SLO LIFE Magazine Feb/Mar 2023

Page 1

MEET PETE LJEPAVA FEB /MAR 2023 SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM
SLOLIFE
2 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS QUALITY YOU CAN COUNT ON, TIME AND TIME AGAIN. 805.543.6844 | 2226 BEEBEE STREET, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA 93401 | WWW.PRPCO.COM DESIGN | PRINT | MAIL | APPAREL | WEB | PROMO
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4 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 Convenient and affordable transportation to the best of SLO. For information, please visit slotransit.org, download the SLO Transit app or call (805) 541-2877.

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FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 7
(805) 460-7385 ATASCADERO 7070 Morro Road, Suite D (805) 439-3586 SAN LUIS OBISPO 12326 Los Osos Valley Road Bear Valley Plaza www.slocountyhearingaids.com
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 9 Check in online at TenetHealthCentralCoast.com/ EmergencyRoom When an emergency happens, our goal is to help get you in and out of the hospital quickly and efficiently. One of the ways we can do this is to make sure that a board-certified ER doctor sees you. An ER doctor visit, shorter waiting times, convenient online check-in and an integrated system of care throughout the Central Coast add up to make us your first choice for emergency care. Board-Certified Emergency Doctors for Your Care 24/7
10 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 CONTENTS Volume 14 Number 1 Feb/Mar 2023 16 18 20 28 Info Sneak Peek Inbox Contributors 14 PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE 30 32 34 36 Timeline Briefs View Q&A 40 MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR 38 NOW HEAR THIS

Free

People’s F P Movement Arrives in Downtown SLO

Central Coast native and FP Movement store manager

Gavy Rodriguez tells us that this new concept from Free People is designed to “inspire people to stay motivated’ no matter what they do to keep active. FP Movement carries a collection of trend-setting active and lifestyle apparel that’s just as comfortable on the street as it is in the yoga studio. fpmovement.com

The Heart of Downtown San Luis Obispo Court Street • Monterey Street • Downtown Centre
12 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 52 54 56 58 Author Explore On the Rise pet collective 50 ARTIST 92 BREW 60 72 78 dwelling Real Estate Health 84 TASTE 96 Happenings 88 Wine notes

Not quite two years ago, I came up with an idea. It took a few days to find a time when all three of our kids were together in one place, but I finally sat them down to explain it. With my speech prepared, I informed them that we were going to start reading together. It wouldn’t be a big commitment, just a half-hour on school nights. I would buy four copies of each book, so we could talk about it as we went along.

Our daughter, Geneva, immediately stood. “Uh, Dad, you know I’m a college student now, and I’m already reading a good book.” She shrugged and smiled as she walked away, abandoning her brothers—Donovan, then a junior in high school, and Harrison, a sixth grader—as if hauled into the principal’s office, shoulder-to-shoulder on the couch. Brother Book Club was born.

There are a few things I hope to pass down to my kids. A love of reading is at the top of the list. It’s something that I got from my parents. My mom, a retired English teacher, is fond of saying, “A good book can change your life.” And my dad, who reads novels in Russian for fun, once quipped: “I sure hope there’s a library in heaven.” Uncle Dave, another bibliophile would mail a check to my wife, Sheryl, each December—money to buy our kids Christmas presents on his behalf—and in the memo line he would write, “Books, books, books!”

But I felt it was all slipping away. Like the time my dad tried to teach my sisters and me Croatian. The only thing I can remember about the language of our “old country” is a whole bunch of comically descriptive cuss words. Plus, ćȗk, which means “little owl.” For some reason, I remember that one.

Mom was right. There have been so many books that have changed my life, in big ways and small. One of the giants for me was “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, which altered my trajectory somewhere in my mid-twenties. I mentioned the title to Sheryl, a former teacher herself, and she went to the bookshelf and retrieved an old, dog-eared copy of the companion book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” which she read to the kids years ago during bedtime hoping to indoctrinate them well before adolescence. I figured a review would be an excellent way to kick things off, so I purchased two more copies for BBC.

When our second meeting convened, Donovan was nowhere to be found. His car was missing, too. Both vanished stealthily into the night. I lowered my gaze to Harrison, who had no car, no license, nowhere to hide. With or without our full membership present, it was time to read.

Together, he and I muscled through that first book. Then another. And another after that. By the third or fourth installment, he had finally resigned himself to his new reality: There was no escaping Dad and BBC. Better to just sit down and get it over with. But that was also the problem—the whole thing felt like work. There was no love for books, only dread. A nightly trip to the dentist’s office. As we neared the end of “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” Harrison made a suggestion: “Hey, Dad, maybe for the next book, can we get something with more of a story to it?”

I handed him a copy of “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics,” which was written through the perspective of one of the rowers, Joe Rantz, who endured an incredibly difficult childhood providing for himself during the Great Depression. After the first few days, it was more of the same. “I don’t get it,” he groaned. “They’re just talking about rowing. And going on and on about this Joe Rantz guy.”

Two days later, Harrison and I were in the car when, unrelated to anything else we had been talking about, he said, “You know, Dad . . . I can’t believe that Joe’s stepmom kicked him out,” his thoughts percolating, reminding me of the unmistakable sound made by one of those old coffeemakers. “I mean . . . he had to live on his own” bloop,bloop “. . . and he was just my age.”

In that moment, there was something—a spark. I smiled to myself knowing that he may never learn the translation for “little owl,” but maybe he’ll remember Joe Rantz. And the power of a story well told.

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!

14 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE
BBC
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE |
805.544.9133 or visit slmarble.com San Luis Obispo 5452 Edna Rd. | Showroom & Slab Yard Santa Maria 914 W. Betteravia Rd | Showroom & Fabrication Contact our expert team for personalized assistance with your countertop or tile project. Family owned and operated, we have proudly serviced the Central Coast and Valley for over 35 years Natural Stone Quartz Tile Retailer Fabricator Counter Installer Bring your dreams to life with San Luis Marble
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PUBLISHER

Tom Franciskovich

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Sheryl Franciskovich

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Charlotte Alexander

Dan Fredman

Paden Hughes

Zara Khan

Jaime Lewis

Paula McCambridge

Brant Myers

Joe Payne

Brian Schwartz

Tim Townley

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Jaeden Barlett

Emily DesJardins

Ivan Ditscheiner

David Lalush

Kraft Werks

Todd Meaney

Mark Nakamura

Jessi Rose

Mariah Vandenberg

Lily Wolfe

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.

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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.

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

16 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
4251 S. HIGUERA STREET, SUITE 800, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA
Luis Obispo,
Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.
San
CA 93401
Contact us today for FREE placement assistance. (805) 546-8777 elderplacementprofessionals.com Nicole Pazdan,
CSA,
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 17 Renee Howard, VP Sixteen years of banking on the Central Coast 16 American Riviera Bank is the expert on small business loans. We found a great bank, and now we have a great coffee shop. —CARMEN GARRIAZO, BELNANO COFFEE Together we can expand the possibilities for your business! Visit us at AmericanRiviera.Bank • 805.965.5942 Where possibilities become possible

WITH PETE LJEPAVA

behind the scenes ON THE COVER

My first impression upon meeting Pete was that he seemed to be a really nice, creative, and family-oriented guy. But, I’ll admit, it surprised me how big his mustache and beard are—he really embodies his name and marketing title, Mustache Pete.

We choose his family woodworking shop for our photoshoot location. It’s on his mom’s property and she was there, so we captured a couple of cute photos of Pete with her. The shop had been his father’s—I thought that was very sweet and meaningful. And what’s more, it was made of out a shipping container; how cool is that?

I was thoroughly impressed by Pete’s woodwork, it was awesome and I really enjoyed hearing the stories behind each piece. Not only is he handy with woodworking, he’s also a bit of a mechanic. He’d been working on his truck for a long time and shared that he has a sentimental connection to it. He shared: “My dad had an early 1970s Ford Truck that he drove everywhere, even brought each of us home from the hospital when we were born. He passed away when I was seven, and thirty years later my brother and I each got the same style truck as an homage to our dad. I kept mine as a “rat-rod” style with rust on the outside but a brand new motor under the hood. My father in law and I are constantly working on it together, fixing this or upgrading that. It primarily serves as my lumber hauler, although my kids also love riding around in it with me, the way I loved getting to drive with my dad in his.” SLO LIFE

18 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
| SNEAK PEEK
TIMELESS CLASSICS FOR THROUGHOUT THE YEAR FOLLOW US: wildflowerwomenboutique.com LOS OLIVOS 2920 Grand Ave. 805.697.7377 ORCUTT 3388 Orcutt Rd. 805.922.9195 PISMO BEACH 890 Price St. 805.773.1055 SAN LUIS OBISPO 874 Monterey St. 805.543.3200 PASO ROBLES 1236 Park St. 805.226.5088 “The Central Coast’s Premier Ladies’ Boutique”
20 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND CALLAWAY FAMILY TAKE US WITH YOU | INBOX CESKE BUDEJOVICE, CZECH REPUBLIC
SEISER ALM, DOLOMITES, ITALY Send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com
and STEVE MATHIS STONEHENGE RITA MORRIS and JERI CAIN SEDONA, ARIZONA
and JIM BROOKS-SCHULKE HAITI
BRIAN and ATSUKO REES
JENNY
SALLY
HARRISON and GENEVA
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 21 Personal Service & Exceptional Car Care San Luis Obispo 805.779.3437 Santa Maria 805.723.2450 Grover Beach 805.519.8451 Morro Bay 805.772.6060 RIZZOLISAUTOMOTIVE.COM Tires. Maintenance. Repair. Service for ALL Makes and Models! 45 Now Open in Morro Bay!

SLO LIFE TRAVELS

22 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
| INBOX Send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com
SITKA, ALASKA JANET and LIZ CLARKE HARBOUR ISLAND, BAHAMAS SULFUR MOUNTAIN, CANADA LOS VERANOS, MEXICO KEITH HAMILTON and SHARIE ROUSE MIKE, LINDSAY, CLIVE, and LANE DREBENSTEDT CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA BRENDA ZUCCHINI and TIMOTHY BOTTOMS PAT ABEL YOSEMITE DIANE BROWN

Start Living the SLO Lifestyle Now!

Nestled between award-winning vineyards on the quiet side of Highway 101, the brand new homes at Avila Ranch celebrate everything that makes this part of the California Coast so special. Homes in the neighborhood are connected to nine planned parks by a network of paths and trails, so you can leave the car in the garage and enjoy SLO’s natural beauty right outside your front door!

