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Still in this Together

...one year later









2 • March 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

Through Print

Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome, and know you can do anything if you just don’t give up.

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s we welcome Spring and start to look forward to warmer months ahead, we take a moment to reflect on where we were a year ago at this time. Less than fifteen days after we went to press with our March 2020 issue, the entire economy came to a screeching halt. All the wellmade plans that we had going into the year were no longer relevant. All that mattered was doing our part to “flatten the curve” and save precious lives. Our business immediately suffered, as did many others, and we had to adjust and restructure. We evaluated what we needed to make it through six months and trudged forward the best we could. We are proud to look back and know that we made it through without missing one print date. Honestly, we didn’t know if we would make it even a month. But we did all because of the incredible support from our advertisers, even during this unprecedented time of change and uncertainty. We made it through because of you, our loyal readers and subscribers, many of whom sent emails and letters to check in and offer support. We made it through because of our incredible team of dedicated professionals who shifted and adjusted as we navigated our way through

the unknown. We made it through because we were never alone, and for that, we will be forever grateful that we get to live in the best place on Earth. Over the last year, we have shared that we have the best of humanity here in our communities, and we are touched by all the love we see our community members give to one another, even during the most challenging of times. Each month we are dedicated to sharing with you the people that make up this beautiful place we all call home. From the very start, it all has been based on a very simple understanding of writing something worth reading, and our community makes that easy by continuing to do things worth writing about. Speaking of local greatness, we are excited to announce our First Annual Best of Morro Bay Readers’ Poll! We have more than 100 categories of local businesses, organizations, events, and attractions waiting for you to cast your ballot for the Best of 2021. Our Reader’s Poll is your chance to acknowledge all those who earned it in 2020, and this was a year we watched our community go above and beyond! The poll opens on March 15. Of course, none of this could

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be possible without the best of the best — our loyal and faithful advertisers. THANK YOU. For many of us, this was the most challenging year ever. Never had we seen mandated business closures. But here we are, and we did it together. We aren’t stopping now. As we continue to walk through this pandemic, it is a good reminder

to be gentle with one another. We may each see the world a little differently, but remember we are all in this together; because together, we are all so much more. We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Morro Bay Life. Much love, N ic and Hayley Mattson, Publishers


2021 BEST OF MORRO BAY 2020 was a tough year! Help us celebrate those local businesses that have risen to the occasion and made our community great against the odds. Introducing the First Annual 2021 Best of Morro Bay! We want to hear from you! Support your favorite local business by voting for them in the Morro Bay Life Readers Poll. Bring some love to your favorite local businesses and attractions! Vote today for the Best of Morro Bay! Voting will be open by March 15 and will conclude on April 31, 2021.

Scan the QR Code and go directly to the voting form.

Vote for your favorites now! Visit MORROBAYLIFENEWS.COM/READERSPOLL

Morro Bay Life • March 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. Please help us in congratulating this month’s Spotlight Businesses by saying “congrats!” when you have the opportunity, or shopping, dining or staying at their establishments.

Connecting During Uncertain Times The Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Community Awards virtually on Friday, February 12th. It was broadcast live on Channel 20 and streamed on slo-span.org. The event was a virtual “who’s who” of Morro Bay, where we were joined together from the comfort of our homes to recognize the people and organizations that make our community special.

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Our event emcee, Dave Sozinho, of 97.3 The Rock Radio, lit up the online audience with his special style of comedy... We’re fairly certain he was able to bring laughter to the masses, even if we were unable to hear it through our screens.


The event was noted by one viewer as “a moment to forget about our woes and be reminded of the good outside our front door.”

AGP Video

There were tears (more than we’d like to admit) as we took a trip down memory lane with Living Treasure awardee, Jack Smith, and as Debbie Dover thanked her loyal FitnessWorks/TherapyWorks (Business of the Year) customers for sticking with them during the hard times. Our hearts grew three sizes as we listened to Chuck Stoll (Citizen of the Year) give out his personal phone number to volunteers who want to help serve food to the community, and took notes from Walter Heath of Morro Bay in Bloom (NonProfit of the Year) them in “planting pride” all throughout town.

Carollo Engineers Central Coast Lending Engle and Associates Insurance Kitzman’s Culligan Water

Walter Heath

While we certainly missed seeing and hugging everyone in person for this annual event, we enjoyed being able to bring this event to an unlimited number of community members to celebrate with us. If you missed the event, you can go to our website and watch the recording on our community awards page.

Staying Informed on COVID-19 We also came together last month to learn more about the City of Morro Bay Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and hear from local City and Chamber leadership about what’s next in the pandemic response. If you want to learn more about vaccine distribution and more about how our City is managing the pandemic, there is a recording of the event on our Facebook page. We look forward to seeing SLO County move through the Governor’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy in the coming weeks and months and want to encourage all businesses that will be impacted by each transition to be prepared. This includes many services that have been limited to outdoors, who will be able to reopen indoor facilities at limited capacity. For more information on each tier go to morrochamber.org/covid-19-resources.

march 4th

Ask Me Anything Returns

Chamber members are invited to attend a special virtual Ask Me Anything focused on employees, hiring strategies and federally funded workforce development programs with guests from Eckerd Connects. Event details for this March 4th event will be shared through our Chamber’s mailing list and on Facebook.

4 • March 2021 • Morro Bay Life


Morro Bay Art Association is Calling On All Artists for Exhibit STAFF REPORT MORRO BAY — The Morro Bay Art Association (MBAA) Art Center in Morro Bay is proud to present the exhibit “Broken Nature.” The exhibit will run from Apr. 8 through May 24. The Art Center committee explains that during this time, while people are experiencing a worldwide pandemic; divisions, hidden agendas, and distorted realities. The effects of global warming are causing climate change, drought; melting of polar ice caps; fire, extinction of species, and polluted oceans are on the rise. They hope to find a holistic approach to restore the world and be good ancestors for generations to come. This project is aimed at presenting questions and encourages interactive conversations. Artists are called upon to “courageously expose greed, brutality, neglect of nature and each other.” This exhibit challenges artists to find ways of addressing the consequences, choices, and urgent need to live sustainably within Earth’s finite resources. MBAA retains 25 percent commission on sold items. Sold items may be replaced free of additional entry fees. No awards are provided for this event. For more information contact Barbara Sitar, Gallery Director at bsitar66@gmail.com or call (617)320-2956, or visit artcentermorrobay.org. Art Center Morro Bay hours: • Sunday-Monday 12 to 4 p.m. • Thursday-Saturday 12 to 4p.m. • Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

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MBAA Presents Thomas W. Schaller Virtual Watercolor Workshop, ‘Architecture of Light’ STAFF REPORT MORRO BAY — Morro Bay Art Association (MBAA) is proud to present world-renowned artist and author Thomas W. Schaller for a virtual watercolor workshop, “Architecture of Light,” April 16, 17, and 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Following a 20-year career in New York City as an architect and architectural artist, Thomas Schaller is now based in Los Angeles. He devotes himself full-time to fine art in watercolor. Schaller feels that a final painting begins long before an artist ever touches brush to paper. MBAA explains that the workshop’s focus will be less about technical expertise and more about intent, inspiration, observation, and finding your unique artist voice. Participants will enjoy daily demonstrations and discussions. It will provide an in-depth understanding of atmospheric expression in watercolor, including depic-

tions of the sky, water, and fog. The workshop will take the aspiring artist to the next level by exploring the tension, resolution, and connections between complements, including warm and cool, vertical and horizontal, man-made and natural. In addition, learn how to make all the parts of your painting work in unison to tell a powerfully communicative story. Students may bring their own photo reference, something that resonates with them personally. “As an artist, it is light, that is the constant narrative in my work. So when I’m deciding on what it is I wish to paint, I concentrate less on specific objects – places or things – and more on the strength of a strong abstract value composition of darks and lights. A common phrase we often hear is: “Mother Nature is the best teacher” While I agree that real-world observation is a crucial skill for the artist, no less so are the lessons to be learned from memory, dreams,

and pure invention.” Thomas W. Schaller explained. According to MBAA, Schaller has authored art books, instructional videos, DVDs and has been featured in several publications. He is one of the few watercolor artists featured in The American Masters Exhibition 2015 at the famed Salmagundi Club in NYC. He received a Graham Foundation Grant and was a two-time recipient of the Hugh Ferris Memorial Prize. In 2017 Schaller was a finalist for the Lynx Prize for Contemporary Art; Trieste. In 2019 he was awarded the Abu Rawash Master Award. Schaller is a signature member of many organizations, including American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Northwest Watercolor Society, San Diego Watercolor Society, California Watercolor Association, California Art Club, American Society of Architectural Perspectivists, and New York Society of Renderers.

