Avila Beach Life • December 2021

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2 | Avila Beach Life — December 2021

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Hayley & Nicholas Mattson editor@13starsmedia.com


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CONTRIBUTORS Betty Hartig Dr. Cindy Maynard John D’Ornellas John Salisbury Kathy Mastako Mary Foppiano Rick Cohen Contact Us 805.466.2585

Visit our website! avilabeachlifenews.com avila beach life is published monthly. all rights reserved , material may not be reprinted without written consent from the publisher . avila beach life made every effort to maintain the accuracy of information presented in this publication , but assumes no responsibility for errors , changes or omissions . avila beach life is a product of 13 stars media .


his December, we all get to venture out once again and We are honored that we get to come into your home each and enjoy the annual traditions we have all grown to love to every month through Avila Beach Life and share with you, your start our Holiday Season. neighbors, friends, and local businesses. We love being able to tell the community stories, so please reach out to us if you know of Bundling up in our favorite winter apparel and getting the kiddos one that needs to be shared. ready to attend a Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting, Nutcracker Performance, Winter Wonderland, or a drive to see all the lights As you read through these pages, we hope it brings you, Peace reminds us how much we value these holiday traditions—many & Love this holiday season, no matter how you celebrate. We of which were placed on hold last year due to the pandemic. hope you feel inspired to share your gift with someone new and know that today is the most important because it is the only one The events are important, but as we can see, the interaction we promised. have with each other face to face is what feeds our soul. It reminds us how incredible our community is and how resilient we truly are. Happiest of Holidays to you all. The people behind these events deserve awards and our deepPlease stay safe, share love, and be a good human. We hope you est appreciation for the hours spent coordinating, gathering, and enjoy this month’s issue of Avila Beach Life. hosting so that we may come and enjoy the few hours together Much love, and then go home filled with the holiday spirit, and for that, we say Thank You! Hayley & N ic Thank you for soldiering on even though the times are still challenging; thank you for knowing how important each one of these events are, and thank you for showing up when no one else did. You all are our community heroes.

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December 2021 — Avila Beach Life | 3 FOUNDATION NEWS & VIEWS

Happiest Holidays Fellow Avilones! Rick Cohen AVILA BEACH FOUNDATION


reetings, fellow Avilones. While contemplating the content for this December’s newsletter, I decided to first look back at last December’s content. In it, my first paragraph kicked off with this, ”Another December has arrived, and the year is coming to a challenging end. What a strange journey it has been”. Well, at the time, I never imagined that this “strange journey” would still exist a full year later, but here we are, somewhat running in place. The country as a whole has haltingly re-opened with businesses and schools functioning better than they were twelve months ago. But we are still dealing with the pandemic and politics of vaccinations, masking, etc. I hope that my December 2022 column will not require another visit to this situation. I’m sure you are aware of the current real estate market, which has been booming for months. Home prices have exploded, especially here in Avila Beach, where many properties have sold within

days (sometimes hours), and often for considerably more than the listing prices. One home in the Pelican Point development inside San Luis Bay Estates went on the market for $950,000 and sold shortly thereafter for $1.2 million! Crazy, huh? In spite of escalating prices, there have been many new folks moving into the Avila Beach neighborhoods. Seeing all those moving vans brought me back to when my wife and I first arrived here in 1995. We were so excited back then, though, over the course of time, I had forgotten just how special that moment was. Sleeping bags on the floor that first night while waiting for the furniture to arrive. The distant sound of the lighthouse foghorn serenading us. Seeing all these newly arriving, elated Avilones has served as a refresher for me. I cannot imagine living anywhere else! Two columns ago, I put out an appeal seeking stories from readers about how they came to arrive in Avila Beach. I heard back from John and Robin Kirby, who wrote, “We ended up in Avila Beach in 2010 after having lived in Long Beach, CA for 36 years, and came here because we were looking to leave the Southern Calif. crush. We have friends who have been living in SLO since 1975 who we would see occasionally. Those visits, along with more frequent wine country exploration and retirement in 2004, sparked an interest in exploring the Central Coast with the idea of possibly