Come visit us today so you can tour the models, pick your homesite and floorplan, and take the first step toward the sun-drenched lifestyle you’ve always wanted.

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 23 Images are representational only and may di er from homes as constructed. Square footages are approximate. Seller makes no representations or warranties that the view from the property will remain the same. Future development changes to and growth of landscaping and the like may impact any current views from the property. Homes are constructed and marketed by WCP Developers LLC (CA Contractor License #1035148) and real estate sales brokered by WCP Real Estate, Inc. (CA DRE License #02055906), on behalf of Avila Ranch Developers, Inc., a California corporation. ©2023 Wathen Castanos Homes. All rights reserved. Equal Housing Opportunity. avilaranchslo.com Follow us on social: /avilaranchslo /avilaranch Come Visit Us! Getting to Avila Ranch from famous Highway 101 is easy breezy! We are just a couple miles south of downtown SLO in the heart of wine country. Sales O ce Open 7 Days - 11 am to 5 pm 211 Bravo St, San Luis Obispo, CA. jillp@wchomes.com 831.531.9038 Scan For Directions Starting from the 3-4 Bedrooms 2.5 Baths $800s 1,811 – 2,273 sq. ft. Starting from the 2-3 Bedrooms 1-2.5 Baths $700s 819 – 1,708 sq. ft.
MOVE-IN READY HOMES AVAILABLE

TREKKING THE GLOBE

24 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
TOM MARTIN BIGFORK, MONTANA BOISE, IDAHO SEAN HALDERMAN JACKIE and MARK ECKHAUS with DORI and ED HILLIER BOTSWANA, AFRICA KATE and LESLIE LONGABACH LAKE COMO, ITALY ARIAS-MCGRATH FAMILY XPUJIL, CAMPECHE, MEXICO LAURA HEIDEN
Send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com | INBOX
WABASH, INDIANA

A BRIGHTER FUTURE

TEN OVER is proud to partner with REACH to build a resilient community on the Central Coast where current and future generations have the opportunity to thrive.

The mission of REACH is to increase economic prosperity

through big thinking, bold action and regional collaboration.

reachcentralcoast.org

INTERIORS MEDIA
ARCHITECTURE LANDSCAPE
TENOVERSTUDIO.COM
Our beautiful Central Coast sunset captured by Moises Gomez, Colors by Cultura.

ADVENTURE AWAITS

26 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
MEXICO
GUAM
ZIHUATANEJO,
FAMILY
SCOTT and DEBORAH CLEERE IVY SCHMIDT
and
SEDONA, ARIZONA THE COXEN SAN DIEGO
JANET LAURSEN
ARBORETUM, ARIZONA
BOYCE THOMPSON
CRUZ, JACKSON, BENJAMIN, and JESSY CORCORAN
Send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com | INBOX
REUNION
BARGE LADIES of SLO

Ride in Style

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 27 THE SHOPS AT SHOP NOW

1. CHARLOTTE ALEXANDER is an awardwinning writer and editor with more than twenty years experience in nonprofit organizations, higher education, and media.

2. Portrait photographer JAEDEN BARLETT loves the beach, golfing, and going on adventures with friends. You can find her most recent work on instagram @jaedenb.photography.

3. EMILY DESJARDINS is an editorial photographer based out of her home town in San Luis Obispo County. Contact her at behance.net/emily_desjardins emilydesjardinsphotography@gmail.com.

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

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

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

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

8. TODD MEANEY is a landscape, product, and lifestyle photographer living the SLO life. You can follow him @toddmeaney.photography.

9. PAULA MCCAMBRIDGE is an awardwinning writer and longtime editor who has told stories of California’s Central Coast for fourteen years.

10. BRANT MYERS is a the founder at slobiiig.com, a hospitality consulting firm, and Toddler Timber, where he makes wooden children’s toys.

11. MARK NAKAMURA is a wedding, portrait, sports, event, family, children, architectural, commercial, and landscape photographer. Find him on Instagram: @nakamuraphoto for landscape photography and @marknakamuraphoto for everything else.

12. JOE PAYNE is a journalist, as well as a lifelong musician and music teacher, who writes about the arts on the Central Coast.

13. BRIAN SCHWARTZ is a publishing consultant and advocate for local authors. He can be reached at brian@selfpublish.org.

14. MARIAH VANDENBERG has a background in neuroscience and is an active photographer, artist, musician, and outdoor enthusiast.

15. LILY WOLFE integrates her subjects into stylized environments to create dynamic portraits and graphic compositions. Follow @lilywolfephotography on Instagram to see what she’s working on.

28 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 | CONTRIBUTORS
1. 2. 5. 6. 7. 10. 11. 13. 4. 3. 12. 14. 9. 8. 15.

The Central Coast’s Premier Real Estate Team

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 29
Stephanie Ronca Matthews Realtor® 805.550.5344 DRE 01970051 Tracy Ronca Realtor® 805.441.6883 DRE 01745499 RoncaRealEstate.com A foot-stompin’, crowd-pleasin’ salute to a unique musical legend! Live Theatre in downtown SLO SLOREP.ORG | 805-786-2440

LOCAL

december 2

Monterey County judge Jennifer O’Keefe sets a new date for the sentencing of Paul Flores, who was convicted of first-degree felony murder in the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart when she was a freshman at Cal Poly. Her body has never been found. Flores, originally set to be sentenced in December, is facing twenty-five years to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Robert Sanger, attorney for Flores, says he has new information that he will use to ask for a new trial, and needs time to prepare. A status hearing is set for February 9, and the motion for a new trial will be heard March 10. If it is denied, sentencing will take place immediately after.

december 5

Dawn Addis of Morro Bay is sworn in to represent most of San Luis Obispo County in the State Assembly. The classroom teacher and former member of the Morro Bay City Council easily won the November election, garnering more than sixty percent of the vote, to represent the new District 30, which includes most of SLO County along with parts of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. Addis co-founded the Women’s March SLO while serving as a board member of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and is the first Democratic woman to represent the area in the California Legislature.

december 5

The California Department of Corrections announces that it is closing the West Facility portion of the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. The Level I and II complex houses approximately 2,000 medium- and minimumsecurity inmates in a dormitory setting who will need to be relocated to another prison. Their rehabilitative, educational, and self-help program credits will transfer with them. The inmate total population at CMC was 3,466 in June, with a staffing level of nearly 1,500 employees. It is not clear when the West Facility will close, nor how many employees will be affected.

december 7

The SLO County Clerk-Recorder releases final results of the general election showing that Bruce Gibson won the District 2 Supervisor race against Bruce Jones by a margin of just thirteen votes. The final count shows Gibson with 11,722 votes, or just over fifty percent, and Jones with 11,709 votes, or just under fifty percent. Gibson retains his seat despite radical gerrymandering in the redistricting process. The race was even closer than the District 4 Supervisor race, in which Jimmy Paulding outpaced Lynn Compton by only 639 votes.

december 7

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) awards the first-ever federal Pacific Ocean wind leases to three companies for a combined total of $425.6 million. The leases, covering 240,898 acres, are in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area, located about twenty miles west of Cambria and San Simeon. Equinor Wind US, Central California Offshore Wind, and Invenergy California Offshore made the winning bids. The area, spanning some 376 square miles and capable of producing 2.9 gigawatts of electricity, is the largest proposed floating offshore wind project in the United States. The companies have up to a year to submit site assessment plans, and up to five years to submit plans for development and maintenance. BOEM wants to have the project completed by 2030.

december 13

The Paso Robles City Council unanimously approves a $110,171 agreement with Cal Poly’s Digital Transformation Hub to execute a three-part plan for a spaceport and a technology corridor focused on the space industry at the Paso Robles airport. The plan includes completing the FAA spaceport application license process, developing a plan for public-private partnerships across the space technology and agricultural technology industries, creating a website that can be used to promote the city’s vision for a tech corridor, and assessing workforce development needs to make the vision a reality. The spaceport and tech corridor are expected to bring more head-of-household jobs to the North County.

30 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 | TIMELINE

REVIEW

january 1

The free, beloved, annual community splash-in known as the Polar Bear Plunge takes place at noon in Avila Beach as well as Cayucos. Designed to wash away the previous year and make way for a new one ahead, hundreds of locals and visitors ring in 2023 wearing costumes and chilly beach wear during the invigorating plunge on New Year’s Day.

january 11

California’s Supreme Court announces it will not hear arguments about whether SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow should be allowed to prosecute Tianna Arata and six other Black Lives Matter protesters. The decision marks the end of a two-year legal battle that started when SLO Superior Court Judge Matthew Guerrero removed the DA from the case, citing a conflict of interest. The seven defendants were all charged with multiple crimes—including false imprisonment, obstructing a public thoroughfare, and resisting arrest—following a 2020 rally that clashed with motorists on Highway 101. The Office of the California Attorney General will prosecute the case as it moves forward. A pretrial conference is scheduled on February 2 in SLO Superior Court.

january 2

A Cal Poly float, “Road to Reclamation,” wins the 2023 Rose Parade’s Extraordinaire Award, given each year to the creators of the parade’s most extraordinary entry including those fiftyfive feet or longer. Featuring snails, gigantic toadstools, and other marvels of the natural world found on the forest floor, it was the joint creation of students from Cal Poly campuses in San Luis Obispo and Pomona. More than 20,000 flowers and natural materials graced the animated float, intended to reflect the 134th parade’s theme, “Turning the Corner,” exemplifying the unlimited potential that each new year brings.

january 9

january 11

The Community Foundation Sa n Luis Obispo County activates its Disaster Support Fund to pool together community funds and distribute them to those most affected by the storms that battered the Central Coast during the early part of January. One hundred percent of contributions to the fund are promised to help communities recover from the impact of record-setting rains, power outages, flooding, mudslides, and other destruction throughout SLO County.

january 12

President Joe Biden declares a state of emergency for San Luis Obispo County and thirteen other California counties as one of several winter storms brings record-breaking rainfall to the area. More than six inches of rain falls on the Cal Poly campus—setting a record for the most rainfall ever in a single day. The wettest spot in SLO County, Rocky Butte, receives almost ten-and-a-half inches over a two-day period, and widespread flooding and mudslides force many to evacuate homes and businesses, with the Red Cross opening evacuation centers in the City of San Luis Obispo and in Paso Robles. SLO LIFE

The Kristin Smart Scholarship Committee announces that applications for 2023 scholarships honoring the slain Cal Poly student are being accepted. Female high school seniors from San Luis Obispo and San Joaquin counties who have an interest in architecture, criminal justice, law enforcement, or international studies may apply to receive a one-time minimum cash grant of $4,000. In 2022, scholarship funds were awarded to five women. To qualify, applicants must be planning to attend a two- or four-year accredited college or university in the 2023-24 academic year, have at least a 3.25 grade point average, and be involved in community service.

