NOVEMBER 2020 â€¢ MORROBAYLIFENEWS.COM
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AVERY JONES IS A SHOOTING STAR IN THE CHEESE WORLD
2 • November 2020 • Morro Bay Life
Making Communities Better Through Print™
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hanksgiving hangs in the air here, although the weather has not caught up with us yet. We took a trip to Jack Creek Farms a few weeks ago, and it just wasn’t right to pick out pumpkins in 97-degree heat. So we picked up some refreshments and headed to the coast. It’s a great time of the year as fall sets in. Our corner of the world hits with perfect evenings most days, and it is time to kick back and reflect on all we have to be grateful for. Actually, it is a tried and true method for happiness to take some gratitude time every day, it is also said to bring good fortune and success, and we can certainly attest to the correlation in our lives.
If 2020 has offered us anything, it is an eyes-wide-open look into some real issues we should not merely stick a bandaid on top. Let’s work together on the community level to realize our local potential for greatness with an open ear. Of course, none of this could 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, and we are not stopping now.
We also would like to say a big thank you It is a family here in all of our small to our veterans! The sacrifice is real, and so towns, and as they grow and as things many local men and women have served our change, it is up to us to keep our community country, and we extend a loud and proud spirit alive through thick and thin. thank you to them for their service. We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Our elected officials also serve our nation Morro Bay Life, and we wish you all a very and community. As we head to the polls for Happy Thanksgiving. the culmination of the 2020 election year, we can all agree that we can do much better and Please stay safe, share love, possibly agree that social media platforms and be a good human. can do much better as well. Hayley & Nic
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Morro Bay Life • November 2020 • 3
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A MONTHLY SHOWCASE OF CHAMBER PROGRAMMING AND MEMBERSHIP
firstname.lastname@example.org morrochamber.org 805.772.4467
PUTTING A SPOTLIGHT ON
BUSINESSES EXCEPTIONAL • ENGAGING • COMMUNITY
he 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. 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.
ach year the Chamber asks a third party to survey our members on their level of satisfaction with us. We are pleased to share this year’s “Chamber Report Card” with the community. Our Chamber’s “promoters”, those who would recommend the Chamber to colleagues and friends, jumped from 57% in 2019 to 72% this year. At the same time, our “detractors” significantly decreased from 28% in 2019 to 8% in 2020. The Chamber got a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 64%,
which was way above the 39% average NPS of over 330 other Chambers in the Western US and thirty-five percentage points above our own NPS last year. This puts the Morro Bay Chamber in a fairly elite category of Chambers of Commerce. One member commented that “After 19 years of doing business in Morro Bay, the CEO and board are in sync with the entire community, and support is important to help fulfill the positive mission.” We’re proud of our scores, and we are up to the
task of improving the areas where we are low performing. In this COVID-19 year, we know that we need to adapt our networking opportunities not only because our members have told us but also because we know that building business relationships is the foundation of a healthy and thriving business community. We miss seeing our members just as much as they miss seeing each other, so members: expect some invitations to network with each other coming very soon!
The Inn at Morro Bay closed its doors at the beginning of the pandemic and chose to take that time to renovate their hotel. To date, the Inn has renovated three of its four buildings and expects to be finished with the updates in the near future. We applaud them for utilizing their downtime to build back better and elevating Morro Bay’s hotel stock. Although the restaurant remains closed, the hotel is now accepting reservations.
Windows on the Water has been a destination restaurant on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay for over 20 years. During the onset of the pandemic, the restaurant was forced to close its doors, given their menu was tailored to high end, seasonal fare and indoor-only dining. On September 25th, Paul Merkle and the team reopened their doors and new patio seating, once again delivering memorable fine dining experiences for locals and travelers alike.
Paula Radke took a chance during difficult times by moving her world-class art glass collection and storefront from the Dutchman’s building to the Gallery at Marina Square during COVID. She more than doubled her footprint at the Gallery and is in a location where she has the space to make art, showcase her collection, and will someday hold classes for locals. Business is great in the new spot, and we hope the trend continues!
The Garden House provides 24-hour assisted care to senior residents at their memory care facility in Morro Bay. Casey Watson and her team work around the clock to ensure their residents remain safe are well taken care of with farm-totable cuisine from their garden and enrichment activities. During the time of COVID has no doubt been challenging, and we’re so proud of their exceptional level of care, safety, and service they’ve continued to provide to their residents.
