SLO LIFE Magazine Feb/Mar 2020

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LIFE SLO magazine

EXPLORING WINERIE CENTRAL REAL E

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SAN LUIS OBISPO UPCOMING EVENTS SEASONAL ORITES AND NING TRI TIP HIKE

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Cal Poly Art and Design Department | Art Director: Shaina Kim, Designer: Briana Jackson | Photographers: Ally Evans, Noelle Merrihew, Ysabel Sullivan

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Descended from a historic Pozo ranching family, life-long SLO county resident, Danielle Morgan is enthusiastic about her new role as general manager of bluemercury.

bluemercury brings customized skincare downtown. With a cult-like following across the US, bluemercury specializes in customized facials using your choice of a wide variety of premium skincare lines available in their store. With a full time licensed esthetician on staff, dropping in for a quick skin make-over is as easy as 1-2-3. “We carry products for virtually every type of skin, many of them 100% organic. Our staff is educated on every product we sell, so whether you’re looking for something specific, or just want some helpful advice, we’re always here to help,” says Danielle Morgan, general manager of bluemercury.

bluemercury

949 Higuera Street (at Morro Street) Downtown SLO (805) 329-3191 sanluisobispocollection.com #sanluisobispocollection

Cou r t S tre e t • Montere y S tre e t • Downtow n Ce n tre FEB/MAR 2020

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CONTENTS

32

NOW HEAR THIS

PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

14 Info 16 Sneak Peek 18 In Box 24 Briefs

28 View

26 Timeline

30 Q&A

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34 Family 36 On the Rise

38 ERIC VEIUM

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Volume 11 Number 1 Feb/Mar 2020


Love your legs again!

Before & After actual patients

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Dr. Ken Stevens

805.540.3333 FEB/MAR 2020

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| CONTENTS

72 Health 78 Taste 86 Kitchen

88 WINE NOTES

48 ARTIST

50 Candidates 54 Dwelling 68 Real Estate 10

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92 BREW

96 Happenings


805.574.0777 www.sagelandscapes.net @sagelandscapes

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| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

Plan C My growing up years were spent two hours to the east. We called it the San Joaquin Valley. Back then, it was covered by row after row of cotton fields. Many mornings, it felt as if those cotton bolls had awakened before the rest of us to swarm the skies above. This phenomenon had a name: Tule fog. It was this time of the year, late winter, early spring when the Tule fog was at its best. And, I use the qualification, “best,” for a specific reason that was of critical importance to my younger self. When the cotton levitated overhead, you could not see the other side of the street. And, when you could not see the other side of the street, they canceled school. The Visalia Unified School District was never bold enough to outright cancel it. That is why I lobbied my parents to move to a more forward-thinking area, such as Earlimart or Waukena, where they did not hesitate to shut it down. Instead, the best that my two younger sisters and I could hope for was a Plan C, which is why we woke up early most mornings to glue ourselves to Channel 18. It was a knob that thumped and clunked when it turned. The picture was fuzzy until the fine tuner was finessed, the rabbit ears twisted. We did not care about the picture. We only wanted to read the words scrolling across the bottom of the screen: “THE FOLLOWING IS AN UPDATE FOR TODAY’S FOGGY DAY SCHEDULE...” That’s when we would find out, again, that the kids in Earlimart had it made. It was so unfair. We then prayed for a consolation prize. We prayed for Plan C. At some point, the powers-that-be from schools all around the Valley came together to develop the Foggy Day Schedule system. Plan A was the worst. It meant, “Nothing’s changed. Go to school, as usual.” Plan B was the second-worst because it only canceled the bus service. Although we never once gave up hope for a straight-up cancellation, the best outcome was the declaration of Plan C because it meant that school started two hours later than usual. Two hours! At least I did not grow up in current times—Valley kids now don’t even have a Plan C, the best they can hope for is a Plan B, which today comes with only a ninety-minute delay. One by one, tiny Valley towns which were defined by two numbers, more than any particular landmark—Ivanhoe, for example, was better known as Avenue 328 and Road 156—became famous for their Foggy Day designations. Many of those places should not be called towns at all. They were more like outposts in the unending flatness, which is why so many of them formed “joint” school districts. “Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District—Plan C… Monson-Sultana Joint Union Elementary School District—SCHOOL IS CANCELED.” Wherever Monson or Sultana happened to be, the Creator was looking out for them when He shaped the surrounding foothills. They were always receiving the nurturing embrace of Tule fog. Sometimes, people passing through the Valley on Highway 99 would turn on their radio to find out why the clouds had fallen to the ground. More than once, the DJ would say “patchy morning fog,” while the driver heard “Apache morning fog.” Tule fog and Apache morning fog are two very different things. First off, there is no such thing as Apache fog because there were no Apaches in the San Joaquin Valley—it’s Yokut country. And, second, anyone who knows anything about Foggy Day Schedule cringes when they hear the word “patchy.” You did not want patchy morning fog because patchy morning fog was a one-way ticket to Plan A. You wanted the soupy stuff. Complete white-out. Zero visibility. By the time I got to high school, Plan C had become a social phenomenon—similar to Snapchat now. Instead of remaining safe at home, everyone navigated their cars by sonar to the donut shops and convenience markets with their friends. As we waited for the fog to burn off, we never lost our faith in the belief that one day school would be canceled. The guy mixing the dough or the lady handing out the mojos and chicken fingers would grow tired of our question, but we continued to ask it anyway: “Is it still just a Plan C?” The answer always came back, “Yes.” We remained grateful for the windfall—two full hours—but we knew that Captain Ahab’s elusive whale was out there somewhere, hiding in the sea of cotton. For as many times as I have explained the Foggy Day Schedule concept to my kids, they cannot seem to understand it. There is no equivalent here on the Central Coast. And, I have tried to come up with something: You-Have-To-Wear-Something-Warmer-Than-A-Hoodie-Sweatshirt Day Schedule, or Good Surf Day Schedule. It just does not translate. There is no Plan C because there are no cotton fields, and no fog—at least not of the Tule or Apache variety. There are only sunny days and beaches and mountains called sisters. Not a bad trade. I want to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who has had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine and, most of all, to our advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you. Live the SLO Life!

Get the story within the story by going to GrowWithTom.com and subscribing to Tom’s Bombs to receive the next installment.

Tom Franciskovich tom@slolifemagazine.com 12

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T I L E S H O W R O O M & N AT U R A L S T O N E S L A B YA R D

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LIFE SLO magazine

4251 S. HIGUERA STREET, SUITE 800, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM info@slolifemagazine.com (805) 543-8600 • (805) 456-1677 fax PUBLISHER Tom Franciskovich

Elder Placements realizes the IMPORTANCE of listening to the client, in order to find the appropriate:

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CREATIVE DIRECTOR Sheryl Franciskovich CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charlotte Alexander Jeff Al-Mashat Erika Fitzgerald Paden Hughes Zara Khan Jaime Lewis Andria McGhee Brant Myers Jessie Rivas Shawn Strong CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Suzi Bliss Amy Joseph David Lalush Vanessa Plakias Jay C. Winter CONTRIBUTIONS Have some comments or feedback about something you’ve read here? Or, do you have something on your mind that you think everyone should know about? Submit your story ideas, events, recipes, and announcements by visiting us online at slolifemagazine.com and clicking “Share Your Story” or emailing us at info@slolifemagazine.com. Be sure to include your full name and city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations. ADVERTISING If you would like to advertise, please contact Tom Franciskovich by phone at (805) 543-8600 or by email at tom@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com/advertise and we will send you a complete media kit along with testimonials from happy advertisers.

Nicole Pazdan, CSA,

SUBSCRIPTIONS Ready to live the SLO Life all year long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to slolifemagazine.com/subscribe. It’s just $24.95 for the year. And don’t forget to set your friends and family up with a subscription, too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! NOTE The opinions expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect those of SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher.

Contact us today for FREE placement assistance.

(805) 546-8777 elderplacementprofessionals.com 14

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CIRCULATION, COVERAGE, AND ADVERTISING RATES Complete details regarding circulation, coverage, and advertising rates, space, sizes and similar information are available to prospective advertisers. Please call or email for a media kit. Closing date is 30 days before date of issue. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR info@slolifemagazine.com 4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.


True Community Banking “We’ve known Jay with American Riviera Bank for over five years. You can trace all the growth we’ve had at Scout back to that relationship.” — Sara Peterson, Scout Coffee owner

Jay Beck, American Riviera Bank Senior Vice President, with Scout Coffee owners Sara and Jon Peterson, at their Foothill Boulevard location

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San Luis Obispo Branch • 1085 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805.965.5942 • AmericanRivieraBank.com • Paso Robles • San Luis Obispo • Goleta • Santa Barbara • Montecito FEB/MAR 2020

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| ON THE COVER

A S NE AK P EEK

behind the scenes W I T H E RIC VEIUM

BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

I noticed right away that Eric had a coffee mug with Kahil Gibran on it. He’s a famous poet and author. Eric told me that he loved his poetry and shared a favorite passage. It’s amazing. I really like this one: “Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your soul. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.”

I took a picture of the inverter, which sends the energy to the transformer over to that electric plant and then back through those power lines. And that picture I took of him by his car, you’ll see the power lines that go from the solar farm behind him. 16

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, so I asked e an ocean of solar The panels look lik a solar sea. to in he was jumping if as p jum to m hi am where pictures on Instagr You see all those er into the off the end of a pi people are going te that the best ght, “L et ’s replica ou th I d An . ter wa had fun. tally into it, so we we can.” He was to

One of his goals—he’s got a lot—he’d like to see more people commute on bikes, as much as possible. He’s trying to make riding your bike or using an electric bike the norm. SLO LIFE


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| IN BOX

Take us with you! Hey, SLO LIFE readers: Send us your photos the next time you’re relaxing in town or traveling far and away with your copy of the magazine. Email us at info@slolifemagazine.com

TAORMINA, ITALY

OAHU, HAWAII

KENNY and DIANE LEWIS at the Téatro Greco.

TYRRHENIAN SEA

SLO LIFE Magazine soaked up a little aloha at Oahu’s fabled North Shore with STEVE and JENNIFER DINIELLI.

ASHFORD CASTLE, IRELAND

MIKE and MARGARET BURCHIERE and crew sailing the Mediterranean off the coast of Stromboli in search of marble. 18

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JOHN and FREDENE MAULHARDT at the setting for the Quiet Man movie.


BIG FORK, MONTANA

LAURA HEIDEN

CAPE REINGA, NEW ZEALAND

MOUNT WHITNEY

KEN and COURTNEY KIENOW

SEA OF GALILEE, ISRAEL

RUBY SOLOMON, TINA RADOVICH, SCOTT RADOVICH, and LAUREN HUTKIN MATT and KIM WORMLEY

INDI THE DOG POSTOJNA, SLOVENIA

Cycling through SLOvenia: VAL SEYMOUR, JILL BOLSTERWHITE, JAMES WHITE, JEFF STEIN, JEFF RADDING, JOEL DIRINGER, CHIP BARCLAY, LYNN MANZELLA, KAREN WORCESTER, and, not pictured, CHRISTINE HOFFMAN. FEB/MAR 2020

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| IN BOX

SLO LIFE travels! BANFF, ALBERTA, CANADA

THE FIERCE FLAMINGOS

PALACE OF VERSAILLES, FRANCE

LINDA and BOB COLLINS

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HAWAII

MARY SANCHEZ-ALLWEIN

EDINBURGH CASTLE, SCOTLAND

LAURA and MARK RUFFING 20

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CHARLES WALDROP and CHRISTIE RAMSEY


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| IN BOX

Trekking with you! MONGOLIA

INDIAN WELLS

JIM, SALLY, PAM, AL, JOYCE and RITA at Pickleball Nationals.

HAVANA, CUBA ADRIAN and ROSEMARIE LEROY at Hustai National Park in the Gobi Desert.

INLE LAKE, MYANMAR

KIM MARTIN and DAVID NORTON in front of the “parking lot” at the market in Nam Pan Village.

