Paso Robles Magazine #236 • December 2020

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this holiday season

Prsrt Std US Postage PAID Permit 19 13Stars Paso Robles CA ECRWSS

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If your normal service day falls on Christmas, it will be shifted one day later. Have all containers out by 6am. RE G U L A R PI C K U P DAY



MONDAY 12/21










DEC E M B E R 28 T H - JA N UA RY 8 T H | Paso Robles City Residents For no additional charge, you can place your whole (please cut trees that are taller than 6') undecorated tree at the curb on your regular service day. We are unable to accept flocked trees (fake snow), decorations, and tree stands. If you have any questions or concerns please call our office.

8 05. 238. 2381

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December 2020

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Issue No. 236









ON THE COVER HOPE: After a year of uncertainty, we celebrate human strength, community, love and the holidays amidst the pandemic. Photo Credit, Asife



Paso Robles 93446 • Templeton 93465 • Shandon 93461 • Bradley 93426 • San Miguel 93451 Hotels • Wineries • B&Bs • Waiting Rooms • Restaurants • High-traffic Visitor Hotspots for advertising inquiries and rates email publisher @, or contact one of our advertising representatives.


Something Worth Reading

Round Town



Publisher’s Letter


It’s Happening On Main Street: Showcasing the Christmas Spirit Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce: 2020 in the Rearview Mirror San Miguel: Firefighters Association Spread Holiday Joy and Cheer The Natural Alternative: Healthy Gift Ideas


The General Store: A Joyful Pause and Our Favorite Sweet Treat!

Paso People


Gordon Family Racers: The Fastest Family


ECHO Success Story: On A Mission to Empower People to Make Positive Change


Paso Cares: Feeding People in Need

Taste Of Paso


Sip & Savor: Holiday Wines — Dessert in a Glass

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J Dusi: Overcoming Everything 2020 Threw Its Way

layout design

Brian Williams

Michael Michaud

community writers

Connor Allen Camille DeVaul

ad design

Denise Mclean Jen Rodman



Taste of Americana: Christmas Menu with Barbie Butz

December 30, 2020


* ad reservation deadline is the 10th of each month preceding the publication. for more information about advertising, upcoming issues and editorial themes, contact our advertising representatives above, or see our media kit at

Local Business

Hamon Overhead Door Company: John Hamon III Carries on the Legacy Five Star Rain Gutters: ‘Tis the Season for Rain and Gutter Maintenance

PASOMAGAZINE.COM • (805) 237-6060

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Holiday Blessing: Dr. Gary M. Barker Shares Hope and Joy Winter Solstice, Yuletide: Traditional Symbols of Celebrations Held on the Darkest Day of the Year Directory of Local Houses of Worship

Last Word


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office administrator

A Year of Perspective: Finding Our Way Through Uncertainty


Nicholas Mattson

Cami Martin |


publisher, editor-at-large

Dana McGraw Jamie Self


Hayley Mattson

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SLO County Office of Education: Future Trends Post-COVID Arts & Culture: North County Dance & Performing Arts Foundation introduces ‘The Nutshell’


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Commentary reflects views of our writers and not necessarily those of Paso Robles Magazine. Paso Robles Magazine is delivered free to 26,700 addresses in North San Luis Obispo County. Our costs are paid entirely by advertising revenue. Our Local Business section spotlights select advertisers. All other stories are determined solely by our editors.

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James Brescia, Ed.D. DID YOU KNOW?

Before being know for its wineries, Paso Robles gained fame for its healing mineral hot springs and mud baths such as this one seen here, circa 1880. The indigenous peoples, and later the Mission Fathers and their congregations, found relief from various ailments in the therapeutic waters and soothing mud baths. (Image courtesy of Paso Robles Mud Baths, Special Collections and Archives, Robert E. Kennedy Library, California Polytechnic State University, 168-2-b-04-10-03)

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Karyl Lammers Meagan Friberg Mira Honeycutt

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Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020





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Find out more at Save 50%: 2 Lines: Limited time offer; subject to change. Max 2 voice lines. Participating retail locations only. Credit approval, deposit, $10 SIM card, and, in stores & on customer service calls, $20 assisted or upgrade support charge may be required. Monthly Regulatory Programs (RPF) & Telco Recovery Fee (TRF) totaling $3.18 per voice line ($0.60 for RPF & $2.58 for TRF) applies; taxes/fees approx. 10-33% of bill. Not combinable with certain offers. Unlimited talk & text features for direct communications between 2 people; others may cost extra. Roaming: U.S. roaming and on-network data allotments differ: includes 200MB roaming. High-speed data is US only; in Canada/ Mexico, unlimited at up to 128kbps; additional purchase required for data elsewhere. Calls from Simple Global countries, including over Wi-Fi, are $.25/min. (no charge for Wi-Fi calls to US, Mexico and Canada). Usage may be taxed in some countries. Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our U.S. network. Video streams at up to 1.5Mbps. Optimization may affect Coverage not available in some areas. speed of video downloads; does not apply to video uploads. Tethering at max 3G speeds. AutoPay Pricing: Network Management: On-device usage is prioritized over tethering usage, which may result in higher speeds for data used on device. See for details. See Terms and Conditions (including arbitration provision) at for additional information. T-Mobile, the T logo, Magenta and the magenta color are registered trademarks of Deutsche Telekom AG. Š 2020 T-Mobile USA, Inc.

Something Worth Reading Something Worth Reading

s we welcome December and reflect upon the year, we are filled with deep gratitude and love. 2020 has presented us with multiple challenges and opportunities. It has allowed us to find strength within and stand firm on our faith to trudge forward, yet we still are not out of the crisis. We have learned so much from this year and about each other, good or indifferent. We pull strength from our fellow business owners and entrepreneurs. From our team and local everyday heroes that all continue to show up even when life is uncertain. We all have a personal journey, one we get to call our own, and how we decide to live it is only up to us and us alone. No one can hold you back, and if you feel the urge to quit, keep moving forward, keep pressing on.

If you only carry one thing throughout your entire life, let it be hope. Let it be hope that better things are always ahead. Let it be hope that you can get through even the toughest of times. Let it be hope that you are stronger than any challenge that comes your way. Let it be hope that you are exactly where you are meant to be right now, and that you are on the path to where you are meant to go‌ because during these times hope will be the very thing that carries you through. Nikki Banas

That is the incredible thing about being a human on planet earth spinning through space at 1,000 miles per hour. When you feel like things are spinning out of control, remember they are spinning under control. None of us are alone, and if you feel you are, reach out to us or those in our stories; we are here and want to help. We have seen our communities pull together through this crisis, and that is what we focused the entire December issue of Paso Robles Magazine on. From Shopping Local to supporting our last Christmas Tree Farm to Locals Share Hope and a Year of Perspective. Our community is Resilient; we have seen that. We can be extremely divided, too; our hope is as we move forward out of this contentious year, we can remember what is truly important. Treat one another with respect, kindness, and love. Remember that no one is responsible for you but you. Be a good human, and please be sure to laugh, smile, and sing! Happiest of Holidays to you and yours. All our love, the Mattson Family

This month’s edition of Paso Robles Magazine is brought to you by all the local advertisers that fill our pages, and thanks to them, we were able to bring you a 52-page edition for the Holidays.

if thou wouldest win immortality of name, either do things worth the writing, or write things worth the reading. — Thomas Fuller, 1727

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Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 11

It’s Happening on Main Street

Karyl Lammers It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With kids jingle belling and everyone telling you “be of good cheer.” There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for roasting and caroling out in the snow. There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.


owntown Paso Robles is famous for showcasing the Christmas spirit. With the restrictions of COVID, our signature events were canceled: Elegant Evening, Downtown Tree Lighting, Vine Street Showcase, The Christmas Parade, and The Teddy Bear Tea. These are all hosted by Norma and The Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association (known as “Main Street” for newcomers). Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in the Playhouse in the City Park for kids to come and visit. Masks and social distancing will be required, but toys will be given. The schedule will be posted in the Playhouse window early this month, a piece of normal for kids. The Vine Street Showcase will be available but, unlike years past, it’s drive-by. Homes will be ready early this month. The magic is still there; it’s beautiful, so don’t miss it! Main Street is not taking a break; they’re busy behind the scenes launching a new program called “Love Local

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Now, Love Local Later.” It’s a gift card, raffle event to benefit the businesses and the community. Fun for all! Reminder for all of us to SHOP LOCAL!!! SUPPORT OUR TOWN!! December is a popular month for Visitors. I have been told repeatedly how much they love Christmas in Paso. Other than the awesome shopping, the decorated windows are popular with everyone. It’s part of that small-town feel...PASO! While driving around Paso enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas, stop by The Paso Market Walk, 1803 Spring Street. It is a new business, run by locals and members of Main St., trying to be successful in these hard times. It’s a casual, friendly inside venue where you will find a comfortable place to enjoy a new food experience. Momotaro Ramen, Japanese soul food, is a crowd-pleaser; it’s the real thing! Joebella Coffee Roasters is good coffee, and teas made your way. The Third Degree, formerly Berry Hill Bistro, is still serving some of your

favorite foods. Paso Robles Wineries is The Visitor Center, with a small gift shop, for the Market Walk. They provide winery and Paso information to visitors and locals alike. There is an abundance of free coupons and a map with all the wineries, breweries, and distilleries in the Paso area. Available is a variety of quality, unique items for gift giving for yourself or someone else. Now, with the closing of December, we have to say good-bye to 2020. It’s easy!! For 9 months, we have been living a different life. Masks for all these months have taught us to laugh with our eyes, hug with our soul, and smile with our heart! This has truly been a historic year. History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree. Live your life by a compass, not by a clock! May 2021 bring PEACE! GOD BLESS AMERICA!! 