4 • November 2020 • Morro Bay Life
Making Communities Better Through Print™
Avery Jones is a Shooting Star Sixteen-year-old Avery Jones is kind of a big thing in the artisan cheese world By BRIAN WILLIAMS of Morro Bay Life TEMPLETON — Avery, who was 15 at the time and a Templeton High School student, started Shooting Star Creamery in 2019. The first cheese she produced, Aries, took third place Best of Show at the prestigious American Cheese Society (ACS) competition in 2019. There were 1,742 cheeses entered. She was the youngest cheesemaker ever to place that high at the ACS. Overnight, Aries became a must-have for cheese lovers around the world. The meteoric success allows Avery to do things she did not think she would be doing as a teenager. “We know a lot of people want to get their hands on it,” Avery said. “There’s a waiting list. Every time we have a batch ready, they are already sold and have been sold for three months.” In September, Avery donated $2,200 to AmpSurf of Pismo Beach, big check, and all. She raised the money by setting aside a portion of the proceeds from the cheese sales at Shooting Star. “I didn’t think I would be able to give $2,200 to a charity when I was 16,” Avery said. “It felt incredible. I just didn’t expect to be able to do that at this point in my life.” Avery is proud of her family’s military background and settled on AmpSurf because of its work with veterans and their families. Her great-great-grandfather fought in World War I and her great-grandfather fought in World War II. “We looked around for any local charities that we could give to help local veterans,” Avery said. “We found AmpSurf. Basically, they give surfing lessons to veteran amputees.” AmpSurf (Association of Amputee Surfers) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching adaptive surfing to promote, inspire, educate and rehabilitate people with disabilities. It was started
in 2003. The group’s motto is PIER, which stands for promote, inspire, educate and rehabilitate. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits like AmpSurf have seen donations slow to a trickle. “They were really happy that we could help,” Avery said. “We are going to keep doing it and stick with AmpSurf.” Add owning a business to the list of things Avery did not expect to be doing as a teenager. She started Shooting Star Creamery when she was 15. Avery did not wake up one morning, thinking she wanted to start a creamery. It’s also not a far-flung notion, considering her dad, Reggie Jones, has been making cheese for 30 years and with his wife started Central Coast Creamery in 2008. Central Coast Creamery was started in Oakdale and moved to Paso Robles in 2013 after it outgrew the facility in the foothills east of Modesto. The plan all along was to move CCC to Paso Robles. Reggie has photos of Avery packaging cheese when she was 8 years old. CCC is no slouch in the artisan cheese community. In the nearly 10,000 square foot facility, they manufacture between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds of cheese a week, using cow, goat, and sheep milk. The cheese is distributed in the Western US, Chicago, and New York — 99 percent goes outside the county. “Here at this facility, we have won more national and international awards than any cheese company in the country over the last five years,” Reggie said. “We keep saying that some of the best cheese in the world is being made right here, and nobody knows about it.” Shooting Star was an avenue for Reggie to get back to the basics and work alongside his daughter, teaching her not only cheesemaking skills but business and life skills, too. Any money that came
Templeton High School senior Avery Jones holds the big check representing the $2,200 donation to AmpSurf on behalf of her company, Shooting Star Creamery. Photo provided by Shooting Star Creamery
from it would go toward college for Avery. The company and its cheese labels — Aries, Leo and Scorpio — are a nod to Avery’s enjoyment of stargazing. Leo is a blooming-rind sheep’s milk cheese and Scorpio is a washed-rind sheep’s milk cheese. “We started Shooting Star almost as a hobby at first,” Avery said. “I wanted to make cheese, and my dad wanted to show me how to make cheese. We decided to start a little company for myself to experiment with a few different recipes.” Around the dinner table one night, Aries’ recipe came together — a sheep milk Alpine cheese aged for nine months. It was important that it not just be another gourmet cheddar or gouda. They entered Aries in the ACS competition with some CCC cheeses, hoping to get some constructive feedback from judges, never thinking it would do what it did. “Dad was mad at me for a little while after,” Avery said jokingly. Avery is planning to go off to college in the Fall of 2021 — Stanford University and the University of South California are at the top of her list. She has not decided on a major. When she is away at college, the plan is to keep Shooting Star going. After all, it’s making money and making
Shooting Star Creamery cheesemaker and owner Avery Jones holds up her awardwinning Aries cheese. Photo courtesy of Shooting Star Creamery
“The thing I like most about it is that it is making people happy,” Avery said. “I like to provide happiness for people.” Central Coast Creamery and Shooting Star Creamery located at 3850 Ramada Dr., C-3, Paso Robles, and online at centralcoastcreamery.com/ and shootingstarcreamery.com/.
Disabled Air Force Veteran Can Manage Livestock Thanks to Farm Credit Grant STAFF REPORT LOS OSOS — After leaving the Air Force in 2012 with a service-connected disability, Robert Barnett was looking for a new career when he fell into farming by accident by gardening at his family’s home in Ventura, even though “it was years before I could grow something,” he recalled. About five years ago, he decided his niche would be to raise sheep for meat production, and while they were growing to graze in areas where fire abatement was needed. Because of the costs involved in raising livestock, he at first raised vegetables and then ducks, but earlier this year, Barnett and two partners took the plunge and bought a small starter herd of St. Croix sheep, a heritage low-input breed that thrives on grazing and doesn’t require extensive feeding, along with two rare heritage Mulefoot hogs. “We’ve been doing it nickel and dime, mostly me,” he said of the small operation in Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County. “We find junk equipment and spruce them up and make them do.” But thanks to a Farmer Veteran Coalition grant funded by Farm Credit, Barnett now has
Air Force veteran Robert Barnett and his herd of heritage sheep. Photo courtesy of Farm Credit Alliance
badly needed new equipment to manage and care for his growing flock of sheep and pigs. The $5,000 paid for two solar-powered portable electric fencing systems to corral the sheep in areas where they’re grazing and another system for hogs, along with other needed supplies for lambing and farrowing, hoof trimming and other miscellaneous tools. “This grant is such a relief for me so we can get the essential equipment to make our operations work,” Barnett said. “I still work part-time and go to school on the GI Bill as well, so I’m cobbling things together.”
