Colony Magazine #019 • January 2020

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Hap p y New Year Prsrt Std US Postage PAID Permit 19 AMS Paso Robles CA ECRWSS

Local Postal Customer




& Pizza on ssi Discu low l to Fo r Tou

Two Mondays in 2020

Febuary 24

March 9

Pavilion on the Lake • 9315 Pismo Ave, Atascadero 5 p.m. Registration • 6 p.m. Tour Begins

Scan to Register

— More info: —


• Narrated scenes of life & death choices

• Youth participant’s own photo morphed

• Appropriate for youth ages 10-17 with a parent


• Recognize 1st signs of use

• 10 personal goals for drug prevention • Refusal skills engagement

* Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian

With volunteer support from: • Atascadero Fire Department • Atascadero Police Department • Chapel of Roses Mortuary

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LIGHTHOUSE Atascadero is a committee of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation

Colony Magazine | January 2020


c on ten ts JANUARY 2020









SOMETHING WORTH READING 06 Publisher’s Letter ROUND TOWN 10 Santa Margarita: New Eateries 12 Creston: Small Town, Big Flavors COLONY PEOPLE 14 Donn Clickard: School Board Member of the Year EVENTS 34 Wine Country Theatre Presents 'Love Letters' 36 In Focus: A Look Back at the Holidays in Atascadero 38 North SLO County Happenings

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BEST OF NORTH SLO COUNTY 30 7th Annual "Best Of" Reader's Poll 2020 TASTE OF COLONY 40 Exploring the Enclaves: The Adelaida District 41 Taste of Americana: Grandmama's Pie Recipes LOCAL BUSINESS 42 Newspaper Printing Moves Closer to Home TENT CITY 44 First Fridays Come to Atascadero 44 The Holiday Project 45 Pickelball Courts Added to Colony Park Plan 46 The North County's Biggest Star Wars Fans 48 What is Career Technical Education? By James J. Brescia, Ed.D.

LAST WORD 50 CASA: Help a Child in Your Community

ON THE COVER Bee on Cherry Blossom Photo by Melissa Mattson

Colony Magazine | January 2020

True Community Banking “You never know what the future holds, but I do know if I need financing in the future, that American Riviera Bank and Jay will be my first call.” — Chris Dorn, Merseas Restaurant owner

Stephanie Marden and Jay Beck, American Riviera Bank, with Merseas Restaurant owner Chris Dorn

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January 2020 | Colony Magazine | 5

Something Worth Reading

Happy New Year!




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t was 2002, and Barnes & Noble in Las Vegas promoted me to magazine section supervisor. It was my job to make sure all the new mags were up, and the old mags were out. For each month’s accounting, I would tear off the cover of the magazines with the barcode and throw away the rest. I saw a lot of magazines. The manager authorized taking home magazines that had been de-covered and I began to stockpile magazines on art and music. Inside the piles of magazines, I had a ton of marketing and editorial material. I began to cut out pieces of ads and articles and glue them to card stock poster paper. I cut out anything and everything attractive to me and ended with piles of eclectic inspiration, music and musicians, beaches, people, a Jeep Wrangler, quotes, shapes and colors. I made several “vision boards” filled with what I was or what I wanted. It was in that process that I came across the quote about doing something worth writing or writing something worth reading. The imagery encapsulated what made me who I am today. The whole process was part of my journey, and a significant contributor to what I’ve achieved since then, when I lived in a three-bedroom slum in Las Vegas with four other roommates and a mattress on the floor. I was painting a life I wanted in those collages — a life away from where I was, and a life I would be proud of. Today, I can look at each of those collages and remember where I was then. It always means more to me during midwinter because the cold reminds me how alone I was then. It took another five years before I began making my way out of that cold. The journey is not over. Mostly the journey has been an awakening to the reality that I never was alone, and what it means to be a part of a family. As we enter the new year, I hope you share an encouraging word to some believer who needs a nudge in the right direction. Life can be overwhelming and seem very large. Not everyone has the opportunity to create a vision board the way I did, but maybe someone can take some pages from our magazines and begin to create their own way. All it takes is some scissors, glue, and an idea of where you want to be. Please enjoy this issue of Colony Magazine. Nicholas Mattson 805-239-1533

Editorial Policy

Commentary reflects the views of the writers and does not necessarily reflect those of Colony Magazine. Colony Magazine is delivered free to 17,000 addresses in North San Luis Obispo County. Our costs are paid entirely by advertising revenue. Our Local Business section spotlights select advertisers. All other stories are determined solely by our editors. For advertising inquiries and rates email, or contact one of our Advertising Representatives listed above.

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If thou wouldest win Immortality of Name, either do things worth the writing, or write things worth the reading. — Thomas Fuller, 1727

Colony Magazine | January 2020

A Record of Results. A Voice for North County.

Arnold S U P E R V I S O R



January 2020 | Colony Magazine | 7

| Santa Margarita

Santa Margarita Celebrates

New Eateries

Simone Smith


ood! Whether you eat to live or live to eat, it’s great to have options. Living in a small town, aside from growing your own, food choices can be limited when it comes to shopping or dining without getting into a car and driving to the “big city.” Having a variety of markets and cafes or restaurants in the business mix within walking or short driving distance has been proven to help create healthier and more vibrant communities. With more choices, locals have more reasons to walk or stop by for a bite to eat or to pick up groceries. Visitors have more reasons to come to town. Neighbors and friends have more opportunities to bump into or meet up with each other. Dollars stay local and community bonds grow stronger. These are just some of the reasons to celebrate the recent opening of Caliwala Community Food Market & Deli and J’s Country Kitchen in Santa Margarita. When The Southern Station suddenly closed this past August, many locals and visitors lost their regular breakfast or lunch spot. Across El Camino Real from Santa Margarita Feed & Farm Supply, the location has been host to several busy Americanstyle cafes, all serving up hearty traditional breakfasts and lunches. When the contents of the business were sold, rumors swirled that it

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was not to be a restaurant again. Speculation began and customers stared into the empty building, which temporarily made HOME •santa margarita• the sole business on the block. Luckily, a flurry of work soon began and J’s Country Kitchen opened for business on November 1. Locals were excited to hear that the new restaurant is the fourth business opened by Jose Garcia, owner of J’s Burgers of Paso Robles and Atascadero, and patterned after his very popular San Paso Truck Stop restaurant Jose’s Country Kitchen. Jose, his staff and restaurant are a welcome addition to town, currently serving up delicious, plentiful and hearty American and south-of-the-border breakfasts and lunches along with daily specials and desserts. The eatery is open daily from 6 2 p.m. Many people have fond memories of the old Santa Margarita Mercantile, the local market and deli famous in the days of Vince and Marji Trainor for their fresh-made Merc and tri-tip sandwiches, Harris Ranch meats, jars of giant pickles and assorted huge slabs of beef jerky along with grocery and household basics. Things were never the same for the Mercantile or the town after the business sold in the 90s and began its slow decline, eventually closing and leaving the building vacant. It sadly burned down in May of 2018. The loss of the Mercantile left Santa Margarita residents and visitors with the emergency or convenience shopping choices of the Margarita Plaza Liquor store or Pintor’s Tire & Wheel — until now. Caliwala may sound like a strange name for a community market and deli. It is the creation of local owner Erin Inglish who combined Cali (for California) with the Hindi word wala (meaning maker). Growing up and living in Garden Farms, Erin saw

the need for a local market in town with healthier food choices and combined with the abundance of local food products available, the idea began simmering. Next, to help make it a true community market, she shared her vision and asked for input from residents on what they would like to see available. When the timing was right, and an opening at the previous Dunbar Brewing location became available, Erin seized the opportunity to start making the market a reality. She enlisted help from friend Cathy Burkhardt and Chef Kyle Hunsicker. Cathy had experience in curating and working for a natural foods store while living in Oregon and worked there with Kyle. He recently moved to the area and was working at Big Sky Cafe in SLO. Together the trio worked to plan, organize and curate selections of “fresh, local and natural foods and goods for day-to-day living.” Since the soft opening on December 1, Caliwala has gradually built inventory. It offers specialty gluten-free and paleo items along with household and everyday basic goods and many fresh and local offerings. Local products include produce from SLO Veg, baked goods from the Back Porch Bakery and Clementine Cupcake Company, coffee from Cacti Coffee Roasters, natural sodas from Sunshine Bottle Works and meats from J&R Natural Meat and Sausage. Chef Kyle’s experience is vast and varied, both in and out of the United States as a personal chef, caterer and creative cook. He makes fresh, seasonal grab-andgo items such as salads, soups, curries, pot pies and baked goods. Also, in case you’re wondering, yes, Caliwala will even be making fresh Merc-style deli sandwiches! Be sure to attend Caliwala’s grand opening celebration beginning at 11 a.m., Sunday, January 12, 2020, and welcome them to town!

Colony Magazine | January 2020

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January 2020 | Colony Magazine | 11

| Creston



Find Out What CRESTON Has to Offer

Jennifer Best

or a community with an official population of 94, Creston has a lot of tasty treats to offer. Folks who hadn’t heard of this tiny town east of Atascadero have finally caught wind of its longest-lived restaurant, The Loading Chute, 6350 Webster Road. And they are increasingly making the drive for the deep-fried pickle chips and live music at the revamped Longbranch Saloon just down the street at 6258 Webster Road. But there’s more to Creston than meets the eye. The census-designated community is not an incorporated city, nor does its ninesquare-block village reflect the more expansive rural setting. The rolling hills and winding valleys are homes to olive farms and vineyards, wineries and beef operations. There are bakers in them thar hills, and a USDA-grade butcher among the crowd. Just as wineries and vineyards abound on the Central Coast, Creston offers its own wine trail, best visited on weekends, though some also provide Friday, Monday and holiday hours. Stop in at Creston Market in the village center at 6330 Webster Rd. to pick up picnic supplies, a savory deli sandwich or a sweet dessert before heading northeast to B&E Vineyards, 10000 Creston Rd., for its Crestonsized tasting room and friendly staff. The Elliotts and Bellos joined forces in the late 1960s to expand Doc Elliott’s racing horse operation into alfalfa and oat hay production before planting the vineyard in 1989. Today, the ranch is known for its merlots, cabernets and blends.

James Springfield pours wine at the Chateau Margene tasting room.

Double back toward Creston to hit up Stanger Vineyard, 5225 Highway 41, a scenic spot one reviewer called “a vineyard oasis in the middle of nowhere.” Return visitors don’t come for entertainment or food; there’s none of that here. They come for the wine, stay for the wine and return for the wine. Continuing southeast on La Panza Road, swing into Chateau Margene, 4385 La Panza Road, for the estate winery and vineyard’s cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, malbec and Sangiovese. Make an afternoon of it by timing your visit with one of their pick-up parties, or stop by any Friday through

Monday to take in the view of the barrel room through the tasting bar’s glass doors or to relax on the deck overlooking the nine-acre vineyard. And our last stop on this Creston wine tour: Shadow Run Vineyards and Winery, 2720 La Panza Rd., is a family-owned affair where the chances are excellent that coowner Les Evans will pour tastes from the bottles his wife and co-owner Susan Evans has crafted. With Adirondack chairs reclined under expansive oak trees inviting guests to relax, the stop, whether first or last, beckons the taster to stay awhile.

Reliable Power. Performance you can trust!

Atascadero Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business of the Year

805-466-2218 • 5025 El Camino Real • 12 |

Colony Magazine | January 2020

January 2020 | Colony Magazine | 13

By Nicholas Mattson


hen Atascadero r e sident D on n Clickard heard about his nomination as the California School Board Association Board Member of the Year for 2019, his first thought was, "you're crazy." The award was the first of its kind, representing the best of California school boards. Clickard's tendency toward collaboration meant he shared credit for his accomplishments — an award meant taking credit for things he didn't do alone.

On Thursday, Clickard stood on stage at the San Diego Convention Center with fellow Atascadero Unified School District trustees — as well by Superintendent Tom Butler, and assistant superintendents E.J. Rossi and Jackie Martin. He received the Golden Gavel in front of thousands of attendees with a wall-to-wall video screen backdrop. Back home on Sunday, rain gently falling outside and his golden retriever Gabriel keeping him company, Clickard celebrated another victory. He just watched his San Francisco 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints, 48-46, with a game-winning field goal on a 32-inch television tucked tightly inside a wooden entertainment center. Sitting comfortably in his well-worn brown La-Z-Boy, in jeans and an orange Atascadero High School football hoodie, he was enjoying a few wins for his favorite teams. The Atascadero News caught up with Clickard about his induction as the first name in the CSBA Golden Gavel Hall of Fame, and receiving the lifetime achievement award.

