Colony Magazine #25 • July 2020

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JULY 2020

Atascadero 4th of July The Birth of a Colony

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July 2020 | Colony Magazine | 5


Something Worth Reading Publisher’s Letter


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Round Town “Socially Acceptable” Summer Fun The Natural Alternative: Power Up With Electrolytes Santa Margarita: Planting Seeds

publisher, editor-at-large

Nicholas Mattson

Brian Williams

Colony People Bella Otter: Signs with Precision Shooting Equipment Atascadero High School Valedictorian: Jonathan Dolan Cruise Night: Riding for Charity Taste Of Colony Taste of Americana: Perfect Picnic Recipes

Local Business Hearing Aid Specialists: Helping You Hear for 20 Years Really Dead Cow: A Members Only Jerky Club Dr. Patricia A. Schechter: Putting the ‘Family’ in Family Medical Practice A Heavenly Home: Where Our Home is Your Home All About Events: All About Agility

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Colony Magazine | July 2020

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July 2020 | Colony Magazine | 7

Something Worth Reading | Publisher’s Letter

When we started this fantastic journey into journalism and media more than 10 years ago, my wife and I never dreamed we would be here now. I remember the first few ideas swimming around my head as we drove downtown San Luis Obispo reading a local rag. We discussed making a local magazine that celebrated the greatness that is our wonderful little community. We tucked that idea in our pocket and began working toward a dream. It’s been an interesting ride that has been anything but a straight line. In fact, the journey has been complete with such inconceivable twists that in hindsight we are settled with no other answer than it was meant to be — but it was no accident on our part. What we didn’t realize we were signing up for is the year 2020 as it is currently being drafted. Of all things, watching the world battle a pandemic and the United States — including our quiet corner of the world — splinter apart along sharp lines. No matter what a person’s political or social views, the ability and willingness to negotiate and discuss solutions across divides is the height of human genius. Beyond science and engineering, the art of bringing people together is the apex. Not just bringing a group together under a flag, but in bringing opposite sides and multiple flags together under a common goal, despite differences. And not only in the public forum as performance art, but in silent darkness where nothing is seen but the product of sacrifice and compromise. My wife and I dreamed of bringing the community together by presenting the glory of itself in its entirety. Over the 10 years, we worked countless hours with nonprofits, meeting people who helped people who needed help. The cross-section of human beings we encountered ran the spectrum, end to end, and each one inspired us. Each one is part of our community. Each one is why we mail this magazine to every mailbox in the area. Each one is why we continue to fight for our dream through the emotional and financial challenges that 2020 has brought to us. From step to step in this journey, we have been confronted with uncertainty. For us, faith is not an absence of fear, but a journey forward despite all fears. Our journey is a walk in faith in something that is greater than that which stands in our way. It is not even such that we know where we are going, but more an understanding that we know what we are supposed to do along the way. Our declared purpose is to make communities better through print. It is that purpose that drives us to put pen to paper and publish our content. We continue to do so in this time of massive angst. We do so in faith that despite our human failings, we are fulfilling our commitment to that which was given to us. Our time and age is unlike anything ever seen, and we are blessed with the challenge of documenting this time for history to look back on — not as prisoners of the moment, but as agents of independence. In this Together, Hayley & Nicholas Mattson

if thou wouldest win immortality of name, either do things worth the writing, or write things worth the reading. — Thomas Fuller, 1727

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Colony Magazine | July 2020

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| Colony Buzz

Celebrating the Past

Atascadero ’s Independence Day By Megan Olshefski


ssociated today with fireworks and barbecues, the Fourth of July marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence, one of the United States’ founding documents that internationally proclaimed the injustices brought upon the English Colonists of the Thirteen Colonies by England’s King George III. Aside from the significance for United States history, the Fourth of July marks a momentous event for the city of Atascadero as the transfer of the city’s land deed took place amongst fanfare on July 4, 1913. Prior to the festivities, established magazine publisher of Woman’s Magazine Edward Gardner Lewis (E.G. Lewis) found himself in the throes of a historical movement, Women’s Suffrage, for which he rallied support behind by establishing the America Woman’s Republic in 1911. As women marched for equal rights and the right to vote, the America Woman’s Republic provided educational opportunities for women on governmental affairs while promoting business and cultural opportunities. With the goal to not only establish a utopian city but also to locate a home-base for the

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America Woman’s Republic, E.G. Lewis and his wife, Mabel Gertrude Lewis, set out from Missouri to California to scour the landscape. Their search proved worthwhile when E.G. Lewis came upon Rancho Atascadero; under the ownership of J. H. Henry. In 1912, with his investors’ money, E.G., Lewis paid J.H. Henry $37.50 per acre for Rancho Atascadero. E.G., Lewis was no stranger to the importance of impeccable public relations and silenced any doubt of this on July 4, 1913. Alongside his wife, Mabel Lewis, who represented the America Woman’s Republic as its Vice President, E.G., Lewis received the land deed for Atascadero amongst all the pomp and circumstance one could muster. Nephew of E.G., Lewis, William H. Lewis, later describes the event in a 1974 account: “In its century of existence the [Rancho Atascadero] had never experienced the activity nor the significance of this particular day.” * Investors of the early Atascadero, alongside residents from the neighboring Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo areas, made the trek to the celebration via foot, horseback, train, wagon, and even automobile. The mayors of both Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo arrived by train to present speeches welcoming their new neighbor, while a state senator’s speech showcased the State’s enthusiasm towards the soon-to-be town. The deal was finalized in true Holly-

wood-worthy-fashion: “The transfer of the deed to the 23,000 acres Rancho Atascadero…was signaled by the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner”, raising the flag high above a nearby hill, and by a great aerial bomb.” The entertainment continued with concert band music, barbecue, daytime fireworks, and even athletic contests. An epic was written by Guy E. Heaton to honor the day aptly named Atascadero: An Epic. Atascadero’s Fourth of July celebrations continued full-force in conjunction with the growth of the city. Commencing on July 4, 1916, the city of Atascadero hosted celebrations at the Atascadero Lake Park. “It was in 1916 that the tradition of Fourth of July at Atascadero Lake was started, with a big community picnic with basket lunches and swimming, boating and land sports for entertainment.” Said early Atascadero resident, Marguerite A. Travis, in her 1960 publication The Birth of Atascadero: These traditions extended through the decades. The following year, the Fourth of July celebrations of 1917 diminished the fanfare of 1913 to that of a dress-rehearsal. Atascadero rolled out the red-carpet for newly elected California Governor William Stephens (March 15, 1917 - January 8, 1923) - who accepted the city’s invitation to host his first Fourth of July speech as governor. On the day of, Governor Stephens utilized the railway spur servicing Atascadero’s Civic Center as his private train’s port-of-call. He was greeted by Atascadero residents

Colony Magazine | July 2020

dressed in their finest - no dress, hat, or parasol unaccounted - and ushered to the back steps of the La Plaza building where other noteworthy guests awaited on a red, white, and blue decorated seating platform. Once again, William H. Lewis later describes the day in his writings: “A parade came first. It was led by the Atascadero Band in uniform and was followed by floats, mounted, and marching groups from as far as King City. After the parade, patriotic songs were sung, and then Governor Stevens gave his Fourth of July address.” Following the Governor’s speech, the congregation relocated to Stadium Park for a barbecue and a historical reenactment of California’s history - with a cast of nearly 200 individuals. By evening, Atascaderian hospitality continued as celebrants traveled to the Atascadero Lake where they “…watched the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, H.M.S. Pinafore, performed on a stage shaped like a boat, some feet out in the lake…With a full moon over the lake, this was an evening that the viewers would not forget.” Surprisingly enough, there were “…those who had the endurance and “stamina to trek back to Stadium Park” for a dance that lasted beyond [the Fourth of July].” To say the entire town took part in the celebrations would not be an overstatement as William H. Lewis notes about 1500 individuals were living in Atascadero during 1917 and estimates “…that every person living in the Colony participated [in the celebration] in one way or another.” As we prepare to don our red, white, and blue for this year’s Fourth of July, we shall not witness the transfers of land deeds, the arrival of governors, or attend operettas at the Lake Park. Instead, cancellations of fireworks and celebratory events beset us as we seek normalcy during a global pandemic. This Fourth of July may appear dissimilar to past celebrations, but we can maintain Atascadero’s founding spirit by looking to our history as we prepare our socially-distant barbecues. Let us take this Fourth of July to honor the founding of Atascadero by supporting those who have long-awaited the United States’ promise of the “…unalienable Rights…Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. ■ * All quotes from William H. Lewis’ writing are sourced from: William H. Lewis, “Atascadero Colony Days”; published by Wilkins Creative Printing, 1974.

