Avila Beach Life • November 2023

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ostrich The new Beef? See Page 7

Point San Luis

Furry Spotlight





Community Spotlight



2 | Avila Beach Life — NOVEMBER 2023

Making Communities Better Through Print™

A Month of Gratitude


Hayley & Nicholas Mattson editor@13starsmedia.com

Content Editor Camille DeVaul

Copy editor Michael Chaldu

LAYOUT DEsIGN Anthony Atkins

Ad Design Jen Rodman

Ad Consultant Dana McGraw


Cami Martin office@13starsmedia.com

Contributors Mary Foppiano Betty Hartig Kathy Mastako Rick Cohen John Salisbury Contact Us 805.466.2585


s we gather in the cozy corner of the year, I can not help but be struck by the undeniable beauty of autumn that surrounds us. It is a time when nature paints a vivid masterpiece with its vibrant hues, reminding us of the fleeting nature of life itself. The leaves have donned their magnificent autumnal attire. As we transition into the winter season, I encourage you all to take a moment to appreciate the changing colors and the leaves gracefully descending to the ground. Amidst this season of change, let’s not forget the significance of Veterans Day—a time to honor and express our heartfelt gratitude to the brave individuals who have served our nation. They have selflessly devoted their lives to protect our freedoms, and we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never truly be repaid. On this day, let us reflect on their sacrifices and the immense courage it takes to defend our country. But, of course, we can’t help but look forward with anticipation to Thanksgiving. It’s a time of warmth, laughter, and the delightful aroma of homecooked meals filling the air. As we gather around the table with family and friends, let’s not only give thanks for the bountiful feast before us but also for the love and support that envelop us. Thanksgiving reminds us of the importance of expressing gratitude for the blessings in our lives, both big and small. In this season of change and gratitude, we find ourselves in a bittersweet moment as Rick Cohen, a beloved member of our community, shares that this column will be the second to last he will write as the executive director of the Avila Beach Community Foundation. Rick’s impending departure was announced last month, marking the conclusion of his remarkable 15-year tenure at the helm and his unwavering dedication to bringing you this monthly issue of Avila Beach Life. We ask that you take a moment to express your heartfelt appreciation for all the years of his dedicated service. May this season overflow with joy, love, and cherished moments shared among our dearest family and friends. With hearts brimming with gratitude, we extend our warmest wishes for a Thanksgiving that is truly joyful and thankful. Today, we have so much to be grateful for. We hope you thoroughly enjoy this issue of Avila Beach Life. Hayley & Nic Mattson

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In our October 2023 issue, the article “Bat life in Avila” was shown as written by “Mary Foppiano” when the byline should have read “Betty Hartig”


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NOVEMBER 2023 — Avila Beach Life | 3

Making Communities Better Through Print™

Foundation News and Views

Rick Cohen


avila beach foundation

reetings, fellow Avilones. The month of November has arrived and is the jumping off point for the holiday season. One of the most obvious signs was last month’s resurgence of crowds at the Avila Valley Barn, in particular at the pumpkin patch prior to Halloween. This will likely continue through November leading up to Thanksgiving. A word of caution to you all when driving along Avila Beach Drive that traffic will back up at the entrance to Avila Barn. As I think about Thanksgiving this year, it takes on special meaning to me as this column is the second to last I will write as executive director of the Avila Beach Community Foundation. My looming depar-

ture was shared last month, so you are aware that this will conclude 15 years at the helm. As I reflect on that time, I have much to be thankful for. There are so many individuals and business leaders that have supported the “Foundation’s” efforts that it would be impossible to share the names of all with you in this space. That being said, I do want to identify some of the key folks to publicly recognize their impact. Every nonprofit organization is only as strong as its board president. I have been fortunate to work with an outstanding lineup of Foundation leaders since 2009 that includes Mike Ritter, Julian Varela, Rick Rowe, Lisa Ritterbuck, Mike Ginn, Cyndy Lakowske, and Barbara Nicholson. I thank each of you for your service to the organization and the people of Avila Beach. I was also blessed to work side by side with some very talented support staff that included Penny Burciaga, Paula Dempsey, Stephanie Rowe, and Kymberly Fazzio. Each of you brought something special to the Foundation, and I appreciate the roles you played. Also noteworthy, and key to some of our success, is a handful of local community/business leaders who provided financial support of the Foundation’s projects and activities that

