******ECRWSSEDDM****** POSTAL CUSTOMER MORRO BAY, CA 93442 PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID PERMIT NO. 19 PASO ROBLES, CA MARCH 2023 • MORROBAYLIFENEWS.COM Serving the Communities of Morro Bay and Cayucos CITY PARK SHELTER PROJECT CATCHES THE BUS PAGE 5 DIABLO POWER PLANT UPDATE ON ITS OPERATIONS PAGE 4 MORRO BAY 4-H FARM SUFFERS SEVERE FLOOD DAMAGE PAGE 6 The Coffee Pot OWNER’S INSPIRATIONAL LIFE STORY PAGE 8
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Neil Schumaker Community Writer
Being a part of a small hometown community is a truly special experience. It means knowing the names of your neighbors, recognizing familiar faces in town, and feeling a sense of belonging. Living in a small town offers a unique opportunity to build long-lasting relationships, get to know your neighbors, and contribute to a supportive community that believes in the well-being of all its members.
San Luis Obispo County is a perfect example of a place where small-town charm and a close-knit community meet the beauty of nature. Whether it’s enjoying a morning hike on a local trail, taking a stroll on the beach, or admiring the wildflowers in the springtime, there’s something for everyone.
But living in a small town isn’t just about enjoying the natural beauty and charm. It’s about the people who make up the community. Small towns offer a unique opportunity to come together and support one another, whether it’s rallying around local causes or showing up for our neighbors in times of need.
One of the most important ways we can support our community is by shopping local and supporting small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and help to create jobs, generate revenue, and
bring unique character to our town. By choosing to shop local, we can keep our dollars within our community and contribute to the growth and prosperity of our hometown.
Raising our kids in SLO County provides an environment where they are surrounded by people who genuinely care about their well-being and growth. Neighbors become family, and everyone looks out for one another. It’s a place where kids can be kids and have the freedom to run around and play outside without parents constantly worrying about their safety.
Taking pride in our community means doing our part to keep it beautiful and thriving. This includes volunteering for local events and organizations, participating in community clean-ups, and being a good neighbor. We can also work to preserve the history and unique character of our town by supporting local museums and historical sites.
Living in a small-town community means being a part of something bigger than ourselves. It means taking care of our neighbors, preserving our natural beauty, and working to keep our unique character alive. This lifestyle brings a sense of fulfillment and
happiness to our lives.
Let’s continue to take pride in our hometown and do our part to support the community. Thank you for shopping local, volunteering, and being good neighbors. Together, we can keep the charm and beauty of the SLO County alive for generations to come.
We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Morro Bay Life
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sure to vote in this year’s Best of Morro Bay! Morro Bay Life is holding the third-annual reader’s poll to celebrate the best of our business community as chosen by YOU, our READERS! From the best sunset view to the best fresh fish, Morro Bay (and Cayucos) is filled with worthy candidates, and it is up to you to make them famous. Vote today for the Best of Morro Bay Life! Voting is now open and will cloase on March 31, 2023. Scan the QR Code and go directly to the voting form. Vote for your favorite now! Visit MORROBAYLIFENEWS.COM/READERSPOLL 3rd Annual Reader’s Poll 2023 BEST OF MORRO BAY LIFE 2 • March 2023 • Morro Bay Life Making Communities Better Through Print™
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 email@example.com.
Putting a Spotlight on Businesses
The Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce is putting a spotlight on local businesses! 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 CONGRATULATE these businesses on their spotlight award by visiting their establishments, purchasing their products or services, and leaving good reviews online.
Find your shopping ideas by following us on Facebook, Instagram or our website morrochamber.org.
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For more information contact Lynsey Hansen, Membership Director at
Re-Commissioning Diablo Canyon
been renewed by then.
By BLAKE ASHLEY FRINO-GERL for Morro Bay Life
Last year it was acknowledged that Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant would not decommission its units by 2025 but rather be relicensed through at least 2030.
Pursuing the extension of the plant’s operations is due to the California Energy Commission determining the extension will “improve statewide electric system reliability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while additional renewable energy and carbon-free resources come online,” according to Suzanne Hosn, Sr. Manager of Marketing and Communications at PG&E.
The Diablo Canyon Decommissioning Engagement Panel was convened by PG&E as a volunteer, non-regulatory group to engage and encourage open public communication through involvement and education. The organization is to engage with the community, and the public has taken the initiative to learn — both good and bad. The public “was informed of a crack in a weld causing a leak in the Unit 2 reactor coolant system that was discovered in October 2022 and reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in December 2022,” as stated in the comment area on diablocanyonpanel.org. The website states that PG&E claims the cause of the weld defect was fatigue.
In addition to the facilities needing updates,
it is within 12 miles of a fault line. If an earthquake occurs without those safety upgrades, it is unknown what ramifications could occur.
A petition was created by the Mothers For Peace, Friends of the Earth, and Environmental Working Group organizations in opposition to a timely renewal of licenses. Renewal applications are supposed to be submitted at least five years before their licenses expire. While these groups want those involved to abide by the law, they oppose the safety and environmental hazards that they see correlating with the power plant. In the petition, found at fingfx.thomsonreuters.com, it states that the NRC should not violate the law “in considering whether to grant PG&E’s request for an exemption from the timely renewal rule” because of their ineligibility due to the risks.
The petition also states that the NRC has no legal validity to give PG&E an exemption that could allow Diablo Canyon to keep
running with expired federal licenses. The NRC postponed a decision on the exemptions until March, according to ewg.org. Therefore, by requiring PG&E to submit an updated and complete relicensing application, it will be rest assured that the NRC has sufficient information to reach a determination.