July 2020 | Colony Magazine

Did You Know... The Colony of Atascadero, as we know, it had its origins on July 4, 1913. Buried under a century of world wars, women’s suffrage, the Civil Rights movement, installation of US 101, and the rubble of a devastating earthquake. Edward Gardner and Mabel Gertrude Lewis signed legal ownership over 23,000 acres of Atascadero from J.H. Henry to Mrs. Lewis and the Women’s Republic. This was done on the 137 anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence when the Anglo-Saxon patriarchs of 13 colonies declared that “all men are created equal.” The Women’s Republic made a signature statement with revolutionary implications — leading a growing call for women to be recognized as created equal, and a demand for equal opportunity to participate in the democratic process. There are four quotes engraved in the iconic Atascadero Colony Administration Building, today’s City Hall: 1. “The most valuable of all arts will be that of deriving a comfortable subsistence from the smallest area of soil.” — Abraham Lincoln 2. “For lasting happiness, we turn our eyes to one alone, and she surrounds you now. Mother Nature.” — George Sterling 3. “Let us keep our faces to the sunshine, and we will not see the shadows.” — E.G., Lewis 4. “Great Nature, refuge of the weary heart and only balm of breasts that have been bruised.” — George Sterling The choice by Lewis to choose two quotes from contemporary poet Sterling — a founding member of the Bohemian, counter-culture, artist enclave community of Carmel-by-the-Sea — should be more revealing than it is puzzling; uniquely when placed in context. Lewis was from the Midwest and placed two quotes from a play Sterling wrote named “The Triumph of Bohemia,” written in 1907 — less than a decade before Lewis decided to etch a phrase from the play in two parts on the centerpiece that still stands in the center of Atascadero. Two phrases from Sterling, alongside one attributed to himself, and another from one of the most notable icons of American human rights and the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. | 13

| Fun in the Sun


s we continue this journey through COVID-19 and we are now enjoying summer, we are reminded that once again, this year continues to be different. However, that does not stop all the incredible people in our community who host our annual events each year from getting creative. Here are a few “Socially Acceptable” events that we all can still enjoy!

Festival is the yearly fundraiser for Atascadero Colony Days. It was canceled this year due to state regulations in response to COVID-19. “For the past three years, we have seen thousands of people join us to celebrate at the Atascadero Lake Park,” festival founder and director Nic Mattson said. “It is disappointing to have to cancel, but we are working with the city of Atascadero to make the best decision we can for all involved.” 4TH OF JULY – COLONY DAYS FUNDRAISER BBQ In order to raise funds for this The annual Atascadero Fourth year’s parade, the Colony Days of July Freedom Committee has decided to host a Bluegrass Drive-Thru Barbecue on Saturday, July 4, from noon to 4 p.m. They will have chicken and tri-tip dinners for four available, with a limit to 200 dinners. You can take advantage and pre-buy your dinners now at The event will return to the calendar in 2021 with a Sunday, July 4 date, and the authentic Bluegrass lineup that will accompany the family-friendly event, filled with vendors, food, and drinks. VIRTUAL CONCERTS IN THE PARK WITH VISIT ATASCADERO Atascadero’s Summer Concert Series returns this year, Virtually. You can enjoy the sounds of Saturdays in the Park that will begin on July

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11 with the Martin Paris Band from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. from your own home! Visit Atascadero has been working hard behind the scenes to bring the community together in the highly anticipated summer concert series in a way that is safe for everyone during these unprecedented times for all to enjoy. For now, the first two to three concerts will be virtual, with the plan to move to reservations to allow for social distancing. For more information on the series and how you will be able to “tune in” and enjoy the show, visit CALIFORNIA MID -TATE FAIR The California Mid-State Fair announced it would restore a bit of fair fun on the grounds this summer with a weekend activity of food and drive-in movie experiences. The weekends started the last Friday in June and will go through July 26 for customers to stop by and get food from 4 to 7 p.m. “Wheels N’ Reels” will occur in July on the 18 and 19, along with the 25 and 26, at 8:30 p.m. FAIR FOOD The Mid-State fair came up with a creative way to bring us some of our fair food favorites that we were going to miss this year. In coordination with local vendors, such as Jimmy’s Barbeque & Bar, Mason’s Den (funnel cakes and more), Log Cabin (kettle corn and popcorn), Hot Dog On A Stick, and Paradise Shave Ice they will be offering food to-go, each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 4 to 7 p.m.

All items will be available on a firstcome, first-served basis at the south end of the Paso Robles Event Center, where you can park in the Pioneer Lot on 21st Street, walk onto the Fairgrounds and pick up your food to-go. They will also have the option to sit and eat on a picnic blanket or picnic table! WHEELS N’ REELS What would be better than the carnival lot turning into a drive-in movie theater! The CMSF crew is bringing in a giant inflatable screen that will sit 40 feet high and span 20 feet across and will be located on the northwest corner of the carnival lot. The lot can host up to 150 cars/ trucks, and spaces will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, with autos being allowed to line up at the gate starting at 6:30 p.m. Classic Fair-type offerings like corn dogs and funnel cakes will be available for purchase. The two movies for July 18 and July 19 will be “Weird Science” and “Eight Seconds,” respectively. The Fair is asking for patrons to abide by social distancing practices and advise bringing cash as not all the vendors take credit cards. For more information, visit  Colony Magazine | July 2020




o you feel drained, lightheaded or sluggish after a day in the sun or after an extreme workout? Electrolytes play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis within the body. They support heart and nervous system function, fluid balance, oxygen delivery, acid-base balance, and much more. Depletion of these crucial minerals esp sodium and potassium, will cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and muscle cramps. Before you reach for sports drinks such as Gatorade (full of sugar and artificial colors), treat yourself and your soccer-kicking kids to a healthy sports drink! Ultima Replenisher is an easy-tofix, high-performance energy drink with no caffeine or artificial stimulants. Ultima contains all major electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, chloride, and sodium) plus trace minerals, which accelerate the assimilation and absorption of vitamins and nutrients. Revitalize and recharge your body’s natural energy with Ultima Replenisher. This easy mix powder comes in many tasty flavors, including cherry pomegranate, grape, orange, raspberry, and lemonade. Mix with water and you’re good to go! Kids love it

too!! For those that prefer to replenish essential electrolytes in capsule form, we have that too!! COVID19 Weight Gain??? Has the temporary home confinement caused your scale to creep upward, leaving you feeling a bit sluggish? We are here to help! Try a 10- or 21-Day Detox and Weight Loss program utilizing Standard Process whole food nutritional shakes and a healthy diet, including clean protein, healthy fats, and lots of fresh veggies! Contact Bobbi or Victoria to find out which program would work best for you! “I am doing great and feeling great and beyond excited to have begun this new journey. As of Friday, I am down 5 lbs. I am on the 6th day of the cleanse and have been focusing on extremely clean eating habits and making new meals with the information and ideas you gave me with the meal plan chart I am looking forward to our next meeting and to see where I will be in the next two weeks. Again, thank you for all your help in my new journey. I’ve never felt so encouraged and motivated to make a true life change.” ~Kind Regards, Julia If you are ready to feel and look your best, the Team at The Natural Alternative is here for you!! Bobbi Conner, CNC. ACN, MH


July 2020 | Colony Magazine | 15

| Santa Margarita

By Simone Smith

“IT ALL BEGAN IN THE GARDEN,” so reads a sign behind the counter at Abe’s Nursery in the proposed new film, “The Gardener.” And so it did when I first met Day Dupree, who pulled into Santa Margarita on Oct. 13, 2019. Towing her vintage Lil’ Loafer trailer, Day was scouting out Central Coast locations and planning to stop at festivals, coffee shops and nurseries throughout the US to tell her story face to face, plant seeds of interest and find potential backers for her movie project, going directly to the audience and outside of the Hollywood mainstream. Although the story came to her in 1989, plans to move on the film have had some interesting coincidences, paralleling our current reality. “The Gardener” is a masterful interweaving of three separate stories to be filmed on locations from L.A., through Santa Ynez and San Luis Obispo county, and focused on a mountain top cottage in Big Sur where the mystery and magic of the story unfolds. Sabena Weathers is the powerful executive at the helm of a family cosmetics empire that has become her life. For Sabena, it’s all work all the time to appease nervous inves-