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 31

The increase in the median sale price for a single-family home in SLO County from November 2021 to November 2022, according to the California Association of Realtors. Among the highest increases in California, the SLO County figure defies the recent cool down of statewide real estate, as well as falling prices in Monterey and Santa Barbara counties.

SWOT

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite aboard a Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base on December 16, causing a sonic boom heard across the Central Coast. The mission will help scientists improve flood forecasts, predictions for sea level rise, and the models used to monitor droughts.

$1.1 billion

The amount of funding PG&E expects to receive from the U.S. Department of Energy to keep Diablo Canyon Power Plant in operation. The plant produces about fifteen percent of the state’s carbon-free energy each year, and the award comes from the $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit Program funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

51.4%

Wise words from California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Brandon Swanson if you see a mountain lion, which is becoming more likely in areas around SLO County. Since 2018 there have been more than 350 reports of the big cats to law enforcement agencies, and the number of encounters is on the rise. “Get as big and scary as you can,” Swanson says.

4,263

The number of calls received by 2-1-1 of San Luis Obispo County in one year. The service is available 24/7 to answer the question “I need help. What should I do?” By directing callers to the appropriate service provider, the hotline reduces the number of inappropriate calls to 9-1-1 and other emergency providers.

The final score of the Atascadero Greyhounds’ football match-up in December against the San Gabriel Matadors, winning the high school team its first-ever CIF Division 6-A state championship. Playing in mud and rain, the Central Section and Ocean League champs dominated the game, which was Atascadero’s third shutout of the postseason.

1.25 miles

The last segment of the California Coastal Trail that will complete a more than ten-mile pedestrian and bicycle route connecting Morro Bay and Cayucos, thanks to a $7.4 million grant from the California Transportation Commission in December. Construction is slated to begin in 2025.

The percentage of women in the most recent incoming class of Cal Poly students. That’s a record for the highest-ever percentage of women, but that’s not the only record. The current class also includes the highest-ever percentages of firstgeneration students (16.6 percent), Asian students (14.3 percent), and Hispanic/ Latino students (24.5 percent).

The opinion of Cal Poly director of athletics Don Oberhelman on Wulff’s appointment as head football coach in December. A former Eastern Washington and Washington State head football coach, Wulff served the last three years as offensive line coach and running game coordinator for the Mustangs. He succeeds Beau Baldwin, who resigned at the end of November.

32 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
“Wave your arms, jump up and down, yell loudly!”
41-0
15%
| BRIEFS SLO LIFE
“Paul Wulff is the right person for this job.”
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 33 Dent Shop Auto Body Excellence The Dent Shop is owner operated and is dedicated to our customers satisfaction. We can help with any type of damage and ALL insurance work is accepted. 1701 Monterey Street . San Luis Obispo | (805) 544-3368 | slodentshop.com The
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HAZARD CANYON

Often called MDO, and known for its 8,000 acres of rocky cliffs, miles of shoreline—seven in total—as well as its sandy beaches, tidepools, diverse terrain, and spectacular views, Montaña de Oro State Park is a local treasure worth exploring. This “Mountain of Gold” gets its name from mustard, poppies, and broad golden sand dunes that make it shine.

Even though I had been to Montaña de Oro State Park many times over the decades, I hadn’t hiked Hazard Canyon until more recently when our German exchange student, Lisa, introduced me to this trail.

When visiting MDO, you will find the parking lot accessing the trail is a dirt turnout marked Hazard Canyon Parking Day Use Area and located along Pecho Valley Road. From there, the trail descends out on a dirt path into the canyon for about a quarter mile before it opens to the ocean. It’s more secluded than the more popular hike along the bluffs or Spooner’s Cove, just a mile down the road.

Upon arriving at this oceanfront spot, it’s hard to believe that these looming cliffs and sandy dunes were once called Baywood Park Training Area and the site of practice invasions for troops during World War II. When surveys revealed during the mid-1990s that the area contained unexploded ordnance, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported public safety was at risk and ordered the removal of the unexploded munitions. It was the spring of 1995 when a bomb squad located and detonated the last of the explosives left behind from these wartime trainings of yesteryear.

To capture the photo you see here, I used my 16-35mm lens at around 24mm. I selected different shutter speeds, experimenting with them ranging from a quarter second to one second, which would blur the water splashing along the rocks and shore. I set my camera on a tripod to get the photograph sharp while blurring the water movement.

To access the trailhead: From Los Osos Valley Road drive northwest toward Montaña de Oro State Park where the thoroughfare becomes Pecho Valley Road and turns sharply to the south. Continue a little more than two-and-a-half miles, entering Montaña de Oro State Park and a eucalyptus grove. Turn right into a large dirt turnout for Hazard Canyon. If you reach Spooner’s Cove and the visitor center, you’ve gone too far.

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 35

RICK SCOTT

Okay, Chief Scott, let’s talk about where you’re from. I’m from the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. Originally, our family is from Corpus Christi. I have a couple of sisters. We grew up by the water, enjoyed the beach, spending summers out there. At an early age, my father, who was in the grocery industry, got a job in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and so he moved the family up north. But I always looked forward to going back and having summer vacations out there at our coast. I was probably not the best kid growing up, I was pretty good at pushing boundaries.

How so? I always enjoyed fun and adventure, sometimes not always following the rules. I had a great childhood. I was a kid of the ‘70s and ‘80s, so I grew up without a cell phone, without GPS. You would wake up in the morning, get on your bicycle, go all day long. Parents didn’t worry, and then somehow you made it home for dinner on time. It was all about getting together with friends, sometimes sneaking out after hours when we were supposed to be home in bed for a late-night ride with bicycles or motorcycles. I was fortunate to have horses growing up, so we would often go off on long horseback adventures and things like that. I also loved playing sports.

What did you play? Football, soccer, some baseball, but really, football was number one. I wanted to be a running back, and I thought that would be my position because I seemed to be pretty tough and pretty quick. For whatever reason, I liked the contact, enjoyed getting hit. But after a while, I found that I preferred hitting over being hit, so the coach moved me to defensive line. Now, granted, I’m only, at that time, about 150 pounds, 5’7” as a defensive lineman, but I made up for it with toughness—more toughness than brains, I guess—and ended up being All-District my senior year and Defensive Player of the Year for my school. I knew I didn’t have a college career based on my size, but I was able to make the most of my tenacity to have some success as a high school athlete.

So, what came after high school? I went to the University of Texas in Arlington, initially for a degree in microbiology, but about halfway

On one recent overcast morning, we met up with San Luis Obispo Police Chief RICK SCOTT in his office to get to know him a bit after nearly two years on the job as the city’s top cop. Here is some of what he had to say . . .

through my college career, I learned that it was not going to be the path for me. I ended up graduating with a degree in sociology with a minor in biology. I knew that I wanted to be in some type of public service. I worked in a laboratory for part of my college career. That’s how I put myself through school. I just realized that spending a life looking through a microscope in an office by myself wasn’t for me. And so, I made a change to go into law enforcement. It’s a calling, it’s a job that finds you, it’s something you feel called to do. I knew at an early age I was different in that way. As a kid, I didn’t really understand why I felt compelled to take up for others, but I knew it was there. And most often, if I saw someone being bullied, whether they were a friend of mine or not, I would step in. Sometimes that ended up in a fight where I wasn’t always the winner. Later in life, I realized that it was just a desire for me to want to stand up and serve others, to protect others.

Why San Luis Obispo? It goes back to my road trip, twenty-five, thirty years ago now, back when I had just graduated from college. I decided to do a little exploring before I began my career. So, I packed up my truck with a plan to head either east or west. That was the extent of my plan. I chose west. I figured that six weeks was about enough time to get all the way around the western states then back home. I had a road atlas and headed toward California. I camped out in parks all along the way. I just remember that experience of being here. It was like nothing else I’d ever seen or have since seen—it was just beautiful. And the people here were genuine and nice. It was a more laid-back environment, compared to the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area where I was from. It seemed to me like the perfect place to be. I recall distinctly thinking, if I could ever figure out how to make a living here and contribute in some way to this community, this is where I would want to be.

36 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
| Q&A
SLO LIFE
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 37 Call us today for your consultation 805 541-1790 www.KarenScottAudiology.com Meow Serving you, your parents and your children since 1978 Let’s Hear It for Love! Cat image by master1305 on Freepik “You know what I mean.”

Ebb and flow

38 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
| NOW HEAR THIS

Bands often form and reform, almost like a natural occurrence. Local beach-rock band The Sandspits coalesced at none other than Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, uniting over a shared love of funky chill vibes in between engineering classes and schoolwork.

At the heart of The Sandspits are longtime friends Jack Vitek and Lucas Erickson, who represent drums and guitar, respectively. Vitek is currently a student at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, and Erickson is still at Cal Poly, which is where he met bassist Abby Neal and guitarist/vocalist Nilav Maulik, both also at Cal Poly. “We got to SLO and started, and we said we wanted to make some waves,” Erickson said.

But the formation of The Sandspits wasn’t predestined like the tides. When Erickson started school at Cal Poly, classes were entirely virtual as the school went into full lockdown mode during the height of the pandemic. Even still, he was able to meet Neal and Maulik, who have musical backgrounds but are all self-taught on their respective instruments. Erickson and Vitek have collaborated since high school, and first formed the band in 2021 with two double-sided singles, “The Haunted West” and “Dead Fellow.” Neal and Maulik joined the band later that year, contributing to their first full album, “Save Trestles,” which was recorded almost entirely across cyberspace.

“We were finding our footing, finding our musical style,” Erickson said, “because back then we weren’t playing shows . . . but now we are playing live.” When coronavirus restrictions were laxed, the SLO music scene came roaring back, and The Sandspits were there for it. Performing at local venues and house parties, the group has gained a local following of fellow Poly students and fans of their SoCal sound, seeing tens of thousands of streams on Spotify and some shows with hundreds of attendees.

Just about every weekend, Vitek takes to Highway 101 to join the group for practice and shows, enjoying the relaxed sessions at house shows and sunset-stained backyards. “SLO as a town . . . especially as someone who lives in Hollywood, I can’t wait to get back to SLO on the weekend,” Vitek said. “For me, the house shows are always going to be the most fun. I really like the house shows that we do for certain charities. We’ve played for a number of different foundations, and that’s fun because we still bring a number of people and it’s all for a good cause.”