Receiving the Golden Gavel

"When Tami [Gunther] came to me about nominating me for this first-ever Trustee of the Year Golden Gavel award, I told her she was crazy," Clickard said." I am a school board member who works hard for our kids — we all do that — we have seven really neat people.

Each one has their strengths, and there is not one better than another. When she rights this nomination, and you look at all these things we have done ... 'Clickard did this and Clickard did that'... I'm realistic." The accomplished district veteran has a storied career, but always recognized those around him. The first-ever Golden Gavel award for the CSBA Board Member of the Year adds an individual award for CSBA, alongside the Golden Bell and Golden Quill awards, and among several thousand board members and nearly 1,000 school districts in California, is exclusive. Clickard, representing Atascadero, is currently the first-and-only member of the CSBA Golden Gavel Hall of Fame. "My mom always said, 'just say thank you,'" Clickard said, "and D.J. called and said, 'you always make it about somebody else, but just be quiet and let it be you' because it's leadership. I've had to digest all of this stuff."

Saying Thank You

Given 60 seconds for a thankyou speech, Clickard noted the support of his fellow school board members, faculty and staff, CSBA, and the Atascadero community. "I stood up there in front of thousands of people," Clickard said, "and it got really quiet." As Atascadero High School athletic director, Clickard received more than few state and national awards, but this one was special. He took a moment to appreciate the historic moment representing Atascadero as the first-ever recipient of the Golden Gavel — then he began his speech in front of 3,000 of his peers. "I believe we hold the most important elected position in any community in the state," Clickard spoke as representative of school board trustees across California. Clickard is known for saying, "you don't throw an event just to get it over." He is one to take advantage of his time with a microphone, but he stayed

January 2020 | Colony Magazine

the course and finished his 60-second speech. "You could ask anyone who knows me, and they would tell you 'Clickard can't even say good morning in 60 seconds,'" Clickard said with a chuckle.

A Unique Community

When Clickard spoke about the uniqueness of his community, a few specific projects stood out. "Joy Playground is a good example, because of how that happened," Clickard noted. "Those moms [Sarah Sullivan and Jenelle Allen] had kids with special needs and knew they had to get this done. And Geoff Auslen, and all the people who got involved with that." Clickard recognized the value of the teammates he worked in building the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation over the past 25 years. "We started in 1970, playing basketball at lunch," Clickard said, "with Stecher and Nelson, then Larry and Dan. It was never the same people. In doing that, you are learning to play together, trust each other, every day, and we did that for 20 years. We did these things together." Over the years, that bonding bore fruits for AUSD, and in 1994 was the ground on which the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation formed. "When we did the foundation in 1994, it was a group that knew each other," Clickard said. "We built the

track and the stadium, and then we formed Lighthouse. We had the foundation in place." His quick sentence was the fastforward version of the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation. The organization now boasts several addiction prevention programs in the form of "productive use of leisure time" and mentorship between high school and middle school students and is most well-known for the Lighthouse program and coffee company run by students at Paloma Creek High School.

I'm Not Done

W hile Clickard credits teammates past and present, he identified his part in the 50-year career as a member of the AUSD. "My goal was always to be better," Clickard said. "Make it the best there is. My job was to lead folks to make these things happen." After 50 years of working for and guiding the community through the school district, he still has goals for the road ahead. "Oh, the next 10 years ... gosh, I'm 78," Clickard said. "We're not done, for sure. [AGF] is a unique program. It is not supported by a national organization — it is just us. My main objective is to sustain our foundation and bring in youth, so that [AGF] continues to get better. I am not done with what I want to contribute — I'll be 79 next year, but I'm not done." | 15

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Colony Magazine | January 2020

January 2020 | Colony Magazine | 17


Baby Born on New Year's Day First reported in the Jan. 4 edition of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press: James Fazio of Atascadero and his wife, Katherine welcomed their third baby, Micah James who was born on a special day — News Year’s Day. “We are delighted to introduce our first newborn of 2019 here at Twin Cities Community Hospital. Katherine and James welcomed their baby boy at 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2019, and are happy to share this memorable moment with the community,” said Krista Deans, spokesperson for Twin Cities Community Hospital. When asked how it felt to have a New Years baby, James Fazio said, “It was awesome.”

Downtown Atascadero known as La Plaza. While most locals greeted the signs of progress on the site positively, Zoe Zappas, a project manager with the Zappas family development firm Z Villages, said there was a tinge of sadness for some locals as the old Jack in the Box building was torn down. “It was vacant for a long time, but people still had a lot of memories tied up in the building,” she said, noting that people had been coming to the fenceline at the edge of the property asking for bricks and other mementos.

Masia named Roblan of the Year

First reported in the Jan. 18 edition of the Paso Robles Press: The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce announced Matt Masia as 2018 Roblan of the Year and Cava Robles RV Resort as the 2018 Beautification of the Year recipients. Both were honored at the Chamber’s Annual Gala being held Jan. 26 at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom.

Work Begins on La Plaza Project

First reported in the Jan. 8 edition of the Atascadero News: After two years on the drawing board, work started on the mixed-use commercial project in

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First reported in the Jan. 25 edition of the Paso Robles Press: Joel Peterson was named the new executive director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, bringing nearly 15 years of marketing experience in the beverage industry to the nonprofit, member-based association dedicated to the promotion of the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area. Peterson replaced Jennifer Porter, who stepped down at the end of 2018.

Arnold Announces 2020 Campaign

Atascadero Disolves Parks & Rec Board

First reported in the Jan. 11 edition of the Atascadero News: At their first regular meeting of the year, Jan. 8, the Atascadero City Council voted to accept a management report with a draft ordinance to abolish their Parks and Recreation Commission.

PRWCA Tabs Peterson as New Leader

Tamale Festival Draws Thousands

First reported in the Jan. 25 edition of the Atascadero News: The City hosted its 4th Annual Tamale Festival Jan. 19 without a hitch. There were 32 tamale sellers and 80 total vendors. Unofficial attendance was estimated at 15,000 to 17,000 people, although sales records from tamale vendors may refine that number, Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish said.

First reported in the Feb. 8 edition of the Atascadero News: San Luis Obispo District 5 County Supervisor Debbie A r nold a n nou nced her campaign to retain her second district seat in 2020. “I feel like I’m becoming an old hand at running these [campaigns],” she said, but added that it does take significant additional time and energy while still holding the office, “the first ballot is in just over a year and we do tend to give people a break, wind it down, around Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s only two months to get the word out again next year.”

County Libraries Drop Late Fees First reported in the Feb. 8 edition of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press: As of Feb. 1 no new late fees will be racking up on library materials due back at Atascadero and other branches of the San Luis Obispo County Library system. They’ll still charge a lost item fee after a reasonable waiting period, said Regional Librarian for the North County Jackie Kinsey, but the change comes after a period of discussion on how best to serve the community, and with the understanding that fines have never been a significant revenue source for the system. “The goal has always been to not have barriers to people’s access to library services,” she said. “Often in the past, we’ve worked with people to clear their accounts so they could come back to us.”

Paso Regulates Short-term Rentals First reported in the Feb. 8 edition of the Paso Robles Press: The Paso Robles City Council took what they characterized as a “good first step” in regulating shortterm rentals. None of the fo u r councilmembers were completely satisfied with the urgency ordinance they passed, 4-0, but realized something needed to be done and expect to make changes later in the year. Councilman Steven Gregory recused himself from the agenda item due to a conflict of interest as he owns and operates vacation rentals in the city. The matter took up two hours of the entire council meeting. CONTINUED ON PAGE 19

Colony Magazine | January 2020

YEAR IN REVIEW 2019 PRHS Principal Announces Resignation First reported in the Feb. 8 edition of the Paso Robles Press: Paso Robles High School Principa l Eric Ma r tinez announced that he would be leaving the district at the end of the school year, saying that due to personal reasons he will be moving closer to his family network.

PRJUSD Lays Out Plan to Cut $2.1M

First reported in the Feb. 15 edition of the Paso Robles Press: The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District laid out its plan to cut $2.1 million from the 2019-20 budget. “This is just the first step on our road to recover y,” Chief Business Officer Brad Pawlowski said. “The list that is presented, we have focused on areas that have minimal impact to the classrooms. We continue to stay focused on protec t ing t he core academic programs.”

Peschong Announces 2020 Campaign First reported in the Feb. 22 edition of the Paso Robles Press: San Luis Obispo Count y District 1 Supervisor John Peschong announced he will be seeking re-election in 2020. Wit h the move of California’s 2020 primary to March 3, three months sooner than usual, people are having to ramp up their campaigns sooner than in years past. Filing for 2020, will officially open later in 2019. . “They moved everything up,” said Peschong of why he was announcing now. And, “there are some things I would like to get finished,” he said.

Man Charged With Double Murder

Beraud Announces Supervisor Run

First reported in the March 8 edition of the Paso Robles Press: A Paso Robles man was charged with two counts of murder following the stabbing death of his longtime pregnant girlfriend and their unborn child. Daniel Rodriguez-Johnson, 31, of Paso Robles, was also charged by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Off ice on March 3 with carjacking, evading a peace officer, theft of a law enforcement vehicle, resisting arrest, and exhibiting a deadly weapon. Rodriguez-Johnson was jailed after stealing a patrol car when deputies found the body of Carrington Jane Broussard, 27, of Paso Robles, in the Heritage Ranch home where they lived, SLO Undersheriff Jim Voge said during a press conference Monday afternoon. “This is a double-murder because of the 9-month-old fetus,” Voge said.

First reported in the March 15 edition of the Atascadero News: Former Atascadero City Council member and onetime mayor Ellen Beraud publicly announced her candidacy for San Luis Obispo County 5th District Supervisor. Now marking her second decade living in Atascadero, Beraud serves as a Clinical Dietician at Atascadero State Hospital and the Facilities Chief Steward for the labor union at the hospital.

Red Panda Exhibit Opens First reported in the March 8 edition of the Atascadero News: On March 1, the Thelma Vetter Red Panda Experience opened to visitors at the Charles Paddock Zoo. The exhibit, featuring animals from the Indo-Burma region is the second time that red pandas have been on display, and Zoo Director Alan Baker has extensive experience with them. Palpably cute, the little ailurus fulgen possess a more striking resemblance to a raccoon or primate than to the giant black and white panda bears, as they climb a frame of branches in search of succulent bamboo.

January 2020 | Making Communities Better Through Print®

Joy Playground Opens

First reported in the April 12 edition of the Atascadero News: The City of Atascadero and the Parents for Joy nonprofit organization held a grand opening on April 5 for the new ‘Joy Playground’ behind the Colony Park next to the Community Center, at 5599 Traff ic Way, featuring a barbecue accompanied by classic Americana with the Swing for Joy Sax Quartet, and food provided by the Atascadero Kiwanis and Rotary clubs.

Paso Assistant City Manager Steps Down

First reported in the April 12 edition of the Paso Robles Press: Paso Robles Assistant City Manager Jim Cogan did not go into the specifics of why

he was leaving but confirmed his last day would be April 19. Cogan was nearing his one-year anniversary on the job. He began his tenure with the City on May 7, 2018. He replaced long-time City Assistant Manager Meg Williamson, who retired on Dec. 29, 2017, after more than 30 years of serving the community. “I love Paso Robles,” Cogan said. “My family loves it here. We have made Paso our home. We are very much enjoying the community. I have enjoyed working with the community on some pretty controversial issues and have been so impressed with the way community members respond, provide positive feedback.”

Emily Reneau to Lead Atascadero Chamber

First reported in the April 12 edition of the Atascadero News: The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce announced Emily Reneau as its next CEO and president. “I am thrilled to work with people who care about the community and enhance the fabulous work that is already in place,” Reneau said. “Atascadero has so much to offer and I look forward to empowering OUR business community.” Reneau is a longtime Central California local, having lived in the area for 23 years. She most recently was working with HM Holloway in the role of Business Development Associate. CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 | 19

YEAR IN REVIEW 2019 and I plan on people seeing my commitment to students in Paso Robles as well.”

Greybots Win World Championship First reported in the May 3 edition of the Atascadero News: For the third time since 2011, the Atascadero High School Greybots returned home from competition against some of the brightest robotics teams in the world as better than the rest. The Greybots were once again named the robotics world champs after winning the World Championships in Houston, Texas over Easter weekend. “We are overwhelmed by the success that the kids have had,” Atascadero Unif ied School District Superintendent Tom Butler said. “And we are so impressed with their work ethic and their character and we can’t say enough about them. Threetime world champions, that is over the top isn’t it!”

