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Journal PLUS FEBRUARY 2012



Twila Arritt


Serving the entire SLO County since 1978


Cindy Newton

Pamela Bliss



Near Downtown SLO in a Peachy Location + Potential! Small two bedroom, one bath home located on a R-2 zoned lot. Opportunity knocks for a future investment/income or a dream cottage. $365,000

Convenient location near AG High School, Elm Street Park & Soto Sports Complex. Functional 3 bed, 1 bath floor plan with good flow throughout. Two driveways provide extra parking areas. For More Info Contact our AG office at 904-6616.


Versatile beach living, full time, vacationers, or vacation rental. Prime location near Pismo Beach Golf Course Well cared for 3 bed, 2 bath MH offers comfort inside. Nice large deck for entertaining. For More Info Contact our AG office at 904-6616. $189,000

Great starter home or investment. 2 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, in Atascadero. Convenient to services including shopping and freeway access. $179,000

Two Great Los Osos Opportunities!


Kelly Hannula REALTOR®

Janet Shaner REALTOR®

Larry D. Smyth

Jennifer Hamilton


Relocation Director

Stephanie Hamilton


Mary Rosenthal


Vicky Hall

Laura Rizzoli

Opportunity Knocks in Atascadero!

Patricia Garrison




Theresa Carroll

Annette Mullen

Beautiful vacant lot in Cambria. Approximately 3500 sq.ft. Lush landscape and ocean views from the street. Don’t miss this great opportunity. For More Info Call AG office 904-6616 $299,000

Two lots available in Los Osos. First is a nice 8799 sqft lot near Los Osos Community Park, Sea Pines Golf Course, & Sweet Springs Nature Reserve, Asking $129,000. Second is a great 21,170 sqft level parcel located beyond end of cul-de-sac, Asking $249,000. For More Info Call AG office 904-6616

Conveniently located in the heart of SLO & the Village of Arroyo Grande 21 Santa Rosa Street, Suite 100, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405 102 E. Branch Street, Suites C & D, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Chris Stanley REALTOR®

Christine Williams REALTOR®

Uncertainty in today’s world is a fact we all deal with on a daily basis. Financially speaking, protection of our accumulated wealth is, as it should be, our top priority but today’s investment opportunities are riddled with risk. The stock market, mutual funds and the like are more risky than ever. Corporate failures and accounting frauds, such as Enron, have robbed so many people of their secure financial future. So where does one invest their “nest egg” with confidence? May I recommend the financial services of Moriarty Enterprises. Mr. Al Moriarty has investment opportunities that you can take advantage of and have peace of mind. He has protected and grown my father’s capital and his “personal touch” has developed a financial plan to meet my father’s financial needs well into the future. Moriarty Enterprises is worth a look. Thank you Mr. Moriarty for taking such good care of my father’s financial future. David Gentry (Pat Gentry’s Son) Engineer Grass Valley, CA

Pat Gentry (Father) Retired Morro Bay, CA

(805) 481-4990

Al Moriarty Financial Advisor



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

654 Osos Street San Luis Obispo California 93401








ADVERTISING Jan Owens CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Susan Stewart, Natasha Dalton, Hilary Grant, Joseph Carotenuti, Dr. Julian Crocker, Sarah Hedger, Maggie Cox, Deborah Cash, Ron Cogan, Jan Marx, Will Jones, Jeanne Harris, Richard Bauman, Bob Huttle, Gordon Fuglie, and Phyllis Benson 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, 654 Osos Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. 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 distributed monthly free by mail to all single family households of San Luis Obispo and is available free at over 600 locations throughout the county. 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 Will Jones



HOME & OUTDOOR 20 22 23 24 26


COMMUNITY 28 30 32 34 36 41 46







Journal PLUS

Thank you to all our clients and friends for another happy and successful year!


• The Real Estate Group has sold more real estate in San Luis Obispo than any other company for each of the last 8 years. • The Real Estate Group agents have 179 years of combined real estate experience.

• The Real Estate Group has been serving San Luis Obispo for over 27 years.

• The Real Estate Group agents volunteer an average of nearly 900 hours to various community groups annually.

• The Real Estate Group will be opening a second downtown office in 2012. 1065 Higuera Street, Ste 102 – Coming soon!

962 Mill Street, San Luis Obispo, California 93401 • Office: 805.541.2888 Fax: 805.541.0390

From the publisher

Clean Living! Exceptional quality of construction and materials used. Completed in 2006 this home is single level and complimented with gorgeous distressed cherry wood floors, alder cabinets throughout, granite counter tops, Travertine tile in bathrooms, stainless steel appliances. Very private with huge front and back yards and your own private driveway. There is a guest house that can be used as a workshop or artists studio. Secluded interior patio with Hot Tub. Lot’s of Green features including solar panels, water filtration system, and organic soil throughout property. Asking $419,000.

If you consider yourself a lover of modern architecture, high end design, seamless construction or state of the art electronics then you must see this marvel. It is simply unlike any other house in the City of San Luis Obispo. Perfect location with the ideal climate. Very private. See the web-site for additional photos and more information. Asking $1,187,500.


ach month I attend several events supporting our non-profit organizations throughout the central coast. One of my favorites is French Hospital’s annual grant luncheon which was held last month. This year six recipients were awarded $45,000 in grants. At the luncheon each of the six recipients upon receiving their grant check spoke about their program and how they help the underserved. A truly inspiring event. You can read more about the grants in our Bulletin Board. This month former SLO High School Principal, Will Jones, writes our cover story on the school’s three IT teachers – Jeff Lehmkuhl, Tim Fay and Jed Bruington. Then we move down a generation and Susan Stewart writes about one of the successful IT grads, Daniel Lehmkuhl. You’ll enjoy both stories. Next we feature Stacie Jacob, the executive director of the Visitor and Conference Bureau and the new FPAC director, Heather Cochrane. Both directors tell us a little about themselves and their plan for the future of the organizations they lead. Finally, SLO Mayor Jan Marx gives us a clear explanation for why the city is proceeding on the downtown upgrades.

Enjoy the magazine,

Johnny Hough Owner / Broker

(805) 801-5063 962 Mill Street, SLO See more listings at

Steve Owens

We’ve gone green.

Now view our printed calendar of events entirely online. Visit our website today and find your way to the best seats in the house.

W W W . P A C S L O . O R G

UPCOM ING E V EN TS February 2-4, 8 pm Immersion CP Theatre & Dance & Orchesis Dance Company

Saturday, Feb. 4, 8 pm SLO Symphony: Suite Serenades SLO Symphony

Sunday, Feb. 12, 3 pm Alex de Grassi Cal Poly Arts

Wed., Feb. 15, 7:30 pm Frank Abagnale: Catch Me If You Can Cal Poly Arts

Thursday, Feb. 9, 7:30 pm Celtic Nights: Journey of Hope Cal Poly Arts

Friday, Feb. 10, 7:30 pm Westview HS Wind Ensemble & Orchestra

Opera SLO & CPA

805.SLO.ARTS Phone | 805.756.2787 Fax | 805.756.6088


SLO County Band Directors Association

February 23-25, 8 pm A Streetcar Named Desire

CP Theatre and Dance Department

Feb. 17 & 18, 8 pm Feb. 19, 7 pm The Vagina Monologues

Saturday, Feb. 25, 9:55 am MET Live in HD: Verdi’s Ernani

Sat., Feb. 18, 2 pm & 7 pm Young Frankenstein

Saturday, Feb. 25, 8 pm Cal Poly Choirs’ Winter Concert


Cal Poly Arts

Cal Poly Music Dept.

Saturday, Feb. 11, 9 am MET Live in HD: Wagner’s Götterdammerüng

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 7 pm SLO County Honor Band Festival

Sunday, Feb. 19, 7 pm Lorna Luft: Songs My Mother Taught Me Cal Poly Arts

Opera SLO & Cal Poly Arts

Cal Poly Music Dept.

Sunday, Feb. 26, 7 pm Los Lonely Boys Cal Poly Arts





n a 2006 essay later expanded into a bestselling book, “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” Matthew Crawford wrote, “Anyone in the market for a good used machine tool should talk to Noel Dempsey, a dealer in Richmond, Virginia. Noel’s bustling warehouse is full of metal lathes, milling machines, and table saws, most of it from schools. It appears shop class is becoming a thing of the past, as educators prepare students to become ‘knowledge workers.’” Crawford would be happy to know that shop, better known these days as Industrial Technology (IT), is alive and well at San Luis Obispo High School thanks to the talent, skill and commitment of three exceptional teachers: Jed Bruington, who teaches wood and metal classes; Tim Fay, who teaches drafting, welding and metal classes; and Jeff Lehmkuhl, who teaches auto classes.

During the second trimester alone students at SLOHS can choose from among the following offerings: Wood I, II/III; Metal I/III; Drafting I/II, Architectural Drafting, Computer Aided Drafting; Welding Technology, Regional Occupational Program (ROP) Welding; Auto I, Auto II and ROP Automotive Chassis and Drive Train Systems. The classes are immensely popular, with thirty to thirty-five students in all of the introductory classes and twenty to twenty-five or more in the advanced classes. Clearly shop is not a “thing of the past” at SLOHS. In addition to the skill of the teachers, what accounts for the continuing availability and popularity of these classes? Bruington, Fay and Lehmkuhl, with a combined forty-six years in public education, shared their thoughts during a recent late-start Monday interview. All agreed that on a practical level students value the opportunity for hands-on learning experiences allowing them to explore real life career choices and develop skills that can lead to well-paid work immediately after graduating. The technical skills they learn provide a solid foundation for additional education leading to careers like engineering and architecture that require at least a

Student Welder F E B R U A R Y


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Jeff Lehmkuhl, Tim Fay and Jed Bruington

bachelor’s degree. They also agreed that the classes teach respect and appreciation for hard work. Whether anticipating a future as skilled blue collar or advanced degree workers, students in the IT classes develop a wide range of invaluable skills including planning, designing, diagnosing problems, and problem solving. Creativity also plays a large role, although Lehmkuhl admits there is less pure creativity in his auto classes. Students view their advanced shop classes as the place where they can apply the knowledge they’ve learned in other high school classes, particularly math and science. Fay remembers how much he valued what he learned in trigonometry as he progressed through the IT classes he took in high school and college. Hunter Tasseff is a senior and award winning woodworker. He recently won Best in Show in the Morro Bay Art Contest and has won Best in Show at the Mid State Fair for the last two years. Hunter has taken classes from all of the IT teachers and has applied to Cal Poly in construction management, but also plans to take engineering classes. “The IT classes reduce the stress of the competitive academic high school life. They allow for self-expression, creativity and the opportunity to make something beautiful. In auto classes I am helping the people who bring their cars in to be fixed. The stress relief and career exploration keeps a lot of students in school.”

Noah Ruiz and Matthew Warren with Tim Fay entering data into the Haas Milling Machine



Students in the IT programs have experienced success in local, state, national and international competitions, and they have earned scholarships to prestigious colleges and IT programs throughout the country. Jesse Castaneda, class of 2010, a state Skills USA champion in drafting who finished 3rd nationally, attends Cooper Union in New York on a full scholarship. Daniel Lehmkuhl, Jeff’s son, was a state and national Skills USA and Ford AAA Troubleshooting champion who has competed in South America and Europe, finishing in the top three both times.

Obispo, said “Jed is amazingly generous with his time. He never puts himself first, loves doing things for others. It makes him happy.” Erin Fay, a teacher at Baywood Elementary School, wrote “Tim is always striving to better his program and help his students learn. He truly cares about his students and loves what he does. He radiates enthusiasm.” Nancy Lehmkuhl, an aide at Sinsheimer School, wrote “I have always been amazed to see Jeff’s care for the kids individually, his passion to teach, and his willingness to guide them to state and national competitions.”

Each of the teachers pointed to different challenges they face. Bruington said that while “the school district provides some basic funding for materials and supplies, when divided up by the number of students participating, it falls well short of meeting overall needs.” He also brought up the difficulty of maintaining up-to-date, state-of-the-art facilities. Fay mentioned the “ongoing fight against the perception that skilled labor is unimportant or not valued in contemporary culture.” Lehmkuhl noted that “students are sometimes put off by how hard they have to work in shop classes,” pointing out that so much is given to young people in our society without having been earned. They all agreed that a common goal is to prepare their students to be positive, confident, productive members of society.

Later in his essay, Crawford writes, “While manufacturing jobs have certainly left our shores to a disturbing degree, the manual trades have not. If you need a deck built or your car fixed, the Chinese are no help. Because they are in China. And in fact there are reported labor shortages in both construction and auto repair.”

