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21 Santa Rosa St. #100, San Luis Obispo

110 E. Branch Street, Arroyo Grande

w w w.FA R R E LL S M Y T H .c om Country Gentlemen’s Estate

Rural Luxury Lifestyle – Nipomo

Country Gentleman’s Estate in Atascadero SW Area. High on the hill for privacy, 5 beds, 5 baths, 3,990+ sqft, 2 master suites, on 9.7 acres, large 4 car garage. Original home built in 1983 remodeled in 2016. 3 storage/work sheds. Property backs up to La Paz City says it’s OK to split. Only 15 minutes to Paso Robles Wineries and 17 minutes to SLO Shopping! $998,500

Custom designed 5 Bedroom Estate on 4.74 level acres. Immaculate, turn-key condition inside & out. Great room, enormous patio area. Gourmet chef Kitchen. Oversized finished 4 car garage. Acreage is a blank canvas waiting for you to design for your horse facility, or pool and sport court. $1,549,000

Coveted French Park San Luis Obispo

Desirable Harp Springs

Exceptional 4 bedroom, 3 full bath home boasts many upgrades throughout, Vaulted Ceilings, hardwood flooring, plantation shutters and custom closets, the list goes on and on!! You will find a great Patio outside the family room and another Large side yard to relax next to the lovely fountain in the evenings. This home has it all! $874,000

Extremely well-maintained large 2985 sqft Orcutt home. Split living amazing floor plan. Downstairs is a bedroom, full bathroom and separate den/2nd living room space. Grand wide staircase, gourmet style kitchen with ample storage, granite counter tops, large island bar and separate casual dining area connecting to the gorgeous backyard. Master suite will not disappoint! Orcutt distinguished schools and only 20 minutes to beaches. $640,000

Historic Bungalow In Santa Maria

Ocean View Condo

Don’t miss out on this beautiful and historic large 4 bedroom home located in the desirable Bungalow District. Original 1930’s flare and character with hardwood flooring, arched entry ways, original door knobs and light fixtures, and so much more. Two separate entertaining areas and both have wood burning fireplaces. Kitchen is spacious with lots of storage, newer stainless steel appliances and large island. Hurry and schedule your private showing of this historic 1930’s charmer before it is gone! $469,900

Bright and cheery, centrally located Arroyo Grande Condo, close to just about everything. Don’t miss your opportunity to live where you play. Fresh paint, laminate flooring and new carpet. Fireplace in living room, Washer, dryer and refrigerator will be included. Come relax on the deck with your favorite local beverage, crack open a book and enjoy the view. $309,900

 WE VE MOVED Now find the Journal Plus Magazine at

25 Johe Lane, San Luis Obispo 93405 · 546-0609



The People, Community, and Business of Our Beautiful Central Coast ADDRESS

25 Johe Lane San Luis Obispo California 93405




EDITOR & PUBLISHER Steve Owens ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Erin Mott GRAPHIC DESIGNER Dora Mountain COPY EDITOR Susan Stewart PHOTOGRAPHER Tom Meinhold DISTRIBUTION Jan Owens, Kyle Owens, Jim Parsons, Gary Story ADVERTISING Steve Owens CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Susan Stewart, Joseph Carotenuti, Dr. James Brescia, Sarah Hedger, Maggie Cox, Dominic Tartaglia, Deborah Cash, Heather Young, Dr. Don Morris, April Charlton, Will Jones, Carlyn Christianson, Karen Kile and Ray Cauwet. Mail subscriptions are available at $20 per year. Back issues are $2 each. Inquires concerning advertising or other information made by writing to Steve Owens, JOURNAL PLUS MAGAZINE, 25 Johe Lane, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405. You can call us at 546-0609, our fax line is 546-8827, and our e-mail is View the entire magazine on our website at JOURNAL PLUS MAGAZINE is a free monthly distributed to over 600 locations throughout the Central Coast and is also available online at Editorial submissions are welcome but are published at the discretion of the publisher. Submissions will be returned if accompanied by a stamped self addressed envelope. No material published in the magazine can be reproduced without written permission. Opinions expressed in the byline articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the JOURNAL PLUS MAGAZINE. COVER PHOTO BY TOM MEINHOLD





PEOPLE 7 8 12 14 16 18




COMMUNITY 26 27 28 32 34 42






Journal PLUS

December Hero Profile 2017 Children’s Bill of Rights #12: As the children and youth of San Luis Obispo County, may we each be encouraged to dream big, to grow through challenge and mistakes, and to always live with hope and aspiration. DECEMBER’S HERO

Margaret Kensinger-Klopfer PASSION

Getting children immersed in and excited about words, books and beyond! ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE MARGARET



County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries

Margaret Kensinger-Klopfer is a champion for children, helping them learn and grow through library programs and partnerships with community organizations. For 12 years, Margaret has been a driving force within SLO County’s Public Libraries. As Youth Services Coordinator, she leads all library initiatives for children, teens, their parents and caregivers. Her dedication and enthusiasm have resulted in a wide array of engaging educational events that expose children to new experiences and ideas in literacy-rich environments. One example: Brain Play, which introduces families to puzzles, Lego tables, puppet theaters, and other hands-on activities for imaginative fun.

staff teams with Brazelton Touchpoints early-childhood development training, which focuses on showing parents and caregivers how to see themselves as their child’s first teacher. Margaret collaborates with the SLO Children’s Museum to give children a free day-pass to the Museum when they sign up for their first library card. AND, Margaret started a summer reading program for youth at the SLO County Juvenile Services Center, providing them with valuable learning opportunities during a particularly vulnerable time in their lives.

Margaret is all about joint projects! She works with the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County to provide snacks and lunch to hundreds of children at the library’s summer reading programs when school nutrition programs are not operating. She recently helped to connect the local WIC program with grant money from Central Coast Funds for Children, giving 1,300 preschoolers a bag with books, along with early literacy tips for families. With a California State Library grant, Margaret was able to provide seven library

Colleagues say the depth of Margaret’s love for literature and little ones matches the impact she has on our communities throughout the county.

Thank you, Margaret. You are a true Hands-On Hero.

Hands-On Heroes is a special recognition of dedicated individuals who believe in and support the Children’s Bill of Rights, an achievable vision that our children grow up with healthy minds, bodies and spirits that enable them to maximize their potential. This program is coordinated by First 5 San Luis Obispo County in collaboration with local organizations that make a difference in the lives of children in our community. To find out more about First 5 and the Children’s Bill of Rights, please visit

Design: Verdin

Look for more on all of our Hands-On Heroes on COE-TV channel 19!

From the publisher


’m going to be winding down in 2018 and Tom and Julie Meinhold will be picking up the slack. Tom and Julie have been working with me and the Journal for several years and we plan to make this a seamless transition. There will be one change; we have moved to 25 Johe Lane in SLO.

This month’s issue is filled with great profiles. We start out with our cover story on Dr. Gil Stork. His life story in San Luis Obispo is amazing. We move on to another SLO High School graduate, Amber West who teaches at UCLA and is an author as well. We profile Dr. Ping Tsao and his incredible career in SLO. Next, April Charlton joins our writing crew again and caught up with Wood’s Humane Society’s Executive Director, Jill Tucker. Deborah Cash features former educator and Athletic Director, Donn Clickard and finally we profile Ken Jones and his story on the county’s first ambulance service. Plenty of good reading again this month. Enjoy the magazine.

Steve Owens


league of women voters


Registering new voters at SLO county High Schools Julie Rodewald and her League Team: Ruth Nimeh, Juliane McAdam and Sharon Whitney with student teacher Kaylin Embrey and Nipomo High School teacher, Mark Hochin.

19th Amendment passed in 1920 and women could vote the number of eligible voters in the United States doubled. Eighteen-year-olds, who could be drafted to fight wars yet had no vote, became eligible to vote only in 1971. So far, League teams have presented voter education and early registration opportunities at high schools in San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Templeton and Nipomo. The program will continue up until the Primary Election in June 2018 and will be expanded to other high schools and Cuesta College.


ormer County Clerk-Recorder and current League of Women Voters Board member Julie Rodewald is heading up teams of League members who are busy registering new voters at county high schools. Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds can pre-register now and their registration will automatically become effective when they turn eighteen, the legal voting age.

For more information on the League or the voter registration program contact the League of Women Voters at (805) 782-4040 or

“Both the students and the teachers are enthusiastic about our program”, said Ms. Rodewald. “We’re helping them understand the importance and power of their vote and showing them how easy it is to become involved.” Ms. Rodewald noted that about 78% of eligible students are signing up for early registration. In addition to registering voters, the League teams provide voter education by reviewing the history of voting in America, explaining the qualifications for voting, and exploring the resources available to help the students become informed voters. Students learn that when the



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greatest athletes on the central coast Dr. Gil Stork By Dr. Don Morris

Editor’s note: “Who are the Greatest Athletes in the history of the Central Coast?” So far the following athletes have been featured: Ed Brown, Stephanie Brown Trafton, Chuck Liddell, Loren Roberts, Steve Patterson, Gene Rambo, Robin Ventura, Jordan Hasay, Chuck Estrada, Mike Larrabee, Ron Capps, Jamie Martin, Rusty Kuntz, Randall Cunningham, Jim Lonborg, Kami Craig, John Rudometkin, Ivan Huff, Chelsea Johnson, Michael Louis Bratz, Frank Minini, Scott McClain, Mel Queen, Napoleon Kaufmann, Katie Hicks, Mark Brunell, Gene Romero, Kenny Heitz, Thornton Starr Lee, Pat Rusco, Rusty Blair, the Lee Family, Dan Conners, John Iribarren, Jeff Powers, The Mott Family, Casey Todd Candaele, Bill Brown, Theo Dunn, Ed Jorgensen, Hamp Pool, Kevin Lucas, Mohinder Gill, Mark Conover, Tracy Compton Davis, Ozzie Smith and Dr. Paul Spangler. Please send nominations to Dr. Morris at



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Dr. Gil Stork


r. Gil Stork was a sought after athlete out of San Luis Obispo High School in 1959 where he excelled in football as an offensive center and was a renowned baseball catcher on the High School team. He was named first team all conference in each sport for two years and was team captain. Gil was the High School team catcher for pitcher Jim Lonborg. (In 1967, Lonborg was named the Cy Young award-winning pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.) Following graduation from SLO High School, Gil earned a football scholarship to play for the Mustangs of Cal Poly. He majored in mathematics and minored in physical education with a goal of becoming a high school math teacher and coach.

After a disappointing start to the 1960 football season, Cal Poly traveled to Toledo, Ohio for an October 29 matchup against an exceptional Bowling Green University. Later that evening, following a loss to Bowling Green, the chartered aircraft, carrying the football team back to California, crashed on the runway during takeoff. Twenty-two people were killed, including sixteen team members, the team manager, and a Cal Poly booster. Stork, who played center on the Mustang football team, was one of the 26 survivors along with fifteen of his teammates and suffered major injuries. When Gil played center on the 1960 Cal Poly Football team, Cal Poly had what you would call a powerhouse football program. Under head coach LeRoy Hughes, whose 12-year career ended in 1961, the Mustangs went 73-37-1. From 1952-1959, Cal Poly combined for a 59-18 overall record, including an undefeated season when the team went 9-0 in 1953. Prior to 1960, most of the team’s successes were due to an experienced senior class.



It wasn’t until later when Stork was in the hospital that he found out the details of what happened that night. Stork said, “We had no idea which of our friends had been killed. We had no idea what caused the plane to crash.” He was in the dark, and no one wanted the burden of telling him the unbearable news. Stork said it wasn’t until someone brought in a newspaper that he saw the figures and the names of all the people who died.” “That was a real shock for me,” Stork said. “People who were friends of mine were suddenly gone, it was the first time I had ever experienced anything like that.”

Help when you make the most important financial decisions of your life.

But many of that team graduated coming into the 1960 season, leaving sophomores and juniors to try and keep the tradition going. Players like quarterback Ted Tollner and center Gil Stork tried to live up to the expectations of the experienced team from the year before, who went 6-3 overall. “They had a great senior core,” Stork said. “But by the time we (underclassmen) arrived at the varsity scene, there were only eight seniors … we were mostly a sophomore and junior football team with a very demanding schedule.”

Bill Mott

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PEOPLE answer every question with the information that we received from emergency agencies that were helping at the Toledo, Ohio Airport. (Unfortunately some of the information that we received was incorrect).

Stork and three of his teammates.

A year later, a game called the Mercy Bowl was played at the L.A. Coliseum in the Team’s honor and reportedly raised anywhere from $170,000 to $275,000 for the families who had lost sons, husbands and fathers. More than 33,000 fans attended the Mercy Bowl to see Fresno State defeat Bowling Green 36-6. (My wife and I also attended this event). The crash, the first involving a U.S. sports team, also left five women widowed and nine children without fathers. Planes like that twin-engine C-46 airliner had been used as military transports in World War II, but this one was being used to transport traveling football teams. It had just gotten to Toledo after returning Youngstown-Southern Connecticut College home safely. Under the foggy conditions at the Toledo Airport, it took the pilots approximately two hours to decide whether or not to face the fog and take off.

Cal Poly Football

He couldn’t understand why he was so lucky. “How was I allowed to survive and someone who had four little girls was killed?” Stork said, “It just didn’t make any sense at all.” The deaths sent a shock wave around the country and at the time, I (the author of this article) was the Cal Poly Personnel Director. My family and I were at home when I received a call from the College Administration to report to Cal Poly and help answer the hundreds of phone calls that Cal Poly was getting from throughout the world. When I arrived at the secretarial room on campus it was being overwhelmed with phone calls. We tried to

Stork said “It wasn’t easy to move past the crash and for most, it took years.” As he views it, “There is a reason each one of those players aboard that plane lived. It was a second chance of sorts”, he said, “and he and his teammates are determined to make the most of it”.