DELVIS and NORINE FERNANDEZ

Please send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com Follow SLO LIFE on Facebook: Visit facebook.com/slolifemagazine Visit us online at slolifemagazine.com Letters may be edited for content and clarity. To be considered for publication your letter should include your name, address, phone number, or email address (for authentication purposes). 22

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LEARN BY DOING WAS BORN HERE CAL POLY AND LEARN BY DOING HAVE BEEN RESIDENTS OF THE CENTRAL COAST SINCE 1901.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CAL POLY ALUMNA MAYA VAVRA (Biological Sciences, ’18)

Cal Poly students teamed with community members to conduct field surveys in Pismo Beach and throughout the state as part of donor-funded research to determine the status of the once-abundant Pismo clam populations and to evaluate factors that may help lead to their recovery.

See more Learn by Doing stories at

GIVING.CALPOLY.EDU FEB/MAR 2020

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| BRIEFS

1,000 Roughly the number of people the County of San Luis Obispo employs to work at the polls each election day. The temporary poll-workers, who can make between $68 and $182 for the day, must be at least eighteen years old and a registered voter in California or a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

740 pints Atascadero resident David Black, a veteran who received several pints of lifesaving blood while serving in Vietnam, recently donated his 740th pint of blood at Central Coast Vitalant, who labeled Black “one of our community blood supply’s greatest assets.”

“Beau just seems to fit perfectly with Cal Poly.” Mustang director of athletics Don Oberhelman announcing in December the appointment of Beau Baldwin as the University’s seventeenth head football coach. Baldwin has a track record of winning Big Sky Conference and national championships, recruiting top-notch student-athletes, and creating NFL opportunities for his students. 24

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“We all believe in democracy.” Susan Devine, speaking during the fourth annual Women’s March in downtown San Luis Obispo on January 18, which drew thousands of people who rallied in support of human rights and social justice.

(805) 783-7774 A new 24-hour news line launched by the City of SLO Fire Department to provide brief, pre-recorded messages about major incidents and emergencies occurring in the area. It’s designed to offer critical information about ongoing situations as well as other announcements, and may prove especially useful if evacuation orders are issued during a fast-moving wildfire.

“We didn’t get the lead gifts that we needed.” Executive director and curator Ruta Saliklis announcing in January the suspension of the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s plans for construction of a new building at its current site in downtown SLO. The organization will re-group after failing to meet its $12 million target.

VolunteerSLO.org Want to make a difference in your community in 2020? Visit the County’s number one source for volunteer opportunities—more than 1,000 options are listed with hundreds of local nonprofit agencies. What are you waiting for?

25 Years Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo began 2020 by celebrating a quarter-century of helping more than 3,000 children in the community reach their full potential. There’s still work to be done, however, as more than 100 children are still waiting for a match with a special one-to-one volunteer mentor.

$3 million The California Strategic Growth Council granted the funds to the City of San Luis Obispo in December to help acquire a 1,000-acre conservation easement for the Miossi Brothers La Cuesta Ranch just northwest of the city. The easement will ensure that the ranch remains as agriculture and open space while protecting natural resources and wildlife habitat.

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The number of newly-installed electric vehicle charging stations on Cuesta College’s San Luis Obispo campus, paid for through a grant from the Air Pollution Control District and the college’s participation in PG&E’s EV Charge Network. SLO LIFE


E XPEC T BE T TER

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SAN LUIS OBISPO

ARROYO GRANDE

Featuring two homes, this R2 property is approximately 7,169 square feet and has curb appeal that is charming and inviting. The 1,351 sq ft 3 bedroom, 1 bath main house features a remodeled kitchen. The quaint Guest Suite in the backyard has it’s own entrance, is approx. 584 sq ft.The large backyard is ready for your inspiration and summer BBQs.

Stunning single level 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2,648 sq ft home overlooking Avila Beach Golf Course and the oak studded hills. Located in the Heron Crest development within the private gated community of San Luis Bay Estates, this property beautifully blends the peace and serenity of country living with the convenience of nearby hiking, shopping, dining, beaches and freeway access.

Website: www.1828Johnson.com

Website: www.3265LupineCanyon.com

TERRY GILLESPIE

KATE HENDRICKSON

REALTOR®, LIC. #01815083

805.459.2022

BROKER ASSOCIATE, LIC. #01730943

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805.801.8155

805.801.1979

Exquisite 3 bedroom, formal office, 3 bath home with approx. 4k sq ft of living space located in the gated golf community of Cypress Ridge. Features open floor plan with gourmet kitchen, hardwood floors, granite countertops, luxurious master bath, knotty pine vaulted ceiling, & fireplaces. Website: www.2289Brant.com

KIM WURSTER

805.441.2112

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805.441.1419

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BHGREHAVEN.COM 805.592.2050 FEB/MAR 2020

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| TIMELINE

Around the County DECEMBER ’19 12/2

The first legal adult-use cannabis delivery business in the City of San Luis Obispo opens with plans to fill orders anywhere within the County. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, Coastal Delivery SLO plans to employ ten workers in San Luis Obispo including dispatchers, drivers, and inventory employees. Four additional cannabis businesses in San Luis Obispo have been granted operator permits with aspirations to open within the coming year.

12/6

12/16

The California Department of Parks and Recreation begins fencing off forty-eight acres around a popular camping area commonly referred to as the “foredune” at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area to reduce dust and improve air quality conditions for nearby communities. The closure, which does not impact the off-highway vehicle riding area, riles the Friends of Oceano Dunes, whose president immediately penned a letter to the Coastal Commission asking State Parks to “stand down.” The closure was initiated to meet an end-of-the-year deadline set by the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District. The fenced-off area will no longer be available for camping or vehicle activity.

12/17

The City of San Luis Obispo completes the replacement of the El Capitan Pedestrian Bridge, restoring public access to trails within the Poinsettia Street neighborhood. The new thirty-three-foot-long bridge is made of steel with wood decking and cost $90,000. The original structure, made of wood and put into service in the late nineties, was destroyed during a storm in 2015. 26

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RaceSLO, organizers of the SLO Marathon & Half, announce that the weekend-long event will go on hiatus for 2020 while they search for a new venue. The event’s long-term location, the Madonna Inn, decided not to renew its contract. The City of San Luis Obispo has hosted the largest running and fitness festival in the County since 2011, and city officials offered a different venue in the short term, but RaceSLO Founder and CEO Samantha Pruitt said without a long-term commitment, they will look for another community to host the event.

12/26

The California Supreme Court unanimously rejects an automatic appeal by Rex Allan Krebs to avoid execution, two decades after the bodies of his two college-aged victims were found buried in shallow graves in rural SLO County. The action exhausts the convicted serial killer’s legal options and upholds his convictions on first-degree murder, kidnapping, forcible rape, sodomy, and burglary. Krebs, 53, has been on death row in San Quentin State Prison since 2001, but it will likely be years before his sentence is carried out, if at all, following Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement in 2019 that no condemned inmates will be executed during his tenure in office.


JANUARY ’20 1/10

PG&E announces a compromise settlement with consumer advocacy groups on a shutdown budget for Diablo Canyon, California’s last remaining nuclear power plant. The settlement will cost PG&E ratepayers $112.5 million a year through 2027, and the money will cover (among other expenses) the cost of spent nuclear fuel disposal and site clean-up. The utility originally sought $4.8 billion to close the plant, due to be shuttered in 2025. If the settlement is approved by the Public Utilities Commission, electric bills will increase about 59 cents a month per customer. The settlement also calls for PG&E to seek ways to transfer spent fuel to dry storage within four years of the shut-off, instead of waiting seven years as previously anticipated.

1/1

The animated, fifty-foot-long float designed and built by teams of students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona wins the prestigious Director Award for most outstanding artistic design and use of floral and non-floral materials at the 131st Rose Parade. Featuring a submarine exploring a sunken shipwreck that is home to a colorful array of marine wildlife, the playful “Aquatic Aspirations” was adorned with 23,000 blooms ranging from blue irises to pink Gerbera daisies to purple roses and multi-colored protea flowers. Since 1948, Cal Poly entries have earned fifty-seven awards.

1/13

Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) becomes the new primary electricity provider for the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay, partnering with PG&E to deliver affordable electricity service. Customers in these communities will continue to receive only one electric bill from PG&E, but it will include both MBCP charges for electric generation and PG&E charges for transmission and distribution. In 2021, the not-forprofit MBCP also will begin service to the cities of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and Pismo Beach.

1/14

County Supervisors renew the San Luis Obispo County Tourism Marketing District, managed by the nonprofit organization Visit SLO CAL, for a ten-year period through June 2030. The SLOCTMD, established in 2015 for a five-year period originally set to expire in June 2020, is a per-night assessment on all lodging in the county, including the seven incorporated cities. It generates funds to create a unified tourism marketing approach and to promote a greater awareness of the county to potential visitors. Visit SLO CAL recently conducted a return on investment study that showed that for every $1 spent in marketing by the organization, an average of $40 in economic impact is created in the county.

1/18

Promoting the theme “The Time Is Now,” the fourth annual Women’s March in San Luis Obispo draws an estimated 6,000 participants urging voters to go to the polls in 2020 and show their support for women’s rights, social and environmental justice, Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQIA rights. Organizers say they hope to inspire young people to take action and know they can make change happen in the United States and around the world. SLO LIFE FEB/MAR 2020

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| VIEW

Finding the

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Frame BY JOE PAYNE PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY JOSEPH

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rowing up in the Arroyo Grande area exposed local photographer Amy Joseph to the joys of riding horses and biking with friends to the dunes. They took in pastel sunsets over the Pacific from the mesa. Though she has always loved her home on the Central Coast, Joseph was not always found outside with a camera in hand. After some health concerns led to an abrupt career change, Joseph began putting her lifelong computer skills to work at a web design company. To promote her local clients, she started photographing landmarks and vistas around San Luis Obispo County. She soon began her own business selling these images, called Central Coast Pictures, which she manages today online. Joseph reveals, “I wasn’t what I would call a professional photographer when I started my website. I simply had thousands of photos of the place I lived and grew up in and wanted to share them.” Local photo excursions are a must for Joseph, everywhere from the rolling hills of wine country to the beaches of San Simeon. She captures the images you would expect, of course, of the Central Coast sites that everyone knows, but she also has an eye for the unexpected. Take this image you see here, where Joseph turned her back on Morro Bay’s massive geological namesake, and instead trained her lens on the shore of the town and its colorful rows of boxy homes. Far behind looms Hollister Peak as an equally imposing plume of cumulonimbus overtakes the skyline. Hollister, along with the rest of the Seven Sisters, is often the subject of amateur and professional photographers alike. Joseph expresses, “If they can be in a photo I’m taking, I try to focus on them. In this image, the color of the town, houses, and the boats were really standing out to me.” The image also captures something quintessentially San Luis Obispo: the juxtaposition of our cities and towns wreathed in the natural beauty of the Central Coast. That’s something that Joseph has always understood growing up here, she explained, and why taking some quiet time for herself outside with her camera scarcely feels like work. She explains, “The Central Coast is, to me, the JOE PAYNE is a most beautiful place to journalist, as well as a photograph. There’s so lifelong musician and music teacher, who much to see, from the loves writing about beach to landmarks the arts on the Central like the Seven Sisters, Coast, especially music, as well as science, lakes, mountains, history, nature, and countryside, Big Sur— social issues. it’s so diverse.” SLO LIFE

