SLO LIFE Magazine Apr/May 2016

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• A key step in preparing for emergencies is knowing the ways in which you may be notified. In San Luis Obispo County, officials will utilize different public alert and notification systems based on the type and severity of the emergency. Some of the options available include the Early Warning System sirens, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), and Reverse 911. • Should an emergency occur at Diablo Canyon Power Plant that requires the public to take action, the sirens and EAS would be the primary method of public alert and notification. These systems provide rapid and consistent information throughout the Emergency Planning Zone. • During an emergency, it is important to stay tuned to local radio and TV stations to receive current information and any actions you may need to take.

• For more information on how you can be kept informed of local emergencies, please visit: or call (805)781-5011.


Dear San Luis Obispo Community,

It is with great pride that I inform you that French Hospital Medical Center has again been named one of the Nation’s Top 100 Hospitals! Remarkably, this is the third time that we have been recognized with this most prestigious national award by Truven Health Analytics, a leading provider of information solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. The award winners represent the highest national standards in hospital care and management and further recognize French Hospital as a leader in the industry!

Along with the designation of being a Top 100 Hospital, this acknowledgment falls on the heels of 17 recent Healthgrades awards. Furthermore, French Hospital recently received its seventh consecutive Hospital Safety Score of “A” by the Leapfrog Group and was named one of the 100 Great Community Hospitals in the United States by Becker’s Hospital Review, 2015.

French Hospital has been independently recognized as one of the very best places for health care in the United States. This truly magnificent achievement is a testament to our collective efforts. Please join me in congratulating our entire leadership team, physicians, volunteers, and most importantly, the women and men who every day provide incredible care to achieve superior outcomes for our patients. Thank you for your ongoing passion and commitment to excellence!

I would also like to recognize our volunteer Community Board, Foundation Board, Hearst Cancer Resource Center Committee, donors, and many other friends of French Hospital Medical Center. We have achieved this success due in great part to your support and navigation.

This is an exciting time for French Hospital Medical Center. We recently opened the doors to our state-of-the-art Copeland Health Education Pavilion, providing caregivers and community members access to educational classes, simulation labs, and research facilities. Our newly designed and constructed front entrance, atrium, courtyard, and reflection pool were unveiled and we opened a new 14-bed specialty care wing to accommodate the distinct needs of a variety of patients. Construction has commenced on the Stollmeyer Family Birthing Center to include additional private birthing rooms, a family waiting area, an upgraded nursing station, and a new C-Section Suite. Numerous innovative updates are being made to enhance the patient and visitor experience and to propel French Hospital into a new era of health care capabilities.

I want to extend my sincerest appreciation for reaching these remarkable achievements and being named one of the Nation’s Top 100 Hospitals for a third time!

To learn more about how the Nation’s Top 100 hospitals make a difference, visit





30 CONTENTS Volume 7 Number 2 Apr/May 2016
We spent a warm, sunny day finding out how this competitive surfer
Publisher’s Message Info On the Cover In Box 12 14 16 18 Timeline Look back at the most recent newsworthy events from in and around the Central Coast over the past two months. View With water conservation in mind, BRITTANY ANZEL APP focuses her lens to poignantly expose the realities of drought. 24 26
became an aficionado of rusty gold.


With 51 years at Farm Supply under his belt, JIM BRABECK reflects on his philosophy for living with integrity.


After writing 52 songs in 52 weeks, SUSAN RITCHIE is ready to release her favorites in a new album.


When 11 friends join together to bike the Central California coastline, what they discover is more than just its beauty.


We know you’re busy and that there is a ton of information available, so we dove in and whittled down the facts to our top five nutritional tips worth trying.

Special Feature

In this ongoing feature exploring the 25-year-old San Luis Obispo County institution known as LEADERSHIP SLO, we get to know a few of its graduates from classes six through ten in this issue.


Popping up on nearly every street corner, businesses are selling açaí bowls like they’re going out of style. Here, JAIME LEWIS takes a bite out of this latest food craze.


Whether filled with meat or fresh-chopped veggies, CHEF JESSIE RIVAS shares his recipe for tasty fajitas.


Modern lines and abundant windows give the home of PHIL AND SANDI COLBERT a distinctive look.

Real Estate

We share the year-to-date statistics of home sales for both the city and the county of San Luis Obispo.


Always on the cusp of what’s new and now, PADEN HUGHES learns to recharge and relax in a new, old way.


While the Central Coast is more well known for its wine, BRANT MYERS explores our local microbrewery scene and its fast-growing popularity.


Check out the calendar to discover t he best e vents around the Central Coast in April and May.

On the Rise

San Luis Obispo High School Senior LUKE O’LEARY shares his interest in all things agriculture and answers our questions about his future aspirations.

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74 80 92 100 102 104 106


Last month, in the thick of preparing this issue of the magazine to send off to the printer, I volunteered as a chaperone for my son’s fifth grade class during their three-day stay at Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria. The timing could not have worse… and, it could not have been better.

While there, I did what I could to squeeze in a little writing here, some editing there; and that’s when it happened. I cannot remember which day it was because I was bunking with nine 11-year-old boys and was a sleep deprived mess. It doesn’t matter the day anyway, because it will be a story I will likely repeat many times over, and it will start simply: “One day…”

That morning, I was able to review the rough draft of our Timeline feature, which is a collection of newsworthy events from around the county. As I scanned the entries, I found that I was already familiar with most of the items, except for one. On February 15th, a marine biologist from UC Santa Cruz had stopped by the Veterans’ Hall in Morro Bay to talk about something called “sea star wasting disease.” I underlined what I figured was an error, perhaps a typo: 95% of our county’s sea stars have died.

Later that day, my trail group was scheduled to hike out to the tide pools. There, the naturalist, who led a hands-on tour, talked about the various species we spotted—mostly hermit crabs and sea anemones—before turning the fifth graders loose to explore independently. My mind wandered amid the sounds of laughter when the naturalist passed by. “Hey, I’ve got a question for you,” I talked in the same hushed tone employed by parents discussing Christmas presents. “I haven’t seen any starfish around here; is it true that they are dying off?” After an uncomfortably long pause, and an expression that would have been the same had I landed a right cross to his midsection, he answered, “Yes—they’re gone.”

A couple of months back, I, along with about thirty other people, took turns speaking at Laguna Middle School about our respective professions, and how we came to do what we do for a living. Career Day featured a fascinating cross-section of many different pathways ranging from architecture to politics. As luck would have it, my presentation was scheduled to follow a firefighter. How do you compete with that? Practically, everyone wants to be a firefighter (including myself after hearing his speech!). I saw eyes starting to glaze over during my talk, so I decided to take a radically different approach (if the firefighter was going to zig, I was going to zag), by encouraging the students, rather than asking themselves the classic question: “What do I want to be when I grow up?” Ask this one instead: “What problem do I want to solve?”

I was on a roll that day, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be asked back next year. The poor kids, one minute they are minding their own business, daydreaming about scaling ladders and plucking people from burning buildings; and the next they are trying to decipher the logic of some crazy magazine guy. My message to them that day: Don’t chase after a career that you think will “make you happy.” Instead, try to find purpose; try to find meaning. Do something to create value and bring good to the world, to your friends, your families, and your neighbors. From my own experience, I shared that the signposts along the way were hard to see, barely perceptible at times. But, the journey, I continued, is filled with subtle clues that may begin to reveal themselves when you are doing something worthwhile, something that challenges you, something you can lose yourself in—sorry, Minecraft doesn’t count—when hours feel like minutes. Go for the deep satisfaction that only comes from a job well done. Do something that matters. Be useful to others. Solve a problem.

After talking with the naturalist, who confirmed the accuracy of the news about sea star wasting, I slumped down heavily on a mostly dry, lichen covered outcropping that overlooked a beehive of activity below. Sitting there as I did, pensively, elbow on knee, hand in chin, consoled by the warm embrace of Cambrian sunshine, I thought back to Career Day, and my own rambling monologue. My mood began to shift from despondency to hopefulness as I considered the possibility that, at that very moment, one of the industrious little fifth graders traversing the tide pools below was asking a question: “Hey, wait a second—where are all the starfish?”

I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who has had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine and, most of all, to our advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you.

Live the SLO Life!

Tom Franciskovich


SLOLIFE magazine



Tom Franciskovich


Sheryl Disher


Paden Hughes

Dawn Janke

Jessie Rivas

Jaime Lewis

Brant Myers

Cory Jones


Vanessa Plakias

Trevor Povah

Colin Nearman

Brittany Anzel App

Kevin Bratcher


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 and click “Share Your Story” or email us at Be sure to include your full name and city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.


If you would like to advertise, please contact Tom Franciskovich by phone at (805) 543-8600 or by email at or visit us online at and we will send you a complete media kit with loads of testimonials from happy advertisers.


Ready to live the SLO Life all year long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to It’s just $24.95 for the year. And don’t forget to set your friends and family up with a subscription, too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!


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 expressed written permission of the publisher.


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 4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.


BEHIND the scenes


We met at the Greengate Ranch & Vineyard, just outside of SLO. It was a perfect sunny day with blue skies. The hills were green with wild mustard practically popping up before our eyes. There was some filming going on there, so we decided to meet at the house at the top of the hill. It turns out that Jaime’s grandmother’s brother owned that house back in the day, and she talked about how she used to play there as a little girl. Talk about a full-circle moment!

You can tell that Jaime and Carl are a great match, and they were so respectful toward each other. It was very sweet. They weren’t touchy-feely at all, but the way she looked at him was just pure love. You could tell that they are really on the same wavelength, too. They pretty much finished each other’s sentences as they talked about how much things have changed in the past 100 years, and were so sincere in their desire to preserve the best of the past.

I’m really into music and sing in a couple of bands myself, so I usually ask what sort of music people like when I do these shoots. Jaime talked about old, classic country; artists from way back, who I had never heard of like Carl Smith, Hank Snow, Faron Young, and Clarence Williams. She said her favorite songs were “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in it,” and “Yellow Rose of Texas.” I listened to them when I edited the photos and was getting so into it that I submitted the shots for the article with a slideshow with that music in the background. They’re on my playlist now.

Jaime is adorable and seems so much older and wiser than her 27 years. I really admire her gumption and beauty. I don’t know if those are the right words or not, but she is definitely not afraid to get in there and get her hands dirty. It was so cute because I finally realized that her old, vintage boot had a big hole in it. I think that just about summed it up. She’s out there walking around moving stuff around, as beautiful as she can be, wearing these antique boots, giving them a whole new life.


You said it...

Thank you for your excellent magazine. In fact, I’ve just read the last two issues all in the same day!

Congratulations on such an outstanding MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR article on Sarah Bellum and her inspiring work on ocean-related plastics clean-up and the very creative way that she is putting her ideas into action. She is a great model for everyone, clearly an emerging leader that will serve to motivate even more young people. As a middle-aged person, this young woman gives me hope for our future, and that there will be good people to step up on behalf of our communities and our world.


After reading the February/March issue to SLO Life’s IN BOX, I am left with two questions: Why would Paul Lee write his letter, and, more importantly, why would you publish it?

Sarah Bellum is a glowing, spirited individual who lives out her beliefs more than most people ever do. Her pictures portray her as the lovely, smiling, calm, and kind individual she is. To use Lee’s phrasing, she is the perfect embodiment of a “modern woman.”

Blowing up photos to get a better view of “Ms. Bellum’s medial border of her left nipple” isn’t a choice activity for healthy, well-adjusted people, and using medical terms can’t disguise that fact.

If your goal by publishing Lee’s letter was to publicly humiliate him, I don’t think you should have bothered--judging from his tone I am confident that he can accomplish that singular feat all on his own. After so thoroughly objectifying Ms. Bellum and somehow seeing a “scantily clad sex symbol,” you only furthered her objectification by printing his letter. It is not kind, informative, or even vaguely helpful.

As bold as Lee’s belief in his ability as a man to speak for the “modern woman,” his confidence is misplaced, as I know he doesn’t speak for me.

I also loved your most recent issue, and was struck by the IN BOX letter that was critical of your coverage of Sarah Bellum. He seems to have only looked at the photos of Ms. Bellum and made no mention of the outstanding content of the article. I entirely disagree with him. Rather, I see that your great photos of her show a joyous young person in love with life, and are in no sense inappropriate or unusual. Great job! And thanks for all you do!

My letter is in response to an IN BOX letter written by Paul Lee in the February/ March issue of SLO Life Magazine in which he accused SLO Life of portraying women and girls in an offensive way.

I know that you feel like you are saving us women from the big bad media wolf, but let me mention a few blowing up a photo to see if you can see an areola is beyond creepy... much creepier than any of the photos are offensive. You commenting on Sarah Bellum being bra-less...does she have to wear a bra to be a good woman? Is that part of the uniform we need to wear to get respect?