According to ewg.org, PG&E has admitted that the application was severely outdated and could not be updated or completed until late 2023 — a year before Unit 1 reactor license expires. Reflecting on that makes it appear that PG&E may have to close Diablo Canyon when its licenses expire in fall 2024 for Unit 1 and spring 2025 for the Unit 2 reactor. Therefore, it will stay closed until the NRC approves a new license renewal application. The NRC also acknowledged that PG&E requested an exemption from regulations that would require the reactors to shut down in 2024 and 2025 unless the licenses had
In contrast, the Biden administration, along with state and federal governments, support nuclear plants for their significant source of energy to curb climate change. In November, such support was demonstrated when the U.S. Department of Energy approved funding of up to $1.1 billion to prevent closure of Diablo Canyon through a $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit program focused at helping struggling nuclear power reactors stay open.
As of now, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) still shows that the Unit 1’s license expires Nov. 2, 2024, and Unit 2 license ends Aug. 26, 2025. According to NRC Sr. Public Affairs Officer Victor Dricks, PG&E has not filed a license renewal application with the NRC.
Hosn says PG&E requested that the NRC staff resume review of the License Renewal Application (LRA) previously filed in 2009 and suspended in 2016, or issue an exemption allowing the plant to operate until the NRC completes its review of a new LRA. On Jan. 24, NRC clarified the regulatory path will be for PG&E to submit a new LRA, but will be able to leverage previous work associated with the original license renewal application.
“PG&E intends to submit a new application by the end of 2023,” Hosn says. They are developing application materials and supporting documents for the filing.
“PG&E is committed to complying with current legislative policy to ensure the State of California has the option to keep DCPP online past the current expiration date of the licenses to ensure electricity reliability as California continues toward its clean energy future,” Hosn adds. Licenses need to be renewed to keep the DCPP running, so it just appears that the clock is ticking.
The power plant awaits its relicensing from the NRC
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The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant wants to be relincensed through at least 2030, instead of being decommissioned by 2025. Reuters Photo
City Park Shelter Project Catches the Bus
By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life
The Morro Bay City Council has greenlit a project that will bring a major change to a Downtown park and replace a nearly 40-year-old bus shelter.
The council voted 4-1, with Zara Landrum against, to award a design-build contract to G. Sosa Construction of Santa Maria for the so-called “City Park Transit Hub Project.” The over $400,000 project will replace the bus shelter in Morro Bay Park (City Park) with a modern design facility that will accommodate more people and allow for an internet-based bus tracker system to be installed.
City Engineer Eric Riddiough said with the council’s OK, they planned to hold a construction meeting with Sosa in the last week of February and he expected work to begin in early March.
Already, two mature eucalyptus trees growing along Harbor Street inside the project area have been poisoned in anticipation of taking them down and rebuilding the vehicle pull-inand-out and the sidewalk that the trees have uplifted. The project proposes to plant four trees to replace the those two.
Sosa’s winning bid was for $368,000; add in a 10 percent contingency 0f $36,800 and the construction budget tops $404,000. Riddiough noted that Sosa’s bid came in 6 percent lower than his engineer’s estimate of $392,000. The highest of the five bids the city received came in at $509,000, according to the report.
The overall project also includes $29,000 for two new bus stops shelters, $6,500 to Pacific Gas & Electric to trim the trees, and $83,000 for “design/bid support, construction plans, management, inspection, and testing,” bringing the overall project budget to over $524,000. Money for most of this expense is coming from transportation grants (gas taxes). Riddiough’s report lists $312,000 from a State of Good Repair transportation grant; $124,000 from a Rural Transportation Fund grant; and $42,000 from local transportation funds. The city is also using $44,000 from its Transit Fund to fill a gap in funding.
The bus stop in City Park is a transit hub used by the Regional Transit Authority, City of Morro Bay, and San Luis Coastal School District. It is the place where someone who wants to go to Los Osos or San Luis Obispo, or wants a ride to Los Osos Middle School, gathers to catch the bus.
RTA’s Route 9 connecting SLO, Morro Bay, and Los Osos; and Route 12 that travels up and down the North Coast from Morro Bay to San Simeon with stops in Cambria and Cayucos meet at City Park.
The existing bus shelter, a concrete block, two-sided building was built in the early 1980s, “and has not been significantly updated or improved since its initial construction,” reads the report.
The city hired a consultant to look at the bus stop facilities and a final report went to the City Council in October 2019. That’s when the council first approved of a project. Since then, the city has gotten the grant funding over the past two fiscal years, with the capital project being included in the City’s Capital Improvement Project budget in fiscal year 2021-22. The project is intended to address “deficiencies” identified in the facility study.
“The project addresses deficiencies identified in the initial study relating to lighting, ADA, safety, and seating capacity that would be addressed by providing improvements to vehicle pull in/pull out, wheelchair loading/ unloading area, construction of new passenger shelters with improved visibility, installation of new benches, bike racks, lights, and capability for real-time traveler information display, as well as ADA improvements to the sidewalk where transit vehicles pull in, crosswalk ramps at either end of the transit hub, and sidewalk access from the transit hub to the
public restroom,” the report continues.
Back in 2012, the Morro Bay Public Art Foundation led a project to turn the bus shelter into a public artwork, with a custom concrete “sofa” and murals on the walls in a project called “Grandma’s Living Room.”
The artwork will be destroyed with the replacement project; however, the city said it wants to save the concrete sofa, which cost $5,000, and move it somewhere that it can be further used by the public.
The new bus shelters are slated to also have some as-yet-undefined artwork included. The report said the city is working with the Morro Bay Art Association on that aspect. MBAA is also involved because City Park is where the association holds its thrice-a-year Art in the Park events (on Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekends).
The new bus shelters will be placed on the same spot in the park where the old shelter stands.
“With award of the bid and initiation of the construction phase of the project,” Riddiough said, “the city will move forward with releasing a call for artists to submit concepts for a mural or mosaic to be installed on the new transit shelters. The submitted concepts will be brought to the Public Works Advisory Board for review
and recommendation to the City Council on the artist concept for selection.”
Once construction begins, Sosa will have 45 days to complete the project. In the meantime, the City is moving the bus stop during construction.