He is president emeritus of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators and founding member of the group, North American Watercolor Artists. His work has been included in major exhibitions and collections worldwide. This workshop is appropriate for all skill levels. Students are also welcome to use other mediums for this workshop. Discover why it’s better to be less concerned with technical expertise and more about inspiration and observation. The “Architecture of

Light” workshop is $310 for non-members and $250 for current MBAA members. The workshop is presented live via Zoom. The Zoom code will be emailed to registered students one week before the workshop begins. For more information, contact Patricia Newton at artbypatricianewton@gmail.com or (805)423-1100. For the MBAA Member Discount, please register as a member before registering Pre-registration is required. Register at artcentermorrobay. org/index.php/products/.


Annual Wine 4 Paws Weekend Fundraiser Coming in April STAFF REPORT SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — April is once again the time to enjoy the Central Coast while helping animals in need during the Annual Wine 4 Paws Weekend for Woods Humane Society. This year, participants can choose from supporting the fundraiser by ordering from home or venturing out safely with a reservation and your mask. Throughout the Pandemic, Woods Humane Society has been caring for homeless pets and finding them forever homes. At the same time, many programs remain postponed until further notice, and essential fundraising events may not return again this year. According to Woods, incoming funds for services have been reduced significantly, but expenses have not slowed down. That is why the 2021 Wine 4 Paws weekend is more crucial than ever.

Wine 4 Paws Weekend can help support local businesses (and get people out of the house or not) and enjoy some great Central Coast Offerings; in return, the funds raised will help support Woods’ ongoing efforts. The wineries are now open for outdoor tastings by appointment. However, if you don’t feel comfortable going out, you can participate in Wine 4 Paws from afar, just like last year – order online, by phone, or by email. Have it shipped with one of the many shipping deals that will be offered, or swing by the Tasting Room and take advantage of curbside pickup. Jeffry’s BBQ in Paso Robles will be offering up their delicious BBQ, whether you want to take it home or enjoy it on their heated outdoor patio. Last year’s event went virtual and was a huge success, thanks to all the committed participants and longtime supporters. Wood’s was able to help the

homeless animals during one of their most significant times of need and enjoy quality Central Coast offerings. Each winery’s logo on the site will directly link to their website where participants can make a tasting reservation for that weekend. It is advised to book your reservation early because those spots fill up fast. If you wish to stay close to home, there are some pre-shopping and planning items you can choose from. When you buy wine anytime on Apr. 10-11, a percentage of your purchase will be donated to Woods. Everyone will be offering shipping deals as well as specials, and if you’re a local, you can even go out and do a “curbside pickup.” The list of participating wineries is long, in addition to an olive oil producer and Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ in Paso Robles. The community support is critical. By participating in Wine 4 Paws,

Woods wants to remind everyone that you are not only helping the animals, but you are also helping small businesses during this difficult time. During the pandemic, Woods has continued to give the highest level of care, providing dogs and cats food, shelter, primary veterinary care, exercise, and enrichment. Many animals have been sent to foster care, and Woods continues to do appointment-based adoptions to fulfill their mission. For Woods to continue to provide the same level of care to homeless companion animals and offer them second chances in 2021, the community’s help is needed. Wine 4 Paws helps ensure that Woods can continue to offer our community animals the highest level of care. For additional information, please contact Sarah Tomasetti, Director of Wine 4 Paws, at info@wine4paws.com.


State Opens Door For Outdoor Sports To Return Football could return as soon as March By CONNOR ALLEN of Morro Bay Life SAN LUIS OBISPO — The California Department of Public Health released new, looser guidelines for outdoor and indoor youth and recreational sports on Friday that appear to bring a return to athletic activities. The State is allowing all outdoor sports to resume in counties where COVID-19 case rates are at or below 14 people per 100,000. According to the case counter on readyslo.org, SLO County is currently at 15.6 per 100,000 but is projected to be below the desired number when new numbers are released next week. Governor Gavin Newsom announced the guidelines at a press conference this morning joined by two San Francisco 49ers and thanked the leaders of the let them play movement, who undoubtedly played a role in the announcement. The new guidelines pave the way for outdoor sports like baseball and softball to begin on-time for and for football and water polo to even squeeze in a quick season starting as soon as Friday for counties under the 14 people per 100,000 thresholds. Athletes in all sports will still need to wear masks while not

competing, not share personal equipment, and are encouraged to socially distance themselves when available. Spectators, coaches and trainers will all be required to wear masks per the CDPH guidelines. High-contact sports like football and water polo also become available but require athletes and coaches to get COVID-19 tested weekly if the county case rate is about seven per 100,000. The tests would be either antigen or PCR and provided by the State. If competing, testing is performed with test results made available within 24 hours of play. Moderate contact sports will not be subject to testing, while many low contact sports have already begun across the county. While this news does signal a return for outdoor sports, indoor sports such as basketball and volleyball are still shut down. “We will continue to work on those indoor issues, we have a whole team working on that, and we will have more to say very, very shortly,” Newsom said. The return for football, especially, came in just the nick of time as CIF has determined that the season must end by Apr. 17 in order for the following season to be able to start on-time. Once under the 14 per 100,000 thresholds, youth activities for high contact sports will also be able to return. Per the new

California Department of Public Health released new, looser guidelines for youth and recreational sports. Contributed photos

guidelines, testing will not be required for participants 13 years of age or younger as “evidence shows that younger children do not seem to be major sources of transmission—either to each other or to adults.” If more than 50 percent of a team’s participants are less than the age of 13, then the entire team is exempted from the testing requirement. Coaches, however, will still be required to meet the testing requirement.

Morro Bay Life • March 2021 • 5

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6 • March 2021 • Morro Bay Life

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The Morro Bay Harbor Department picked three sites — Coleman Park (three spaces), the Triangle Lot next to the Maritime Museum (seven), and the former maintenance yard by Morro Creek (nine) for a total of 19 spaces. Contributed photos

Council Extends Waterfront Camping Program By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life

MORRO BAY — The Morro Bay City Council voted to extend and expand a new waterfront RV camping program that the Harbor Department put together last fall, authorizing the pilot program through the end of September. Harbor Director Eric Endersby told Morro Bay Life that the extension was, “So we can get a full year under our belts, that way we have good data on how it works and pencils.” The RV camping idea was hatched in April 2019, according to Endersby’s staff report. The initial recommendation was for six sites: Target Rock; Coleman Park parking lot; Morro Creek near the Harbor Department’s storage building; at The “Pit” open areas by Morro Dunes trailer/ RV park; in the Triangle parking lot near the Maritime Museum; and in the public boat launch ramp parking lot. The Harbor Advisory Board liked the idea but nixed putting in spaces near Morro Rock. It went to the City Council and got a go-ahead. The department next received approval for a temporary, emergency permit from the Coastal Commission for a “pilot program” that was slated to expire in March. The Commission was sympathetic with the Harbor Department’s drastic drop in revenues caused by the Governor’s COVID-19 business closure and stay-at-home orders. In addition, the City Council delayed lease payments from waterfront businesses until after the summer ended to ease the burden after the loss of income. Another plus is that the Commission considers RV and tent camping to be low-cost accommodations and thus desirable under the Coastal Act. The Commission also conditioned the program to also have spaces available for tent camping. In the end, the Harbor Department picked three sites — Coleman Park (three spaces), the Triangle Lot next to the Maritime Museum (seven), and the former maintenance yard by Morro Creek (nine) for a total of 19 spaces. Overnight prices varied depending on the location, with Coleman Park going for $75 a night, considerably higher than other RV parks in town, including the State Park campgrounds. They also developed plans for a few spaces down by the public boat launch ramp reserved for sport fishermen who haul their boats to town behind an RV. But that site hasn’t been used yet. Fishing season opens again in April. Once it’s established, the spaces can be rented by anyone after the fishing season closes in December. It took quite a bit of lead-up work to get the program started last September. “Over the summer of 2020,” Endersby reported, “Harbor Department staff developed