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 13

Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce


and 2021 Lies Ahead



Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce

I’m confident that together we will get through these challenging times and come out the other side a stronger and more connected Paso Robles. 14 |

hen I was asked to write an end of year wrap-up column for Paso Robles Magazine, I said “of course,” ...and then I remembered - this is 2020. What can one say about a year that has disrupted our way of life in ways we’ve never seen before? But, I’m going to reflect on how the citizens of Paso Robles have rallied to support each other and will survive the worst global pandemic we’ve seen in our lifetime. The year kicked off in a beautiful way for the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce with our annual dinner, where we had the privilege of honoring Mark Perry as our 2019 Roblan of the Year. Rava Winery and Event Center provided the perfect backdrop for a lovely evening that included a gathering of 365 friends and many of our past Roblans on a stage for the first time in years. What an evening to reflect on the contributions so many have made to the success of our community for decades. Little did we know that within a few weeks of that special evening, we’d be entering a situation of unknown impacts without the benefit of a roadmap to help all of us navigate our way through. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a global pandemic. With that declaration, our world, our country, our state, and our community were changed forever. Trying to follow guidelines that were issued by our state and local government and public health officials proved to be a challenge. The first few weeks, it was about addressing short-term issues, who could be open, who has to close. As the weeks grew into months, we realized COVID-19 wasn’t going away. On March 18, we developed and introduced a one-stop resource page for our business community to access ( to help understand what assistance was available for businesses to use. Later, this expanded into offering resources for the residents of our community as well. Paso Strong became our community’s brand, and we were proud to work with our partners to get resources to those in need. As spring moved into summer, we were heartsick along with everyone else to watch our community markers and events disappear. It began with the Paso Robles Wine Festival and continued as each one was canceled: Concerts in the Park,

Paso Pops, and the California Mid-State Fair. Graduations and weddings, birthday celebrations and funerals, were put on hold as we tried to “flatten the curve.” On top of losing those markers, we experienced our own version of dramatic and tragic events with an active shooter situation in our downtown that paralyzed everyone for a few days until our local law enforcement authorities were able to find the assailant. Additionally, a fire in the Salinas River grew out of control and burned a hillside community leading to the loss of property and memories. Yet, in spite of the losses, heartbreak, disjointed social activities, and an economy that was teetering, the community of Paso Robles continued to find ways to support one another. We saw local residents purchase to-go items from our favorite restaurants and stock up on gift cards for future dining and shopping. We saw community businesses contribute to the food bank so that those affected by the dramatic economic downturn were able to feed their families. We saw community leaders seek innovative solutions to addressing changing public health requirements, which led to renewed sidewalk and outdoor dining experiences in Paso Robles. Did we have all the answers? No, but we did see a community pull together and find ways to support each other and survive the chaos and confusion of a global pandemic. It’s the spirit of Paso Strong that gives me hope. 2021 looms ahead for us – questions still remain, and the unknown continues to be scary. However, we have committed elected and appointed leaders who are working hard to find solutions to the challenges ahead. We have engaged and creative community leaders and organizations that have ideas and resources to help us move forward. Most importantly, we have engaged residents who made a decision to make Paso Robles their home and who make the spirit of community a reason for us to go on with determination…and GRIT! I’m confident that together we will get through these challenging times and come out the other side a stronger and more connected Paso Robles. Thank you for your investment in Paso Robles. I wish for you and your family a healthy 2021 and look forward to reporting at the end of next year all that we accomplished as a community. Stay Paso Strong! 

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020



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December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 15

Help the Grinch & the San Miguel Firefighters Association Spread Some Christmas Joy This Year! By Camille DeVaul

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ince the 1990’s the San Miguel Firefighters Association (SMFA) has hosted a toy drive to spread some Christmas cheer to the children of San Miguel. Michelle Hido of the San Miguel Firefighters Association explained, “We’ve been doing this for maybe a decade or more now, the firefighters association gives out toys to the kids, and we usually have a Santa.” This year, things will look a little different. To keep the tradition going, SMFA is looking for smaller toys to fill stockings to pass out after the 30th Annual San Miguel Christmas Lights Parade Saturday, December 19. Each year residents light up their farm equipment and old cars to run down Mission Street. Military equipment and friends on horseback join in on the holiday fun during the parade. “We want to keep things as close to normal for the kids as we can, but adhering to safety measures,” Michelle shared. The Grinch will be taking Santa’s place and will be passing out stockings full of smaller gifts. All to help spread joy while keeping everyone safe. “One of our chiefs had the idea ‘Oh if we can’t have Santa and we can’t have a picture with Santa, why don’t we use the Grinch instead,’” laughed Michelle. San Miguel’s Annual Christmas Parade will start

at 5 p.m. on Mission Street, traveling from 14th to 9th Street. Gather your family and huddle in blankets on the curb of Mission Street or even keep warm your car and watch the parade go by! Afterward, families are welcome to come to the fire station to get their stockings safely. In years past, families gather at the fire station after the parade for photos with Santa. After a word with the big man in red, the kids head over to the toy room where firefighters pass out gifts. “It’s a pretty cool experience, cocoa, popcorn, and all that. And obviously, we can’t do any of that with COVID. So we were trying to find a different way to do it, instead of canceling it.” Until December 4, donations for smaller toys can be accepted at the San Miguel Garbage Company and the San Miguel Fire Station. Firefighters are looking for smaller toy donations like small stuffed animals, toy cars, crayons, markers, lip gloss, balls, bubbles, yo-yo’s, etc. Last year over 200 gifts were given to San Miguel children. It is an SMFA goal that no San Miguel child is left out. “We’ve had to adapt a lot of things,” Michelle said. So although there will be no cocoa and things will look different, we can still help keep the magic alive for the children. If the Grinch can do it, I think we can too! 

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020



absolutely LOVE the Christmas season! As fun and exciting as the holidays are, are you feeling overwhelmed with the endless list of things to do and plan? Let the Natural Alternative help you with some healthy holiday gifts ideas & support YOU, so you don’t crash and burn! On the list of those you care for, put yourself at the top! Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen that can help keep you cool and calm when holiday madness hits! If you are feeling exhausted during the day and can’t shut off your brain at night, give this amazing herb a try! Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (linked to belly fat & sleeplessness) in stressed-out individuals. Find the highest quality Ashwagandha at The Natural Alternative for best results!

If you’re looking for that special gift that is both calming and uplifting, look no further! We have a large selection of pure, organic essential

oils as well as beautiful, decorative diffusers that are perfect for a holiday gift. Choose lavender for its’ soothing, calming properties, orange or citrus blends for boosting mood and lifting spirits, or maybe grapefruit to calm the overactive appetite! Peppermint or sandalwood support focus and mental clarity, and eucalyptus is great to diffuse when that winter cold comes on! We also have organic essential oil kits available, which are a great way to introduce someone you love to the healing power of essential oils. SoulKu is a special line of lovingly handmade necklaces, bracelets, and earrings with the healing properties of gemstones and the spiritual laws of attraction, belief, and intention SoulKu was created by a group of moms in No Carolina who believe each piece finds the person at the exact time they need it most. Make someone happy (or treat yourself ) with a beautiful creation from SoulKu! CBD chocolates will make great hostess gifts or stocking stuffers. If you have a loved one (even your favorite pet!) feeling anxious or having muscle /joint discomfort, we have CBD drops, oils & lotions that would make special gifts! Don’t forget we also have gift certificates available –give the gift of health to that special someone in your life! Feeling gratitude during this beautiful time of year, Bobbi Conner, CNC, ACN, MH


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December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine DRE 01051016 | 17

A Joyful Pause and our favorite sweet treat!


s we approach our eighth holiday at the General Store, we’ve felt (like many small business owners) a mixture of extreme gratitude for the opportunity to be open and serve our customers and a little bit of “wow, this is really different.” Never has this been more clear than on a weekend in mid-November when we stood at the door of the store and asked customers not to come in. “We are at capacity, but we’ll have space in just a few minutes if you want to wait.” At our most bustling and Dolly-holly-jolly time of year, we were asking people to spend their time in line, watching other people through the window as they perused the hot-cocoa offerings and new cookbooks. Wait. We plan all year for the holidays, but here we were, actively suggesting people waiting for other shoppers, or people with large family groups and kids, do so outside? Living where we do made this request less unpleasant. The sun was shining; it was chilly but not truly cold. Some people chose not to wait, but most did. And they were supportive and encouraging. Like so many other times during quarantine, you felt a slowness, a pleasant pause. We don’t like inconveniencing our customers, but, has been the case so many times during this year, we are always blown away by people’s kindness and patience. We’ll keep breathing in those pauses, enjoying the chance to stop and look around at this lovely town we get to call home while taking care of each other. Many of us will not be hosting the holidays here in Paso like we’re used to, and at General Store, we’re sending lots of gifts around the country to people we’ll miss. Our #1 item, the one that ships the easiest and is always welcomed and unique? PASO ALMONDS. We get a fresh delivery every week and have their buttery and delicious Brittle Corn, as well as the spicy Sweet Hots (almonds kissed with chipotle, butter, and a wee bit of sugar)... great for a treat, served with a cold IPA or chopped up on salads. We wish you and your families a joyful time this holiday season. The General Store Team

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Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

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December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine

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J Dusi Wines

overcoming everything 2020 threw its way By Brian Williams

J Dusi’s tasting room, 1401 Highway 46 West, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. by reservation-only. Call 805-226-2034 or visit

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or Janell Dusi, 2020 was going to be a big year. Her label, J Dusi Wines, was closing in on its 15th anniversary, and she was turning 40. “There was just something about 2020. It sounded so official and big and grandiose,” Janell shared. “It just went downhill so fast. We had high hopes for 2020, and it wasn’t all negative and bad. There were some negative and bad but not all bad. Hopefully, no more big, big surprises.” COVID-19 hit America in late January, and it has been crazy ever since, offering one surprise after another. California shut down its economy for a solid three months and has been bouncing back-andforth since. The state was ravaged by a historic summer of fires ignited by 6,235 dry-lightning strikes amidst a heatwave in mid-August. Even with everything that transpired, Janell was hopeful the 2020 harvest would be smooth. For the most part, it was, Janell explained, adding that it looked to be on track after a cool growing season. “Then we got that heat, and then it was a rush. We started picking on August 25 straight thru October,” Janell stated while standing in her tasting room on Highway 46 West. “Those high temperatures didn’t do us any favors,” Janell said. “A lot of our stuff is dry-farmed, so we get a lot of accelerated raisining or prune dimples kind of going on the grapes.” Yields are lower than usual, Janell shared. The intense heat leads to fruit with high sugars, and fermentations are getting stuck. Par for the course for 2020. “Every year, there is a different challenge that presents itself. I wouldn’t expect anything less for 2020, right,” Janell said. “We are dealing with Mother Nature, the weather, and everything she brings along with it, which is always a gamble in farming.” All of this is pushing winemakers in the cellars. Fortunately, smoke taint has not been an issue. “There are some challenging things happening in the cellar — fermentations aren’t wanting to go,” Janell explained. “I think it just needs time in the cellar. It’s finishing, but I have been pleasantly surprised with the taste, and the quality is looking good.” Most of the grapes for her wines come from the prized family Dante Dusi

Vineyard. She is the fourth generation in the family grape farming business. Her great-grandparents immigrated from Northern Italy in the early 1900s. They settled into Paso Robles and planted Zinfandel vines in 1925. She started the J Dusi Wines label in 2005 and opened her tasting room in 2013. Her focus has been red wines, specifically dry-farmed Zinfandel. She added a second label, Paper Street, to the portfolio in 2015. Paper Street Vineyard is located in the Willow Creek District of the Paso Robles AVA. Her father Mike and her brother Matthew planted it in 2013 with Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah. “It’s four wines right now, all from one vineyard,” Janell said. “Super high elevation, really steep hillsides. The quality of grapes that come off of the property are intense and big. It’s really, really good.” On October 8, her J Dusi 2018 Zinfandel Dante Dusi Vineyard was awarded a Double Gold medal, and her J Dusi 2017 Zinfandel Paper Street Vineyard was awarded a Silver medal in the distinguished “Best California Zinfandel” awards for 2020 from Fifty Best. J Dusi survived the economic downturn from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s months-long shelter-inplace order and disjointed reopening guidelines, thanks to its wine club and marketing. “For being shut down for two and a half months, we are doing OK,” Janell explained. “You just have to be proactive. People want their wine. It was nice to see.” Since reopening, Janell said people are making reservations and excited to be out tasting wine. “People are coming out,” Janell said. “They’ve been cooped up, and now they are excited to sit outside overlooking the vineyard with the sunshine.” 

