LOCAL NEWS ... BEACH VIEWS • MAY 2021
Kristin Justice Beg
SEE PAGE 3
COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT SEE PAGE 4
RECHARGING OUR AQUIFERS SEE PAGE 6
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ay is usually a month of celebration around these parts. It's a month packed with love for moms, swap meets for dads, beach days for the whole family, and ending with Memorial Day gatherings in thanks to all those who gave their lives so we can appreciate our annual celebrations. This year, spring has brought us hope, but we have yet to see the full bloom of life in California we are accustomed to after a rough year of 2020. But we still have cause to celebrate. We have a strong fabric in our community that has survived the stresses and tensions of the past year to remain fixed on what makes our community remarkable. You know who you are, and we honor you. As always, our purpose is to make communities better by shining a light on the people and things that make it great — writing something worth reading about a community doing something worth writing about. We look forward to people doing great things in our community as we close chapters on the past. This month, we honor Kristin Smart and her family as a 25-year saga begins to find resolution with the case against Paul and Ruben Flores. All people deserve a fair trial and just defense. We hope the facts lay bare the truth in the case in order to close a painful chapter for her family and our community that has remained in our hearts since we were juniors at Templeton High School. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Smart family as they forgo the next phase of their journey in bringing Kristin home. To read the most up-to-date details of the case, family statements, and preliminary court hearings, visit atascaderonews.com. Abraham Lincoln said, "The best way to predict the future is to create it." We believe that. We are creative people with creative power. We hope our creation of this publication has inspired you to create something this day. It is a publication we continue to have elevated goals for amidst a culture that needs print more than ever. A big thank you to our advertisers and community partners who keep Avila Beach Life mailing to you every month and to our hometown team, who put it all together. Much love, N ic and Hayley
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Avila Beach Life — May 2021 | 3 FOUNDATION NEWS AND VIEWS
May Day is Here Better Times on the Horizon
AVILA BEACH FOUNDATION
reetings, fellow Avilones. The month of May has arrived, and Avila is teeming with businesses, visitors, and others anxious for a return to better times. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this column, I offer a moment of light education pertaining to the use of the terms “Mayday” and “May Day.” They are similar in pronunciation but wildly different in meaning. According to the dictionary, “Mayday” is an internationally recognized distress signal, while “May Day” is a spring holiday and, in some places, a celebration of working people. This is just one example of how the English language can be so confusing to foreigners trying to learn it. Words with multiple meanings are called homonyms, and there are so many of those in the English language it can make your head spin. If you care to entertain your mind for a few minutes, just google ‘homonym examples’ and look around. Last month I shared with you the news that the previously stolen lifeguard tower mural panel had finally been replaced. But there remained one piece of the puzzle that had yet to be determined, which has now been resolved. Originally, the artwork was a collaborative effort between the Avila Beach Community Founda-
tion, which initiated and arranged for funding of the project, Arts Obispo of SLO County, which facilitated the artist selection process and assumed ownership of the artwork, and Port San Luis Harbor District, which agreed to have the panels installed on their lifeguard towers. This was all well and good until early in the 2020 pandemic, when Arts Obispo suffered financial and staffing setbacks that resulted in the agency wanting to relinquish ownership responsibility for the artwork. Without getting into the details, I am pleased to report that, after several discussions between the Foundation and Port San Luis, the Harbor Commission board voted unanimously to accept ownership of the artwork. This is a pleasing and positive outcome that ensures the continued enjoyment by Avila Beach public art enthusiasts. Also, last month, I chimed in about the situation involving the homeless encampment and general conditions up at Cave Landing. I made mention of efforts being launched by the SLO County Parks Department to address the problems, and I now have more information to share, courtesy of an email sent by Concerned Citizens for Avila that reports thusly: “The County Board of Supervisors has recently approved a plan from the County Parks Department that takes the crucial first step towards fixing Cave Landing. The plan funds a resurfacing of the parking lot, a turn-around for emergency vehicles, and new barriers that protect environmentally and culturally sensitive areas. The plan also calls for budgeting a full-time ranger to permanently patrol the area, which will require approval in the 2021-2022 budget. The Coastal Commission has been clear that for now, the area needs to remain open 24 hours. Importantly, construction