Dubost is New PRJUSD Superintendent First reported in the May 10 edition of the Paso Robles Press: The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District has been filling its top vacancies with candidates close to home. The home-grown trend continued May 7 when the district announced the hiring of Curt Dubost as its next superintendent. “I am very proud of the confidence they have in me,” Dubost said of the Board’s decision to offer him a threeyear contract. “My commitment to students has shown in all the districts where I have worked,

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Lawsuit Filed Against Apartment Owners

First reported in the May 10 edition of the Paso Robles Press: A lawsuit was filed against the owners and manager of a Paso Robles apartment complex, claiming they k nowingly allowed tenants to live in slum conditions. San Luis Obispo Legal Assistance Foundation and the Hutkin Law Firm filed the class-action lawsuit on May 7 against the owners and manager of Grand View Apartments in Paso Robles. The Grand View Apartments, LLC is owned by Santa Barbara County residents Ebrahim and Fahimeh Madadi, according to the complaint. T he 35-p a g e l aw s u it alleges that tenants lived in uninhabitable, vermin-infested conditions for years in the apartment complex at 202 Spring St., on the corner of Spring Street and Niblick Road in south Paso Robles.

Koski Announces TUSD Exit

First reported in the May 31 edition of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press: For the first time in nearly a decade, the Templeton Unified School District began searching for a new superintendent after Joe

Koski announced that he would not be pursuing a contract extension. In a letter addressed to Templeton school parents and staff dated May 23, Koski stated, “I believe it is time for the district to make changes to the composition and structure of the leadership team. In order to pave the way for those changes, I notified the Trustees that I will not be pursuing a contract extension beyond June 30, 2019.”

Council Bans New STRs in R-1 Zones

First reported in the June 7 edition of the Paso Robles Press: There were no cheers as Paso Robles Mayor Steven Martin cast the final vote that put a ban on any new short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods in place. There were smiles and congrat u lator y hugs and handshakes exchanged between some of the 20-25 people who had seemingly gotten what they wanted — removal of nonhosted STRs from R-1 zones in the City — after the conclusion of the five-hour City Council meeting. Thirty-eight people spoke at the meeting. People were split with equal amounts wanting a total ban of STRs in R-1 zones and the other half being OK with the proposed cap of 100 by the tasking force and planning commission. Vacations rentals can still operate in all other zones in the City, but in addition to a business license will apply and pay for a permit.

Johnson-Rios Named New Paso Assistant City Manager First reported in the June 21 edition of the Paso Robles Press: The City of Paso Robles announced the hiring of Sarah Johnson-Rios to the position of Assistant City Manager on June 18. Johnson-Rios is currently the

Housing and Neighborhoods D e p a r t m e nt O p e r at ion s Administrator for the City of Raleigh, N.C. As such, she oversees three units responsible for a f ford a ble hou si n g preservation and production.

Gong Charged with Taking Band Funds

First reported in the July 12 edition of the Atascadero News: San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced that charges had been filed against Sherry Gong, alleging that she embezzled funds from the Atascadero High School Band and Pageantry Booster Club. Gong, 47, is the wife of San Luis Obispo County ClerkRecorder Tommy Gong. The criminal Complaint alleged that Gong stole a total of $32,554 between July 2017 and April 2018 while she was treasurer for the booster organization.

Council Settles on STR Rules

First reported in the July 19 edition of the Paso Robles Press: After 31 public meetings over 4-plus years, called by the short-term rental task force, the planning commission, and the Paso Robles City Council itself, the Council on July 16 held first reading of an ordinance that permits home shares in all zones, permits non-hosted short-term accommodations in single-family residential neighborhoods, and grandfathers existing nonhosted accommodations in the R-1 zone. CONTINUED ON PAGE 21

Making Communities Better Through Print® | January 2020


Gong Pleads Guilty

Cardi B Comes to Mid-State Fair

First reported in the July 26 edition of the Paso Robles Press: The first week of the California Mid-State Fair was stacked with star-studded talent, including two sold-out shows in the Chumash Grandstand Arena. Fans took advantage of the cooler-than-normal temperatures and flocked to the grounds on both nights to support rapper Cardi B and country singer Blake Shelton.

First reported in the Aug. 23 edition of the Atascadero News: Sherry Gong, the wife of San Luis Obispo County ClerkRecorder Tommy Gong, entered guilty pleas to three felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement, the SLO District Attorney’s Office reported. This comes a month after Gong, 48, entered not guilty pleas at which time the case was continued to August.

Pioneer Day Homeless Numbers Royalty Named Up by 32 Percent First reported in the First reported in the Aug. 2 edition of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press: The number of homeless people counted in San Luis Obispo County on a single day in 2019 increased by nearly 32 percent compared to 2017 numbers, according to a report released by the SLO County Department of Social Services. A one-day census in January 2019 found 1,483 homeless persons throughout SLO County, an increase over the 2017 census, which counted 1,125 homeless persons.

Paid Parking Begins in Paso

First reported in the Aug. 9 edition of the Paso Robles Press: The City of Paso Robles announced that it would be implementing paid parking downtown on Wednesday, Aug. 14. The first week of July, the City began installing 34 pay stations and signage.

Aug. 23 edition of the Paso Robles Press: Pioneer Day royalty was officially announced Aug. 18, at the annual dinner at the Paso Robles Golf Club. Milene Barlogio Radford was named Pioneer Day Queen and brothers Lawrence Duane Moore and Thomas Hardin Moore were named co-marshals.

Scovell Arrested After Chase

First reported in the Aug. 30 edition of the Atascadero News: Following a high-speed chase and lengthy standoff, former Atascadero mayoral candidate Charles Scovell was taken into custody when officers made entry to his motel room. Scovell was transported to Twin Cities Community Hospital for injuries sustained during the incident. He was booked at the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of evading a peace off icer, resisting arrest and other related charges.

January 2020 | Making Communities Better Through Print®

Mattsons Adopt Local Newspapers First reported in the Sept. 18 edition of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press: Nic and Hayley Mattson announced their asset purchase of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press newspapers, fold ing the publications into their existing company, Colony Media — publishers of Paso Robles Magazine, Colony Magazine and the Central Coast Traveler. The purchase included monthly publications Morro Bay Life and Avila Life and Vino Magazine, which will be incorporated into the Central Coast Traveler.

Mechanics Bank Acquires Rabobank First reported in the Sept. 18 edition of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press: Signage at Rabobank was replaced with signs for Mechanics Bank. The acquisition was announced back in March and since then Rabobank customers received notifications of the changes. Based in Walnut Creek, Mechanics boasts of 114-yearold full-service community with over 40 branches throughout California and more than $6

billion in assets. The much larger nationally chartered Rabobank, N.A. was comprised of 100 branches and over $13 billion in assets. The purchase included Rabobank’s business bank ing, commercial real estate, mortgage, and wealth management businesses. On the same day of the agreement, Rabobank announced that it plans to transfer the food and agriculture loan portfolio from its California retail banking operation, Rabobank, N.A., to Rabo AgriFinance.

Locals Participate in Climate Strike

First reported in the Sept. 25 edition of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press: A couple of hundred students from across the North County skipped classes and gathered in downtown Paso Robles and Atascadero, joining the worldwide strike to put the spotlight on climate change. The high school and collegeage students were joined by people of all walks of life from 9 a.m. to noon at Downtown City Park in Paso Robles and from 1 to 3 p.m. at Sunken Gardens in Atascadero, both locations are within earshot of their respective city halls. Organizers estimated the global turnout to be around four million in thousands of cities and towns worldwide. It was the first time that children and young people had demonstrated to demand climate action in so many places and such numbers around the world. CONTINUED ON PAGE 22 | 21


Paso Completes Wastewater Plant First reported in the Oct. 2 edition of the Paso Robles Press: On Sept. 17 Paso Robles Wastewater Division Manager Matt Thompson informed the City Council of the completion of the City’s Tertiary Treatment Facility, one of the largest infrastructure projects in the City’s history. “The City has a master plan to capture wastewater it has disposed to the Salinas River for many decades and turn it into a new supplemental source of water we call recycled water,” Thompson said.

AHS Principal Announces Retirement First reported in the Oct. 23 edition of the Atascadero News: After nearly three decades of working in the educational system, Atascadero High School Principal Bill Neely announced his retirement. Not one to toot his own horn, Neely agreed to be interviewed only at the urging of his wife of 35 years, Jeanne. One would be hard-pressed to find someone whose whole life revolved around the Atascadero High School more than Neely’s. Playing the part of student, coach, teacher and f inally principal, Neely is an icon in the school’s history.

incidents the organization suspended museum operations until security measures can be put in place. “The homeless that congregate around the area tore apart our 104-110-year old fountain,” said Wilkins listing some of the damage the transient population has done to the facility.

Crime Hits Downtown Atascadero First reported in the Nov. 13 edition of the Atascadero News: The City of Atascadero’s downtown area is experiencing vandalism, drug abuse, and vagrancy, and there is no consensus on how to solve the problem. A nonprofit closed its doors for fear of the safety of its docents, prolific drug use has been found on private property and a local business owner posted a warning on social media telling parents to keep their children away from an area the City spent millions of dollars to encourage economic growth and quality of life.

the Atascadero Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial Foundation and the construction of the monument itself. Overcome with emotion, Dodge attempted to give credit for the memorial to other foundation members present at a Veterans Day ceremony at the Faces of Freedom Memorial but he had trouble forming the words through his tears. “The people who built this did one whale of a job,” he said.

Paso Passes First Noise Ordinance

First reported in the Nov. 13 edition of the Paso Robles Press: The City of Paso Robles took its first steps in joining the ranks of the sound police. The council held a public hearing and voted 5-0 on the first reading of the City’s first-ever noise nuisance laws at the Nov. 5 Council meeting. According to staff, the ord ina nce “w i l l prov ide measurable standards for allowed noise levels, which can be enforced to eliminate noise problems affecting the community.”

PRJUSD Won’t Make Audit Items Public Kiwanis Mark 50th Anniversary First reported in the Oct. 2 edition of the Atascadero News: Atascadero Kiwanis celebrated its 50th year of serving the community. Member Jack Scott spoke on the changing times and the countless hours the group has donated for the betterment of the city. The local chapter represents the international organization whose mission is to empower communities to improve the world by making lasting differences in the lives of children.

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Colony House Museum Closes First reported in the Oct. 30 edition of the Atascadero News: In October, due to a rash of incidents involving drug activity, vandalism and aggressive behavior from the homeless population, the Atascadero Historical Society temporarily closed the Colony House Museum, located at 6600 Lewis Ave., Atascadero. President Jim Wilkins said that after several

Dodge Named Vet of the Year First reported in the Nov. 13 edition of the Atascadero News: On Monday morning hundreds of local residents, elected officials and veterans from all around the region provided a standing ovation as Leroy Dodge was named the Distinguished Veteran of the Year. Dodge was instrumental in the founding of

First reported in the Nov. 20 edition of the Paso Robles Press: Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees settled in closed session Nov. 12 on three items to have an outside audit firm to investigate, but chose not to make them public. After meeting behind closed doors for nearly two hours, Superintendent Curt Dubost said it was a tough decision for the board. “I can state unequivocally that it was the preference of the board to reveal these but we thought it was dumb not to follow the advice of the firm that we hired,” Dubost said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 23

Making Communities Better Through Print® | January 2020


City to Raise Fees For High-Traffic Businesses

First reported in the Dec. 4 edition of the Atascadero News: In an effort to protect its infrastructure and promote more stay-and-play businesses, a new policy by the City of Atascadero may have high-traffic generating businesses looking elsewhere to set up shop. Instead of banning drive-thrus like the City of San Luis Obispo, Atascadero City Council voted 5-0 to put in place a policy that directs staff to implement the City’s existing “alternative cost per single trip method” for calculating impact fees for businesses such as gas stations, coffee shops, car washes and other congestion-building business. “Drive-thru and fuel station businesses are considered incompatible with fut ure corridor goals and will reduce the ability of other retail, lodging, or job producing land uses to locate there due to potential traffic impacts,” the staff report stated.

Tobin James Donates Land for Park

The first step toward that goal was taken Nov. 21, when James and City of Paso Robles officials went public with the plan. “Paso has been good to me,” Jame said. “My four kids were born here. I love Paso. It’s the center of my universe. There is nothing more than I would love to see than good Paso Robles people enjoying this park and smiling.”

