& CHARTING THE FUTURE
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 1
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 5
Home & Garden expo
Make a Difference This Summer
SLO DOWN YOUR WATER USAGE
For more information as well as water
conservation tips and tricks, visit slowater.org
6 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Life as it should be.
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 7
We stopped by the Central Coast
Aquarium in Avila Beach to get to
know its executive director.
On the Cover
8 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Meet the Contributors
Get to know the people behind the scenes in this issue
of SLO LIFE Magazine.
You have seen Morro Rock many times before, but
never quite like this. We promise.
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Come along with us in our time machine as
we look back at some newsworthy events
from around the Central Coast.
Local developer, Gary Grossman, opens
up about his philosophy on housing
growth, as well as his personal life.
Recycling becomes an art form when
Janelle Younger gets her hands on it.
Out and About
Jeanette Trompeter stows us aboard as
sails her day away across the Estero Bay.
Perhaps more well-known for her love of children than her
penchant for rock and roll, Martha Chivens shares her path
to becoming a living legend in the eyes of so many locals.
Paden Hughes heads over to Pozo Saloon to take in a
concert. Be sure to get her perspectives on the iconic venue.
Best known for playing games, there’s a new deck of cards in
town designed to bring you more happiness.
With a major craving for carnitas, Jaime Lewis hits the
town to discover the best spots for delicious, local fare.
Now Hear This
Local quartet and multi-talented musicians,
Fialta, share their layered harmonies and
pop influences with the Central Coast.
Stone fruits pack a delicious punch when Chef Jessie
Rivas shares his no-longer-secret salad recipe.
GoDaddy.com CEO, Blake Irving and his
wife, Carol, open the doors to their historic
family home in downtown San Luis Obispo.
We crunch the numbers on year-to-date
home sales around the Central Coast,
including right in your neighborhood.
Check out the calendar to discover the best events
around the Central Coast in August and September.
The Last Word
Ken Schwartz takes us along as he explains the fascinating
history of water supply and use, as well as its impact on
10 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
There’s a new
firm in town.
(Well, more like a family.)
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 11
| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE
Earlier this summer my family decided to take a road trip, so we loaded up the minivan and headed north.
While we had certainly spent some time in the car together, the 13 hours it would take to reach Bend,
Oregon allowed us to test the limits of human endurance.
With evergreens whizzing by on either side of I-5 and the sun now submerged behind the mountains, I was
getting punchy and could not take it any longer. After eight hours in the car, I was in desperate need of a
break. The road rose and fell once again when I spotted a “Vacancy” sign hanging from the side of a place
we would have called a “No Tell Motel” growing up. Perfect.
The two side-by-side queen beds were a tight fit for our family of five, but I slept so hard that night that
it took me a minute to remember where I was when I awoke with my six-year-old son’s foot cradling my
face. Down the hall they were serving the promised “free continental breakfast,” so we rounded up the
kids and found an empty table. Along one wall was a plastic contraption with half-a-dozen cylinders
filled with all of the cereals that are off-limits back home. But we were on vacation, reasoned my wife and I, so, “Yes,” Froot Loops
got the green light on this particular day. As I settled in with a plate of powdered eggs and instant coffee, I noticed that the TV in the
corner was playing a commercial for a remake of the old Chevy Chase movie, “Vacation.” I choked down some of my astronaut food
while wondering how the new film would fare at the box office.
We had a great stay in Bend, and by the time we left had decided that it felt an awful lot like San Luis North. But, we had important
business to attend to back home. My daughter was turning twelve on what was to be our last day on the road, and she had been lobbying
me to make a straight shot—one day, 13 continuous hours, all the way back—so we could arrive the day before her celebration. Reluctantly
I agreed, knowing full-well that I was rolling the dice with my mental health.
By the time we hit Klamath Falls my kids had cycled through boredom, starvation, giddiness, aggravation, and, oh yeah, uncontrollable
urges to pee, at least twice. Sometime in those early hours my wife came up with a brilliant strategy: every time we stopped, the kids had to
rotate one seat counterclockwise. The change of scenery always seemed to quell the rising mutiny, at least for 20 miles or so. But, it only did
so much. And somewhere north of Redding, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands… I commandeered the minivan’s
Scrolling down the playlist on my cell phone, I found it. The unmistakable bluegrass combination of banjo, harmonica, and antique
washboard slowly began filling the air. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils could not have captured the situation more perfectly than they
did in that moment with their ridiculous wackiness when they sang out: Chicken train/runnin’ all day/I can’t get on/I can’t get off/chicken
train take your chickens away. I then turned the volume knob hard to the right for the next verse: Laser beam/in my dream/I can’t get on/I
can’t get off/laser beam’s like a sawed off dream/chicken train runnin’ all day. By the time the song had ended, we were all signing at the top
of our lungs.
With both hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel while bombing down the freeway at 85-miles-per-hour, I caught a glimpse
of myself in the rearview mirror. In that moment, with an expression that was difficult to discern—crazy, wild eyes; greasy, matted hair
covering a faint bead of sweat; and a big, dumb, goofy smile—it hit me: I had become Clark Griswald. And, you know what? I didn’t care!
Now fully embracing my delusional state, I hit repeat on my phone and yelled out, “Chicken train, baby!” My family rolled their eyes amid
a chorus of grumbles and groans, but right on queue everyone launched into song with our white streak-of-lightning Honda Odyssey
reaching warp speed as it barreled toward the Central Coast… Chicken train/runnin’ all day/I can’t get on/I can’t get off…
I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who has had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine
and, most of all, to our advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you.