the program to include the creation of rules and regulations for site users, an online reservation system [the same subscription program system, ‘Bonfire,’ used by Port San Luis’s RV program], professional program graphics and site signage and site improvements and amenities.” It should be noted that these are “dry camping” spaces, as in the City hasn’t provided electricity, water, or sewer hookups, as one might expect from a modern RV park. Over the three months it was working, Endersby reported gross revenues of $32,200, but if COVID hadn’t shut it down early, he said they may have been able to receive another $4,500 in December-January. The RVers also paid the City $3,200 in transient occupancy taxes (a 10 percent charge), and they collected $485 for the County’s Tourism Marketing District (a 1.5 percent charge). As for expenses, he listed $1,000 for credit card fees; $1,500 for an annual subscription fee to the online reservation system, Bonfire; $30,000 in expenses, primarily one-time start-up costs (landscaping/hardscaping, signage, graphics, reimbursement of the Recreation Department for services rendered). He added that the City is supposed to transfer $10,000-$15,000 from the “Low-Cost Accommodation Fund” to help offset the initial start-up costs. That low-cost fund is paid by developers of motels who don’t want to have some of their rooms forcibly rented at a discounted rate, currently set at $149 a night, according to the rates the new Inn at Rose’s Landing had to set for its required two “affordable” rooms. Once the City transfers the low-cost monies, Endersby said their net profits over the three months is $6,000-$11,000. Apparently pleased with the success, the Council voted to extend the pilot program and also added a few spaces at the base of Morro Rock near the fence to the power plant outfall canal. This might prove sticky if Native Americans, who consider Morro Rock a sacred site, object. “Out of respect for the two local tribes and the potential Rock sites,” Endersby said, “I have reached out to the Salinan and Chumash for their input before we do anything out there. I have received initial responses and will be engaging with them as they get feedback from their respective councils.” The Native Americans aside, many Morro Bay residents were dead set against the RV camping program, period, with dozens of emails being sent to the Council before the meeting. A handful of people were supportive but somewhat wary of some aspects, in particular the Coleman Park campsites, which are right next to the Harborwalk bike path. But those three campsites were the most popular.

The Department also asked its customers about their experiences and if they’d come back again? Those form letters were included in the agenda packet. When asked about it, Endersby said, “We are obviously supporters of the program, and yes, we solicited input from our customers.” Those customers came from all across California, including a few people who were escaping wildfires and from other states as well. Endersby noted that they would have to go back to the Coastal Commission because their temporary permit expires towards the end of March. And if they want to make it a permanent program, they’ll need a full-blown Coastal Development Permit (CDP) that would be under the original jurisdiction of the Coastal Commission. “The Council did not OK making the program permanent,” Endersby told Morro Bay Life, “but we will have to do something with our emergency Coastal permit we have now. I have to assume Coastal will not just continue extending the emergency permit, and we will have to seek a regular, full Coastal permit. “But even if we did, that would not mean the program is ‘permanent,’ just that we have a regular CDP. Even with a regular CDP, we can discontinue the program at any time.” Skeptical readers might think once such a government program gets started, especially one that brings in revenue, it’ll never go away. And that might hold true; however, the Harbor Department has some prospects for future increased revenues. In particular, the Castle Wind proposal for an offshore wind energy farm, which if plans continue as originally presented, they would bring the energy ashore through the power plant’s outfall canal, which is leased under the Harbor Department.

Duke Energy paid $250,000 a year for that outfall lease, but those monies dried up in 2014 when Dynegy shuttered the plant for good. In a normal, COVID-free economy, Endersby said the revenue potential from the RV spaces is good. “If continued as a permanent program,” Endersby said, “as the program matures into year two and beyond, approximately $135,000$185,000 in annual gross revenues would be expected, with $35,000-$40,000 in annual ongoing costs. “Thus, in the first full year, the Harbor Fund would net $70,000 and $100,000-$150,000 in subsequent years.” At $100,000, the RV program would be comparable to what the busiest restaurants on the Embarcadero pay the Harbor Department in annual rents. At the Council meeting, Endersby said that he spent much of the time explaining how the Harbor Department’s role and expenses have changed. “Much of my time was trying to explain to the public how our revenue model has flipped with the exponential increase in demands for our time, facilities and resources, and no commensurate increase in revenues,” he told Morro Bay Life. “Remember the Rock parking 20 years ago? Two rows deep was a big day. Now that is every day at 6 in the morning.” “The usage on the bay has increased exponentially as well,” he continued, “as has the demands on our resources, but over the last 20 years, while our revenues have increased some, they have equaled relatively flat compared to the usage and demand. And all that usage and demand equal cost. So some new revenue sources are critical if we are to continue providing facilities and services.”

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Cunningham Issues Statement on Legislature’s School Reopening Plan Cunningham speaks out against a bill that would further delay school reopening

Governor Newsom Introduces a Roadmap to Reopening Schools Online tool empowers families and communities with information on status of reopening, safety planning, and available supports STAFF REPORT SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that the state has launched the Safe Schools for All Plan’s interactive Safe Schools Reopening Map, an online tool providing a statewide snapshot of the status of school reopenings across California. The map supports local communities in making data-driven decisions to open classrooms and safely ensure public transparency. Today’s announcement builds on the additional transparency, accountability and assistance measures incorporated in the Safe Schools for All Plan. “As COVID-19 conditions continue to improve and vaccinations ramp up throughout the state, this map will provide local communities with accessible, up-to-date information on how districts in their communities and beyond are adapting to the pandemic, including safety planning and implementation” said Governor Newsom. “This map is one of many resources we have made available that will help school staff and families make informed decisions as we safely reopen our schools.” Safe Schools Reopening Map The interactive map was developed in partnership with county offices of education and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. The map will display data from all school types – including school districts and charter and private schools – indicating status on reopening, safety planning, and COVID-19 supports. Local communities and school staff will be able to leverage this tool when evaluating their reopening plans. The Safe Schools Reopening Map will help clarify the planning and implementation of safe reopening. The California Department of Public Health will be adding other key data to the map, including outbreaks reported in each school district and whether the school has

partnered with the Valencia Branch Lab for COVID-19 testing. To provide up-to-date information, schools will input their data every two weeks. Additional data – including student enrollment data – will be collected and displayed publicly, subject to legislative approval. Since unveiling the Safe Schools for All Plan, the state has launched the Safe Schools for All Hub to serve as a one-stop-shop for information about safe in-person instruction. The Governor’s 2021-22 State Budget proposes historic levels of funding for schools – nearly $90 billion, including $3.8 billion above the Prop 98 minimum – which builds on existing state and federal funds to support schools in responding to the pandemic. The State Safe Schools Team also has: • Issued updated guidance that consolidates requirements from Cal/OSHA and CDPH. • Provided direct technical assistance on key safety measures to hundreds of school leaders per week through an online portal. • Monitored and acted on feedback regarding school safety, which school staff and families can submit either via an online portal or a telephone hotline (with non-English options available). • Distributed an extra month of PPE and supplies to all public schools via county offices of education. • Onboarded over 800 schools in 41 counties to the state Valencia Branch Laboratory to support COVID-19 testing. The Lab continues to build supports tailored to schools, including drop boxes throughout the state to reduce logistical costs, an online platform that manages consent and data reporting, and certified support for testing students. • Published new COVID-19 testing resources for schools, including contact information for commercial laboratories and playbooks to support implementation. The State Safe Schools Team will continue developing resources that support schools to plan and implement safe school reopenings, beginning with our youngest and most disproportionately impacted students. For more information, please visit the Safe Schools For All Hub: schools.covid19.ca.gov/