Gardening, Healing and a Future Film

tors and prevent a hostile takeover by its European counterparts until a horrible hacking cough and serious illness force her to rest, relax and recuperate. Resigned, Sabena is drawn to move to a remote mountaintop cottage with an overgrown and neglected garden where she can escape the stresses of daily life. When she enlists the help of Walter, a seemingly simple gardener from across the mountain, she begins a powerful journey of self-discovery, healing and transformation to her true self. Ironically, shortly after our meeting and still, early in her journey, Day developed a cough and an illness that returned her home with plans to resume her travels in Spring. We all know what happened next as COVID19 prompted shutdowns across the nation, requiring all but “essential workers” to shelter in place. Stuck at home and with very few options for entertainment or activity, here in Santa Margarita as in many parts of the country, residents turned to binge-watching movies, documentaries and series through streaming services, reading and learning to improve or develop their DIY skills. At the same time, the focus of life had shifted. This forced downtime has made people re-exam-

ine their lives and focus on what is truly important such as family, friends, health and their immediate environment. Home improvement and gardening gained top priority for many who previously had no time. Weedy, overgrown and neglected gardens have transformed into verdant and colorful oases. They provide a source of food for humans and wildlife or simply an area for calm relaxation and escape from the tumultuous world. Gardening has a way of centering us. Working in the soil, planting, watching and tending to daily growth and harvesting is almost meditative and has shown significant health benefits mentally, physically and emotionally. As for the film and entertainment world, things are still evolving with new rules and adaptations made as businesses are slowly allowed to restart. Film and TV sets have been closed


since mid-March, and the entire entertainment industry has seen a complete upheaval with loss of jobs and venues in transition. Mandatory coronavirus testing for cast and crews along with limitations or restrictions to traveling and exposure mean that smaller studios and productions with fewer people are more nimble, allowing for quicker start to finish times. Days’ plan to bring the film directly to her audience with opportunities for donors to follow along and even participate in various aspects of the film-making process couldn’t be more timely. It could be an exciting opportunity to see our area incorporated into the telling of this transformational and uplifting tale of love, loss, and healing through the gentle guidance of “The Gardener.” To find out more, donate or follow along the film making journey, please go to 

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Colony Magazine | July 2020



ast month Atascadero’s own Isabella Otter signed on the dotted line to become a sponsored member of Precision Shooting Equipment and was given one of the company’s top bows, a Supra Focus, in her favorite color. Otter has proven herself to be not only one of the best young female shooters but one of the best shooters in the country by absolutely dominating her last indoor season when she came home with a National Title and two state titles. On May 28 at Central Coast Archery in San Luis Obispo, where she trains for indoor, Otter signed the contract she had been dreaming of and got her hands on the bow that could

July 2020 | Colony Magazine

take her to the next level. “To be welcomed onto their shooting staff, especially when they are celebrating their 50th anniversary, is a huge honor, and it blows my mind. It is pretty crazy,” Otter said. “But I couldn’t have

Scouts six years ago and has since fallen in love with the sport with the support of her family. “I am a proud father. I couldn’t be any more proud of her or any happier for her,” Bella’s father Nate said. “This whole time has

done it without the help of Blair Sandberg, who set this up or Scott and Joel Wilson who own Central Coast Archery and always let me shoot.” The junior Greyhound first picked up a bow in the Girl

been about allowing her to push herself as far as she wanted, and my job was to make sure that she had all the support that she needed.” At the time of this story, Otter has not yet been able to get back

to practicing indoors due to business shutdowns and the shelterat-home orders but cannot wait to start practicing for postponed outdoor competitions and especially next indoor season. “I am super excited to get back indoors,” she stated. “They haven’t told me when I can yet, I am kind of just staying online and waiting for things to reopen and for them to send out new dates for postponed outdoor tournaments and then the indoor season.” The Las Vegas World Archery Festival is the largest archery tournament in the world, and this year’s winner, Kyle Douglas, took home the top honors and 100,000 dollars using the same bow Otter now possesses and might soon be looking over his shoulder at one of his teammates.  | 17

| Atascadero High School

Atascadero Seniors Drive-Thru Graduation

By Nicholas Mattson


he regular school year ended with questions about how to celebrate the culmination of a high school career without the traditional graduation walk. Packing the high school stadium full of attendees and hundreds of students into rows on the field was not viable, so an alternative was brought to life. The Atascadero Unified School District outlined the first-of-its-kind graduation automobile parade through downtown Atascadero. “While current state and county restrictions make our traditional ceremonies impossible, we believe we have created a positive, meaningful experience that will appropriately and safely honor our graduates and allow families and friends to celebrate,” stated a letter from AUSD. The 2020 graduation was intended as a “special opportunity that we want the whole family to experience,” according to the district. The ceremonial parade followed a route

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along Traffic Way, down Palma Avenue, transporting the Atascadero High School seniors across the front of the Atascadero City Hall. On the sidewalk of City Hall, graduates received their diplomas with social distancing protections in place. “We don’t know what that will look like at that time, but the goal is to maintain as much tradition as possible,” Neely said. AUSD encouraged graduates and families to decorate an automobile, don their cap, gown and tassel, and ride with family in the parade. COVID-19 took the spring season of high school sports, the spring semester of school, and eventually the empowering and affirming graduation walk among classmates and friends. What was lost to the pandemic by society is widespread, and impacted all forms of life as it was, and AUSD’s graduation response was a small part of the honor bestowed on high school seniors as they finished a chapter in their book. Unfortunately, the audience that usually towers above the graduating class in the

To limit contact, graduates drove by to receive their diploma as family and friends cheered them on from the sidewalks. Photos contributed by AHS Hilltop News Colony Magazine | July 2020

Atascadero High School |

2020 Graduating Class. Photos Contributed by AHS Hilltop News

stadium seats of Memorial Stadium at AHS was missing, but crowds lined the parade route to support their friends and family. Many of the would-be audience was riding in the vehicles with the graduates, which gave the closest family and friends a first-person view of the event. The Atascadero Unified School District trustees met on the steps of the Atascadero City Hall to greet the graduates as they drove by to receive their diplomas. Graduates exited one at a time to get a photograph in front of the iconic city hall. A fenced wall ran the length of the east end of the Sunken Gardens park, adorned with congrats and celebratory decor. Crowds packed around the parade route, which ran from Traffic Way down Palma Avenue to pass by the face of the Atascadero City Hall. AUSD trustees, administration, and principals met their students at a safe distance most of the time, although it was clear that the heightened concerns over COVID-19 had evaporated significantly. The overriding theme of the day was the steps graduates were taking into the next phase of their lives. They are tasked with shaking off the trauma of coronavirus and nationwide rioting over police brutality and systemic injustice that threatened to overshadow their rite of passage into adulthood on a sunny June morning. The class of 2020 faced a dramatic end of their high school career, and will deal with the fallout over multiple national crises as they navigate their way into professions in an uncertain future. Each generation, and each graduating class, has a unique identity and a unique character. This particular class is presented with culture and climate change opportunity born of crisis and the path to leadership will be shaped by the first and last half of 2020. Typically, the plan after graduation is a fairly well-lighted path. This year, not so much. ď Ž Editor’s note: In light of everything going on in the world, Colony Magazine wants to acknowledge the weight on the shoulders of our graduating seniors, and tell you how proud we are of you for finishing out a tumultuous senior year. We believe in you. We love you. We appreciate all the good news you have provided us over the past decade and we want to keep getting good news from you as you endeavor to lead us into the future.

July 2020 | Colony Magazine | 19

| Atascadero High School


Jonathan Dolan

L ooking For ward to Attendi ng U C B e rke l ey By Connor Allen


tascadero High School senior Jonathan Dolan is known as a fierce competitor on the Greyhounds cross country and track and field teams and is no slouch in the classroom either. Dolan earned the top honor in the class — valedictorian — by finishing with a lofty cumulative 4.56 grade point average. He was recognized when Atascadero High School celebrated its graduates on Wednesday, June 10, via a drive-byparade-style ceremony. Each student received their diploma in front of the city’s most iconic structure, the Rotunda. More than 350 students made their way around the Sunken Gardens, including graduates from Paloma Creek and ACE. While many valedictorians address their classmates during the graduation ceremony in a speech, Dolan left the honor to the class Salutatorian Anneline Breytenbach. For a student to earn a GPA of over 4.0, they must not only take advanced placement classes but also excel in them. A.P. classes are created to test above-average students through critical thinking, prepare them for college, and, at times, provide a substantial workload, which is why Dolan chose two of them as his hardest classes at AHS. “I took A.P. Physics, which was pretty hard in terms of concept, but in terms of the total work I did, A.P. Environmental Science was a lot,” Dolan said. The now-former Greyhound is officially a Bear as he is attending the University of California at Berkeley this fall and will major in Civil Engineering. The wiry and sometimes shy senior applied to several of the top schools in the nation, including the top universities in California, and made it into nearly all of them. “Berkely was definitely up there as one of my favorite choices,” Dolan told

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The Atascadero News. “I also applied to Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and Cal Poly. I didn’t make it into Stanford or Harvard, but I did make it into Berkeley, UCLA and some other local schools, but Berkeley was pretty high up there on the list.” While studying Civil Engineering, Dolan will join the UC Berkeley triathlon club as he is among the top young athletes in the country. This past November, Dolan made a trip to Florida and came home a national champion. The 17-year-old won the Aquathlon National Championship, which featured a 1,000-meter swim followed by a 5-kilometer run. “It is one of the more established club programs,” Dolan said. As for his ultimate future, Dolan is still unsure but is looking forward to the opportunities in front of him. “I am just hoping that I can design some roads and bridges and stuff,” he said. “I don’t really know what I’ll be, but there are a lot of great opportunities, and I am psyched to find out what I am able to do.” 