Live the SLO Life!
12 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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Complete details regarding circulation, coverage and advertising rates,
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Letters chosen for publication may be edited for clarity and space limitations.
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email from a shipping company claiming
that your package is on its way and you
need to download the attached .zip
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wait! You resisted the urge to buy those
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so what’s this email about then?
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| ON THE COVER
A SNEAK PEEK
BEHIND the scenes
WITH DAN KING
This was my first assignment
for SLO LIFE, and I was really
excited to get started. I went out
to the aquarium the day before
the shoot to sort of poke around
and check it out. You could see
that things were happening, the
place was buzzing and there were
a ton of interesting things to see.
Very stimulating visually; and
those tanks had just about every
type of creature you could imagine
My first impression of Tara
was that she had a really bright
and cheerful presence, just an
outstanding glow. You could really
see it in her posture, that’s where
people generally show it. And
she was definitely very happy and
positive. But, I could tell that she
was a little nervous about the
shoot. I didn’t find out until later,
but I heard that it came out in
her interview that she actually did
a little modeling when she was
younger. I’m sure she could have
gone that direction with her life
and had a great career, but I guess
she told the agency to take a hike.
It wasn’t until we did some shots with
her holding a starfish and some amoeba
thing, that she really started to relax. Her
smile became bigger and brighter. You
could tell that she felt really at ease in that
environment, very comfortable. The people
there at the aquarium were super cool,
everyone had really good energy and lots
of smiles. One of them sort of followed us
around and cheered her on, encouraging
her really. I was there for a while, almost
four hours setting up various locations
and waiting for the right light. We did
everything from strobe lighting for the
cover shot, to ambient lighting, lots of
reflectors. I just wanted to keep it sharp,
clean, and very natural, but straightforward
and happy just like Tara.
16 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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| IN BOX
You said it...
JUN/JUL 2 015
m a g a z i n e
CAPTURING THE MOMENT
& LIVING INTENTIONALLY
I’m a subscriber and cover-to-cover reader
of SLO Life Magazine and have been ever
since I first found out about it. SLO Life
is fearless about taking on subjects that
many would rather sweep under the rug
(homelessness, the Diablo Canyon Nuclear
Power Station to name two recent ones)
and pretend don’t exist. The articles you
write reflect a thorough job of reporting,
presenting both sides of the arguments
and helping the reader by presenting a
Your recent publisher’s note by Tom
Franciskovich titled GRATITUDE in your fifth
anniversary issue was heartfelt and showed
just how sensible and sensitive a person he is.
Making it to the fifth anniversary with a new
magazine is a remarkable achievement and I
salute your commitment, your determination
and your execution in publishing for five
— EDIE LYCKE
Thanks for your Special Feature on THE WILL NOTS
addressing some relevant issues about homelessness.
As a parent, I understand the confusion about how to
talk to kids about homelessness. As a Co-Founder of
Mindful Mothers and Board Member of Transitions-Mental
Health Association, I feel strongly about getting it right
when I talk to my son. Children usually ask questions
because they are curious, not judgmental. When we
talk about someone not having a home, a child then
worries if their own family may one day be homeless. If a
child sees someone acting strangely or perhaps looking
disheveled, there are more questions and more worries.
We can answer the questions honestly and simply so we
don’t cause worry, but most importantly we can model
Recently I was with my son and two friends when we
encountered a homeless man along a bike path. He had
an ornate metal bongo drum in his bike trailer. I asked
if he could play the drum, and he agreed to play us a
song. The kids were mesmerized by his talent. As we
walked away, one of my son’s friends said, “My mom
would have never let us stop to talk. She says people
are homeless because they spend all their money on
cigarettes and drinking.” I explained that my thoughts
had changed since working with a local group that deals
with homelessness. I said, “A person may have a sickness
in their brain that makes them sad. A person might
lose their job for some reason and then can’t pay for a
home or food. We just need to be kind to everyone and
thankful for what we have.”
Mental illness often plays a role in homelessness, so if
society wants to solve the problem, we might start with
empathy and understanding. If a person suffers a stroke
or heart attack, we are compassionate and don’t label or
judge. Labeling people as Will Nots who are “able-bodied
but would rather not work,” saying the Have Nots have
access to a “massive and relatively efficient framework
of government resources,” and claiming the Can Nots
“no matter how much support they receive, are not
able to turn their situation around” are just not accurate
statements and not helpful.
Recovery is possible, no matter how much NOT you’ve
got. I love your magazine, but you missed the mark this
— CINDY JOHNSON
MINDFUL MOTHERS CO-FOUNDER
18 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
I am truly grateful for your wonderful magazine. I
read every bit of it over the days when I sit down
to relax and want to enjoy something in a magazine
that is not fluff...some meaty stuff. Good fillet
Mignon! I always read the Publisher’s Message by
Tom Franciskovich first and am glad that he is in
a place where he grasps “the beauty of it all”. His
article THE WILL NOTS on homelessness is so
informative. I had often looked at the sadness of
it and wondered why. I wondered why could that
person not find a job? just like his daughter. I have
more insight and am grateful. $120,000 later and
still the question concerning what to do about the
I enjoyed every section of the magazine from You
Said It to the end...Mindful Development. Very good.
SUPER JOB. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FIVE
YEARS. YOU GO!
