SLO LIFE Magazine AugSep 2018

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LIFE SLO magazine

LOCAL LEADE NEWS BRIEFS

ON RIS NOW HEA TH

AUG/SEP 2018 SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

CENTRAL COAST EVENTS HEALTH REVIEW

BEHIND SCENES

REAL ESTATE MBERS MEET DENISE TAYLOR

NESS EMPATHY, FORGIVE RD & MOVING FORWA| AUG/SEP 2018

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M O D E R N • C L A S S I C • J E W E L R Y 1128 GARDEN STREET SAN LUIS OBISPO

WWW.BAXTERMOERMAN.COM

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GENERAL BUILDING CONTRACTORS . LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS

8 0 5 . 7 0 4 . 75 5 9

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License 731695 |

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get inspired. get connected. get started.

Home & Garden

E XP O

Free Admission & Parking

san luis obispo alex madonna expo center

September 15th & 16 th

SATURDAY & SUNDAY 10-4

For more info visit inspiredexpos.com or call 805.772.4600

• Get Ideas For Your Home • Attend Home Improvement Seminars • View Pop-Up Rooms For Ideas And Inspiration • Meet Over 100 Experts To Complete Your Projects!

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2018

TUE

SEP 25

Boz Scaggs

THU

SEP 27

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

MON OCT 1

Amos Lee – My New Moon Tour

FRI

OCT 19

Tom Papa

SAT

OCT 20

Cirque Mechanics

TUE

OCT 23

Ballet Folkórico de México

THU

OCT 25

Finding Neverland

SUN OCT 28

Svyati Duo

SAT

Pilobolus – Shadowland

NOV 3

SUN NOV 4

AT THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

INDIVIDUAL SHOW TICKETS ON SALE NOW

JOIN US FOR AN EXTRAORDINARY SEASON

Whose Live Anyway?

WED NOV 14 National Geographic Live! – Annie Griffiths THU

DEC 6

Charles Phoenix

THU

DEC 13

Tommy Emmanuel w/ Jerry Douglas

TUE

DEC 18

LeAnn Rimes Holiday Show

WED DEC 19

Windham Hill Winter Solstice

SAT

Jon Batiste

JAN 12

2019

SUN JAN 13

Joshua Stafford

FRI

An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin

JAN 18

WED JAN 23

National Geographic Live! – Terry Virts

SAT

Herb Alpert & Lani Hall

JAN 26

SUN JAN 27

Martha Redbone – Bone Hill

SAT

FEB 2

Dan Zanes & Claudia Eliaza

THU

FEB 7

Joshua Bell

SUN FEB 10

Russian National Ballet – Sleeping Beauty

THU

FEB 14

Kinky Boots

SAT

FEB 16

Celtic Nights – Oceans of Hope

WED FEB 20

International Guitar Night

WED FEB 27

We Shall Overcome

TUE

MAR 12 Ladysmith Black Mambazo

THU

MAR 14 Monty Python’s Spamalot!

FRI

MAR 15 Jacob Jonas The Company

WED MAR 20 Dustbowl Revival & Hot Club of Cowtown SUN APR 7

Havana Cuba All-Stars

WED APR 10

Something Rotten!

THU

APR 11

Ranky Tanky

SAT

APR 13

Vitaly – An Evening of Wonders

WED MAY 15 National Geographic Live! – Brian Skerry SUN MAY 19 Brandon Ridenour

season info 805-756-4849 CALPOLYARTS.ORG

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LIFE SLO magazine

CONTENTS

Volume 9 Number 4 Aug/Sep 2018

42 DENISE TAYLOR

Working with HIV/AIDS patients has led this doctor to a life of empathy and understanding.

Publisher’s Message 16 Info 18 On the Cover 20 In Box 14

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Briefs

Check out the latest news highlight reel.

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Timeline

We take a look at local events from the past two months.

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View

KERRY DRAGER captured the fun, easygoing spirit of San Luis Obispo with a whimsical look at Bubblegum Alley.


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| CONTENTS

Q&A

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72

While an MBA under his belt and more than 15 years of election work is impressive in itself, it doesn’t demonstrate all of County Clerk Recorder TOMMY GONG’s passion and success.

Now Hear This

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Look no further for insight into the local housing market as we share the year-to-date statistics of home sales for both the City and the County of San Luis Obispo.

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Health

While not part of everyday conversation, insulin is critically important, so we here at SLO LIFE decided to take a look at how this hormone impacts our health.

With an EP to her credit, Orcutt native singer-songwriter JENNY ASHLEY is busy preparing for her latest album release party.

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Real Estate

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On the Rise

A long list of achievements is already underway for San Luis Obispo High School senior WILLIAM HASTINGS.

Profile

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The San Luis Obispo Leadership Program marks its 27th year. Here, we share the members who make up the current class.

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Family

Looking for a fun way to explore downtown, PADEN HUGHES heads out on a walking tour exploring local fare.

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Taste

JAIME LEWIS discovers that there is one thing for sure about our burgeoning local ice cream scene—it tastes as good as it looks.

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K itchen

Taking a zucchini and corn griddlecake to the next level, CHEF JESSIE RIVAS adds a fun twist with fresh, cleaned and chopped cactus.

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Wine Notes

Rosé seems to be taking the local wine region by storm, and ANDRIA MCGHEE explains why this perfectly suited beverage is here to stay.

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Dwelling

Urban sophistication makes this four-level Brownstone house in the heart of San Luis Obispo home for KEVIN and DONNA LEWIS. 12

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Brew

Always one for sharing his knowledge of all things beer related, BRANT MYERS provides an in-depth explanation for what makes a lager a lager, and an ale an ale.

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Happenings Looking for something to do? We’ve got you covered. Check out the calendar to discover the best events around the Central Coast in August and September.


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| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

20 Minutes Five years ago, it was an interview I had conducted for SLO LIFE Magazine that changed my life forever. I sat down with Botso Korisheli, who was then 92 years old, in his Morro Bay home for a conversation during a typical fog-enshrouded midsummer morning. There, with my voice recorder clicked on, I began the interview as I always do, by asking for some background information. “If it’s okay with you, Botso, let’s start by talking about your childhood, about where you are from.” Through a heavy Eastern European accent, Korisheli revealed that he had grown up in the Republic of Georgia when it was brought under Soviet control. Slow and measured in his speaking, he began sharing the story of his father, a famous actor in the capital city’s theatre. “My father disagreed with the government—the rule was that theatre and drama and arts should serve the politics. But, dad disagreed. He said that it should serve the people. And, he did not budge one inch.” One day, when he was a young boy, Korisheli went on his own to the theatre to watch his father perform in a double feature. It was late, but it did not matter because it was summer; school was out. Tucked away in the back corner, Korisheli’s eyes became heavy toward the end of the first show and he drifted off to sleep. When he awoke, the theatre was empty except for the first row, which was lined with a group of men in military uniforms. Rubbing his eyes and dismissing the bizarre scene as a dream, Korisheli, still half-asleep, tripped his way toward the stage. When he made it to the front of the auditorium, he craned his head to the right, at the very same time the man sitting in the middle of the group glanced to his left—in that moment, Botso Korisheli locked eyes with Joseph Stalin. Korisheli knew immediately who he was because posters of the Soviet dictator were everywhere. The men flanking either side of the ruler sprang to their feet—a hornet’s nest animated by a piñata stick—they were upset that this kid had snuck up from the rear so easily, and were worried about what their boss may say, or do. From backstage, Korisheli’s father came running out. Then Stalin took over. Standing behind the boy, the dictator rested both hands on his little shoulders—“I can still feel it; big hand,” is how Korisheli remembered it—while he spoke to his father, the actor. Solicitous of the child, Stalin leaned over to ask what he had thought of his father’s performance. Korisheli answered that he had liked it very much. Before continuing with the retelling of the story, Korisheli paused for two or three beats, gazed off toward nowhere in particular, lowered his voice and said, “Years later, he executed my father.” When he was 15 years old, Korisheli was finally allowed to visit his father in prison where he had been sentenced to death for his political views. Told they would have just 20 minutes before the execution, father and son held hands through the iron bars. The elder Korisheli then attempted to impart a lifetime of lessons and wisdom, everything he had planned to say over the many years they expected to share. “Do not go to sleep at night without asking yourself, ‘Did I do enough work for the day?’”… “Listen more, talk less.”… “Do not leave things unfinished. You start—make sure you finish.”… “Do not repeat second-hand news. Find the truth.” Then, mid-sentence, two KGB prison guards emerged and without a word ripped the actor away, leading him down a long hallway. I surfaced from Korisheli’s home that day to find the fog lifting, but my mind was anything but clear. It wasn’t so much that I heard the story; it was that I felt it. It was now part of me. That night with my family and our three young kids around the table for dinner, I saw everyone in a different light—I understood 20 minutes. Today, I would like to invite you to join the email I will be sending occasionally, sharing the story within the story from behind the scenes. You can sign up for it by visiting my personal website, GrowWithTom.com to subscribe to Tom’s Bombs (“Tom Bomb” was a childhood nickname), and receive my next installment called “Meet Your Neighbor,” revealing how we came up with the concept for our cover feature, which included Korisheli, in the first place. A huge debt of gratitude is owed to everyone who has had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine—thank you. And, most of all, to our advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you. Live the SLO Life!

Tom Franciskovich tom@slolifemagazine.com 14

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T I L E S H O W R O O M & N AT U R A L S T O N E S L A B YA R D C U S T O M C O U N T E R O P FA B R I C AT I O N & I N S TA L L AT I O N SHOWROOM HOURS MON-FRI 10-5, SAT 10-3 SLMARBLE.COM, 5452 EDNA RD

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LIFE SLO magazine

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

Known as “The Gem of Gems” sapphires come in a rainbow of colors. Perfect to represent your love of spring and summer, this delicate 14K dragonfly pendant shows those vivid tones while holding the delicateness of nature in the hand finished wings. Appraised at $970. Selling at Garden Street Goldsmiths for $649. Garden Street Goldsmiths & Estate Jewelry Trust and Expertise since 1974 805-543-8186 1114 & 1118 Garden Street San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-3509 SENIOR DISCOUNT . Mon & Tues 10 to 2 . $15

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Paden Hughes Dawn Janke Jaime Lewis Andria McGhee Brant Myers Jessie Rivas CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Matthew Carver Katya Cengel Kerry Drager Richard Fusillo David Garth Jennifer Olson Vanessa Plakias CONTRIBUTIONS Have some comments or feedback about something you’ve read here? Or, do you have something on your mind that you think everyone should know about? Submit your story ideas, events, recipes, and announcements by visiting us online at slolifemagazine.com and clicking “Share Your Story” or emailing us at info@slolifemagazine.com. Be sure to include your full name and city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations. ADVERTISING If you would like to advertise, please contact Tom Franciskovich by phone at (805) 543-8600 or by email at tom@slolifemagazine.com or visit us online at slolifemagazine.com/advertise and we will send you a complete media kit along with testimonials from happy advertisers.

1351 Monterey Street . San Luis Obispo (805)783-2887 . clippersbarber.com

SUBSCRIPTIONS Ready to live the SLO Life all year long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to slolifemagazine.com/subscribe. It’s just $24.95 for the year. And don’t forget to set your friends and family up with a subscription, too. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! NOTE The opinions expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect those of SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. CIRCULATION, COVERAGE, AND ADVERTISING RATES Complete details regarding circulation, coverage, and advertising rates, space, sizes and similar information are available to prospective advertisers. Please call or email for a media kit. Closing date is 30 days before date of issue.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR info@slolifemagazine.com 4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.


Reunion

Saturday, September 29 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Santa Rosa Park, SLO With the highest level of care in all of San Luis Obispo County, Sierra Vista’s NICU continues to provide compassion and peace of mind to local families whose babies need a little extra care and time to grow.

Join Dr. Steve Van Scoy and the entire NICU team in celebrating NICU graduates.

PARKER graduate SierraVistaBirthCenter.com AUG/SEP 2018

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| ON THE COVER

A S NE A K P E E K

BEHIND the scenes WITH DENISE TAYLOR

BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

This was a really interesting, intense experience. I had some awesome, deep talks with Denise. I can’t pretend this stuff doesn’t go on in the world. It took me out of my little SLO bubble a bit.

Denise talked about how she strives to bring out the best in people, even when they have done something horrendous. She then said something that I thought made a lot of sense, “I try to do this whether they are behind actual, physical bars, or in their own mental prison.” She said she wanted to help people find their best selves.

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Denise said her motherin-law, Liga (pronounced “lee-kah”), inspires her. She’s from Ecuador. During one of their travels there, they came across a children’s book about Mother Earth. The Native Incas tell this story about Mother Earth symbolized by her seashell tattoo. To Denise, she feels that she takes on this mother role, whether with the inmates or her patients.

Toward the end of our time together, after she told me about her brother, she said, “If we can break the cycle of revenge, an eye for an eye, then the world would be a better place.” I love that and feel that it is so true, and Denise is clearly living it. SLO LIFE


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| IN BOX

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

MARIA and TARA SOLES in Seattle on a mother-daughter birthday celebration trip.

JULIAN ALPS, BOVEC, SLOVENIA

COOKIE KROUSS 20

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CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES, FRANCE

My wife, BECKY LAWSON, and I truly cherish SLO LIFE Magazine and its whole SLO Town perspective, people, small business profiles, food and SLO homes. When we travel we always bring our SLO LIFE with us to read. We can not wait till the next issue! Keep up the great work! — BRIAN T. LAWSON

TURKS AND CAICOS

SANDI PARDINI and DEBBIE LEWIS


BALBOA ISLAND

DENTELLES DE MONTMIRAIL

RENDEE DORE’, MIKI MARTIN, and SUE SODERBERG

AFRICAN SAFARI SUZETTE LEES

CLIFFS OF MOHER, IRELAND

SLO NEWCOMERS TRAVEL CLUB

STUTTGART, GERMANY

RICHARD ROBLES AND LINDA PACHECO

URALSK, KAZAKHSTAN

AMY KARDEL BRYANT JOLLEY JULIA KNEHER

Alumni and friends of the German School Committee celebrated 70 years of high school exchange between SLOHS and Ebelu in Stuttgart this summer. Started by Ethel Cooley, the program is now sponsored by the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

TOM, LAURA, WILLIE, and BIBA KIRSCHNER are visiting our children’s homeland. AUG/SEP 2018

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| IN BOX

You showed us! RATECE, SLOVENIA

CAPE COD BAY

MARY KOPECKY and SANDY AMBORN

JUNEAU HARBOR, ALASKA JIM and MARGARET NEVILLE, JOHN and STEPHANIE EWAN with Slovenian cousins getting ready to experience the steepest zipline descent in the world, flying over the Planica giant hill, Bloudkova velikanka, the largest ski flying hill in the world.