STAFF REPORT SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) issued the following statement on Thursday, Feb. 25, regarding AB/SB 86, Legislative Democrats’ school plan that could result in delayed reopenings and closures of already-open schools: “According to all the public health data available, schools can and should be open. The Governor and the California Department of Public Health have the ability, right now, to modify statewide school reopening guidance and allow any school with a safety plan that meets CDC guidelines to reopen. “However, rather than continue to pressure the Governor to change his unilateral ruling, legislative leadership has introduced a bill that would delay reopenings in many cases to mid-April. Their bill in current form could

also impede efforts already underway to open Central Coast schools, which is why the California School Boards Association and county offices of education throughout the state share serious concerns about the bill. “I applaud our local school districts that have reopened or made steps towards reopening quickly. I hear the concerns of our students, parents, administrators and teachers, and will continue to work towards amendments to the bill that make it more supportive of local control and reopening efforts. I will also continue to work to prioritize educators willing to return to in-person instruction for vaccinations. “There is no more important issue in the state than getting all of our schools reopened. It is important to me as a parent of four kids in school, as a former school board member, and as your Assemblymember — to get this right. I will do my utmost to advocate for our kids and workforce to get back to class safely and for state policy that supports local efforts rather than obstructs them. As a result, I cannot support this bill in its current form.”


Cunningham Announces Student Mental Health Bill Package STAFF REPORT SACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) announced on Feb. 24, that he has introduced a bill package aimed at getting K-12 students greater access to mental health professionals in public schools in order to deal with the mental health impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures. Specifically, AB 1080 would allow school districts to partner with outside mental health providers or clinics to provide in-school mental health treat-

ment for students. AB 1081 would provide $500 million through the Local Control Funding Formula to school districts that commit to providing adequate mental health resources to students. “The pandemic has had a major impact on our children’s mental health and wellbeing. School closures have limited the time kids spend around one another, and extracurricular activities like sports, music, and drama remain severely limited,” said Cunningham. “By increasing both the funding and the pool of accessible mental health professionals available for our

kids, we can make sure children have the mental health resources they need. “This has been a difficult year, and our kids deserve all the help they can get as we transition back to in-person learning.” According to a recent CDC study, mental health-related visits to emergency departments increased during the first six months of the pandemic. Mental health-related emergency visits by children aged 5-11 increased by 24 percent, while visits by children aged 12-17 increased 31 percent year-over-year.


Recall Gavin 2020 Campaign Reaches 1,825,000 Signatures SLO County’s local recall effort reports it has received 24,445 signatures, 13,889 have been submitted to the county ahead of the Mar. 17 deadline STAFF REPORT LOS ANGELES — On Thursday, Feb. 25, the official Recall Campaign against Governor Gavin Newsom has now gathered more than 1,825,000 signatures as of Thursday morning. The official announcement was made during an online meeting with more than 1,000 campaign leaders and volunteers late Wednesday night. A total of 1,497,709 valid signatures must be collected and verified to trigger the recall election.

Orrin Heatlie, the Chairman of The California Patriot Coalition, Recall Gavin 2020 Committee, made the following statement: “Our campaign continues; our work is not done; it is just entering a new phase. We have overcome incredible obstacles in this effort, and we will not rest until Governor Newsom is removed from office by the People of California,” said Heatlie. “We cannot rest, we will not rest, the people of California are making this happen, not the political elite,” said Recall Gavin 2020 co-proponent Mike Netter. “Now we dig in even harder and work without hesitation and intimidation. The people are the heart of this movement,” said Randy Economy, Senior Advisor of Recall Gavin 2020 campaign. San Luis Obispo County’s local recall effort reports it has received 24,445 signatures, 13,889 have been submitted to the county, and the

Secretary of State has already verified 11,818 as of Feb. 25. The website states they have 12 percent to go, which equals 15,151 more signatures. Supporters in favor of the recall state that Newsom has failed Californians due to unaffordable housing, record homelessness, rising crime, failing schools, independent contractors out of work, exploding pension debt, and mishandling of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Newsom should be recalled from the office of governor. The second would ask who should replace Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election; no majority required.

The California Patriot Coalition/Recall Gavin Newsom 2020 is the official committee responsible for the recall campaign. The campaign has set an internal deadline of Mar. 10 to have all of the petitions collected. The official deadline to complete the signature-gathering is on Mar. 17. The deadline for county personnel to submit signatures to the County Registrar of Voters is Saint Patrick’s Day, Mar. 17. According to organizers, the goal is to gather and submit a total of 2 million signatures by Mar. 17, which leaves them with 175 thousand to obtain before the deadline. The California Patriot Coalition/Recall Gavin 2020 is the official committee responsible for the recall campaign. For more information visit, RecallGavin2020.com. All voters of California can view and download the petition to participate in the campaign.

Morro Bay Life • March 2021 • 9

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Opportunity Blooms in Tax Season Whether you get a refund or end up owing, you have options



ax season can be a period of new possibilities – especially when it comes down to what to do with your refund or, on the flip side, how to settle your bill.

IF YOU RECEIVE A REFUND So you worked diligently with your tax preparer to complete your return, only to discover some of the fruits of last year’s labor will be coming back to you as a refund. So, what can you do with your bounty? Here are some possibilities: • Start fresh. Strengthen your finances by paying down a credit card or any other non-tax-advantaged debt. • Cultivate. Make some improvements to make your home more valuable, comfortable, or energy-efficient – or get ahead on the kids’ tuition. • Nourish. Invest in yourself (new gym membership or art classes) or someone else (donate to a charity or sponsor a family or individual in need). • Replant. Use that money to get a head start on this year’s contributions to your retirement account or bolster your emergency fund. • Plan. Some say a refund is just a loan you give the government interest-free. Should you reconsider your withholdings so that you come out even next year?

IF YOU END UP OWING If you end up owing taxes, you’ll need to decide how to pay. However, before you write that check or cash in some of your invested assets, consider how those actions may impact you immediately and over the long run. For instance, liquidating assets in your investment portfolio to pay your taxes may generate new tax consequences and could impact your longterm investment strategy. And emptying your savings account may leave you vulnerable should another unplanned need for cash arise. Instead of using the assets working toward your long-term goals, consider liquidity and borrowing options based on the value of your assets or that offer rewards like cash back or redeemable points. That way, you can access the cash you need to pay your tax bill while keeping your assets where they belong – invested. Looking to reduce your tax bill next year? Consider these tips: • Maximize contributions. Take advantage of tax breaks in your retirement accounts and make catch-up contributions once you turn 50. • Harvest losses. Consider balancing your realized capital gains by selling securities for a loss and reducing your tax liability. • Seek advice. Contact your financial advisor and tax professional to discuss tax planning.

SPRING FORWARD THOUGHTFULLY The year’s early months are a time of renewal, so use your tax refund wisely, or if you owe taxes, consider your long-term investment plan and borrowing options before uprooting your hardworking, invested assets. You should discuss any tax matters with the appropriate professional.

