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Journal SEPTEMBER 2013





Larry D. Smyth Owner/Broker

805-543-2172 San Luis Obispo

805-904-6616 Arroyo Grande

Great Location in SLO

Jennifer Hamilton

Linda Aiello-Madison

Relocation Director


Ken Arritt


Four units in Downtown San Luis Obispo—Rebuilt about 15 years ago, very nice Classic Downtown styling. Each unit with its own washer and dryer. Front unit includes a two bedroom unit and two big Studio units. The back unit is a free standing two bedroom bungalow. Priced at $1,050,000 Great Opportunity in SLO

Mid-Century-Ranch-Style, Single-level, One-owner home with original mint condition doors & cabinets, original beautiful hardwood floors under carpet, lovely family room w/ period real wood paneling, stunning brick fireplace, lots of built in storage, inviting patio and nicely landscaped yards, oversized 2-car garage w/ built-in storage, newer replacement windows & sliders, newer roof (2007). Light, bright, inviting floor plan, and very well maintained. All on almost 1/4 acre AND located in the sought-after Ferrini Heights. $769,000

Deane Naylor

Twila Arritt



Mary Rosenthal

Development Potential. Existing Three Bedroom Two Bath Bungalow with approval for three additional two bedroom units. Located near Santa Rosa Park and a short distance from Cal Poly. Loads of potential. $715,000

Theresa Carroll

An investor’s dream! Lovely home close to town and shopping. Mature landscaping on large corner lot with sprinkler system. 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Nice flow, tile flooring from kitchen to rec room and on to the 200sqft sunroom, two wood burning fireplaces and hardwood floors in bedrooms. $639,000


Patricia Garrison REALTOR®

Janet Shaner REALTOR®





Chris Stanley

Jerry Collins

Paddy Doron



Pamela Bliss

Annette Mullen

Privately located executive home nestled in the oaks. Lovingly cared for 3 bedroom boasts numerous quality custom features. Open floorplan with natural lighting. Balcony off living room overlooks wooded open space. Rear yard has a variety of flora and fauna, spa/deck, and speakers mounted in trees. A close jaunt to the Village of Arroyo Grande where you can enjoy dining, nightlife, farmers market, antique stores, and numerous local events. $599,000

Vicky Hall REALTOR®

Beautiful location in Los Osos, Cuesta by the Sea. Lots of open space surrounds this home. This home has some nice characteristics. Views from most of the windows throughout the house, including peak Ocean. Located right across from the Sea Pines Golf Resort. 3 Bedrooms, 1 3/4 Baths and is apx 1608 Square Feet. Nice big open kitchen with room for a table. Pantry. Lots of Cabinets. Plenty of storage. Laundry Room inside and a fenced backyard. $415,000

Conveniently located in the heart of SLO & the Village of Arroyo Grande 21 Santa Rosa Street, Suite 100, SLO, CA 93405 110 E. Branch Street, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

Christine Williams REALTOR®

Marion Trombetta REALTOR®

Simone Viola REALTOR®

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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, Joseph Carotenuti, Dr. Julian Crocker, Sarah Hedger, Maggie Cox, Deborah Cash, Will Jones, Ruth Starr, Marilyn Kinsey, Taylor Coffman, Rebecca Leduc, Sherry Shahan, Gordon Fuglie, and Jan Marx. 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 a free monthly distributed to over 600 locations throughout the Central Coast and is also available online at Editorial submissions are welcome but are published at the discretion of the publisher. Submissions will be returned if accompanied by a stamped self addressed envelope. No material published in the magazine can be reproduced without written permission. Opinions expressed in the byline articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the JOURNAL PLUS MAGAZINE. Cover photo by Tom Meinhold

PEOPLE 10 12 14 15 16 18


HOME & OUTDOOR 20 22 24 26


COMMUNITY 28 30 32 34 36 42




SLO ART SCENE Peter Zaleski



Journal PLUS

From the publisher Purchase Units

Refinance Units

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ast month I attended the unveiling of the SLO County Sheriff’s Office new state-of-the-art radio dispatch system. A very impressive live

We Believe in SLO. Thanks for Believing in Us.

Ron Penir

Ben Lerner

Bill Mott

Rick Kirk

Regional Manager 805-709-3426

Partner & Loan Officer 805-441-9486

Partner & Loan Officer 805-234-5081

Loan Officer 805-459-4101

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Dave Wilson

Tim Robinson

Landon Spitler

Kevin Cunningham

Loan Officer 805-550-6933

Loan Officer 805-548-8186

Loan Officer 805-471-0243

Loan Officer 805-458-5178

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demonstration was conducted. Sheriff Ian Parkinson is pictured explaining the new system. It was developed by the Raytheon Company and Twisted Pair Solutions at no additional costs to taxpayers. In our dealings with the Sheriff I am more impressed by the way his department’s staff works so well together. Sheriff Parkinson’s energy and commitment is taking the department to a much higher level than ever before. Our cover story this month is on Michael Nowak. Michael is celebrating his 30th year with the SLO Symphony. You’ll enjoy his impressive story inside. We also feature four individuals who are making a difference on the Central Coast. We profile one of our premier Heart Doctors, Dr. Lorianna Fletcher. We feature teacher, Sherry Wright, the Operation Surf leader, Van Curaza, and World War II Vet, Dale Zeulner. Finally, we feature the Central Coast Women’s League. The organization presents an annual Bingo for Breast Cancer event in October that generates close to $10,000. This year the funds generated will go to the Noor Foundation Free Clinic earmarked for women’s breast cancer issues. Enjoy the magazine. Commerce Mortgage proudly supports Homes for Our Troops, a foundation building specially adapted homes for our severely injured veterans at no cost to the veteran. Visit for more information. HUD Approved FHA Full Eagle Lender. NMLS ID #1839. Lending available in Colorado, Licensed by the Department of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act #4150083, California Dept. of Real Estate Broker #01218426, and Nevada Mortgage Lending Division #3580. *non retail mortgage banker category as reported by CoreLogic®, a worldwide provider of real estate, mortgage, consumer and special ized business data and analytics

Steve Owens


PERFORMING ARTS CENTER La Guitarra Festival: LAGQ & Martha Masters 9/6 • 7 p.m.

La Guitarra Festival: Brasil Guitar Duo 9/8 • 5 p.m.

Christopher Cohan Center Presented by Cal Poly Arts

Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre

La Guitarra Festival: Adam del Monte 9/7 • 12 p.m.

La Guitarra Festival: Berta Rojas 9/8 • 7 p.m.

Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre

Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre

La Guitarra Festival: Thibault Cauvin 9/7 • 2 p.m.

Lewis Black - The Rant is Due 9/12 • 8 p.m.

Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre

Christopher Cohan Center

Presented by Cal Poly Arts

Presented by Cal Poly Arts

Presented by Cal Poly Arts

Presented by Cal Poly Arts

Presented by Cal Poly Arts

La Guitarra Festival: Grishya Goryachev-Jérome Mouffe Duo 9/7 • 4 p.m.

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell 9/28 • 8 p.m.

Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre Presented by Cal Poly Arts

Presented by Cal Poly Arts

La Guitarra Festival: Andrew York 9/7 • 6:30 p.m.

Banff Radical Reels Tour 9/30 • 7 p.m.

Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre Presented by Cal Poly Arts

Alex & Faye Spanos Theare

Christopher Cohan Center

Presented by SLO Op Climbing

La Guitarra Festival: Jason Vieaux 9/8 • 3 p.m. Alex & Faye Spanos Theatre Presented by Cal Poly Arts

WWW.PACSLO.ORG | 805-756-4TIX (4849)

We extend our heartfelt thank you to the Sponsors, Donors and Volunteers support of the 11th Annual Hospice “Pardners” Hoedown Dedicated in Memory of Paul Teixeira A special thank you to the following sponsors, donors and volunteers: GOLD PARDNERS













Net proceeds from the event will benefit Wilshire Hospice patients and families. For more information about Wilshire Hospice, log onto




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Maestro michael nowak making musical magic for 30 years By Susan Stewart


n a cool April evening in 2001, he could hear the audience filling the seats at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Michael Nowak emerged from the spacious conductor’s suite backstage dressed to the nines in black tux, and gleaming white shirt. He was escorted to the spot where he would walk onstage to pick up the baton, and he stopped at the mirror to adjust his bow tie. “Did Lennie do this?” he asked the escort (the same woman who had escorted Leonard Bernstein countless times to this very place). “Oh yes!” she replied, adding that the great conductor also took a drag from a cigarette and a sip of scotch. Oddly, Nowak felt no fear, no intimidation. “It was as if all the spirits of those who had come before me—Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, Mahler, Toscanini—were there, saying ‘Welcome Aboard,’” he said. As the curtain rose and he strode into the lights, he thought of his sister somewhere out there in the audience. She’d come all the way from Indiana for the occasion and she was wearing the dress their mother had given her, “for the day that Mike plays Carnegie Hall.” Even if Michael hadn’t dreamt of this night, his mother had. And now, here he was.

As he celebrates 30 years as the Music Director for the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Nowak reflects on that moment and on the path that brought him here. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Nowak began his musical education in the Warwick Public School system where he learned to play violin, clarinet, and tuba. At Indiana University, he studied the viola under legendary teacher William Primrose, and upon graduation, Nowak was invited to be Assistant Conductor and Violist with the Dallas Symphony. In 1973, he moved to L.A. where he conducted the Youth Music Foundation Debut Orchestra for two years and was a member of the L.A. Chamber Orchestra until 1980. That year, Nowak began an inspiring association with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival that would take him to Europe for a series of concert tours and recordings. And in 1984, he got the call to audition for the top job at the SLO Symphony. “You know, the job kind of applied for me,” he said, instead of the reverse. “Someone just called me and said, “You’re in the finals.” A friend of our symphony’s then-first clarinetist Virginia Wright had seen Nowak conduct at another Oregon festival and put his name in the running. By that time, the board had narrowed the field of candidates to four and Nowak said the board wanted one of the others. But the orchestra members wanted Nowak and their votes won him the position. “It was the beginning of a great love affair,” he said. “And we are still in love after all these years.” “One of the things I respect most about Mike is his commitment to cultivating a truly homegrown orchestra,” said former Symphony Executive Director Sandi Sigurdson. “So often, ‘community orchestra’ is actually a freeway philharmonic comprised of the exact same musicians who move from town to town and hall to hall,” she explained. “Mike believes in bringing great professional coaches to SLO and making the skills-investment to train our wonderful local musicians. S E P T E M B E R


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But perhaps his greatest contributions to our community have been the many music education programs designed especially for children. “I’ve always been impressed with the emphasis Mike has always placed on music education,” said longtime colleague Patty Thayer. “[It] has always been a priority for him.” From the Musical Petting Zoo to Everyday Etudes, there are now a half dozen programs that expose children to the wonders of classical music and the inspiring musicians who bring it to them. The Music Van, Strings in the Schools, and Free Dress Rehearsals are but a few more. “I wanted children to have what I had,” he said, referring to the lifealtering musical experiences he’d had in his public school system, which have all but disappeared in ours. His stepdaughter Brittany, now 26, and his daughter Julia, now 12, have given him great advice for the content of these extraordinary programs—programs that reach more than 16,000 school children annually. “That’s the shining glory of these last 30 years,” said Nowak. “Three decades ago, they were 12 years old; now they are 42, and members of our orchestra. I can’t think of anything more rewarding than that.” SLO Symphony at Disney Hall

These are musicians who work here and play here and raise kids here … [and] because of the SLO Symphony’s education and training workshops, the performance across our central coast is raised.” In three decades, there have many memorable moments, including four successful tours: One to Spain in 1996, Carnegie Hall in 2001, the Sydney Opera House in 2006, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2008. Nowak has also conducted six recordings with the Symphony featuring the works of Craig Russell, Joseph Clokey, and Jose Maria Gallardo Del Rey. The performance of Beethoven’s Ninth on the Symphony’s 50th Anniversary was certainly a highlight. Nowak also led the way in the creation of Music for a New Life, featuring Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons—a collaboration with French Hospital Medical Center, and a gift to all families with new babies born at French. Nowak is also very active as a recording musician and conductor in the film industry. Among the numerous films he has conducted are The Kite Runner, Lions for Lambs, Under the Tuscan Sun, American Gangster, and the Academy Award-winning Life of Pi. He even appeared in the 2009 film The Soloist (playing—against type—a mean and critical conductor). SLO Symphony at our Performing Arts Center