Ms. Bellum is an incredibly well spoken activist in our area and your focus on just her photographs says more about you than it does the magazine. How about celebrating a wonderful community member who happens to be a beautiful young woman instead of being a shaming, close-minded person.

I respectfully ask that you focus on your life and stop blowing up photos of young women so you can see some’s creepy.

business owner and bra burner


I love your magazine, I think it is one of the best in San Luis Obispo, but the TIMELINE story you printed about Richard Ferris, the owner of The Sub, and his critical remarks about the SLO Fire Department firefighters, also on the news, was way out of anything that was truthful.

I suggest you do a story on this and get the real story about how he ridiculed the fighters because they would not take off their masks and get in there.

Senseless man, the plastic record fumes would have killed them. If not damaged their lungs perhaps beyond repair.

I just wanted to say thank you for running the LEADERSHIP SLO stories! I am a proud member of “Lucky” Class 13. I loved the experience SO much, that I stepped on the board the following year. A few months in to Class XIV, Patti Rowe - the ED at that time, announced that she would be leaving at the end of the year to pursue her dream of becoming a docent at Hearst Castle. Patty and I worked together for the last half on Class XIV, then I took the reins for the next two years. I can never say enough about how valuable the experience was. I was then so honored to serve on the boardextending my close connection to the program. Being hired as ED then felt like winning the lottery - I found a way to do it all again! And today, I get to watch Sandi weave

her own magic into this invaluable local resource. So, again, thank you for covering this program! You have created a beautiful way to highlight this SLO treasure. —

Among many tragedies facing the USA and SLO today there is one I feel the most strongly about; corruption. It is something prevalent in nearly every corner of our society. I no longer believe it is acceptable for us to write off this corruption as simply “how it is.” Through recent research it is obvious to me that special interests gain control because our government legally allows nearly unlimited campaign financing. Our elected officials from local to federal levels are promising to pass special legislation to the highest bidder, often ignoring the popular opinion. When a beautiful country that values freedom,

justice, and democracy allows such activities to be legal the outcome is a people who no longer believe the system is working for their interests. Instead of being outraged and demanding an end to corruption we have been turning our backs on the system and not voting at all. If, instead, we come together we can end corruption by voting for representatives who aren’t for sale and will instead listen to their constituents. I am asking you to post my letter to help promote serious discussion that addresses corruption in politics and how to end it.

Former South County Sanitation District administrator John Wallace—also owner and president of San Luis Obispo-based engineering company the Wallace Group—was subject to an independent review, which found multiple incidents of conflicts of interest involving hiring of his own company. The Sanitation Board voted unanimously to forward the report on to the district attorney, the FBI, and the state attorney general for possible criminal charges. A petition declaring that “San Luis Obispo is crumbling under the weight of its students” was submitted to the city council requesting that the issue be placed on a future agenda. Citing student to permanent resident ratio that is much higher than other college towns, the petition seeks a cap for Cal Poly enrollment at 18,000 in 2017 (it currently enrolls 20,049). The university had set a goal of housing 65% of its students on-campus (it now houses 36.7%), yet, despite the new dorm construction underway at Grand Avenue and Slack Street, which is expected to add another 1,475 beds, the goal is a moving target because the administration also intends to add another 5,000 students. SLO LIFE JANUARY ‘16 1/6 Bus service is shut down in San Luis Obispo after a Cal Poly student stood up and addressed his fellow riders, warning them that there was a bomb on a SLO Transit bus, and to avoid riding it for a week. SLOPD later apprehended the computer science major, following his on-air interview with a KSBY reporter, but later released him to mental health services where he remained for several days following the incident. 1/15 As the spring semester began, 85 members of the Cuesta College faculty picketed on campus with signs that read, “The time is NOW! Fair pay for excellent work.” At issue was an impasse concerning compensation. The college had offered a 4.46% increase, but the faculty union held firm to its 6.41% request. Cuesta College faculty had received 1% raises in each Aquarium to build a multi-million dollar waterfront aquarium on the Embarcadero. The facility would replace the old aquarium, which had would require somewhere between $7 and $10 million and four years building would be leased to Central Coast Aquarium for $1 per year 1/25 An email sent out by Jeffrey Armstrong, president of Cal Poly, revealed that, “The university is discussing the possibility of developing a worforce-housing complex at the northeast corner of Grand Avenue and Slack Street. The employee housing complex would be built on 10 to 15 acres and could include up to 420 units.” The site in question had been designated for workforce housing in its Master Plan a year ago. follows a tried-and-true formula, which consists of a year-long learning and collaborating experience. Following a threeday retreat, which is intended to gel the group as they begin to grapple with questions, such as “What is a leader?” the format then settles into a once per month day session. Those day-long field trips to different areas of the county focus on different parts of life on the Central Coast, including Education/The Arts, Manufacturing & Agriculture, Media & Communication, Business/Economic Development, Sustainability, Criminal & Civil Justice, Health & Human Services, and Government & Political Process. During each day session, the Leadership class interviews panels of representatives (for example, Criminal & Civil Justice day may include the sheriff, police chief or two, both a prosecuting and defense attorney, etc.). The group then attempts to collaboratively answer both actual and theoretical questions facing the community (in the case of Criminal & Civil Justice day again, it may be, “Should we expand the jail? And why?”). At the end of the year, the class collaborates on a “legacy project,” something of enduring value that is left to the community. The program, known simply as “Leadership,” now in its 25th year, boasts a wide alumni network. Over the course of this year SLO LIFE Magazine individual from each class who will be sharing their experience with the program. For this first installment of the multi-part feature, our own Paden Hughes sits down with Michael Cannon (Class I), Kris Kington-Barker (Class II), Pat Veesart (Class III), Jim Grant (Class IV), and Peggy Carlaw (Class V), in an attempt to understand how Leadership has become one of the most beloved institutions on the Central Coast today. >> L
| TIMELINE Around the County DECEMBER ‘15 12/1 Developer Ryan Petetit, co-owner and CEO of San Luis Obispo-based PB Companies, stepped down following his Thanksgiving Day arrest for allegedly battering his girlfriend, who claimed that he had choked her and smashed her head through a window. During his arraignment where he was charged with five felonies, it was revealed that it was not the first time he had attacked woman. PB Companies and Petetit’s business partner John Belsher had been involved in the Long-Bonetti Ranch project on South Higuera and Tank Farm Road, as well as the Foster’s Freeze property in downtown San Luis Obispo, and has since changed its name to Central Coast Developers. 12/22 A hero’s welcome awaited Isaac Lindsey as he finally returned to his home in Templeton following a traumatic brain injury suffered more than three months prior in football game against SLO High. His family credits the quick actions of medical personnel following his collapse after what was believed to have been his second concussion of the game. Following an emergency brain surgery at the Sierra Vista Regional Medical Clinic in San Luis Obispo, Lindsey had been transferred to rehabilitation center in Santa Clara. 12/25 Testing reveals that toxic industrial solvents known as trichloroethylene, or TCE, and toluene, had been detected in somewhere between 11 and 21 domestic water wells in San Luis Obispo near Buckley Road. Officials were unable to determine the source of the contamination, but suspect that the TCE, historically used as a solvent and degreaser, as well as the toluene, a gasoline additive, could have originated at the nearby airport. 12/4 Embattled Los Osos Community Services District (CSD) general manager Kathy Kivley was placed on paid administrative leave amid ongoing scrutiny following an independent audit of the 2013-14 fiscal year, which found 12/26 A longtime San Luis Obispo institution, The Sub, goes up in smoke as an inventory of one-of-a-kind collectibles worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is lost. Richard Ferris, the owner of the 10,000-foot store, was critical of the firefighters who took more than six-hours to extinguish the blaze. The fire was later determined to have been accidental, and likely began somewhere near the front of the building.
BY PADEN HUGHES PHOTOGRAPHY BY RENODA CAMPBELL COMMUNITY | SPECIAL FEATURE Each year, in January, thirty-six San Luis Obispo County residents nervously eye each other from across a banquet room at the Wonder Valley Resort in the icy Sierra Nevada foothills above Fresno. Chosen through a lengthy application process to ensure maximum diversity, in terms of both personal backgrounds and industries represented, the group has no way of knowing that many of the strangers sitting across the room will eventually become lifelong friends.
20 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | APR/MAY 2016 Take us with you! IN BOX Hey, SLO LIFE readers: Send us your photos the next time you’re relaxing in town or traveling far and away with your copy of the magazine. Email us at RAGGED POINT, BIG SUR
KENYA, AFRICA Three of us went on a Photo Safari in Kenya, and of course took SLO Life Magazine with us. — Teresa Doyle, Deborah Smith-Cooke, Scott Smith-Cooke Ask for Eddie’s list of luxury homes 805-714-7558 or visit Eddie Stanfield Member of Institute of Marketing Luxury Home Specialist Member of Century 21 International Hall of Fame BRE #00992808 Let me match your lifestyle with your dream home! Century 21 Hometown Luxury Home Specialist for The Central Coast Apr/May Inventory of Central Coast Homes Currently 129 Homes Available starting at $1,200,000/2,700 sq ft + SERVING: ARROYO GRANDE . ATASCADERO CAMBRIA . SAN SIMEON AVILA BEACH . CAYUCOS CRESTON . LOS ALAMOS LOS OSOS . MORRO BAY NIPOMO . PISMO BEACH PASO ROBLES . SANTA MARIA SAN LUIS OBISPO. TEMPLETON
Carolyn Klingler


Posing at the Guggenheim Museum with Jeff Koon’s Puppy in downtown Bilbao after a day of tapas and art.


Spent a month diving the Solomon Islands both land based and by boat. Uepi is a small island in the Marovo Lagoon area. If you are really looking for the “SLO Life” come here.




Send your
up on SLO Life on the chairlift in Red Lodge, Montana. — NINA NEGRANTI
22 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | APR/MAY 2016 | IN BOX Please send your photos and comments to Follow SLO LIFE on Facebook: Visit Visit us online at Letters may be edited for content and clarity. To be considered for publication your letter should include your name, city, state, phone number or email address (for authentication purposes). BARCELONA,
SPAIN Here we are hiking the pilgrimage, “Camino de Santiago” in Spain!
BIG SUR, CA Michael Klingler COMPOUNDING PHARMACY Compounded Medicine is Personalized Medicine Because One Size Does Not Fit All 46 Chromosomes 25,000 Genes 1 Trillion Cells You are unique. Your medicine should be too. WHY CHOOSE COMPOUNDED MEDICINE? Contact Us for Your Next Prescription 181 Tank Farm Road San Luis Obispo (across from Kennedy Fitness) 805.542.0864 Download our New Mobile App!
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Around the County



With stormy weather forecasted, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors declared a housing shelter crisis and encouraged all seven of the cities within the county to follow suit. By making the formal declaration, the county and the various municipalities were able to more easily use public buildings as temporary shelters for the estimated 74% of the county’s 1,515 homeless population that remains without shelter.


By a 7 to 5 vote, popular California Coastal Commission executive director Charles Lester was fired despite an overwhelming show of support at a meeting in Morro Bay. Local representative Erik Howell, a commissioner and Pismo Beach councilmember, cast his vote in favor of the termination. While the justification for the dismissal remained unclear, opponents charged that the commission’s move was purely political in that it was seeking a pro-development director.


As starfish become an increasingly rare sight around Central Coast tide pools, Pete Raimondi, a marine biologist at UC Santa Cruz, delivered the news that 95% of the county’s sea stars have died off due to an affliction called sea star wasting syndrome. The phenomenon, first documented in 2013, has spread rapidly, now affecting 70% to 99% of the West Coast populations, with some areas of the East Coast recently reporting incidents as well. The disease, which leads to death within 24 hours, threatens to disrupt the overall health of sensitive marine ecosystems.


Hundreds of protestors joined a lunchtime rally to voice opposition to Phillips 66 Co.’s request to receive crude oil at its Nipomo Mesa refinery by rail car. The permit application calls for five trains per week traveling through the county, each carrying 80 railcars containing 2.2 million gallons. Representatives from Phillips 66—the country’s 7th largest oil conglomerate—say the rail car transportation would allow them to maintain the more than 200 jobs provided by the refinery, as well as the $2.2 million in annual county tax revenue that it generates.


The City of San Luis Obispo Planning Commission began taking public comment on the proposed 720-home development on the south end of town known as Avila Ranch. Chief concerns revolve around two primary issues: water and traffic. Citizens argue that water projections should factor in climate change modeling and not just historical data, and point to the Broad Street corridor, which would serve as a primary circulation outlet for the development, as already “jam-packed, bumper-to-bumper with traffic.”