All three were grateful for support received over the years at the district and site level, and from the community. They talked about the importance of grants available from service organizations like Rotary; the generosity of local businesses like, to name a few, Chicago Bridge and Iron, Saes Pure Gas,

Student, Hunter Tasseff

Pacific Access, Thoma Electric and Knecht Plumbing; and the internships provided by Villa Automotive, Continental Motor Works and others. As a result of the combined efforts of the district and the community, they feel as if they have weathered the storm of cutbacks that have affected other districts and feel positive about the future. From personal experience I know how many hours Jed, Tim and Jay commit to their work, not just during the week, but on the weekends as well. I spoke to each of their wives, who perhaps have the best perspective on their dedication. Dede Bruington, owner of Picking Daisies in The Creamery in downtown San Luis

Fortunately, there are three dedicated teachers in San Luis Obispo who are preparing young men and women to lead successful, productive lives providing exactly the services our society needs on a practical, dayto-day basis. So, if you know students taking a class from Mr. Bruington, Mr. Fay or Mr. Lehmkuhl, know they are in good hands, and might soon be tuning your engine, designing your new deck, or building that mahogany coffee table you’ve always wanted. Following the example of their mentors, their hearts and souls will be in their work.

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Hunter Tasseff’s award winning art piece

750 Price Street, Pismo Beach 773-1922 F E B R U A R Y


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n day four of an intense international competition held in London England this fall, Daniel Lehmkuhl sat down in the middle of the gymnasium floor where 600 people had just given their all for 250,000 spectators … and had an epiphany. Exhausted by the physical and emotional strain of four days of intense, timed, competitive tasks, Lehmkuhl listened to the announcements of winners in various categories over the loudspeakers and realized he had just achieved the end-goal of the last ten years. At just 22, that’s nearly half his life! This was the event he’d been working and training for with coaches, teams, and supporters, as he competed at lesser competitions over the years leading up to this one. For some inexplicable reason, he turned to one of his fellow competitors and said, “Is that it? Is this as good as it gets?” And that’s when it hit him: “Thank God there’s more to life than this,” he thought. “Because now I know that even the highest ‘high’ of this event [he placed 6th out of the 40 who competed in his category and 2nd best in the nation-overall!] pales by comparison with the time I spend with my family and friends.” Lehmkuhl, a full-time master technician at San Luis Obispo’s Rizzoli’s Automotive, traveled first to Washington, D.C., and then on to London last October to compete against participants from 50 countries in the 41st Annual WorldSkills International Competition, the largest skills event in history. In Washington, Lehmkuhl met President Obama’s Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra, and gave a short presentation about the upcoming competition to the Caucus on Career and Technical Education on Capitol Hill.

As a member of the SkillsUSA team, Lehmkuhl racked up dozens of top awards in regional, state, and national automotive technician competitions, including the silver medal at the International

Automotive Skills Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro last year. Two years, hundreds of hours of preparation, plus training at Mini Cooper, Honda, Chrysler, and Ford factories led up the event in London, where he competed as a member of the USA World Team. “Rizzoli’s [and the Rizzoli family] has sponsored and supported me through this whole process,” Lehmkuhl said. “I wouldn’t be here without them.” To put this skills contest into perspective, Lehmkuhl said it was “massive,” with people competing in every skill imaginable: from cosmetology to culinary, shoe-making to stone masons, printing to textiles, welding to web design … “kind of like the Olympics.” In fact, Lehmkuhl was selected by his peers to carry the American flag onto the floor during the formal opening ceremonies. As the sole U.S. competitor among 40 others from countries like France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, China, and Japan, Lehmkuhl was required to perform tasks such as finding specific engine faults, repairing selected engine parts, and taking apart then re-assembling whole engines. Using only hand tools and given just three hours for each task, he worked at six different work stations (2 segments on each of the 3 days) where different kinds and makes of vehicles presented various problems. “We had to work at blinding speeds,” he said, “and one error could cost you the whole thing.” “There are so many variables,” he explained. “So many choices and decisions. We are graded on our every move and it’s a real pressure cooker. But luck does have a little to do with it, so you just do your best and hope the chips fall your way.”

Lehmkuhl competing in Brazil F E B R U A R Y


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PEOPLE “kind of like the Olympics.” In fact, Lehmkuhl was selected by his peers to carry the American flag onto the floor during the formal opening ceremonies. Lehmkuhl led the competition for the first three days, and it was a nail-biter of a contest. In the end, Switzerland and Japan tied for first place, but Lehmkuhl’s 6th place showing was impressive, as the point spread between first and sixth place was only 10 (out of a possible 100).

thy mechanics are rare. He describes himself as “off the beaten path,” a person who wants to make choices that will benefit others.


At just 22, Lehmkuhl has a lot figured out. In his off time, he enjoys surfing, hiking, backpacking, playing guitar, and wedding photography. He says his strong faith, a belief in a higher purpose, and supportive parents have had much to do with his early success in life. His advice to other young people? “Pay attention … learn how to learn, and learn how to listen. Don’t sell yourself short. Work hard and earn what you have. Never stop learning … it’s impossible to know it all.”

And, he won a Medallion of Excellence for scoring in the top 10% overall. When he wasn’t competing, Lehmkuhl toured around London where he saw the city from a river cruise boat on the Thames; visited Westminster Abbey and the Tower Bridge, and saw the “London Eye” (world’s largest Ferris wheel) at sunset. But the highlight of the trip, he said, was a visit to one of England’s primary schools in Stratford, a suburb of London. “The students had spent the last few weeks learning about us and about America, and the skills and trades we represent,” said Lehmkuhl in a blog (www.daniellehmkuhl. “They lined the street to welcome our bus … they screamed and cheered and waved homemade American flags … they performed a song and dance routine honoring us as their special guests.” Lehmkuhl and his teammates played with the children on the playground, ate lunch with them, and had question-and-answer sessions with them. Lehmkuhl’s kindergarten class had made little paper cars with cardboard wheels and brightly colored sides. “Stratford is a low income area with a very diverse culture, yet all these kids seemed to be so kind to each other and so respectful of their teachers,” he said. “It was really touching to see how sweet and proper they were, and how excited they were to share their creations with us.” What’s next for this already highly accomplished young man? “Well, I’m supposed to say I’ll go on to college and become a high school teacher,” he said. “But I’m not sure yet.” Lehmkuhl is just finishing up his A.A. degree at Cuesta College. He is keenly interested in traveling to other countries to participate as a “missionary” in say, Africa, where trustworF E B R U A R Y


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an the untimely death of a loved one end up bringing lasting hope to the lives of thousands? Danny Chaffin knows, absolutely, that the answer is yes.

Just 24 years old, the San Luis Obispo County native is the think-outof-the-box creator and CEO of HANDS – short for Humanitarian Acts in Nepal Developing Schools.

Danny Chaffin

Started a little less than four years ago by Chaffin, a 2006 graduate of Atascadero High School, the tiny non-profit has already built two schools and awarded scholarships to six orphans in Nepal, the country perhaps best known to the West as home of Mount Everest.

“This huge event began a very new and different turn of events for my mom [Jan, a school teacher] and dad [Don, a home builder] and me,” continues Chaffin. “We all grieved differently, but we all shared one thing – we didn’t ignore what had happened.

Bordered by China to the north and India to the south, the ancient region is also witness to decades of grinding and unrelenting poverty. (One Wikipedia estimate says that an astounding 25 percent of the population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day.)

“We used it as a catalyst to change.”

“Many, many citizens in Nepal are without resources, not even enough to maintain basic living requirements,” says Chaffin. “Worse, their government is in no condition to help provide education, health care and jobs. “So, to my way of thinking, if there were more education opportunities, there would be a better chance for each new generation to become more aware of its situation earlier on – and then be able to come together and find solutions.” A family tragedy is at the heart of this helping organization. “I was 13 years old when my older brother Sean, who was 20, suddenly died,” says Chaffin. “He had climbed Bishop’s Peak in SLO, and was admiring the view and lights with some friends, when he slipped and took a fatal fall.

Perhaps the biggest transformation for him, says Chaffin, was discovering Buddhist philosophy. Raised in “a casual Christian household,” Chaffin explains that studying the Eastern religion became a helpful source of guidance and information soon after Sean’s death. At its core, he adds, Buddhism gave his mother and Chaffin a sturdy kind of comfort and knowledge in the difficult months that followed. “Sean’s passing was also the first big thing that also steered me toward Nepal,” he says. Given that fact, it makes sense that Chaffin’s parents, along with girlfriend Bree Hugins, are also very involved in HANDS. Like everyone else affiliated with the organization, they volunteer all of their time and resources. “My folks have backed me up since day one,” says Chaffin. “They helped me get excited, and motivated, about starting a non-profit, and about all of the work that would go into fundraising and building our first school. “And of course, that project was a great way to blend their respective professions.”

A class in front of the school F E B R U A R Y

Non-electric sewing machine


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HANDS first school in Nepal

“Then I did a search of ‘Buddhist volunteer organization’ – and all of the first hits were in Nepal. As soon as I saw that, I remembered that as a child, the area had intrigued me. Mountains, holy sites, prayer wheels, yaks, colorfully painted buses… fun and mystery and adventure.”

Chaffin got his first taste of Nepal in 2008. Working at Buddhist Child Home orphanage in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, Chaffin was also lucky enough to find housing with a Tibetan family whose father gave Chaffin art lessons in Thangka, a traditional style of Tibetan painting. He also made many new Nepali friends, and too, began tinkering with ideas of how to truly make a difference with the people he was quickly feeling a kinship with. Nonetheless, being in a place so different from the Central Coast took some adjusting.



For now, Chaffin is back on the Central Coast, working with his dad and living in Santa Margarita, a place, he says, “that’s so peaceful and beautiful and a great place to call home.” Chaffin is also thinking about the next HANDS project. “We have no grants yet, and not enough of a budget to give ourselves salaries,” he explains. “So, we’re all tied down to our jobs here, at least for a while. But in the meantime, we’re constantly talking about our next step. “It might be a library. It might be a community center. It might be a safe house for girls to get a great education. “No matter what, I will always stay in touch with my Nepali friends and family – and help out with whatever is going on in Nepal.” The HANDS website, which includes mission statement, donation link and videos, is Or, contact Danny Chaffin directly at Danny Chaffin and his girlfriend, Bree Hugians

“Kathmandu is an explosion of colors, dirt and people,” explains Chaffin.

To that end, Chaffin adds that his father even traveled to Nepal, where he stayed for one month to supervise the construction of HANDS’ first school, which, like the second school, cost just $10,000. Chaffin’s mother has not only started a lending library there, but has expanded her personal mission by procuring non-electric sewing machines to help Nepali women start their own small businesses. How did Chaffin get to Nepal in the first place? “I went right into Cuesta College after high school,” he says. “But I had always dreamed of taking time off to travel and pretty soon, I gradually dropped out of my classes and started working for my dad. At the same time, I’d be online, researching different volunteer groups and organizations around the world.”

“It’s the very definition of sensory overload – loud horns honking everywhere, tons of pollution, crumbling infrastructure, and extreme poverty right out in the open, which was very new to me.” Chaffin, though, felt an immediate bond at the orphanage. “The kids were so loving,” he says. “They immediately climbed all over me, laughed at me, played with me and then had me read to them. It was such an easy transition to become their friend and older brother. And because the trend there now is to teach kids English at a young age, they all spoke my language.”


Get your free welcome packet! It includes maps, civic info, coupons from cafes, groceries, wineries, auto hardware, garden, medical, dental, etc.

Chaffin already knew one thing: he didn’t want to work for a global organization with a religious agenda. “As I was researching places to volunteer, it continuously surprised me to see all of the religious viewpoints in so many mission statements,” he says. “It started to seem like every group had an ulterior motive – convert and bring people to the light. That I didn’t want.