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Keith Hesterberg, President and CEO of Fresno Madera Farm Credit, said helping veterans transition into farming is why Farm Credit supports the Davis-based Farmer Veteran Coalition. “Since its founding in 2008, the Farmer Veteran Coalition has worked tirelessly to enable American veterans to pursue careers in farming,” Hesterberg said. “Its Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund is a small grant program that provides direct assistance to veterans like Robert Barnett, who are in their beginning years of farming and ranching. The funds are given directly to third-party vendors for items the veteran has identified will make a crucial difference in the launch of their farm business, and Farm Credit is proud to be able to help individuals who have served in our armed forces build a new life in agriculture.” Besides Fresno Madera Farm Credit, other California Farm Credit organizations supporting the Farmer Veteran Coalition are American AgCredit, Co-Bank, Colusa-Glenn Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit West, Golden State Farm Credit and Yosemite Farm Credit. Barnett operates the startup hog, sheep, and
len Beard, foyr f Morro Bay beautifu helping to keep Morro #rocksolidtol - we appreciate you! Bay clean and gether #mbt rashhero
tree nursery operations at an existing ancient grains and beans farm known as Kandarian Organic Farms. Slow food chapters on the Central Coast and local chefs are eager to promote the farm’s meats once they’re ready to begin selling animals. That’s coming along as well, as his initial small flock of eight sheep has grown to 17 this year, with more lambs on the way. The hogs have not yet produced any piglets. And for Barnett, raising livestock is more than just a way to earn a living. Being with the animals also gives him personal comfort as he continues to recover from a horrific accident while an Air Force aircraft maintenance specialist. He was doused with jet fuel while working under an engine when another airman accidentally flipped a switch, which caused a painful nerve and joint condition and some mental challenges, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. “I’m service-disabled, so I can’t go from zero to 60 in 10 seconds. It takes me 30 seconds or a minute. So I’m really at peace with the livestock and working with them,” he said. For more information, visit farmcreditalliance.com and farmvetco.org.
Morro Bay Life • November 2020 • 5
Making Communities Better Through Print™
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6 • November 2020 • Morro Bay Life
Since our beginning, our business
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It’s All people in the and Planning has been their financial well-being. It’s evident in good times, with decisions focused
after – are required to take RMDs from their IRAs each year. Normally, investors face a 50% tax penalty on amounts not withdrawn from their IRA to meet their RMD. However, the CARES Act has waived all RMD obligations for 2020, including for those who turned 70 ½ in 2019 and had until April 1, 2020, to take their first distribution. You’ll want to speak with your financial advisor about what this means for your financial plan as well as your RMD obligations in 2021. A few reminders for future distribution planning: ▷ RMDs can be automated with your advisor to help ensure you don’t miss applicable deadlines. ▷ Your first RMD can be delayed until April 1 of the year after you turn 70 ½. If you delay, however, you must also take your second RMD in the same tax year. This can inflate your income, which may affect your tax bracket. ▷ Subsequent RMDs must be taken no later than December 31 of each calendar year. ▷ Qualified charitable distributions allow traditional IRA owners who transfer RMDs to qualified charities to exclude the amount donated from their adjusted gross incomes, up to $100,000. ▷ Be mindful of how taking a distribution will impact your taxable income or tax bracket. If you have space left in your bracket or a down income year, you may want to consider taking additional distributions.
losses also can be carried forward to future years. With your advisor, examine the following subtleties when aiming to decrease your tax bill: ▷ Short-term gains are taxed at a higher marginal rate; aim to reduce those first. ▷ Don’t disrupt your long-term investment strategy when harvesting losses. ▷ Be aware of “wash sale” rules that affect new purchases before and after the sale of a security. If you sell a security at a loss but purchase another “substantially identical” security – within 30 days before or after the sale date – the IRS likely will consider that a wash sale and disallow the loss deduction. The IRS will look at all your accounts – 401(k), IRA, etc. – when determining if a wash sale occurred.
EVALUATE LIFE CHANGES
From welcoming a new family member to moving to a new state, any number of life changes may have impacted your circumstances over the past year. Bring your financial advisor up to speed on major life changes and ask how they could affect your year-end planning. ▷ Moving can significantly impact tax and estate planning, especially if you’ve relocated from a high-income tax state to a low-income tax state, from a state with a state income tax to one without (or vice versa), or if you’ve moved to a state with increased asset protection. Note that moving expenses themselves are no longer deductible as an itemized deduction for non-military members. ▷ Give thought to your family members’ life changes as well as your own – job changes, births, deaths, weddings, and divorces, for example, can all necessitate changes – and consider updating your estate documents accordingly.
on the long term, and crucial when
circumstances become difficult. That continued emphasis on people –
SARAH SANTANA COLUMNIST
TAX PLANNING Proactive investors know that the months before year-end are an ideal time to make any final tax-saving moves. While keeping in mind your long-term investment goals, meet with your advisor, and coordinate with your tax professional to examine nuances and changes that could impact your typical year-end planning.
MIND YOUR RMDS
MANAGE YOUR INCOME AND DEDUCTIONS
Those at or near the next tax bracket should pay close attention to anything that might bump them up and plan to reduce taxable income before the end of the year. ▷ Determine if it makes sense to accelerate deductions or defer income, potentially allowing you to minimize your current tax liability. Some companies may give you an opportunity to defer bonuses and so forth into a future year as well. ▷ Certain retirement plans also can help you defer taxes. Contributing to a traditional 401(k) allows you to pay income tax only when you withdraw money from the plan in the future, at which point your income and tax rate may be lower, or you may have more deductions available to offset the income.* ▷ Evaluate your income sources – earned income, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, qualified dividends, etc. – to help reduce the overall tax impact.
our clients, communities, advisors and associates – gives us purpose, strength and a way forward.