Stork played Baseball at SLO High School

After his partial recovery, Dr. Stork returned to play center on the Cal Poly football team, and the quarterback of Cal Poly’s team was local resident Rich Equinoa. In September 2006 the author of this column was the President of the Cal Poly Retired Faculty and Staff Club and we had a special meeting that honored the plane crash victims. The whole meeting was videotaped in six segments and was devoted to “Remembering the Cal Poly Football Team members and the plane crash” and for you readers here is the first segment.

“We never want to forget, we never want it to go away in our minds,” Stork said. “If it goes away we will have lost the importance of what that event meant to us. If I forget them, I will forget the reason I do what I do.” After the plane crash Dr. Stork graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1963 and a master’s degree in mathematics in 1965. He later earned a doctorate in educational administration from Brigham Young University in 1981.

“We’ve dug our way out, and I am really proud to say today that we consider ourselves a model college.” Dr. Stork and the Cuesta Mascot. D E C E M B E R


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11 The Stork family

The Ring of Honor. Eighteen memorial plaques were unveiled in Mustang Memorial Plaza near the football stadium, honoring the 16 players who died, plus a student manager and football booster who also perished. Also in 2006, Dr. Stork was inducted into the Cal Poly Athletic Hall of Fame. After teaching math and coaching football and baseball at SLO High School for three years, Gil was hired in 1967 in the early years of Cuesta College to serve as assistant football coach and mathematics instructor. He was then promoted to Associate Dean, then Dean of Sciences, Mathematics and Athletics, and then Vice President Student Services until he retired in 2004. He returned as President of Cuesta College in 2010 (Gil is now the Cuesta College Superintendent/President, is serving in his 51st year at Cuesta, and about 2/3rds of his life has been devoted to Cuesta College). While serving as President at Cuesta College, Gil led a successful team effort to overcome challenging accreditation sanctions for the College. The Accrediting Commission commended President Stork for his exceptional leadership and gave Cuesta College an Accreditation clearance for “the next six years. (If the school’s accreditation had been revoked, it could have forced the college to close). “We’re now at a pivotal point in our history,” Stork said at a recent press conference. “We have, I say, risen from the ashes from where we were eight years ago when we were on accreditation sanctions with the Accrediting Commission.” He added: “We’ve dug our way out, and I am really proud to say today that we consider ourselves a model college.”

Under Stork’s leadership, Cuesta College has earned designations as a “Hispanic-serving institution” and a “Military-friendly school” as well as a “No Place for Hate” designation by the Anti-Defamation League. In 2015 President Stork was honored by the Cal Poly Alumni Association with the Cal Poly Sandra Ogren Leadership Award. The award said “President Stork, you have integrity, courage and commitment and Cal Poly, Cuesta College and all of San Luis Obispo county is proud of your leadership and accomplishments. We honor you for your Life’s Achievements.” In September 2016 he received the Louis Tedone, M.D., Humanitarian Award from the French Hospital Medical Center for his “outstanding devotion to education, leadership and philanthropy.” Dr. Stork has been an active Rotarian for more than 30 years and will be the Monday Rotary Club’s President next year. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for several community and state organizations, including the Economic Vitality Corporation, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, Cuesta College Foundation, and the California Community College Athletic Association. His accolades include the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce 2000 Citizen of the Year, 2004 Cuesta College President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership, 2002 San Luis Obispo County School Boards Association Service Award, 2011 Cal Poly School of Education Friend of Education Award, and received an honorary doctorate degree from Cal Poly in 2017. After 50 years with San Luis Obispo County’s community college, Cuesta College President Gil Stork announced that he will retire. His last day will be June 30, 2018. “These last eight years have been the most rewarding personal and professional experience of my 54 years in education,” said Stork, who returned to the college as President after a short-lived retirement in 2010. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

In addition, President Stork has been instrumental in assisting the Cuesta College Foundation in raising millions of dollars in donations for Cuesta College which directly benefit its students. He also led the successful effort to pass the Cuesta College 275 million dollar bond issue. Those funds have paid for a 32,000-square-foot, two-story instructional building at the San Luis Obispo campus (set to open in spring 2018) and a 43,000-square-foot, two-story North County campus center that is also set to open in the spring.

Stork, 75, a San Luis Obispo native has been credited with guiding Cuesta College through a turbulent period after its accreditation was threatened due to insufficiencies in three areas: planning and assessment, technology resources, and financial planning and stability.

In fulfilling the school’s mission to promote equity, diversity and inclusion, the college launched the Cuesta College Promise Scholarship in 2014, which provides a tuition-free year at the college for all recent San Luis Obispo County high school graduates.

Stork has been a mainstay in the San Luis Obispo County community. He’s lived in San Luis Obispo for 70 years, and has been married to his wife, Jan, for 53 of those. The couple has five adult children and 10 grandchildren. D E C E M B E R


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Jill Tucker

Woods Humane Society Executive Director By April Charlton

Jill and her dog, Ryder.


oods Humane Society Executive Director Jill Tucker’s love affair with animals started as a toddler, when the tow-headed blonde fell head over heels for all things horses. She didn’t know at the time, though, the love affair would lead her to a lifetime of helping four-legged companion animals that find themselves temporarily living in shelters.

It’s her passion for animals that has followed Tucker throughout her adult life, shaping the path she has taken both professionally and personally. During college, Tucker fostered dogs she pulled from local shelters in the Contra Costa County area and remembers having to

“I have always loved animals,” Tucker said from her office at Woods in San Luis Obispo, where her rescue dog, Ryder accompanies her to work every day. “I spent my childhood playing with everyone’s pets, training neighborhood dogs. And, I was horse obsessed since the age of 2, like crazy horse obsessed. I was born with it.” Tucker, a fifth generation Californian, laughs that no one in her family knows where her obsession stemmed from, as her parents aren’t horse people and she definitely wasn’t raised in an equine family. “My parents don’t know how that came about because they don’t ride; they aren’t interested; and they are kind of scared of horses,” she said with a big smile. “I just have always had that passion, always been around animals.” D E C E M B E R


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Jill and Dharma



laughs that within three hours of the call she was on the group’s board of directors and within three months, she was president. “I knew I wanted to help. This was a terrific, little organization that was saving over 600 animals a year,” Tucker said. “I got a crash course in nonprofit management because they were really struggling, operating in the red, not fundraising.” The work also gave Tucker, who was still in the tech industry, a crash course in sheltering beyond fostering.

routinely choose between canines on the euthanasia lists. “I remember being handed a list with 12 dogs that were scheduled to be euthanized the next day and having to walk through, look at them and know I could only take one,” Tucker said. “That was devastating for me and frustrating because these (were) animals I knew people would adopt if they knew they were in the shelter.” At that time, Tucker started taking photographs of the dogs she couldn’t pull from the shelters and posted them on Craigslist in hopes of getting the animals new homes. Her efforts worked. “I was doing that in my free time … and finding out people were going in and adopting them,” Tucker said. After graduating college, Tucker spent several years working for a dog friendly software company in the Bay Area. She had a good job, fantastic boss and owned a house in Petaluma, but she wasn’t truly happy. So, she pointed herself in the direction of animals. Tucker felt strongly she wanted to use her business skills on behalf of animals and she signed up for a “How to Create an Animal Sanctuary” class at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. She spent a week at the sanctuary, came back to California and thought, ‘Now what?’ She began sending resumes to various animal welfare organizations, with her compilation of experience at the time; Tucker had also been volunteering with a small nonprofit rescue group, Home At Last, in Berkeley. Within a month of returning from Utah, the group’s president reached out to Tucker to ask if she’d be willing to help the organization, which was facing bankruptcy. She

“I knew I wanted to work in the animal field, but I wasn’t quite sure,” she said. “I think I was still a little shy of working in shelters at the time, like I couldn’t work in a shelter. It would be too sad.”

Jil with her husband, Roger and daughter, Charlotte

But sheltering she did and has continued to do. In 2003, Tucker decided her heart wasn’t in a software career, so she walked into her boss’ office and resigned. She made the move without another job to fall back on. She smiles as she remembers the man probably thought she was crazy. At the time, though, she had applied for a position as executive director of the Addison County Humane Society in Vermont. Tucker said something kept drawing her back to the job listing. When she got home that evening, there was a message from the Humane Society. The organization wanted to interview her. She got the position. “I sold all my stuff and moved 3,000 miles (across the country) with my two dogs,” Tucker said. “I look back at that now and say, ‘Who does that? That is crazy.’ But, it was really the best thing I have ever done.” Within months of the then-27-year-old taking the position, she met her future husband, Roger, and the pair knew instantly they were meant to be married. They have a daughter, Charlotte, who is 11. “I immediately felt at home in the work,” Tucker said. “I loved sheltering. I loved the animals and the people and solving problems for animals. It just all made sense for me.” While at the Addison County Humane Society, Tucker developed an animal cruelty response program for the agency that has become a collaborative model for humane enforcement around that state, she said. She also had a contract to implement a similar program with counties around the state

of New Hampshire, however, the contract was grant funded. It was 2008 and the market crashed, leaving no money for the project. However, it opened the door for Tucker and her family to return to California, where she took the position of executive director at Santa Maria Valley Humane Society. “Now with a husband and child,” she said of her second cross-country move. This time in 2009. She helped grow the Santa Maria organization from one with $400,000 operating budget that was operating with a deficit to an organization with a nearly $1 million budget when she left in 2014 to take the position with Woods. Tucker also oversaw a multimillion dollar capital campaign in Santa Maria to build a new state-of-the-art facility on Foster Road. “I really enjoy that challenge of bringing the community together and growing the services for the animals,” Tucker said. She did hesitate some when approached about making the move to Woods, in part because she had worked so hard to grow the Santa Maria organization to where it is today, but Tucker is pleased with her decision. “Woods is a great organization,” she said. “They were ready to kick off some growth and that is kind of my thing.” When she agreed to move, her family bought property near Creston and Tucker is able to ride her horse, Dharma, nearly every morning before heading to the shelter to start her work day. The pair used to compete in dressage but now mostly ride on the beach and in area vineyards on the weekends.



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donn clickard “I kind of went where life led me and I’m very glad today I did.” By Deborah Cash


onn Clickard didn’t have an end game. “You know how some kids at eight years old have figured out what they want to be when they grow up? And then they do that? That wasn’t me,” shared Donn, career special education teacher and athletic director at Atascadero High School whose love of education, kids, leadership and the community continues through heartfelt and hard-won projects years after his retirement from those positions.

One of Atascadero’s most high profile citizens known for his community service and accolades said that in retrospect, he enjoyed pursuing things that beckoned him; today Donn describes this approach with a favorite quote: “When I look back, I am struck by how the long lines in my life added together to make a whole.” The long lines of Donn’s evolution into teacher, mentor and community leader over six decades now make perfect sense to him. “Had I not done all the things I did, made the choices I made and continued to seek out what interested me, I would not be where I am right now,” he declared. And, in his estimation, life today is a pretty great place. He also points out for the benefit of young people unsure of their future: “It’s okay to not know at 17 or 18 years old what you want to do with your life. I had three different majors in college and was working jobs all over the place.” Working from a young age as a paperboy, then in a market and also being active in school sports, Donn says he took away life-shaping lessons from those structured activities. “Put the paper on the porch, finish every job you start, look people in the eye, check, double-check and recheck. I still share those sentiments with the kids I work with today,” he said. After high school, Donn attended Sacramento State pursuing a Social Studies degree and then switching to Recreation and Park Management after deciding that constructive use of leisure time is very important. Donn earned his B.A. while also serving in the Army Reserves. After graduating, Donn was hired as Recreation Supervisor at the Fulton El Camino Special District where one of his projects was starting a Teen Club. “One of the best jobs I ever had,” he said.

Donn giving our awards at the Hair and Hounds Event. D E C E M B E R


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Donn worked his way up to superintendent and one day, realizing that in his position, “I hadn’t seen a kid in three weeks and I would be responsible for firing people,” he decided to do the ‘honorable thing’ and go back to school. He went on to obtain his graduate degree in Physical Education from Cal Poly and accepted a teaching position at Atascadero High School in Special Education. “These students were considered ‘resource kids’ who had normal or above average IQs but struggled with other issues that presented challenges to their education,” Donn said. “I had a minimum of training in this area, but I had experience teaching kids and as I talked to them, I got to know them.



the world.” Having a happy family is one of Donn’s life’s goals along with travelling to unique places and producing a bountiful vegetable garden. He recalls his world travels with his cousins, and with his own family a favorite memory is snorkeling off the Galapagos where he came face to face with a sea lion pup in deep waters and his daughter characterized a nearby testudines horde as a “turtle traffic jam.” Donn said he loves Italy and is planning a trip to South Africa.

Donn with his “Greyhound Orange” 1973 truck -original owner.

We had discussions about ‘what your life can be,’ and over time I realized it was also true for me.” “One of my jobs was shuttling kids to and from a pilot program that assisted children with hearing disabilities to Camp Hapitok at Rancho El Chorro. I got to know the kids and got involved,” he said. During his stint with Camp Hapitok, Donn said he attended a Family Day for TIGRS and Campers (the mentors and participants), his co-worker Lynn “happened” to invite her sister Christine that, laughs Donn, was pretty obvious in its intent. Already friends with the girls’ brother Mark, mother Dorothy (she was the Atascadero High School Librarian) and father Bill (owner of El Camino Liquor), Donn “clicked” with Christine, adding that along with his romantic interest there was an additional benefit: “her wonderful family.” After her graduation from UCSF, Christine married Donn in 1978.

