASO ROBLES TIME: 7 p.m. DETAILS: Semi formal, drinks and treats included, professional pictures available for purchase. Purchase your tickets at www.mainstreetdancetempleton.com. $50 per couple & $15 per extra child.

FEB. 14 VALENTINE’S DAY

9555 MORRO RD, ATASCADERO, CA DETAILS: Make sure you let that special 93422 someone in your life know how much they TIME: 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM mean to you! DETAILS: Free Event. Enjoy homemade chilis, a sundae bar, raffle prizes and a Valentine’s Day Bake Sale! Contest and event is open to the public!

7 “Having talked about writing my book for years, I finally did something about it. I am so pleased I joined Patricia’s wonderful Zoom Group because now I’m accomplishing my goal.”

~Tricia Nickelson, Paso Robles

atascaderomagazine.com

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Leader

At the Library

Business & Networking

6555 Capistrano • (805) 461-6161 • Register online at slolibrary.org

atascaderochamber.org • (805) 466-2044 6907 El Camino Real, Suite A, Atascadero, CA 93422

Atascadero Library

Atascadero Chamber of Commerce

Zoom Yoga with Vanessa Wednesdays @ 10:00am

Templeton Chamber of Commerce templetonchamber.com • (805) 434-1789 321 S. Main Street #C, Templeton, CA 93465

Bilingual Music Time with Ms. Nathalia Wednesdays @ 10:30am

Service Organizations

Parent Place: Take Care of You - online Parent Cafe Thursdays @ 6:00pm Parent Place: No Drama Toddler Discipline Tuesdays, Feb. 8, 15, 22 @ 6:00pm

Optimist Club

• Atascadero #14927 • 3rd Tuesday of each month, 5:30 p.m., Outlaws Bar & Grill, 9850 E. Front Rd.

Teen Jackbox Games Friday, Feb. 11 @ 3:45pm

Rotary International

Virtual Teen Advisory Board Saturday, Feb. 12 @ 3:30pm

• Atascadero • Meeting • every Wednesday, 12 p.m. at Springhill Suites by Marriott, 900 El Camino Real

Ongoing Programs Live Zoom Storytime Thursdays @ 10:30am Teen Book Club Saturday Feb. 19 @ 3:30pm Monthly Book Groups Feb. 10 @ 10:30am, Feb. 17 @ 5:30pm Register for these virtual programs online at slolibrary.org

Kiwanis International • Atascadero • 7848 Pismo Ave. • 805-610-7229 • Meeting • In person or Zoom every Thursday, 7:00 p.m.

Veterans of Foreign Wars • Atascadero #2814 • 9555 Morro Rd., • 805-466-3305 • Meeting • first Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Creston Library

Elks Lodge

6290 Adams St.,• (805) 237-3010

• Atascadero Lodge 2733 • 1516 El Camino Real • 805-466-3557 • Lodge Meeting — second and fourth Thursdays

Santa Margarita Library 9630 Murphy Ave • (805) 438-5622

Lions Club

San Miguel Library 254 13th St. (805) 467-3224

Shandon Library 195 N 2nd St. • (805) 237-3009

Health & Wellness

Cancer Support Community Providing support, education and hope 1051 Las Tablas Road, Templeton • (805) 238-4411 • cscslo.org Cancer Support Helpline • (888) 793-9355, 6 a.m.- 6 p.m. PST. Special Programs

Email programs@cscslo.org for zoom links

• Every Wednesday • Tai Chi Chih | Virtual • 10:00 - 11:00a • Mindfulness Hour | Virtual • 11:30a - 12:30a • 1st & 3rd Wednesday of each month • Grief Support Group | Virtual • 1:30p - 2:30p • 1st Thursday of each month • Breast Cancer Support Group | Virtual • 11:00a - 12:00p

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• 2 & 4 Wednesday of each month • Adv. Cancer Support Group | Virtual • 10:00 - 11:00a • 2nd Tuesday of each month • Young Survivor Support Group | Hybrid • 6:00 - 7:30p • 2nd Wednesday of each month • Caregiver Support Group | Virtual • 10:00 - 11:00a • 2nd Thursday of each month • Cancer Patient Support Group | Virtual • 11:00a - 12:00p nd

th

Atascadero Club 2385 • 5035 Palma Ave. Atascadero • Meeting — Every 2nd, 4th Wednesday at 7p Santa Margarita Club 2418 • 9610 Murphy St. • Meeting — 2nd, 4th Monday, 7:30p Shandon Valley Club • (630) 571-5466 • Meeting — Call ahead for meeting times Templeton Club 2427 • 601 Main St. • Meeting — 1st and 3rd Thursday, 7p

