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2 | Avila Beach Life — September 2021 Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal, for the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever… ~ Alan Watts



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We shared different sentiments; however, we both stand behind our good and just countrymen and with those who lost lives and loved ones on 9/11 and beyond. That is our patriotic duty to our brothers and sisters in America and around the world. We still wave our flag proudly because of the ideals we strive for and believe in. We will always stand against tyranny and violence, and our flag is our symbol of that stand, whether the attack is foreign or domestic.


Cami Martin

CONTRIBUTORS Betty Hartig Dr. Cindy Maynard John Salisbury

We got into this business of publishing because we believe in readers. We believe in our community. So far, our faith is affirmed.

Kathy Mastako Mary Foppiano Rick Cohen

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culture on display with pride and joy. Some of the most entertaining and pleasing parade entries come from our proud Hispanic cultural representatives — dancing, colorful dresses, dancing horses, masculine costumes. We live in a world where families make culture; culture makes community; communities make nations. Just like many of us remember where we were on 9/11, we will always remember where we were in March 2020 when the country shut down. Unsure of our future at the time, we continued to publish Avila Beach Life. We will always stand to reflect the resilience of our community as we celebrate what makes us great together.

We understand people have different opinions, and the past 18 months have been especially complex. Still, it is those who we have We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of been able to rely on and who have affirmed Avila Beach Life. our continuing faith that holds our community together. We are diverse. Local parades dignify Much love, that diversity by those who choose to put their Hayley & N ic

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A V I L A B E A C H L I F E N E W S . C O M

ur nation is one of customs and traditions. The United States is a story of overcoming. We all have our own version of the story, and that has never been more evident than in the world of social — and anti-social — media. This month we pay tribute and honor the lives that were lost on September 11, 2001. We both remember that day well, as we were in our early 20s, and it was a televised and re-televised event that shocked our nation. We remember where we were and the outpouring of patriotism and all the American flags that followed. We both stood proudly behind our country.

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

September Marks the End of Summer

Rick Cohen



reetings, fellow Avilones. September has arrived, the kids are back in school (in-person and/or online), and summer officially ends on the 22nd of the month, though I doubt we will see much of a reduction in the number of visitors who flock to Avila for at least another month or so. We are also about to celebrate Labor Day, that time each year when many mothers give birth. Just kidding, I wanted to see if you are paying attention. Are you aware that the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York City on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882? Following the deaths of 13 workers during the Pullman Strike in June of 1894, President Grover Cleveland made reconciliation with the labor movement a top political priority, and Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. It was created by the labor movement and pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. As a “labor” of love and appreciation, I want to thank our friends at Pacific Gas and Electric Company for their recent grant to the Avila Beach Community Foundation. And a special note of gratitude to local PG&E Public Policy and External Affairs representative Eric Daniels for his support and advocacy. With this grant, PG&E joins the “Foundation,” SLO County District 3 Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg, and

Chevron in a partnership that finances a contract with a non-profit agency, PathPoint, to provide beach area clean-up services for the high tourism season. PathPoint work crews focus on removing sand and debris along the beach boardwalk, curbs, and planters on each side of the Promenade— areas not usually maintained by SLO County. Next, let me introduce the “Foundation’s” newest member of our board, Debra Pritchard. Debra was elected to a 3-year term as a Trustee during our July board meeting. As a recent transplant to Avila, she has lived in other parts of the state, country, and world during a diverse career path that included a three-year stint with the Peace Corps in the Philippines. Debra, who arrived in Avila just as the Pandemic was taking off, has also lived in New York, Houston, and San Francisco, having achieved successes along the way. She and her Covid-pooch “Twix” can be seen almost daily on the dog beach. Her passions are protecting wildlife and the environment, serving as a mentor to youth, travel, and biking to the beach. Welcome, Debra! I don’t ordinarily use this space to promote non-Foundation activities, but we recently approved some sponsorship funding for an event coming to Avila on Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Avila Beach Community Center. Titled the “Avila Beach Children’s Business Fair,” this project encourages kids to develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, then open for business in this one-day marketplace. For more information, visit Some of you more involved Avilones have been following the County’s years-long project to complete a new Avila Beach Community Plan through a series of Envision Avila workshops, most recently held via “Zoom” on Aug. 5. I am somewhat surprised that only 40 or so