Through a bizarre series of press releases, Cal Poly first announced that administrative pay—a highly contentious subject at the university—dropped by $71,000. Then, a couple of weeks later it revealed that it actually increased by $93,000 due to a $164,000 math error. Additionally, the university shared that it had also added 21 more management positions than it had a year prior. Members of the Cal Poly faculty union have been highly critical of the growth in the school’s administration since Jeffrey Armstrong was appointed president in 2010. Within the six years of Armstrong’s tenure, management positions have increased by about 50% and administrative pay has gone up by about $10 million, roughly 30%.


Judge Charles Crandall determined that the Oceano Dunes Dust Rule, which was created by the Air Pollution Control District to mitigate harmful airborne particulates generated by off-road recreational vehicles, is legal and will stand. The lawsuit, filed by the Friends of Oceano Dunes, a group of off-road enthusiasts, was the latest attempt to block the mitigation plan, known as Rule 1001; since it was adopted in 2011 after years-long monitoring revealed consistently unhealthy air quality, along with harmful particulate matter that exceeded state health standards, over the Nipomo Mesa.


A Cambria woman sues Monsanto following her husband’s death at 69 years old in December. Longtime farmer, Jack McCall, who experienced years of puzzling symptoms, which finally led to a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, had used Roundup for about 30 years, but stopped recently after learning of a potential link to cancer. His six-year-old dog, Duke, a fixture at the farm, also died from lymphoma. The suit filed in a Los Angeles court by Teri McCall recalls the eight years that doctors had been stumped, and charges that the active chemical in Roundup, glyphosate, “is a carcinogen, Monsanto has known this fact for decades.”


A homeless man punched a 22-year-old employee in the face as she was closing the Nautical Bean Espresso Café in San Luis Obispo’s Laguna Village Shopping Center. Forty-year-old Albert Ramirez walked into the coffee shop at approximately 7pm and sucker punched the woman, who crumpled to the ground. He then attempted to take money from the cash register, screamed some obscenities, then fled through the back door. He was later apprehended at the post office. The crime was nearly identical to an incident at the Flip Flop Shop fifteen months prior when a young female employee was also punched in the face by a homeless man.


In an increasingly rare unanimous vote, the San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors backed a proposal to expand the desalination plant at the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility to supply as much as 1,300 acre-feet of water to approximately 4,000 South County homes. The vote authorized $900,000 in spending for the planning and permitting of a 7-mile-long pipe, which would connect to the existing drinking water pipeline at Lopez Lake near Arroyo Grande. The project is expected to cost $36 million, which would be paid for by customers who use the water, and take two years to complete.



Fifteen years ago, or so, Brittany Anzel App was casting about, wondering what she wanted to do when she “grew up.” Top on her list of requirements were creativity and independence. So, the Morro Bay High grad threw herself headlong into every different type of art course that Cuesta College offered and quizzed family and friends for ideas and recommendations. “Finally, my stepmom said, ‘You realize that your camera is always in your hand, right?’ It just did not occur to me, but I was like,

How have I not made this connection?” App started working with other photographers locally and it turned out to be the perfect blend of creativity and technology, with just the right balance of “introvert and extrovert time.”

In January of 2001, her New Year’s resolution was simple: launch a photography business. And it was not long before Los Osos’ newest enterprise was lining up wedding and portraiture clients left and right. Photography opened doors and connected her with the community in a way she could not have imagined, but it was in 2008 that the craft would truly connect her with the entire planet. Not really knowing what to expect, she signed on as the staff photographer for the non-profit program known as Semester at Sea. Her official task was to document the students as they went from port-to-port circumnavigating the globe; but, unofficially, she was uncovering her true passion, her purpose in life.

“I experienced a powerful reality check,” App shares. “And I realized that water was a huge thing that we were taking for granted.” Despite her own paradigm shift, App returned home where she found people, regardless of the fledgling drought, to be mostly ambivalent to the subject of water conservation. So, in 2010 she decided to do something about it. She hopped on her bike and pedaled across the country to raise funds for WaterAid. Two years later, App cringed as she learned about the ALS’s “Bucket Challenge,” when millions of people dumped perfectly good, clean water over their heads. Although the cause was certainly worthwhile, App thought there had to be a better way. So, she posted her own viral video where she challenged viewers to live on just five gallons of water a day. It was last year, however, while on a camping trip with her family in the Sierras that she realized something more had to be done. Watching the Rough Fire from a barely safe distance in Hume Lake, App conceptualized a documentary film, which she is working on producing now.

“The real shock is hard to see at ground level,” App explains why she hired a pilot to fly above Central Coast reservoirs and lakes. “I wanted to see if the vantage point would be as powerful as I thought it would be.” Toward the end of the flight she started feeling queasy—twisting backward in her seat as the plane zigzagged around was starting to take its toll. Then, in the distance, she spied a dried up Laguna Lake and judging from the afternoon light, she knew that she would have just one run at it. As the Cessna banked down and to the right, the wing moved out of view and she snapped the shot you see here. “This image really brings it home for me,” she reflects, “in an uncomfortably beautiful way.”


Shared Wisdom

This month, Farm Supply Company president/CEO, JIM BRABECK, marks 51 years with the organization. We spent one morning recently getting to know the 2015 Agriculturist of the Year…

Thanks for sitting down to talk with us today, Jim. Let’s start with some background. First of all, why interview me? You’ve got a million people around this county that are movers and shakers. You must be desperate. I’m about as boring as watching a car rust.

[Laughter] We’re running out of material over here, Jim. Help us out! Okay, I’ll see what I can do... I had a very nomadic upbringing. I counted it up one time and figured I went to 17 different schools around the country. It was a dysfunctional family situation. Not the typical Ozzie and Harriet existence. But, you learn a lot of things moving around. I’ve always loved business. I started hustling when I was seven or eight years old. Started by shining shoes. My sister and her husband raised me on and off. They lived in Arroyo Grande. I went to Mission—at that time it was called Mission Central High School. Decided that I loved it here and wanted stay in San Luis. That was 1960 and I’ve been here ever since. Aside from getting married, it was the best decision I ever made.

Please, go on… I married the love of my life. I have a better wife than I deserve; she’s a saint, seriously. Blessed. We have two kids. Her father had a pump business. It was just a little one-man shop. If he needed help, I’d go help him. I loved working with him; very professional, precise person. He worked on water wells in the rural areas. One day he said, “You really seem to like this work.” I said, “I love it. What’s not to like? You’re on all these beautiful ranches, you’re using your hands, fixing things. The satisfaction of doing something that’s really productive, constructive.” So, he offered me a job. He taught me a trade.

So, how did you get involved with Farm Supply? I had worked with my father-in-law for about four years when Farm Supply had a very devastating fire. They used to be at the corner of Higuera and what is now Madonna Road. Anyway, they used some of their insurance money to purchase my father-in-law’s pump business. He had a lifelong dream to retire and move to Hawaii. He loved the South Pacific Islands. He stayed on for a year to help with the transition. Then, when he left, Farm Supply told me, “Okay, you’re going to run the pump department.” After a while they also put me in charge of the dairy department. Then they made me the assistant manager. Around that time, our accountant discovered that fraud was being committed by our general manager.

So, what happened? Those were tough times. They made me the general manager and we were close

to being shut down. The guys at the time asked me what I was going to do. And I said, “I’m staying.” They’d ask me why, and I said, “There’s two reasons: Number one, I’m mad as hell that he did what he did. He abused these people who trusted him to manage this cooperative. The second reason is more up-close and personal: my integrity is on the line. People are going to think that I’m part of this, and I’m not.” When people ask me how we—and I mean we, not me—turned the company around back then, I tell them it’s like the bumblebee. Aerodynamically, a bumblebee cannot fly. It’s physically impossible. The thing is, no one told the bumblebee.

How are things over at Farm Supply now?

We’ve continued to change along with the demographics of the county. We used to have several hundred dairies, cattle, then we went to dry land farming, to irrigated crops, to citrus/ avocados, wine grapes, strawberries. And we’ve had to reinvent our company multiple times during the time I’ve been there; because the only thing constant in business is change. Our county has changed. People outside of the area have discovered the Central Coast, and it has changed things. With that came a lot of development, so we’ve had to adjust for that. We’ve had to change. The one thing that is never going to change, however, is our culture. I don’t care how bad or how good the economy is, your culture should never, ever change. Our culture is very simple. It’s just seven words: If it isn’t right, don’t do it. Period. No gray area.

Does that translate to your work with troubled youth?

nothing more important to me than a child. I’ve worked with kids out there at Juvenile Hall for more than 40 years now; and they have done everything you can imagine, charges ranging from carjacking to murder. But, you know, they’re young, and they made a mistake. They need to learn from it, and make it right if they can. Move on in their lives and be productive. Like I tell them, the only thing you can control on this earth is yourself; three things about yourself: what you think, what you say, and what you do. I try to get them to let go of the anger, the resentment, the vindictiveness. I tell them, “If you’re angry and vindictive, it’s like you’re swallowing poison and expecting the other person to get sick. They’re not going to get sick, you are. They don’t care, and you can’t control them. So why spend your time that way? Move forward, man. Take the high road.” So, I pass on the wisdom that was shared with me by other people. Whether they take it or not is up to them.

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a peep


We spent some time getting to know JAIME HOLM to find out what makes her tick. Together with her husband, she operates The Tinker Tin Trailer Company, which rents out its fleet of vintage trailers that the couple has painstakingly refurbished for everything from campouts to Hollywood film sets. From competitive surfing to retro road trips, here is her story…


So, Jaime, where are you from? I was born and raised in San Luis Obispo. I’m the fourth generation of San Luis residents. My dad and mom still live here. I’m one of four kids and my other three siblings now live down in San Diego. My dad, he’s worked for the city forever, super-friendly guy, so it seems like if you don’t know him or one of us kids, or one of my cousins, there’s a connection somewhere down the line. My family is Portuguese—my maiden name is Hannula—dairy farmers from way back. We have so many aunts and uncles and cousins

around that we’d rent the church hall in Morro Bay for Thanksgiving because no one’s house was big enough to fit everyone for dinner.

What about school? I went to Mission and they had a program where, I don’t know if they still do it, but you could go to school at seven in the morning and take college-level classes before high school started at eight. And, so with the combination of AP classes or honors classes and then doing those seven in the morning classes, which I started as a freshman,


by the time I was a junior, I had a year of college under my belt; so then my parents let me test out. So, for my senior year, instead of going to high school, I just went to class and finished my AA. That was my way of saying, “Okay, I’m leaving, I’m going to go travel.” I was 17 when I moved away.

Where did you go? I—long story short—I used to surf competitively. So I traveled a lot with the girls’ tour at the time and I lived over in Australia for a while, and then Costa Rica, and Panama, and Hawaii, and Ireland; anywhere that had an ocean I would pretty much go. I started entering contests when I was about 14, and then I started doing QS’s, which is the Qualifying Series for the Women’s Pro Tour. So at the time, the tour had 18 to 20 women on it. I was doing the QS’s, which were held all over the world. I had just started getting my feet wet in that tour for about a year, and then 2008 came around and the economy crashed. Looking back now it’s like the best thing, it was such a blessing. I remember I was over in Australia, living in a trailer actually, and they cancelled the last half of the tour. So from Australia, I was supposed to go to do the Portugal-France-England leg, and they just cancelled it cold turkey. Anyway, they didn’t do the QS’s again for about, I think it was year or so, and at that point I thought, “Eh, I’m not—I want to just travel for me; and I don’t want to compete anymore.” By nature, I’m not necessarily that competitive. So, I joke that I was completely washed up at the age of 21. But, it was a great experience.

And, you met your husband on tour, right? I first met my husband, Carl, when I was about 14 years old, at a competition, when he was surfing for a company called Volcom. He’s from Templeton, and grew up there. He went to Templeton High and then he lived in Cayucos and also in Atascadero. After we were married, we lived down south for a while and then moved back three years ago. His family all lived in Templeton and so when we were moving back to SLO, we were looking for a place that had some land, because we needed land for our trailers. So we ended up there, and his family was just an exit away down the highway. I love it up there because there’s a lot of—I hate this term— but there are a lot of young professionals; I think because of the wine industry, and all the breweries, and now the new distilleries. There’s kind of a lot of energy, but a lot of families, too. So, yeah, it’s been a good place to land.

Okay, so tell us about your business. How did it get started? I had lived in trailers three different times in my life; and then when my husband and I got together, I said, “I miss living in a trailer.” So, when we got engaged I told him that I wanted to get one so we could go on camping trips and, you know, sort of keep that gypsy soul alive inside of me. I didn’t want to lose that. Anyway, I thought that renting a trailer on occasion might be the way to go, so I looked around for rental. We were living in San Diego at the time, and no one was renting them. I thought, “Well, maybe I’ll just buy one, and I can rent it out when I’m not using it.” I found one for sale in Nipomo. We fixed it up and very quickly one trailer turned into five, and five turned into ten. It just happened so fast.