will necessitate the removal of encampments in the area and a full clean-up of the site. County Parks has been working closely with the Department of Social Services, Sheriff ’s Office, and County Behavioral Health to make sure the site is cleaned up in a safe and effective way while offering a wide variety of supportive services to the current camp occupants. The Parks Department is also in discussions with Coastal Commission staff to hopefully install a temporary gate that can remain closed at night during the course of construction. This project will improve safety, end the current situation, and pave the way towards a longterm solution.” I will try to keep you up to date as things progress. Along the line of random observations, I have some “rants” to express. Not surprisingly, we are beginning to see the return of creativity when it comes to people finding free parking spots while visiting the beach. This is an ongoing problem in our residential parts of town, and one that sticks out to me is among the most frustrating and dangerous. Not so very long ago, County Public Works installed a right-turn lane at the corner of San Miguel Street and Avila Beach Drive, which made traffic flow at that intersection better and safer. Lo and behold, I have recently seen vehicles parked right at that corner, thus blocking the right-hand turn lane designed to allow for drivers exiting San Miguel Street. Since we
cannot rely on good manners and common sense, I believe it is time to paint the curbs red along that corner. There is only room for two vehicles along that curb, so not much of a loss of available parking. My second “rant” involves the Avila Beach Golf Resort and the growing number of people who can be regularly seen walking or biking ON THE COURSE! This presents a danger for these intruders who show no fear of golf shots coming their way and who can become belligerent after being informed by us golfers that they have strayed off the Bob Jones Trail. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets plunked by an errant golf ball, or we see physical altercations that result in injury. Golf course management needs to be more proactive and vigilant to better avoid the inevitable. Last but not least, I am pleased to report the return of the seasonal beach area clean-up project financed by the Foundation and our funding partners Chevron and SLO County District 3 Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg. Beginning May 10, you will see a crew from PathPoint several mornings each week working to remove sand and debris from designated sidewalks, gutters, and planters along the beachfront, making the areas safer and cleaner. The project runs through early October. That’s it for now, fellow Avilones. See you at the beach!
The Graceful Great Blue Herons By BETTY HARTIG For Avila Beach Life Avila Beach may have a shortage of parking spaces, but there is certainly no shortage of birds. Many magnificent, winged creatures can be seen while glancing in just about every direction. Some are tiny, like Anna’s hummingbird and others are much grander in size. One particularly interesting, feathered friend is the majestic Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). Great Blue Herons are particularly noticeable while venturing on the aptly named Blue Heron Drive, which is the wider road section of the Bob Jones Pathway. The well-groomed blue-gray plumage is a luxurious Brining food to chicks. sight. Most often, the tall, long-necked birds are seen wading along the edges of the estuary or hunting on the nearby grassland. A Great Blue Heron is quite fascinating to observe. Its statuesque stance resembles a Tai chi posture. The heron often stands motionless for a period as it scans for prey. When it does move, it takes long, slow, deliberate steps. The moves are serenely gentle until it strikes with lightning-speed accuracy. Their strong dagger-like bill allows them to successfully hunt both in water and on land. They are equipped with a specially designed neck vertebrae that allow the heron to impale their target quickly and precisely at a distance. Regardless of its narrow neck, herons swallow their victim whole and gulp it down their flexible esophagus and into their loose stretchable stomachs. Their diet is primarily Catching a fish. fish but includes amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, insects, and other birds. An adult heron easily consumes up to a pound of fish per day. However, herons are opportunists and can snatch a gopher or other small rodent for a meal. That is a surprisingly big mouthful! Hence, no fishing required. The neck, sharp beak, and long legs of the Great Blue Heron allow them to be astonishing hunters. A heron’s height can range from 3½’ to 4½’, but despite their size, it is a lightweight, weighing in at only 5-6 pounds. Keep in mind, like most birds; their bones are hollow. It is not unusual to see a Great Blue Heron perfectly balanced atop a floating bed of kelp. That allows for a great vantage point to snap up a fish swimming by. Herons can hunt both day and night. They are equipped
Prowling the hillside for a meal.