locals logged in out of 1000+ households. What does this mean? Lack of interest in the future of Avila? Didn’t know the workshop was scheduled? Tired of a process that advances so painfully slow? Whatever the case, among those Avilones who have been active, one major topic of concern always discussed is emergency evacuation routing, as it was at the Aug. 5 workshop. Chiming in that night was a local retired fire captain ( John) who stated that the best strategy in case of a wildfire is to head to the beach. I have met, or become aware of, a great number of retired firefighters now living in Avila, which seems to be a magnet for those who spent their careers in fire services. Several have stated the same thing —“head to the beach in case of wildfire evacuation.” It makes sense when you consider the gridlock that awaits on the 101 for those able to escape Avila. Perhaps there should be some discussion about the preparation of routing and staging/landing areas for locals who heed that “head to the beach” advice. Parking, supplies,

medical services, temporary emergency shelter, etc., could be part of the plan, rather than just having hundreds of us gathering in disorganized mass at the waterfront escape zone. Your thoughts? I would like to share with you an example of SLO County Public Works responsiveness to a problem I reported at the July AVAC meeting. It concerned the somewhat recently created righthand turn lane at the corner of San Miguel Street and Avila Beach Drive, designed to improve traffic flow for those leaving town. I had seen cars parked along the curb in the right turn lane, thus rendering it useless in those instances. My suggestion was that the curb along that lane be painted red to ensure no vehicle parking allowed. I am pleased to report that Public Works has indicated that they will indeed comply with that request. We will be “seeing red,” but in this case, it’s a good thing. Our thanks to the County powers that be. That’s it for now, fellow Avilones. See you at the beach!

Is It Time to Think About Reducing/Eliminating 2021 Taxes? With all the new spending proposed by the politicians in Washington, they are going to be looking for money from you and me to pay for it. Being old fashioned, I like to keep as much of my money as possible. If you are an “accredited investor,” and would like to learn how to keep more of yours, please call for a short conversation to learn:  How to defer/reduce realized capital gains taxes*  How to reposition capital gains into state/federal tax free growth.*  Using the “IDC” part of the tax code to offset current tax liabilities.*  How to sell your rental property, invest in new real estate, pay no taxes, have no management responsibilities, and, potentially increase your after tax cash flow. * * Investments are not guaranteed and may have potential risk to principal. Prospectus must be received prior to investing.

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4 | Avila Beach Life — September 2021 A VIEW FROM THE BEACH

Summer is Almost Over, Fun Continues

Mary Foppiano

Avila Beach Civic Association


i all! Summer is almost over, and school is beginning with a few changes, including facemasks and other safety requirements. We will be missing a few of our long-standing activities at the Avila Beach Community Center, including San Luis Coastal Unified School District Adult Education Gentle Yoga and Strength Training classes. They are still available through the school at their own facilities. We have also missed the Avila Beach Farmers Market for the past two years but hope to see it back next year.

However, we are fortunate to still being able to host Cuesta Emeritus Healthy Cooking classes with Julie Andrews-Scott on Thursdays, 1 to 3 p.m., from Aug. 19 through Oct. 14. Julie did Zoom classes over the past few months but being able to taste her wonderful recipes will be much more enjoyable as well as delicious. Another event that will be hosted at the Community Center is the Recall Election on Sept. 14. You are able to come in to the Center to drop off your ballot or get a new ballot if necessary. The Center will host all future elections as we have for many years. If you haven’t had a chance to check out our new Little Free Library that was dedicated on Jul. 31, please be sure to do so when you pick up your mail. The library was built by Rebecca Joy Bradford and dedicated to Annie Kaatz. Judy Kaatz and her family and friends were very moved by this event and the love that went into this project, spearheaded by Sylvia Remmenga and her Avila Bookies team. I hope to see all of you at our Bingo Family Fun Night on Friday, Sept. 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Community Center. Tickets are $5/ adult and $2/child six and under. Each bingo

