Morro Bay Life • December 2021

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DECEMBER 2021 • MORROBAYLIFENEWS.COM

S e r v i n g t h e C o m m u n i t i e s o f M o r r o B ay a n d C ay u c o s

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

OFFSHORE WIND FARMS

"MORRO BAY WIND ENERGY AREA" PAGE 8

NUTCRACKER BALLET

25TH ANNIVERSARY PRODUCTION PAGE 10

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 19 PASO ROBLES, CA

MORRO BAY AND CAYUCOS EVENTS PAGE 4

******ECRWSSEDDM****** POSTAL CUSTOMER MORRO BAY, CA 93442

COASTAL HOLIDAY EVENTS


2 • December 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

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Hayley & Nicholas Mattson hayley@13starsmedia.com

ASSISTANT EDITOR Melissa Guerra

LAYOUT DESIGN EDITOR Mike Michaud

Community Writer Camille DeVaul

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Cami Martin office@13starsmedia.com

CONTRIBUTORS James Brescia, Ed.D John D’Ornellas Neil Farrell Sarah Santana Valentina Petrova Contact Us 805.466.2585

Visit our website! morrobaylifenews.com morro bay life is published monthly. all rights reserved , material may not be reprinted without written consent from the publisher . morro bay life made every effort to maintain the accuracy of information presented in this publication , but assumes no responsibility for errors , changes or omissions . morro bay life is a product of 13 stars media .

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his December, we all get to venture out once again and enjoy We are honored that we get to come into your home each and every the annual traditions we have all grown to love to start our month through Morro Bay Life and share with you, your neighbors, Holiday Season. friends, and local businesses. We love being able to tell the community stories, so please reach out to us if you know of one that needs Bundling up in our favorite winter apparel and getting the kiddos to be shared. ready to attend a Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting, Nutcracker Performance, Winter Wonderland, or a drive to see all the lights reminds As you read through these pages, we hope it brings you, Peace & us how much we value these holiday traditions—many of which were Love this holiday season, no matter how you celebrate. We hope you placed on hold last year due to the pandemic. feel inspired to share your gift with someone new and know that today is the most important because it is the only one promised. The events are important, but as we can see, the interaction we have with each other face to face is what feeds our soul. It reminds Happiest of Holidays to you all. us how incredible our community is and how resilient we truly are. Please stay safe, share love, and be a good human. We hope you enjoy The people behind these events deserve awards and our deepest this month’s issue of Morro Bay Life. appreciation for the hours spent coordinating, gathering, and hosting so that we may come and enjoy the few hours together and then go Much love, home filled with the holiday spirit, and for that, we say Thank You! Hayley & N ic Thank you for soldiering on even though the times are still challenging; thank you for knowing how important each one of these events are, and thank you for showing up when no one else did. You all are our community heroes.

Through Print

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Happy Holidays! From all of us here at

morrobaylifenews.com


Morro Bay Life • December 2021 • 3

Making Communities Better Through Print™

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

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

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

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

The Morro Bay Chamber Makes its Mark, Delivers Membership Satisfaction

MEMBERSHIP!

We use a third party to survey our members each year to ensure that our programs and services are meeting expectations and to inform our activities for the following year with newly elected Board members. The 2021 results just came back. We are proud to report that the members gave us a 71% Net Promoter Score (NPS), meaning that 71% of our members would recommend us to a friend, family member or colleague. This is a gain of 7 percentage points from 2020 and puts our Chamber in an elite tier of chambers in the Western US. We don’t do this work alone! Here are some critical “By the Numbers” stats about the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce. 966 volunteer hours performed by business owner-operators serving as Board Members (12), Governmental Affairs Committee Members (14) and Ambassadors Committee Members (6) attending regularly scheduled monthly meetings, business networking mixers (10), industry roundtables (5), and special task force meetings. Two full time employees and one part time employee received 70 hours total of professional training in Chamber of Commerce best practices and Economic Development from State recognized programs. Staff delivered 144 hours of advocacy on behalf of Chamber members at Morro Bay City Council and Advisory Board meetings, SLO County Board of Supervisors and Advisory Board meetings and directly to City Staff and City Elected Officials.

Holiday Glow Up Street Pole Banners

Seeing some new holiday spirit in the Downtown and Waterfront economic centers? The Chamber is proud to have facilitated an exciting project we’ve been referring to as the “Holiday Glow Up”. Back in October, Perfect Union offered to support the Chamber to execute on something tangible that has been long-desired by the business community. The Chamber, as part of our Economic Development services for the City of Morro Bay, had already been laying some foundational work to update the look and feel of the street pole banners along Morro Bay Blvd, Main St. and Embarcadero. Special thank you to Matt Bishop and Josh Whitcomb with the City of Morro Bay’s Consolidated Maintenance team for working so hard and with such collaborative spirit with us! We asked Perfect Union to fund new street pole banners in time for the holiday season. They encouraged us to leverage their financial contribution by asking additional small businesses to match their donation. And our business community stepped up! Special recognition for Beads by the Bay, Poppy Women’s Boutique, Morro Bay House of Jerky, and Aaron Young of Richardson Properties for making significant financial commitments to this project. All of the funding raised for this project by local businesses was recirculated in our local economy. H B Design created the graphics for the banners and Goofy Graphics brought them to life. Finally, special recognition is due to Pizza Port for their funding and installation of a 14ft Christmas tree at the roundabout. Together with the crab pot tree installed by the Morro Bay Harbor Department and supported by the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Association, and the annual tree lighting ceremony hosted by Morro Bay Recreation, it’s feeling very spirited out there in 2021!

Shop Local, Shop Small Business Everyday!

DECEMBER shopping

There is no doubt about it, when times are tough our community comes together to support each other. As we continue to move forward into brighter days the Morro Bay Chamber wants to remind our community to keep supporting their neighbors by shopping local. Follow us for the best gift ideas and local shopping lists through December. We have ideas for everyone! Whether it is adventure, antiques, environmentally friendly and everything in between, we have you covered. Follow us for the best gift ideas and local shopping lists, October through December. And this year we’ve been thinking outside the box. We have ideas for everyone! Whether it is adventure, antiques, environmentally friendly and everything in between we have you covered. Find your shopping ideas by following us on Facebook, Instagram or our website morrochamber.org/shop-local-everyday. For more information contact Lynsey Hansen, Membership Director at lynsey@morrochamber.org


4 • December 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

HOLIDAY EVENTS

Coastal Holiday's Bring Back Santa and Mrs. Claus Morro Bay and Cayucos in-person Holiday events STAFF REPORT MORRO BAY — After two years of living through the pandemic and cancelations of many holiday events, Morro Bay and Cayucos have announced the return of some of the much loved holiday traditions to fill everyone with some Christmas cheer!