Be thoughtful about required minimum distributions (RMDs) to ensure that you comply with TO HARVEST OR NOT TO HARVEST the rules – especially as some of those rules have Evaluate whether you could benefit from changed for 2020. tax-loss harvesting – selling a losing investment Investors that reach a certain age – 70 ½ for to offset gains. The first $3,000 (single or married those born before July 1, 1949; 72 for those born filing jointly) offsets ordinary income. Excess
Consider these to-dos as you prepare to make the most of year-end financial moves, and discuss with your financial advisor and tax professional: ▷ Manage your income and deductions, paying close attention to your marginal tax bracket. ▷ Evaluate your investments, keeping in mind whether you could benefit from tax-loss harvesting. ▷ Make a list of the life changes you and your family have experienced during the year. * Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may also be subject to a 10% federal penalty tax. RMDs are generally subject to federal income tax and may be subject to state taxes. Consult your tax advisor to assess your situation. Raymond James advisors do not provide tax advice.
Since our beginning, our business has been people and their
Sarah N. Santana
Financial financial well-being. It’s evident in
good times, with decisions focused Confidence
President SWM & Financial Advisor RJFS 1181 Main St. Morro Bay CA 93442 T 805.225.1919 // C 805.550.5791 email@example.com santanawealthmanagement.com
on the long term, and crucial when
begins with circumstances become difficult. That continued emphasis people – working with anonAdvisor
our clients, communities, advisors you can trust. and associates – gives us purpose,
through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.
strength and a way forward. Today. And
At Santana Wealth Management we understand your financial goals are as unique as you are. That’s why we provide personalized advice no matter where you’re at in life. You can depend on our investment management expertise and care to build you a plan that helps you achieve your goals. Let’s connect today. Visit us at SANTANAWEALTHMANAGEMENT.COM
Sarah N. Santana
President SWM & Financial Advisor RJFS 1181 Main St. Morro Bay CA 93442 T 805.225.1919 // C 805.550.5791 firstname.lastname@example.org santanawealthmanagement.com 2020 Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC, and are not insured by any financial institution insurance, the FDIC/NCUA or any other government agency, are not deposits or obligations of the financial institution, are not guaranteed by the financial institution, and are subject to risk, including the possible loss of principal. Santana Wealth Management is not registered broker/dealers and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.
Morro Bay Life • November 2020 • 7
Making Communities Better Through Print™
SLO Food Bank Turkey Trot Moving Virtual All proceeds raised will provide holiday meals to families in need. The SLO Food Bank can quadruple one dollar’s purchasing power through bulk purchasing agreements, gleaning operations, donations, grants, and other programs. Every donated dollar SLO Food Bank receives provides seven nutritious meals to those grappling with hunger. Every participant will receive one event t-shirt and one pair of DryMax socks. Participants can pick up their items on Friday, Nov. 20, from 1 until 5 p.m. at Cuesta College North County Campus (2800 Buena Vista Dr., Paso Robles) or at the SLO Food Bank warehouse (1180 Kendall Rd., San Luis Obispo). To ensure that participants receive their preferred t-shirt size, they are encouraged to register by Oct. 29. However, registration for the event will be open up to Thanksgiving morning.
STAFF REPORT SAN LUIS OBISPO — SLO Food Bank has officially launched the annual Turkey Trot, but it is virtual this year. Historically, the SLO Food Bank has hosted 2-mile walks, and 5-mile runs in Avila Beach and in Pismo Beach. As many as 1,500 people gathered to inspire one another to be grateful for the meal they would enjoy later in the day and raise money for those who are not as fortunate. This year, participants can still register for the Turkey Trot taking place at 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning by registering online at slofoodbank.org. Participants are encouraged to complete a walk, run or hike on their own or with family and closest friends at a location of their choice.
Each participant will also enter a raffle for a chance to win one of five $50 Running Warehouse gift cards. Selfie enthusiasts are encouraged to post their picture on the official fundraising page or their team page for another chance to win one of five $50 Running Warehouse gift cards. This annual event raises awareness about food insecurity in our community and raises vital funds to provide nourishment and cheer to individuals and families during the holidays. Participants can create a team or an individual fundraising page to share with their friends and family easily. Fabulous incentive prizes are available for certain fundraising milestones but can also be forfeited to have the entire fundraising effort purchase holiday meals. For more information, visit slofoodbank.org, contact Claire Levine at email@example.com or call 805-238-4664.
San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden: ‘Pickets for Programs’ STAFF REPORT SAN LUIS OBISPO — Celebrate public art and connect with nature, all while helping fence the Children’s Garden at the SLO Botanical Garden. The Garden is offering the opportunity to buy, paint, and display fence pickets as a fundraiser for education programs. A contribution of $150/picket supports the Garden and displays your painted picket from 2021-2023. Socially-distanced painting parties will be scheduled Oct. through Dec. at the Garden, where you can get inspiration from nature. An additional $50 gets the picket painted by a local artist. Group pricing is available. The Garden will provide paints and materials. Details and ticket sales online at www.slobg.org.