Jonathan and his mother, Tata Dolan, pose for a picture while celebrating his outstanding achievements. Contributed photo

Colony Magazine | July 2020


By Connor Allen


f you have found yourself downtown, in a North County city, on a Friday night, around dusk the last few months, you probably stumbled upon what seemed like an impromptu car show, but it was much more than that. At the beginning of April, Paso Robles resident Scott Keith started the Facebook page “Paso Strong Car Cruise.” Three months later, that page is up to nearly 2,000 likes and draws the attention of motorheads who are already depressed at the canceling local car shows. While many of those in the community were aware of the cruise nights, almost none knew its origin and the message behind popular Friday night activity. The idea started near the end of March when the county was in the early parts of quarantine when Keith received a Facebook message about a cruise night in downtown San Luis Obispo since all the stores were closed. Following a few different cruises in SLO, Keith decided to take the initiative and make a cruise page in North County, where old, cool, cars are a way of life, and it spread like wildfire. Some in the community assumed the car cruises were created as a way to rebel against the stay-at-home orders. Some wondered if this was something that had been happening for years with little attention. The real answer is that Keith just wanted to create something that gave people a sense of normalcy for an hour or two while also helping out local communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. July 2020 | Colony Magazine

“When they talk about high-risk individuals, I am who they are talking about, and because of that when they issued the stay-at-home order, my doctors pulled me from work,” said Keith, who was born with a congenital heart defect which puts him at extreme risk if he were to catch the COVID19 virus. “My thought was that when music and concerts and sporting events and car shows, and everything that everyone has in common gets taken away, the only thing that people have left are the things that divide them.” Through the last couple of months, the cruise nights continued to grow in both size and popularity as have the Facebook groups. There are currently three groups in the North County, Paso Strong Car Cruise, Templeton Eagles Cruz Night, and Atascadero Cruise Nights. The cruisers rotate the cities and ride each Friday unless explicitly stated otherwise, like the cruise in Paso Robles for graduates this past weekend. “The first time we did it, I’m not even sure how many hundreds of cars we had in downtown Paso,” Keith said. “I just kind of took the initiative and formed a Facebook group, and it’s not an official thing, we aren’t trying to recreate the regular cruise night. All of that stuff is going to come back, the car shows the cruise nights and all that stuff but for the short term in this unprecedented, weird moment in history that we are in, let’s see who we can get to come out.”

While most of the cars pictured and perhaps the most remembered are the candy paint hot rods, the 1962 Shelby Cobra, or the one with hydraulic lifts, these cruises aren’t only for nice cars, they are for everyone. What started as a fun thing for drivers and their families and a way to give local restaurants a little help has now swept through the North County, lifting the spirits of many people from Paso Robles to Santa Margarita. Last weekend the cruise night was moved to Saturday and helped celebrate Paso Robles High School graduates who had the final months of perhaps their most memorable year stripped from them. Before that, the cruisers raised money for a local nursing home. “Brandon Stier, who is one of the co-admins, got involved through a motorsport company that he is part of where they do big long cruises that

Photos by Rick Evans

will raise money for charity,” Keith explained. “So the two of us started brainstorming, and we organized a car show of about 50 or 60 cars to drive by a local nursing home in Paso Robles that had reached out to us.” With a couple of charitable endeavors under their hoods, the cruisers are stepping it up one more notch this weekend on June 20 when they are going to raise money for three different charities in one ride. The cruisers will start on the north side of Paso Robles and drive to Santa Margarita, taking back roads like Vineyard Drive. They are also encouraging drivers to bring three separate envelopes with $5 in each one (or whatever a person feels comfortable giving). The route will stop by three designated spots where someone will be waiting to collect envelopes. “We are going to stop at the Children’s Museum in Paso Robles, and as every car passes by, they hand one envelope to a designated receiver who will collect them as people pass by. The reason there are three envelopes is that we are doing that for three charities, The Children’s Museum, Camp Natoma, and The Family Care Network in Atascadero,” Keith explained. “All of those places have been shut down, and so has their fundraising. Big events and groups is how a lot of these nonprofits generate money through the summer to fund these programs.” Next time you see a line of classic cars in one of your towns make sure to smile, wave, give a courteous toot of the horn or even join in as it’s just a big group of North County people trying to help out their neighbors in one of the best ways they know.  | 21

Five things to do outside with your littles while still social distancing By Tonya Strickland


ou’re bored in the house and you’re in the house bored (that’s a TikTok you gotta watch btw), so here are five North County summer outings to do with your littles while still social distancing. GRAB A FREE READ AT THE LITTLE FREE LIBRARY 623 13th St., Paso Robles In 2019, the kids and I donated a Little Free Library to the Paso Robles Children’s Museum. The library is an outdoor cabinet stocked with stories and picturebooks, and operates on the honor system of “take a book, leave a book.” The box is accessible 24/7, is completely free and is open to everyone. It’s registered with the official Little Free Library nonprofit organization as Charter No. 84178. BONUS: This location, located outside on the edge of the museum’s outdoor play area facing 13th Street, is special because it’s specifically for children’s books! GO ON A HAPPY HEART HUNT, PASO ROBLES Citywide Here’s a fun one - do a scavenger hunt for hearts through the city. After we stocked the little free library, we held hands and walked around downtown to scout any #HappyHeartHunt hearts we could find through City Rec’s new #PasoStrong activity! All you do is craft a heart (out of paper or wood or whatever!) to decorate the outside of your house, car or walkway to express love and hope in the community. People then look around for them like a scavenger hunt and post pics on Facebook. The city posted some wooden hearts on stakes around the park already. We’ve found five hearts around City Park — some painted with birds,

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oaks and vineyard-dotted hillsides. Clara and Wyatt were SUPER into it, zipping around the grass and stoked to get out of the house for some much needed outdoor time. I’m not going to tell you where they all are, but our fave is the heart at the City Park gazebo that says, “We’re All In This Together.” BONUS: If you make a heart or find a heart, tag your pics with #PasoStrong, #HappyHeartHunt and Paso Robles Recreation Services. If you did the Virtual Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt in April, I wonder if you could attach two eggs at an angle to create one big heart?! Lifehack. ATASCADERO LIBRARY CURBSIDE PICKUP 6555 Capistrano Ave. We miss playing in the Atascadero Library’s children’s section so much! But to tide us over, as of June 2, library cardholders can now place up to 10 books/movies/materials on hold using the online catalog at Just go to the website, click on ‘Curbside Holds Pickup’ at the top of the homepage and ‘Search the Catalog’ to place requests. You will receive an email, text or phone notification based on your preference when your stuff is ready. Then drive to the library, and text 805-867-6741 when you get there. Then the staff will bring out your books! As of printing, curbside pickup is available Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. BONUS: You can also return items in the book drop. We’ve been holding on to our last library haul since March because we weren’t sure what to do. SLO County Libraries also summer reading programs on its YouTube channel, including storytime.

Swimming in Atascadero’s Graves Creek. Photos by Tonya Strickland

Happy Heart Hunt in Paso.

Colony Magazine | July 2020

RAMBOUILLET SNEAD TRAIL, PASO ROBLES Multiple neighborhood entry points on Paso’s eastside. We used Oxen Street, off Charolais Road. Call me crazy but we’ve lived in Paso Robles for a decade and I only discovered the Rambouillet Snead Trail this April! Walk down one of several neighborhood entryways and it feels like a little oasis of oaks, a diverse network of short trails to explore. The main paved trail goes into a wooded hillside area that branches off into little footpaths and a seasonal creek. Given that it’s July, the creek is dry now, but the creekbed is full of rocks, sticks, and dirt and all things fun for kids. BONUS: There’s a clearing in the trail midway with some sort of bike jump open space thing with short dirt mounds to ride over. That’s my official terminology and I’m sticking to it :)

Discover the hidden beauty of Paso’s Rambouillet Snead Trail.