Retiring from teaching in 2004, Donn turned his focus to an extension of his love for his students, education and the community. Instrumental in establishing the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation, he oversaw the completion of the school’s track and stadium (including scoreboard and bleachers) that is considered one of the best facilities in the county. The Foundation later branched into offering scholarships and hosting events such as Hares and Hounds and All Comers meets. Looking for more opportunities to help young people, the Foundation’s board worked to help start the Lighthouse program in 2011 for students battling addiction issues. “During this time there were several deaths of young men in our community due to drug overdoses,” he lamented. “The community said, ‘That’s enough!’ and the program continues its success providing awareness, prevention, intervention in areas of drug and alcohol abuse and provide services such as counseling and healthy activities for school-aged youth. Piggybacking on the success of Lighthouse, LAMP (Lighthouse Atascadero Mentoring Program) was launched. Still in its infancy, LAMP is a development program where high school students mentor sixth graders, helping them “come to their life making good decisions and with problem solving abilities,” Donn said.

In 2005, Donn was appointed (and in 2006, elected) to Trustee on HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

They moved into a little house Donn had bought some years before and eventually built a new home in Atascadero. Over the years, their hopes for starting a family didn’t seem to materialize even after attempting several adoptions stateside. “We weren’t willing to give up. We really wanted a child.” After 12 years, Donn and Christine went to Vietnam and brought home their beautiful one-year-old daughter Julia who now attends UC Santa Cruz.

the school board. He says of the experience, “The position of serving on the School Board is the most important position in the U.S. if you take how many people sit on boards in this country and are responsible for the education of our children.” Speaking to a group of young people at a career education class recently, Donn shared his reverence for the position saying, “As a group of seven, we work to gain, hold and deserve the trust of our entire community. You—each of you—are the most important reason for our existence.”

Born in Carmel to Donn Sr. and Teddy, Donn was raised in Monterey where, he said, “My brother Steve and I enjoyed the greatest family in

From Donn’s point of view, life today is a pretty wonderful thing. “Everything became a tapestry woven from what I did from early on.”

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Ken Jones the 101-year-old SLO Man who started San Luis Ambulance 62 years ago By Heather Young


en Jones may be 101 years old, but he’s still sharp and active — going for fish and chips every Tuesday in Morro Bay and to his weekly Exchange Club meeting at the Elks Lodge on Fridays. Though it takes a minute to reflect, he still recalls dates and events of many decades past.

“I woke up one day and asked David, “Do you want to [run] an ambulance service?”

One event he recalls is his decision to start an ambulance company in San Luis Obispo that served the area south of the grade down to Santa Maria and up the coast. He started with one ambulance and a few Cal Poly students in addition to himself and his wife, Florence.

“It’s been built up to quite an institution,” Jones said. “It’s really a bigger deal than I had.”

“The prior ambulance company was run so poorly,” Jones said, which led him and Florence to purchase an ambulance. They started their own company out of their service station, Ken’s Shell Service, on the corner of Monterey and Santa Rosa streets in San Luis Obispo. That was 1965. The Joneses owned and operated the ambulance service for 25 years, which was when David Flock took it over. Flock worked for the company for several years.

That service is now called San Luis Ambulance and has been owned by Frank and Betsey Kelton since 1974, when they bought it from Flock. When Jones started the company, it was called Jones Ambulance Service.

Jones started with one ambulance and then bought a second one from the company that had been operating before he started his, and operated out of the building he built on the corner of Santa Rosa and Montalban streets in SLO in 1959. The downstairs held his ambulances and a show room for his medical supply store and the upstairs an apartment for whoever was on duty at the time. “I had Poly students as assistants,” Jones said. “There were no regular employees. The students, when they were out of class, they’d come and stay in my apartment upstairs and be available for duty.” Today, San Luis Ambulance has stations in Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero, Morro Bay, Arroyo Grande, Nipomo and two in San Luis Obispo and service the entire county. While he was operating the ambulance company, he started a medical supply store medical equipment store and rental company. Jones said his store was the first one in the area to have medical equipment and supplies for rent or sale. He and Florence owned and operated that store until 1980 when he technically retired, though Jones said he’s continued to be active. “I guess you call it retirement,” Jones said, adding that he then started manufacturing parts for Model A Fords. “I did that for a long time,” Jones said. “Until my wife got sick.”

Jones Ambulance Service D E C E M B E R


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When she got sick, he needed to care for her



college, so he only took the classes he needed for his vocation. He took machine shop and welding. “For a while I had little jobs, where I was working for a company called Booth Brothers Dodge and Co. Of course, the war broke out and I had two children and a major from Camp San Luis was in the garage visiting with my boss,” Jones said. “My boss said after he left, ‘I’m going to have to let you go, they want you at Camp San Luis.’” He worked out there for about three years and then went on to work for a company making landing gear for airplanes. He went from that job to owning the service station. In between all his businesses and being an Exchange Club member — where he is the longest member and the oldest member — he also served on the San Luis Obispo City Council for eight years starting in 1953. Ken is filling the tank at Ken’s Shell Station.

and stopped manufacturing the parts in about 2008 or 2009. She died in 2011. Florence was his second wife and he met her a few years after he divorced his first wife. “She happened to be a friend of my first wife,” Jones said. They were married before he started the ambulance company. He has three children: Bill Jones of Fresno, Janice McBride of Santa Maria and Herb Jones, who lives with in San Luis Obispo, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Jones said he even has four great-great-grandchildren. Jones has had a long history in San Luis Obispo, but his story really begins with his birth in Alberta, Canada. When he was young, a doctor told Jones’ father that the Canadian climate was bad for his health and he should move somewhere with more mild weather, so they moved to the San Joaquin Valley, where they lived for three years. His father bought property in Morro Bay. “He wanted to be close to that so we moved from Porterville to San Luis Obispo,” Jones said. That was 1926, when he was 10. Jones attended and graduated from San Luis Obispo High School and then attended Cal Poly for one year. In 1934, Cal Poly was a junior

When asked how he handled serving on the city council and run his businesses, he said “My wife helped me.” The long-time resident of San Luis Obispo has added to the County with the contribution of his ambulance service, and the many descendants that continue to live and thrive in the community.

Happy Holidays FROM THE STAFF AT


Ken Jones, son, grandson and great grandson all went to Cal Poly. D E C E M B E R


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amber west

slo native, poet and teacher By Will Jones

What thoughts I have of you tonight, California, as I walk along moon slush streets with a heartache watching the hail pebble down – from “A Dollar Store on Flatbush” There are so many voices eager to be heard in San Luis Obispo native Amber West’s second poetry collection, Hen and God, you can almost hear the din before you open the cover. The voices include a poem, a pregnant woman, a daughter, a sister, a jilted lover, a pirate, a city, a grieving friend, all of them with a powerful story and a unique perspective on life. I have been reading and writing poetry for over fifty years. Hen and God is as exhilarating and dynamic as any collection I have encountered. At times it literally left me breathless. On Friday, December 15th, at 7:00 PM, Amber will hold a hometown book launch and signing at The Palm Theatre, featuring SLO native and resident artists including Amber, poet Will Jones, puppeteer Zeb West, storyteller Mark Sitko, visual artist Clovis Blackwell, and D E C E M B E R


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musician Jerime Ford. Amber’s husband, actor Sam West, and their three-year-old son, Luke, will also attend. You can learn more about the event, Puppets and Poets, an evening of revelry celebrating the publication of Hen and God, at Amber, who teaches writing at UCLA, was born in San Luis Obispo in 1977. Her mother Anita’s family, originally from Tennessee, moved from Oklahoma when Anita was a high school freshman. Her father, who was teaching at the University of Oklahoma, accepted an offer to teach poultry science at Cal Poly. “My mother and her two older brothers, Steve and Bob, went to SLOHS. They were musicians and played in a local band, Park Hotel. Steve is still a musician, working in Las Vegas. Bob, who served in Vietnam, died in a motorcycle accident in 1979,” Amber said. Lloyd Skiles, Amber’s father, moved to San Luis Obispo from the Bay area with his family, which originally came from Oklahoma. He and his brothers, Dennis and Jim, attended Mission High School. “I’ve always felt a relationship with the South. I couldn’t place it, but I felt like we were different in a homogenous community. My early writing was about processing things I was hearing but not fully understanding.” Along with the South and California, Amber added a third cultural influence when she moved to the east coast for graduate school. “It was then that I understood my California voice was strongest in my writing, how Californian I was.” Amber’s parents never married and she grew up primarily with her mother and her brother, Zeb, mostly on their own, but sometimes



poetry was a real thing of today, could be about everyday experience and today’s issues. It was different from the high school curriculum, which I was into, but seemed to be in the past. Olds opened things up for me.” Although accepted by UC Santa Cruz after graduating in 1995, Amber was reluctant to leave town and her good friends who were enrolled at Cuesta. “My family wasn’t hands on about college. I wanted to go but I wasn’t pushed. At Cuesta the counselor questioned whether I could handle the classes I’d signed up for. At the same time I received a postcard from UCSC asking if I’d changed my mind about not attending. ‘Yes, I’ve changed my mind!’ I wanted to go somewhere where people had higher expectations of me.”

Amber and brother Zeb, circa 1981

with her grandparents. “When we were alone, we were just scraping by, but with my grandparents we appeared well off. I felt fraudulent because of the tension between the two which helped drag me to writing, a place where I could process, unpack the feelings.” During a period when her father lived with them, when Amber was three, the family moved to Boulder, Colorado, home of Naropa University and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. “My dad had dreams of being a musician, the next Bob Dylan. My mom spent time assisting Allen Ginsberg. So the family myth includes stories about Ginsberg holding Zeb and me, how Peter Orlovsky liked to play with us. A part of me likes to dream that that’s why I became a poet,” Amber said, smiling. Amber started writing poems at the end of elementary school. She tried the other arts in middle school, but kept coming back to poetry, “because I’m a perfectionist and I was always aware that I wasn’t very good at art, music and theater. Writing was private. I could know it wasn’t as good as it should be, but I didn’t have to share it.” Amber praised her honors English teachers at Laguna Middle School, Colleen Spafford and Sandy Richardson. “And at SLOHS I felt my English teachers were stellar, on a different level than my other subjects.” Her experience included reviving “Myth,” the high school literary magazine, and being introduced to great American poets like Sharon Olds. “Hearing Olds I understood that

As a literature major with a creative writing concentration, Amber found that her post-modern poetry teachers were not fans of more traditional contemporary poets like Olds, Billy Collins or Mary Oliver. “I felt like the rug was pulled out from beneath me, that the poets I liked were bad or dumb. As I continued my education I learned to understand post-modern poetry and appreciate it. For me poetry was about, among other things, communication, the ability to share something with someone else. So I kept writing. I worked on one of the lit mags and my thesis was a chapbook.” Amber felt a little bit crushed when she was denied acceptance to several graduate writing programs. Suffering from what she called a “black hole, what-do-I-do-next feeling,” she signed up for AmeriCorps, lived in San Francisco and ran an after school academic mentoring program in Richmond, working with

at-risk middle school students. “I recruited and trained volunteer mentors, matched them with the kids, and coordinated the program. Richmond’s a tough place. That was a whole new world for me. I spent seven years in the Bay area, a time that gave me a chance to find out if I really was a poet without others telling me I had to do it.” A good job as a grants coordinator for reproductive health researchers at UC San Francisco allowed Amber to pay down her student loans, save some money and continue writing, while thinking about applying again to Master of Fine Arts programs. “I had fallen in love with San Francisco, I had a really good rent situation, and I met Sam at that time. I felt I could live in San Francisco forever, but part of me felt I should live in other places. Sharon Olds was teaching at


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Amber, Sam and their son ,Luke

NYU, and even though it was scary to think about moving to New York, in 2006 I applied and was accepted.” In her second year at NYU Amber received a Javitz Fellowship, one of the very few federal fellowships in the arts and humanities. It was portable, which meant she could continue to receive it while in pursuit of a Ph.D. “I thought, with this grant I can keep on writing and I wanted to get a Ph.D., which I could do with fewer loans. But there couldn’t be a break. I immediately started applying to Ph.D. programs.” Amber first started getting interested in puppetry when she was in San Francisco. She saw it as another way to communicate through poetry, beyond the borders of the academic poetry world. “I struggled with just being a literary poet, a page poet, where my work would only go so far. By performing I knew people were hearing it, connecting with it.” In New York, Amber created a popular Puppets and Poets Festival through her artists collective, Alphabet Arts, a collaboration among writers, artists, actors, musicians and puppeteers. “It was poetry as an embodied life, not just poetry on the page.” Amber earned her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, which allowed her to do a creative dissertation, even though her degree was in

Fox performance o–Brooklyn Egg

literature. “They have one of the few puppetry programs in the country, so I was able to combine puppetry and poetry. To keep creating and working in Brooklyn, I started an insane commute, half a week in Connecticut, half a week in Brooklyn. I was able to run the festival for five years, which was great.” After graduating, Amber took a job as a non-profit grant writer in New York. Luke was an infant and Sam was acting, so New York was the best place for them to be at that time. “And then the job at UCLA came up. We wanted to be in a coastal city and LA is good for Sam’s career, so I took the job. It’s composition, not teaching creative writing, but it has a lot of good things going for it. I love teaching writing and critical thinking, and I get to do it with all sorts of people, to teach all majors, to get them thinking about how useful writing can be in their lives.” Hen and God (The Third Works, 2017), follows Amber’s first publication Daughter Eraser (First Line Press, 2015). “I want these books to get into people’s hands, so I work hard with the publisher to promote them. Both collections include poems that have accumulated over many years. In Daughter Eraser there are three movements about different kinds of erasure of women: early childhood family poems, romantic and friendship relationships, patriarchal erasures.” “I describe the poems in Hen and God as personal experiences of patriarchy, different voices grappling with patriarchy and binary thinking in different ways. I didn’t consciously try to write a book like that, but it happened. I’ve considered myself a feminist for a long time and tried to deal with my situation as a woman in America, how, for instance, gender intersects with class or race to make up the specific way you experience being a woman in a patriarchal society.”

