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2 • May 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

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his year, spring has brought us hope, but we have yet to see the full bloom of life in California we are accustomed to after a rough year of 2020. But we still have cause to celebrate. We have a strong fabric in our community that has survived the stresses and tensions of the past year to remain fixed on what makes our community remarkable. You know who you are, and we honor you. As always, our purpose is to make communities better by shining a light on the people and things that make it great — writing something worth reading about a community doing something worth writing about. We look forward to people doing great things in our community as we close chapters on the past. This month, we honor Kristin Smart and her family (page 10) as a 25-year saga begins to find resolution with the case against Paul and Ruben Flores. All people deserve a fair trial and just defense. We hope the facts lay bare the truth in the case in order to close a painful chapter for her family and our community that has remained in our hearts since we were juniors at Templeton High School. Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We believe that. We are creative people with creative power. We hope our creation of this publication has inspired you to create something this day. It is a publication we continue to have elevated goals for amidst a culture that needs print more than ever. A big thank you to our advertisers who keep Morro Bay Life mailing to you every month and to our hometown team, who put it all together.



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Morro Bay Life • May 2021 • 3

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congratulations Putting a Spotlight on Businesses The Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce is putting a spotlight on local businesses who are working hard and adapting to the ever-changing environment. Spotlight Businesses are nominated and selected by fellow business owners in Morro Bay as a standout business with exceptional ownership.

If you know of a business or non-profit that deserves a spotlight, please send your nomination to our Ambassador’s Committee for review by emailing Lynsey Hansen at lynsey@morrochamber.org.

Business spotlights recognize Chamber member businesses that provide a consistent, positive customer experience, are actively engaged in the community and demonstrate resilience during challenging times. This month we’re highlighting four businesses that have proven to be good role models for how to keep employees and customers safe during the pandemic, and have gone to extraordinary measures to keep their doors open.

Please help us CONGRATULATE these businesses on their spotlight award by visiting their establishments, purchasing their products or services, and leaving good reviews online.

Working Together for Our Future

San Luis Obispo County is fortunate to have exceptional academic institutions and high schools in the region. Chambers of Commerce and academia have traditionally partnered together to support the development and growth of students as our future workforce. The Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce is actively working to support students in our region through advocacy, hands-on experience, and through financial contributions. The Chamber recently supported State Assembly Bill 927, which is a bill that would authorize the expansion of the community college baccalaureate degree program in California to include institutions like Cuesta College. With upwards of 60% of MBHS seniors choosing Cuesta each year, we are thrilled to support the development of career pathways for our local young people that will meet workforce needs of our business community now and into the future. We were also fortunate to have participated last month in a Cal Poly student group project helmed by local Morro Bay resident and Cal Poly Lecturer, Sean Green. Teams of four technical writing students analyzed the external and/or internal communications of two dozen local entities, including nonprofit organizations, government bodies, the Morro Bay Chamber, and several Morro Bay businesses. The students’ quality of work is exceptional and we look forward to implementing many of their recommendations. Thank you Sean Green and students for your interest in and commitment to Morro Bay’s business community!  The Chamber is honored to be one of more than 50 local organizations, businesses and individuals that offer scholarships to Morro Bay High School graduates each year. Go Pirates!

A Phoenix Rises - Inn at Morro Bay

Hotels in Morro Bay saw significant economic downturns during the pandemic due to limited travel in the region. Many stayed open and catered to the local community, while others closed their doors for extended periods while the pandemic continued to move swiftly through our area. The Inn at Morro Bay, an upscale bayfront hotel, chose to take the downtime and absence of guests to remodel with the hopes of rising through the ashes post-covid. Today, the Inn at Morro Bay is stepping out with a reimagined guest experience inside and out following a comprehensive, multi-million dollar renovation. From the building exteriors to the 98 guest rooms to the Bayview meetings and event spaces, both the hotel and destination’s timeless charm shine brighter than ever. The visual identity of the property has also been amplified, with a fresh coat of blue paint and white trim, accentuated by lush landscape. Ocean hues of blue and grey beckon guests into rooms with a mix of textural accents and natural materials to create a contemporary-meets-coastal classic look. An eclectic collection of artwork curated assortment of furniture and organic patterns inspired by the graceful movement of the winds and seas gives the space a charming and residential feel, all complemented by unparalleled views of Morro Bay.

Stop by, take a look, and tell your friends!

Morro Bay Golf Course Courses: Dairy Creek, San Luis Obispo Morro Bay, Morro Bay Chalk Mountain, Atascadero

4 • May 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™


New Public Works Director Hired

By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life

MORRO BAY — Morro Bay has a new public works director, filling a key department head position with someone who steps into a job with a lot of responsibility right now. City Manager, Scott Collins, announced on Apr. 8 that he’d hired Greg Kwolek to be the Public Works Director. Kwolek was selected from some 27 applicants for the job that former director Rob Livick stepped away from in April 2020 in favor of becoming the City Engineer. At the time, Collins and former Finance Director Jennifer Callaway split the duties of public works director, with Callaway taking over the title of acting director and taking on the job of reviewing and restructuring the department. Collins took responsibility for the department’s work crews, with Wastewater-Water Division Manager, Joe Mueller, running the day-to-day activities. Collins said they would begin recruitment to fill the permanent position right away and predicted it would be up to six months to hire someone. That setup lasted until last October when Callaway accepted the job of city manager of Truckee, leaving Morro Bay’s employ on Oct. 13. Mueller was then elevated to the interim director. Collins said the interview process was

comprehensive and included interviews with “community members, public works and other City staff, and local government leaders.” Kwolek starts work with the City on Monday, May 10. “This is a pivotal time in Morro Bay history,” Collins said in a news release, “as we transition to a new Water Reclamation Facility and begin assessing and investing in our other infrastructure needs, such as parks, facilities, restrooms, harbor, stormwater, and streets.” He added, “I selected Greg to join my executive team and lead Public Works because I believe he is the right person at the right time to help get these things done. I am excited to see what the already solid Public Works team will accomplish under his leadership.” Kwolek has over eight years of experience in local government management and leadership, according to the news release. He was the Division Manager for the City of Pasadena and responsible for “critical maintenance projects for the community while also building job skills for unemployed and underskilled residents.” Before that, he was a “Public Works Management Analyst” for the City of La Cañada Flintridge and oversaw the capital budget, trails maintenance, and community right-ofway concerns. He’s also worked as Los Angeles County’s Small Business Services Program Manager. An excited Kwolek said, “Public Works has

some big tasks and responsibilities ahead, and I look forward to leveraging the Department’s strengths to meet these challenges and make a positive impact in the Morro Bay community. “One of my central aims is to collaborate with City staff, City Council, residents, and community leaders to ensure our success.” The Public Works Department has some 33 employees and three part-timers. In Morro Bay, Public Works is responsible for water and sewer utilities, consolidated maintenance, environmental services, engineering, street trees and roads maintenance, and contractual oversight of local trash and recycling and transportation services. The department’s primary duties these days include the new WRF project (begun in March 2020), re-initiating the pavement management program, prioritizing other capital needs in the City, and “finding resources to support those needs.” According to the City, Kwolek’s salary is $142,000 a year, plus the full spectrum of benefits the City offers its employees. Collins told Morro Bay Life that he is now recruiting for a new finance director, who will also have a plethora of jobs to do. Collins said the City Council rewrote the job description to an administrative services Director/assistant city manager, plus the City’s chief financial officer putting together the budget. Currently, former City of SLO City Manager Katie Lichtig was brought in to handle the City’s finances and is

Greg Kwolek has been hired as Morro Bay’s new public works director, coming to the City from Pasadena. Contributed photo

working on the next fiscal budget (2021-22). Collins will also have to fill another key department head position, fire chief, after Fire Chief Steve Knuckles announced his retirement effective Mar. 31. Chief Knuckles was retained as interim chief by the City Council while the search is conducted for a new full-time chief and will continue to run the department until the end of July, when he is scheduled to truly retire.