Why the rush? I just thought that once these trailers disappeared, they’re not coming back. There’s only so many of them still out there. So we wanted to preserve them, but also preserve the spirit and history that goes along with them. When I lived in a trailer it taught me that you don’t really need that much. And, I thought if I could get people to simplify things a little bit, and unplug; and not be on their phone and the computer and TV and just camp and play cards and have conversations—then if one more person enjoys that, then maybe it will inspire them to incorporate it into their life, too. Kind of simplify it a >>


little bit more and get in contact with what’s important. That’s really the motivation behind the business. Everything is so tech these days, I think that creating memories, to me, is more important because that’s the stuff you remember—whether it’s camping with your family, or swimming at the lake, or going to the beach. Those are the things you remember. You don’t remember checking your Facebook account. So, to be able to create that in a new way was motivating, and being able to introduce that to people again was the inspiration.

What happened from there? We ended up selling that first trailer. And, then, over about a two-year span, we probably fixed up and sold something

like 30 more. Everything from the “canned ham” to the old “bread loaf” styles from the 40’s. We weren’t really doing them to buy and resale as a business necessarily; we just wanted to see them get back out onto the road with a new life. But it ended up being a good thing because it helped us build a little nest egg, which we were able to use to start the business; because we both come from pretty humble beginnings, no handouts, that kind of thing. So it was a scrappy way of starting a business. Now we restore them and rent them out ourselves. Today we’ve got 30 finished trailers for rent, which is actually the largest fleet in the U.S., which is just crazy to me. Some of them are campers, some of them are bar trailers that we’ve converted, some are photo booth trailers, and then we have a bunch

Everything is so tech these days, I think that creating memories, to me, is more important because that’s the stuff you remember—whether it’s camping with your family, or swimming at the lake, or going to the beach. Those are the things you remember. You don’t remember checking your Facebook account.

of period piece trailers from the 20’s to the 40’s that are used for film sets and that kind of thing, which is fun.

And, there has been a lot of talk about a reality TV show… Yes, there has. This whole last year we have been approached by so many production companies who were interested in doing a show. And we just kept turning them down because none of them seemed to be the right fit. They were pitching different ideas that, at the end of the day, we just weren’t comfortable with. We’re going to be here forever, and the show will come and go. We live here and I wouldn’t want to do anything to potentially misrepresent ourselves, or the community that we love. We’re not looking for 15 minutes of fame, that’s not what it’s about. But, if there is an

opportunity to get more people involved with vintage trailers; that would be great. I just didn’t want it to be a show that would be focused on drama or that kind of thing. We hadn’t felt right about it for the longest time, but then just this last month, we’re at that point with one of the networks with a concept that makes sense and that could actually go through. I’m excited to see where this next year takes us, what sort of twists and turns are ahead. We’ve got a lot of fun things on the horizon to look forward to.

What sort of advice would you give a newbie entrepreneur? I would say the main thing would be to be resourceful; that just because you don’t have the things you think you need, whether it’s financial backing or whatever, there’s always some sort of opportunity or way you can do it

if >>
APR/MAY 2016 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 37 Arroyo Grande Atascadero Cambria Cayucos Grover Beach Los Osos Morro Bay Nipomo Paso Robles Pismo Beach San Luis Obispo Templeton Grow with us We are cultivating long-term relationships, nurturing California with programs that invest in the rural communities we serve, and supporting the banking needs of our customers. Watch our video and learn how we are helping California grow in every way. Visit: Scan here: NMLS ID: 649477 Personal Banking I Home Lending I Business Banking I Food & Ag I was referred to Graham by friends who recently purchased a home in the San Luis Obispo area, and I must say I was not disappointed. Graham was extremely helpful throughout the home buying process; he took the time to get to know my needs and preferences and helped me to nd my dream home. I cannot recommend him highly enough. - Andrew Danowitz, San Luis Obispo 3196 South Higuera Suite D, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805.459.1865 | CalBRE #01873454 graham @ “ ”

you’re resourceful; and if you’re truly determined. Remember that nothing comes overnight—nothing’s easy. And a big one, something to me that I always hear it in my head, some words of wisdom from a mentor who told us one time, “Don’t ever confuse busyness with progress.” I just think that is so true, because, you know, we could, at least for us, we could have a whole year where every single weekend is booked with events. But is that progress? Is it moving forward? Or is it just being busy at the time? So it got me thinking about how every move you make helps you if you really think it through, and really keep the big picture in mind. But, also, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. On any given day I’m handling inquiries and invoices and bookings, but also picking out trailers and pulling them home and restoring them and dropping them off. I pretty much wear every hat you can imagine. Carl calls me a “thrasher” because I always have wild hair and stained clothes, and am always knocking stuff over and spilling glasses, running into things. [laughter]

It takes time… Oh, totally. It seems like everyone is looking for the next app that’s going to make them a millionaire overnight, you know. But, that’s not necessary. You can create a successful business on your own. We a couple of times said, “Maybe we’ll get a small business loan. That could really help us jump from here to there really fast.” And we thought you know what, “No,” because having to be resourceful—having less makes you focus on what is truly important because you don’t have a big cushion to fall back on. So, I think your decisions are better. If I had gotten a loan or had money from someone, I probably would have run the business to the ground already. Yeah. Down to every little piece

in the puzzle. It’s definitely not easy. Sometimes people ask, “Why do you do it that way? That’s a harder way to do it.” But, sometimes you just have to do things the harder way now, because it makes so much more sense for the long term. It’s been such a fun adventure so far, and hopefully we’ll just keep it going.

What’s the long term vision? Ideally we would love to have our own camping venue here on the Central Coast where people could come stay in the trailers and experience the Tinker Tin lifestyle. It would be a place to camp, and ride horses, slow down, unplug, and reconnect with nature and with each other. It would be everything that we do now, except in one location with the trailers permanently in place. Of course, we have fabulous state parks locally, but they fill up so fast. You have to book a year in advance now. We would love to provide a place for more people, more families to have that experience.

Let’s wrap it up with one last question: What inspires you? My family. There’s not a day where I can actually have a bad day, or things aren’t working out, because I can call one of them, and it’s like, okay; they will just humble me, put me right back in my seat. They’ll say, “No, we got this, just keep, you know, keep moving forward.” So yeah, they’re a huge inspiration. My husband; because we really are a team, and without him, none of this would be possible. And, of course, living here on the Central Coast. I mean the beauty we have here in the mountains and the coast, the surf and the ranches—it’s like, how can you not be inspired with this in our backyard?


Abercrombie & Fitch

The Apple Store

Banana Republic Barnes and Noble Bowl’d Bull’s Tavern

California Pizza Kitchen

Cal Poly Downtown


Chronic Tacos



Jamba Juice

Lush Handmade Cosmetics

Moondoggies Surf Shop

The Movie Experience

Open Air Flowers

Palazzo Giuseppe


Pizza Solo

Pottery Barn

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe

Salon Lux-Aveda


Shoe Palace

Solstice Sunglass Boutique Starbucks

Splash Cafe Seafood & Grill

Sunglass Hut

Urban Outfitters

Victoria’s Secret

White House Black Market

LEASING INFORMATION: Therese Cron 805.785.0511



One in seven people struggle to read.

Literacy for Life is empowering adults in our community by helping them learn to read and write. This means more opportunities for education, employment, and a better quality of life.

Find out how you can help. Visit to donate or volunteer.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics



52 songs in 52 weeks. That’s the challenge local songwriter Susan Ritchie accepted after what she calls “a life-changing moment” in April of 2014.

Ritchie perform on these upcoming dates: Zorro’s Cafe & Cantina, Shell Beach . April 2 . May 19 . June 17 Morro Bay Wine Seller . April 22 Figueroa Mountain Brewery, Arroyo Grande . April 27



Ritchie attended a house concert to enjoy the music of Nashville songwriter, Ernie Halter. During his performance, Halter shared the story of his 2012 Kickstarter campaign, “The 52 Songs Club,” in which he pledged to deliver a song a week to anyone who donated. The campaign was fully funded in 24 hours, and Halter went on to receive $34,500 from over 500 backers.

“The idea infected me,” says Ritchie, “and I thought, ‘I can do this.’”

Ritchie grew up a lover of music: she took guitar, piano, and voice lessons at an early age and wrote her first song when she was twelve. In her twenties, after graduating from Cal Poly, Ritchie was an active part of the local music scene, playing Linnaea’s Cafe and other venues. And then, in her early thirties, she had a daughter, and motherhood took over. She explains, “It was difficult to balance the gigging with being a single parent so the gigging part fell by the wayside.”

After hearing about Halter’s 52 Songs Club, Ritchie realized it was time to return to her passion. She began her own 52-songs-in-52-weeks challenge and posted the songs to her YouTube channel. “I explained to viewers what I was up to,” says Ritchie, “and I started getting followers. It was really validating to hear from strangers who were checking in on my project every week.”

After about eight weeks, Ritchie felt like she had her song writing system down. She explains, “I journaled, kept lists of song ideas, titles, hooks, and metaphors. Usually by about midweek if I didn’t have my concept I’d get a little worried; but I always got it, and by Saturday evening my song was done.”

That’s not to say her idea well was overflowing. In fact, there were a couple of really difficult moments: once while traveling and once while ill. She explains, “In both instances my flow was interrupted, and it was a big challenge. The songs felt so desperate.” She adds, “and I couldn’t believe I had to put them out there for the world to see.” Ritchie laughs about the humbling experience and remembers Halter’s wise words: “You committed to writing 52 songs, not 52 great songs!”

After completing the project in April of 2015, Ritchie and her husband purchased a new home, a fixer-upper as she describes it, and her focus shifted. “That was that,” she says. Or so she thought. “You know how timing is—when you’re on the right path, and it seems like things unfold for you more naturally?” she asks.

A few months ago, Ritchie’s friend encouraged her to contact Grammy-nominated songwriter and guitarist Randy Rigby, who currently resides in Los Osos. “I sent him a link to my YouTube channel, explained my 52-week songwriting challenge, and told him I wanted to self-produce an album.” She goes on, “I asked if we could meet so he could share strategies for how to record an album locally.”

Ritchie describes their meeting like “sipping off of a fire hose” because everything Rigby offered was revelatory. The two agreed to a second meeting, by which time Rigby had studied all 52 of Ritchie’s songs and told her he wanted to produce her album. “We are musically compatible, and the timing was excellent for him to take on the project,” she says.

The thought of self-producing an album daunted Ritchie, but with Rigby, she says the process has been really efficient. “It’s way more than I could have done on my own, and I hope this will be the start of a long-lasting collaboration with Randy.”

The album, 52, will be released in mid-April. Of the title, Ritchie explains, “It’s a nod to Adele, of course, but ironically, I am 52, and I wrote 52 songs in 52 weeks, so it’s perfect.” Ritchie, her husband, and Rigby ranked their top picks from the 52 songs she wrote and narrowed down to the eleven songs featured on the album. 52 will have a bluesy sound, with a little country as well as some other styles.

For Ritchie, recording 52 is just the beginning. “I hope the album helps me break back into the scene, especially after not being involved for so long,” she says. “Although I’ve been woodshedding for so many years, I now look forward to a new chapter: writing and collaborating with the amazing local talent and being part of the performing scene at our great local venues.”

In addition to performing on the Central Coast, Ritchie has her sights on writing music for TV and film. She explains, “I love the idea of helping to deliver a story or a scene, even a commercial.” She continues, “I learned through this process that I can write on demand, and I’ve always thought of myself as someone who writes for other people, like Susan Tedeschi or other up-and-coming artists.”

What started as a personal challenge for Ritchie has shifted to something bigger than she could have imagined. She explains, “I feel like I am showing my daughter that it’s never too late, and that we should always honor our true selves.” She adds, “I am grateful to my husband and all those who encouraged me through the song writing challenge and recording process.”

Most important, Ritchie is eager to share her album with Halter, the one who inspired her back in 2014. And, she says, “I would love it if my 52-week songwriting challenge experience inspires other songwriters to do the same.”

“I took a trip out to the ether and brought something back. It was a very unique experience, and I am really glad I did it.”

DAWN JANKE, Director, University Writing & Rhetoric Center Cal Poly, keeps her pulse on the Central Coast music scene.

Highway 1 with Nature

It was an adventure rooted in the attitude that “the good old days are now.” With a common love for the natural world, and as residents of the Central Coast, we have a deep connection to the paradise that is Big Sur. Rugged, raw, and a source of rich memories, we were inspired to ride our bikes on a four-day trip from Carmel down Highway 1 to our home of San Luis Obispo. With a rough plan and a tendency to wing it, we set off on a journey that would prove to offer life lessons of immeasurable value.


The team of eleven friends behind the ride believed that the trip would challenge our comfort zones while fostering a deeper connection to the natural world. Our initial plan was to collect trash found along the journey and bike trailers were fabricated to act as mobile trash cans, but early on in the ride the trailers proved to be too dangerous to tow.