— M. EATON
San Luis Obispo City Council member Dan Carpenter is quoted in the Q&A feature of your June/
July issue as saying that his “colleagues rubber stamp everything. This is what drives me crazy.” He
goes on to call the City Manager “the sixth council member” and claim that the City Manager controls
everyone on the Council, except, of course, for him. His untrue and insulting accusations are not only
disrespectful to his fellow Council members and to city staff, but they are also very revealing. They
demonstrate his often oppositional approach to decision making. He minimizes the time he puts into
council duties and for long stretches of time refuses to meet with city staff. Rather than fully engaging
on the issues, he often just votes “against” people. His demeanor on the dais is also revealing. At times,
he spends entire council meetings in dark and brooding silence. At other times, he launches into angry
attacks against members of the public who have testified, or against other council members, or against
city staff. People may or may not agree with Mr. Carpenter’s self description as “crazy.” Either way,
blaming his fellow council members for driving him “crazy” is just plain wrong. And, his accusations
against other council members are just plain false. We each thoroughly research the issues and think
for ourselves. We make decisions based on the facts, the law, city policy and public input. Then, we
deliberate and vote for what we decide would be best for the community as a whole. We do not
rubber stamp anyone, or vote on the basis of ideology, or cater to special interests, or vote “against”
staff or other council members. His comments in your magazine beg the question: is that true for Dan
Carpenter as well?
— JAN MARX, MAYOR SAN LUIS OBISPO
Several major Ag school studies indicate from 15%
to 50% of irrigation water is lost when done with
overhead spray during daylight hours. Even more loss
when there is wind. And yet this practice continues at
Poly. We see acres of irrigated green play fields when
artificial fields are available.
We are supposed to let our lawns go brown while our
big neighbor squanders our collective resource. Does
Poly think no one is watching? I’d like to see some
more reporting on this subject. This drought problem
belongs to all of us.
Thank you for the request, Gary. For a primer
on this very complex subject, we reached out to
former San Luis Obispo Mayor, Ken Schwartz.
You can see what he had to say by turning to
THE LAST WORD on page 90.
— GARY DWYER
Please send your photos and comments to email@example.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 must
include your name, city, state, phone number or email address (for authentication purposes).
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 19
| 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
SLO LIFE goes to Hrvatska!
— AMY MCKAY
20 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
I am in St. Petersburg, Russia with the Resurrection of Jesus
Christ Cathedral, also known locally as “Spilled Blood Church”
in the background. All the Rominovs since Peter the Great are
buried here. St. Petersburg was a two-day stop on a 21-day
cruise-tour of northern Europe’s capital cities.
— BEA ELDER
Send your photo to email@example.com
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 21
| IN BOX
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22 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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Getting to Know...
We checked in with our contributors to introduce the
people behind the pages of SLO LIFE Magazine.
JAIME LEWIS writer
Playlist Jose Gonzales, XX, The Meters, Vulfpeck, Neko Case, Muse,
Rage Against The Machine, Cesaria Evora.
Life lesson When I am criticized, it says more about my criticizer
than it does about me.
Favorite meal Blue cheese beef sliders, French fries and a bottle of
Chateauneuf-du-Pape taken solo before my sommelier exam.
Guilty pleasure Hot dogs.
Favorite lazy Sunday activity Lunch at Lincoln Street Deli with a beer
and plenty of friends.
How you landed on the Central Coast I lived all over the world (NY,
SF, Italy, New Zealand), but in 2009 I came back to the Central Coast
where I was born and raised.
Travels One of my favorite trips was essentially a re-creation of
Sophia Coppola’s Lost In Translation... without Bill Murray; my
husband had business in Tokyo and Kyoto, and I came along for the
ride to experience everything from ancient Shinto shrines to Tokyo’s
Harajuku district with its rebel youth and their outrageous fashions.
CLARE DUFFY writer
Playlist Mostly classic rock. My friends make fun of me for listening
to the Grateful Dead. As for new music, I am still infatuated with Ben
Howard’s newest album even though it’s almost a year old.
Life Lesson If you move to Austria for a year, make sure to bring
along some hot sauce.
Guilty pleasure Ice cream. I eat an inordinate amount of ice cream.
Favorite lazy Sunday activity Getting up early to surf with my dad,
followed by tamales at Chapala in Morro Bay.
Travels I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study abroad
in Salzburg, Austria. I was able to travel to a new city or country
nearly every weekend. In addition, my class did extended tours
through France, Italy and Greece—I think I may have left a
chunk of my heart in Italy. I loved getting to learn from Austrian
professors and from experiences with a wide variety of cultures.
That being said, I think the most valuable lesson for me was
actually realizing how much people are the same at their core,
regardless of where they’re from.
JESSIE RIVAS chef
Playlist Gary Clark Jr. , Jackie Greene, Led Zepplin, and anything local.
Aha moment The day I walked into culinary school. For the first time in my life I felt like I belonged. It
was both the happiest and scariest day of my life.
Favorite meal Double cut pork chop stuffed with pancetta and greyere with a See Canyon cider
Favorite lazy Sunday activity Slow cooking meat on my smoker and reading all the newspapers I
missed that week while listening to the Giants on the radio.
Backstory I spent 18 years raising my family and building a culinary career in San Francisco working
in restaurants, as a private and corporate caterer, on a food truck, and as a culinary expert for Williams-
Sonoma. My family and I moved to San Luis Obispo in 2013 to start a business of our own, The Pairing
Knife, a catering company and mobile food kitchen.
24 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
一 攀 眀 ☀ 䔀 猀 琀 愀 琀 攀 䨀 攀 眀 攀 氀 爀 礀 ⴀ 䤀 渀 䠀 漀 甀 猀 攀 匀 攀 爀 瘀 椀 挀 椀 渀 最
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matters to you.