Second Cannabis Store Opens in Morro Bay By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life


he Natural Healing Center (NHC) opened its doors on Apr. 12, becoming the second cannabis store in Morro Bay, and reoccupying a prime location to sell marijuana in the Downtown business district. Located at Napa Street and Morro Bay Boulevard, NHC spent over $1 million remodeling the former Mill’s Stationary/ASAP Reprographics store, with new paint, stylish sidewalk canopies, and a whitewashed wooden front façade. The Morro Bay store becomes NHC’s second store in SLO County, with the first opening a couple of years ago in Grover Beach. They also have a store in Lemoore, Ca. The company will now focus efforts on getting a location in San Luis Obispo on Broad Street opened before the end of this year. The company will open another store in Turlock, Ca., sometime next year. Rebecca Oribello, NHC’s marketing associate, said they spent about three months on the remodel — which was done by Nick Reed and R3B Corp. — and the store will have over 20 employees. They will carry a full line of CBD products as well as marijuana buds, extracts, vape pens, and more. While Mills was one big open store, NHC’s interior is broken up into several parts, a front lobby with living walls of succulent plants and an amazing front check-in desk, greeting customers. One then passes through a pair of security doors before entering one of two main sales galleries. The interiors have the look and feel of a high-end jewelry store with beautiful wood floors and cabinets, long glass display cases and “budtenders” working with customers in a one-on-one manner. NHC is located at 495 Morro Bay Blvd. and is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. You must be at least 21 to enter and show photo I.D. They only take cash but have an ATM on site. Morro Bay’s other marijuana store, Perfect Union 1000 Quintana Rd., opened last October. Morro Bay’s ordinance allows for just two cannabis stores in town. The City will get a 5 percent special cannabis tax on every item, plus 1.5 percent in local sales taxes. The City manager said they anticipate bringing in between $375,000 to $475,000 per year from the 5 percent cannabis tax.

Here’s a wide-angle view of one of two galleries at the new Natural Healing Center (nhc) cannabis store in Downtown Morro Bay. Contributed photos

Nhc owner, Helios Dayspring (right), poses with Morro Bay Police Cmdr. Amy Watkins on Apr. 12, at nhc’s grand opening. MBPD worked on the extensive security requirements called for by the City’s cannabis ordinance.

On Apr. 12, Natural Healing Center owner, Helios Dayspring, uses the Chamber of Commerce’s giant scissors to cut the ribbon and officially open the new nhc cannabis store in Downtown Morro Bay. Around him are City officials and folks with the Chamber of Commerce.

The first gallery at nhc’s new cannabis store is spacious, well lit, and the look of a high-end jewelry store.

Morro Bay Life • May 2021 • 5

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6 • May 2021 • Morro Bay Life

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Board of Supervisors Discuss Hearings Regarding Land Use

Pismo Beach celebrates its 75th cityhood birthday By MELISSA MATTSON of Morro Bay Life SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday, Apr. 20, for a regularly scheduled meeting. The meeting opened with the consent agenda, of which Supervisor John Peschong requested to pull item two, the introduction of an ordinance amending section 2.48.095 of the County Ordinance Code regarding compensation increases for the Board of Supervisors. The consent agenda passed 5-0, and 4-0 for item three, which Chairperson Lynn Compton recused herself from for undisclosed reasons. Item two was voted in favor 3-2, with Peschong and Compton against the item. SLO County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein presented a current update on COVID, which to date has had 20,972 cases in the county, and of that, only 211 are currently active five hospitalizations, and two people in the ICU. To read the full report on the COVID update, State Updates Blueprint Framework to Help Counties Maintain Current Tier on page 8. Borenstein then proceeded with going over the state’s Blueprint Metrics. She stated, “unfortunately, the case count numbers place the county at 6 percent adjusted case positivity rate when it would need to be at 5.9 to move the county into the Orange Tier.” Borenstein explained that she has already begun a dialogue with the state to see if there are any missing test numbers from the week in question that could move the county into the Orange Tier. By returning to the Red Tier in case positivity, it would require that the county start over the process of achieving two weeks of low numbers before moving into the Orange Tier. Borenstein also addressed nonfactual responses to the vaccine and encouraged everyone to do their homework to learn the truths and decide what’s right for them. The supervisors then moved on to public comment and heard from Sherry Nelson, who, in response to Borenstein’s concern about misinformation surrounding vaccinations, suggested a forum in which residents could ask questions and get more information. Next was a presentation read by Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg, the submittal of the proclamation of the 75th birthday for cityhood in Pismo Beach, which was read to Mayor Ed Waage. Pismo was officially established on Apr.

25, 1946, by JM Price, after beginning its existence as a gold rush-era beach community. Mayor Waage then spoke about the celebration, which due to COVID, will be postponed until October, at which point he plans on inviting the Board of Supervisors for thanks for their part in establishing the city back at its origination. Following was item 31, the presentation of the annual report by the Commission on the status of women by Paulla Ufferheide. She expressed her pride in the Commission not missing a single meeting throughout the pandemic. The Commission advocates for equal rights for women and girls in the county and works with groups to educate them on the issues affecting women. “We also try to help with ideas in how to enhance the lives of women within our county,” Ufferheide said. Throughout this last year, the Commission saw a lot of growth and success, but they are requesting additional support from the Board in the California Assembly Bill AB367, which is the Menstrual Equality Act, which states that schools 6-12 grade, community college, college

and state-adjusted data may take until the end of October. Counties have to use state-adjusted data to create the maps and cannot publish or draft maps until that data is made public. Given those delays in data, the timeline for redistricting will be tough to complete, which is why staff is creating a website featuring a public-facing mapping tool where citizens can submit maps, suggestions, and community groups they want considered in the process. The earliest date for the draft of the maps is likely to be Nov. 20, with a turnaround the following week to revise and finalize the map. The request for additional funds is to assist county staff with consulting contracts, and any amounts not used would be returned to the general fund at the end of the year. Staff recommendations are to receive and file and approve the $150,139 in funding to facilitate the redistricting efforts. A motion was made by Supervisor Peschong and seconded by Supervisor Bruce Gibson and passed 5-0.

campuses, and state and municipal buildings shall stock 50 percent of their public restrooms with free menstrual products. Supervisor Ortiz-Legg made a motion to bring AB367 up for discussion in a future meeting, which was seconded by Supervisor Gibson. The motion passed 5-0. Peschong made a motion for SLO county to do a cost and benefit analysis for the cost associated with the county taking over waste management and possibly using public works to take over waste disposal and recycling following state mandates. Arnold seconded the motion. The motion was approved 3-2, with Gibson and Ortiz-Legg in opposition. The next item was the update on the redistricting effort and request to authorize a budget adjustment in the amount of $150,139 from General Fund Contingencies. As mentioned in previous meetings, the census data will not be available until September 2021,

Item 34 was a report on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). A 1.9 trillion dollar package to address the health crisis and economic crisis that went along with the pandemic. While guidance from the Federal Government on how the money can be spent has yet to be issued, nor the exact amounts the county will be receiving. The expectation is that the county will receive 54.9 million split into two payments, one in May and one a year later. The deadline to spend the money will be Dec. 31, 2024. The current plan is to take a budget-like approach with the funds and allocate for a one-time use since it is not money that will be funded to the county year over year. The anticipation is to see guidance from the Federal Government for these funds on or about May 10. Item 35 to receive and file a presentation of the Paso Robles Basin Aerial Groundwater Mapping Pilot Study results. There were several objectives to the study, mainly to get a better understanding of groundwater conditions within the Paso Basin. By using state-of-the-art technology, attaching instruments to a low flying helicopter, the project was able to take MRI of the land up to 1400 feet deep. The takeaway from the study was the ability to identify potential recharge areas based on the coarseness of the soils underground. Item 36 was the county staff ’s response to the Board’s prior request for a consultant-based approach to staffing for the County Groundwater Sustainability Agency. This staffing approach would utilize one county staff member, and all additional support would be in the form of consultants. The comparison of cost analysis between consultant verse county staff could not be fully completed due to the time constraints and inability to get quotes from consultants. Supervisor Arnold made a motion to pursue the consultant model, with a second by Peschong. The motion passed 5-0. Supervisor Debbie Arnold motioned on a non-agenda water topic to bring back before the