extended beyond the realm of the grants we make each year. Said projects/activities are too numerous to fully state here, but a few of the most visible are the public art installations that bring beauty to the beach, the public viewing telescope, the people and pet drinking fountain at “dog beach,” the beach boardwalk commercial trash receptacles, and the interpretive signs along the Bob Jones Trail. My thanks to the following folks who, through their generosity, helped make the aforementioned projects, and others, possible: Chevron ( Juliet Don and Jeff Moore), PG&E (Eric Daniels), SLO County District 3 Supervisors (Dawn Ortiz-Legg and Adam Hill), the Richard and Kathleen Zacky Family Foundation, the Rossi Foundation (Rob Rossi), and Joan Sargen. My apologies if I’ve left anyone out. Odds and Ends: What would one of my final columns be if lacking some of the witty (in my opinion) observations and personal experiences I’ve shared with you over the years? My wife and I returned from our recent vacation to Palm Springs. Remember the good old days when we could say the journey is equal in enjoyment to the destination? Well, not so if you have to drive to Southern California. Back in 1992, when

I first began visiting my parents after they retired to Palm Desert, I could make the drive in 4-plus hours. The same journey now takes around six hours — more if you come upon an accident or freeway lane closures. So, I’ve come up with a slogan that reminds me of a famous commercial from the past. Remember the jingle, “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup?” My proposed entry into the Jingles Hall of Fame is “the best part of leaving Avila Beach for places to roam, is returning to Avila Beach, the place we call home.” BTW — during the trip, I came upon the most glaring/outrageous example of inflation, er, price gouging, at Stater Bros. grocery store in Cathedral City. There, in a prime location near the check stand, was a Krispy Kreme donuts display featuring a three-pack box of donuts for the pricey sum of $9.99. My math says that’s $3.33 per donut. That’s a lot of dough for a such a paltry hunk of dough! Then, after dinner in Palm Springs we stumbled upon an ice cream parlor selling a 12 oz date shake for $10.99. Twice what I used to pay just a few years ago! Okay, I am through sharing my outrage, and will leave you with my usual closing. That’s it for now, fellow Avilones. See you at the beach.

Do Stock Markets Always Go Up?

On my nightstand is “The Golden Age,” a book by one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Gore Vidal. The book is a factual/fictional account of what happened prior to the US involvement in WWII and events in the post war period. It’s a great read and I recommend it, especially if you aren’t aware of all the machinations by FDR that led us into the war, which was opposed by 80% of the country prior to the bombing at Pearl Harbor. Just prior to our involvement in the war, the stock market was still down about 66% from the peak in 1929 and it wasn’t until 1954 the markets finally broke above the 1929 level. After the huge gains in the stock markets from 2009 to 2021, it’s easy to forget there have been long stretches of no gains including from 1969—1982 and from Sept 2000 to Feb 2013.

It’s quite possible we entered a similar stretch beginning with the top on 1/3/2022. From that date, stock and bond indexes have declined substantially as I type on 10.20.2023. Most people believe stock markets will always go up. The question is whether the “reasons” it has gone up have changed from the past 100 years? Consider the following: 1. World debt has exploded which will reduce future investment and consumption. 2. Boomers are spending and taking out of the system rather than investing and contributing to the system. 3. Our work ethic/productivity of the past 100 years has declined and will, most likely, continue that path.* My belief, which may be wrong, is we are in for a long period of not much gain, where the market goes up and down while the excesses of the past 50+ years are digested. There has never been a “free lunch” and the piper must be paid. The good news is, while higher interest rates have changed the paradigm, one may invest to potentially profit even in up and down markets while eliminating stock market risk entirely.*^ To learn more, please visit our website, come to our Roundtable Dinner, and/or call for a 15 minute no obligation, no fee discussion. *https://www.mauldineconomics.com/the-10th-man/the-next-100-years; *^ Fixed index-linked products provide for gains that are capped while eliminating the potential for stock market loss. Please refer to product disclosures for specific information on crediting methods, current rates, limitations, and other important information.

A New Paradigm. A New Way of Investing.