INTERIOR | EXTERIOR | VEHICLES | BANNERS
3001 Broad St., San Luis Obispo
DAWN JANKE writer
Playlist These days I am in a major
Radiohead phase. I am also enjoying
Wilco’s new one, Star Wars; Benjamin
Booker’s self-titled album; and the new
release from local band, American Dirt:
Life lesson I think Mick said it best: You
can’t always get what you want, but you
always get what you need.
Guilty pleasure I really try not to associate
guilt with pleasure.
Favorite lazy Sunday activity When I
have time to be easy like Sunday morning,
I like a strong cup of coffee, a stimulating
book, and soft sheets.
How you landed on the Central Coast
Well, it’d be a lot cooler if I said that I
landed here via a Jedi interceptor, but,
truth be told, I came to the Central Coast
in 2008 by way of the Midwest to work
for Cal Poly.
Travels I don’t like to stay in one place
for too long—my passport is always
ready. Last year at this time I was
trekking through Budapest, Prague,
Vienna, and Salzburg. On my list is
Reykjavik for the northern lights. So, too,
are Portugal and Morocco.
DAN KING photographer
Playlist I listen to a wide variety.
However, the blues are always on more so.
I’m a southern boy at heart.
Life lesson Live for the day. You may not
Camera I’ve never had a favorite. I’ve
owned about 24 different ones. Pushing
the shutter release any time is my favorite
time. My first camera was a 110 film
camera, which I still own.
Favorite lazy Sunday activity There’s no
rest for the wicked. I’m usually hiking
or taking my bulldog “Avedon” with me
How you landed on the Central Coast
I grew up in Arroyo Grande 8th through
12th grades. Ventured off into many states
afterward. 21 years later, I decided to
return. Who knows where the road may
Travels Well, I’ve been in almost all
the lower 48 states. I stayed in China
for a month for a photo job back in
2006. Vancouver for a girl awhile
back—haven’t been back since. Once in
awhile I just cruise across country for
that American adventure. I love it and
26 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
JEANETTE TROMPETER writer
Playlist It’s a wide variety. From John Mayer to
Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Dixie Chicks to Meghan
Life Lesson When someone shows you who they
really are, believe them.
Best interview Maya Angelou.
Guilty pleasure Peanut Buster Parfait from
Favorite lazy Sunday activity Paddleboarding or
reading a magazine in the sun—preferably while
floating on a body of water.
Travels Italy, Ireland, France, England, Tonga,
Australia, New Zealand—I love to travel. Right
now I’m having a love affair with Tahoe in the
PADEN HUGHES writer
Playlist I’ve been listening to my top four happy songs: Can’t Get Enough
of Your Love (Barry White), Happy (Pharrell Williams), Soulful Strut
(Young-Holt Unlimited) and my newest favorite Blame (Calvin Harris).
Life lesson Manage your energy, not your time.
Guilty Pleasure Playing golf on a Friday with my husband.
Favorite lazy Sunday activity Church, Bob Jones Trail, laying out at
Avila, and going to a family dinner in Creston to enjoy tri-tip and wine.
Travels I’ve been to 13 countries and 32 states and my favorite places
are Kenya, Tahiti, Austria and Scotland.
Backstory After working through college at Cal Poly, I knew I wasn’t
ready to leave. So, I found internships to replace my part-time college
work and eventually got a full-time job. From there, I started a business
with my husband so that we could stay on the Central Coast.
For the Service You Deserve & Advice You Trust
• Investments • Retirement Accounts •
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San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles – Santa Maria
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TREVOR POVAH photographer
Playlist Mostly everything from the Beastie Boys to Miles Davis, Bob
Marley to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
Life lesson After extensive travel around the world, California is by far
the best place to live.
Favorite photo shoot A China BASE jumping documentary called
“Journey to the Center” featuring three BASE jumpers on an expedition
to remote China to jump into a 2,000-foot hole in the earth. It was
incredible to document these athletes’ pioneering jump off a cable that
stretches across the top of the Tian Keng Cave in China.
Guilty pleasure Surfing twice in a day.
Favorite lazy Sunday activity A beach day with my wife and black lab.
Travels I’ve been to about 25 countries , so I have a pretty full passport.
After traveling for 10 months, I was interrogated at the Laos/Cambodian
border for not having any space in my passport. Fortunately, the bus I
was on waited while they detained me until finally making me pay $20 to
stamp over an existing visa . Of all my travels, my favorite three so far are
Fiji, New Zealand, and Japan.
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 27
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAKE SCHMIT
Last year, as he sat in a lecture hall at the University
of Colorado at Boulder, Jake Schmit found his mind
wandering westward. With his professor droning
on, the soon-to-be architecture design graduate
recalled so many great memories as a child visiting
his grandfather’s home in Morro Bay; and he started
daydreaming about the possibility of beginning his
post-college life on the Central Coast.
It turns out that wanderlust may be an inherited trait, as
grandfather—a long-time merchant marine who settled in Morro
Bay before it had incorporated as a city—and grandson seem to
share the bug. Schmit, who has taken up residence in a tiny detached
guest house with a view of the rock has been inspired anew. “The
whole reason I moved out here was because I want to do what I
love,” he shares. And that exuberance has propelled him to form a
new company called Muuv Graphics, which offers a 3D photography
and rendering service to architects and builders. Schmit figures that
he “can use photography to travel the world and be able to do the
renderings along the way, seeing where it takes me.”
One of the first investments in Muuv Graphics was a Nikon
D7100. The entire world seemed to open up as Schmit went wild
with the equipment, trying new things and pushing the envelope.