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Board on May 4, a letter from the Supervisors opposing two applications that were submitted to the California State Water Resource Board by the Shandon San Juan Water District to appropriate water from Lake Nacimiento and Lake Santa Margarita. In accordance with the Brown Act, this topic could not be discussed, except to schedule it for a future meeting with notice to the public. After a closed session, with nothing to report, the Board went to the hearings on land use permits. Starting with item 38, a hearing to consider an appeal by Maldonado of the planning department’s approval of a minor use permit for SLO Cal Root to establish 3.39 acres of outdoor cannabis cultivation and more. Due to some confusion of having received a request for a continuance from the appellant and then the applicant, the Board voted 5-0 to continue the discussion in the Jul. 13 meeting. In accordance with the Brown Act, the Board heard all public comment. Public comment on the matter ranged from opposition to support of the project, with the majority favoring denial of the project. The reasons stated for denying the project were largely due to the odor, the current use of the area, which is primarily single-family homes as well as some agriculture, and the water usage. During public comment, Christina Maldonado, the appellant, called in to explain that she did not want a continuance and that they had inquired about it only when it was under question as to the name on the application for the project. She also stated that her counsel had not only emailed on Apr. 19 but had also called in to say that they did not want a continuance. The Board ultimately upheld their decision, and the continuance is set for Jul. 13. The last item of the day was a hearing to consider the appeal by Cliff Bianchine of the Planning Department’s Hearing Officer to conditionally approve the application of Copper Creek Farms to cultivate 5.7 of the 54-acre plot for cannabis growth and cultivation. The project was approved based on compliance of all the Land Use Ordinances (LUO) in the area and the addressing of all appeal issues in the Mitigations Negative Declaration (MND) prepared April 2020 and revised July 2020. Brought up in the appeal was the deeded easement for ingress and egress to the property, past-due property taxes, and code violations that have existed on the site but have since been resolved. SLO County staff recommendation was to deny the appeal and uphold the Planning Departments’ decision. In hearing public comment, the Board heard from several neighbors to the project, who brought up items both retaining to the project as well as the behavior and past actions of the owner. Peschong spoke on the matter, stating, “In weighing this, I’m not against cannabis being grown; we’ve put it on ag and rural lands… Looking at the code violation... unpermitted power and plumbing… I gotta be honest with you, very tough to get my arms around that.” His feeling around the structure was that it may have been for farmworkers. “I feel this code violation is big enough for me that I cannot support this project. Arnold spoke on the easement of the road and thought that commercial activity on the shared road was beyond what was ok to introduce into a neighborhood. The Board was split 3-2 in a decision to uphold the appeal, with Gibson and Ortiz-Legg in favor of the applicant. The finding of the hearing was that the Board denied the project on the finding that the size and scale of the development were incompatible with historical and neighboring uses, insufficient demonstration of effective methods to control offsite odors, and that the nature of the verified code violations on the site during the application processing may result in repeat code violations. The next meeting of the Supervisors will be held on May 4, and the links to join can be found on the district website at slocounty.ca.gov

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Morro Bay Life • May 2021 • 7

8 • May 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™


State Updates Blueprint Framework to Help Counties Maintain Current Tier CDPH introduces an anonymous test being sent to residents to see if they have COVID-19 antibodies STAFF REPORT SAN LUIS OBISPO – California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and San Luis Obispo County released the most recent statistics on COVID-19. BLUEPRINT FOR A SAFER ECONOMY All counties are under the rules and framework of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and color-coded tiers that indicate which activities and businesses are open based on local case rates and test positivity. As always, local public health departments may implement policies that are more restrictive than the state. BLUEPRINT SUMMARY In the SLO County Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 20, Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer, addressed the COVID Update and Blueprint Metrics. “Unfortunately, the case count numbers place the county at 6 percent adjusted case positivity rate when it would need to be at 5.9 to move the county into the Orange Tier,” Borenstein said. Borenstein explained that she has already begun a dialogue with the state to see if there are any missing test numbers from the week in question that could move the county into the Orange Tier. “By returning to the Red Tier in case positivity, it would require that the county start over the process of achieving two weeks of low numbers before moving into the Orange Tier,” Borenstein said. The county has administered 80,000 doses collectively, and 30 percent of residents have been fully vaccinated, and 15 percent have received the first dose. Statewide over half the population has received at least one dose. Borenstein then went on to say that the county will be shifting to the “My Turn” platform starting Wednesday, Apr. 21, at 8 a.m. The delay in joining the platform was to ensure that it was pilot tested before the county terminated the use of their own appointment registry system on readyslo.org. In addition to Borenstein’s COVID update, she explained that FEMA funeral assistance is available to anyone who lost a loved one to COVID19. The phone number is (844)684-6333, and the line is open from Monday to Friday, from noon to midnight PST. BLUEPRINT TIER ASSIGNMENTS On Apr. 13, the calculations changed in the Blueprint framework that helps counties maintain their current tier status despite minor changes in data. A county must have both a case rate and a testing positivity rate in a more restrictive tier for two consecutive weeks before potentially being assigned to a more restrictive tier. CDPH now also reviews hospitalization data before making the final assignment. Governor Gavin Newsom announced that due to California surpassing a significant milestone by administering more than 20 million vaccine doses,

and with hospitalizations continuing to steadily decline, the state is ready to move into the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery by “moving beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy” by Jun. 15. Blueprint tiers are updated weekly on Tuesdays. Find the status of activities in specific counties. UPDATED ACTIVITY AND BUSINESS TIERS FOR FULLY VACCINATED PERSONS The state added an addendum to the Activity and Business Tiers Chart in April to provide businesses with opportunities to adopt higher capacities by increasing capacity limits in facilities or sections of facilities where all guests have been tested or are fully vaccinated. In addition, physical distancing is not required in sections where all guests are fully vaccinated. These updates allow large event operators to admit higher capacities within their facilities. Additionally, fully vaccinated persons from out of state may visit or attend activities or events that are restricted to in-state visitors. According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), Privacy Rule, a Federal law, gives you rights over your health information and sets rules and limits on who can look at and receive your health information. The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of individuals’ protected health information, whether electronic, written, or oral. The HIPPA Privacy Rule and federal civil rights laws protect Americans’ fundamental health rights against discrimination or violation. Neither Governor Newsom nor the CDPH explained how local businesses or facilities would acquire personal health information from individuals. The CDC stated that they are still learning how well vaccines prevent the spreading of the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, how long COVID-19 vaccines protect people and how effective the vaccines are against new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Continued research is forthcoming as more individuals receive the vaccination and persons are tested for antibodies. FDA AND CDC LIFT RECOMMENDED PAUSE ON JOHNSON & JOHNSON COVID-19 VACCINE On Friday, Apr. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lifted its pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following a review by a federal vaccine safety review panel. The Workgroup further recommended that vaccine information fact sheets be culturally and linguistically appropriate and available in multiple languages at an accessible reading level to inform conversations between health care providers and vaccine recipients. Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October. The Workgroup, made up of nationally-acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccines. It will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process. Governor Gavin Newsom stated, “After addi-

tional review, analysis, and scrutiny, experts have concluded the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is safe, effective, and will protect you against the COVID-19 virus. To date, about a million Californians have already received this vaccine – including myself and many of the state’s top doctors. I encourage all Californians to trust the science; getting vaccinated is the best way to protect ourselves and our loved ones and end the pandemic.” After reports of six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals following administration of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, the pause was recommended. During the pause, medical and scientific teams at the FDA and CDC examined available data to assess the risk of thrombosis involving the cerebral venous sinuses, or CVST (large blood vessels in the brain), and other sites in the body (including but not limited to the large blood vessels of the abdomen and the veins of the legs) along with thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelet counts. The two agencies determined the following: • Use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine should be resumed in the United States. • The FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. • The FDA has determined that the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older. • At this time, the available data suggest that the chance of TTS occurring is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk. • Health care providers administering the vaccine and vaccine recipients or caregivers should review the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers)external icon and Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregiversexternal icon, which have been revised to include information about the risk of this syndrome, which has occurred in a very small number of people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. MONITORING FOR SAFETY WILL CONTINUE The surveillance systems that are in place to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use are working, as demonstrated by both agencies’ quick work to identify and investigate these rare but serious adverse events. The FDA and CDC will continue with