Liz Hiatt Owner



Call your greeter or go to •

Los Osos/Morro Bay/Cayucos/Cambria: Aloma Davis: 235-1131

SLO/South County/Avila: Liz Hiatt: 773-6418

North County: Sandy Hexberg: 238-1529



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Valerie Johnson: The smokin’ hot queen of blues By Natasha Dalton “Live your loving life…” (Janis Joplin) The day was wet and dreary, and the little kids, gathered at the library, seemed quiet, sleepy. This cold rainy day seemed to be dragging on. And then, in a matter of a few minutes, everything changed. Two ladies, Karen Tyler and Valerie Johnson, walked into the room, and the fun began. The ladies brought along little household things, like plastic combs and rulers, and showed children that these ordinary things can make music. The children were in awe. It didn’t take them long to join, with their improvised instruments, the rhythm from the stage. The ladies were now singing – and not just singing, they were singing the blues. Everyone in the room, kids and parents, was taken by the richness of Valerie Johnson’s voice. Everyone seemed mesmerized. This happened many years ago, and I was in the audience. For twenty years, rain or shine, Valerie Johnson, her husband Al B. Blue and now also Karen Tyler have been introducing American kids to the blues. “We do these workshops at schools, reformatories, libraries, festivals – you name it. We went up the West coast (California to Washington), to the Navasota Blues Festival, and all up and down Texas. Right after 9/11 we played at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas and still did our workshop at the local elementary school,” Valerie says. Currently, she and Al B. Blue are teaching their Blues for

Johnson at the Pour House in Paso Robles

Kids in Santa Barbara. “The Santa Barbara Blues Society is working hard to keep the blues alive,” Valerie says. As for Valerie, she herself turned to blues when she was quite young. She began performing in the preschool program at her Sunday school – even before she knew how to read or write. In her teens, she “was a bit of a handful” – until she realized that, “instead of acting out,” she could express herself through songs. “My parents noticed this too, and got me a guitar,” Valerie recalls. From that time on, she would stay in her room for hours at a time, playing and singing. She took piano lessons for years, but it was the “democratic nature” of a guitar that allowed her to have her music with her wherever she went. “I was a teenager during the ‘British Blues Invasion,’ and when I first heard the blues – and all the raw emotion the singers expressed – I fell in love with it,” Valerie remembers. “Also, Bob Dylan had just become known, and his lyrics are influenced by the blues tradition of talking about all kinds of uncomfortable truths.” Blues for Kids Program

Other musicians who made a strong impression on Valerie at that time were Mississippi John Hurt and Rev. Gary Davis. The former played Candyman Blues (Piedmont fingerpicking style) and the latter played John the Revelator (Country Blues style). “I was hooked!” Valerie says. She also admired Koko Taylor. “I loved how she attacked the songs and how she used her mouth and face to create the tones,” Valerie explains. “Watching her taught me that singers need to use their whole body to really get the sound they want. It was as if she gave me a permission to not always look pretty when I need to make a certain expression.” In her youth, Valerie tried things other than music, but destiny kept knocking on the door. While in the Air Force, she was stationed at Bitburg Air Base, Germany, but lived off-base. One night she took her F E B R U A R Y


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five-year-old daughter to the movies at the base, not knowing that all they were showing was horror films. Valerie and her daughter were ready to leave when they heard the sounds of a gospel choir coming from the base chapel. “Black gospel is my favorite music, so we just walked there,” Valerie remembers. A lady answered the door and asked Valerie if she liked to sing. The answer was, ‘Yes,’ of course. She inquired about the range Valerie sang in, and then invited her daughter to play with the children, while offering Valerie to join their alto section. “The rest is history,” Valerie says. “I stayed in that ‘sanctified’ choir for the next three years – until my tour of duty was over.” And with that, an amazing musical career began. Soon, Valerie found herself touring abroad, and discovered that blues doesn’t know boundaries. For example, when Valerie and Al B. Blue, an accomplished musician in his own right, performed in Bangkok, Thailand, they found themselves in a club, run by the president of the Bangkok Blues Society. The equipment there was old, but that didn’t affect the playing. “It was a magical night,” Valerie remembers. “We didn’t speak Thai, and they didn’t speak English – we communicated through the blues!” Then came another breakthrough. Karen Tyler (who then just moved to the Central Coast from Texas) heard Valerie sing for the first time, and got her in touch with Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin’s former band). A huge fan of Janis Joplin, Valerie sent Sam her Valerie Johnson & the Blues Doctors CD. Sam was in Cleveland then, working on Love Janis. So, his fiancé received the CD at their home, and was so taken with Valerie’s voice that she insisted on playing the CD for Sam over the phone. “The next thing I know, I get a call from him asking me to do a tour with them. Wow! I was hired over the internet,” Valerie says. Sam brought Valerie to Cleveland. The next day they picked up the rest of the band members and began performing. Later, Valerie and Al were hired by Richard Burleigh (Fire On the Mountain Productions) and played at many exciting venues, including the Blues and Brews Festival, where she shared the stage with the biggest names in the industry. Valerie opened the gospel set with an acapella version of “Amazing Grace.” Then it was the Holmes Brothers’ turn. “As I was stepping off the stage, one of the Holmes Brothers


asked me to sing with them. Afterwards they asked me to join them on their European tour!” Valerie recalls. At the same festival Valerie got to perform with Deanna Bogart and Carl Sonny Leland, as they did a boogie-woogie piano play-off. “It was unreal,” Valerie says. “Deanna and I sang some tunes together and the harmonies were incredible, as if we had done this for years. It was incredible!” Listing her favorite musicians – Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Etta Jones, Sarah Vaughn, Nellie Letcher, Maria Muldaur, Etta James, Mae West… – Valerie is quick to add that if she could choose anyone to work with, it would still be the people she works with now: her husband Al, Karen Tyler, Jeff Beaumont (band leader of the Creole Syncopators) and The Strata-tones. “I’m blessed!” she marvels. Growing national popularity prompted Cynthia Coleman to include Valerie and her band Valerie Johnson and the Blues Doctors into her series the Women of the Blues, which since has been accepted into the Smithsonian. But Valerie isn’t about to rest on her laurels. She recently joined The Stratatones – a group with local roots and national recognition (it was founded by Bruce Krupnik and includes Kevin McCracken, Ken Burton, Wil Anderson, and Rick Pittman). “We’re on the road to great success,” Valerie believes, looking forward to more national and international tours. Valerie knows how to appreciate simple things that in the end make life worth living: her family, friends and the beauty around her. “My husband Al B. Blue is my unsung hero,” Valerie says. “He’s made it possible for me to be a full-time musician. He’s my best friend and foundation. I love living in the mountains. I’m happy about my children’s personal and professional successes, and about my musical and spiritual journey.” Her philosophy is simple: “trying to do my best, making every day count.” When not singing, Valerie serves as the main gardener at the Ligia Dantes Foundation Retreat in Nipomo. “This work is instrumental in keeping me well-grounded,” she says. “I’ve always loved working with plants, and I’ve always needed spiritual balance in my life. So for me, it is the perfect place to be.” You can hear Valerie at Bon Temp Creole Café, and on the radio station Jango Internet Radio. To learn more, go to or

Karen Tyler, Al B Blue with Valerie Johnson F E B R U A R Y


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“I’ll be here ‘till i’m six feet under!”

heather cochrane fpac’s new executive director By Susan Stewart


rowing up in Burbank, Calif., (home of NBC studios, Warner Bros., and The Walt Disney Co.) she must have caught the show-biz bug by osmosis. When she was just an elementary school-age girl, Heather Cochrane and her five siblings were already entertaining the neighborhood, organizing circuses and pet shows, and recruiting nearby kids to participate. They made flyers, printed their own newspaper, and sold tickets. “It was a formative time,” she says. As the new executive director of the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center (FPAC), Cochrane has paid her dues, beginning with those early years in Burbank. “I have always loved the arts,” she says, “and though I can’t sing or dance, I love that I can support those who do, and the beautiful building where they do it.”

From Burbank, Cochrane’s parents moved back to their East Coast roots (Stanton, Virginia) where Heather finished high school. She earned an honors degree in English from Xavier University and a master’s degree from the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was at the University of Kansas, where she was studying for a Ph.D., that she began her career in development. “Life circumstances forced me to get a real job, and I was hired by the college to write grants and do communications for them,” she explains. The defining moment came when Cochrane took a job as development director for one of the largest domestic violence agencies in the nation: Domestic Violence Intervention Services in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “I had an incredible boss,” she declares, describing the wise and forceful African American woman who mentored her during that time. “It was one of those dream campaigns, especially for my first time out; and I thought ‘This is so much fun … raising millions of dollars for such a great cause.’” While working at DVIS, Cochrane attended what she calls a boot camp for fundraising at the University of Indiana’s School of Philanthropy, an intensive week-long experience. In 2000, she was hired by Villanova Prep School in Ojai, California, which is where Cochrane got her start doing development for private schools. Most recently, she was the development director at High Mowing School in New Hampshire, where she created a comprehensive development program that more than doubled the school’s annual income from charitable gifts. It was while in New Hampshire that Cochrane earned the prestigious designation, “Certified Fundraising Executive” from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, an internationally recognized group.

The new FPAC office at 550 Dana Street, SLO F E B R U A R Y


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When it came time to return to her native California, Cochrane looked to San

Heather Cochrane inside the Performing Arts Center photo by Colleen Rosenthal

Luis Obispo and nowhere else. “I’m at a point in my life where I want to be excited about getting up and going to work every day,” she said. “To love what I do, and to love where I live. I have always wanted to live here.” When former FPAC president, Clif Swanson, showed her through the Performing Arts Center, Cochrane was awed. “I knew right then and there that I wanted to support the arts in this building,” she recalls. Out-performing a sea of talented of candidates, Cochrane was selected to step into the lead position at the FPAC and started work in September. She and her husband, David, and two children—Emma, 17 and August, 4—are delighted to make their home here. “I am so glad to be back in California,” said Cochrane. “I love the ocean … and I’ve met the most amazing people since moving here—people completely committed to improving their community. The term Happiest City is well-deserved … I’ll be here till I’m six feet under!” Since 1986, when FPAC was established to support the not-yet-built Performing Arts Center, a strong and loyal base of supporters was formed. One of Cochrane’s first goals will be to support and nurture them, adding new and younger supporters in the process. Next, FPAC is considering an endowment-building campaign. The goals of the campaign would include continuing to maintain the building in its current state-of-the-art, pristine condition, in a more stable and sustainable way, and possibly “to establish a Community Access Fund to support our community arts groups when they perform at the PAC,” she explains. “To keep our community in the audience and on the stage as affordably as possible is our goal.” The campaign would occur over several years.

PEOPLE Cochrane with longtime FPAC supporter, Joan Sargen


oriented mission.” She added that SLOCCF Executive Director Barry VanderKelen has been a terrific source of encouragement, advice, and good humor since she took the helm at FPAC in September. In 2006, Cochrane won the Governor’s Award for Screenwriting with an “indie” film titled “The Tealeaf Sisters.” As a writer, she has a deep appreciation for the arts in all its forms. And she knows a perfect performing arts building when she sees one. “We are extraordinarily lucky to have this building,” she effuses. “It’s such a gift! There is no way this community could have reached the caliber and sophistication it has in the arts without it.”

As of press time, the FPAC offices will have just moved into a new space, sharing the historic Barneberg house at 550 Dana with the SLO County Community Foundation (SLOCCF). “Locating our offices within the Community Foundation’s new home expresses our alignment with their community-

Since ticket sales (something Cochrane has known about since before she could reach into a box office booth) help make the artists and the building possible, her parting words to this writer and to the community at large were: “If you love the arts, go and support them!” Visit for more information, donating, and more. Phone: (805) 541–5401 or E-mail to



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Phil lang “Let the good times roll” By Ruth Starr


tartled by a four-thirty a.m. phone call, Phil Lang received news that his San Luis Obispo restaurant, Bon Temps, was engulfed in flames. He bolted out the door of his Paso Robles home not knowing what to expect when he arrived. By the time Phil pulled up, the restaurant was charred black with remnants of the smoldering smoke. An anonymous phone call alerted the fire department. They were on the scene within ten minutes and were able to quickly put out the large fireball. They determined it was an electrical fire that started near the cash register. Most likely a bare wire managed to heat up enough to ignite some nearby papers around 9:45 p.m. November, 2010. The staff had already left for the day.

Since the freezers were still filled with food— that Phil was now unable to sell—he decided to make meals for the homeless at Prado Day Center. Four years earlier, he had started a tradition of preparing food for the homeless on Thanksgiving day. He continues that tradition today. “Cooking for the homeless allows me to feel like I am a part of this community,” explains Phil. Often, after a banquet or other event, Phil donates the leftover food to the

people at Prado. “I don’t blame them or have any judgment about the homeless,” he says. “It’s simple: there are homeless people and they need to eat.” After the fire, Phil hired a restoration company who specialized in disaster cleanup. The entire place was blackened from the smoke. The counter had to be re-surfaced, the ceiling had to be re-done, all the booths and chairs had to be replaced as well as all the lighting. Fortunately, the fire did not affect the kitchen other than the black soot everywhere. The restaurant was closed for seven months during the restoration. Phil was impressed with the Inspectors from the City of San Luis Obispo. They came out the day of the fire and gave a summary of what the city would require for a re-build. They noticed there was no structural damage, only cosmetic damages, allowing them to issue over the counter permits. Handicap bathrooms and ramps had to be fixed to codes now in place. When asked how he came up with the idea of a southern style restaurant in San Luis Obispo, Phil says that he and a partner, Bob Winick, thought up Creole/Cajun food after seeing how popular Mardi Gras was in San Luis Obispo. His partner had the recipes and had been a Chef at a restaurant in Pismo Beach and knew how to run a kitchen. Phil had the experience of being a director from his days as a Chef Fire damage didn’t stop Lang from reopening his restaurant



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and Food and Beverage Director at a large restaurant in Pismo Beach—both had their roots in cooking. In 2003 they had two restaurants, one in Pismo and one in SLO. For simplicity they split the partnership and each took one of the restaurants. Many locals and travelers alike were quickly attracted to this style of food. Some of the same people—some for the last six years. The restaurant in Pismo that former partner, Bob, owned was sold and Bob now travels around the world seeing everything he can. They keep in touch by email.