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| Q&A

PROCESS OF DISCOVERY Fifteen years ago, SUSIE THEULE had an idea. Today, that idea has a name: SLO Classical Academy. The private school, known to many as SLOCA, is a uniquely California entrepreneur-in-a-garage start up story that now enrolls 412 students. Its director stopped by our office the other day to talk about the challenges that come with balancing the management of a growing program, which employees a staff of eighty, as well as remaining present for her husband and four children. Here is some of what she had to say… Okay, Susie, let’s talk about where you are from. I grew up outside Chicago in a Northwest suburb called Arlington Heights. I lived in only two different houses there before going away to school. For college, I decided that I wanted to get out either to the beach or to the mountains, so I ended up going down to San Diego. After graduation, I ended up moving up to LA to get my doctorate in clinical psychology. And, during that time, I met my husband and got married. We lived in San Clemente, which is an amazing little beach town, but it’s still in Orange County. His brother had gone to Cal Poly, so we had visited and knew that we loved it here and knew we wanted to raise a family here. So, when he had a job opportunity that felt right, we moved. And, how was the transition? As soon as we arrived, I said to my husband, “How about we start a school?” And the poor man had just been through my doctorate, my dissertation, and my psychology licensing, and we moved, and we had just had our third child. He said, “Please, can you please wait just a year?” So, a year later I was looking for a book, and I met someone who was an educator. She had always wanted to start a school here and, so, we put our heads together and did a bunch of work and ended up opening SLOCA in 2005. We started at four homes around the city, including our own. We whitewashed our garage and added a window. We had eleven first graders in there and total enrollment was thirty-seven by the first half of the year. I was pretty sure it wasn’t legal for us to be doing this in our home. You just jumped in with both feet. Yes, exactly. I really had no idea what I was doing, literally. I just knew what I wanted for my kids. I would do many things differently had I known what I know now. So, we really needed to clean that up, but we also knew that the school would not be sustainable if people are driving all over the city to four different houses. And, I knew that if we were in a setting that was an actual school site that more people would be attracted to it and have a higher level of trust. Fortunately, that proved to be true. We just kind of grew and grew and grew for years, by leaps and bounds. We rent the old Teach Elementary School campus from San Luis Coastal Unified and we’ve 30

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had a great relationship with the district, but we are outgrowing it. It’s across the street from Cal Poly and we also rent houses across the street to house our high school. We’ve completely gutted and remodeled five homes over there, but we’re outgrowing them, as well. Let’s switch gears for a moment and talk about your background in psychology. Sure, okay, I’m a depth psychologist by training, so there are lots of deep thoughts going on with me, and emotions, and thinking about life. I have a rich internal life, always thinking. My mind is running all of the time. But, I really have a lot on my plate in terms of just completing tasks and trying to remain present. Every day, I’m aware of my weaknesses and how I screw up with my parenting and my leadership. People say to me, “I don’t know how you do what you do.” And, I do it the same way everybody else does it. I get up every day and put my clothes on, take a shower, and just put one foot in front of the other. But, yeah, I don’t know. I’m a bundle of other things going on, I think, underneath this leadership tag that I have somehow found myself in—I’m a very reluctant leader. I really did this because I wanted something special for my kids and then saw that so many other people wanted that same thing for their kids, as well. That must be difficult to balance. You know, I really am sort of a troubled soul. I’m very contemplative, probably to a fault. So, everything that happens to me goes through a process of discovery, wondering what it’s about. I’m also a really deep feeler. I feel a great, heavy responsibility, and so I carry that, and I think about it a lot. I’m just contemplative and thoughtful and can sort of get stuck in that sometimes. And then I think what makes it difficult is I really believe in living in the moment. I really want to look in my kids’ eyes and know what they’re thinking and feeling that day. I also want to really know the people I work with; and I’ve got a list of tasks that’s just insane at work and at home. I have four kids. I think that’s why going for a paddle on Lopez Lake works so well for me. It gives me time to just sort of be quiet. I don’t listen to anything out on the lake. I just paddle and sort of pray and think. I try to tend to myself a little bit. SLO LIFE


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| NOW HEAR THIS

MATT NICE AND THE DERLS BY SHAWN STRONG

The Urban Dictionary defines the word “derl” as “someone that often exaggerates their skills and abilities. Claims that the ability to learn is the proof of the existence of skill.” In the case of the six-piece, psychedelic orchestra Matt Nice and the Derls, however, it comes to mean something different.

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his eclectic group of artists collectively shares decades of musical knowledge and experience, led by the accomplished composer Matt Nice. Other band members include Paul Dutton, who lends his expertise on the skins, Chris Cunningham, who puts his musical training to use on the guitar, Tyler Rowland adds violin, Liam Bronker slaps the bass, and Kaya Moody rounds out the group with vocals.

piece band made up of Nice, Adam Vanweerdenpoelman, and Robby Porovich, The Earthtones saw the beginning of Nice’s multifaceted style writ large. Over a period of months, the group would continue to make regular releases showcasing increased intricacy and mastery within their compositions. At the time, Nice was doing most of the songwriting and recording alone. While this had worked for the artist since the beginning, he began looking for new ways to add depth and variation to his recordings, and to his live performances. With this in mind, the Derls started to take shape.

The Derls songwriter and leader, Matt Nice, comes from a rich musical tradition. His lineage includes a varied group of bluegrass players from Wisconsin: a grandfather who was a well-known crooner in Canada, and a father who played guitar throughout Nice’s youth. It could be said that all these complex and unique sounds have made their way into the Derls repertoire because of the young musician’s upbringing. Born in Livermore, California, Nice would go on to live in three different states, including Massachusetts and Illinois. His family was always on the move, an aspect of his life that eventually led him to music. As change was such a continual presence in his life, making music was a much-needed constant throughout all the new schools, new living situations, and new social groups.

Nice officially formed the group two years ago, looking to move from the one-man-band concept to a more collaborative effort. He describes his process now as one of discovery more than of songwriting. With the five other band members now contributing ideas and their creativity, Nice is able to get out of the studio and expand his own capabilities and art. Nice made it clear that one of his primary goals with the Derls is to create an experience for the people on stage that matches the experience the audience is having. The sheer amount of improvisation and quick thinking on the part of all six members creates a truly unique experience where the audience knows just as much as the band does, and everybody is kept unaware until the last minute. It’s a risky tactic, but with great risk comes an incredibly lively and exciting experience that cannot be reproduced.

After having visited San Luis Obispo as a child, Nice chose to move here permanently twelve years ago. Initially, Nice would take the train up from southern California to visit friends who were attending Cal Poly at the time. On one such visit, after graduating college, he threw away his return ticket and never looked back. His first group, a rock band called The Earthtones, offered a glimpse at the remarkable talent and diverse skill set of the budding artist. A three-

The Derls is an incredibly talented and innovative group of musicians, and what live performances they’ve done so far have been received positively. Having recently locked down a solid line up, the Derls are focused on building and creating and practicing. However, in the next few months, the Derls are planning on hitting the stage throughout the Central Coast and hopefully beyond. Keep an eye out for Matt Nice and the Derls, and if you have the opportunity to see this whirlwind of potential, make it a priority. SLO LIFE

FEB/MAR 2020

Los Angeles born, SLO County raised, SHAWN STRONG’s passion for the local music scene and artists that have created it, fuels his writing and drives his commitment to living the SLO Life.

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| FAMILY

Are You Up for the Tri Tip Challenge? BY PADEN HUGHES

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAY C. WINTER

t all started with a family hike up “High School Hill”—you know, the steep hill off Lizzie Street above San Luis Obispo High School. There is a proud, sometimes painted red, tower on top of that hill, and it affords incredible views of our beautiful city. In fact, the first time I did this hike, I remember not looking back at the city below until I had reached the top. Turning around to soak in the view took my breath away.

next at 1,293 feet. And, finally, High School Hill at 1,135 feet. Altogether we’re talking about an assent of 3,974 feet! That’s 22% of the way up Basecamp at Everest or almost halfway up Half Dome in Yosemite. It definitely gets you bragging rights in our town, and here’s how I recommend tackling the trails:

We have made the pilgrimage many times since, but once we paused at the top to look at the writing on the tower, we quickly picked up on a theme. Many of the messages etched into the structure mentioned something about a Tri Tip challenge. Weird, right? Probably some Week of Welcome ritual, we thought at the time. We didn’t learn anything more about it. The next time we hiked to the top, however, our curiosity was piqued when we discovered that more people had written something about the Tri Tip Challenge and this time they included Bishop, Madonna, and High School Hill—we finally had the details we needed.

11:30 am: Make your way over to the Cerro San Luis trailhead near the on ramp to 101 South and hike Summit #3.

The Tri Tip Challenge is a local claim to fame where you hike three of the biggest hills in the area—Bishop Peak, Madonna (Cerro San Luis) and High School Hill (Bowden Ranch Trail)— all in the same day. It’s a big feat if you can do it.

In my opinion, the best time to do this challenge is right now, early spring. It’s green, it’s beautiful, and if you happen to hit it on a sunny day, it can be incredibly refreshing. Happy Hiking!

Bishop Peak is the tallest, looming at 1,546 feet. Cerro San Luis Obispo is

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8 am: Start at High School Hill. Why? Because despite being the shortest of the three peaks, it’s the steepest incline and most likely to be your mental challenge, so I recommend getting it out of the way. 9:15 am: Head over to Bishop Peak via the Patricia trailhead and from there, hike Summit #2.

Note: If you are a strong hiker, you’ll blow past these times I’ve outlined above. But if you’ve got kids in tow or a large group, like we prefer, then these timelines will be accurate. Local Tip: The single best way to culminate this epic Saturday morning hiking event is, of course, to enjoy tri-tip from my personal favorite, Old San Luis BBQ. And don’t forget, a frothy, ice-cold local beer to celebrate the conquest.

#tritipchallenge

SLO LIFE

PADEN HUGHES is co-owner of Gymnazo and enjoys exploring the Central Coast.


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| ON THE RISE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Erin O’Neil As an active volunteer with SLO Food Bank and Big Brothers Big Sisters, this artistic eighteen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School senior is painting a bright future. What extracurricular activities are you involved in? I have been doing aerial silks for about eight years now and I am a silks instructor at Performance Athletics. Beside that, I take technical art lessons and tutor my peers after school. What do you like to do for fun? I enjoy going to the lake and going skiing with my family. On the weekends, I love spending my time with friends at places like the drive-in, downtown, and the beach. Year round, I enjoy painting landscapes. I mostly use acrylic paints but just recently started using watercolors. What’s something not many people know about you? I designed the Pacheco Elementary School t-shirts and painted the Laguna Middle School sports murals in the gym. Because of that, I have made it a goal to leave a mark on every school I attend. I currently decorate my high school in vibrant posters through the Associated Student Body. What is important to you outside of high school? Just appreciating what I have: a great family, a safe community, awesome friends, and lots of interests to keep me busy. My parents are very supportive of me and I have a very adventurous brother, who keeps me on my toes to say the least. I am thankful for having a solid support system behind me so that I can branch out and explore new things. What is your favorite memory of all time? I went on a school-sponsored trip to Spain my junior year of high school. On the last day of the trip, a group of us woke up at five in the morning while it was still dark outside, sprinted through the streets of Barcelona for about two miles to the Mediterranean Sea, and watched the sunrise. The placidity of the beach was unreal. Fun fact: that was the only day I can say I was awake for thirty-eight hours straight. If you could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be? I just finished the autobiography of Jean Jennings Bartik, who was one of the key programmers of the first computer, ENIAC. During WWII, she was in the background pioneering a new field of study. She was a mind blowingly intelligent mathematician. It would have been an honor to meet her. What do you want people to know about you? I am very easygoing. I have never lost my temper or had conflicts with anyone. I move through life with an underlying patience, which is why I think I am great with children. Also, I have been told that I am a very thoughtful gift-giver. I am able to really listen to people and understand their interests. What schools are you considering for college? Hopefully, I will attend UCLA, which has an outstanding math program. My other top choices are Cal Poly, UC Irvine, and UCSD. Eventually, after completing my undergraduate degree, I would like to attend Cal Tech or another research-driven school. But, I can honestly say that I don’t mind where I end up because I believe, as long as I take advantage of opportunities, I can be successful no matter the school I attend. SLO LIFE

Know a student On the Rise? Introduce us at slolifemagazine.com/share 36

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| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

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POWER IN NUMBERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

There is not much that ERIC VEIUM would not do for alternative energy, including donating one of his kidneys. It was not a direct this for that, or quid pro quo, but it might as well have been after he “put it up to the universe” on election night, which would determine the fate of Proposition 16, a California state initiative dubbed “Community Choice.” Through a combination of serendipity and passion, a lucky recipient was given a new lease on life, while the rest of us finally have a choice on our utility bill each month: stick with PG&E or go with the upstart, Monterey Bay Community Power, which offers carbon-free electricity. The San Luis Obispo resident then went on to spearhead the creation of the Cal Poly Solar Farm, a 4.5-Megawatt operation that supplies the university with twenty percent of its power requirements. Here is his story…