The completion of the Performing Arts Center and the merging of the Youth Symphony with the adult orchestra are two more outstanding achievements. “The PAC has given us a home,” said Nowak. “It’s our stadium, our church.” In 2010, the adult orchestra merged with the youth symphony, blending both talent and efforts to forward both. Founded by local legend Botso Korisheli, the Youth Symphony will celebrate its 50th birthday this year. A film, now ten years in the making, titled Botso: The Teacher from Tiblisi, is making the film festival rounds and recently won two prestigious awards: The Audience Choice Award at the Fallbrook International Film Festival and the same award at the Maine International Film Festival. (Visit to view a trailer and support the film.) Speaking of teachers, Nowak is a natural. Through hundreds of free dress rehearsals, he would frequently stop the orchestra mid-bar, to tell the audience a little about what they were hearing. His spontaneous “lessons” make the music more approachable, richer, and thus vastly more beautiful to trained and untrained ears alike. Here is what Patty Thayer said: “Mike taught me to love classical music. His passion for music is contagious and I will be a lifelong lover of classical music partly because of my 15 years working with him.” When asked about challenges, Nowak hesitated. A thoughtful beat later, he said, with great conviction: “The toughest days that I recall are the ones when we lost our most passionate supporters. People like Clifford Chapman, John Hartman, Peggy Peterson.” Nowak said he stayed at Peterson’s condominium during his audition visit thirty years ago and that from that day forward she was a constant and reassuring voice in his ear—one he misses dearly. “The world became a darker place, diminished by their loss,” he said. “They were the guiding lights that lit the path to where we are today.” So what about today? Well, Nowak speaks of his great good fortune in having met and married his wife, Suzette, and having the chance to become a father, husband, and family man. They keep him grounded, he says, and better able to carry on his work. “We have no control over Washington or what happens in troubled third world countries,” he philosophizes. “But we do have control over what happens here,” he muses. “Great ideas just show up when they’re supposed to.” And in our case, much to our good fortune, great conductors do, too. Happy Anniversary, Maestro Nowak! S E P T E M B E R


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Nuclear Cardiology specialist

Dr. Lorianna Fletcher By Ruth Starr


eart disease increased dramatically between 1940 and 1967. The World Health Organization then called it the world’s most serious epidemic. It remains the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. As far back as the 1600s, doctors began to measure blood pressure. In the 1800s, the stethoscope was invented. By the 1900s the electrocardiograph was developed. An American physician described heart disease as a result of hardening of the arteries. In 1938 the first heart surgery was performed.

Cardiology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the heart. The field includes medical diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, heart failure, valvular heart disease and heart rhythm disorders. Lorianna Fletcher didn’t plan on becoming a cardiologist. She grew up in Colorado surrounded by animals. Her dream was to become a veterinarian. However, watching her brother, Lazlo, a veterinarian, working outside in freezing cold weather treating cows, horses and other animals during the winter, caused her to rethink that goal. Engineering was her father’s occupation. He encouraged Lorianna to go to Engineering School at UCLA. Her aptitude tests all looked good for that field. Her studies lasted three years and she enjoyed math and physics, but she knew she craved more human interaction. Medical school began to feel very attractive—she knew it was the place she wanted to be. She checked out the requirements and changed her major from Engineering to Psychobiology (a pre-med degree) and earned her B.S. from UCLA. Applying to a number of Medical Schools, Lorianna ultimately chose Tulane University in New Orleans. Even though California had become her home, she grew to love the area of New Orleans during her four years of school. It was an exciting time for her. Now a decision had to be made about what form of medicine she would choose as her concentration. Being a top student, Lorianna got an internship and residency at Duke University in North Carolina, a cardiology power house. Duke offered wonderful mentors and incredible teachers. She was drawn to cardiology because it incorporated engineering and hemodynamics, meaning literally “blood movement”—the study of blood flow or the circulation. It was also an attractive field because cardiovascular diseases are preventable and treatable. Lorianna’s father was originally from Hungary. He has taken her and her brother back to Europe several times. Traveling is one of S E P T E M B E R


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PEOPLE Living in beautiful San Luis Obispo and not having to contend with Los Angeles traffic is a bonus. An avid runner, Lorianna is passionate about exercise. She often participates in triathlons and marathons and starts each day by exercising. In addition to her and her family, her home is occupied by two dogs, two cats, two tortoises, and three chickens. She has never strayed far from her original love of animals. One of the best things about practicing in San Luis Obispo is the benefit of living in a small community. She might see a very sick patient in her office and then months later see that person healthy walking down the street. her life’s pleasures. When she was at Duke University she did a three month work study program at a hospital in Tanzania, Africa. After years of schooling, Lorianna took a year off to travel. She met her husband, Bill, while in Africa. He was a New Zealander working there in international trade. They have been married sixteen years and have two children, Jake and Madeline. After Lorianna had chosen cardiology as a medical specialty, she was required to do a three year fellowship. The fellowship was at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. The nuclear lab where she worked performed stress tests on many of the Hollywood stars. During her fellowship, nuclear myocardial perfusion stress testing and echocardiography became her specialties within the field. After completing her fellowship and passing her Board exams, she was soon immersed in a male dominated specialty. Today, there are only 10-15% women in the field of cardiology. She was the first woman cardiologist in her current group. Fortunately, the men in the group were very accepting and supportive of her, and recently, another woman cardiologist has joined the practice.

Community education is also important to her. She has spoken to the Kiwanis Clubs and community groups, as well as continuing education hospital conferences, and will be participating in a program for French Hospital at the Botanical Gardens in September, on the subject of Women and Heart Disease. Discovering a need for a state-of-the-art nuclear laboratory in this community many years ago, Dr. Fletcher, along with her medical group, Coastal Cardiology, were instrumental in creating their current lab. They began with one camera, one technician and Dr. Fletcher as the supervising physician. It has since increased to seven doctors who use this lab plus two technicians and two cameras. Everyone who uses this nuclear lab must be educated and board certified in the many technological aspects of nuclear cardiac imaging. There are a lot of regulations and state oversight because of the use of radioactive isotopes for this type of medical imaging. It is the only ICANL nationally accredited lab in the county. She is very proud of her work there. The technique is used for diagnosis and risk stratification and a doctor can tell if there is a problem, how much of the heart it involves and the location of the problem.


The technique allows accurate, non-invasive diagnosis of heart disease. Dr. Fletcher loves her work as a scientist while still being able to interact with people. She is excited about the future of medicine in the technological age. This nuclear facility has been a mainstay in diagnosis of heart disease, but may some day be supplanted by even newer technology. Telemedicine is the emerging direction of health care. The hope is to make medical records and images easily accessible to doctors and patients to improve patient care. Some doctors are setting up virtual clinics with cameras and computers that can treat chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, hypertension and diabetes. For example someone in a nursing home can be assessed by a specialist without leaving the nursing home, and that specialist can prescribe the treatment for the patient. All of the new technologies are a challenge, particularly how they will be applied. Dr. Fletcher is an accomplished cardiologist, active in her community and highly regarded in her field. Whether she is running a nuclear lab facility or running a marathon, Dr. Fletcher is living the life she designed.

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the “wright” teacher

sherry wright By Sherry Shahan


herry Wright has the type of magnetic energy usually found on the big screen. Or perhaps a TV commercial featuring the Energizer Bunny. But unlike fictional characters, Sherry has a real life commitment to her community. “I define myself as a teacher and theater arts director,” she said, smiling beneath her wispy blond bob. “I love all performance arts, especially dancing.” Sherry is passionate about her teaching role at Morro Bay High School and often spends ten hours a day, ten months of the year on campus. That doesn’t include untold time devoted to lesson planning, grading papers, or running errands in search of the right props and costumes for her productions. Born in Del Mar, California, even the very young Sherry was energetic— spinning in ballet classes and tumbling in gymnastics. She continued with gymnastics until ninth grade when a front flip off a mini-trampoline ended in an unfortunate accident. Landing on the crash pad was just that—she broke both bones in her left leg between the knee and ankle, the tibia and fibula. Later, she joined her high school dance team, which didn’t require the same physical risks. The team performed at the Los Angeles Coliseum and took home a national award. Her father, Don Wright, was the original art director for Psychology Today magazine. Sherry laughs when she recounts playing in the offices as little kid. Her mother, Veda Thomas is a retired 4th grade teacher—and her stepfather, Jim Thomas taught 5th grade after retiring from Scripps Institute as an oceanographer. So it’s not surprising to learn what Sherry wanted to be when she grew up. The second youngest of two sisters and a brother, she moved to San Luis Obispo to attend Cal Poly, receiving a BA in English with a minor in Theater. While there, she began taking classes at Academy

of Dance and subsequently joined their dance company, San Luis Jazz Dancers, where she performed for eight years. Sherry’s iridescent blue eyes dance when asked about her favorite styles. “I’ve always had a soft spot for lyrical dance because it’s so expressive,” she told me. “Especially the crisp, sharp lines of Bob Fosse’s style.” Her first show? Fosse’s Cabaret produced by Pismo Light Opera. Her first teaching job was at Atascadero Jr. High. From there she moved to Morro Bay High School where she remains today. While initially hired as an English teacher, she was asked, “What else can you do?” Up until that point, the school didn’t offer theatrical classes. The first production was a comedy in three acts, The Man Who Came to Dinner, which was quite an undertaking for a debut production considering it has a cast of twenty-seven. It was such a success that the following year the department introduced three theatrical classes as electives, including dance aerobics and stagecraft. “The plays are cast from any interested student in school,” she said. “All grade levels and abilities.



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turning 100

bud mercer By Lin Mercer Bud Mercer, featured performing artist in vaudeville, film, stage, television, and MTV is celebrating his 100th birthday on September 5th. Family and friends are planning to honor him at a luncheon in San Luis Obispo where many will be performing – including Bud.

“I’m a one-person show with much appreciated assistance from dedicated parents,” she went on. “I love everything from directing—including choreography if it’s a musical—to designing and building sets, making costumes and props, programming lights, etc.” Sherry refers to her cast as ‘my kids.’ “It doesn’t matter if we’re working on a comedy or drama, they’re all such intelligent, talented and witty kids,” she said, beaming like a proud parent. “If I’ve had a tough day in the classroom, rehearsal with them boosts my spirits.” With such a demanding work schedule one might think Sherry’s spare time would be spent on the beach with a light-hearted novel. Instead, here’s what she squeezes into time remaining from a 60 to 80 hour work week: snow skiing, scuba diving, long distance running, weight lifting, and travel that preferably requires a passport. After performing in as many community theater productions as possible for so many years, the energizer bunny reached the realization that she needed to be more selective about her involvements. So she pulled back unless it was something she couldn’t resist, like her last show, The Producers, a Sorcerer Production at the Clark Center. Then Suzy Miller, 5-time Emmy winner, called her about the remount of locally created Confessions of a Love Junkie. “I was intrigued by the idea of returning to my dance roots after twenty years in musical theater.” Sherry hasn’t regretted her decision to join CORE Adult Company (directed by Zheila Pouraghabagher). “My dance technique and expression have improved dramatically,” she said. This is the type of enthusiasm she shares with her high school students, especially graduating seniors. “It’s important they know they’re never too old to learn.” If they think she’s imparting the standard pep talk, she recounts the many ways she strives to improve her own skills. “Be passionate about what you love,” she tells them.

Along with his brother Jim, as The Mercer Brothers, Bud made cameo appearances in a number of films in the 1940s including, Tin Pan Alley (20th Century Fox), Sweater Girl (Paramount Pictures) with Eddie Bracken, True to the Army (Paramount Pictures) and Footlight Serenade (20th Century Fox ) with Betty Grable. Bud also performed with dance ensembles in Holiday Inn with Fred Astaire (shakes hands with Fred in New Year’s Eve dance sequence) and Buck Privates with Abbot & Costello. In the early days of television, the Mercer Brothers appeared on many live shows including Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town (1949), and Dude Martin, Spade Cooley and Western Varieties shows on Los Angeles’ KTLA. Bud and Jim were featured dance and comedy cast members on KTLA’s Bandstand Revue (1955-58). Bud returned to the theatre venue in the mid-80s for a two-year run of the Sugar Daddies Revue at the Reno Hilton featuring the Mercer Brothers and the legendary burlesque artist Tempest Storm. In 1991, the Mercer Brothers joined the cast of The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies where they enjoyed 11 consecutive seasons with that world-renown show. With the loss of his brother and life-long partner, Bud was looking at “early” retirement at the tender age of 90. He traveled a bit and then went to work on publishing his memoirs – “Tripping the Light Fantastic” © (Joshua Tree Publishing). This year, the Class Act Dance Studio in Paso Robles established the Mercer–Sanchez Scholarship Fund to help support the training of a new generation of aspiring dancers. The fund was announced at a recital at the Templeton PAC this past June where Bud also performed. Bud, along with his son, Buddy, are currently rehearsing a new father-son act featuring banjos, harmonica, singing, dancing, and a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. Retirement? Bud’s career in show business spans more than seven decades– from singing and dancing along with his brother and sister during the Great Depression, to movies, recordings, television and theater. Bud has done it all and at the moment is working on compiling a book of his poetry–Food for Thought.” What’s next you ask? Bud might say, The Sky’s the Limit!