Caption. File photo

card is $1…and prizes will be great. Beer and wine will be sold, and snacks will be provided. Bingo will be a fun for the entire family… and our Fall Harvest Spaghetti Dinner/Bingo Night will be held on Friday, Nov. 5. See you all soon.

For information on our events, rental of the Center, volunteering, or becoming a member, please contact me at (805)627-1997 or avilabeachcc@ I have faith that this will be a great year for all of us…and look forward to seeing each of you in our beautiful Avila Beach.


Heroes on the Water

By MARY FOPPIANO from Andrew L. Dibbern, DVM, JD, MLS


n the morning of Saturday, July 31, you may have noticed more than the typical kayakers on the water in Avila Bay. If so, you witnessed the incredible sight of some of our Nation’s heroes paddling, fishing, and healing as part of Heroes on the Water. Jim Dolan founded Heroes on the Water in 2007. A 501(c)(3) veterans’ charity, their objective is to create alternative wellness programs to serve veterans, active-duty military personnel, first responders, and their families. Andy Dibbern, the Central California Chapter Community Outreach Coordinator, stated, “As there is a correlation between kayaking and mental health, the primary proven therapy utilized by Heroes on the Water is kayak fishing. The mission of Heroes on the Water is to help warriors relax and reconnect through kayak fishing and the outdoors.” Volunteer-led chapters around the United States hold events which are free of cost to our nation’s heroes. Recurring activities give these heroes and their families a lifelong social network with likeminded people. No experience or equipment is needed, and kayak fishing is adaptive to those with disabilities. Numerous volunteers put time

and energy into making this event happen. Zachariah Clift, Head Coordinator for the chapter, explained, “These experiential programs incorporate structured activities proven to improve the lives of these men and women. Each experience reduces the impact of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury while providing much-needed camaraderie and support. The experiences serve to help the heroes develop their life story in a positive way.” Their programs have proven to be effective and provide heroes with a way to positively improve their lives, enhance their family dynamic, and impact their community. Heroes on the Water provides a wellness therapy that supports over 9,000 veterans, first responders,

and their families every year. The organization gives each man, woman, and child an opportunity to recover from the rigors and cost of being warriors and our nation’s heroes. The Port San Luis Beach event started off at 7:00 a.m. with CalFire Station 62 making an appearance with their engine at the beach and then joined the heroes for coffee, scones, and muffins donated by the very supportive Hula Hut team. After a welcome by Coordinator Clift and a safety protocol presentation by Tom Reilly of Central Coast Kayaks, the heroes and their guides launched through the surf to paddle out and target some fish. Photographer Amy Joseph of Central Coast Pictures accompanied the safety boat and captured the memo-

ries of the day. After a few hours of productive fishing, the heroes returned and landed on the beach with their ocean bounty. Volunteers were there to process the catch and send them home with meat to enjoy with their families. The heroes enjoyed a very social lunch of amazing pulled pork sliders, mac & cheese, and delicious salad donated by Chef Jesse Smith, a US Coast Guard veteran of Avila Valley Barn and The Farmer’s Guild Catering. During lunch, CHP Air Operations performed a fly-over, projecting to the heroes, “Heroes on the Water! Thank you for your service! You are awesome!” which appropriately captured the deep appreciation for our heroes and robustly echoed the purpose of the event.



is our Pet of the Month By MARY FOPPIANO


aren Singer and Michael McGandy moved to Avila Beach 2.5 years ago from Pt. Loma, San Diego. They love living on the Central Coast and enjoy all that it has to offer…the people, the beach, and especially hiking. They had been looking for a dog for quite a while and were so happy when they found Beau five months ago! They heard about him through a family friend who knew he needed a home because his owner just didn’t have time for him. When they met him, they knew he was the one…he wrapped his paws around Karen and wouldn’t let go. Beau became the love of their lives from that moment on! Beau is very smart, loving, and fun and always has a smile on his face.