The project drew criticism from at least one local activist. Former City Councilmember Betty Winholtz urged the council to reject all the bids. She noted that no one has seen a final design, “Yet, you are being asked to approve the design literally sight unseen. Why is no permit required? Why was there no public review of the final product? The staff report includes nothing but a concept, not even a link to the plans.”
She said the size of the project is bloated and will put in seating for 30 people. And yet the city’s own study said, “While detailed records are not kept for MBT, a reasonable estimate given the available passenger survey data and total ridership by run indicates that up to eight passengers can be waiting for an MBT departure.”
Morro Bay’s ode to treasured junk — the 23rd Annual City Wide Yard Sale Weekend — is set for Friday-Sunday, March 24-26, at yards and garages throughout the community.
Sponsored by Visit Morro Bay, the event, with over 100 yard sales, should be open from 8 a.m. to about 3 p.m. daily (though one can never tell, given the laid-back nature of a yard sale). Sellers can have their addresses listed on the Yard Sale Map, with the deadline to sign up at 3 p.m. Friday, March 17. Email liz@morrobay. org to register a yard sale.
This year’s sale features the local nonprofit, the Morro Bay Active Adults (formerly MB Seniors, Inc.), who will have a yard sale at the Community Center, 1001 Kennedy Way, to benefit their various programs.
If readers don’t want to have a sale but would like to empty a closet or two of “gently used” items, they can donate them to the MB Active Adults. Suggested items are jewelry, puzzles, cellphones, tablets, and art of any kind. They can’t take large items like furniture due to space constraints. They will be accepting donations Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Digital Yard Sale Treasure Map will be available on Monday, March 20. See the website at moorobay.org/Events. The printed maps are also available at the Active Adults’ sale and from the Chamber of Commerce, 695 Harbor St., starting Friday, March 24, from 9 to 11 a.m., and Saturday, March 25, from 8 to 10 a.m.
CITY COMMUNITY 23rd Annual City Wide Yard Sale Weekend set for March 24-26
These plans depict what the new bus stops shelters will look like after the City Park Transit Hub Project is completed.
By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life
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The City Park Transit Hub Project will include two new bus stop shelters at City Park. Courtesy Photo
Flooded Morro Bay 4-H Farm Needs Help
By NEIL FARRELL for Morro Bay Life
Of the many people who had major damages in the big storm of Jan. 8-9, a group of youngsters, members of the local 4-H Club, sustained among the saddest of all the heartbreaking losses from that historic storm.
Tammy Haas and Christy Dunn, two of the adults that work with the Morro Bay 4-H Club, met a Morro Bay Life reporter at the club’s farm, located on Chorro Creek Road, just outside the Morro Bay city limits, to show the tremendous damage that the rainstorm and subsequent flooding wreaked on their beloved, 2-acre farm.
Haas explained that the club leased the farmland from Pacific Gas & Electric starting back in the 1980s.
“This farm allows the opportunity for youth that live in town to raise livestock and to garden,” she said.
On average, about 15 of the club’s 35 members, both boys and girls, use the farm to raise livestock for show and sale, mainly at the Mid-State Fair. Among the animals one might find at the farm at any given time are pigs, sheep, beef, and chickens, though what animals and how many animals might be on the farm at a given time depends on the time of year.
Show animals for the fair are normally purchased in March, Haas said, to be raised to market size by the time the fair comes around in July.
And the farm was sectioned out into pen areas for the different animals — with cows, pigs, sheep, and chickens, each with their own paddock areas — and a sizable chunk of the farm was open grazing land.
Haas said when the flood, which started when San Bernardo Creek overflowed a nearby levee and roared through the lower Chorro Valley, happened, the one heifer that had been at the farm was out being bred so as to be 6-9 months along at the time of the fair.
In some sense, the flood couldn’t have come at a better time, with there being just chickens living there at the time, albeit 15 of the birds. The second day of the storm, Haas and Dunn went to the farm to salvage what they could.
When they got there, the water was just up to the top of their boots, Haas said. The two determined ladies safely removed the chickens in pet carriers, one at a time, carrying the frightened birds through rising flood waters to the safety of Dunn’s truck. She said she was able to move them all into her garage in town.
A call was put out asking for a chicken coop so the birds could have a better roost, Dunn said. And someone donated a coop, so the chickens were moved again into her backyard. The rescue was in the nick of time.
Dunn said a half hour after they got the chickens out of the farm, the water rose to nearly waistdeep levels, and the farm was on its way to being devastated.
When San Bernardo Creek overflowed, the entirety of Chorro Creek Road got flooded out, including several homes.
“Some families walked out,” Haas said, “because they couldn’t drive out.”
When the water receded — fully a week after the storm — the 4-H farm lay in ruins.
The various pens were covered in 1 1/2 feet of sticky, slippery, mud and debris and the perimeter fence was damaged. The once green, grassy meadow used for grazing animals, sat covered in mud, with patches of green grass peeking through.
Club members have been pumping out the
standing water from the main farm area, fighting to dry out the property before another big rainstorm hits.
“The sunshine has helped the water go away,” Haas said. “We were making progress, and then we got another inch of rain, and it’s supposed to rain again tomorrow.”
The 4-H program is one that teaches a lot of life lessons; for instance, the kids pay for their animals and then pay to use the farm, which covers things like electricity bills, feed, and more. They put a big investment of time and effort into the animals they show and don’t see any return until they are sold.
Several of the outbuildings, including a shed where the club’s show equipment was stored, were flooded and will have to be replaced. The biggest damage was to the perimeter fence, and Haas said it must be replaced, an expense that was a shock.
Dunn explained that they had started a Go Fund Me account to help with the damages, setting a fundraising goal of $20,000. Then the first bid they got to repair the fence was for $15,000.
“We underestimated the damages,” Dunn said. The community, including Farm Supply and its members, have donated stuff to help the club, for which the ladies said they are very grateful. Someone even donated use of a roll-off dumpster, which showed up one day unannounced.