Harbor Department Seeks Grant to Replace Patrol Boat By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life MORRO BAY — The Morro Bay Harbor Department is seeking a State grant to buy a used patrol boat from Port San Luis, replacing an old boat that’s performed far beyond the call of duty and for far longer than expected. The City Council approved applying for an $85,000 grant from the State Department of Boating and Waterways to pay “fair market value” for the 26-foot Radon Craft patrol boat that the Port plans to surplus at the end of the year. Buying a new boat, outfitted the way the Morro Bay harbor patrol needs it to be with various electronics and firefighting canon, would cost from $350,000-$450,000. The PSL boat will replace another Radon the department purchased new in 1984. “The Harbor Patrol’s oldest vessel,” Harbor Director Eric Endersby said in a staff report, “the 27-foot ‘Boat 68’ built-in 1984 by Radon Boat Building, has served the City, boaters, and
community beyond compare in her three-and-a-half decade career, saving countless lives and millions of dollars of property.” But like anything, Boat 68 has seen better days. “This vessel, however, suffered a significant structural failure on an offshore rescue mission approximately 8-years ago,” Endersby said, “when a portion of her hull bottom delaminated and tore away [the mission was successfully executed without loss of life or property].” The failure of a previous fiberglass patch job occurred during an emergency call to Montaña de Oro State Park and was noticed when the two patrolmen onboard saw the boat taking on water. The boat underwent an expensive repair. “While repaired at the time for approximately $30,000 by DR Radon Boat Builders of Santa Barbara,” Endersby said, “the failure signaled the beginning of the end for this vessel’s career, and plans were begun to start planning for her replacement.” As the department explored getting
a new boat, money has been “the largest hurdle,” Endersby said. Replacing the old boat has been included in the Harbor Department’s budget for several years now and is now a high priority. It should be noted that the department has two other patrol boats — a 1995 Davis Radon Craft (built by Davis Boats) and a 2013 Radon (built by Radon in Santa Barbara). But the 1995 boat doesn’t really fit their needs. Chief Harbor Patrol officer Becka Kelly said, “It’s 22-foot and a great little bay boat, but for emergency work, it doesn’t fit our needs for a multi-faceted job.” The department also has two 1028 Kawasaki personal watercraft also used for surf rescues. In the application to DBW, the City lists its 1995 boat as “non-operational.” Boat 68 will be auctioned off as surplus. “It would be a fine recreational or fishing boat,” Kelly said. But they don’t expect a sale to bring in much. The department tried to get another $500,000 grant from DBW to buy a brand new boat but was denied. They’ve
been discussing buying PSL’s old boat for 18 months. “This vessel was built in 2002,” Endersby said, “has been well-maintained and has not operated in as harsh an environment as Morro Bay’s waters, and because she is of the same make and general design as Boat 68, is an ideal platform for Morro Bay.” It may be in good shape, but the boat needs new twin diesel inboard motors and a new pump for the water canon. Those upgrades are expected to cost over $100,000, which is where the Friends of the Harbor Department comes in. Bill Luffee, president of the non-profit Friends group, said their goal is to raise $100,000 to repower the PSL patrol boat. In the past, they’ve done things like organizing marine swap meets and drive-in movies at Morro Rock to raise monies to help the department with one-time purchases of equipment. While their events have worked well, they cannot hold any type of public event in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Morro Bay Harbor Department is seeking an $85,000 State grant to buy this patrol boat from the Port San Luis Harbor District. Contributed photo
Luffee said a lot of harbor maintenance needs have been put off due to tight budgets. “The bay is the lifeblood of the city,” Luffee said. Repowering the boat will take a few months. Once they complete the purchase of the PSL boat, they will send it out for the new engines, which places some degree of urgency on the Friends’ fundraising. The Friends are asking the public for donations. For more information or to donate to the cause, see: www. friendsofthembhd.org/harbor-patrolboat-fundraiser or call the Harbor Department (805)772-6254. Donations are tax-deductible, and donations of $50 or more get a Friends T-shirt and water bottle.