Thomas B. Paine Paine Financial Services

www.PaineFinancialServices.com 6627-A Bay Laurel Place (Avila Village) Avila Beach, CA 93424 (805) 473-6679

Rules Based Investing for all stock market conditions Advisory Services and Securities offered through Centaurus Financial, Inc. member FINRA and SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and registered investment advisor. Paine Financial Services, Jackson National Life, and Centaurus Financial Inc. are not affiliated. Supervisory branch office: 1186 E. Grand Ave., Arroyo Grande, CA 93420; (805) 473-6670

Join Us For a Roundtable Dinner

Please join me and a special guest on Nov 15th, 4:30-6:15pm at Ventana Grill for an excellent dinner and beverage on us while we discuss current stock/bond/real estate markets and avoiding taxes. Questions and comments welcome. Some possible topics: • The new paradigm of high interest rates. • Structured accounts and how they eliminate stock market risk. • Critical questions to ask one’s advisor. • Ideas to reduce taxes and avoid taxation when selling rentals. • How I invest my and my clients’ money now.

Reservations are Required. Will be a conversation, not a seminar. Private event exclusive to 8 guests. Investing not allowed at this event. For those with investable assets over $250,000. Certain Investments require one to be an accredited investor. We reserve the right to refuse attendance.

4 | Avila Beach Life — NOVEMBER 2023

Making Communities Better Through Print™

A View From the Beach

Mary Foppiano

Avila Beach Civic Association

Hi All:

Each year, I write about all the many wonderful things for which I am thankful. This year, my list consists of The Children’s Business Fair, in which 110 young minds from the Central Coast displayed and sold their products, was the entire year the Avila Beach Commu- one of many events hosted by the Avila Beach Civic Assocation. Contributed Photos nity Center has been able to be open after all that everyone suffered during the • Pacific Gas and Electric Company — the ABCA this year for landscaping pandemic. In addition, I will always be The Pacific Gas and Electric Company improvements to the ABCA’s Healing grateful for being able to live and work in has supported the ABCA since 2011 Garden and other local gardens to be beautiful Avila Beach. Here are a few of through its Charitable Donation determined. our major donors that I want to thank and Program, enabling us to pay for some • Dawn Ortiz-Legg, SLO 3rd District acknowledge their contributions: of the Community Center’s mainteCounty Supervisor — In addition to nance repairs. generously supporting the ABCA with • Avila Beach Community Foundation (ABCF) — The Foundation Trustees a Community Project Grant plumbing • Chevron Corporation — Chevron continue to be financially supportand electrical repairs and improvements Corporation has also continued to ive of the Avila Beach Civic Associsupport the ABCA since 2011 through to the Community Center and Healing ation (ABCA) and a number of other their Community Grant Program, Garden, Ortiz-Legg also meets with local nonprofit organizations and assisting us with some of our operacommunity members once a month to our community. They also hosted the tional costs. discuss concerns. One of these concerns “History of Front Street” presentation was an extended sidewalk connecting • Vintage Traditions Foundation by local historian Pete Kelley with the La Fonda with the Community — Several years ago, Rob and Steve old-time slides and narrative of life in Center making it safer for all. Rossi set up a nonprofit organizaAvila Beach going back many decades. tion and made a generous donation to If you were unable to attend the 3rd

Annual Children’s Business Fair at the Community Center, which we co-sponsored with the ABCF, it was once again a rousing success, this year with 80 booths and 110 young minds from the Central Coast showcasing their brilliance. In the words of Fair Host Kristen McKiernan: “Every year, I find myself in awe of their inventiveness. Their products, ranging from nature-inspired jewelry, delightful pet toys, child-penned books, sea glass masterpieces, to organic lotions and so much more, radiate ingenuity. It is no wonder shoppers frequently quipped, ‘I need a larger bag for these treasures!’ Point noted for our next fair!” The esteemed judges were Dawn Ortiz-Legg, Mary Matakovich, Phil Toriello, and Jessa Lebed, and, of course, every visitor who made the day unforgettable. (See Pictures — Children’s Fair) More information with be forthcoming in my next month’s column for: • Annual Meeting/Potluck — Friday, December 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. • Santa’s Doggie Parade — Saturday, December 9, registration/check-in 10 to 11 a.m./parade at 11 a.m. With the increase in COVID, I want to remind you that the San Luis Obispo Public Health Department gave us 100 COVID-19 test kits for distribution to members of our community. If you are interested in picking up any of these test kits, please let me know so you can pick them up in our office.