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 21

Paso People


By Connor Allen

The Gordon Family celebrated a NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car National Championship. Photos courtesy of Doug Gordon

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t has been a tough year and one of the worst for most people around the globe. A deadly virus, school shutdowns, business closures, and social restrictions have impacted many people. Still, among all that, there is one family in Paso Robles, making the most of a difficult situation and perhaps having one of the best years of their lives. The Gordon family is a family of drag racers. This year, their dreams came true as Doug Gordon officially brought home the family's first NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car National Championship in the Lucas Oil Series this past weekend. Drag racing runs through the veins of everyone in the Gordon family. It's been passed down for generations and will continue with the next as Doug's daughters, Templeton High School students Maddi and Maci Gordon, have already caught the bug and enthusiastically spend their weekends with grease up to their elbows working on their dad's car if they aren't racing themselves. “My dad started racing and driving the car; he owns the car; I just get to drive it now,” Doug shared. “He owned and drove it for a few years; I was like the kids working on the car when I was growing up. From the mid-'80s till the early '90s, when I was 18, the economy had kind of a downturn, and we weren't sure if we were going to keep racing; they decided to give me a shot before we quit. That was in 1993, and here we are in 2020.” For the past five years, Maddi and Maci have been racing while also competing in high school sports and handling their school work. Each has their own cars and have spent the last few years dominating the Division 7 NHRA Junior Dragster League. They have four championships between the two girls, and with a little better luck, they could have as many as six. Maci, the youngest who is a freshman at Templeton High, won her age group in 2015, 2017, and 2019 and hopes to bounce back in 2021 since odd years appear to be her time to shine. Maddi, a junior, won in 2016 and nearly stood in the winner circle in 2018 and 2019, losing just by a few points due to car troubles. This year began like any other year for the Gordon family, but things started to change when the pandemic hit in March. As all the county school districts made it

clear that distance learning would open the 2020-2021 school year, the family realized an opportunity in front of them. Over the years, Maddi and Maci would each get to attend a handful of their father's races, depending on travel and schedules. This year, with no obligations except for a webcam on their laptop, Maddi and Maci traveled to every race and soaked up every ounce of information available to them. “Last year, we would just take out the spark plugs after each round, take off the valve covers, drain the puke tank in the back, you know, just little things,” Maci shared. “It was still really fun to us, but this year we have learned over half of what we learned last year. Me and Maddi do so much on the car now that we would never have thought that we would have the chance to do so. It has been really cool.” This year the Gordon racing team had two new mechanics, and suddenly the wins started pouring in. Over the last several years, Doug has been near the top of the sport, finishing in second, third, and third in consecutive seasons but couldn't find that one thing that could put him and the team over the top. “This year, we have actually been able to complete it and get the win a lot of times,” Doug said. “Some of it is because we did a better job; some of it is because we are lucky, and maybe the girls are my good luck charm. Since the girls have been with me, the win light comes on a lot more. Honestly, we have been to almost every final run since they have started coming and won more than probably half.” The season has been incredibly fulfilling for Doug, a National Champion, and his new blonde mechanics, who have loved spending time with the family and learning the tricks of the trade. “At the beginning of the year, I was super upset because I was in the process of getting my license, I had my permit, and COVID held me up from getting my license. I was super annoyed and thought this was the worst year ever,” Maddi explained. “Now, I describe this year as living my dream. I couldn't want anything more.” Doug and the Gordon team were so dominant this year in the shortened COVID season that he didn't even have to wait until the final weekend to watch their dream come true. “We have been racing alcohol funny cars, my dad was driving and then I was driving, we've been at this for 30-something years and we never really thought this could actually happen,” Gordon said on the podium after winning the trophy. 

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

men’s retail downtown atascadero 5908 entrada avenue

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine

5955 entrada ave. atascadero open monday - sunday | 23

A Special to Paso Robles Magazine

On a Mission to Empower People to Make Positive Change


he El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) faced a challenging year, as many other non-profits did due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with much support from the community, ECHO not only rose to the challenge of COVID but expanded services to further assist those facing homelessness and hunger within our community. Wendy Lewis, ECHO’s President and CEO, shared that she and her team have been busy this year with new faces, programs, and updates to the facility. All while implementing a COVID-19 Critical Shelter that strictly follows State and County Guidelines to keep all volunteers and staff safe. One of the many ways ECHO has made a profound impact is with

Chris & Dani Not even a year ago, Chris and Dani made the brave decision to pursue a fresh start for their family. After struggling with addiction on and off for years, the couple and their three kids found themselves unhoused in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The pair knew that they needed a strong support system as they worked towards sobriety, so they made the difficult decision to leave their life in Louisiana, full of friends, pets, and precious belongings, and

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come to California to be near family. Once here, they were astounded by the cost of living. They sought assistance through ECHO after hearing encouraging reviews from friends who had used their services. The family’s first impression of ECHO was humbling. “It really put our situation into perspective,” Dani said, “Being in a shelter motivated us to want to make a change.” It was tough at first, but Chris and Dani kept finding every silver lining they could, always reminding each other that they were making a change for their kids. Over time, the family started to feel more and more comfortable. They bonded with other residents in the shelter while sharing their love of cooking with one another and built positive relationships with staff. ECHO slowly began to feel like home. During their stay, Chris and Dani worked diligently to maintain their sobriety. The couple relied on therapy as a tool

their housing placement program; individuals and families are directed to resources that help them find housing within three months of their arrival at ECHO. Wendy shared that this year to date (November), ECHO has housed a total of 46 people and assisted with 22 job placements and all during a global pandemic. ECHO is very proud of its success stories. They are genuinely grateful for the support, donors, and volunteers who believe in their mission. ECHO’s mission since 2001 is to empower people in SLO County to make positive change by providing food, shelter, and supportive services. Here are two of ECHO’s recent success stories: for behavioral change and accountability as well as staff for support during moments of weakness. After having success with managing their sobriety, the couple began to seek out employment opportunities. Within a month, Chris and Dani both found steady jobs and started the process of saving for their own home. However, the pair faced a hurdle during COVID-19 when Dani had to leave her job at the local supermarket to protect her compromised immune system. This left the family to rely solely on Chris’ income. Nevertheless, Chris and Dani persevered and maintained their hopeful attitudes, continuing to take small steps towards their case plan. Case managers collaborated with local resource agencies to find alternative and sustainable housing solutions for the family. Their search led to the option of portable housing. Despite the loss in income, Chris

and Dani had enough money saved up to purchase their very own RV in full. Dani’s mother graciously offered the family a parking space on her property, where they could live in close proximity to their primary support system. Soon after purchasing the trailer, Dani was offered a full-time managerial position at a local organization. With trust in the process and unwavering commitment to their family and future, Chris and Dani were able to meet every obstacle they faced head-on. With the services and support received through ECHO, Chris and Dani ensured themselves and their family a brighter future. “ECHO really does help, they are good people, and they care,” Dani shared, “We are just super excited to leave, but super sad to leave at the same time because this place has become our home, and the people are like family.”

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

Anthony Anthony’s world was turned upside down when COVID-19 struck. He was working as an in-house caretaker for the last two years when his client was advised by a doctor to limit all contact with others. Within a week, he was made homeless without any foreseeable income. While Anthony was waiting for his final paycheck, his car unexpectedly broke down in Atascadero. Uncertain about where to turn, he searched for homeless assistance in the area and stumbled across ECHO. Anthony arrived at the facility with hopes of receiving a free meal and possibly a blanket. He was able to meet with a case manager and was offered a bed that same evening. Having all of his basic needs met meant Anthony could focus his efforts on employment and self-care. During his time at ECHO, Anthony routinely went to Atascadero Lake Park to meditate and collect his thoughts in between his job interviews. It wasn’t long before he was given the opportunity to work refurbishing furniture. Anthony was only in the program for a month before finding sustainable housing nearby. When asked about his experience at ECHO, he said, “ECHO allowed me to work on myself in a completely relaxed environment. I was empowered to make the changes I needed to rebuild my life in the community I love; Atascadero is my home.” 

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 25

Paso People

Feeding People in Need By Brian Williams


eople sit at portable tables under a lighted canopy, eat dinner, chat with one another, and smile as cars drive by on Riverside Avenue and 24th Street. It’s a scene that repeats itself each evening at the Paso Cares managed Peoples’ Kitchen. “You get to know all of these folks. You find out their stories,” said Jack Phillips, Paso Cares volunteer, and treasurer. “You find out that probably half of them grew up in Paso Robles or had some connection to Paso Robles. This was their home. They are real people.” The buffet-style dinner begins promptly at 5 p.m. with the ringing of the triangle dinner bell and is served until 6 p.m. People, some on bicycles, some on foot, and some in cars filled with their belongings, begin gathering outside of the Paso Cares’ shipping container around 4:30 p.m. “This is a small way to use the resources that God has given us,” Jack shared. “We are definitely meeting some tangible physical needs on a nightly basis. And that is really good.” Paso Cares is a corporate nonprofit with a volunteer board and nearly 100 volunteers. Tony Ritter, the owner of Ritter Construction, is the current board president. According to the Paso Cares website, their Paso Cares continues to serve a dinner meal to people each night at the goal is to provide “for the needs of the home- corner of Riverside Avenue and 24th Street in Paso Robles. Photos courtesy of Paso Cares less population of our community. We are volunteers who together share a vision of providing food, clothing, and shelter for our fellow citizens in need. We are leaders willing to stand hand in hand to make sure the needs of each individual are met.” Jack has been with Paso Cares since its inception back in the spring of 2012. At that time, local churches and other organizations were doing what they could to help. Homeless advocate Ernie Miller wanted to get everyone involved working together and began holding monthly meetings in 2012 that eventually led to the formation of Paso Cares in 2013. “Of course, then it was just a loose group of people,” Jack explained. “We had that first meeting in May. We met for about a year trying to organize; the focus was on housing. And not so much on food or dinners.”

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From 2015 to 2019, Paso Cares operated a warming shelter from roughly November 1 to March 31, contingent on the weather. When the overnight temperature was expected to dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit or if there was a 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast, Paso Cares opened the warming shelter for the night. Area churches were used for the warming shelters, rotating nightly and limited to only 12-15 people per night. “We’d pick people up right after dinner and take them to the church,” Jack said. “We had self-inflating air mattresses, sleeping bags, snacks and cleaning supplies, and all of that jazz. They would be there for the night, and we’d get them up the next morning to return them to the dinner site.” Sometime in 2017, Paso Cares took a leap and began serving meals year-round, moving the Peoples’ Kitchen from Second Baptist Church to the location across the street from the Paso Robles Event Center. Dinner was served Monday through Friday by Paso Cares. Food for the Paso Cares dinners is provided mostly by North County churches, but several businesses, groups, and individuals also prepare dishes. In 2020, the nightly dinner became to-go only due to the COVID-19 pandemic for a couple of months. When guidelines allowed for sit-down dinners to resume, Paso Cares and the El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) partnered to provide meals seven days a week. Along with the meal, Paso Cares expanded its hygiene kits, containing basic needs such as shampoo, dental items, and socks to include hand sanitizer and face masks. Recently it was announced that ECHO will be running a 50-room transitional and emergency homeless shelter in Paso Robles. Paso Cares will have a prominent role within its walls. “What we are probably going to be doing is providing some support services, and the dinner program will move there,” Jack explained. “We will see how that all works out.”  Paso Cares is always accepting donations and in need of volunteers. To learn more, visit or call (805)712-4710.