Karen and Michael love taking Beau on long walks every day in our Indian Hill neighborhood. He enjoys the dog park and going to Avila Beach, where he has quite a few girlfriends. He has so much fun running Zoomies in the park to show off how fast he is and loves to play fetch and tug-of-war…and has named all of his toys. Beau is a happy dog and gives his pet parents so much joy. One year old, and he is a wise old soul. They home cook for him…not spoiled at all, of course…and he loves watermelon and treats too. He also likes an occasional night out under the table at Old Juan’s Cantina, where he always hopes to nab a few tortilla chips!

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

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

Building the “New” Duplex at Point San Luis Kathy Mastako


Board of Directors, Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers

isitors to the lighthouse are always sorry to learn that the original 1890 two-story Victorian duplex, built to house the head Keeper’s two assistants and their families, was demolished by the Coast Guard in 1960. It was replaced by the building that now houses our indoor event venue, an office for our executive director, and storage for our archives. The building is more modern but lacks the charm and history of the long-gone double dwelling.

1889 drawing of the double keepers’ dwelling, front elevation. Courtesy of the National Archives

The stalwart two-story frame duplex, which has housed coast guardsmen manning the Point San Luis lighthouse and their families for many years, has been demolished. A modern three- and four-bedroom, single-story duplex is being constructed in its place. Addison B. Wood of Arroyo Grande holds the $95,329 general contract for the project, scheduled for completion by Jul. 30. He is also a builder for a similar but larger-scale housing development at Piedras Blancas lighthouse, north of San Simeon. A unique operation involved in the San Luis Obispo light-station development is that all materials and labor are transported to the site in a surplus army duck, an amphibious craft. The station is comparatively isolated. Except for a footpath which winds itself around the high cliffs just north of the Port San Luis Transportation Company pier, the station is accessible only by boat… Recently, rattlesnakes have been encountered along the path, and a warning sign to prospective visitors is being prepared by the coast guardsmen. Walking to the station takes about an hour. It is a much shorter boat trip. However, the tide must be reasonably high to reach the coast guard landing… Assisting Wood with the building project is the W.D. Pierce Company of Morro Bay, excavation contractor and owner of the amphibian vehicle. Gravel, cement, lumber, fixtures, and other building materials are loaded into the duck at Avila Beach and laboriously unloaded by hand at the building site…

Walter D. “Duke” Pierce owned and operated Pierce Construction in Morro Bay, Sierra Nevada, and the Central Valley from 1958 until 2000. He passed away in 2009. According to his obit, he was also a fisherman and abalone diver and at one time held the record for the most abalone harvested in a day.

RICHARD SMITH Coast Guardsman Richard Smith was stationed at Point San Luis 1959–1961. He remembered differently—that the Victorian wasn’t burned down. His recollection seems more reasonable from a fire safety standpoint, particularly since all but one of the buildings at the station were made of wood. Smith was living on the right side of the duplex at the time and had to move to Avila Beach while demolition and rebuilding were going on. “There wasn’t room to get a bulldozer behind the dwelling because of a retaining wall,” Smith recalled. “They put a cable around the dwelling and pulled it off the foundation. Then they pushed it over the cliff, and the tide slowly took it away.” After the new duplex was completed, Smith lived in the cinderblock duplex down the hill, built by the Coast Guard in 1948, until he was discharged. A version of this article appeared in the July 2021 issue of Keeper’s Log, the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers’ newsletter.

Addison B. Wood was a building contractor and developer for more than fifty years in the South County prior to his death in 2002. According to his obituary, he served on the Arroyo Grande City Council and was mayor from 1962 until 1970.