Community Spotlight


By MARY FOPPIANO For Avila Beach Life

was fortunate to talk to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Lee last week prior to his meeting with members of the UC Master Gardener Program regarding the Avila Fire that began on June 15, 2020. As many of you already know, this frightening arson fire began at Avila Beach Drive and Highway 101, east of Avila Beach, and could be seen from many of our front porches in the San Luis Bay Estates. Lee met with all of us on the site where the fire began and discussed prevailing winds, underbrush, and other issues which enabled the fire to spread to 445 acres before being contained. He answered a number of insightful questions from the group before we relocated to Costa Rica, off Mattie Road in Pismo Beach, which was where the fire ended on June 19, 2020. One of the most important considerations that Lee stated was to ensure adequate defensible space from your home. This can act as a barrier to slow or halt the progress of fire that would otherwise engulf your property against wildfire. Keeping the first five feet from your buildings, structures, and decks clear will prevent embers from igniting materials that can spread the fire to your home. In order to prevent embers from igniting, use hardscape as gravel, pavers, bare soil, decomposed granite, or concrete; remove dead and dying plants, weeds, and debris from your roof, gutter, deck, porch, stairways, and under any areas of your home; remove branches within 10 feet of chimney or stovepipe outlet; limit combustible outdoor furniture and planters on decks; and use non-combustible fencing, gates, and arbors attached to your home, for example.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Lee meets with members of the UC Master Gardener Program to talk about the 2020 Avila Fire, and how to protect yourself from future fire damage. Contributed Photo

There are other ways your community can be protected, including control burns, mechanical masticators, hand crews, California Conservation Corps, and private

contractors. Plantings should be green; fire-hardened building construction materials, which are fire resistant; bushes below windows; code ordinances obeyed;

and appropriate horizontal and vertical spaces between grasses, shrubs, and trees. There are a number of apps and/or websites that you can download for added protection/information, including: • Reverse 911 (SLO County Sheriff ’s Office dispatch facility) • Pulsepoint Map (live local incident information) • Alertcalifornia.com (live local fire cameras) • Readyslo.org (live county incident information) • Genasys Protect (live county evacuation information) • Calfire.gov (live state incident information) • Calmatters Wildfire Dashboard (live state incident statistical information) • FireSafe Council (grants for wide variety of information, including checklist if wildfire approaches) Paul ran track and cross country at La Canada High School, where he met his wife, Michelle. Paul has a degree in forestry and fire management from Cal Poly, where Michelle got her Master’s. He started as a paid state firefighter in San Luis Obispo while attending Cal Poly. He worked up and down the state at various locations/departments, including the airport, hazardous materials, and Fire Marshal’s Office, and is currently the Mid-Coast battalion chief for our local Avila Beach, Shell Beach, and Pismo Beach. Paul and Michelle have two children at Morro Bay High School. Jessica is a senior and James is a freshman. Jessica plays tennis, and James is a runner who is learning to weld with his dad. Paul enjoys skeet shooting with his friends on Saturdays or Sundays, and they all love outdoor activities, which is just one reason why they love living by the beach!

NOVEMBER 2023 — Avila Beach Life | 5

Making Communities Better Through Print™

kathy mastako

Board Of Directors Point San Luis Lighthouse Keeper


The Lighthouse, the Jack House, and the Mission

hose who tour the Keeper’s house at Point San Luis cannot help but admire its finished carpentry work: the tongued-and-grooved flooring, the decorative crown molding strips, the ash balusters and handrail leading to the second floor, the walk-out pocket windows, and other touches that point to how well-crafted it is. Ever wonder who might have done the work? Ever wonder who worked on the historic Robert Edgar Jack house, now a California historic house museum owned by the City of San Luis Obispo? Ever imagine there might be a connection between these two iconic 19th-century Victorian dwellings? Or a connection between the lighthouse and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa? Santa Barbara resident George W. Kenney won the contract to build the lighthouse by submitting the lowest bid. The contract called for a December 1889 completion, but the project dragged on until mid-May 1890, hindered by rainy weather and a construction superintendent, employed by the 12th lighthouse district, who ordered unnecessary work. But in spite of all the construction problems, the Keeper’s house — like the circa 1878 Jack house — has stood the test of time. In early 1890, trying to get ahead of the stormy weather, 14 men were at work on the lighthouse interior. One of those men was William Evans. Evans is an important, albeit little-known, figure in the history of the lighthouse at Point San Luis. What the lighthouse, the Jack house, and the Mission have in common is that Evans worked on all three. The Lighthouse On January 17, 1890, the local paper reported:

A contemporary image of the Historic Jack House, 536 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, built by William Evans. Courtesy of the History Center of San Luis Obispo County.