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 27

Shopping Local

downtown paso robles


he holiday season is among us, and it is essential to support our local shops, restaurants, and other retailers within our community. In years past, we may have thought about shopping local during specialized events like Elegant Evening, Lights of Hope, and Small Business Saturday. However, this year due to the pandemic, many of these events have been canceled. This, in turn, requires us to make a conscious effort to venture downtown with our masks on and support our local retailers. Small businesses support our local economy, and the money you spend stays within our town and community, improving all of our future. This year more than ever, all of our small businesses need our support in order to succeed. Be sure to visit some of the retailers listed here and others as you shop and support locally for the holidays and the upcoming year. Together we are Paso Strong.


841 12th St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446 |

General Store Paso Robles is offering a one-on-one shopping experience for the holidays. Monday through Wednesday, come in early or stay late for appointment shopping. You and seven friends or individuals can experience a personal shopping experience. Top off your holiday shopping with free gift wrapping! Each year General Store works with an artist to create a Paso-focused JOY theme. This year’s design, “Joy Forever” has become an employee favorite! To enjoy a safe, low-stress shopping experience, the folks at General Store recommend shopping midweek and early shopping or even on their online store.


817 12th St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446 |

Family owned and operated since 1993, Kahunas Surf Shop carries everything you need to live that laid-back surfer life. They have you covered from head to toe in brands like Rainbow, Blundstone, Vans, Patagonia, Pendleton, and more. Now you can conveniently shop Kahunas online, which offers local delivery from San Miguel to Atascadero and in-store pickup. With a wide selection of men’s and women’s apparel, everyone can find the perfect easy-going outfit. During the summer, find your summer swimsuit, and now for winter, they have all your Patagonia and Pendleton needs.


815 12th St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446 |

If whimsical and unique come to mind when you think of fashion, Bijou is the place for you. The boutique combines fashion with lifestyle elements for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Enjoy the hand-picked curation of American, Australian, and European designers. In Bijou, you’ll find classic and on-trend women’s clothing for all ages, jewelry from local and international artists, baby and children’s clothes and toys, gifts, home decor, and books. Customers can look forward to Bijou’s annual winter sale just before Christmas.


839 12th St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446 |

Be transported into a Christmas wonderland when you enter Firefly for apparel and gifts. Each year Emily and Laurel at Firefly hand-pick unique, well made and affordable gifts for the holidays. New stock is put out every Friday, so there is always something new to find! Christmas happens to be Emily and Laurel’s favorite time of year, and they do not hold back! With no regrets, the two go over the top with their Christmas displays, including last year’s window display, which featured a wearable candy dress and candy covered fluorescent mushrooms. In this year’s display, we can look forward to a glowing moon taking center stage!

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Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020


1301 Park St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446 |

Since 1973, Ambiance has provided their customers with a fun, friendly, and fashionable experience. At Ambiance, every day is a special occasion. Whether you are looking for casual wear or a straight-up knock ’em dead outfit, you can find it here. Ambiance offers you the opportunity to be styled by one of their associates online or in-store. Each has their own personal style, and with 10 stylists to choose from, there is bound to be someone that fits what you’re looking for. Find fan-favorite brands like Free People, Mother Denim, Rag & Bone, 7 for All Mankind, and HOBO, just to name a few.


1140 Pine St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446 |

Owners Andrea Dewit and Beatrice Asseo of AndBe Boutique bring worldly clothing and accessories to Paso Robles. Born and raised in Austria and the South of France, the two friends were inspired by the small boutiques in Europe and opened AndBe Boutique in February 2013. Customers can explore the shop and find a selection of relaxed-yet-elegant clothing from Australia, Sweden, Amsterdam, LA, Maine, and even our own Paso Robles. Look for items to style your home with rustic and stylish accessories from destinations like Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, France, Denmark, and Japan. Enjoy AndBe’s Holiday Promotion and mention Paso Magazine to get 10% off and a free mask with a purchase over $150.


1211 Pine St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446 |

Owner and artist Jeff Classen provides all things unique and artsy for Paso Robles in his shop Viva Paso. Where classic and modern meet, shoppers can find books from Jane Austen or discover a new writer they haven’t read yet. Find truly unique gifts like handmade blankets from Mexico, a variety of children’s stuffed animals, greeting cards, and more. Owner Jeff Classen displays his own art that he creates in his studio in the back of the shop. Find Classens work along with local artist Neal Breton for sale throughout the shop. You will be sure to find something in Viva Paso that you won’t find in any other downtown Paso boutique.


1309 Park St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446 |

New to Downtown Paso, Haley & Co had their grand opening on February 21, 2020. Haley & Co offers you a no-pressure shopping experience with quality apparel and accessories at an affordable price. Customers can find top-quality brands like Gigi Pip Hats, Matisse Footwear, BB Dakota, and more. The new boutique offers apparel that provides effortless style from head to toe. If you can’t make it into the boutique, you can support Haley & Co by shopping online and get $5 shipping on all orders! Most importantly, Haley & CO’s welcoming associates will always provide you excellent customer service.


1233 Park St., Paso Robles, Ca 93446

Within Alliance Board Company, customers can find all their snowboard and surfer gear along with all the clothing and accessories needed when they’re off the slopes and waves. Find brands like O’Neill, Billabong, Reef, Oakley, Vans, Ray-Bans, and so much more. Alliance has everything you need to update your snowboard gear for this winter. Browse through their impressive collection of sunglasses, and for those who don’t want to let summer go, their wide selection of sandals. Alliance’s employees are knowledgeable and forever friendly people you hope to see when entering a board shop. Come into Alliance to reminisce on summer days or get ready to hit that fresh powder.

For more information on supporting local businesses, visit the Paso Robles Chamber at or The Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association at

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 29

Hidden Springs Tree Farm By Camille DeVaul


his year I think it’s safe to say the holidays literally could not come fast enough. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some chilly nights, fire, and hot cider! What would make that moment even better is a lit up, freshly cut, genuine Christmas tree. And maybe some Dean Martin on vinyl to really set the mood. Hidden Springs Tree Farm in Atascadero, located off Monterey Road, has been a staple in the North County for decades and can provide you the perfect tree for your longawaited Hallmark moment. The tree farm has been a part of family traditions for over 58 years. Family owned and operated, Fred and Wanda Frank established the farm back in the 1930s, and in 1962 Fred Frank Jr. convinced his parents to start growing Christmas trees on a small section of the farm. Fast forward to 2020; the tree farm is now operated by third and fourth

generations, the Dobbs. Now with most other holidays that have come and gone throughout the pandemic, this holiday season will look a bit different but with the goal of keeping the annual family tradition alive. In order to keep your tree hunting experience safe and just as memorable as it always has been, Hidden Springs Tree Farm has implemented a few changes due to COVID-19. As Auraly Dobbs puts it, “We’re going back to the classic Christmas experience.” To follow COVID safety precautions, Hidden Springs has created the following guidelines: • Mask required while on farm • Discourage groups of more than 8 • Sanitizing stations for saws and carts • No photographers on the property during selling season (Unless you are a family taking pictures of your tree

buying experience) • No shaking or bailing (We are not offering these services this year but will provide a free bailing alternative to our customers) • We will have stands for sale. If you own a spike stand, we will be happy to drill it for you, so please ask one of our employees • We will have pre-cut Monterey pines of over 12 ft. available for purchase in our pre-cut area • Brochure with a map outlining a one-way path around crowded areas will be provided • No food or beverages offered • Card payments are accepted, and we will take the exact change • Offering senior hours on Fridays at 1 – 3 pm Families are still welcome to bring their thermoses and snacks to enjoy while looking for their special tree. And homegrown chestnuts will

still be sold. A perfect addition to your roasting fire at home. Rainfall this spring was ideal for the trees meaning there’s a large inventory for customers to choose from this year. “The trees look great,” Auraly shared. There are trees for every budget. All trees that are available for cut down have a tag marked with the price. Families can even visit the “misfit” section as well. Although I don’t think Charlie Brown would quite consider them misfit Christmas trees, I like to think he would be thrilled over them! Being the only “cut your own

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Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

tree” farm in the area, the farm has been a staple for the community during the Christmas season for generations. What started as one tree lot is now five lots with nine different tree varieties, and every year, they plant their trees by hand after the Christmas season. But even though Hidden Springs Farm did not start with Christmas trees, the driveway to the Franks home was lined with Monterey Pines. One holiday season, they decided to cut down some of the trees and leave them at the end of the driveway for people to take. Once their tree business began to expand, it became a ‘honk for a tree’ business. “We have this cool old sign over here that says ‘honk if you want a Christmas tree.’ People would just come up and honk, and they would just come out of their house and take their money and get a saw,” Craig Dobbs said. The farm has expanded to 10 acres of Christmas trees and operated by Frank’s daughter, Auraly Dobbs, and her family. They continue to work hard every year to be able to provide the cherished family tradition of cutting down your very own tree. Hidden Springs Tree Farm opened on November 27 and will close on December 19, or possibly sooner, depending on inventory. And on the note of Charlie Brown’s Christmas, I think he has a perfect quote for us all to remember this year, “It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters. It’s who’s around it.”  Hidden Springs is located at 3202 Monterey Rd. in Atascadero. Visit online at


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December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine

805-434-4848 | 31

locals share hope A

s we look back and recognize the inner strength we all had within to make it this far in the most challenging and difficult years of our lifetime, we stop and take a moment to reflect. How did we make it through? What encouraged us to keep going amidst the chaos, fear, and uncertainty? Even though this question will be answered so different among all of us, the one thing we can all agree on is that we could have only made it through this together. One day at a time. One step at a time. You are not alone. Back in March, we started on what seems to be an endless journey into the unknown. Over the year, we have watched as everything we once knew change right before our eyes, and perhaps that was what we needed; please know that we are here for you. We asked a few local residents to share their words of hope and love after such a challenging year. Here is what they shared, words of encouragement reminding us all that we are in this together no matter what tomorrow may bring.

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Margaret Heely, Paso Robles “I want to bring hope and encouragement to folks and community. I want to encourage positive thoughts as we move into 2021! We must have perseverance, and above all, confidence in ourselves 2020 has brought unbelievable challenges we live in the best community support and love is bar none.”