COMPOSTELA, NAYARIT, MEXICO

MYRNA and HOWARD FABRICK celebrating our 60th Anniversary.

LOCH LOMOND, SCOTLAND

GABRIEL, JEFFREY, and YAZMIN SKLAR

I’ve enjoyed SLO LIFE Magazine since its inception. It’s great to see articles about local people, places, and organizations that make San Luis Obispo and the surrounding communities so special. Thanks and continue the great work! 22

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SANDI SIGURDSON


DUBROVNIK, CROATIA

KEALAKEKUA BAY, HAWAII

NINA HANSEN

MAMMOTH CAVES NATIONAL PARK

MYLES, DYLAN, and GAVIN PAYNE

PAI, THAILAND

GRETA MILLER

PREDJAMA CASTLE, SLOVENIA DOUGLAS and NIKKI ERB

MALAYSIA

.MATTIA GUARNIERI with JACKIE, RYAN, and MIKE DUFFY

LESLIE MONACO and ALISYA SUHAIMI AUG/SEP 2018

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| IN BOX

SLO LIFE travels! CLIFFS OF MOHER, IRELAND

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO

JIMMY, WENDY, BRENDAN and JORRYN FORESTER

BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII

SASHA SHERIDAN and KATHY RIOS

MAMMOTH LAKES

MINTON FAMILY

LAKE POWELL

FIVE SLO FAMILIES 24

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MARY LOU and RON JOHNSON

ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS

CAL POLY STUDENTS


MOUNT WHITNEY

BAVARIA

JOSH and LINDSEY HARING

MOUNT RAINIER, WA

VALENTINA PETROVA and her adventure yoga group at Neuschwanstein Castle.

“I’M READING!”

KIM and CAROL BENNETTS

KAYLEE

Please send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com Follow SLO LIFE on Facebook: Visit facebook.com/slolifemagazine Visit us online at slolifemagazine.com Letters may be edited for content and clarity. To be considered for publication your letter should include your name, city, state, phone number or email address (for authentication purposes). AUG/SEP 2018

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| BRIEFS

$381,950 Median cost of a home in Lehi, Utah where San Luis Obispo-based manufacturer Really Right Stuff announced it will relocate—“pushed out” according to its CEO, Joseph Johnson— due to the high cost of living for its employees in San Luis Obispo where the median home price is $754,500.

“I’ve been living in a van for almost two years now. It’s great. Just gets better and better.” Thomas Kofron, 31, of San Luis Obispo who works for Cal Fire as a firefighter, and made it to the final round of the NBC television show “America Ninja Warrior,” mostly training by climbing Bishop Peak.

499

The number of votes cast in San Luis Obispo County for Patrick Little, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate who believes that the Holocaust was a hoax and that Adolf Hitler may have been “the second coming of Jesus Christ.”

“Surprised myself by how emotional I became during that opening monologue…” Radio personality Dave Congalton of KVEC posting on Facebook after going back on air for the first time in two weeks, after being seriously injured by a car while walking to the Women’s March in San Luis Obispo. 26

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“Citywide, I have some real concerns with the direction the city is moving. Are we having a tradeoff between quality of life and quantity of life?” Tom Brown, owner of BlackHorse Espresso & Bakery, in an interview with the Tribune where he expressed his intention to fight the massive development proposed by El Segundobased developer Loren Riehl, the same person who developed 22 Chorro with apartments now advertised as “luxury student housing” and renting for $1,400 per month per bed. Brown, who holds a lease on the property, plans to stay through 2023 when it expires.

$1,000 The amount of money raised on GoFundMe to replace “Pyrate Steve” Yarling’s skiff, which was stolen following the annual fireworks show in Cayucos.

$267,000,000 Total value of the 2017 wine crop in San Luis Obispo County, which set a new record and beat out strawberries for the second year in a row.

10

The number of pink champagne cakes the Madonna Inn makes on an average day, with an increase around the holidays. After a seven-month outage of the pink dye used during the baking process, the company announced that its supplier had fixed the problem and the customary color was back for good.

$2.5 million The amount donated by Justin Vineyards and Winery—a subsidiary of The Wonderful Co.—to Cal Poly to get its name emblazoned on a new wine and viticulture center, triggering many to question the ethics of the university’s administration, noting that just two years ago the winery had secretly clear-cut thousands of old growth Coast Live Oaks to make way for more of its grapes.

“But I still feel like my freedom of speech was taken away, and I don’t think my scholarship should have been revoked over something like that.” Cal Poly student Bronson Harmon, who complained about being kicked off the wrestling team and losing his scholarship after he was caught on video making an obscene gesture and shouting an anti-gay slur during a counter-protest to the Families Belong Together March in Modesto. SLO LIFE


u O r r N o F eighborhoods e s n e S n o m m ! Co

Paid for by T. KEITH GURNEE for SLO MAYOR | FPPC # 1406358

T. KEITH

Did You Know?

Keith was the first and last Cal Poly student to be elected to the SLO City Council.

Talk to Keith Want a yard sign? Have questions or comments? gurneeforslo@gmail.com or tkgurnee@gmail.com

Show Your Support Send donations to: T. Keith Gurnee for SLO Mayor, 2018 P.O. Box 15857 San Luis Obispo, CA 93406–5857

w w w.g u r n e e

4slo.com

@tkeithgurnee

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| TIMELINE

Around the County JUNE ’18 6/5

San Luis Obispo County went to the polls after a contentious primary season. The hotly contested race for the District 4 seat on the Board of Supervisors, which resulted in a lawsuit [see “Q&A” on page 36] went to Lynn Compton over Jimmy Paulding by just 60 votes; embattled Sheriff Ian Parkinson won easily over challenger Gregory Clayton; incumbent District Attorney Dan Dow beat opponent Judge Mike Cummins; District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson avoided a runoff by securing 59% of the votes over Jeff Eckles and Patrick E.B. Sparks; Tom Bordonaro bested David Boyer to return again as County Assessor; Hernaldo Baltodano and Tim Covello were elected as judges; and Measure B-18, otherwise known as the cannabis tax, passed with 76% of the vote.

6/11

Grover Beach resident Lisa Irwin filed a lawsuit against the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, as well as two of her former coworkers, claiming that she had been forced out of her job after reporting that employees had been sidestepping contracting requirements in exchange for kickbacks from construction companies over the past couple of years. Irwin claimed additionally she had upset administrators when she reported “fraudulent billing, invoice and credit card policies and practices that allowed [another employee] to use public funds on personal expenses.” Further, she asserted of the administration, “…[Their] practice of mismanaging public funds for their personal benefit” included altering invoices and other internal documents to “mask” personal expenditures. 28

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6/19

The campaign began almost immediately after the Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to leave it up to the voters as to whether or not to ban new oil wells and allow fracking to take place in San Luis Obispo County. The vote, from which John Peschong recused himself citing the work his firm had done on behalf of oil companies, was largely procedural, as local environmentalists had already gathered 20,313 signatures, nearly 12,000 more than were needed to qualify the initiative for the ballot in November. Representatives from both sides of the issue spoke out passionately during the public comments portion of the meeting, foreshadowing the intensity of the debate and the massive deluge of multi-national energy company money expected to characterize the months leading up to the vote this fall.

6/21

Political leaders from each of San Luis Obispo County’s seven cities and the Board of Supervisors gathered together to sign a code of civility, pledging a new tone of cooperation going forward. The idea for the code came up when county leaders traveled together to Denver, Colorado in a trip coordinated by the SLO Chamber of Commerce last year. There, they learned of a similar effort and a movement toward civility in regional political discourse. With an effort to get more locals involved in the search for finding critical answers to perplexing countywide questions, such as how to replace Diablo Canyon’s $1 billion per year economic impact after it is decommissioned, the pledge is essentially a list of guidelines, which includes: listen first; respect different opinions; disagree constructively; and debate the policy, not the person.

6/27

Twin brothers and business partners, Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton, revealed they will no longer pursue plans to build their long-proposed Discovery SLO, a bowling and entertainment center at the corner of Marsh and Chorro Streets in downtown San Luis Obispo, after failing to pay rent on the building for more than a year. In the aftermath, the property owner, Jamestown SLO Premier Retail LP, in partnership with Copeland Properties, proposed a 75-foot structure that would include retail space on the bottom floor, office space on the second and third floors, and 55 housing units on the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors. Forty-five of the units would be studio apartments and ten would be one-bedrooms. Current downtown-commercial zoning allows for buildings up to 50 feet tall, but the city’s Planning Commission may allow up to a maximum building height of 75 feet if the project meets at least two objectives, such as affordable and workforce housing, pedestrian amenities, historic preservation, or energy efficiency.


JULY ’18 7/12

Following a two-year effort by the government watchdog group, Spotlight on Coastal Corruption (SOCC), Coastal Commissioner and Pismo Beach City Councilman Erik Howell was fined $3,500 for violating transparency rules by failing to disclose communications and for influencing matters he knowingly failed to disclose with people involved in projects presented to the commission. Initially, the SOCC sought $3.6 million in damages against Howell for committing “crimes against democracy” in a lawsuit alleging that he violated the Public Resources Code requirements at least 96 times. While Howell had argued along with the four other commissioners implicated that they had simply made clerical errors, the SOCC’s lawyer, Corry Briggs, disagreed and stated, “The way you best protect the coast is to protect the government… You can’t have effective long-term coastal protection that also respects property rights if the public does not know what’s going on.”

7/13

Fox News issued an apology after falsely reporting that Cal Poly was implementing a race-based admissions process to intentionally exclude white students. During the segment, the network interviewed a student, construction management senior and Campus Reform correspondent Roberta Martin, who claimed of the alleged policy, “It creates divisions where there weren’t any before,” with the words “CAL POLY PLOTS TO REDUCE WHITE ENROLLMENT” at the bottom of the screen. After a swift reaction from Cal Poly Media Relations Director Matt Lazier who wrote, “Cal Poly has not, does not, and will not use applicants’ race as a factor in admissions,” Fox News issued an apology and correction the following day. However, Martin continued with her false claim even after the network’s retraction, stating in an email to the campus newspaper, Mustang News, “The bottom line is, Cal Poly has set a goal of reducing the number of white students on campus.”

7/14

Morro Bay residents Chad and Chelsea Moore happened upon a woman who had been missing for a week while the couple searched for a fishing spot during a weekend camping trip in Big Sur. The woman, 23-year-old Angela Hernandez of Oregon, drove off a 200-foot cliff when she swerved to avoid hitting an animal. After her 2011 Jeep Patriot finally came to rest in the shallow water of a rocky, remote, and inaccessible beach, the injured woman was able to collect water from a nearby stream using a radiator hose that had been thrown from the wreckage. When the couple found Hernandez, they offered her food and water and while Chad remained with her, Chelsea climbed back up to the campground to call for help. Multiple first-responding agencies lifted the woman back up to the road above and then she was transported to a waiting helicopter, which carried her to Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton where she made a full recovery.

7/17

The City of San Luis Obispo settled a lawsuit with its Fire Department over an alleged miscalculation of overtime. In the suit, filed in federal court along with a formal grievance, 25 firefighters who had been seeking three years of back wages instead will each receive varying amounts of compensation up to $603. The union’s attorneys and consultants, however, were paid a combined total of $52,449. Under the terms of the settlement, the city also ratified a three-year contract with its firefighters that included a 1-2% cost-of-living increase as well as a 3% increase in employees’ pension contributions. The estimated total savings resulting from the new contract are thought to total $1.9 million by fiscal year 2020-2021 when the city is expected to face a roughly $8.9 million budget gap.

7/17

A grand jury finds that the County Board of Supervisors has the power to unilaterally mitigate dust at the Oceano Dunes because a vast majority of the off-road riding area is on county-owned land known as the La Grande Tract. While residents of the Nipomo Mesa, who are often subjected to some of the worst air quality in the nation, have pressured the Air Pollution Control District as well as State Parks to take action, the County Board of Supervisors has largely avoided public scrutiny as it has mostly remained silent on the issue of public health. The grand jury’s report suggested that the county—which rents the land to State Parks and has been operating without an agreement since 2013 when it expired—could simply write a new lease stating that because the dust has compromised the health and welfare of its citizens, riding is prohibited. SLO LIFE AUG/SEP 2018

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www.BHGREHAVEN.com | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | AUG/SEP 2018

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371BERNARDO.COM Exquisite quality and craftsmanship complete this custom built home. The hand hewn custom crafted beams and trusses with Mortise & Tenon joints accent the home with subdued majesty. Views from every level leave you speechless. The custom kitchen is a chef's dream featuring accents of Italian tile, Knotty Alder cabinets, two dishwashers, built in refrigerator & freezer, wine cooler, walk in Butler's pantry & a 6 burner Wolfe stove. This 4,235 sq. ft. 4-bedroom 3.5 bathroom home is the pinnacle of the Central Coast Lifestyle. Offered at: $1,769,000


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www.BHGREHAVEN.com | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 33

AUG/SEP 2018


| VIEW

bubblegum alley PHOTOGRAPHY BY KERRY DRAGER Sometime in 1950, maybe it was 1951, someone walked the narrow passage between two buildings in downtown San Luis Obispo and decided to stick their “already been chewed”—ABC—gum against the wall. The debate rages on to this day as to who that person was and why they did it. But, the fact remains: they did. Now we do. Everyone does. Today, people from around the world visit Bubblegum Alley to contribute their own ABC artwork to the constantly evolving brick canvas. It seems that the 15-foot walls just cannot catch a break, as local opinions run strong in either direction. For some, it is a disgusting, bacteria-ridden eyesore of epic proportions. For others, it is a tourist mecca and a boon to the local economy. Those caught in the middle, simply shrug their shoulders, acknowledging it for what it is: an enduring San Luis Obispo institution, so entrenched in our history and culture that it has become every bit a part of who we are, as much as the Mission itself, or even Bishop Peak for that matter. It was Winston Churchill who said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” While the cigar-munching Briton doubtfully pondered Bubblegum Alley’s ever shifting composition when he said those words, there remains a lot of truth to his statement. The one thing we do know about Bubblegum Alley—the only thing we know for sure—is that people are fascinated by it. Every major newspaper has at least mentioned it at one time or another. Magazines abound with articles listing it as a “must do” while in San Luis Obispo. Television shows