The Pismo Times published on Apr. 7, 1960, the building of the “new” duplex. Some excerpts are below: Addison Wood, Arroyo Grande building contractor, is constructing two homes at San Luis Light Station. An unusual feature of the contract is that materials and workmen must be carried to the station by amphibious truck or “duck” purchased for the job. The “duck” is the easiest transportation to and from the station now. The $95,329 contract calls for replacement of a…two-story duplex housing unit with two modern residences, one with four bedrooms and one with three. The Wood firm was also contractor in a recent lighthouse residence construction job at Piedras Blancas Station. Two of the four families normally stationed at the coast guard post are living in Avila Beach while construction is going on, and the men commute across the water… A longer article appeared in the Apr. 18, 1960, issue of the San Luis Obispo Telegram and is also excerpted: A seventy-year-old page of history was recently burned at Point San Luis, and its ashes pushed into the ocean.

Circa 1955 photo of the Victorian duplex, built in 1890 and demolished in 1960. Courtesy of Robert L. “Lucky” Jackson

1960 photo of new duplex under construction. Note the army surplus “duck.” Courtesy of the United States Coast Guard

1960 photo of children playing at the new duplex’s construction site—most likely Eric and Gail Settlemier, son and daughter of Robin “Bob” Settlemier, Coast Guard officer-in-charge 1959–1960. Courtesy of the United States Coast Guard

6 | Avila Beach Life — September 2021 CONSERVATION


Avila’s Vital Estuary By BETTY HARTIG For Avila Beach Life


alking the Bob Jones Pathway towards Avila Beach, you will encounter an estuary where the freshwater reaches the ocean. The freshwater source, San Luis Obispo Creek, forms this estuary that is vital for the health of sea life and the watershed. The salty seawater and freshwater mix, creating a unique environment for plants and fauna to flourish. Traveling the Bob Jones Pathway, you will have the opportunity to catch sight of a great number of wildlife species within the estuary waterway. The environment provides a nursery ground for many birds, fish, and other animals. The area offers food, breeding places, and migration stops. Estuaries are delicate ecosystems that provide essential habitats for living things. Avila Beach residents and its abundant visitors are fortunate to have such a beautiful area to observe. It will require more than your fingers and toes to count the number of water birds and other avians spotted during a viewing. The impressive, rarely seen owl-like Northern Harrier, which is listed on the California Bird Species of Special Concern, can be occasionally seen. The area is rich with life both beneath the surface and above the water. Some of that life is microscopic, yet critical to a healthy environment. The estuary serves as a valuable natural resource for all organisms that call it home. The San Luis Obispo Creek corridor connects to a tidal estuary. The levels of the water are affected by tides. This is especially apparent during king tides. The tidal flow is easily witnessed by the bridge that crosses over the estuary on the Bob Jones Trail. Low tide reveals not only a substantial amount of the basin but plenty of round white objects. Although there are lots of waterfowl, those are not goose eggs. They are poorly aimed golf balls. Plenty of them too! One wonders if it should be designated a hard hat area. During high tide, groups of fish are plentiful. Some fish attract audiences. Curious trail users are often heard debating the fish identity. Collections of large, striped mullets can be spotted throughout the estuary. Stripped mullets normally inhabit shallow brackish water. The elongated, bluish-gray, 9-to-12-inch fish is present in coastal ocean areas, such as estuaries. The two well-separated, dorsal finned fish are speedy navigators and tend to swim in large schools. An interesting behavior of the mullet is they are common jumpers. They leap out of the water and create a splash. The