Melissa Johnson, Templeton “Despite lasting for what has felt like a decade, 2020 is almost over. While this has been an intensely trying experience for most of us, it’s that time of year when we look back with the kind of reflection and reverence only hindsight can offer. This year it seems especially important to celebrate the love, kindness, and compassion that we have all witnessed in one form or another. Hold onto that if nothing else, and remember to choose happiness whenever you have the chance.”

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

Mike Milby, Paso Robles “Usually by this time of year, my business has hosted visitors from all around the world, and our friends have visited on a regular basis. Our “house” has been empty of its usual visitors, but our “home” is full of memories. It seems everybody is waiting for 2020 and all it represents to be history and “normal” to return. Until then, I will cherish my memories, get outside, and enjoy the freedom of a walk or bike ride!”

Sandra Stratman, Paso Robles “In 2020, the world knocked us off of our feet and asked of us things we never would have imagined. Despite the feelings of fear, confusion, and loss, there have been an abundance of blessings to reflect on. Things such as adaptability, tolerance, hope, innovation, and community. As we head into the new year, may we be reminded that each and every one of us has the ability to change history, to be peacemakers, and to live knowing that above all else, love prevails.”

Shannon DeAcquisto, Templeton “After I was diagnosed at the beginning of last year with a brain tumor that was a recurrence of my cancer from 14 years ago, I find joy and perspective in the little things today. Together we can move mountains! This is a time to take a breath, help someone less fortunate, retool your life, have gratitude, drive slower, enjoy the sunshine, find the music that lifts you up, and the family and friends in your life who fill your heart!! It’s not about politics and anger; it’s about sharing what we have, working together, trading supplies, getting creative with resources, digging deep to find the strength that you never knew you had, and kindness for each other.”

Theresa Hinton, Paso Robles “As we reflect on the year 2020, the uncharted territory, unrest, disappointments, and the emotions of it all, remember no storm lasts forever. Try to focus and find happiness in what we often take for granted; family and friends to get through it all, the ability to explore outdoors and see God’s beautiful creation that surrounds us, and laughing with and loving one another. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must accept infinite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 33

Taste of Americana

Barbie Butz Christmas with


here has always been a debate when it comes to the time of day that holiday meals should be served. There is really no hard-fast rule, but in our family, we tried for 3 p.m. to start our gathering, with dinner served by 4 p.m. Of course, we were as flexible as the turkey allowed! Because everything else in 2020 has brought change to our lives, I think serving a brunch will be in order this year. We’ll up the time for serving to 11 a.m. since the suggested hours for brunch are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Guests can trickle in starting at 10 a.m., allowing late sleepers a little more time to get ready.

The Beverages

Brunch often includes an alcoholic drink, and here’s a recipe to add to your menu, followed by one for a non-alcoholic punch.

Directions: Remove only the colored peel from orange and Ingredients: lemon in long strips with a citrus peeler. Refrigerate • 1 orange orange and lemon for another use. Combine peels • 1 lemon and cranberry-and orange-flavored liqueurs in a • ¼ cup cranberry-flavored liqueur or cognac glass pitcher. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 6 hours. Just • ¼ cup orange-flavored liqueur or Triple Sec before serving, tilt pitcher to one side and slowly • 1 bottle (750 ml) pink champagne or sparkling white pour in champagne. Leave peels in the pitcher for wine, well chilled added flavor. Garnish with a cranberry in the bottom • Fresh cranberries or citrus strips for garnish of each champagne glass and a citrus strip. CHAMPAGNE CRANBERRY ORANGE STARTER

WANT NON-ALCOHOLIC? TRY THIS CRANBERRY PUNCH Directions: Pour 3 cups well-chilled club soda into 2/3 cup (6 oz.) cranberry cocktail concentrate (if frozen, thaw completely ahead of time). Makes 3 ½ cups (6 servings).

The Salad

Jackie O’mara, a friend of mine here in North County, sent me this recipe for a sauce that could pass as a salad by adding a half cup of thinly sliced celery.

SANDY’S PORT WINE CRANBERRY SAUCE/SALAD Ingredients: • 1 ½ cups boiling water • 1 (6 ounce) pkg. raspberry jello • 2 cans whole cranberry sauce (I like Ocean Spray) • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained • ½ cup celery, thinly sliced (optional) • 1 cup sour cream • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened • ¾ cup port wine • ½ cup crushed walnuts (optional)

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Directions: Dissolve jello in boiling water, add port wine, cranberry sauce, undrained pineapple, and celery (optional), mix well. Refrigerate until set. Mix softened cream cheese and sour cream—spread mixture over top of jello. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts.

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

The Meal

Plan the rest of your menu around your meat. Whether you choose turkey, ham, or chicken, you will want a variety of hot rolls, a couple of side dishes, along with a relish platter and cranberry sauce, of course. This next recipe could replace a potato dish since it contains herb stuffing. However, you might include a simple casserole of scalloped potatoes for those who are not stuffing eaters or use the red potatoes with artichokes recipe included here.


Ingredients: • 3 lbs. Yellow squash, chopped • ½ cup (1 stick) buttered1 large yellow onion, chopped • 2 medium carrots, grated • 2 (10-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup (I use Campbell’s) • 8 ounces sour cream • Salt and pepper to taste • 1 (8-ounce) package herb bread stuffing • Directions: Cook squash in a small amount of water until tender; drain. Spoon squash into a bowl. Melt butter in the saucepan. Add onion and carrots. Sauté until tender. Remove from heat. Add squash and mash. Stir in soup and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. Add half of the herb stuffing, mixing well. Sprinkle some of the remaining stuffing in a buttered baking dish. Add squash mixture. Top with remaining stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serves 6 to 8.

RED POTATOES WITH ARTICHOKES AND FETA CHEESE Ingredients: • 2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered • 2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained, cut into halves • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme • 2 garlic cloves, minced • 1 small jar diced pimiento, drained • ½ teaspoon salt • ½ teaspoon pepper • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled Directions: Combine the potatoes, artichoke hearts, thyme, garlic, pimiento, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl and toss to mix well. Spoon into an oiled 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 55 minutes. Spoon into a serving dish. Add the feta cheese and toss to mix well. Serves 6.

To round out your menu, add a dish of fresh green beans cooked until tender and seasoned with fresh lemon juice mixed with melted butter and Spice Island’s Beau Monde seasoning, which I use on everything. Or, serve roasted brussel sprouts. Either of those vegetables will add “something green” to the menu. Next, these bourbon apricot and sweet potato hand pies will fill the bill for dessert.


Ingredients: • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped • ¼ cup bourbon • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound) • ½ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top • 2 tablespoons unsalted buttered • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg • ½ teaspoon cardamom • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt • 2 tablespoons heavy cream • 1 large egg, lightly beaten • Pastry dough

Directions: Place apricots with bourbon and soak for 1 hour until fruit is soft and most of the liquid absorbed— Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil. Bake until soft, 45 to 55 minutes. Remove foil, allow potatoes to cool. Remove skin. Reduce oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes with apricots and bourbon, sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Mash with a potato masher to the consistency of mashed potatoes. Roll out dough to 1/4”. Cut eight 4 to 5-inch rounds. Place about 2 tablespoons filling on the right side of each round, leaving a ½-inch border. Combine cream and egg and stir. Brush borders of rounds and fold left side of dough over the filling, so edges meet. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Cut small vents in the top of hand pies. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment. Brush tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Rotate sheet until golden brown. Remove and let cool completely. 

Happy Holiday Cooking! Cheers!

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 35

Sip & Savor

Dessert in a Glass h o li d a y wine s


s we get into the final stretch of 2020, having endured such a tempestuous year, let’s welcome the holidays with a smile on our face and a delectable taste on our palates. Yes, it’s time for decadent sweet wines, slowly sipped and savored by a crackling fireplace. Deliciously seductive wines that entice you with flavors of baked spice mingling with an explosion of fresh berries, stewed fruits, chocolate sauce, and caramel. Yet sweet wines are not limited to aprèsmeal; their versatility makes them an excellent companion to a holiday platter of strong cheeses, charcuterie, and foie gras, delivering a magical yin-yang of sweet and salty flavors. I reached out to a few local winemakers and found a vibrant selection in Paso. From late harvest and Angelica to Port and Sherry styles, I found

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that winemakers have an abundance of local grape varieties to choose from, using not just the traditional Portuguese grapes but also Rhône and Bordeaux varieties along with zinfandel. The most popular dessert wine has long been the late harvest. As the name suggests, grapes are harvested late to intensify the fruit’s sugar content to the point they get dehydrated to a raisiny stage. But in recent years, both Port and Sherry styles are taking over with Paso winemakers. To get the low down on Paso sweet wines, winemaker Paul Frankel and I organized a small tasting at his Sculpterra winery where we sampled ten wines. “Sweet wines have come back,” announced Frankel, uncorking J. Jagger, his caramel-laced Port-style non-vintage primitivo, a blend of four vintages from 20082012. Matt Glunz of Glunz Family Winery & Cellars poured the Rich & Rare Mission Angelica produced in the solera-style. Angelica, Glunz explained, was first produced here by Franciscan missionaries in the late 1700s using Mission grapes. Solera is an aging method for fortified wines. Glunz’s solera setup consists of a stack of barrels that sit 12 across and six barrels high. Each year a small amount of wine is taken from the bottom row of barrels for that year’s bottling and replaced with wines from the second row; the process repeated until the sixth row’s

void is topped off with the young wine. Glunz noted that it takes many years for the younger wines to reach the bottom, remarrying into the more mature wines. “We take 12 percent from the bottom of the barrel each year,” Glunz said of each year’s bottling. “Some of the wine in your glass probably dates back to 1958. “Years of aging gave depth and complexity to the Intensely fragrant and seductively sweet Angelica. Other solera-style wines we sampled included Bushong Vintage Company’s Sweet Illusions, a Sherry-style wine made from pinot noir variety, and two versions of Riportella — Mitchella Vineyard & Winery’s Port-style made from the Portuguese varieties, tinta nacional and tinta cao. “Our solera has been going on for 25 years,” noted Angela Mitchell, who co-founded Mitchella with her husband, Darren. “We pull out 25 to 30 percent for each year’s bottling,” she said of the velvety smooth solerastyle rich with hints of spice and licorice. The youthful 2015, on the other hand, was lush with blackberries and balanced acidity. Stuart Selkirk, owner of Cayucos Cellars, poured his bold and lush 2005 Antiquity, a zinfandel fortified wine, made with native yeast and barrel-aged in neutral French oak for 15 years. Visiting Pasoport, the allure of Port begins with the seductive images flanking the uphill driveway leading to the winery where the tasting is presented in a towering five-glass caddy. The lineup includes Violetta (LBV ) Port, Ruby Port, Brandi Malvasia Sweet Reserve, Angelica white Port, and a holiday Noel Port. At Broken Earth Winery, Chris Cameron, director of winemaking, presented an impressive lineup of

vividly colorful and aromatic wines such as La Belle, Vin De Vie, grenache-based redolent with coconut flavor, the intensely rich Rustique, and the ten-year aged Port-style Ragpicker’s Dream. Villa Creek Cellars’ production of Neo Noir occurred by happenstance. Joanne Cherry’s inspiration came about from a trip to Banyuls (in southwest France), which led to utilizing the raisiny grapes, destined for composting, were turned instead into a syrah-grenache blend of plumy sweet wine. Her husband, Cris Cherry, noted that the Banyuls-style winemaking is a three-year process as the fermented and fortified wine is aged in basket-wrapped glass bobonnes for one year and in neutral oak for another two. Four Lanterns Winery’s Aurene, a late harvest viognier, is another accidental contender. In 2013, part of the vineyard suffered frost damage, but there was a lot of viognier left that was usable, recalled owner/winemaker Steve Gleason of the golden-hued, nectar effusive of quince flavors. Other delicious late harvest wines include the fragrant honey-laced roussanne from Sans Liege, Tablas Creek Vineyards Petit Manseng, seductive with spun sugar flavors, and sweeties from Asuncion Ridge, Changala, and Clos Soléne. Barr Estate, Vino Vargas, ZinAlly, J. Dusi, Chronic Cellars, Brochelle, Peachy Canyon, Bon Niche, Lusso Della Terra, Red Soles, Kramer Guitar Cellars, Graveyard Vineyards, and Adelaida Vineyards’ The Don are among other Paso wineries crafting distinctive sweet wines. So this holiday season, satisfy your sweet cravings with a sip of sweet wine and welcome 2021 in high spirits. You deserve it! Drink responsibly in good health. 