Work is being resumed at the Lighthouse. Several of San Luis’s best carpenters went over to the point today, which certainly indicates business [today, we would use the word “busyness”], particularly when our townsman and mechanic, Mr. [William] Evans, is in the gang. And again, on January 31, 1890: From Mr. Evans we hear that the lighthouse building, by vigorous exertions, had all been closed in, and the windows all put in before the storm had reached its height so that work can now proceed without regard to the weather… While Evans worked on the interior, family lore has it that his son-in-law Frederick Lynn Smith, a blacksmith by trade who served for a time as a San Luis Obispo County supervisor, made metal railings for the lighthouse exterior. Which railings these might have been remains a mystery. The Jack House Among the Jack family papers is a contract “for the carpenter work in a house to be built for Mr. Jack according to a plan drawn by Wm. Evans.” The contract is signed “William Evans & Wilson.” In 1878, the San Luis Obispo Tribune noted “Evans and Wilson are the only architects in this city who believe their ability in that line worthy placing before the public.” According to the Jack House and Garden Handbook for Docents, “Evans and Wilson were also builders; there was not as firm a distinction between the two trades at that time, and the process of building and architecture were learned through apprenticeship...” The Mission Evans has a connection to Mission San Luis Obispo, too. In Dan Krieger’s book, “San Luis Obispo County: Looking Backward into the Middle Kingdom,” he writes: [In 1881], Father Apollinarius Rouselle was forced to hire William Evans, a skilled carpenter from Kansas, to reface the outside walls of the mission structure with clapboard [due to the deterioration of the adobe

Photo of William Evans taken in 1868 when Evans was about age 33. Courtesy of Mari Raymer, his great-great-great granddaughter

2020 photo of restored staircase in Keeper’s dwelling. Evans may have crafted the stairs, balusters, and handrail. Photo courtesy of Bob Mihelic.

walls]. What a strange merging—Mediterranean-style enjoyed by visitors more than 125 years after his death, adobe with Yankee clapboard!...[However,] this strange thanks in part to his architectural, building, and carpentry combination kept the building dry and permitted its accomplishments. A version of this story first appeared in the January continued use as a church for a growing parish. 2019 issue of the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers’ It wasn’t until the 1930s that the clapboard siding was newsletter. removed. Author’s note: “The Lighthouse at Point San Luis,” published by the United States Lighthouse Society, is now available on Amazon His Legacy and at pointsanluislighthouse.org. All proceeds benefit the United Evans died in 1896, at the age of 60. He would be States Lighthouse Society and the Point San Luis Light Station, pleased to know the lighthouse at Point San Luis, the Jack house, and Mission San Luis Obispo continue to be two nonprofits dedicated to preserving lighthouse history.

6 | Avila Beach Life — NOVEMBER 2023

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Fine-feathered beauties By BETTY HARTIG For Avila Beach Life


n 2013, Avila Beach became officially recognized as a bird sanctuary, an action that was appropriate for the plentiful and varying avian population. Raptors and waterfowl are abundant. Everything from hummingbirds to pelicans resides in Avila Beach. Much of the bird population is natural to the area, and on any given day, people can view a variety of wonderous winged creatures. There is, however, a beautifully feathered pheasant family member occasionally spotted or heard throughout Avila Valley. Peafowl, which are not native to Avila Beach nor for that matter to anywhere in North America, do live happily in our region. Let us begin by properly identifying these feathered beauties before proceeding with general information and history. Peafowl are commonly referred to as peacocks. However, the word peacock accurately identifies only male peafowl. Females are peahens, babies are peachicks, all are peafowl. Peacocks are most often seen in zoos and, of course as the NBC network logo. In Avila Valley, we have the novelty of viewing peafowl right in our own backyard. One of the best locations to see peafowl is at nearby Kelsey Winery in See Canyon. These lovely birds are free to roam the grounds without enclosures or restrictions. On occasion, they explore the neighboring vicinity. They are a magnificent sight. So, where did these birds come from? Thirty-five years ago, abandoned peafowl were successfully relocated to See Canyon by longtime residents, the Kelsey family, from a