mullets provide a fun show to watch, but they are just one species that thrive in estuaries. Endangered species, such as steelhead trout and the 2-inch tidewater goby, are also present, but they are obviously more difficult to spot. Intertidal zones provide a home to numerous specially adapted marine plants and animals. It is paramount to remember that people can affect the lives of these fascinating aquatic creatures. Building encroachment in and around estuarine environs not only disrupts habitat, but it leads to higher levels of pollution and contaminant buildup. Making conscientious decisions are critical to protect and maintain the health of estuaries. Responsible choices must be made to ensure that water quality will not be jeopardized or habitats transformed. Why are estuaries of great importance? Why should we consider protecting them? Estuaries filter out pollutants and sediments from freshwater sources, such as creeks, streams, and rivers before they flow into the sea, delivering cleaner waters for marine life as well as humans. Over the years, the shape and location of the Avila Beach estuary has changed drastically. You can see the difference by simply scanning old historical photos. In the early 90s, the meandering loop and sandbar were displaced by development and construction. Land use modifications within an estuary’s watershed can impact the biological, chemical, and physical components of estuaries. Even subtle land modifications within an estuary’s watershed can alter erosion, which can affect sedimentation, water clarity, and bottom substrate. Demonstrably unintended consequences can then occur all along the food chain. Currently, there are 29 large estuaries throughout the United States that are protected and studied, including several in California. Let us strive to keep Avila’s estuarine habitats healthy so that future generations may enjoy the ecological community as they trek along the Bob Jones Pathway.

Local Authors Release YA Sci-Fi Novel The Time Trials by Jon and Dayna McConnell launches Sep. 21 By PATRICK PATTON of Avila Beach Life SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — Jon McConnell graduated from Atascadero High School in 2000, and Dayna McConnell graduated from Morro Bay High School in 2005. Each ended up working at Mervyn’s Department Store, Dayna in the shoe department, and John in the men’s department. Little did they know that less than a decade later, they would be married with two kids, and both published authors of a YA sci-fi novel. “We were just friends at first,” said Dayna, “truly just really good friends,” Dayna said that their friendship lasted for about 2-3 years before it became something more special. They are now in their sixth year of marriage with two young children and both teachers living in Orcutt. Dayna teaches 3rd grade, and Jon teaches high school. The idea for The Time Trials was something that the couple had talked about and slowly developed over the years. “The spark that started it was the idea of competitive teams that travel back in time and accomplish certain tasks,” said Jon. Jon described writing until he came to a point where he felt stuck, at which point Dayna sat down and decided to give it a shot. “It happened kind of naturally,” said Jon. “The experience of having a co-author was really valuable for me,” said Dayna. “Yeah, it could have been a disaster,” said Jon, “but it worked out really well.” Jon explained that there were some really great benefits to writing with your partner, including how fun it is to bounce ideas off of someone else who knows the story. For most writers, crafting a novel is a notoriously solitary and isolating process. “You also have someone to write for,” said Jon. “Instead of trying to write for an audience, I found myself thinking, ‘oh, Dayna’s really gonna like this.” “There’s a bit of an ‘opposites’ thing

happening,” said Dayna. “He’s just a more fun person than I am! Jon is really good with the plot and the world-building, and I tend to be better with the more poignant aspects and character development.” As far as the actual process goes, Dayna said that she would write the more emotional scenes while Jon would write more of the action scenes, but when it came to the scenes with the actual time trials, the couple spent hours upon hours researching and developing those chapters together. Jon and Dayna described the book as a PG-13 YA sci-fi novel intended for teens, though many adults would probably enjoy it. It is chock full of nineties throwbacks, heavy on teen angst, and has a YA relationship aspect. “It’s not hard sci-fi,” Dayna said, “so it’s meant for teens and those who have never read sci-fi before.” The story revolves around protagonist Finn Mallory, a boy who arrives to the Time Trials on scholarship. He’s dealing with the trauma of losing his parents and ends up at this high-end school, feeling like an outsider in a world of elites, clinging to the image of his parents, who were musicians and deeply involved in the 90’s grunge scene. “Finn is a bit stuck in the past,” said Jon, “which is one of the major themes of the story.” “The major themes we deal with are redemption, classism, and found family,” Dayna added. The two are already finished with the second installment of the series, which is due out in Jul. 2022. They expect there will be four books in this series. Make sure to pick up your copy of The Time Trials by Jon McConnell and Dayna McConnell when it’s released on Sep. 21. For more information on the authors and their work, visit