Free Local Towing!

The origins of Cajun foods comes from people called Acadiens. They were from the New Brunswick area. They left the New Brunswick area and after years of re-settling, followed a course down the Mississippi river until they got to the end, which was New Orleans. These were the poor people who settled in the Bayou areas. They also harvested foods that no one wanted to eat – lots of red beans and rice. Because the food was not of interest to the others, the Acadiens were left alone. Gumbo is their main dish. Etouffe, another popular entree, is a noble Cajun dish made by cooking down bell pepper, onions and celery and mixing it with fish stock, lots of spice, tomatoes, and brown roux. The Creole are the ancestors of the first European inhabitants of Louisiana. After Columbus landed there it was the hot spot of trade. They had their European cultures of cooking. Spain and France were the most influential countries in New Orleans. The


Creole dishes came out of Spanish and French recipes. Lots of spices wound up in Louisiana, lending themselves to the spicy Creole dishes that developed. Shrimp creole is a very popular dish. The Creole sauce is tomato based and has chunky cut vegetables. The use of many spices make these dishes unique. The word Creole in French means mixture. History is very important in understanding this food and people. Creole is both a food and a type of people. Louisiana Creole people refers to those who are descended from the colonial settlers in Louisiana, especially those of French and Spanish descent. The term was first used during colonial times by the settlers to refer to those who were born in the colony, as opposed to those born in the Old World. Phil and his chefs make all the ingredients from scratch because, he says, it is more fun and better for you than opening cans. Bon Temps means good times. He and Bob decided on that name as it is common in the south. And, for Phil, he likes to let the good times roll.

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Rizzoli’s customers Dave and Melanie Marshall with their dog, Toby, in Avila Beach.

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Go Cornhuskers!

meet stacie jacob the visitor & conference bureau’s executive director By Susan Stewart


er professional résumé does not, of course, include this, but the truth is that Stacie Jacob’s job experience began at the age of 8. That’s when she started showing sheep, judging cattle, and speaking in public as a young member of 4-H in her hometown of Cozad, Nebraska. As the newest executive director of the San Luis Obispo Visitor and Conference Bureau (VCB), Jacob brings a lifetime of experience to the job—in an area that carries the same agricultural foundation as the small farming community where she grew up.

With a population of roughly 4,000, Cozad, Nebraska is about the size of Templeton (at roughly 5,000). So Jacob feels right at home in our county, eager to put her considerable experience, talents, and education to work in order to forward the goals of the VCB. Comprised of 500 tourism industry-related businesses, hotels, restaurants, and wineries, the VCB’s mission is to “ … promote San Luis Obispo County through advertising, marketing, public relations and group sales.” “Templeton would be a comparable town with Cozad,” she said, “but in Nebraska you would typically get a ‘snow’ day … We lived five miles away from town, making me eligible for a school driving permit at age 14. I was allowed to drive to and from school, church, and 4-H activities, which was primarily my life.” Jacob and her sister Amy grew up on a working farm where there were no weekends, just more days for chores. “We always had projects going around the house that we worked on as a family,” she said. Hard work and honesty were the values instilled in Jacob at a very young age. “My parents were my motivational drivers,” she says. “They gave me a strong set of values, work ethic, and life skills.” With a foundation of 4-H leadership experiences under her belt, Jacob earned her bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences and Natural Sciences from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Her major was agricultural journalism. She moved to San Luis Obispo County in 2004 to accept a position at the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance (PRWCA).

As she settles into her new position at the VCB, Jacob said she hopes to showcase how countywide marketing efforts can work along with each community to build trust and not duplicate efforts. F E B R U A R Y


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HOME/OUTDOOR “The more I learned about what the association needed at that time, the more intrigued I became,” she said. Under her leadership, the Alliance grew to represent 500 members … and created a marketing campaign that achieved regional, national, and global brand recognition for the Paso Robles American Viticulture Area (AVA). Assuming her new position with the VCB last July, Jacob came to the job most recently from her seven-year stint with the PRWCA, and before that from the Washington State Wine Commission where she served four years as Public Relations Director. Along the way, she racked up some impressive achievements, including liaisons with such prestigious media as Gourmet, Travel & Leisure, Food & Wine, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sunset. In


by the San Luis Obispo wine community.

fact, it was the latter publication that teamed up with the VCB and other county tourism efforts to bring us Sunset’s “Savor the Central Coast” events during the past two fall seasons. As chairman of the Board at the PRWCA, Jacob was pivotal in bringing this four-day, all-star food and wine event to our area.

In her off-time, the disciplined Jacob goes running every Sunday with a group. Their distance varies between four and twelve miles and they train for various races. “This fall was the Santa Barbara half marathon,” she said. “The next one up is the SLO half marathon in April.” Jacob is also a big college football fan, ardently following her home-state football team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

“Having a partner like Sunset brings an immediate sense of credibility and national recognition to the event,” said Jacob. “Working with vintners and growers … was a chance to help the region to become known for its quality wines.”

As she settles into her new position at the VCB, Jacob said she hopes to showcase how countywide marketing efforts can work along with each community to build trust and not duplicate efforts. Immediate plans include more destination events like “Savor,” countywide themed promotions like Restaurant Month, group sales activities to promote mid-week business, and a film commission.

According to Brittany Garcia, the VCB’s community and member relations manager, “Our primary challenge is building consensus with community players and tourism partners. There is an interest in a countywide brand and identity for tourism, but how to achieve a collaborative approach is the challenge.” In 2008, Jacob was recognized as one of the Top 20 under 40 leaders by the San Luis Obispo Tribune. And in 2011, she was recognized as the Wine Industry Person of the Year

“A strong tourism bureau helps the county through creating overall economic stability and jobs,” she explained. “SLO County is well positioned as a year-round destination … Telling that story benefits us all.”



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S L O home design district

Tips to Save Water and Energy at Home By Statepoint Media


ore Americans than ever before are striving to be environmentally-friendly these days. Not only does conserving water and energy help reduce our imprint on the planet, it can also ease the burden on our wallets. “Many Americans now are finding new and innovative ways to save on water and energy costs in their homes without sacrificing the type of lifestyle they’re used to,” says Tom Moskitis, Executive Director of the Council for Responsible Energy. “Little changes can go a long way.” Here are some easy tips to help you save water and energy at home: • Wash Full Loads. When it comes to dishes and laundry, wait until

you have a full load before running the appliance. And use cold water for laundry and air dry dishes when you can. • Heat With Natural Gas. A gas water heater can heat water up to twice as fast as an electric one. And a natural gas water heater emits up to half the carbon emissions of an electric water heater.

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During your visit, you can snuggle under a warm blanket and listen to music. As a caring and considerate dentist, Dr. Colleran can make any dental procedure comfortable. Don’t let fear and anxiety get in the way of your dental health.

1250 Peach Street, Suite E San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (805) 543-0814



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• Go Tankless. For even more efficiency, install a tankless water heater, which heats water on demand. A natural gas tankless water heater, near the point of use, eliminates energy loss caused by tank heaters that have unused water cooling in the tank. This can save hundreds of gallons of water over the course of a year. Plus, such tankless heaters last almost twice as long as tank water heaters. • Take Low-Volume Showers. Replace your high-volume shower head with an aerated shower head, which uses a mix of water and air to produce a flow that feels strong but can save up to 60 percent of water compared to an average shower -- reducing both your water and energy use. • Avoid the “Phantom Load.” Appliances such as your TV, DVD player, cell phone charger, computer and other gadgets consume energy just by being plugged in. Unplug them when not in use. If that’s too cumbersome, plug them into a powerstrip that you can turn on and off with just one flick of a switch. • Fix Leaks. From dripping faucets to drafty doors and windows, leaks can be a major source of energy and water waste. Being a responsible homeowner or tenant and attending to those annoying home improvements can significantly reduce your monthly water and energy bills. When it comes to your money and the planet, little steps can make a big difference.


SLO county art scene


Paul LaRiviere: Art out of Community By Gordon Fuglie


am always struck when I meet artists who discovered their vocation as mature adults. Perhaps it can be chalked up to accumulative life experience, a preparation for the “Eureka” moment – I can extend my self expression! Enrollment in art classes and running a tab with an art supplier often follow. Does our impulse to creative expression lie closer to the surface of our psyches than we really know?

Morro Bay artist Paul LaRiviere has such a story. His earlier career began in the US Army, including tours of duty in Viet Nam and Germany. Eventually, his skills took him into the circles of high command, serving on the personal staff of renowned WWII Major General Omar N. Bradley (1893 - 1981). Remarkable for this era preceding the US Armed Forces 1993 policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by twenty years, LaRiviere was then out as a gay man. His Army colleagues were not bothered by his sexual identity. After leaving the Army in the 1970s, LaRiviere was surprised to experience a quite different call of duty, the artist’s studio. He says he “just couldn’t stop taking art classes,” and, via the GI Bill, entered the Master of Fine Arts Program at California State University at Los Angeles, graduating in 1983 with additional expertise in psychology. These dual concentrations allowed LaRiviere to obtain an art therapy credential from the American Art Therapy Association, permitting him to earn a living while producing his own work. In 1986 the California Department of Mental Health recruited LaRiviere as an Art Therapist at Atascadero State Hospital (ASH), prompting his relocation from Los Angeles to the Central Coast. During his tenure at ASH, he taught criminally ill patients social and creative development skills utilizing various art materials and techniques. Seven years later, in 1993, LaRiviere transferred to the California Department of Corrections as Institutional Artist Facilitator where he developed and implemented Arts in Corrections programs in prisons throughout the State. Working systemically, he was charged with developing art resources from local arts organizations that involved visual artists, musicians, writers, poets and thespians who introduced inmates to the means of personal expression and art appreciation. (SLO County artists Kate Muldauer and Sally Tippman worked for him.) LaRiviere told me inmates that invested themselves in the Arts in Corrections programs were found to have a significantly lower recidivism rate. My own sense of “art in prisons” efforts is their capacity to transform people who – prior to being incarcerated – had no idea whatsoever of their creative potential. Inmates who successfully participate in these programs experience new insight and a transformation of consciousness that can help them break through and out of the criminal cycle. LaRiviere knows a thing or two about breaking out of harmful cycles. “Clean and sober” for 27 years, he is indebted to supportive groups and communities and continues to volunteer at 12-Step Recovery programs in the area.

Curator, Paul LaRiviere (right) with Tim Anderson and Gordon Fuglie

This commitment also extends to his community service for the arts. While LaRiviere retired from the Department of Corrections in 2008, he has long been active with the Central Coast Printmakers, organized juried exhibits for LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) artists at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, and since 2004 has served as the founding Art Curator at the downtown SLO Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA) of the Central Coast where he organizes art exhibitions year round. The SLO First Friday, Art After Dark, receptions for the GALA exhibits have become well-attended events. Printmaking is the primary platform for LaRiviere’s own art, allowing him to explore multiple directions as he utilizes an alterable matrix (block, plate or stone) to repeat, evolve and layer his images. Within the printmaking “quiver,” he has experience in etching, woodblock, linocut, lithography, and monoprint. His visual language is contemporary, manifesting a mix of abstraction, media, popular symbols, bright synthetic colors and collage. LaRiviere’s themes are the large ones: life and death, and this can lead to extended musings, exploiting book formats and monumental pieces, reaching eight feet. In his recent work, he uses the reductive printing process, so named because the matrix is sequentially cut away or reduced prior to each new color of ink being applied to and printed from it. The papers made for printmaking, observes LaRiviere, “lend themselves beautifully to folding, cutting and manipulating to make interesting three-dimensional shapes. The new structures become a kind of book, but read in a different way.” His latest work will go on display at GALA in mid-March, 2012. For more information:, newsletter. On view at GALA through March 10, “Double Takes: A Survey of Paintings by Wes Christensen,” www., current exhibits. LaRiviere’s composite print – “The Eyes Have it”



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at the market

Slaw recipe and simple roast new potatoes By Sarah Hedger


s we roll into February, Mother Nature herself can often seem a bit confused regarding what season it really is. One can only imagine how the unusual weather patterns affects the growth cycles of our produce, especially when the sun shines so warmly in winter. Fortunately, there is hopefully a little leeway either way (or it begins feeling more like the season it is supposed to be, before we are all left dazed and confused). February at the market often reflects the Winter produce we know and love, with the prevailing dark greens, citrus, and root vegetables leaving a gamut of options to choose from. That said, if the weather stays warm, we can expect the added benefit of delicious Spring produce such as strawberries, appearing sooner than later. Lately I have had an insatiable desire to learn as much as possible with regards to integrating the most local, seasonal edibles I can get my hands on. This in itself has led me down a road (literally at times), wanting to learn how to safely forage for wild edibles. Fortunately, I was recently lucky enough to accompany a chef on a foraging outing for a day which was nothing short of an ideal day in my book. While I’ve been fascinated regarding what some call wild edibles and others call weeds, I have become more and more intrigued to what delicious options we can find, even growing wild in our own backyards. As much as I have read about foraging and looked at pictures of wild plants in books, the hesitation remains when it comes to applying that newfound knowledge and then making an intelligent choice regarding what is a safe edible in the wild. This combined with what is delicious to eat and understanding the different varieties grown around the world leaves me as an often confused beginner forager. Fortunately, the chef I was with was mentored by one of the most well known foragers in the world, Miles Irving. Thus, to have the opportunity to accompany a trustworthy source was a real treat. When it comes to plants and what grows where, every nook and cranny in the world is unique and the Central Coast is no different. We often