Cragg Canyon ranch they were caring for. The Kelseys rescued seven peafowl and brought them to the current family premises. The winery became the fowl’s new home. Obviously, the birds have acclimated well. Although the exact population is not known, the Kelseys estimate there are 100-150 peacocks around the winery property. The alluring See Canyon region with a nearby creek was a welcome refuge for the peafowl, along with the landscape that creates a prey-free environment for the birds. Coyotes are predators, but few wander onto the acreage. Overall, the omnivore peafowl have little to worry about with plenty of grains, seeds, worms, and insects to eat. For years, peahens have been able to find safe nesting locations and are content to remain on the winery land. Peahens nest on the ground, but peafowl roost in trees. These birds originate from Asia. In fact, they are the national bird of India. It is interesting to note that peacocks are deeply rooted in history as a mark of wealth, royalty, and beauty. Peacocks have a reputation for being nemesis for snakes. They will not let snakes live within their territory. In fact, they will aggressively fight snakes to keep their nesting ground safe. For thousands of years, particularly in India, the peacocks were kept on farms and estates to keep away deadly venomous snakes, such as cobras. The local Kelsey family attests to peacocks helping eliminate snakes on their property. The peacock has an attractive 5-foot sweeping feathered train equivalent to 60 percent of its body length. On the edges of their tails are detailed eyespots vividly seen

when proudly displayed. This dazzling-colored plumage has both blue and green iridescent tones. Feathers are impressive to say the least and serve multiple functions, including a key role during mating season. The tails can fan out in a colorful display or shaken, a process referred to as rattling, to attract a female hen for breeding. How can they resist? The sizeable fan shape can also deter predators. Peacocks can fly despite their giant feathers, but they fly only short distances, usually less than a mile. In dangerous situations they quickly fly up in trees. The bright feathers do not start growing until about the age of three. Peacocks shed their trains annually after mating season. As with most wildlife the males are the flashier more attractive of the species. Females are smartly designed to blend in with nature to protect them while nesting. Indian peafowl have a bright metallic blue head and crest, which is the species we know and recognize. It is important to point out that both males and females sport a crest on their head. These crests serve as important sensors. The peahen has predominately muted beige or bronze feather tones, which are not as brilliant as a males. Interestingly, peafowl can run 10 miles per hour, which is considered a fast clip. Peafowl’s unique high-pitched calls resemble sounds associated with a jungle or tropical environment. They can resonate noises to communicate different messages. The most common are honking and screaming. At times, this piercing vocalization can be heard as far as 5 miles away. These rackets announce their presence.

If you see a fowl crossing your path and think our local turkeys have turned blue, you’re actually looking at a peacock (or peahen). Contributed Photo

If you see a fowl crossing your path and think our local turkeys have turned blue what you are observing is a peacock. Enjoy Avila’s wildlife, but please refrain from feeding them. A special note of thanks to Joey Roedl and Keith Kelsey.

Your window into community safety SHERIFF

By IAN PARKINSON San Luis Obispo County Sheriff


believe one of my primary jobs as sheriff is to let you know what’s going on in our county. To give you as much information as possible about what we do and why we do it. We have a number of different ways to get that information to you. One way is that I speak to a great many civic groups and organizations around the county. Keeping that dialogue open and transparent. But if I want to reach a much larger audience, then I rely on two things: our social media platforms and our website. It’s the latter I want to talk about today. And the reason for that is we just redesigned our website. And I must say, I’m impressed, and I hope you will be too. Our old website was almost a dozen years old. It was fine but had outlived its usefulness. It was severely outdated and needed to be upgraded with new features and more accessibility. So we began the process by asking a lot of questions about the types of information you would like to know about the Sheriff ’s Office. The No. 1 thing we wanted to showcase was