Morro Bay

PHOTOS WITH SANTA & MRS. CLAUS

Date: Dec. 4 Time: 6:30 p.m. Location: Along the Embarcadero Details: This year, the Morro Bay Rotary has been working with the Morro Bay Harbor Department and the City of Morro Bay to bring back the Lighted Boat Parade! It will start at 6:30 p.m. on the Embarcadero with Boats judged and cash prizes of $500, $350, and $150 awarded to the top 3. Music by the Morro Bay White Caps Band will start at 5:30 p.m. at the South T-Pier. For details: morrobayrotary.org.

Cayucos

DOWNTOWN BUSINESS HOLIDAY DECORATIONS Date: Month of December Location: Downtown Cayucos Details: Businesses will be decorating for the holidays throughout the month of December for that little extra sparkle and holiday cheer… and some friendly competition! The Cayucos Chamber will be awarding gorgeous gift baskets for interior and exterior designs with judging on Dec. 7 and 8. Winners will be announced on Dec 10. Awards: Twinkle, Creative (inside and outside), most Christmassy, Grand Prize.

CHRISTMAS IN CAYUCOS

Hosted by Morro Bay Rotary Club Date: Dec. 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 Time: 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Location: MB Santa House Morro Bay Embarcadero Near the Giant Chessboard Details: Morro Bay Rotary hosts free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus following safe COVID practices. LIGHTED BOAT PARADE

Hosted by the Morro Bay Rotary, Morro Bay Harbor Department, and the City of Morro Bay

TREE LIGHTING Date: Dec 5 Time: 5 p.m. Locations: Ocean Ave. & D Street Details: Gather (safely) for fun, festive tree lighting, and refreshments (cookies and hot chocolate!) in the lot at the corner of Ocean Ave/D Street. Activities include a welcome greeting by Pastor Dale and carolers from Cayucos Community Church lighting of the tree. Arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus accompanied by fire Hosted by the Cayucos Chamber of engines. Children are welcome to Commerce and Cayucos Rotary Club visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. A beloved annual Cayucos tradition is back! Christmas in Cayucos BUSINESS OPEN HOUSE combines holiday festivities with a special open house evening to connect with the community and support Cayucos businesses. Still subject to COVID-19 restrictions for public health and safety, so the December events may have some modifications around food service Date: Dec 11 and activities. In addition, indoor Time: 5 to 8 p.m. face coverings may still be required Location: Downtown Cayucos at the time of the events. Details: Participating businesses

COMMUNITY

SLO County Supervisors Vote to Support Vets Hall Rehabilitation Funding support efforts will help the Cayucos Vets Hall project move forward STAFF REPORT CAYUCOS — The Restore the Cayucos Vet’s Hall Committee has been busy helping restore the iconic Cayucos venue. The Hall has been closed since 2016 due to structural deterioration. To restore and open it is estimated to cost $5.4m. San Luis Obispo (SLO) County received a $1.8m grant in 2019, which is set to expire soon. The closing of the building has been a huge burden to the community. Besides being a sellout venue for weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions, the Hall is used by Cayucos community organizations for fundraising events supporting

scholarships, seniors, fireworks, the arts, and economic activity in the community. The committee has launched a fundraising campaign to demonstrate to the County Board of Supervisors that the Vet’s Hall is a valuable economic resource because it will be a self-supporting, income-generating investment for the County and the community. In addition, the community’s support is meant to emphasize to the Supervisors that the restoration and financing of this historic building is a wise fiscal decision. On Nov. 16 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted to support funding efforts that will help the Cayucos Vets Hall rehabilitation project move forward. The committee shared that this was a big win for bringing back the town event and community center. Extraordinary efforts have been made from the Cayucos community to seed project funding, led by the Restore Cayucos Vets Hall committee. For more information, visit restorecayucosvetshall.org.

will be open for extended hours—a fun and festive Downtown Cayucos tradition of evening shopping, dining, and merriment along Ocean Ave. Local businesses stay open late to host visitors. The Cayucos Lioness Club will be providing cookies and hot chocolate (donations accepted). Activities include; Christmas shopping fun, visit with Santa and

Mrs. Claus in their quaint home, free horse-drawn carriages and wagon rides, and take-home crafts for kids. CAYUCOS POLAR BEAR DIP Date: Jan. 1 Details: Brave enough to take the plunge? Details to be announced visit cayucoschamber.com for the most up-to-date information.

NON-PROFIT

SLO County Farm Bureau Donates In Memory of Hugh Pitts

Donation of 100 Turkeys and over 4,500 pounds of local produce to SLO Food Bank STAFF REPORT SAN LUIS OBISPO — On Nov. 15, members of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau and the Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange (POVE) donated 100 turkeys and over 4,500 pounds of locally- grown celery and cabbage to the SLO Food Bank. The SLO County agriculture community worked together to raise funds to cover the cost of the turkeys. This year, they exceeded their goal, raising $6,430 in total, and will donate the remaining funds to the SLO Food Bank. This donation is a continuation of a tradition first put in place by Hugh Pitts, a past SLO County Farm Bureau board member. Each year around the holidays, Pitts would donate a pallet of turkeys to

the SLO Food Bank. When Hugh passed away in 2018, the donations were paused. Then in 2020, members of the community decided to work together to keep Hugh’s holiday tradition alive. This year marks the second year that the SLO County Farm Bureau and POVE have continued this fundraiser. SLO Food Bank’s Operations Director, Emily Hansen, spoke to the importance of the donation: “We’re still seeing incredibly high needs from the community. The holidays can be such a tough time for those just trying to make ends meet. These turkeys don’t just feed households in need but let them truly enjoy the holiday season with their loved ones.” Dan Sutton, POVE’s General Manager and SLO County Farm Bureau board member, shared how it is “warming that we get to continue this tradition in [Pitts] honor... it’s not only for the community, but it’s also to remember Hugh Pitts, and all the great things that he did.” This donation will support the record number of turkey requests the SLO Food Bank has received this year. The SLO Food Bank hopes to distribute over 2,500 turkeys and other special holiday food items before the end of the season. Thank you to all involved in continuing this heartwarming tradition.

About The SLO Food Bank is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, serving all of San Luis Obispo County through its direct food programs and network of agency partners. The SLO Food Bank’s mission is to alleviate hunger in San Luis Obispo County and build a healthier community. In 2020, the SLO Food Bank distributed over 5 million pounds of food to help our neighbors struggling with hunger. Prior to the pandemic, one in six SLO County residents was food insecure. Since the pandemic, hunger in SLO County has more than doubled, and the SLO Food Bank remains in front of this accelerating and tragic reality. To learn more about the work done by the SLO Food Bank throughout San Luis Obispo County, please visit slofoodbank.org. The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, voluntary membership organization that has advocated for local farmers and ranchers since 1922. Learn more at slofarmbureau.org. The Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange is a grower-owned cooperative, growing fresh produce on the beautiful central coast of California. Established in 1925, POVE is a producer and shipper of quality produce. They grow and pack twenty varieties of common and specialty variety items.