Wild pea flower and fennel fronds F E B R U A R Y


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Sea Asparagus

Crisp Trout on jerseys with Apple Slaw

hear wine aficionados describe wines’ terroir, however we rarely hear the word terroir associated with other edible produce and I would argue it should apply just the same. On the foraging outing, I learned how to identify (and eat) some wild edibles that most consider weeds – Chickweed, Wild Fennel, Wild Pea flowers, and Samphire to name a few. Eating wild fennel took me by surprise as some of my earliest childhood memories are of smelling the fresh anise flavor that permeated my clothing after hiking through it. During this outing, we made an apple slaw, simply by grating some green apples with the minced wild fennel fronds, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. The simplicity of this dish reminded me that less really is more when it comes to fresh, seasonal produce. The day was educational and fun to say the least, and I have already noticed my gaze focusing in on the “weeds” around me while on outdoor adventures (and in the neighbor’s backyard)… February’s slaw recipe integrates the option if you happen to have some wild fennel (anise) growing in or around your yard. It is a rendition of the slaw we made on the foraging outing and a simple, fresh, and delicious dish that integrates a healthy component/salad into the Winter diet. It pairs perfectly with the other recipe, Simple Roast New Potatoes. Enjoy!

green apple slaw with fresh fennel fronds and lemon 3 (preferably organic) Granny Smith apples, washed, with skins left on 1 lemon, juiced (1/3 cup juice) 1 large handful of fennel fronds (if you know what the wild version looks like, feel free to use this instead and if none to be found, fresh mint would be a suitable replacement) 1 tsp sea salt, preferably flaky ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper Grate apples directly into a large bowl, containing all the apple juice that is released during the process. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so flavors can develop. Serves 4 as a side salad or appetizer. * This salad goes exceptionally well with roast potatoes below as the creaminess of the roast potatoes compliments the crisp freshness of the apple salad quite nicely. Simply add a protein element such as a fresh fish lightly sautéed till crisp in a little olive oil and you are set.

simple roast new potatoes with olive oil and sea salt 1 pound organic, local, new potatoes (seek out a new variety you haven’t tried before) 2-3 T. olive oil 1-2 tsp flaky sea salt ½ tsp fresh ground pepper Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Thoroughly wash potatoes and cut into ¼ inch pieces (with skin on). Place in a (preferably heavy duty) baking dish, with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and just beginning to brown. Cooking length will depend on the accuracy of your oven. Remove from oven and serve with apple slaw. *Feel free to email me at if you have any food-related questions and find this recipe (as well as other versions) at






priest, a photographer, a lawyer and a newspaper editor would seem unlikely allies, especially when the object of their concern was some trees. And especially when you consider it was in the early 1900s when America’s forests seemed inexhaustible, and trees were primarily valued for their lumber potential. Neither their beauty nor the environment was typical of consideration. Nonetheless, at a critical juncture, the four men: Andrew Hill, Father Robert Kenna, S.J., D. M. Delmas and Harry G. Wells came together to champion a movement to save the California Coast Redwoods from destruction by lumber moguls.

In late 1899 Andrew P. Hill, a well-known artist and photographer visited the San Lorenzo Valley, in the Santa Clara Mountains, in Northern California. Hill, from nearby San Jose, had been commissioned by a London magazine to photograph California’s Coast Redwood trees. The trees are as huge as they are rare. They have a life span of up to 2000 years, can grow to the height of a 35-story building and can easily be 25-feet wide. But they grow naturally only in a small area along California’s northern coast. Hill paid the admission fee to get into the Fremont Big Tree Grove, a privately owned stand of the giant trees. When he started photographing the mammoth trees, the grove’s owners stopped him, confiscated his photographic plates, and claimed exclusive right to photograph the trees. Hill, frustrated and angry, believed the natural wonders should belong to everyone. That day he set his mind to achieving public ownership of the trees. He recognized that he would need help to make his vision a reality. He brought together a circle of friends, and they too became infected with his enthusiasm. “Save the Redwoods!” became the small but dynamic group’s slogan. The group held an open meeting on the Stanford University campus, and during the discussion they heard about a larger grove of trees 20 miles north of the Fremont grove. Known as Big Basin, it was a stand of coast redwoods more than one thousand years old. It was, however, right in the path of sawmills already at work and less than two miles from the trees. Hill, Father Kenna, and a small group of men and women went to see the Big Basin trees. It wasn’t an easy trip. They traveled by rail to Boulder Creek, then by horse-drawn wagons over a steep, rugged mill road to its end at Slippery Rock, on Sempervirens Creek. They spent several days exploring and taking pictures of the giant trees. It was a wilderness of ferns and huckleberries, oaks and stately firs, and a myriad of flowers and wildlife. Around their campfire on the night of May 18, 1900, they reaffirmed their commitment to saving the area. They named themselves the Sempervirens Club. The Sempervirens Club received a cool reception when it urged California Legislators to budget $250,000 to buy the coast redwood land, and turn it into a state park. The Sempervirens Club appointed Hill its repreF E B R U A R Y


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sentative to go to Sacramento, the state’s capitol, and convince lawmakers of the value of their plan. A mission that looked hopeless at the time. Hill, however, realized the truth in the axiom: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Thus, when he arrived in Sacramento in early 1901, he carried dozens of photographs of the trees. Hill contacted Lieutenant Governor Alden Anderson. Anderson referred him to Grove L. Johnson, an influential politician. Johnson was enough impressed with Hill’s photos, and the Sempervirens Club’s cause, to sponsor a bill in the legislature to save the trees. While Hill won over a number of politicians to the cause, he knew there was still strong and significant opposition to the bill. He sensed the cause needed more concentrated support. He noticed that the Catholic members of both the Assembly and Senate were a significant minority in the legislature, but typically they voted together. He decided to seek the Catholic vote for the park. He turned to Father Kenna for help. Hill wasn’t Catholic, but he and Kenna had been classmates in high school, and had remained close friends through the years. Kenna, a Jesuit, was president of Santa Clara College (now Santa Clara University), and a member of the Sempervirens Club. Kenna used his influence and obtained firm support for the park from Catholic legislators. He was also instrumental in spreading the “Save the Trees” message to Catholic congregations throughout the state. He asked them to write their legislators to support the bill. On February 18, 1901, D. M. Delmas, a prominent San Francisco attorney addressed the California Assembly. His task was to convince assembly members to vote for passage of the Big Basin Park bill. Delmas said, in part: “Man’s work, if destroyed, man may again replace. God’s work God alone can re-create. Accede, then, to the prayers of the people. Save this forest. Save it now. The present generation approves the act; generations yet

By the time he got there, the paper had already gone to press. He persuaded Wells to run a special edition, 150 copies, just for him. That special edition was identical to that day’s regular edition except for a front page editorial Hill wrote announcing fulfillment of the conditions set for passage of the bill. Hill, lugging his 150 copies of the Mercury, caught the 4:30 a.m. train to Sacramento. When legislators arrived at the capitol that morning, each had a copy of the Mercury on his desk. The Assembly passed the California Redwood Park bill by a vote of fifty-five to one. Father Kenna traveled to Sacramento that same day, and spent the day talking to various legislators, lobbying for the bill’s passage. Despite the Assembly’s passage of the bill, only seven senators favored the park’s creation.

He reminded legislators that France and Germany, as well as the states of New York and Massachusetts, had budgeted money to buy forestlands and preserve them. “California should do no less,” he said. The bill progressed through the legislature, and its opponents, unable to stop it, attached seemingly “insurmountable” conditions to it, including a new contract for the land. The major impediment was a responsible person had to guarantee $50,000 against the State’s possible inability to make the initial payment for the land on time. Fifty-thousand dollars, no small sum today, was a huge amount of money in 1901.

“My remarks, though very simple, were given with an earnestness that made the Senators accept them as the sentiments of my heart. I said in part… ‘these redwoods are preeminently Californian, unique in their species and situation…I beg you to stay the hand that would harm those that still remain….’” When the Senate voted it was nearly unanimous in favor of the park. Some feared Governor Henry T. Gage might veto the bill, but he didn’t, and in 1902 the State purchased 3800 acres in the heart of Big Basin. H. B. Pilkington was the park’s first warden.

Tens of thousands of people visit Big Basin Redwoods State Park every year. They come to admire the huge trees found naturally only in that small area on California’s northern coast. If it hadn’t been for the dedicated and relentless efforts of a small group—and especially Andrew P. Hill—the preservation of the redwood giants, the Big Basin and places like it might only exist as photographic images today. Shortly before his death in 1912, Father Kenna wrote of Hill. “(He) was the right man for the difficult and delicate work…his one object was to…save and protect those magnificent redwoods. (His) open, above-board talk, was an enigma to many old political lobbyists who tried to block his work…(and) advised him to go home, for there was no hope for the passage of his pet bill.” Obviously, they were wrong.

At Hill’s request, and through the help of Senator Shortridge of San Jose, Father Kenna was allowed to address the Senate. Kenna later wrote of his speech: unborn, in grateful appreciation of your labors, will rise up to consecrate its consummation.”



Hill, at a banquet held by the Sempervirens Club, praised Father Kenna’s contribution to the creation of Big Basin Park, including his having twice served on the Redwood Park Commission. He also recognized the support newspapers in California had given to the park. He was especially thankful to Wells and the San Jose Mercury. The paper had published over 400 articles about Big Basin and the struggle to create it. After the park opened, several of the trees were given official names. The first tree named was the Santa Clara Tree, in honor of Santa Clara College, and its president, Father Robert Kenna, S.J.

Hill had no idea where the money would come from, but nonetheless assured timber owners and legislators that he would have a solid pledge for the money “before midnight.” Hill knocked on Kenna’s door just before midnight, and told him what he needed. Kenna telephone his nephew, James Phelan, who had been generous to worthwhile causes in the past. Phelan guaranteed the entire $50,000 would be available if needed. Hill left Father Kenna’s residence at about one o’clock in the morning. He knew that he needed a way to prove to legislators the money was assured. He reasoned a story in a newspaper about raising the money would be convincing enough, and Harry Wells, editor of the San Jose Mercury could help him. The streetcars weren’t running at that hour, so Hill walked the four miles to the newspaper’s main office. F E B R U A R Y


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palm street perspective

three important issues that need to be discussed By SLO City Mayor, Jan Marx

Dear Friends and Neighbors, For this Palm Street Perspective, I would like to touch on three important issues,

1) Downtown Streetscape Maintenance and Upgrade You probably have noticed construction workers making improvements along two blocks of Higuera Street between Morro and Garden in our Downtown. When funding for these capital improvements was set aside in the 2009-2011 Capital Expenditure Budget, there was tremendous public support. But, understandably enough during these tough economic times, when it came time for Council to actually consider awarding the low bid, the project suddenly became controversial. The project has been characterized by some as over-priced, capricious, and isolated to only two-blocks. A broad mix of alternative

ways to spend the funding was proposed. Opponents failed to realize that funds have long been set aside just for this purpose. The project creates local jobs and would only get more expensive in the future, as the economy improves. It carries out a decadesold plan to revitalize the Downtown, which is already well underway. You can see these already competed streetscape upgrades for yourself in five areas of the Downtown: 1) Osos Street (one side) from Palm to Higuera; 2) Monterey Street on the Court Street frontage; 3) Higuera Street on the Court Street frontage 4) in front of the Wineman Hotel; and 5) Palm Street (one side) from Osos to Morro. (See photos) These improvements make our Downtown safer, more bicycle and pedestrian friendly and, yes, more visually attractive. They include Mission-style sidewalks and ADA compliant corner ramps, retrofitted storm drains, upgraded tree grates and tree wells, bicycle racks and pedestrian streetlight fixtures. The Downtown Association has agreed to pay for tree lighting to make the Farmers’ Market safer after dark. In parts of the Downtown where new projects are planned, developers will pay for these upgrades. Chinatown will pay for them on Monterey Street, Morro Street and Palm Street, fronting the project. Garden

Opponents failed to realize that funds have long been set aside just for this purpose. The project creates local jobs and would only get more expensive in the future, as the economy improves. F E B R U A R Y


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Street Terraces project will pay for these improvements on Garden Street and the frontages along Marsh Street and Broad Street. As future projects come forward in the Downtown, developers will be required to make these improvements. Where no new projects are planned, in the oldest parts of the Downtown, Council may decide to fund certain sections, as in the case at hand. Not only does the Downtown generate the most sales tax for our General Fund per square foot, but it also is at the heart of our city’s sense of place. My vote to invest in this project was an expression of my confidence in the future vitality of our city.