The Sandspits have another album in the works, a further exploration of a sound steeped in the south and central Californian style of bands like Sublime and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their approach is laid back and funky, but there’s a technical acumen surprising for musicians of their years. Vitek’s drumming is crisp and crackling, which is no surprise considering his studious time at Musician’s Institute. Maulik’s guitar solos are astounding and informed by his background as a trained singer in Indian classical music. Erickson has a soulful voice and a knack for writing, conjuring the feel of sandy flip-flops in song. Neal fills the whole sound out with her nimble bass work, backed by years of piano and guitar study. “SLO has been great to us,” Erickson said. “It has been great to grow up as musicians in SLO… SLO especially will always be our home.” SLO LIFE

Interested in seeing what flows next from The Sandspits? Visit their website, thesandspitsband.com or find them on Instagram @thesandspits.

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 39

pro file

Looking back over the years, it’s obvious now, the various pieces all fit together for PETE LJEPAVA— woodworking, small business, family—but his path was not a straight line from A to B. Taking the steps required courage and support, and, most of all, a community. We spent some time recently with “Mustache Pete” asking questions in an effort to retrace those steps. Here is his story . . .

40 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 | MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY EMILY DESJARDINS

Alright, Pete, let’s start off by talking about where you’re from. Born and raised here on the Central Coast, Arroyo Grande. I’m the oldest of three. My dad passed away very suddenly when I was seven. He had a heart attack. He and my mom had been together for a long time. To get real with you, that made it pretty rough growing up. My dad was really into woodworking, he had his own workshop, and it was something we would do together. After he passed away, I just kept using his tools. Kept working. Continued woodworking on my own.

All these years later, how do you look back on your loss now? It’s weird because I’m the same age now as he was when he passed away. And I’m a dad now, too. Between my wife and I, we have five kids, and my son from my previous marriage is the same age I was when I lost my dad. I realize that I’m just trying to figure out life, just like I’m sure he was, too, you know? It makes me think about what must have been on his mind, thinking about how to raise a family and do some good.

And, so, you continue the woodworking tradition. Yes, that’s right. I still use a lot of his tools, and I inherited his workshop. I’m in the same spot, now, when my kids run up and they’re like, “Hey, can you make us a sword, or make us whatever, out of wood?” That’s something that we always used to do, and he would make us whatever we wanted. It’s kind of this generational thing that is neat to pass on to my kids from what I remember about my dad. But I never thought I could make a career out of it until recently. Up to that point, my path had taken me to Cuesta [College], but then I just started working full time doing video editing. Mostly, I was filming and editing for this sports video distributor. We made extreme sports videos like snowboarding and dirt biking. That was pretty interesting, but I had some buddies at the Apple store here in town bugging me about joining them, so I did that starting in 2009.

What was your role at Apple? I started out as a part-time sales associate, then worked my way up to being the lead creative at the retail store here in San Luis. Basically, I was in charge of the team of creatives that would teach all the classes that they offered at Apple stores. It was cool. They sent me all over the place, to other stores, to trainings, onboarding new hires, all the while furthering my own education for being a creative, and learning all the new programs and stuff that they had. I did that up until about four years ago when my wife and I had our daughter. I was like, “You know what? I want to just change it up and do stuff with my hands and be more available to the family—just kind of change things up.”

Why change it up? You know, with my son, I was working all the time, getting sent to a lot of places and being away from home. I was thinking a lot about it when my wife was pregnant, and I was like, “You know? I kind of feel like I missed out a little bit on his childhood.” He was really young, and I didn’t want to do that with my daughter. I’d always wanted to branch into my own business, and be my own boss, and do some of these things with my hands. My wife was like, “Go for it. You can do it.” She just really supported my dream of doing my own thing. So, I was like, “You know what? I’m going to do it. It seems like kind of a crazy time to do it, but maybe it’ll be really awesome and worthwhile. Why waste any more time?” I just needed that little extra push that she gave me to go and just do it and be my own person.

So, how did you get started? I had this little side hustle thing that I did back in the day. When I grew a mustache, I would try different people’s mustache waxes. I was like, “Oh, I like this about these companies that do this.” But, I didn’t like everything about it, so I said, “I’ll just make my own.” Then, people started asking me, “What do you use in your mustache?” I’d tell them, “Oh, I just make my own.” They’d say, “Oh, can I buy some from you?” I’d think to myself, “Oh, man, now, I’ve got to make a label and get official with it.” So, the last four years I’ve been making the mustache wax full-time, plus making everything from cutting boards and charcuterie boards to wooden cheese knives, cigar ashtrays, and whiskey flasks, really anything out of wood. >>

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 43

What was it like in those early days? It was super rough at first. I thought I made a terrible mistake trying to do my own thing. I was putting a heavy emphasis on the mustache wax and grooming products, and it just wasn’t panning out to be that profitable and wasn’t paying rent. We had a new baby, and there’s a lot of expenses with that. The mustache wax wasn’t really as lucrative as I thought it would be in the beginning, so I started doing the cutting boards, and pastry knives, and charcuterie knives. That started taking off. The phone was always ringing. I was getting people who were like, “Hey, have you ever made a cigar ashtray before?” I’d say, “No, but I’ve always wanted to.” So, we did a cigar ashtray. I told myself, “You know what? That turned out so well I’m going to try this other thing.”

And that other thing led to another thing. Exactly right. Then, I’d meet people, randomly, that are like, “Hey, I have a fallen walnut tree

in my backyard. If you want to scoop that up, that’s totally fine with me.” So, I just started meeting these people through these different, various opportunities that popped up. And somewhere along the line, someone asked me to do a custom piece, a woodworking commission. Word of mouth would bring another, and life got really interesting. I got really passionate about that whole thing that I loved at Apple, which is helping people come up with something that was in their head, but they didn’t know how to execute it. So, that whole desire to help others really drove me to make some really cool things that kept me going with woodworking. Now, I do the grooming products and the woodworking stuff, both products and commissions.

Let’s talk about the grooming products for a minute. Why do you feature two pipes in your mustache wax logo? I actually inherited my >>

44 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
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great-grandfather’s pipe collection and was smoking my pipe when I thought to myself, “You know what, I really like the smell of pipe tobacco. Why don’t I put this into one of my scents for my mustache wax?” So, I steep pipe tobacco in a lot of my different grooming products. The pipe is really such a unique, contemplative kind of thing, and I love the aroma of it. I actually didn’t know how to smoke a pipe, so I went to The Sanctuary here in San Luis and they taught me how. I’ve since made a couple of pipes, but it’s really about the tobacco that goes into the products now and the reason I include them in the logo.

How is it running a small business here? Growing up around here, my mom put a really big emphasis on supporting local. We’d always shop local or go to these different places that were little staples in the Village of Arroyo Grande, or wherever. And, honestly, I didn’t really care about

any of that. I just didn’t really see the importance of it, as a kid, going to one store over another store. But now, as an adult, I do—and especially when you’re seeing all these businesses, people that you’ve really enjoyed who own that business, and getting to see them face-to-face, and experience why you go to one bakery over another, or one coffee shop over another.

How do you see it now? For me, a business is much more than just business. It’s the person—their story, their life. They remember your name, or your order, or whatever. They care. Seeing those businesses go out because they just couldn’t compete anymore with all the other big chains that were coming in, it really gave me the understanding of, “Shoot, I have to support these people because if I don’t, then they’re just going to disappear. Then, I won’t get to have that experience with >>

46 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
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those people anymore, that relationship.” Now, being a business owner myself, it’s also really important for me that my kids learn those same lessons. That’s why we support local because people are supporting us, too. Because that support allows me to spend time with my family, it allows me to take my four-year-old daughter to the workshop with me. She loves helping out. My eight-year-old son loves helping out, too. So, I’m getting to teach them how to use a drill or what have you, and I get to hang out with them, and I get to create for a living.

So, what advice would you give someone who wants to go out on their own? Yikes. That’s big. I mean, I don’t even know if I have it all figured out, yet, or at least enough to give people advice. But I guess I would say, the things that you were really into as a kid, typically, you’ll be really good at and really into, when you’re an adult. So, take

a famous musician who was always into singing or into performing, it’s no wonder they ended up that way. It’s sort of like that quote, “Do something that you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I think that’s what you’re looking for. And, beyond that, from my own experience, I’d say, just believing in yourself enough so that you can make something happen, a lot of times, is the first big hurdle that you have to get over before you can do anything. Because a lot of times, you can end up being your own worst enemy. So, if you can just believe in yourself and surround yourself with people, a community, that also believes in you, then that support will take you wherever you want to go. Even if it’s a crazy idea, even if it doesn’t make sense to other people, or they think it’s not the smartest idea, or the safest idea, I’d say, pursuing it is something that is going to make your life well-lived. SLO LIFE

48 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
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254 words with Shelby Cowart

Since as early as I can remember I’ve always been in love with drawing. It started with cartoons then moved onto animals and people, but now I just create abstract versions of whatever I see that evokes a real atmosphere in my mind regardless of the subject.

This is the first year where I began to start painting full-time. It’s been really risky and unpredictable, but I decided to dive into art full-time when I moved back home to Arroyo Grande from L.A. I was tired and uninspired from other industries I’ve worked in, and it started as a therapeutic tool to get a grasp on paying attention to myself again.

Life events inspire me. The big ones and the small ones. I take a lot of videos on a regular basis mostly just to remember the people I spend time with, the way I was feeling in the moment, and of course the things I see from day to day. I pull colors, concepts, faces, and emotions from those videos. Music has a really big influence on the images I paint as well. Sort of like a music video in my mind and I just try to paint that.

It really comes together when you stop focusing on an idea of “what it’s supposed to look like.” Let go of expectations, have fun while you do it, keep experimenting with new ways to make life (and art) more interesting—no matter what it’ll turn out alright.

Art is extremely personal for me, but mostly for the viewer. When people can see something I made and feel connected to someone or something from their own life, that is when I feel like I served my purpose.

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| ARTIST
SLO LIFE Check out on Instagram to see more. @whos_shelby_anyway
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARIAH VANDENBERG

If those clothes could talk…

Debbie Black is a debut author from cayucos. Her first published book is “Deetjen’s Closet” —a magical, historical fiction for eight-to-twelve-year-old readers.

This first book in the series begins in San Luis Obispo and stretches to Watsonville. The iconic Deetjen’s Inn in Big Sur is where the magic begins.

Black, a self-professed history nerd, has a love of old buildings. While spending the night at Deetjen’s Inn, a nearly 100-year-old hotel, she wondered what unfolded throughout history within its four rustic walls. As she unpacked for the evening, she began to imagine the clothing of past guests, and the idea hit her: What if those clothes could talk?