Donn Clickard First-Ever Member of CSBA Hall of Fame First reported in the Dec. 11 edition of the Atascadero News: When Atascadero resident Donn Clickard heard about his nomination as the California School Board Association Board Member of the Year for 2019, his first thought was “you’re crazy.” The award was the first of its kind, representing the best of California school boards. Clickard accepted the award at the San Diego Convention Center with fellow Atascadero Unified School District trustees as well as superintendent Tom Butler.

Historic Templeton


AC Diagnostic


Air Conditioning Recharge, a savings of $20

First reported in the Nov. 27 edition of the Paso Robles Press: Long-time winery owner Tobin James of Tobin James Cellars purchased the empty lot at the corner of 18th and Spring Streets in 2017 intending to turn the barren patch of land into a small community park.

Closed Saturday and Sunday

January 2020 | Making Communities Better Through Print® | 23

The Taste of

North SLO County A region of food and wine growing strong


By Nic Mattson

o cluster in North San Luis Obispo County has seen as a visible blossoming as that which hits the spot after a hard day’s work. Downtown Paso Robles set the bar over the last two years in tempting the tastebuds and filling the air with competing scents from corner to corner, and has become a mini-Mecca for aspiring artisans with a unique twist on their craft.

It stands to reason, the wine industry is behind the movement, because what goes better with a fine glass of Paso Robles wine than a delectable culinary masterpiece you can’t find anywhere else. From breakfast to dessert, the North SLO County is home to a smorgasbord of delicious dining that matches the welcoming culture signature to the area — come, eat, and share. PASO ROBLES When it comes to a concentration of places to eat and drink, Paso Robles stands above the rest north of the Cuesta Grade, but overlooking Atascadero, Templeton and even Santa Margarita and Creston, would mean missing out on a meal worth sharing. The area boasts a world-class meal — we’ll say it again — from breakfast to dessert, and this issue will navigate that wild world of glorious grub. To begin, it all starts with a culture that likes to eat together. From weekend reunions to Thomas Hill Organic Rock Shrimp & Rock Cod Ceviche

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family gatherings, a good meal can be found in the middle of a good time — add a worldclass Paso Robles wine region and you have the makings of a culinary hotspot ripe for artisanal brilliance. Long before being organic was the thing to be — before Netflix and exposé documentaries on Señor Sanchos Tosada Grande

the concerning state of our natural nourishment — Thomas Hill Organics brought a new flavor to downtown Paso Robles, over the past decade it has remained as culturally relevant as ever. Now standing as one of many fine dining options for lunch or dinner, owner Debbie Thomas continues to pursue new frontiers in her expanded location that still serves out of the kitchen she opened in 2009. Over the course of that time, farm-to-table became a household term and fresh, locally grown ingredients now pepper menu items across the North SLO County. New, exciting, exotic foods continue to compete for attention from locals and visitors, but a few veterans know that some good old-fashioned meals still serve as a cornerstone for the local’s weekly fix. On the east side of Paso, Señor Sanchos has served the right hot and fresh taste of Mexico for more than 30 years and the location on Creston Road is a “second home” to many local residents looking for a sizzling plate of fajitas or an award-winning margarita in a colorful and bright environment you might only expect near the beaches of Cancun. The downtown Paso Robles character and charm is not complete without one of the longest-tenured tenants, F. McLintocks Saloon. McLintocks serves the quintessential Paso

Robles menu, from steak and eggs breakfast, to tri-tip sandwich lunch, and New York steak dinner. Aside from knowing what it takes to stay downtown Paso Robles for more than 20 years, they also inhabit one of the more iconic buildings that transports Park Street visitors back more than 100 years into the Old West. In Paso Robles, the boots still echo on the floorboards, and McLintocks’ neon sign signals to hungry, hard-working families to “Come on in. You found the right place.” TEMPLETON Like a handkerchief cut from the same cloth, Ian McPhee’s bar and grill stands tall on Main Street in Templeton, which puts up a solid fight in the argument about the most authentic western town in the area. Across the street from McPhees Macadamia Crusted Salmon

the iconic and historic Templeton Feed & Grain on a street lined with buildings that could stand in as stunt doubles on HBO series Westworld, McPhee’s turns out a world-class experience with authentic old-western charm. Inside, the hand-crafted menu features steak, seafood and salads served with a personal visit from fatherson duo Ian and Max McPhee. If you need to know what they look like before you go in, check out the mural on the south alley — you won’t miss ‘em. A few more blocks down south, past 15

Making Communities Better Through Print® | January 2020

degrees C Wine Shop & Bar, you’ll find a local breakfast and lunch classic served by a big, generous gorilla that represents Joe’s Other Place — one of three restaurants in the area run by Joe Ontiveros. Nice new sign Joe! Joe’s is just one of those local places you know about … no website or active Facebook page … just a good, honest kitchen with a warm meal. Seems to be working. ATASCADERO A short jaunt to the south, Atascadero has found a foothold in the culinary service industry beyond pizza and Mexican food, thanks to the dynamic duo behind Guest House Grill — Eric Peterson and Trevor LaSalle. Taking up residence in the Spencer’s Market shopping center more than a decade ago, Guest House became a go-to spot for lunch and dinner in the culinary vein of Thomas Hill Organics and McPhee’s Grill — a bit of modern fusion with old-school staples. Basically, serve up a good hot steak, fish or sandwich with a familiar atmosphere, and don’t stop. Peterson and LaSalle proved far more than one-hit wonders when they hit Atascadero’s downtown with Street Side Ale House, where the sports bar theme converged with a full menu of taps, and street fries glazed with rosemary, bacon, and pepperoncinis and Edna’s Bakery pretzel sticks (more like loafs) that both give a

reason to make more pepper jack cream sauce. Packing Atascadero downtown, Colony Market serves cold beverages and fresh lunch from the bar of a rehabbed auto garage on the corner of ECR and Traffic. LaDonna White cooks a hearty, home-cooked meal made to order from LaDonna’s, at the entrance to Entrada Avenue. And Pho4U and Byblos Mediterranean offer international taste to a traditional downtown. Breakfast in Atascadero just got a lot more interesting with the addition of The Nest, offering a southern location to enjoy one of Atascadero’s favorite meals. Just a block north from the old Hoover’s Hacienda, The Nest Cafe boasts some familiar faces and a patio backyard at the California Meridian building that is sure to become a regular locals’ spot. Moving back north, Peterson and LaSalle have given a new lease on life for Country Touch Cafe, and of course A-Town Diner stands as the classic 50’s diner-style breakfast, lunch and dinner joint created by Steve Dagnall and home to the original recipe Virgil Burger.

find out. But apparently, they’ve been doing it for years. In Santa Margarita, you might stop by The Range for dinner, or The Porch Cafe for lunch. At the other end of what we call the North SLO County, you’ll find the Taco Mafia and Leo’s Cafe in San Miguel. Going east young man? Among the rolling golden hills of Creston, the Loading Chute or Longbranch Saloon will hit the spot for everything from burgers and fries to steak and seafood. In a town with a population of 94, Creston boasts SLO County’s best ratio of restaurants per resident. The cuisine of North SLO County has many staples, tried-and-true recipes of success, and a wide spectrum of flavors from all over the world that speak a singular message — if you commit to your craft and deliver a quality menu at a fair price … well, people gotta eat. LaDonna’s Mozzarella Stuff Meatball

SANTA MARGARITA  CRESTON  SAN MIGUEL Our market research provided some enlightening information — in towns with populations less than 2,500, residents still eat three square meals a day. It was fascinating to

January 2020 | Making Communities Better Through Print® | 25



f you had any questions about what is the most popular meal of all, let’s consider one fact — which one is available for order ALL DAY? No, the answer is not champagne … it’s breakfast. Breakfast is so great that steak married eggs early in the game and has been a faithful partner ever since. It is no secret that North SLO County has a ton of quality options and our local artisans have not withheld their creative juices from crafting some top-quality delicacies for the early risers. The North SLO County has seen a strong surge of the modern breakfast spot — with Paso Robles’ Brunch and Templeton’s The Kitchenette — to balance with our local longstanding favorites like Vic’s Cafe, A-Town Diner, Joe’s Place, Country Touch Cafe and Cowgirl Cafe, just to name a few! A good ol’ helping of scrambled eggs just can’t be missed. It has been a staple since the world’s first question about the chicken or the egg. Vic’s Cafe has been serving breakfast about that long, since Vic Buckley opened in 1942. Larry and Jan Eastwood kept the griddle going on 13th Street since 1976. In 2018, the Eastwoods sold to Brett Skinner and Dee Aud, who continue the proud tradition of comfort food. You can still pickup “Larry’s Combo” of eggs, bacon, and choice of French toast, pancakes, or cinnamon roll.

A-Town Deli added a few hours and menu items and became A-Town Diner around 2010, serving breakfast all day to loyal local patrons and familiar faces. It’s a favorite for all ages. In 2017, local restauranteurs Eric Peterson and Trevor LaSalle kept Atascadero’s Country Touch Cafe in Peterson family name and have continued the homemade cinnamon raisin bread that has been a staple for so many years. The aged pillars of local breakfast stand tall, serving up longstanding favorites to generations of new faces, and there has been room for new breakfast spots to offer the new and old generations some new flavors. The Kitchenette in Templeton packs a line out the door each weekend morning with a widevariety of offerings from corned beef hash, beer braised pork breakfast tacos, ricotta pancakes, and soy chorizo burritos. Not to be outdone in ante meridiem fusion cuisine, Brunch. in Paso Robles boasts a Florentine breakfast pizza laced with spinach and cherry tomatoes topped with a sunny side up egg. Chorizo street tacos, vegetarian frittata, and s’mores French toast back up the “fun, fresh breakfast” they serve up across from Vic’s Cafe at 13th and Pine streets. A newcomer with familiar faces, The Nest Cafe in south Atascadero has hit Yelp with 26

five-star reviews in its first months. Serving up some traditional breakfast with locally supplied Brian’s Bread and Joebella organic coffee, The Nest replaced Crickets next to the Atascadero post office, and shall we say … it delivers. Whether you prefer your traditional or more creative breakfast, the North SLO County delivers an amazing selection for all appetites. Best way to find out more is try it out with a personal visit.



reating ourselves to a good meal after work or on the weekend, or dining out with visiting friends and family, has never been easier … or harder if you have trouble making decisions … because locally there is more to choose from than ever before and dinner wins the day when it comes to selection. Along with those spots already mentioned in our breakfast and lunch spotlights, dinner in Paso Robles and Atascadero comes with built-in evenings that match Thomas Kinkade paintings for pleasant grace.

Whether you are getting indoors on a cold winter night, or enjoying the extra hours of spring sunset, the open doors of our local restaurants are inviting abodes for the hungry travelers or gathering groups. In winter and early spring, dinners bring hot bowls of soup and heaping helpings of comfort food to fill the bellies and souls of locals and visitors. Señor Sanchos is such a place, off the downtown grid, but a home away from home for those who need a break from the kitchen or looking to see some friendly faces ... or maybe just a big award-winning margarita! Downtown, Odyssey World Cafe and Thomas Hill Organics carry their menus from lunch to dinner with a transition as smooth as local olive oil. Between the two, a short trip from 12th to 13th streets, Pine to Park, another dozen dinner spots offer the spectrum for the discriminating diner. Black Cat Café Too offers top-quality surf and turf with steaks and lamb shanks to wild

January 2020 | Making Communities Better Through Print®

catch salmon and Morro Bay rock crab lollipops, Paso Robles pork belly and local quail. It might be qualify as the hidden gem of 2019 in downtown. Heading up around the downtown, Streetside Ale House, F. McLintocks, Yanagi, Naked Fish, Fish Gaucho, or Blast and Brew, along with an array of tasting rooms provide a taste for every palate. Dinner in Atascadero is a long way from catching up with its northern rival, but some notable options include LaDonna’s on El Camino Real and Entrada Ave where LaDonna White is serving up custom comfort food in an elegant dining room. The original Streetside Ale House next door is one of several entities run by the Peterson-LaSalle restaurant empire, along with longtime Atascadero favorite Guest House Grill. Nautical Cowboy in the historic and elegant Carton Hotel serves up surf and turf, and Marston’s 101 off Santa Barbara Road is another hearty dinner option. All over the North SLO County, there are delicious options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and if we missed any, please vote for your favorite in the 7th annual Best of North SLO County here in this issue or online at | 27



By Nic Mattson

ork hard, play hard, nosh hard. Lunch hits home to keep the day going for our locals, and breaks up a day of activity for our visitors. Paso Robles has blown up with options for the last few years and Atascadero is charging to catch up.