APPLE VALLEY PARK | GRAVES CREEK, ATASCADERO 1980 San Ramon Road off Del Rio Road on Atascadero’s westside. I’ve written about it before, but Apple Valley Park is the cutest no-frills neighborhood park with big trees, picnic tables, and lots of grass to run and play. There’s a dirt path that runs along the perimeter with lots of overhead shade. There’s no playground, which is actually kind of nice. BONUS: Make sure to find the semi-secret trail through the trees on the west side of the park leading down to Graves Creek. The unmarked dirt path is easy to miss but has all the secret garden vibes once you spot it. In the summer, the water is gone, but I’d say the creekbed trail is still worth a trek for ages 4-and-older any time of year. It might be too steep for moms with babies or toddlers to navigate. ■


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July 2020 | Colony Magazine | 23

| Taste of Americana

Perfect Picnic Recipes Barbie Butz


uly congers up memories of 4th of July celebrations dating back for me to the early 1940s. My family lived in Pasadena, right next door to my grandparents. My grandmother loved picnics. It was a tradition to travel to Griffith Park in Glendale for a 4th of July picnic. Those picnics often turned into family reunions of sorts, since we usually had visitors from Oklahoma, where my family hailed from. I must brag that I come from a family of wonderful “comfort-food” cooks, and the recipes for the dishes they brought to those potluck picnics could have filled a Southern Living Magazine and more. I love the idea of a picnic on this 4th of July even though we may still be practicing “social distancing.” I suggest we just set up a big table, don our favorite red, white, and blue table cloth, and invite our family and friends to deliver their favorite potluck food. We can serve buffet-style while standing 6 feet apart! We can have our guests bring their lawn chairs and sit in “safe” groups. Hopefully, by then, we will be able once again to enjoy our old-fashioned potluck picnic “gatherings.” If you planted heirloom tomatoes this year, this first recipe will become one of your summer favorites. But, if the planting bug did not bite you, visit one of our farmer’s markets in the area to secure what you need. This pie can be served as a side dish and can be served hot, warm or at room temperature, making it a perfect addition to a picnic buffet. Old Fashioned Tomato Pie Ingredients: • Pastry for one 9-inch pie • 2 ¼ lb. assorted heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced • 1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt, divided • 1 sweet onion, chopped • 1 ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided • 1 Tbsp. canola oil • ½ cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, and basil) • ½ cup freshly grated Gruyére cheese • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese • ¼ cup mayonnaise (I like Best Foods) Directions: Prepare pie dough or unwrap prepared dough (I like Pillsbury). Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Press dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim dough 1-inch larger than the diameter of pie plate; fold overhanging dough under itself along the rim of pie plate. Chill 30 minutes or until firm. Line pie crust with aluminum foil; fill

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with pie weights or dried beans. Place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil. Bake 5 minutes or until browned. Cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack (about 30 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Prepare Filling: Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt. Let stand 10 minutes. (Don’t skip this step as it rids tomatoes of excess juice so that pie won’t get soggy). Sauté onion and ¼ tsp.eachsalt and pepper in hot oil in a skillet over medium 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Pat tomatoes dry with a paper towel. Layer tomatoes, onion, and herbs in prepared crust seasoning each layer with pepper (1 tsp. total). Stir together cheeses and mayonnaise; spread over pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, shielding edges with foil to prevent excessive browning. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Serves 6-8. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like deviled eggs, so I’m including this recipe with Tex-Mex flavors. Tex-Mex Deviled Eggs Ingredients: • 6 hard-cooked eggs • 1 Tbsp. diced green onions • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro • 1 small serrano or jalapeňo pepper, seeded and finely chopped • ¼ cup mayonnaise • 1 tsp. yellow mustard • ½ tsp. table salt • ¼ cup (1 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese • Chili powder Directions: Cut eggs in half crosswise, carefully remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash egg yolks; stir in green onions and next 5 ingredients. Spoon yolk mixture into egg white halves; sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and desired amount of chili powder. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes 1 dozen. For a quick dessert, use 1 box of Krusteaz Cranberry Orange Muffin Mix. Prepare the Almond Plum Cake using the directions on the back of the box. Instead of plums, use fresh blueberries on top of the batter. I used about a cup of frozen, sugared blueberries I keep in the freezer and it was enough. (When I freeze the berries, I wash them, put them in a Ziploc bag and sprinkle them with a little granulated sugar, so they look “frosted” when I use them later). Serve wedges of cake with a dollop of whipped cream. Presto! You have your red, white and blue dessert for the 4th of July. I also like to add one of those little American cupcake flags. Have a happy, healthy summer! ■ Colony Magazine | July 2020

hearing aid specialists Helping You Hear for 20 Years By Brian Williams


t doesn’t take long for Peter and Nicole Lucier to see the impact they have on peoples’ lives. The Luciers own Hearing Aid Specialists of the Central Coast on Morro Road in Atascadero and are celebrating their 20th year of helping people hear better. “We are celebrating our 20th year in business in May,”Peter says.“It’s an interesting field, but it is rewarding because you get to help people hear again. Peter says there is a lot of “embarrassment with hearing loss, sometimes shame by family members or resentment.” People come in claiming they do not hear well, their family is yelling at them, or their wife is at her wit’s end, and they walk out a changed person. “We put the hearing aids on, you see their faces light up, right away they seem more alert, they feel they are hearing better,” Peter says, “not only hearing better, but they feel more connected. I think some people feel younger by hearing better.” They started the business in Atascadero after Peter, who grew up in Arroyo Grande, completed college. “I think we came in at the right time when things were kind of small,” Peter says. “We kind of rode the wave as the county grew.” Their first Hearing Aid Specialists location was a single-room location on July 2020 | Colony Magazine

El Camino Real. They moved to Paso Robles and four years ago moved back to their current location in Atascadero. They also have an office in San Luis Obispo. “We are in the medical field, but we are not having to deal with the gory part, the blood and guts like physicians,” Peter says. “It’s rewarding because people do feel better when they can hear. They do become dependent on us. It’s definitely a relationship type of practice because of the ongoing follow up visits and things like that.” Being a small family-owned practice that has been around for 20 years, the Luciers can make a special connection with their patients. “I try to think of the person that is in front of me is like my mother or one of my aunts or uncles and how they want to be treated,” Peter says. His twin daughters are sophomores in college. They have been helping out at the business since they were little and continue to help when they return home from college. “I have patients that have been with me since the beginning; they still ask me about my kids and how they are

doing,” Peter says. “I have quite a few people who are multi-generational because hearing loss runs in the family. I’ve had grandparents, daughters and granddaughters as patients.” Getting to know people and being part of the community is what the Luciers enjoy about being business owners. “My patients, I think, are fantastic. One of the things that I like is the variety of people that I have met,” Peter says. “I had one billionaire as a patient years ago, and I have had people from all walks of life — business owners, veterans, people with fascinating stories. It’s nice that you get to know the patients over the years.” Since opening their doors, the Luciers have made house calls and continue to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining that personal connection is vital to the couple. “We are small enough to be flexible, and we kind of tailor to the patient’s needs, which is important,” Peter says. “I have been all over the place, seeing patients over the years. It is fun and rewarding. Through the COVID-19 stayhome orders, the Luciers continued

to communicate with lots of people through phone calls and emails. “And I could tell a lot of them were lonely because they were by themselves,” Peter says. “It was nice to talk to people. I was doing house calls, delivering batteries and dropping some hearing aids off.” Hearing Aid Specialists take great pride in fixing hearing aids. “To be able to get their hearing aids fixed and repaired, usually on the same day, I like the troubleshooting, working with them,” Peter says. “With 20 years of experience, I have seen every brand, type, and style and fixed thousands of hearing aids over the years.” The Luciers are members of local service organizations and happily give back. “We’ve been good at supporting charities,” Peter says. “I don’t think we have ever turned down a silent auction request or a donation. It’s fun because you get to know people in your community.” ■

HEARING AID SPECIALISTS is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday but by appointment only right now. They are located at 7070 Morro Rd. in Atascadero and 12326 Los Osos Valley Rd. in San Luis Obispo. For more information or to make an appointment, visit or call 805-460-7385 or 805-439-3586. | 25