Through the eyes of the main character, ten-year-old Sara, Black realized she had found her muse. And what followed was a five-plus-year journey of writing, researching, and editing what is now the first book in the “Sara and the Ghost Clothes” series.

Being historically accurate was important for Black as she enjoys doing research and making new discoveries—like how the fortune cookie was invented by a Japanese samurai.

She wants parents and educators to know that her stories are filled with themes of friendship, struggle, and empowerment, in addition to compelling, true historic vignettes.

Her dream is to see her book on the summer reading list for children entering the fourth grade (when history enters their curriculum), as her books spark curiosity and excitement about history.

The location of the “Deetjen’s Closet” will be familiar to many of us on the Central Coast. To revisit them from a ten-year-old point of view makes her book appealing to both children and adults.

“I’ve worked hard to provide factual histories and actual locations, akin to a Rick Steves book for kids—but with splashes of magic, of course.” Black successfully merges education and entertainment to create ‘edutainment,’ which is valued by today’s young readers and appreciated by their parents.

During her career as a landscape architect, writing was always a hobby. As she was approaching retirement, she began to consider what she’d like to do next, and her writing became more than a hobby.

Writing allows Black to get into a flow state. It’s when she loses track of time as the story unfolds. She feels books can provide an antidote to today’s constant barrage of negativity and is grateful to be part of the writers’ community. Like her role as a landscape architect, the writing process allows her to create something from nothing, fueling a creative fire from within.

The next book in the series takes place in McMinnville, Oregon, home of the historic “Hotel Oregon” built in 1905. Along with her husband Garth, she looks forward to her ‘research’ trips to seek out landmarks she’ll no doubt weave into every story.

52 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 | AUTHOR
DebbieNobleBlack.com READ MORE

GIVING FREELY GIVING FREELY OF OURSELVES OF OURSELVES

And What We What We All Gain All Gain

March 19, 2023

March 19, 2023

1:00pm 1:00pm

San Luis Obispo Obispo Public Library Public Library

Join online: Join www.ChristianScienceSLO.org www.ChristianScienceSLO.org

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 53
Melanie Wahlberg, CS Christian Science Practitioner Member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship

Tee Time

In the early years of our marriage, before kids, we golfed regularly. After our babies came, we moved the golf clubs to the attic. Now that we are past the baby stage, we are starting to introduce our kids to the game of golf. Instead of playing nine holes at one of the local golf courses, we opted for a miniature golf course, Mr. Putter’s Putt Putt located in Atascadero.

We’re a competitive bunch and decided to compete for the glory of winning. It was a classic set-up of girls versus boys. My husband, Michael, and our three-year-old son, Jackson, versus me and our five-year-old daughter, Kennedy. This adequately handicapped us, made for pretty fair teams, and set the stage for a fierce competition.

In true golfer fashion, all it takes is one good shot to convince you to play another game. Kennedy

TIP!

Mr. Putters

Putt Putt is open year-round and charges $10 per player per round of golf. Kids under four years old play free with a paid player.

54 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
| EXPLORE

experienced this at the very start of the game with a hole in one. She was officially hooked.

An independent toddler, Jackson refused any and all suggestions on things like foot stance, hand placement, and the strength of the swing. Nonetheless he bagged three par scores and was incredibly pleased with himself.

Michael and I felt the dawning of a new era with kids old enough to do things we actually enjoyed.

It was a wonderful activity and one we plan to continue in the future, especially if we ever want to hit the full course.

Located in downtown Atascadero, this eighteen-hole miniature golf course is family friendly, fun, and has some great, challenging holes. In addition to the mini golf course, they also have a spot for sluicing gemstones and digging fossils, which the kids really liked. After sluicing and sifting, the kids compared their gemstones and fossils to an identification card and tucked them in a souvenir bag to take home.

This would be a fun spot for a birthday party and they even offer group discounts.

Overall, Mr Putters Putt Putt is a great way to get outside and do something fun with the whole family. SLO LIFE

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Makena Johnson STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

A varsity cross country athlete and an academic excellence award recipient, this seventeen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School senior has a bright future ahead of her.

Which extra-curricular activities are you involved in? I ran on the cross country team all four years at SLO High. Additionally, I am in the Environmental Club where we care for the earth and community by doing things like monthly trash pick-ups. I also am a member of Harvard Model Congress and travel to San Francisco in order to simulate the U.S. government and the passing of laws.

What do you like to do for fun? Outside of school, I love to travel, read, and backpack. My dad and I have done a lot of trips to the Sierra Nevadas and backpacked to some beautiful alpine lakes. I have also been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing countries like Indonesia, Spain, France, Canada, and Mexico where I got to experience different cultures. But I never turn down the opportunity to stay in and read a book.

What is one of your favorite memories? Seeing Monet’s “Water Lilies” at the Musée de l’Orangerie while I was in Paris is on the top of my list. The museum was filled with beautiful art from numerous painters that I admire, but I particularly loved experiencing the room with the walls covered in Monet’s Lilies. The room made you feel as if you were inside of Monet’s painting.

Who has influenced you the most? My parents have really influenced me to be the best version of myself and to work hard. My dad is the most committed athlete I know and I really look up to him. My mother appreciates different cultures and travel and has introduced my sister and I to her love of travel and the people you meet along the way.

Do you have a career path in mind? I have applied to college as a microbiology major with a minor in journalism. I hope to pursue a career path involving medical research. I would like to research and write about women’s health in underprivileged communities. I want to see a change in healthcare in which all patients are seen as equal.

What schools are you considering for college? My top colleges currently are Oregon State University and UC Berkeley. I would love to go north and these schools have very promising science programs. I have also applied to Northeastern, Boston University, and Smith. I have always wanted to live on the East Coast where my family has roots.

56 | ON THE RISE
SLO LIFE Know a student On the Rise? Email us at info@slolifemagazine.com
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 57 We Are “REAL ESTATE” OWEN AND CAMILLE CALDRE #02040597 / #02107467 805-215-5063 The Schwaegerle Real Estate Team: Honest. Committed. Proactive. Educated. Empowering.

River

River is incredibly affectionate, sociable, and a happy-go-lucky guy that loves his daily hikes or walks to Meadow Park. He doesn’t understand why cats and squirrels don’t want to participate in a game of chase with him. But, by far, his favorite thing to do is to curl up in a lap or get on the back of the sofa and put his head on a shoulder. SLO LIFE

| PET COLLECTIVE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAEDEN BARLETT
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| DWELLING

TThe Central Coast is a tempting escape from the big cities that surround us. Chrysa and Craig Brothers began visiting the region more frequently when their friends opened a bed and breakfast, and the idea of staying for longer periods of time was born. The uninterrupted natural beauty, the kind people and, of course, all the wineries drew the couple in to the idea of a vacation home. Rather than a new build, and with experience under their belts, the pair settled on a remodel project since they felt they knew what they were getting into.

Their home down south is a detailed Craftsman style, so they wanted their getaway to be decidedly different. They needed something that would be easy to maintain from a distance and carefree to live in while they relax. When they found their perfect place to rest, the nature that surrounds the home became the inspiration. They wanted everything to feel organic and light, but still classic. The Brothers brought Karen Faulkner, interior designer and close friend, on to the team first to help them come up with a strategy. They had already worked with her many times before and knew that she would not only collaborate well with them, but help bring their vision to life. With a background in commercial >>

62 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 63 3974 Short Street, Suite 110, San Luis Obispo jk@keplerdesign.com • KeplerDesign.com • (805) 459.6041 It's all in the details. Space planning for kitchens and bathrooms • • • Custom cabinetry design and installation • • • Floor plan, elevations and color renderings • • • Monday-Thursday 10-4 Friday 10-2 Saturday by appointment Closed Sunday Award Winning Dealer
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and residential design, Faulkner was confident she would be able to help remotely and utilize some of the resources from out of town to pull the design together, which was a huge asset while navigating all the supply chain issues throughout the project. They decided to work with the materials that were readily available, with a few exceptions.

With a plan ready to be executed, the Brothers brought Garrett Knoll of GK Building and Design Inc. onto the team to pull it all together. GK Building works throughout the Central Coast and their projects include both residential and commercial. Like most remodels, they had a few existing obstacles that needed to be worked around. Since the home was built in the eighties, there were a lot of soffits, and it was a gamble on what they would find behind them. In the kitchen they lucked out and were able to remove them with no problems, which instantly made the room feel brighter. They weren’t as lucky downstairs and had to relocate some of the plumbing. Having hardwood floors throughout the home was high on the priority list and to get the full impact of the French Oak floors they selected, they decided to raise the sunken entry level, so the entire space was uniform. This >>

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did trigger reworking the fireplace, which had to be raised along with the rest of the subfloor, but it also gave them the opportunity to change their wood burning fireplace to gas.

Not all the surprises led to more work. There were some pleasant ones, too. The ceiling beams, which had previously been covered in plaster, revealed a beautiful wood hiding beneath. With a little cleaning up, they became a focal point in the space. Knoll believes the value of any general contractor is in their subcontractors. Colony Carpets in Paso Robles was exceptional in helping with selections. Ryan Packer of CCS Stone, worked on all the stonework, including the fireplace and kitchen. Precision & Quality Painting made sure the finishing touches looked perfect. The Brothers wanted to replace the existing stair railings to iron and Faulkner was able to sketch out that vision.

When designing, Faulkner often chooses a statement piece and builds around it. In the sitting area by the fireplace, they worked around the table that she and Chrysa fell in love with. It captured everything they wanted the house to embody, organic and modern, but still comfortable and >>

68 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 69 MODERN 705 Paso Robles Street, Paso Robles, CA 805-227-6697 • a1glasswindows.com Visit our New Window and Door Experience Center in downtown Paso Robles! Marvin Signature® Modern windows and doors bring exceptional design and performance to any home. Now available on the Central Coast with your local Marvin dealer and the certified installation experts at A-1 Glass.

timeless. Accordingly, it made the ten-week delay in receiving the furniture, on top of a ten-week expected lead time, worth the wait. In the powder bathroom, they found a wallpaper that they loved and balanced the large pattern with more simple finishes. They also decided to have some fun with the light fixtures. They envisioned them being funkier and more unexpected and knew if they grew tired of them in a few years, they would be easier swaps to make than some of the more permeant decisions. And one thing stands out as the unanimous favorite design feature: the cork wallpaper at the bar.