Morro Bay Life • December 2021 • 5

Making Communities Better Through Print™

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Chris Bath Owner/Broker

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Happy Holidays from Coast Realty 366 Shasta Ave Morro Bay 11/18/21, 10:52 AM

11/18/21, 10:52 AM

PEN

Matrix

Matrix

Original Price vs Sold Price Original Price vs Sold Price

11/18/21, 10:52 AM

DIN

Matrix

G

Original Price vs Sold Price

Seller - $869,000

1445 Prefumo Canyon Rd #29 SLO

Seller

1191 Las Tunas Morro Bay

Search Criteria

11/18/21, 11:05 AM

Statistics Sheet

Time frame is from Dec 2020 to Nov 2021 Property Type is 'Residential' County Or Parish is 'San Luis Obispo' City is 'Morro Bay'

Basic Market Statistics

approximately 240 listings UseResults this calculated sheet tofrom see basic Search statistics on the market as a whole. Criteria

Search Criteria

Time frame is from Dec 2020 to Nov 2021 Standard Status: Closed (180) Time frame is from Dec 2020 to Nov 2021 Property Type is 'Residential' List Price ADOM County CloseOr Price BA Luis Obispo' Lot Sqft SqFt $/SqFt Property Type is 'Residential' ParishBR is 'San County Or Parish Luis Obispo' 0 City is399,000 Min is 'San409,000 1 631 521 284.96 'Morro Bay'1 City is 'MorroMax Bay' 7,300,000 562 Results 7,000,000 100,119,175 240 3,882 calculated 6from5approximately listings 4,666.67 Results calculated approximately 36 240 listings Avg from 990,817 992,137 3 2 584,105 1,616 631.62

Median

834,000

Sum 178,347,096

9

832,500 178,584,662

3

2

4,000 1,639

Built Carport Spaces 1926

1

2021

4

1983

2

564.28 1984

2

113,690.94

Sold Properies Time frame is from January 2021 to November 18, 2021 Criteria: https://matrix.crmls.org/Matrix/Stats/StatsPrint.aspx?c=AAEAAAD*****AQAAAAAAAAARAQAAAEMAAAAGAgAAAAQ2NDc1BgMAAAABNgYEAAAA… Property Type is 'Residential' Standard Status is 'Closed' Contract Status Change Date is 01/01/2021 to 11/18/2021 County Or Parish is 'San Luis Obispo' City is 'Morro Bay'

1/1

Seller

1831 Fearn Los Osos

SOLD Seller 1/1

https://matrix.crmls.org/Matrix/Stats/StatsPrint.aspx?c=AAEAAAD*****AQAAAAAAAAARAQAAAEMAAAAGAgAAAAQ2NDc1BgMAAAABNgYEAAAA… https://matrix.crmls.org/Matrix/Stats/StatsPrint.aspx?c=AAEAAAD*****AQAAAAAAAAARAQAAAEMAAAAGAgAAAAQ2NDc1BgMAAAABNgYEAAAA… 1/1


6 • December 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

GOVERNMENT

News from the City of Morro Bay

STAFF REPORT City Council Decides not to Exercise Option to Retain Power Plant “Stacks” At the Oct. 26, meeting, City Council authorized staff to send a letter to Vistra Corp (owners of the Morro Bay Power Plant site) informing Vistra that the City will not exercise its option to request that the stacks remain. Council further moved that the letter should request that Vistra move forward on a discussion to honor the power plant and the stacks with a monument/point of interest in the event the facilities and stacks come down. The Council discussion and decision was informed by a Sept. 8, community forum, titled “Facts about the Stacks.” Nearly 200

community members attended the virtual forum. Presentations at the forum were informed by 40 emails sent by community members in advance, with comments and questions about the current condition of the stacks and potential options moving forward. Per an agreement with the City, Vistra will have until the end of 2027 to tear down the old power plant facilities, including the stacks, or they must pay the City $3 million. City Council to Review Parking Study At the Nov. 9, meeting, City Council will review the parking study completed by Walker Consultants. The study looked at the current parking conditions in the Embarcadero, Morro Rock, and Downtown areas. The purpose of the study is to understand existing parking needs, how parking is currently being used and how to best plan for parking demands moving forward. The study presents an analysis of existing parking conditions during both summer and off-season periods and includes recommendations for parking

management strategies. The study found that there a parking challenges—particularly in the waterfront area—that could be addressed with several potential approaches, including paid parking. The study was presented to the Harbor Advisory Board, Public Works Advisory Board and Planning Commission in September and October. Input gathered in those meetings and from the public will be shared with City Council on Nov. 9. Council will consider the study at that time and provide direction to City staff regarding any potential next steps. The $50,000 study was paid for through Parking in Lieu Funds; no General Fund revenues were used to support the effort. Public Hearing Draft of Updated Zoning Code Now Available The Public Hearing Draft of the City’s comprehensive update to the Zoning Code is now available for public review as of Nov. 23. The Planning Commission will review the document at the next meeting on Dec. 7. The Zoning Code update implements the General

Plan / Coastal Land Use Plan and is part of the Plan Morro Bay project. More information can be found at morrobayca.gov/planmb. Breakfast with Santa Join the City on Dec. 4, to have Breakfast with Santa. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this event will be an outdoor breakfast and event. The event will be from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Morro Bay Community Center parking lot. Tickets will be $10, and include a Pancake Breakfast with a Hot Cocoa Bar and a visit to the Elf Workshop. Along with the Pancake Breakfast, you will get to visit the Elf Workshop and make crafts and gifts to take home, you will also have the opportunity to decorate cookies, get your face painted and enjoy other festive activities. You will also have the opportunity to take a picture with Santa and even drop off your letter to the Big Guy himself. NOTE: If cancellation is necessary due to weather or COVID-19, they plan to move the event to a drive-thru program, or your child has the option to pick up a goody bag at the Morro Bay Community Center.