Passion is required along with hard work when rehearsing late into the night for CORE Adult’s upcoming production, Become. Sherry has been cast in seven numbers—ranging from tap to lyrical, hip hop, and vaudeville comedy. The title Become reflects the belief that anyone can succeed if they set a goal, create a plan, and immerse themselves in an environment that supports their commitment—a credo Sherry Wright has followed her entire life. Become plays one weekend at the Spanos Theater, Cal Poly: Friday and Saturday, October 4th and 5th @ 7pm. Call for tickets: 756-4TIX or visit S E P T E M B E R


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dale zeulner:

WWII Veteran and world police and fire games champ By Natasha Dalton


ale Zeulner, who was in the Navy during the WWII South Pacific invasions, and then served for almost 30 years at the Huntington Police Department, had seen his share of dramatic events. During WWII he joined the military, even though he could stay out of it: all three of his older brothers had already been drafted, and help was needed at the small family farm in Kansas. But he “wanted to see the world,” he says. Zeulner was inducted into the Navy. After training at the Navy boot camp in Farragut, ID, Zeulner was ready to begin his service

on a destroyer, when he caught mumps, and landed in a hospital. “When I got out, my ship had already sailed,” Zeulner recalls. “They took my sea bag and my clothing, and I’ve never seen them again.” That’s how he ended up on a minesweeper, spending his military career in the South Pacific. “Nobody knew where we were,” Zeulner says. “It wasn’t like nowadays, when you can write and call, and even see each other while talking.” For the longest time he didn’t even know that his family, unable to keep the farm after he left, moved to California. For months, the only human contact (if you’d call it that) Zeulner and his fellow seamen had, was the voice of female English-speaking Japanese radio broadcasters, called Tokyo Rose. It was war propaganda. “She’d say: ‘Japan is going to sink the battleship Missouri,’ or ‘Tomorrow we’ll sink the Idaho.’ She always seemed to know these things,” Zeulner recalls. But the Japanese played good music, like Frank Sinatra. “That’s why everyone liked to listen to Tokyo Rose in the evenings,” Zeulner says. Each minesweeper had 56 men aboard, but the ships didn’t have names, just serial numbers. “They didn’t have time to name them,” Zeulner explains. All the Navy had at the beginning of the war were iron ships, but the Japanese used magnetic mines to destroy them. “That’s why shipyards had to work fast and make wooden ships,” Zeulner says.

Dale Zeulner with his Hall of Fame Award

Zeulner remembers, “but—and I hate to say this— I think that the first wave of Marines that went ashore was all killed. I don’t know how many there were … dozens, I think. You don’t stop to count at moments like that. The mountains were honeycombed, and the Japanese would fire off from one spot, and then go back to the cave and come out another place.” And then, there were Japanese airplanes. One time a plane flew so low, the sailors could see

After the war, Zeulner learned from a friend the toll the Navy paid during its South Pacific Campaign: 95% of the men on 21 sweepers were lost at sea. Many times, the breath of death came close to Zeulner as well. In Palau the sister ship—which was only some 70 yards away from Zeulner’s—sank instantly after hitting a mine. “It must’ve been struck right in the middle,” Zeulner says. Then, after the invasion of Saipan, Zeulner had to perform the solemn duty of burying Marines killed during the campaign.

805 Aerovista #103, San Luis Obispo



“We were escorting the battleships and cleared all the mines away around the islands,”

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Some of Dale Zeulner’s medals



The capture of the dangerous murderer happened soon after Zeulner was discharged from the Navy and joined the Police Department in Huntington Beach. One summer night in 1952, Zeulner and his partner were cruising the streets and noticed a car parked underneath the street lights. It wasn’t unheard of for visitors from out of state to sleep in their cars if they couldn’t find a motel, but Zeulner thought it a bit odd that the car had newspapers in its windows. It also had California license plates.

Dale with his children, Tom, Susan and Beth.

the pilot’s face. But the pilot didn’t fire. “He’d probably run out of ammunition,” Zeulner thinks. Zeulner tells his war stories quietly, as a matter of fact: When you’re on a battlefield, you think about the battle, and you hope for the best. But memories of his recent trip to Washington DC bring tears to Zeulner’s eyes. The trip was sponsored by the Kern County Honor Flight organization, which took local veterans to see the WWII Memorials, Arlington Cemetery and the national capitol. “Everywhere we went, people were greeting us,” Zeulner said. “They were clapping hands and thanking us for our service. I don’t know how many hands I shook on this trip; it might’ve been hundreds; maybe even thousands.” Zeulner also gets emotional when he recalls some of the most exciting moments of his athletic career. And there’re many of those. He always enjoyed sports, and when he heard a call for participants in The World Police and Fire Games (WPFG), he signed up without delay. The WPFG is a biennial athletic event, the amount of entrants in which is comparable to the Summer Olympic Games. Zeulner began to compete in 1973, winning his first gold off the bat and thus starting his long-lasting medal streak. The competitions took him to many big cities in the country and abroad. Zeulner’s achievements in horseshoe competitions, bowling and softball are remarkable: over 70 medals (half of which are gold) at various national and international Police Games, and more than 2 dozen additional medals in the Huntsman World Games. Based on this record, this summer Zeulner was inducted into the Police Hall of Fame and received a congratulatory letter from Congressman Kevin McCarthy. In his letter, the Congressman recalled meeting Zeulner earlier this year during the Honor Flight and also in 2008, at the Medal Ceremony in Paso Robles, where McCarthy presented Zeulner his WWII Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, Combat Action Ribbon, Honorable Service Lapel Pin and Navy Discharge Button. The Congressman’s commendation brought to memory another letter from the U.S. government, which thanked Zeulner for helping capture a criminal from the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List. The letter, written 60 years ago and signed by J. Edgar Hoover (the Director of the FBI at the time when Zeulner served on the police force), is one of the most treasured trophies in Zeulner’s house.

The officers peeked inside, and saw a sleeping man, lying across the two front seats. Under the seat, Zeulner noticed a Missouri plate. The officers got the man up and out, and asked for his ID. As he began to reach inside the car, they grabbed his hands. It took only a few seconds, but their professionalism not only saved their own lives, it finally stopped a criminal who thought of himself as invincible: The car was stolen, and it had a loaded .45 inside. In those days police officers couldn’t check for a criminal record right on the spot. In Huntington Beach they used call phones, and by the time Zeulner’s car reached the station, he saw it being surrounded by FBI people: his call led to the discovery that he had in custody George Alexander Petropol, who had evaded justice for years. The next day Petropol’s arrest was on the front pages of all the local papers. From them, Zeulner learned his story. After escaping from a chain gang in Georgia, where he was doing time for murder, Petropol began robbing banks in California and Missouri. Over time, he became so brazen that after each robbery he wrote a letter to the FBI: “Catch me if you can; you cannot catch me.” Zeulner, who’ll be 89 in December, remembers this event as if it were yesterday. Even though he jokes that at his age buying green bananas isn’t practical, his handshake is firm, and his mind is sharp. During the last 40 years, he only missed the Police Games once: after he had surgery. But he stopped competing when his wife of 64 years, Betty, passed away last October. “She used to go with me to all these Games, you see,” Zeulner says. But he might go back to playing again; after all, he enjoys competition. “My legs are a little weak, but my upper body is strong,” Zeulner says with a chuckle. “In San Diego, where I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and where the Games were held this year, I looked at all these guys I used to beat, and I thought: ‘We’ll see... I still go to the gym twice a week, you know.’”

Dale in Washington D.C. with his son, Tom S E P T E M B E R


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van curaza operation surf By Will Jones, Photos by Lynne Krizik “Do you believe in miracles?” Anyone who watched the young United States ice hockey team upset the mighty Soviets in Lake Placid during the 1980 Winter Olympics will never forget announcer Al Michaels’ excited question as the final seconds wound down. The US economy was in a slump, fifty-two Americans were being held hostage by the Iranian revolutionary government, the Soviet Union had recently invaded Afghanistan, and soon America would lead a boycott of the Moscow Summer Olympics to protest that invasion. The hockey team’s win provided the country with an uplifting story at a critical time. It became known as “The Miracle on Ice.” Today, with the American economy slowly recovering from recession and after more than a decade of American soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, “miracles on water” begin in a store front office near the corner of San Francisco and 1st in Avila Beach. The location is the headquarters of the Van Curaza Surf School and Van’s nonprofit organization, Amazing Surf Adventures, which uses surfing and other activities “to help individuals change their perspective and overcome their particular life challenges.” Under the ASA umbrella is “Operation Surf,” a recreational and rehabilitative surfing clinic for wounded, active duty service men and women who are recovering at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and week-long surf camps is where the miracles occur. Van, the president of ASA, is a 1981 graduate of San Luis Obispo High School who has surfed and competed around the world since the 1970s. He has also taught surfing for decades and hand crafted surf boards for countless fellow surfers. Along with fiancé and SLOHS graduate Amanda Kline, vice president of ASA, Van is preparing for the 8th Operation Surf camp since ASA was formed in 2008. Over 200 soldiers, with injuries ranging from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder to multiple amputations, have participated. The next Operation Surf event will take place from October 3 to 9 in Avila, Pismo, Morro Bay and Cayucos. Approximately 25 American and United Kingdom soldiers, including some veterans, will attend. They will receive instruction from renowned California surfers like Richard Schmidt, Darrell “Flea” Virostko, Sean “Barney” Barron, the surfing Paskowitz family, and Van.



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Van Curaza and Amanda Kline

Van trains the instructors. “I created the techniques we use from an awareness of people’s needs. My ability to adapt to anyone’s limitations or challenges and differentiate instruction is how I conduct all of my teaching. It comes from intuition and a lifetime of surfing experience.” According to Amanda, “Van worked out a system for an armless soldier, they practiced it on land first and then water, and, boom, he was getting wave after wave.” As has been the case in the past, local clubs and businesses will support the October event, including the Bent Axles Car Club, Splash Café, the Madonna Inn, Pancho’s Surf Shop, Wavelengths Surf Shop, Pacific Gas and Electric, and others. The Charles D. Perriguey Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament, held in June at the San Luis Obispo Country Club, raised over $20,000 to support Operation Surf. Van and Amanda were most enthusiastic when talking about the transformation that occurs during the week of surfing instruction and the other activities provided for the soldiers. “They come to learn to surf, to get back into surfing or to get out of the hospital. They arrive shutdown and shutoff, hoods and sunglasses on, no eye contact. Within a day or two their heads come up, their hoodies come off and the healing begins. We’re able to take them beyond their perception of whatever goal they have in mind.” As Van adamantly explained, “We take them surfing and it becomes therapeutic.”



While I was unable to speak to any of the soldiers directly, videos from recent camps provided the quotes that follow. In 2011, 92-year-old surf legend Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz opened Operation Surf by saying, “The magic of the stars is in every wave, and those of you here who have not surfed before will feel it.” Jonathan Blank, USMC, agreed: “All I’m thinking about is that I’m catching another wave…not that I don’t have legs. Surfing is an awesome experience I’ll have for the rest of my life.” According to double amputee Jeremy Breece, US Army, “Operation Surf helped me realize that I wasn’t limited in my physical capabilities. Surfing made me change my perception of my injuries. I realized that my injuries are not going to hold me down anymore.” Developing community is also a big part of Operation Surf. “From the moment they get here we do everything together, from morning to night. We create a family environment.” Amanda said. “The soldiers,” Van said, “have gone through terrible experiences and often have feelings of shame that isolate them. We create a unity and a bond that helps them feel valued and that their sacrifice is appreciated and has purpose.” Of course there are benefits for Van and the others who volunteer as well. “My life has evolved into being less involved in myself and more interested in service work and helping others. It’s a priceless reward to watch people change and overcome their perceived limitations.” Amanda said, “Some of the toughest, hardest guys cry at the end, because they get so emotional about how the experience has affected them. For some of the soldiers who have learned to repress their emotions, it’s like an awakening. It’s what makes the experience so powerful for all of us.”

Bobby Lane, USMC, who incurred a traumatic brain injury and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, succinctly articulated the miracle that occurred in his life through participation in Operation Surf. “Before I came here I was having a lot of nightmares. Since I’ve been here I haven’t had one. The only thing I dream about is waves.” Lane, who planned to attend Operation Surf in order to scratch surfing off his bucket list and then commit suicide, is now dedicated to helping other injured soldiers. “Operation Surf saved my life and gave me a life.” Do you believe in miracles? Would you like to help make one happen in the life of a wounded soldier? Contact Van Curaza or Amanda Kline at 805-704-0104 or, or visit the Operation Surf website: You can also hear from participants by visiting the following web sites: http:// or http://vimeo. com/63967128#. Help and support is definitely needed for the next Operation Surf gathering in October.



Wiffle ® is a registered trademark of The Wiffle Ball, Inc.