For anyone ready to take on a remodel in 2023, The Brothers urge you to order everything you want ahead of time, so you don’t have to reselect or extend your construction timeline. Faulkner stresses the gravity of taking the time to think about what is important to you and to be realistic about how you live in a space—it should look beautiful, but that won’t matter if the lack of function drives you crazy while using it. As always, Knoll would remind us that the value really is in the collaboration of the team you pull together. SLO LIFE

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72 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 SLO LIFE ® *Comparing December 2021 to December 2022 // San Luis Obispo Coastal Association of REALTORS | REAL ESTATE STATISTICS COUNTY WIDE MEDIAN SELLING PRICE $743,500 UP FROM $790,000 ONE YEAR AGO ACTIVE LISTINGS 1,197 UP FROM 356 LAST YEAR AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET twenty fIVE DOWN FROM 26 LAST YEAR PROPERTIES SOLD 2,060 DOWN FROM 3,094 LAST YEAR AVERAGE PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT $473 DOWN FROM $520 LAST YEAR AVERAGE % OF ASKING PRICE 96.3% DOWN FROM 100.1% LAST YEAR
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 73 ForgeaNatural Connection www.GardensbyGabriel.com lic.# 887028 805-215-0511 LIC #1036406 Your life is here. Let’s make it b e a u t i f u l . freshpaintslo.com
74 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023
| SLO CITY SLO LIFE Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market 2021 79 $785,425 $796,567 101.42% 16 2022 54 $976,195 $1,018,726 104.36% 12 +/-31.65% 24.29% 27.89% 2.94% -55.56% REAL
Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market 2021 69 $937,649 $943,549 100.63% 28 2022 36 $1,223,240 $1,256,017 102.68% 15 +/-47.83% 30.46% 33.12% 2.05% -46.43% tank farm Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market 2021 40 $1,169,790 $1,159,154 99.09% 28 2022 19 $1,223,737 $1,271,783 103.93% 19 +/-52.50% 4.61% 9.72% 4.84% -32.14% cal poly area Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market 2021 24 $1,601,292 $1,610,223 100.56% 18 2022 21 $1,917,667 $1,939,548 101.14% 25 +/-12.50% 19.76% 20.45% 0.58% 38.89%
club Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market 2021 102 $971,901 $984,279 101.27% 33 2022 52 $1,147,373 $1,187,187 103.47% 20 +/-49.02% 18.05% 20.61% 2.20% -39.39%
Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market 2021 37 $942,751 $953,028 101.09% 31 2022 22 $1,269,955 $1,289,212 101.52% 17 +/-40.54% 34.71% 35.28% 0.43% -45.16% foothill
Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market 2021 61 $1,080,230 $1,107,228 102.50% 22 2022 39 $1,111,790 $1,165,994 104.88% 25 +/-36.07% 2.92% 5.31% 2.38% 13.64% johnson avenue *Comparing 01/01/21 - 12/31/21 to 01/01/22 - 12/31/22
SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Coastal Association of REALTORS ®
ESTATE BY THE NUMBERS laguna lake
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Reach out today, and let’s look at the possibilities available. We’re here to help.

Donna Lewis

Branch Manager & SVP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8743

C: (805) 235-0463

donna.lewis@rate.com

Ermina Karim

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 329-4095

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Eileen Mackenzie

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 212-5204

C: (831) 566-9908

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Maggie Koepsell

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8742

C: (805) 674-6653

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Matthew Janetski

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 329-4092

C: (619) 300-2651

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Joe Hutson

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (831) 205-1582

C: (831) 212-4138

joe.hutson@rate.com

Mike Luna

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 456-5799

C: (805) 610-0105

mike.luna@rate.com

Luana Geradis

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 329-4087

C: (707) 227-9582

luana.gerardis@rate.com

Lisa Renelle

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 456-5344

C: (805) 674-2931

lisa.renelle@rate.com

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 75
• 1065 Higuera St., Suite 100, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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BY THE NUMBERS

76 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO COUNTY SLO LIFE Arroyo Grande Atascadero Avila Beach Cambria/San Simeon Cayucos Creston Grover Beach Los Osos Morro Bay Nipomo Oceano Pismo Beach Paso (Inside City Limits) Paso (North 46 - East 101) Paso (North 46 - West 101) Paso (South 46 - East 101) San Luis Obispo Santa Margarita Templeton Countywide
2021 377 418 26 200 67 12 159 145 171 290 53 139 434 54 110 72 481 26 168 3,094 2022 256 299 17 124 50 8 115 127 105 241 49 100 310 42 78 42 283 9 89 2,060 REGION NUMBER OF HOMES SOLD 2021 25 16 27 39 40 58 16 14 37 22 22 28 17 27 42 36 26 46 33 26 2022 27 18 22 33 86 72 21 22 27 24 27 23 18 20 50 24 19 22 24 25 AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET 2021 $1,025,293 $736,337 $1,960,852 $1,114,768 $1,559,119 $1,082,917 $709,830 $861,588 $1,012,421 $851,190 $666,979 $1,296,936 $619,887 $852,812 $951,398 $927,960 $1,041,233 $751,110 $1,024,188 $894,909 2022 $1,147,826 $826,207 $2,168,656 $1,271,496 $1,827,405 $1,574,063 $744,670 $992,875 $1,124,576 $1,016,082 $747,612 $1,420,461 $726,211 $836,343 $1,149,815 $904,983 $1,255,496 $764,333 $1,263,703 $1,008,960 AVERAGE SELLING PRICE *Comparing 01/01/21 - 12/31/21 to 01/01/22 - 12/31/22 REAL ESTATE ® San Luis Obispo Coastal Association of REALTORS 895 Pismo Street San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 Ben Lerner 805.441.9486 www.blerner.com ben.lerner@ccm.com Win the rate game! 3-2-1 rate buydown Let me help you find the right option! The 3-2-1 temporary buydown gives you a lower rate and lower monthly payments for the first three years of your loan. Equal Housing Opportunity. All loans subject to underwriting approval. Certain restrictions apply. Call for details. All borrowers must meet minimum credit score, loan-to-value, debt-to-income, and other requirements to qualify for any mortgage program. CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC NMLS3029 NMLS2131793 NMLS395723 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 77 LIC 948012 | PO BOX 391 SAN LUIS OBISPO CA 93406 805.542.0033 WWW.STALWORK.COM MAIL@STALWORK.COM INC CONSTRUCTION + DESIGN S TA L WORK COMMERCIAL | RESIDENTIAL | INTERIORS | ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN | LANDSCAPE + MAINTENANCE

Drink Up

Why water is essential for health.

ater has an alluring quality that draws us to it—we seek to build our homes near oceans and lakes; we stare at bodies of water in contemplation, swim in it, feel its warm cascade as we shower, and its cool, quenching nature when we drink.

Because more than half of our physical bodies are made of water, we must consume it daily and in plentiful supply to function at our best.

We sometimes obsess over the look of our body’s largest organ, skin. With a pinch, we check our hydration. Drinking water— or hydrating—can help keep that skin supple and help lips from chapping.

More than that, Mayo Clinic lists water’s ability to aid us in bodily temperature control, lubricate and cushion our joints, protect sensitive tissues, and rid the body of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Even mild dehydration saps the body of energy leaving us feeling tired. >>

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| HEALTH
W
FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 79

“So, when all of this is happening [when we’re drinking water], we are happy; we have more energy, better skin, and just overall joy,” said Kitty Arosteguy, owner of The Spa Central Coast, a local business based on holistic health and healing. “So, do you want to feel and look amazing? Then do the least expensive thing and drink water.”

Arosteguy talked about the physical qualities of water and emphasized their connection to the spiritual when she quoted a poem by Tao Te Ching, which begins,

“The Supreme Goddess is like water

It benefits all things without contention. In dwellings it stays grounded. In being, it flows to depths.”

Amy Foster, massage therapist and owner of Atascadero’s Complete Escape, said, not only does she recommend drinking more water to her clients but also to her husband and two sons. “Any time anyone in my family has any type of ailment, I tell them to go drink more water,” she said. “Or I ask, ‘Have you had any water today?’ More water fixes so many issues.”

Other healing health practices like massage are most beneficial when followed by bringing more water into the body, Foster said. “During a massage your muscles are being manipulated causing toxins, and other waste materials to flow into the bloodstream,” she explained. “To help your liver and kidneys process and flush out these toxins, it is important to

drink extra water to help along the process. It will help prevent soreness, sluggishness, and fatigue.”

But where is all this water we need to be drinking? Unless we find a local spring from which to fill our jars, water comes at a price. We buy it in individual bottles, fill five-gallon jugs for coolers, run it through filters, and take it straight from the tap.

The tap is certainly the most convenient, but is it safe?

Leslie Terry, supervising environmental health specialist with San Luis Obispo County government, talked about our local water supply, how it’s monitored for quality, and whether she drinks it herself.

“I can’t make recommendations on drinking our local water. I will share that I do drink tap water,” Terry said. “I live in a 100+-year-old house in downtown SLO, so at home, I use a pitcher with a filter because I’m not sure about the plumbing materials we have. When I’m out, I drink tap too—usually with lemon.”

So how does she know it’s safe?

According to Terry, there are two entities regulating drinking water in SLO County—the California State Water Control Board Division of Drinking Water and the Environmental Health Services Division of the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department.

That’s government-speak meaning that the state and county work together to protect public health and safety by ensuring safe drinking water. >>

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The State of California regulates systems with 200 or more service connections while Environmental Health regulates everything else.

“Tap water is heavily regulated—systems providing water are regularly tested for bacteria and a long list of chemicals; they need to have a certified operator, and they undergo detailed inspections,” Terry said.

Then the same must be true of bottled water, right?

Terry said bottled water isn’t monitored in the same way local water supplies are. Instead, the bottled drink is regulated similarly to soda, as a product on store shelves. It’s still monitored for quality, but it’s verified less frequently than tap water.

“Personally, I avoid bottled water but not because of a concern about quality,” Terry said. “I try to watch packaging and disposable items, especially single-use plastics because I’m concerned about their impact on the planet . . . Like anything, consumers should make informed decisions about the products they support.”

Mayo advises that men drink about 124 ounces of water and that women drink 92 ounces for optimal health.

Whether we turn on a tap or screw the top off a bottle, the bottom line is, drinking more water is essential for good health. SLO LIFE

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Continuing the legacy at French Hospital

French Hospital Medical Center is pleased to welcome our new President and CEO, Patrick Caster, who is proud to lead the team with 25 years of progressive health care leadership experience.