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lright, Eric, let’s talk about where you grew up. So, I’m a Wisco kid. I grew up in Wisconsin, a small town in Southern Wisconsin. It was a pretty middleclass upbringing. My dad was a carpenter, my mom was a counselor. I was a middle child, so I have an older brother and a younger sister. It was idyllic growing up there. We were actually the only Jewish family in town. It’s changed a little bit over the years since I was there. So, that added some interesting dynamics to growing up, for my brother especially, but a bit for me, as well. It was maybe 12,000 people. The University of Wisconsin Whitewater was based there, so it felt a little bit like San Luis Obispo. Our whole community was surrounded by agriculture, and farm fields, mostly corn fields. I spent lots of time in my youth shoveling stalls. It was great. I have fond memories of riding my bike to school in the morning. This was the 90s, so it was all about Weezer and JNCO Jeans and chain wallets and hacky sacks. What were you like as a child? I was a nerdy kid. I was a totally nerdy kid. I loved playing with computers, working with computers. That’s where I got my start, fixing computers. I was always a smart kid, did well in school, loved being in school, and just loved hanging out. Since it was a college town, there was a lot of opportunity to hang out with college students. I took a number of college courses when I was in high school at the university, which was always such an attraction. Again, it was super nerdy. Then, I went to Madison Area Technical College to study computer relational database design and some other computer stuff. But, in life, you get signals from different people letting you know whether you’re moving in a good direction. So, when I was at Madison Area Technical College, my economics professor there was a graduate of Cal Poly. I was curious about it and did some research and found out that it had just an amazing computer engineering school. So, that’s how you ended up here? Yes, that’ right. When I was eighteen, I came out on a road trip. It was my first solo road trip. I have family down in LA. I stayed with them and I took the Greyhound up to SLO. After a few days here, I was completely in love with this place. It wasn’t even the campus; it was just the whole community. I was totally in love. After my visit, I went back to Wisconsin and moved out to LA a year or so later so that I could get California residency. Then, after I did that, I moved to San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly was the only university I applied for, and I was accepted in computer engineering. I started in the fall of 2002. I realized, very quickly, that I really didn’t care about computer engineering. What I discovered was that it wasn’t really the designing of circuits and things that I was interested in at all. It was people and people’s interactions with both human and natural systems. So, I switched to industrial engineering. What exactly is industrial engineering? So, industrial engineering is a really powerful discipline and set of tools around thinking in systems, and being able to see how factors influence each other, and looking at complex situations to come up with creative problem solving. In particular, industrial engineering helped me to both understand the current industrial economy and how people think or how that structure drives behavior. Also, from the frame of sustainability, like tools and systems thinking to be able to have insight into how to create the economy that we need as a humanity and as a planet. It’s a really powerful tool, a discipline and a toolkit to understand the existing industrial economy and the paradigm, and to see pathways out of that. So, it was really there that I became passionate about sustainability—within that context.

Was there something in particular that sent you down this path? It was really when I lived in Germany for a year during college, in Munich. It was transformative for me. I was an exchange student for a year when I was at Cal Poly. Germany was leading the world in terms of renewable energy at the time. And they’re known for their engineering. So, there was the whole engineering piece of it for me, the culture; I was super excited to soak it in and to go and explore that culture and much of Europe. I was there for a full year and I had classes on Tuesday. So, I just had unbelievable opportunities to travel. I also had some great courses, but I also hitchhiked all over Europe and couch surfed. That summer, I got an internship with Deloitte Consulting, which, for an industrial engineering student, it’s the one you wanted to get. Ultimately, they made me a job offer, which I accepted. I immediately spent the signing bonus. But, I realized that I didn’t want to leave SLO, so I wrote them a letter saying, “Thank you, but no thank you—here’s your signing bonus back.” I scavenged the Mustang Jobs website every day and took everything I could find from landscaping and painting to helping an elderly lady with her errands. I was making like eight or nine bucks an hour and just working around the clock. But, I was meeting a lot of people in the community, including some local environmental leaders. They paid me more than I was worth to do odd jobs around their house. And, somewhere along the line you got married and had kids? That’s right. I have a beautiful wife, Alicia. We met eight years ago. I was participating in something called The Landmark Forum. It’s transformative education. It’s all about seeing the experiences that happened in your past and how they are now influencing you without your knowledge, really influencing how you’re showing up in the present and future. I’ve been active in Landmark work for eight years and it’s been a source of great personal peace and leadership and creativity and everything that I’m up to in the world. It’s been a structure to support me in that. Alicia and I did not know one another, but we were both participating in The Landmark Forum at that time. It’s a three-day event. This one was held in San Francisco over a long weekend. I sat down in the crowd next to her. Afterward, I was staying in the East Bay and got off on the 16th Street bus stop. I started walking, and I looked to my right and there she is walking with her bike. I said, “Hi,” and she told me she was heading to work at a restaurant called Cafe Gratitude. She invited me to lunch. Later that day, I needed to do some work, so I found a coffee shop. I was typing away on my computer when I see her walking in with a friend. We had this little exchange, and I just kind of blurted out, “Would you date me?” She said, “Yeah, I’d date you if you lived closer.” So, tell us, what happened next? This was all happening right before the holidays, and we were both raised Jewish, so we didn’t have any Christmas obligation. So, I went back to SLO and we continued to talk. Two days later, I went back to the Bay Area and we spent Christmas together. We went to Chinatown and had Chinese food like Jews do, and took in a circus performance at the Mission District. It was amazing. She moved to SLO a month later to be with me, and the rest is history. I was living in a garage on Buchon Street at the time that we called “The Garage Mahal.” Great memories. I think that because we were both doing The Landmark Forum, which again, clears out a lot of the stuff from the past that oftentimes gets in the way being present with people in the future, we both had that common experience and a common language around what was really just excellent communication, which has allowed our relationship to this day to be super successful. >> FEB/MAR 2020

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What about the wedding? Okay, let me tell the story. We actually had three weddings. It had always been a dream of mine, and I don’t know the source of it, but it was always a dream to be married in Machu Picchu. So, I proposed to her, and we created this possibility around being married in Machu Picchu and having all of our friends with us. We ended up having an amazing trip, a story in itself, where we had I think like twelve or fourteen of our friends on Huayna Picchu, which is the spiritual mountain overlooking Machu Picchu. Then, our second wedding was, as soon as we got back to the States, at the courthouse just to make it official. The third was a beautiful wedding in the Edna Valley with friends and family. It was an amazing potluck. At our third wedding, we realized that Alicia was pregnant. Soon after that, we found out that we were pregnant with twins. Nine months later, Walden and Hans were born. They’ll be turning four next month. And, what are you doing for work these days? I manage energy, utilities, and sustainability for Cal Poly. So, you may have seen the solar farm on the way to Morro Bay near the Men’s Colony, so I was the source of that project. My directions were to figure out how to develop renewable energy for the university. So, I scavenged the landscape of policies to understand how we could make a large project 42

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like that happen, and I discovered a relatively obscure program, called RESBCT. And, no, it’s not the Aretha Franklin song. [laughter] Without getting into all of the technical details, this program allowed us to build a renewable energy asset like a solar farm or wind farm—in this case, a solar farm—up to five megawatts. Essentially, we generate electricity and receive the renewable and financial benefits. So, right now, it provides about twenty percent of our overall campus electricity, and it saves us about a million bucks a year. And, you have continued your advocacy work, as well? Yes, along the way, I became part of a team that wrote a grant. I helped co-author a grant to the California Energy Commission called SLORESCO, or San Luis Obispo Renewable Energy Secure Communities. The purpose of the grant was to quantify the renewable energy resource potential for the county and to look at commercialization pathways. We were asking the question, “How do we actually bring these resources to reality?” Community Choice was one of the key commercialization pathways that we were studying. I was a junior engineer at the time being mentored by some of the leading thinkers and doers in California energy. That’s where I really cut my teeth and gained an understanding and eventually mastery around Community Choice and understanding how powerful of a tool it is for communities >>


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to have local control over their energy. The grant was always a part-time engagement. I still had to pay the bills, so I started a handyman service called Greenhand Handyman. And, you have quite a story connected to the Community Choice initiative… That’s true. My mother actually passed away in 2012. She was the best and I was super lucky to have her. She had the utmost love and care. I also sort of adopted a second mother out here in SLO. Since we don’t have any immediate family here, we just adopt aunties and uncles and moms. So, I met Linda through the work I was doing around town at the time. Later, her son was diagnosed with some crazy autoimmune disease, and both of his kidneys were failing. He was on dialysis constantly, and everybody in his family went in to find out if they could be donors. None of them came back positive. It wasn’t going to work out. So, one day, Linda sent out a mass email saying something like, “Nothing is working, somebody please help.” I sat on that email for some time. It was when Proposition 16 was on the ballot, which was the Community Choice initiative. PG&E funded like $50 million to stop the effort. Our group, which was pushing for it, raised only about $50,000. The way the proposition was written meant that if it failed, Community Choice would go forward. So, I put it up to the universe. On election night, I said, “Hey, 44

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if you let this thing fail, I will immediately go and check to see if I’m a candidate for a kidney donation.” You made a deal with the universe to trade one of your kidneys for Community Choice? I guess you could say that; yes, I made that deal. So, that night was the most amazing election night. We were continually down two or three points, and then slowly through the night the votes kept coming in. We finally pulled ahead and ultimately won. The next day I called the clinic. It was Cedar Sinai down in LA. I went down there and I didn’t tell Linda about any of this, but I went, and I got myself checked. It turned out that both Linda’s son and are about the same age, and we’re both of Jewish descent—Ashkenazi Jews. I think it has to do with coming from a certain part of Europe. Honestly, I don’t have all the details of it. But, I received a letter telling me that I was a perfect match for him. The following day, I was riding my bike and I see this bumper sticker on the car in front of me promoting organ donation. It said, “Give Life,” or something like that. Then, I see Linda on the sidewalk. So, I rode up to her and shared the news. She just broke into tears. Wow, that’s incredible. Now, can you back up for a minute and explain exactly what Community Choice is? Sure. So, Community Choice >>


smart, eclectic, art to live on

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匀瀀攀挀椀愀氀椀稀椀渀最 䤀渀

䌀甀猀琀漀洀 䌀爀攀愀琀椀漀渀 ☀ 䄀渀琀椀焀甀攀 刀攀猀琀漀爀愀琀椀漀渀 ㄀㄀㄀㐀 ☀ ㄀㄀㄀㠀 䜀愀爀搀攀渀 匀琀⸀ 䐀漀眀渀琀漀眀渀 匀䰀伀 㠀 㔀⸀㔀㐀㌀⸀㠀㄀㠀㘀 ⴀ 眀眀眀⸀䜀愀爀搀攀渀匀琀爀攀攀琀䜀漀氀搀猀洀椀琀栀猀⸀挀漀洀

1599 Monterey Street | 805.544.5900 | sloconsignment.com (at the corner of Grove Street, across from Pepe Delgados)

Open Monday - Saturday 10-6pm

was introduced to us by a local real estate lender. Following Graham’s advice, we successfully closed “Graham the sale of our home in Pismo Beach for nearly $20,000 more than the appraised value 30 days prior. Graham hand-carried the process through some challenges including repairs, changing lenders mid-stream, and documentation from multiple locations. We give Graham our highest recommendation.