Like breakfast, lunch has been revolutionized with culinary creativity, local ingredients and exotic fusions. From Thomas Hill Organics to Odyssey World Cafe to Red Scooter Deli, many local favorites have anchored an ever-changing atmosphere of lunch menu options downtown Paso Robles. If you prefer the scenic route, a trip to Cass Winery offers a garden-to-table selection. Any way you slice it, Paso Robles has paired its wine selection with a world-class lunch menu. New chef Libri at THO brings Debbie Thomas’ menu to life with new flavors, and classic THO favorites that meet the “vivid array of fresh ingredients to concoct bold, imaginative dishes” that have been the standard for THO in downtown Paso Robles for the past decade. Black lentil tacos, grilled waygu sirloin, or smoked salmon and avocado sandwiches hit the spot on the covered patio of THO.

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Odyssey World Cafe has kept evolving itself for the past 22 years, and in 2019 it adapted a new iteration of its Odyssey by tagging itself a “fresh casual kitchen.” Dawn Gregory and John Hawley have been serving the Paso Robles community with an eclectic world menu, and has adjusted its sails ever so slightly to stay on course for the next score. Ahi tuna salad, grilled salmon sandwiches, and fresh tacos have kept it a local favorite come hills or high water downtown — Odyssey has seen it all. Red Scooter Deli is coming into its 10th year as the pioneer of the mobile deliver service that has become so popular. When driving all over Paso Robles, watch out for the red scooters carrying much needed lunches to our busy business people. Their online ordering from has been the convenient and timely option for getting a fresh turkey club, hot reubenesque or chicken cordon bleu, or one of a dozen fresh salad options delivered direct to the job site or office when we just can’t break away. Oh, they serve breakfast too. When you can get out, Señor Sanchos is a home away from home for many, and definitely gives diners a break from the office atmosphere with Carlos Leyva’s collection of eclectic art that


covers walls, shelves, and every nook and cranny of the Creston Road location. It is a taste of Mexico with a 30-year track record of serving up award-winning food and margaritas.

Making Communities Better Through Print® | January 2020

7th annual North SLO County



Get a head start on voting for your favorite places in the North SLO County. Complete this form and check out the Atascadero News or Paso Robles Press in January for more opportunities to enter to earn a $100, $50 or $25 gift certificate to your favorite local place.

WIN $500!

MAIL TO: Colony Media Attn: Best of NOSLOCO P.O. Box 6068 Atascadero, CA 93423

Scan the QR code with your camera, or go to for the full reader’s poll and a chance to win.

Best of Eat & Drink Asian Cuisine: BBQ Spot:

Breakfast Joint:

Brunch Special: Burger Joint:

Cheese Shop: Coffeehouse:

Dessert, Bake or Cake Shop: Family Restaurant: Farm-to-Table:

Health, Natural, or Grocery Store: Lunch Spot:

Mexican Restaurant: Overall Restaurant: Pasta Joint:

Pizza Delivery: Pizza Dining:

Seafood Restaurant: Steakhouse:

Sushi Restaurant:

Vegetarian or Vegan:

Specialty Items Appetizer:

Cup of Coffee: French Fries:

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Continued on page 31

Making Communities Better Through Print® | January 2020

Best of NoSLOCo 2020 Reader’s Poll Continued from page 30

French Toast: Kombucha: Mocktail: Pastry: Salad: Taco: Tea:

Local Artisans Best Bread: Best Cake:

Best Farm-Fresh Fruit:

Best Farm-Fresh Ingredients: Best Farm-Fresh Nuts:

Best Gelato, Ice Cream, Frozen Dessert: Best Local Beef, Poultry, Dairy, or Pork: Best Local Seasonings: Best Olive Oil:

Continued on page 32

January 2020 | Making Communities Better Through PrintÂŽ | 31

Best of NoSLOCo 2020 Reader’s Poll Continued from page 30

Travel, Entertainment, Leisure & Events Art Gallery:

Event or Wedding Venue: Girl’s Night Out Spot: Golf Course:

Guy’s Night Out Spot: Hotel: Park:

Pets and Animals Dog Park:

Feed Store:

Pet Grooming & Care: Pet Store:

Veterinarian or Pet Hospital: Thank you for taking part in our 7th annual readers’ poll! This is part one of our survey. Additional parts will print in the January 15, 22, and 29 editions of the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press. Subscribe today at and

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Making Communities Better Through Print® | January 2020


Happy New Year, Healthy New You


ith the start of a new year and the cold weather settling in, our bodies seem to be a little more sluggish, we’re more prone to colds and flu, and reaching your weight loss goals is becoming more difficult. From Thanksgiving through the New Year festivities, we tend to indulge in sugary foods and drinks, leaving us feeling bloated, cranky and maybe a few pounds heavier! What can you do to “jump start” your body into health and wellness (and weight loss) for the New Year?


Let us help you kick off the new year with a gentle detox that has powerful weight loss results! Lose those holiday pounds and recharge your energy and health with an easy to follow 21 Day Detox & Weight Loss Program. As it takes 21 days to establish a new, healthy habit, participants utilizing this program continue to enjoy renewed energy and vitality as well as continued weight loss even after they complete it!


The Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs, etc. “can produce numerous diseases, from cardiac disease, autoimmune, diseases, inflammation, allergies, cancers and neurologic

diseases.” In addition, the increased toxic load may slow metabolism causing weight gain and interfering with weight loss. Join us on Thursday, January 23, 2020 6-7:30 p.m. learn how easy it is to support detoxification, improve health, and lose those stubborn pounds. The 21 Day Detox & Weight Loss Program is not a diet and not just a cleanse. It is a program that will help you live a healthier life. Whole food supplement, meal replacement shakes, and eating organic whole foods will help you achieve optimal health and vitality! Call 805-2378290 and reserve a seat! “I lost weight so quickly! Normally I would lose 2 pounds a week, but during the 21 Day Detox program I lost 12 pounds and went down 2 dress sizes for my daughter’s wedding! It was easy, the shakes and food were delicious and I had the energy to train for a 39 mile walking marathon!” The Team & The Natural Alternative wishes you Happy New Year! Bobbi Conner, CNC, ACN, MH

1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0


January 2020 | Making Communities Better Through Print® | 33


’ s r e tt e L e L‘ ov T



by A play urney A.R. G


ove Letters,” a gentle, funny romantic play tells the story of two people that spans decades, from their first meeting in second grade into late adulthood. Written by A. R. Gurney, the unique play will be a dinner theatre production of Wine Country Theatre on Friday, Feb. 14, and runs through Feb. 16 at the Park Ballroom, 1232 Park St. in downtown

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Paso Robles. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Wine Country Theatre will present the two-character play along with an outstanding dinner prepared by Andre, Master Chef of Paso Terra Restaurant. Guests can enjoy a threecourse meal and a complimentary glass of wine or champagne. More wine and champagne will be available to purchase throughout

the performance. “Love Letters” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, and has been performed throughout the world. “We are excited to bring something a little bit different to our stage,” says Laurie Zenobio, President of the Wine Country Theatre Board of Directors. “It is theatre at its most simple, yet highly moving and impactful. The story is told through letters, notes and cards exchanged over a lifetime between two people. The set is simple: only two chairs and desks, and the actors, although highly rehearsed, will read the letters aloud. This creates an intimate dynamic between the characters and the audience.” Performed by Casey Biggs and Cynthia Anthony, the play follows the relationship between a stuffy lawyer and a free-spirited woman. Both characters were born to wealth and position and are childhood friends whose lifelong correspondence begins with birthday party notes and summer camp postcards. Romantically attached, they continue to exchange letters through boarding school and college, their marriages, careers, a divorce, and even an affair. Through their correspondence they discuss their hopes and ambitions, as well as the dreams and disappointments that have passed between them throughout their separated lives. According to one reviewer, “The most poignant

Making Communities Better Through Print® | January 2020

element of the piece is the story between the lines, the words they cannot bring themselves to write.” Most recently he wrote and starred in “Heart of Paradise.” It was directed by Mande. His last two films have been, “Half Brother” and “Sweet Parents.” Anthony, portraying the character of Melissa, is founder and Executive Director of Wine Country Theatre. She is an actress, director and Theatre Educator. Cynthia was most recently seen in “Over the River and Through the Woods,” and directed “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” both for Wine Country Theatre. “Love Letters” is a fundraiser for Wine Country Theatre, to support their ongoing commitment to provide the community with professional caliber productions. Tickets for the dinner theatre events are $85, which includes a complimentary glass of wine or champagne. Tickets for the show-only matinee are $25. For menu options, tickets and more information, go to the website

January 2020 | Colony Magazine | 35

Santa and Mrs. Claus ascend the steps at Atascadero City Hall during the Light Up the Downtown lighting ceremony on December 6.

Atascadero Community Band members played cheerful holiday tunes at the Light Up the Downtown event.

Creston 4-H members ride atop a float during the Creston Christmas Light Parade on December 21.

A family enjoys the newly lit holiday decoration sat Sunken Gardens during the Light Up The Downtown event.

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Colony Magazine | January 2020

An antique fire truck in the Creston Light Parade

Atascadero City Hall is reflected in a Christmas tree ornament hanging from a tree across the street at Sunken Gardens. The Creston Christmas Light Parade included a variety of different types of vehicles and even animals decked out in Christmas lights. Hundreds attended the annual event. .

Elsa from "Frozen" greets children during the second annual Forklift Light Parade at Tin City on December 21.

Caliza perched a couch on their forklift so Santa's elves could relax while waving to parade spectators.

A forklift full of gifts makes its way down the parade route during the second annual Tin City Forklift Parade.

January 2020 | Colony Magazine

Atascadero City Hall is reflected in a Christmas tree ornament hanging from a tree across the street at Sunken Gardens.

TIn City Cider Company stole the show and took home a trophy for their spirited float. | 37

North San Luis Obispo County


HAPPENINGS running chicken 10k

JAN. 5


rynn and Brittni Frace's Memorial Chicken 10k and Fun Run/Walk. The run is a10 kilometer outand-back course on the paved dirt roads along the shorelines of Santa Margarita Lake. Funds raised go toward youth scholarships and supporting youth sports.

DATE: Sunday, Jan. 5 TIME: Runs begin at 9 a.m. PLACE: Santa Margarita Lake, 4695 Santa Margarita Lake Rd., Santa Margarita COST: Entry fee is $45 MORE INFO: register






JAN. 4 Monarch Butterfly Tour Celebrate one of nature's wonders, the Monarch butterfly. Witness thousands of them up close in their habitat at the Morro Bay Golf Course. DATE: Saturday, Jan. 4 TIME: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. PLACE: Morro Bay Golf Course, 201 State Park Rd., Morro Bay COST: Free, but rain cancels tour MORE INFO: Meet at the Morro Bay Golf Course Clubhouse. The tour begins at 11 a.m. and will involve a short hike to viewing area. Call Josh Heptig 805-215-4125.


17-20 17-18

Hiking Group

Wine Speak Paso Robles Grand Tasting

Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival

5th Annual Tamale Festival

DATE: Saturday, Jan. 11 TIME: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. PLACE: Atascadero United Method-

DATE: Tuesday, Jan. 14 TIME: 6:30-8:30 p.m. PLACE: Pavilion on the Lake,

DATE: Jan. 17-20 TIME: Throughout the day PLACE: Morro Bay COST: Free to $85 MORE INFO: Every Martin Luther

DATE: Jan. 17-18 TIME: 5-10 p.m. and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. PLACE: Downtown Atascadero COST: Free to attend; tamales can

ist Church parking lot, 11605 El Camino Real, Atascadero. COST: Free MORE INFO: Group meets the second Saturday of month. Open to public. 805-466-2566 to RSVP.



9315 Pismo Ave. COST: $95 per person MORE INFO: Taste wines from around the world, such as Germany, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Argentina and France. Visit



King Jr. weekend, over 500 bird lovers visit Morro Bay to see and learn more about birds.

be purchased

MORE INFO: Music from two bands Jan. 17 with fireworks show; Tamale Festival is on Jan. 18.





Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Atascadero Chamber Awards Dinner

BlendFest on the Coast Grand Tasting

Paso Robles Chamber Annual Gala

DATE: Saturday, Jan. 18 TIME: 1 to 3 p.m. PLACE: Flamson Middle School,

DATE: Saturday, Jan. 25 TIME: 5:15-8:15 p.m. PLACE: Pavilion on the Lake

DATE: Feb. 23 TIME: 3-6 p.m. PLACE: Oceanpoint Ranch -

DATE: Saturday, Feb. 29 TIME: 5:30-10 p.m. PLACE: Rava Wines + Events,

2405 Spring St., Paso Robles COST: Free MORE INFO: Celebration of life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Theme is "The Power of One."

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9315 Pismo Ave. COST: $99 per person MORE INFO: Call 805-466-2044 or

Sundance Lawn, 7200 Moonstone Beach Dr., Cambria COST: $45-70 MORE INFO: visit

6785 Creston Rd., Paso Robles COST: Ticket information visit



Colony Magazine | January 2020


Multiflora Garden Club

General Membership Meeting and Luncheon: Wednesday, April 3 The Groves on the 41, 4455 Hwy 41 East, Paso Robles from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $30; must RSVP by 3-24. Visit

Second Wednesday, 12 to 3 p.m. at PR Community Church, 2706 Spring St., Paso Robles, Public is welcome, no charge, guests welcome. Call 805-712-7820 or visit

Active Senior Club of Templeton

Exchange Club

First Friday, 10:30 a.m., Templeton Community Center, 601 S. Main St. Meetings include a presentation on relevant local issues, often followed by a luncheon. Membership is $5 per year. Contact Templeton Recreation Department with questions. 805-434-4909

Coffee with a CHP

Second Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., Nature’s Touch Nursery & Harvest, 225 Main St., Templeton.

North County

Second Tuesday, 12:15-1:30 p.m. at McPhee’s, 416 S. Main St., Templeton. 805-610-8096,

Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 465

Second Wednesday, 7 p.m. at Paso Airport Terminal, 4900 Wing Way. Getting youth involved with aviation,

Monthly Dinner Estrella Warbirds Museum

First Wednesday, 6 p.m., guest speakers. 805-296-1935 for dinner reservations,

North County Wines and Steins

First Friday of the month (Jan-May; Aug-Nov), 6 p.m. at Templeton American Legion Hall, 805 Main St. Meetings include wine and beer tasting, speaker or program and potluck., 805-235-2048

Central Coast Violet Society

Second Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Creston Village Activity Room, 1919 Creston Road, Paso Robles. Email with any questions.

Atascadero Republican Women Federated

4th Tuesday at 11 at Atascadero SpringHill Suites Marriot t

Daughters of the American Revolution

First Sunday. For time and place, go to

CLUBS & MEETUPS American Legion Post 220

805 Main Street, Templeton • 805-610-2708 Post Meeting — second and four th Wednesday, 6 p.m.

Elks Lodge

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

Loyal Order of Moose

Atascadero #2067 • 8507 El Camino Real • 805-466-5121 Meeting — first and third Thursday, 6 p.m. Bingo — first Sunday, 12-2 p.m.

Queen of Hearts — every Tuesday, 7 p.m. Pool League — every Wednesday

Kiwanis International

Templeton Club 2427 • 601 Main St. • 805434-1071 Meeting — first and third Thursday, 7 p.m.

Atascadero — 7848 Pismo Ave. • 805-6107229 Key Club — every Wednesday, 11:55 a.m. Kiwanis Club — every Thursday, 7 a.m.

Optimist Club

Lions Club

Rotary International

Atascadero Club #2385 • 5035 Palma Ave. Meeting — second & fourth Wednesday, 7 p.m. Santa Margarita Club 2418 • 9610 Murphy St. Meeting — second and fourth Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Atascadero — dinner meetings second Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Outlaws Bar & Grill, 9850 E. Front Rd. or call 805-712-5090

Atascadero — 9315 Pismo Ave. Meeting — every Wednesday, 12 p.m. at Atascadero Lake Pavilion Templeton — 416 Main St. Meeting — first & third Tuesday, 7 a.m. at McPhee’s Grill

Advertise your business and events with Colony Media! Local Newspapers • Monthly Magazines • Online Options Quarterly Travel Magazine & Vino • More!

Call us today! 805-466-2585 or email

January 2020 | Colony Magazine | 39

| Exploring the Enclaves

Paso's Adelaida District Rich With History


he pioneering spirit of Paso winemakers is spread throughout the region’s 11 sub-appellations. But nowhere is it more evident than in the mountainous Adelaida district, nestled along the foothills of Santa Lucia Mountain Range, where vineyards can soar up to 2,200 feet in elevation. As early as the 1920s, this is where famed Polish composer and later prime minister Ignacio Jan Paderewski planted zinfandel and petite sirah at his Rancho San Ignacio vineyard. Forty years later, Dr. Stanley Hoffman, a Beverly Hills cardiologist, gambled on Paso as wine country when he traded his 10-acre ranch in Ventura County for 1,200 acres in the craggy hillsides of Adelaida. In 1964, he planted the first pinot noir (vine cuttings he brought from Burgundy) under the guidance of famed enologist André Tchelistcheff. A few years later, he added cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay to his Hoffman Mountain Ranch. Parts of this ranch today belong to Adelaida Vineyards & Winery and Daou Vineyards & Winery. Then in the late 1980s, the Rhône movement arrived, sparked by Tablas Creek Vineyard and Winery’s co-founder, the late Robert Haas, and his son Jason who established a Franco-American joint-venture when they partnered with the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel in France’s southern Rhône region. After four years of searching from Mendocino to Ventura, the team settled on the western edge of the Adelaida region for its Rhône experiment. The Tablas Creek team revolutionized planting on the Central Coast by importing several clones of Mourvedre, grenache noir, syrah, Roussanne, counoise, viognier, grenache blanc and Marsanne from the Perrin's famed Rhône Valley estate — vine materials that endured three years of U.S. quarantine. Next, they established a nursery and soon the Tablas Creek vine cuttings made their way to numerous vineyards around California. In the aughts, Daniel and Georges Daou took the Adelaida district several notches up when the brothers transformed their property into Daou Mountain, with steep vineyards planted to Bordeaux varietals. A view from Daou’s ultra-luxurious hospitality

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center takes in the spectacular vistas of cascading vineyards. What makes this district so special is its diversity. Although the Adelaida AVA (American Viticultural Area) is known for distinctive Bordeaux and Rhône varietals, everything from pinot noir to zinfandel grows here. I talked to a few vintners to get different perspectives highlighting the regions’ diversity. Haas focused on Adelaida's unique climates and soils. In an email response, he wrote: “A combination of the long growing season, warm-to-hot days, chilly nights, high altitude, high winter rainfall, ample sun and intensely calcareous soils all contribute to encouraging depth and fruit expression in all the grapes while keeping freshness and minerality to balance their weight.” Haas also agreed that the AVA is wellsuited for Bourdeaux varietals. Indeed, cabinet sauvignon was produced in the region back in the 1980s by Adelaida Vineyards & Winery and Justin Vineyards & Winery. Decades later, Daou is carrying the torch for Adelaide as prime cabernet country. I sat down with Daniel Daou as he took time off from the busy harvest season and queried about his enthusiasm for the region’s terroir. “Because of the mountainous region, temperatures are lower in the day but higher at night,” Daou said. “We have more of a temperate weather like Napa or Bordeaux, so we hit 3,000 growing degrees every year on this mountain, and you need that to ripen the cabernet,” referencing the heat accumulation measurement used by farmers. Then there’s the calcareous soil.

“You want clay for cabernet and here the first layer is pure clay and underneath is limestone subsoil,” Daou said. “The clay gives bouquet, organic material and color to the wine.” A few miles east, Bob Tillman, owner of Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery, notes his hillside vineyard soils are similar to France’s southern Rhône Valley. “It’s basically sedimentary rock with two feet of topsoil,” he said. There are two types of soils on his property, so the syrah, for example, produced from clay and limestone soil shows brightness and freshness while the syrah planted on shale and loam has bigger fruit and weight on the palate. Nearby, Parrish Family Vineyards is producing outstanding Bordeaux-style wines as well as syrah and zinfandel all planted on calcareous limestone soils with vineyards soaring to an elevation of 1,800 feet. Yet there’s also pinot noir in this hilly region. How do you explain this? I ask Jeremy Weintraub, winemaker at Adelaida Winery. “I believe it’s one of the great distinctions of this region," he answered. "We are not handcuffed by one varietal, we are fortunate to be sited on terrific dirt.” Commenting on the counterintuitive notion of pinot noir growing in the same area as syrah, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon, Weintraub noted that the vineyard is located in the cooler part of Adelaida’s Winery’s vast 135 acres of vineyards. “Half of the pinot acreage is from the original 1964 planting and the other half is cuttings from that vineyard,” Weintraub said. That’s what makes Adelaida pinot’s expression so distinctive. “It’s super balanced and the character brings to mind foresty, mushroomy and savory flavors,” he added Adelaida is rich with history and its wineries — small ones tucked on narrow lanes or larger ones such as Halter Ranch, noted for its Bordeaux- and Rhône-style wines as well as environmental stewardship of its 2,000acre ranch. Other wineries to explore include Kiamie, Le Cuvier, Villicana, Bodega de Edgar, McPrice Meyers, The Farm, Brecon, Wild Coyote, Carmody McKnight, Kukkula, Lone Madrone, Thacher, Chronic Cellars and Hammersky among others.

Colony Magazine | January 2020

| Taste of Americana

Grandmama's Pie Recipes Barbie Butz


’m welcoming in the new year by reading a cookbook (yes, I read cookbooks like I read novels) titled “Sweetness.” It is authored by Christy Jordan and is filled with Southern recipes “to celebrate the warmth, the love, and the blessings of a full life.” Many of the recipes came from the author’s “Grandmama” and her golden generation of cooks. They are classics and represent a sampling of authentic Americana cooking and baking. When times were tough during the Depression and later during the World War II years of the 40s, homemakers were forced to be very creative with food preparation. You may even be familiar with some of these examples of pie recipes, but then again, you may find them very surprising, and as I said, creative! If you like buttermilk and peaches, you will love this recipe. It’s an old-fashioned buttermilk custard pie with bites of juicy peaches.

PEACH BUTTERMILK PIE Ingredients 1 can (29 ounces) yellow cling peaches in heavy syrup, drained One 9-inch deep-dish pie crust 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar

January 2020 | Colony Magazine

3 large eggs 1/3 cup buttermilk ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the peaches in the bottom of the pie crust and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla, and cinnamon in a medium-size mixing bowl and mix with a whisk until well combined. Pour over peaches. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly golden and the middle doesn’t jiggle when moved, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack until ready to serve. Serve warm or cold. When covered and refrigerated, the pie will keep for up to five days. This next pie would have been easy to prepare since most pantries held a can of fruit cocktail.

FRUIT COCKTAIL PIE Ingredients 1 can (15 ounces) fruit cocktail with juice 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup self-rising flour 1 large egg One 9-inch deep-dish pie crust Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together the fruit cocktail, brown sugar, flour, and egg in a medium-size mixing bowl until well mixed. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Bake until the top is browned and the pie is set, 30 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. When covered and refrigerated, the pie will keep for up to five days. I include this last recipe just for fun. I have never seen or heard of it, but I thought it would be fun to try. I also think children will be intrigued by the name and the results!