COUNTY

Supervisors Choose Two Draft Maps to Analyze Redistricting

New map submissions will no longer be considered, but input on the two maps is still accepted By MELISSA GUERRA of Morro Bay Life

SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors held a special meeting to discuss redistricting on Friday, Nov. 19 at 9 a.m. The redistricting process began in March when the update came that the census data wouldn’t come through until later, and the timeline was set for the entire process. In July, the first redistricting hearing was held, and community input was heard ahead of census data. Oct. 26 was the second redistricting hearing to consider draft maps from the public and advisory committees. Revised finalist maps will be published on Nov. 24, and the fourth redistricting meeting will be held on Nov. 30, at which time the Board will approve a final redistricting map or plan. The county ordinance will be introduced on Dec. 7, and the Board will amend the county ordinance to reflect the map on Dec. 14, just ahead of the deadline. The themes from the public comment from previous meetings were presented as follows (see image). Plans were submitted that aligned with the different themes, and then significantly more public comments came in at future meetings. Recommendations from the Staff 1. Conduct a hearing to consider County Staff Advisory Committee initial draft maps and publicly submitted maps

2. Eliminate six publicly submitted maps that have total population deviation of more than 10 percent and one. Map that has been requested to be withdrawn by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and 3. Select no more than three maps with less than 10 percent total population deviation for final consideration at the fourth redistricting hearing on Nov. 30

4. Limit consideration of any further submitted maps from the public to those making minor changes to the three finalist maps and submitted no later than Nov. 21 5. Provide staff further direction about the finalists’ maps, in compliance with legal requirements, as necessary The submitted maps were presented in the meeting, and then the meeting was opened up to public comment. The same themes from the public were represented in the discussion. Some commenters mentioned Cal Poly’s inclusion into the city of SLO as being important, and others highlighted the Coastal areas and the need for them to stay together to get fair representation. A large number of public comments mentioned the wish for a citizens committee, which is largely not done in California counties. After public comment, Supervisor John Peschong read a public comment letter from a citizen in Los Osos who did not wish to be included with Paso Robles and expressed concern about white supremacy, racism, and support of Trump and then commented, “I read that to you today because that’s what I’ve been working against and trying to get people to get you to understand, district 1 is your neighbors… They’re good people. That’s what really upsets me is that people in other parts of the county can believe these types of things… your whole point is to be able to decrease the vitriol in our county to raise the vitriol, and writing an op-ed piece like that, that’s what you did.” Supervisor Gibson commented that in an effort to move forward to try to create some stability that the Board bring Map A forward for final consideration, which went to vote prior to all Board members making their comments. The motion was voted down 3-2, with only Supervisor Gibson and Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg in favor. Supervisor Peschong commented to dismiss rumors and to clarify his position that the election was run fair in San Luis Obispo county when Biden was chosen, and that he was not in D.C. on Jan. 6 then made a motion to eliminate the six publicly submitted maps that the population deviation exceeded 10 percent, withdraw the chamber of commerce first map per their request, and to select the Patton map (ID 74786) and the San Luis Obispo new map (ID 75760), limit consideration of further maps from the public, and to limit to the two maps. This motion was seconded by Supervisor Debbie Arnold. The motion passed 4-1, with Supervisor Ortiz-Legg in opposition and Supervisor Gibson voting in approval but with protest against the Patton map, which he stated did not follow the necessary guidelines. Supervisor Gibson then made a motion to also approve Map B, which was seconded by Supervisor Ortiz-Legg but did not pass with a 2-3 vote. Supervisor Gibson moved to direct staff to perform an analysis of acceleration and deferral in the two maps relative to Map A, which represents the status quo. This motion was seconded by Supervisor Ortiz-Legg. The motion did not pass with a 2-3 vote. The next meeting for redistricting will be held on Nov. 30, and the links will be available on the district website at slocounty.ca.gov/Departments/ Board-of-Supervisors/Board-Meetings,-Agendas-and-Minutes.aspx.

HARBOR

oP rt San Luis Harbor District R‘ edistricting.’ By JOHN D’ORNELLAS Interim Harbor Manager

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he San Luis Obispo County isn’t the only public agency going through a “redistricting” process now. The Port San Luis Harbor District is doing it as well, although the process is a bit different. The District has never before been divided into sub-districts. Commissioners have always been elected through an “at-large” electoral system. A board member may reside anywhere within the District and are elected by voters throughout the District. The California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) allows for legal challenges to the “at-large” system, and in December of last year, the District received a letter from an out-of-thearea attorney alleging that the current system has resulted in racially polarized voting. The District had two choices at that point: to fight the claim in the courts or to accept the allegation and move to a sub-district-based election system. Many public agencies throughout the State have attempted to fight the claim and, after spending way too much money, have almost universally lost in Court. The Commission chose to begin the process of dividing the Harbor District into five sub-districts for voting purposes. In such a system, a jurisdiction is divided into separate geographic regions, each with one representative who resides in the region and is elected only by the voters residing within that region. In January of this year, the Board of Commissioners declared the District’s intention to transition from “at-large” to district-based elections before the election next November. The Commission also hired the consulting firm Cooperative Strategies, a redistricting consultant, to help with the creation and implementation of voting areas and to ensure that the District is in compliance with the California Voting Rights Act. Several factors are to be considered in establishing the voting regions. Each region is to: • Comply with the Federal Voting Rights Act, particularly in relation to “communities of interest” • Contain an approximately equal number of inhabitants • Be compact and contiguous, as much as possible • Follow man-made and natural geographic features as much as possible • Comply with any other local considerations The Elections Code requires that before any map of the proposed areas is drawn, the District must conduct no less than five Public Hearings. The purpose of these hearings is to inform the public about the voting area creation process and to hear from the community about what factors should be taken into consideration in the formulation of voting area boundaries. The first two public hearings have already happened, and the District is scheduled to conduct the third hearing on Jan. 25, 2022, and the fourth on Feb. 22, 2022, to continue seeking public input on the draft voting area scenarios. The fifth and final public hearing to select and adopt a preferred voting area map is not yet scheduled but is expected to happen in the spring. District staff and the consultant will then work with the County Elections Office to have the division maps integrated into the county voting system in time for the election to be held in November 2022. More information, including staff reports and maps, can be found at the Harbor District’s website, portsanluis.com. Note: The article is based on a staff report written by John D’Ornellas, interim Harbor Manager.


Morro Bay Life • December 2021 • 7

Making Communities Better Through Print™

BUSINESS

Leaving Money to Your Kids? Consider These Inheritance Tips

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alking to family members about estate planning and legacies can be uncomfortable. These discussions, however, are an important way to share your choices with your children and prepare them for their financial futures. Here are a few suggestions to help you broach this tricky topic and set your heirs up for better success. Communicate Your Values About Money In A Larger Context Build on the casual conversations you’ve already had with your kids about what matters to you most. When children are familiar with their parents’ values, they’re more likely to have a good idea of what to expect from their parents’ estates. A few ideas to get the discussion started: how do you feel about the value of education, hard work, or integrity of character? What philanthropic causes are most important to you and why? What are some of the life experiences that have helped shape who you are? Evaluate Your Children’s Money Skills Kids who grew up in the same family don’t always have the same knowledge and atti-