Haas said the creek also overflowed its berm back in 2017, and back then, they had cattle that had to be evacuated, too. The fence was rebuilt back then also.
“With this one,” she said, “there’s a lot more mud and storm debris that came in.”
They had some odd damages, like a walking bridge that spanned between buildings that floated away in the storm, landing hundreds of yards away in a neighbor’s yard.
And oddly enough, in the aftermath of all that chaos, they found an intact watermelon lying in the meadow. They have no idea where it came from, but it did add a little comic relief to a heartbreaking situation.
Though the Go Fund Me page has since been taken down, Dunn said they still need to raise money to put their farm back in order, before the kids start buying their show animals in mid-March.
Some volunteers are bringing in tractors to move out over a foot of muck that settled in the pig, chicken, and sheep pens.
It should be noted that 4-H has many different programs and activities. The 4-H Clubs are overseen by the University of California Cooperative Extension, Dunn said, and have different contribution rules depending on the amount.
Donations of $999 and under can be made by
Bay 4-H” and mailed to Morro Bay 4-H Club, P.O. Box 202, Morro Bay, CA 93443
Donations of $1,000 and over can be made by check payable to “SLO Co 4-H YDP” with “Morro Bay 4-H Club flood assistance” in the memo line and mailed to SLO Co 4-H YDP, 2156 Sierra Way, Suite C, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. Dunn said, “Special thanks to the many Farm
Bureau members who have already donated, and thank you to Farm Supply Company and JB Dewar for working on logistics of supporting the Morro Bay 4-H program.”
The bottom line is that 90 percent of the Morro Bay 4-H kids that raise animals for the fair use this farm, and if they can’t get it up and running again soon, they likely won’t be able to this year.
check payable to “Morro
Adult volunteers Christy Dunn, left, and Tammy Haas rescue a chicken from the Jan. 9 flood that washed over the Morro Bay 4-H Club’s Farm on Chorro Creek Road. Photo Courtesy of MB 4-H. Photo Courtesy of MB 4-H
Adult volunteers Christy Dunn, left, and Tammy Haas rescue a chicken from the Jan. 9 flood that washed over the Morro Bay 4-H Club’s Farm on Chorro Creek Road. Photo Courtesy of MB 4-H. Photo by Neil Farrell
Over a foot of debris settled in the animal paddocks at the Morro Bay 4-H Farm after the Jan. 9 flood. Volunteers cleared out paths through the muck to access the pens.
6 • March 2023 • Morro Bay Life Making Communities Better Through Print™
Photo by Neil Farrell
Farm Bureau: Paradise on Earth
lies have marketed their crops through POVE for generations, and one of my favorite stories Tom tells is how, in the old days, railcars packed with ice would stop at POVE to be loaded with the latest harvest. As the train headed out, shippers were under pressure to find buyers for that produce as they went along or be responsible for the cost of unsold produce once it reached the end of the line. Today, semitrailers drive POVE’s Napa cabbage, broccoli, Bok choy and other vegetables to markets in the Eastern U.S.
By BRENT BURCHETT
“Lord, thank you for letting us live in a place as close to Paradise that exists on this Earth ... ”
That’s a prayer that stuck with me. I heard it about four years ago, just a few weeks on the job at SLO County Farm Bureau, when one of our board members led an invocation before dinner. It wouldn’t take long to understand what he meant.
Born and raised in Kentucky, never before had I been surrounded year-round by fields of strawberries, lettuce, broccoli, avocados and wine grapes stretching out as far as the eye can see. Few places on the planet produce crops like our Central Coast region. We have a dozen certified farmers markets and countless roadside stands in SLO County. We grow enough fresh produce here to feed every county resident with 7.5 pounds of vegetables a day. But I’ve come to see that living amongst such a bounty blinds us to appreciate just how special SLO County agriculture is.
We forget our local farms feed communities across the nation. If you ever drive by Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange (POVE) in Oceano, notice how the facility backs up to a railroad track. Tom Ikeda and other local Japanese farm fami-
As much as we love our smaller farms, having farms able to grow food at scale is important. Domestic food production is essential to our national security. Much of the U.S. has a limited window for growing produce. In Kentucky, for example, we count on California farms to keep our grocery shelves stocked outside the few months of the year we have local produce.
SLO County is fortunate to have a diversity of farms — from small-scale production by a single farmer selling through a field stand, to larger farms that employ 100 people. Perhaps it’s the same as any industry, but I get frustrated when I hear a farmer denigrate a farm that produces food differently than they do. Occasionally, that’s a farming operation dismissing a smaller one trying out some new crop or technique, but by and large, I hear consumers and smaller farms talking about “big ag” or “corporate farms.” No doubt, consolidation in any industry is bad, but it is largely a product of the regulatory burden the California government places on farmers and ranchers. When a new, often well-intended but ill-informed, law or regulation is passed, it’s our larger farms that are better able to comply.
The decline of the small family farm both here in SLO County and across the nation is tragic, and it’s what motivates us at Farm Bureau to fight to make things better. These days, most Farm Bureau members cannot afford to rely solely on their farm-
ing income. About 25 percent of California Farm Bureau members gross under $10,000 from farm income each year, 45 percent are under $50,000, and about 55 percent are under $100,0002. After expenses, most of our farmers and ranchers are lucky to break even. Many years, depending on market prices and weather volatility, the same can be said for larger farms.
Farmers and ranchers aren’t the only ones feeling the pain; it’s a tough time for a lot of businesses. Writing this monthly column is time well spent because most folks are removed from the realities of producing food. Most may not appreciate the “clear and present danger” we face in agriculture. Farmland is being lost to urban development. Over 750,000 acres of California farmland was fallowed last year due to the drought3. High land prices,
input costs, labor shortages, and the ever-growing complexity of environmental regulations are a barrier to beginning farmers and fuel the decline of small family farms.
A SLO County without a vibrant agricultural economy is no Paradise at all.