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

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December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine


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Business Spotlight

s n i e R e h t g n i k Ta John III Carries on Hamon Overhead Door Legacy By Meagan Friberg

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hen John and Marjorie Hamon took over ownership of her father’s garage door company back in 1978, they built it into a thriving family business. And now, as they pass on that family legacy, they are happy to announce their son, John, as the new owner of Hamon Overhead Door Company, Inc. John Hamon III, known to friends as JJ, or J around the office, is third in a line of namesakes that includes his own son, John IV ( Jack). J attended St. Rose Catholic School and Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School. He is a graduate of Colorado Christian University, where he met his wife, Shiloh. Together, they are parents to Jack, Selah, and their angel son, Soren. And just what does it mean to John to raise the next generation of Hamon children in the local community, work alongside his parents and, now, take over the family business? “It’s a legacy,” J said. “My plan is to keep our name in good standing and keep doing good work. We really have been here for such a long time, and hopefully, one day, one of my children will take over. My

oldest, Jack, is an employee in training! My wife’s passion is cooking, so he loves learning from her also, and he tells us he wants to grow up to be a chef and a garage doorman.” For many families, working together might be a challenge. The Hamons, though, seem to have found the recipe for family harmony not only at work but in their everyday lives as well. In fact, J and Shiloh are almost finished building a new house…two doors down from his parents. “My parents and myself have always had a very unique relationship – there’s family, then there’s work,” he said. “If we have a disagreement – which hasn’t happened for years – we deal with it, put it aside, and, three hours later, we are all going out to dinner together. We don’t bring work home, and we’ve always done that; we keep it separate. It’s a headscratcher for many people but, thanks to my parents, it’s always seemed to work for us.” Stop by Hamon Overhead Door at 3021 Propeller Dr. in Paso Robles or call 805-238-0524 to congratulate J! Hamon Overhead Door services all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and maintains a second office in Santa Maria. 

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

FIVE STAR and rain gutter maintenance! RAIN GUTTERS, M ‘TIS THE SEASON FOR RAIN

By Camille DeVaul

any of us may not think about cleaning or replacing our rain gutters until immediately before, or let’s be honest, after the first rain of the year when you see that waterfall outside your window where it’s not supposed to be! Since 1986, Cindy and David Kennedy, owners and founders of Five Star Rain Gutters, have provided rain gutter services to the entire Central Coast. Thirty-four years later, Five Star Rain Gutters is still a family business with the Kennedy’s children, David Jr. and Melissa, both working for the company. Now with almost 30 employees, the company services and installs rain gutters all over the Central Coast. “From educating our clients and building trust with our contractors, we are proud to preserve homes, hotels, and wineries all along the Central Coast.” Melissa Haydon, daughter of the Kennedy’s shared. Five Star Rain Gutters specializes in completely customized rain gutters. With over 80 colors and six styles to choose from, you can design a rain

gutter that is unique to your style. Five Star Rain Gutters pride themselves in providing quality, “When it comes to our gutters, when we say custom, we mean it! Everything we do is custom. We offer any type of gutter you could dream of for your home, and we can also help design it for you.” Another part of what makes Five Star Rain Gutters unique is everything is hand-cut and customized to your home. Hand cutting their pieces is often not offered anymore by many rain gutter manufacturers, making it a niche that Five Star Rain Gutters has to themselves. Not only does Five Star work with contractors and on commercial projects, but they work directly with customers doing repairs, yearly maintenance, installation, gutter guards, and more. With this year’s events, many people have been secluded at home. This has allowed time for many to finally tackle those “to do” list that they could no longer ignore or put off for later. If you find yourself being one of those people with a new “honey-do” list (most likely inspired by Fixer

Upper), replacing your rain gutters might be on it. Your rain gutters could be the final custom detail your home has been yearning for. And Five Star Rain Gutters has the resources and expertise you need to check those gutters off your list! Despite the challenging year for all businesses across the board, Five Star Rain Gutters has been able to pull through the rough patch and keep thriving and expanding their company. “We haven’t had a slow season, except for this season in five years. This year COVID really brought everything to a halt for several months. We still worked; we kept on all of our employees and did everything we could to keep them working,” Melissa said. The family at Five Star Rain Gutters is thankful for the loyalty and support they have received from their customers, who have ended up feeling more like an extended family than just customers to them. 

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December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 39

Future Trends Post-COVID San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

"One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done." ~ Marie Curie

Dr. James J. Brescia, Ed.D.



areer Technical Education (CTE) stakeholders across the county are considering what education might look like during and post-COVID. Will schools and postsecondary institutions return to full in-person or utilize a blended approach with online and in-person learning? I have been attending a series of webinars hosted by the Association for Career and Technical Education to discuss key considerations, guiding questions, and emerging best practices. Most business, government, and educational advisors predict that the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the future of work in several key manners. Business, government, and academic leaders are advised to evaluate the impact these trends will have on operations, workflow, and strategic goals. We should identify which changes require immediate action and assess to what degree these trends change pre-COVID strategic goals and plans. One immediate change the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education faced was the SLO Partners Summer/Fall Advanced Manufacturing Boot Camp. The Advanced Manufacturing Boot Camp adapted to the COVID environment by integrating online instruction, physically distancing the hands-on portion of the instruction, requiring mask-wearing for all students and instructors, health assessments, and other accommodations. The flexibility, patience, and kindness demonstrated by the instructors, students, and program administrators allowed the program to move forward. The Bootcamp was noticeably different from previous offerings. However, the

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instruction moved on, the students completed the program, and many were offered employment during the pandemic. The SLO Partners stakeholders understand the importance of increased remote working, expanded data collection related to trends, contingent worker adaptation, changes in employer/trainee roles, and the need for “Future Careers Locally Grown.” A late summer Gartner Research poll indicated that 82% of company leaders plan to integrate some remote or distance work as businesses more fully execute reopening. Several executives are evaluating more permanent working arrangements to meet employee expectations and build more resilient business operations. Organizations are instituting extensive safety measures, limiting face-to-face meetings, eliminating non-essential travel, and leveraging technology for communications. The Gartner Research poll indicated that many businesses are using technology more frequently to monitor employees with virtual time clocks, computer usage, employee communications, and project completion software packages. Some of the employers indicated productivity increases with remote work policies. The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education has maintained operations continuously during the pandemic, with nearly half of our employees working remotely. Remote work product has been completed on time and at a saving to the taxpayer because of reduced or eliminated travel-related expenses. Workplace adaptations have been implemented by many employers as schedules changed, in-person hours varied, and the need for remote access to information increased. Receptionists, assistants, and some customer service employee’s work practices have changed, and roles shifted. Employers are adapting to create some overlap in services, flexibility in work hours, access to

training opportunities, and restructuring to meet customer demand. Sales, public meetings, instruction of students, cleaning of buildings, and preparation of meals have all changed because of COVID. Leaders that have remained flexible are experiencing higher levels of success in meeting operational budgets and workplace demands.

Advanced Manufacturing Boot Camp adapted to the COVID environment by integrating online instruction, physically distancing the hands-on portion of the instruction.

The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education established SLO Partners in 2014 to address college and career readiness among the county’s student population. SLO Partners’ mission is to engage business partners and educators in aligning workforce needs with career and college pathways and provide work experience opportunities to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the workplace and businesses have the skilled workers required for a sound growing economy. SLO Partners is committed to collaborating with local businesses and education to ensure pathways for opportunity and skilled local talent. 

a dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. ~ colin powell

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 41

North County Holiday Events



ven though this Holiday Season will look different as we continue to navigate through this pandemic, December 4 our cities and community have come together and Light Up Downtown Atascadero Drive-In! created some safe alternatives to the events we love Starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Sunken Gardens, with the annual countand look forward to each year. This is what makes our down to light up Historic City Hall at “Light up the Downtown communities so special and a true testament as to Drive-In!” This year, “Light up the Downtown” will be drive-in style, why we all love living here. all around Sunken Gardens! The gates will open at 5:15 p.m. to allow guests to park and get ready to enjoy wonderful holiday music from a collection of AUSD school choirs and bands that will begin at 5:30 p.m. December 5 Then at 6:15 p.m., enjoy the traditional countdown to light up Historic Super Stocking Drive-Thru City Hall with our Mayor and Council members, followed by Santa and Santa Elves from the Paso Robles Police Department and Recreation Mrs. Claus making their way around Sunken Gardens on the Model-A Services will be distributing special holiday stockings filled with toys! Firetruck, wishing everyone “Happy Holidays!”

Paso Robles

(While supplies last). From 12-2 p.m. at Centennial Park.

December 6 – 24 Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus Downtown Paso Robles Main Street Association has invited Santa and Mrs. Claus to come Downtown and visit with children in the Downtown City Park Holiday House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. Face masks and social distancing are required.

Glow, Shine, Sparkle Reverse Holiday Parade After Historic City Hall’s lighting, Atascadero High School will launch their Glow, Shine, Sparkle Reverse Holiday Parade from 5:30–8 p.m. along High School Hill. Each of the school clubs and organizations will be creating a standing float. These floats will be filled with lights to light up High School Hill for families to drive through and enjoy.