Flying over the creek. Photos by Victoria Morrow
with a high percentage of rod-type photoreceptors in their eyes that greatly improve night vision. Surprisingly, they sleep at night in trees, which keeps them from becoming fair game. While traveling on the Bob Jones Trail, you often can view the graceful Great Blue Heron in flight. Their sweeping wingspan is about 6 feet. They fly seemingly effortlessly at speeds between 20-30 miles per hour. The heron folds its neck into an “S” shape as its legs trail behind. A heron will efficiently dangle its legs when preparing to land like a jet lowering wheels for a landing. Herons display such elegant moves. During the nesting periods, which normally peak at the end of March, treetop colonies, which are called a heronry, are busy with activity. Herons are most vocal on the breeding grounds; loud, deep squawks are easily heard. Herons group for nesting, which helps protect their young from predators. Their large bulky nest of sticks can be seen in the tall eucalyptus trees that grow along the Bob Jones Pathway near the golf course. A nest can be 4’ across and up to 4’ deep. Most of the time, nests are used year after year, but Great Blue Herons do not necessarily return to the same nest nor choose the same mate. The nest is built mostly by the female, with the male gathering and presenting most of the required material to the female. It is amazing to see a heron flying with a sizable stick heading towards the nesting grounds. The clutch size is usually 2-6 eggs, but typically only 1 or 2 young will survive. Herons are legally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They are dependent on wetlands for feeding and breeding. The beautifully designed avians are vulnerable to habitat loss and impacts such as traffic, logging, motorboats, and other human intrusions that can disrupt nesting colonies. Chemical pollutants and other causes of water quality are also a threat. Concerningly, local observers have noted a decline in the Great Blue Herons recently in our area. The nesting activity seems significantly reduced this year. Responsibly, we should question why that has occurred and look for ways to amend the situation. Protecting the wildlife environment is of great importance for the survival of all waterfowl. The Great Blue Heron is no exception. Let us continue to have a healthy heron population roosting in Avila’s towering trees.
4 | Avila Beach Life — May 2021 A VIEW FROM THE BEACH
Reopening of Avila Beach Community Center this June
H Mary Foppiano
Avila Beach Civic Association
i All – Welcome June 15! It is really exciting to think that we might actually be allowed to reopen the Avila Beach Community Center. I can’t tell you what will be our first fundraising event…still hoping to host a Doggie Parade this summer, if not on July 4, but I promise it will be fun. I still get calls and emails asking when we will open as well as what is going on in Avila Beach…are the whales running, what restaurants are open, can we barbeque on the beach,
how can I have a booth at the Farmer’s Market, to mention just a few. I cannot wait to see all of you in person…even though Zooming has been working well. It will be a challenge to really get dressed for a meeting instead of wearing jammies, but it will be worth it to see all of you in person. Let’s hope that June 15 really is a great day for all of us…and be sure to get vaccinated, wear your mask, and social distance so that we can all stay safe!
Don Barrett COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT
By MARY FOPPIANO for Avila Beach Life
few weeks ago, I was speaking to a friend who I wanted to interview for my column. However, stating that he did not feel comfortable talking about himself since he is a very private person, he and another gentleman both suggested that I interview Don Barrett because he is a very interesting person…and they were right. Don grew up on the beach in Santa Monica, an only child who befriended his imaginary friends on the radio. He surfed in Malibu but really preferred surfing on the radio. His defining moment when his love affair with radio began was his discovery of doo-wop songs. It was the 50s, and the industry was struggling with whether the Pop favorites of Rick Nelson and Pat Boone would give way to the rock ‘n roll sensation of Elvis, Fats Domino, and Chuck Berry. After graduating from Chapman University in Orange County, he made the journey to be a rock ‘n roll disc jockey. On March 10, 1965, Don left Santa Monica and headed North: Oxnard, Ventura, and Santa Barbara only to hear, “sorry, we’re looking for someone with experience.” At 1 pm he pulled into the parking lot at KNEZ in Lompoc and said to Cal Cannon, the owner and general manager of KNEZ, “I want to be a rock ‘n roll DJ.” Cal said, “I just fired the program director an hour ago and have no one to go on the air at 3,” and he raised his arm and said, “I’m ready.” He was on the air that afternoon and began a journey that took him to Kansas City, San Francisco, Dallas, and Detroit. In 1967, Don responded to a trade publication ad placed by Gordon McLendon, the Father of Top 40 radio, who was looking for “The Magnificent Seven,” seven young men to learn under his personal tutelage prior to being dispatched to his seven FM radio stations. After a strange battery of tests and examinations, four months later, he was on his way to Dallas at Lake Cielo, Gordon’s 500-acre ranch. There was a party going on and, after dropping his bags in Chill Wills’ bunkhouse, his home for the next month, he headed to the action. There was a best-selling author, an astronaut, a movie star, and a couple of Dallas Cowboys. He spent five years with Gordon traveling to FCC hearings and moved up the ladder as program director at KABL-San Francisco, National Program Director, salesperson for XTRA/KOST, and eventually general manager at WWWW (W4) and WDRQ in Detroit, all before turning 30. When K-100 was sold in 1974, the first phase of his radio career ended, so he joined the motion picture business, working as