Patrick remains committed to being at the forefront of care and continuing the legacy of quality that French Hospital is known for, such as the recent recognition by Leapfrog for patient safety. French is one of only 22

hospitals in the country to be awarded an “A” in every Hospital Safety Grade cycle since the cycle began in 2012.

The success of the hospital and Patrick’s vision of superior care for all will serve the community well into the future.

We welcome Patrick to French Hospital and the community of San Luis Obispo!

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 83
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| TASTE

Sum It Up

When I open the door to Oki Kohi Espresso Bar in San Luis Obispo, Jon Yeh walks around the counter holding his keys. “I need to take my kids to school,” he says. “Order a drink and I’ll be right back?”

This is the perfect introduction to a man doing excellent work making dim sum and other Asian delights with a skeleton crew. While he’s out, I grab a cappuccino and study the menu.

“The day-to-day of the restaurant business is hard,” he says upon his return. During the course of our hour-long conversation, it’s clear that the recent closure of his first restaurant, Oki Momo, is still a tender topic. Located just across the parking lot in The Village At Broad Street, Oki Momo opened in 2016 and closed last year; Yeh counts the labor shortage, inflation, and an unsustainable business model as culprits.

“It’s labor intensive to make little dishes,” he says of Oki Momo’s generous menu that included noodles, meats, sauces, rice, salads, and other veggies. “It’s not that we didn’t have customers out the door every day.”

He hadn’t planned to open another eatery, but when the restaurant space across the parking lot came up for rent, Yeh decided to open Oki Kohi as a sister business: a little coffee shop with espresso drinks, dim sum items, simple dishes, and a mini Asian grocery. The coffee shop’s name means “big coffee” in Japanese. >>

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 85
This tucked-away cafe serves an appetizing array of coffee drinks and dim sum dishes—with a sunny attitude

Before I even taste the food and drink at Oki Kohi, it feels familiar. The space is bright and friendly, with a steady stream of cheerful soft jazz playing in the background and a cartoon sun motif throughout. This little graphic—the sun with a cute crooked smile—does a good job of summing up everything Oki Kohi is about: vibrantly-flavored little dishes and a healthy dose of caffeine.

Of course, dim sum refers to a specific dining style that includes servers bearing carts stacked high with steamer baskets, ready to offer guests whichever small bites strike their fancy.

“Dim sum translates as ‘little bits of heart,’” says Yeh. “The fun part is picking from the server’s selections. They’re constantly coming through, so it’s like, ‘What fun treats are coming next?’”

When he conceived the idea to offer dim sum dishes at the coffee shop, Yeh wanted to be clear with guests that it wasn’t the traditional dim sum dining arrangement. “There isn’t much demand for authentic dim sum here,” he says, “but I’ve seen old newspaper clippings of dim sum places in SLO from the past.” His graphic designer suggested “dim sun” instead of “dim

sum” to tie in the sun motif and establish Oki Kohi’s version as its own thing. The idea stuck.

As Yeh and I talk, manager Ferdinand Kho brings over several dim sum dishes for me to try, including shumai pork dumplings, sticky rice dumplings, egg rolls and char siu bao. Everything tastes clean and fresh while offering the sustenance of homemade comfort food. In particular, I fall for the Taiwanese beef noodle soup, which is spectacularly tender, umami and bright with spices. “My dad used to make this a lot for us when we were kids,” Yeh says. “It’s always been something I crave.”

Oki Kohi also serves breakfast pastries like croissants and morning buns, as well as desserts like the decadent and spongy Butter Mochi, a traditional Hawaiian dish that leaves me speechless for a moment. Though Yeh is Chinese-American, he doesn’t feel the need to adhere to any single style or origin of cuisine.

“It’s a little bit irritating that when you try to make any kind of ‘ethnic’ food, everyone comes out of the woodwork to tell you how inauthentic it is,” he says, citing a diner whose negative review of Oki Momo claimed that Yeh’s bahn mi sandwich

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wasn’t anything like the one they’d eaten in Bangkok. “I feel like people sometimes try to pigeonhole us based on what they perceive we should be. That really cuts down on the ability to innovate and do interesting things. I’m not trying to do Chinese food or traditional Korean food. I’m just making things I like to eat, so we have a little bit of everything.”

Making the food he likes to eat is more a function of Yeh’s cravings than a deep, long-standing passion for cooking. In fact, Yeh is an attorney by trade who became dissatisfied with his work and simultaneously missed his favorite foods. After growing up in eastern Tennessee, studying at the University of Georgia, and practicing law in Seattle, he settled in San Luis Obispo to be near family. “And somewhere along the line, I thought a restaurant like this could work here.”

Ask anyone who’s popped into Oki Kohi for a latte, a scone, a curry beef puff pastry or a zhong zi sticky rice dumpling, and they’ll agree: work here, it definitely does. SLO LIFE

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sip sip hoo ray

| WINE NOTES

I’ve always believed that Champagne and sparkling wine aren’t to be saved just for New Year’s Eve and special celebrations, but that wines with bubbles should be part of our daily lives. Every salesperson in every wine shop I’ve ventured into lately has at least a couple of bubbly wines at the top of their “must-try” list.

This brings us to Tracy Bogue and Club Bubbly. The proprietor of this diminutive outpost of effervescence in downtown SLO’s The Creamery, Bogue, a former distributor salesperson, is confirmation of how following one’s passion plays out in real life. The wines she offers are broad in scope and deep in vision, maximizing the use of the small space without patrons feeling crowded. Bogue calls her selection process “more of a feeling than following a formula.” She elaborates, “My goal is to focus on smaller producers who make their wine start to finish, from the fruit to the bottle. I only work with small production wines with interesting backstories. I can’t compete with Costco, but neither can they compete with what I have to offer here.”

“Education is what keeps me fascinated with the wine business,” says Bogue. I respect the discernment between Champagne and other sparklers—I’m not talking about good and better, but about different. It’s fun to see where people want to go with their bubbles, so I work within everyone’s budgets with no pretension involved. Every tasting I do is accompanied by however much education the patron might want. I just want people to enjoy themselves here, whether they’ve stopped in for a glass of wine, a tasting flight, or for a full-on education.”

Club Bubbly’s tasting flights usually consist of three two-ounce pours of different wines for $18, served in a natural progression. Wines by the glass are available too, and a lot of people stop in while waiting for a table nearby at Goshi. The makeup of the tasting list changes every couple of weeks, with many customers regularly stopping by to taste the new wines and picking up bottles to enjoy at home.

Were Club Bubbly only about the bubbles, it would still be a superb shop, but there is an eclectic wall of still wines to add to the vibe. The overall lineup of the shop would make a geographer envious: bottles of Pais from Chile, Sauvignon Blanc from Rueda, red blends from France mix nicely with the diverse selection of sparklers from Italy, Australia, Austria, the United Kingdom, California, and Oregon.

I asked Bogue for a few of her favorite bottles, and the first to spring to mind was the Charles le Bel Inspiration 1818 Brut, the second label of legendary Champagne grand marque Billecart-Salmon. The wine is blended from young vine fruit and juice that didn’t quite fit into the Billecart-Salmon main label. “It’s real-deal Champagne and it’s fresh and quite inspiring to pour for people. I’ve had a lot of customers come back and buy it again, and that’s the best indication that my patrons love a particular wine.“

Another popular choice that might be seen as maybe just a little unusual for a wine bar is the Leitz Eins Zwei Zero, an alcohol-free sparkling Riesling from Germany. The grapes are fermented before undergoing the vacuum distillation process that removes the alcohol, but leaves a striking Riesling >>

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 89

character. This is an impeccably balanced, immensely tasty wine that goes great alongside mussels or fresh seafood. It’s available in cans, which are perfect in the summer. And, adds Bogue, “If you’re pregnant, observing a dry January, or are just don’t drink alcoholic beverages, being able to enjoy a glass of Eins Zwei Zero lets you be part of the fun with your group.”

“One of my favorite wines in the shop right now is the 2019 Summaroca Cava Brut Reserve. I think Cava, in general, is one of the best values in sparkling wine. It puts just as many smiles on faces as the French bubbles do, but it’s only about half the price.” Cava uses grapes like Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada in the French methode Champenoise winemaking process. It’s time consuming and labor-intensive to produce and it is an eminently pleasurable bottle of bubbles.

“For red wine lovers, it’s tough to beat the 2020 El Lugar Central Coast Pinot Noir. A blend of grapes from Greengate. Rincon, Bien Nacido, and Spanish Springs vineyards, it’s native fermented, spends eleven months in-barrel, and is quite elegant. It is what classic Central Coast Pinot Noir is supposed taste like.”

Bogue adds, “We’ve only been open since July and we’re still a work in progress. I may tweak the selection a little and I’m hoping to relaunch my Champagne club this year, so lovers of Champagne don’t need to drive to Club Bubbly to get their fix.”

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how Belgium does beer and where to find it locally

| BREW

I went out drinking with our intrepid photographer Todd Meaney, again. This time we wanted to eschew our normal haunts and find a place with a good selection of Belgian beers. Something about this cooler time of year mixed with a quaff of mildly spiced brew makes you want to enjoy the 18th largest import of this small European country.

Nestled smack dab in the middle of Northwestern Europe, Belgium is surrounded on four sides by neighboring countries and one side by the English Channel. On a clear day, you can even see straight across to the Cliffs of Dover in England, although when I was in Belgium I couldn’t see straight. Must have been foggy.

How can such a small country have such a large reputation for their beers? Well, to put it simply, to make a sub-par beer would be an affront to God. Far from the height of scientific methods, fifteen hundred years ago the task of brewing was left to the women who would subsidize their family income by brewing beers. Having few resources to pool, they would use whatever ingredients they had available, add some murky water, and hope for the ensuing bubbles to be the right kind. The saving grace for humanity at the time was that you must boil your wort to make beer, so they inadvertently purified their water while making some sort of brew.

Monasteries also needed income for their day-to-day operations and entered the homebrew competition of life. Eventually they squeezed out the barely lethal rogue operations and attacked brewing with a . . . religious fervor. These Trappist monks had the patience of a, uh, brewer, and the precision of engineers. Anything less and it would reflect poorly on the big man Himself. Meticulous note taking and recipe tweaking helped them mass produce beer on a larger scale, all the while increasing drinkability. We can even thank them for adding hops to both balance out the malt sweetness and better preserve their creations. >>

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Fast forward to today, and we can go into most good bottle shops and find at least one Trappist beer and a wide selection of imported and local Belgian beers. Over the past five hundred or so years, these breweries have really been able to perfect their recipe, and only in the past couple of decades realized that bottles can be loaded on shipping containers. Tonight, we got to revel in the spoils of modern transportation and sit down on two comfy chairs to drink examples from three sides of the U.S. and across the pond to the Motherland.