Loyal Order of Moose • Atascadero 2067 • 8507 El Camino Real • 805-466-5121 • Visit mooseintl.org for more information

Government

Atascadero Unified School Board • first and third Tuesday, Closed Session 6pm, Open/Regualr Session 7p.m

Planning Commission • first and third Tuesday, 6 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 6500 Palma Avenue

City Council • second and fourth Tuesday, 6 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 6500 Palma Avenue For general information, call City Hall M-F, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (805) 461-5000 *Visit atascadero.org for virtual & up to date meeting info. Atascadero Atascadero News News Magazine Magazine

1/26/22 10:37 PM


A Special To Atascadero News Magazine

atascaderomagazine.com

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February 2022 | 33

1/26/22 10:37 PM


Last Word

Local Quilt Guild

Gifts Donations to Local Non-Profits By Christianna Marks On January 3, the Almond Country Quilt Guild gathered for their monthly meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church in Paso Robles. On top of their regular quilting meeting, they also awarded two local non-profits with donations raised at their yearly quilt auction. “We have a yearly auction where members of our guild make quilts and various other things. So we have a live and a silent auction,” Cindy Ursprung, this year’s co-chair at the guild auction, said. “We were not able to have one last year, obviously, so this year we had a plethora of quilts, which was just fabulous.” The auction, which was held on November 6, 2021, brought in a whopping total of $9,000.

76 Gas Station.................................. 29 A Heavenly Home............................ 15 American West Tire & Auto..................7 Avila Traffic Safety............................. 30 Bloke................................................. 23 Central Coast Casualty Restoration.. 15

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Deep Steam Carpet and Upholstery Cleaners............................................ 15 Five Star Rain Gutters....................... 20 Greg Malik Real Estate Group.....10-11 Habitat for Humanity SLO................ 25 Handyman Brad Home Services..... 13

While one-third of the profits raised stay with the guild for funding classes and the quilts they make for foster care children in SLO County, the rest is given to local non-profits. “It went very well,” Ursprung said of the auction’s success. This year the Almond Country Quilt Guild gave $3,000 to both the Cancer Support Community California Central Coast (CSC-CCC) in Templeton and RISE. The non-profits change yearly. “I’m a cyclist, and we always have a bike ride for the Cancer Center, and they weren’t able to have them for the last couple of years. They’re completely funded by donations. And I think everybody has been touched by cancer at some point in their lives. And the fact that they do everything for free is just wonderful,” Ursprung said of this year’s recipient. “And then because we are a group of women, RISE is also very important to everyone.” Candice Sanders, Executive Director of the Cancer Support Center, California Central Coast (CSCC-CCC) was at the meeting to receive the $3,000 donation to CSC-CCC. “All of our funding comes through donations from businesses, grants, wonderful organizations like the Almond Country Quilt Guild, as well as our fundraisers that we host each year,” Sanders shared. The organization focuses on the social and emotional impacts of a cancer diagnosis, with all of its programs being led by licensed therapists. CSC-CCC provides all of its services to the community for free. So the $3,000 will go a long way. “This $3,000 will definitely go into helping DIRECTORY TO OUR ADVERTISERS Atascadero News Magazine is brought to you by Hearing Aid Specialists Of The Central Coast....................................................3 House of Moseley............................ 23 Juice Boss......................................... 17

Kenneth’s Heating & Air................... 29 Nick’s Painting.................................. 31 North County Pilates........................ 30 O’Conner Pest Control...................... 20

develop and continue our programs,” added Sanders. “All of our proceeds stay in San Luis Obispo County, so they do stay local!” If you’re interested in becoming a part of the Almond Country Quilt Guild, you can join them every first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Paso Robles. Quilters, people interested in quilting, and sewers are all welcome.

The Almond Country Quilt Guild was able to donate $3,000 each to the Cancer Support Center, California Central Coast and RISE. Photos by Christianna Marks

Odyssey World Cafe......................... 13 Optometric Care Associates................7 Perry’s Parcel &Gift............................ 25 Robert Fry M.D.................................. 17 Robert Hall Winery..............................2 San Luis Obispo County Office of

Education.......................................... 20 Tour of Paso....................................... 05 The Natural Alternative..................... 13 Wine Country Alliance...................... 36 Writing Support Group.................... 31

Atascadero News Magazine

1/26/22 10:37 PM


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