Will Jones’s SLO High School class -1995. Amber was in his class, sitting with the striped shirt. D E C E M B E R


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Amber is excited to share her book launch with her home town, her friends and her family. Zeb, a San Francisco State graduate in theater and a puppeteer who is a successful video game producer, will be on stage, and Anita, soon to retire from Cal Poly after thirty-two years, will be in the audience. It promises to be a classic San Luis Obispo experience, a celebration of a successful hometown woman sharing her talents with the world.


spring. Besides the obvious more immediate concerns regarding public education and public safety, how does SLO want to position itself for the medium-term future? Can SLO become a center for manufacturing and laboratory testing, create real jobs, and think beyond the short-term issues of recreational consumption?

Palm Street Perspective

Plastic to pensions and Pot. Thinking differently, thinking ahead


By SLO City Councilwoman, Carlyn Christianson

he City’s recent moves to “straws by request” and away from the use of plastic bottles and cups on city property or at city events—ideas brought to the Council by dedicated local residents and nonprofits—were intended as a relatively gentle nudge towards thinking with a bigger picture in mind than we usually do. Plastic waste fills our landfills and general environment, and these citizen proposals were simple ways to begin thinking differently about our lifestyle choices and what exactly the price of convenience really is. Truly our little community and the world at large must act differently, think further ahead, and make different choices from those we have made in the past. Our community must talk about the real and difficult challenges we presently face, if we are going to thrive and survive in the future. This was the message from Chris Thornberg, an internationally recognized economist, at the November Central Coast Economic Forecast.

What are the crucial issues? Mr. Thornberg had a good list. Some of his big worries must be addressed in different arenas (see—but some issues have already reached the forefront in SLO: “the medium term”, water policy, housing, lack of infrastructure investment, wealth inequality, and lack of engagement. Included within this list is the especially gnarly matter of pensions and entitlements.

Meanwhile, SLO’s comprehensive General Plan, which governs so many areas involving our quality of life, looks ahead 20 years—well into “the medium term”—and right now the city is updating its zoning and fee regulations to ensure our ability to support these General Plan policies and programs. And although SLO has long adopted innovative water management policies and practices, we are currently continuing to explore the true costs of water infrastructure and how to pay for it. Of course housing has been an ongoing hot topic for many years and is a current City Major Goal. What’s different is reflective of Mr. Thornberg’s alarm: there is growing awareness that without more housing, and soon, there is no way to employ the labor force needed to support our economy and therefore our lives. Nurses, police officers, restaurant workers, teachers, sales staff, artists, reporters, sanitation workers, plumbers, engineers….Working people! Workers need a place to live or they just don’t live here, and that is not good for our economy, our economic sustainability or our quality of life. Staff will be presenting a synopsis this spring of new state laws that strongly promote more housing.

City government actions to increase housing stock, right-size city fees and charges, maintain water security, develop public infrastructure investment strategies, address fiscal shortfalls and looming liabilities, increase economic stability with longer-term environmentally and fiscally sustainable solutions around housing, transportation and jobs…how are these topics all tied together? Civic engagement! All of these issues require the public’s engagement to decide which solutions are pragmatically, politically and financially realistic. SLO is at the forefront here, too, with its renowned budget and goal setting process, the updated city website, virtual town halls, community feedback meetings (“open houses”), better stakeholder outreach, Council study sessions, and social media connections. Our residents can sign up for regular notification emails by topic via the city’s website and are encouraged to get involved at any level. Note I’m not talking about meetings necessarily—emails, letters, electronic participation, and simply voting in city elections all are great ways to engage meaningfully. Help direct our city’s future into solidly tackling our biggest challenges by thinking differently and thinking ahead. I look forward to hearing from you!

As an aside, city cannabis regulations are also coming up for Council decision in the


So what exactly is the city doing? San Luis Obispo is ramping up to dive further into solutions as I write. On December 12, as part of the City’s Major Goal set earlier this year, staff will present an outline and options to tackle some crucial ongoing fiscal challenges. This presentation will officially begin the difficult conversations needed to ensure the city’s economic sustainability, fiscal responsibility and public investment needs going forward, including what the city must do to address the unfunded pension liabilities conundrum and looming vital infrastructure needs.


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weekend getaway

the living desert bringing world’s deserts to life By Ray Cauwet


here are several famous zoos in California, but none are solely devoted to the plants and animals found in the deserts of the world. That’s what The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens does. Located in Palm Desert, the combination zoo and gardens encompasses 1,200 acres. It provides environmental education, native wildlife habilitation, plant propagation and wildlife conservation for African and North American Desert species. It is divided roughly in half between North American and African plants and animals. The zoo is home to more than 450 animals. These literally go from A to Z, such as addax to zebra. There are giraffes you can feed and others, such as jaguars, mountain lions, cheetahs and leopards, that would like to feed on you. There are camels you can ride for $5 and African livestock you can pet. There are daily chats with keepers about jaguars, cheetahs, leopards and reptiles. In addition, there are live amphitheater shows, an endangered species carousel to enjoy and meet and greet sessions with animals at the Discovery Center. The gardens have more than 1,400 plant species and immersive botanicals. There are 60 specialized gardens to visit. Featured are species found in the Mojave, Chihuahuan, Colorado and Sonoran Deserts. These include several hundred palm trees representing more than 50 species from around the world, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, more than 49 species of agaves, nine of 12 known species of ocotillos and even some ferns from the Jurassic period. In addition, there are plants native to Madagascar and East Africa. This is the largest collection of African plants and trees in North America. All of the species are expertly displayed and aptly described. One part of the zoo I found fascinating was the Tennity Wildlife Hospital and Conservation Center. This is a “Mayo Clinic’ for animals and is recognized as “One of the finest animal hospitals in the nation.”

A Jaguar enjoys watching visitors. D E C E M B E R


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A Greater Kudu welcomes visitors to the park. The Kudu is a woodland antelope found in the eastern part of Africa.

The hospital is 24,000 square feet in size and has everything one would expect to find in a human hospital. It has operating and treatment rooms for large and small animals, intensive care sections, recovery areas, “patient” holding rooms, x-rays, an ultra-sound device and a laboratory with a centrifuge. Visitors can observe surgeries and exams being done for the large or small animals through glass walls. A 20-minute video shows the facilities and a few surgeries. The hospital has a full-time veterinarian, veterinarian technicians and assistants. It relies on visiting board-certified veterinarians with specialized training, such as in surgery, dentistry, internal medicine, oncology, eye disease, and ear, nose and throat, to perform the various services. According to Saldy Portacio, registered veterinary technician, ”The hospital has the capability to deal with any condition that humans may have. We can do surgeries to remove kidney stones, tumors and cataracts, as well as treat diabetes, cancer or dental problems.” The animals don’t have “Obama Care,” but do get yearly physicals. Most of the animals come to the hospital for services. The larger ones are treated where they live. “It’s often difficult to diagnose what’s wrong with an animal, particularly the small ones like a hummingbird. We have to rely on the observations of the keepers for that purpose, such as whether or not an animal is flying or eating. There are challenges working with all the animals, but I love being here,” Portacio said. Another unusual exhibit is the Bighorn Railroad. It is one of the leading G-Scale model railroads in the world. In model railroad

Cactus Blossom in one of 60 specialized gardens featuring 1400 plant species.

HOME/OUTDOOR Veterinary Technician Saldy Portacio examines a Lizard in the small animal treatment room.


The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens offers ample opportunities to observe and appreciate the animals and plants of the world’s deserts. Great care has been taken to create natural habitats for the animals where they can be easily seen. Information is provided about the animals’ histories, daily lives and any challenges they may face. Equal care has been given in the re-creations of the 21 specialized gardens. The Tennity Wildlife Hospital, the Bighorn Railroad, zoo keeper chats and other activities add to the overall enjoyment. This is definitely a place one should visit on any trip to the Palm Springs area.

language, G-Scale is the largest type with structures reaching 12 inches tall. The railroad began as a tabletop display in 1998 and over time expanded to its present size. The railroad has 3.000 feet of brass tracks and the world’s longest G-Scale trestle at 202 feet. Twenty-five trains run along the rails from Oct. 1 through June 1. During the summer, it gets too hot for the engines to operate. The trains follow a route that takes them by 200 buildings, representing the various desert towns. One building is an exact replica of the Indio Rail Station. All the buildings were created by volunteers. Great effort has been made to provide an accurate depiction of the area’s rich past. According to Jose Acre, supervisor of the Bighorn Railroad, “This is a fun place and a way to connect the trains with the guests. It shows the role the trains played in the development of the west.” The park is open daily Oct. 1 to May 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and June 1 to Sept. 31 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors and military, and $9.95 for children 3 to 12. For information, call 760-346-5694 or LIVINGDESERT.ORG.All facilities are handicapped accessible and there is a shuttle covering the various areas. A nominal fee is charged.

elebrate the season at The Villages! Your cheeks will be rosy and spirits bright with wine, appetizers and plenty of festive entertainment.

One of the largest G-Scale model Railroads in the world. D E C E M B E R


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at the market Pumpkin Spice Muffins By Sarah Hedger


ecember is upon us and with that an abundance of Winter produce options at the market. Apples are in full swing, with the cooling temperatures giving them their sweetness. Pomegranates and persimmons are also in season, and two favorites I have fond memories of devouring for most of my childhood. Both the firm and soft persimmons lead to great snacks and baked goods. Winter squash and pumpkins are also at their prime this month, which was the inspiration for this month’s recipe, Pumpkin Spice Muffins. Citrus also begins to ripen this month with the cooler temps, which gives us something fresh to look forward to in our diets. In the greens category, there are brussels sprouts, swiss chard, spinach,

and cabbage that are great this time of year. Thus, lots of great options to be had! Winter is a great time to bake as the benefits are more than two-fold with the oven warming the house, the smell of baked goodness, as well as the final product. I had been wanting a healthy, pumpkin snack, that was low in sugar, while being whole food enough to not cause me to be hungrier after I had eaten it. Pumpkins are amazing to have around as they keep for a long time in their natural state, as well as being super easy to roast (whole in the oven for a couple hours), then having perfect, roast pumpkin puree on hand for anything from smoothies, to stews, to these baked muffins. I made them with almond flour and a little coconut flour, which

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Pumpkin Spice Muffins Makes 8 medium-sized muffins For The Muffins: 1 cup pumpkin puree (or 1 cup roasted, mashed pumpkin) or, persimmon puree instead! ½ cup almond butter 2 eggs ¼ cup coconut oil, melted 2 T maple syrup or dark brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla ¼ cup almond flour 2 T coconut flour 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp fresh ground nutmeg 1 tsp ground ginger ½ tsp baking soda provides healthy fats, fiber, and proteins, without any gluten. Even if you are not gluten free, it is nice to mix it up sometimes, and to go grain free means to incorporate something other than carbohydrates, which is good variety for our bodies as well. Pumpkins are high in beta carotene, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Thus, instead of being tempted by the convenience of a can of pumpkin, go to the market and reach for a local, whole pumpkin! Avoiding any other ingredients in the tin can is always a good thing, and the resulting product will always taste better as it will be...fresh! I have watched the best of chefs wrestle with peeling, deseeding, and chopping a round pumpkin, however there are few things easier than putting the whole, entire pumpkin in the oven for a couple hours and removing perfectly, steam roasted pumpkin. It is a beautiful thing! These muffins also have no unrefined sugars, while being dairy free (without the topping), which again, sometimes makes for easier digestion for our bodies as well. Find fresh, local walnuts as they are also in season, and they add beautiful crunch, as well as healthy fats and fiber as well. Almond butter is a bit of the “secret” ingredient as it helps to make the muffins moist and slightly nutty, without lending a strong almond flavor. The spices round out the flavor we know and love of pumpkin with warming cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla. Think pumpkin pie, in a convenient muffin form! If you want to live on the edge a little, the cream cheese topping is a great addition to make them more of a special treat, without being too naughty! Without the topping, the muffins can be frozen as well to make for a convenient snack for anytime of the day. And, lastly, if you aren’t a pumpkin fan, feel free to use mashed persimmon, or roast apples instead and they would work as a treat. Enjoy and happy December!

1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp sea salt 1 cup walnut pieces Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin tins. Blend pumpkin, almond butter, eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in large bowl. Sift in dry ingredients (except walnuts) and mix well. Fold in walnuts and let sit for 10 minutes. Drop batter into prepared muffin tins, filling 2/3rds full. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool. While cooling, prepare optional topping: 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature ⅓ cup coconut oil or butter, melted 2 T maple syrup 1 tsp vanilla ½ tsp ground nutmeg

Whip topping ingredients together until smooth. Once muffins are cool, spoon topping on top and enjoy!!