RISE Sees Increase in Domestic Violence Calls During Pandemic By BRIAN WILLIAMS of Morro Bay Life COUNTY — October was National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the nonprofit RISE reminds people that help is only a call away. “Just know that there is help, that they don’t have to go through this alone, there are options,” said Stacey Salome, RISE Director of Development and Marketing. RISE’s toll-free crisis line is staffed 24 hours a day — 855-886-RISE (7473). “What we want people to know this month is that we are here for them regardless of their circumstances and that we are a resource that is nonjudgemental that we will listen and can point them to options that may work for them,” she said. The crisis line is not only for people currently experiencing violence. It’s for their friends, it’s for
their family, it’s for anyone who feels like they need to provide support to someone in that circumstance, Salome added. Salome said RISE has seen an increase in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said they have seen a 30 percent increase in calls for service over previous years. “Because of all of the trauma related to COVID,” Salome said, “the stress on relationships right now, even healthy relationships, the stress is greater than normal. For us, as an organization, what we have seen is that we’ve had a pretty significant increase in calls to our crisis line.” RISE’s tagline is Respect. Inspire. Support. Empower. Its vision is “a world free of sexual and intimate partner violence.” The Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center of San Luis Obispo and the North County
Women’s Shelter and Resource Center merged in 2013 to form RISE. SARP began as the Rape Crisis Center of SLO in 1975 and the NCWSRC was formed in 1982. The agencies have decades of experience and provide the following services to those affected by intimate partner violence and sexual assault/ abuse: 24-hour crisis line, crisis intervention, case management, restraining order assistance, accompaniment and advocacy, prevention education, two safe houses and individual and group counseling. All services are provided confidentially, free of charge, and in English and Spanish to anyone — regardless of age, sexuality, gender identity, race, class, or ability — who has been directly or indirectly impacted by intimate partner violence or sexual assault/abuse. COVID-19 has led to isolation and people
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stuck at home with their abusers without access to the usual avenues for help or even the privacy to call a crisis line. “Right now, people don’t have that same ability, and so we have seen that has impacted the amount of domestic violence happening, and just the isolation and the ease in which people are able to access our services is really concerning,” Salome said. Throughout the pandemic, RISE has continued its services, albeit with some shifting. “We continued to have services available for survivors the whole time,” Salome said. “We have done a lot more virtual. Our staff went to working from home, except for our leadership staff and essential workers at the shelters. “We have increased capacity with our therapy department. We have a few more therapists on board,” she added. y
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By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life
Touring the Water Reclamation Facility Site
MORRO BAY — The City of Morro Bay recently held a tour of its new Water Reclamation Facility treatment plant site for City officials and the media, walking about the nearly 30-acre site to see the over $70 million plant’s progress. Updates, which included the underground utility work for a new administration building that is
expected to be completed sometime in January, were shared with the attendees. They also saw the innards of what will be two bio-reactor basins that stand some 25-feet tall, but, after being tested for leaks, will mostly be buried with just a few feet above final grade. And while the site already has some 20-feet of fill, burying the basins will require much more of the hillside to be dug up and spread over the plant site.
A huge amount of dirt continues to be excavated and redistributed, including at this site high above the plant near where a large landslide struck back in March. The landslide and other excavated dirt have raised some areas of the plant site over 20 feet. Photos by Neil Farrell
Morro Bay Council members from left: Jeff Heller, Marlys McPherson, Mayor John Headding and Dawn Addis pose next to a segment of 6-foot 6-inch diameter (78”), welded steel pipe that will be part of the new plant’s chlorination system to disinfect the unusable wastewater destined to be discharged into the ocean.
The piping at right is 6½ feet tall and the pipe snaking through from the lower left is nearly at the natural grade of the WRF site. The difference, about 20 feet, is how much soil has been spread over the nearly 30-acre site. The pipe at left is a stormdrain pipe and the greenish pipe is part of the chlorination system for wastewater that will be discharged into the ocean. That chlorination piping will be buried on the other side of the plant with a road built over the top of it.
A close-up of iron workers fashioning the inch-thick rebar to form the walls of a bio reactor.
California State Parks Announces Phased Reopening Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
STAFF REPORT COUNTY —California State Parks announced on Oct. 20, a three-phased reopening plan for vehicular use at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) and Pismo State Beach (SB), starting on Oct. 30. Vehicular access to all state park units was closed in March to prevent visitation surges and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In recent months, State Parks has worked with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access across the State Park System, where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. The phased-reopening plan for Ocean Dunes SVRA and Pismo SB was designed to support a safe and healthy environment for employees, visitors, and natural resources such as the endangered Western snowy plover and California least tern. Though the first phase was expected to begin Oct. 30, specific dates for phases two and three have yet to be determined. Updates on all aspects of the phased-reopening plan will be posted on the Oceano District’s Twitter and Facebook social media accounts and park unit webpages — ohv. parks.ca.gov/OceanoDunes and parks.ca.gov/ Pismo. “Public safety during COVID-19, the protection of natural resources and providing recreational opportunities at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area and Pismo State Beach are priorities for California State Parks,” Director Armando Quintero said. “We thank the public for their patience as this is the first time in the history of the department where safety measures such as vehicular access closures, full closures, and cancellation of reservations have been implemented