September 2021 — Avila Beach Life | 7 AVILA VALLEY GRAPEVINE

Sushi, Drought and the Water War of the fruit in the country, growers have had to to cooler water spots by the Fish and Game in cut back growing crops because little water, in hopes of saving some. Hotter and drier weather many cases none from the State’s and Federal causes a drain on reservoirs and starves the crops canals, is available. Almonds, normally a 25-year also. So, the water fight is getting pretty fierce crop, are being pulled out, especially along the because multibillion-dollar industries are fightI-5 corridor where they shouldn’t have been ing over little available water. There just isn’t planted in the first place because of the scarcity enough for everyone, including for you, to get of water in recent drought years. it out of your faucet. So, in that one little sushi Our recent drought is one of the worst roll, you have the rice, salmon, tuna, avocado, of the historic droughts crab, shrimp, cucumber, all John Salisbury since 1841, and there dependant on the same contributor were certainly many more, water which flows from f you are a sushi lover, good chance, perhaps even worse, before the mountains, eventually your rice came from California’s Sacra- then. There have been 14 replenishing the ocean and mento Valley. The area produces around dry periods with much wrapped by seaweed which two-thirds of the country’s medium and short- below annual rain and nine is under attack by the purple grain rice, the kind used in sushi. Rice is a 5 severe droughts. The worst urchin—do ya think you are ~ Ismail Serageldin billion dollar California industry and provides drought periods have been going to have to pay more? for 25,000 jobs. In an article by Ximena Del in 1841, 1863 – 64 (RancheOne of those “coulda, Cerro in Bloomberg, the crop is down 20 ros suffered major cattle losses), 1924, 1928 – 37 shoulda” things that could have been done by percent and the smallest in almost 30 years. (Depression and Dust Bowl), 1976 – 77, 1990 – now to help farmers and especially the fishThe problem is water. There isn’t much even 92, 2007 – 09, 2011 – 17, and now. Some think eries because it allows for discharges in the for those with 170-year-old water rights which the last one never really ended. summer/fall to help the salmon survive is the are under assault. The recent water restrictions are also prob- installation of the off-stream 14,000 acre Sikes This year’s drought is so extreme that Califor- lematic with an important component of sushi, Reservoir 14 miles from the Sacramento River nia regulators in August have voted to restrict while we are talking about it, and that is the west of Colusa. This project has been kicked water from the rivers, especially the Sacramento drought’s effect on the native salmon. Not much around since 1980 and has been held up by River, for many farmers to protect drinking water for them also. Low water levels and hot environmentalists and other types of concerned water supplies. This is resulting in many rice weather have raised the river temperatures so adversaries. It would take out water from the growers having to cut their acreages in half. much that the juvenile endangered salmon river and pipe it to the reservoir during the Further down the line, all over the State that could be cooked to death this Fall. heavy winter flows of the river before it ends grows a third of the vegetables and two-thirds However, truckloads of fish are being hauled up wasted in the ocean, which doesn’t need it.

Wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over water



A 50 million dollar study from 1996 to 2014 (18 years!) has come up with a 5.2 billion dollar plan to begin construction in 2023 to 2030 paid by the State and water agencies. You would have to think it shouldn’t take that long to come up with a plan and be so expensive, but it is probably common for the State to drag out projects saddled more so with their own environmental restrictions. A great example would be fixing the roads up to Hearst Castle that were compromised by the same storm in January as the much bigger job to fix the 150-foot hole in Hwy 1. The State Parks and Rec Department is still dithering on how to fix the Hearst problem and costing millions of dollars of lost revenue to the State and businesses along the road while Papich went in and fixed the Hwy 1 problem in three months, two months ahead of schedule, and on budget to boot. The same success with John Madonna’s crew at Mud Creek on Hwy 1, a much bigger wipeout a few years ago. Isn’t wonderful when you can let private enterprises jump in during emergencies, push the bureaucrats out of the way, and get the job done. Back to the Sites Reservoir, the Feds and State bureaucrats are fighting over the environmental restrictions, so it will probably be stalled again plus cut down on size because of the price, which doesn’t make any sense with the desperate need for water. You would think the present and past droughts would give some emphasis to build the whole dam project now!