these efforts to closely monitor the safety of these vaccines. People who have received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine within the past three weeks who develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath should contact their health care provider. COVID-19 HOUSEHOLD SURVEY CDPH announced on Tuesday, Apr. 20, a research study to help better understand the spread of COVID-19 in California. In partnership with Stanford University, Gauss Surgical, and seven county departments of public health, including Alameda, El Dorado, Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, and Shasta counties, CalScope will ask randomly selected households to complete an anonymous survey and a test using a finger-prick to draw a few drops of blood to see if they have COVID-19 antibodies. The study will not ask for identifying information such as name or date of birth. Mailed invitations will be sent to more than 45,000 households. For more information about the CalScope study, please visit the study website at CalScope.org. VACCINE ELIGIBILITY UPDATE As of Apr. 1, individuals aged 50+ are eligible to make an appointment, and individuals 16+ will be eligible to make an appointment to be vaccinated starting on Apr. 15. To sign up for a notification when you’re eligible for a vaccine, visit RecoverSLO.org/vaccines TRACKING VARIANTS Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been identified globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. These genetic mutations are expected, and some emerge and then disappear, while others persist or become common. Most variants do not have a meaningful impact. Public health becomes concerned about a variant when it affects COVID-19 transmission, severity, testing, treatment, or vaccine effectiveness. Get more information on the variants CDPH is currently monitoring. MULTISYSTEM INFLAMMATORY SYNDROME IN CHILDREN (MIS-C) As of Mar. 22, there have been 413 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) reported statewide. MIS-C is a rare inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 that can damage multiple organ systems. MIS-C can require hospitalization and be life-threatening. According to SLO County Health, there has been three known cases of MIS-C in SLO County residents over the past year.


Newsom is Encouraged by March Jobs Report California has now regained almost 44 percent lost in March and April 2020 due to COVID-19 STAFF REPORT SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement following the release of the March jobs report, which showed that California added 119,600 jobs in March and 156,100 jobs in February. “California’s economic recovery depends on bringing back the businesses and jobs we’ve lost over the past year. That’s why today’s jobs report,

which showed that California added 119,600 jobs in March, is so encouraging – especially following February’s report showing an additional 156,100 new jobs created, which was 41 percent of all new jobs created nationwide. We still have a long way to go, but with over 24 million shots in arms and more kids getting back into classrooms every day, this is the steady progress that we need to bring California roaring back.” Newsom said. According to the March jobs report, California has now regained almost 44 percent of the 2,714,800 total nonfarm jobs lost in March and April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “​Today’s jobs report is another marker of

how far we’ve come together – and of how much work we still have to do. The growth in leisure and hospitality jobs is encouraging given how devastating COVID-19 was to the industry. With vaccine eligibility now expanded to Californians 16 and older, o​ ur safe reopening and strong recovery will require ​an ongoing commitment to vaccine access and to a safe workplace for everyone as more and more Californians get back to work. What’s more, it is on us as Californians to continue to do our part, wearing masks and observing other commonsense health protocols so that all sectors of our economy can recover and reopen.” said Dee Dee Myers, the Director of the Governor’s

Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). Myers went on to say, “The growth in leisure and hospitality and leisure jobs is especially encouraging given how devastating COVID19 was to the industry, with 42,400 jobs being created in that industry sector. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+32,200) also had large gains thanks to strength in Clothing Stores and Transportation and Warehousing. Strong gains were also posted in Professional and Business Services (+22,000) led by accounting, tax preparation, and bookkeeping firms.” To read the entire report visit edd.ca.gov/ newsroom/unemployment-march-2021.htm

Morro Bay Life • May 2021 • 9

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Strategies for Keeping Your Beloved Home Within the Family



atching your daughter take her first steps in the nursery. The porch where you saw your little ones head off to kindergarten. Standing in the kitchen jumping for joy as your son received his first college acceptance letter. Your home is full of delightful, heartwarming memories. And if you decide you’d like to keep it within the family for generations to come, you’ll need to teach your loved ones how to thoughtfully preserve, invest and share their inherited wealth and property. COMMUNICATE WITH LOVED ONES Start by speaking with your closest loved ones about your family history, values, and plans. These transparent discussions can help frame your collective vision and prepare the next generation to further your family’s financial and philanthropic goals. It’ll also help set the stage for making decisions together on practical matters – such as caregiving needs or succession plans for the family business. Familial decision-making will also be necessary when you feel the time is right to bring up your cherished property. Some clear questions will need to be asked and answered: • First and foremost, are your heirs interested in owning and operating your family home? • Are they willing and able to cover routine expenses for the property’s upkeep? • Who’ll be responsible for coordinating service providers like plumbers, electricians, or lawn care? • Who’ll pay insurances and taxes? • Who’ll check on the place periodically?

CONSIDER AVAILABLE STRATEGIES Once you and your family members reach a mutual understanding, speak to your advisor about different planning strategies for transferring your property’s ownership. DIRECT TRANSFER A direct transfer is one of the most common ways to bequeath property, as it allows ownership to be transferred for generations by deed. Within direct transfers, there are various options that may work for your family, including joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, tenants in common, life estate, or transfer on death. Note that while direct transfers are relatively easy and inexpensive, they do not offer protection from creditor claims or messy legal situations like divorces. It can also be difficult to resolve conflicts or transfer ownership. INCORPORATE To incorporate, depending on your state’s laws, you can name your home as a limited liability company (LLC). You keep at least

51 percent and designate your children as shareholders of the rest. Be sure to create an operating agreement that sets procedures to transfer ownership and guidelines for property use while also planning to include enough money to maintain the property (people often choose life insurance proceeds). Your operating agreement should have an “out” so your heirs have the option should they need to sell the house or buy out another owner – be sure to indicate who needs to agree to a sale and what will be done with the proceeds. Incorporation offers flexibility, reduction of your taxable estate, and protection for family members. However, it can be costly to establish and maintain an LLC. TRUST Trust agreements outline terms of use and how the property will be transferred, held, and managed. Trusts are popular as they allow some degree of control and can be less expensive to draft and implement than other options like an LLC.

However, certain trusts can lack flexibility should circumstances change – for example; irrevocable trusts usually cannot be amended. Many options exist (i.e., revocable and irrevocable trusts, irrevocable grantor trusts, and qualified personal residence trusts, to name a few), so consult an experienced financial advisor or estate attorney. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for passing on your family home – you’ll need to consider each heir’s own family structure, geographic distance, and willingness to take on responsibility. Ultimately, your plan should facilitate a smooth transfer of ownership, detail shared responsibilities, establish liability protection, and document a process for conflict resolution. Even after creating your plan, be sure to keep conversations going with your family, your advisors, and the rest of your professional team. Your decisions should be properly documented, but most importantly, you’ll want to make sure your wishes are thoroughly understood.

Sarah Santana is an independent columnist for Morro Bay Life. She is the president of Santana Wealth Management and you can contact her at sarah.santana@raymondjames.com.