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ranging from Johnny Carson to The Girls Next Door have had something to say about it over the years. Now, the Internet is filled with thousands, perhaps millions, of photographs, as every wayward visitor posts the classic shot; the one with the kids sticking their gum to the wall. Last year, the website VirtualTourist.com got in on the fun when it nominated the 70-foot walkway as the unofficial 8th wonder of the world. There is no end to the fascination, as the estimated 1.7 million wads of ABC gum inspire a steady year-round pilgrimage, moths drawn to the porch light. Kerry Drager is as consumed by Bubblegum Alley as the rest of us. With too many published books and articles to list, Drager is prolific. As a photographer and a photography teacher, when it comes to capturing images he has been there, done that. But, there is just something about all that ABC gum he could not leave alone. So one day, he talked his daughter-in-law, Kim, into meeting him downtown for a shoot. It would be a quick session, he promised. “She walked up wearing these really loud, colorful glasses, and it gave me an idea,” Drager remembers. Although he had planned for the typical, zoomed-out viewpoint of the alley, instead Kim blew a bubble. Quickly swapping out his lens for a wideangle, the photographer/father-in-law closed in to about a foot from the teal sunglasses and started snapping away in front of a “slightly icky section of the wall.” Then, crouching down and pointing upward, while zooming in to distort the background, Drager knew he captured it, the essence of Bubblegum Alley. SLO LIFE


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| Q&A

RIGHT TO VOTE

We were treated recently to a wide-ranging interview with San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder TOMMY GONG. Our conversation covered everything from speculation about what killed Bruce Lee (topical steroids), to how to boost the morale of grocery store clerks (chicken chow mein), to what it’s like to be sued (slightly better than getting kicked in the face). Here’s some of what he had to say…

Tommy, let’s start off by talking about where you are from. Sure, I grew up in a small town just east of Modesto called Riverbank; about 6,000 residents back then. My parents moved there in the early ‘60s before I was born to open up a grocery store. My grandfather moved to the United States from China in the 1920s and got into the grocery business. Subsequently, all of his children took his lead and opened stores of their own. He came from a county in Southern China where many of them came over, and they all got into the grocery business. It used to be, if you drove on Highway 99 between Sacramento and Bakersfield and there was a Chinese grocery store, it was most likely owned by a member of the Gong family. And you could always tell when you were in a Chinese-owned grocery store, because they would have a kitchen in the back with a wok so they could cook for all the family members and everyone who worked there during the day. What came next? So, I grew up working at the grocery stores, and by the time I went off to college at UC Berkeley, my family had two locations. I always did well in school. Went on to San Francisco State for my MBA. When I finished, my parents were ready to retire and they wanted me and my other family members to continue. So, I ended up back in the family business. It’s kind of like the mafia. [laughter] You think you are on your way out, but they pull you back in. I did that for another ten years until around 2001 when we sold to a big grocery store chain. Suddenly, I found myself looking for a job. I had no idea what I was going to do. When I searched the job postings, I kept seeing notices, of all things, for a county elections manager. That’s how I got my start in elections. Of course, this was fresh off the 2000 presidential election with all that was happening in Florida. I said to myself, “How difficult can that be?” How difficult was it? Well, pretty challenging, as it turned out. My first election was the governor recall race, the one with Arnold Schwarzenegger and 135 other candidates. During that period, I will say, is when I caught the election bug. When you do elections, you either love it or hate it; you find out real fast. Holding an election is like planning a wedding, or a party, or an event. You do all the prep work ahead of time. You work with your vendors and suppliers to get everything lined up for that one special wedding day. You want everything to go off without a hitch, hopefully. If not, you have to be able to adapt and fix things as you go along. I had 36

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some relatable experience going into it. I think what sold them on hiring me for that first job was when I talked about how I organized events on behalf of Bruce Lee’s family. How did you get involved with them? As a kid, we were the only Chinese family in town, and although I never felt discriminated against, there was nobody else that looked like me. So, when Bruce Lee came up in the ‘70s, it was like, “Wow!” When I went off to UC Berkeley, which was one of his old stomping grounds, there were still people living there who had been trained by him. By the time I graduated from Cal, I had met all of Bruce Lee’s major students. I developed a passion to learn more about his art and continue on. By the late ‘90s, there was a lot of confusion in the martial arts community about what it was exactly that Bruce had taught, so his widow, Linda Lee, called together all the students to say, “Let’s try to figure all this out.” Out of that initial meeting, we formed a group that became the Bruce Lee Foundation. I became a founding board member, organized its events, as I mentioned, and became their official videographer where I would interview all of his remaining students, which led to me writing a book about the evolution of Bruce Lee; how his art evolved, how his philosophy evolved. Okay, speaking of martial arts, how did it feel to be sued by Supervisor Lynn Compton during the recent election? [laughter] Oh, yes, okay. I knew you were going to ask me about that. I remember looking at the reports and seeing that Lynn was ahead by a very slim margin. Then, in the next-to-last report, Paulding passed her up, going ahead ever so slightly. Finally, she was up by 50 votes or so. Then it came time to process the leftover ballots, the provisionals and the mail-ins where people forgot to sign the envelope, and in some cases, there were eight of them, where the signatures did not appear to match. There are provisions in the law for you to send them a letter, so they can come in and we can remedy the situation. But, it has to be completed within eight days of the election. The law states very clearly, “The elections official shall liberally construe in favor of the voter.” So, in this case, where we were not delaying the counting process, not delaying the certification—we actually finished four days ahead of schedule—then why not? By all means, if they have the right to vote, then we’re going to do whatever we have to do to give them the opportunity. And, at the end of the day, my job is to defend the rights of the voters. SLO LIFE


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| NOW HEAR THIS

JENNY ASHLEY Virginia Woolf claimed that all women need rooms of their own, spaces where they feel free to create, and for local singer-songwriter Jenny Ashley, that room is her white minivan.

BY DAWN JANKE PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICHARD FUSILLO

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Album release party . Dunbar Brewing Public House . Santa Margarita . September 13

J

enny Ashley began writing songs in her car, almost clandestinely, as a respite from working motherhood. She recalls, “There was a time that I felt trapped—I was trying to live a writer’s life, dedicated to writing two-to-three hours a day for almost a decade, and I was teaching, and I had little babies at home, and I couldn’t really go anywhere unless I could get there via stroller.” Since she lived in a small home with three toddlers, she would escape to her minivan when everyone was asleep, and she would write songs and sing. “I bought a hand-held recorder and secretly recorded more and more songs.” Ashley’s musical training is as a singer in the church band and “that one year, all these songs just came pouring out of me,” she says, “but I cannot read music, so I did everything by ear.” It was actually before Ashley had children when she wrote her first song. “One day, when I was preparing for class, I was looking at some poetry, and in one of my books, I saw ‘Funeral Blues’ by W. H. Auden, and I just heard it as a song. I sang it aloud—the entire song—and it was magic,” she says. “I was with friends later that night, and I announced that I had written a song and sang it for them, but that was it. Then I got pregnant, had kids, went into survival mode, and stopped being creative for several years.” Ashley kept that song, “Stop All the Clocks,” in the back of her head, humming it to herself here and there, but she never recorded it. In fact, she didn’t think of professionally recording any of her music until she met another local singer-songwriter, Jon Bartel. “I knew this guy Jon, who was in a band,” explains Ashley, “and he was writing his own music, and he was a church person, too, so I emailed him and let him know I was also writing songs.” The chance Ashley took by opening up and sharing her music with Bartel changed everything. Ashley says, “For a long while, it was me in my minivan with my melody and my lyrics. I needed someone to turn my ideas into full songs.” Bartel and Ashley began exchanging audio files: Ashley sharing her words and melodies, and Bartel writing guitar parts. Their first recording was “Hooks,” and according to Ashley, it was totally homegrown: “I couldn’t sing loud because we were recording in his guest room with his kids sleeping and his wife grading papers in the adjacent room.” Ashley and Bartel proceeded to record four songs over the course of a year, and during that time Bartel built in his garage what became Northwall Studio, an important addition to the county’s recording studio scene. “The last songs we recorded for my EP were in Jon’s new studio.” Ashley’s EP, Sidecar, is named after the San Luis Obispo restaurant and bar. “That was the place my husband and I frequented—we were always going to Sidecar and talking out our problems,” says Ashley. “It was a vulnerable time in our lives,” she adds, “and Sidecar became the place for us.” One of the songs on the album even proclaims, “Meet me at Sidecar; I think I’ve found what we’re looking for.”

The EP release party, held at the Dunbar Brewing Public House in Santa Margarita in February of 2016, was the first time Ashley and Bartel performed her music together for an audience. “I had been singing in the church band for 20 years, and I am a Cal Poly professor, so performance is no problem, but I am not a seasoned musician with tons of experience, and three days before the event I lost my voice,” she says. “I didn’t talk for three days, and I did all these herbal remedies, and I got my voice back, and it was fine. We rehearsed for the first time an hour before the show, but I take it as a good life lesson: just keep going.” Since then, several personal changes have resulted in more freedom for Ashley, and she just keeps going; now she is pursuing another side of her creativity, photography, which has brought her a lot of acclaim, including features in galleries in California and Mexico. “I’ve gone through some drastic changes and have really come into my own skin. I now give myself permission to write a song or take a picture, whereas for a long time I blocked my creativity,” says Ashley. “I took baby steps towards less asking for permission and more telling the people in my life, ‘This is what I am doing.’” Ashley declares that she has wanted to create art for so long, and she finally feels empowered. She also credits Bartel for supporting her musical pursuits. “I have grown a ton and am giving myself permission to make music without constraint,” she states, “but Jon makes everything I write sound better.” The two continue to collaborate, most recently on her upcoming album, “Foreign Cinema,” which Ashley explains was written in her minivan on a trip to and from San Francisco. “I went on this trip, and the entire car ride I was processing life, romanticizing about times and events, thinking through what was weighing heavy on my heart, and it all came to me as I was driving alone. I sat in silence and heard the songs.” Unlike her EP, which fit neatly into the alt country genre, Ashley is pleased that “Foreign Cinema” represents a bit more of her rock ‘n’ roll vibe, and the Orcutt native seems even more pleased that the album is purely local. “All the songs were written here, it was recorded on the Central Coast, and the imagery will be local, too, with album photography shot at the Palm Theater and Giuseppe’s,” she says. The album also will feature Ashley’s photography, something about which she is really excited: “I wanted to do the cover art myself because it gave me an opportunity to combine my love of photography with my love of music—to articulate this broader sense of my artistic vision.” With an album release party scheduled for September at Dunbar Brewing Public House, Ashley looks forward to performing “Foreign Cinema” for an audience. “Live music is art being made as it goes—it is embodied art.” And then what’s on the horizon for Jenny Ashley? “I’m going to return to my minivan and let it all take shape.” SLO LIFE AUG/SEP 2018

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

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| ON THE RISE

S TU D ENT SPOTLIG H T

William Hastings With interests ranging from law to Latin, music to philosophy, seventeen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School senior WILLIAM HASTINGS is on the final countdown to blastoff. What sort of extracurricular activities are you involved in? Boy Scouts, piano performance, jazz quintet, band, mock trial, chess club, Latin club, winter percussion, National Honor Society, and jazz band. What recognition have you received? Top Ten GPA, Golden Tiger Award, Staff Creed Award (Emerald Bay Staff Member Award), two-time runner-up for best Prosecuting/Defense Attorney (Mock Trial), National Merit Scholar (National Hispanic Recognition Program), Samsung American Legion Scholarship Finalist (results of national level pending), Boy’s State attendee. What are your other interests? I enjoy hiking, making music, listening to music, watching films, taking supplemental classes, swimming, lifting, working. What is important to you outside of high school? The relationships I have with all the wonderful people I have in my life and trying to experience and learn as much as I can. What career do you see yourself in someday? I’d like to pursue a career in either law or business in the future. Both judicial and economic functions have always fascinated me. I’d love to explore and contribute to either field to further my understanding for the benefit of posterity. What has influenced you the most? Alan Watts once said, “Dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.” This quote has influenced how I live out every single day of my life. If you could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be? I’d love to meet Friedrich Nietzsche, Alan Watts, or Jordan Peterson (still alive) so I could better understand their life philosophies and better implement their teachings into my life. What do you dislike the most? I really dislike excuses—there’s no reason for anything to get in the way of one’s goals. I myself am guilty of allowing them to obstruct me, but I’ve been concentrating on trying to minimize the frequency in which that occurs. What do you want people to know about you? I’m always open to meeting new people and experiencing new things. What schools are you considering for college? I’ll be applying to UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, University of Chicago, Yale, and Claremont McKenna. SLO LIFE

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

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| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

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RIPPLE EFFECT PHOTOGRAPHY BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

It has been twenty years since DENISE TAYLOR moved to San Luis Obispo when her husband accepted a professorship at Cal Poly. Prior to the relocation, they were in the Bay Area, where she gained clinical experience treating HIV/ AIDS patients. Once here, she quickly put those skills to use at the California Men’s Colony, which, at that time, was one of the only prisons designated for inmates afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Taylor continued to develop her specialty in this area when one day, a transgender inmate appeared at the prison hospital needing hormone replacement therapy. She did not hesitate to pick up the assignment saying, “How hard can it be? I’ll do it.” Word spread beyond the prison walls, and before long, she became the go-to doctor for the Central Coast trans community. Now, she is committed to her work with a non-profit called Tranz Central Coast and counts around 100 regular patients from the area as part of her practice. Additionally, she cares for another 150 or so local HIV-positive patients during the one day per week she works at Community Health Centers. Behind the work she does to support our local LGBTQ population runs a deep well of compassion, empathy—and forgiveness. Here is her story…