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 • March 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™



SLO County Health Officials Address Vaccine Misinformation STAFF REPORT SAN LUIS OBISPO — With the recent release of two COVID-19 vaccines, San Luis Obispo County Health officials warn that misinformation is spreading online. County officials remind the community to look to trusted, credible sources for accurate information. “With so many people searching for answers, it is easy for misinformation to spread quickly,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “I encourage anyone looking for answers on vaccines to note where that information is coming from, and always check credible sources first. While the Internet is a useful tool for researching health-related issues, it does not replace a discussion with a public health or healthcare professional.” COVID-19 Myths Found on the Internet: Fiction: If there are leftover vaccines at the end of the day, and you can walk up to get one. Fact: Leftover doses will not be administered to people who show up without an appointment at the end of the day expecting vaccine. Near the end of the day, County-run vaccine clinics may find that they have several extra doses of vaccine due to no-show appointments or because there were remaining doses from opened vials. While this rarely happens, there is a process to ensure that vaccines are not wasted. To avoid waste, we quickly and efficiently administer any excess doses at the end of the day to clinic staff, available first responders, or emergency workers, or transfer those doses to another vaccine location awaiting additional doses. In either case, walkins at the end of the day will not be vaccinated. Fiction: If you make an appointment and are not eligible, you will still get the vaccine. Fact: Vaccine clinic staff will politely turn you away if you make an appointment but are not eligible to receive a vaccine at this time. With limited vaccine supply, the County is first vaccinating those most at risk for exposure and serious health outcomes. Visit RecoverSLO.org/vaccine to see who is currently eligible in SLO County. Remember, vaccines are provided by appointment only to those who are eligible. Fiction: Once vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask or socially distance. Fact: You can still get the virus several weeks after getting vaccinated. You should still wear a mask in public, frequently wash your hands, and keep your distance from others to avoid being exposed to the virus or spreading it. Experts are still learning about the protection that the vaccine provides and will update public health guidelines as new information becomes available. (CDC) Fiction: The vaccines are not safe. Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been through rigorous testing and an extensive review process nationally and additionally by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup and the State of California. The vaccines are showing 94 percent to 95 percent efficacy in preventing COVID-19. Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, check that the information comes from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis. The County Public Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccines and immunization web content is researched, written, and approved by subject matter experts, including physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, and analysts. Science and public health data are frequently updated. For more information, visit ReadySLO.org

Supervisors Address Concerns with Current Homeless Population and Financial Constraints Board voted to authorize initiating litigation against Sprouse Communications during work on Monterey Road By MELISSA MATTSON of Morro Bay Life SAN LUIS COUNTY — The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors met for their regularly scheduled meetings in February. The meeting on Feb. 9 began with the consent agenda, which was passed by the Board with a 5-0 vote. Following, Penny Borenstein, the Public Health Director, spoke on agenda item 19, the COVID-19 update. While the county has seen an increase in the last three months, she states, “we are definitely moving in the right direction,” with the positivity rate dropping from the all-time high of 11.1 percent in January to 5.9 percent last week. Borenstein ended her report with an update on the state’s position on religious services in terms of COVID-19 regulations. This comes directly after the Supreme Court gave a partial win to churches fighting California’s limits on indoor worship services. Borenstein stated that while formerly banned, religious entities are now permitted to hold indoor services with 25 percent capacity in the purple and red tier and 50 percent when counties move to orange or yellow. The one remaining restriction being that singing and chanting is still prohibited due to the higher transmission rate of these activities in indoor settings. Previously at the Jan. 5 Board of Supervisors meeting, 1st District Supervisor John Peschong made a motion to have the Board look at the possibility of taking legal action against the State of California. Peschong feels that the County should be in the state’s purple tier for economic restrictions, which would allow for outdoor dining and other business activities that are currently under the stay-at-home order. In addition, his motion is to allow for San Luis Obispo County to function independently and be removed from the Southern California Region as well and the Central California Region (with Santa Barbara and Ventura County’s) that was proposed in the letter sent to Governor Newsom back in December. After some discussion, the Board passed the motion by a 3-2 vote, with Bruce Gibson and Dawn Ortiz-Legg abstaining, stating they believe it is a waste of the County’s resources. The motion instructed Legal Counsel Rita Neal to look into the Coun-

ty’s legal options and bring the information back to the Board to discuss in closed session on Jan. 26. After meeting in closed session, no reportable action was taken on the motion. The Board then heard from members of the public who were concerned with not only the current homeless population but also those facing homelessness due to financial constraints. Supervisor Bruce Gibson spoke in response to the callers, “The county has access to some 17 million dollars that could be used to address those behind in their rent and threatened with eviction eventually. By some estimates, that may be less than half of the rent debt accumulated in the county…. I’ve been very concerned with our ability to address this.” He then suggested creating a task force to address the complex housing issue facing the county. “This is something I’m very interested in seeing move forward aggressively and effectively.” Laurel Weir, the Homeless Services Coordinator, presented on agenda item 22. She spoke on the proposed allocation of the state-funded Emergency Solutions Grant Funding Program - Corona Virus (CA ESG-CV). The eligible activities under CA ESG-CV are emergency shelter, street outreach, rapid rehousing, but not homelessness prevention, as the state mandates that first all homeless must be housed before homelessness prevention can be addressed. The recommendation to the Board was to approve the set allocations, as presented in the table below, which was approved in a 5-0 vote. The Board then went to closed session, and upon returning at 1:30 p.m., stated that during the closed session the Board voted to authorize the initiation of litigation against Sprouse Communications for improperly hitting a pipeline during work on Monterey Road in Atascadero. Next, the Board had their hearing to consider an appeal (APPL2019-00019) by Kenneth Cottrell and Stephanie Shakofsky of the Planning Commission’s approval of a request by 13350 River Road LLC (formerly Helios Dayspring) for a Conditional Use Permit (DRC2018-00036) to establish up to three acres of outdoor cannabis cultivation, up to 22,000 square feet of indoor mixed-light cannabis cultivation, up to 27,570 square feet of ancillary cannabis nursery, and operation of a non-storefront dispensary at 13350 River Road, east of the community of San Miguel. The project is within the Agricultural land use category and the Salinas River Sub Planning Area of the North County Planning Area.

The main points of the appeal were in regard to water usage and noise and odor nuisances to the surrounding 40 plus homes within 1000 feet of the project. After hearing from both the applicant (who currently operates facilities in other locations under the name Natural Healing Center) and appellant regarding the issue, the Board went to public comment where they heard from tens of employees touting Natural Healing Center as “a local company, run by locals, and we need local government support in order to continue achieving and progressing.” In favor of the operation was Jim Dantona, president, and CEO of the SLO Chamber of Commerce, who stated his support of this project and stated, “once our governmental entities have set the rules, the chamber is an advocate for allowing our doers and dreamers to reasonably rely on those rules and not be subject to changing, different or contradictory rules for similar uses.” Several community members called in, in opposition of the project with concerns over the accuracy of the data presented in the water study, the capacity to effectively mitigate the odor with the high winds in the area, as well as the potential risk involved as the area has low response times from the Sheriff ’s department. Janice Brown, a resident of San Miguel, addressed concerns with the water usage, citing the drought in 2018 and the need to drill a new well at her residence on Mission Lane, which was delayed by several months due to the high demand of wells to be drilled across the county. The Board returned to the final discussion on the topic and addressed their concerns. Supervisor Debbie Arnold, who is historically in favor of changing the water usage guidelines to allow for agriculture to continue, stated that the project seemed to require too many mitigations to be a good fit for the location. Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg stated, “This is a legal industry, it’s an industry that has provided a lot of jobs… but I do think that it is really important that the applicant reach out to the neighbors. This does require a good neighbor policy. I think it is something that people can work out, though.” The matter was put to a motion to deny the appeal and let the project continue, with Supervisor Arnold and Chairperson Compton voting against it and Supervisors Gibson, Peschong, and Ortiz-Legg voting in favor. If you wish to view the full meeting please visit slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/Board-ofSupervisors/Board-Meetings,-Agendas-andMinutes.aspx