2) Plan B When I first took office I voluntarily reduced my compensation by about 8%. Shortly thereafter, Council made a 6.8% cut to its compensation. Then, top city administrators voluntarily reduced their compensation by 8%. The present City budget calls for an overall employee compensation reduction of 6.8% during this two-year cycle. Hopefully, by the time you read this article, negotiations with unionized employee groups will have achieved this goal. But if not, what then? At that point, Council will have to consider “Plan B,” which will consist of alternate cuts to compensation needed to balance the budget. Other cities have had to resort to program elimination, lay-offs or furloughs. Council will decide on the backup options as part of the Mid-Year Budget review in February. Hopefully, the unions will work with the city to meet the 6.8% reduction goal, and resorting to “Plan B” will not be necessary.

3) Land Use and Circulation Element Update One of the major City goals set by Council was a focused update of our Land Use and

Circulation Elements. Thanks to the skill and perseverance of staff, the city received a major grant to pay for this update. I fondly remember participating in the last update from 1992 through 1994. The hearing process was laborious and at times grueling, but the result was the Land Use and Circulation Elements which have served us so well over time. That is why this update will be “focused,” which means that what is working well for us will not be changed. Without active participation from residents, the update cannot achieve its purpose of setting out the best path for the city’s next twenty to thirty years. I encourage residents to apply for the General Plan Resident Task Force or City advisory bodies, all of which will hear lots of resident input into the update. See the City website – – for information and to apply.



The City plans a robust public outreach process over the next three years. Please get involved and speak up at Planning Commission, Advisory Body and City Council meetings. Please give us your input into this crucially important community visioning process. To read our current Land Use and Circulation Elements, go to and click on Community Development, documents, General Plan. If you have questions, contact long range planner, Kim Murray, Do not hesitate to get in touch with your ideas, issues or questions. You may reach me at or 541-2716. I look forward to hearing from you. All the best in 2012! Jan Marx, Mayor



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central coast memorial society

commemorative meeting planned for 50th anniversary By Hilary Grant

It’s the one sure thing: we’ll all die. Even so, millions of Americans are in denial when it comes to this most basic fact of life. On many levels, this ostrich-in-the-sand attitude can be forgiven – thinking there are dozens of years left, filled beyond the brim with working and raising families, paying bills and setting goals, very few may want to contemplate what will truly be the final act. On the other hand, those prepared for death can greatly alleviate the crushing burden often placed on grieving loved ones when no preparations have been made. These are a few big reasons why the Central Coast Memorial Society has been around for half a century. Boasting more than 4,000 members in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, the Society, perhaps better known by its acronym CCMS, has invited the Central Coast community to its 50th birthday party later this month. The commemorative celebration is slated to take place on Saturday, February 25, at the United Church of Christ at 11245 Los Osos Valley Road in San Luis Obispo, located in the Laguna Lake neighborhood of SLO, from one o’clock in the afternoon until three p.m. In addition to discussing yearly business, which will include nominating and electing new CCMS members to its board of directors, the event – titled Healing with Humor, Music, and Poetry – will be an affirming one.

Poet and writer, Francesca Nemko will be part the 50th Celebration

To that end, various performers will be on hand. Gale McNeeley will also perform at the 50th Celebration F E B R U A R Y

Scheduled to entertain are poet and writer Francesca 2012

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CCMS Board of Directors in charge of the 50th Anniversary Celebration

Nemko, who is also on the anniversary committee; mother-anddaughter harpists Doris Highland and Kathleen Pennington, who specialize in Celtic music, with instruments crafted in SLO of walnut and spruce, and Gale McNeeley, who, in his nearly 50 years in front of audiences, has billed himself as an actor, singer, dancer and clown. There will also be refreshments and socializing immediately after the program; those curious about the group can peruse literature as well. “We started brainstorming about this one meeting last March,” says Mary Lou Wilhelm, Chair of the Anniversary Committee and archivist of the group for the last year. “After considerable discussion, we determined that we wanted this to primarily be a celebration, rather than one of our typical informative programs.” The mission of the Society is simple. Non-profit and non-sectarian, the consumer group – one of more than 125 similar organizations in the United States which operate under the banner of the Funeral Consumers Alliance – is dedicated to simplicity, dignity and economy in funeral and memorial arrangements. It’s also open to everyone, with a lifetime membership fee of $30 (minors are not required to pay anything if they reside with a paid member). “Here, our members will be assured that they will never be talked into spending more than they need to spend,” says Mary Lou Wilhelm. “We have a wonderful working relationship with them, and they know the promise we make to our members – wishes will be carried out expeditiously, and at the least possible cost.”

A Retirement COMMUNITY Facil 31

tuaries] – “is a wonderful gift to give to time. Thanks to this commitment to austerEven theWilhelm. prospect of moving m theirthough family,” says ity, CCMS’s annual budget is only about $20,000, with those monies primarily used future, you owe it to yourself to learn h for office and newsletter expenses. “It’s much easier to do this kind of planning carefree living in your own home for man when you’re healthy than when you, or a family member, are facing imminent death.” What about those who feel that planning for death is just too morbid? Everyone is welcome to attend the 50th Annual Meeting of the Central “We often tell people who are ‘on the It’s a fact of life that asAnniversary we get older, Pristine is fully Coast Memorial Society. Find out more fence’ that making these sorts of arsome day-to-day tasks become too licensed and insu about the event, as well as history and other rangements” – [whether through CCMS, CCMS information, or worker Wheeler Smith Mortuary, Reishandle Family on our much to own. That at, All of our call (805) 543-6113. Mortuary or one of the other local mor-

You Don’t Have to Move

Doris Highland and Kathleen Pennington will perform at the 50th Celebration

The Society does interface with three other regional groups also committed to quality end of life – Hospice of San Luis Obispo County, Hospice Partners of the Central Coast and the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens. CCMS adheres to a tight budget as well. There’s only one paid employee, office manager Sue Robinson, who works 12 hours per week from her home office in Cambria. All board members, trained counselors, committee members and others volunteer their

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visiting city hall By Joseph A. Carotenuti


ity Hall for most residents is a building rarely visited or even considered important in daily life. For some, it’s where meetings (often televised) are held on topics important to someone. However, whether for business, meetings, or to report for work, walking its halls provides an opportunity for everyone to (re)discover some of our earlier history. Here’s the story.

City Hall itself has attained an age where “vintage” is an apt description. Built in 1952 by local builder Allan Ochs at a total cost (land, plans, construction, and furnishings) of under $400,000, various rejuvenations have exceeded the initial investment in this second City Hall by a considerable amount. Along the corridor walls are pictures and brief descriptions (with some inaccuracies) of just a few events from the past including one that became the genesis for the current structure deserving some explanation. Pioneer San Luis Obispo was a “pay as you go” operation with few reserves and certainly no funds to build a municipal center. The Common Council (today’s City Council) met wherever space was available including in a member’s store. After the County built its courthouse (1873), the city officials used that space. Finally after incorporation as a City (1876), the decision was made to take advantage of state funds dedicated to communities building a city hall. In fact, what resulted

City Hall today

was a fire station on the ground floor with all other city functions upstairs. The City Clerk was the main occupant as most officials often worked from their businesses or homes. When the time came to select a site, fourteen different proposals were presented to the City Council. Thus, the location could have been in various spots – mostly along Monterey & Higuera Streets. The final choice was actually half of two lots owned by Max Pepperman and the Goldtree family. Opened in 1878, the building featured two large floor level double doors for fire equipment with a center stairway leading to second floor offices. Atop the building was the tower to hold the alarm bell. When rung – quite often given the predominantly wooden structures – the volunteers would rush to hitch the horses and/or pull equipment to the fire. In 1938, they didn’t have to go far… the tower was ablaze. Thus, the picture in the hallway. Never ones to rush into spending non-existent funds, officials conducted business in the damaged structure although public meetings were held at the nearby Masonic Lodge. In 1948, the decision was made to sell the building and lot for $37,000). Today’s address – 867 The Bell Tower fire

J.P. Andrews Building - 1885 F E B R U A R Y


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and constructed the Andrews Banking Company building of brick at the turn of the century. Home to the first municipal library on the second floor, the building is a City gem located at the corner of Monterey and Osos Streets. In the City Hall photo, C. W. Palmer, undertaker, peers somberly at the camera in front of his business in the building. Requiring a keen eye (a magnifying glass would help), another turn of the century photograph of San Luis Obispo taken from Telegraph Hill captures the community of about 5000…25% of the entire county’s population. Then – as now – the Mission occupies a central location with the newly opened California Polytechnic School visible to the left. The school’s architect, W. H.

Weeks, was responsible for the also newly opened Carnegie Free Library (1904) next to the Mission. A panorama photo of the valley has an “unidentified” man sitting on a rock. He is Charles H. Johnson, a legendary founder of the community. There are several other pictures of the early days of the community. At another time, we’ll go inside the Council Chambers to look at images on the rear walls not seen by viewers during televised meetings. In the meanwhile, whenever the occasion arises, take a few minutes to stroll through city hall not as a municipal building but as a local mini-history lesson. Youngsters are certainly welcome.

Historical photos outside City Hall

Higuera Street – has no marker identifying the historic site. The small jail added to the back survived the razing of the building and is still used in the modern business. Two hotel pictures in the municipal lobby are familiar to even the most casual student of local history. The Andrews and Ramona Hotels represent more than an historic tradition of extending hospitality to travelers. Both met an inevitable blazing end (the Andrews a mere eight months after opening and the Ramona in 1905) given cooking fires and gas lamps inside the buildings. The fire “ladies” could do little but watch. The San Luis Band, then and now a mark of the community’s love of music, poses during the opening day ceremonies. Capitalizing on increased rail passengers, the Ramona Hotel was built by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company in 1896. Train passengers were met by increasingly competitive drivers for a horse-drawn trip to the hotel. One such carriage is preserved on the Dallidet Adobe grounds. When Presidents McKinley (1901) & Roosevelt (1903) made brief rail stops, it was from the hotel’s front porch each greeted the community. While fine examples of nineteenth century commercial architecture, more importantly, however, the hotels signify a community’s growing prosperous enough to entertain the notion that non-residents should (or would want to) stay in town. From mission settlement to railroad center, San Luis Obispo had always been a temporary place to rest as travelers trekked the trails or rode the rails to the more popular destinations in the north or south ends of the state. J. P. Andrews learned from his expensive mistake (insurance – if any – was minimal)

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Hospice corner Volunteering, the heart of our community By Steve Willey, Volunteer Manager


olunteering took me by surprise. When I signed up for Hospice volunteer training back in 1995, I wanted more information, but had very little idea there was anything I

could do to contribute to care of the dying. I had very little spare time and even less in the way of experience. By the end of the amazingly comprehensive training, I still wasn’t sure how I could be of service, but I

was hooked; I knew this was a path my life was going to explore and I would find a way to make it work. Seventeen years later I find myself Volunteer Manager with Hospice Partners of the Central Coast. In all that time, I have had a lot of experience training and supervising volunteers and I have come to associate one word with each one of them: heart. No one forces us to volunteer, but there are many reasons we are drawn to it. Extra time, retirement, a personal experience, or a search for meaning are just a few examples, but there is often an underlying pull that is frequently described as a calling. I find this is especially true of volunteering for Hospice. The truly wonderful thing about choosing Hospice as a way to help support our community is the wealth of ways one can volunteer. If working directly with the dying and their families seems a little daunting, there are always clerical needs around the office, and service in this area can be easily as fulfilling as direct patient support. There are many opportunities for volunteers who would like to participate in the events that go toward supporting Hospice Partners so that we can continue to provide the best care possible during this challenging time of life. Becoming a volunteer for the Hospice Partners Hope Chest Thrift Store is a great example of this kind of service. For me, the call to do Hospice work was loud and clear, but for others, it might take the form of a more gentle nudging. There is no question this is powerful and important work, and involvement with Hospice often opens us up to deeper and richer meaning in our lives; volunteers usually find they get far more out of service than they feel they are able to give. The fabric of Hospice volunteering is woven of humor and tenderness, of hope and patience and, yes, just plain stuff that has to be done. Like all



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volunteering, it makes a much larger impact on our community than we can ever be truly aware of. There are lots of studies out there that promote the mental and physical health benefits of volunteering, to say nothing of the good it does for our friends and neighbors.