December 4 - 6 December 12 Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles Rumor has it that the Claus’ will have a couple of their famous reindeer 26th Annual Day of Giving at the Paso Robles Event Center Event on-site at Sunken Gardens for photo opportunities from 12 – 6 p.m. Center. Visit for more details. December 4 – 25 December 12 Trail of Lights 34th Annual Vine Street Victorian Showcase The City introduces a new holiday lighting trail map, “Trail of Lights,” Presented by Paso Robles Main Street Association between 8th and 21st for local residents to showcase their holiday lights. Street, Drive-thru showcase from 6 – 9 p.m. Visit pasoroblesdowntown. org for more details. December 6 Annual Christmas Tree Lighting December 19 This year the annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be viewed from 30th Annual San Miguel Christmas and Lights Parade your car starting at 5 p.m. Help the Grinch and the San Miguel Fire Association spread some Christmas joy this year! Starting at 5 p.m. CALLING ALL KIDDOS colored page with their name and age (no last on Mission Street, traveling from 14th This year we are introducing our very first children’s name needed) to us at to 9th Street. coloring contest! Scan the QR code and print out with your contact information. We will pick three

Santa Margarita

San Miguel

one or both color page options. If you do not have a printer, you can stop by our office and pick one up at 5860 El Camino Real, Suite G, Atascadero. Parents, please email us a photo of your child’s

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winners on December 21 and publish them in the Atascadero News! Winners will receive a $10 gift card. Happy Coloring and Happy Holidays!

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

North County Dance And Performing Arts Foundation Presents

'Nutcracker Ballet ' introduces 'The Nutshell '

By Brian Williams Cottam with Mannakin Theater and Dance in the Bay Area. This compilahe annual "Nutcracker tion project will be filmed and edited Ballet" will go on but will together with Companies from all be different as with most over the world. events in 2020. "We were disappointed that due North County Dance and to COVID-19 guidelines, we were Performing Arts Foundation not able to be on stage in person (NCDPAF) produces the annual for much of this year, especially "Nutcracker Ballet." Instead of our traditional production of 'The having live performances on stage in Nutcracker Ballet.'" NCDPAF offifront of a packed theater, a selected cials stated. "We are so excited to scene will be filmed as a part of a have the opportunity to participate regional video production and avail- in the video and hope you will enjoy able for purchase this year. it. Thank you to the community for NCDPAF's stage has been all of your support during this chaldark through most of 2020 due to lenging year." COVID-19 protocols that do not PRCB dancers will be filmed allow for large gatherings. performing the "Waltz of the Because live theater is on hold this Flowers" scene as their film projyear, the Paso Robles Chamber Ballet ect component. Filming will take (PRCB), NCDPAF's pre-profes- place on location at the beautiful sional ballet company, was invited to Tooth and Nail Winery. Cheryle participate in a film production called Armstrong, owner of Class Act "The Nutshell," directed by Nathan Dance and Performing Arts Studio


December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine

and Paso Robles Chamber Ballet Founder and Artistic Director, is directing the project. The piece is choreographed by Class Act Dance ballet instructor Molly McKiernan. "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. The "Waltz of the Flowers" is a popular piece from the second act of "The Nutcracker." The Prince escorts Clara to the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy greets them. The Prince tells her about their daring battle with the Army of Mice and she rewards them with a celebration of dances — The Span-

ish Dance; The Arabian Dance; The Russian Dance; The Chinese Dance; The Mirliton Dance; and The Waltz of Flowers. This would have been the 24th year of the North County "Nutcracker Ballet" production. Traditionally there are six local shows that all sell out and help fund future productions. NCDPAF was started in 1994 with a mission to expose the public to the richness and diversity of the performing arts while developing pride, self-confidence, discipline, and responsibility in the performers. Class Act Dance was the recipient of one of several generous grants presented by the City of Paso Robles to help support local businesses during these challenging times. ď Ž Visit for more information, including how to donate to continue to support the arts and when "The Nutshell" video will be available to purchase. | 43

A Year of



The year started with good news; an Arch came to “Norma’s Way,” and Lynn Schmitz took us through a culinary tour of San Miguel. The Taste of North SLO County introduced several delicious restaurants and gave us insight into what appetizers, entrees, and desserts to try. We celebrated Mark Perry as our 2019 Roblan of the Year, the 100th Anniversary of Paso Robles Chamber, and Karyl Lammers wrote about the unsinkable Paso Robles. The presidential primaries took place, and we elected local supervisors in the mid-term elections. We introduced “Best of North SLO County” to the magazines after acquiring the newspapers. We got ready for an exciting 2020 full of events, like the 12th Annual Tour of Paso, Studios on the Park Honoring Ann Laddon and Jim Irving, and Senior Sanchos celebrated 30 years! We started preparing content according to our monthly themes and getting ready for a year of beautiful weddings, 5k races, award dinners, and gearing up for the 75th Annual Mid-State Fair. That is when things came to a screeching halt on March 13 with a state of emergency and shelter-at-home order that was put in place to “flatten the curve.”

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Starting in April, we were introduced to the terms “flattening the curve” and “social distancing.” Kids went from Spring Break to what was later defined as “distance learning.” All sports and events were suspended until further notice. Paso Strong was a slogan we all used and rallied together as each of us, one by one, started feeling the effects and aftermath of the national and worldwide economic shutdown. Toilet paper was a hot commodity, and the business crisis was inevitable. PPP and EDIL loans were introduced as the only thing getting businesses through. Unemployment broke a record high due to the lockdowns and businesses having to close. Community Facebook groups offered assistance to those in need of everyday errands, and delivery services for all products became a necessity. Local distilleries shifted their business models and starting producing hand sanitizers. Daily press briefings from our local health officials began, and Dr. Penny Borenstein and Wade Horton became household names. Stories that we wrote all came with disclaimers of social distancing and personal hygiene, and business that we all knew and loved started closing. In May, our Nation was forever changed with a call to end police violence against African Americans; protest and riots emerged throughout the county that would last long into the fall and lead to one of the most brutal election cycles we have experienced in our lifetime and started a divide that only time will heal.

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020


finding a way forward through uncertainty

Having now gone through a year that will be told in our history books, we still are trying to find our footing. We began the year with inspiration and excitement and with “2020 vision.” We had plans of things we were going to accomplish and goals that we were setting with aspirations to help us grow, create, and change. We had set ideas on how the world would keep spinning as it had been with no immediate threat in sight and my how that all has changed. As we take a look back, we share a glimpse of what took place according to what we covered in the magazines. Recalling the historical events that happened over 2020, and as we continue on our path into 2021, we can take what we have learned and decide what is next.



Over the summer, annual events were canceled or adjusted to online or drive-thru versions. Zoom calls were now the new norm, and our kiddos did not go back to school. After the Mid-State Fair cancelation, Pioneer Days followed, and it seemed as if this year was going to be placed on permanent hold. Mask wearing outdoors when not able to social distance was implemented, and outdoor dining was introduced in the wake of the colored tier system that the Governor introduced. We lived through an active shooter, the loss of two young men Trevon Perry and Cristopher Wilson, and rallied support for local police and fire. At this point, what we understand that the novel coronavirus affects the most vulnerable, elderly, and immune-compromised. We are very blessed to live in the area we do with the medical teams we have in place. As we continued through the pandemic, we shifted our magazines’ focus and told the people’s stories who were making a difference. We celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote. We honored our High School Seniors that were not able to graduate in a traditional ceremony; however, the incredible teachers and staff came together and created a drive-thru ceremony that the students could enjoy all together. Weekly Cruise Nights formed to give the community something to look forward to, and local businesses found creative ways to keep their doors open.

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine



In November, we honored our military veterans and first responders after an incredibly challenging year. We looked for hope and love in a time that seemed so fragile and lost. Our election process was far from any years past by mass mail-in voting. We celebrated the little things like Autumn in Paso. Prepared for Day of Giving, John and Marjorie Hamon announced their retirement and sale of their family business to their son to keep the tradition going. Thanksgiving for Paso Robles stepped up and created a drive-thru plan to feed local families, Firestone Walker now has a “solar system,” and NASA and Space X launched Astronauts into space for the second time this year that included a local Cal Poly Graduate. One thing is for sure is that if we learned anything from this year, it is that we are Stronger Together. We may see things differently and take opposite sides on matters, but we do not need to destroy each other. The other side of the coin is that we can choose to make a difference. We can decide to step up and find an outlet where we can help and get involved. It would behoove us to turn off any social media outlets that creates hostility and turn that focus into making a difference in someone else’s life. We are here for you; we want to do this together. Because together we can do anything, together we have hope. | 45

By Dr. Gary M. Barker


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Holiday Blessing

he winter months of November, December, and January are times that we as Americans celebrate a season of thanksgiving and joy. As one nation under God, we can positively look forward to God’s blessing as we praise Him by giving thanks during Christmas, Hanukkah, and in the New Year. We all have gone thru difficult times because of the coronavirus pandemic, yet I believe we still have much to be thankful and joyful for this holiday season. As Americans, we have freedoms that are unique to our nation. We are richly blessed with material prosperity. During the holidays, we enjoy having an abundance of food to eat. However, we need to be mindful not to forget about all of these benefits and blessings during times of hardship. We have so many extra things that we enjoy that are far beyond our essential needs. Let’s be careful and avoid being unthankful and discontent when, in reality, we have so much. As I have grown older, I have come to realize what is the most important thing in life. It is our relationship with God, family, and friends. During the holiday season, we have the great joy of spending quality time with family and friends. I have some wonderful memories of years past seeing our loved ones as we celebrate. My wife and I again will be with both sides of our families this Christmas. What a blessing it is for parents and grandparents to see and visit with children, siblings, and grandchildren. These reunions will bring a lot of joy and happiness. This is why I believe that relationships with people are the most important thing to develop in life. I sincerely believe as a clergyman and Rotarian that hope and love will sustain us. Our hope is based on our reliance and trust in God. At Christmas and Hanukkah, we acknowledge God for His past and present blessings and His miraculous answers to prayer. God doesn’t automatically bless any particular political movement but does bless people who do righteous, loving, and truthful deeds. Our future hope as Americans will ultimately depend upon our desire to trust in God and behave and conduct ourselves in a manner that is pleasing to Him. God will bless us when we love each other rather than hating one another, when we forgive one another instead of seeking revenge, when we are truthful instead of being liars when we treat others fairly and beneficially as we would like to be treated. Practicing these behaviors with God’s enablement is our only hope for healing the serious and harmful division we are experiencing as a nation. Our dependence on God is our only hope for healing and unity in our nation. May each of you have a blessed and Merry Christmas, a joyful Hanukkah, and a bright New Year. May the joy and happiness of this holiday season be passed on to everyone we know. 

Paso Robles Magazine | December 2020

Winter Solstice, Yuletide

Traditional Symbols of Celebrations Held on the Darkest Day of the Year


ire 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. This year, Winter Solstice falls on Monday, 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 known as celebrating the new solar year's birth, also called Yuletide. Yuletide refers to the time around

the Christmas season, usually from around December 21 until January 1, and dates back centuries. It was originally a way to commemorate the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. 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 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. This holiday season, we find peace and love in celebrating together and showing kindness to one another. “May you find peace in the promise of the solstice night, that each day forward is blessed with more light. That the cycle of nature, unbroken, and true brings faith to your soul and well-being to you. Rejoice in the darkness, in the silence, find rest, and may the days that follow be abundantly blessed.” Native American Solstice Blessing by Stephanie Laird. 