a marketing executive at Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures, and MGM/UA. He said that the parallels of the movie business and radio business are unique. You are selling an intangible which you cannot touch or feel or squeeze. He was part of the marketing efforts on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Out of Africa, E.T., Rocky movies, Thelma & Louise, Back to the Future, and James Bond films. On a flight from LAX to Berlin on his way to Cannes, while sitting in first class, Don saw a gentleman who continued to request cocktails from take-off until the steward had to stop serving him. The gentleman continued to ring the call button until he lunged at the steward and knocked them both to the ground, where they wrestled. Another steward summoned the pilot, who quickly came down to see what the commotion was all about. With no fanfare, no lights, no audience, the man in the front seat got up and separated the two men. It was Michael Jackson and, as soon as they realized that the King of Pop was acting as peacemaker, they stopped like school kids busted by the principal or their own moms. Who knew Michael Jackson would be a peacemaker at 30,000 feet on what could have erupted into an ugly confrontation? Following a series of management changes at MGM/UA, he entered his second phase of his radio love affair. After tracking down the original seven swingin’ gentlemen at KFWB/Color Radio Channel 98, he was encouraged to write a book. The Los Angeles Radio People was published in 1994, and it chronicled where the DJs came from, where and when they were on the air, and where and when they went. It was a big enough hit to spawn a larger, more complete book that not only updated the DJs but also added news and sportspeople, talk show hosts, program directors, and general managers. It ended up being 400 pages profiling over 3,000 personalities, and boasted 500 photos. Within days of the book being published, several popular personalities died, which make his book seem outdated. The Wild Wild Web to the rescue and LARadio.com was born. Almost immediately, DJs and other radio people, past and present, gravitated to the site. He was euphoric when 100 visitors each day read the current news and, before long, he passed 1,000 visitors a day…and then 15,000 visitors each day. Obviously, the site is much more than “stuff ” on radio people, and radio fans made the site a daily visit. Don was a single father to a son who now works in Naples. A second marriage produced two more children. His daughter delivered her first child, his first grandchild, just before the pandemic, and he is looking forward to a visit in the near future. His other son was volunteering in Zambia for the Peace Corps
but was evacuated and brought home 13 months ago. Ten years ago, all of Don’s children were grown and out of the house…and he had been single for a number of years. He was 70 and figured that he was at the end of his romantic days. He went surfing on a couple of internet dating sites and met and fell in love with a widow from Santa Barbara. They were married on the beach at Summerland. He sold his home in Valencia and moved in with his new wife, Cherie. Since she cared for her MS husband for 36 of their 38 years of marriage, she was never able to travel, so they have traveled all over the world, making up for lost time. During their first years of marriage, they traveled along the coast for weekend adventures. One such trip was to Sycamore Springs. They thought Avila Beach was beautiful…a secret slice of paradise with its own microclimate. They had dinner at the Old Custom House, and Cherie asked, “Can we live here?” They found a townhouse in Pelican Point within the San Luis Bay Estates as “their” house. They love their neighbors, taking their golf cart down to the beach frequently, and enjoy people-watching during the Friday Farmer’s Market. It only took three Spaghetti Dinners/Bingo Nights for Cherie to win one of the Bingo games at the Avila Beach Community Center. Cherie was very active in hospice work until the pandemic, but she plans to return when it is safe for volunteers. Don has been involved with men starting a new life in a 12-step program at the Center. He is also a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy, and at the end of each year, they watch dozens of movies nominated for Academy Award Oscars. Don believes that every day is like starting a new life: whatever you did yesterday doesn’t count; it’s the future that counts! I guess that is why Don is contemplating his fifth career at this time.
is our Pet of the Month
ven though my husband Jimmy is a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, I am not holding any grudges against this handsome fella named Dodger, in case you couldn’t guess. He lives with his family, Kay and Rick Cohen, in the Pelican Point neighborhood of San Luis Bay Estates…Rick is the Executive Director of the Avila Beach Community Foundation. Dodger was adopted from Woods Humane Society in 2009 and is a super friendly 14-year-old Corgi/Jack Russell mix. He is very much a people person but also enjoys the occasional company of other small dogs. He never forgets
By MARY FOPPIANO
anyone who gives him a rubdown or edible treats and always seems to know just where to find these accommodating folks. Dodger loves riding in a golf cart, hunting for lost golf balls at the course with Kay in the early evenings, visiting Dinosaur Park in Pismo Beach, watching LA Dodgers baseball games with Rick, sniffing his way while walking throughout the community, and hanging out with best friend, Lucinda. As he has aged, Dodger has become a world-class snoozer who often dreams about his next adventure, which likely involves chasing squirrels or searching for something to snack on.