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10 • May 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™



Smart’s Attorney James Murphy Files Lawsuit Against Ruben Flores

New photo released of the Smart Family. From left to right: Denise and Stan Smart, their son, Matthew, and their daughter, Lindsey Smart-Stewart. Photo on Right Sheriff Ian Parkinson Press Conference. File photos

Justice Begins for Kristin Smart After Almost 25 Years Sheriff Parkinson holds a press conference after the arrest of Paul and Ruben Flores By HAYLEY MATTSON & CAMILLE DEVAUL SAN LUIS OBISPO — On Apr. 13, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson held a press conference on O’Neill Green in front of the Orfalea College of Business on the campus of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. The press conference came just before the 25th Anniversary of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart who went missing on May 25, 1996. Before Sheriff Parkinson began, large photos of Kristin Smart, Paul, and Ruben Flores’s arrest, a chronological timeline of the case were unveiled. As Sheriff Parkinson and officials walked to the podium, the clock tower echoed deep chimes, and the crowd fell silent. Tony Cipolla, the Health Information Officer for the SLO County Sheriff, started the conference by stating, “Today is a day that many have hoped for, wished for, and prayed for. We have major developments in the Kristin Smart investigation.” Before turning the conference over to Sheriff Parkinson, Cipolla acknowledged the President of Cal Poly, Jeff Armstrong, sign-language interpreter Robin Babb, Cal Poly Police Chief George Hughes, and Undersheriff Jim Vogue. Parkinson started by recognizing Unsolved Cold-Case Detective Clint Cole, who was not introduced by Cipolla so that he could make a special introduction--along with acknowledging several members of his team in the audience. “We are beginning here today because this is where it all began, on the campus of Cal Poly University. On May 25, 1996, this is the last place that Kristin Smart was seen alive. It has been 24, almost 25 years since Kristin went missing. 24 years without a resolution, until today. I am here this afternoon to announce the arrest of Paul Flores for the murder of Kristin Smart. The Arrest of Ruben Flores as an accessory to the murder,” Sheriff Parkinson said as he started the press conference. As the conference continued, Sheriff Parkinson went through a few details of the case that he could share, along with an overview of the investigation. Parkinson stated that he had been in touch with the Smart family several

times throughout that day, and shortly after the conference ended, the Smart family’s spokesperson John Segale released the following statement on their behalf: “For over twenty-four years, we have waited for this bittersweet day. It is impossible to put into words what this day means for our family; we pray it is the first step to bringing our daughter home. While Kristin’s loving spirit will always live in our hearts, our life without her hugs laughs, and smiles is a heartache that never abates. The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this horrible secret for nearly 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain. We now put our faith in the justice system and move forward, comforted in the knowledge that Kristin has been held in the hearts of so many and that she has not been forgotten. We honor Kristin today and those who worked with unparalleled tenacity and dedication to bring us to this day. Without Kristin in our life, there will never be justice, but we will pray for peace. Unfortunately, the indifference and lack of resolve we experienced early onset the course for many years. However, when Sheriff Parkinson took office in 2011, he made a promise that Kristin’s disappearance would be one of his top priorities. We are here today because he has remained true to his word. We have kept the faith, never given up, and fully placed our trust and support with him and his team. The task he and his team accepted was unprecedented in volume and scope, yet they met every setback and challenge with resolve and an unequaled commitment to Kristin and our family. Our gratitude to Sheriff Parkinson and his department for their professionalism, compassion, and perseverance is without measure. We are forever grateful for Detective Clint Cole, who joined ‘Team Kristin’ in 2017 and brought new oxygen to Team Kristin, and kept our hopes alive. We would not be here today without his professionalism, perseverance, and dedication. His heart and commitment are without equal. We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the exceptional skills, indefatigable work, and unselfish dedication of Christopher Lambert,

who produced Your Own Backyard Podcast. Chris, along with four incredible angels (C, J, J, and J), balanced Kristin on their shoulders while lightening our burden and held our hearts and hopes with f ierce resolve and commitment. There simply are ‘no words’! We also wish to extend our deepest gratitude for all those on the SLOSO team, including Commander Nate Paul, Detective Cole, and their incredible and dedicated support staff. To each law enforcement agency that assisted the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff ’s Department with their extraordinary efforts, our gratitude is immeasurable. Each gave 110 percent to ensure that this day would come. We are pleased that Kristin’s case has now moved to the district attorney’s office, where we know we will be in good hands, and look forward to the day when there will be ‘justice’ for Kristin. To HEAL, we must REMEMBER not only Kristin but also every heart that carried Kristin and our family in theirs! Kristin’s story is ultimately one of unwavering commitment, resilience, and immense gratitude.” The Smart Family In the following days, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow held a press conference on Apr. 14, reviewing the charges in the case and outlining what will transpire going forward. A candlelight vigil was held in Paso Robles on Saturday, Apr. 17, where the community came together in Kristin’s honor. The family was not in attendance; however, they shared gratitude to the community with the following statement: “While we are not able to join you for the candlelight vigil, we are with you all in spirit. Your love for Kristin and your unwavering support for our family for the past 25 years has been amazing and deeply appreciated. Many became involved more than two decades ago, like the relentless Dennis Mahon and our outstanding legal team, Jim and Garin Murphy and Mark Connelly. You all have filled our hearts, helped pick us up, and powered us forward to this point in time. The day of reckoning is coming, and soon we will all gather together to celebrate Justice for Kristin.” To read the most up-to-date details of the case and preliminary court hearings, visit atascaderonews.com.

San Luis Obispo Court hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores for the murder of Kristin Smart. Zoom screen photo

Filing claims Flores removed the remains of Kristin Smart from its location By CAMILLE DEVAUL of Morro Bay Life SAN LUIS OBISPO — On Apr. 22, James Murphy, the Smart family’s attorney, filed an intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit against Ruben Flores. Murphy is the civil attorney for Stan and Denise Smart, who is suing Ruben Flores for emotional damages related to the disappearance of their daughter, Kristin Smart, a Cal Poly student who went missing in 1997. Ruben Flores (80) is the father of Paul Flores (44), who is currently in jail and charged for the murder of Kristin Smart. Ruben Flores is charged with accessory after the fact to murder; it is alleged that he helped to conceal Smart’s body after the murder was committed. On Monday, Apr. 19, both defendants appeared in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court by video from the San Luis Obispo County Jail after a continuum from the Friday before. The hearing started with Robert Sanger, legal counsel for Paul Flores entering a plea of not guilty for the murder of Kristin Smart. Ruben Flores’s attorney Harold Mesick also entered a plea of not guilty for the accessory after the fact to the murder of Kristin Smart. When discussing bail, the Honorable Judge Craig Van Rooyen ruled to continue no bail for Paul Flores due to the possible life sentence in the case, which he stated that he has not remained crime-free since the alleged offense to date. As for Ruben Flores, the highest sentencing for a charge of accessory to murder after the fact in California is three years, a sentence Ruben Flores could serve just going through the evidence. Judge Van Rooyen agreed to review his financials, and then they would meet back on Wednesday to determine the bail amount for Ruben Flores. During the bail hearing for Ruben Flores on Wednesday, Apr. 21, Judge Van Rooyen lowered Ruben’s bail from $250,000 to $50,000. That same night, less than 12 hours prior to the lawsuit being filed, Ruben Flores was released on bail from San Luis Obispo County jail by his wife, Susan Flores.

The lawsuit reads: “On Feb. 5, 2020, representatives of the San Luis Obispo Sheriff ’s Department served a search warrant upon Defendant Ruben Flores. The warrant authorized a search of the premises at 710 White Court, Arroyo Grande. On or about Feb. 9, 2020, Defendant Ruben Flores removed the remains of Kristin Smart from its location, which, on information and belief, were located at 710 White Court, Arroyo Grande. Two additional individuals, who will later be named as defendants in this action, participated with Defendant Ruben Flores in the removal of the remains of Kristin Smart from the location at 710 White Court, Arroyo Grande. Defendant Ruben Flores, on or about Feb. 9, 2020, acted in complicity and in concert with the Doe defendants in removing the remains of Kristin Smart from the burial location inside of the lattice enclosure below the deck of Defendant Ruben Flores’ White Court residence.” In the complaint, Murphy alleges “Ruben Flores and Doe defendants 1 and 2 worked through the night, under the cover of darkness, to remove the remains of Kristin Smart to avoid having those remains at 710 White Ct. in the event of an additional search of the property.” According to KSBY, Murphey said in an interview that witnesses saw Ruben Flores, Susan Flores, and her boyfriend, Mike McConville (named as defendants one and two in the complaint), working underneath Ruben’s house in Arroyo Grande during the night of Feb. 9, 2020. Murphy said there is “compelling evidence” that Kristin’s remains were removed from Ruben’s property and scattered in the Huasna area. The complaint explains that Kristin Smart’s remains have been moved at least three times since she disappeared from Cal Poly campus 25 years ago. The complaint reads, “Defendant Ruben Flores had previously transported the body of Kristin Smart from the Cal Poly dorm room of Paul Flores to the initial burial site at the home of defendant Ruben Flores.” Murphy filed a lawsuit against both Ruben and Paul Flores in 1997, but the suit was dropped when Ruben Flores filed for bankruptcy. To read the most up-to-date details of the case and preliminary court hearings, visit atascaderonews.com.