tudes about money – while some may have a real interest (or education) in financial decision-making, others may not be at the same level of readiness and responsibility. Conversations about estate planning can become part of larger discussions designed to help teach them how to manage and become comfortable with their legacies. Remember, you have flexibility around how and when you pass on your wealth. If your heirs are ready now, you might wish to share part of their inheritance while you’re still alive, allowing you to provide guidance and enjoy their development as stewards of your wealth. If you’re less confident in their financial responsibility, you might consider using a well-structured trust to better ensure your intentions for the wealth are abided by. Dispel Misguided Expectations About What They’ll Inherit Perhaps you’ve quietly decided to leave all your assets to a charitable organization. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you’d like your children to take ownership of substantial wealth you’ve kept under the radar – perhaps in the form of land or business ownership. Whether your kids will be inheriting nothing, significant wealth, or something in between, providing a clearer understanding of what they’ll be taking on will prevent misguided expectations. Though the conversation may be uncomfortable, discussing it now can help avoid further discord down the line. If you are planning to leave your kids a large inheritance, consider including them in a conversation with your financial advisor, who can help heirs learn more about the financial and

the emotional aspects of managing inherited wealth. They can also help you consider different options, such as giving more to your children during their lifetimes, to possibly reduce the impact of a sudden inheritance. If Your Kids’ Inheritances Will Look Very Different, Communicate It Early Ultimately, how you choose to share your wealth – and with whom – is entirely up to you. But if your estate plan doesn’t treat your children equitably, it’s wise to share that information well in advance and communicate it privately to each child. If you can discuss these provisions and the reasons for them ahead of time, there’s less likelihood of conflict between siblings after you’re gone. In addition to having an in-person conversation with your heirs, it may also be wise to

include your rationale in your will. This can help safeguard against possible claims of attorney drafting errors or other grounds for contesting the document. Set Apprehension Aside Perhaps the strongest reason for not discussing estate plans with family members is fear – fear that children will be angry or disappointed, that their expectations for their inheritance are inflated, or that they’ll be resentful of other heirs. Although these conversations can be difficult, remind yourself that they’re an important step in providing clarity about your financial legacy – which is ultimately in everyone’s best interest. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer legal advice. You should discuss any legal 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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8 • December 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Comments Being Taken on Offshore Wind Farms Bureau of Ocean Energy Management begins 'Environmental Analysis' for the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life CENTRAL COAST — The possibility of a giant offshore wind energy farm off the coast of San Luis Obispo County took a step forward in November when a federal agency moved the proposal into an environmental review phase. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management or BOEM announced on Nov. 12 that it had begun an "Environmental Analysis" (EA) for the "Morro Bay Wind Energy Area" or WEA, a 376 square mile patch of ocean — 240,898 acres — located some 20 miles off the coast at San Simeon. An EA is part of the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act, which is the federal version of the "California Environmental Quality Act" or CEQA. Though the two processes approach from opposite directions, they arrive at the same destination, purportedly an environmentally sound project whose every impact is either avoided or mitigated. The Nov. 12 announcement reads, "BOEM will now prepare an Environmental Assessment as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, to consider potential impacts from site characterization activities [e.g., biological, archeological, geological, and geophysical surveys) and site assessment activities (e.g., installation of meteorological buoys] within the WEA. BOEM's preparation of the EA will initiate a public comment period along with two virtual public meetings." BOEM will take public comments now through Jan. 11 at 11:59 p.m., the release said. "Once BOEM considers all public input, the agency will publish a draft EA for public review and comment. The analyses contained in the EA will help BOEM determine whether

to move forward with an area(s) for a proposed lease sale." The investigations into offshore wind energy was started by Trident Winds in 2016 when the company inquired into possibly developing a 1,000-megawatt wind farm offshore of the Central Coast. The initial area sought by Trident was offshore about 22 miles from Cayucos in some 20,000 feet of water. But the Navy objected to that area as it sits in the midst of the flight training zone for Lemoore Naval Air Station. In response, BOEM asked if any other companies were interested and got several responses from U.S. and European energy companies. Now the number of interested companies numbers over a dozen, including several oil companies. The State of California has an interest because of its ambitious climate change goals that are intended to lead California into a future with totally carbon-free energy generation. Since the State no longer considers nuclear energy desirable and will be completely nuke-free once Diablo Canyon closes in 2025, and there are no hydroelectric projects under consideration, that means wind and solar. Since initiating the conversation, Trident has teamed up with German Energy company EnBW to form Castle Winds and is actively pursuing an operating license. Castle Wind and the City of Morro Bay signed a memorandum of understanding wherein the City has lent its support behind Castle's proposal, and Castle has pledged to support the City financially. It was Castle Wind's leadership team that approached the Navy and worked out the current location off San Simeon for the offshore wind farm. Another local potential area south of Point Buchon off the Coast of Diablo Canyon was dropped after the Navy refused to give that area up. Another Pacific Coast area is also being looked at off the Coast of Humboldt County, but that area lacks what Morro Bay has—an easy and existing connection to the power grid and capacity on the existing high voltage transmission wires that enter and exit the rear of the Morro Bay

Power Plant. President Biden recently issued an executive order calling on the development of offshore wind on the Pacific Coast of 4.5 gigawatts (a gigawatt is 1,000 megawatts). As an example, the Morro Bay Power Plant, when it was operational, had a capacity of just over 1,000 MW. But that plant hasn't been operational since 2014. The large commercial solar plants built several years ago in California Valley have taken advantage of the open capacity on the transmission wires to send their energy into the power grid. Biden's order and its focus on offshore wind energy potential caused the BOEM to expand the originally designated area up to 399 square miles, which this most recent pronouncement shrank back down to 376 square miles. "Offshore wind presents a significant opportunity for California and our nation as we transition to clean, renewable energy. Today's announcement represents significant progress towards that future," said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. "As the process continues, BOEM is committed to environmental reviews, which are critical for a strong resource management program, and to robust public engagement." Though little has been publicly announced since the start of all this in 2016, a check of the BOEM website for the project (visit boem. gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/ morro-bay-wind-energy-area) shows the agency has been busy studying various aspects of the project, including such specific things as the "Potential Impacts of Submarine Power Cables on Crab Harvest;" to "Humpback