NEXT MONTH’S ‘PET OF THE MONTH’ Please send me your pictures and a short paragraph about your pet to email@example.com. Thanks, and introduce us to your furry friend next month!
Avila Beach Life — May 2021 | 5 POINT SAN LUIS LIGHT STATION
The Summer of ’56 Kathy Mastako
Board of Directors, Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers
oast Guardsman William “Bill” Colagross, his wife Sharon, and daughters Debbie and Cheryl were stationed at Point San Luis during 1956 and 1957. At age twenty-four, Colagross was the officer-incharge. His younger brother Curt spent two summers staying with them; he was around thirteen years old during the summer of ’56. Curt’s brother and his family lived in the Victorian duplex, demolished in 1960: “That front porch had a beautiful view of the ocean. I can remember on warm afternoons, the whole family sitting out there over lunch, also sitting out there with Bill while he polished his shoes. [My bedroom] was over the dining room…I can still remember waking up to the sound of the foghorn, but soon turning over and back to sleep I’d go. Some nights I’d lie in bed watching as the beam from the beacon reflected off the bedroom walls as it passed through the window sheers.” Curt remembers the Keeper’s dwelling, now restored but at the time unoccupied and in a state of disrepair. “The lighthouse Keeper’s house wasn’t boarded up or even locked. Several times, and by myself, I’d walk from room to room, looking at the wooden floors and wallpapered walls, always looLighthousehat “secret room” that I knew had to be there. And, of course, listening, wishing the walls could talk. Wondering what it must have been like [for the keepers], out in the middle of nowhere with no one but themselves to depend upon…” Curt recalls a tall white building on stilts at the light station. He was told it was used during World War II to house a radar system. At the time he was visiting, the building was empty of any equipment and was used just for storage. Curt remembers that when his folks came to take him back home, he hid up there. He didn’t want to leave. Another building Curt recalls was an old adobe on the adjoining ranch: “I can remember being completely awestruck when I first saw the adobe, especially after learning its history. It was in the middle of nowhere! The only way to get to it was by Jeep—it was pretty far from the lighthouse. It was built very close to the coast and was in very poor shape. If I remember correctly, there were no windows or doors. The only reason for it being built where it was had to have been (besides the beautiful view) fresh water, which was needed to make the adobe bricks. By the looks of the exterior and the inside, it had to have been abandoned for a number of years. The critters and the cattle had definitely taken over. As we approached the adobe, Bill gave me its history, which he must have gotten, I’m thinking, from Mr. Marre. Because I found out later that Bill (very outgoing), after meeting Mr. Marre, was offered employment on his days off. He was paid to drive Mr. Marre around in his Jeep, so he could check on his ranch and cattle. To this day, it amazes me that nothing was done to preserve this adobe.” (The abode Curt Colagross saw was most likely the Pecho Adobe, also called the Rancho Pecho y Islay Adobe. It was adjacent to Pecho Creek and probably dated from the 1840s. The adobe had fallen into ruins by the 1960s.)
Circa 1954 photo of the Victorian duplex built in 1890 as quarters for the two assistant keepers; demolished in 1960. Courtesy of Robert L. “Lucky” Jackson/Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers archive
1957 photo of RACON (short for Radar and Beacon) tower built circa 1945 to hold navigation equipment and later to hold equipment for early missile research. Courtesy of the National Archives.