“dropping anchor” here permanently. As far as Avila Beach is concerned, we are truly “the blind squirrels who found the nut”! Our friends tipped us to the town, its microclimate, and outdoor activities, and we were then on a mission to find a home here. Mission accomplished………and still pinching ourselves!” Thank you, John and Robin, for sharing your story. I have mentioned many times the value of participating in meetings of the Avila Valley Advisory Council, which takes place on a monthly basis – usually the second Monday at 7:00 p.m. There is much to be learned about our community at those gatherings, along with opportunities to share concerns and ask questions. One alarming thing I learned at the November AVAC meeting came in the form of warnings about rising cases of crime occurring in Avila Beach and Avila Valley. Several residents reported incidents of mailbox and package delivery theft, vehicle break-ins, and vandalism. Local postal employee Mary Chiu suggested that those in the Avila Valley neighborhoods with free-standing mailboxes should consider installing receptacles with locking mechanisms or make an effort to pick up their mail early in the day. Likewise, the Sheriff ’s Department reminds us to keep our vehicles locked and to not leave valuables inside. Avila Beach has for so long seemed like a sanctuary from some of life’s evils and still is

in comparison to most places. But we must take precautions and be on the lookout for those wishing to do us harm. Last but not least are two things I remind you of each December. First, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Lee says it’s time to replace the batteries in our smoke alarms and check our carbon monoxide detectors. The seasonal changes in daylight savings each year are the perfect periods to complete these tasks. Also, I urge

you always to purchase your postage and ship your packages at our local Avila Beach Post Office to keep it financially viable. We are so fortunate to be able to avoid the long lines at busier post offices in SLO County, and the friendly and helpful services of Mary, Julie, and Cindy are greatly appreciated. That being said, let me wish you Avilones a joyous Christmas and Hanukkah holiday season. See you at the beach!

Happy Holidays For over a decade, I’ve organized a small non-profit dedicated towards helping young men and women figure out their passion in life. The Ben Paine BSO Scholarship Fund was started out of tragedy and has become one of the most gratifying parts of my life. Each year I receive students’ essays with stories of how they have overcome far greater obstacles in their short lives than most people encounter in their long lives. Let’s all be thankful for what we have and show compassion for those in need. Please do have a grateful and gracious holiday season.

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4 | Avila Beach Life — December 2021

Making Communities Better Through Print™


It’s That Time of the Year Again

Mary Foppiano

Avila Beach Civic Association


i All – I know that this is the time of year when little boys and girls ask Santa for something special. I wish that I could sit on Santa’s lap and tell him my wish, which I am sure won’t surprise you that it isn’t for a pony. The Hallmark holiday movies and music on the radio and store decorations have started again in October…even before Halloween… the “sales” actually started right after the 4th of July. What hasn’t started is a relaxation of the pandemic restrictions

that has led to the Civic Association canceling all of our fundraising events through the end of the year…except for our Doggie Parades. Our 4th of July parade hosted 73 adorable pups, and our Santa’s parade will hopefully host even more. We are looking forward to inviting all of you back to the Community Center for our Spaghetti Dinners/ Bingo Nights, Easter Egg Hunt, Pancake Breakfast, Avila Apple Gala, and Community Potluck Dinner. In addition to these events, we are in the middle of our annual Membership Campaign to raise funds for the operation and maintenance of the Community Center for many community uses. This year, we have been very fortunate for the generous donations we received, including: • Avila Beach Community Foundation • Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg • State of CA COVID-19 Small Business Grant • SLO Workforce Grant

• • • •

Chevron Corporation Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Blackbaud Giving Fund Johnson & Johnson Matching Grant I hope that we can all get together soon and the new year will bring new and exciting fun activities to all. Happy Holidays! Santa’s Doggie Parade Santa’s Doggie Parade will be held on Saturday, December 11, at 11 a.m. on the Avila Beach Promenade. There will be a costume contest with the categories that include: Best Costume, Best Dog/Owner Look-Alike, Best Holiday Look, Funniest Costume, and Best in Show. Participants must register and be checked-in on the Promenade prior to the beginning of the parade from 10 to 11 a.m., where they will each receive a yummy goodie bag from Petco – Avila Beach. Check our website avilabeachcc. com for the registration form and additional details of this fun event at which you can take holiday pictures with your furry friend and Santa!