Whale Encounter with Offshore Wind Mooring Lines and Inter-Array Cables." Many of these individual studies, some done with research universities and others with the California Energy Commission, have already been completed. Those areas of study are listed in a BOEM summary report; visit boem. gov/sites/default/files/documents/ renewable-energy/Selected-BOEM-Research-Renewable-CA_2.pdf. Among the numerous engineering challenges the wind farms face are how to effectively and safely moor floating turbines that stand 600 feet tall from the ocean surface to the tip of the 200-foot fan blades moored in 800-1,000 feet of water. On its website, Castle Wind names four types of anchors they could use from giant concrete blocks and anchor chains to so-called torpedo anchors — wherein a long steel tube with a point on one end is dropped off the side of a workboat and, sinking quickly, embeds itself into the seafloor. It would be connected to the floating turbine via mooring chains, which have links that weigh upwards of 350 pounds each. A second and perhaps more challenging obstacle is where to build the necessary maintenance yard. A Cal Poly study into the feasibility of the wind farms noted that such an operation would need at least 40 acres of land for a maintenance yard, located adjacent to a deep water port with a huge floating work quay. President Biden, in his announcement on his executive order, touted the notion as having the potential to create thousands of good-paying union jobs. But just where will those jobs likely

be created? State Senator John Laird (D—17th District), in a recent interview, was asked about this because nowhere in San Luis Obispo County does such an area exist, and without hesitation, Sen. Laird said, "Port Hueneme," which is located in Ventura County at Oxnard. Though it won't likely be part of BOEM's EA on the project, the impacts of having to tow 600-foot tall turbines with a boat several hundred feet in length from Port Hueneme around Point Conception to San Simeon and back for maintenance is likely to have a significant impact on air quality, as well as the operations and maintenance costs, which traditionally are borne by electricity ratepayers. Another potential issue is the Morro Bay area's close proximity to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, indeed the wind farm area under study hugs the western edges of that sanctuary, as well as the northern edges of the proposed Chumash Heritage NMS that the federal government has also recently moved forward (visit sanctuaries.noaa.gov/chumash-heritage). BOEM plans to have its EA completed sometime in the spring and tentatively plans to hold a lease auction sometime in Summer 2022. "Advancing both wind energy development and the sanctuary designation process in the area demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration's commitments to these important and complementary goals," BOEM said. Additional information on the Morro Bay WEA, public meetings, and how to comment can be found on BOEM's website; visit boem.gov/ MorroBayEA. Resources: boem.gov/MorroBayEA

HEALTH & FITNESS

Making a List and Checking it Twice Dr. Cindy Maynard

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contributor

he holiday season is in full swing, and if you’re like most of us you have expectations for a joyful and merry season. And yet, a season that is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year can be just the opposite for some. According to the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people surveyed stated their stress levels increase during the holiday season. While the majority of people reported feelings of love and joy during the holidays, many people concurrently experience feelings of anxiety,

irritability, or sadness. What is it that has us so stressed? Some of this stress stems from the pressure of having high expectations for gift giving, family get-togethers, financial worries, or scheduling too many commitments and feeling the guilt of not meeting these expectations. Or even having to appear jolly when we’re not. These pressures may leave us feeling frazzled instead of fulfilled. There are some ways we can minimize the stress and ensure we experience the joy that the season intends. Fortunately, we know holiday stress has a beginning and end, so we can make plans to decrease the amount of stress we experience. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers. For example, figure out what your recurrent holiday stressors are ahead of time. Pick one or two and have an action plan in place. For me, in the past it used to be trying to attend too many functions. Believe it or not, Covid helped me prioritize those events that are important with those I can skip. If two days is your max with family, let them know you have appointments on the 3rd day. Too much

togetherness can bring dread instead of anticipation. If you worry a political discussion will occur during the meal that may be divisive, ask the hostess in a humorous way to list the “allowable” topics for discussion before sitting down. Set aside any grievances for a more appropriate time to discuss, if at all, especially if you only see these people once a year. Act generously. Inwardly, express gratitude for their misguided attention or words as their intentions may be positive. Consider what makes you happy during the holidays. If making the list and checking it twice is stressful, throw the list out. If baking or volunteering makes you happy make sure you schedule in that time for you. If finances are worrisome, consider a family gift exchange. I remember when I was strapped for funds in college, I asked the family if we could have a secret Santa exchange and buy only one gift per family member instead of for everyone. Our family has honored that tradition ever since and it’s been a source of great fun and joy. Don’t abandon your health. It’s easy

to imbibe and overdose with all the scrumptious goodies so keep up with your rest, exercise, and healthy meals as much as possible. Acknowledge and express your feelings. Just because it’s the holiday season you can’t force yourself to be happy. Seek out support with community, a friend, or therapist if stress or depression feel overwhelming. Lastly, have the intention to experience the joy of the season—whether it’s carving out time for self-care, taking a daily time out to notice what you’re grateful for, or connecting with those who mean the most to you. And if you decide not to partake in all the festivities, give yourself the grace to find other ways that inspire feelings of warmth, joy or belonging. Whatever you do, take time out to honor what is meaningful for you so you can experience the peace and joy of the season. Cindy Maynard PhD, RD, is a health psychologist, registered dietitian and a health and f itness writer. You can contact her at drcindymaynard@live.com


Morro Bay Life • December 2021 • 9

Making Communities Better Through Print™

EDUCATION

The December Dilemma, Religion and Our Schools the matter of “separation of church and state” experts recommend accommodations, includbefore students, parents, faculty, staff, admin- ing different customs, various songs, and varied istration, and community members now more traditional foods at parties or other in-school than ever. events. However, assemblies dominated by reliThe preamble of the Act Establishing Reli- gious music may raise constitutional concerns. gious Freedom in Virginia (1786) affirms that Three major principles form the United States “the Author of our Religion gave us our ‘free Supreme Court’s consensus on teaching about will.’” Moreover, that He “chose not to prop- religion in public schools: 1) The Court has agate it by coercions.” indicated that the This legislation did study of religion “Congress shall make no law in public schools is not diminish religious influence on Constitutional. 2) The respecting an establishment of inclusion of studies government because it also provided religion is vital religion, or prohibiting the free about stiff penalties for for student education conducting busiexercise thereof; or abridging about history and ness on the Sabbath. cultures. 3) Religions the freedom of speech, or of the must be taught objecLegal experts and scholars contend tively and neutrally. press; or the right of the people that the ConstituThe framers of our tion does not inhibit constitution held peaceably to assemble, and to that church and state public displays of faith. At the Constipetition the Government for a are distinct in that tution’s ratification, the Federal Governredress of grievances.” the early Republic ment should not even welcomed public elevate one denomiworship. Church nation over the other. Amendement to the U.S. Constitution services were held in Nor can the governthe U.S. Capitol and ment or the citizenry Treasury buildings every Sunday. Today in usurp divine authority by joining politics to many federal facilities, there is imagery that the church. Faith should remain a personal remains unmistakably biblical. Where does matter, not a civil contract tainted by politics. this leave our government-funded and oper- Our founders wrote about the importance of ated schools? religion and how freedom of religion is vital. Academics and lawyers advise that when A portion of the First Amendment to the U.S. public schools hold holiday celebrations, they Constitution states: should make every effort to accommodate “Congress shall make no law respecting the diverse faiths during the holiday season. Legal establishment of religion, or prohibiting the