While we were no longer able to collect trash, the slow pace of the ride allowed us to discover that the impacts of our consumption are spread far and wide including the respected landscape of Big Sur. From plastic water bottles, soda cans, brewskis, and food containers; we were confounded at the evident disrespect of a place sought out for its natural beauty.

After an early morning drive to Carmel, and a goofy stretch session in a Safeway parking lot, we set out on our ride which would take place over four days. The first day would be our shortest distance—we headed for Andrew Molera State Park. Possessing a whole lot of curiosity and uncertainty, the crew quickly learned that we had an adventure ahead of us.

We rolled into Andrew Molera itching to set up camp and score some waves, but our youthful enthusiasm was greeted by a park aide and ranger that did not welcome our presence, and instead they encouraged us to camp down the road. We hesitated to comply, but the desire to surf made us hustle down to Pfeiffer state campground where we snagged some sweet campsites along the Big Sur River. We then proceeded to jam back to Molera where we rode some great waves and witnessed an epic sunset. The first day would be capped off with some groovy campfire jams and a whole lot of laughter.

Awakened with optimism and an urge for more surf, half the crew rose early to catch some morning lines. But as they proceeded to leave the site in our chase vehicle, which was an old Ford wagon from the 70’s, the engine stalled and was flooded. Our struggle to start the waggon would take place over three hours and had us pushing the car around the whole campground trying to get the engine to turn over. Finally, after one last five minute rally, which had all eleven of us biting our nails, she fired up, and we were on the move. Ahead of us was the most difficult section of our ride, which would take us through iconic scenery of Big Sur and involve a whole lot of


climbing, coupled with an excess of hooting and hollering on our descents. The landscape of the day would prove to be surreal and left the team feeling that our dreams are attainable, for on that day we were living them.

After another night of antics and funny encounters, the group morale was building and everyone was excited to continue the experience. By this point our appreciation for the Big Sur coastline grew exponentially. Pedaling down that highway made us feel vibrantly alive, and the scenery wouldn’t allow for anything but gratitude. And since we are not cyclists, we carried on with sore legs, but eager attitudes to see more, make progress, and accomplish a common goal. Riding from Plaskett Creek to San Simeon state campground was the first section that most of us were very familiar with, but our enthusiasm for that stretch of coast was unparalleled on that day. Rolling into San Simeon our spirits were full and home began to feel close. More shenanigans ensued and the team capped the day off with a midnight cruise to the beach where we all laid side by side underneath the starry sky. We couldn’t help but marvel at the vastness of our universe and contemplate the purpose of life here on earth.

Meaning is discovered through experience and that is unique to each person, but what we could collectively understand was our relationship as friends and as beings on this planet. Our appreciation for nature and all of its complexities derives from our experiences within it, and out of that stems an internal desire to protect it. Simply having fun with friends proved to be one of the best learning experiences available to understand who we are and to realize the potential for life. For those of you who have experienced nature and considered your relationship to it, I’m sure you understand our experience. And for those of you questioning the insight being offered, I’ll reference the old phrase, “Don’t knock it until you try it.” Our personal observations tend to show that people who are outside regularly and find appreciation through natural interactions have a pretty positive outlook on life. More importantly they seem to realize their impact as a consumer and have a tendency to want to minimize their carbon footprint. Therefore, we can’t encourage you enough to step out and do something that will challenge you in a natural environment. Over the course of time it’s hard to foresee how far your journey may go. >>


The last day was before us and we were thrilled to bring it home. This would be our longest day in regards to mileage, but luckily in Cambria we were treated to our best breakfast of the trip, which fueled us for the final stretch of our journey. The moment was inspiring as we realized that we had made our ride happen and only a day of pedaling laid ahead. Every section of this ride was rewarding as we kept hitting milestones to signify that we were getting it done. Cruising into Cayucos we made one last surf stop at Studios and were ready for the final charge back to SLO. The ride at this point was nostalgic and we were beyond stoked to be riding by Morro Rock and up Turri Road along the Seven Sisters. Turning onto Foothill Boulevard and pedaling between Bishop Peak and Cerro San Luis was the indicator that we had done it; we were back home and the level of excitement that was shared between us was off the charts.

We closed the trip at the front door of the home from which we started, and had a celebratory beer to function as the final scene. Our appreciation for life and one another had dramatically intensified over the course of those four days and we now share an experience worth every bit of difficulty. We can’t reiterate enough the importance of going outside and the intrinsic value you’ll receive through experiencing the natural world. Most importantly we believe frequenting the outdoors is the best way to develop an environmental consciousness, something that is needed in today’s consumer society where single-use waste poses a great threat to the world’s ecology. Our team believes we can make a difference and this trip acted as a positive affirmation, therefore we will continue to speak out for a cause and to seek experiences that make us come alive; we hope you do the same.

To see more, check out the video at

52 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | APR/MAY 2016 770 Capitolio Way . San Luis Obispo 805 549 0100

There’s a new firm in town.

Architecture Landscape Interiors (Well, more like a family.) 805.541.1010


Inspired by the lofts of New York City....

In 1977, Phil Colbert was recruited by the French Clinic as San Luis Obispo’s first ever gastroenterologist. It was an exciting time for this particular field of medicine, as the technology and its application were advancing rapidly. For Dr. Colbert, a “technology junkie,” it was a fascinating period of growth, both literally and figuratively.

The days were quickly morphing into years as the roots planted by Colbert and his wife, Sandi, grew deeper and deeper beneath their home in the Rolling Hills neighborhood, near the airport on the south end of town. They raised three kids in that house—two of them now live in Southern California, and one is in New York—and it was perfect for their very busy and expanding family, thanks to a couple


of thoughtful remodels over the years by their builder friend, Randy Ramsay. Life was good for the doctor and his nurse wife—hectic, yes, but good.

As the kids were growing up and one-by-one heading off to college, it occurred to the Colberts that the old family home was no longer meeting their needs as it once did; and it surely

would not suit them into retirement and old age. So, the couple started dreaming about their future together. It was sometime around 2006 that they had caught wind of a new subdivision that was gearing up to offer vacant building lots for sale. As they walked around the windswept hillside with a 180-degree view that included a direct line of sight to Cerro San Luis, they said to each other, “This is the one.” An offer was

made, and the first space in Bowden Ranch, which is near French Hospital in San Luis Obispo, is now owned by the Colberts.

Eventually, the Colberts found their way to local architect, Bill Isaman, who instructed the couple to bring him photos of styles they liked. “I gave him just one photo,” Colbert shares. “It was an ad that I tore out of the Wall Street Journal for >>


a modern, New York City loft for sale.” With that single piece of broadsheet, the architect and his clients started a conversation that would go back and forth over many months as dreams and realities would collide, causing zigs and zags in the path ahead. For example, the couple insisted upon a single-level design, for their “forever home” that would suit them well into an advanced age. However, the hillside slope did

not lend itself to such a concept, at least not in a cost-effective way. So, a split-level design was chosen, but with 90% of the day-to-day living space on the upper level, and an elevator—just in case—the one-of-many compromises seemed a fair trade off.

When it came time to break ground, contractor Ramsay would be called again. It would be

just like old times with the remodels he had done, but this would be an entirely new house from scratch. Construction went quickly and smoothly. Trust in their contractor was implicit and Ramsay was given the green light to do things he saw fit. Colbert knew enough about the process that he and is wife would just get in the way if they spent much time at the job site, so they committed to visiting just once a


week to check the progress. “If we had been there everyday,” Colbert reasons, “it would have been like that thing they say, ‘A camel is a horse designed by committee.’ You’ve got to have someone in charge.” As the project came together, and it came time for the finishing touches, Jo Frank, an interior designer was brought onto the team. “The combination of

the two of them was perfect,” Sandi shares. “We let them run with it, because the sorts of things they were coming up with were things we could have never envisioned ourselves.”

The final result was a 3-bedroom, 4.5-bath hillside home along with a spacious lower level nanny suite that is perfectly suited for

the Colberts, their English Bulldog, Lacy, and their frequently visiting all-under-six-yearsold grandchildren. “We can tell how tall they are getting by how high they leave handprints on the glass,” laughs Colbert who taps on the face of his Apple Watch to lift the automatic shades revealing the evidence. Everything in the home, from the lights and HVAC system


a sophisticated combination of hardware and software called Control 4. The techno-phile doctor, swings open the door to a server room in the middle of the home that unveils shelf upon shelf of devices quietly doing their thing. All of them

are tied together so they may be operated remotely by the Control 4 app. So, the couple could be travelling, which they frequently do, and can make adjustments to the solar panels, disarm the alarm system, or turn on or off the lights from the other side of the planet.

Walking around the home with its extra wide hallways and ten-foot high ceilings feels roomy and expansive. Yet, the warmth from the array of windows framing the spectacular San Luis Obispo hillside combined with the couples’ eclectic collection of artwork does not allow it to feel cold, as can be the downside with a modern design. A particular place of

prominence was found for a massive neon sign that calls out “Final Fu” in both English and Chinese, which was an MTV martial arts reality show that their daughter was involved with as a producer. The show was discontinued after just one season, and the Colberts saved the sign from a date with a Los Angeles County dumpsite. The sign is lighted and the home’s entryway dances to life. Tapping his phone, Colbert cues up some music and starts a slide show on the television across the room. In the distance, family photos flash slowly on the screen. The gastroenterologist suddenly lost in thought, strides across the bamboo floors and begins narrating the digital slideshow.

xxx xxx
are monitored and operated remotely by TREVOR POVAH is an architectural photographer here on the Central Coast.
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laguna lake

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2015 10 709,600 685,420 97.06 52

tank farm

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2015 1 685,000 675,000 98.54 21

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

2015 10 463,140 450,620 97.67 54

2016 6 739,483 724,666 97.88 31

+/-40.00% 4.21% 5.73% 0.82% -40.38%

country club

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2015 1 1,125,000 890,000 79.11 31

2016 3 691,000 682,666 98.85 43

+/200.00% 0.88% 1.14% 0.31% 104.76%

2016 4 573,225 563,725 99.32 34

+/-60.00% 23.77% 25.10% 1.65% -37.04%

2016 4 573,225 563,725 99.32 34

+/300.00% -49.05% -36.66% 20.21% 9.68%

down town

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2015 5 859,000 826,400 98.41 23

2016 4 824,000 800,211 97.21 32

+/-20.00% -4.07% -3.17% -1.20% 39.13%

Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

2015 8 728,863 708,750 97.78 34

2016 7 702,271 681,557 97.49 51

+/-12.50% -3.65% -3.84% -0.29% 50.00%

2016 7 673,957 650,571 96.87 116 johnson ave *Comparing 1/1/15 - 3/21/15 to 1/1/16 - 3/21/16

2015 12 570,917 550,300 96.39 39

+/-41.67% 18.05% 18.22% 0.48% 197.44%

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS®

foothill blvd
Total Homes Sold Average Asking Price Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price Average # of Days on the Market

“Bruce is an extremely competent and professional real estate agent. He worked with us in purchasing our SLO property. Bruce has a deep knowledge of the SLO area, and made excellent suggestions when viewing properties as to pros and cons. He is also very prompt in returning phone calls and emails. We look forward to future opportunities to work with Bruce.”

APR/MAY 2016 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 69 Relax. Let us do the work. For the best Real Estate Search Site look here. Bruce Freeberg Bruce Freeberg • Broker Associate # 01771947 • (805) 748-0161
- Keith Miller

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

639,000 450,000 857,500 598,500 855,000 504,000 480,000 435,000 560,000 549,450 354,000 805,000 391,250 314,000 402,750 251,300 605,000 290,000 557,000 490,000

577,500 465,500 817,000 592,500 1,247,500 0 479,000 569,000 599,000 557,500 409,900 865,000 431,000 328,500 512,000 413,500 655,116 35,000 512,500 535,000

MEDIAN SELLING PRICE SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ® *Comparing 1/1/15 - 3/21/15 to 1/1/16 - 3/21/16 REAL ESTATE 805.544.4449 Dr. Arnie Horwitz HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS Are you feeling overwhelmed and confused? I can help. Specializing in - Relationship Conflicts - Parenting & Self-Esteem - Separation and Divorce - Personal Life Planning - Grief and Loss - Career Uncertainty Therapy/Counseling/Coaching Dr. Arnie Horwitz • 30 yrs. Experience 805-541-2752 H & S WELL DRILLING and Pump Co. Inc. UNBEATABLE PRICING Serving San Luis Obispo County RESIDENTIAL 150 FOOT WELL INCLUDING CASING IS JUST $7,999 (805) 459-1841 License # 1008252
51 77 4 36 8 4 17 31 30 40 10 19 74 17 18 9 55 3 18 521 2016 50 48 4 22 6 0 13 39 19 42 11 20 73 12 23 14 47 1 23 467
2015 78 63 60 105 122 27 22 36 67 68 105 54 74 114 138 77 48 12 67 71 2016 46 48 114 161 167 0 33 75 84 53 41 73 62 53 154 61 66 23 47 70
APR/MAY 2016 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 71 Drought-inspired landscapes that entertain. visit -or- call 805.215.0511 An activity of Gardens by Gabriel, Inc. · License No. 887028 Christopher Cooke (805) 206-8529 CalBRE #01953565 Aaron Anderson (805) 550-7074 CalBRE # 01408502 Leah Cowley (805) 235-5195 CalBRE # 01497156 Rock View Realty® . 146 North Ocean Avenue . Cayucos get inspired. get connected. get started. HOME & GARDEN EXPO may 14-15 alex madonna expo center SLO 805-772-4600 sat 10-5 & sun 10-4


Adult Coloring

In the past six months there as been a resurgence of this nostalgic past time and now stores are having a hard time keeping creative new adult coloring books on the shelves. Social scientists have been known to reference a “Peter Pan Market,” where childlike pastimes are popularized because adults are looking to experience their childhood again. Adult coloring is one such activity and it is a growing trend worth experiencing.