About a week after he clicked his first digital exposure, he captured
the photo you see here. With the sun recently settled into the
Pacific for the evening, the ambient city lights faintly illuminated
Morro Rock. The young photographer decided to mount his camera
on a tripod and set it for a long exposure. A warm and glowing
Morro Rock poking through the dark night with the stars above
would make for a fascinating image. As the Nikon sat with its
shutter open for exposures ranging between 30 and 60 seconds,
Schmit had an idea.
What would happen if he were to run around in the foreground
with a light source? So, he pulled out his iPhone and clicked open
the flashlight app and tried to spell “Muuv,” but it didn’t turn out
at all, plus it was backward. He then tried other words, like his own
name. Randomly spelling one word after another they all failed to
produce anything. Then the word “Love” popped into mind and
Schmit gestured the letters in reverse order—“E-V-O-L” finishing
with a dramatic underline—he ran back behind the camera to
check the viewfinder and realized that he was, indeed, heading in
the right direction. SLO LIFE
It turns out that wanderlust
may be an inherited trait...
28 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 29
Around the County
Styrofoam food containers are no longer
allowed in restaurants within the city limits
of San Luis Obispo following a unanimous
vote by its city council. Under pressure
from a local grassroots organization called
SLO Foam Free, the city became the first
in the county to adopt the rule. Polystyrene,
the scientific name for Styrofoam, is not
recyclable and not biodegradable and often
breaks up into tiny pieces causing problems
for wildlife on local beaches. The ordinance
comes 25 years after San Luis Obispo
became the first city in the nation to ban
indoor smoking in public places.
The City of San Luis Obispo opened up its coffers and gave its two top employees pay raises.
Less than a month after she fired Police Chief Steve Gesell “without cause” at a cost to the city
of $120,000, City Manager Katie Lichtig was awarded a by a 4-1 vote, with councilman Dan
Carpenter objecting, a one-time bonus of $7,600 plus a $450 monthly car allowance, bringing her
total annual compensation to $318,431. City Attorney, Christine Dietrick, received a 7% retroactive
raise. It was the fourth consecutive raise for Dietrick, who now takes home $187,252 per year. Later
that month, San Luis Obispo proposed the addition of 13 new city jobs. And in the following
month, 114 more city employees received salary increases ranging from 2.7% to 15.7%.
A group of Avila Valley residents calling
themselves, Concerned Citizens for Avila,
asked the County Board of Supervisors
to update the area’s general plan before
approving any large developments. The
group had organized a town hall forum
in April to discuss the potential impacts
of multiple projects all in the early
stages, such as the one in Wild Cherry
Canyon—which two years ago came
close to becoming permanently protected
open space. Now a New York-based
multi-billion dollar conglomerate called
Leucadia National Corp., together with
HomeFed Corp., a massive residential
home developer from Carlsbad, and
another Miami-based firm, are seeking to
build 1,500 homes on the property.
A massive data breach is made public at Cuesta College and
it was learned that employee names, addresses, and Social
Security numbers were sent to the private email account of
29-year-old Lacey Fowler, an analyst in the human resources
department who had been on leave. Fowler, who was initially
arrested on a single felony count of improperly accessing
computer data on June 17, skipped bail and failed to show for
her court appearance. She was then arrested again on July 13th,
but this time, in addition to identity theft, she was also charged
with possession of heroin and methamphetamine for sale,
battery of a spouse, violating a restraining order, being under
the influence of a controlled substance, fraud, and burglary of a
commercial vehicle while running from authorities.
San Luis Obispo-based
software company MindBody
sold 7.15 million shares at
$14 each to raise $100.1
million in its initial public
offering (IPO). The company,
which was founded in
an Arbors neighborhood
garage in 1998 by Rick
Stollmeyer, is now worth
nearly $500 million. The
IPO comes on the heels of
the construction of a new
company headquarters, which
was completed in April at the
intersection of Tank Farm
Road and Broad Street. The
company, which provides
online software solution
to the health and wellness
industries, currently employs
about 900 people and has
plans to add 200 more locally
and another 200 out of the
area, including internationally.
30 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
In a Los Angeles courtroom, 54-year-old Kelly Gearhart,
former Atascadero Citizen of the Year, was sentenced for his
convictions of fraud and money laundering after swindling
millions from Central Coast investors. While it was widely
expected that Gearhart would receive up to 11 years—his lawyer
had expected five—the judge took no mercy when she sentenced
him to 14 years in prison. Sentencing in a related case against
James Hurst Miller Jr., former president of Atascadero-based
Hurst Financial Corporation, who had plead guilty to the Ponzi
scheme related charges, is scheduled for October 19th.
Statewide opponents, including local residents led by the Mesa Refinery
Watch Group, lined up to lobby San Luis Obispo County policy makers
against allowing Phillip 66 Co. from upgrading its refinery so that it can
receive rail car deliveries of crude oil. Up to this point, the county had
received thousands of comments on draft environmental reports from those
who are concerned about trains passing through the Central Coast en route
to the Nipomo facility. Currently, the company receives its oil by pipeline,
but it has an application in with the county to construct a 1.3 mile spur
connecting to the main rail line, which will significantly expand its operation.
A newly released monitoring report showed that seawater was
continuing to seep into the water supply that serves Los Osos. The
community, like others on the Central Coast, had aggressively cut back
on its per capita water usage, but the news represented a significant
setback because it has potential to threaten the health of the basin.