JAMES BRESCIA, Ed.D County Superintendent of Schools

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ach day, millions of families from diverse religious backgrounds entrust their children's education to our nation’s public schools. Employees within our public schools need to be fully informed about the constitutional and educational principles for understanding the role of religion in public education. According to religious scholars, the phrase “separation of church and state” was initially coined by Baptists striving for religious toleration in Virginia, whose official state religion was then Anglican (Episcopalian). Baptists thought government limitations against religion were illegitimate. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson championed their cause. During the American holiday season, tax-funded schools often face the “December Dilemma” or end up between “a rock and a hard place.” Confusion occurs during the holiday season because the issue of religious expression in public schools can become more visible in some situations. Because of COVID-19 protocols, virtual gatherings present additional challenges about personal and public space. Questions about the use of religious icons, sacred music, and religious decorations place

free exercise thereof.” Within these few words are contained two compelling concepts, separated by only a comma. On the one hand is the prohibition against the state (i.e., government) establishing or supporting religious belief or practice called the “establishment” clause. On the other hand, is the “free exercise” clause that guarantees the religious freedom of American citizens, including students in public schools. Some general guidelines recommended by legal and civil liberties advisors will guide us in allowing these two equally essential freedoms to coexist in our schools. Religion is a very personal matter. Individual students are free to express their religious beliefs in school if it does not interfere with others or the instructional program. Religion is too important to our history and heritage for us to keep it out of our schools when addressed within the instructional program. We can study religion without promoting or supporting a particular religious viewpoint in school. Finally, when a question about religion in school surfaces, it is often an ideal “teaching opportunity” to have students explore the meaning of the First Amendment to our Constitution. Controversial issues can serve as excellent debate topics in our classrooms if appropriately moderated. The “December Dilemma” is usually handled in our schools without problems. However, we need to remember that when government and religion occupy the same room, the space between “a rock and a hard place” can become very narrow. “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.” James Madison

MENTAL HEALTH

Life Intelligence: How I Feel About 2021 For me, holding complexity starts with mental flexibility and willingness to suffer the discomfort of re-evaluating and revising my convictions. Out with the dichotomous thinking, in with reminding myself that two things can be true simultaneously. I can be upset at someone and still respect them. A person can be annoyingly entrenched in a belief and be a good person and a friend. I can be done with the pandemic and allow people their need to be precautious. I can be deeply concerned about looming environmental disasters and hopeful that we’ll figure it out after all. Access to more information does not mean we are more informed and make better decisions. On the contrary, more information, not all credible, only contributes to complexity and confusion. The human mind naturally looks for shortcuts and simplifications, categorizing and organizing what’s received. Thanks to the “primacy effect,” we are likely to remember most that which we hear first. And due to confirmation bias, we continue to seek similar, validating information. Continuing down the path of least resistance, we tend to sort ourselves accordingly into information and opinion camps. It helps us avoid ambigu-

VALENTINA PETROVA COLUMNIST

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he amount of stuff happening this year, personally and collectively, makes me dizzy and taxes my processing ability. 2021 forced me (or gave me the opportunity) to find ways to hold and live with complexity. I trained for uncertainty in the ’80s living in a communist country. I am grateful to have the stamina and resourcefulness I developed. I question everything. I don’t take any claims at face value and like to investigate from different perspectives. I’ve never read as much science journalism, studies, and polls as I did this year. I’ve never fact-checked so many claims and news stories. This has helped me stop short of falling down a rabbit hole and getting stuck.

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ity. We feel validated and supported among the • We divide the world in two—“us” and “the like-minded. And we continue to drift apart with stupid people out there.” growing animosity. Another way for me to hold complexity is to remain rational. Emotions have a way of twisting It looks like this: perception, rationalizing motivation, and could • We form opinions quickly and defend them cause a terrible case of bad judgment. Rationallike a Karen! ity guards against getting pulled along by others’ • We feel the need always to have an opinion priorities—the media, politicians, retailers, and and defend it… Like a Karen! bad friends. Rationality helps with seeing things • We judge ourselves and others instead of being as they are not worse or better than they are. curious and open-minded. I don’t think I’ll miss 2021. I am not sure I am • We form likes and dislikes based on said judg- looking forward to 2022 either. I hope the future ments and opinions. is brighter. I am worried that the fabric of society • We avoid or seek confrontations to preserve, is permanently torn and beyond repair. On days validate, and proselytize our opinions. I feel depressed, I focus on the people within my • We blame those who do not hold the same orbit and appreciate them. I focus on my dog and opinions for the wrongs we perceive. spoil her rotten. I focus on what I can do and • We vilify and seek to character-assassinate do something productive. Perhaps, others think those who provide opposing information. the same way, and all our doing will collectively • We live in denial and rely on self-sooth- make a difference. ing behaviors to avoid reality, some of them This piece is significantly abridged. To read the unhealthy. full article, head over to my blog at vpetrova.com. • We adopt offense, outrage, and feeling disreValentina Petrova has helped people with life, spected as a lifestyle. health, relationships, financial, and professional • We are hypocritical, holding others to stan- goals and challenges since 2015. You can reach her dards we do not abide by. at valentinapetrovaconsulting.com.

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10 • December 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

ARTS & THEATRE

Nutcracker Ballet Returns for the 25th Anniversary

This year's production will be performed at the Spanos Theatre at Cal Poly, SLO By CAMILLE DEVAUL of Morro Bay Life SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — The North County Dance and Performing Arts Foundation (NCDPAF) is ready to bring back the Nutcracker Ballet for its 25th Anniversary. For many, the Nutcracker Performance is a tradition for families and their official start to the holiday season. This year is set to be extra special, considering it's their silver 25th Anniversary. This year's performance will be held at the Spanos Theatre at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, on Dec. 4 and 5. The NCDPAF shared, "The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the story 'The Nutcracker

and the King of Mice' written by E.T.A. Hoffman. Although what is seen on the stage today is different in detail from the original story, the basic plot remains the same; the story of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King with seven heads. When Marius Petipa had the idea to choreograph the story into a ballet, it was actually based on a revision by Alexander Dumas, a well-known French author. His version reflects more of what we have come to love as the Nutcracker Ballet." Eighty performers, ranging in ages from six to 60, will be dancing at the Spanos Theater at Cal Poly and bringing together dancers from across the county representing Class Act Dance in Paso Robles, Main Street Dance in Templeton, and for the first time, CORE Dance in San Luis Obispo. Dancers are looking forward to returning to live in-person performance after having to cancel last year's performance due to COVID restrictions. Rather than their traditional ballet, performers participated in a worldwide virtual performance of The Nutcracker with the Nutshell production. According to Suzi Cusimano, NCDPAF Board President, the production had a late start from not knowing if COVID restrictions would allow them to perform. But, when they knew the show would go on, performers began learning their choreography in September. By Oct. 1, the casting was announced. This year's casting includes: • Jaklyn Woodland as Clara