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Slo MUSEUM OF art The california sculpture Slam contemporary california sculpture By Rebecca Leduc


he Central Coast Sculptors, in collaboration with the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, presents the 2nd biennial California Sculpture SLAM, a juried exhibition of fine sculpture by California artists. The exhibition will be on view in the Museum’s Gray Wing through September 29th.

The California Sculpture SLAM is a unique opportunity to see a large number of current works by established sculptors on the West Coast scene. This year’s call for entries, without adherence to strict thematic guidelines, has inspired an extraordinary collection of sculpture. Ranging from pedestal, to freestanding, to wall-mounted pieces, the 38 works in the exhibition were selected from 303 sculptures from 135 artists and include designs crafted of metal, wood, stone, glass and other media. The selected artists come from all over the state, from as far north as Mt. Shasta and as far south


as Long Beach. Representing the Central Coast are sculptors Timo Beckwith, Marcia Harvey, Autumn Jennings, George Jercich, Robert Oblon, and David Settino Scott. With studio practices ranging from the strictly formal to the process driven to the conceptual, the work of the artists represents a crosssection of current trends in contemporary sculpture. The works provide glimpses of the personal and the political, addressing issues of identity, contemporary culture, and wonders of the natural world. This year’s juror is Los Angeles based sculptor and artist, Colleen Sterritt. Her work has been included in numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe. Prominent public and private collections include The Museum of Contemporary Art L.A., The Crocker Art Museum, Scripps College Collection, and the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art. For the past thirty years, Ms. Sterritt has stacked, piled, slathered, and glued a great variety of materials together, creating forms indicative of nature/culture conundrums. From plaster and tar, pinecones and fishing line, found furniture and studio refuse, she’s fashioned a formal yet evocative visual language. A reception with the artists will take place on Friday, September 6 from 6–9pm in conjunction with Art After Dark.

Maquette Encounter S E P T E M B E R


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The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, dedicated to the education, presentation and preservation of the visual arts on the Central Coast, is located at 1010 Broad Street, on the west end of Mission Plaza. Hours are 11am – 5pm daily. Closed Tuesdays through July 4. Open daily from July 4 through Labor Day. Free admission, donations appreciated. For more info visit

Michael Nowak, Music Director

2013·2014 SEASON

SAN LUIS OBISPO SYMPHONY Hear world renowned soloists like Anne Akiko Meyers perform symphonic masterpieces with our exceptional local talent. Experience intimate Chamber Music and fantastic Pops concerts at SLO County’s most stunning indoor and outdoor venues. Learn about our award winning Music Education programs that enhance the lives of thousands of children. We are your friends, we are your neighbors, we are your


bringing you Music . . . for the time of your life. For more information about our season, soloists and programs go to SEASON SPONSORS



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local women’s group sets lofty goal

central coast women’s league By Marilyn Kinsey

I. THE GOAL The 10 year goal, $100,000 for Breast Cancer Relief, was set by a local non-profit women’s group, and they are right on target! From 2003 to the present, the local Central Coast Women’s League’s annual ‘Bingo for Breast Cancer’ fundraiser, held during the first week of Breast Cancer Awareness month, October, has generated just over $90,000 in nine years. Over the years this has been donated to local non-profit groups to help Central Coast women of all ages who need monetary assistance with issues connected to breast cancer, whether it is mammograms, prostheses, or other medical support. Funds generated by CCWL stay in our local communities, do not go to a national organization, and are not used for salaries or administrative costs—only to help women directly.

2. WHAT IS CCWL? The Central Coast Women’s League is open to all women 21 years or older who reside in San Luis Obispo County. There are currently around 35 members. Their motto is: “Quietly Serving Good Will” and members join this club to serve and support the community, build awareness of local needs and activities, foster goodwill, and provide opportunities for friendship.

3. HISTORY, “THEN AND NOW” In the post war era, in 1945, a club of married women began raising funds to support a pre-school/play co-op which was located on Palm and California behind what is now Frank’s Hot Dogs. This club organized under the name “Junior Matrons” and started raising funds by putting on a children’s fashion show. As time went by, the club’s fundraising show included men’s and women’s fashions and the ladies of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s devoted most of the entire year to putting on this show, with several rehearsals, ads, and committees. At that time Junior Matrons had restrictive by-laws which limited membership to 100 married women and maintained a waiting list! The club usually attracted women with young children; another popular SLO women’s club of the time was the Monday Club, generally catering to women with grown children. This group usually gave scholarships to promising young musicians. Serving lunch at the Prado Day Center

CCWL Chairpersons

During the ’80s the Jr. Matrons went through a period of change because of the restrictiveness of the by-laws. In 1985 a core group reorganized as the Central Coast Women’s League. Today the CCWL has few restrictions which leads to a very eclectic membership—some members work, some are retired, some are married, some not, some have kids, or grandkids, some don’t; membership cuts across all ages and economic strata as well.

4. CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS The President for 2013 is Donna Phillips; Parliamentarian and Immediate Past President, Mary Golden; Secretary, Sally Hillis; Treasurer, Diana Wehner; Membership and Hospitality, Mary Kay Eltzroth, Jane Thomas, and Denise Topham; Publicity/Historian, Marilyn Kinsey; Fundraiser, Val Fishel; and Community Services, Susan Hoffman, Jan Kelly, and Sandy Woolley.

5. CLUB PROJECTS The big fundraising project for each year is the annual Bingo for Breast Cancer held at the Elks Club on the first Saturday in October, Cancer Awareness month. Through ticket sales and donations, Raffle prizes and Silent Auction items donated by club members or solicited by them from local businesses and community members, the club nets around $10,000 and this year seems to be on target. The club members are very optimistic about hitting their goal: $100,000 in 10 years. This year the membership voted for the second time to donate the net proceeds to the Noor Foundation Free Clinic with the funds earmarked for women’s breast cancer issues. Smaller fundraising projects round out the year for these civic minded and energetic women: Along with their annual dues and money raised at the meetings through raffles and games, the members generate a few thousand dollars to be given on a quarterly basis to worthy local projects, or privately to community members who are in need. For instance, one member’s neighbors have a young daughter who was going through a life threatening illness. Club members put together personal donations to defray the cost of gasoline for the hundreds of miles the parents had to drive to get her to a major medical center. Gas cards and other monetary gifts were very helpful and appreciated for this young couple and their daughter, who now seems to be on the road back to good health. Other projects of service to the community throughout the year include donations of gift baskets and food for “adopted families” at Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. Also, every other month, mem-



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The Bingo For Breast Cancer event

CCWL members share a strong commitment to community projects where they can take a “hands on” approach to helping others, and actively search out ways to be of service. One member recently said, as she and her husband relocated to another State to be closer to children and grandchildren during their retirement years, “I am going to really miss the kick butt ladies of the CCWL!” BINGO FOR BREAST CANCER this year is Saturday, October 5th, at The Elks Lodge, 222 Elks Lane, SLO. Doors open at 11:30 AM, Bingo begins at 12:30 PM. Tickets cost $30; the bingo games include cash prizes and a light lunch. There will be many silent auction and raffle items available. No tickets will be sold at the door, so for ticket information, call Marilyn, 543-8763 or email

bers take turns cooking and serving hot meals at the Prado Day Care Center daily lunch program.

6. IT IS A SOCIAL CLUB, AS WELL The CCWL is also about fun and has many ways that members can choose to interact—rotating luncheons, field trips, Mah Jongg game nights, cooking classes, etc. The members stay connected through a monthly newsletter. They also make sure that some of their meetings are not just about business, but include an outdoor picnic meeting, a Christmas dinner for installation of new board members, and at other times may invite speakers or demonstrations of interest to the group.

All proceeds from the 2013 event will benefit SLO Noor Foundation, a volunteer based non-profit clinic, helping to cover the costs of preventative breast cancer screening for uninsured local women 18 and older. Visit their web site at Donations of raffle or silent auction items from the public can be accepted until October 1st and donors will be given recognition during the afternoon of bingo. To make a tax-deductible contribution, please make checks payable to: Central Coast Women’s League (CCWL), P.O. Box 4408, SLO, CA 93403.

Let us HeLp You Find Your ride There’s a lot of ways to get from point A to point B in our county, and we’re here to help find the best way for you. For specialized trip planning services call 511 or visit today.

Footloose & Fancy-Free I like to walk a lot, I know my way around this town like it’s the back of my hand, and I love to get out on my own to run errands and explore.

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I get by wIth a lIttle help From my FrIends I get around just fine with some assistance and need a helping hand with shopping, appointments and other errands.

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at the market

fresh asian salad with miso-glazed grass-fed steak By Sarah Hedger


ello September! This month wraps up most residual Summer weather days while introducing a cooling in the air resulting in some delicious Fall fruits and vegetables to the local markets. Many apple varieties come into their prime this month as well as the addition of pears, persimmons, and a variety of greens to choose from. With the change in temperature, our palates and inherent cravings shift from fresh, raw meals to (somewhat more) cooked dishes. Regardless of the season, there has been renewed interest in whole food eating lately, which is a very good thing! Whether the diet (or eating style) has a name such as Paleo or Primal; or more logically, ‘as your grandma used to eat’ or, ‘as cavemen used to eat;’ the shift from high calorie, low-nutrient foods to whole, nutrient dense foods is one that benefits our bodies on endless levels. The message is simple—Eat real food! While some still argue the convenience of packaged foods, there is little question the convenience and benefits of a banana wrapped in its own skin, or an apple with its natural protective coating/skin, far



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surpasses any plastic packaging (as well as the nutrient content found within). In wanting to incorporate more healthy fats into my eating and cooking, my mom recently turned me on to an amazing resource,

fresh asian salad with miso-glazed grass-fed ny steak FOR THE STEAK: 1/2 cup blonde (white) miso 2 T. sesame oil (toasted sesame oil) 1/4 cup brown sugar 3 T. mirin (rice wine vinegar works as a good substitute) 2 T. sesame seeds, toasted in a dry skillet until golden and aromatic Arroyo Grande-based Middle Path Medicine, where Dr. Foresman offers an array of unbiased information. I have been listening to his free audios online, which are easily accessed through his website (http:// They are filled with current, insightful, easily applicable information, rarely found in this format—offered to anyone. He also offers free Community Health Update talks held at Sycamore Mineral Springs, so if you are in the area, it would definitely be worthy checking out. We are immensely lucky to have him and his facility as a local resource! Along the same lines, an interesting topic of late has been that of the quality of fats found in grass fed meats, versus grain fed or feed lot meats. Just comparing beef alone, no longer can the two feed methods (and their nutritional profiles) be put in the same category; as the healthy fats (omega 3’s) found in grass fed beef reflect an entirely different nutrient breakdown (and associated health benefits). It would make sense, similar to what fats we, as humans, eat, that animals reflect the quality of food they consume as well. Grass fed meats, and their higher ratio of omega 3’s (essential fatty acids), are proving to be not only essential to our health, but exceed the omega 3 content in grain fed meats, 2-4 times over (, with less saturated fats as well. This month’s recipe, Fresh Asian Salad with Miso Glazed Grass Fed Steak, was originally made for venison. However, if you can’t get your hands on any venison, the next best bet (for flavor, nutrition, and good fats), is an organic, grass fed New York steak. The focus here is quality over quantity. If you Check out our Daily Lunch & haven’t yet tried grass fed beef, not just Dinner Specials including: grass finished, buy Served with fries and slaw • Chimichangas a small sample and $8.50 experiment. Aside • Mahi Mahi Tacos from adding healthy • Chicken Enchiladas fats to your diet, it has a fresh flavor that CasualAtmosphere Atmosphere –- Serious Serious Food Casual Food lends itself to simple preparations, comOPEN 11:30 M-F pared with grain fed Lunch & Dinner 7 days a week beef. This salad goes Breakfast served Sat. & Sun. 9:00 together easily, as Full Bar · Nightly Specials Owners — Scott & Dana Milstead well as being a fresh, nourishing, healthy, 750 Price Street, Pismo Beach well-rounded salad. 773-1922 Enjoy!