– Michael & Irene Mullen, Paso Robles, CA

graham @ ccreslo.com 805.459.1865 | Lic. #01873454 www.ccreslo.com 3196 South Higuera Suite D, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 FEB/MAR 2020

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enables local communities to take control of their energy supply. They work in partnership with PG&E, which delivers the power over their existing infrastructure. It’s a super powerful tool available to local communities, which can then create resources to support all those goals: de-carbonization, economic development and resilience, and infrastructure, and environmental justice. Here in SLO, we are now part of a five county Central Coast Community Choice energy program, service just started in January. At first, it will be called Monterey Bay Community Group, but it will rebrand with a Central Coast-specific name in this next year. I spent ten years working on this and it is so amazing to see it become a reality. Essentially, it’s a business that buys power and resells it to us. It’s an alternative to PG&E. That power is carbon-free. For a lot of people, Community Choice is a new concept. But, it’s important for everyone to know that we’re going to help guide and support and hold the program accountable to deliver the benefits to our region that should be even better than promised. 46

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And, what’s the downside? Downside? No, there is no downside. I mean, it’s cleaner power that costs less. It offers choice and local control. The savings gained are on the order of millions of dollars that are available to invest in local resiliency and economic development. For years, we’ve passed our responsibility to PG&E and onto the State Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission. Now we’re responsible. For years, the utilities and the public utilities commission have just been throwing ratepayers under the bus. Now, we’ve got communities and elected officials and people throughout our community and state that are engaged, actively engaged in an energy conversation around decarbonization. The law was written to create a locally accountable entity. Without it, PG&E has so much existing market domination that there would be no way that this could ever be possible without this type of structure. It is so exciting to see it finally happening here. I mean, I’m committed to creating a planet that works for all people, and this is a great first step that we are taking together as a community. SLO LIFE


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stollmeyerlighting.com FEB/MAR 2020

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| ARTIST

PROFILE

Vincent Bernardy BY JEFF AL-MASHAT

W

hen you first see Vincent Bernardy’s work, it is hard not to be drawn in by his playful brushstrokes and the jagged lines of cut metal and wood in his sculptural pieces. As you spend more time with the work you start to notice that, despite the colorful and sometimes childlike imagery, there is a heaviness in his character’s facial expressions. Bernardy, a self-taught painter, sculptor, a Central Coast resident, and in another life, a musician, echoes visual art greats like Robert Rauschenberg and Ed Kienholz with his assemblage style of metal, real tree branches, old tools, and odds and ends such as drawer pulls, light bulbs, and torn fabric. He works back into the pieces, going over and painting out some of his found objects, and incorporating imagery like dinner tables, people playing games, lollipop-style trees, and work machines like typewriters. He references some of the work of the folk artists of the deep south, with a hint of Jean Dubuffet in his paint application that seems more coincidental than forced. While not formally trained beyond high school art, Bernardy has been producing throughout his life and has even done faux finishing in homes, which again, he taught himself how to do. “I don’t like to tell people what my work is about,” says Bernardy. “I want to connect and communicate with people through art in a way that words can’t. My greatest inspiration comes from talking with other artists and hearing kids talk about what they see in my work. That inspires me to put these things together.” The objects in his work are things that speak to him when he comes across them. “I will pick up a particular tree branch or a piece of metal and know that it has potential. In some cases, I have held on JEFF AL-MASHAT is a to an item for five or ten writer and visual artist with an MFA in painting from years before knowing how Georgia State University. He it is going to be used in a lives in Grover Beach. piece of my art.” SLO LIFE 48

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Creators of bench built lighting fixtures by local artisans. The jewelry for your home.

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D E M U S CON A P O DC A S T Join SLO Life food columnist Jaime Lewis for candid conversations about life and flavor with area eaters, drinkers and makers. LET SGETCONSUMED.COM SPOTIFY

iTUNES

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| CANDIDATE FORUM

Election

2020

Presidential Primary Election 2020

The Other Races

It was Tip O’Neil, the former Speaker of the House, who is credited with the quote: “All politics is local.” Aside from the questionable grammar—we would argue that he should have said, “All politics are local,”—he was absolutely correct. While the Internet makes it easy to become drawn into every stanza of unending drama, which unfolds daily on the national scene, the fact is that it’s the decisions that are made right here, right now, locally, which affect our lives most.

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 35 This one may be more of a formality, at least for now, as the incumbent, Jordan Cunningham, a Republican, and the challenger, Dawn Addis, a Democrat, will automatically advance on to the general election in November unless a last-minute write-in candidate appears.

This year, the State of California moved its Presidential Primary Election up to March, which means that all of the down ballet local races that go along with it will take place a few months earlier than they normally do. Now is the time to dig in, learn the issues, learn the candidates, and what they believe. In San Luis Obispo County, all eyes are on the Board of Supervisors contests shaping up in Districts 1, 3, and 5. With just five seats on the board, any change will significantly alter the composition and, therefore, the policy direction of the body. The supervisors control a budget standing now at about a half-billion dollars annually, so the stakes are high. And, unlike the other races in this election, these three are final. Unless someone fails to garner more than 50% of the vote, these seats will be decided in March. We gave both the incumbents and their challengers the opportunity to make their case to our readers in 425 words or less in the pages that follow. Be sure to review what they had to say and then get out there and vote.

Vote

CALIFORNIA SENATE, DISTRICT 17 The incumbent, a Democrat from Carmel, Bill Monning, has termed-out, which means this seat is now up for grabs. Four people have tossed their hats into the ring, and the two with the most votes will continue on to the November general election to decide the new state senator. The candidates are as follows: John Laird, Democrat, and former state Natural Resources Secretary; Maria Cardenas, Democrat, and executive director of a Santa Cruz-based non-profit; John Nevill, Republican rancher and respiratory therapist; and Republican Vicki Nohrden, a businesswoman from Carmel. US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 24 The top two vote-getters in this three-person race will meet again in November to decide the winner. Former Santa Barbara County supervisor Salud Carbajal, a Democrat and two-term incumbent, will be facing challenges from Andy Caldwell and Kenneth Young. Caldwell is a Republican and the founder of COLAB (Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business) as well as a conservative radio talk show host. Young is running as an Independent. He is a Santa Barbara-based civil engineer.

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

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District 1 Incumbent JOHN PESCHONG

District 1 Challenger STEPHANIE SHAKOFSKY

When you elected me four years ago, I promised to be someone who would work for you. Since then, I have worked to improve the quality of life in San Luis Obispo County by working for smaller, more efficient government, lower taxes, and more personal freedom.

I am a local farmer with a degree in Hydrology, and owner of a small vineyard in Paso Robles. My career as a scientist began at the United States Geological Survey, where I researched how nuclear contamination moves through soil and groundwater, and I’m a recognized expert in the reuse of contaminated property. I have served on numerous state and local commissions helping communities and affordable housing developers cleanup and safely reuse contaminated properties.

During my thirty years in North County, I have seen just how good our quality of life is and have been fortunate to get to know my neighbors through community involvement. Whether it was the time spent with children in 4-H, my role as former President of the California Mid-State Fair Board of Directors, and President of the Central Coast Taxpayer Association, I have seen the importance of a strong local community, which is why I have fought to preserve that way of life in North County. As a County Supervisor, I served two years as Chairman of the Board in 2017 and 2018. Currently, I serve as an appointee to the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), the Golden State Finance Authority, and Cal-ID Board. I’m also serving as the Vice Chair of the Air Pollution Control District (APCD), Vice President of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), and I sit on the board of the Consolidated Oversight Board, and the Integrated Waste Management Authority (IWMA). I previously served on the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the Latino Outreach Council, the Homeless Services Oversight Council, and the Economic Vitality Corporation. I have worked to ensure our first responders receive the resources they need. These men and women risk their lives, and that is why I am proud that we have added more Sheriff ’s deputies and strengthened county fire departments. I understand the importance of groundwater to the agricultural character of our county, which is why I helped pass the Paso Robles groundwater plan to ensure that North County’s groundwater stays under local control. We have worked to expand resources to combat drug addiction, improved housing programs for those experiencing homelessness, and improved mental health access to help those with psychiatric emergencies. We are not finished, but we have already seen real improvement from the small steps. I would be honored to have your support.

I am running for Supervisor because I believe that government operates best when it operates in the open. Our Supervisors have been making backroom deals on water and industrial cannabis—putting our neighborhoods and local economy in peril. My candidacy is about stopping the hidden deals, and I have a plan to establish a program of full public participation. I was born into a large family in Missouri. The eighth of ten children, I was the only child in my family to attend college, working my way through by waitressing and cobbling together scholarships and loans. I understand hard work and the value of a dollar. I studied geology at the University of Illinois in Champaign with an emphasis in Paleontology, and then earned a master’s degree in Hydrology from San Jose State University. I worked as a research hydrologist at the United States Geological Survey from 1991-1997, and then served as a technical analyst for the California State Legislature, providing analysis of environmental regulation and legislative reports on topical issues including the environmental and economic challenges local governments and the private sector faced when they attempted to reuse contaminated lands. Then in 2000, I combined my technical expertise and my policy skills to start a nonprofit focused on helping local governments and community developers redevelop or reuse polluted lands. The Center for Creative Land Recycling is a nationally recognized nonprofit. In 2017, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning a vineyard when I purchased a Zinfandel vineyard in west Paso Robles, planted by Richard Sauret in the 1970s. The old vines had been neglected during the last drought, and I’ve been busy restoring the vineyard while studying viticulture part-time at Cuesta College’s new viticulture program. I live in Paso Robles with my rescue cat, Apple. I hope you will consider giving me your vote because so much is at stake. I will honor your trust by supporting policies that are transparent, responsive to community needs, and fiscally prudent. FEB/MAR 2020

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| CANDIDATE FORUM

District 3 Incumbent ADAM HILL

District 3 Challenger STACY KORSGADEN

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as County Supervisor since 2009.

Integrity. Positive Leadership. Community.

At this moment, there are so many critical challenges in front of us that will determine how we best protect our beautiful county, while better managing the growth we have seen in our cities. I am proud of the work I have done to prioritize funding to address traffic congestion on Highways 227 and 101, and I am proud of the work we are doing to manage our precious groundwater. Healthcare in our jails has greatly improved, and I have been able to help us stand up for more services across our county to better address the interrelated issues of homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse. We also face the looming closure of Diablo Canyon Power Plant, and more than ever, we need an experienced leader with a deep understanding of policy and regulatory issues, as well as the relationships with state and federal leaders. That is why I am running again and asking for your vote. The March 3rd election is the most important local election we have had in a long time. We simply cannot afford to elect a novice who offers empty promises and no acquaintance with the issues or even an understanding for how local government works. We need a full grasp of our issues and practical leadership, and the balance I bring to our decision-making. Who else has the support of local business leaders and our labor unions and our firefighters and the Sierra Club? Who else has the support of Planned Parenthood, and over twenty local elected officials including the entire city council of San Luis Obispo? And, I hope to have your support too, on or before March 3rd.

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These are the three guiding principles I have lived by my entire professional life. I decided to run for County Supervisor because I recognized that our current representative, Adam Hill, was not serving our community with those same values. Like many residents of San Luis Obispo County, I am tired of watching career politicians like Supervisor Hill bickering, name calling, and bullying their way into getting what they want instead of serving the people they were elected to represent. If you are like me, you have had enough. You want thoughtfulness, not fighting. You want results, not reckless personal attacks. I decided that it was time for action, and I threw my name into the ring to represent you with integrity and honesty on the Board of Supervisors. Working with tenacity and diligence, my business has served the local community for thirty years. I built my insurance agency from scratch and it is now one of the top 1% of Farmers Insurance agencies across the country—earning the trust and confidence of thousands of residents who value honesty, integrity, and the highest levels of service. I have volunteered for numerous charities and community organizations, serving as the President of the local Boys and Girls Club and Chair of the South County Chamber of Commerce, giving me a unique perspective. This insight will allow me to pursue solutions, which will serve our community. I will bring the same approach to public office, serving with the highestlevel of integrity and civility. Our county is facing some tough challenges. We saw homelessness rise 32% between 2018 and 2019. We have failed to adequately respond to our neighbors’ concerns on cannabis cultivation. We face a huge economic loss with the decommissioning of Diablo Canyon’s power plant. And where is our supervisor in all of this? He is using scare tactics and intimidation to try to secure his reelection instead of focusing on the issues that impact our community. This job should not be a partisan one. This job should be about serving the needs of our community. As your supervisor, I will work to ensure that funding earmarked for treating mental illness actually reaches those in need. I will encourage incentives for developers to build more affordable housing instead of raising taxes and fees on San Luis Obispo residents. I will work to promote economically viable and environmentally responsible projects at Diablo Canyon. Most importantly, I will serve this office with respect, honesty, and integrity.


District 5 Incumbent DEBBIE ARNOLD

District 5 Challenger ELLEN BERAUD

When I moved here in 1973 to attend Cal Poly, I fell in love with both my husband Steve, and the farming and ranching values that had been a part of the Arnold family way of life for more than five generations. I bring to this job my passion for this county, as well as my personal and professional experience.