• Justin Grapentine as the Nutcracker Prince • Mylee Kuhn as the Rat Queen • Kate Terrizzi as the Snow Queen • Katie Kowall as the Spanish Queen • Ginger Cusimano as the Arabian Queen • Haruka Nishimura as the Russian Queen • Julia Steffenauer as the Rose Queen • Alyssa Jenkins as the Sugar Plum Fairy • and so many more talented performers! This year's Nutcracker performers have been preparing for months for perhaps one of the most anticipated productions of the year. This year's production of The Nutcracker will include favorite scenes with some new additions. "We have a lot of younger children this year, so we added another youth scene to the production," Cusimano explained. As a tradition, each year for Elegant Evening, performers display themselves as mannequins in full costume in the windows of downtown Paso Robles businesses. The Main Street Association initially canceled this year's Elegant Evening, but a few businesses still put together some fun for the start of "Nutcracker Season." The production's directors, Cheryle Armstrong, Theresa Comstock, and Molly McKiernan, "hope both new and returning audience members will be inspired by this heartwarming story that has been brought to life for many generations in theatres throughout the world." "The families, the kids, the choreographers are all so excited to put on this performance. For more information on The Nutcracker It being the 25th year is extra special," Cusi- performance or to purchase tickets, visit mano said. ncdpaf.org/nutcracker

HOLIDAY

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

A Holiday Blessing

Winter Solstice; Yuletide By HAYLEY MATTSON of Morro Bay Life

By REV. ELIZABETH ROWLEY HOGUE for Morro Bay Life

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he Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Cultures around the world have long held feasts and celebrated holidays around the winter solstice. Fire and light are traditional symbols of celebrations held on the darkest day of the year. The Winter Solstice is the day of the year with the fewest hours of daylight, and it marks the start of astronomical winter. After the Winter Solstice, days start becoming longer and nights shorter as spring approaches. Since ancient times, people all over the world have recognized this important astronomical occurrence and celebrated the subsequent “return” of the Sun in a variety of different ways. In addition, old solstice traditions have influenced holidays we celebrate now, such as Christmas and Hanukkah. There is no better time of the year to feel and show your love than the holiday season. Though many people relate the month of December with Christmas, there’s so much more to be said about the month. From Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to showing selfless acts of love, this season is all about spreading joy and cheer during the coldest time of the year. This year, Winter Solstice falls on Tuesday, December 21, and in the northern hemisphere, the date marks the 24 hours with the fewest daylight hours of the year. Winter Solstice is considered a turning point in the year in many cultures. The day is held sacred and celebrates the new solar year’s birth, also known as Yuletide. Yuletide refers to the time around the Christmas season, traditionally recognized from December 21 until January 1, and dates back centuries. Though Yuletide’s rituals have changed dramatically over the years, some Yuletide traditions remain and have contributed to modern-day celebrations of the festive season. Decorating an evergreen tree was a common

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Yuletide custom in ancient times, as was giving gifts to friends and loved ones. The Yule Log is another centuries-old tradition meant to symbolize the passing of an old year into a new one, with the promise of hope and happiness. The oak log is usually decorated with evergreen branches, sprigs of holly, bare birch branches, and trailing ivy vines. A more delicious alternative is the classic French Bûche de Noël, a decadent chocolate cake baked in the shape of a Yule Log and shared with family and friends at a Yuletide gathering. Children and adults alike around the world find so much joy in the magic this season brings. No matter what you celebrate, may we find peace and love in celebrating together and showing kindness to one another. May we remember that this season also brings with it the cold and isolation and prompt us to reach out and share our many blessings with others. It is important that we recognize that and know that the dark winter days bring the warmth of spring that heals and rejuvenate our souls and that the holiday season is so much more than gifts found under the tree.

was never fond of the colder months of the year growing up. Over the years, I've woven a tapestry of joy from the blessings this time of year always brings. It begins with pumpkin spice everything in November and transitions to eggnog everything in December. Enter the mittens, scarves, beanies, sweaters, warm socks, and jackets as the days get shorter and the nights get colder. Cozying up by the fire with warm blankets and holiday movies that warm the heart brings a unique contentedness to my soul. Reaching the pinnacle of the dark on the winter solstice, the inner stirring of the anticipation of more light brings comfort. After two months of feasting and gathering, we begin again—a new year that brings hope, promise, and a fresh perspective for all. This is a beautiful time of year to be grateful for the blessings in our lives, the good, the lessons, and for simply being alive here and now. God's greatest gift to us is life, and our greatest gift in return is that of sharing our radiant light, our love, with others. We have overcome much this year, and while we can't be sure of what the future holds, we can be confident that the love of God prevails. Whatever your faith and belief may be, it's essential to know how loved and adored you are by your creator. You are blessed beyond measure, and things will work out; they always do. Aside from pumpkin spice, eggnog, and all the things that bring warmth, I believe the greatest joy of all is the light and love of the Divine. That spark you feel when in the presence of family and friends, that's God. May the warmth, coziness, and love you experience in your togetherness this season spill over into the other parts of your life such that you are inspired to forge ahead with hope and zeal. As a child, Christmas Eve was thrilling for me. I recall being so totally excited and filled with anticipation of my good in the

form of presents that I could hardly sleep that night. Let us carry that same childlike joy, wonder, and awe throughout our days and into our nights. Contemplate and give thanks for the many gifts and beautiful blessings already here. Simultaneously, let us wait in joyful anticipation for the infinite bounty that continues to pour into our lives from the kingdom of heaven within—light, forgiveness, trust, prosperity, love, faith, courage, joy, strength, and more. As the end of the year approaches, I love taking the time to contemplate my journey over the past year, and I encourage you to do the same. First, ask yourself, "What did I accomplish? What did I create? What could I have done better? Do I have any unfinished business to complete?" Then contemplate what you would love to see made manifest in your life and the world in the coming year. In what way would you like to get to know yourself better? Finally, choose a word for yourself that embodies your intention for the coming year and pick a theme song to match it. Remember that you are the reason for the season. Thank you for being a beneficial presence on the planet. I celebrate you, and God does too. Happy HanuKwanChriSolstiMas!


Morro Bay Life • December 2021 • 11

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12 • December 2021 • Morro Bay Life

Making Communities Better Through Print™

Wishing everyone a magical, healthy, happy holiday season. Thankful beyond measure for our family, friends, clients, neighbors and this amazing community.

With love and warm regards

Happy Holidays Everyone

Featured photo by LM • mustcharities.org • woodshumanesociety.org • standstrongnow.org

I am remined that as this year comes to a close, it is a wonderful time to remember our community and the notion that the very best gifts often are the ones we give away

MORRO BAY • CAYUCOS • LOS OSOS • SAN LUIS OBISPO • CAMBRIA • ATASCADERO • PASO ROBLES • ARROYO GRANDE

LISA MIA

REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL LIC. #01945215 805 MAIN STREET MORRO BAY, CA 93442

LISA@LISAMIA.COM 805.279.9381