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O

kay, Denise, let’s start from the beginning. Where are you from? I grew up in Manhattan Beach. It was a community not too much unlike San Luis Obispo. I was actually brought up as an Evangelical Christian—the whole thing, church three times a week, bible thumping, church camp. Graduated from Mira Costa High School, then Occidental College. Did a year abroad in Germany and came back home for the summer before going off to medical school. I had been back for about a month when my brother, Bo, he’s two-anda-half years younger than me, went to the beach one day with a friend. It was September 29th, 1984. They met a couple of girls there who asked for a ride home. They lived in Compton. And, Compton back in the ‘80s was not a great place to be. It was the middle of the day, so they dropped the girls off; then they stopped at a liquor store to get something to drink. They saw some guys in another car out front who were smoking pot. They went over and asked them, “Oh, hey, do you know where we can score some weed?” What did they say? There was a discussion about it and then the guys in the car said, “Yeah, we know where we can get you some. Follow us.” So, Bo and his friend got back in their car and followed these guys to a house where they picked up a third guy, then they headed to another place—a street corner. When they stopped, they told my brother and his friend, “Okay, give us the money, wait here, and we’ll be back with your stuff.” So, the one guy takes off and my brother and his friend are hanging out with the other original two guys, who are now thinking, “Oh, wait, how are we going to get rid of these guys who are looking for weed now? They don’t realize that my buddy just stole their money and is not coming back.” So one of those guys, who was in a gang, had a gun in the car. He’s thinking he’d use it to scare them off. So, he went to get the gun, which was some sort of handmade pipe gun, a poorly made thing, as it turns out, with not a great trigger. He walks toward them, pointing at them and says, “Get going.” Bo turns around and says, “What?” The gun goes off, striking my brother in the chest. Wow. It was a Saturday afternoon and we were all just sitting around at home with some friends. That’s when my brother’s friend came running up to the door and said, “Bo’s been shot!” We’re thinking, “What the heck? What are you talking about? This is Manhattan Beach, that sort of stuff doesn’t happen around here.” So, we called the hospital and they said, “You need to get here right away.” Everyone loaded up into two cars, my family and our friends, and I remember my mom kind of trying to laugh it off saying, “Oh, I’m sure he’s fine. He’s just going to have some crazy story to tell us someday.” When we arrived at the hospital, they pulled us aside and said, “We tried to revive him, tried to sew up the hole in his heart. We couldn’t revive him. I’m sorry to tell you, he’s dead.” I cannot imagine… Yeah, it was surreal. Just complete shock. Unbelievable. My mom was sobbing. I just couldn’t understand what was happening. He was so young, just 19. I mean, my own kids are about his age now; one a little older, one a bit younger. Honestly, I don’t know how my mom ever got out of bed again. It’s just devastating. My parents had been divorced by this time, so I was the

one to call my dad. When I finally said the words, “Bo is dead,” that’s when I lost it. I couldn’t stop crying. My dad was so confused, he kept repeating, “What are you saying? What are you saying?” It just made no sense. Bo’s friend went back to recreate the scene for the police and they caught the guy the next day. He never denied it. He said he didn’t mean to do it, that it was an accident. At the trial, the family was allowed to speak before the sentencing. I said, “Well, he should have life without parole because we have to live our whole lives without my brother, and that only seems fair.” He was sentenced 25 years to life. So, then you went on to become a doctor working in the prison system? That’s right. It was ’97 when I started working at the California Men’s Colony. After about the first six months or so at the prison, something occurred to me as I was providing medical care to the inmates. We would chat as I was treating them, and invariably I would ask them, “Oh, what are you in for?” A lot of them were in for murder. And, I remember thinking, “They’re remorseful. These guys are working [at jobs within the prison]. They seem to be nice, friendly guys.” It occurred to me that they may not be too dissimilar to the man who killed my brother. I had actually forgotten his name, so I looked it up—Ronnie Fields. I didn’t think too much about it until four or five years later when I started a hospice program at the prison. We trained inmates to come into the hospital to sit with a dying inmate. They would actually hold vigil 24 hours a day, rotating shifts every four to six hours until the person passed. These were really motivated inmates who were trying their hardest to give back, to make amends. Hearing their stories touched me a lot. It was around this time that I heard a story on the radio on the way to work about a woman who started going to death row to visit the man who had killed her parents. In the interview, she talked about how these conversations were helping her, as well as helping the inmate. I realized it was something I had always wanted to do—meet Ronnie. How did you do that? I wrote him a letter. I wanted to meet him. I wanted to see if he was sorry. I wanted to know if he was on a path of self-improvement. I wanted to give him the opportunity, because I knew that the men I worked with, especially in the hospice program, would’ve given anything to have been forgiven or even just to have the chance to really express how sorrowful they were. Because I work in the prison system, it took me a long time to get permission to send that letter. When I finally did, I kept it short. It said something like, “My name is Denise Taylor. I work at CMC. I think you’re the man who killed my brother, Jonathan Bo Taylor. I would like to come and visit you and talk to you, if that is possible.” His letter came back quickly and it said, “I’m ashamed to say that I am that person. And I’m so sorry. It would be hard to have to face you, but anything you ask. I feel like I have to grant you that.” The day of my visit, we shook hands and he said, “Can I just tell you what happened that day?” His version of what took place was basically the same one I had believed over the past 20 years—it was an accident. He did not mean to shoot my brother. He wanted to scare him off. He said he was sorry and told me what he had been doing in prison. Then he started telling me about his life. What did he have to say? Turns out he had also had a lot of loss; his mom had died, his brother died. His sister, who he was closest to, died. He had a couple of brothers, and they were also in prison. He told me that my letter was the first letter he had received in several >> AUG/SEP 2018

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years. No one had visited for probably a decade. So when my letter arrived, he said they came around, and they’re like, “Oh, Ronnie, there’s mail for you.” And he’s like, “What?” So, I just kind of dropped this little bomb into his life. At the end of the visit I said, “Well, I’d like to come back to see you again, maybe with my mom and my dad.” And I said, “I’ll keep writing to you, if you’d like.” He said, “Yeah, I’d like that.” So, I told my parents what I had done. For many years my dad had been very angry and my mom was super sad, but had finally moved on with her life. When I talked to them about it, my dad was actually very interested in getting in touch; I think he really needed to hear Ronnie say that he was sorry. But my mom said, “I just don’t 46

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want to open that door again.” So, what happened next? As it turned out, there was a parole board hearing coming up six months later where he would petition for his release. I told Ronnie, “We’ll come and tell them that we’re satisfied that you’ve shown remorse; that you’ve done enough time in prison. And, that as far as we’re concerned, there is no reason to keep you here.” We thought that maybe he should have a chance to live a life on the outside, and hopefully do some good in the world. We kept showing up at the parole board hearings every year or two. It wasn’t that we said, “We insist he be released,” instead we just kept saying, >>


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“We’re satisfied that justice has been served.” So, the last hearing we went to, December 2016, they granted him a date. He was released from prison a little more than a year ago now, last April. Can you tell us about that day? When he got out, he called me. I said, “Oh, I’m so excited for you; you’re out! How is it? Did you see your family?” He actually has grandkids and great-grandkids. He had some kids as a teenager, before he went to prison, and his family had grown. I went down to L.A. a few months later, in July, to meet him for the first time outside of prison. One of the things I wanted to do was to go back to the place where my brother had been shot. I had never been there. I thought, “You know, I think going there with him just felt like some sort of closure.” I know it made Ronnie uneasy. He didn’t really like it. But he said, “Well, if you need to do it, I’ll go.” There were some new buildings there, so we couldn’t really do much, except stand on the corner. I thought about my brother and hoped he would find what I was doing to be the compassionate, loving thing to do, me forgiving Ronnie. I can’t say for sure if that would be the case or not, but Bo was just accepting of everybody. He did not have a prejudiced bone in his body. He probably would’ve believed in second chances. He wasn’t exactly a perfect kid, and he got into a fair amount of trouble, so I think he would’ve appreciated what I was doing— giving Ronnie a second chance. And, what do you think he’ll do with that second chance? It’s hard to say. I know he talks to his grandkids about staying out of trouble. 48

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But, I mean, he’s still in an environment that is so difficult for most of us living here to even begin to understand. For example, before we went to the corner where my brother was killed, Ronnie’s girlfriend called. He was talking to her, and the conversation sounded kind of strange, so I asked him, “Oh, what was that all about?” He said, “Oh, my family’s so worried.” I said, “What are they worried about?” He replied, “They think you’re going to hurt me.” I said, “Why would I hurt you?” He answered, “That’s the way they think. If somebody does you wrong, you’re gonna do them wrong.” He said, “I keep telling ‘em, ‘You don’t know this lady. She’s a nice lady.’” I said, “Let me get this straight. They think I’ve worked for 13 years, writing you, visiting you, when none of them ever wrote to you or visited you, and went to all those parole hearings just to get you out of prison, so I could shoot you?” I said, “Wow.” And Ronnie said, “Oh, don’t worry about it.” He told me they said, “Before you get into that car with her, make sure she doesn’t have a weapon.” That just surprised me, because I was thinking quite the contrary, that they would say, “I wish we could meet this nice woman who let Grandpa out of jail.” [laughter] Do you maintain contact now? Since that first visit, I talk to Ronnie on the phone every couple of months or so. Just to check in. I feel like a big sister in a way now, offering a little guidance when I can. I go down to L.A. a fair amount for different things, so during a recent visit I picked him up and took him out to lunch. I wanted to hear about what’s going on in his life. He’s working, and he’s got a car. He’s seeing his family and just trying to figure things out with them again. >>


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Denise Taylor and Ronnie Fields meeting for the first time outside of prison. Photo by Katya Cengel

A couple of his grandkids are in gangs and he said that he keeps telling them, “Don’t bring those guns around me; you guys shouldn’t be doing this.” One of the things he told me that I really took to heart, he said, “It’s hard to be around you, because it reminds me of one of the worst things I ever did.” It reminds him of all the pain he’s

his grandkids. And we’re Facebook friends. So it’s the occasional pictures, the occasional phone calls, the occasional lunch, that sort of thing. I’m glad that he’s doing well and I will do what I can to maintain the connection. I always think about the ripple effect, you know the idea where you toss a pebble in the water and the ripples

I always think about the ripple effect, you know the idea where you toss a pebble in the water and the ripples radiate out. inflicted on me and my family. And I remember thinking to myself, “Yeah, I’m going to pull away a little bit. I’m not here to save him. I’m not the hero in the story. I just did what I do, and he did his part, and now he’s out, and now he’s got a family that he needs to connect with.” How do you see things going forward? I don’t want to be a constant reminder of the past. I hope that he is able to put the past behind him and move on and live his life; have a job, have a car, have a girlfriend, go out to dinner, fix a meal—the things that we all take for granted. And so, yeah, that’s the kind of stuff we talk about. He tells me about 50

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radiate out. I think about that concept a lot with the work that I do with the prison hospice program. I think about it when I am caring for inmates, treating them with respect and decency, and hoping that that person can then find the strength to treat another person with a little more decency, too. Same with the LGBTQ community and my trans patients; you just never know how what you say is going to resonate with somebody in the same way the story I heard on the radio resonated with me, or how this article may resonate with one of your readers. It’s hard to say, it’s really all that any of us can do—create those little ripples. SLO LIFE


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| PROFILE

INTRODUCING CLASS 27 Each year, Leadership SLO, the San Luis Obispo-based non-profit, assembles a cohort of 36 participants with backgrounds ranging from law enforcement to teaching, everyone from bankers to bakers, to come together from all four corners of the county to take part in the ten-month program. With a focus on further integrating its graduates into the community, its alumni include politicians, educators, non-profit leaders, and entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. Each month, the classmates engage in one particular area of focus for an entire day, ranging from the arts to farming and beyond. The program kicks off with a three-day off-site retreat and ends with the completion of a class legacy project; notable examples include the sundial at the Botanical Gardens and trail construction work on the Johnson Ranch Loop. As the current class heads into the homestretch of the program’s 27th year, those interested in joining the next session are encouraged to apply at leadershipslo.org before the end of September. This year’s class, Class 27, just like all of the others before it, is made up of a collection of individuals, all with unique hopes and dreams and histories. Here is a little snippet from each of them…

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Brigette Adell Parzych Adell Arts Visual Artist

Keith Aggson City of SLO, Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief

I love to paint—watercolor and acrylic—craft, and work with mixed media art; and just about anything outdoors: hiking, jogging, boogie boarding, and biking. Someday I hope to see a cure for all people with Type 1 diabetes, including my son.

I have been a firefighter for 31 years, since my senior year in high school. I love what I do. If I could do anything else, I would choose to live in several dozen major cities for a month at a time, twice a year, to experience a wide range of different cultures.

Pedro Arias Lopez Big Sky Café Server & Manager

Melodie Beard Self-Employed Attorney-at-Law

I am happy in my life, and I think this transmits to my job. I sometimes joke that my hobbies are to clean my house and cook for my family. At the same time, I like to work hard. It may sound crazy, but someday I would like to have my own business.

I’ve traveled extensively with my choir and we once had an audience in Slovenia that was very anti-American, until we started singing. After the concert, we were able to meet just as people. Someday, I hope to have the willpower to give up sugar.

Audrey Bigelow SLO Museum of Art Donor Relations Manager

Michael Boyer Digital West Chief Operating Officer

I’m a diehard San Francisco Giants fan. I obsess over baseball. Eventually, I would like to be involved in something that focuses on women in sports at all levels and work toward shining a spotlight on what they can and already do accomplish.

As an infant, I was adopted into a large white family. I was blessed. I was raised in the wilderness of Alaska, without running water, electricity, TV, or even telephone service. My dream is to do what I can to help as many who need help as possible.

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Steve Burnside Clever Ducks Business Development & Marketing Director My dad was a professional musician in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and I saw all of the good and bad that came with that lifestyle. I watched as my family has been broken, and then reconciled in those depths. One of these days, I will finish my Ph.D.

Earl E. Conaway, III Earl E. Conaway, III, APLC Owner/Attorney

I became a runner five years ago when I found out that Disneyland offered 5k races through the park. Recently, I ran a half-marathon through Disney World. I also love to sing, cook, and taste wine. Someday I would love to go to culinary school.

Some of my favorite memories include hiking in Patagonia and sleeping under the stars in the Serengeti. But, now, as a new father, my dream is that my child grows to be a successful, contributing human who grows up to be whatever he wants to be.

Brian Conner Kingdom Building Solutions Architect

Jason Curtis Cuesta College Dean of Sciences & Mathematics

I like to play golf. Actually, I received a full-ride scholarship at the University of Michigan to be a caddie. Someday, I hope to see my three kids reach their dreams, and then I’d like to shoot my age in golf and head off to retire to a tropical location.