at such a large scale in response to a pandemic.” Below is a summary of the three-phased reopening plan for Oceano Dunes SVRA and Pismo SB: PHASE ONE Scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 • Day Use Hours: Both park units will be open daily from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for day use by visitors who can walk, bike or drive in with a “street legal” vehicle (e.g., jeeps or trucks). • Vehicle Access: ▷ “Street legal” vehicles, such as jeeps and trucks, will be allowed on the dunes. ▷ “Green Sticker” off-highway vehicles (OHV) will remain temporarily prohibited from entering the park at this time. Staff will monitor conditions and operations to determine when to restore “Green Sticker” OHV activity. • Visitation: As the State of California continues to protect Californians from the COVID19 pandemic and for the protection of natural resources, the daily allowed number of “street legal” vehicles will be temporarily limited to 1,000 per day for both park units. While State Parks does not anticipate this operational change to impact visitation since this is considered the off-season, over the next few weeks, there may be instances where the maximum allowance of vehicles will be met, and no further vehicles will be allowed to enter the beach due to the temporary capacity requirement. • Camping: ▷ Oceano Dunes SVRA: During the initial reopening phase, no overnight camping opportunities will be provided at Oceano Dunes SVRA (beach camping area). Staff will monitor conditions and operations over the next few weeks to determine when to restore these experiences. When campgrounds reopen, the public is advised that they will do so at a reduced and limited capacity (100 sites) to support a safe and healthy environment for employees, natural resources, and visitors. ▷ Pismo SB: On Sept. 21, developed campgrounds at Pismo SB reopened to visitors. Reservations are required. To book your reservation, visit ReserveCalifornia.com. • Reservations: Since the campgrounds at Oceano Dunes SVRA will not reopen at full capacity, the number of prior reservations in the system
would exceed the reduced inventory under the phased reopening plan of the SVRA. To give everyone fair access to available camping, State Parks needs to restart the booking process at zero reservations. The department apologizes for the inconvenience as it continues to address operational considerations during COVID19. Reservation cancellations and refunds will be automatic. As such, visitors do not need to take any action. ReserveCalifornia will contact affected reservation holders via email. Phase two of the phased-reopening plan will include the date new reservations can be made for Oceano Dunes SVRA. • Events: Special event applications are not being accepted at this time for both park units. • Concessions: These services will continue to be temporarily closed. PHASE TWO Date to be determined • Vehicle Access: “Green Sticker” OHVs will be allowed on the dunes. • Visitation: The daily allowed number of “street legal” vehicles will continue to be temporarily limited to 1,000 per day for both park units. • Camping: A total of 100 camping sites at Oceano Dunes SVRA will become available to the public. PHASE THREE Date to be determined State Parks expands day-use opportunities and camping inventory as environmental conditions allow and align with state and local public health orders. Drivers are advised that the dunes and topography changed during the park unit’s closure, creating unfamiliar terrain. All drivers are being asked to drive with care and provide shorebirds and pedestrians plenty of space as they enjoy the park. The speed limit on the beach is 15 mph. Visitation and physical distancing will be monitored at Oceano Dunes SVRA and Pismo SB, and if unsafe conditions develop, access may be restricted again. The public is reminded to plan, maintain the proper physical distance, avoid crowds, wear face coverings, and limit the group to people from the immediate household. For additional OHV COVID-19 tips, visit parks.ca.gov/ SafetyTips.
SLO County Re-Launches Fabric Face Mask Drive STAFF REPORT COUNTY — San Luis Obispo County is again asking for the public’s help as it has re-launched its fabric face mask drive. Donations can be dropped off at several locations in the County. San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials stated that masks would be distributed at local food pick-up sites, in COVID-19 prevention kits, and to residents who can’t easily make or purchase one. Mask donations will be collected through Nov. 20 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the following locations: • • • • •
201 Cayucos Dr., Cayucos 2099 10th St., Los Osos 450 Pioneer Ave., Nipomo 1681 Front St., Oceano 4671 Broad St., San Luis Obispo • 635 North Santa Rosa St., San Luis Obispo • 356 N. Main St., Templeton
For more information regarding the mask drive, visit the County’s website https:// www.emergencyslo.org/en/ mask-donation.aspx.
Morro Bay Life • November 2020 • 9
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TASTE OF AMERICANA
Cranberry Helps ‘Shake It Up’ a Bit W
BARBIE BUTZ COLUMNIST
past due to the virus with its physical restrictions. However, our menu will undoubtedly remain the same, but I suggest we “shake it up” a bit. I researched some ways to do just that, so take a look at these recipes and “go for a change.” To give those yams a little lift, try this recipe. Candied Brandied Yams Ingredients: • 3 large yams peeled, cooked, and mashed • ¼ pound (1 stick) butter, melted • ½ cup brandy, or to taste • ½ teaspoon salt • ½ cup dark brown sugar • marshmallows Directions: Bake the yams until soft and mash. Add the melted butter, brandy, salt, and brown sugar. Spoon into a buttered casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Take out of the oven and top with marshmallows. Bake again at 450 degrees for a few minutes until the marshmallows turn golden brown. Watch carefully as the marshmallows will burn quickly. Makes approximately 4 cups. Serves 6-8. Store the canned cranberry sauce for those leftover turkey sandwiches and whip up one of these salads instead. Classic Cranberry Salad Ingredients: • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (14 oz.) • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar • ½ cup fresh orange juice (from 2 oranges) • 1 cup peeled and chopped Bartlett pears (about 2 small pears) • 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple (from 1 pineapple) • ½ cup thinly sliced celery (from 2 stalks) • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans Directions: Bring cranberries, brown sugar, and orange juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high, stirring often. Reduce
heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop and mixture thickens, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Stir in Bartlett pears, pineapple, celery, and pecans. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and chill salad 4 to 24 hours. Spiked Cranberry Orange Salad Directions: Prepare recipe as directed for the Classic salad, substituting 1 cup clementine segments (from 4 clementines) for Bartlett pears and ½ chopped toasted walnuts for pecans. Stir in 2 Tbsp. Orange-flavored liqueur and 1 Tbsp. orange zest (from 1 orange) with clementines, chopped pineapple, sliced celery, and walnuts. Proceed as directed in Classic recipe. Cranberry-Apple-Ginger Salad Directions: Omit Bartlett pears and pecans. Prepare recipe as directed, substituting ½ cup apple cider for fresh orange juice and stirring 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger (from one 1/2-inch piece of ginger) and 1 tsp. black pepper into cranberry mixture before cooling. Stir in 1 peeled and chopped Fuji apple (about 9 oz.) with pineapple and celery. Proceed as directed in Classic recipe. Note: The cranberry salads can be made three days in advance. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Salads can easily serve 12 and look beautiful in a glass pedestal dish. To liven-up, the mashed potatoes consider topping them with bacon and crispy scallions or add in some cream cheese with herbs, shredded Parmesan cheese, and top with chopped fresh chives. ‘Wish I had more room to continue with our menu, but I will end with this message: Give thanks for your family and friends and for this great country! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you here in our wonderful County. Cheers!