My name is Ellen Beraud (pronounced bay-ROW). As a longtime resident of Atascadero, I care deeply about the San Luis Obispo County community. Since moving here twenty years ago, I have raised a family, founded and operated a small business, and served as an Atascadero City Councilmember and Mayor. I love this community—from the rural pastures and oak trees, to the family-run businesses and small town charm—San Luis Obispo County is truly a special place to call home.

While raising two children, I owned and operated Small Wonders Preschool in Atascadero. Over those seventeen years I got to know countless local families and watch as many of my former students grew up and started families and businesses of their own. I later had the privilege of advocating for these local families as I worked as a Legislative Assistant at the County Supervisor’s office and later as a District Representative for the State Assembly and the State Senate. During these years, I worked with a broad range of community groups and interests, bringing people together to solve problems. I have always believed that there is nothing more powerful than an informed public, and toward that end I have worked hard to promote better public access to information about proposed policies that will impact local residents. That is why our friends and neighbors, as well as many trusted local leaders like San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno, and County Assessor Tom Bordonaro are supporting my campaign for supervisor. As your supervisor, it has been my honor to serve our community and deliver on the promises that I have made. I have held my colleagues accountable while supporting policies to create jobs, keep our neighborhoods safe, and protect our way of life. I am a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother, a family rancher, and proud small business owner. I will never back down when it comes to the safety and success of our region’s hard-working families. I will continue to be our champion on the issues that matter most. I will fight to keep San Luis Obispo County an affordable place to live, work to combat homelessness, protect our water supply, and ensure tax dollars are being used efficiently. I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving our community as county supervisor.

We are facing some of our biggest challenges ever—threats to our economy, our environment, and our way of life. I want to see San Luis Obispo County address these challenges and be a leader in our state once again, but we need bold leadership to get us there. Our county is currently one of the least affordable places to live in the nation. Housing is unattainable for our young families (including my own children, who have been forced out of the area), and it is even impacting our local business community. We need leaders who will not only prioritize addressing our housing affordability crisis, but will partner with the community to make childcare and other key services for families more accessible. With homelessness on the rise, our county needs to take real action on this issue. The new center at 40 Prado is only the beginning, as we still have hundreds of unhoused people sleeping on our streets every night. Programs like 50 Now could be significantly expanded, but only if we prioritized more funding for them, which I will advocate for as supervisor. With Diablo Canyon closing soon, our county must begin preparing for our economic future. In addition to advocating for our region’s interests throughout the decommissioning and PG&E’s bankruptcy process, we should be exploring local renewable energy projects to help offset the loss of head of household jobs. At the same time, we must protect our vital agrotourism economy by smartly managing our water supply and safeguarding our coastline from risky offshore oil projects. Our Board of Supervisors should be our number one advocate on these issues, but that is currently not the case. I am running for 5th District County Supervisor because I have a passion for public service and giving back to my community. We need to bring smart, honest leadership back to our county government, and restore the priorities of the people of this community. I hope you will join me in this effort, and I invite you to learn more about our campaign. SLO LIFE

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| DWELLING

MODERN 54

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REMAKE

BY ZARA KHAN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID LALUSH

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A

fter graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in Architecture and a minor in German, local architect Jim Edmondson moved to Germany for his first job and lived there for five years before returning to the United States. During his time abroad, he was surrounded by innovative architects and adopted many European design philosophies that he continues to incorporate in his designs today. Many of his projects showcase crisp lines, simple color palettes, and celebrate natural materials (wood, metal, glass, and steel). Alvar Aalto has always been one of Edmondson’s favorite architects. Though most >>

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In addition to being an interior designer, ZARA KHAN is also a shoe aficionado and horror movie enthusiast.


a place for modern living.

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of his work can be found in Finland, Aalto was an international architect who designed buildings all over the world, including the United States and Germany. Aalto is regarded as one of the first and most influential architects of Nordic Modernism. With his passion for modern styling, Edmondson knew he wanted to design a home with clean lines and warmth from natural materials. And, that is where his father came in. When Edmondson’s father decided it was time to downsize, his only requests were to include high ceilings and a drawer dishwasher in the kitchen. With the large lot size and desire for a smaller home, Edmondson was able to add a studio apartment upstairs to provide flexibility in the use of the home and maximize the efficiency of the space. With a smaller footprint, they were able to upgrade the >>

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finishes and opt for more efficient fixtures and appliances. When Edmondson submitted his plans to the city, he was pleasantly surprised by how receptive everyone was to the modern design. At the time, not many buildings in San Luis Obispo had such clean, simple lines, and Edmondson embraced both the productive comments he received and the forward-thinking nature of the Planning Department. Despite the design freedom, the lot had a couple of interesting parameters to work around in addition to his father’s requests. First, the street ran parallel to the highway with only nature as a barrier in between. Second, a good portion of the back of the lot was protected land that did not allow for construction. Edmondson considered these restrictions and decided to use continuous insulation for sound >>

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dampening and chose to build up—vertically—since he had limitations laterally. Gardens by Gabriel was brought on to collaborate on the landscape design and worked their magic. The landscaping goal was to soften the geometry of the modern exterior, while adding an overall organic aesthetic to the property. The metal plant trellises Edmondson added to the exterior pay tribute to the climbing wall vines at his parents’ previous home. On the inside, Edmondson opted for large windows where he could embrace the natural exterior. His philosophy for the interior was to keep the finish construction materials as natural as possible and to layer in texture and personality through the furnishings and decor. To achieve this, he selected black slate floor tiles, natural maple wood cabinetry, and simple quartz countertops (also used as the >>

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backsplash). And, to highlight the tall ceilings and carry the organic materials throughout, long narrow wood planks were installed in the ceilings at key locations. Task lighting that “disappears” in the design can be found throughout most of the home with decorative lights placed strategically in certain areas. In the bathrooms, Edmondson continued his selection of simple, natural materials. He decided to keep the materials consistent throughout the home to instill a sense of cohesiveness and used the same wood as the kitchen cabinetry on the bathroom vanities. The concept of simple design does not apply only to the aesthetics; it carries into the function. Solid surface countertops eliminate grout and provide an easy to clean surface. Two of the most exciting design elements can be found in the center of the home. The first is seen in a large, linear fireplace in the living room (with a >>

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To all the Clients, Consultants, Contractors and Agencies we have had the pleasure to work with over the years, we are extremely grateful for your support and encouragement. While we are very proud of our completed projects, we consider our true legacy to be the lasting relationships we have developed with you all.

A RC HI TEC T U R E LAND S C A P E I NT E R I O R S MEDIA

The TEN OVER family at our anniversary celebration.

Thanks for helping us make it to our 5-year anniversary and for being a key part of our TEN OVER family.

T EN O V ERST U D I O. CO M FEB/MAR 2020

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smaller, similarly designed fireplace in the studio above). The quartz fireplace surround is thoughtfully placed and encased in natural wood with a large, exposed brushed stainless steel flue above. Behind the fireplace is a floating staircase that adds contrast and showcases how well the wood and steel play off one another. While tackling a project of this scale was daunting, Edmondson had an advantage with his background in architecture, and believes that the key to a successful project lies in the team behind it. His advice for anyone starting a larger project is to always plan thoroughly on paper first and to utilize material boards to get a sense of how the materials will interact and the overall emotion the space will evoke. SLO LIFE

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DAVID LALUSH is an architectural photographer here in San Luis Obispo.

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BY THE NUMBERS

REAL ESTATE

| SLO CITY

laguna lake

2018 Total Homes Sold 61 Average Asking Price $832,729 Average Selling Price $818,281 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.26% Average # of Days on the Market 39

2019 64 $776,593 $764,410 98.43% 37

+/4.92% -6.74% -6.58% 0.17% -5.13%

tank farm

2018 24 Total Homes Sold $865,908 Average Asking Price $850,259 Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.19% 41 Average # of Days on the Market

2019 33 $792,968 $784,012 98.87% 36

+/37.50% -8.42% -7.79% 99.10% -12.20%

cal poly area

2018 Total Homes Sold 23 Average Asking Price $1,033,591 Average Selling Price $996,653 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 96.43% Average # of Days on the Market 31

2019 26 $1,431,577 $1,387,519 96.92% 81

+/13.04% 38.51% 39.22% 0.49% 161.29%

country club

2018 Total Homes Sold 18 Average Asking Price $1,224,938 Average Selling Price $1,181,888 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 96.49% Average # of Days on the Market 79

2019 26 $1,431,577 $1,387,519 96.92% 81

+/44.44% 16.87% 17.40% 0.43% 2.53%

down town

2018 Total Homes Sold 49 Average Asking Price $934,100 Average Selling Price $923,903 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.91% Average # of Days on the Market 52

2019 72 $827,254 $809,768 97.89% 42

+/46.94% -11.44% -12.35% -1.02% -19.23%

foothill blvd

2018 Total Homes Sold 42 Average Asking Price $882,217 Average Selling Price $868,022 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.39% Average # of Days on the Market 30

2019 45 $949,887 $903,709 95.14% 49

+/7.14% 7.67% 4.11% -3.25% 63.33%

johnson ave

2018 Total Homes Sold 58 Average Asking Price $877,316 Average Selling Price $861,368 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.18% Average # of Days on the Market 45

2019 59 $817,036 $796,918 97.54% 36

+/1.72% -6.87% -7.48% -0.64% -20.00%

*Comparing 01/01/18 - 12/31/18 to 01/01/19 - 12/31/19

®

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

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New Year. Fresh Start. Now is the perfect time for a mortgage check-up. We’re committed to a better mortgage experience. Here’s just some of what you can expect with us: • Low, low rates • A variety of loan options to match your situation, including low down payment options and Down Payment Assistance programs • A local, dedicated team for more efficiency, increased capacity and superior customer service • One of the most trusted lenders in the industry with a 95% customer satisfaction rating*

Let’s keep the conversation going. Contact us today. Donna Lewis

Dylan Morrow

Maggie Koepsell

Branch Manager/ VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8738

O: (805) 335-8742

C: (805) 550-9742

C: (805) 674-6653

dylan.morrow@rate.com

maggie.koepsell@rate.com

O: (805) 335-8743 C: (805) 235-0463 donna.lewis@rate.com

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1065 Higuera Street, Suite 100 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

*95% Customer Satisfaction: Data Source: Guaranteed Rate’s Client Satisfaction Surveys (Averaged 2015-2018) Not eligible for all loan types or investors. Conventional loans only. Eligible for primary, 2nd home and investment properties. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Title company restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information. Donna Lewis NMLS ID: 245945, CA - CA-DOC245945 • Dylan Morrow NMLS ID: 1461481, CA - CA-DBO1461481 • Maggie Koepsell NMLS ID: 704130, CA - CA-DBO704130 • Phyllis Wong NMLS ID: 1400281, CA CA-DBO1400281 • Luana Gerardis NMLS ID: 1324563, CA - CA-DBO1324563 • NMLS ID #2611 (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) FEB/MAR • CA - Licensed2020 by the Department Business Oversight, Division | of69 | SLOofLIFE MAGAZINE Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act Lic #4130699 • Joe Hutson NMLS ID: 447536, CA - CA-DOC447536


| SLO COUNTY

REAL ESTATE BY THE NUMBERS

REGION

Happy New Year!

BEN LERNER

805.441.9486

Senior Loan Advisor NMLS 395723 blerner@flagstarretail.com 1212 Marsh St., Suite 1 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Contact me today to learn how I can help you purchase or refinance your home.