The report also revealed that chloride levels had risen sharply. While
still within what officials consider a safe drinking limit, the 190
milligrams per liter was almost twice the targeted benchmark. As a
result of a lawsuit filed in 2004, the basin is cooperatively managed by
the Los Osos Community Services District, Golden State Water Co.,
San Luis Obispo County, and the S&T Water Co.
Six months following the Cal Poly “St. Fratty’s Day” roof collapse,
the City of San Luis Obispo voted to expand its unruly gathering
ordinance. Under the old code, the party host, which law enforcement
officers claimed was often difficult to identify, particularly in a moblike
setting, would be the one who was penalized. Under the new rule,
attendees at a massive unruly gathering, such as the early morning
March 7th event that drew an estimated 3,000 partygoers—50 of
whom stood on top of a garage roof which caused it to collapse—will
also be fined individually. The initial fine will be $350 and will ramp up
to $700 and $1,000 for second and third offenses. SLO LIFE
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 31
Developing a Vision
As he begins submitting his plans for development of the old Dalidio
property that he purchased in December for $19.7 million, GARY GROSSMAN
is uniquely positioned to shape San Luis Obispo’s future with what could be
500 new homes on the south end of the city. We spent an afternoon getting
to know the man behind the plan…
Tell us about yourself, Gary. I grew up in Los
Angeles. Went to UCLA for undergrad, and
USC for grad school. I was what I would call
an “architectophile.” By the time I was about
six years old, all I wanted to do was either draw
houses or build them out of Legos. In college I
had thought about going to law school, in fact I
went to ask one of my professors for a letter of
recommendation, but he said, “There’s enough
lawyers in the world; go get your degree in
Housing and Planning.” So, I did.
So, how did you end up here? Our family had
a ranch in Paso Robles, so growing up as kids
we’d go up there. I had a lot of memories from
childhood coming through San Luis Obispo
when it was a little bit of a smaller, quieter
place. After graduation, I talked to this friend
of the family who was doing some development
work up here. I told him that I would really
like to apprentice, and really get to understand
what building housing is like, and what it’s
all about. So he let me come on. I moved up
here in 1988. Spent the first couple of years
just tagging along. He and I started a company
together when I was just 23, and from there we
started building houses.
In some ways you were a bit of a trailblazer,
right? Yes, I wanted to build houses. I wanted
to get into construction. At that time, the
only gay role models that were on TV were
extremely caricaturistic. I think we were
fighting those caricatures, probably up to the
last five years or so when they finally started
portraying gay men and women as firemen and
policemen and everything that they really are,
not just interior decorators and hairdressers.
I came out in 1982, so I had to wait 33 years
to gain my full rights as a citizen. Like I tell
everyone, I pay 100% of my taxes, so I’d like
to have 100% of my rights. When I came
out there was nothing to hold onto. It was a
very scary time, and it was a very, very bad
time health wise. Everybody was scared about
everything. Then to come to a period now
where people can get married at the courthouse
in San Luis Obispo. I was there at the pride
rally and we had a county supervisor, and we
had city council people who were also happy
and involved. That makes me feel very, very
proud of our community.
So, now you are taking on something that
has been fought over almost as much as gay
rights: developing the old Dalidio property…
I actually look at it as a preservation project.
I mean, here’s a property that, right now, as it
sits, was entitled by Measure J to be 850,000
square feet of commercial and office space, and
can be completely covered over in concrete. I
don’t think it offers the community anything
spectacular. We already have a PetCo; we
already have a BevMo. Plus, for me, I really like
building, more than being a developer. Give me
a plot of land that has already been entitled and
I will build you the most spectacular house. A
land speculator is a different animal. That’s not
who I am. There are other people who’ll buy
up land, get the zoning changed, get it entitled
to build, then flip it to make their middle man
money. That’s not how I operate. I’m doing
it because I have a vision for how the houses
should look, how the neighborhood can be. And,
in this particular case, I also have a very strong
vision for saving half the property for agriculture
and open space.
And, how are people responding to that vision?
Actually, it was kind of cute because we were out
there at SLO Ranch [the old Dalidio property]
about a year ago, and there were some people
out there with some very strong opinions about
developers. So, this woman came up to me
and said, “I really hate developers, and I hate
anyone who has anything to do with any of this
stuff.” And I told her, “I’m very sorry, but I don’t
necessarily feel the same way. Before you were
here, there was nothing prior to that. Ultimately,
everyone came here from somewhere else. Oh,
by the way, I’d like to introduce you to my other
half; this is Jazz.” And she said, “Wait. You’re
gay?” I said, “Yes.” And then she said, “And
you’re a developer?” I said, “Yes.” Then she said,
“I love you!” And she gave me a big hug, and I
said, “Well, that’s a first!” SLO LIFE
32 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Say “ Yes” to the possibilities
of better hearing.
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Helping You Hear The Things You Love
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 33
| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR
34 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAN KING
Whether she is wandering around
a frozen lake or picking through
a sun-drenched tide pool, TARA
MALZONE is at her best when
surrounded by water. While the
Canadian native longs to shovel
snow from her Shell Beach
driveway, she has been quietly
transforming the Central Coast
Aquarium over the past few years.
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 35
Tara, I’m picking up an accent. Where
are you from? So, I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, in the snow
belt about an hour northwest of Toronto. My family’s one of the oldest
families in Canada. They were in Canada before it was declared a country.