The Beat Goes On
JIM J. BRESCIA. Ed.D
hen I was growing up, Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays. It still is, but of course, it has changed through the years. Members of our family and friends who joined my parents on that day have passed. However, the memories are always with me. The menu was always the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, candied yams, relish platter, and Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce from a can. The menu ended with pumpkin pie, mincemeat pie, and pecan pie. The meal on Thanksgiving day was absolutely delicious, as were the leftovers the next day. Of course, I think the people at the table helped make it a special day for all of us. Thanksgiving will be different this year for many families. We probably will not set our tables for as many as we have in the
County Superintendent of Schools
s I reviewed the plethora of articles on distance learning, one story about how high school choirs are improvising in the age of COVID-19 caught my attention. The positive attitude and actions of these students, their teachers, their families, and the community reminded me of the many blessings for which we should give thanks. Even though concerts, performances, practices, productions, and exhibitions have been postponed or canceled since March, innovative, hopeful, and creative groups of artists continue to celebrate the arts. Classes across San Luis Obispo County use different software programs to put videos together, interact online, and create arts programming. One of the packages allows the students and teachers to line up the videos in the correct order, synchronize the choir’s parts, adjust start timing, align sound, and align video, so the class is singing in unison. Local students and teachers practice together online and create virtual performances. All of the noise bombarding our senses from the political arena, our daily lives, and society can get in the way of recalling the many positive things we still enjoy. We have so many reasons to have hope for tomorrow and remember how what we do will positively influence the world. Please join me in congratulating all those nominated and selected as “Employees of the Year” and thanking our employ-
ees for their positive contributions to society. We should give thanks to all those who have continued to do their part during COVID-19 and those who have let us know how we can improve our service. Similar to the choir students in the article I reviewed, San Luis Obispo County is innovating in service to the community. During times of stress, it is very easy to allow negative thoughts and feelings to creep into our heads because of COVID-19. Mental health experts remind us that focusing on the positive in our lives can help filter out some of the constant barrages of discouraging news. Promoting a positive mindset will go a long way in providing a support system to make the best of each day. Support systems are more than simple “do-it-yourself ” projects. Our family, friends, and the community all represent pieces of a support network. When we look for opportunities during difficulty, we can improve our situation and that of others. American artistic gymnast and Olympian, Laurie Hernandez’s statement that “All I can control is myself and just keep having a positive attitude,” reminds us that we have control over our attitudes. We are all very proud of our students, their families, our teachers, support staff, and the community as everyone continues to adapt and innovate. Distance learning, small cohorts, physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and continual vigilance is tiring, but we are stepping up to the challenge. So just like the 1960s, Sonny and Cher song lyric or Solomon’s musings in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “The Beat Goes On.” I consider it an honor to serve as your county superintendent of schools.
oing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always gotten. New paths lead to new experiences. Life is for living. But not all actions and not all paths make you feel alive. Some kill you. While others painfully diminish you. At the end of a lifetime, people close their eyes to the memories they’ve made. Enough good ones will brighten your eternity. The alternative is hell. To have a conversation about feeling alive in the middle of a pandemic may seem out of place until you realize that this is still living. Consciously or unconsciously, you do things daily, attempting to feel alive. You may be hitting the wine bottle because, for a few hours, it elevates your mood. Engrossed in a gardening project with your hands in the dirt, satisfaction washes over you. A fun call from a friend sends your mind down memory lane reliving the good old times. A skydive. A new love. Playing. Exploring. A new idea captivates your imagination. There are many positive and fun ways to feel alive. Sometimes, feeling alive is the result of surviving something terrible. On the other side of danger, there’s relief and gratitude and the desire to do more with your life than waste it on the mundane. Sometimes, the very experience of struggle brings out the zest to live and concur; the same way darkness draws in the light.
In pandemic mode, we feel on a mission to survive and thrive. The struggle is real, financially, and socially. I come across many examples of people trying to make the most of the situation and ending up with the best time of their lives. Unexpectedly, they find themselves completing projects, checking items off their bucket lists, stumbling on adventures, rebuilding essential relationships, and valuing quality time with others and alone. People energized by finding their faith and their calling during a pandemic work tireless for a better future. Unstoppable and resourceful! At the same time, others, feeling powerless, lash out. They argue. Cause harm to themselves and those around them. In a dark place, they seek the thrill of drugs and alcohol. Angry, they sabotage their friendships. Depressed, they blame the world and life itself. I believe it is in our DNA to want to live and feel alive. The strategies for accomplishing this are encoded in our minds from an early age, watching adults around us and emulating that behavior. We grow up gravitating towards what is familiar because it is easy. But we don’t have to. We can break the bonds of habit and familiar cycles. We just need to take personal responsibility for the outcomes of our actions and choose to make the kinds of memories that will make us smile for all eternity. A pandemic is a great place to start. Valentina Petrova has been helping people with life, health, relationships, financial, career, professional, and business challenges since 2015. She has a Master’s in Psychology and is a certified Life Coach. You can reach her at valentinapetrovaconsulting.com.
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Morro Bay Life • November 2020 • 11
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