The Station, a new wine bar and small event venue off of South Higuera, recently started hosting adult coloring events. Several friends invited me to go, and so on a Wednesday evening from 6:00-7:30 I found myself happily situated between two childhood friends opening up a brand new adult coloring book, sharing stories, and sipping wine.

It surprised me how refreshing this group activity was, because it facilitated focused conversation in a technology-free experience, which is hard to do in modern day life. I was curious to know more about the benefits of adult coloring—it turns out this can be an incredible activity to pick back up, especially if you are interested in reducing your stress load. It makes sense that adult coloring would make a comeback in this context. Coloring is one of the most peaceful things you can do. Psychologists even go as far as to say it functions as a stress management technique. By concentrating on coloring an image, brain scientists say that adult coloring can help facilitate a subconscious replacement of negative thoughts with positive ones.

Lauren O’Keefe, a local event planner, said she had been tracking the adult coloring party trend on social media and thought it would be perfect for The Station. She coordinates boutique social gatherings and approached Whiz Kids toy store to see if they would be willing to contribute coloring pencils, gel pens and a variety of adult coloring books. Whiz Kids’ owner Lesa Smith thought it would be a wonderful idea and they joined forces. “We thought we could combine the adult coloring trend with wine. What else would women love to do more than join with their friends, enjoy coloring, and let the wine and conversation flow?” reasoned O’Keefe. “We were blown away by the success of the first coloring event. We promoted through Facebook and within five days we were sold out! We are now lining up future events to keep up with the demand.”

The ninety minutes flew by and was barely enough time to finish one page in my new coloring book. Priced reasonably at $35, it included a glass of wine, adult coloring book and use of colored pens and pencils. (It’s only $20 if you bring your own coloring book.) The environment was perfection. Imagine an art studio that looks slightly unfinished, but with sprinkled decor and style throughout. It could have been a loft in a bustling city. In San Luis Obispo, it gives you a slice of urbanity that many of us love.

The Station has an amazing wine selection and equally interesting line up of future events from calligraphy to vinyl record swaps and air plant workshops. It’s a great environment for those who want to try their hand at something artistic and social.

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Healthy Habits WORTH TRYING

Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging for a variety of reasons: lack of time, ever-evolving research on super foods, conflicting nutritional research, and an overwhelming amount of competing and expensive diet plans.

To make a long story short, there’s tons of noise out there about what to eat and what not to eat. It seems like everyone is an “expert” these days with an opinion. So, to save you time and undue stress, we’ve streamlined that information, pulling out the most common diet habits from leading voices in the wellness world. Keep reading to find out our top five. >>

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One of the first names we think of in Hollywood wellness is Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s a big fan of healthy living and elimination diets such as CLEAN that consist of, you guessed it, clean, and whole foods; i.e. foods with tons of additives are out, like frozen dinners, fast food and most any takeout. She encourages the focus to shift to organic produce, lean animal proteins, nuts and non-gluten grains and starch. She even wrote a book of healthy recipes, It’s All Good ($19).


Breakfast might just be the most important meal of the day, so it’s important you start off on a healthful foot. To get going, you may find it helpful to stick to similar foods each morning, nothing too complex—think eggs, organic berries, spinach, and avocado. Or just stick to a smoothie. Once you get comfortable with that, experiment on the weekends when you have a little more time to spend in the kitchen.

Following a workout, your body is in recovery mode and your metabolism in overdrive. Consuming the correct foods to replenish, reduce inflammation, and re-hydrate is key. Try dark colored fruit, like blueberries, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, and don’t forget plenty of water. >>

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78 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | APR/MAY 2016 That’s right, according to nutritionists, there are some fats that are considered great for the body’s digestion, and we should all be adding them to our grocery list ASAP. A few to know: avocado, raw nuts, and coconut oil. SLO LIFE Consuming soda is one of the worst things you can do to your body. In a study published in the medical journal Heart, drinking only two cans of any soda is proven to increase the risk of heart disease. Instead, sip on a sweet alternative like coconut water. REPLACE SODA > CONSUME HEALTHY FATS > TWO LOCATIONS: 755 Alphonso Street . SLO [off Broad Street] 8420 El Camino Real . Atascadero 805.439.1881 SPRING INTO ACTION! CLASSES INCLUDE: Boot Camp, TNT, Turn & Burn, Tabata Boot Camp, Spin & Abs, Spin & Gunz, Spin & Core & Foam Roll-Out BEGINNERS WELCOME Skilled, Certified, Professional Instructors in a Private Studio Setting with an array of different classes to meet your Fitness goals.




STEVE MCSHANE was Cal Poly ASI President when he went through Leadership SLO. He has served on the Salinas City Council since 2010.

TRICIA GOMEZ and JANNA NICHOLS have remained close friends, as have TODD TALLEY and MALCOLM CARLAW. Talley, Carlaw and their wives have met up for dinner before the Symphony for over 10 years.

STEVE MCGRATH was a building contractor when he was in Leadership SLO. He gave up hammers for whales, leading Port San Luis for ten years before taking over at the San Mateo County Harbor District last year.

1997 CLASS VI >

Immigrating to Los Angeles in 1976 from Guadalajara, Mexico, ESTELLA VASQUEZ started working at age 14 as a seamstress to help support her family. After getting married and the birth of her first daughter, Vasquez grew weary of the traffic in L.A. and wanted to build a different life for her family. She recalls one day visiting some relatives in Guadalupe and telling her husband they needed to move and create a new life. He wasn’t ready to leave, so she decided to try first and, hopefully, he could relocate with her later. She remembers packing her things, putting her new baby in the back seat, and driving off. Her husband waved in the rearview mirror as she left to try her luck four hours north. Within a week she found a job at Hind Inc. as a bilingual line supervisor. One month later her husband joined her and still says taking a risk on the Central Coast was the best thing they ever did.

After Hind Inc. closed, she knew she wanted to become more involved in the community and wanted her work to matter at the local level. Atfer joining various Latino groups around the county, she was invited to participate in an eight-weeklong Latino Leadership program. The course opened her eyes to other opportunities to grow and build meaningful connections. Searching for other outlets, Vasquez discovered Leadership SLO.

The experience between the two programs could not have been more different. She valued her time in Leadership SLO because, for her, it was a window into the community that gave her a unique vantage point to see both the strengths and the needs. The retreat was eye-opening, as she was in the minority and was initially intimidated to share her viewpoints. Eventually, as she got to know the others in her class, Vasquez says it was easier for her to share her views and be herself.

She recalls throughout the experience that class members would share personal perspectives, for example one classmate revealed what it is like to be living in San Luis Obispo as a gay man. For Vasquez, who was raised Catholic, speaking about these struggles was not common. But, the experience allowed for an epiphany: if she had not developed these relationships with 35 other people from around the county— previously strangers to one another—she would not have been able to learn from them, and them from her.

“Embracing and celebrating diversity is important, and this program helped me to realize we need each other. Leadership SLO made me a better advocate for causes I care about. I see my skills in advocacy assist my Spanish speaking students at Cuesta,” says Vasquez.

When she is not advocating as the Outreach & Retention Specialist for English as a Second Language, Vasquez can be found diligently pursuing additional education. When she quit high school to help support her family as a young girl, school became a distant dream. In 2007 she proudly received her AA degree at Cuesta College, and last year she added a second degree to her growing list of accomplishments. In her free time, Vasquez enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. >>


Kimberley Blackie, Alexis Brauer, Edward Bruehl, Malcolm Carlaw, Kay Cementina, Len Daniel, Mariah Douglass, Betty Douglass-Gambel, Jim English, Allen Eschenbach, George Finigan, Tim Fuhs, Wendy George, Holly Gilbertson, Patricia Gomez, Rhonda Hadley, Wes Hamilton, Diane Hull, Rhonda Hunter, Lora Hutson, Chris Jennings, Marilyn Jensen Johnson, Mary Lou Keyworth, Kathy Longacre, Kelly McCLeary, Stephen McGrath, Steve McShane, Shannon Merrill, Polly Mintling, Janna Nichols, Julie Oxford, Lin Rutland, Scott Smith, Mike Stover, Todd Talley, Estella Vasquez, Bob Wilkinson, Betty Willetts

Estella Vasquez
APR/MAY 2016 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 83 For the Service You Deserve & Advice You Trust • Investments • Retirement Accounts • • Financial Advice • 805.543.4366 San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles – Santa Maria Member FINRA & SIPC


ANN ROBINSON received Woman of Distinction nods in 2016. Robinson chaired the Women’s Legacy Fund for years and continues to lead on the Board of the Community Foundation. CINDY HALL inspired a legacy. Her daughter, Tracy, was in Class 16, and daughter-in-law, Jenee, in Class 17, and her son, Rusty, in Class 23.

BRADLEY KYKER, like many of the graduates, has continued on as a professional leader in a life of service. He is the Coordinator for Cal Poly’s Center for Service in Action, and has made several trips to Africa with the international charity Threads of Hope.

1998 CLASS VII >

Perhaps you too have experienced the magnetism San Luis Obispo possesses, especially when you’ve lived here and then move away. Donna Lewis moved here from Orange County, went to Cal Poly, majored in Business Finance, and then moved to the Mission District in San Francisco. It was a rude awakening, and after only two months, she picked up and moved back to San Luis Obispo where she found a job as a personal assistant. This foot in the door was all Lewis needed to start investing in her community and career and begin building a life in the city she had come to cherish.

When she was 34 years old, Lewis was a young wife and mother who found herself at lunch with Dave Garth to discuss work opportunities at the Chamber, when he encouraged her to interview for the Leadership SLO program. Lewis was sold and shortly thereafter applied and was accepted.

With a young family, growing career, and working long hours, it goes without saying that it is challenging to show up at the various professional networking events and also make time to volunteer. Lewis had never really felt able to participate, but Leadership SLO changed all that. It opened up her eyes to community issues that were not on her radar prior.

“Leadership SLO showed me just how much diversity in thought my class had. People had awesome alternative perspectives to consider. Coming from a conservative background, it was a great eye-opening experience,” reflects Lewis.

Her favorite aspect of the program was the retreat at Wonder Valley. Overflowing with folklore, and as tradition dictates, it remains mostly enshrouded in mystery. But Lewis reveals that the team-building exercises pushed her out of her comfort zone, and allowed her to bond naturally with a group of strangers.

Each month Leadership SLO spends a full day exploring one of the key industries in the community. Lewis can remember vividly Sustainability Day, where she learned that the issues go beyond recycling and composting. She listened as the speaker shared her personal practices and how her entire life was 100% sustainable. “She was a minimalist in every sense of the word, in her needs and wants; in every area of her life,” Lewis recalls. “She had paid off her mortgage in five years; she didn’t buy anything she didn’t need, and she thought outside the box.” Lewis found this mindset fascinating, and the woman compelling, which made a lasting impression. Lewis will never forget what she learned and has since made changes in her own life to create a more sustainable, earth-friendly existence.

Since then Lewis has found many ways to volunteer and engage within the community. She points out that sometimes you may not know what is out there and what the community needs are, but Lewis explains that once you build friendships locally with those who are involved, participating becomes an organic process. Lewis believes in working hard and playing harder. When she’s not building her mortgage business, Lewis is traveling and planning future trips with her family. She enjoys tennis and skiing and going to the beach. >>


Ruth Angulo, Claire Atieh, Diane Aubuchon, Clare Bowen-Davies, Marjorie Brooks, Frankie Curiel, Susan Dvora, Monica Fiscalini, Jody Gaydos, Rik Grencik, Cindy L. Hall, Gary Hamel, Craig Hendricks, Sandy Hitchcock, Laurie Ion, Brad Kyker, Jose Lemus, Donna Lewis, Diane Lyman, Jorge Magana, Victor Montalban, Lorene Rigoni, Ann Robinson, Jerry Russell, Jen Sawyer, Jeanne Secrest, Diane Sheeley, Bill Simpson, Paul Sorensen, Shelly Stanwyck, Deanna Taylor, Staci Truelson, Jody Watty, Jessica Westerfield, Laura Williams

Donna Lewis
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After reading an intriguing magazine article about online communities, PHIL WAGNER partnered with KCBX to create a local internet service provider called SLONET. For the first time, in the early 90’s, SLO County residents had an on-ramp to the information superhighway.