I love soccer, so I watch a lot of English soccer and play fantasy soccer. I used to referee and hope to get back into it. My wife and I also love to travel and would like to take a cruise around the Galapagos Islands someday.

Keith Dunlop Morris & Garritano Insurance Director of Compliance & Human Resources

Amity Faes Pacific Premier Bank VP/Premier Banking Manager

Michael Foote SESLOC Branch Manager Growing up, I was more active in music and extreme sports. My goal now is to own a home in the same community that my family and I work and attend school. This seems like a small thing, but it continues to be a challenge for my peers and me. |

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If a career in law enforcement did not work out, my alternate plan was to be an art teacher. I paint, I draw, and I write. I grew up in a home with a lot of violence and poverty, but along the way, I found rodeoing and can still rope and ride pretty well.

Julianna Cementina Native Trails Event & Project Manager

I’m an active cyclist and backpacker. When not exploring local roads and trails, I am either in the mountains or planning my next excursion. I also have a passion for photography, and previously worked as a professional photographer.

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Deanna Cantrell City of SLO, Police Department Chief of Police

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After graduating from college, my now-husband and I traveled for seven weeks through Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand. Someday, I would love to travel through Europe. For now, I love to hike and spend time at the beach and with friends and family. Gabriel Granados County of SLO, Behavioral Health Department Behavioral Health Specialist I have a cat with one eye named Willie after “The Goonies” pirate. During my free time there are so many things I like to do: play piano, guitar, write, read, run, weight lifting, pretty much anything outdoors, and spend time with family and friends.


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Vanessa Igel Parker Sanpei Account Executive

Courtney Kienow Cal Poly Director of Community Relations

Being a part of the Speak Up forum was an incredible experience, and I hope to host more of them. One hundred women came together to take on their fear of public speaking with grace and gratitude. They made friendships, bonded, and found their voice.

When I was growing up, my dad ran marathons. I never conceived that I could one day accomplish anything like that, but I built up my distances and trained through the winter—I hate being cold—and did it. And then another, under four hours.

David Kramer Lockheed Martin Space Systems Project Engineer Assoc. Manager

Jano Kray Self-Employed Information Technology & Security Consultant

Being selected for battalion command in May 2009 was an incredible honor that I will never forget; it resulted in the huge responsibility for leading 500 people into combat 18 months later. After my fouryear-old goes off to college, I want to travel. Ryan Lawrence Movement Arts Center Owner/Director When I was 24, I moved to the Netherlands where I lived for eight years becoming fluent in the language. My wife is Dutch and our children were born there. One day, I would like to go on an epic surf adventure, or do a solo hike in the Sierras.

April Lewallen San Luis Obispo County YMCA Chief Operations Officer I’ve got a tortoise named Sprinkles. I enjoy golfing, wine tasting, yard work, and home improvement projects. Someday, I would love to be able to buy an old building and remodel it, making it my home.

Mavis “Toto” Masuecos Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center Group Director, Laboratory & Pathology Services I was born in the Iloilo Islands of the Philippines. We were very poor with almost nothing to eat some days. We couldn’t afford clothes so my mother would sew our own clothes. I’m very blessed, and will never forget what it was like back then. 56

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I have moved 32 times so far in my life. My father was a dreamer and a renaissance man who pursued his dreams with the help of a loving wife who created “home” wherever we went and encouraged him in—well, almost all—of his endeavors. Chris Lehman City of SLO, Water Resources Recovery Facility Interim Plant Supervisor I’ve got a lot of hobbies, including winemaking and tasting, guitars, and cars. I also enjoy gardening, and day trading. My dream is to one day bring a product, or maybe a business, to market that makes peoples’ lives better. Jenny Luciano Big Brothers Big Sisters of SLO County CEO Over the years, I have raised more than $70 million for non-profits here in California. For six months, I once lived on a dairy farm in Luxembourg. One day, I want to start a successful goat dairy farm and make artisan cheese. Alex McClure Unanimous AI Vice President of Product My dream is that my children want to spend time with me when I am old one day. Also, I want to create billion-dollar businesses and sow their profits back into endowment funds of non-profits that I care about.


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Kristie Merkousko Lindamood-Bell Center Director

Megan Mitchell Wacker Wealth Partners Wealth Advisor

I played competitive ultimate Frisbee for ten years and have won a few national championships and have travelled all around the country for tournaments, and to Italy, and Japan to compete. I completely burned myself out, but loved every minute of it.

I played volleyball in college for North Carolina University, and our team made it to the NCAA tournament three times. I was also nominated for NCAA Woman of the Year in 2013. But, I am best known for my ability to cure hiccups 95% of the time.

Kristen Rambo Stand Strong Executive Director

Hannah Roberts Thrive SLO Psychologist & Co-Founder

My goal in life is to make some major headway in the struggle to end violence against women. I’m still working out exactly what that looks like. On a personal level, I want to get back to Africa and travel to a bunch of places I haven’t seen yet.

My favorite quote is from Einstein: “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” I grew up in Michigan in a farmhouse built in the 1800s. There was nature all around and I loved running through the fields and climbing trees in the forest.

Anthony Salas Epic Entertainment Visionary & Director of Awesomeness

Fatma Spanton Cal Poly Corporation Director of Conference & Event Planning

I once attempted to live the rock star lifestyle for a while and played with some bands that toured around. Now my dream is a little different. I want to travel around and visit each baseball and football stadium in the country.

I love to travel, paddleboard, go golfing, and wine tasting. I also love to read, and I’m really fast, often finishing a 600-page book (in either English or Turkish) in a couple of days. Eventually, I hope to spend a year volunteering for a peace organization.

Elise St. John Cal Poly Visiting Scholar

Leann Standish Foundation for the Performing Arts Center Executive Director

I run for my sanity, so I’m not sure it counts as a hobby. But, I also love to read, draw, hike, and travel. Someday I hope to become conversational in Spanish, or some other language I can use frequently to communicate with others.

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My parents were high school sweethearts and remain lovingly committed to each other today— four kids and seven grandkids later. I have a lengthy bucket list of travel destinations. I would also like to return to running, perhaps a half marathon.

Elizabeth Thompson Claiborne & Churchill Outside Sales Manager

Maggie von Stein Savvy Leadership Academy Founder & CEO

I was adopted from Seoul, South Korea and came to the U.S. when I was four months old. Recently, I returned to Korea for the first time. It was an amazing trip. I met my foster mother, who cared for me until I was adopted—many tears, gifts, and pictures.

I was born prematurely, and was so small that I could have literally fit into the pocket of the doctor’s shirt. They actually flew a specialist in from Pakistan to close the three-inch gap in my esophagus. My case was written up in a medical journal. Now, I love to hike, travel, and dance. SLO LIFE

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| FAMILY

WALK ING TOUR

A

BY PADEN HUGHES

t times, it feels like America has become a country of convenience and hurry. Even when I go to Costco, I drive around and around the parking lot just waiting for a spot to open up ten feet closer to the entrance. The other day, it was genuinely hot in San Luis Obispo and I wanted to go to Avila Beach, only to return home 30 minutes later, because parking was “impossible.” Impossible, or did I just think that because to park would have meant a quarter of a mile hike with a toddler? With no dad to carry all the items required to be ready for anything... forget it. But when we slow down enough to actually stroll somewhere, it’s peaceful. Since moving into a house seven blocks from downtown, my husband and I try to start off the rare evening we spend alone together with a walk to Higuera Street. In the beginning it was such a novel idea, it felt romantic. While walking is the first ingredient for a blissful experience, I would argue the second is taking in the city’s culinary flavors. If you haven’t heard of Taste of SLO - Walking Food Tours, this article is dedicated to you. A three-hour tour—walking two miles, enjoying no less than five famed local restaurants—allows you to try everything from wine to beer, tacos to Santa Maria style barbecue, all capped off with local gelato. The only way to top this is to max out the tour with all your favorite people. It’s a unique and fun experience. The Taste of SLO - Walking Food Tour is the brain child of Angee Johnson, a self-proclaimed foodie, who has been in the food and wine industry for years. Bonus: she loves the San Luis Obispo community and prides herself on

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finding hidden gems in town and sharing her insight. She’s laid-back, friendly, and genuinely happy to get to know new people and share her love of food and SLO with them: “My tour isn’t about taking people to what is common and known. I’m curating an experience on what is something you might miss if you didn’t have a personal guide. All of Taste of SLO’s current destinations have a story that ties in with SLO beautifully. Stories of passion and hard work, dedication and integrity, and making people happy. That’s what I want to share with my guests.” We started our tour at 1:00 p.m. at Old San Luis BBQ Co. for food and beer. Johnson artfully kept us on time without making us feel rushed. We felt informed and anticipated the next culinary experience, but she also knew when to let us just talk and laugh. From there we walked through downtown, stopping along the way at places like The Vegetable Butcher and House of Bread. These are venues I have certainly been to, but somehow Johnson made them feel new and fresh. Even the dishes served were unique. It was an awesome experience, with lots of food and, of course, walking. Tickets are $85 per person with alcohol served and $75 for nonalcoholic beverages served. PADEN HUGHES is Attire is casual co-owner of Gymnazo and walking and enjoys exploring the Central Coast. shoes are highly recommended. All ages welcome. SLO LIFE


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

Independent Living Assisted Living Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care Homes Let their experienced Certified Senior Advisors take you on a tour to find the Retirement Home or Community that fits your loved ones Medical, Financial and Social needs, at NO Cost to you.

Nicole Pazdan, CSA,

Contact us today for FREE placement assistance.

(805) 546-8777 elderplacementprofessionals.com AUG/SEP 2018

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| DWELLING

east meets

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west SPREAD PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW CARVER ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVE GARTH

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Kevin and Donna Lewis spend a lot of time on the East Coast—a lot. It all started when their oldest daughter, Caitlin, now 27 years old, received a letter as a senior at San Luis Obispo High School. In the upper left-hand corner there was a crimson-colored logo, a shield. The letter was heavy, more like a small package. As it turned out, all of that hard work paid off. She was going to Harvard. Next up was Kenna, the middle child, who is now 24 years old. She graduated from Cal Poly and soon found work in Washington, D.C. with an association specializing in preserving food quality as it makes its way to wherever it needs to go. With a decidedly unsexy name—Global Cold Chain Alliance—it is the ultimate in “farm-to-fork.” Still, D.C. is a long way from San Luis Obispo. By the time the baby of the family, 21-year-old Joelle, started filling out college applications, the Lewises knew that an empty nest was imminent. The five acres in the old country club neighborhood had served the busy, growing family well, but it started to feel like too much. The big house was quiet for the first time, and the pool was not getting much use. After they helped Joelle settle into her dorm room at Emerson College in Boston, Kevin and Donna knew it was time. Although both lifelong Californians—Kevin originally from Simi Valley, Donna growing up in Orange >> 64

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PASO ROBLES

2361 THEATRE DR 805 238-6020 APPLIANCE CENTER

SAN LUIS OBISPO 122 CROSS ST 805 543-6600

SLEEP CENTER

SLO SLEEP & COMFORT 189 CROSS ST 805 269-6600

OUTDOOR LIVING

AUG/SEP 2018 KITCHEN DESIGN

SANTA MARIA

1158 W BETTERAVIA RD 805 348-1000 |

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County—through their daughters, the couple began to develop an appreciation for the East Coast and, particularly, for its architecture. Walks around Boston’s leafy neighborhoods, through Washington, D.C.’s cobblestoned Georgetown, and along New York City’s hallowed streets, where Caitlin currently works in the mayor’s office, continued to point toward one undeniably timeless structure—the Brownstone. Reaching back three centuries, we now know that early America was shaped by sandstone, which was an inexpensive, readily available building material. Quarries dotted the East Coast, each unearthing rock with slightly different variations in composition and color, but most of it was some shade of brown— hence the name Brownstone. As the population moved west and cities like Chicago began to boom, buildings called Greystones sprouted up all around Lake Michigan—buildings carved of Indiana limestone, which, you guessed it, is gray in color (it should be noted here that “gray” is the common spelling for the color in the United States, while “grey” is used in England). Greystones are to Chicago as Brownstones are to Manhattan as Cape Cods are to Massachusetts and as California Bungalows are to, well, California. Every place, it seems, has its own architecture. That is, if you go far enough back in time, to a day when we pulled whatever was most convenient, most abundant, out of the ground and shaped into the structure we call home. Today, if it can be dreamt, it can be built. The real estate developers of our time are the dreamers, and >> 66

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ARCH ITECTURE LAND SCA P E INT E RIORS

New Brisco Road development in Arroyo Grande.

GIVE BACK “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” -W I N S T O N S . C H U R C H I L L

One of our firm’s core values is to GIVE BACK. To this end, we are committed to building community through pro-bono and discounted fees for non-profit organizations. We are currently working with Habitat for Humanity of San Luis Obispo County on eight new single-family homes on Brisco Road in Arroyo Grande. This net-zero project will be built with significant volunteer hours as well as the sweat equity of the new homeowners. To learn more about our local Habitat Chapter see their website at w w w . h f h s l o c o . o r g . Will Ruoff collaborating with Julia Ogden, CEO of Habitat for Humanity San Luis Obispo County.

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locally one of those dreamers is a guy named Rob Rossi. From the Fremont Theater to the Avila Beach Golf Resort, two of the many properties he owns, there are not too many corners of San Luis Obispo County that Rossi has not at least thought about, wondering how it could be molded and shaped. When he considered what to do with the slice of land in downtown San Luis Obispo, on Marsh Street near the corner of Santa Rosa, he thought back to the iconic Brownstones. Fellow real estate developer Andy Mangano agreed and expanded upon the idea after he bought the property. Researching the architectural style and history, he knew that actually using sandstone was not feasible, however replicating the look, capturing its essence, could be done through creative use of wood framing, steel supports, and structural foam with a concrete finish. With the vision in place, and an understanding for how to build it, he turned to local design firm RRM Design Group to come up with a plan. Brownstones, of course, are not something you see on the Central Coast, and that was the whole point. Something unusual, unexpected. Teetering on whimsical, but with urban sophistication. Something different, but also familiar. And, that was exactly what the Lewises were looking for—something different, but also familiar. Not the five-acre ranchette on the edge of town, but a four-level Manhattan-style townhouse in the middle of San Luis Obispo that could be buttoned up in a moment’s notice >>

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for a quick trip to visit the girls on the other side of the country. Something within walking distance to work, and restaurants, and coffee shops. A place where you can feel the city’s pulse, listen to its heartbeat. Kevin and Donna Lewis signed on to purchase the first of seven Marsh Street Brownstones and moved in well before construction was finished. “We lived with the guys like they were our family,” Donna remembers now with fondness of the gaggle of subcontractors filing in and out of their four-level home from dawn to dusk for weeks on end. But today she is reflective, talking about the connection she feels to the East Coast, her daughters, as well as to San Luis Obispo, and her work—her commute to RPM Mortgage where she is the branch manager is precisely one block away, while Kevin’s office, where he is a real estate appraiser, is a half-block the other direction—is made possible by the Brownstone now standing in the most inconceivable place, where the East and West Coasts meet and come together as one. SLO LIFE

The Lewis home will be on the 17th Annual “Homes of Distinction” Tour presented by the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo on Sunday, September 16th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are available at slorotary.org.