The Healing Power of Humor

Dr. Cindy Maynard



ost people don’t think of humor as being a coping technique in terms of reducing stress, and yet it is one of the most powerful tools we have to promote and maintain health. Research shows people who use humor in the midst of stress are more resilient than the rest of us— they can bend in the wind in stressful situations. And if you’re lucky enough to have parents with a good sense of humor, then you’re probably ahead of the curve. Humor and laughter can improve our mood, strengthen our relationships, and even add years to our lives. Laughter does this by producing joy, mirth, optimism, and improved mental well-being—all of which have healing powers. And it’s never too late to hone our skills. Consider this: The average child laughs or giggles about 300 times/day. But the typical adult laughs about 15x/day or less. But in the past few decades, the medical world has begun to take seriously the healing power of humor. Laughter and humor are being used to promote health in healthcare, hospitals, nursing homes, oncology wards, and the wellness community. In fact, when it comes to relieving stress, giggles and laughs are just what the doctor ordered. Who hasn’t felt better after a good laugh? Loud guffaws or even smiles can: • Boost our immune system by lowering stress hormones in the body • Boost creativity and memory • Improve our mood and outlook on life • Attract other people to us and creates a connection to others • Increase healthy stress emotions like joy, hope, and happiness

• Most importantly, laughter makes us feel wise, you may run out of time (from the film, fitness writer. Dr. Maynard is passionate about good! The Untouchables). the topic of health and wellness and motivating And yet, humor is very individual. There are Cindy Maynard, Ph.D., RD, is a health people towards better health. You can contact her many types of humor; some work, and others psychologist, registered dietitian, and health and at don’t. Slapstick, gallows, parody, satire, and puns are all examples of humor that works. But humor, such as sarcasm (which literally means to tear flesh), ethnic humor, or laughing at others, is a lower form of humor that is not helpful and can actually be harmful— especially when we’re the recipient. During the aftermath of COVID-19, it’s especially important to make space and time for humor and laughter in our lives. When I asked the students in my Stress Management class what were some ways to include more laughter into their lives, here were some of Kids develop a brand, their answers. See if you can add to them. create a product or 1. Tickling the proverbial funny bone service, build a 2. Look for one humorous thing per day 3. Don’t take yourself too seriously! marketing strategy 4. Build your own Personal Humor Library and then open for (funny CDs, books, jokes, hilarious business in this one-day DVDs, Netflix comedians, try a humor marketplace workshop) or whatever else makes you smile. Experience young minds 5. Work to improve your sense of imagimarketing, selling, counting nation or creativity. Invent, write, read money and feeling more… accomplished! Come be 6. Start a joke hotline, improv night, or a shopper and help Avila emails with your friends. Beach’s young entrepreneurs 7. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing launch their that happened to you this week?” You might be amazed with some of the responses! 8. Watch animals or animal shows 16, 2021 | 10am – 1pm 9. Laughter yoga! (Even if you fake a smile or fake laughter, you still release posiAvila Community Center tive-feeling endorphins) 191 San Miguel St, Avila Beach, 10. Check out old-time comedians on CA 93424 YouTube. I would encourage you to start your own Tickler Notebook so when you are having a BOOTH APPLICATION DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15TH! down day; you can pull it out and regain some emotional balance or even a new perspective. Thank You to our Incredible Sponsors In summary, laughter is our birthright. Don’t wait for things to get easier, better, or less stressful. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now. Other-

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Avila Beach Life • September 2021  

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