Morro Bay Life • March 2021 • 11

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Cuesta College Performing Arts Center Now Providing COVID-19 Vaccines SAN LUIS OBISPO — On Feb. 11, the San Luis Obispo County Health Department hosted a vaccination site tour at Cuesta College Performing Arts Center in San Luis Obispo (SLO). That day the site issued 900 vaccines, which was the highest number of people to receive vaccines in SLO County in one day, from one site. U.S. Congressman Salud Carbajal joined in on a vaccination site tour the same day. “I think this is a great example of how the SLO community has come together to make sure that we are effectively getting out the number of vaccines that are available,” said Carbajal. The Cuesta College site, located at the Cultural and Performing Arts Center off Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo, is now offering first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Cuesta College site is currently the only vaccine center in SLO County to offer both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. According to the County Public Health Department spokesperson Michelle Shoresman, the county has set its goal to issue 1,000 vaccines a day, per site eventually. Of course, the amount of appointments available depends on the number of doses given to the county each week. Receiving a steady supply of doses has been a challenge across the state. “The biggest challenge is two-fold. One is getting enough personnel to be able

to get the vaccines out--the biggest issue is the amount of vaccine and the supply that is not yet available at the rate that it’s needed,” said Carbajal. It was noted by Stan Atchison, task force leader, that no vaccines have been wasted. If there are doses leftover from canceled appointments, they are offered to eligible personnel on call. According to Atchison, there have been no proven adverse reactions from the vaccine at the Cuesta College location to date. Emergency services were called three times for reactions that turned out to be anxiety-related, not from the vaccine. Patients go through several checkpoints to ensure they are eligible for the vaccine. Someone will be deemed ineligible if they are either not in the age bracket being served or have had a separate vaccine, i.e., flu shot, in the last 14 days, according to Atchison. Couple Phil and Colleen Mesel, Arroyo Grande residents, both received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Feb. 11. “I’m just glad to see our county catch up with other countries--we do feel fortunate to be able to get it,” said Phil. Colleen noted the process went smoothly, “I thought it was fine, the line moved fast--everybody is very professional and right on top of checking how you’re doing.” On Feb. 12, SLO County Health Department issued a document with “Top COVID-19 Vaccine Myths.” It should be noted that you are not immediately protected against the COVID-19 virus once vaccinated.

The Health Department clarified this myth by stating: “Fiction: You are immediately protected against COVID-19 once vaccinated. Fact: You can still get the virus several weeks after getting vaccinated. Protection begins to build soon after you receive the first dose but takes both doses and at least two weeks after the second dose for the vaccine to reach the 94% to 95% efficacy that the manufacturers found in their initial vaccine trials. While protection is not immediate once the vaccine enters your arm, researchers found there was a noticeable drop-off in new COVID-19 cases in those vaccinated (compared to the placebo group) starting about 10 days after the first shot. The important thing to remember is that getting vaccinated is not an immediate cure-all and you must continue to take protective measures to protect yourself and those around you.” Currently, the county is vaccinating anyone age 65 and older or frontline health care workers. Appointments are booked quickly, but new appointments can be available daily due to cancellations. To make your appointment or learn more about getting vaccinated, visit: recoverslo. org/en/vaccine-registration.aspx Vaccination locations are below: • Cuesta College (Harold J. Miossi Cultural and Performing Arts Center), HWY 1 San Luis Obispo • Paso Robles Event Center at 2198 Riverside Ave, Paso Robles • Arroyo Grande High School Cuesta Vaccination Site’s outdoor waiting area (top) with U.S. (Clark Center for the Performing Congressman Salud Carbajal (center). Local resident receiving his Arts), 487 Fair Oaks Ave vaccination (bottom). Photos by Camille DeVaul

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By CAMILLE DEVAUL of Morro Bay Life

12 • March 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Business Owner Daugherty Forms a Small Business Coalition By CAMILLE DEVAUL of Morro Bay Life PASO ROBLES — On December 3, 2020, California went into a regional lockdown, which included San Luis Obispo County under the Southern California region. This second lockdown forced retailers to operate at 20 percent capacity and restaurants to revert back to takeout only. When Brad Daugherty, owner of Cider Creek Bakery in Paso Robles, learned about this second lockdown, he contemplated his next move. “I laid in bed one night just going ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do.’ If I have to close my doors again, I’m going to lose this place. To-go orders were just not enough to sustain [us],” Brad shared. Daugherty and 10-15 other business owners in North County went back and forth with each other on what to do until 3 a.m. that night. Brad suggested that the business owners hold a meeting to discuss their options. What should they do? When Daugherty met for that meeting, he expected 10-15 people to attend. When he showed up, to his surprise, there were 40 San Luis Obispo County business owners. That was when the San Luis Obispo County Small Business Coalition (SLOCSBC) was formed. Now, the coalition is made up of 130 businesses and counting. Daugherty explains the coalition as, “An outlet for people to express what’s going on. Talk about their experiences and gain knowledge so they can share their experience.” One example Brad gave was, “Say somebody had ABC come to them, that business owner will share their experience with everybody, that way everyone knows what to expect.”

Brad Daugherty owner of Cider Creek Bakery (right) with his two sons Wade and Logan. Daugherty shares his challenges he faced while navigating through the pandemic. Contributed photos

Most people fear the unknown, especially when it comes to their business. The coalition has become a support system for business owners in SLO County. It is a group where the owners can share their experiences, fears and receive feedback and advice from one another. Daugherty explained that the coalition helps lower businesses’ anxiety, fear and feel more confident in opening their business if they want or have to. When asking Daugherty about how he has kept Cider Creek Bakery afloat throughout the pandemic, he says he did it by simply staying open. “By staying open -- I played their game in the beginning. March, April, and May were rough, rough months,” Brad said.

Cider Creek Bakery had a record year of sales for 2019 and, based on sales for Jan. and Feb. 2020, was on track for being another record-breaking year for sales. During California’s first lockdown, issued on March 19, 2020, Daugherty had to lay off eight employees, and the bakery’s sales were down 50 percent. In April of 2020, Brad received his Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and used it to bring back most of his staff. When the PPP money ran out, Daugherty knew he had to stay open to keep his business. Since May, he has remained open with a full staff of 16 employees. “I’ve kept my doors open. I’ve put myself on every county watchlist. There hasn’t been an enforcement agency that hasn’t had contact


California Mid-State Fair Board ‘Cautiously Optimistic’


Modified Youth, Recreational Adult Sports Can Start on Friday SLO County’s case rate dropped below 14 cases per 100,000, the State’s threshold

By CAMILLE DEVAUL of Morro Bay Life PASO ROBLES — California Mid-State Fair (CMSF) board members are “cautiously optimistic” the show will go on for a 2021 fair. CMSF board members are developing two plans for this summer’s fair scheduled set for Jul. 21 - Aug. 1. Either way, the fair will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary. Tom Keffury, the CMSF spokesperson, explains the public’s safety is their top priority. Plan A for CMSF is to have a fair, with all California’s safety measures in place. However, Plan A can only happen if the county moves into the yellow tier. If San Luis Obispo County makes it to the Yellow Tier with enough time, the fair will go on with safety protocols in place. To be in the Yellow Tier, the county must have only one new COVID-19 case per 100,000 residents and have a less than two percent test positivity rate. SLO County is currently in the Purple Tier and would have to pass the Red and Orange Tier before reaching Yellow. Staff at CMSF have been looking at large-scale open venues like Disney World for methods of operating a COVID safe event with carnival and food vendors.

with me,” Daugherty stated. Cider Creek Bakery has remained open with social distancing, masks, and sanitization procedures. In December 2020, sales ended up beating the bakery’s 2019 record year sales. Now for January, the bakery is operating at 80 percent sales. When asked what he thinks the rest of the year will look like with COVID regulations and sales, Daugherty says he’s not sure what could happen. But he does know what he will be doing. “I can tell you what I’m not going to change here—I’m not going to change how I’m operating. I can’t control what the public does. Whether they come through my doors or not but they will be open -- They literally will have to force me to close this time,” Daugherty said. Brad explained that businesses like his that don’t require a liquor license have been left alone for the most part with no significant threats. So why does Daugherty continue to push back? “This fight is for every business that is being crushed by our government, especially those that have recently been targeted by ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) and threatened to have their liquor licenses suspended,” Daugherty explained. Brad says he and the SLOCSBC are very close to filing a lawsuit against the California Governor or the State of California. The SLOCSBC is essentially fighting for businesses’ Right to Earn a Living Act, which states, “The right of individuals to pursue a chosen profession, free from arbitrary or excessive government interference, is a fundamental civil right.” Anyone interested in joining the coalition can contact Brad Daugherty at brad@protectpaso.org.