WATER PIE Ingredients One 9-inch deep-dish pie crust 1½ cups water 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 5 pats Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set the pie crust on a baking sheet. Pour 1 ½ cups water into the pie crust. Stir together flour and sugar in a small bowl until combined. Using a spoon, evenly sprinkle the flour mixture over the water in the pie crust. Add vanilla; do not stir. Distribute the pats of butter evenly on top. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until set, about 30 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let sit until the pie cools and the filling gels. When covered and refrigerated, the pie will keep for up to 3 days. If you have unusual recipes in your collections and are willing to share them in this column, send them to barbiewb@ Enjoy! | 41

Ink in the Blood

It's all in the family for the five-generation print legacy By Mark Diaz & Nicholas Mattson

With more than 100 years of print experience, Casey Printing of King City emerged as a significant partner for Colony Media team by printing The Paso Robles Press and The Atascadero News, beginning with today’s Dec. 11 edition “We’re a small business, a family-run operation that’s been doing business on the Central Coast for 118 years,” said Bill Casey. Casey Printing is located at 398 E. San Antonio Dr., King City and is still a family-run business. Fred Vivian founded Casey Printing in 1901 with nothing more than a Washington handpress that could only print a single sheet of paper at a time. Now, the company performs a host of print and digital media services as it continues its long history of serving the Central Coast. Casey Printing is family-owned and operated by Fred’s grand-

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sons Rich and Bill Casey, and Rich’s son Ryan, VP of Marketing, is fifth-generation involved with and learning how to run the business. Along with leading the sales and marketing efforts, Ryan’s role has expanded to learning about how to manage production and people and the changes as the business evolves. “It is a constant balance of honoring our heritage and contribution of our employees,” Ryan said, “while still pushing toward the future where future employees can spend their careers.” “In the past, Casey Printing has printed the Paso Robles Country News, we’ve produced a local telephone directory,” said Rich. “We’ve been involved in the printing and publishing business here for a long time all the way from Santa Barbara to San Jose.” A century can hold a lot of prosperous and hard times and for a business to weather

the storm demonstrates its ability to adapt to the changing times and technologies. “Everybody had their own press room back in them and that all through consolidation downsizing and everything else, they’ve all gone away,” said Bill listing companies that have fallen by the wayside or news organizations that sold there inhouse press and outsourced work. The gentlemen attribute their lasting power to the company’s ability to welcome and master new methods and machines for printing, and to the community they serve and hire to work with them. Rich said the majority of their employees have been with the company for 20 to 30 years. “This is where we want to stay and work and that’s why we’re here. The reason we’ve managed to stay here so long is because we’ve had such amazing customers over the years and employees,” Bill said. The printing company offers several types

Colony Magazine | January 2020

If you can dream it, We can print it. of printing that include web printing, letterpress, offset and digital output machines. However, customers should not be thrown off by the terminology. All the options boil down to the Casey family having more tools at their disposal to create a superior product with price points that suit the client’s needs. In the past, newspapers were the primary media to share information on a large scale. With the introduction of the information highway, the whole industry was flipped on its head. Companies like Casey Printing allow smaller newspaper operations to continue to play a vital role in providing trustworthy information on a local scale. “We’ve seen really good smaller community niche publications do well in the face of what is going on in the internet,” said Rich. “For example, some newspapers that we print started in Gilroy and Morgan Hill a few years ago and they’re community newspapers and they are doing really well.” The company continues to evolve and look for other ways to serve the business

January 2020 | Colony Magazine

community. Casey Printing is seeking to expand its market in the wine industry. The business has also branched out in the medical industry. “There’s some medical device manufacturers on the Central Coast and they make little parts,” Bill said. He went on to say that local olive oil companies are on the rise and the company does labeling and packaging for them. “Real short-run stuff, they might only do 500 or 1,000 bottles a year, but they want a high-end look.” As fifth-generation in the business, Ryan is part of the future of the company, and looking at how Casey Printing and print media can have an impact on the next 100 years. Ryan and his family are Paso Robles residents, and bringing the local newspaper into the Casey print house has a special meaning, and his family has a long-standing history with local print and journalism. “One of the things we share with Colony Media is the rich history of what journalism can do,” Ryan said. “The contributions that

Paso Robles Press and Atascadero News made to the Northern San Luis Obispo County area, along with what Bob Chute did with Paso Robles Magazine, it has had a tremendous influence on the community.” Casey Printing and Colony Media continue a legacy of local print, and both share the value that print holds over other forms of immaterial media. “What the printed word can provide is a lot more powerful than clickbait,” Ryan said. “Print provides something for the community that can’t be done with anything else — memorializing a historical event, in physical form. There is a big difference between seeing your kid’s picture online and seeing it printed in a newspaper.” The oldest form of media has new life, according to Casey, as the new generations begin to find value in print. “It is interesting to watch millennials discover print,” Ryan said. “It is almost like print is a new thing.” | 43

First Fridays Coming to Atascadero By Mark Diaz

Carl and Jeanne Robbins stand in front of food collected and organized by the Loaves and Fishes food bank.

The Holiday Project


By Mark Diaz

ach year the community pulls together to help their neighbors struggling during the holiday season. The Atascadero Loaves and Fishes Holiday Project event has provided coats, food and toys to those less fortunate for three decades. On Dec. 18, community members waited under rainy skies for some holiday relief.

Held at the National Guard Armory in Atascadero on Dec. 18, the charitable event brings together the Atascadero Kiwanis Club, Toys for Tots and Coats for Kids. “I think that it’s a great outreach to the community,” said a woman who received support this year. “Sometimes you just need a little help and a little extra something to put under the tree. I appreciate everybody that’s here, every person for doing what they do.” Now in their ninth year of volunteering with ALF, the husband and wife team of Carl and Jeanne Robbins have led the Project for the past seven years. They help coordinate the collection of food and registration for the event. “We have 250 families this year that we are helping,” said Jeanne Robbins. “Loave and Fishes is the umbrella for the Project but Coats for Kids and Toys for Tots work on their own.” In the past, the holiday giveaway has aided up to 500 families. Jeanne Robbins said that the Project services Atascadero, Templeton, Santa Margarita, Creston and California Valley residents and takes the community to accomplish. Volunteers, nonprofits, schools and businesses all participate in one way or another to gather items or hold food drives. “It is that proverbial, ‘it takes a village,’” said Jeanne Robbins. “We had about 26 people loading boxes today (Tuesday) and that’s the adult volunteers. The children from Fine Arts Academy, San Benito and Escuela del Rio were here pushing the boxes.”

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She said that the San Gabriel and Montesorri schools help sort the goods. Although designated for low-income families in the area, Jeanne Robbins said that people seeking assistance do not need to show proof of income. However, they are required to show proof of residence and ALF requests health cards or birth certificates from the children that are in the family. “We’re a limited resource,” said Jeanne Robbins. “We don’t have the funding to do outside our service area.” Jeanne Robbins said the food ALF provides is not meant to be a holiday dinner, rather it is intended to free up money to help go and buy the celebratory meal that they want. Food donations are sorted and placed into boxes and separated according to the number of people in the family. This year, Jeanne Robbins said, they have two families of 12. This is the third or fourth year that they will be giving away frozen turkeys or roasting chickens. For the first time, ALF allowed displaced/homeless people to register for the event. This year, ALF collected 3,900 cans of vegetables alone. “This year, we have actually registered some homeless people and they are getting no-cook bags because they have no place to cook,” said Jeanne Robbins, “...and that way they can get a coat.” According to Barbie Butz, the event used to be held at St. William’s Catholic Church. Jeanee Robbins said the Armory is the ideal site to hold the event for two reasons — plenty of room and it doesn’t disrupt any businesses. “It’s the only site that has enough square footage to accommodate all three entities,” Carl Robbins said.


or the new year, the Atascadero Downtown Business Improvement District plans to launch First Fridays events to stimulate the local business economy.

Part of the ABID’s new theme for the year — 2020 New Year, New Vision — the monthly events are part of the organization’s effort to attract people to shop and dine in downtown Atascadero. “There are thriving First Fridays in a lot of cites, and they are experiencing a lot of success,” said Zoe Zappas of Z Villages. She added that the events in other cities are receiving a lot of positive feedback from businesses. Starting Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, Atascadero will join the ranks of the popular movement with participating downtown businesses volunteering to keep their doors open past 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. “I feel like it’s a trend that will take over on its own and it will be easy for each of the businesses to take advantage of,” Deputy City Manager Terrie Banish said. Zappas said the ABID plans on having bands strategically placed downtown and Motions Academy of Dance will have dance troops scattered throughout the area. She said the event’s theme for January is “The Roaring 20s” to celebrate the new decade. “It will be post-holidays, so there will be some good deals out there,” Zappas said. The City and ABID have worked to have First Fridays coincide with other city attractions with the intention of drawing more people downtown. The Art, Wine & Brew Tours will take place during First Friday functions. The owner of Anna and Mom, Anna Pecharich, said she is excited about the First Fridays. She said events like these help local business owners and remind people of Atascadero’s growing retail and dining district. “I think as a community, we are not used to shopping in Atascadero, so it’s super exciting to have events in our downtown to give people a reason to come down and then discover everything that’s happening,” Pencharich said as she geared up for the downtown’s annual Winter Wonderland event. “We’ve got businesses opening, and we’re really trying to come to the forefront of people’s minds that it is an option to shop in your town.”

Colony Magazine | January 2020

Pickleball players cheered and waved their paddles in celebration of the City’s decision to build courts for the sport. Photo by Mark Diaz

Pickelball Courts Added to Colony Park Master Plan By Mark Diaz


he City of Atascadero officially jumped on the pickleball bandwagon with Council’s approval of four new courts to the Colony Park Community Center. Pickleball enthusiasts showed up in force at the meeting and cheered when the Council voted unanimously to approve plans for four pickleball courts in the Colony Park Master Plan. Located on Traffic Way, the center provides pickleballers a shared indoor space to play, but the new plans would set aside dedicated spots outside for the sport. The game has gained a lot of traction in the past few years and has become a professional sport. It is played on a badminton-size court, 20 by 40 feet, with competitors separated by a waist-high net. Using wide-faced paddles, players knock the pickleball back and forth, making sure the ball bounces at least once before their return volley. Mayor Pro Tem Charles Bourbeau explained that what wiffleball is to baseball, pickleball is to tennis. The proposed courts will be on the west side of the facility between the basketball courts and

January 2020 | Colony Magazine

Atascadero Creek just above the Public Works lift station. Public Works Director Nick Debar told the Council that originally the area was earmarked for a small amphitheater. He felt the courts took precedent and another spot could be found for an outdoor auditorium. Currently, players us

said she occasionally plays at the Paso Robles courts and even Morro Bay. She said it’s a common practice for players to search out pickup games while traveling. “If we’re out on the road traveling,” Sims said, “we’re definitely looking for a place to play pickleball. We went to Oregon

"That's why it was huge for us to have that master plan change because now we can tell people that the City is on board. They've changed the designation of the land officially to pickelball." the community center’s gym and its basketball courts, but space and availability are limited. Atascadero Pickleball Club President Barbara Sims said that courts could and do attract players from outside the city limits. She

last summer and camped for two weeks and played pickleball in Oregon. We went to Colorado the year before and we played in Colorado. A lot of people plan their vacations around where they can play pickleball.”

Although there is currently no money allocated for the courts in the City’s budget, Sims said that the popularity of the sport brings with it money from outside sources. Sims said the APC formed almost three years ago as a nonprofit organization to help raise funds for the game. Sims explained that the City’s decision to add courts to the park’s master plan is a big boost for the club. She said people were hesitant to donate to the organization due to the lack of official support from the City. “That’s why it was huge for us to have that master plan change because now we can tell people that the City is on board,” Sims said. “They’ve changed the designation of the land officially to pickleball.” The estimated cost of the project is $142,000, with the majority of the expense going to lay the concrete slab, according to a brochure produced by APC. Current estimates do not include outdoor lights. Sims said the club had raised approximately $25,000. She said that the day after the Council meeting, the club received $3,000 from a donor who wished to remain anonymous. | 45



he final chapter in the Star Wars Skywalker Saga will hit local cinemas tomorrow, the culmination of more than 40 years of epic space adventure storytelling that began with way back in 1977 with the first entry in the franchise, what would eventually become know as Episode IV: A New Hope, but at the time was known simply as “Star Wars.” The film was the vision of revolutionary filmmaker George Lucas and would go on to spawn seven more movies in the main saga along with several spin-offs and TV shows and even a theme park attraction at Disneyland. Lucas sold his rights to the franchise, along with creative control, to Disney in 2012 for $4 billion. Disney has since released four new Star Wars films to critical acclaim, mixed fan reactions and billions in box office revenues, already recouping what they spent to purchase LucasFilm. We spoke to three North County residents about their love of the Star Wars franchise, how the movies have changed their lives and their anticipation ahead of Disney’s fifth Star Wars release, “Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.”