Curt and his brother’s family would spend their free time at the lighthouse beach, hiking on the surrounding ranchlands, crabbing or fishing off the breakwater and Whaler’s Island, and visiting the town of Avila. The only access to the lighthouse, other than by boat, was a narrow footpath from Avila. (The private road to the lighthouse wasn’t built until 1962.) The Guardsmen, Curt recalls, always used the boat. It was much easier, he said, especially if you had to bring something back. “It was a 20-foot boat, double ender with an inboard motor. I can even remember being allowed to raise and lower the boat by boom, from the water to the dock and back into the water. Under supervision of course. I was also allowed to operate that boat, away from other boats or docks. Coming close to either, [Bill] or one of the Guardsmen would take over. [Once] getting ready for inspectiondouble-endershort-handed, Bill asked me to repaint the numbers and lettering on the exterior of the boat. I guess it passed!” Curt remembers that every time he and his brother would “motor through the harbor,” they’d get waves and smiles from the fishermen
Circa 1956 photo of Curt Colagross, brother of Coast Guard officer-in-charge William “Bill” Colagross, on light station dock with Coast Guard boat and Jeep. Courtesy of Curt Colagross.
and pleasure boat owners. And every once in a while they’d get a signal to approach a fishing boat where fresh fish was offered. Sometimes fishing boats would come to the light station’s dock: “A ‘ship to shore’ call would come in at the watch room desk when a fishing boat decided to share their catch. The Guardsman closest to the Jeep would then be notified, drive down to the dock, pick up what was left (before the birds and critters could get to it), and then divide it among the families. Bill was a pretty good cook, and fixing salmon was one of his specialties.” The small grocery store in Avila was a place “where my brother and his family were always greeted with a smile.” It was while shopping at the grocery store that Curt’s brother and the other Guardsmen would get invitations to parties, holiday celebrations, and other festivities around town. “The overall experience was unbelievable. It was like living on an island…An experience a young kid only dreams about. Something you’d see at a theater on the big screen, and then that night, visualize yourself there
in your dreams. But to think that I was that “lucky” kid, I got to live it, thanks to the love of an older brother. The smell of the ocean, the fishing, the sun setting off in the distance…The light from the beacon as it crawled its way along the ground, over the ocean, rocks, and through our windows. The foghorn with its mournful cries while only being able to see a couple of feet in front of you. Lying in bed, wondering about those out on the ocean. But soon, and getting used to the call of the foghorn, turning over, and falling back to sleep. The long rides in the jeep to the adobe and beyond. In the boat, checking this, checking that. Walks along the boardwalk in Avila Beach, the shops, and of course, the smell of fresh taffy being made. The one movie that still brings back these memories of the ‘old’ Avila Beach is the ‘Summer of 42.’” About The Point San Luis Lighthouse is open once again for shuttle bus tours! Starting May 1st, tours will run every Saturday at noon and 1 pm. Starting June 1st, tours will also run on Wednesdays. Tickets can be purchased at my805tix.com.
6 | Avila Beach Life — May 2021
“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” ~ Jacques Yves Cousteau
Recharging Our Aquifers
John Salisbury contributor
ast year I wrote an article about groundwater and how it is so critical to farmers and cities in the state. We pump the water out of the aquifers, which are like a big bladder that holds the water that percolates from the surface through the soil, sand, and rocks. It is like a bank that you deposit and take out what you need. The problem is that we take out more than we put in. The big danger is the collapsing of these water caves, which like a house of cards falling, are almost impossible to open up that space again. So, a lot of work is being done to recharge
these aquifers. The big problem has always been how do we measure what is happening underground in these aquifers? It would take thousands of some sort of meters to gauge the removal or addition of water and where it goes because it is not just one big bowl under vast areas like the San Joaquin Valley or our local water banks. We are finding there are many below-ground individual pockets throughout the state lands. “Scientists are now coming up with a way to map the “Pulse” of groundwater flow through California’s Central Valley,” which is the title of a report by Brittany Hook for the UC San Diego News Center. The Valley has gone through many upheavals over the years, with large drops in the Valley floor. Some places have seen the surface drop over 30 feet, power pole heights because of drawing too much out of the water bank. The problem has been recording the timing and movement of water flow because of the lack of reliable data. UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the School of Global Policy and Strategy, and the U.S. Geological Survey have been working together to use advanced satellite information. The group, for
the first time, is getting an idea of the recharging of the groundwater in the southern part of the great Central Valley – the San Joaquin Valley. Based on satellite observations, the Central Valley changes by a plus or minus 2.75 inches, five and a half-inch yearly spread, based on what is happening below in water storage. During drought, and no doubt we are in one now, ground in the southern valley can sink over a foot, 13.7 inches, in a year. How would you like your house to sit on the ground like that? Using satellite-based InSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) from the Sentinel-1 missions and ongoing Global Positioning System (GPS), scientists can visualize the movement of water in the subsurface. The mapping can monitor and measure the sinking in the Valley when a large amount of water is being removed from the aquifers. Less water equals lower surface heights which they can now watch. Also, these new mapping techniques can measure the rising of the land from more water getting into the underground storage. As the “bladder” shrinks, so does the land, and when filling pushes up the surface because it is hemmed in below and to the sides, so the
path of least resistance is up. Mapping the timing across the valley, researchers were able to find where the uplifts are related to river and stream runoffs from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Then moving away from the mountain runoff, they can check the uplift changes that would show possible pathways of the groundwater flow like an underground river. This can build up a library of the changes in dry and wet years to better map what is going on below. Current guidelines assume that everyone is sitting on one big underground pool of water and getting an equivalent amount of water. So, finding these uneven distributions of groundwater recharge and where it is going is causing water agencies to think about the need to coordinate efforts to reach sustainability. With more experience, this methodology can be used to study regional underground storage all over the world. That would include locally in our Avila Valley, Edna Valley, Paso Robles, and Santa Maria, which are mostly dependent on rain and how and where to grab some of the water, and where to put it for underground storage before it ends up in the ocean.