Say Hello to Technology Specialist John Lee By MARY FOPPIANO For Avila Beach Life


ohn Lee, Assistive Technology Specialist at Cal Poly, joined their Disability Resource Center in August 2010. In his role, he provides assistive technology consultations and training to DRC students. In addition, he consults with Cal Poly faculty and staff in the area of digital accessibility, ensuring that all campus members have equal access to electronic documents, audio/video, websites, and electronic products. John has nearly 20 years of experience as an assistive technology professional. Prior to his current position, he worked as a Rehabilitation Technologist at a local community-based non-profit organization, the Central Coast Assistive Technology Center. John is a North Carolina native who received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He enjoys many activities and is an active member of the local disability/accessibility advocacy group, Access For All, which strives to cultivate an accessible San Luis Obispo County, where people with disabilities have equal opportunities in all aspects of life. In keeping with John’s passion, he was involved in working with the motorized beach wheelchair “Beach Cruzr” that was previously available for use at Avila Beach starting in the spring of 2003. Manufactured by Hot Shot Products, the Beach Cruzr was a joystick-operated wheelchair with large balloon tires that enabled easier, more independent access to the beach. From 2003 to about 2018, numerous people with disabilities of all ages had been able to enjoy access to Avila Beach

thanks to the Beach Cruzr. For many individuals, the Beach Cruzr allowed them to have access to the beach for the first time in years...or ever. The chair was checked out for free by anyone who used a wheelchair or had difficulty walking on the beach. At that time, Avila Beach was the only beach in San Luis Obispo County and only one of a few public beaches in the state that had a motorized beach wheelchair. The idea for bringing a motorized beach wheelchair to Avila Beach originated with SLOCO Access and its president Jeff Ferber. The Beach Cruzr was funded through grants and donations from anonymous donors, the Avila Beach Community Foundation, the Port San Luis Harbor District, Duke Energy, the Sea Barn, and RRM Design Group. The chair was owned by the Port San Luis Harbor District and maintained by the Central Coast Assistive Technology Center. John Lee was the primary volunteer responsible for coordinating the checkout of the chair, and the Civic Association was responsible for scheduling volunteers to assist users. The late Stan Manning and his staff at A-1 Mobility in Atascadero were instrumental in keeping the chair up and running over the years by providing regular repair and maintenance service. During the chair’s last few years, the Avila Lighthouse Suites took on its management. After the chair was retired, Avila Lighthouse Suites now has both a pediatric manual push beach wheelchair “Hippocampe” and a motorized beach wheelchair “Beach ‘n Buggy” that can be checked out for free. These chairs were purchased because Linda Wolf, a physical therapist, wrote several grant applications for their purchase. These chairs can be reserved in advance by visiting the “Beach Mobility For All” booking

website at Jack’s Helping Hand. For more information, please call Avila Lighthouse Suites at (805)627-1900. You can also check out manual beach wheelchairs for the beach at Morro Bay through the Morro Bay Harbor Department at (805)772-6254 or (805)772-6278. Access For All is a local grassroots disability advocacy group that would like to see one or more access mats, such as the Mobi-Mat, added to Avila Beach. Wheelchair or scooter users can stay seated in their own mobility device when using an access mat to get on the beach. The mats also make it easier for anyone who has difficulty

walking on the beach, as well as those who are pushing strollers or pulling carts. AFA hopes to work with the Port San Luis Harbor District to install at least one access mat on Avila Beach in the near future. Information on fundraising opportunities will be available shortly. When I asked John what he liked the most about Avila Beach, he said his ability to access the beach after lunch at the Woodstone Market down the Bob Jones Trail in his wheelchair. He loves the homey feel of Avila Beach and looks forward to the day when he can easily access the beach on the mats.


Murphy is our Pet of the Month! By MARY FOPPIANO


aryanna and Karl Kersten adopted Murphy from the Milo Foundation in Point Richmond, where they had gotten their prior dog, Lucy. Milo is a non-profit organization that does great work in the Bay Area rescuing animals from high kill shelters. They were very sad

when their much-loved terrier mix Lucy passed away in December 2017. Murphy was 3 months old when they got him from Milo in January 2018. Their older son Sean helped them pick Murphy, who seemed like a very spunky puppy. They took Murphy to puppy training and puppy socials, which he loved. He would wear out the small puppies at the socials, so invariably, they would put

Murphy in with the big puppies…and, of course, he loved the attention. While having a puppy is a lot of work, they said it has been so worth it. Murphy has been a great addition to their family and is a sweet boy who loves people and other dogs. He also loves to play catch and can do this all day if he could find a willing person who could keep throwing the ball over and over and over.