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Locally Owned and Operated

— Serving san luis obispo county for over 15 years — (805) 489-6979 Audiovisionslo.com AUG/SEP 2018

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BY THE NUMBERS

REAL ESTATE

| SLO CITY

laguna lake

2017 Total Homes Sold 36 Average Asking Price $701,592 Average Selling Price $690,603 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.43% Average # of Days on the Market 23

2018 30 $803,350 $793,862 98.82% 22

+/-16.67% 14.50% 14.95% 0.39% -4.35%

tank farm

2017 14 Total Homes Sold $780,699 Average Asking Price $773,493 Average Selling Price Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 99.08% 23 Average # of Days on the Market

2018 8 $882,000 $872,527 98.93% 23

+/-42.86% 12.98% 12.80% -0.15% 0.00%

cal poly area

2017 Total Homes Sold 17 Average Asking Price $818,647 Average Selling Price $799,059 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 97.61% Average # of Days on the Market 31

2018 15 $974,780 $934,681 95.89% 19

+/-11.76% 19.07% 16.97% -1.72% -38.71%

country club

2017 Total Homes Sold 7 Average Asking Price $1,097,414 Average Selling Price $1,066,350 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 97.17% Average # of Days on the Market 48

2018 12 $1,278,240 $1,236,165 96.71% 48

+/71.43% 16.48% 15.92% -0.46% 0.00%

down town

2017 Total Homes Sold 48 Average Asking Price $724,423 Average Selling Price $716,559 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.91% Average # of Days on the Market 51

2018 30 $905,577 $900,874 99.48% 68

+/-37.50% 25.01% 25.72% 0.57% 33.33%

foothill blvd

2017 Total Homes Sold 33 Average Asking Price $720,256 Average Selling Price $709,050 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.44% Average # of Days on the Market 27

2018 24 $928,675 $922,433 99.33% 20

+/-27.27% 28.94% 30.09% 0.89% -25.93%

johnson ave

2017 Total Homes Sold 35 Average Asking Price $782,386 Average Selling Price $781,471 Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 99.88% Average # of Days on the Market 36

2018 35 $909,403 $904,789 99.49% 35

+/0.00% 16.23% 15.78% -0.39% -2.78%

*Comparing 01/01/17 - 07/24/17 to 01/01/18 - 07/24/18

®

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

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Help Us End Hunger In San Luis Obispo County

Please join in helping RPM Mortgage and the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County in their efforts to end hunger. RPM will donate $100 for every loan closed by the San Luis Obispo and Atascadero branches beginning Hunger Awareness Day, June 1st, 2018 through June 1st 2019 with a goal of raising $25,000.

Donna Lewis

Kim Gabriele

NMLS #245945 805.235.0463 donnalewis@rpm-mtg.com www.rpm-mtg.com/dlewis

NMLS# 263247 805.471.6186 kgabriele@rpm-mtg.com www.rpm-mtg.com/kgabriele

Dylan Morrow

Ken Neate

Branch Manager/Senior Loan Advisor

Loan Advisor

NMLS #1461481 805.550.9742 dmorrow@rpm-mtg.com www.rpm-mtg.com/dmorrow

Senior Loan Advisor

Loan Advisor

NMLS# 373607 925.963.1015 kneate@rpm-mtg.com www.rpm-mtg.com/kneate

Valerie Gonzales Loan Advisor

NMLS# 1082998 805.550.4325 vgonzales@rpm-mtg.com www.rpm-mtg.com/vgonzales

1065 Higuera Street, Suite 100, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 5805 Capistrano Avenue, Suite A, Atascadero, CA 93422 LendUS, LLC dba RPM Mortgage NMLS #1938 - Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the CA Residential Mortgage Lending Act. | 11365 | Equal Housing Opportunity. AUG/SEP 2018 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 73


It’s here. A loan that lives up to your profession. Low down payments for doctors, nurses, attorneys, CPAs, dentists, veterinarians, and pilots.* •

No mortgage insurance

No down payment on loans to $850,000

Low down payment on loans up to $1.5M

Purchase and rate/term refinance for primary residence

Contact me today to learn how our Professional Loan program can help you get into the home you want.

Ben Lerner

Mortgage Advisor NMLS 395723 805.441.9486 blerner@opesadvisors.com 1212 Marsh St., Suite 1 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

© 2018 Opes Advisors, A Division of Flagstar Bank Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender * Borrower must open a checking or savings account with Flagstar to participate. Eligible borrowers include: a Medical Resident (with educational license), Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), Doctor of Dental Medicine or Surgeon (DMD), Doctor of Optometry (OD), Doctor of Ophthalmology (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Attorney, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Veterinarian, and ATP (Airline Transport Pilot). With an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), your 5/1 loan will have an initial fixed-rate period of 60 months and your 7/1 loan will have an initial fixed-rate period of 84 months. After the fixed rate period, your interest rate will adjust up or down according to market rates at the time of the reset. Rate is variable after the fixed-rate period and subject to change once every year for the remaining life of the loan. This is not a commitment to lend. Programs available to qualified borrowers. Subject to credit approval, underwriting approval and lender terms and conditions. Programs subject to change without74 notice. Primary residence only. MAGAZINE Restrictions may apply. | AUG/SEP 2018 | SLO LIFE

| SLO COUNTY

REAL ESTATE BY THE NUMBERS

REGION

NUM B E R OF H OM E S S OLD

A VE R A GE DA Y S ON M A R K E T

MEDIAN SELLING PRICE

2017

2018

2017

2018

Arroyo Grande

161

174

61

51

$755,465 $763,745

Atascadero

214

203

59

43

$539,920 $574,194

Avila Beach

7

7

118

59

$1,079,668 $1,306,728

Cambria/San Simeon

82

84

81

72

$678,737

Cayucos

32

32

108

102

$1,124,969 $1,124,516

Creston

9

6

104

74

$850,111

Grover Beach

102

73

45

46

$527,921 $527,969

Los Osos

70

93

29

30

$582,484 $637,069

Morro Bay

74

69

63

61

$667,423 $701,303

Nipomo

128

179

58

52

$628,266 $666,054

Oceano

26

26

53

51

$448,454 $498,615

Pismo Beach

70

85

46

72

$1,091,451 $980,820

Paso (Inside City Limits)

265

228

44

34

$481,402 $497,514

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

30

35

50

41

$474,645 $493,603

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

58

71

95

83

$486,058 $643,873

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

31

30

63

70

$659,321 $806,550

San Luis Obispo

211

183

35

38

$753,037 $942,212

Santa Margarita

12

8

42

106

$364,917 $444,250

Templeton

69

65

73

86

$719,760 $779,500

1,615

1,577

55

52

$634,973 $691,521

Countywide

*Comparing 01/01/17 - 07/24/17 to 01/01/18 - 07/24/18

2017

2018

$747,191

$721,000

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

®

SLO LIFE


Serving the Central Coast since 1964

805-544-8000 hamonohd.com SAN LUIS OBISPO INVESTMENT PROPERTY Immaculate small older home has numerous updates and very well maintained, currently rented for $1600 per month with this home is a duplex of two studios built in 1990. Priced competitively at $890,000.00 Call Jason Vork for more information at 805-440-4593

Lic#390619

Jason Vork DRE 01031282 805-440-4593

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SPONSORED

THE MATTHEWS On The Ground At Hotel Serra Meet Shaun and Beverley Matthews, the hands-on, career hoteliers of Hotel Serra. SLO residents since 2011, they joined the development team of Garden Street SLO Partners LP in 2014. Together with local development partners Alex Pananides, Pat Smith, Hamish Marshall, and Chuck Braff, the Matthews formed the management company, Serra Hotels & Resorts. As experienced operators, they bring all aspects of luxury hotel, restaurant, and spa services and are renowned in hospitality circles for their successful development and reimagining of several landmark properties. Beginning with Sir Richard Branson’s private island resort in the British Virgin Islands, Necker Island, they further honed their skills with Aman Resorts and their own boutique property in the Cotswolds, U.K. The Matthews went on to establish, and for ten years manage, the pre-eminent North American hideaway, Twin Farms in Vermont. Earning its Mobil Five-Star status in just its second year of operation, Twin Farms went on to achieve multiple accolades, including the Zagat number one rated hotel in the U.S. At Ballyfin, the Matthews were engaged to work in tandem with the restoration team to conceptualize the guest experience and create the operational program for one of Ireland’s most architecturally significant neoclassical estates. “We have created and operated a diverse collection of groundbreaking projects around the world but for the longest time looked forward to the day we could settle in SLO and do what we do best, right here in the place we love the most,” explains Shaun Matthews, Co-Managing Partner. “Along with our partners, Hotel Serra has provided us the opportunity to bring a worldclass hospitality experience to San Luis Obispo.”

“Downtown San Luis Obispo is more than ready for a truly iconic hotel that reflects the area’s unique local character,” adds Beverley Matthews, Comanaging Partner. “Since joining the development team, we have maintained an unwavering focus on every detail of the project and how it might impact the guest experience. We believe this passion, coupled with our appreciation of the unique resources California’s Central Coast has to offer, will ensure that Hotel Serra comes to life with a subtle, magical, and unpretentious quality to be enjoyed by all who visit.” The attractive human scale of Downtown San Luis Obispo is none-more evident than on the recently renovated Garden Street with its charming collection of independent, locally-owned and operated businesses. Hotel Serra, located at 1125 Garden Street between Marsh Street and Higuera Street and opening in early 2019, is excited to become the latest addition on this much loved historic street. For more information, please visit hotelserra.com

The People of Garden Street AMANDA STEPHENS

OWNER, GARDEN STREET GOLDSMITHS My spirit animal is: an owl. Favorite movie quote: Gravity works. Dream Car: Any nicely built mid-sixties muscle car sleeper. But probably the top of my list would be a 1965 Mustang coupe. I secretly want to: base jump from the moon. I wanted to grow to be: a nature photographer. Comfort food: chocolate.

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SPONSORED

ORGANIC STYLE STYLE MEETS FUNCTION

Forget about everything you thought you knew about recliners because the American Leather Comfort Recliner is going to blow your mind! Along with a clean, contemporary feel, you also get all of the functionality of a recliner, without sacrificing style. Come in and we’ll go over the many different available options. Starting at $2,499 // San Luis Traditions 748 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 541-8500 // sanluistraditions.com

Our one-of-a-kind statement ring features an amazing example of dendritic agate, showcasing its plant-like inclusions. The dendritic agate is a completely natural stone with graceful inclusions caused when mineral traces from neighboring rock seep into layers within the agate. We have accented the matte 18K yellow gold setting with twelve sparkling Canadian diamonds. Modern classic jewelry. Made fresh daily. $2,885 // Baxter Moerman // 1128 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 801-9117 // baxtermoerman.com

TIMELESS BRONZE COFFEE & GIFTS

These classic diner mugs are a throwback to our favorite vintage mugs, and are perfect for your coffee at home. These mugs feature custom artwork on one side and the classic Scout logo on the other. Black print on creamy white ceramic make for a timeless mug for your collection. Holds 10.5 oz.

Hotel Serra is proud and fortunate to have engaged local designer, Ian Saude, to execute the interior design for this groundbreaking project. Among the many custom pieces created by Saude are these beautiful, hand-beaten bronze tables that bring both function and elegance to the sumptuous hotel rooms. They are also available for purchase at his San Luis Obispo showroom at 3982 Short Street #110. Hotel Serra Coming Soon //1125 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo // hotelserra.com

$12 // Scout Coffee Co. 1130 Garden Street and 880 E. Foothill Boulevard San Luis Obispo (805) 439-2253 // ScoutCoffeeCo.com

BIG & BOLD—LIGHT & FUN

Our Trellis bangle bracelet grows leaves of diamond. Perfect for summer this bracelet can take you from casual days to elegant evenings. Using both yellow and white gold, it will go with everything you love. With over a carat of fine diamonds, we’re sure that this one will grow on you. $6,500 // Marshalls Jewelers 751 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 543-3431 // marshalls1889.com

SWEET BY NATURE

After 20 years, it’s finally back—and better than ever! Aveda’s newly formulated Cherry Almond shampoo and conditioner leaves hair touchably soft, shiny and full of weightless bounce. Made the way nature intended (98% naturally derived) with a cherry blossom and omega-rich almond oil blend. Shampoo 8.5oz $17.00, Conditioner 6.7oz $17.00 Salon62 // 1112 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 543-2060 // salon62.com

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SPONSORED

PURE STYLE

ORA DI CENA

Ulla Johnson Rhita classically handembossed leather saddlebag. Sassy suede tassels, macramé strap and polished brass hardware. Handmade in Peru. This bag will provide a smooth transition into all seasons— truly a “MUST HAVE!”

The Italian words, “ora di cena” mean one thing: it’s dinnertime! If you are ready for something different, something special, something you will never forget, then try our Osso Buco, a veal shank dish that originated in Milano and is served with a saffron risotto, unforgettable yet steeped in tradition.