Food, carnival, and shopping vendors have already been contacted by CMSF staff. According to Keffury, vendors are almost unanimously in support of the fair. Staff is discussing possibilities of small-scale, socially distanced, and safe music events instead of concerts. “We have to do it safely, it is our priority, but if we can do that and we are allowed to do it, we want to do it because we feel there is a demand from the public and from our vendors who want to do it,” said Keffury. If SLO County does not make it to the Yellow Tier in time, the fair will move forward with Plan B. CMSF Plan B will look a lot like last year, with virtual livestock shows, sales, and shopping experiences. “If we can’t, we absolutely are committed to supporting our youth AG kids and 4-H, FFA, and junior livestock program, so we will absolutely have a virtual show and sale again if we are forced to do it that way we will because we’re not going to leave the kids high and dry,” said Keffury. As for drive having another drive-in

experience, Keffury said it depends on sponsorships and other variables. The annual Mid-State Fair accounts for 90 percent of Paso Robles Event Center’s revenue. Not having the 2020 fair meant millions of dollars of revenue lost for the event center and Paso Robles businesses, according to Keffury. If the fair cannot operate as planned, Keffury says, “It’ll be devastating. It might be devastating beyond repair.” While the event center has received numerous donations and some income from the county who is renting two buildings on the property for COVID vaccines and testing, the revenue will not sustain the event center in the long run. “People want to get back and do it, they know they have to do it safely, they want to do it safely — we all feel strongly the general public is ready to get back if it can be done safely,” said Keffury. At the moment, the 75th Annual California Mid-State Fair is currently scheduled for Jul. 21 - Aug. 1. For details visit midstatefair.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County Health announced today that organized youth and adult sports with modifications can resume in San Luis Obispo County starting on Feb. 26, with some modifications based on guidance from the California Public Health Department. The guidance applies to all organized youth and adult sports, including school, community programs, private clubs, and leagues. This change is possible because San Luis Obispo County’s COVID-19 case rate dropped below 14 cases per 100,000 – the State’s threshold for allowing these activities to return. “Youth sports are important to our children’s physical and mental health, and our public health approach has worked to balance those benefits against COVID19 risks,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. “With case rates and hospitalizations declining across California, we are allowing outdoor competition to resume, with modifications and steps to reduce risk, in counties where case rates are lower.”

The updated guidance includes requirements that must be observed by all sports, including use of face coverings by observers and coaches, distancing between non-household members, limitations on spectators, limitations on tournaments, and other requirements. It also includes requirements that must be followed when sports under the Orange Tier and Red Tier lists are played in counties in a more restrictive tier. This includes weekly testing for players and coaches in certain high-risk sports - like football, rugby, and water polo - where players are likely to be unmasked, with close, face-toface contact over a long period of time. Outdoor moderate-contact sports, such as baseball, cheerleading, volleyball, gymnastics, and badminton, can be played without the testing requirement but require informed consent. For all sports listed under the Red and Orange Tiers, teams must provide information regarding risk to all parents/guardians of minors participating. Each parent must sign an informed consent indicating their understanding of the risks.

Morro Bay Life • March 2021 • 13

Making Communities Better Through Print™


County Supervisors Peschong, Arnold, and Calwise Business Owner Bergh Address ABC Warnings in Letter to Gov. Newsom According to the California Restaurant Association, an estimated 30 percent of California’s restaurants are at risk of closing permanently By CAMILLE DEVAUL of Morro Bay Life SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County Supervisors John Peschong, District One, and Debbie Arnold, District Five, signed a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom on Feb. 3. The letter addressed official warnings from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) issued to local restaurants. During the week of Jan. 22, 2020, several businesses owners in San Luis Obispo County received a call from ABC warning that they will be enforcing restrictions made by the State Government during the stay at home order. Enforcement from the ABC means a suspension of liquor licenses. Something owners who have these licenses cannot afford to lose. Arnold said, “It is salt in the wound--so many of them are struggling and trying to do the best they can and trying to meet all the protocols and still being visited.” Rather than following through with a lawsuit against the California Governor or the State, Peschong and

San Luis Obispo County Supervisors Debbie Arnold, District 5 (left), John Peschong, District 1 (right) and Calwise Spirits Co. owner Aaron Bergh (center) each signed the letter to Governor Gavin Newsom in the hopes that it will enlighten him to withhold using the ABC to target businesses. Contributed photos

Arnold worked with Calwise Spirits Company owner, Aaron Bergh, to write a letter directly to California Governor Gavin Newsom. Peschong said of Bergh, “He has a lot of great insight into what’s going on in the small business communities. Certainly the distilleries, the wineries, the breweries and bars, and the restaurants. He’s very tuned in to the trials and tribulations that are going on in our community with the Alcoholic Beverage Control and these different small businesses.” When supervisors reached out and asked what they could do to help, it made Bergh and other business owners feel heard. “It made me feel very fortunate that I chose this county to live in and run my business in,” said Bergh. Peschong, Arnold, and Bergh hoped the letter would have some

meaning and receive some recognition from the Governor. “I’d like to see the state entrust our county government to do what’s best for their community and do what’s for their businesses and their residents,” said Bergh. According to Peschong, the county has sent several letters to the Governor, all still waiting for a response. As County Supervisors Peschong and Arnold are concerned, our county could lose their small businesses, and once they are gone, we won’t get them back. The supervisors addressed this concept with supporting data in their letter: “According to the California Restaurant Association, an estimated 30 percent of California’s restaurants are at risk of closing permanently. Yelp data shows that 60 percent of

businesses that were required to shut down are closing permanently. To take administrative action against licensees now will only further damage the industry and destroy the jobs of 1.4 million Californians.” “A lot of our small businesses and restaurants have spent a lot of money to comply, and then suddenly the game changes, and we’re doing it a different way. And those are the kinds of things that our smaller businesses cannot sustain that kind of thing,” said Arnold. Also addressed in the letter is the lack of evidence that restaurants are super-spreaders of the COVID-19 virus. In the letter, supervisors asked for scientific evidence to be publicly available and applied consistently. This statement address comments Governor Newsom made at a press

conference on Jan. 25, in response to why he was withholding data to support his closing and reopening of the state. “If we’re taking away people’s livelihoods in the name of the pandemic, which is very scary and people have died, it should be publicly available scientific evidence,” said Peschong. When asked what happens if the county never receives an acknowledgment from the Governor, Peschong says, “I’ll keep sending him letters and encouraging the community to reach out to his office.” Supervisors Peschong and Arnold hope their letter enlightens the Governor to withhold using ABC to target businesses trying to do their best during unprecedented times and encourages him to release COVID-19 related data that is currently withheld from the public.

14 • March 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™


Better Life Quality Hacks



ndoubtedly, 2020 will go down in history as the most stressful year, even for those working from home in their pj’s. The political stress, the pandemic, financial and health challenges, relationship issues, isolation, uncertainty, you name it, 2020 had it. 2021 continues the trend with some hope but far from expectations for a fast recovery, tossing all masks in the trash, hopping on a plane for a vacation across the world, and carefree socializing whenever and with whoever. Turns out, changing the calendar on the wall is no saving grace. Changing your mind about what you do and how you do it may very well be. Incorporate these three practices into your life, and regardless of your circumstances, you will feel better, do better, and be better. First – use your time wisely. It’s the only non-renewable resource. You can’t get it back. With a little mindfulness and intentionality, you won’t have to. Consider who and what is most important to you and give them your time, daily, weekly, monthly. Prioritizing who and what gets your time will make you feel productive, purposeful, useful, inspired, and connected. Who doesn’t need more of that? Even if you can’t completely avoid something or someone, you can minimize the amount

of time you allocate to them. Second – get it done, not perfect. Striving for perfection can stress you out as your projects and goals remain unfinished and always at an arm’s length. Getting things done gets them off your plate, off your mind, and off to the next thing. Close enough is good enough. Moving along is better than being stuck. You can always do better next time. Remember, your inner critic is happy to beat you down by pointing out the imperfections. Later, it will beat you down for not getting things done. Don’t listen. Focus on checking things off your list instead, and look forward to counting your accomplishments. Third – pace yourself and don’t bite more than you can chew. Obviously, right? Sure. Yet, every time you say “yes” instead of “I can’t.” Then you feel a little more overwhelmed, a bit more tension, dread, and regret. It doesn’t matter what others can do or what they want you to do. If you believe that we are all different, you should accept that your pace and capacity are also different. Accepting responsibility for more than you can handle and rushing to get it done only diminishes your ability to do a good job and your sense of accomplishment. It further keeps you from taking proper care of yourself, contributing to depression and anxiety, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and ruined relationships. These three practices will make your life easier and more enjoyable. You need them now, more than ever! Practice makes better. Enjoy. Valentina Petrova has been helping people with life, health, relationships, financial, career, professional, and business goals and challenges since 2015. Email her at valentinapetrovaconsulting.com