1. “Paradox of Plenty: A Community Roadmap for Overcoming Hunger in San Luis Obispo County.” Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County and SLO County Food System Coalition, 2012.
2.“California Farm Bureau Membership Survey Report.” California Farm Bureau, 2019.
3.“Economic Impacts of the 2020–22 Drought on California Agriculture” California Department of Food and Agriculture, 2022.
morrobaylifenews.com Morro Bay Life • March 2023 • 7
Executive Director of San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
Perseverance Brings Good Fortune
By BLAKE ASHLEY FRINO-GERL for Morro Bay
The roller coaster of life is challenging, but if we find a bit of optimism and strength in each stage we can then achieve gratitude and happiness. That appreciation for life is what got a young boy, Lu Chi Fa (nicknamed Gordon), through all his obstacles: Communist China in the 1940s as an orphan, being abused, immigrating to Taiwan and then the United States, to becoming an author and owner of The Coffee Pot in Morro Bay.
When he was 3 years old, Chi Fa’s parents passed away, and he became an orphan. None of his older siblings could take him in because they had their own families and not enough food or compassion to share.
“No arms comforted me when I was sad, lonely or fearful,” he wrote in his second memoir, “My Good Fortune.” As a child, he quickly found that there is no time to be sad. He had to be strong. “There is no other way to survive,” he adds. Chi Fa worked to live in people’s homes, and was abused and “painfully hungry almost all of the time.”
Still, he lived with kindness and respect, to
which his spirit never broke. Whenever he would get to see his older sister, who was unable to be his guardian, she told him he would find good fortune one day. It gave him hope, but another obstacle always awaited.
Chi Fa “matured a lot sooner than average people.” In 1951 at age 9, he fled to Hong Kong with other refugees, lived in crowded camps, and begged on the streets to support his abusive older brother’s family. His dream of America ignited there.
When a refugee wanted some of Chi Fa’s rice, he was hesitant to share but remembered that kindness is what “served heaven.” The man he helped had sons in America, where “people were well-fed and didn’t need to swallow sorrow to survive,” he wrote.
The man he helped said he would never forget his kindness and that someday Chi Fa would see America. He gleamed at the idea of no longer starving from hunger.
He later escaped to Taiwan quietly in the middle of the night through a dark river with other refugees. Although poverty was evident there, it was better for Chi Fa. He started school for the first time at 12 years old, in second grade. After a few months of being teased at school and by his older brother, he quit and went back to work.
Chi Fa got a job as a busboy at a club for American officers, and did his best to learn English. He worked hard to save money even
after his older brother gambled it.
His “dream persisted” for America throughout his entry to the military in 1961, which is “something all boys in Taiwan had to do for two years,” he wrote. After finishing the military, he worked in restaurants, got married, and had two sons.
Chi Fa and his wife made a plan that he would go to America and that once he was settled, she and their sons would come. On the plane to America, Chi Fa wrote that “he had high hopes for the future.” It resonated with Chi Fa’s name, meaning “new beginnings.”
His wife later decided America wasn’t for her, but his two sons came to live near their father after they served in the military.
While working in Los Angeles, he got the opportunity to work in Denver for two years and apply for his green card. After obtaining his green card, he went back to Los Angeles and in 1982 had his own restaurant, China Express, for six years. A friend suggested he go to Morro Bay where the air quality is good, and life is not so fast-paced.
Upon arriving in Morro Bay, he liked the nice landscape and friendly people, but he also saw a restaurant for sale. He purchased it — The Coffee Pot — in 1989 and kept it going for 30 years.
He donated proceeds from his memoirs and spoke at schools where they were a part of the required reading.
“I contributed my time to the society, to the community,” he said. “I always show my appreciation — to give back. I gave my book to needy places to pay back.”
Even though his seven employees worked with him for 15-20 years, it was difficult to keep the restaurant going during the pandemic. At 77, Chi Fa decided it was time to retire. After working for over 70 years, his retirement hasn’t halted his activity. He keeps his health and wellness thriving by meeting weekly with groups of friends, exercising daily, and being kind to himself.
When looking at the ocean in Montana De Oro, he has thought about missing the love that childhood should encompass but believes it made him stronger and able to persevere. In “My Good Fortune,” Chi Fa wrote, “life is a chance,” and one must seize opportunities to live to the fullest, but that also means proceeding with respect, strength, and peace.
Now 80 years old — an American citizen for 27 years and in America for 50 — Chi Fa has overcome so much with a great deal of knowledge.
“If you respect yourself, you will respect others,”
of Morro Bay’s The Coffee Pot restaurant shares his life’s story LOCAL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Medical Massage Therapy (818) 625-7490 742 Morro Bay Blvd, Morro Bay, CA 93442 8260 Morro Road, Atascadero, CA 93422 Locations 26+ plus years of experience in Treating Structural & Pain Disorders
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Lu Chi Fa, seen here near the Morro Bay Pier, endured an early life of hardship before coming to America and eventually owned The Coffee Pot restaurant in Morr Bay. Contributed Photo
EATING SEASONALLY WITH SPRING FARMER’S MARKET FETTUCCINI
By BEEWENCH FARM for Morro Bay Life
It’s finally feeling like Spring. March is the month that marks the end of frost for most of us in North County. That means we can start our spring gardens and planning for summer crops. Our local farmers are very busy weeding, planting, and harvesting plenty of delicious vegetables right now.
In season produce is always best if you are trying to get the most nutrients from your food. Not only do fruits and veggies taste better when they are grown in season, but they are packed with vitamins and minerals. When you buy your produce from a local farmer, that produce is super fresh and has not lost any nutrients during transport or storage.
I was also told by a wise farmer that you need to eat more seasonally because your body needs those specific nutrients during different times of the year. For example, oranges, kale, and spinach
The Farm Stand
ripen in the winter. All of these are high in vitamin C and Vitamin D, which are especially important in the winter when there is less sunlight and more colds going around. So, if you feel like you need a nutritional boost, head to your local farmer’s market for some in-season produce.