Pastrami Reuben or Philly Steak Sandwich Check out our Daily Lunch and Dinner Specials

2 T. coconut oil or ghee 1 pound organic, grass fed New York steaks, room temperature, rinsed, and dried Place miso, sesame oil, brown sugar, mirin, and sesame seeds in large enough dish to hold steaks in single layer. Mix well and set aside 1/4 cup of marinade/glaze to be used later. Add steak to remaining marinade and mix well. Let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature while you prep the salad ingredients. 10 minutes prior to eating, heat oil in heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium high heat. Gently scrape some of the marinade off steaks to prevent splatter for a nice, crisp sear on the meat. When skillet is hot, place steak in skillet and after 3 minutes, carefully flip each steak and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove steak from skillet and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into ¼ inch strips and return to hot skillet, adding a couple tablespoons of the reserved marinade to coat while quickly sautéing for a minute (or until no longer pink). FOR THE SALAD: 2 large handfuls spring salad mix (or mesculan) 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced 1 carrot, peeled and grated 1 cucumber, partially peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely minced 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely minced 1/4 cup fresh green onions, green parts, finely minced 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted 1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce (such as Mae Ploy) Toss all salad ingredients except sweet chilli sauce in large bowl. When ready to serve, add sweet chilli sauce and give a light toss. Place salad on 4 plates, topping each salad with 1/4 the venison medallion slices. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve with rice. Makes enough for 4 salads. Find this recipe and more seasonal inspiration at http://www.



slo county art scene

Peter Zaleski: Like Jazz, Like Architecture By Gordon Fuglie


n the three and one half years since I wrote about SLO County artist Peter Zaleski in these pages (Journal Plus, March 2010, and available online) the artist underwent three life events that impacted his art. First, he and his partner— the art consultant Neal Menzies, had to sell their beloved ranch home and studio in the oaky hills of Templeton, moving to cloudy Cambria. In 2011 Zaleski was hired by the Cal Poly Department of Art & Design, teaching painting and drawing for the first time in decades. Finally, after a creative hiatus and struggle, he found a new way forward in his art. This was validated in June when one of his “graphic paintings” was awarded second prize by renowned LA art critic Peter Frank in a tri-county competitive exhibition at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara. While Zaleski’s techniques remain much the same, his graphic paintings have increased in their forcefulness, becoming hyperhued, more playful and structurally architectural. He continues to make his imagery by rolling colored inks on copper plates and printing them on Japanese paper. He then cuts them into shapes, fitting the different colored shapes to one another, and assembling them like floor tiles on a substratum.

and great public enthusiasm. The works were hailed as “some of the most miraculous works of art America has produced.” (See also, Paul Arnett et al, Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, Tinwood Books: 2006, documenting a major follow-up exhibition with a more extensive tour.) What was most astonishing about these artist quilters from one of the more remote parts of the rural South was their development of a highly distinctive visual style apart from art world trends, a style bursting with bold color, lively improvisations and sustained with a geometric simplicity. Amazingly, the quilts were functional items—not works of art, made from cloth scraps gleaned by poor women to keep their families warm in unheated shacks that often lacked running water, telephones and electricity.

Often the shapes reference the land, and how it is subdivided into tracts on a map. As the former owner of an irregularly shaped parcel, Zaleski began to see the artistic possibilities of abstract, angular and uneven forms in contrasting but inter-locked colors as the basis for a new body of work. This sent him looking for an example, an inspirational art with bold colors that employed asymmetry in its composition. Not long thereafter, he came across the African-American bedding quilts of Gee’s Bend from the tiny town of Boykin on the Alabama River in south central Alabama. For Zaleski, his encounter with the quilts was a revelation. In 2002, the art world was rocked by a traveling exhibition of Gee’s Bend quilts that toured Houston and New York to rave reviews

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Located next to San Luis Cemetery


Planting Sequence

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Blue Border

The humble rural craft of the strikingly innovative quilts of Gee’s Bend kicked open a creative door for Zaleski through which he joyously hastened. The artist encountered a different kind of humility in teaching drawing to undergraduate art students at Cal Poly. Long accustomed to the solitude of his studio where he carefully refined his multi-faceted work through sophisticated technical and aesthetic processes, Zaleski was surprised to be energized by the social interaction between himself (the veteran artist) and his neophyte pupils equipped only with pencils and paper. Through the rubrics of the classroom, the simple discipline of drawing, art making became basic once again. This unknotted the cords of his frustrated creativity, and combined with the discovery of the Gee’s Bend quilts—along with organizing a new studio, Zaleski saw his way ahead to produce a new body of work. There are at least two tendencies evident in his recent work: the playful and improvisational; and the minimalist/architectural. The former broadcasts irregularly patterned fields in “fiesta” colors and seems the equivalent of jazz—alternating between the soloist’s freedom and ensemble playing, as in “Planting Sequence,” a monoprint from 2012. On the other hand, “Blue Border,” a graphic painting, is tight, a compacted cacophony of dense inter-connected forms in three colors: tan, blue and black. The unprinted white paper becomes the fourth color. The tense composition emphasizes the hued, angular forms, producing an image that is athletic and structurally masculine. As Zaleski says about his new work, “I am after an art that is bold yet intimate; purposely geometric and spontaneously expressive. Key to my approach is the editing and arranging of these responses to arrive at an image that is a true representation of my vision.” Whether openly playful like jazz, or tightly structured, Zaleski’s recent works can light up a gallery like few other works I’ve recently seen. ( S E P T E M B E R


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Our Schools

issues for school year 2013-14 By Dr. Julian Crocker, County Superintendent of Schools


y the time you read this, most of our students will have been in school for almost two weeks. So a discussion about what to expect for the 2013-14 school year runs the risk of being too late. As I reviewed my predictions from last school year at this time, I believe that the three issues I outlined did indeed impact our local schools last year. But even more significantly, I think these same three issues will also impact our local schools again this year, but with a different flavor.

SCHOOL FUNDING. Last month I wrote in-depth about the new fund-

ing method that is now in place for California’s public schools. As I mentioned, this new method of funding is the most dramatic change in how our state funds our schools in over 40 years, so this is a really big deal! The new method is technically called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and has been championed by Governor Brown for over two years. His expressed objectives were to simplify the existing system; to allow much greater local control by local school district Governing Boards; and to insure that the state’s most needy students receive sufficient resources to address their circumstances. These three goals were basically accomplished and this is no small accomplishment given the size of our state with over 6 million public school students and an educational expenditure of over 40 billion dollars each year. One of the major changes in the way schools are funded has been to delete most of the “categorical” or special purpose funding which has increased dramatically over the years. The funds that previously were designated by the state for specific purposes, have now been allocated to the general purpose funding for school districts and the local Governing Board now has authority to determine how to allocate this funding. The “bottom line” of these changes is that most of our local districts will generally have an increase of about 4% from last year’s budget. Districts that are funded primarily from local property taxes may not receive this increase. This positive financial picture is certainly welcome given the cumulative loss of over $40 million to

the schools in our county over the past five years. The challenge now facing local Boards is how to allocate these additional resources in the most effective manner, now and in the future.

IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON SCHOOLS. The issue of the use of

technology in schools continues to be a significant issue for teachers and students. Our teachers will continue to face the issue of just what is the most appropriate use of an ever expanding array of technological devices and capabilities. Which devices are appropriate to use? Whose devices should be used? Is the growing use of “texting” negatively impacting traditional writing skills? How can schools combat “cyberbullying?” What is the role of the teacher now that information and communication is so readily available? These are questions that continue to confront schools as we start a new school year. Unlike some issues, this is one where students and teachers have primary interests and indeed students often will have more knowledge than adults. I think that the possibilities offered by technology far outweigh some of the negative aspects. However, we are clearly in a transition from some more traditional ways of thinking about teaching and learning to now include what is technologically possible. My hope is that our instruction can now be focused on the use of knowledge and information in a more problemsolving and analytical manner than has been the case in the past.

NATIONAL STANDARDS. The third issue is also one that made the list last year. Officially the move to adopt a set of national standards (i.e. what students should know and be able to do) for English-Language Arts and Math is called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). California is one of 45 states that have voluntarily agreed to adopt these “common” standards. This move has been driven by the recognition that a well-educated citizenry is indeed a national issue in our global society. We cannot afford to have widely varying expectations for our students whose futures are not bound by geography or birth. This year will be another year of training and awareness as we prepare to implement these new standards with the 2014-15 school year.

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hearst castle’s cloister #1: a room fondly recalled By Taylor Coffman


HE CENTERPIECE of the Hearst Castle complex is Casa Grande. By itself, that twin-towered, cathedral-like mansion is more often called the Castle. Or the main building or main house—or sometimes the big house. Regardless of the term, that imposing structure has roughly 100 rooms within its central section and its flanking wings. Virtual hotel that Casa Grande could be in W. R. Hearst’s era, at least 20 of those rooms were guest bedrooms (plus they had baths and often sitting rooms too). Those ample quarters weren’t filled with people all the time. Yet they were constantly filled with art objects and antiques. They still are, hence the public museum that Hearst Castle has been since 1958. It wasn’t until 1964 that visitors got to “go upstairs” in the main building. That’s where Casa Grande’s guest rooms can be found. One such bedroom, a favorite of mine, is Cloister #1. There are four rooms like it forming the Cloisters, as they’re collectively called. The quartet so named is on the second floor, right above the big Refectory dining room.

As a related group of guest bedrooms, the four “Cloisters” in Casa Grande (the main house) have several Della Robbia sculptures on display.

But why Cloister #1 in my case? That’s because as a young park aide, new to Hearst Castle in 1972, I drew security duty; this meant being a kind of theater usher, someone who adjusted the protective tour mats along with doing other simple tasks. Back then we were assigned just two stations each day. For instance, we could be on the Main Terrace

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in front of Casa Grande (by far the best spot, weather permitting) for as long as four hours without going anywhere else. Another station was the Library Lobby, on the second floor of the big house. Right next to that lonesome outpost was Cloister #1. The small upstairs tour groups walked past it en route to the Library. The south windows of that partly ocean-view bedroom were always wide open, thanks to a covered passageway alongside. The visitors could peer in quickly as they went by—much too quickly to get a good look. But with half a day to kill, we park aides on second-floor detail could gaze into Cloister #1 all we wanted. I soon knew that room by heart. I can still see it clearly in my mind’s eye, more than 40 years later. As part of the museum that Mr. Hearst wanted San Simeon to be (his goal from back in the 1920s), the four Cloister bedrooms added to that vision, mostly along Spanish lines. Cloister #1 is typical in having a wooden ceiling, as old as Christopher Columbus or maybe a bit older. The room has other things, too, for Hearst was much given to variety in his decorating, through which he imparted some spirited contrasts. So-called eclecticism—the blending of styles for a novel effect—was standard in his approach. In less knowing hands, eclecticism could make for a jumbled mess. However, with Hearst and his California architect, Julia Morgan, such blends and mixtures came off successfully as a rule. An informal, lighthearted touch was also part of their method. Cloister #1, though mainly Spanish (and partly Italian too), has a fireplace mantel that’s by no means Southern European or Mediterranean. In fact, the item in question isn’t even a mantel. It proves to

be some kind of altar frontal, intricately carved from alabaster with figures of saints in niches, possibly English and as old as the 14th century. Hearst and several others who played the collecting-decorating game in the 1920s weren’t overly concerned with textbook correctness. Whether he knew he was buying a church relic on that occasion isn’t on file. Alterations and reinventions like the altarpiece-mantel in Cloister #1 are prime examples of how ingenious these people could be. Along with having paintings and other works, the room has antique walnut furniture—a San Simeon staple—found throughout the four residential buildings on the hilltop. Cloister #1 has two matching beds, a decorative pair. One is 16th-century Italian. The other one is from the 1920s, a skillful reproduction made by an Old World artisan recruited by Miss Morgan. The last I knew, many years ago, the northern of the two beds was the original; it had taken me a while to distinguish it from its look-alike counterpart in the inventory work I was doing. That was after my early stint as a park aide. I’d gone on to become a tour guide that same year, 1972. I spent the next few years learning the Castle ropes, a long process for anyone seeking expertise in that challenging subject. By 1976 I was ready to tackle research on a higher level, specializing in Hearst’s art collecting and, at the same time, in his book collecting. I’ve been in and out of those fields ever since. In 2012, for example, I started a new project stemming from the “ex-Hearst” items at the Saint Louis Art Museum, one of the best collections in the Midwest. That museum has about two dozen items once owned by William Randolph Hearst. Some of them, such as Spanish tiles, are similar to what’s still at San Simeon.

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More recently I’ve gone back to a Hearstrelated project I began in the 1970s but then set aside, only to resume it when new archival information turned up. This one’s concerned with the book market, as well as the art market, in the San Francisco of the 1910s through 1930s. Hearst was a native of that city, so this resonates perfectly. In many ways my early years on the Enchanted Hill, despite their youthful innocence, were how I got my education, how I found my way as a researcher with a strong antiquarian bent. In that sense I’ll always remember Cloister #1, which I peered into all those times. I got to step inside it when the housekeepers were close by. That room became “my room,” perhaps more so than any other on the hilltop. As those who know Hearst Castle and its charismatic charms can attest, that’s saying a lot. The author left the Castle in 1983 but is still involved in “Hearstiana.” He welcomes your questions or comments at taylorcoffman@ See also his website posting, www.