Are You as Young as You Could Be? By DR. CINDY MAYNARD For Avila Beach Life
t seems like the only time in our lives we wished we were older is when we were young. “How old are you?” someone would ask. “I’m five and a half !” Those halves were important. But, when we approach the 40s, we begin to go backward. “I’m 39 and holding.” It’s true that aging is inevitable — there’s no stopping it. But what if I told you there is a way to slow the process, perhaps even reverse it? According to Dr. Michael Roizen in his book, RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be? most people age at a similar rate until they hit their late 20s or early 30s. Then we start the transition into “aging.” Generally, our biological functions decrease 3-6 percent per decade after age 35. The problem with these statistics is that they’re based on averages; the truth is that people age at drastically different rates. Most of us could cite examples of people in their early 70s who are globe-trotting or running marathons. And yet we all know people in their 60s who are bedridden or have some major medical problem and are on the fast track to old age. What makes the IMMUNITY TO AGING difference? Good genes? True to a certain extent, but Our immune system is number one. Think of it as your protecinherited genes account for less than 30 percent of all aging effects. The rest is lifestyle choices. Which tor. It keeps outside invaders like viruses and bacteria at bay by means we have a choice about how we want to age locating and destroying them. It also uproots cells that have become malignant. Certain things, like exercise, antioxidants, or not age. nutrition, our mental health, all play a vital role in boosting our immune system. MYTHS ABOUT AGING People usually equate aging with loss or a decline KEEPING THE ARTERIAL ROADWAYS CLEAR in vitality, attractiveness, and health. Here are some Heart health is the Big Kahuna that intersects with every other myths: aspect of your life. Over time, arteries age and wear down. They • Aging = illness • Aging is purely genetic. It’s written in the genes. get congested from buildup of fatty deposits called plaque, which cause traffic jams like high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, You can’t change that fact. • Older people should eat less calories as they or heart attacks. By keeping your arteries and heart in good working order, you can make your RealAge as much as 20 years get older, or they’ll gain weight. • Feeling depressed is a natural function of younger than your chronological age. getting older. INTERACTING WITH OUR ENVIRONMENT • By the time someone is 60 or older, the damage Environmental factors affect our health and the length of is done. So, why bother? Decline and disease are not inevitable outcomes our lives as much as arterial aging and our immune system. of aging. If we begin to change our behavior, we Where you choose to live, what substances you put in your can stay fit, vital, and healthy for decades. So, what body, the risks you take, and the stresses you deal with daily – all contribute to aging. keeps us younger or older?
On the other hand, other choices, like taking a new class, nutrition, humor, letting go of resentments, or having fun with friends, can help keep you younger. Some risks are unavoidable, but by choosing to decrease the risks, you build your own age-protection plan. WHAT’S YOUR REALAGE?
To calculate your RealAge, go to RealAge.com and take the test. The lower your RealAge, the greater the odds are that you will have a healthier, more energetic life. Conversely, the higher the RealAge, the older your body and mind may actually be. However, over time, as you adopt new lifestyle behaviors, you can recalculate your RealAge and watch the years disappear!
Cindy Maynard, Ph.D., RD, is a health psychologist, a registered dietitian, and a nationally published health and fitness writer. She is passionate about promoting health and wellness. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Avila Beach Life — May 2021 | 7
8 | Avila Beach Life — May 2021
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