We have a historic farm there, and my grandparents played a huge role in
my life. I spent a lot of time with them because my parents worked fulltime,
and I’d stay with them. I also spent the summers with them on Lake
Erie. They had a cottage there, so every summer I spent two months with
my grandparents. My parents would come visit on the weekends. Where
I grew up was this winter wonderland where you’d go tobogganing on
the weekends, and snowmobiling, and snow shoeing. And curling was the
thing that we did. Everyone went curling. So, now during the Olympics
I have to watch curling and everyone’s looking at me like, what is wrong
Did you actually grow up on the farm? We lived in a neighborhood
on the edge of the fields and a forest. I have vivid memories of all
the thunder and lightning and rain, rain, rain. That’s just how it is up
there, right. And then it would be hot and muggy and beautiful. And
as a kid, you’re out on the street at night with all of the other kids
and there’s so much water rushing past your feet in the gutters, and
you’re out just playing. I should have gone into construction because I
built a ton of tree houses while I was growing up. I remember falling
out of one once on my back. It knocked the wind out of me, I just
couldn’t catch my breath. I was lucky though because I landed next
to a board that was laying on the ground that had a bunch of nails
sticking through it, geez. I actually had a great very cream cheesy-like
just out-of-a-storybook perfect childhood. And I’m really grateful for
that because my parents were really great people. They worked really
36 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
hard, and saved their money, and always had used cars, and kept their
house really nice, and pulled the weeds, and mowed the lawn on the
weekends, and shoveled the snow at like four a.m.
“Cream cheesy?” Is that a Canadian expression, eh? [laughter] It’s
just how I have chosen to look at things. The truth is that my father
was highly abusive, an alcoholic. Fortunately, I was mostly raised by
my mom’s husband, George. My dad was never really in the picture.
He would come in and out when he was out of rehab or whatever, so
we would, every once in a while, maybe a couple of times a year, we’d
see him. So, he was just really in and out of my life. I had always really
struggled with it, not having a dad. Not that George wasn’t one; he
taught me how to cross country ski, taught me to ride my bike. He
was the one there every day, you know. He was the dad for all intents
and purposes. But I struggled for a while because I just wanted a
relationship with my father that wasn’t dysfunctional; but it was bad,
really bad. So, anyway, I remember one day just waking up, I think I
was 17 or 18, and I just said, “I’m totally okay with not having him in
my life; I’m really okay.” That’s his life, and that’s okay. I’ll always love
him, and I want the best for him but that’s not my baggage anymore.
That’s all him. I know adults who were children of alcoholic parents
who still, to this day, are having a really hard time with it. My sister
still struggles with it. I won’t let it define who I am, or why I am, or
anything else. He doesn’t get to have that.
We all smile in the
Was that why you came to the States? No, not at all. I spent most of
my childhood at the pool. During the summers I would swim all day
with my friends. I was a pool rat. We all packed our lunches and went
to the pool. I love the water. And I started taking lifeguard classes.
I eventually got my certification with the Royal Lifesaving Society,
which is the highest level that you can reach as a lifeguard. That
was always a big part of my life, so was art. I studied fine art and art
history in college. But, an opportunity came up to nanny for a family
in Santa Cruz. I wanted to take a little break from school and do some
traveling, plus I would get credit if I came back with some paintings.
Anyway, it was the first time I had seen the Pacific Ocean, and it had
a huge impact on me. I remember the first time I saw it—it was the
most beautiful thing I had ever seen—I fell in love with the ocean at
that point, and immediately felt unbelievably connected to it. I knew
right away that this is where I wanted to be. I had no idea, because
up until that point, my impression of California came from watching
“Baywatch” and “Beverly Hills 90210.” I had expected to see David
Hasselhoff sitting in the lifeguard tower.
Did you find him? No, but I did actually end up marrying one of
those lifeguards. Everything went so fast. We were married after six
months. We were very young, and I became pregnant right away. I
thought to myself, “What am I doing? I had plans to be a museum
curator, or a painter. And, here I am at 21 with a baby on the way.” But
something changed in me when I held my son for the first time. My
total focus shifted to taking care of this little human being. Something
just clicked inside. We moved to Los Osos, which ended up being
the only place on the California coast we could afford to buy a home,
and I decided to try to become the best mom in the world. I was PTA
president, volunteered for everything. Eventually my kids didn’t need
me in that way as much, my son is now 17 and my daughter is in 8th
grade. Unfortunately, the marriage did not work out, but we have two
beautiful children as a result, and he is a really good father to them.
Okay, so you rejoined the workforce. At the time a friend of mine
gave me the best advice. She said Tara, “You love seniors. You talk
about your grandparents all the time.” You know, it’s funny because
I didn’t even realize that, like it’s just so ingrained in you. I had this
realization that I do love seniors and I really like being around them.
I feel that they’re so often undervalued and under appreciated in this
generation. People just don’t take care of them and look up to them >>
Come see us at our new office!
11545 LOS OSOS VALLEY ROAD
SUITE A, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
CALL US AT 805-541-5800
TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT.
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 37
a regular person might see it. No one knows what a sea life center
is, but they get aquariums. So we changed the name to the Central
Coast Aquarium, rebranded everything, painted the building,
improved the signage, updated all of the collateral, added programs,
and we expanded our community outreach. No one knew that the
organization had been doing all of this great work for so many years,
and my goal was to change that. So far we’ve gone from 8,000 visitors
per year to 20,000. We have three marine biologists on staff currently
and they’re the brightest people in the world, and so funny; I learn
something from them every day. We also have incredible volunteers
and an amazing board. I’m just there, you know, trying to make ends
meet for the organization.