But it all comes down to this: heart. Volunteering is a gift we give to others and a gift we give ourselves. It is the gift of our own wide open heart that can then become the wide open heart of our relationships and our community. If you would like more information on volunteering with Hospice Partners of the Central Coast, please call Steve Willey at 782-8608.


ACROSS 1. Adherents of Sikhism 6. Before tac and toe 9. Chap or fella 13. Ivy progression 14. *Richard Gere to Cindy Crawford: “_ __” in 1991 15. Kim Jong-il leads the north section of this region 16. Independent African ruler 17. No vote 18. Relating to ulna 19. *South Africa’s first black president 21. Skier’s delight 23. Salt in Spanish 24. Hawaiian dance 25. Brown messenger 28. *Garth of “Wayne’s World” 30. Mourner’s song 34. Stiff hair or bristle 36. ____ en scene

38. Swarms 40. *”The Lion King” villain 41. *Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” e.g. 43. It leads to flight? 44. “Three’s Company” landlord 46. “Will be,” according to Day 47. Evoke emotion 48. Cloak 50. Longest division of time, pl. 52. *He played John Spartan in “Demolition Man” 53. Another spelling for #50 Across, sing. 55. As opposed to rent 57. Cursed 60. *It featured Rachel and Monica, among others 64. “_____ in comparison,” past tense 65. Followed third Super Bowl 67. Not here 68. Swelling from fluid accumulation 69. Large coffee pot 70. *Franjo Tudjman, e.g. 71. *Site of showdown with Branch Davidians

72. *”___ About You” 73. What Elmer Fudd does DOWN 1. Ponzi scheme, e.g. 2. Shirley MacLaine’s 1963 character 3. “A ____ eye” 4. Minds or listens 5. Impressive display, as in food 6. She plays Liz on “30 Rock” 7. Civil rights advocate Wells 8. Aquatic South American rodent resembling beaver 9. *Dream Team’s reward 10. White-tailed sea eagle 11. Not far 12. Applied before feathers 15. *Where U.S. intervened 20. Children’s book “Is Your Mama a _____?” 22. Days of ___ 24. Like one who’s washed-up 25. *Country until 1991 26. Legendary cowboy Bill

27. Locker room infection? 29. Nadas 31. Fair-play watchdogs 32. Dineros or loots 33. *Form of communication that took off 35. Length times width 37. *New money 39. Nimble and quick 42. Lord’s estate 45. *Hutu-Tutsi conflict site 49. Civil War general 51. “The wind began to ______, the house to pitch...” 54. Abomination 56. Jawaharlal _____ 57. Dad to a baby 58. *Starred in “The Hunt For Red October” 59. Circulates in an office 60. Discover 61. Ne 62. Exclamation of annoyance 63. They make up a tennis match 64. Church seat 66. Roth ___



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COMMUNITY Trea at 10-weeks old

dog next door Trea comes home By Jeanne Harris


rea, our collie puppy, turned one year old recently. My husband, Jim, and I brought her home when she was nine weeks old. From the day we met her, we fell in love. Her sunny disposition and easy-going temperament captured our hearts, and we knew she was the puppy we’d been waiting for. Jim and I drove to southern California that sunny winter morning with great anticipation. We had followed the collie mother’s progress through her pregnancy and delivery. We felt like parents of a child born by a surrogate and could hardly wait to bring our baby home. When we arrived at the breeder’s, the puppies scampered to greet us. They tripped and fell over one another to welcome their visitors. The first to reach us was beautiful Trea. Her vibrant eyes and eager smile seemed to say, “I’m ready to go home with you!” And she was. After the formalities of signing papers and receiving instructions from Lisa, the breeder, we bundled up our pudgy puppy and carried her to her waiting dog-mobile. She never looked back. Trea settled into my lap



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and looked into my eyes. Her soulful, sweet gaze expressed contentment and a readiness to start her new life. Jim drove as I studied the stunning features of our sweet girl’s face. Trea’s blue merle coloring – a combination of black, white, silver and tan – blended into a palette of striking designs. Her eyes, also blue merle, contained sky blue speckles, nestled in deep brown irises. Black circles under both eyes reminded me of an old Tareyton cigarettes slogan, “I’d rather fight than switch.” I laughed at the thought of our gentle puppy putting up her dukes. Grey and black freckles dotted her long, tan and white muzzle; an ebony nose served as an exclamation point. Her small, floppy black ears softened the sharpness of her pointed face. Within a few miles, sleep overtook her and she snored softly. As I stroked Trea’s cottony coat, Jim and I talked about her name and its evolution. The mother dog had given birth to three puppies. She struggled through a difficult labor and after the second pup was born, she could no longer push. The third collie baby arrived by caesarian section. Later, we learned that the beloved pup we’d chosen had been number three. When it came time to name our newborn, we wanted a meaningful moniker that would honor her beginnings. Because the breeder is of Italian descent, our girl was born third, and three, in Italian, is tre, we created the name Trea. We immediately knew the unique name with a lovely lilt suited our beautiful, unique puppy. Jim and I drove north that night, stopping every couple of hours to give our fuzzy fluff ball necessary potty breaks. Eventually, she made her way to the back of our SUV and slept comfortably until we arrived home. The journey gave us a sneak peek into our life ahead with Trea. She’s an easy traveler, a sound sleeper, and only goes potty outside. I think we’ll keep her.

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The Magazine of Downtown San Luis Obispo


W h a t ’s U p New Business News

February 2012

W h a t ’ s

U p

A r o u n d


here’re a lot of different ways to look at the howzits and the whyzits of spending money on Downtown improvements. As a practical matter, should ANY money be spent on ‘sprucing up’ when the economy has yet to turn around? From a visionary’s standpoint, how does the Downtown Maintenance, Beautification and Lighting project currently underway unfold the dream of Downtown at its ‘best and highest’ use? For a numbers person, how does the investment pay off in the long run? Tourism types toast any boost to the ‘happy, pretty, fun’ portfolio. Politically, emotionally, environmentally, economically, socially…oh my.

D o w n t o w n


Enter Part B. Downtown Tree Lighting.


Deborah Cash, CMSM, Executive Director


ltimately, the City Council in November chose to move forward with previously approved Council desires that two blocks of Downtown be designated as model areas showcasing Downtown’s potential. Attractive, safe and inviting walkways, upgraded amenities and LIGHTS! Pros and cons notwithstanding, when it comes to upgrading and improving Downtown’s infrastructure, every gesture is appreciated. Hey, we’re OLD down here!

n the light of day and dark of night, the matter of this expensive venture weighed in the minds, hearts and souls of those elected to serve on the Board of Directors. Oh, and me. Ultimately, in developing a recommendation to my board regarding tree lighting and a publicprivate partnership, I turned to a tool that has served me throughout my lifetime and has yet to let me down: the Plus and Minus chart.


hen I came on board in 1995 with the Downtown Association (then the BIA), the talk of lighting the trees was in baby stages. It intrigued and delighted me because our Downtown is dark. Our trees are beautiful and wonderful and important, but the coolness they provide during the day is the same cloak of darkness they proffer at night. I made it a personal crusade to kick it up with lights; the story of that zany venture ran in this magazine’s forerunner (San Luis Obispo Magazine This Month) in December, 1996. Alas, the 90-day permit issued then came to an end after about,

On the Cover: Facepainter Theresa Schmidt is a popular and long time participant at the Thursday Night Farmers Market in Downtown. Theresa, who is also an artist and event organizer, has painted thousands of kids' faces over her 20-plus years at the market in her location adjacent to Qwirkworld, near Garden Street. Theresa is also available for private parties and group activities and can be reached at 481-5093. Photo by Deborah Cash


Downtown Maintenance, Beautification, Lighting

Downtown Maintenance, Beautification and Lighting… M

What: Project provides upgrades in accordance with the City Council’s adopted goal for capital improvements in Downtown including Mission-style sidewalks, new street lamps, upgrades to tree grates and wells, tree lighting, street sign and signal pole painting. Where: Project covers a two-block area on Higuera between Morro and Garden streets. When: Project is estimated to run from January 3, 2012 through April, 2012, subject to weather. Construction will occur mainly between the hours of 2 AM and 10 AM, M -F.

…Keeping Downtown Beautiful!

Who (to call): Bridget Fraser, Project Manager, 7817192. The SLO Downtown Association will post updates at How (to get around): Streets and all businesses will remain open during the project with occasional, minimal closures adjacent to areas of work. Convenient parking is located in one of three nearby parking structures. Why: To Keep Downtown Beautiful!

W h a t ’ s

U p

A r o u n d

um, 10 years, and here we are, back in the dark.


or several years now, the question has been: What can we do? Clearly, with perceptions such as they are that Downtown isn’t family-friendly at night and the fact we’re wasting valuable real estate during the evening hours where people could be eating, shopping, playing and enjoying themselves, we had to take a bold step and bring back the lights.


een to the Gas Lamp District in San Diego? San Rafael? Champs Elysees? The idea that you keep your district clean and OPEN after 5 PM isn’t revolutionary. People want to go out. They want to get away from their electronic devices, their desks, their disconnect. They want to interact with other people, walk around, have coffee, dance. When they do this, they create excitement, energy, community. Oh, and economy.


ow could I not, in the plus/ minus columns, see that this investment, paid for over a few

D o w n t o w n


years, will continue to pay forward for years after? When I see the lighted trees in my mind, I imagine all the people who will come to our town (from near and far) and happily walk our streets, eat, shop, socialize and spread the word that Downtown SLO is a magical and beautiful place to be.


heir support will enable us to fix roads, pay police, provide jobs, improve the night time issues. But even more, we’ll demonstrate pride in our Downtown, keep blight at bay, welcome our visitors and guests. We’ll inspire private developers to include lighting and upgrades in their own projects and perhaps someday influence policy where Downtown projects are concerned.


Lighted trees in years past provided ambiance and a sense of well-being. Look for 24 trees along Higuera Street to sport lighting in the coming months.

he beauty of our community is that so many people care so much, particularly about Downtown. I believe that when people stroll around and enjoy their Downtown in a ‘new light,’ they’ll agree this investment has PLUS written all over it…around Downtown.

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U p

A r o u n d

Deborah Cash presents Dee Torres, Executive Director of Homeless Services, with a check for $1,000 for the Prado Day Center. Photo by Joey Chavez

N e w

B u s i n e s s

D o w n t o w n


The Central Coast Pipes and Drums marches through Thursday Night Farmers Market during the Veterans' Celebration in November. Photo by Deborah Cash

N e w s

of West African cocoa farmers, who grow 70% of the world’s cocoa. His most recent efforts have focused on villages in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.

Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates Shop

Tom & Eve Neuhaus, owners 950 Chorro Street 805-782-9868 Find them on Facebook: Sweet Earth Organic Chocolate

Originally from Detroit, Neuhaus said he spent many years on the East Coast working as a chef on Capitol Hill, writing columns for the Washington Post, and earning his PhD from Cornell University. Today he teaches parttime at Cal Poly and focuses on his non-profit and chocolate stores.

You may be familiar with Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates on Monterey Street but the good news is they recently opened a second location on Chorro Street across from the Mission. While this offers even more opportunities to enjoy the delicious and beautiful confections he and his wife Eve, offer, owner Tom Neuhaus explained Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates’ philosophy as a bigger picture; that of educating students and the community about the world of Fair Trade where cocoa farmers are concerned.

Tom’s wife, Eve, manages both locations, and is responsible for the attractive and alluring merchandising. His sister, Joanne, who owns Splash Café with her husband Ross, supervises financial aspects and online sales. While operating two locations in San Luis Obispo, Neuhaus said his business does about 85% of its sales online with customers nationwide. Downtown hours of operation are Monday – Wednesday 12 – 6 PM, Thursday – Neuhaus has been working extensively through his non-profit Saturday 11 AM – 9 PM and Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM. "Project Hope and Fairness" to provide this education. His mission is to deliver tools and help improve the productivity By Ethan Pitch markets and estate sales, both locally and across the country, to find pieces they know their valued customers will love. If you are looking for a certain piece, you can join their wish list and they will personally look for what it is you desire when they are out on the “hunt.”

Vintage Etc.

Judy Mora and Amy Beeman, owners 800 Palm Street 805-594-1942 Find them on Facebook: Vintage Etc. If you love all things vintage, you will be in awe over the unique and eclectic antiques and home décor that fills Vintage Etc. Conveniently located in the historic Ah Louis building in Downtown San Luis Obispo, Vintage Etc. is the only store of its type in the area. It offers collectors the best of both old and new pieces without having to hunt through flea markets or estate sales. The owners are mother and daughter, Judy Mora and Amy Beeman. Mora and Beeman have always had a passion for all things vintage. They both live in houses that were built in 1915 and are continuously looking for treasures to match their old, one-of-a-kind, homes. They travel to flea

Vintage Etc. caters to its customers and even has free parking available while you shop. They promote and sell locally made products such as jewelry, woodcrafts and jam. Vintage Etc. also offers seasonal collections for almost every holiday. Whether you are looking for that one unique item to complete your collection or just want to browse through some beautiful vintage and chic products, Vintage Etc. invites you to come in and say hello. Vintage Etc. is located at 800 Palm Street and is open Sunday Thursday 11 – 5 PM, and Friday - Saturday 11 – 6 PM. By Allyson Dahl



Our Schools: three issues for our schools in 2012 By Dr. Julian Crocker, County Superintendent of Schools


s we begin 2012, I think there are three issues that will continue to command much of the discussion and attention for the public schools in our county this year. These issues are the continuing financial challenges that we face as part of the state budget crisis; the increasing role of the federal government in local school policy with specific reference to national academic standards for all students; and the continuing challenges associated with the appropriate usages of technology in our schools.