Paso art scene

Dennis Curry It’s about plein air Painting By Dennis Curry


o paint or draw a subject is to own it in a way unlike any other. I discovered this as a boy taken to exploring nature and seeking my connection to it all. I can truly say this discovery has served me very well on life’s journey in a remarkable world. Over the past few years I have been doing more painting on location. This style is called Plein Air, or “open air,” referring to creating a work of art outside. As a member of SLOPE (San Luis Obispo Outdoor Painters for the Environment) I have worked with the Land Conservancy raising funds for the Pismo Preserve, Dana Adobe, and Pacific Wildlife Care as well as ventured into new areas of interest with fellow painters. Most recently I was invited by the SLO Museum of Art to participate in their Point Buchon Trail Plein Air Exhibition. In October I spent a week as a guest of the US Department of the Interior for an Artist in Residence at the Whiskytown Shasta-Trinity National Recreation area in northern California. This was my first solo Plein Air experience and I found it quite wonderful to be able to indulge in complete spontaneity in exploring and choosing painting locations. One of the challenges I have always found with Plein Air painting is in deciding where I want to settle down and paint. For most of my 50 years as a professional artist I have relied on the camera to record things of interest and then had the luxury of working in my studio to compose my image. This allowed me to more thoroughly explore new areas and give me a greater understanding of the environment, as well as gather a lot of reference material. By going out with other artists, I learned to pick a location and get with the painting. Working on location gives the advantage of spending hours with one scene and experiencing the changing light and moods of the spot and perhaps meet some of the wildlife as they go about their business. This way I have found the ability to stay in one spot continually for hours in nature, to become involved in the timeless process of painting, submerged in and surrounded by my subject. D E C E M B E R


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When painting on location I concentrate first on sketching out the important elements of the composition and their relationships and movement. This is where I find the advantage of Plein Air. The freedom to adjust compositional elements comes much easier than when using photo reference. I really can keep in the knowledge that it’s just a random set of shapes and color and can be played with as is my fancy, (artistic license). I will generally spend 2 - 4 hours at a given location concentrating on establishing the composition and values not worrying too much about color. I try and take a photo every 1/2 hour or so which gives me valuable information about how the light moved and what time of day I want to concentrate on in finishing the painting. It’s a level of freedom with my work that feels quite singular. When I left the African Safaris behind some 20 years ago after many visits as a printmaker I decided the next visit I wanted to go back as a painter and concentrate on working Plein Air. This June I hope to have an artist in residency in Kenya along the Mara River. It will be a dream fulfilled. I am a resident artist at Studios on the Park, 1130 Pine Street in Paso Robles, displaying and hosting a wide variety of art and artists creating in their resident studios. Please come by and view my latest works along with selected work from my 50 years as a professional artist. Studios is open Monday- Wednesday 12-4, Thursday and Sunday 126, Friday and Saturday 12-9. For my current weekly hours either check the website and click on my artist link or feel free to contact me at

A Retirement F COMMUNITY 27

Slo Art Scene

Even though the prospect of m future, you owe it to yourself to carefree living in your own home

bryn forbes:

A light behind every window at the slo museum of art

You Don’t Have to Move

By Karen Kile


elving into the mystery of individual existence in modern life is the theme of “A Light Behind Every Window” according to the presenting artist Bryn Forbes. On view in the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art through January 28, 2018, this exhibition focuses on city scapes from around the world colliding in color-filled images, illustrating how frenzied and isolated people are becoming in the worlds of glass and steel, buildings, and vehicles, and screens.

Collapsing the incredible complexity of a three-dimensional city into flat layers of chaos simulates the feeling Bryn Forbes gets from seat 12F on final approach to LAX. He’s processing how incredibly complex a city is—imagining a blueprint for every window, every faded and chipped sign, every coat on a hook, every picture on a refrigerator—all in one’s brain, all at the same moment. Bryn Forbes grew up in San Luis Obispo, then continued his high tech career in the Bay Area and Research Triangle of North Carolina. Merging his interests, he opened The Bryn Forbes Gallery in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon, and now has brought his artistry back to San Luis Obispo. He combines photography, mosaics, digital paintings, mathematically-generated art and is perpetually overworking his cameras, his computers, and his CNC routers as tools of artistic exploration. A Light Behind Every Window asks how art, technology, and architecture affect empathy, community, connection and isolation. Bryn Forbes is also the Art at High Noon guest speaker on December 7, 2017 at SLOMA. The public is invited to bring a lunch and enjoy a feast for the eyes with Art at High Noon, an art appreciation program for working adults that fits perfectly within a lunch hour. Admission is free and open to the public.

Feel Sa

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viding and promoting diverse visual arts experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, education, creation and “She he collaboration. It preserves the artistic legacy of the California Central person Coast in its permanent collection.can Sincebe 1967 this organization has All of our services provided She sho been the beacon for the visual arts in its region. The Museum of Art is daily, weekly, or on an as-needed basis. currently raising $15 million for a new home on its present location. very re You pay about for only the services you need More information the Museum of Art is available online at dows!” and we. provide those services at a price

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Dr. Ping Tsao ... “There is life after retirement” By Susan Stewart


n the quiet majesty of the Sequoia National Forest, Dr. Ping Tsao’s father delivered the advice that would lead to a 37-year career as one of the most respected physicians in our county. “You lack the self-discipline and imagination to be a graduate student in science,” he declared on a camping trip during Ping’s early college years. “You should Ping and his Father go to medical school.” (Despite the deadpan delivery, the humor in it was not lost on Tsao. Medical school is no picnic. But it started the wheels turning nonetheless.) Today, as Dr. Tsao attempts to retire (he is still working four days a month), he reflects on the three generations of physicians who came before him (Tsao is the fourth and his son is the fifth) and is happy to report that, “My self-worth is not tied to being a physician and plastic surgeon,” he said. “So far, there is life after career and not boredom or loneliness.” Lucky for us. Born in Washington, D.C. and raised there ‘til age 12, Tsao moved to Manhattan Beach, California, when his father took a job working on the Lunar Lander descent engine. Yep, his Dad, Eugene Tsao, was

quite literally a “rocket scientist.” Raised in Shanghai, Eugene earned his doctorate in metallurgic engineering from Michigan, and later became head of research for the U.S. Navy’s Polaris program. Tsao’s mother, Lian Tsao, was a hospital dietician whose brother, father, and grandfather were all physicians. “She trained at Johns Hopkins,” said Tsao, “and it was her social skills that were passed to me—and I think are so much of my bedside manner.”

Ping and his wife Su

Son Kenyon’s Graduation from Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland 2008 D E C E M B E R


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happy childhood—he has one sister—close to each other, but also very involved with their friends and neighbors. “I did not speak Chinese and never lived in an ethnically Chinese community,” he said, “the goal of the times being to ‘be American’.” His father encouraged Ping to learn how to fix things, including rebuilding his first car, and to help in the garden. To this day Tsao’s love of cars endures; as does his dislike for gardening! But it was the concept of “paying it forward” that has made the most indelible mark. “That was something I remember my parents doing many times,” Tsao explained, “ taking in relatives as they emigrated to the U.S., or taking in friends when health and mental health troubles needed a refuge.” Ping in surgery

Learning the value of balance in life early on, Tsao said his parents emphasized “being studious” but exposed him to the outdoors in equal measure. His parents were members of the Sierra Club, and Eugene took up backpacking in the early ‘60s. Ping describes a

Tsao earned his B.A. in chemistry from U.C. Berkeley, his M.D. from U.C. Irvine, and then completed a 5-year pre-requisite surgical residency before entering his formal residency in plastic surgery in 1978.

Ping with grandson Matthes

“That was early in the use of microsurgery to re-attach severed limbs and use muscle for flap reconstruction,” he added.

Tsao would serve at UC Irvine Medical Center, St. Joseph’s of Orange, the Long Beach V.A., and Rancho Los Amigos for cleft lip and palate. He moved to San Luis Obispo in 1980, where he ran a solo private practice in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for 37 years.







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COMMUNITY Hospital, and Board Chairman there for ten years. “One of my proudest accomplishments was guiding French Hospital through the transition from its last two for-profit owners to Catholic Healthcare West / Dignity Health,” he said. “Today, French is one of the nation’s best hospitals for quality measures.” Tsao has been married to his wife, Su (nee Jenkins) for the past 42 years. Su is an R.N. with early experience teaching paramedics. Together, they raised two children here—a daughter Danika, and a son Kenyon. Kenyon is an emergency medicine physician at French and Arroyo Grande hospitals. Danika is an environmental scientist for the Department of Water Resources in Sacramento – and the mother of Tsao’s first grandchild, a boy, Matthes, born recently.

Camping on Blueridge Mountains of Virginia.

In the early years of that practice, Tsao operated on numerous facial bone fractures from ATC crashes on the Oceano Dunes. He saw the immediate injuries of burn victims and later did their scar reconstructions at General Hospital’s Burn Unit. And surgery of the hand was also in his scope of practice. “Interestingly, my last case was with Dr. Jim Lawler where we re-attached several fingers on a medical person who returned to full function a few months later,” he said. During those years, Tsao also served on the staffs at French, Sierra Vista, Arroyo Grande, and Twin Cities hospitals; was president of the SLO County Medical Society in the ‘90s; was Chief of Staff at French

It has taken a while to shutter his old office, but once done, Tsao continues his dedication to “paying it forward” in so many ways. In all of his community service, Tsao said he has steadfastly avoided even the appearance of financial conflicts. “This community needs medical care of the highest quality possible … and that care should be as free as possible from profit motive,” he explains. “My role now [at French Hospital] is proudly observing the professional and ethical character of the young physicians who lead at French.” He also serves on the Board of Directors for the SLO Botanical Garden (for the past 10 years); and has put in a decade on the Board of the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center—where he recruited Cliff Swanson to join, a feat he considers his “best” achievement. Tsao has a long list of goals for the future: shedding some of the material things he’s accumulated during a prosperous life; watching his children and grandchildren stay connected; hiking, swimming, biking and first love, deep powder skiing in the trees of British Colombia. And he has no trouble listing the things he does for fun: Cooking dinner for groups, and breakfast for his wife, throwing 4th of July block parties (for 33 years now!), hiking the Felsman Loop at Bishop Peak, biking with a neighborhood group of senior men, indulging his love for sports cars and motorcycles, and avoiding gardening, relegating that task to his wife, Su. Number One on that list, however, is “living a life of balance.” He may—as his father once joked—have lacked the discipline and imagination required for life as a serious scientist, but Dr. Ping Tsao has demonstrated enough of both to achieve what eludes so many of us: a life as full and rich with hard work and success as it is with fun, love of family, and generosity toward others.

Ping and Powder D E C E M B E R


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Season of giving


Sheriff’s christmas bike giveaway By Tony Cipolla

and will be donating all of them to the Sheriff’s Office Bicycle Program. If you would like to request a bike from this event or the December 15th giveaway, please request an application from the e-mail address listed below or go to the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office website.


he Season of Giving is here! The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff ’s Office Christmas Bike Program is currently seeking helmet donations for the Christmas Bike Giveaway which will be held on Friday, December 15th at 10:00 AM at the Sheriff ’s Honor Farm. This program was set up 28 years ago to promote the holiday spirit by giving away refurbished bicycles and new helmets to underprivileged children in San Luis Obispo County. Due to the generosity of the people of this County, the program has continued to be a big success. We are having an early kick off to the event on Thursday, December 7th at 6:00 PM at the San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market thanks to The Sandlot Group of San Luis Obispo. The Sandlot Group works towards building character, confidence and community through sports. They are a local non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of sport and overall health for youth in our community. They have graciously agreed to purchase $10,000 worth of bikes from Arts Cyclery

Currently, the Sheriff’s Office Honor Farm is the assembly point for bicycles that are donated and in need of repair. Inmates who are housed at the Honor Farm make the repairs. The program instills in the inmates a positive work ethic, self-respect and a sense of worth to the community.

This year we are partnering with Bike SLO County, who provided a professional bike mechanic to mentor the inmates on repairing bicycles. Bike SLO County will be on-site at the December 15 event to provide helmet adjustments and talk to children about bike safety. Individuals and businesses who wish to donate children’s bicycles helmets can bring the helmet to any of the Sheriff’s Office Patrol stations or to the Sheriff’s Honor Farm located on Highway 1. If you would like to make a monetary contribution for the purchase of parts or helmets, please send a check to: Sheriff’s Advisory Council Attn: Bicycle Fund P.O. Box 3752 San Luis Obispo, CA 93403 Please note: we are no longer accepting adult bicycles and will take only children’s bicycles. If you know a child in need of a bicycle, please e-mail Sergeant Matt Andrews at: to request a Christmas Bicycle Application or visit



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Harriet G. Eddy Part 1

By Joe Carotenuti


hose enthralled with local history soon discover not all the important players in the community drama were residents or even acquainted, more than superficially, with the area. Andrew Carnegie comes to mind. A prominent historical figure, his donations to build libraries across America and the world, including two in San Luis Obispo County, profoundly enriched lives. Yet, he didn’t live in this state. Indeed, records indicate he traveled only once to California. Passing through the County on the rails in 1910, he stopped–not to visit–but to navigate around a collapsed tunnel through the Cuesta Pass. Records indicate another noteworthy individual visited the county a few times but left the seeds for remarkable advances in community life…and may not have even realized the results of her efforts. Just who was this California leader named Harriet Gertrude Eddy? A pioneer in the State library system including San Luis Obispo County, she is also remembered as helping the Bolshevists establish a library system in the post-revolutionary Russia. Here’s the story. For most any community in America, the library stands alongside city hall and the fire department as local icons of the political and cultural centers of life. Yet, free public libraries in the Golden State have had a relatively recent career. For this county, the official city oversight for one dates to 1897 while the county’s efforts start much later in 1919. In order to convince the various County Boards of Supervisors to allocate funds to create centers of enlightenment and entertainment, a diminutive, classically-trained lady was unleased upon anyone wanting the keepers of the budgets to share a little revenue to buy books. Harriet G. Eddy, affectionately known in college as “Mighty Mite” for her 5’3” stature and her academic determination and fortitude, was born in 1876 in Lexington, Michigan. Her parents were even

Andrew Carnegie D E C E M B E R


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supportive enough to encourage her to seek an advanced education at the Methodist supported Albion College founded in 1835 and still a private liberal arts institution. There, Harriet pursued a classical education including classes in English, German, Greek, and Latin among other courses of equal vigor. French was her one elective. After graduation in 1896, she taught Latin in her hometown high school before enrolling in post-graduate studies. To anyone in her day, she was destined for the world of academia…and a long way from California. Yet, for her, life became more than classrooms and books. Enticed to explore, she left the academic field, traveled in Europe for three months and returned to teach in Montana. In 1906, she joined her sister in Elk Grove, California and eventually local history. Rather than pursuing an academic life, the thirty-year-old Harriet begins a pioneering venture as the first female principal of Elk Grove High School founded in 1893…the first union high school district in California. At the time, 16 elementary school districts voted to tax themselves to support the high school. Teaching in

COMMUNITY A temporary solution at best, in October 1908, “Mighty Mite” wrote a letter that changed her life and untold numbers of Californians as well. She contacted another pioneer in the saga of county libraries, James L. Gillis. Gillis, a political appointee as State Librarian (1898-1917), had been working diligently to establish a statewide library system through legislative entitlements. Her letter requesting improved services for her students was enough for him to send books (free) for anyone to read. Thus, Elk Grove High School became the first “station”–branch library–in the state.