NEXT MONTH’S ‘PET OF THE MONTH’ Please send me your pictures and a short paragraph about your pet to avilabeachcc@gmail.com. Thanks, and introduce us to your furry friend next month!

December 2021 — Avila Beach Life | 5 POINT SAN LUIS LIGHTSTATION

Point San Luis Memories A Guardsman’s Brother Remembers

Kathy Mastako

Board of Directors, Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers


oast Guardsman Richard W. Vezinaw and his wife Georgette lived for a year or two in the left side of the cinderblock duplex at Point San Luis built by the Coast Guard in 1948. Guardsman Gene Talcott and his wife Donna lived in the duplex’s right side. The duplex is “down the hill” from the historic portion of the site; guests walk by it on their way to the lighthouse. Rich served at Point San Luis from 1966 until 1967 or 1968. He was not a career military man. His father, who had served with the Navy in the Pacific campaign during World War II, suggested Rich volunteer for the Coast Guard in order to avoid being drafted and going to Vietnam. Point San Luis was his second and last assignment. Like many of the Coast Guard families stationed at Point San Luis, the Vezinaws had their first child while stationed there— Michael, born Sept. 2, 1966. Rich’s youngest brother Dan, who was eight years old when his brother was assigned to Point San Luis, spent part of two summers at the light station during 1966 and 1967. Their parents would bring Dan, two of his older brothers, and two foster brothers to the light station for a one-week visit in the summer. (Their parents had five sons and helped raise twenty-four foster children, Dan said.) Then the rest of the family would leave, and Dan and his two brothers would remain behind with Rich for a six-week stay: We spent most of our days at the beach and wharf swimming, playing in the waves, and fishing from the wharf and a lower deck at the end of the wharf, which had stairs leading down to it. We especially enjoyed climbing on the breakwater rocks past Whaler’s Island and all the way out to the end of the breakwater.

We played, played, played, and played. I remember going back to school each year and bragging about how great our summer was at our brother’s lighthouse. Dan remembered the accommodations as being very comfortable. They enjoyed watching TV and listening to Beatles albums on the stereo. He especially remembered his father cooking in the kitchen during his parents’ visits: We would fetch abalone and sea snails in buckets. We loved how my dad would cook them. I remember watching him shuck, pound, and then dredge them in a seasoned flour before frying them. He would boil the sea snails in a big pot and serve them in a bowl. We would use toothpicks to remove them from their shells and dip them in melted butter. He also cooked the fish we caught, which I believe were flounder and sea bass. When he and his brothers weren’t at the beach, they would take their flexy racer—a four-wheeled street sled—up a stretch of the lighthouse road and fly down the steep hill and around the curves until the road leveled out in front of their duplex. It was an E-ticket ride. Other times they would hike in the hills past the lighthouse or behind it. They would pick up ticks, of course, and were careful to avoid rattlesnakes. Dan said the public had no access at all. He and his brothers “policed” the beach and never allowed anyone to set foot on it. He thought of it as their own “private resort.” For a time, before the Talcotts moved in,

Dan recalled that Guardsman Samuel Reyes and his family lived next door. They had a color TV; the Vezinaws’ TV was black-and-white. Another of Dan’s brothers visiting at the time was a sci-fi fan and wanted to watch Star Trek, a series which began in September 1966. Dan recalled how much his brother appreciated the Reyes’ hospitality, allowing them to watch the shows in color. One incident Dan remembered was an altercation his brother Rich and another Coast Guardsman got into over the fog signal. The other man tried to get Rich to turn off the fog signal because he had company visiting, and the noise was annoying. The guy was being insistent, Dan recalled, “and Rich yelled into his face saying that the foghorn could not be turned off until the fog receded to the proper distance.” I remember seeing Rich, chest-to-chest, looking up at this guy…He didn’t stand down from anyone, and he literally threw this guy on the grass in front of the duplex, sat on his chest, and said the foghorn would remain on until the proper time to turn it off. (Dan believed there was a buoy that you needed to be able to see before turning off the signal, and you needed binoculars to see it.) Asked what the town of Avila was like, Dan said he didn’t remember spending much time there: It was all about the lighthouse. We were fascinated with the lighthouse. We loved spending our summers there. We had paradise at our doorstep. Holidays at the Lighthouse Can you imagine what the holidays were like over a century ago? How people celebrated the season at this remote lighthouse? You can find the answers to these questions on Dec. 5 at our Annual Holiday Brunch. On the scenic ride from our van loading parking lot to the lighthouse, you will enjoy spectacular views of Port San Luis. Upon arrival at the Light Station, you will be served