**

© 2020 Flagstar Bank

flagstarretail.com

Est. 1987

Equal Housing Lender

Member FDIC

AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET

MEDIAN SELLING PRICE

2018

2019

2018

2019

2018

2019

Arroyo Grande

322

320

53

56

$770,917

$800,093

Atascadero

358

379

48

42

$570,395

$580,860

Avila Beach

18

28

72

105

$1,248,919 $1,402,390

Cambria/San Simeon

167

149

73

70

$771,684

Cayucos

59

55

101

126

$1,134,737 $1,198,035

Creston

11

8

147

83

$930,909 $868,250

Grover Beach

127

122

44

53

$532,604

$556,961

Los Osos

165

167

36

41

$644,764

$670,263

Morro Bay

148

136

65

62

$745,706

$760,166

Nipomo

295

306

53

57

$684,294

$669,454

Oceano

47

57

50

65

$508,600

$517,032

Pismo Beach

140

136

78

86

$969,197

$1,152,648

Paso (Inside City Limits)

389

388

37

45

$501,173

$522,694

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

58

58

48

63

$537,203

$572,100

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

108

113

89

77

$724,290

$712,986

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

55

65

58

60

$770,209

$627,972

San Luis Obispo

323

382

43

49

$923,782

$905,909

Santa Margarita

16

31

91

89

$401,813

$513,967

Templeton

119

116

76

76

$822,711

$797,717

2,771

2,886

55

58

$703,308

$720,972

Countywide * Top 1% Mortgage Originator | Mortgage Executive Magazine ** Scotsman Guide’s Top Mortgage Originators 2018 70 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

NUMBER OF HOMES SOLD

*Comparing 01/01/18 - 12/31/18 to 01/01/19 - 12/31/19

$900,046

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

®

SLO LIFE


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| HEALTH

Under the Weather? There’s a Yoga Pose for That BY ERIKA FITZGERALD

T

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he sun shines through the ceiling-high studio windows and rebounds off the natural wood floors. A gentle breeze brushes through wind chimes outside, mingling harmoniously with the music flowing through the speakers inside. One-by-one, students quietly shuffle in, leaving their shoes at the door. Here, in yoga class, every detail is thoughtfully curated to wash away worries and give people a space to breathe.

| FEB/MAR 2020

For some, rolling out their yoga mat is a sort of ritual experience. For others, it’s a 60- to 90-minute escape from overflowing inboxes and to-do lists. Or, hey, it might just be an excuse to spend more time in stretchy pants. There’s no wrong reason to practice yoga. In fact, practicing yoga poses—in or out of class—can relieve the side effects of stressful days, restless nights, and other aches and pains of life. >>

ERIKA FITZGERALD is a writer and traveler with a healthy addiction to kombucha and kale.


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#1

A BREATH AWAY FROM STRESS

For the unfamiliar, yoga is derived from the Sanskrit “yuji,” which means union. In common practice, yoga unites mind and body. Movement and breath. Anyone who’s been to a yoga class knows that breathing exercises are common at the beginning and end. These intentional breathing techniques help calm the mind and bring focus to the present. So much so, even mental health professionals recommend breathing techniques for patients recovering from anxiety, PTSD, depression, and other traumas. The best part? Breathing is free and doesn’t have any side-effects. You can practice simple breathwork techniques anytime, anywhere. Next time you feel uneasy, try exhaling all the air from your lungs. Then, inhale slowly to the count of four. Hold your breath for one count at the top. Exhale slowly to the same count of four and hold for one count at the bottom. Repeat this rhythm for several minutes to re-calibrate your calm. Ahhh.

#2

PHYSICAL RELEASE FOR PESKY PAINS

The notion that yoga can treat lower back pain is nothing new. Multiple studies have proven that a downward dog a day can keep the physical therapist away. However, yoga has often been lumped in with lessreputable alternative therapeutics. Until now.

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A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine declared yoga equally as effective as physical therapy in reducing pain, improving function, and eliminating the need for pain meds. When practiced regularly using proper form, poses like downward dog, forward fold, and child’s pose elongate the spine and release tension from the lower back. While you’ll find at least one of these poses in nearly every yoga class, you can also add these easy-to-learn poses to your at-home stretching routine.

#3

SLEEP TIGHT AND WAKE UP BRIGHT

Restless nights got you feeling groggy and depleted? Yoga can help with that, too. If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you know that a streak of sleepless nights can really slow your roll—from glossy-eyed space-out spells during work hours to mindlessly calling in a take-out pizza (again) because you’re just too darned tired to cook. Good news: practicing gentle yoga before bed preps your body and mind for a good night of zzz’s. Gentle yoga incorporates deep breathing, slow movements, long pose holds, and meditation—which cues the brain into a state of calm. And because the brain and body are inextricably connected, restless bodies will follow suit. Similarly, a powerful vinyasa practice in the morning can add an extra jolt of natural energy to your day by increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the body. >>


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#4

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Gentle and intentional breathing, as practiced in alignment with yoga postures, helps balance the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) with the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) parts of your nervous system. The vagal nerves serve as a sort of liaison between the brain and body, telling organs when to perform important functions—like breathing, beating, digesting. The brain is well-known for sending messages to the body, but, in fact, the body sends even more messages to the brain. This means physical movements that affect the body also affect the brain.

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If you suffer from chronic gut discomfort, bloating, or other unpleasantries associated with digestion, try incorporating more deep breathing, abdominal stretches, and twists that massage intestinal organs. Likewise, practicing these things before indulging in a big meal can prep your digestive system for the extra work.

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SO MUCH AS TOO MUCH?

As with anything, too much yoga can be a bad thing. Benoy Matthews, a UK-based physiotherapist, told BBC News that he’s seeing more and more yoga teachers with serious hip problems because they’re pushing their bodies too hard for the sake of achieving “prescribed” positions. The truth is, not every body is cut out for the fullest expression of every yoga pose. “What’s achievable for one might not be achievable for others,” Matthews tells BBC.

THE KEY TO A HEALTHY AND BENEFICIAL YOGA PRACTICE? Focus on what’s achievable for you—and you alone. Listen to your body. Stop and modify any pose that causes pinching, blocking, or pain. And never let that one person doing a single-armed handstand with lotus legs in the front row pressure you into pushing past your own limits. There’s no shame in child’s pose (that’s the one that looks like a dead bug facedown on the floor). SLO LIFE


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| TASTE

I Brunch, You Brunch, We Brunch Remember when brunch only happened on holidays or for the occasional family get-together? Not anymore. Welcome to Brunch’s Gilded Age. BY JAIME LEWIS

B

runch used to be such a basic and only-sometimes affair. You got your bloody mary, a cup of coffee, two eggs, and maybe some french toast. Brunch was a noun then.

But if you were born sometime between 1981 and 1996, it’s very possible that brunch is a verb to you. After all, “brunching” is now a lifestyle. The concept of brunch originated in 1895 when Englishman Guy Beringer wrote an essay for Hunter’s Weekly titled “Brunch: A Plea.” In it, he made the case for a Sunday morning meal that prolonged the fun, frivolity, and

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buzz of Saturday night. That idea caught, but brunch didn’t become a national obsession, particularly among young adults, until within the last ten years. Some social scientists point to its rising popularity as evidence of declining church attendance; others cite increasing acceptance of daily alcohol consumption. If you ask me, there’s no reason church-goers and teetotallers can’t hang with brunch, especially here in San Luis Obispo County, where the brunching is so good. I visited three local spots that give brunch pride of place on their menus. So, roll out of bed, don your yoga pants and “Resting Brunch Face” tee, twist your hair into the perfect messy bun, and head out for a #sundayfunday to remember. >>

JAIME LEWIS writes about food, drink, and the good life from her home in San Luis Obispo. Find her on Instagram/Twitter @jaimeclewis.


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PICTURESQUE PATIO On a warm morning, I meet up with my friend Bettina Swigger for brunch at Novo Restaurant & Lounge in San Luis Obispo. We sit outside on the patio overlooking SLO Creek, catching up and enjoying the golden light filtering through the trees. “Every Sunday, we treat brunch like a special event,” says owner Robin Covey, and indeed, Swigger and I dig into the three-course brunch package like it’s our birthday. I go for the meze starter, an abundant platter of Mediterranean lavash and hummus, dukkah, and olives. I also order the Capocollo Benedict, decadent with Capocollo salume, poached eggs, and housemade hollandaise on English muffins—paired with a mimosa, naturally. Swigger tackles the avocadoshrimp spring rolls, Wagyu Top Sirloin Tartine, and chocolate torte. All is fresh, expertly cooked, and gorgeous to look at, though the Capocollo Benedict takes our prize for favorite dish. Apparently, we’re not alone: Covey tells me it’s the restaurant’s best-selling brunch item. >>

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HOUSE-MADE EVERYTHING I walk into The Spoon Trade, the cheery modern eatery in Grover Beach, and am greeted by owners Brooke Town and Chef Jacob Town. The Towns boast major pedigree in the hospitality industry, having worked front- and back-of-house in San Francisco’s Nopa, RN74, and Spruce restaurants. Their brunch menu reflects their fine dining values as applied to American comfort food. “Brunch is our most consistent clientele,” says Jacob, pushing a plate of The Spoon Trade’s Eggs Benedict in front of me. “It’s recovery mode for Monday; brunch is like therapy.” I taste the Eggs Benedict and dissolve into oohs and ahhs. Perfectly poached eggs sit atop toast from Grover Beach Sourdough (their bakery across the street), smothered in béarnaise. This is The Spoon Trade’s pièce de résistance, but my heart belongs to the potatoes served on the side. I’ve never tasted anything so craggy, crispy, and soft, all at once. The Towns scratch-make nearly everything on their à la carte brunch menu, from the American cheese, bologna, pickles, and bun for their House Bologna Sandwich, to hot sauce and biscuits—even kimchi. >>

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A TASTE FOR SAVORY At Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles, I walk to the restaurant’s quiet central patio for brunch with my kids, who take breakfast very seriously. Perhaps intuiting this, Chef Libry Darusman immediately brings out the brunch menu. Darusman just joined the THO team four months ago after ten years in Beverly Hills fine dining. The brunch menu is brand new and reflects his taste, which skews savory over sweet, and light over heavy. “I like eating like this,” he says. “It’s fun and light.” The menu is indeed playful. Darusman brings us hazelnut granola on a pool of mint yogurt, with caramelized bananas, persimmons, and smoked maple syrup. He also shares a sourdough pancake with bacon, cacao nibs, crème fraîche, and chili-spiced nuts. Everything we taste nudges more toward salt than sugar, an impulse I appreciate. Our favorite dish is the Pumpkin and Pork Belly Hash, whose tender meat falls apart at a glance, with charred scallion vinaigrette, a tangy counterpoint. At one point, my daughter noshes a house-made biscuit and declares its texture reminiscent of cheesecake. I taste it and agree. Pillowy biscuits would make a brunching convert out of anyone, I think. Even a curmudgeonly Gen Xer like me. SLO LIFE

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| KITCHEN

Tomato Soup and Swiss on Rye

Nothing says comfort food on a chilly day like soup served with a grilled sandwich. Chef Jessie Rivas pulls out all the stops with this piping hot, creamy tomato soup paired with swiss cheese and caramelized onions on rye crisped to perfection and made for dipping. BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS

TOMATO SOUP

CARAMELIZED ONIONS

SWISS ON RYE

½ yellow onion roughly chopped 2 large cloves of garlic 4 cups chopped canned tomatoes ¼ cup heavy cream 1 TBS olive oil salt and pepper

1 TBS butter or olive oil ½ large red onion sliced thinly 1 tsp light brown sugar pinch of salt ½ TBS balsamic vinegar ground black pepper

2 thick slices of rye bread 1 TBS soft spreadable butter 2 oz grated swiss cheese ½ cooked caramelized onion

In a stockpot, add oil, onion and garlic; sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes on low heat. Purée soup with hand mixer or use a stand mixer until smooth. Return soup to stove on low heat and season with salt and pepper and stir in the cream. Serve when soup is warmed through.

Caramelized onions directions: Add butter or oil to a hot, 9-inch sauté pan. Add the onions and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add sugar, salt, balsamic vinegar, and fresh ground pepper. Simmer on low heat for 2 minutes and set aside.

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Butter 2 slices of bread just on one side, these will be the outer side of the sandwich. Add the cooked onions and spread evenly on the inside of both pieces of bread. Top the onions with grated swiss cheese and put together. Cook sandwich over medium heat in a sauté pan until bread is lightly browned on both sides and cheese is melted. SLO LIFE

JESSIE RIVAS is the owner and chef of The Pairing Knife food truck which serves the Central Coast.


!

JESSIE’S TIP: This is one of our family’s favorites. The sandwich is also great made with prosciutto or pastrami.

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| WINE NOTES

on the wild side

L

BY ANDRIA MCGHEE

et’s talk yeast! What do you think about sourdough starters? Isn’t it odd that you leave dough on a windowsill, and it just collects yeast from our environment? You can also purchase yeast to make bread. Wine is no different. Here are some winemakers that are going rogue and trying some throwback methods of using yeast for fermentation to make some top-notch wines.