James L. Gillis

addition to administrative duties, she seems to have impressed the students as to selfreliance. They declared in their constitution she didn’t have “time to teach and have to discipline us, too…” They promised “to take care of ourselves.” Having considerate students was helpful but a major obstacle for them was the lack of accreditation primarily caused by the absence of a library. Without one, a student needed to attend another year at an accredited school to qualify for college admission. Obviously attentive to academic pursuits, Eddy was not willing to wait for others to solve the problem. Instead, she convinced the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union located next door to establish a small library for student use. They could use the resource during the day and Eddy manned the library in the evenings for community use.

Elk Grove Plaque at first branch Library.

He also invited Eddy to address the annual California Library Association meeting the following spring. Her message resounded with enthusiasm for books. She concluded her remarks by wishing “every little waystation, and out-of-the-way station, (would be) gladdened as little Elk Grove has been.”


$2000 per year, was not subject to local control. In her collected papers, Eddy presents a litany of issues. Yet, she persisted until the Boards of Supervisors issued “resolutions of intentions,” a promise to eventually establish a county library. The Gillis-Eddy combination was reminiscent of the marriage promise of “until death do us part” and death ended the partnership – that of Gillis in 1917. Eddy continued but resigned the next year. By then, 40 counties (out of 58) had complied with the “letters of intention” and/or library implementation. In this county, the intention was passed in 1915 but went no further. Contact: Visit:

Gillis was impressed as the speech complimented his efforts and became its own clarion call for library services. Eddy remembered: “…at once the State Librarian asked me to join his staff and organize county libraries. When I said, ‘But I am a teacher, not an organizer.’ He said, ‘It will be the same thing. You will teach the county officials how to establish one.’ It seems so simple that I agreed, and thus became another ‘First’, the first county organizer in California, and probably in the U.S.A.” So, began a heroic nine-year career carried by a missionary’s determination to convince the various Boards of Supervisors to establish a county library, appoint certificated personnel with salaries fixed by law and launch branches throughout their jurisdictions. Except for the determination of salaries, the fundamental model remains today. If Gillis had the vision and political acumen to advocate for local centers of literacy, it was Eddy who carried the message throughout the state. The partnership couldn’t have been a better combination. Her success was immense…almost including this county. While enjoying the modern library, few patrons appreciate the grueling marathon of travel, meetings and, of course, the criticism to establish just one such service in each county. Wouldn’t the system be a monopoly controlled by Sacramento? How would communities maintain their individuality? The library levy (two cents per $100 assessment) would increase taxation and the fixed salary,

805 Aerovista #103, San Luis Obispo



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our schools

The December Dilemma, Religion and our schools By James J. Brescia, Ed.D. County Superintendent of Schools

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” ~FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE U.S. CONSTITUTION Each day millions of families from diverse religious backgrounds entrust the education of their children to our nation’s public schools. Employees within our public schools need to be fully informed about the Constitutional and educational principles for understanding the role of religion in public education. According to religious scholars, the phrase “separation of church and state” was initially coined by Baptists striving for religious toleration in Virginia, whose official state religion was then Anglican (Episcopalian). Baptists thought government limitations against religion were illegitimate. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were reported to have championed their cause. During the American holiday season, tax-payer funded schools often face the “December Dilemma” or end up between “a rock and a hard place.” Confusion occurs during the holiday season because the issue of religious expression in public schools can become more visible in some situations. Questions about the use of religious icons, sacred music, and certain decorations in the classroom place the matter of “separation of church and state” before students, parents, faculty, staff, administration, and community members. The preamble of the Act Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia (1786), affirms that “the Author of our Religion gave us our ‘free will.’” Moreover, that He “chose not to propagate it by coercions.” This legislation did not diminish religious influence on government because it also provided stiff penalties for conducting business on the Sabbath. Legal experts and scholars contend that the Constitution does not inhibit public displays of faith. At the Constitution’s ratification, the early Republic even welcomed public worship. Church services were held in the U.S. Capitol and Treasury buildings every Sunday. Today in many federal buildings there is imagery that remains unmistakably biblical. So where does this leave our government-funded and operated public schools? Academics and lawyers advise that when public schools hold holiday celebrations, they should make every effort to accommodate diverse faiths during the holiday season. Students cannot be forced to participate in any event that offends his or her religious beliefs. Legal experts recommend accommodations such as including different customs, various songs, and varied traditional foods at parties or other in-school events. However, assemblies dominated by religious music may raise Constitutional concerns. There are three major principles that form the United States Supreme Court’s consensus on teaching about religion in public schools: 1) The Court has indicated that study about religion in public schools is Constitutional. 2) Inclusion of study about religion is important in order for students to be properly educated about history and cultures. 3) Religions must be taught objectively and neutrally. D E C E M B E R


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The Court has determined that schools may celebrate the holidays and create displays as long as they so do within “the context of the Christmas Season” and the religious component of their display does not dominate, but simply represents one element of a holiday that has obtained secular status in our society. Lynch v. Donnelly, 465.U.S. 668, 679, and 691 (1984). Under this ruling, a Christmas tree would be appropriate while a cross or a nativity scene would not be appropriate. Crosses and nativity scenes are religious symbols that have not gained same secular status in our society as a Christmas tree. Religious icons present a constitutional dilemma when visible in public displays. Balancing the legal conditions, past practices, and community expectations can present a challenge for even the most experienced school official. The government should make every effort to acknowledge appropriate recognition of religion in American society and avoid encouraging any particular religious beliefs. Through personal experiences as a student in the Santa Clara Unified School District and as a public school employee, I have observed that the public can be confused about how to deal with religion in our government schools. Opinions can become very polarized with minimal dialogue about positive and legal compromise. Constitutional scholars and the courts have published reports and briefs on the matter with recommendations that can assist our actions. The framers held that church and state are distinct in that the Federal Government should not elevate one denomination over others. Nor can the government or the citizenry usurp divine authority by joining politics to the church. Faith should remain a personal matter, not a civil contract tainted by politics. Historical scholars detail how statecontrolled churches can exploit power for mistreatment of the population under their jurisdiction. The Spanish Inquisition is not thought to have originated in the Vatican, but the Castilian court. Even our non-Christian founders wrote about the importance of religion and how freedom of religion is vital. A portion of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Within these few words are contained two very powerful concepts, separated by only a comma. On the one hand is the prohibition against the state (i.e. government) establishing or supporting religious belief or practice called the “establishment” clause. On the other hand is the “free exercise” clause that guarantees the religious freedom of American citizens, including students in public schools. Some general guidelines recommended by legal and civil liberties advisors will guide us in allowing these two equally important freedoms to coexist in our schools. 1. Religion is a very personal matter, and individual students are free to express their religious beliefs in school as long as it does not interfere with other students, or with the instructional program. 2. Religion is too important to our history and heritage for us to keep it out of our schools when addressed within the context of the instructional program. We can study about religion without promoting or supporting a particular religious viewpoint in school. 3. Students are a captive audience. The law requires school attendance, and schools need to be sensitive to practices that may offend students whose families hold religious beliefs that are not shared by the majority. There are some accepted legal “tests” to guide us in this area. Schools should include a study of a variety of holidays and religious traditions throughout the year.


5. Schools should remember that even though symbols such as Santa Claus and trees have become much commercialized, some nonChristian parents and students may interpret these as religious. The best solution is to remember our educational role and to provide secular instruction about religious traditions without advocating any particular religion.



6. It is very appropriate for our public schools to teach values, such as respect, honesty, caring, hard work and responsibility. Just because public schools may not promote religion does not mean we avoid promoting the traditional core values of our American society. 7. Finally, when a question about religion in schools surfaces, it is often an ideal “teaching opportunity” to have students explore the meaning of the First Amendment to our Constitution. Controversial issues can serve as excellent debate topics in our classrooms if appropriately moderated. The “December Dilemma” is usually handled in our schools without problems. However, we need to remember that when government and religion occupy the same room, the space between “a rock and a hard place” can become very narrow. References Available on Request

© StatePoint Media

STATEPOINT CROSSWORD THEME: FAMOUS POETS ACROSS 1. Skilled practice 6. Suitable 9. Golf hazard 13. Saint ____ of the Caribbean 14. Placeholder surname 15. Strapping 16. Whatsoever 17. Ever, to a poet 18. Tree common to Pacific Northwest 19. *”O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done...” 21. *”Come live with me and be my love...” 23. Center of activity 24. Romanov ruler 25. It’s wheels go round and round 28. Place for a hero 30. Between hexad and octad 35. Like a hand-me-down 37. Be inclined 39. Muralist Rivera

40. Hold sway 41. Strongboxes 43. F.B.I. operative 44. One who names 46. Justice’s garb 47. “Wheel of Fortune” choice 48. Swell or very good 50. Antonym of “is” 52. Next to nothing 53. Metal leaf 55. Ship pronoun 57. *”’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves...” 61. Study of rocks 65. Bye, to FranÁois Hollande 66. Electric swimmer 68. ____-Goldwyn-Mayer 69. *Pablo Neruda had two: a pen and a given 70. Tiny guitar 71. SAG member 72. “Star ____” 73. Observe 74. Feed the fire

DOWN 1. Eagle’s talons 2. ____ Bader Ginsburg 3. Berry high in antioxidants 4. Foul matter 5. Ancient rabbinic writings 6. Port in Yemen 7. *”Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary...” 8. 4 in a school year 9. *Dickinson: “Tell all the truth but ____ it slant” 10. Make over 11. Not many 12. Cremation pile 15. Like prison cell windows 20. Aids and ____ 22. Expression of pleasure 24. Kitchen cover 25. *”O my Luve is like a red, red rose...” 26. Nothing out of the ordinary 27. Alabama civil rights site 29. *”The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to

sea in a beautiful pea-green boat...” 31. Never, or when these fly 32. Dancer’s beat 33. “Encore!” 34. *”Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful...” 36. Adele’s “Rolling in the ____” 38. Young socialites, for short 42. Common thing 45. Brownish red 49. Campaign pro 51. *”Do not go gentle into that good night...” 54. Intestinal obstruction 56. Choose a president 57. Not in optimist’s vocabulary? 58. Month of Purim 59. Ice on a window 60. Smell badly 61. High school musical club 62. “The Simpsons” palindrome 63. Get the picture 64. Of long ago 67. ____ out a living



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eye on business Postcard Project Reflects best of community By Maggie Cox, Barnett Cox & Associates


his time of year our thoughts turn to giving and gratitude and caring, and offers a perfect springboard for my huge thanks to our community for helping Northern California fire victims. I was personally alarmed when news of the fires first hit the media in the early morning hours of October 9. I grew up near the area where the fires were raging and still have friends and family members who call it home. The story got worse and worse as the day went on. By that evening I learned that one of my high school friends had lost her home and several others were staying in evacuation centers. Two high schools where I competed in speech contests were gone; so were stores, hotels and hundreds of homes. Lives had been lost and the fires burned on. We all wanted to help and the response was gratifying. Websites sprang up. My colleague Robin Mitchell Hee’s daughter Rachel Burns, who had been evacuated from her Sonoma State dorm room, came home and jumped in to gather donated items. She worked with Meathead Movers, who loaded up a truck and took the goods north. Vons

and other stores collected funds and the Red Cross did its usual fine work. We had an idea at our office for an additional way to help: soliciting and sending postcards of support. BCA is a firm that works in words, so it made perfect sense to us. We quickly created postcard art (“Sending love and support from San Luis Obispo County”) and sent it to print. We wrote a Viewpoint piece explaining the project and asking for participation and the Tribune graciously said “yes” and ran it the next day. We set up an email address and a phone line, and within minutes of the story being published, emails and calls requesting blank cards were flooding in. Social media picked up the story and we were off and running, flying a bit as to what to expect. We got the ball rolling, asked for help, and boy, did you respond. Besides armloads of cards requested for schools, brownie troops, churches and service clubs, we were touched by helpers like Ray Johnson, who orchestrated the Atascadero Chamber as a North County pick up and drop off location. Mike Framberger called to be a runner picking up completed cards. Anita Robinson came to SLO for a meeting and ferried a batch of cards back over the grade for us. Judith Bean, soon to be retired Arroyo Grande /Grover Beach Chamber exec, helped with South County. Pastor Thom O’Leary’s Mountainbrook Church congregation created individual art piece cards–hundreds of them. Kennedy Fitness took cards, so did Local Rotary Clubs (too many to name) and Kiwanis. Brad Kyker led a big push at Cal Poly. Churches came in. And then there was Mindbody, Hawthorne School, and Mary Harris’ daughter’s Girl Scout troop; Boy Scouts and ladies lunch clubs, and lots of individuals who took cards and worked them in their neighborhoods. It was just amazing. And every time a completed batch came in, we took a look and were moved by the powerful handwritten messages, including one from a fifth grader: “hugs your way and hang in there.” We underestimated response and continually needed additional blank cards. Thank you to our



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friends at Central Coast Printing (Don Glidden), CRS (Tony Westbrook) and the UPS Store at Marigold Center (Ian Sanderson) as well as Cal Poly’s University Graphics (Kenneth Macro and Aly Cunningham ). We asked and they donated. The BCA staff was amazing, pulling the entire project off while juggling regular workloads. We sent our first batch of 500 cards to my sister, Diane, who was a Santa Rosa relief center volunteer and offered to distribute cards. Her follow up spoke volumes: “Nearly every person that I saw that was there to receive help looked like a zombie—totally drained and clearly unable to process even simple information. I don’t think that we can begin to understand what they are going through.” “At my desk, I waited until I was finished assisting an individual and then would hand out one of postcards and say, “This is from friends in San Luis Obispo who care about you.” I wish that you and everyone who helped in that effort could have witnessed the reaction when a fire victim received a hand written post card—the very first person I handed one to was a man who started crying when he read the note.” “It was so heartwarming to see people’s faces light up as they read the cards—truly—they brought big smiles to sad faces and the kindest words of thanks. One couple told me that their daughter had a postcard collection and they were going to give it to her. I was amazed at how many people were clinging to the cards after reading them—it occurred to me that these are people who now have lost everything; a postcard with a warm note is now everything to them. I wish that I could have captured the reactions on video to share with you.” And when we wrapped up the project two weeks later, more than 5,000 cards had been sent and shared. Many lives touched in little ways that truly matter. Thank you, all of you, who lent a hand on this project. And thank you as well to our many friends and neighbors who step up to help with all kinds of community service year round. I am continually moved by the power of community--our community. What a wonderful reflection on which to end this year. Happy holidays.