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What A Budget Session

JAMES BRESCIA, Ed.D County Superintendent of Schools


common topic with our district superintendents, charter directors, school boards, PTAs, Rotary Clubs, and community groups is the California state budget. The best explanation about the California budget I have heard is that the budget is a process rather than a product. This year is like no other I have experienced in my 35 years of service. In January of 2021, three bills were introduced in the House of Representatives that total $461 billion for education. The legislation is called the “Save Education Jobs Act” and was first introduced last year but did not move forward. The package also includes the Learning Recovery Act of 2021, which distributes funding to school districts to address learning loss and extended learning opportunities, much like the governor’s proposal for $4.6 billion in the state budget. The California budget is a combination of phases, including developing the Governor’s Budget, the Legislature’s enactment of the budget, and the executive branch’s administration. Each of these phases contains all the ramifications and influences of political interactions, relationships with federal and local governments, public input, natural events, legal issues, the economy, initiatives, and legislation. In short, the state budget is a complex, multi-faceted, and ever-changing process, similar to the process of making sausage. COVID-19 has changed this process and should prove to be a topic of accounting classes, graduate seminars, and history books. Our State Constitution requires that the governor submit a balanced budget to the Legislature by January 10. The governor’s $227.2 billion budget proposal in January began a 6-month long process finalized with an approved 2021-2022 budget. This year’s proposal includes $14 billion in programs to assist workers and businesses impacted by the pandemic and reopen schools. That includes nearly $5 billion Newsom will ask the Legislature to approve before the June budget completion. Newsom predicts $34 billion in what he calls “budget resiliency,” or a combination of reserves and discretionary surplus, with $15.6 billion coming from the state’s rainy day fund. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic,

Newsom’s $227 billion spending plan marks a record-high budget proposal. Keely Bosler, director of the Department of Finance, admitted, “We got it wrong [last] April about how deep the recession was going to be.” One interesting requirement is that if the budget year’s proposed expenditures exceed estimated revenues, the governor must recommend the additional funding sources to mitigate deficit spending. Under the governor’s policy direction, the Director of Finance issues instructions and budget preparation guidelines to agencies and departments. This effort typically gets underway even before the Legislature has passed the budget for the current fiscal year. Our local State Senator, John Laird, is an experienced legislator and will be an integral part of the budget appropriations. Even though the government uses terms such as “Zero-Based Budgeting,” “Management by Objectives,” and “Total Quality Management,” the process is essentially incremental budgeting with some lobbying added for good measure. The current departmental level of funding is considered a base amount adjusted up or down by change proposals. According to the Department of Finance, the general goal is to resolve budget issues at the lowest level possible. Departments should clear their proposals through agency-level hearings, and the Department of Finance generally attends the hearings. For non-agency departments, recommendations are presented directly to the Department of Finance. Issues not resolved between departments and Finance staff move to hearings conducted by the Director of Finance. The most sensitive issues ultimately land on the governor’s desk for a decision. The Department of Finance coordinates printing the Governor’s Budget Summary, containing goals and objectives for the following year after finalizing decisions. The budget summary portion is a detailed presentation of each department for the past, current, and future budget years. The State Constitution also requires that the Governor’s Budget contains a Budget Bill itemizing recommended expenditures introduced into each Legislature house before June 15. Of particular interest for our county are the proposals to expand the educator workforce pipeline. A goal of my administration has been to promote “Future Careers that are Locally Grown.” Several of the grants proposed by the governor complement my research on Recruitment and Retention, validate our work on apprenticeships, and if awarded, will benefit our county for generations. For additional information, please contact the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. It is an honor to serve as your County Superintendent of Schools.

Morro Bay Life • March 2021 • 15

Making Communities Better Through Print™


From the Kitchen of

Barbie Butz


hen I was growing up, my mother never let March 17 go by without a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Everything in our house “turned green” with her decorating. She loved the day, and the fact that her maiden name was O’Haver added more reason to celebrate. She always wanted to travel to Ireland, and indeed, she did finally get there. Our St. Patrick’s Day menu always included Soda Bread, and through the years, I’ve found a couple of different recipes that I like. This first one is best served the day it’s baked, but it can also be made up to two days ahead and stored whole, at room temperature, in a sealed paper bag or wrapped in parchment. I serve it with “Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter.” Start your Irish menu with some Kerrygold Dubliner Natural Cheese” and crackers. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers!

Rye Soda Bread Ingredients: … 1½ cups whole milk … 1/3 cup apple-cider vinegar … 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting … 1 cup rye flour (not dark) … ½ cup unprocessed wheat bran such as Bob’s Red Mill … 2 teaspoons kosher salt … 1¼ teaspoons baking soda … 3 tablespoons caraway seeds … 1 cup currants or golden raisins, or a combination … Salted butter for serving


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine milk and vinegar in a bowl; let stand until curdled and thickened, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together both flours, bran, salt, and baking soda; stir in caraway seeds and currants and raisins if using. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add milk mixture and stir together, starting in the center and working outward, until a sticky dough forms (do not over-mix). Transfer to a generously floured work surface and, with floured hands, form a cohesive ball. (Do not overwork the dough.) Pat ball into a 7-inch-wide domed round and transfer to a baking sheet. Cut a 1-inch-deep X with a floured knife across the top of the round. Poke holes from the top through to the bottom of dough with a wooden skewer at 1-inch intervals (about 28 holes total). Bake 30 minutes. Turn bread upside-down; continue baking until cooked through and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, 15 to 18 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving with butter.

This next recipe is for Brown Soda Bread and will add variety to your breadbasket. Irish Brown Soda Bread Ingredients: … 8 oz. white flour … 8 oz. wholemeal flour … 1 teaspoon baking soda … 3 teaspoons baking powder … 2 teaspoons salt … 1 beaten egg … 2½ cups of sour milk … Beaten egg or milk (to glaze)


Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix the milk and egg and stir in. Mix, then knead on a floured surface until smooth. Shape into a round cake and place on a greased sheet or into a greased loaf tin. Make a deep cross on the cake and brush with glaze. Bake in a hot oven at 375 degrees. For 35 to 40 minutes. Note: About halfway through the baking time, check to see if the cake is browning. If so, cover with a sheet of foil to keep it from browning too much.

End your celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with this famous Irish beverage. Irish Coffee

Warm a stemmed whiskey glass. Put into it sugar to taste. Add strong, very hot coffee to within 1½ inches of the top, and stir well. (Remember to place a teaspoon in the glass before adding the coffee to avoid cracking.) Add whiskey to fill up to ½ inch below the top. Hold a teaspoon with its curved side up across the glass and pour one teaspoon of lightly whipped cream over it. Do not stir, but drink at once. (And start again!)

“May your songs be merry, and your smiles be bright. May your laughs be many, and your heart be light. May love and friendship warm your home. May luck move in to stay. May every morning be the start of another happy day. May you have health, faith, and strength to give life all your best. And may St. Patrick’s Day and all your days, be very richly blessed.”

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16 • March 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

The time is now… From adversity comes resilience, from difficulty comes strength, and from rainstorms come rainbows. If 2020 has taught us anything it is, sometimes we need a reminder to live our best life, a reminder to stop and take a breath and find the joy. From the little pleasures to the big moments, from coming together and staying apart. We’ve got this…


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Morro Bay Life • MARCH 2021  

Everything Morro Bay

Morro Bay Life • MARCH 2021  

Everything Morro Bay