Really Dead Cow

By AnnMarie Cornejo


hen Anthony Randazzo talks about the homestyle beef jerky he makes in small, specialty batches, he is telling a story beyond the arousing flavors and fine cuts of beef he is known for. His story is one of perseverance, personal connections, and passion. Randazzo, a realtor at Coast Realty and lecturer at Cal Poly, has long been an entrepreneur, launching his own line of surf and snowboard clothing and a screen-printing and graphics business, Synergy, after graduating from Cal Poly. A line of retail stores, including Morro Bay Surf Company, Los Osos Boardshop, and San Luis Surf Company, soon followed. However, with the economic downturn in 2008, those dreams were shattered. “It’s been a long time since we had to close the doors,” he said. “It served as a good lesson that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Now, a little more than a decade later, Randazzo is beginning again by launching a member-only jerky subscription club dubbed “Really Dead Cow.” “It has been on my radar and in my soul to start something else and get back on the horse,” Randazzo said. “It has taken time to get the confidence and to find the focus to figure out what would come next, but I’ve always known that I just want to do what I am truly passionate about.” Customers can shop online and choose from varying monthly subscription options and beef jerky flavors such as Hubie Chipotle, Peppered Mesquite, and Hickory Kick. The beef, all sourced locally, and the recipes have been refined over a period of more than seven years, each one handmade in small batches and tested by Randazzo’s

closest family and friends until he got the rich flavors to be exactly what he wanted them to be. “Over time, I got a reputation with my friends for making really good jerky compared to what you could find in the stores, and they encouraged me to move forward with the business,” he said. “I spent the first couple of years having fun, the best kind of projects are those when it doesn’t feel like work, just like you are having some fun.” Randazzo, an Atascadero native, was excited at how receptive everyone was and began to finetune his flavors and style. “My style is a little more cowboy,” he said. “It is not overly tender like compressed meat. You bite into it and is more like an experience, by the end of chewing, you’ve tasted the unique blend of flavors and experienced each one.” Randazzo said he was inspired by his godfather’s homemade beef jerky that he grew up eating. He worked with his uncle Joe to learn as much as he could before adding his own signature flavors to the mix. “I’ve made hundreds of different batches over the years, trying different marinades, dehydration styles, and tenderizing techniques to get it where it is today.” Ultimately, he wanted to put a unique product on the market. But his new business venture is not without its own challenges. This time he opened for business one month before a worldwide pandemic. However, he is determined not to let it stop him. “I’m trying to see the silver lining in the storm,” Randazzo said. “Maybe now people are considering ordering more snacks online. We will make a delicious batch of homestyle beef jerky and ship it right to our members’ front doors once a month.” Randazzo suggests that new customers start with a sample pack of each flavor to see which ones they prefer and then customize their order in the following months of quantities ranging from three to nine bags a month. And while it can’t be found on the shelves yet, it can be shipped anywhere in the United States. “I’m keeping to small monthly batches, for now, putting extra love and a little fresh ground pepper into each batch.”  To sign up or learn more about Really Dead Cow’s subscription-based beef jerky offerings: visit

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Colony Magazine | July 2020

putting the 'family' in family medical practice during their visits, empowering and want to make nutrition accesthem with information, advocating sible to their patients. They have h e m o t h e r - d a u g h - and coordinating adjacent care and created a small organic farmers ter team at Dr. Patricia growing to offer desired services. market (open to all) for purchases Schechter Family Practice in Atascadero is just part of the family affair. Also known as Atown Family Med, the practice was initially founded by Dr. Schechter about 30 years ago, then joined by her daughter, Naomi Waak, as a Physicians Assistant in 2008. Their current office staff includes two cousins, and a Medical Assistant, which sees her dad regularly when he works as a Nurse Practitioner there. Additionally, they are also a family practice in the way they treat their patients. They do have patients that are members of families they see. They also uniquely treat the whole patient, including in that their work and family life, previous health history, nutrition, and a host of other factors that can affect their overall health and well-being. “Tell me about you. I’ve just met Above Physicians Assistant Naomi Waak (left) and Dr. Patricia Schechter (right) and their family practice. you but you’ve known you your whole life, it’s important for me to Their approach and philosophy at their offices. learn what you know about you.” include preventative health and With the market open to all, This is the first information Waak establishing baseline information they are obviously community is interested in discussing when when a patient is healthy so that minded, too. They also give back she meets with a new patient. It if they should have a health issue, by providing free and discounted is clear that this group is focused they have useful information to sports physicals to students in on the patient by striving to be work from. They promote proper need. They recently turned a treatapproachable and speak in plain nutrition as the base for preven- ment room into a sewing station to language in just a short chat. They tion. Both mother and daughter create masks to donate to protect give them undivided attention have an education in agriculture women and children in duress that By Jeanette Simpson


July 2020 | Colony Magazine

seek help at local women’s shelters. They also make regular donations for kids to participate in school field trips. In thinking about the whole patient and their needs, they decided to add new Aesthetics Services to their offerings about 5 years ago. They realized that clients were interested in treatments they could offer to them in a trusted, familiar medical environment with medical staff that knew them and that they were already comfortable with. These services include the latest in laser treatments, 3D transcription, weight management, Vitamin injections, Botox and other injectables and fillers. They have recently added private Concierge Medical Services and now offer Telemedicine appointments, too. While at first glance, the dual services of a Family Practice combined with an Aesthetics Practice might seem to be somewhat mutually exclusive. It is easy to see how seamlessly they connect, especially when it comes to the compassionate folks at this practice where their entire approach is to treat the whole unique individual inside and out.  Dr. Patricia Shechter Family Practice: Atown Family Med. 5905 Capistrano Ave., Atascadero 805-461-7144 | 27

A Heavenly Home | Retirement & Senior Living


Marco and Jennifer Jimenez, top, opened A Heavenly Home to provide the elderly with joy and high quality of life. All photos provided by A Heavenly Home.

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By Camille DeVaul

ff Union Road in Paso Robles, sits not a nursing home, but A Heavenly Home. Their business motto says, “Where our Home is your Home,” and nothing could ring more true. Marco and his wife Jennifer Jimenez opened A Heavenly Home in Paso Robles to provide the elderly a place where they can “live out their senior years with more joy and quality of life.” Residents are allowed to live out their usual routines while having all the support of an assisted living center. For over a decade, Marco served as a firefighter in southern Los Angeles. After making regular calls to an assisted living facility, he felt inspired to create plans for a better elderly home. He began this journey by enrolling at UCLA to study geriatric psychology. In 2014, Marco and his family were given the opportunity to learn the senior care business in Paso Robles. Jennifer, who was already in the healthcare industry, along with her husband, completed their administrator’s license. Their first Heavenly Home location on Prospect Avenue held six residents. But that was just the beginning. After studying every aspect, the couple began construction of a new senior housing campus in 2016 on 2.5 acres. Conveniently adjacent from their original location, the new residential home currently cares for their maximum capacity of 30 residents. Just as how fine wine gets better with time, it took the Jimenezes longer than usual to complete their senior residential campus, but it was oh so worth it. Marco and his wife Jennifer considered details that most wouldn’t even think about when it comes to a senior care facility. When building the senior homes, Marco made it a point to have the homes positioned to get the most natural sunlight throughout the day. At A Heavenly Home, they believe in outdoor living. Residents have access to walking paths, outdoor games, and seating for them to enjoy on their own

or with their families. The homes are placed to provide ample outdoor space for residents. “Marco and I built this with so much detail in mind, so much love. We are always there because we are so involved,” says Jennifer. “It’s a family-run business and each of those residents, to us, it’s grandmas and grandpas. They are treated with the utmost love, dignity, and respect.” When it came to COVID-19, A Heavenly Home was proactive and abundantly equipped. Jennifer described themselves as being OCD when it comes to being prepared. Anyone entering the facility is screened with various questions and a temperature check. Even before the virus, they had ample supplies of masks, hazmat suits, and gowns available to guests when entering the facility. Hand washing and sanitizing stations have been placed throughout campus and will remain a permanent addition. With already having such high standards for hygiene and cleanliness, staff upped the ante anyway they could. With no COVID-19 cases to report, it is safe to say all their precautions paid off! “Marco just has such a knack for what he does, for what we do, and he is so so good with the elderly. His Love. He knows how to take what could be a scary moment and make it funny — and that I think makes it so much easier for the resident.” The Jimenez family dreamed of creating homes for their residents. Where they can wake up and smell the coffee, eat with their friends at the breakfast table and keep living the way they want. A Heavenly Home has created a new standard for senior living. Their residents are treated like family by all members of staff. When Marco and Jennifer tell you about the home they have created, they speak with genuine passion and love. Their devotion to what they do is shown through every detail put in place and every smile on their resident’s faces. To learn more about A Heavenly Home and take a virtual tour of the facility, visit ■ Colony Magazine | July 2020