CATE NORTON has been a big advocate for the arts and served for many years on the SLO City’s Promotional Coordinating Committee, where she helped distribute thousands of dollars in support of local arts organizations.

TOM JONES, a PG&E executive, has been a relentless force for Leadership SLO’s success, serving often on the annual interview panel. Jones’ efforts has ensured decades of affordable tuition and available scholarships for applicants in financial need.


Originally PETER KARDEL thought he was signing up for a leadership skills training program, but now understands Leadership SLO is far more. In his estimation, the name of the program—Leadership—may actually undersell the value it has had on the City of San Luis Obispo over the last 25 years.

Kardel grew up, went to college, married, had children, and built a successful IT business, all in San Luis Obispo. Having spent decades as part of the community, Kardel believes that Leadership SLO and the Chamber of Commerce have been essential in creating the more open-minded and vibrant community we are today.

“In the political landscape we now find ourselves in as a country, where many ignorantly dismiss ideas simply because they are presented by an opposing party, the need for programs that help people stay open-minded is critical. For San Luis Obispo, Leadership SLO exposes you to all areas of the county and compels each participant to consider other perspectives. It’s harder to dismiss the needs of a group of people you actually know, than when you’re ignorant of their circumstances,” explains Kardel.

Looking back over his experience in Class VIII, Kardel shares that he felt like he was welcomed each month into a deeply connected group of people who had the inside track on key local issues. “As someone who grew up here, you’d think I would know something about how key industries like the government, agriculture, and media work, but this program was very enlightening and taught me a lot,” says Kardel. Imagine standing up in front of your 35 new classmates and being asked an intentionally antagonistic question by a hostile interviewer with a camera crew in tow. You have only a few seconds to communicate your ideas in a professional manner and then you listen to journalists critique your response. Kardel said that the so-called “hostile interview” was one of the best experiences in the program. As a leader you have to put yourself out there. Kardel found it incredibly instructive to understand the dynamics that are in play when dealing with the media.

Today Kardel says he appreciates having gone through this program because it continues to provide him a greater context for the community and to be able to more effectively connect with people and to help them.

When not running his business, Kardel is an avid outdoor adventurer. He has a history of technical rock climbing, not the least of which was leading a multi-pitch climb up Half Dome and parts of El Capitan in Yosemite. He enjoys backpacking and mountaineering, especially with his kids, because, as he puts it, there is something inspiring about being able to carry everything you need to survive on your back and having to problem solve on the fly. He recently became ASA certified with his wife Amy for bare boat chartering—in order to pass the final test, they had to individually sail a boat up to Santa Cruz and back without any guidance from their instructor. He is looking forward to more sailing in his future. >>


Jennifer Allen-Barker, Marian Anderson, Steve Berg, Byron Briley, Dena Cagliero, Peggy Caldwell, Jeri Carroll, Derek Crawford, Darren Drake, Bonnie Ernst, Clark Foerester, Carmen Fojo, Shirley Johnson, Tom Jones, Peter Kardel, Susan Kingscott, Ray Ladd, Penelope Lentz, Jennifer Marsano, Mitch Massey, Marie Moore, Theresa Mortilla, Cate Norton, Patricia Reynolds, Pam Ricci, Marlene Robinson, Diane Shabazian, Rose Shapley, Amy Siroky, Dave Spaur, Larry Versaw, Phil Wagner, Peggy Wilson, Stephanie Yurchak

Peter Kardel


TIM BILLING became the innkeeper at Embassy Suites SLO in 2000, a venue where he was instrumental in hosting local events. He has since been transferred to the Embassy Suites in San Diego, La Jolla.

GINETTE REITZ has been playing violin and teaching strings to young people in schools across the county, and as a part of the SLO Symphony’s Youth Symphony. Since graduating, Reitz has become a devotee of Parelli natural horsemanship and has raised her two Arabians, Leo and Dante, on the program.

DAVE SMITH was with SLO City’s Public Works Department for years. Smith is passionate about photography, and spends much of his time now capturing the unique landscapes of the Central Coast.

Since the 1900’s, the Turri family has been managing a farm and ranch between Cuesta College and Los Osos Valley Road. As part of the third generation of that family, DAVE ALFORD, a farmer and rancher, was groomed for managing the iconic property. Growing up in San Jose, he spent every summer on the Central Coast and eventually went to Cal Poly for a degree in Ag Business. Since then, he has been invested in the community and working to ensure the farm’s sustainability.

Alford first heard about the Leadership SLO program from the Farm Bureau, which relayed the positive feedback it had received from those who had participated in the past. He listened with interest, but assumed it was created for younger people in the community just looking to network. When he realized the opportunity was designed for anyone and everyone locally, he went through the interview process and was excited to be accepted into the program, which he viewed as an adventure.

“Leadership SLO was a lot more than just networking, it was confidence building and provided opportunities to seek consensus amongst those with alternative perspectives. You end up learning early on that when you’re in a group that trusts each other you can openly communicate your perspectives and be heard,” says Alford.

He recalls being at odds with a leading environmentalist early into the program. They would often defend opposing viewpoints passionately, but by the end of the program they could communicate with ease and mutual respect. They learned to consider the alternative perspective, which ultimately led to finding common ground.

Perhaps the most memorable experience was the assignment to go on a ride along with law enforcement. Alford recalls the tale, which he swears has not been embellished, of being on patrol with a Sherriff’s deputy and getting a call about a possible burglary in progress in Los Osos taking place in broad daylight. Thinking he was there to observe, Alford was caught off guard when the deputy got out of the car, pulled out his handgun and enlisted Alford’s help in sneaking alongside the house looking for intruders. A flummoxed Alford dropped to his hands and knees and began stealthily crawling next to the armed deputy in the middle of the afternoon. Luckily there was no burglar, but it was nonetheless an unforgettable experience and an enduring Leadership SLO legend.

Aside from chasing down bad guys, Leadership SLO provided Alford with many life lessons and gave him the ability to better communicate his opinions and value diverse viewpoints. Turri Farm is now a destination for the Leadership programs’ Agriculture Tour Day, where Alford shares his perspective and experiences with other classes.

When he is able take a break from farming and ranching—the drought has been especially tough on the farm—Alford enjoys camping and barbecuing with friends and family. >>


Dave Alford, Tim Billing, Yvonne Borges, Barbara Caspar, Cathy Corell, Rob Cullen, Lorraine Duenez, Carl Flint, Rob Garcia, Dan Gilmore, Trevor Govers, Yvonne Gresser, Dan Hall, Cynthia Hostetter, Ted Jacobson, Alex LaChapelle, Andrea Liddie, Liz Lopez, Mindy Lorenz, Victoria Lowrie, Karen Miller, Mark Moore, Arlene Morris-Versaw, Cindy Murayama, Laura Murphy, Denise Nickeson, Greg Nishi, Susie Norris, Robbin Peterson, Mick Pickett, Ginette Reitz, Harold Russ, Barbara Silversmith, Dave Smith, Victoria Tafoya Lowrie, Laura Tinghino, Patricia Wilmore, Cindy Wolcott, Michael and Jackie Yeager

2000 CLASS IX >
Dave Alford
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LEE FERRERO served on the SLO Chamber Board and led the Private Industry Council for over 20 years. In 2008, Ferrero was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease and, since that time, he and wife, Val, have shared their journey across the country, bringing awareness to the disease.

GLENDA MOSCOSO has been a full-time counselor at Cuesta College since 2005, the same year that she became President of the Latina Leadership Network of California Community Colleges. Glenda’s husband, Ed, is a Class 11 alum.

TOM IKEDA is the owner and VP of Ikeda Brothers in Arroyo Grande, and has led the tour for dozens of Leadership SLO classes through the Pismo-Oceano Vegetable Exchange (POVE). His unique perspective and experience has provided an insider’s view to students for how food is grown, and how it reaches our tables.

Originally from a small farm town in the valley, LANCE COWART ’s dreams of living in the Central Coast were realized when he was awarded a wrestling scholarship at Cal Poly. When you grow up in the sweltering valley to the east, the Central Coast is the destination for vacations, weekend escape, and certainly a goal for retirement. But why wait until then to build a life on the Central Coast? Upon graduating, Cowart landed a job with Glenn Burdette a local accounting firm and has been there ever since.

One of the youngest members of Leadership SLO Class 10, Lance recalls being opinionated and anxious to see SLO grow to support more jobs for those looking to stay on the Central Coast. Class 10, like all of the others, had many diverse groups represented, many of whom found themselves with diametrically opposed points of view on a variety of issues.

“I recall going head-to-head with the former head of the nature conservancy. She was older, more sophisticated, and certainly very intelligent. We clashed throughout most of the program on her no-growth mindset, but towards the end of the program we built respect for each other and actually enjoyed hanging out,” says Cowart.

One of the best takeaways of the ten-month program for Cowart was learning the complexity of running a community like San Luis Obispo. Cowart remembers on Education Day having to go through an exercise where he and his classmates were asked to evaluate the budget for a school, and the group is then asked to significantly slash spending and come to an agreement on what should be cut. It was the kind of exercise where there is no good option, there is only bad and worse. Cowart recalls how exercises such as this one made him realize how much we need a variety of perspectives and values to make sure we consciously build a community that represents the public and all our views.

“I learned through the Leadership SLO experience to listen before you speak. I went into this program thinking my opinions represented the majority. I was pretty shocked to find out they didn’t always. It was eye-opening to be put into an environment that encouraged you to be more open-minded and try to understand different perspectives you may have never thought of before,” says Cowart.

Today, Cowart continues to pursue athletics in his personal life. Every day he and co-worker Dan O’Hare run seven miles on their lunch break. He also picked up dirt biking with his son who was ten years old at the time. Still passionate about it, Cowart and his son are now competitive Motorcross racers.



2001 CLASS X >
Alvarez, Pedro Angulo, Ryan Comerford, Lance Cowart, Jean Davidson, Viv Dilts, David Edwards, Warren Einolander, Christopher Fasse, Calvin Fernandes, Lee Ferrero, Antonia Hampton, Joe Hazouri, Pamela Heatherington, Mike Hogan, Beth Holmes, Tom Ikeda, Susanne M Kelley, Colleen Kramer, Susanne Krum, Terri Lassiter, Allyson Madsen, Stephanie Marden, Louise Matheny, Anne McMahon, Glenda Moscoso, Keith Pellemeier, Gracie Rey, Bill Roake, Sombra Ruiz, Marie Russ, Keith Slocum, Gilbert Trujillo, Grace Van der Heyden, Linda Wilson Lance Cowart
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Investigating the Trend

“What’s the deal with all these açaí bowl places?” said a friend of mine as we walked through downtown SLO. “They’re everywhere. And I don’t even know what açaí is. Or how to pronounce it. Or why it’s in a bowl.”

She wasn’t alone. It felt like new “bowl” shops were popping up biweekly around town and I still wasn’t exactly sure what açaí was.

Pronounced “ah-sah-EE,” açaí is an Amazonian fruit that has, historically, provided the foundation for a Brazilian dish called açaí na tigela, a bowl of sweet frozen pulp like a thick smoothie, covered in chopped fruit and grains. In the mid2000’s, açaí was named a superfood for its blend of antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats, compelling trend-crazed Americans to incorporate açaí in everything from skin

creams to pizza crusts. The açaí bowl followed not long after and became as beloved an accoutrement to the healthconscious as yoga pants. So what’s all the fuss? I decided to see for myself. >>

JAIME LEWIS is a sommelier, world traveler, and food writer, who lives in San Luis Obispo.

VirtJuice, Arroyo Grande: Nutrition superheroes

This hopping juice bar and bowl shop adjacent to Ember Restaurant and Sweet Pea Bakery (aka The Gourmet Ghetto) is heady with the aromas of almonds, greens, and citrus, matching the bright vibe that owners Kyle and Stacia Zirpolo have worked so hard to promote. The Zirpolos opened VirtJuice in 2013 after researching the bowl craze at Santa Barbara’s Backyard Bowls. “The place was packed with people who had to have these things,” says Stacia. “And when I got my own bowl, I knew why. It’s like eating a sundae.”