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Secrets of the library By Joe Carotenuti


t’s easy to miss. Driving about in the pastoral setting miles from the noise synonymous with progress, the secrets of the library in Creston are worth remembering. While much of the past reflect efforts to satisfy individual wants and needs, the little library is a beacon in the rural setting of the best expression of humankind toward its own. Open a few hours a week—a choice dictated by the near hysteria of the County budget makers—it’s worth planning a visit. While there might be a book or DVD to take home, there is more to learn than a good read or entertainment. Here’s the story. Although the Board of Supervisors indicated interest in establishing a County library system in 1915, Miss Margaret Dold finally was hired as Librarian four years later. Petitions from various locales, including Creston, were necessary to first agree to establish a county system and then hire a librarian. While the Creston School branch opened on September 7, 1920, the community library was finally officially established in May 1923. The secret: persistence by many.

Given the number of “branches” already established, this is a late date as Creston was a prime spot for county books given the small population living in or near a remote town. The delay, most likely, was the unwillingness of anyone to be the books’ guardian … or a suitable place to house a collection. Unlike much of government today, in these pioneer years, having a local library was your responsibility. The County would provide some books but residents needed to find a suitable location (rent was not an option) and someone to take charge of the books … a “custodian” for little pay. The small settlement was most likely one of the State Library’s “deposit stations.” Before the massive transformation of literacy instituted by county libraries, books and postage were provided at no charge to a community if a local resident assumed responsibility for the loan. Creston knew the secret of success was to want it. In any case, a library in the town’s one store was formally established in the spring of 1923 with Mrs. L. A. McCully receiving $5 a month as “custodian.” Most likely, a shelf among the merchandise constituted the “collection.” You needed to have a card, books were lent for two weeks, and a fine of two cents a day affixed for delinquents. The County Librarian was pleased to report the branch was “starting out well.” Creston knew another secret was “making do.” There is always room for improvements, but “making do” was a good start. Eventually, McCully moved the books into her home…another favorite spot for a library. Within a few years, a more public location, the post office, also contained a bookcase with probably no more than 50 books in the care of Augusta Holzinger and then her postmaster husband, Edward. Anyone wanting mail also visited the library. Convenience is a key to usage. Years later, it was discovered the bookcase did not belong to the library. Most likely, it was a gift from a resident who knew generosity was another secret for success. By October 1943, Postmaster Lorine Sonne was the guardian with the library open four hours weekly. However, the County Librarian, Walter A. Sharafanowich (1952 – 1958), noted the authorized hours were “not kept regularly” as Sonne posted library time to match those of the post office. Sonne made it clear her income was primarily through the post office and not the library system. Time passed and the library was not doing well.

The old Creston Library S E P T E M B E R


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Walter was not pleased and directed the branch be closed “permanently” on the first of August 1957 citing “a complete lack of use and disinterest…” One report indicated a circulation of about fifteen

A Retirement Facil COMMUNITY 33

twenty years while handing out both books and cheer. A heart attack in 1976 found her daughter at the helm. Service to the literate community is truly a family affair.

Even though the prospect ofasmoving m mother, Kathleen (universally known Cookie)—and the essential Friends of the future, you owe it to yourself to learn h Library—continues to celebrate literacy. carefree livinghired in your home for man While officially by theown County in 1980,

she has served her community long before When Norma retired in 1978, a generation any official date. of readers could only admire the endurance Now open 15 hours a week, the “secrets” of their librarian as well as her daughter. As a fact of branch life that asofwe get older, the Creston library are alsoPristine the secrets is fully if to mark an end ofIt’s an era, the tiny of determined people committed to their and insu (and others) fell victim to constraining some day-to-day tasks become too licensed neighbors’ well-being. budgets … but reopened after a few months. much tonothandle on our own. That All of our worke The secret was a doggedness to abandon CONTACT: readers. Starting asdoesn’t a substitute for heryou have to move away mean are carefully scre

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Pristine Home Services is• aHousekeeping local background chec Personal Care that helps San Luis Obispo and drug test, giv • Handyman Yard company Maintenance

books a month. No mention is made of the few books sent to the outpost. Thus began a chain of events which ultimately revitalized the small branch. Adversity can be the secret first step to advantage.

Persuaded by the district Supervisor, Roland Gates, Sharafanowich contacted Dorothea Ryan, president of the PTA and “library chairman.” Walter outlined her task. “Pretty harsh terms, too,” he later commented. “Deliberately so. If people want a library badly enough to fight for one against almost impossible conditions—they’ll use it.” Creston certainly knew how to fight … and dream …and win.

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With the usual lack of funds for libraries, a resurrected branch required: 1. a rent free building “suitable and separate” as a library 2. bookshelves, furniture and lighting 3. someone to manage the new collection 4. an “active community spirit of library cooperation” Headquarters would provide books and magazines, train the manager for one week and pay a meager salary. The result—still there today—was a 306-square-foot converted garage completely prepared after an “appalling number of hours organizing, begging, borrowing and doing.” Success demands commitment to translate dreams into realities. Undergoing innumerable renovations and upgrades, the garage/ library remains standing to this day only because the proverbial termites continue to hold hands. Some 50 years later, a modular was erected across the street with such amenities as air-conditioning and rest room facilities. Another secret was (extreme) patience. Dorthea’s sister, Norma Heilman, endured the heatless, poorly ventilated building for

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Hospice corner

Hospice Partners Changes Name to wilshire hospice By Tricia Ritchie, ACHCE President/CEO Wilshire Health and Community Services Dear Community Partner: Today marks a significant time for the agencies and programs in the Wilshire Health and Community Services Family. Beginning July 1, 2013, all Best Care Home Health and Hospice Partners agencies will be re-branded as Wilshire Home Health and Wilshire Hospice. In addition to the name change and an updated logo, Wilshire also has developed a new tag line, “Better Health, Better Life, Better Community.” This step is part of our strategic plan and a natural evolution to clarify who we are, what we believe, and to provide our patients and



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Wilshire Hospice community partners easier access to the depth of services across our entire organization. It is also an acknowledgement of our history and a sign of the firm commitment we have to our future. From our modest beginnings in 1947, Wilshire has been defined by passion—passion for our work and our mission in each of the communities we serve. Providing compassionate care will remain the hallmark of Wilshire Home Health, Wilshire Hospice, Wilshire Community Services and for every team member in our organization. We’re committed to growing our healthcare and associated services


in a way that will benefit the people, health and wellbeing of the communities we currently serve and beyond.



Finally, Wilshire has been blessed with the ongoing and generous support of all our trusted community friends and partners for many years. All of it has made a tremendous difference, not just for our organization, but for the thousands of people we serve based on their individual need rather than their ability to pay. On behalf of them and of Wilshire, I’d like to offer my thanks. As the needs of the community evolve, Wilshire will continue to innovate and look for opportunities to expand and improve our services in order to best serve those who are most in need. Please feel free to contact us with any concerns or suggestions and thank you again for your valued partnership with our agencies and your continued commitment to the health of our community. Sincerely, Tricia Ritchie, ACHCE President/CEO

STATEPOINT CROSSWORD THEME: KIDS’ CLASSICS ACROSS 1. Hospital’s CAT and PET 6. Deadeye’s forte 9. Song “Sixteen ____” 13. Essay theme 14. Often precedes “bum” or “bunny” 15. Blender button 16. Swelling 17. *Princess fairy tale tormentor 18. In pieces 19. *Shooters and keepsies game 21. *Roald Dahl title character 23. It’s often served at Thanksgiving 24. Bad habit 25. As opposed to a hook or cross 28. Gauche or Droite in Paris 30. Store in a silo 35. Matured or cured 37. Short for returned 39. A hunter follows this 40. “Ta-ta!” in Italy

41. Self described “King of All Media” 43. Football great ____ Graham 44. Clumsy one 46. Black and white treat 47. Makes lacework, intertwines 48. Establishes 50. All excited 52. Get the picture 53. *Told to go away in nursery rhyme 55. Affirmative action 57. *Double Dutch action 61. Set the boundaries of 65. Biblical patriarch 66. Grassland 68. *Harry Potter antagonist 69. Bed on a ship 70. Big galoot 71. Wading bird 72. Gaelic 73. Over the top 74. Must-haves

DOWN 1. Kind of cell 2. Musical finale 3. Rich Little, e.g. 4. Not in my backyard, acr. 5. Relating to a musical scale 6. Nile reptiles 7. *He follows Mike on candy box 8. Dolphins’ home 9. South American Indian 10. Face-to-face exam 11. Egghead 12. ___ _ good example 15. Plate used to hold bread during Eucharist, pl. 20. Eastern V.I.P.’s 22. *Highest card in “War” 24. One who is celebrated on special holiday 25. *a.k.a. Knucklebones 26. Catlike 27. Knockout or dandy 29. Obama’s special power 31. *Dick and Jane’s dog

32. I to Greeks, pl. 33. Fishes with a wormlike filament for luring prey 34. Jagged, like a leaf’s edge 36. *Pencil-and-paper game 38. Fortune-telling coffee remnants 42. Nobody 45. Switzerland metropolis 49. What 49ers did 51. *Little ______ Books 54. Ice house 56. Sad song 57. Agree 58. Substance abuser 59. *Looney Tunes’ Marvin was from here 60. Goose liver dish 61. Cuckoo 62. Filly’s mother 63. Coffee choice 64. Marines’ toy recipients 67. Chow down



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palm street perspective

the city’s land use and circulation element (LUCE) By SLO City Mayor, Jan Marx

Hello Friends and Neighbors! Anybody else have fond memories of participating in the City’s Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) Update hearings from 1992 to 1994? I do! In fact, participating in these robust community debates got me “addicted” to planning and local land use issues and inspired me to run for office. Although the 1994 Council made some decisions deemed controversial at the time, many of those policies have contributed to making San Luis Obispo the “happiest city in North America.” My hope is that the focused LUCE update of 2013 will preserve the best of these policies and only revamp what actually needs to be updated. One of those forward-thinking 1994 policies was to preserve prime agricultural land in the 180 acres bordered by the freeway, Los Osos Valley Road and Madonna Road. This provision of the Land Use Element requires that the three property owners each dedicate half of their land to agriculture, if they decided to develop the other half. From 1992 through 1994, I worked with many other residents to advocate in favor of this innovative policy. We were very happy when it was approved. But, I do remember wondering how, if ever, it would be implemented. Well, the community has had to wait nearly 20 years, but now we know! Two out of three properties in that area did annex into the city in accordance with the 1994 vision. They are identified as Phase I in the Master Plan for the Calle Joaquin Agricultural Preserve. The City has entered into a twenty year lease for the cultivation of these 25 acres with the non-profit, Central Coast Grown (CCG, formerly known as Central Coast Agricultural Network). According to Jenna Smith, Executive Director, Central Coast Grown (CCG) has the goal of creating “a fully functional demonstration farm within the city’s agricultural preserve.” As widely reported, CCG has made substantial progress toward implementing the LUCE by choosing their first farmer, Nicola Allegretta, the owner of Mama’s Meatball Restaurant in San Luis Obispo. He has sublet much of the property to demonstrate how to grow organic vegetables and also supply produce for his restaurant. Talk about “farm to table!” CCG has also drilled an agricultural well on the



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property and secured a grant for irrigation infrastructure. Another four acres will be divided into smaller plots for families and individuals wishing to learn about how to grow their own food. So what about the remaining third property in that area, the Dalidio Ranch (the open space portion of which is identified as Phase II in the Master Plan for the Calle Joaquin Agricultural Preserve)? Will the property annex into the city? If yes, when? The community may know relatively soon, since it has been reported that the property is in escrow with local developers who have “Fresh Ideas.” Their preliminary proposal includes building moderately priced homes on the site, some commercial buildings, a high tech center and preservation of agricultural open space. But the property has numerous constraints, so any project, when and if annexed, would raise lots of questions. To name a few: Will the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) allow the project, or will City Council have to override the ALUC? What would be the flood implications? What effect would commercial development have on the Downtown? How much increased traffic would result from the type and amount of development? Would it require an overpass or a full blown interchange? If yes, how expensive would it be and who would pay for it? And, how will the 2013 Land Use and Circulation Element Update treat this property? Hopefully, the new owners and the community will be able to avoid a rerun of past controversies and craft a “win-win” vision for this property. The on-going 20 year saga discussed above is just one of many issues that are coming up through the LUCE process. It exemplifies the crucial role planning plays in the orderly, positive growth of our City. It may take 20 or more years, but plans will be implemented. If you care about the future of our City, please attend meetings and speak your mind in person, or do so in writing ( Check out our city website, for meeting dates and times. Together, we can achieve a renewed, sustainable vision for our future! Looking forward to working with you, Mayor Jan (805) 541-2716



The Magazine of Downtown San Luis Obispo


September 2013

W hat ’s U p Mee t O ur Ne west S ta f f Member Downtown B usiness Spo tlights

W h a t ’ s

U p

A r o u n d

D o w n t o w n


how annoying customers can be. “The gal totally returned something!” “Can U believe some guy paid with a check!” “Going for a mocha, this place is dead.”