Morro Bay Life • May 2021 • 11

Making Communities Better Through Print™


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“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” – James A. Garfield May 30, 1868 Arlington National Cemetery

By HAYLEY MATTSON of Morro Bay Life


s we reflect on 2020, Memorial Day was our first national holiday after the coronavirus washed across our country. Since then, our entire world changed, our nation has become divided, but on this day, our continued reflection and admiration for the servicemen and servicewomen will always remain. Over the years, Memorial Day weekend brings us together and marks the beginning of the warm summer months ahead. It is important, however, now more than ever that we take time to reflect and to remember those who gave their lives in service, both here on American soil and abroad. As we honor the servicemen and women this year, we do so in a country that longs for healing, peace, and unity. We do so at a time that when the pandemic is still among us and the war that we are experiencing is like none we have ever seen before. The holiday itself originated in the years following the Civil War and officially became a federal holiday in 1971. On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered remarks, which later became known as the Gettysburg Address, the official dedication ceremony for the National Cemetery of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, on the site of one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles of the Civil War. Lincoln’s address is remembered as one of the most important speeches in American history. In it, he invoked the principles of human equality contained in the Declaration of Independence and connected the sacrifices of the Civil War with the desire for “a new birth of freedom,” as well as the all-important preservation of the Union created in 1776 and the ideal of self-government.

It is documented that more than 620,000 men died in the Civil War, more than any other war in American history, even when combined—a war where the United States fought against itself in order to abolish slavery and won in April 1865. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the end of slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation issued in all Confederate states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” The Civil War raged on until the major Confederate armies surrendered to the United States in April of 1865. Two months later, in June 1865, after the war ended, General Granger’s final stop was in Galveston, Texas, which signaled freedom for Texas’s 250,000 enslaved people, and Juneteenth was born. In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Today, 47 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, with continued efforts to make it a national federal holiday by Congress. The sacrifices during that time are unmeasurable, and hard to fathom a nation more divided. Today, our country continues to face an invisible enemy, which has us divided once again and evaluating where we have come from, how our nation was formed, what our future holds, and how our grandchildren will remember this time in history. Taking the time to remember the brave men and women and the ultimate sacrifice they made and continue to make on behalf of the American people by their own free will, is debt that we will never be able to repay. We can, however, honor them, recognize them and choose to set aside our differences and come together for the good of our nation and for future generations to come.

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12 • May 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™


AgriCULTURAL Fun on the SLO County FarmTrail Slow Down, Reconnect, Enjoy and Learn along the SLO County Farm Trail through FARMstead Ed By SIMONE SMITH For Morro Bay Life


oom, virtual, telecommuting, self-driving, robotic, remote, quantum computing, push a button, overnight, maximize, lab-grown, instant, high tech, Google, factory farms, e-commerce, data-driven, corporate, the cloud, buy now, automation, artificial reality, artificial intelligence, Alexa…stop… It seems like humanity is speeding ever faster away from itself, from personal hands-on experiences, and from connections we have with each other and the natural world. To make matters worse, the combination of our immediate lifestyle with the recent isolation caused by the pandemic has further compounded our collective disconnect by creating a strange time-warping effect on our psyche. What can we do? Enter Lynette Sonne, founder and “Herd Boss” of FARMstead Ed and creator of the SLO County Farm Trail map, who just might have the antidote we need. The “COVID time warp” has been spoken about by Psychology Today, Wired, Vox, and other publications and basically refers to a warping of our senses by simultaneously having too much time while being stressed by not having enough time. Spending time without having meaningful, immersive events to mark its passing takes a toll. What’s the difference between celebrating a birthday with friends and family virtually, watching a movie at home, or playing a game on the computer? How engaged are you with each of these experiences, and how memorable are they? Also, with the ability to order just about anything at any time and receive it within hours by the press of a button or a word to Alexa, do we know where it actually comes from, what’s involved, or who even made the product? The human experience is multisensory; we are tied to each other and the natural world by millions of bits of information coming to us through sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, and movement but one by one, we have been cutting our connections and suffering the consequences. Meet Lynette Sonne, who, since founding FARMstead ED in 2014, has been making connections, creating awareness, and providing experiences for “tourists and townies” to learn about the importance of sustainable practices and craft through SLO Counties farms, ranches, purveyors, and partners. From Vicarious Ranch in San Miguel at the north to The Luffa Farm in Nipomo to the south, you will find 27 locations along the SLO County Farm Trail map for workshops, farm tours, tastings, “agriCULTURAL” experiences, pop-up markets, farm stays, “Table-to-Farm” dinners and much more!

Lynette Sonne, founder and “Herd Boss” of FARMstead Ed and creator of the SLO County Farm Trail map. Contributed photos

Over the years, Lynette Sonne has rounded up talented, knowledgeable, and caring professionals who are excited about what they do and happy to share their passions with others. As “Herd Boss,” Lynette is talented in matchmaking FARMstead ED businesses to offer memorable experiences throughout the county. A typical workshop example would be the recent “Grow Your Own Beneficial Garden” held at The Educated Gardener in Santa Margarita, which included a tour, talk by Simone of The Educated Gardener and Megan from Clearwater Color about

the importance of and how to attract beneficial to your garden, a hands-on take-home project and a delicious lunch by Thomas Hill Organics. Interested in Alpacas, cheese making, or how to make goat’s milk soap? Check into the Private events available at Santa Margaritas Giving Tree Farm. Look for the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend Farm Trail Pop-up Market at SLO Provisions or find many more opportunities to slow down, reconnect, enjoy and learn by picking up a SLO County Farm Trail map or by visiting FARMsteadEd.com.


Look for the Silver Lining! “Every crowd has a silver lining.” ~ P.T. Barnum

JAMES BRESCIA, Ed.D County Superintendent of Schools


uring the pandemic, many of our evenings include watching old shows on Turner Classic Movies. A recent film I watched, “Look for the Silver Lining,” 1949 biographical musical of singer-dancer Marilyn Miller, caused me to reflect on how we interact during times of pandemic conditions. In one scene, a public health officer tacks a “Quarantine” sign to the family door because of a mumps outbreak. This scene made me appreciate today’s technology as Miller’s family could only talk through the door to each other. The pandemic has changed the way we interact, perform services, and connect. Today unlike the early 1900’s we can still connect with the outside world because of technology. Periodically during the pandemic, I needed to

unplug because of information overload from the news, Internet, and technology. There were times when dozens of calls and hundreds of emails were sharing challenges, requesting information, and simply connecting. If we could travel back in time to 1918, the flu outbreak of those days was strangely like today’s COVID conditions. Local 1918 leaders shuttered schools and saloons; quarantines restricted interactions with family, friends, and colleagues. One significant difference from today’s pandemic was that in 1918 only 35 percent of homes in the U.S. had a telephone and the Internet was not even a fictional concept. Even without the Internet, some 1918 schools made use of technology for education. In Long Beach, students quarantined at home were participants in early forms of remote education. “The pupils in the high school there were doing home study work and holding regular telephonic conversations with their instructor,” reported the Oakland Tribune. To provide additional public safety and increase in-person education services, our local public health officer, Dr. Penny Borenstein, prioritized education employees for vaccina-