LOCAL FAMILY BONDS OVER STAR WARS At the tender age of 7, Deanne LeMoineMcEwen started her journey to a galaxy far far away. When “Star Wars” hit the silver screen at

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Century Cinemas in Atascadero back in 1977, it set Deanne on a course that would play a major role in her life. Deanne said it’s not an easy thing to pick her favorite movie, but she would have to go with the one that started it all. “It’s like picking your children, but how can you not pick the one that introduced you to the whole universe?” Deanne said. “But I also really, really loved ‘Rogue One’… I love epic stories in the literature I read and everything, and I thought it was amazing how they took a oneliner from “Episode IV” and they made a whole movie out of it.” Deanne said that several movies have affected her, but arguably the most profound one was the first prequel, “Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” She said watching the story of Anakin Skywalker’s origins and how the sweet little boy

would become one of the most iconic villains in cinematic history left a lasting impression on her view of motherhood. “I was very fond of that one because it touched my heart and set me on a course to be a mom of boys with a purpose,” Deanne said. “It was very important to me to raise gentlemen with empathetic hearts.” The stories and characters of the Star Wars universe played a vital role in her interaction with her two sons. Deanne said that she purposely made it into a lasting and relatable interaction with her boys. “I needed to build a connection, being a mom of boys,” said Deanne. “It was important to me to become ‘the Star Wars nerd’... but I wasn’t nearly the geek I was until I realized that I needed to build that connection with my sons.” Deanne forged a tradition of taking her kids to the opening midnight showings of the movies, something that was frowned upon by some people. At the debut of “Episode 2: Attack of the Clones” (the fifth movie made), she brought her 5- and 6-year-old boys to the late-night show, on a school night. The bond constructed in their childhood remains strong. When it came time to pick songs for her oldest son’s wedding, Star Wars demonstrated its influence. “The Throne Room” song was chosen for the couple’s recessional walk. To her surprise and delight, Deanne said her son picked a cha-cha version of “The Cantina Song” CONTINUED ON PAGE 47

Colony Magazine | January 2020

from Episode 4 for their mother/ son dance. Though popularly referred to as the Cantina Song, its actual name is “Mad About Me.” “We were the hit of the wedding — people were screaming and hootin’ and hollerin’ and it was a blast,” Deanne said. Of the myriad of characters that fill the Star Wars universe, Deanne said picking her favorite was easy — Princess Lea. “She was fierce, feisty and unforgettable,” Deanne said. “More than anything, I loved her independence and loyalty.”

Local Star Wars fan Sedale Collins


Atascadero resident Sedale Collins was introduced to Star Wars through the merchandise, namely a Darth Maul action figure accompanied by a speeder and a battle droid. His first movie memory of the Star Wars universe starts with “Episode II: Attack of the Clones.” “I remember the audience cheering when Yoda was fighting the first time,” Sedale said. As one would expect of a megafan, Sedale’s room is full of Star Wars paraphernalia. The neat and tidy space is full of merchandise, artwork and books all pertaining to the space fantasy series. One Sedale’s favorite things to collect is lightsabers. He said he doesn’t know how many he owns, indicating his numerous laser swords leaning against the wall. “Lightsabers and books are my thing,” Sedale said. His most expensive lightsaber is

January 2020 | Colony Magazine

a replica of the one carried by the character Ahsoka Tano, who plays a crucial part in the Clone Wars canon. She is the main character in the animated series and Anakin Skywalker’s padawan. He said the most difficult saber he has collected so far was the dual Darth Maul replicas due to their popularity. Yoda being his favorite good guy in the series, Sedale has received and purchased Yodas and merchandise pertaining to the little green Jedi master. Giant greeneared bobbleheads and action figures look down from the top shelves of his room. Sedale even has a set of four Yoda coffee mugs. However, when asked what is his favorite item that he owns, Sedale immediately displays a snowglobe depicting the “Episode IV: A New Hope” movie poster. Sedale did not buy his most cherished item but received it as a Christmas gift a long time ago. Sitting in front of a significant collection of books and graphic novels, Sedale showed off more than merchandise. He retains a wealth of Star Wars information, both legend and new cannon, that he keeps hidden like a magician who hides flowers and handkerchiefs up his sleeves but are readily produced upon request. At the age of 13, his knowledge got him into a special 3D showing of “Episode One: The Phantom Menace.” Answering the question, who said, “At last we will have revenge?” At the special showing, he answered even more questions and won free tickets to Lego Land. Besides the latest addition to the saga hitting the theaters Friday, Dec. 20, Sedale is looking forward to the Star Wars Celebration 2020 taking place in Anaheim this summer. The event is a gathering of fans that celebrate the space opera adventure, allowing them to be privy to the latest and greatest developments, buy merchandise and meet the actors who breathe life into the iconic characters.

FORCE IS STRONG IN TEMPLETON It’s no secret around Templeton High School that Band Director David Landers is a big fan of Star

Templeton High School Band Director David Landers.

Wars. His T-shirt with a trombonewielding stormtrooper on the front gives you an idea of the depth of fandom. He’s grown up with the Star Wars saga and today is happily sharing it with his family, specifically his 13-year-old son Grayson. He’s rewatched the movies with his family and taken them to the latest releases. They will be there on opening night for “Rise of Skywalker” this week. It will mark the end of a long journey for many. “The most recent trailer when they ask C-3PO what are you doing there bud and he says ‘I’m taking one last look at my friends,’ each time I watch that I’m like man stop it because it is the last one,” David said. His favorite movies of the canon so far are “Return of the Jedi,” “Revenge of the Sith” and “Rogue One.” “With all of the griping and poopooing that went on with regards to the prequels, for me, I never really griped or poo-pooed because to me it was about the story,” David said. “I just wanted to know more about the story of these characters regardless of how it’s told or why Jar Jar Binks is even a character.” David has been the band director at THS for the past 18 years and is known for including music from Star Wars composer John Williams in their band performances. He also plays in San Luis Obispo Symphony and brings Star Wars into the mix. “When we do the children’s concerts with the SLO Symphony, and they go around and introduce all of the instruments and have them play something, I always play ‘The Imperial March.’ Dum dum

dum, dum-te-dum, dum-te-dum. All of the kids instantly recognize it and just go crazy.” David was 7-years-old when “Star Wars” first appeared on movie screens in 1977. “I saw it five times at the theater when I was a kid in Nashville, Tenn.,” David said. David was 10 when “The Empire Strikes Back” came out and 13 when “Return of the Jedi” was released. He saw each multiple times. A lot has changed over the past four decades since movie-goers first met and became enamored with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader. David subscribes to Disney Plus and has been rewatching the movies as well as the new series, “The Mandalorian.” “I found myself sitting there watching ‘New Hope, Episode IV,’ on my phone,” David said. “I remarked to myself ‘holy cow I’m sitting here watching this on my phone’ and remembering when it came out in ‘77. Back then, after it was out in the theaters, we had no more exposure to Star Wars until the next movie came out.” David said he and his friends bought and played with Star Wars action figures. And when they didn’t have the exact playset, they created one with styrofoam and markers. “I would make my own playsets that my brother, sister and I would play with,” David said. David doesn’t have any of the Star Wars memorabilia from when he was a kid. “You don’t think about things, the collectible culture, when you are 10 or 11,” David said. “I was never into that. I was a kid playing with them, not just keeping them.” He did have a lot of the action figures. His prized figure was Boba Fett, which he got before “The Empire Strikes Back” came out by sending in five proofs of purchase. “It was before anybody had seen Boba Fett,” David said. “Nobody knew who that character was. It was this cool looking character, and you got it for free. I definitely did that. That is the one that man if I still had that I could pay for his (Grayson’s) college.” | 47

| Education

What is Career Technical Education? James J. Brescia, Ed. D



hen I was in both junior high school (today’s middle school) and high school there were classes call “shop” or “trades.” These classes were a bit different from today’s cutting-edge, rigorous, and relevant career and technical education classes that prepare youth and adults for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, and highdemand careers. The evolution of CTE and some of the highlights for our county are the focus of this month’s article. The right to free public education for children was stressed in the late 1700s because there was a need to educate future leaders. Apprenticeships were giving way to formal schooling in certain trades. During the first 50 years of the United States, public education was largely limited to boys. Although in the early-1800s, girls began to enter schools to prepare for teaching. In the early 19th century, the workforce and the public education system started to work together to create a continuous stream of workers for different jobs. Schools specializing in training students to enter a certain area of the workforce started to open their doors, creating the basic framework for career and technical education. The idea started to spread to women’s colleges in the 1840s. The beginning of public high schools was also explored to continue to educate citizens. As our country moved into the 20th century the first manual training school was established in St. Louis, Missouri in 1879. This school set the foundation for modern CTE. Schools combined hands-

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on learning with classroom learning. Near the turn of the 20th century, agricultural education started to thrive with agriculture schools starting to open their doors and federal bills were passed to support CTE. The first mass acceptance of career and technical education came after World War I and the movement spread in the years that followed. CTE expanded to include adult education and retraining citizens to re-enter the workforce. World War II caused a surge in CTE as technical skills were needed for defense purposes. So where does that place us today? A few years ago I was fortunate to be invited to present some of my research at a symposium hosted by Oxford University in the United Kingdom. During one particular research presentation, I was reminded about the importance of CTE both internationally and domestically. The presenters, who were from the U.K., were addressing an audience from America, Europe, Asia and Africa on the importance of Career and Technical Education in secondary schools. Just a month prior to the Oxford symposium, I attended a local conference hosted by the California Department of Education, on (yes, you guessed it), the importance of CTE for California schools. My serendipitous attendance at both presentations served to strengthen the commitment to our recent county-wide efforts in securing newly awarded CTE grant funding for local schools throughout our county. Since presenting at Oxford my office has spearheaded ten grant programs that promote CTE programs across the country for the following reasons: • CTE related jobs are in high demand. • CTE preparation can meet individual and community workplace needs. • CTE programs have been shown to reduce drop-out rates in research and practice. • CTE classes serve to increase student

engagement in both CORE and CTE classes. • CTE curriculum has been shown to increase student achievement during and after school. Additionally, CTE has the potential to maintain a cutting edge of preparing students for “college and career readiness.” According to research conducted by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the U.S. will need at least 4.7 million employees with postsecondary certificates in the next few years. CTE programs have the potential to prepare and provide individuals for these positions. The Gates Foundation & Hudson Institute recently reported that a person with an associate degree or a postsecondary technical certificate on average earns $5,000-$15,000 per year more than a person with just a high school diploma. The National Research Center for CTE, as well as local educators, report that CTE students are taught to develop skills in problem-solving, project completion, research, mathematics, college applications, work-place communication, and time management. Additionally, data indicates that the integration of CTE courses within the academic course load minimized the risk of many students dropping out of school. Finally, business roundtable groups, researchers and educators across the globe have noted the potential of CTE. CTE has the power to equip students with CORE academic skills, and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations in order to complete daily activities and function in today’s workplace. It is an honor to serve as your county superintendent of schools.

Colony Magazine | January 2020

January 2020 | Colony Magazine | 49

Help a Child in Your Community By Susan Graves, CASA Grants and Development Coordinator


s we begin a new year, many of us make resolutions for the year ahead and for some of us that includes a decision to make an impact beyond our own families by contributing to our community. For those of us who love being with children, the decision to volunteer with CASA of San Luis Obispo County is an easy one. By being an advocate and a support for a child who has been abused or neglected, we can create hope for that child by advocating for needed services and a safe, nurturing, permanent home. For two local children, having Sarah*, a CASA volunteer, has made all the difference. The children are siblings, Tony* age 5 and Lisa* age 6. They had been living with their mother at the time they were removed from her care. The mother had over-dosed on drugs in the presence of the children. The children were immediately placed with foster parents and the CASA volunteer was assigned to advocate for them. 76 Gas Station.................................. 11 777 Motorsports.............................. 05 777 Tractor Sales............................... 07 1800 El Pomar Weddings Events & Vineyards.......................................... 23 American West Tire And Auto........... 02 Anna & Mom .................................... 17 Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.11 Atascadero Greyhound Foundation.02 Atown Family Med .......................... 05

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After meeting with the children and reviewing their cases, Sarah determined each child had experienced severe neglect and had many health problems that needed to be addressed. She was instrumental in getting each child assessed for medical and mental health issues. Tony underwent several dental procedures, and Lisa was able to be fitted for much-needed glasses. Sarah also engaged with the mother and was able to build a supportive relationship with her. Eventually, the mother began work on completion of her court-ordered case plan which included participating in parenting classes and DIRECTORY TO OUR ADVERTISERS Colony Magazine is brought to you by

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therapy sessions. Meanwhile, both children also began individual therapy. Sarah remained closely involved with the children, taking them to medical appointments and spending time doing fun activities. After nearly a year, the children were reunified with their mother. The children are both in school and doing very well. Their mother secured an apartment, has reliable transportation, is enrolled in community college, and has made great strides in ensuring her children’s needs are met. Throughout her advocacy for Tony and Lisa, Sarah has been a consistent source of support for them and a wonderful role model. She was also able to provide support to their mother. In addition to the life-changing advocacy she has provided the children and their mother, Sarah will be the first to say her CASA volunteer experience has changed her life as well. For information about becoming a volunteer with CASA, visit or call 805-541-6542. *The names of the children and volunteer advocate were changed to protect the children’s privacy and confidentiality.

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Colony Magazine | January 2020