our commitment to our community. Because after all, we are your friends and neighbors, and we want a safe and secure place to live, too. So, we added a number of new features and updated some of our most popular items. Our new features include a whole section on FAQs, otherwise known as Frequently Asked Questions. We know you have a lot of questions about the Sheriff ’s Office. And in this section, we’ve tried to answer all the questions you might have. For instance, we have questions dedicated to topics like our jail, coroner’s office, records and warrants, and our civil division. Another new feature is a whole page of the website dedicated to employment opportunities at the Sheriff ’s Office. It’s titled Join Our Team and it highlights all the different aspects of working here, whether it’s for our patrol division, custody division, dispatch, or professional support staff. This section will also tell you all about the incredible benefits and incentives available to you. It also goes into great detail about the process of getting started with the hiring process from physical agility tests, to written exams to the interview process. Everything you would need to know is in that section.

We have also updated several features on the site. For one, we’ve made the search function so much easier to use to find items of interest on our website. We’ve also made the website ADA compliant for those with disabilities. And we’ve also made the website available in English and Spanish. And of course, we still have our most popular features like our crime map, who’s in custody, report a crime online, links to our social media channels, as well as the latest news coming

from the Sheriff ’s Office. The layout and design of the website is sleek, professional, and very clean looking without all the clutter you see on some websites. We’ve even added a new video showcasing the many aspects of the Sheriff ’s Office. So, I invite you to check out slosheriff. org and see all the changes for yourself. Just so you know, the website may be new, but our commitment to protecting you remains the same. That will never change.


Finn is the Pet of the Month! By MARY FOPPIANO


inn, a standard poodle, is 5 years old and had several different homes before he found his forever home with Lynn and Maureen Heiges in Avila Beach. He is trained through Masters Class in Rally Obedience and tries to be a good boy … but sometimes finds this to be

difficult. When I visited with Finn in his home, he made me jealous because of how well he sits, stays, and poised for his photo shoot. He loves going on long walks and meeting other dogs and thinks playing ball is lots of fun … as well as giving kisses!

NOVEMBER 2023 — Avila Beach Life | 7

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Is ostrich meat gaining popularity as a sustainable and healthy alternative to beef? John Salisbury contributor



ow would you like a big ruby red steak that was 99 percent fat-free, more protein and iron than beef, which it also tastes like, with a much smaller environmental footprint requiring one-third of the water and 1/50th of the land to raise than beef? Then try a juicy ostrich steak. The cost is around $20/pound (low end at $12/lb. to high at $30/lb.), but have you looked at the price of a bone-in ribeye lately? Ostriches are the largest of living dinosaurs. They can grow to 9 feet and can weigh 320 pounds. They lay the most giant eggs — 3 to 5 pounds that hatch in 42 days that take an hour and a half to boil — of any living land animal and are the only birds with two toes, and all others have three or four toes. Lacking teeth, they swallow pebbles to grind their food, carrying about 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of stones at any one time. They can run nearly 45 mph with their six-foot wing span helping them to keep balance when running, and trot for long distances at 31 mph, making them the fastest birds on the planet. Their eyes are 2 inches across, the largest of any land animal, and a brain the size of a walnut. One kick can kill a lion, and they can go 20 days without water. Ostriches have a 10-second memory span so

that they can be running and, after 10 seconds, forget why they are running in the first place. Not unlike most of us seniors wondering why we are where we are and why we came in the first place! They can live 50 to 75 years, and the flightless most giant world birds are omnivores, eating plants, roots, and insects. Farmers feed them mostly alfalfa, among other plants and seeds. Most ostriches are in South Africa, with 350,000 on breeding farms. Some 150,000 live in the wild worldwide. Ostrich shells dating back 120,000 years were found near Cape Town, South Africa, discarded by homo sapiens living along the coast. Fully grown, they have the most advanced immune system known to man. Ostriches and emus are cousins in the Ratite family but cannot interbreed. Ostriches are native to Africa, and the smaller emus are native to Australia. Ostriches are only a tiny part of the big animal protein market in the United States that tastes great and is a healthy option for the planet and people, as pointed out in an article in the Van