tion. During the first few weeks of education employee vaccinations Raechelle Bowlay from the Childcare Planning Council, her staff, and my office coordinated the nearly 8,000 education sector employees’ appointments. Childcare and K-12 employees from all districts, charters, early childhood centers, private and parochial schools were offered vaccination appointments. Today’s technology-enabled the immediate creation of reservation phone lines to schedule appointments. Our offices were transformed into call centers enlisting anyone with strong phone skills and the ability to perform data entry while wearing a telephone headset. I worked the reservation line for several days to observe the process and provide breaks for my staff from the non-stop calls. A gratifying aspect of scheduling appointments was the genuine appreciation expressed by the callers. Several people recognized my voice, and I even received a few handwritten thank you notes. I considered this a “Silver Lining” moment during the pandemic. After we scheduled between 80-90 percent of the education sector employees, I received a vaccination myself. Standing in line at

the Paso Robles Events Center, I observed dozens of volunteers supporting our community. Off-duty nurses, doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians, EMTs, and anyone with medical training was welcomed into the medical reserve corps alongside other volunteers. Because my appointment was scheduled with the education sector, there were employees from most of the north county schools waiting in line. Everyone I spoke with was thankful to be vaccinated and excited about increasing in-person services for students, another “Silver Lining” moment. The community spirit, human connection, and concern for others are part of my vaccination experience. My wife has served as an RN at Twin Cities Hospital for 32 years and is one of our vaccination center volunteers. I have enjoyed Carolyn’s stories about vaccinating people from our community and how we are moving forward together in protecting our neighbors and the most vulnerable. This pandemic has been challenging for the entire world. If we continue to demonstrate flexibility, patience, and kindness, those “Silver Lining” moments will materialize. It is an honor to serve as your county superintendent of schools.

Morro Bay Life • May 2021 • 13

Making Communities Better Through Print™




To find out when and where your favorite High School sports are playing visit Morro Bay High School Athletics at mbhs.slcusd.org

An unprecedented season comes to an end for the Morro Bay Pirates and their 2020-2021 football season. With all the uncertainty if they would even get to play due to the coronavirus pandemic giving up was never an option. Their hard work and perseverance to improve their game was evident and paid off—congratulations on all your hard work and dedication. Photos by Morro Bay High School Athletics

SOCCER Morro Bay High School Lady Pirates Soccer returned to the field on Mar. 12 and are looking forward to a great season after a challenging year and never losing hope. Photos by Morro Bay High School Lady Pirates

14 • May 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™


A Delightful Menu for Mother’s Day Asparagus and Gouda Quiche

▷ 1½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided ▷ 4 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded (1 cup) ▷ 4 large eggs ▷ 1 ¾ cups half-and-half ▷ 2 ½ teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon, divided ▷ ½ teaspoon black pepper ▷ 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Ingredients: ▷ 1 prepared 9-inch piecrust ▷ 1 tablespoon butter ▷ ¾ cup thinly sliced spring onions ▷ 4 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

From the Kitchen of

Barbie Butz


ay 9 will be a special day for all of the mothers out there. It will be a day to recognize and appreciate motherhood and all that it means. Why not serve brunch in an outdoor setting like a park or even in your own backyard. Make it simple, easy to prepare, and to clean up. After all, it will probably be a mother who puts it together! Start with quiche, add baked honey-mustard salmon, and a tossed green salad. End with a flourish by serving a lemon-lime meringue pie. Every mother present will love the menu! Happy Mother's Day!

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll piecrust and fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim excess dough and finish the edge. Freeze for 20 minutes. Place parchment paper over frozen piecrust and top with pie weights. Bake until lightly golden and set, about 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment; continue baking until crust is dry, about 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add spring onions, asparagus, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring often, until very soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes. Spoon onion-asparagus mixture into cooled piecrust, sprinkle with cheese. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 2 teaspoons tarragon, pepper, chives, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over vegetable mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until the middle is set, about 40 minutes. Cool 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon tarragon. Note: If you do not have pie weights, use dried beans or rice.

Honey-Mustard Salmon Ingredients: ▷ 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard ▷ ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ▷ 1 teaspoon honey ▷ ½ cup panko breadcrumbs ▷ 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme ▷ 1 tablespoon olive oil ▷ ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ▷ 4 (5 ounces) skin-on salmon fillets

Lemon-Lime Meringue Pie Ingredients: ▷ 1 9-inch graham cracker crust ▷ 1 cup granulated sugar ▷ 6 tablespoons cornstarch ▷ ¼ teaspoon salt ▷ 1 cup water ▷ 5 large egg yolks ▷ 1 tablespoon lemon zest

▷ ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (separated from zest) ▷ 1 tablespoon lime zest ▷ ¼ cup fresh lime juice (separated from zest) ▷ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ▷ Meringue for a 9-inch pie

Directions: Combine whole-grain mustard, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and honey in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together panko breadcrumbs, chopped thyme, olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Arrange salmon fillets, skin side down, on a plate. Spread mustard mixture over tops of fillets. Sprinkle evenly with panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Bake at 425 degrees until salmon is flaky and opaque, about 10 minutes.

Directions: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a medium bowl, whisk together water, egg yolks, lemon juice, and lime juice. Gradually whisk the yolk mixture into the sugar mixture until combined. Cook over medium-high, whisking often, until filling thickens and just begins to bubble, 6 to 8 minutes. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, lemon zest, and lime zest. Cool 30 minutes before pouring into crust. Prepare meringue and spread over filling. Spread to the outside of the crust to seal in filling and prevent shrinkage. Bake at 350 degrees until meringue is golden, 14 to 15 minutes. Cool before serving.


The Road Less Traveled: Wineries of Edna Valley & Arroyo Grande


hile not the hidden-away paradise of Shangri-La in James Hilton’s famous novel “Lost Horizon,” Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande are two small wine appellations that wine adventurers have for so long passed by unawares. A sense of quietude blankets this bucolic valley cradled by the Santa Lucia range and Seven Sisters peaks and bookended by the appellations of Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County. The region is filled with a rich history of old vine plantings, one of which actually got revived In the mid-1970s. Bill Greenough painstakingly restored an abandoned vineyard (c.1880) when he founded Saucelito Canyon Winery in Arroyo Grande. Later, in 1982, Jack Niven planted the historic Paragon Vineyard and established the Edna Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). There were other “firsts” in Arroyo Grande in the 1980s, such as Talley Vineyard’s plantings of pinot noir and chardonnay and Maison Duetz’s (now Laetitia) production of sparkling wine. John Alban made his mark by planting viognier at Alban Vineyard, a whopping 32 acres at a time when only 50 acres were planted in the world and none in North America. What makes the region special is its long growing season, cooled by the fog, kissed by the sun, and shaped by the wind. While this is exquisite pinot noir and chardonnay country, other varieties thrive here vigorously — exuberant albariño and pinot gris, fragrant riesling and gewürztraminer, finicky roussanne, and cool climate syrah. Arroyo Grande Saucelito Canyon, one of four wineries in Arroyo Grande appellation, prides itself in zinfandel planted in 1880, making it the oldest commercial vineyard in San Luis Obispo County.