We can enjoy may fruits and veggies here yearround due to our nice weather, but there are a few fruits and veggies you should keep an eye out for that are in season this month:
• Broccoli Rabe
• Mushrooms Artichokes
• Brussel Sprouts
Rosa from Morro Bay Mushrooms can help you pick the perfect mushrooms for this dish, but my favorite is the lion’s mane or oyster mushrooms. Onions are essential to this dish and luckily you can find them year-round from many local farmers. For this recipe try to pick out a bunch of asparagus that is thinner than the usual sturdy
Spring Farmer’s Market Fettuccini
• 6 tbsp salted butter
4 tbsp olive oil
• 3 large sweet yellow onions, sliced peeled and cut into ¼”
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 lb thin fresh asparagus tough ends removed
• 8 oz chopped mushrooms (lion’s mane or oyster)
• 10 oz fresh peas
• ⅓ cup sherry cooking wine (or chicken broth with lemon) 10 oz fettuccini pasta (fresh Etto pasta is delicious with this!)
• ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese* plus more for serving
• Salt and pepper
Heat butter and oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sugar and stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are just starting to brown. Give a good stir and reduce heat to medium low. Continue to cook until onions are brown and caramelized, about an
MARCH Calendar of Events
THURSDAY FARMER’S MARKET
SPENCER’S PARKING LOT
MAIN STREET MARKET
MAIN ST. DOWNTOWN
MARCH 10-11: FRI
40TH ANNUAL LADIES’ CONFERENCE
ATASCADERO COLONY PARK COMMUNITY CENTER
Speaker Kim Meeder, Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, is a best selling author whose work has garnered national acclaim. She enjoys wilderness adventuring and lives near Bend, Oregon. Musicians with the Lisa Reiff band will provide the music, featuring keyboard, guitar and vocals. Check out the web page at ladiesconference.com for details.
MARCH 11: SAT
ZOO TRIVIA NIGHT
CHARLES PADDOCK ZOO, ATASCADERO
Plan on impressing our Zookeepers with your animal knowledge at the 3rd Annual Zoo Trivia Night at the Charles Paddock Zoo! A fun way to test your knowledge plus enjoy snacks, beverages, and our exotic animals from around the world!
MARCH 17: FRI ST. PATRICK’S DAY
MARCH 18: SAT
ATASCADERO ROTARY CLUB ANNUAL CRAB FEED
PAVILION ON THE LAKE, ATASCADERO
Seating at 5:30pm & Dinner at 6pm
A silent auction will be part of the evening’s activities. Tickets are $75 per person and include beer, wine, soda and water. Since this event sells out fast, be sure to secure your tickets early. Find more information here portal.clubrunner.ca/2814/
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MARCH 24-26: FRI
23RD ANNUAL CITY-WIDE YARD SALE
CITY WIDE, MORRO BAY
The “Digital Yard Sale Treasure Map” will be available on Monday, March 20. See the website at: moorobay.org/Events. The printed maps are also available at the Active Adults’ sale and from the Chamber of Commerce, 695 Harbor St., starting Friday, March 24, from 9 to 11 a.m. and Saturday, March 25, from 8 to 10 a.m.
MARCH 25: SAT
6TH ANNUAL CENTRAL COAST CRAFT BEER FEST
SUNKEN GARDENS, ATASCADERO
Enjoy samples from 55+ independently owned craft breweries, wineries, seltzers, kombucha and cideries from all over California! Live entertainment by by
hour, stirring every 10 minutes. You want those onions to be brown and rich with flavor, so be patient with this step.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, and prepare your vegetables and grate your cheese.
When onions are caramelized, stir in the asparagus and mushrooms, and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.
Add the peas and the sherry, and cook for another 2 minutes, then toss in the cooked pasta. When well combined, add cheese and toss until cheese is melted and pasta is well coated with onion sauce.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Serve with extra freshly grated parmesan cheese
The caramelized onions should be very juicy because this will be your sauce for the pasta. If you feel like the onions need more moisture to continue caramelizing, just add more olive oil as needed throughout the cooking process. Make sure to add salt and pepper to taste when you think they are close to being done.
If you don’t have sherry wine or do not want to use alcohol, you can substitute it with chicken broth and a little lemon.
Dad Religion, the Moondawgs and Vinyl DJ Sets by Traffic Records! Both bands include members of local craft breweries! We will also have plenty of food trucks, a great variety of street faire vendors and lawn games!
MARCH 25: SAT
SLO FUNNY COMEDY SHOW
MORRO BAY VETERAN’S HALL
The month’s show is Hosted by Doc Willis, Featuring Juan Garcia, Johnny Cardinale, Taquita Love and Headliner John Wynn fresh from his 2022 World Series of Comedy victory. For more information, visit facebook.com/ events/550012663827581/?ref=newsfeed
MARCH 26: SUN
12 pm-4 pm
Find The Inspiration & Connections You’re Looking For 1815 Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo at The Monday Club
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After nearly 133 years, the lighthouse at Point San Luis finally has a book about its history. (Full disclosure: the author of this article is the author of the book.) “The Lighthouse at Point San Luis, A collection of short (true) stories” was published under the United States Lighthouse Society imprint, using Amazon’s print-on-demand platform.
To quote from the book’s introduction, “it’s a collection of tales — true tales, not tall tales — mainly about the people who lived and worked at the lighthouse during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The last chapter covers a later period, with stories about the young military men and their families stationed at the lighthouse during the twentieth century’s middle years.”
The book starts with a story about the building of the lighthouse, and the hapless contractor who, plagued by a recordbreaking rainy season and a hard-toplease lighthouse service official, finished the job nearly five months after the completion date specified in his contract. As a consequence, the government held back $3,737.50 from the $18,893 he was owed for the job — a $25 per day forfeiture imposed for late delivery. To add insult to injury, he unwittingly underbid the job. For example, he claimed he was told he could land building materials on the beach below the building site. This proved impossible. Instead, he was forced to build a wharf, tramway, and lighter at his own expense to unload lumber, bricks, and other supplies. He tried several times to convince the government to rescind its financial penalty, as did his daughter after his death, but the government proved intransigent.