STATE BUDGET CHALLENGES Since local school district budgets are almost completely controlled by both the revenue allocated in the state budget and state policies and laws, what happens in Sacramento matters for schools in the county. Last month, Governor Brown announced his proposed budget for our state for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Actually, it was two budgets. The first one is based on additional revenue being achieved if voters approve increased taxes on the November ballot. The second budget is one that would occur if those additional revenues are not approved. For schools, the budget that includes new revenues stops the decline in funding that we have experienced over the past five years and starts to reinvest in our children’s education. Schools in our county have lost approximately $50 million dollars since 2007 and we desperately need to reverse that slide. The Governor’s “reinvestment budget” would result in approximately $24 million additional funding for local schools which would allow school districts to begin to reduce class sizes, restore special help for struggling students and expand course offerings. On the other hand, if new revenues are not approved, then we stand to lose about $14.8 million on top of the very damaging cuts that our schools have already suffered. Our largest district, the Lucia Mar Unified School District, would lose approximately $4.5 million and our smallest district, the

Pleasant Valley Joint Union Elementary District would lose $50,000.

NATIONAL ACADEMIC STANDARDS California is one of over 40 states that have agreed to adopt a common set of academic standards, or expectations for students, in the areas of English/Language Arts and Mathematics. This is another very significant shift from what we have traditionally thought of as “local control” of our public schools. Actually, our state made this move over 10 years ago when we moved to statewide academic standards in most subject areas. The move to national standards is a logical next step. The reason for this move is the realization that education is a national interest and that the mobility of students now and in the future requires common standards for the nation’s students instead of a system of varying standards depending on where a student happens to be born. Common academic standards will also allow for common assessments (student tests) that will provide a valid basis for comparison among states that is not now possible.

challenge is for teachers to use and develop their skills in other areas, such as teaching students how to use information to solve problems or to collaborate with others not in their physical location. Finally, there is also a concern with the appropriate use of technology between students and how this impacts the school environment. Social networking sites are very popular but these sites can also be used for cyber-bullying and the unintended release of personal information. The reactions of students to these inappropriate uses often results in a disruption of a positive learning environment at school.

In the history of American public education, this movement to a more centralized system is certainly one of the more significant events and will have impact on all of our schools and classrooms. Our schools are currently in the planning stages for implementation of national standards by 2014.

APPROPRIATE USE OF TECHNOLOGY FOR LEARNING The advancements in technology that affects all of lives also impacts schools. 2012 will continue to see schools being challenged with how to use new technology in the most appropriate manner to advance student learning. The technological competence and expectations that students now bring to school is vastly different than just a few years ago. In the past, one of the major roles of the teacher was to dispense information. Now, that role is greatly diminished with the universal access to information that is possible with personal electronic devices. Our F E B R U A R Y


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cal poly music ensembles to perform concert

Several of Cal Poly’s finest student music ensembles will perform traditional and contemporary chamber music at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, in the Old Mission Church in SLO. “A Night at the Mission” will feature performances by woodwind quintets, saxophone ensembles, a flute choir, clarinet ensemble, trumpet ensemble, trombone choir, brass choir, string quartet and brass quintet. The event will help raise money for the Cal Poly Symphony’s April trip to the U.S. capitol, where it will perform as the showcase ensemble at the 2012 Washington, D.C., International Music Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This will mark the symphony’s first tour outside California. Tickets to the Feb. 4 performance are $8 and $10 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Ticket Office from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets may also be purchased at the door the night of the concert. To order tickets by phone, call 805-756-2787 (SLO-ARTS).


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Tenet Health Care recently held a grand opening ceremony for the new Medical Arts Center at Twin Cities. Located next to Twin Cities Hospital, the center offers a primary care physician that is directly connected to the hospital. Pictured above is the primary care physician, Dr. Toledo, accepting a welcome proclamation from Senator Blakeslee’s office. He is accepting new patients. For more information call 434-4315.

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The Friends of the Adobes is having its annual fund-raising event. The processing of the nepale cactus fruit into jelly produced several dozen jars for sale at the Gift Shop at the Rios-Caledonia Adobe, San Miguel, 700 South Mission Street, at $6.00 per jar. This popular jelly is produced by the group and we are proud of it! Suitable for gifting or eating on toast, or whatever! Available at the Gift Shop – Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come see, taste and buy!

new Pictorial book on atascadero history

New from Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series is Atascadero by local author Steve Martin. This pictorial history boasts more than 200 vintage images and provides readers with a unique opportunity to reconnect with the history that shaped their community. Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at www., the 128-page softcover book is priced at $21.99.

Senior health care screening

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arroyo grande citizen of the year

Vivian Krug has been named the 2011 Citizen of the Year for Arroyo Grande. An active volunteer for several organizations, Vivian is also a professional photographer and is seldom seen without her camera. She is employed by the San Luis Obispo County Housing Trust Fund and is the owner of Emotions Greeting Cards. Lisa Ray received the Ken Talley Award at the 51st Annual Arroyo Grande Valley Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner. The Ken Talley Award is given to an organization or person who has made a strong contribution to youth character building programs.

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french hospital awards $45,000 in grants

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French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) recently hosted a Community Grants Awards Ceremony in honor of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) Community Grants Program recipients. At the event, six local nonprofit grant recipients (The Alliance for Pharmaceutical Access, Cancer Well-Fit, Community Action Partnership, Friends of Prado Day Center, YMCA and Transitional Food and Shelter) were awarded $45,000 in funding. The local organizations chosen provide services to the underserved populations of the Central Coast (economically disadvantaged; women and children; mentally or physically disabled; or other disadvantaged populations). The six grant recipient representatives are pictured above with French Hospital’s CEO, Alan Iftiniuk and Patty Herrera. In the past five years French Hospital has given grants of $255,000.

art museum exhibit of traditional printmaking

The Central Coast Printmakers new exhibit of traditional printmaking TRACES, MARKS AND FRAGMENTS includes 51 selected prints from 37 California artists incorporating traditional printmaking methods such as: intaglio, lithography, serigraphy, monoprints, and monotypes. Many of the artists are from the Central Coast. All are careful what they choose to say. From political statements to private journeys, the works reflects intentionality and very personal statements. Selecting the works to be included was left up to master printmaker Sandow Birk. The exhibit runs through February 26th. The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and exhibiting the visual arts. The Museum of Art is located at 1010 Broad Street, on the west end of the Mission Plaza. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays. Admission is free.

slo friends of the library book sale

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The SLO Friends of the Library will be presenting their highlyanticipated 33rd Annual Book Sale, March 1st-3rd. The sale takes place at the SLO Veterans Memorial Building, 801 Grand Avenue. Times will be as follows: Thursday, March 1st, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Members only, with memberships sold at the door) Friday, March 2nd, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday, March 3rd, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. There will be an unusually large number of items available this year, including approximately 8,000 audio-visual items, and 20,000 books. Books will be sold at $1 per inch. CDs and DVDs will be $1. VHS tapes, audio tapes and books on tape will be 50 cents. Proceeds from the sale will go toward purchasing materials for the Library and library improvements. Keys to the success of the sale are the large number of volunteers (over 100 are needed) and the large number of donations from the community. Those interested in donating materials or volunteering may contact Paul Murphy at 544-3033.



eye on Business

Central coast cachet a boost to local business By Maggie Cox, Barnett Cox & Associates


Charles Weber – photo courtesy of Solano Magazine

harles Weber is a nationally recognized chef whose culinary expertise has netted him awards from New York, Chicago and San Francisco. His Napa Valley restaurant, Zuzu, was so successful it was covered by everyone from the New York Times to Food and Wine magazine. Charles brings 33 years of proven talent to his work, and happily for the Central Coast, that work is now local. Charles was named executive chef at Adelina’s Bistro on the Nipomo Mesa in 2011.

His arrival at the open-to-the-public restaurant anchoring the Trilogy of the Central Coast Monarch Club is yet another example of how business gets a boost when it’s played out in an enticing part of the world. Charles was drawn to his new assignment because of his love of farm-to-table foods. He is smitten with the ready availability of sustainably produced fish and meat and abundant organic produce. He is crazy about wine and food pairings and hikes vineyards with winemakers to learn about our local appellations. Charles is an avid cyclist who tackles San Luis Mountain in his few off hours and he is the father of five who likes raising children in a family friendly place. The lure of the area and the canvas it presented to this food artist was irresistible. And now another fabulous chef is dazzling diners and adding to our tourism draw. Charles recently hosted a tasting event at Adelina’s and I had an opportunity to meet him. His background is as impressive as his friendly personality. Charles is a classically trained French chef who became enamored of Mediterranean style cooking. He held posts in New York, Chicago and San Francisco before opening his own successful restaurant in the Napa Valley. He boosted ratings at the restaurants where he cooked and he generated a following in the process. Career took him back to Chicago but his longing for California freshness brought him back. He set his sights on the Central Coast and when the Adelina’s position became available, he was all over it. He’s delighted with the outcome. Charles’ story is posted online at Charles is an engaging, affable guy with a mastery of cooking. He is a welcome addition to the community for many reasons. The particular one that intrigues me is how a renowned talent like Charles Weber

adds to the strength of local business. How does a chef out on the mesa have anything to do with our vitality? Charles has fans throughout the country. He has worked closely with famous winemakers. He makes friends with cheese producers and vegetable growers. His work generates media coverage and attention. He personally understands how relationships and networking can bring a bright light to the Central Coast. Talents like Charles Weber are invaluable as we continue to grow our tourism industry and refine our food, wine and artisan beer reputation. The spotlight on our area gets brighter and word of mouth buzz brings us visitors – and skilled professionals who want to live and work here. We talk frequently about the quality of life here and its appeal to high tech and other “head of household” job generating companies. We know people choose to locate on the Central Coast because of its unique package of attributes. Add Charles Weber to that list. Here’s to hopes that business continues to improve in 2012.

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COMMUNITY february holds presidents’ day. Presidents George

FEBRUARY Almanac By Phyllis Benson

washington said, “A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master.”

“Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me.”

Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan were born this month.

--- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

aquarius, the water-bearer zodiac sign, opens February and Pisces, the sign of the fish, closes the month. Our barber says with all those water signs, he carries the umbrella and keeps galoshes handy. the 2012 chinese new year is the Year of the Water Dragon. This legendary dragon means a lucky year of new beginnings and good fortune.

groundhog day is Feb. 2. Legend says if a groundhog can see its

shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it sees no shadow, spring is on the way.

monarchs are more reliable harbingers of spring. When the but-

terflies stir along the Central Coast and lift wings northward, warm days are on the way.

Dragon proverb: Be kind to dragons for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup.

february 14 is Valentine’s Day. Our matchmaker says the perfect gift basket holds a bottle of wine, tickets to a local concert, and restaurant reservations.

quipper: I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Val-

football: The Super Bowl plays on Feb. 5. Indianapolis hosts the

entine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.

century: On Feb. 12, 1912, the last emperor of China, a 6-year-old

ocean ranger: The world’s largest oil rig sank Feb. 15, 1982, in a north Atlantic storm with the loss of its 84 crew members

big game this year.

boy, abdicated after a republican revolution ended 2,000 years of imperial rule.

statehood 1912: Arizona marks its centennial on Feb. 14, 2012.

The Grand Canyon state reptile is the ridge-nosed rattlesnake, the state gemstone is turquoise, and the official neckwear is the bola tie.

bike joke: You’re in Arizona when your biggest bicycle wreck fear

February 22, 1962: Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin was born.

The Australian wildlife enthusiast died in 2006 after an encounter with a stingray.

irwin said, “Be passionate and enthusiastic in the direction that you choose in life, and you’ll be a winner.”

is, “What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?”

leap year: Every four years, Feb. 29 adds a day to the calendar. People born on this day are called leaplings or leapers.

february is dental month. Our dentist hands out fortune

this month is cold and damp, perfect for a short, brisk, bonechilling dog walk on the beach and then retreat to home hibernation. Have a heart-warming February.

cookies to patients. The cookie tags are printed with dental hints, trivia, and jokes.

jokester: The vampire cleans his teeth three times a day to prevent bat breath.

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