December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 47

DIRECTORY of LOCAL HOUSES of WORSHIP The following listing of area houses of worship is provided by the partnership between Adelaide Inn and PASO Magazine. We hope to include all houses of worship in the Paso Robles, Templeton, San Miguel, Shandon, and Bradley areas. Your congregation is welcomed to send us updates and information to make our list complete and accurate. If you have information, please send an email to or call 805-239-1533. Please include your name, address, phone, service times, and name of spiritual leader of your congregation. Thank you, and stay blessed.

ATASCADERO Awakening Ways Spiritual Community 9315 Pismo Ave. 10 a.m. at the Pavilion Rev’s Frank & Terry Zum Mallen Congregation Ohr Tzafon 2605 Traffic Way Service: Fridays, 7:30 p.m. Rabbi Janice Mehring (805) 466-0329

CRESTON Creston Community Church 5170 O’Donovan Road Service: 9:00 a.m. Pastor JD Megason

LOCKWOOD True Life Christian Fellowship Lockwood/Jolon Road, across from the school in Lockwood Service: 9:30 a.m. Pastor Erick Reinstedt (805) 472-9325

NACIMIENTO Heritage Village Church At The Don Everingham Center Heritage Ranch Service: 10 a.m. Pastor Brad Brown (805) 712-7265 Hill Top Christian Fellowship 2085 Gateway Drive Heritage Ranch Service: 10:30 a.m. Pastor Jack Little (805) 239-1716 Oak Shores Christian Fellowship 2727 Turkey Cove Rd., at the Oak Shores Community Clubhouse Service: 8:30 a.m. Pastor Jack Little (760) 304-2435

PASO ROBLES Apostolic Assembly of the Faith of Christ Jesus 2343 Park St Bilingual Services: Services: Thursday 7 p.m. Sunday 2 p.m. Pastor Miguel Alvarado (805) 610-2930 Bridge Christian Church Centennial Park Banquet Room 600 Nickerson Dr. Service: 9:30 a.m. Pastor Tim Mensing (805) 975-7178 Calvary Chapel Paso Robles 1615 Commerce Way Service: 9:30 a.m. Pastor Aaron Newman (805) 239-4295

Christian Life Center Assembly of God 1744 Oak St. Service Times: 10:30 a.m. Youth Ministries: Monday 7:00 Home Groups during the week Preschool: Christian Life Early Learning Ctr. Pastor Guy Drummond (805) 238-3366 Christian Science Services 17th & Chestnut Streets Service: 10 a.m. Sunday & 2nd and 4th Wednesdays 7 p.m. (805) 238-3833 Church of Christ 3545 Spring St. (Corner 36th & Spring) Service: Sunday, 11 a.m. Evangelist Bob Champion (805) 286-5875 Sam Hogan (310) 602-9516 Delbert Arthurs (805) 238-4412 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1020 Creston Rd. Service: 9 a.m. (805) 238-4216 Missionaries: (805) 366.2363

Life Worth Living Church of God 620 17th St. Service: 11 a.m. Pastor Jim Wilde (805) 238-0978

Second Baptist Church 1937 Riverside Ave. Service: 11 a.m. Pastors: Gary Jordon (805) 238-2011

Templeton Presbyterian Church 610 S. Main St. Service: 10 a.m. Reverend Charlie Little (805) 434-1921

Live Oak 1521 Oak St. Service: 10 a.m. Pastor John Kaiser (805) 238-0575

St. James Episcopal Church 1335 Oak St. Services: 8 a.m. (Rite I) 10 a.m. (Rite II) Reverend Barbara Miller (805) 238-0819

Higher Dimension Church 601 Main St. 1st Sunday: 1:30 p.m. 2nd - 5th Sundays 12:30 p.m. Pastor Charlie Reed, Jr. (805) 440-0996

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church 820 Creston Rd. Weekday Mass: M-S, 7 a.m. Weekend Masses: Saturday - 5 p.m. (Vigil) Sunday - 8 a.m., 10 a.m. (Family Mass) 12:30 p.m. (Spanish) 5 p.m. (Teen) & 7 p.m. (Spanish) Father Rudolfo Contreras (805) 238-2218

Life Community Church 3770 Ruth Way Service: 9:30 a.m. Pastor Keith Newsome (805) 434-5040

The Revival Center 3850 Ramada Dr., Ste. A-3 Service: 10 a.m. Pastor Gabe Abdelaziz (805) 434-5170

Seventh-day Adventist Church Templeton Hills 930 Templeton Hills Rd. Services: Saturday 9:30 & 10:30 a.m. Pastor Zac Page (805) 434-1710

Mid State Baptist Church 3770 Ruth Way Services Sunday: 1:30 & 2:30 p.m. Wednesday: 6:30 p.m. Pastor Bruce Fore (805) 238-2281 New Day 1228 11th St (east off Paso Robles St) Services: Sunday 10 a.m., Wednesday 7 p.m. Pastor Brad Alford (805) 239-9998 New Life Tabernacle 3850 So. Ramada Dr. Ste. D Service: 10 a.m. Pastor Efrain Cordero

Covenant Presbyterian Church 1450 Golden Hill Rd. Service: 9:30 a.m. Pastor Dan Katches (805) 238-6927

North County Christian Fellowship 421 9th St. Services: 9:30 a.m. Pastor Steve Calagna (805) 239-3325

Belong Central Coast 905 Vine St. meets @ NCCF Service: Sunday 3 p.m. Senior Leaders: Pep & Angie Robey (661) 205-7853

Paso Robles Bible Church 2206 Golden Hill Rd. Service: Sunday, 10:30 a.m. Pastor Mark Wheeler Pastor Dave Rusco (805) 226-9670

Family Worship Center 616 Creston Rd. Service: 10 a.m. Pastor Patrick Sheean (805) 239-4809 First Baptist Church 1645 Park St. Pastor Michael R. Garman Services: 8:30 a.m. & 11 a.m. Discipleship 10 a.m. (805) 238-4419 First Mennonite Church 2343 Park St. Service: 11 a.m. Pastor Romero (805) 238-2445 First United Methodist 915 Creston Rd. Service: 11 a.m. Pastor Josh Zulueta (805) 238-2006 Grace Baptist Church 535 Creston Rd. Service: 10:30 a.m. Pastor Gary Barker (805) 238-3549 Highlands Church Corner S. River and Niblick 215 Oak Hill Services: 8:30, 9:45 & 11 a.m. Pastor James Baird (805) 226-5800

Paso Robles Church of the Nazarene 530 12th St. Service: 10:30 a.m. Pastor Charles Reece (805) 238-4300 Paso Robles Community Church 2706 Spring St. Service: 9:00 a.m. Pastor Shawn Penn (805) 239-4771 Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC Thirteenth and Oak Streets Service: 10 a.m. Pastor Steven Mabry (805) 238-3321 Poder de Dios Centro Familiar 500 Linne Road, Suite D Services Sunday 4:30p.m. & Wed. 7p.m. Pastors: Frank and Isabel Diaz (805) 264-9322 / (805) 621-4199 Redeemer Baptist Church Kermit King Elementary School 700 Schoolhouse Circle Service: 10:30 a.m. Pastor Christopher Cole (805) 238-4614

Adelaide Inn 1215 Ysabel Ave (Just off 24th near Hwy 101 and 46 East intersection) Paso Robles, 805-238-2770

The Light of the World Church 2055 Riverside Ave. Services: Everyday, 6 p.m. Sundays 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. Pastor Bonifacio Robles (612) 990-4701 Trinity Lutheran Church 940 Creston Rd. Worship Service: 9:30 a.m. Pastor Steve Willweber (805) 238-3702 Victory Outreach Paso Robles 3201 Spring Street, Paso Robles Ca Services: Sunday,10:30 a.m. Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Pastor Pete Torres (805) 536-0035

TEMPLETON Bethel Lutheran Church 295 Old County Rd. Service: 9:30 a.m. Pastor Amy Beveridge (805) 434-1329 Celebration Worship Center Pentecostal Church of God 988 Vineyard Drive Pastor Roy Spinks Services: 10:30 a.m. & 6 p.m. (805) 610-9819 Central Coast Center for Spiritual Living 689 Crocker St. Service: 10 a.m. Rev. Elizabeth Rowley (805) 242-3180 Cowboy Church Family Praise & Worship 206 5th st. Service: 10 am Pastor Vern H. Haynes Jr. 805-975-8594

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Assembly of God 925 Bennett Way Service: 10 a.m. Pastor Jeff Saylor (805) 434-2616

Vineyard Church of Christ 601 So. Main St. Service: 10 a.m. Evangelist: Steve Orduno (805) 610-4272 Vintage Community Church 692 Peterson Ranch Road Services: 9 & 11 a.m. Coaches: Aaron Porter, Dayn Mansfield (805) 296-1120

SAN MIGUEL Iglesia Fuente De Agua Viva 301 13th St. Services: 10 a.m. & 7 p.m. Pastor Mike Duran (805) 467-5500 Mission San Miguel Parish 775 Mission Street Weekday Mass: 8 a.m. Weekend Mass: Saturday: 5 p.m. English (Vigil) & 6:30 p.m. Spanish (Vigil) Sunday: 7 a.m., Noon & 6 p.m. (Spanish) Father Eleazar Diaz, OFM (805) 467-2131

SHANDON Shandon Assembly of God 420 Los Altos Ave. Pastor Jim Mei (805)226-9737 Spanish Service: Sunday 5 p.m. & Thurs 7 p.m. Pastor Mauro Jimenez

Paso Magazine P.O. Box 427 Paso Robles, CA 93447 Phone: 805-239-1533 or

December 2020 | Paso Robles Magazine | 49

A Special to Paso Robles Magazine

The Little White Envelope A true Christmas Story by Nancy W. Gavin, December 2015


t's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years. It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas. Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it – overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma – the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended. Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids – all kids. He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball, and lacrosse. That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods

store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me. Mike's smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year. And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years. For each Christmas, I followed the tradition – one year sending a group of mentally disabled youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on. The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children – ignoring their new toys – would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents. As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree. And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more. Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope. Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.” May we always remember what a blessing each day is with our loved ones. Take a moment to be present, to share love, and be a good human. You may not know whose life you will impact when you do. 

Thank you for being #pasostrong A Heavenly Home...................................51 AM Sun Solar...........................................21 American Riviera Bank............................11 Athlon Fitness & Performance................37 Best Of 2021...........................................15 Blake's True Value....................................21 bloke........................................................23 Bridge Sportsman's Center.....................25 CalSun Electric & Solar............................49 Cheri York.................................................21 City of Paso Robles Rec & Library..............7 Coast Electronics......................................19

Compass Real Estate Group....................16 Connect Home Loans..............................27 Dr. Maureeni Stanislaus..........................38 Farron Elizabeth.......................................23 First Baptist Church.................................11 First Presbyterian Church Templeton.....47 Five Star Rain Gutters..............................39 Frontier Floors..........................................17 General Store Paso Robles......................19 Golden Reverse Mortgage......................31 Hamon Overhead Door...........................38 Handyman Brad Home Services............24

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DIRECTORY TO OUR ADVERTISERS This issue of Paso Robles Magazine brought to you by

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