Top, Teacup tree in Keeper’s dwelling dining room. . Bottom, Photo of the “flexy” Dan and his brothers would ride down the lighthouse road. Photos courtesy of Point San Luis Light Station Archives and Dan Vezinaw

a Victorian-style champagne brunch, tour the handsomely decorated Keeper’s dwelling, and enjoy the soothing sounds of Brynn Albanese and her magic violin. Brynn performs at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Our dedicated volunteers have decorated the Keeper’s dwelling in a Victorian-style both inside and out. Dressed in period attire, docents will assist you on your self-guided tour of this historic site. All proceeds will be used for the continued restoration, maintenance, and operation of Point San Luis for the public’s education and enjoyment. For tickets, go to my805tix.com.

1967 photo of Gene Talcott (left) and Rich Vezinaw (right) standing on the steps of the cinderblock duplex. Courtesy of Donna Talcott

Fog horn at Point San Luis while Rich Vezinaw was stationed there. Courtesy of George Homenko

Circa 1967 photo of the cinderblock duplex at Point San Luis, built by the Coast Guard in 1948. Courtesy of Donna Talcott

6 | Avila Beach Life — December 2021

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Prancing Along the Bob Jones Trail

In the abundant oak forest areas of Avila, deer can be seen throughout the year. Photos by Victoria Morrow

By BETTY HARTIG For Avila Beach Life


asher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, and Comet are just a few of the famed reindeer that pull Santa’s present-packed sleigh. Although reindeer do not live on the Central Coast, seeing deer prancing across the Bob Jones Trail certainly recalls the 1823 poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Deer in December are indeed a merry sight. In the abundant oak forest areas of Avila, deer can be seen throughout the year. Just what kind of deer are they? Black-tailed deer, a member of the mule deer family, appropriately named for their large mule-like-looking ears. Those ears are about three-fourths the length of their head. Their radar ears move constantly and independently, allowing them to pick up sounds that may pose danger, which coupled with their keen sense of smell keeps them alert and ready. Blacktailed mule deer range from 3 to 3.5 feet tall from their shoulder and weigh between 130 and 280 pounds. Deer are social creatures and typically stay together. In general, they are beloved iconic wildlife. People enjoy viewing their grace and glamour. Oak wooded, hilly habitat is their preferred living zone. Thus, they reside in Avila

full-time as it is an excellent environment for them to thrive. Deer are beautifully designed not just in appearance but also in their capabilities. They can move unheard and unseen through the forest. Black-tailed deer can easily jump over 5 feet if they are being chased or threatened; 8 feet is no barrier. Along with their jumping prowess comes speed. They can reach 35-40 miles per hour; however, they cannot maintain that speed for long periods. It is interesting to note that deer bound in a motion called “stotting,” using all four hooves to push off the ground at the same time. The bounding gait temporarily gives the animal an elevated vantage point, which allows it to see a pursuing predator. It also enables the deer to travel quickly over bushes and rocks. A characteristic of the black-tailed mule deer are seasonal coats. In the summer, black-tailed deer are tannish brown. In the winter, they are brownish-gray in color. How do deer communicate? For the most part, they have many means of delivering messages, which are specific to each subspecies. Black-tailed deer communicate with vocalizations and scents, not with a sway or raise of their tail, which is a common theory. Wagging their tails simply keeps bugs away. Pheromones,

a chemical substance produced and released into the environment by deer, is a tool used to convey information. Pheromones are secreted from glands located on their sturdy lower legs. The released odor affects the behavior of others in their group. A deer’s diet is diverse, but they mostly nibble on herbaceous plants and the leaves and twigs of woody shrubs. Although contrary to belief, black-tailed deer are selective feeders. They choose the most nutritious portions of vegetation to eat. Young and emerging growth are more wholesome than mature trees and flora. Human incursions impact deer foraging habits. Often fresh landscaping in nearby homes can be a delightful salad. They do like to browse! Deer also eat bark, buds, and acorns. If an opportunity arises, they will munch on cultivated crops. A mature buck can have a rather royal appearance with their branching set of antlers. The number of forks or points is dependent on a buck’s age, nutrition, and genetics. Antlers are shed yearly after breeding season. In the early fall, bucks go into rut. Rutting behavior is when velvet is shed from antlers. How is that accomplished? Males rub their antlers on trees or shrubs to scrape the velvet-like hair off their antlers. During this time, it is mating