The Problem with “No Problem” By Deborah Cash, CMSM Executive Director


ere you go,” said the clerk, handing me my purchase and change. “Thank you,” I replied to the young man who was obviously not interested in me or my transaction one iota as evidenced by a flatly intoned, “No problem.” Whew! Was I relieved that I had not imposed on him too much. Maybe next time I’ll bring him fresh baked brownies!


s a downtown manager, it’s my responsibility to call attention to a trend that could strike deeper than a casual irritation where the general buying public is concerned and ultimately affect Deborah Cash, CMSM, profits. People have choices about where they’re Executive Director going to spend their money and time; deep down, they want to be acknowledged, catered to and appreciated when they do make those choices. When n my daily scale of annoyances, this kind of thing I walk into one of my long time favorite stores and the doesn’t rate that high given there are many polite owner or employees smile and say, “Hi, Deborah, we and engaged workers who do offer cheery thanks when have something perfect for you, just came in,” or I get you fork over your cash. And then there’s the sweet the email for “our special online customers only—30% auntie excuse, “They’re young, dear, that’s what kids say off today!” or my dining party receives a little something nowadays!” as if I’m a relic of retail past. So I often let it extra because wait staff know and remember me; go. these are the ways in which businesses can cement relationships with people who will tell people who will ut, on some level, it still rankles—perhaps it’s the tell people. delivery of “No Problem” like really, if you could just move on and let them get back to their texting about


On the Cover: It’s not over ‘til the Big Daddy’s sing! Playing at Concerts in the Plaza since the first year, Big Daddy’s Blues Band has been a crowd favorite and concert closer for 18 years. Winding down this year’s season on September 6, Joe Pilloud (pictured) and the entire band are sure to have the crowd yellin’ for “just one more” over and over. Photo by Deborah Cash

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The San Luis Obispo Downtown Association WOULD LIKE TO




F rid ay s 5 - 8 P M

in the

i n D ow ntown SLO’s Mission Pla za


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proudly pouring:

Brought to you by:

2013 Adamski Moroski Madden Cumberland & Green LLP ◆ Creeky Tiki ◆ Frog & Peach Mission Community Bank ◆ MO|TAV ◆ Moondoggies Beach Club ◆ Palazzo Giuseppe ◆ Radovich Mediation Group San Luis Luggage ◆ San Luis Obispo Transit ◆ Tartaglia Realty ◆ The San Luis Obispo Collection ◆ Wallace Group For information about San Luis Obispo Downtown Association programs visit or (805) 541 - 0286

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quick, easy, impersonal. There’s ith the unlimited shopping no time to look directly at opportunities online and in another person, smile and say catalogs, and at big box and mall “thanks,” never mind “Thank locations, there’re reasons why YOU.” It feels like every Downtown businesses are honing interaction has a millisecond in on the areas where they CAN limit! And yet, there’s big money compete: customer service, at stake. The difference between unique inventory, in-store N.P. and T.Y. can be measured in experience, and an attractive, real dollars. comfortable setting. More and more, people are coming into o we’re working with all downtown areas for fun, to those who do business in socialize, to make a memory Great customer service can be found in many Downtown to support efforts to and enjoy themselves; they’ll Downtown businesses. Here, sales associate Ann be customer friendly—starting Hollander provides excellent service to a customer at shop if shopping is part of that with the person on the floor. experience. Events like Concerts Ambiance on Higuera Street. I once experienced a store in the Plaza, the Thursday Night employee, chatting happily on the phone, remark to Market and Art After Dark draw people to the Downtown her contact that she had to go. “I have a customer,” she area because of their excitement; those who are having groaned, “I’ll call you back.” a good time are likely to shop—or window shop—and say it’s time to win back the customer! Our goal is to return to shop again. make top notch service a priority—here’s an interesting think too, as a society, we’re affected by the everstatistic I gleaned from a business website recently that accelerating electronic age on our interpersonal illustrates the power of the concept: connectivity—it’s okay to say “No problema” cuz it’s




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Competitive Price/promotions (4.4 out of 5)

Ease of returning products (4.0 out of 5)

Customer Service (3.9 out of 5)

Social media comments on the site (2.6 out of 5)


nstead of people saying, “I don’t go Downtown because (fill in the blank: no parking, nothing I want, too expensive, etc.),” we want them to say, “When I go Downtown, I have the BEST time. People there are so

o u r


helpful and it’s a fun way to spend a day!”

IS/News Cognizant reports: Factors influencing in-store purchase

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tarting perhaps with window signs: “‘No Problem’ Not Spoken Here” or “Whether You Stop In or Not, THANK YOU!” or whatever it takes to send the message that we care about those who choose to spend their time and money in our wonderful city’s center. In our recentlyreleased Strategic Business Plan for Downtown, the importance of customer service is a major objective—and will hopefully be ‘no problem’ to implement as we head into the future…around Downtown.


o view or download the Strategic Business plan visit

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imagine a better place to live, work and raise her two young boys. Before coming on board with the Downtown Association, Mukta was a news content producer with KSBY, sharing stories about the people and events in our community. With her experience in television news, combined with her passion for photography, design and social media, Mukta hopes to spotlight all that Downtown SLO has to offer on all media platforms.

Mukta Naran

Digital Marketing Coordinator


ukta Naran joined the SLO Downtown Association as Digital Marketing Coordinator in early spring. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, this Sooner State girl headed west to the Central Coast to be with her husband who's a longtime local. She has since been living the SLO life for the past 18 years and can't

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S p o t l i g h t s options. The revamped menu includes new styles of tacos, panini sandwiches, flatbreads and deluxe burgers while still featuring all-time favorites such as their delicious award-winning clam chowder. Along with your meal, you can enjoy local draft beers and local wine. Gluten-free bakery and breakfast options as well as an “everyday” gluten free bread are available.

Splash Café Seafood and Grill Joanne and Ross Currie, Owners 893 Higuera Street #D4 (805) 439-2990


oss and Joanne Currie, owners of Splash Café locations in Pismo Beach and uptown SLO for 22 years, are excited to announce they’ve opened their third location in Downtown SLO.

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an’t get enough of Splash Café? Have them cater your next special hen the space in the Downtown event or order cakes, breads and Centre formerly occupied by Mondeo Pronto pastries from their artisan bakery. You can also find them became available, the Curries jumped at the opportunity every Thursday night at Farmers’ Market in front of Hands to create a hybrid of their existing locations. The new spot Gallery. represents more of a local presence and still serves plenty isit Splash Café’s new Downtown SLO location of visiting tourists, shoppers and Downtown business Sunday through Wednesday 7 AM – 9 PM, Thursday owners. Joanne says the new location provides the “affordable, casual and fresh seafood” niche that needed through Saturday 7 AM – 9:30 PM or online, to be filled in Downtown SLO. plash Café Seafood and Grill focuses “less on the fryer By: Chelsea Carpenter


Pictured Left to Right: Joanne Currie & Ross Currie



and more on the grill” and offers lighter and healthier

36th annual central coast woodcarvers show

The 36th Annual Woodcarvers Show will be held on Saturday, September 14th from 10am-5pm and Sunday, September 15th from 10am-4pm. Local and statewide carvers will display and sell their art. Demonstrations, competitions, raffle for carvings, tools and carvings will be available for sale. On the beach at the Cayucos Vet’s Hall. Adults: $2 donation, children under 12, free. For more information call 9273951 or e-mail

Free Senior Health Care Screening

Screening offers health screening for adults throughout San Luis Obispo County. Free services include: screening for high blood pressure, weight and pulse. Finger prick screening tests for high cholesterol, anemia, and blood sugar. Counseling and referrals as needed. We also offer fun, free classes in nutrition and healthy eating. Please call 544-2484 ext. 1 for dates, times and locations.

Operation COY (Concentrate on You)

Operation COY (Concentrate On You), a sports based residential program for atrisk youth on the Central Coast, is pleased to announce the naming of Mitch Massey (pictured left) as its new Director of Development/Community Partnerships. To learn more about Operation COY or how you can support the program please visit our website at



casa launches mentor program

The statistics for youth leaving the foster care system at 18 in California are very disheartening: 65% of youth leaving foster care do so without a place to live and 40% will be homeless within 18 months; less than 50% of former foster youth are employed 2.5 to 4 years after leaving care; and 1 in 5 will be incarcerated—70% of California prisoners have spent some time in foster care. Since January 2012, foster youth are eligible to receive foster care and Independent Living Program (ILP) services until the age of 21 when they meet eligibility criteria. CASA plans to train the first group of mentors in CASA training class which begins in September in Atascadero. After completion of the CASA training program, CASA Mentors will complete additional classes covering such topics as Identifying Needed Life Skills. CASA Mentors will be asked to make a one-year commitment to a youth. CASA is currently recruiting volunteers to be CASA Mentors. Help us spread the word about the new CASA Mentor program. Contact CASA at staff or 541-6542 for more information.

Michael Mullen wins medal at Mechanic championships

Another one of Rizzoli’s auto shop’s mechanics was recently named one of the best in the country for Auto Service Technology at the 2013 SkillsUSA National Championships in June. Michael Mullen, a Cuesta College Career Technical Education student, won a silver medal at the competition in Kansas City, Nebraska on June 26th, and now has the opportunity to be selected for an international competition in Bogota, Columbia next year.

Surfing for hope fundraiser

french hospital’s new surgical suite

French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) recently held the groundbreaking of its new advanced cardiac hybrid surgical suite. This technologically advanced hybrid suite will combine the benefits of a specialized catheterization laboratory with a state-ofthe-art operating room. It is specifically designed to allow different teams of specialists to operate on a patient without moving him or her as various procedures are conducted. Pictured in the “wallbreaking” photo is: FHMC President and CEO - Alan Iftiniuk, Kevin M. Rice -Chair of the FHMC Community Board, Pierre Rademaker - Chair of the FHMC Foundation Board, Dr. Trees Ritter -FHMC Chief of Staff, FHMC donors to the hybrid suite -Grant and Donna Hoag, and donors to the Copeland, Forbes & Rossi Cardiac Center - Jim and Sandy Copeland Tom and Pam Copeland.

Join us on September 21-22 for the Surfing for Hope extravaganza. The weekend event begins with a memorial paddle out Friday evening September 20th, followed by a benefit dinner catered by Lido of Dolphin Bay. Silent auction, local wines and live music will continue throughout the evening at the Avila Beach Golf Resort. Festivities resume Saturday morning, 7:00 am, at the Pismo Beach Pier for the 2nd annual Surfing for Hope Longboard Surf Contest and all day health fair. New this year is the “Pure Stoke” heat, designed with creativity in mind. Teams will be judged on creativity, craziness, and pure positive vibes! The weekend event concludes Saturday evening at Steamers with an awards ceremony and appreciation event. The event is filling fast, but slots are still available for individuals, teams and sponsors. Surfing for Hope is designed to inspire people challenged by cancer through the positive energy of surfing. All proceeds benefit the Hearst Cancer Resource Center, which provides services to cancer patients and their families free of charge. Last year the fundraising event was successful in raising $61,000 for the Hearst Cancer Resource Center and the Angel of Hope Fund. For registration or more information, visit



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hal sweasey receives BB/BS legacy award

Hal Sweasey, was honored at a recent fundraiser with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Legacy Award. Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director, Anna Boyd-Bucy said “Hal was an easy choice for the award this year. He is our biggest donor and largest fundraiser. We call him our ‘rainmaker.’ This program would hardly resemble the strong community resource that it is today without Hal’s hard work and dedication.” Hal is a Realtor for Re/Max Del Oro and two time BB/ BS Board President. He has served on their board since 1998. In the last 10 years alone, he has personally donated more than $70,000. Each year he leads the agency’s largest fundraiser and during the last 5 years, he has raised over $100,000 for youth mentoring. In previous years the agency has honored Clint Pearce, Bill Jodry, and Carol Florence.

master gardeners annual tomato extravaganza

The Master Gardeners of SLO County are very excited to present this year’s free Tomato Extravaganza, an edible festival—the annual celebration of the fruit’s amazingly versatile summer bounty. Once again, the festival will be held in their public demonstration garden —the Garden of the Seven Sisters. One of the many highlights of this event is the opportunity to taste varieties of heirloom tomatoes, as well as discovering new favorites to try in your garden next year. And if you think all basil tastes the same, come try the wide variety available for sampling. Attendees may also try a

sample of our Basil Lemonade, a refreshing treat on a hot summer day! We will have mini seminars on the hour starting at 10am. Presentations will range from tomato dishes prepared by local chefs to growing tomatoes and tomato grafting by experienced gardeners. There will be Master Gardeners available for questions as you walk through the garden and enjoy the different garden plots. Bring the whole family and join us on September 14th for the best ever Tomato Extravaganza! For additional information, contact the Master Gardeners’ Helpline (805) 781-5939; or visit our Website at