Captain Henry Wilson Young is the subject of another story. Young was principal keeper at Point San Luis for 15 years, from its start in 1890 until 1905. What isn’t in the story, though, is his first impression of the destruction caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Young had transferred from Point San Luis to the Alcatraz Island light the previous
New Book: ‘The Lighthouse at Point San Luis’
November. On April 18, 1906, he wrote in his logbook, “5:30 A.M. Violent and continuous earthquake. San Francisco on fire. Is this the end of the world? Terrible seeing S.F. from here.”
Antonio Souza served with Captain Young for ten years, first as second assistant and then, after four years, as first assistant. The story about Souza recounts a falling-out between Keeper Young and his subordinate in early 1900, although ill will between the two men most likely started earlier. Against orders, Souza had sawed some branches off “two of the most important trees on this station,” disfiguring them, according to Young. Much worse, though, was Young’s claim that Souza had insulted and humiliated Young’s wife and, by extension, Young himself.
As the Keeper wrote to Uriel Sebree, the 12th district inspector, “We have always had the respect of the people about us. What must they think now, after such a scene, if I don’t report him and have him punished.”
The book also has stories about the other four principal keepers — William J. Smith, George Watters, Fred Saunders, and Bob Moorefield — and about the station’s longest serving assistant keeper Antonio J. Silva. Interspersed with these accounts are stories about the station’s fourth order Fresnel lens, the rescue of the only three survivors from the ill-fated Roanoke, the keepers’ children and the schools they attended, and how the keepers and their families celebrated the holidays.
The last chapter — the book’s longest chapter — recounts the memories of many Coast Guardsmen and their family members stationed at Point San Luis during the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s before the station was fully automated and left unmanned in December 1975.
The history of the lighthouse is also recounted through numerous photographs — some from the National Archives and others from private collections used by special permission, like a circa 1905 photo of Christmas dinner inside the keeper’s
dwelling at Point Sur and a circa 1955 image of the no-longer-standing Pecho Adobe.
The book is available on Amazon and from the outlets like the Point San Luis Lighthouse, Morro Bay Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, the San Luis
Obispo County History Center, and the South County Historical Society. Proceeds benefit the United States Lighthouse Society and the Point San Luis Lighthouse Keepers, two non-profits dedicated to preserving lighthouse history.
One Cool Earth receives NOAA Marine Debris Grant
One Cool Earth is pleased to announce the award of a substantial grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program to implement a curriculum on marine debris prevention. This grant provides funding for education on waste and litter management, composting, and the flow of watersheds in the area.
Starting on March 13, the organization will begin its Zero Waste Week, facilitating campus-wide waste audits and waste education lessons in schools across San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara counties. Students in these audits
will develop their knowledge about local watershed stewardship and proper waste and composting procedures. This is in accordance with One Cool Earth’s Marine Debris Prevention Manual, which is available alongside other educational resources on its website.
One Cool Earth’s program brings together an alliance of nonprofits, public schools, indigenous groups, and government entities to reach youth that are curious about litter solutions and affects their waste-disposal behaviors. By developing culturally relevant and engaging lessons, students begin to understand the importance of their actions and can take steps to become environmental stewards on the Central Coast.
Christy Kehoe, NOAA Marine Debris Program California Regional Coordinator:
“We are delighted to continue our support for One Cool Earth and their collaboration with Central California schools, teachers, and most importantly, students, who are leading these efforts. We are truly inspired by this next generation of environmental leaders and our project partners for making such wonderful strides to keep our Pacific Ocean free of debris.”
About One Cool Earth
One Cool Earth is a SLO County nonprofit that partners with 29 local schools for integrated school garden education on-campus through their NGSS-aligned curriculum. Their mission is to create thriving school garden programs that power happy, healthy, and smart youth.
Board Of Directors
Point San Luis Lighthouse Keeper
10 • March 2023 • Morro Bay Life Making Communities Better Through Print™
Learn From the Past, Prepare for the Future
By BETTY HARTIG For Morro Bay Life
Avilones live in an area where wildlife abounds, woodlands provide ideal animal and bird habitats, and the sea offers beautiful vistas and areas for children to play and frolic. Families can enjoy healthy outdoor endeavors without a prohibiting fee. Swimming, fishing, kayaking, boogie boarding, biking, and walking, are all activities that can be enjoyed within our community.
For a period, these opportunities were curtailed because of wet weather conditions followed by a storms aftermath. The popular Bob Jones Trail was closed for nearly a month due to extensive damage and safety issues. The trail’s appearance was altered, trees toppled, large branches fractured, shrubs were uprooted, pathway shoulders narrowed, and asphalt was uplifted in areas or eroded. San Luis Obispo Creek widened and roared like a river cutting away its banks; consequently the trail’s borders are now redefined. All these situations stemmed from copious rain that created unbelievable flooding.
At times nature can be unpredictable. You
may have noticed tsunami zone signs that were recently placed in various locations on Avila Beach Drive. A little over a year ago, January of 2022 Avila Beach, as well as other central coast locations had a firsthand experience with tide changes caused by a tsunami. Fortunately, the California coast had minimal effects.
The tsunami was caused by an undersea volcano eruption at the South Pacific nation of Tonga. Alerts and advisory reports flooded the media. For most of the coastal population the event caused very few alterations with daily plans. Beach precautions were sent because of higher-than-normal ocean waves. People were urged to stay out of the water owing to powerful currents. Ocean water surge was of particular concern. In Avila, tides were high and reversed the directional flow of San Luis Obispo Creek. It was an amazing sight to see waves rapidly traveling under the estuary bridge and continuing over Marre Weir in the opposite direction, far from normalcy. Waterfowl floating on the creek seemed puzzled by this event and quickly flew out of the water.