$248 (Original Price $895) Finders Keepers Consignment Boutique 1124 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 545-9879 slofinderskeepers@gmail.com

$45 // La Locanda 1137 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 548-1750 // lalocandaslo.com

GOURMET AND GO

Stop in and fill a basket with goodies for a great day exploring this fantastic place we call home! Our cheesemongers will help you select a few cheeses and decadent bites that are perfect for a wine tasting, picnic or beach day. All of our cheeses and products are made in old-world traditions and sourced from the most delicious places around the globe. Contact for Pricing // Fromagerie Sophie 1129 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 503-0805 // fromageriesophie.com

OUR FAVORITE

Local artist John Landon made these awesome mugs for us, and for less than ten bucks you can take a piece of the café home with you. Our favorite mugs are available in-house, or at our online store (linnaeas.com). Rosemary Shortbread not included. $9.95 // Linnaea’s Cafe 1110 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 541-5888 // linnaeas.com

IGNITING PASSION RISE AND SHINE

Out of the mines of Mashewa in north east Tanzania and custom cut in San Luis Obispo county by the award winning Phillip Youngman, this 18K ring features an exquisite 5.72 carat merlot-wine color Passion Flower cut natural zircon with diamonds and deep blue sapphire accents. A unique elegant statement.

Hotel Serra Coming Soon 1119 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo hotelserra.com

$6,450 // Garden Street Goldsmiths 1114 & 1118 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo (805) 543-8186 GardenStreetGoldsmiths.com

For serious coffee drinkers, that first cup of the day has to be excellent. Leaving no stone unturned in creating the finest guest experience, Hotel Serra has partnered with a local coffee roaster to customize an in-room pour over program. Guests can enjoy such excellence without leaving the comfort of their room.

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SPONSORED

professional career was ahead of me?” Jeff was not happy about leaving SLO for San Jose. Not much of a city guy, he wasn’t looking forward to the move, nor actually the job itself. So he thought it might be a good excuse to hang around a little longer until he could find work in a more amenable location. Or maybe something else he could do here. That six months stretched out to thirty-seven years, and Jeff couldn’t be happier with his choice.

MARSHALLS JEWELERS Founded in 1889 by Manuel Marshall, an Azorean immigrant, Marshalls Jewelers is the oldest store in San Luis Obispo. In continuous operation since that time, there have been only four full owners—Manuel, his son Art Marshall, cousin Clifford Chapman, and currently Jeff McKeegan. It wasn’t at all in the plans for Jeff to be in the jewelry business. As a recent Cal Poly graduate, he was headed off to start a career when he experienced one of those serendipitous events than can change the course of your life. “Having some extra cash, I headed into Marshalls Jewelers where I had my eye on Lalique’s iconic Angelwing champagne glasses. Mr. Chapman had come out to see who this long-haired, unshaven kid was who was buying something so exquisite. That started a weeklong conversation that ended in a job offer, which I thought was pretty funny—why would I take a clerk’s job in a retail store when a

“I had worked in the catalog department of the old downtown Sears where I had met and gotten to know many of the local families. Warm and welcoming, by the time I came to the jewelry store, I felt more like a local myself. Many of the same folks that I already knew were customers there, and I realized that I had fallen in love with SLO not just because of the place—it was the people.” One of the most rewarding things about working at Marshalls Jewelers has been the generations of locals that the store has served. “Nothing will make you feel your age like creating an engagement ring for the child of a couple that you did the same for 25 years earlier,” Jeff says with a laugh. “But it also brings you joy. I have personally worked with as many as four generations of the same family in my time here. Some of whom have never actually lived locally, but consider us the family jeweler.” Marshalls has always been a true “jeweler,” not just a retailer. “We all started at the bench to learn basic repair techniques. Most of us were not suited to it, but we came to understand what was involved in working with the metals and stones. I am lucky to have had one of the best bench jewelers to work with over the last 25 years— Shawn Denny. His talents make my visions—and our customer’s dreams—come true.” And Jeff’s dreams as well. “I couldn’t be more grateful for my good fortune to have been a part of this community all these years.”

The D ogs of Ga rde n Street

P RO G R ESS R EP ORT As Garden Street moves closer to being completed, Hotel Serra would like to thank all of our neighbors for their continued support and combined efforts towards truly making this the best street in Downtown SLO. Over the past few weeks, the team at Hotel Serra has been busy making improvements not only to Garden Street but to the surrounding walkways and crosswalks. Work on the two historic buildings that will become the hotel entrance and the restaurant, Brasserie SLO, continues, and the recent installation of the rooftop pool went off exceedingly smooth and garnered a very positive response. Most importantly, Garden Street is now fully open!

Indi // Australian Kelpie + Labrador Retriever // 1 1/2 years old Indi loves hiking and playing frisbee at the beach and dog park. She is an official greeter at Baxter Moerman Jewelry, and can be found sleeping in the sun or greeting passersby. If you see Indi in front of the store ask her for a high-five or a paw shake.

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| HEALTH

Everything You Didn’t Know About Insulin T

here is no doubt about it: our bodies are complicated machines. For every occasion, there is a hormone. When we watch a scary movie and something jumps out onto the screen, we get a huge surge of adrenaline. That’s the stuff that gives us the superhuman strength to fight off that scary clown or to run away from it—or him, or whatever that thing is. But, what do we know about the hormone that joins us every time we put something in our mouth, our ever-present dining partner, insulin? >>

ed end m m reco eading r We gleaned the information for this article from the new book written by Dr. Jason Fung called “The Diabetes Code.” While the items below have been distilled down to their essence here for easy consumption, the concepts are, of course, much more complex than presented. We are simply passing along what we have learned. We are not doctors, so be sure to consult with one, or pick up Dr. Fung’s book for a deep dive into the world of insulin, and to learn why he believes that Type 2 diabetes is reversible, and the reason it is not. Spoiler alert: there’s a lot of money in it.

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#2 YOU CAN THANK INSULIN FOR YOUR LOVE HANDLES

#1 WE NEED INSULIN TO LIVE It used to be that Type 1 diabetes was a death sentence. What is a hugely inconvenient, and potentially dangerous, disease today—especially for so many of the children it afflicts—can now be managed with the use of synthetically manufactured insulin. Until 1921, when the Canadian physician named Frederick Banting first discovered insulin, Type 1 diabetics did not live long. A year after his revelation, the first patient, a 14-year-old boy wasting away on his deathbed, received an insulin injection and his blood glucose immediately dropped to near-normal levels. Without insulin, we cannot metabolize our food, or more accurately, we cannot access its energy. Today, insulin is a multi-billion dollar business, and growing quickly as it is increasingly prescribed to Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetics.

Following a meal, we have sugars floating around in our veins as the end result of the digestive process, and the pancreas is alerted to start pumping out insulin from an area known as the islets of Langerhans. The hormone, now loose in the bloodstream, then unlocks the receptors found in our muscle tissues, as well as our internal organs, allowing the sugars—the fuel—to enter and provide its energy. When we eat a Twinkie, we feel an immediate burst of energy because of the insulin frantically shoving as much sugar as possible into every available receptor. This, of course, is what we call a “sugar rush.” When our tissues become full of sugar and start overflowing, insulin then takes the excess glucose and pushes it instead into our fat cells. Dr. Fung uses a metaphor to explain the concept: When we come home from the grocery store, we first load everything into the refrigerator (our muscle cells), but once it is full, and there is no more space available, we have to go out into the garage to put the excess in the freezer (our fat cells).

#3 ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS CONFUSE INSULIN Much has been said about the pros and cons of substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar, but often left out of the conversation is the fact that it confuses the pancreas, releasing huge amounts of insulin when we ingest them. The issue is that our bodies sense the hypersweetness and assume that we just ate a case of king size Kit Kat bars when, in reality, all we did was tear open a packet of Splenda and dump it into our coffee. Just so you know, Splenda is 600 times sweeter than sugar, which baffles our bodies, since there is nothing naturally occurring that comes close. The extra insulin released into our veins packs away any sugar floating around, but since there is so much more of the hormone than what is required, our blood glucose levels drop precipitously, which then triggers a signal in our brains that we are hungry, which is why eating more, sometimes a lot more, is a common side effect with artificial sweeteners. >> 82

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ATTENTION ATHLETES

#4 FATS DON’T MAKE YOU FAT

T RAIN W I TH FO RM E R

PR OFE S S IONAL ATH LE TES

Ever wonder why your aunt lost all that weight eating nothing but bacon and butter? The answer is simple: she did not trigger much of an insulin response with her high-fat diet. It’s the bagel, not the cream cheese, that makes us fat. Bread is high in carbohydrates, which are very quickly converted to sugars during the digestive process, while the fats in the cream cheese slow absorption down and follow a different pathway (it’s more complicated than this, but essentially fats do not become sugars, while only a portion of proteins do). This then explains why the Keto Diet has become so popular with diabetics. By eating mostly fats, a moderate amount of proteins, and limited carbohydrates (in the form of high-fiber, slow-digesting vegetables), the body’s requirement for insulin is dramatically reduced, which makes it much easier to control. Particularly for Type 1 diabetics, who have to “chase” blood sugar spikes after meals with injections, this makes life much easier.

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It’s no different than the coffee drinker who needs two cups after a while to get the same jolt of energy, because over time he has become resistant to caffeine. When we constantly subject our bodies to massive spikes of insulin—“I’ll just have one more dinner roll”—our tissues, over time, become resistant to its efforts to unlock the door for the blood sugar to enter. This is what happens to Type 2 diabetics and is the reason why the disease used to be called “adult onset diabetes.” It takes a while for resistance to develop. Twenty years ago, Type 2 diabetes was unheard of in children. Since that time, there have been millions of diagnoses with many more considered pre-diabetic. With the ubiquity of sugar consumption, in all its many forms, our insulin surges throughout the day to keep pace, and we not only get fat, we also become insulin-resistant and, therefore, diabetic. This phenomenon is then accelerated when we treat Type 2 diabetics with insulin, something that is becoming increasingly common, which, of course, creates a positive feedback loop, effectively perpetuating the cycle. SLO LIFE


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| TASTE

ICE CREAM

worth screaming for A new wave of ice cream purveyors has hit SLO County, and the classics are just as good as ever.

BY JAIME LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY BY JENNIFER OLSON

According to the National Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year, which is a whole lot of scoops. Here in San Luis Obispo County, we’ve always enjoyed excellent, locally made ice cream, but a few new purveyors are shaking things up by tinkering with the process, the ingredients, and the format. >> 86

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


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ROLL’D ICE CREAM COMPANY, SAN LUIS OBISPO “It kind of started with Instagram,” says owner Xavi Fajerdo. It’s Thursday night in downtown SLO, and the buzz around this new style of ice cream is palpable. Indeed, rolled ice cream treats like those coming out of Fajerdo’s shop are made for Instagram—as is the shop itself, which is light, bright, and boasts a wall of mason jars brimming with colored sprinkles, begging me to pull out my phone and shoot. That compulsion I have is absolutely by design, says Fajerdo. He explains how he dropped out of college five years ago and started his own social media marketing company, how a new style of rolled ice cream out of Thailand was “blowing up” on Instagram, and how he and his business partner thought SLO could use a new, different kind of ice cream shop. The process for making rolled ice cream starts with a liquid cream base that’s mixed with a flavor syrup on an “ice griddle.” Mix-ins are then added and chopped up, then painted across the griddle before being chiselled off in a curled shape, placed in a cup and dressed up with toppings. My son opts for the “Poly Pebbles” ice cream, which mixes Fruity Pebbles cereal into a vanilla base flavored with strawberry syrup, topped with gummy bears, whipped cream, and more Fruity Pebbles; my daughter goes for the Oreos & Cream concoction. They both go gaga. Being someone who remembers rotary phones and remoteless televisions, I am amazed that a business could be built around its potential for Instagram-ability, not the other way around. But the concept has worked, as testified by a regular line out the door since Roll’d opened and a steady stream of ice cream photos on their Instagram account... including mine.

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DOC BURNSTEIN’S ICE CREAM LAB ARROYO GRANDE, SLO, AND SANTA MARIA

Growing up in South County, I remember what a treat it was to visit Burnardo’s Ice Cream in the Arroyo Grande Village. It turns out the founder of Burnardo’s, Chuck Burns, taught Doc Burnstein’s owner Greg Steinberger how to make ice cream. I meet Steinberger in the original Arroyo Grande parlor, founded in 2003, with its circling model train and polished wooden booths. He kneels to talk with my kids, and tokens for free scoops spill out of his pockets. Steinberger explains that Doc Burnstein’s regularly outperforms heavy hitters like Haagen-Daaz and Ben & Jerry’s in blind taste tests because those brands skimp on the cream—the most important ingredient. “We beat them all,” Steinberger says with a grin. “It’s so heartwarming.” Even with its expansion into three ice cream parlors and a production facility in Grover Beach, Doc Burnstein’s manages to give back over ten percent of its earnings to the community, whether through Make-A-Wish, pint-for-pint blood drives, or through school and educational programs. The newest flavor to the company? Unicorn Swirl, a flavor invented by a Make-A-Wish child with white cake ice cream, pie crust chunks, and a strawberry swirl. When it comes time to make a selection, my son goes for a seasonal flavor, Red, White & Blueberry (vanilla with berries) while my daughter chooses bright blue Bubblegum. Both are extremely pleased with their choices, and start to hit a sugar-high just as Steinberger and I wrap up. “Sugar ‘em up and send ‘em home!” he says, waving goodbye. “That’s what I always say.”

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NITE CREAMERY, SLO AND SANTA MARIA

Much like Roll’d, the vibe at Nite Creamery is young, hip, and earnest. It’s also, again, highly Instagram-able, with gleaming surfaces and bowls overflowing with ethereal liquid nitrogen. “I’d say eighty percent of our customers come in for the photo opportunity,” says Nino Eng, who owns Nite with his wife, Cheryl, “But they come back for the taste.” The Engs explain how their ice cream starts as a base that’s frozen while it churns, thanks to the effects of a quick blast of nitrogen. “There’s no air whipped into it, no rough or crystal-y consistency,” Nino says. “It’s just pure, creamy, and smooth, sort of like gelato, but without the fat content.” He adds that the process takes only half a minute. Nitrogen ice cream isn’t the Engs’ concept (similar shops can be found on the East Coast, in the Bay Area, and L.A.), but they’ve developed their own process for making it. Remarkably, they require no freezers in the shop. “Everything is made fresh, right in front of the customer,” says Nino. Like at Doc Burnstein’s, the perfume of freshly-baked waffle cones hangs on the air at Nite Creamery, but their cone is a bit different. Called “Nite Puffs,” these waffles are inspired by cones in Hong Kong, which are bubbly, soft, and toasted golden brown. My daughter sees someone with a “Saturday Cereal”—puffs bulging, sprinkled with Frosted Flakes and wafting an aroma of Cap’n Crunch steeped in milk—and shoots me a pleading look. We order one and I snap a quick photo before she quietly chips away at it. “Do you eat a lot of these ice creams?” I ask. Cheryl winces. “Sometimes two scoops a day,” she says. “It’s really bad.” Nino admits to eating his fair share of ice cream, too. When I eventually glance back over at my daughter, she is down to a few creamsoaked puffs and looking a little ill. “Did you like it?” I ask. She looks up and smiles wide. “It was sooooo good, Mama.” SLO LIFE

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| KITCHEN

CACTUS CORN GRIDDLE CAKES Pan-fried cactus roasted corn zucchini fritters are stuffed full of late summer veggies and make a satisfying vegetarian main dish or the perfect addition as a complement to any meal. BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS

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!