Trump Report. Ground ostrich meat has more protein than ground beef and less cholesterol than turkey, chicken, and beef. It is also safe for those with Alpha-Gal Syndrome, which is caused by certain tick bites and is a serious allergy. Ostriches for the meat market are ready for processing in 12 to 16 months. A hen can lay up to 100 eggs a year, with each egg equaling 18 to 24 chicken eggs, and produce many more offspring, as do cattle. Like many crops and animals brought on the market throughout history, ostrich farming has had boom and bust cycles. Ostrich farming started for their feathers in the 1880s when they were imported from Africa. But that market fell when the feather market started falling short. There was a short boom in the late 1930s, but it fell once again. In the early 1980s, another craze started because an American Embargo held up the importation of ostrich leather — commercially the strongest in the world. This started a national raising of flocks grown and processed to

make up the difference. However, instead of just leather, the ostriches were also found to produce red meat, a much healthier alternative than beef. During this boom time, breeding pairs were priced in the tens of thousands of dollars, and eggs were being sold for several hundred dollars apiece without being sure they would even hatch. Then the scammers jumped in, taking deposits on birds that were not even hatched and never would be. Investors were promised significant returns on production that never happened. Only a few ranchers produced birds for processing into meat, leather, and eggs. This was also a time of few rules and infrastructure for distributing ostrich products. Then, in 1993, Congress opened up ostrich product importation, a part of repealing the South Africa anti-apartheid legislation unwittingly, naturally, resulting in an instant overload in the ostrich industry of birds, leather, and eggs that could be imported into the country. A giant oversupply came with a huge price drop that wiped out most American operators. South Africa became and still is, the major supplier of ostrich goods, controlling 70 percent of the world market. Nationally, the ostrich industry is the number one South African meat exporter in volume and value. In South Africa, ostrich meat is a lean, healthy staple. Surprisingly, there is no comprehensive place to get information on prices, markets, and production of ostrich products. In 2007, 714 farms were raising 11,880 ostriches. Five years later, in 2012, only half as many farms and ostriches were being raised. Texas is the biggest ostrich producer, followed by California and Kansas. Less than a dozen processors are in the country, and the ostrich business is back in the fledgling stage. Visit OstrichLand USA between Buellton and Solvang to get up close and personal and feed their ostriches and emus. Submit upcoming events to: office@13starsmedia.com

NOVEMBER Calendar of Events NOVEMBER 4


Junior High and High School Marching Bands from around the area compete in several divisions in this annual event. Bands compete on Dolliver between Hinds and Main Streets from approximately 9am to 12pm. Awards will be presented on the Pismo Promenade.



The California Festival kicks off with Christopher Blake’s “Kotuku” featuring Native American flutist Tim Blueflint Ramel. Xavier Foley performs his Soul Bass Concerto. The program includes

iconic film music.



This is a dance-oriented blues concert. The SLO Blues All-Star Band will open the show, followed by the Nick Moss Band. The doors to the County Veteran’s Hall will open at 6:30pm, and the show begins at 7pm. Must be 21 or older to attend.



The City to the Sea half marathon is a point-to-point race that starts in the happiest city in America, San Luis

Obispo. The course winds through downtown, takes runners along picturesque backroads, vineyards, and bike trails within the county, and ends alongside the beautiful Pacific Ocean in the quaint sun-soaked coastal community of Pismo Beach at beloved Dinosaur Caves Park.



Experience the enchanting ballet “Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs,” featuring world-class dancers from the National Opera and Ballet of Ukraine. A magical, captivating performance for all ages.



This event encourages shoppers to get out and support the stores and restaurants that make San Luis Obispo stores and cuisine options unlike any other.



Annual Holiday Harmony event will include tree lighting ceremony, Santa Claus, 2 snow zones, and activities for kids. The first 250 children in the Santa Line will receive goody bags compliments of Pismo Beach Recreation. This event is free to all and food and beverages will be available for purchase.




Start the season off right and join us on the Avila Beach promenade for Santa’s Doggie Parade hosted by the Avila Beach Civic Association. Participants must register and be checked-in between 10-11am to receive a contest identification number for the costume contest. Please check in at the registration table in front of Custom House. Parade participants will receive goodie bags donated by Petco Arroyo Grande.



The San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre presents the holiday classic “A CHRISTMAS STORY,” a joyful adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s memoir about young Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder BB gun.

8 | Avila Beach Life — NOVEMBER 2023

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