All About Events


By Jeannette Simpson

hat began in 2008 as a side hustle from working two jobs already, Party Partners was started by delivering tables and chairs for local events. Over time, having built industry connections and a good reputation, it grew and then ultimately became successful enough to launch All About Events as a full-time business venture in 2011. Locally owned and operated, All About Events offers most everything an event could need except the venue and a coordinator, though they will also help to find both of those things and more, assisting in creating each unique event. Its founder, Steven Herring, left the fire service and oil fields to dedicate himself to the business that he started and grew to need his full-time attention. From 2011 to 2020, All About Events showed strong growth year after year blossoming into 2 locations for storage and operations, a fleet of event tents and service vehicles, a trusted and highly valued team of employees, and even just began breaking ground on a new third building. They were on track to have their best year yet, until March 15, when almost immediately after the severity of the pandemic caused global social distancing requirements, their solidly booked clients called to postpone or cancel their events

and within days over 500 events disappeared. In a word, 2020 was canceled. Many of our local businesses are directly related to the Hospitality and Tourism Industry that was hit hard by the pandemic. However, the Events industry is unique in that the business itself is affected, but also the visions, dreams, and delights of its customers and the meaning behind their planned events are affected too, postponing or canceling months and sometimes years of planning. For Herring, the toughest part was the crushed Brides and Grooms to be, the worried non-profit groups losing their fundraising chances. Then personally having to make the heartbreaking decision to furlough most of his dedicated and highly valued team, from 30 to 10 employees in a blink. So Herring got busy figuring out how they could best take care of the employees he was able to keep. Work towards bringing some furloughed employees back eventually, serve the local community and use this time, the tools, and the assets of the business in new ways and for the new safeguards. First, their tents were rented by health centers as Emergency Triage Tents for use to screen patients more safely as the early local cases surged. Next, they started considering things like using the trucks for a moving services business arm and


using the tents in new offerings in what is becoming the new normal. Meanwhile, in an abundance of caution to their already rigorous safety standards, they have created, tested, and trained for new additional safety and sanitation procedures to ensure the health of their crew, clients and guests. They are excited about their newest revised offering: a distance safe pop-up lodging service called “Quarantine Campouts.” Supplying their Solstice tents and Mobile Man Caves to local properties for people that want to camp out for a weekend, mini staycation, or safer visit. A given property can request the delivery and set up of tents stocked with creature comforts perfect for glamping getaways. Like most of us learning to navigate and thrive in these trying times, attempting to fluidly roll with the difficulties we face and adapt to unprecedented new realities, Herring and All About Events have been staying afloat by remaining open and changing course. By facing the current realities head-on early and being willing to consider different ideas than were initially planned. To find out more, visit their website at It provides a wealth of information, a comprehensive catalog of all the items, tents, and services they can offer, including a rich photo gallery for reference and ideas. ■

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Protest Led by Young Local Residents Marches For


By Nicholas Mattson


n Sunday June 7, hundreds of people marched for justice and peace from Sunken Gardens to the Atascadero Police Department and back. The protest was organized by Hannah Gonzales, M’Lynn Martin, and Marc Martin. Very quickly, the protest gained traction on social media and hundreds turned out on Sunday for the event. Before heading on a march from the park to the police department, a member of the NAACP presented a short speech with a the list of demands for change they had. Members of the Atascadero City Council — mayor Heather Moreno, council member Susan Funk, and council member Charles Bourbeau — as well as executives of the City of Atascadero — city manager Rachelle Rickard and police chief Jerel Haley — were in attendance to hear out the crowd. Haley approached Mr. Martin and invited him for a one-on-one discussion about ideas for changes to the APD that would improve the service of local police to all

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residents of the community. During the stop at the Atascadero Police Department, the crowd kneeled in a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd who was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in broad daylight on March 25. The quiet crowd rose to its feet with a tangible unified strength before moving back to the Sunken Gardens. The peaceful protest remained on the sidewalks, and traffic up and down El Camino Real moved without impediment as passing vehicles honked in support of the protest. Police presence stood by to ensure safety between the large group of pedestrians and the moving traffic up and down El Camino Real. At Sunken Gardens, SLO County NAACP president Stephen Vines spoke to the crowd passionately about making a difference and making change in the community. He spoke on the subject of violence, policy, social justice and making change. “Violence is the enemy of all of us,” Vines said. “It will kill, and

steal, and destroy. Violence only begets violence.” Formed in 1909 by a diverse group of activists, the NAACP, or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is the oldest and largest civil rights organization. The SLO County branch is one of more than 2,200 nationwide. Among other things, the NAACP charter promises to champion equal rights and eliminate racial prejudice. Vines let the crowd know, the NAACP has the credentials to back up change. “Here at the NAACP — the oldest, the boldest, the toughest, the roughest — we are nonviolent, and we are changing the world,” Vines proclaimed over the loudspeaker. “We don’t need no bad language. We don’t need none of that. We have the truth on our side, and the truth is that love always heals. Peace is what we are after, and we aren’t going to let anybody steal it from us. We got to keep our eye on the ball. We are about social justice, because there ain’t no peace without justice.” The crowd cheered loudly. “So where do we go from here?” Vines continued. “We have to deal

with policy. In order to deal with policy, we have to have political power. What is political power? Political power is having enough votes to win. Not just vote, but to win.” Vines implored the crowd to get out the vote, strategize, and register people to vote. “This older generation hasn’t been too nice to you all,” Vines said. “You need to take the matter over, and straighten this garbage out. If you all don’t do it, it isn’t going to get done. Us old people have been conditioned to go with the okie doke [expletive].” He finished with a challenge to members of the crowd to commit to change by running for local public office as leaders of the community. “Which one of you is going to run for mayor?” Vines asked. “Which one of you is going to run for county supervisor? Which one of you is going to run for city council? That is what you all need to do, because we need to shake it up, and power to the people.” Vines rallied the passionate and peaceful crowd, encouraging a move to action and voting in

Colony Magazine | July 2020

Hundreds rallied together in support of the Peaceful Protest. Photos by Nicholas Mattson

the November 2020 election before peacefully ending the assembly with a prayer led by Atascadero native Jerry Gaona. “It’s pretty amazing to see so many people come out,” Gaona said. “A lot of people were afraid to come out just because they didn’t, and I didn’t, want to be a part of group that was disrespectful to the police or businesses. But what I did want to do, is [represent] the 2 percent African American in SLO County.” Gaona grew up in Atascadero, and his personal experience as a boy moved him to want to participate in positive change. Gaona’s grandfather was David Cowan, who moved to Atascadero in 1913 and is credited for naming the annual parade “Colony Days.” “I have a long history of racism in Atascadero with me and my family,” Gaona said, “and what me and my brothers experienced.

July 2020 | Colony Magazine

It was mostly great, but we have some specific things that happened to us that have been scars.” Gaona said his boys, aged 9, 11, and 13, experienced racism since moving back to Atascadero from the Burbank area six years ago. “I didn’t even talk to my kids about racism until we moved back to Atascadero,” Gaona said. “My kids have been called the ‘N’ word several times at school, and there have been so many other instances.” While positive and negative aspects of small town add to complications and difficulties for young kids growing up, Gaona affirmed that positive changes are happening. “I wanted to be here because so many people commenting on the protests make it out to be a negative thing,” Gaona said, “but I see both sides. I see the Black-on-Black crime, I see all the statistics — I see both sides, and I love both sides

of the story.” The current chapter of the national story is complete with violence, looting, rioting, burning, confrontation, aggravation, and calls for anarchy as well as prayers, dialogue, peaceful protests, and calls for unity. Gaona said he believed local change was possible through open and honest dialogue. “I understand the history, and there is still racial issues in Atascadero,” Gaona said. “I wanted to be here to peacefully protest, but also to start a dialogue with everyone. A lot of it has to do with the fact that there is a small population of African Americans in the community, and we want to be a part of the conversation and bring unity to Atascadero.” As national debate roils in the short months prior to a presidential election, the two dominant parties in the United States move to make the case for their candidates and 2020

has so far provided source material like few moments in modern history. Meanwhile, local communities face local issues that call for local leadership and local solutions that may not necessarily demand political support or allegiance. “I don’t stand with any one organization,” Gaona said. “I don’t believe in everything everyone else believes in, but I do believe in love and I believe in trying to have a conversation and peacefully protest and talk about real issues.” Gaona’s experience with local police bears out a somewhat typical story for an Atascadero resident, which included some positive experiences and some room for improvement. On Sunday, the Atascadero police were joined by SLO County Sheriff deputies and Morro Bay Police officers to stand watch for the health and safety of citizens and local businesses as protests work to shake the stigma carried from previous weeks of violence and vandalism. Due to the rumors and fear surrounding a Tuesday protest in Paso Robles, multiple businesses boarded up their doors and windows in defense, and that defense stood through Sunday. During Sunday’s protest, the crowd moved without qualm through the downtown, as police managed traffic. “I had a conversation with police and I thanked them,” Gaona said. “Every police I walked by, I thanked them for being there and for protecting us, because there are a lot of great things the police are doing, but there is a conversation to be had about things my family has experienced with the police. It has been 95 percent great, but there is that 5 percent that I think we need to have that conversation.” ■ | 31