I walked into SLO Wine & Beer Co. for the second time in my life and was greeted by James Springfield, the manager and man in charge of my libations for the evening. I politely said, “Hello,” but was struck by the transformation between my visits. On my first, there was a more industrial warehouse vibe with cases of wine serving as both structure and storage, and a line of glowing beer coolers against the wall. I don’t remember much else, just grabbing a couple cans to go and taking them home. This time, I definitely wanted to stay a while longer. Long gone are the cases and fluorescent lights. Now I’m greeted with a warm Edison-bulb glow, leather bar stools lined neatly against an expansive bar, and a full-sized wall mural, which was likely there before, but now stood prominently as a center piece of the lounge area. Matching leather club chairs are scattered throughout, providing comfortable nooks and crannies for an intimate night out, in addition to a more social area filled with cafe tables, two-tops, and four-tops with more stools, and chandeliers to light the room without the cold brightness of industrial lighting. I dig it, and said as much to Springfield.

Meaney and I perused the beer coolers lining the south wall and decided to take our mouths on a Tour du Belgian beers. Luckily, I cut my craft beer teeth on Belgian ales, so I’ve had these offerings before and am just relishing the opportunity to revisit some classics and enjoy some favorites. I’m really just prefacing my lack of notes from this session because one only says, “Yumm diddlyum.” Clearly, I’m a professional.

We start with a good one. Always start with a good one. This was a Curieux from Allagash Brewing in Portland, Maine. It is a golden tripel that has been aged in bourbon barrels to impart notes of honey and vanilla, then solera’d with a fresh batch to get both the nuances of the barrel and the foundation beer. It is indeed tasty, and my notes are still working, for now. In case you’re still trying to figure out how my spelling error got through the editor just a quick note that breweries/monasteries charged by the strength of the beer with three X’s being the highest, then two, then one, then a “small” beer that the monks drank themselves utilizing a second pass over the used ingredients. This isn’t the most traditional of beers, but it is tasty, and the subtle oak notes really play well with the base beer giving it an almost oaky Chardonnay vibe.

I’m jumping around the world sampling these beers as I lined them up specifically for a tasting, so before we try another American take, I jump over the pond as Springfield opens up a Kwak. The beer with an odd name has a great taste. Amber in color and more mellow of flavors, this Belgian Pale Strong ale is malty and warming. Famous for typically being served in a trumpet shaped glass and accompanying oak stand, this brew can be served in a dog bowl and still stand on its own. We continue the malt train and jump back all the way to the West Coast and drink a standard here, Brother Thelonius from North Coast Brewing in Fort Bragg, California. This dark dubbel (two X’s) is technically a Belgian Dark Strong ale, but despite being strong, it’s notoriously smooth. Roasty, nutty, clove aromas wafting from the glass with a boozy finish, it sits firmly in my “fireplace” beers category, being a great sipper to share with another.

We palette cleanse with a Canadian brewery’s take on a Belgian White Ale, known colloquially as a Wit Bier. This flagship beer from Unibroue in Quebec pours a pale straw color, unlike the other beers, and has a bright orange and clove presence. It helped clear our heads and offered a ray of brightness in a world of dark, rich offerings. We quickly dispatched it and decided to give ourselves dreams of dancing pink elephants as we crack our final beer, a Delirium Nocturnum. This blue can adorned with an iconic pink elephant is Brouwerij Huyghe’s dark take on the more popular Delirium Tremens. The Belgians are really good at making Belgian beer and this is no exception. Robust and figgy, I can still pick up stone fruit and caramel, but my senses are starting to relax, as are my notes.

Having spent three hours talking with the knowledgeable Springfield, joking with Meaney as he photographs bottles, and sipping one beer category made in three different countries, I’m really enjoying my visit. The new ambiance allows time to slow, despite the cars speeding down Higuera Street. I grab a few bottles and cans to go, again, but once home, I promptly tell my wife we need to go back for a date night. I’m happy to see another locale where I can sit back, relax, and travel the world one glass at a time. So, raise a stemmed tulip or snifter of your finest bananaclove-estered Belgian tripel to SLO Wine & Beer Co. and quaff a Kwak with me!

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Culture & Events

DIRTY LAUNDRY

The average American throws away seventy pounds of clothing every year. This constant demand for clothing has given way to the expansion of an industry in which clothes are designed and sold quickly to keep up with ever-changing trends. California-based artists explore the environmental impact of “fast fashion” in this SLO Museum of Art exhibit through site-specific installations, sculpture, and print media.

Through February 27 // sloma.org

Lumber Jacks In Love

1912 at Haywire Minnesota, 200 miles from the nearest woman. Lumberjacks Slim, Muskrat, Dirty Bob, Moonlight, and The Kid live their bachelor life. However, when Slim accidentally orders himself a mailorder bride named Rose, their simple shanty lives are turned upside down.

Through March 25 // americanmelodrama.com

SOCIAL JUSTICE TEACH-IN

Cal Poly’s seventh annual day of discovery and inspiration is a virtual series of talks and workshops centered around equity and social justice designed to inform and inspire. Sessions include art and creative efforts, equity-minded education, and self-care and community well-being.

February 9 // cla.calpoly.edu

ROCK SCISSORS PAPER, SLUG FROG SNAKE

The Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery at Cuesta College presents a solo exhibition of the works of JooLee Kang, an artist working in pen and ink drawing, paper sculpture, and digital animation in both the U.S. and Korea. She interprets complicated interactions between human and nature in various perspectives, and asks for understanding and consideration of our possibility and dignity.

Through March 10 // cuesta.edu

AN UNTITLED LOVE

Kyle Abraham’s contemporary dance company, A.I.M, comes to the Performing Arts Center SLO with a new, eveninglength work. Drawing from the catalog of Grammy Award-winning R&B legend D’Angelo, this Cal Poly Arts presentation pays homage to love while serving as a thumping mixtape celebrating culture, family, and community.

February 9 // pacslo.org

RING OF FIRE

From SLO REP and the songbook of Johnny Cash comes this unique, original musical about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption, and the healing power of home and family. More than two dozen classic hits, including “I Walk The Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and the title tune, all performed by a multi-talented cast, paint a musical portrait of The Man in Black—a foot-stompin’ crowd-pleasin’ salute to a unique musical legend.

February 10-March 12 // slorep.org

96 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023 | HAPPENINGS

MUSTANG BALL

The Cal Poly DanceSport Team hosts its fifteenth annual Mustang Ball Ballroom and Latin Danceport Competition on the Cal Poly campus. A wide variety of nightclub events, a formation team competition, performances, a team match, and other dance events are scheduled throughout the day.

February 11 // mustangball.com

TO HELL AND BACH

One of the most sought-after concert organists in the world comes to the Performing Arts Center SLO. Felix Hell, a native of Germany, has been featured as a recitalist and concerto soloist in more than 1,000 concerts throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

February 18 // pacslo.org

Thee Sacred Souls

For Thee Sacred Souls, the first time is often the charm. The band’s first club dates led to a record deal with the revered Daptone label; their first singles racked up more than ten million streams in a year and garnered attention from Billboard and Rolling Stone.

February 14 // slobrew.com

Blendfest

Experience the awe-inspiring and unique offerings of the Highway 1 Discovery Route with BlendFest Coastal Excursions. A blend of Paso’s best wines and some of Cambria and San Simeon’s most exciting adventures.

February 23-26 // pasowine.com

THE LONE BELLOW

Cal Poly Arts presents the articulate and emotionally intelligent roots rock group that came together after three Southerners pulled up stakes and moved to Brooklyn. Their music embraces the dynamics of bluegrass and gospel, the fire of rock ‘n’ roll, and the passion of the blues while sharing tales of folks trying to make something of their lives. Indie duo Tall Heights opens for the group in the Performing Arts Center SLO.

February 15 // pacslo.org

SCOTT YOO & GUESTS

Festival Mozaic Music Director Scott Yoo (violin) brings fellow musicians Burt Hara (clarinet), John Novacek (piano), and Bion Tsang (cello) together for an afternoon chamber music concert featuring works by Novacek, Brahms, Fauré, and Price at the Cuesta College Cultural and Performing Arts Center.

February 26 // festivalmozaic.org

FEB/MAR 2023 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 97
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COMPANY

The Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim/George Furth musical comedy featuring many of Sondheim’s best-known songs comes to Spanos Theatre. It’s a comedic and heartfelt look at relationships fueled by the complexities of love, commitment, and friendship, exploring the modern reality of “Being Alive.”

March 2-11 // theatredance.calpoly.edu

JEWISH FILM AND LEARNING FESTIVAL

JCC-Federation of SLO and Cal Poly’s Hillel partner to present a combined film and learning event celebrating Jewish culture and identity from around the world. Topical guest speakers, panel discussions, and a diverse slate of films screening at the Palm Theatre.

March 9-12 // jccslo.org

EMMA

PCPA presents the romantic misadventures, misplaced confidences, and matchmaking in the town of Highbury Park that have made Jane Austin’s novel a favorite among old and young.

March 2-19 // pcpa.org

BRAVE NEW WORLD

Violin soloist and Nipomo resident Mischa Lefkowitz makes his SLO Symphony debut with Schumann’s Violin Concerto at the Performing Arts Center SLO. Patrice Rushen’s “Sinfonia” and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” (which includes members of the SLO Youth Symphony) complete the SLO Symphony’s spring program.

March 4 // slosymphony.org

Singing Her Story

Canzona Women’s Ensemble offers an afternoon concert of heartfelt storytelling and song. The musical selections are inspired by the various heritages of Canzona’s singers, highlighting diverse repertoire from a wide range of ethnic cultures.

March 12 // canzonawomen.org

FOLK MUSIC OF THE WORLD

Join the Vocal Arts Ensemble for a tour of the world with selections from Spain, Japan, New Zealand, and Israel—then come home to American folk.

March 16, 18 & 19 // vocalarts.org

THE WALL THAT HEALS

The official three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (located in Washington, D.C.) comes to Madonna Meadows at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in SLO. The wall bears the names of the 58,281 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam, and is open with free admission and parking.

March 16-19 // vetmuseum.org

Morro Bay Annual Yard Sale

Enjoy the 23rd Annual citywide yard sale presented by Morro Bay Beautiful. The sale will take place on nearly every street in the city from 8am-2pm. Explore and enjoy the scenery and local dining spots as you shop.

March 24-26 // morrobay.org

98 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2023

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