season. Bucks will spar for females and become more aggressive to compete with other males for mates. Bucks are polygynous; one buck will mate with many does. The gestation period is about 200 days. Females can give birth to one, two, or three fawns. Fawns are born in late spring to mid-summer. They are spotted at birth, a form of camouflage, which protects them from predators but lose their spots within a few months. As a built-in safety feature, fawns are scent-free for the first week. This permits the mother to not only keep her newborn safe but also gives the doe time to regain energy. Fawns are weaned in the fall, although they continue to stay with their mothers for the first year. Despite good motherly care, fawns have a high mortality rate, 45 to 70 percent. A deer’s life span is about 9 to 10 years. Mountain lions are a natural enemy of mule deer, as well as bobcats and coyotes. It is a privilege to view nature in Avila. The Bob Jones pathway provides an easy way to see and connect with different fauna. During your next trail trek, be sure to listen to the sounds and look around; there is much to discover. Perhaps you can spot a tiny critter or an over 100 lb. mammal, such as the black-tailed mule deer. The sights are yours to enjoy!


Port San Luis Harbor District ‘Redistricting.’ By JOHN D’ORNELLAS Interim Harbor Manager


he San Luis Obispo County isn’t the only public agency going through a “redistricting” process now. The Port San Luis Harbor District is doing it as well, although the process is a bit different. The District has never before been divided into sub-districts. Commissioners have always been elected through an “at-large” electoral system. A board member may reside anywhere within the District and are elected by voters throughout the District. The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) allows for legal challenges to the “at-large” system, and in December of last year, the District received a letter from an out-of-the-area attorney alleging that the current system has resulted in racially polarized voting. The District had two choices at that point: to fight the claim in the courts or to accept the allegation and move to a sub-district-based election system. Many public agencies throughout the State have attempted to fight the claim and, after spending way too much money, have almost universally lost in Court. The Commission chose to begin the process of dividing the

Harbor District into five sub-districts for voting purposes. In such a system, a jurisdiction is divided into separate geographic regions, each with one representative who resides in the region and is elected only by the voters residing within that region. In January of this year, the Board of Commissioners declared the District’s intention to transition from “at-large” to district-based elections before the election next November. The Commission also hired the consulting firm Cooperative Strategies, a redistricting consultant, to help with the creation and implementation of voting areas and to ensure that the District is in compliance with the California Voting Rights Act. Several factors are to be considered in establishing the voting regions. Each region is to: • Comply with the Federal Voting Rights Act, particularly in relation to “communities of interest,” • Contain an approximately equal number of inhabitants, • Be compact and contiguous, as much as possible, • Follow man-made and natural geographic features as much as possible, and • Comply with any other local consider-

ations. The Elections Code requires that before any map of the proposed areas is drawn, the District must conduct no less than five Public Hearings. The purpose of these hearings is to inform the public about the voting area creation process and to hear from the community about what factors should be taken into consideration in the formulation of voting area boundaries. The first two public hearings have already happened, and the District is scheduled to conduct the third hearing on Jan. 25, 2022, and the fourth on Feb. 22, 2022, to continue seeking public input on the draft voting area scenarios. The fifth and final public hearing to select and adopt a preferred voting area map is not yet scheduled but is expected to happen in the spring. District staff and the consultant will then work with the County Elections Office to have the division maps integrated into the county voting system in time for the election to be held in November 2022. More information, including staff reports and maps, can be found at the Harbor District’s website, portsanluis.com. Note: The article is based on a staff report written by John D’Ornellas, interim Harbor Manager.

A message from the Avila Beach Post Office


ince the holidays are the busy season for the Avila Beach Post Office, would you please be sure to have your packages addressed to your P.O. Box address. Fed-Ex, UPS, and other delivery services bring packages to the Post Office each day, and there are limited Parcel lockers on site. Please check your tracking numbers and pick up your mail and packages daily. Thank you.