The Magazine of Downtown SLO

December 2017

Inside: Downtown Perspec t ive Downtown B usiness Spo tlights Mee t O ur Ne west Team Members

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P e r s p e c t i v e


again at Downtown SLO with the construction on Garden Street. I guess you can say I am getting conditioned to construction around me.

appy Holidays, Downtowners! While the weather is cooling down in San Luis Obispo County, activities are heating up here at Downtown SLO. Our 42nd annual Holiday Parade is kicking things off on December 1st and marks one of my all time favorite events that our association produces. It is nice to have an event that happens every year on the first Friday of December, so long as it does not rain. I say that after recent contemplations about how much is changing in our neighborhood.


hat challenge does this pose for us Downtowners? So many inconveniences, depressed sales, frustrations, and closings have occurred over the last decade that it may be difficult to see the changes as a benefit or improvement to our community. Hold on just Dominic Tartaglia, a tick though: those challenges have affected Executive Director many people in very real ways, but have they not also benefited others? Absolutely. With every ecember 31st will mark the end of my 4th year serving as the Executive Director for Downtown SLO construction project that has occurred Downtown we have seen our streetscape change on an almost annual and falls somewhere in the 11th year that I have worked Downtown. Over the last decade, I have seen some pretty basis. Many worry that we will lose the character of our dramatic changes outside my office windows. Back when Downtown. I, too, worry about that, but I also sit in on a lot of meetings related to Downtown development and I was with Tartaglia Realty at 968 Monterey Street (now am confident that appropriate measures are in place to Passport), I watched Court Street turn from a parking lot preserve the charm that has become world renowned. into the attraction that it is today. Meanwhile, the entire north side of the 900 block on Monterey Street was ure, buildings are getting taller and shops are changing, undergoing retrofits for unreinforced masonry. I often joke but they are adapting to the needs of a community that I lived through years of shaking, construction dust, that is evolving and maturing. We have been at this and noise on Monterey Street only to have it surround me since 1772 with the creation of Mission San Luis



On the Cover: The Holiday Tree in Mission Plaza enhances the festive spirit during the month of December, thanks in large part to returning sponsor: Cal Poly Interfraternity Council. Visit for details about all of our holiday activities. Photo by Mukta Naran

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Obispo de Tolosa, and so far, things are working out. I think a lot of that has to do with a key factor: legacy.


un your finger down the registry of Downtown property owners, business owners, and community members, and you will see an abnormally high number of locals and multi-generational people that strive to maintain the balance of the way things used to be and the way they are today. This takes me back to Downtown SLO and our events and why I am so proud of the work this organization does. The fact that we have had a Holiday Parade for the last 42 years is a clear reminder that this community values tradition, while also welcoming updates and a new touch every so often. This year our holiday activities are more inclusive than ever: we welcome the addition of our Jewish community with Hanukkah Downtown on December 12th and the first night of lighting the menorah in Mission Plaza, as well as an entry in the Holiday Parade.


hile some people may express contempt or uneasiness about this, I am beyond excited to have the representation of the Jewish faith. Every year an email

or letter trickles in berating our naming of the parade as a “Holiday Parade” instead of a “Christmas Parade”. I expect to hear from all of those folks again this year, but I would ask you first to consider why a community gathering in one of the best places in the world would be so exclusive. Tradition? I think not. This entire country is founded on the precept of inclusion but has not always done the best job of following through with that. So when it comes to a time when the world is fractured and our communities are being torn apart, I say throw a parade and invite all of the fun loving people in our community. If you want to exclude somebody, ban the Scrooges that can’t enjoy a parade for what it is or is not called.


he face of Downtown is changing; the faces in Downtown are changing; but what remains are the traditions of community gathering and sharing of cultures. In the last decade, so much has changed in this little microcosm of Downtown San Luis Obispo, but I say that it has all been for the better, thanks to the good people in this town who stand guard to ensure the sanctity of our beloved city.

For more information on Downtown SLO events, programs and activities, or to sign up for our weekly Deliver-E newsletter, visit

Just in time for holiday shopping...

SAVE 35%–50% Off in Forden’s Kitchen Shop during the month of December!

805-543-1090 Mon–Sat 9:30am–5:30pm 857 Monterey Street · SLO No further reductions on red-tagged electrics. All Sales FINAL.

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850 square foot shop and you understand that Mr. Barden truly loves it here. (Just watch Doug Barden, Owner this tugging-at-the-heartstrings promotional 845 Higuera Street video shot by Cason Aycock and produced (805) 439-3707 by Doug, which you can find on the shop’s Facebook page.) Shirts are a super-cool and oug Barden is meant to be here. True incredibly soft tri-blend that promote pride of story: after 18 years in the studio directing place and resonate with a gorgeous palette of and producing television news and living in muted reds, blues, and golds. And now that Reno, Bakersfield, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, he’s landed here? Doug wonders why he didn’t Wyoming, and Lafayette, Louisiana, Doug do it sooner. “It’s not work. Here, working Doug Barden. Photo by Zoya Dixon found himself at the top of Bishop’s Peak hard and sacrificing is so different because looking down in awe at our beautiful little city it’s yours. It’s fun.” Perhaps the sentiment is and wondering, “What is this place? Because this is paradise.” best encapsulated in his best-selling logo shirt that depicts the Fast forward a few years, and Doug is now a resident of the sun setting over mountains and ocean, inspired by the very first happiest city in America and proud owner of SLOFLY, a “hypermoment he laid eyes on SLO. Of course, it’s aptly named the local” apparel store located in the Wineman building. Partnering “Lost and Found” shirt, kind of like how Doug felt when he fell in up with Parrish Ink, a similar company based out of Louisiana, love with this place. Show your SLO pride and shop SLOFLY 24/7 helped expedite the start-up process and minimize costs, so that online at, or visit the shop at 845 Higuera Street. the storefront was able to open in just two weeks after some By Zoya Dixon hard labor and elbow grease. A peek inside the surfer-cool



needing a change of pace, Christine decided to open Written Docs, and has had her office on the second floor overlooking Higuera Street for nearly four years now. Her work entails not only editing and writing resumes but writing company Requests for Proposal can’t believe somebody does this!” is a (RFP), business plans, website content, and response that Christine Brown gets a lot more. Christine is truly passionate about her when speaking about her business, Written work, stating that RFPs are her “bailiwick” Docs, which provides resume writing, and that she enjoys the research that it takes technical writing for business documents, to produce a promotional, easy to read, and Christine Brown. Photo by Zoya Dixon and multimedia production services. And audience-focused document. She also says that she’s good at it, too: the proliferation of she sees her work as contributing to the greater 5-star reviews on Yelp for her business attest to her attention community: “I truly love SLO and the Central Coast and I feel to detail, work ethic, and bubbly personality. Christine has that, in a little way, I’m making a contribution to this great town, ample experience in technical writing and resume services: and that is something that I find fulfilling and uplifting.” What’s prior to starting her own business, Christine was a Senior Labor her advice to businesses and job hunters out there? Specifics Consultant for the County of San Luis Obispo and negotiated sell, and look at your content with a marketing perspective. “It’s labor agreements and contracts for hundreds of employees. A one thing to deliver information; it’s another thing to deliver Cal Poly grad and Central Coast native, Christine got her degree information in an aesthetically pleasing, high-impact way.” Learn in Pre-Law and English and also received certifications for more about Christine and her company at technical writing and resume writing. After starting a family and By Zoya Dixon.

Written Docs

Christine Brown, Owner 721 Higuera Street, Suite A-100 (805) 439-0635


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Abby Clement, Event Assistant

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Abby graduated from Sacramento State in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Administration. Throughout her college curriculum as well as her personal endeavors, she has developed a passion for the event planning industry and is excited to be a part of Downtown SLO. Having grown up on the Central Coast, Abby knew that moving back after college was the perfect fit. She has had the privilege of experiencing all that our small town has to offer and is excited about giving locals and visitors the chance to fall in love with everything that Abby Clement. San Luis Obispo is. When Abby’s not Photo by Zoya Dixon

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in the office, you can find her on spontaneous hiking adventures, at the lake, or shopping around Downtown.

Zuriel Sanders, Ambassador

In addition to weekday Ambassador Austin Bertucci, Zuriel Sanders will be working weekends and as needed. Zuriel is a junior transfer student from Solano Community College and is currently attending Cal Poly. His major is Economics. Zuriel's hometown is San Francisco, and he’s very excited to work as a Downtown Ambassador and get better acclimated to the city of San Luis Obispo. His favorite hobbies are reading, running long distances, and also hiking. Welcome to Downtown, Zuriel!

Zuriel Sanders. Photo by Zoya Dixon

Downtown slo presents

HOLIDAY Hoedown happenings

Pacific Premier Bank presents Santa’s House Opening Day November 24

Lamplighter Inn & Suites presents classic carousel November 24 - December 26 Cal Poly Interfraternity Council presents tree lighting ceremony November 27 Wells Fargo Bank presents 42nd annual holiday parade december 1 • 7 PM



donate winter clothing for christmas

This December marks the 20th consecutive year that our community has generously provided our County’s homeless with a decadent home-cooked Christmas Day dinner and live entertainment. More importantly, for two decades, this occasion has been used as a means of providing much needed winter clothing care packages to the homeless community. Please help us celebrate 20 years of this wonderful event by donating to the winter clothing care package fund. All donations will be used for the purchase of brand new care package items. Each care package includes a sleeping bag, hooded sweatshirt, winter jacket, socks, underwear and toiletries. These items make a tremendous difference in helping the homeless in our community get through our cold, wet winters. You can donate by going to the United Way of San Luis Obispo County website at All donations are tax-deductible. For more information about this event, please contact Sheri Eibschutz at 594-1999.

tutor training workshop for literacy

Literacy For LIFE has a countywide need for tutors, crucially in North and South Counties. Our 2-part Tutor Training Workshop will take place on Saturday, December 2nd and Saturday, December 16th. The training will be held in the conference room at Union Bank, 995 Higuera Street, SLO. Tutors MUST go to both training sessions. A registration fee of $25.00 is required that covers both days of the training. The sessions begin at 10am and end at about 3:30pm. For more information or to sign up, please call 805-541-4219 or visit our website at www.literacyforlifeslo. org.

casa’s voices for children luncheon

Give a child a voice at CASA’s annual Voices for Children holiday luncheon in the Madonna Inn’s beautiful Gay 90’s Room on Thursday, December 7th at 11am. In this festive setting, you will share in the holiday spirit and enjoy delectable dining and enchanting entertainment. And remember . . . Voices for Children features the fabulous “Jewelry with a Past” sale! Voices for Children is also an opportunity to learn about the great work CASA does in the community to advocate for abused and neglected children. Treat yourself, your friends, or office staff to the perfect holiday party while supporting CASA of SLO County. Tickets are $60 per person, tables of 6 and 10 available. Book on or by calling 541-6542.

closet cleanout party raises $5000 wine country association receives grant

SLO Wine Country Association announced today that the organization has been awarded a $196,455 grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). “We are excited about this grant as it will allow us to expand our marketing efforts to increase awareness of our region’s wines and wine producers,” said Heather Muran, executive director of the SLO Wine Country Association. “The intent is to educate wine consumers in our primary drive markets and direct-flight markets such Los Angeles, San Diego, Scottsdale, Arizona and additional out-of-state target markets about our ultra-coastal wines and distinctive wine producers. The new initiative will promote our wines in tandem with the already established California Grown program.”