Supporting Local Farmers


By Hayley Mattson

he North County Farmers’ Market Association (NCFMA) brings us four local markets every week, all year round, even during COVID19 since 1985. As with any other small business during this unprecedented time, it has not been without its challenges. NCFMA Market manager Robyn Gable has worked extremely hard over the last few months along with her assistant Aisha Hernandez, to ensure that all four markets were able to stay open. “It has been more difficult than you would know to keep the markets open during these times,” Robyn said. “We take all precautions to be sure that our farmers and the shoppers are safe. It is important to have a place that the farmers can sell their produce, so we have done whatever it takes to keep it going.” Over the last few months, they have implemented policies and procedures to ensure the markets are as safe as possible, and with it being outdoors, it is one of the best places to shop for your produce. “It is important to support our Farmer’s markets,” Robyn shared, “it

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allows for the community to support the farmers and our local economy, and it is usually more nutritious.” Most shoppers would agree when you’re able to chat with the farmer growing your food; it creates a deeper appreciation of that product as well as a sense of community. Farmers grow crops to support themselves and their families, but also to nourish and support you. “We have loyal farmers and shoppers and want to do what is best for everyone, we follow state guidelines as outlined by the San Luis County Health Officer,” Robyn told us, “we will adjust and mold to what comes next to keep the markets going.” Here are a few recommendations to keep in mind when shopping at your local market to keep yourself and others safe while supporting our local growers and vendors.

1. Health and Safety: At this time, Main Photo NCFMA Market Manager Robyn Gable (right) and assistant Aisha due to state orders, it is required Hernandez (left) to wear a face mask. Be sure not to visit the local markets if you are not feeling well. Bring hand ing these recommendations will sanitizer and your own cloth bag not last forever, but they will help to place items in. you get fresh local produce safely 2. Maintain a social distancing: To and efficiently while protecting care for others and yourself, it is your safety and others. recommended to keep six feet 5. Thank your essential local farmers distance while shopping or waitand vendors. During this increding in line. ibly challenging time, our local 3. Sanitizing regularly is highly farmers’ markets have been able recommended: Please bring your to continue to bring our commuown; however, each vendor may nity local, sustainable food. They have sanitizer at their booth, and work the frontlines to keep our it is recommended to sanitize community fed. Small farms your hands between every transand businesses matter now more action. than ever. Being able to invest 4. Be aware of your surroundings and strengthen our local econand be respectful of others: Everyomy during this time of crisis is one is feeling stress right now, but imperative. Please be safe, be well, we are all in this together. Followand be kind. ■ LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS

PASO ROBLES: Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ATASCADERO: Wednesdays 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. TEMPLETON: Saturdays 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Colony Magazine | July 2020


Adapt, Innovate, and

Jim J.

Brescia, Ed.D


OVID-19 has changed, turned upside down, and challenged how we do business as educators. Since March 16, 2020, I have participated in dozens of Zoom meetings with diverse and multigenerational educators, staff, administrators, business colleagues, and community members, asking what is the “New Normal” now and post COVID-19? My doctoral dissertation and subsequent research agenda focused on adaptation, innovation, and change when faced with economic stress. Each organization I have had the honor to serve has encountered fiscal, market, and institutional change because of the financial climate. Today, leaders face how to adapt, innovate, and thrive because of the inequities that exist in our society. Some of the programs champi-

July 2020 | Colony Magazine

oned during my tenure that promote inclusion, equity, and opportunity include Outdoor Education, Career & Technical Education, Early Childhood Education, and Arts Education. Each program is essential for a wellrounded education and an aspect of social justice that brings diverse populations together in a shared purpose. Rancho El Chorro, one of San Luis Obispo County’s premier outdoor education programs, will join forces with Kern County’s outdoor education programs as a way to adapt, innovate, and thrive post-COVID-19. The outdoor facility has served thousands of students for decades, received tremendous support from the community, and recently completed a significant renovation. We will reopen more robust as schools and community groups can return to outdoor education programming. Career & Technical Education (CTE), pre-apprenticeships, and apprenticeships have become a vital component in our local workforce and economic recovery. Local Assemblymember, Jordan Cunningham has

been a positive voice for CTE as we leverage the potential of these programs to address our challenges. Our local school districts, Cuesta College, local trade unions, and local businesses are all adapting and innovating to thrive in the future. Creating future careers that are locally grown is a hallmark of our SLO Partners program. Early Childhood Education (ECE) is an essential component of our economic recovery. The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education’s SLO Partners program, Cuesta College, First 5 SLO County, Trust Automation, CAPSLO, Paso Robles Bearkittens, the SLO County Child Care Planning Council, and several other organizations have joined forces in leveraging our ECE apprenticeship program, impact funds, and shared programming. Our goals include creating local multi-agency programs that serve the community, meet the changing needs of childcare, and have sustainability. The arts are also a personal and professional passion that empow-

ers, engages, and provides a voice for positive change. COVID-19 has dramatically impacted Arts outreach programs. Over five million Americans make their livelihood in the broader arts and cultural sector across our country. Our educational arts outreach is partnering with multiple organizations across the county to adapt, innovate, and thrive as we confront our “New Normal.” The challenges we face are also opportunities to address inequities about how we serve the current and future generations of young people. Changes that address the disparities of the current system can raise student voices, make access to education universal, make experiential learning the norm, and create an environment to better our society. I am very proud of the collegiality, teamwork, and collective efforts our community has exhibited during these challenging times. We can and must do more to treat everyone with respect, dignity, and fairness. It is an honor to serve as your county superintendent of schools. ■ | 33

Carrying on the Conversation By 13 Stars Media Editorial Board


n light of the national conversations regarding where the “thin blue line” should be redrawn, we felt compelled to assert our position in the bigger picture as a matter of transparency. As members of our community and our nation grapple with perspectives surrounding police brutality, violence, and abuse of power, we have a part to play in all fairness and equality to the members in every corner of our community. When vandals and drug users became a problem in the creek area near Centennial Plaza, we exposed it and it was addressed by those responsible. When peaceful protests assembled to speak, we listened and shared. When hostile protests assembled, we listened and shared. Our sentiment as a company is that “no innocent person should feel threatened or be harmed.”That sentiment is extended by us to all members of our population — locally and nationally — and is especially true of the most vulnerable. As a nation and a community, we showed that unified resolve when we sheltered against the coronavirus

against our better judgment. We didn’t know enough, so we went over and beyond for all our people. We took action to protect innocent lives. Lately, a lot of innocent lives are not being protected. As a nation, reform of ideas and habits is taking place. From police unions promising change to municipalities promising attention, a deep conversation regarding American culture and American history is taking place. National reforms are being taken seriously, and actions by protesters demonstrating a need for further conversations locally. Meaningful change will not come from choosing a side on a national level or a local level. Meaningful change will come from meaningful efforts to face uncomfortable truths and accept the things we cannot change. It will require the courage to change the things we can. It will require the wisdom to know the difference. As a newspaper and magazine company, our platform is our difference. It is a platform for discussion and honest conversation between members of our community who have lived through real-life experiences that have made them feel less safe, less worthy, or less respected.

Not all feelings are justifiable by the facts, but not all facts demand the ignoring of feelings. We can make a difference if we continue to talk about it. We need to have these discussions as a community. Our role as a newspaper is to provide a platform for the sharing of diverse viewpoints — not just right or left, or black and white, but 360 degrees in living color — and hold decision-makers and elected officials accountable for their words and deeds, including their lack of words and deeds. The Mayor of Paso Robles, Steven Martin, has promised a committee to facilitate discussion regarding fairness and equality in all levels of his local government. We will follow that progress, but most importantly, it is those who still have the longest life to live that need to show up and insist on progress. We all have a duty to advocate for ourselves and hold our local government accountable for things that matter to us. We know that voices have been unheard, or even silenced, and we believe that time is over. While our newspaper is documenting newsworthy area events, we also want to document the community conversation on important topics that impact our

community. Not everything will make it to a City Council agenda, but we have the platform to make voices heard. It will work if people care enough to keep talking after the passion dies down. Success is not in reaching the top of the mountain, but in continuing the climb. The moon was just one small step for man. The remaining universe awaits a humanity that deserves to venture beyond it. We have a long way to go as a nation, and as a community. The conversation has only just begun, and we intend to provide the platforms to create a welcoming and safe place to discuss alternating viewpoints and bring awareness and humanity to issues that need a human touch. If it was going to be easy, someone would have already done it. For our local communities, it is up to us to make meaningful change for ourselves. We invite you to reach out to us with a willingness and intention not only to share your point of view but to participate in a discussion that needs to be had. As residents of this community, with respect to all who work to make it one of the great places to live in all the world, we believe we can do better still, and we ask you to join us. ■

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Colony Magazine | July 2020

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