VirtJuice offers four bowl styles, Tropical, Almond Cocoa, the Skinny Bowl, and the Power Bowl, each made with either an açaí base or that of pitaya, the strikingly pink fruit of a cactus native to Mexico. Toppings include shredded coconut, strawberries, bananas, honey, chia seeds, along with a few outliers like camu camu (another vitamin-rich Amazonion fruit) and a superfood cereal blend. Best of all? The Zirpolo’s ditch refined sugar entirely and fight hard to use local ingredients. >>

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Seeds Juice

SLO: Choices, choices

With its modern, boutique vibe, this Garden Street juice bar is the result of a serious lifestyle change for owners Rammy Aburashed and Zak Khan, who shed 70 pounds after incorporating juices into his diet. “I started craving fruits and vegetables instead of junk food,” he says. “Now, it’s my mission.” Seeds’ wide array of cold-pressed juices stands as testimony to that mission, including pre-designed one-, two-, and three-day juice cleanse packages.

Açaí bowls also support Khan’s mission at Seeds, where guests are encouraged to personalize their bowl with myriad protein powders, fruits and, of course, seeds. Silky, filling, and a little tart, my bowl was a peanut butter-based açaí topped with bee pollen, shaved coconut, banana, and dried goji berries, another so-called superfruit that tastes like tropical raisins. Word to the wise: don’t smile after a bowl until you’ve had a chance to pick all the chia seeds and açaí pulp out of your teeth. >>

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While I found açaí bowls to be tasty, nutritious, and pretty to look at, they’re also a bit spendy, hovering between eight and nine dollars. (To that point, the juice bars mentioned above promote their bowls as meal replacements rather than desserts.) Açaí isn’t cheap: it comes from the Amazon, after all, which dings our wallets as well as our support of local agriculture. Gentler to the bottom line might be blueberries, another superfood high in antioxidants that’s native to North America and even grown locally.

Neighborhood Açaí, SLO: Warm and familiar

Proximity to Spark Yoga hasn’t hurt this friendly, familiar bowl shop tucked in the back of Foothill Square.

“We called it ‘Neighborhood’ because we want to source as many local ingredients as possible,” says owner Chris Herrera, who, along with fellow Cal Poly alum Doug Wells, launched Neighborhood Açaí in 2015. A giant chalkboard menu pays tribute to local places and culture, including the Pirate’s Cove bowl, the Mustang bowl, and the High Street bowl (made with—what else?—hemp milk, hemp granola, and cacoa nibs). A hedge-covered counter and mason jar pendant lights contribute to the unpretentious, comfortable vibe.

Neighborhood’s bowls are larger than most, and, according to Herrera, contain more açaí, while still running between 400 and 500 calories each. I nudged a Mustang bowl, rife with dark greens and goji berries, in front of my three-yearold daughter, who happily inhaled her veggies with pleasure, while my five-year-old son put away every drop of a Pirate’s Cove bowl: a parental triumph!

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Quick and tasty, Chef Jessie Rivas shares a traditional favorite. The meat and vegetables for these colorful fajitas are marinated in a zesty mixture of lime and garlic, giving them a flavor that’s sure to please.



This fajita recipe can easily be turned into a vegetarian dish by adding other vegetables like zucchini, eggplant or cactus (nopales) instead of the flank steak.


1lb 8oz. flank steak marinated and cut into thin strips (against the grain) ¼ cup oil

1 green bell pepper seeded and cut into strips

1 pasilla chili seeded and cut into strips

1 yellow onion cut in half moons

4 oz. button mushrooms, quartered

1 jalapeño seeded and cut into rings for garnish (optional)

1-2 Tbs New Mexico chili powder cilantro salt and pepper lime juice to taste

Marinade for steak:

8 oz. Cervantes Lager from Central Coast Brewing juice of 1 lime 4 cloves garlic minced

1. Marinate flank steak in large stainless steel bowl for 2-3 hours.

2. Chop bell pepper, pasilla chili, yellow onion, jalapeno and mushrooms.

3. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add oil and heat until oil starts to smoke.

4. Add meat and brown for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Stir in bell pepper, pasilla chili, onion, and mushrooms. Season with chili powder, salt and pepper. Sautée until vegetables are cooked to desired doneness.

6. Finish with lime juice, sliced jalapeno and cilantro and serve with warmed corn or flour tortillas.

JESSIE RIVAS is the owner and chef of The Pairing Knife food truck which serves the Central Coast.
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Not a new concept, the idea of having fresh, local beer made within walking distance of your home harkens back to the French farmhouses, the English pubs; back to a time when you sourced your consumables from your neighbor. Not just made nearby, but sourced nearby—the idea of terroir and using locally sourced produce, grains, and even estate-grown hops—our breweries are

combining the art of wine with the manufacture of beer. The beautiful music that they produce is a direct benefit to us, the educated consumer.

Terroir (French from terre, “land”) is the set of all environmental factors, typically referring to wine grapes, that affect a crop’s qualities, when it is grown in a specific habitat.

Keep an eye out for one of the fastest growing breweries in the county, Libertine Brewing. Now with their third location, Libertine sources not only all of their fruit, herbs, and barrels from nearby fields and wineries, but they incorporate the local microflora found on all living things to add a unique flavor to their wild ales. These bugs live in the valleys of a blackberry drupelet or on the velvety flesh of a peach and add a surprising amount of pungency to a brew. Combined with the devil’s cut of wine or spirits remaining in their oak barrels, the end product truly captures the essence of our beautiful region. Check out their open top fermentation tanks and, rarely used outside of Europe, koelschips that collect microbes in the air for the yeast to feed on. Want to take terroir to the next level? Try their Pacific Blue Gose. Traditionally an ale made with coriander and sea salt, this version was made using filtered water taken directly out of Morro Bay for that extra aura of local. Air, water, soil, fruit, wood—you’re drinking the Central Coast in a glass. Tastes good, doesn’t it?


These words are being thrown around a lot lately, and for good reason. We are experiencing a renaissance of brewing here on the Central Coast and the trend is refreshing.

It’s not just these unique flavors or convenience of proximity that makes our local beer scene amazing, it’s also the ambience they bring to the table. Growing weary of bars wallpapered with televisions, your neighborhood brewery offers an oasis of muted conversations spread over ample seating and surrounded by reclaimed wood walls and live edge countertops. The bartender puts on their playlist of reggae on a sunny day or maybe some downtempo for a relaxing evening. Those muted conversations grow louder as the darkness of dusk falls and the music changes to fit the mood. Food trucks roll up, open their doors, and fire up their burners, while the band returns to the instruments they set up earlier in the day, set down their beer on top of an amp, and get ready to provide live music in an intimate venue. Friends? Ambience? Drinks? Our beer scene is really giving wineries a run for their money.

As I write this, the bartenders at Dunbar Brewing in Santa Margarita mull over which LP to play next, unable to decide between Johnny Cash or Deep Purple. Scanning the crowd they opt for Cash, a house favorite. With no booming stereo and no glowing TV’s, people are conversing and laughing. A joke sends the small group next to me into an uproar. Turns out beer is good for the soul, too. I finish my long awaited

seasonal dark beer, a Peppermint Stupor Sonik Stout and peruse their tap selection for more seasonal offerings. Still looking, half a glass is set down in front of me with a suggestion to try their newest beer on draught. It’s good, it’s fresh, and it’s a six ounce adventure I’m looking forward to taking.

Most veterans of the beer industry are often asked to name their favorite beer. With the amazing selection our hometown brewers are making these days, you often have to pause, think about what time of day it is, what activity you are engaged in, and still remember that fresh beer is the best beer, and it doesn’t get any fresher than your local craft brewery.

BRANT MYERS is owner of Hop On Beer Tours, a concierge service for craft beer enthusiasts along the Central Coast.
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Sam Shepard’s master work is considered a classic of modern American theatre. Two sons of a desert dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. The result is a meltdown of hilarious and terrifying proportions. April 1 - 17 //



Eroica California offers a most memorable cycling experience—a weekend of cycling entertainment, an ocean view ride with various route lengths, and a Concourse d’Elegance for vintage bikes. Join this three-day festival and experience the ride of your life.

April 8 – 10 //


Artistic Director Drew Silvaggio’s The Crucible is made modern and relevant through his masterful use of film, video, contemporary music and modern choreography. Making its debut in the Civic Ballet of SLO’s repertoire is La Fille Mal Gardée featuring classical ballet mixed with folk style dance, comedy, beautifully detailed characters, and poetic lyricism perfectly suited to its story of young love.

April 15 + 17 //


Moms, preheat your ovens and rev up your rolling pins. Idler’s Home is searching for the next awardwinning apple pie during the Annual Mom & Apple Pie contest. April 23 + 30 //


Embrace the love of California’s traditional surfing lifestyle and experience Central Coast wines, artisan brews, local farm-fresh and seaport-inspired cuisine, as well as great music, and art.

April 27 – May 1 //



Enjoy an afternoon at the beautiful and historic Jack House and Gardens in downtown San Luis Obispo while sampling some of the best food, wine and beer the Central Coast has to offer. Each year this event raises thousands of dollars to benefit United Way of San Luis Obispo County.

April 30 //


Ready for some great grub? Enjoy the annual Spaghetti Western fundraiser including spaghetti and tasty Western BBQ, movies, games, and a silent auction.

May 14 //


The San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony will perform various works from Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” to Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus and Lucy.” Concerto competition winners Timothy and Titus Shanks will perform Allegro from Johannes Brahms’ “Concerto for Violin and Cello” with the Concert Orchestra. May 15 //


The rich cultural heritage and dramatic landscapes of Latin America, the pulsing rhythms and the ecstatic melodies of its folk music, as well as the cross fertilization between the Old and New Worlds have inspired countless composers. The centerpiece of our Festival is H. Owen Reed’s wind band classic La Fiesta Mexicana. May 15 //


Enjoy the 23nd Annual Avila Beach Blues Festival, the biggest and longest running blues festival on the Central Coast, with top name entertainment against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. Featuring Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and Carolyn Wonderland. May 29 //

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Luke O’Leary

Eighteen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School senior LUKE O’LEARY stopped by to introduce us to his one-day-old goats and talk about his plans for the future.

What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in? I am very involved in the FFA organization. I am President of my Chapter (school) and Region (39 schools from San Jose to L.A.). I also participate in Theatre at my school and have been in many plays and musicals. I ride horses and play polo at the Central Coast Polo Club, as well.

What recognition have you received? In FFA, I have competed in many competitions. I won third in state for Prepared Public Speaking the past two years. I also was on the National Champion Advanced and Novice Parliamentary Procedure debate teams my sophomore and senior years. Other than FFA, I was given the Best Junior Actor award for Theatre and this year and was named the Elks Student of the Year by school faculty. I also was voted Most Spirited by students at my school. I bleed Black and Gold!

What are your interests? My main hobby would be my herd of dairy goats. Outside of my extra-curricular activities, it takes up most of my time. I breed and show my goats at shows across California. I also make and sell dairy goat products like milk, cheese, ice cream, and fudge.

Tell us about your pets. I have two dogs, two cats, and nine chickens. One of my favorite things to do is take my dog, Moose, to Port San Luis Beach. He is only 2 years old, but is a Great Pyrenees so he stands about my height at 6’4”! I also raise dairy goats. I currently have twelve goats, but my herd is growing this time of year because of new babies during kidding season.

What is your favorite memory of all time? I went to China with my dad and a group from our church to help an orphanage in Siping (Northeast China). It was an amazing experience to travel there and meet kids my age who grew up in a completely different culture.

What career do you see yourself in down the road? I see myself working somewhere in the agriculture industry. I have a really big interest in international agriculture, so I might end up working for a global ag business or a nonprofit organization centered in agriculture. However, I still love the dairy business and, despite my career, would love to have a small family dairy on the side.

Who has influenced you ? My ag teachers, Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Bates, have influenced me a lot. There is no way I would be where I am today, with multiple national championships, leadership and public speaking ability, and a passion for agriculture, without them in my life. They have taught me how to balance everything in life and work hard for what I want to accomplish.

If you could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be? I would love to meet Ronald Reagan. He had such an interesting life, from being an actor in Hollywood to governor of California to the President of the United States. I admire him and his success and would really enjoy being able to meet him.

What schools are you considering for college? I am choosing between Cal Poly, Texas A&M, and Cornell University. My major depends on the school I end up going to, but I plan on studying International Agriculture.

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APR/MAY 2016 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 107 Honored Fellow, American Academy of Implant Dentistry · Diplomate, American Board of Oral Implantology / Implant Dentistry Carol L. Phillips, DDS Results that make you smile! Cost-effective Packages IV and Oral Sedation Onsite Laboratory Doctor Training Facilities iCat Imaging (3D X-rays) Complete Implant Dentistry providing Restoration & Surgery SWISS DENTAL CENTER 3046 S. Higuera Street, Suite C San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 805·541·1004 Support your lips with proper dental implant and esthetic reconstruction. Whatever your lifestyle, we can help you achieve the self-confidence you deserve. “Look as young as you feel.” Les Phillips Buttonwillow Raceway Park

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