Earthquakes and tsunamis can occur at any time, sometimes with extraordinarily
little notice. These types of actions can cause considerable damage, especially when an epicenter is in proximity. Make sure your evacuation plans and emergency supply kits are on hand. Keep them ready, replenished, and in a convenient location. Recent events created a time to reflect on what you need for these potential situations.
Flooding has occurred in San Luis Obispo County numerous times. Flood history goes back into the mid nineteen hundreds. Avila Beach is not immune to rainfall disruption. Those years of excessive rains are well documented, and many residents can tell a tale or two about firsthand experiences. Vintage black and white photos of damaged piers in Avila Beach reveal the strength and unpredictability of water action caused by aggressive storms.
January 2023 floods swept cars away on Avila Beach Drive, sadly took a life, closed businesses, and caused disruption for commuters leaving or trying to arrive to their homes or places of employment. Avila residents were without power for approximately 41 hours, many of those residents nervously watched creek water rising forming lakes and intruding on their property. Local businesses
HEALTH & WELLNESS
and residential areas dealt with significant water and mud damage.
Avila’s beloved Bob Jones Pathway and other recreational areas, as well as homes and businesses have been cleaned up, bandaged, and returned to normalcy. But the pattern and possibility of nature creating havoc remains. Surprises and destructiveness cannot be controlled. However, we can be warned, learn from the past, and be better prepared.
Nature is defined as the phenomena of the physical world collectively, all animals, plants, and other things that are not made by humans, which includes events and processes that are not caused by people. It is increasingly important for individuals to not only respect Mother earth, but to strive to keep it in tip-top shape for future generations to enjoy. Let us not add to potential problems, but instead strive to practice responsible decision-making processes in all facets of life. Ongoing vitality of our quaint sea-side community depends on us. Leaders, planners, and developers please take note for the good of the whole, including wildlife regarding unpredictable events of nature.
Processing Grief: It takes as long as it takes
There’s an empty space in our hearts, Where you once held a place. A hollow ache that brings us to tears, Of the sadness we must face.
We will miss everything about you, Your smile, your laugh, your caring heart. We don’t know how to carry on without you, Maybe celebrating you today, we can find a start.
We will take comfort in your memory, As we reminisce of you, so special, so kind. We love you so much and will do our best, But you will never drift too far from our mind.
We can rest in the assurance of seeing you again, One day we will embrace you again in love. Until then, we know God will keep you, Peaceful and loved in his arms above.
This year the third of March marked the first anniversary when I sat by my mother’s bedside and watched her leave this world. She fought cancer for 17 months. Her fight ended that day. There is a different kind of grief when you lose a parent. For those of you who have experienced this loss, I am sure you will agree that when a loving parent has passed, there is an all-encompassing quiet sorrow.
That sorrow becomes intensified by the hollow truth that one person you’ve always trusted and who was always there for you is now gone. You will never hear the voice of the first person who guided your steps, encouraged you, and you confided in ever again in this life. Even if you were not close to your passing parent, the sense of loss is still hard to describe. An honest glimpse into your own mortality as the torch passes on to the next generation.
The thing about processing grief is no one answer works for everyone. There is no one way to make the sorrow lesson quicker. I now know one thing about grief...it takes
as long as it takes. No steps to complete, no magical words or prayers can rush the process. It just takes time. It will get better with the support and prayers from friends and family. But truthfully, losing a parent is hard. I must say that milestones are the toughest, and holidays are not easy either. Still, there is something about those dates that leave a permanent reminder that someone you love has died. Dates that stand out as a day uniquely theirs, like Mother’s Day, the day they were born, and sadly the day they died.
Remembering and honoring my mother is so important to me. I keep in weekly contact with my father, as his loss is much different than mine. He lost the love of his life. Every day is a journey of sorrow for him, missing her presence in his world. I can’t imagine his loss, just like I can’t imagine the loss of a child, which he and my mother also experienced. I came to the astounding realization that wherever you are in your grief. Own it! Take your time to deal with your loss and take the time to reminisce, hurt, cry, and even scream if
it helps. Be decisive even when you don’t feel like it, and never give up; your loved one wouldn’t want that for you. Be careful of anyone, although well-meaning, telling you it’s time for you to move on or to get past it. It takes as long as it takes, and you need to take just as long as you need. Don’t allow insensitive family and friends to dictate how you process your grief. I know my grief for my mother will get better with time.
My advice, find solace in whatever your belief system may be. If you need a friend, find one; if you need therapy, call one; and if you need a grief group, there are plenty around. Just remember to take care of yourself. Remember the beautiful memories you created with that person. Whoever they are to you, your mother, father, spouse, child, sibling, dear family member, or friend. Mourn them, remember them, honor them, and cherish their memory by loving yourself.
Finally, be gentle with yourself; grief takes as long as it takes.
Be kind to yourself and others.
morrobaylifenews.com Morro Bay Life • March 2023 • 11
A Reflection by Jennifer Scales
2776 Indigo Circle Morro Bay Repressed Buyer & Seller LISA MIA 805.279.9381 Lisa@Lisamia.com REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL LIC. #01945215 MORRO BAY • CAYUCOS • LOS OSOS • SAN LUIS OBISPO • CAMBRIA • ATASCADERO • PASO ROBLES • ARROYO GRANDE Together we can reach your real estate goals! If you’ve been thinking about making a move, now’s the time to get your house ready to sell. I am here to give you information about buyer demand in our area. I will market and sell your property and for our select clients, we can assist with the sorting, packing, coordination of storage and moving. I currently have Buyers that are looking in our area that would love to be our neighbors! This beautiful, coveted property in the Cloisters sold in a heartbeat SOLD Should you be interested in purchasing a home, I am happy to send you an updated list of available homes.
Zillow.com/Profile/Lisa-Mia/ 12 • March 2023 • Morro Bay Life Making Communities Better Through Print™
Photo by Gautier Salles