Most of us have a general understanding of the age-old process known as fermentation. It turns sugar into alcohol. It preserves foods. It occurs in beer, bread, wine, kimchi, and more. If you really want to get frisky with fermentation, check out Sandor Katz’s book The Art of Fermentation. I am hooked. To make wine, all we need is sugar and yeast. One comes from juice, and the other is floating in the air.

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One popular yeast for winemaking is called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Stay with me here. Choosing yeast is like selecting a favorite tea. Maybe you like that it brews fast and has a nice flavor. Most wineries use this yeast because it does not die until alcohol reaches fifteen percent (as we all would). If fermenting stopped before that, you would be left with a low alcohol and high sugar drink.

ANDRIA MCGHEE received her advanced degree in wines and spirits from WSET in London and enjoys travel, food, wine, and exercise as a means to enjoy those around her.


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Newlyweds Tyler and Rachel Eck are the type of people who not only appreciate nature but listen to it. They ride a wave or harvest a grape that they think will be able to show itself in its best way. This duo makes up Dunites Wine Company. Their goal is to let the wine run its course with very little intervention. One of the first steps to doing that is to ferment wine with wild, or native, yeast. This is a yeast that is on the grape naturally from the vineyard or just floating around our environment. This is a crowd-pleaser yeast (along with the wild yeasts that die out at much lower alcohol levels), which is naturally present on grape skins when they are picked and brought to the winery. The Ecks chose to use only these wild yeasts to ferment their wine. They continue to check the wines carefully and systematically to make sure everything is going well. This approach to winemaking requires vigilant monitoring.

the grapes in and starts experimenting. She may, for instance, take a Sauvignon Blanc and put it in three different types of vessels. Though I was there for the whites, I left in love with the reds. Sackcloth & Ashes and I locked eyes and left the party together. This Cabernet blend brought the complexity that the natural yeasts help create. Make an appointment and try them. It’s an intimate experience that will leave you with a good grasp of their wine.

Alternatively, a winemaker can add yeast to wine to speed up the fermentation process, which is less risky. Dunites sticks with wild yeast for interesting layers in flavor. Tasting the 2017 SLO Coast Syrah/Grenache has me wrapped around its finger with rich blackberry and cherry flavors, yet it is super subtle and velvety in the mouth. It’s impressive. Find the restaurants Novo, Spoon Trade, or Farmhouse pouring their wines or get it by the bottle at Wine Sneak (SLO) or Taste of the Valley (Pismo Beach).

The last winery on my wild journey led me to Center of Effort. Here, they are firm believers in the idea that the yeast strains that come from their vineyards are what makes the wine special—a taste that you will only get from that little section of the world. It has a complexity that so many people—expert or not—can appreciate and let linger on the palate. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but their Effort Chardonnay is minerally with orange peel and Bosc pear, and it is a steal for the quality. On the other end of the spectrum, the Pinot Noir is worth the reservation in order to have a taste—and the little bitty snacks offered-up pair perfectly.

Also on board with this method is Desparada, a small production winery located in Templeton’s Tin City. Vailia Esh, the winemaker, chooses grapes from her favorite locations, usually organic and biodynamic. Then she brings

All of these winemakers are brave enough to go off-piste and try less popular techniques for making wine. So get out your wine map and take a walk on the wild side. SLO LIFE

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| BREW

NEW & NOW BY BRANT MYERS

2019 was a year of shakeups for the local brewing scene—

construction projects, changes of ownership, relocations, and, naturally, a shifting of staff between breweries. With a market that saw double-digit growth for many years, it was inevitable that there would be a period of readjustment for the industry once it settled into a long-term strategy. Change is good; it signals evolution. Luckily, no breweries have officially closed, they’ve just changed hands and reinvented themselves along the way. Such is the case with the story of Liquid Gravity Brewing Company, a shiny new brewery in an old and familiar location. Husband and wife team Brendan and Celeste Gough are the driving force behind the new venture. Both quit their jobs to focus full-time on renovating and revamping a familiar location that began life ten years ago. It is housed at the former Tap It Brewing (and, later, Santa Maria Brewing Company) location on Clarion Court near the San Luis Obispo Airport. The previous identities of a garage-themed tasting room resplendent with charming orange and diamond plate steel have now been transformed into a homey gathering spot with plush nooks, a fireplace, custom artwork, and

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small touches, such as a full moon overhead light and throw pillows. Step into the bathroom, and you get a blitz of flamingo wallpaper and a gilded mirror covering the entire wall. They’ve worked hard for months and enlisted every friend they could to help in everything from stripping paint to hanging said wallpaper. When asked about their style choices, Celeste waxed on about how their desire for a comfortable vibe, a living room away from home. And the best part? You don’t have to vacuum after the party. Brendan was hard at work in the back doing what he does best. Coming in with prestigious local brewing history, he is no slouch and hits bangers right away with an initial offering of five different beers of wildly differing styles. Starting as a Shift Brewer for three years at Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Brendan moved to the position as Head Brewer at Central Coast Brewing. He subsequently won five medals at the Great American Beer Festival, along with a Gold Medal for his IPA at the World Beer Cup in 2016. You can expect to see his trademark West Coast IPAs come in strong at the brewery, but by no means will that be the only offering to be had. I got the grand tour. And by that, I mean, not only did I get to see the stainless steel tanks, but I also tasted what secrets they were hiding inside. We started >>


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with a go-to session beer, but naturally, Brendan is putting his years of skills to the test by making a low-carb craft pilsner. Tasting somewhere between a lager and a session IPA, their LG Zero utilizes a method commonly used in Brut IPAs by adding an enzyme along with Saffir hops to create an incredibly flavorful beer that punches around the 100 calorie mark. I offer advice to sell these to me by the case because one or two is not enough. Another quaffable offering is his Atomic Guava imperial kettle sour with guava and a late addition of citrus zest. It’s a glassful of sunshine, and I can’t wait to imbibe many of these as well, but preferably in the real sunshine of their patio coming this spring. Although at a hefty 8% ABV, this may go down too easily, and I might miss the sunset. We move down a row of fermenters and land in front of the flagship, Liquid Gravity IPA. Throwing back to his roots as a brewer of some of the best hoppy beers coming out of the Central Coast, Brendan has no qualms about making a clean and clear bitter choice for discerning clients. This beer was still in the process of becoming what we’ll be experiencing in the tasting room, as was Miami Heist a Hazy DIPA (double IPA), but getting a sample of them, I was able to pick up on some very familiar flavors and can’t wait to see the final products pouring from a tap. Also, the label artwork is worthy of framing. The final stop was a real treat. Twist and Stout, named by Celeste, is an imperial stout with vanilla beans, lactose (milk sugar), and cacao. The end result is what I like to call a “fireplace beer,” a big-hitting, high ABV beer that sips like a bourbon and can be enjoyed throughout the night. Brendan emphasized his desire to rotate the flavor profiles quarterly, resulting in a base beer that customers know, but with a new twist every time. The sours will get different fruit, and the stout will see different adjuncts. I’m a huge fan of Mexican hot chocolate varieties with the addition of cinnamon and chilies, but, hey, it’s not my brewery. This twenty 94

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barrel system can pump out ten to fourteen thousand kegs a year, so keep an eye out for local tap handles and, once they survive the grand openings and exciting rush of the first few months, they have plans to distribute cans and bottles throughout the Central Coast and Ventura County. It takes a lot of work to start a brewery, and even one that was already up and running takes efforts to make it their own. The Goughs aren’t alone. During my visit, Brendan’s mother was planting flowers next to their stage for an intimate live music venue, while manager Monica Duggan coordinated food trucks for their grand opening weekend. Friends were popping in and out to offer construction services, as my own Facebook feed shows my circle of friends announcing their new positions at Liquid Gravity. It truly is a family-owned, local operation, and that love comes through in everything they do. I can’t wait to experience the new brewery in its full glory, so, hopefully, I’ll see you there, and we can raise a pint to the newest addition to the Central Coast brewing scene. BRANT MYERS is a 14-year veteran of the Central Coast Also, can I get a ride home? I had far craft beer industry who too many Atomic Guavas, and these enjoys sharing his passion anyone who doesn’t flamingos in the bathroom are looking with put an orange in their at me funny. SLO LIFE hefeweizen.


Photo: Renoda Campbell Photography

BELONGING: LOCAL EXPRESSIONS OF BLACK EMPOWERMENT AND POSSIBILITY

A multimedia, multi-location experience February 2020

R. A. C. E. MATTERS RESPONSIBILITY

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racemattersslo.org

R.A.C.E. Matters is a community-based organization that amplifies the voices of Black and other People of Color; in an effort to build an actively anti-racist Central Coast.

Check racemattersslo.org for event updates.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.

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ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE A delightful musical about friendship, country music, and a brilliant artist who left us all too soon. This tribute to the legendary singer is based on the true story of Patsy Cline’s friendship with a fan from Texas. Through down-home country humor, poignant tales of life on the road, and even some audience participation, this musical play features twenty-seven unforgettable songs. February 7 - March 8 // slorep.org

FEBRUARY CHRIS BURKARD: PHOTOJOURNALISM AT THE ENDS OF THE EARTH Join SLO Classical Academy at the Performing Arts Center for a night of multiple film screenings, music, and conversation. Local singer/songwriter Inga Swearingen opens the evening with her full band, followed by an exclusive viewing of Chris Burkard’s documentary, “Under an Arctic Sky.” An audience discussion with the filmmaker about his off-the-beaten-path lifestyle and a special screening of one of Burkard’s as-yet-unreleased films rounds out the evening. February 21 // sloclassical.org

FINE ARTS AWARDS COMPETITION San Luis Obispo junior and senior high school students compete for cash prizes in a live, three-hour competition recognizing excellence in classical music, jazz, and visual art. Judges will announce the winners at the conclusion of the free event, sponsored by The Monday Clubhouse Conservancy and held at The Monday Club in San Luis Obispo. February 23 // themondayclubslo.org

BIG 40TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW Internationally-acclaimed blues band Rick Estrin & The Nightcats headlines the SLO Blues Society’s anniversary show at the Vet’s Hall in San Luis Obispo. Opening this “eminently danceable high-powered celebration” is Back Bay Betty, a Los Ososbased five-piece dance band known for creative original music and covers of classic and contemporary rock, blues, soul, and jazz artists. February 29 // sloblues.org 96

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SLO CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL Celebrate the brewers of craft beer. Raise a toast to unique and wonderful creations from some of the best breweries in the country during an event specially crafted for both novice and expert craft beer drinkers. Includes educational seminars, music, food and beer pairings, as well as guest speakers. February 21-22 // slocraftbeer.com

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SLO CAL OPEN MORRO BAY Watch up and coming surfers from around the world compete in a World Surf League QS1000 right here on the Central Coast at Morro Strand State Beach. Hosted by Surfers Of Tomorrow, the four-day competition encourages young California athletes to compete at important and recognizable events in their sport without having to leave the state or travel great distances. February 27-March 1 // surfersoftomorrow.org


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| HAPPENINGS

Dr. Arnie Horwitz

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

THE MIKADO Cal Poly Arts presents New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players’ all-new production of this fantastic voyage to Titipu, a land where a timeless libretto, beautiful music, and favorite characters await, including three little maids from school, a wandering minstrel, a hilariously corrupt public official, and, of course, the Lord High Executioner. The production in Harold Miossi Hall features a special treat: a pre-show lecture by Cal Poly music history professor Alyson McLamore. March 3 // calpolyarts.org

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MARCH ULTRA, BEAST AND SUPER SPARTAN RACES If you’re looking to unleash your inner Spartan and go to places you never imagined, hundreds of sprawling acres await you at the Santa Margarita Ranch. You’ll dash past vineyards and epic open landscapes, all while surrounded by the towering San Pedro National Forest. Whether you run an Ultra, Beast, or Super course, you are in for an unforgettable experience. March 14-15 // slocal.com

SLO FILM FEST Founded in 1993 by a group of movie lovers, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival is celebrating more than a quarter-century of bringing exciting, independent cinema to SLO. The festival continues to grow and thrive as an oasis for independent filmmakers to screen their films, and to have face-to-face contact with enthusiastic local audiences in talk-back sessions and workshops. March 17-22 // slofilmfest.org


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