The Edna Valley tasting room offers a selection of zinfandels, including the 1880 Old Vine zinfandel crafted from that threeacre old vine heritage vineyard. Nearby at Talley Vineyards and Winery, Brian Talley takes justifiable pride in the family’s signature pinot noirs that are silky and lyrical with bright flavors and chardonnays expressing the vineyard’s calcareous soil and the maritime climate. Hailed as master of viognier, John Alban made his mark planting this little-known variety in 1982. More recently, Alban has added syrah and grenache to his portfolio of wines that are stunning and expressive of the hillside vineyard. We tasted barrel samples that included the 2018 amphora-aged viognier and 2017 vintages of three distinctly different syrahs, the white pepperlaced Seymour, the smoky Reva, and silky smooth Lorraine. The winery is not open to the public, but Alban wines are available through wine stores and restaurants. Edna Valley A stop at the 19th-century townsite of Old Edna is a step back in time. The entire property was acquired by the Stoller family, with the main building transformed to its Sextant and Windemere Wine tasting room with a deli attached. While Windemere wines are for purchase only, Sextant tasting menu offers a Paso Robles selection. Further up, Center of Effort’s spectacular state-of-the-art hillside estate offers a flight tasting of its seductive pinot noirs and opulent chardonnays. Another scenic ambiance awaits at Tolosa, where your tasting experience ranges from lively chardonnays and silky pinot noirs to vibrant Spanish blends from Perinet, Tolosa’s sister winery in Priorat. Jean-Pierre Wolff takes pride in the oldest, “45-year old” chardonnay vineyard in this appellation. He crafts classic wines in an Old World style at his namesake winery, among them a cool-climate syrah and a silky petite sirah backed with supple tannins. Others in the area include Edna Valley Vineyards, Claiborne & Churchill, Chamisal, Kysni, and Biddle Ranch.

Biddle Ranch, located in the heart of Edna Valley, specializes in small batch wines. Contributed photos

Saucelito Canyon, five miles east of Arroyo Grande Village, once produced some of the Central Coast’s earliest commercial wines.

Morro Bay Life • May 2021 • 15

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Are You as Young as You Could Be? By DR. CINDY MAYNARD For Morro Bay Life


t seems like the only time in our lives we wished we were older is when we were young. “How old are you?” someone would ask. “I’m five and a half!”Those halves were important. But, when we approach the 40s, we begin to go backward. “I’m 39 and holding.” It’s true that aging is inevitable — there’s no stopping it. But what if I told you there is a way to slow the process, perhaps even reverse it? According to Dr. Michael Roizen in his book, RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be? most people age at a similar rate until they hit their late 20s or early 30s. Then we start the transition into “aging.” Generally, our biological functions decrease 3-6 percent per decade after age 35. The problem with these statistics is that they’re based on averages; the truth is that people age at drastically different rates. Most of us could cite examples of people in their early 70s who are globe-trotting or running marathons. And yet we all know people in their 60s who are bedridden or have some major medical problem and are on the fast track to old age. What makes the difference? Good genes? True to a certain extent, but inherited genes account for less than 30 percent of all aging effects. The rest is lifestyle choices. Which means we have a choice about how we want to age or not age.

Decline and disease are not inevitable outcomes of aging. If we begin to live, what substances you put in your body, the risks you take, and to change our behavior, we can stay fit, vital, and healthy for decades. the stresses you deal with daily – all contribute to aging. So, what keeps us younger or older? STRESS BUSTERS IMMUNITY TO AGING On the other hand, other choices, like taking a new class, nutriOur immune system is number one. Think of it as your protector. tion, humor, letting go of resentments, or having fun with friends, can It keeps outside invaders like viruses and bacteria at bay by locating help keep you younger. Some risks are unavoidable, but by choosing to and destroying them. It also uproots cells that have become malignant. decrease the risks, you build your own age-protection plan. Certain things, like exercise, antioxidants, nutrition, our mental health, all play a vital role in boosting our immune system. WHAT’S YOUR REALAGE? To calculate your RealAge, go to RealAge.com and take the test. KEEPING THE ARTERIAL ROADWAYS CLEAR The lower your RealAge, the greater the odds are that you will have a Heart health is the Big Kahuna that intersects with every aspect of healthier, more energetic life. Conversely, the higher the RealAge, the your life. Over time, arteries age and wear down. They get congested older your body and mind may actually be. However, over time, as you from buildup of fatty deposits called plaque, which cause traffic jams adopt new lifestyle behaviors, you can recalculate your RealAge and like high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, or heart attacks. By keep- watch the years disappear! ing your arteries and heart in good working order, you can make your RealAge as much as 20 years younger than your chronological age. Cindy Maynard, Ph.D., RD, is a health psychologist, a registered

MYTHS ABOUT AGING People usually equate aging with loss or a decline in vitality, attractiveness, and health. Here are some other myths: • Aging = illness • Aging is purely genetic. It’s written in the genes. You can’t change that fact. • Older people should eat less calories as they get older, or they’ll gain weight. • Feeling depressed is a natural function of getting older. INTERACTING WITH OUR ENVIRONMENT • By the time someone is 60 or older, the damage is Environmental factors affect our health and the length of our lives done. So, why bother? as much as arterial aging and our immune system. Where you choose

dietitian, and a nationally published health and fitness writer. She is passionate about promoting health and wellness. You can contact her at drcindymaynard@live.com


Flourishing in a Post-Pandemic World



t’s been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. After over a year of lockdowns, restrictions, isolation, uncertainty, stress, and fear, it feels as if life springs hopeful again. I don’t know about you, but I am not excited to go back to all the things that used to be. I’ve been pondering what future I would like to invent. This transition to post-pandemic life is an opportunity for all of us to re-design our personal

lives, communities, work environments, education, and much more. We don’t have to go back to all things pre-pandemic. Hopefully, through the year-long 20/20 lance, we can see what’s worth keeping, what’s essential, and the many ways in which we used to waste life’s resources. We can turn our collective COVID-19 nightmare into something positive, should we choose to accept the challenge and adopt a mindset of urgent optimism. Hopefully, by now, you realize the indispensability of quality family, friendships, and community interactions. Humans need other humans. Imagine ways to strengthen your human connections. How much more resilient could we be if we have each other? How much more life could we live if we live for each other? Realize that “health” is not the same as “healthcare.” Our society has a lot of work to do before we feel that we are in good hands with our healthcare. At the same time, we can

take health into our own hands. We saw that the overwhelming majority of those who suffered and died of COVID-19 were people with pre-existing conditions and poor health. Lifestyle changes lead to changed lives. We will never know how many lives could have been saved if people met the pandemic with a commitment to excellent health. Remember, work is a means to an end, not the end itself. After a year of pets, home cooking, gardening, home improvement projects, and outdoor fun, returning to work feels bittersweet. Can we set boundaries and find balance in the future? Living in fear is no way to live. Perhaps, we can disconnect from the endless bad news crammed down our throats by the media and look around instead. Look for all the beautiful things budding and growing in our own communities and within the sphere of our influence. We pay for worrying about things that are out of

our control with diminished creativity, increased anxiety, and paralyzing anger. Could we have fared better as a society if we did not have the pre-existing conditions of income inequality, political polarization, climate crisis, a broken healthcare system, and massive mistrust of each other and the government? How and where do we go from here? I take this transitional moment seriously. Many conversations must happen if we want post-pandemic flourishing. But before they could happen, each one of us must be able to see that future in our mind’s eye, want it, and be willing to build it. Each of us must re-envision our individual lives. Commit to living more, love more, and do more! Valentina Petrova has helped people with life, health, relationships, financial, career, professional, and business goals and challenges since 2015. She has a Master’s in Psychology and is a certified life coach and a certified mediator. You can reach her at valentinapetrovaconsulting.com.

16 • May 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

CONNECTION, COMMUNICATION & COMMITMENT We are still in a strong sellers’ market with an action index of 47! Very limited inventory with a Median list price at $839,000 with Average Days on Market at 56 and Cost per Sq. Ft. at $568.


happily manage all aspects of your transaction to make the process as rewarding and seamless as possible and because of this attitude, I have received the coveted 2020 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Emerald Elite Award of which I am truly honored. This accolade recognizes my performance as a real estate professional and ranks me among the top 2% of all agents in our national brand

2021 Sales Production G DIN PEN


2232 Emerald Circle  Morro Bay REPRESENT SELLER


3090 Beachcomber  Morro Bay REPRESENT SELLER

1199-1197 Main Street  Morro Bay REPRESENT SELLER


2242 Emerald Circle  Morro Bay REPRESENT SELLER

I look forward to the opportunity to service your real estate needs and earn your business and referrals for many years to come!

Photo by Gautier Salles







Profile for 13 Stars Media

Morro Bay Life • May 2021  

Everything Morro Bay

Morro Bay Life • May 2021  

Everything Morro Bay

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