December 2021 — Avila Beach Life | 7

Give Thanks to the Farmers John Salisbury contributor


armer’s Day is celebrated every year on Oct. 12. Farming has been around for over 12,000 years when some of the “hunters and gatherers” settled down and started the domestication of livestock and planting their own food. The latest U.S. census of farmers shows that the majority of farmers, 2 percent of the population, are older with an average age of 58+, but there are good signs that there are also more young men, women, and minority farmers than ever before. The census revealed that 97.1 percent of farms in American are family-owned, usually incorporated, but not mega-corporations. Farmers are needed not only to plant, feed, raise and harvest all the food that keeps us fed but also for all the 22.2 million full and parttime jobs provided by the agricultural and food sectors. That is almost 11 percent of all the jobs in the United States. Farmer’s keep many communities and professions alive like trucking, railroads, transportation, textiles, leather goods, grocery stores, food services, eating and drinking places, food and beverage manufac-

turing, pharmaceuticals, forestry, and fisheries. So, when eating those holiday meals, please give thanks to those in one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs in the country. Out of the most dangerous jobs in the country, agriculture takes four of the top dozen with loggers at number 1, farm supervisors, who travel between ranches, are 7th, on-site farmers are 10th, and farmworkers are in 12th place. To put it into perspective, our noble police officers are at 22nd to 25th, and firefighter supervisors are 9th of the most dangerous jobs on some lists. Now it is time for my annual Christmas gift. I thought I might retire it after last year’s December Grapevine, but this year, unfortunately, has well surpassed the problems of the 2020 year. So, once again, Desiderata and a side note—“Don’t fight the darkness. Bring the light, and darkness will disappear” Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. DESIDERATA by Max Ehrmann, American writer/poet “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons

strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for, in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not stress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Salisbury and Rucks families.

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day, Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet. The words repeat, Of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Making a List and Checking it Twice

Dr. Cindy Maynard



he holiday season is in full swing, and if you’re like most of us you have expectations for a joyful and merry season. And yet, a season that is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year can be just the opposite for some. According to the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people surveyed stated their stress levels increase during the holiday season. While the majority of people reported feelings of love and joy during the holidays, many people concurrently experience feelings of anxiety, irritability, or sadness. What is it that has us so stressed? Some of this stress stems from the pressure of having high expectations for gift giving, family get-togethers, financial worries, or scheduling too many commitments and feeling the guilt of not meeting these expectations. Or even having to appear jolly when we’re

not. These pressures may leave us feeling words as their intentions may be positive. frazzled instead of fulfilled. Consider what makes you happy during the holidays. If making the list and checking it twice is stressful, throw the list out. If baking or volunteering makes you happy make sure you schedule in There are some ways we can minimize that time for you. If finances are worrithe stress and ensure we experience the some, consider a family gift exchange. I joy that the season intends. Fortunately, remember when I was strapped for funds we know holiday stress has a beginning in college, I asked the family if we could and end, so we can make plans to decrease have a secret Santa exchange and buy only the amount of stress we experience. one gift per family member instead of for Learn to recognize your holiday trig- everyone. Our family has honored that gers. For example, figure out what your tradition ever since and it’s been a source recurrent holiday stressors are ahead of of great fun and joy. Don’t abandon your time. Pick one or two and have an action health. It’s easy to imbibe and overdose plan in place. For me, in the past it used with all the scrumptious goodies so keep to be trying to attend too many func- up with your rest, exercise, and healthy tions. Believe it or not, Covid helped me meals as much as possible. Acknowledge prioritize those events that are import- and express your feelings. Just because it’s ant with those I can skip. If two days the holiday season you can’t force youris your max with family, let them know self to be happy. Seek out support with you have appointments on the 3rd day. community, a friend, or therapist if stress Too much togetherness can bring dread or depression feel overwhelming. instead of anticipation. If you worry a political discussion will occur during the meal that may be divisive, ask the hostess in a humorous way to list the “allowable” topics for discussion before sitting down. Set aside any grievances for a more appropriate time to discuss, if at all, especially if you only see these people once a year. Act generously. Inwardly, express Lastly, have the intention to experigratitude for their misguided attention or ence the joy of the season—whether it’s

carving out time for self-care, taking a daily time out to notice what you’re grateful for, or connecting with those who mean the most to you. And if you decide not to partake in all the festivities, give yourself the grace to find other ways that inspire feelings of warmth, joy or belonging. Whatever you do, take time out to honor what is meaningful for you so you can experience the peace and joy of the season. Cindy Maynard PhD, RD, is a health psychologist, registered dietitian and a health and f itness writer. You can contact her at drcindymaynard@live.com

8 | Avila Beach Life — December 2021

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