Most of us have clothing in our closets that we never wear. Two local businesswomen, Kannyn January and Courtney Anderson, collected donations of these unwanted items from local women and auctioned them on eBay, raising $5,000 for Dream Makers SLO, a local organization made up of volunteers who aim to make the dreams of the terminally ill come true. Ambiance SLO held a “Donate for Dreams” collection party in June, where women donated everything from designer handbags and shows to sweaters and jeans. Ten percent of all sales from the day was also donated to the cause. Then Anderson and her team at Cash in the Closet sorted through the items, researched, photographed and cataloged them, eventually auctioning them all on eBay with proceeds going to Dream Makers SLO. January and Anderson presented the $5,000 check at the Dream Makers weekly fitness get- together, Barre at the Barn. They hope to make Donate for Dreams a yearly event.

D ressing Windows in San Luis Obispo for over 39 Years

Alan “Himself” D E C E M B E R

alan’s draperies 544-9405 2017

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252 Higuera Street San Luis Obispo (805) 541-TIRE

rita’s rainbows supports BB/BS

Rita’s Rainbows has donated $1,500 to Big Brothers Big Sisters School Based programs. The funding will be used toward purchase of supplies for the program’s new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) based curriculum implemented at three separate elementary school sites around the county. The Big Brothers Big Sisters School Based program pairs high school and college students with elementary students for weekly supervised group and individual activities taking place at elementary school sites in Nipomo, Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo.

league of women voters board of directors

The League of Women Voters of SLO County recently announced Officers and Directors for the 2017-2018 program year. Officers are: Co-Presidents Ann Havlik and Marilee Hyman, 1st Vice President/ Civil Discourse Sharon Kimball, 2nd Vice President/ Voter Service Vera Wallen, Secretary Vallerie Steenson and



Treasurer Mary Beth Armstrong. Members of the Board of Directors are: Ed Cabrera, Patricia Dale, Boyd Horne, Debora Humphreys, Carrie Pardo, Julie Rodewald and Nancy Welts. The League of Women Voters encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government. The local League, founded in 1962, has more than 100 members representing all of San Luis Obispo County. For more information on the League of Women Voters contact the League at (805) 782-4040 or by email at or go to the website at

slo police receive grant

The SLO Police Department has been awarded an $119,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries. The Police Department will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.

help our local veterans

VA clinic in San Luis is asking for volunteers to serve our Veterans as shuttle drivers. To help pay tribute and express your appreciation for their service, learn about volunteering at your local VA clinic. For more information contact your local VA volunteer representative Mr. Larry Foster at 805-354-6004 or send an email to .

C rossword S O L U T I O N S



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don morris wins 3 more gold medals

new volunteers for casa

At the recent Nevada State Senior Olympic Games 87 year old Dr. Don Morris of Pismo Beach won three gold medals. Morris is congratulated by Nevada Senior Olympic Games Executive Director Jim Terry for winning the Free throw shooting competition by shooting 20 of 25 free throws for an 80% record. Morris also competed and won first place in the three point shooting contest and the 2 minute drill that requires shooting from different spots on the floor. Morris has competed in the Nevada Senior Olympics for the past 20 years. Nationwide Morris has won over 100 medals in basketball competitions in many states including Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Nevada, Oregon, California and Utah.

Nine new volunteers recently became sworn officers of the court. The new volunteers will soon take their first cases as Court Appointed Special Advocates. Juvenile Court Judge Linda Hurst performed the swearing in ceremony. The new volunteers were recruited throughout SLO County and received 30 hours of CASA training. They will be assigned a child or sibling group under the juvenile court’s jurisdiction due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Photo: Left to right: Front row: Ali Athari, Chris Finney, Michael Arcuri, Clarice Milanesi, Chris Clawson, Lori DePaul Back row: Judge Linda Hurst, Erleen Clawson, Augie Fash, Alissa Maddren For more information, visit

rita’s rainbows 6th annual Charity gift fair

Rita’s Rainbows 6th Annual Rainbow of Treasures “Holiday Style” Gift Fair will be held on Saturday, December 2nd, from 10am to 4pm at the SLO Veteran’s Hall, 801 Grand Ave. With a commitment to unique and creative local vendors, attendees are sure to find something they love among all things handmade, vintage and more. You’ll enjoy hometown hospitality and plenty of parking. This is a fundraiser for Rita’s Rainbows, a local non-profit created in memory of Rita Marie Goehner to help local children in need. For more information, check out and/or like us on Facebook.

San Luis Obispo’s Best Kept Secret Power Carts Senior Discount (55) • 10 Play C ards • Tournaments Welcome • •

Tee Times on our website: or call 805-781-7309

11175 Los Osos Valley Road, SLO D E C E M B E R


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mountainbrook church collects $9,000 for food bank

On September 24, 2017, Mountainbrook Church took up a collection during their two Sunday services. $9,000 was collected for the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County. Thom O’Leary, Lead Pastor of Mountainbrook Church commented, “What an incredible blessing it has been for Mountainbrook Church to partner with the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County over the last decade. Knowing that they are feeding the hungry right here in our own backyard is wonderfully amazing.” Additionally, Mountainbrook youth raised over $1,000 for the Food Bank at their Kid’s Camp this past June.

THE BULLETIN BOARD serving our country

“We Build, We Fight” has been the motto of the U. S. Navy’s Construction Force, known as the “Seabees,” for the past 75 years. A 2012 Arroyo Grande High School graduate and Arroyo Grande, California, native builds and fights around the world as a member of an amphibious construction battalion center located in San Diego. Petty Officer Second Class Madai Corona Tinoco works as an engineman in the Navy assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion One (ACB 1). ACB 1 provides ship-to-shore transportation of combat cargo, bulk fuel and water, and tactical camp operations supporting Navy and Marine Corps amphibious force operations. As an engineman, Corona Tinoco is responsible for helping with the administration of all work associated with respect to keeping all equipment operational and deployable.

Cal poly fall jazz concert

Cal Poly’s University Jazz Bands will present the annual Fall Jazz Concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, in Spanos Theatre on campus. The musical diversity that has always characterized jazz will be showcased as the jazz bands perform funk from Tower of Power, the Latin jazz of Tito Puente and Mario Bauza, traditional jazz by Miles Davis and Joe Henderson, contemporary jazz by Pat Metheny and more. Two big bands featuring four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, a rhythm section and


vocalist, will demonstrate the “wall of sound” for which big bands are famous. Two jazz combos will also perform. Tickets are $14 for the public and $9 for students and Jazz Federation members. Event parking is sponsored by the PAC. Tickets are available at the Cal Poly Ticket Office between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To order by phone, call SLO-4TIX (756-4849). For more information, call the Music Department at 805-756-2406 or visit the department’s calendar website.

slo county garbagemen donate $5,000

Must! Charities is proud welcome the SLO County Garbagemen’s Association as a partner, having recently donated $5,000 to must! Charities, one of many groups it has supported over the last 50 years. Together with other must! Charities partners, they aim to meet the greatest social needs facing Northern SLO County by empowering local organizations to make strategic change that creates long-term, philanthropic, sustainable transformation within the region. 100% of the Donation Goes Toward Meeting the Greatest Needs Facing North SLO County.

local choirs feature holiday kaleidoscope

The Cal Poly Choirs will present the festive “Holiday Kaleidoscope” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, in Harman Hall of the Performing Arts Center. Cal Poly’s PolyPhonics, the University Singers and Early Music Ensemble will be joined on the concert by three local high school choirs: Cabrillo (Lompoc), Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. The groups will perform holiday favorites and new works. Audience members can participate in a carol sing-along, and enjoy fun-spirited “cameo” pieces. Cal Poly staff member Paul Woodring will accompany the choirs on piano and organ. Tickets are $14 and $18 for the public, and $9 and $14 for students. Event parking is sponsored by the PAC. Tickets are available at the Cal Poly Ticket Office between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To order by phone, call SLO-4TIX (756-4849).

free senior health care screening

Community Action Partnership, Adult Wellness & Prevention Screening offers health screening for adults 18 years and older throughout SLO County. Free services include: screening for high blood pressure, weight and pulse. Finger prick screening tests for: high cholesterol, anemia and blood sugar. Counseling and referrals as needed. Please call 544-2484 ext.1 for dates, times and locations.



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savings for an electric vehicle

2017 Slo County Women’s golf Championship

In the market for an electric vehicle? Here’s how to understand your fuel savings, and the true cost of charging. If you buy a Nissan Leaf, charge at home, and drive 1,000 mi/ month, your electric bill will increase by $62/month in added use. Most car buyers are familiar with the MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) on the sticker of an EV vehicle. Here’s how to figure out the cost of charging for any EV. In the US, the cost of electricity varies greatly, from 8.6¢ per kWh to upwards of 40¢ per peak kWh in Hawaii, New York, and California. In PG&E territory, homeowners pay an average of 20¢ per kWh. The average kWh/100 miles for all EV’s seems to be right at 31 kWh/100 miles. The average EV costs $6.20 to charge it to 100 miles of range, or $0.062/mile, which adds up to $62 more each month in electricity. Let’s assume our gas vehicle gets the average of 21 MPG, with gas at $3.50/gallon, the gas vehicle costs 16.6¢ per mile. So, our EV would save us $105/month in fuel costs over a gas vehicle, driving the same miles. Actually more, since an EV does not need periodic oil changes or tune-ups. If you are a homeowner with an EV, and you add a solar energy system to the equation, or vise-versa, your savings will really multiply. Solar electric currently costs about 8¢ per kWh to generate so you can charge that same EV for as little as $2.48 per 100 mile range of charge. If you drive the average of 1,000 mi/month, the Nissan Leaf will cost you $25/month in electricity, charged from a home with a solar electric system. With both solar and an EV, you will save $142/month in energy costs over your gas vehicle. Not to mention what you are saving via your household energy bill reduction. For more information go to solar-electric/understanding-mpge/).

The Cal Poly Symphony will be joined by composer and mandolin soloist Jeff Midkiff for its Fall Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, in Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center’s Christopher Cohan Center. Midkiff has performed the concerto across the nation,

Last month the SLO County Women’s Golf Championship was held at Morro Bay Golf Club. Sheri Hauck (pictured upper left) was the Overall winner shooting a 77, 72 for a 149. Regina Neel (pictured lower left) was the Net overall winner after a sudden death playoff against Janet Desarno. The SLO County Women’s Golf Championship was started in 1948, when Morro Bay was a nine hole golf course. Atascadero’s nine holes were the county’s other golf course. In 1979, women from five 18 hole courses in the county, Avila, Blacklake, Morro Bay, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo Country Club, reinstated the Women’s County Golf Championship Tournament. San Luis Obispo Country Club hosted the 1979 tournament. In 1980 the Chalk Mountain Club was added to the original five clubs. Dairy Creek Golf Club became a member in 1998 adding Cypress Ridge in 2004 and the Old Course Players Club at Monarch Dunes joined in 2009. Each club rotates responsibility for hosting the Championship. The purpose of the tournament is to promote and improve Women’s Golf and to create friendships among the Women of San Luis Obispo County.

cal poly symphony concert

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THE BULLETIN BOARD including a performance with the Boulder Philharmonic as part of the SHIFT Festival at the Kennedy Center. Of the work, he has said “I had struggled to keep the two — orchestra and mandolin — a ‘safe’ distance apart. But I knew I could say something with the mandolin on a symphonic scale. Deep down, I wanted to bring my most natural companion to the orchestra — two seemingly different worlds, together.” The symphony will also perform Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor. Tickets are $12 and $14 for the public, and $9 and $12 for students. Event parking is sponsored by the PAC. Tickets are available at the Cal Poly Ticket Office between noon and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To order by phone, call SLO-4TIX (756-4849).


be able to enjoy great regional music and performing groups while also joining their family and friends in singing all their favorite Christmas and holiday songs. This charming community event annually caps off the holiday season leading up to Christmas while also supporting local performing arts groups. Net proceeds from this event are donated annually to the music and arts programs of various regional schools and performance groups. Tickets are only $12 for adults and $6 for children & students. Go to the Clark Center Box Office at 489-9444 or

rotary de tolosa sponsors Holiday kids spree

slo Botanical Garden December events

Event 1: The Chumash Kitchen-Distillation Arts at San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. Time and date: Saturday, December 2, 9am-1:30pm. Event Description: Discover the earth to beautycounter process of extracting essential oils from fresh herbs. Presented by two Chumash herbalists, Violet Cavanaugh and Janette Acosta. Take home a sample lotion created onsite and enjoy a light lunch. Info at Cost: Sliding scale $88-$120. Event 2: Fruit Tree Pruning at San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. Time and date: Saturday, December 9, 1pm2pm. Event Description: Learn how to prune your fruit trees for better health and fruit with local Master Gardener. Presentation followed by pruning demonstration. Free Docent-led tour at 2pm. Info at Location: San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, 3450 Dairy Creek Rd. Cost: $5 for Garden members / $10 for public /Event contact phone number: 805-541-1400 x 303

10th annual A.G. Rotary Holiday sing-a-long

The Arroyo Grande Rotary Club is proud to announce its 10th Annual Christmas & Holiday Sing-Along to be presented on Sunday, December 17th. This special 4pm matinee will take place in Arroyo Grande’s intimate Clark Center. Attendees will

Holiday Spree for Kids of the SLO Rotary De Tolosa is one of the most instant gratification events our individual group has. This annual event helps clothe children from local low income households just before the holidays on the first Saturday of December. Between 80-110 in need are identified through their schools, and they and their families are invited to participate. Each child is allocated $100 by the club, and are matched with volunteers from our club to assist them with finding the clothing they need such as shoes, jackets, clothing, and underclothing. After a successful early morning shopping spree at Kohl’s in the Madonna Plaza, the children meet up with their parents for a complimentary breakfast hosted by the Embassy Suites. Santa makes a very special early visit to the breakfast and each child gets a photo taken with him to take home. For more information call Ranelle at (707) 362-0426.



Journal PLUS

December 2017 Journal Plus  
December 2017 Journal Plus