SLO rotary awards $5000 in community grants

The Rotary Club of SLO recently awarded $5,000 to support local community non-profit organizations. $1,000 grants were awarded to The SLO Museum of Art and the Community Counseling Center. $500 grants were awarded to Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, the Literacy Council, Camp Hapitok, the Girl Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the SLO Railroad Museum. Funds for these grants were raised at the recent Spaghetti Western fundraiser and at last year’s “Homes of Distinction” tour. This year’s tour will be Sunday, September 15. For more information, visit

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

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


Donna Lewis, Principal (805) 783-4000 NMLS #245945



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with anyone else ready for a day of fun, are invited to attend the Grand Opening dedication ceremony and day-long festivities, featuring operating model railroads and railroad motor cars, historical displays, music, children’s activities, lectures and tours. Century-old railroad cars will be ready for viewing in front of the museum and on the display track located immediately behind it. The event is the focal point of the 5th Annual Central Coast Railroad Festival, to be held October 10-14, at various locations throughout SLO County. ( The museum is located in and around the circa 1894 Southern Pacific freight house at 1940 Santa Barbara St. The museum will be open on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SLO Rotary home of distinction tour

south county historical society honors two

Arroyo Grande’s “History Matriarch,” Jean Hubbard, and Board Member Gary Hoving were honored at the South County Historical Society’s annual Charter Day BBQ. Over 80 members attended the festive event. On hand were California Assemblyman, Katcho Achadjian; County Supervisor, Adam Hill; and Mayor Tony Ferrara, all of whom presented Jean with Resolutions expounding her many years of accomplishments for the Society and Community at large. Jean was also celebrating her 90th birthday with a song and a tasty birthday cake. Gary Hoving was totally surprised, as he was honored as Historian of the Year by Board President, Kirk Scott. Jean Hubbard spent over 45 years making her name as the area’s foremost Historian and Gary has written some wonderful books on local history. More information:

slo railroad museum to open october 12th

Welcome aboard. After more than two decades of fundraising, planning and building, the SLO Railroad Museum will celebrate its completion in grand style October 12 at its new home in the Historic SLO Freight House. Railroad fans and history buffs, along

Guests will have an exclusive look into five beautiful and interesting homes as the Rotary Club of SLO presents the 13th Annual “Homes Frank of Distinction” Tour, Sunday, September 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each home has a unique ambiance where architecture, décor and landscaping tell the stories of their lives. Tickets to tour the five homes are $25 per person and include refreshments served at the La Gue Home, courtesy of Madonna Inn and Trader Joe’s. Tickets are available for purchase at the San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande and Atascadero Chambers of Commerce. You can download a brochure and purchase tickets online at, or purchase tickets at the door of any of the homes. For additional information, please call (805) 546-8806.

Atascadero quota 10th annual extravaganza Please

join Quota International of Atascadero for their 10th annual Extravaganza, celebrating our city’s Centennial. Our Centennial party will be held from 5-? on Saturday, September 14 at the Crossroads Church, at the corner of Morro Road and Santa Rosa Road in Atascadero. The celebration includes appetizers, BBQ dinner, entertainment, live and silent auction, and several other “surprises.” 1913 attire is encouraged. Tickets are $50 each. To purchase tickets go to and select “contact us.”

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eberle winery named winery of the year

The Central Coast Wine Competition announced Eberle Winery as the 2013 Winery of the Year at the California Mid-State Fair’s annual Cattlemen and Farmer’s Day. The Winery of the Year award seeks to recognize the winery that presented the most exceptional selection of wines at the Central Coast Wine Competition. Criteria for selection of the Winery of the Year award required a minimum number of five entries and a ratio based on results criteria. Eberle Winery’s award winning vintages include the 2011 Cotes-du-Robles Blanc, 2012 Muscat Canelli and 2012 Viognier as Gold Medals and Best of Classes and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon earned a Gold Medal. The 2012 Chardonnay, 2011 Syrah, 2010 Barbera and the 2010 Zinfandel received silver medals and the 2010 Sangiovese, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah received Bronze Medals. Pictured above is Gary and Marcy Eberle at the award ceremony.

SLO heart walk

The SLO Heart Walk promotes physical activity and hearthealthy living in an environment that’s fun and rewarding for the entire family, while raising critical funds for the fight to end heart disease and stroke. The Heart Walk is part of the American Heart Association’s groundbreaking campaign, which calls upon all Americans and their employers to create a culture of physical activity and health to live longer, heart-healthy lives. This year, the

D ressing Windows in San Luis Obispo for over 39 Years

Alan “Himself” S E P T E M B E R

alan’s draperies 544-9405 2013

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goal is to raise $155,000 for heart disease and stroke research, along with empowering their community members to take charge of their health. The event takes place in Avila Beach, on Saturday, October 5th at 9am. Play a part in this important community event, and take your heart for a walk as we strive to fight heart disease and stroke – America’s #1 and #4 killers! To join or learn more information, visit or call (805) 544-1505.

league of women voters new board of directors

The League of Women Voters of SLO County recently announced Officers and Board of Directors for the 2013 – 2014 program year. Officers are: Marilee Hyman, President, Sharon Kimball, 1st Vice President, Vera Wallen, 2nd Vice President, Mary Beth Armstrong, Treasurer, and Vallerie Steenson, Secretary. Members of the Board of Directors are: Alice Bunker, Pati Dale, Mardi Geredes, and Sharon Whitney. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government. This year the League will focus on Civil Discourse in Public and Political Speech in addition to its regular program of voter services, candidate forums, and presentations on major issues of the day. For more information contact the League of Women Voters at 782-4040 or go to the website Pictured above: Back row: Pati Dale, Mardi Geredes, Mary Beth Armstrong, Alice Bunker, Sharon Kimball; Front row: Sharon Whitney, Vera Wallen, Marilee Hyman, Vallerie Steenson.

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Licensed Psychologist #PSY11506


528-3782 Helping with lifestyle, health and family problems for seniors, both retired and still employed



local rotarians support BB/BS

Several local Rotary groups have shown their support of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ one-to-one mentoring programs. Pismo Beach Rotary donated $590, Morro Bay $283, SLO Charities Monday Club donated $500, SLO Daybreak $500, and SLO De Tolosa $2,500. Rotary funding will provide for targeted recruiting, screening, training and matching, as well as ongoing support, safety training and supervision for volunteers, children, and families. Anna Boyd-Bucy, the organization’s Executive Director said “The generous donations from Rotary will ensure child safety and sustain successful long term relationships with positive outcomes. Every dollar goes directly to serving youth in SLO County.”

29th annual california coastal clean-up day

Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) is the state’s largest volunteer event. The event will take place at more than 800 locations around the state on Saturday, September 21st, from 9AM to Noon. The Cleanup is the State’s largest single effort to remove the debris that has accumulated on our beaches and inland shorelines over the past year, bringing tens of thousands of volunteers out annually to protect the marine wildlife and habitat that can be badly damaged by marine debris. To sign up for the SLO County Coastal Cleanup, visit or contact Michael Heater at (805) 544-1777 or ECOSLO is still accepting financial support from the community.

slo quilters “auction and wine tasting event”

SLO Quilters “Auction and Wine Tasting Experience” will be held Saturday, September 28th, at the Vet’s Hall in SLO. Doors open at 5 p.m. for preview of the Live Auction items (featuring a variety of quilts as well as non-quilt items) and wine and beer tasting, featuring wines from Edna Valley Winery and Black Hand Cellars, and beers from Sierra Nevada. Admission is $10 per person. Proceeds from this event will help support SLO Quilters, Inc., a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation, whose purpose is to further educate and promote the art of quilting, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Noor Foundation Free Medical Clinic. Tickets can be purchased through any SLO Quilters member or contact Smitty Price at (805) 550-5636 or See for more information.

Wiffleball event raises $13,000 for charity

Over 200 friends and family gathered for a good cause at The Phillips Ranch in San Luis Obispo to enjoy a day full of Wiffle ball, food, and fun. The Third Annual WIFFLE®FEST was organized as a private charity event by The Sandlot Group of San Luis Obispo. Originally established in 2011 as an excuse to reunite friends and have a good time, the participants and organizers of WIFFLE®FEST quickly realized that they had an opportunity to do good while having fun. Thanks to private donations and corporate sponsorships, this year’s event was able to raise $13,000 for The Sandlot Group of San Luis Obispo, a local nonprofit that supports local youth sports and activities in the community.

la Guitarra California festival returns

The 2013 La Guitarra California Festival will be held at the Performing Arts Center on September 6-8th. This three-day classical guitar event is presented by Cal Poly Arts and showcases a nine-concert series featuring 15 world-renowned artists hailing from England, Russia, Spain, Paraguay, France, Brazil, the U.S., Chile, and Belgium. Martha Masters opens the Festival at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 6 in the Cohan Center, followed by the highly-acclaimed Los Angeles Guitar Quartet performing at 8:00 p.m. (Both concerts sold as one opening night concert ticket) Over the Festival weekend, attendees may also partake in five Master Classes, attend a free lecture, enjoy two guitar auctionsFestival information: All tickets may be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Ticket Office: 805/756-4849 or online at

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eye on Business

lessons learned on the road By Maggie Cox, Barnett Cox & Associates


he 75-year old Golden Gate Bridge might not seem likely to make a list of “successful business communication” examples, but in my experience, it sure qualifies. I learned a lot recently about the bridge’s switch to all electronic tolling and I’m struck by how positively that huge shift was made. I frequently pass through the Bay Area on the way to my Dad’s home in Marin County. There are two ways to get there—over the Golden Gate or across the Richmond Bridge. I alternate routes depending on day and time of travel. (Note: there is no good strategy for travelling on Friday evening). Beginning in early 2013, drivers accessing the Golden Gate were reminded that starting in March there would be no more toll takers. The bridge was introducing an electronic system to improve traffic flow and save costs. Since I wasn’t a commuter, I didn’t think much about it. News articles and countdowns and other outreach unfolded and I continued simply driving and paying. That all changed recently when my husband, Dave, and I were returning from a family gathering. We sailed past the “electronic tolling” blinking sign and on to the Golden Gate, and as we approached the toll plaza realized we had no idea how to pay. It didn’t matter, because there was no way to pay. We drove through the plaza, off the bridge, shrugged our shoulders and proceeded on.

They’ve created three electronic payment types—FasTrak, license plate and one time users. FasTrak commuters prepay for tolls and have a windshield mounted toll tag charger on their cars. License plate payment allows a user to register a plate number and prepay usage, and one time users are people like visitors and others who go online ahead of the bridge crossing and prepay the passing. Lastly, there are the drivers like we us, who are photographed and billed for use. All the pre-pay options offer nearly 20% discounts, making them not only convenient, but attractive to users. And it’s working—the Bridge District reports in the first 56 days of the electronic tolling program, FasTrak use climbed from 70% to 85% of all bridge users. In the same period 216,331 invoices were mailed to drivers like me (imagine the late fees that could follow). Electronic tolling has unfolded with what looks like ease. I’m impressed by the shift and how easily habits have been changed. Traffic flows. I’m impressed by the marketing communication program that accompanied—and continues to support—the change. In addition to the friendly-tone website, the District used traditional print and radio ads to educate locals. Frequent press conferences were held

About a week later we received a Golden Gate Bridge District envelope in the mail. Inside were a photo of Dave’s license plate and a bill for the $6.00 toll. No big deal, unless we failed to pay it in 14 days, at which time the $6 grew to $32. I thought that was quite resourceful, thinking of how often I throw a bill in a box and assume I’ve got a month to pay it. Not so this time. We paid the bill on time but I found myself curious about the process. I wanted to understand how it all worked and how in the world it could make financial sense. Now here is where the great communication part comes in. The Bridge District has one of the most informative, thorough and easy to use websites I have ever visited. I was able to get every question I had answered online. It appears these people have thought of everything. S E P T E M B E R


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and materials debuted. Online press kits offer photos and logos and information to make reporting easy. Signage was terrific and mobile applications are user friendly. Customers can pay by phone, online, or with cash at kiosks located in key areas. There are online videos and Q&A (What if I have no plates? Am from out of state? Loaned my car? Driving a rental?), and daily—yes daily—blog updates on how things are going. But my very favorite part of the whole transition was the experience I had when I called the organization. They use a call center and boy, how I hate those. I thought I’d outsmarted them by finding a phone number through yellow I was so happy to get a live person, until she wanted to transfer me to the call center. I explained that I just needed anyone in marketing or PR or public affairs, and could I please skip the call center. The operator very kindly found me someone who was quickly responsive. Success! I think that represents the best of new technology and old fashioned customer service. And if an old timer like the Golden Gate Bridge can learn a few new tricks, so can we. Check out the website: (the press room alone is really something).

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9 13 journal plus web  
9 13 journal plus web