JESSIE’S TIP: For a slightly different taste, substitute okra for the cactus. The slimy juice of the okra works just like the cactus juices. Serve the corn cakes with a basic charred tomato sauce or peach chutney.

CACTUS CORN GRIDDLE CAKES ¾ cup cactus petals cleaned and diced (about the size of the corn kernels) 1 cup cooked or grilled corn cut off the cob ¼ cup grated zucchini 3 Tbs minced scallions 1 tsp kosher salt 3 Tbs corn meal 3 Tbs all-purpose flour 3 Tbs buttermilk 2 eggs ¼ tsp hot sauce (Tapatio or Tabasco Chipotle) ¼ - ½ cup vegetable oil In a large bowl add cactus, corn, zucchini, scallions, and salt. Mix and stir often for about 10 minutes, allowing the vegetables to release their natural juices. Add flour and cornmeal and fold in until fully incorporated. Add eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce. Fold all ingredients just until incorporated. Let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes, up to one hour. In a 10-12 inch fry pan or skillet add part of the oil and heat on medium for 3-4 minutes. Cook the cakes in batches. Add 2 Tbs of mix, one at a time and flatten slightly with back of spatula, leaving enough space between the cakes for turning. Fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove from pan and transfer to a paper-lined plate to absorb the extra oil. Add more oil when necessary to the pan allowing it to JESSIE RIVAS is the owner get hot before cooking and chef of The Pairing Knife more cakes. SLO LIFE food truck which serves the Central Coast.

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| WINE NOTES

Pretty in Pink Rosé is undeniably photogenic. Most appreciate its beauty when seeing it sitting on a table basking in the sun. But, surely this drink is more than just a pretty face.

BY ANDRIA MCGHEE

R

osé has grown in popularity in the U.S. over the last couple of years. Even the café Seeds in downtown San Luis Obispo has a frosé on the menu. Why the desire for all things rosé? My answer: it’s the middle man. Neutral. Think: Switzerland. Like a white wine, it’s nice, light, and easy to drink. It also has a similar flavor profile to a red wine, making it interesting. It fills in a gap to a wide spectrum of wine. Let’s talk about its bones. What makes rosé pink? It’s not a beauty school dropout, though Danny Zuko would probably welcome a glass of this stuff. It gets its color from the process. If we were making any wine, we would first pick the grapes and squeeze out the juice by pressing or crushing them. The next step depends on the type of wine you would like to make. For a white wine, remove all the skins, seeds, and stems before doing anything else to the juice. For a red, you leave skins, seeds, and sometimes the stems. All these parts of the grape that are left in add different flavors to the red wine and it also gives the wine its color, like a coffee that >>

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is being cold-brewed. The longer the winemaker keeps the skins in contact with the juice, the darker the wine becomes. Can you guess where I am going with this? You got it: rosé is somewhere in the middle. Generally, the juice for rosé only ages with the skins for a short time, depending on the color and flavor that the winemaker seeks. Therefore, we have a range from light to dark. Popular rosés in the south of England are mostly light pink, where in contrast, a winemaker I met near La Rochelle, France, loves the passion invoking dark red rosé. Most rosés here on the Central Coast are a medium pink or even light peach in color. As for the taste, the range of flavor depends on the winemaker and cannot always be determined by their appearance. The flavor spectrum goes from guava to watermelon, strawberry to cranberry. White Zinfandel, which is pink in color, made a name for itself in the ‘80s and was widely popular in that era. It lost its fan base because its sweetness left too many belly aches in its wake. Now, the rosé that is turning out on the Central Coast, and all over the world, is rarely saccharine. Where is its place on the Central Coast? You can expect a rosé at nearly every winery you visit. They will enhance your range of cuisine from sushi to barbecue. Stores are lining the shelves with a wide scope of rosés, as well. For a couple of my favorite recent tastes, try Malene Rosé (peach in flavor). It pairs gorgeously with the goat cheese and balsamic Brussels sprouts found on the menu at Taste in San Luis Obispo. Lovely quick-chill can options include Tangent Rosé (raspberry) and 98

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Essentially Geared Rosé (strawberry). I can never resist Halter Ranch Rosé and, always a staple, Rabble Rosé, both from Paso Robles. You may already have spotted this one by its beautiful artwork depicting a shipwrecked bay with a mermaid in the foreground—Niner Winery Rosé (melon) actually subtly smells of a rose when you first lift it to your nose. It gets a nice pink color from pinot noir grapes. Even though rosé started out as a trend, it is finding its place here on the Central Coast as a permanent resident. Instead of falling by the wayside like the White Zin of the ‘80s, I see it giving options to those who may crave another choice. It is a great “in-betweener” red, that has a little less punch; a white that has a bit more depth. We have amazing local wines from deep reds to mild whites, and now we have another wine to add to our Central Coast catalog. SLO LIFE

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


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| BREW

BEER 101 BY BRANT MYERS

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t this point in the craft beer revolution, most of us have stumbled into a few beer styles that are completely unique. Even the most diehard Budweiser drinker can tell you the difference between a Stout and a Hefeweizen, although the average craft beer geek would have a hard time pointing out which is a Kvass or a Gruit.

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So, with over one hundred unique beer categories, how does one start to understand the complex family tree of fermented grain variations? Let’s start at the top. Like most things in life, it’s so simple, yet so complex. Even now, while you’re reading this article, you can split your day into two parts—daytime and nighttime—but try to go deeper and now you’re talking astronomy. Well, that escalated quickly. While most brewers aren’t astrophysicists, they do know that there are two basic beer categories that define nearly all beers made—ales and lagers. The basic difference also being as >>


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simple as two fundamental differences during the brewing process—temperature and yeast. Let’s delve into these deeper because after all, beer knowledge is beer appreciation. Lagers are the most common beer style in the world, so let’s start there. What is so interesting to me about this fairly mundane fact is that they are more expensive to make than ales, yet they usually are the cheapest beer on the market. Go to your local beer purveyor and it’s highly likely that anything in a twelve-pack for under $15, in a 24-ounce can for $2, or a $6 six-pack will be in the lager category. The reason they cost more to make can be found in the root of the word lager, the German word lagern, “to store.” Lager yeast works best at colder temperatures, ideally just above freezing, so the brewing vessels need to be actively cooled, which requires specialized equipment and utilizes precious storage space that can be used to brew more batches. Anyone who has baked can tell you that yeast loves heat. Activate dry yeast with warm water, cover the bowl, place it in a warm area, bake bread in an oven. So, the result of cold yeast is naturally slower growth. So, what does this additional time, effort, and unique yeast strain create? Bottom fermented yeast strains that make lagers are devoid of the naturally aromatic qualities we get from ale yeast, which results in beers that we perceive as “clean” or “crisp” with marketing departments having a field day with superlatives like “cool” and “refreshing.” Light beers fall into this style, but they contain an enzyme that helps break down starches into sugars, producing a higher alcohol content that then gets diluted with water. That reminds me of a classic joke about the similarities of drinking light beer and having intercourse in a canoe, but no time for that now. Let’s talk about lager’s counterpart. Although ales are not brewed as prolifically worldwide, they do have a special place in the hearts of craft beer drinkers and brewery owners. They can be made fast, they can be made inexpensively, they can have a ton of flavor, and they can be experimented with heavily. Ale yeast works best at the top of the vessel and 102

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can be fermented near room temperature, typically within a week. My theory is that this allows them a larger budget for adding the green goodness that is hops. That’s probably wrong, but fun to think about. Ale yeast strains typically have more esters, which give them unique aromas that lend themselves better to the addition of hops, fruit, or spices. Take the aforementioned Hefeweizen, a classic style of Bavarian origins that uses a yeast strain, which produces unique flavors of banana and cloves with some spiciness, bubble gum, or notes of apples. How about a West Coast IPA with no added fruit, but phenolic characters of melon, mandarin, or mango? Combine with the addition of hops, which complement those yeasty aromas, and you’ll have a really big and unique beer that becomes balanced as a whole. So, next time you belly up to the bar and can’t decide what to order, just remember that it all comes down to two simple choices—ale or lager. Now, you can order with confidence as you proclaim, “I’ll have a lager!” as you spin around on your barstool like you’re in a western movie. They’ll look at the back of your head in confusion, but you know you just made life a whole lot easier. Now, spin back around and actually place your order, because life is never that simple, and neither is beer. SLO LIFE

BRANT MYERS is owner of Hop On Beer Tours, a concierge service for craft beer enthusiasts along the Central Coast.


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| HAPPENINGS

GOLD FEVER The Great American Melodrama brings the Old West to vibrant, hysterical life in Gold Fever at the Rough and Ready by Neil LaVine. The show is a loving spoof of traditional melodramas, with plenty of opportunities to cheer the hero and boo the villain. Through September 16 // americanmelodrama.com

AUGUST

CONCERTS IN THE PLAZA Concerts in the Plaza features musical genres across the spectrum from reggae to rock, blues to jamgrass, soul, California roots rock and more at Mission Plaza in Downtown San Luis Obispo every Friday through September 14th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Local vendors sell snacks and food for hungry concertgoers, while Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Chamisal Vineyards supply beer and wine for purchase. Be sure to bring your own reusable cup or purchase a commemorative Concerts in the Plaza tumbler. Non-alcoholic beverages are provided, as well. No outside alcoholic beverages or pets are allowed and this is a non-smoking event. All concerts are free to the public.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM Broadway’s greatest farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent, and one of the funniest musicals ever written. The production takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from the time-tested, 2000-yearold comedies of Roman playwright, Plautus, with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville, incomparable music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and the hilarious book by Larry Gelbart and Burt Shevelove. August 10 – September 9 // slorep.org

BROADWAY BY THE SEA Summertime on the Central Coast means Opera San Luis Obispo in Shell Beach with the annual outdoor Americana classic Broadway by the Sea. In perfect harmony with musical selections, this classic all happens at the renowned Chapman Estate—a gorgeous seaside manor and exclusive location offering some of the most breathtaking ocean views in California. Arrive early, picnic with friends, bid on auction items, stroll the gardens, and observe plein air painters. August 12 // operaslo.org

LINEUP August 3 . Damon Castillo Band August 10 . Bear Market Riot August 17 . Truth About Seafood August 24 . Diego’s Umbrella August 31 . The JD Project

WHALE ROCK WINE DOWN TOURNEY This premier tournament is held to appreciate the beautiful disc golf community on the Central Coast and beyond. The addition of multiple divisions will fit all disc golfers. The round is capped off with a barbecue along with local wine and beer tastings. August 11 // castorocellars.com 104

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September 7 . The Mother Corn Shuckers September 14 . Moonshiner Collective downtownslo.com


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BLUEGRASS, BLUES, AND BUFFALOS Join Dirty Cello, a San Francisco-based blues and bluegrass band, and Miss Leo and her Bluegrass Boys, a traditional string band with a fresh and unique Central Coast sound, for a night of music at Lazy Arrow Adventures in Santa Margarita. August 18 // 3rdbluegrassbluesbuffalo.brownpapertickets.com

Dr. Arnie Horwitz

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

Are you feeling overwhelmed and confused? I can help. Specializing in

DUNE RUN Enjoy a 5k Run, 5k Walk, and 10k Run through scenic Central Coast dunes. Hard-packed beach and soft sand dunes create a fun combination for all ages. An awards ceremony will immediately follow the end of the race. August 25 // groverbeach.org

- 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 www.doctorar nie.com

DANCIN’ 2018 The Academy of Dance presents Dancin’ 2018. Dancers from beginner to professional take over the Performing Arts Center stage to showcase their talents. August 26 // pacslo.org

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SEPTEMBER

POPS ON! Sit back, relax and be swept away by classic and film favorites performed by our beloved local orchestral musicians led by the inimitable Michael Nowak. Featured guest artist, Damon Castillo, and a special visit from San Luis Obispo favorite, Inga Swearingen. September 2 // orchestranovo.com

AVOCADO & MARGARITA STREET FESTIVAL Enjoy a Morro Bay celebration featuring the California Central Coast’s love for wonderful flavors and tasty culinary dishes. This day shines a spotlight on our region’s amazing fresh-off-the-tree delicious California Avocados and provides high-quality premium margaritas, street faire entertainment, live music, specialty foods, and the highly sought after Grove, where chefs indulge guests in a step-above-the-rest mouth-watering and tantalizing avocado-themed dishes. September 8 // avomargfest.com 106

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STRAWBERRY TEQUILA FESTIVAL Held at El Chorro Regional Park, the festival will be filled with strawberries, live music, tequila tastings, margaritas, craft beer, and fun activities for the entire family. The day will revolve around great live music—including salsa, reggae, rock, and cumbia. September 8 // whsfnow.org

HOMES OF DISTINCTION Guests will have an exclusive look into five beautiful and unique homes as the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo presents the 18th Annual Homes of Distinction Tour. Each home has a unique ambiance where architecture, décor, and landscaping tell the stories of their lives. September 16 // slorotary.org

APPLES AND HONEY FESTIVAL The Apples and Honey Festival is a great way for the community to celebrate the fall season and learn about and bring in the Jewish New Year with community. Held in Downtown San Luis Obispo Mitchell Park, over 40 local artisans will be in attendance. September 16 // jccslo.com

STILL FROTHY SURF FESTIVAL This festival is an exciting and unique three-day event at the Pismo Beach Pier designed to motivate the youth in California to get off of their computers and video games and go surfing. September 22 – 23 // stillfrothy.com


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HAVEN PROPERTIES

To learn more about our Distinctive Collection listings visit www.havenslo.com/distinctive

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