And how do you do that? I don’t have a degree in business
administration, but I understand strategic planning and I get
marketing. I get common sense. I just want the aquarium to be
something that the community is proud of. We have K-12 kids getting
bussed in from six counties where we take them out on the bay to
do these awesome, hands-on marine science programs. For many of
them, it’s the first time they’ve been on a boat. For some, they have
never seen the ocean. We just had some kids in from Santa Maria who
saw the ocean for the very first time in their life. It reminded me of
myself, the first time I saw it. You just don’t get over it. We’re creating
the next generation of ocean stewards, and it’s our responsibility to
pass on our knowledge to these kids so they can respect something
we all love so much. But, you know, back to your question. It’s really
not glamorous work. We don’t even have a maintenance person, so I’ll
change into my sweats, put my hair up into a ponytail and pull weeds,
or unclog a toilet, or screw something into the wall. And we’re always
getting leaks. I can go on and on. There’s always something.
the way we should. So I found the perfect role at The Villages in
San Luis Obispo where I became the community relations director
helping seniors transition as residents there. During that time, I got
to know a gentleman who was in the process of moving his mom
into the facility. It took probably a year for me to help him with the
transition. Once we finally had her settled in he said, “Tara, I’m the
chairman of a non-profit in Avila Beach and we’re looking for a new
executive director. Would you please come work for us?”
So, what did you say? I think I said something like, “Wow, what a
compliment!” But, I knew nothing about non-profits, plus I loved
working at The Villages. He told me that non-profits were just like
for-profits, but with more challenges. When he started describing
the organization, which was then called the Avila Beach Sea Life
Center, and its mission, I was intrigued. By that time I had been at
The Villages for five years and was ready for a new challenge. I love
the ocean, I love kids, I love learning. And, as a mom who raised her
kids on the beach, I started to think, “I can do this!” I decided to give
it a go, and I was lucky enough to train under the outgoing executive
director, Priscilla Kiessig, whose parents started the organization 20
years ago. I’ve been with them for two-and-a-half years now, and it’s
been the perfect fit.
So, what was the deal with the name change?
I started asking around and no one seemed to know what “Sea Life
Center” meant, or even that it existed at all. People thought we were
a county building, or public bathrooms, or some sort of science-y
thing. For me, I don’t run it like a marine biologist. I run it like a
mom, and think about how I would want to teach my kids, or how
So, you’re bouncing between unclogging toilets and addressing
groups at the aquarium. Honestly, I’d much rather be unclogging
toilets because I have a horrible, horrible fear of public speaking. If I
have to go on TV or talk in front of a group, I literally shut down and
my heart starts to palpitate. I have a physical reaction like I’m going
to be sick, or what I do is I end up starting to cry. Take the other
night, for example. I had to speak at the NRC [Nuclear Regulatory
Commission] meeting. While I was sitting there I looked down at my
chest and could see my whole shirt moving up and down because my
heart was pounding so hard. I had to have this whole conversation
with myself. I said, “Tara, put your big girl pants on and just go do
it.” Ironically, I’m really an outgoing person, but I don’t want be the
center of attention.
Are you going to be okay with us putting your face on the cover of
the magazine? I think I’m going to be sick. Seriously? I’ll have to
really think about that one. I’ll get back to you. Honestly though, it’s
very debilitating. I could talk to you for days about what’s going on
over there at the aquarium, just like we’ve done this afternoon. I can
articulate it really well, but if I get up to a podium and I’m standing
there, I literally start to shut down, and I have to fight back wanting
to cry. I’ve been through therapy for it, but they keep kicking me out.
Twice I’ve been kicked out. They’ll tell me that I’m good and to call if
I need anything. I’ll say, “Are you sure? I like our little talks.”
Alright, Tara, one last thing before we let you go. Can you give us
a quick status report for our local shoreline? How are things going
out there under the surface? You know, it’s interesting because San
Luis Obispo Bay is extremely healthy. The whales have been around
this summer for weeks. I see them every day and they’re just eating
and eating and eating, so they’re happy and the whole food web
is doing well. I don’t know; I’m not a scientist though. I’m the kid
from Canada who loves to ride her tricycle in the snow, you know.
I’m just a regular person who loves the ocean, and wants to provide
opportunities for people like me to learn more about it. SLO LIFE
38 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 39
Since I was a little kid, I just loved
messing around with just anything. It
started with art journals. Everything
I did was temporary; lots of glue, lots
of collaging with paper. It was mostly
two-dimensional. But as time went
on, I started building things up into
To me, it takes on another meaning for itself.
It’s no longer individual parts. It’s really neat to
watch people checking out a piece for the first
time because they’ll say, “Hey, look there’s a fork;
and there’s a vegetable steamer!” It has meaning
as a collection of individual items, yes, but it also
has new meaning as the sum of its parts.
I’m fascinated with the previous lives of objects. What were these
things used for? Who were the people that had them? So, I started
combining things together in different ways. I’ll find some little
deely bop, and I’ll study it for a while and think about what it had
been and what it could become. The hardest part is to know when it’s
finished. When am I done? Sometimes I overdo it. It’s a totally organic
process that starts with just one piece that I find tossed out somewhere.
Almost everything I do has a heart with wings. I cannot
explain the reason behind that. I’ve been to Mexico a
bunch and I really like the idea of the Mexican roadside
shrines. There’s something about that sacred heart image
that appeals to me. So, there is almost always a heart and
there is almost always a set of wings in my art. Sometimes
you’ve really got to search for it, but it’s there.
I’m constantly learning about materials, different
types of woods and metals. Plastic does nothing
for me; it doesn’t speak to me. I’m all about patina.
There’s just something so warm about something
that has been used and loved over the years.
40 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Dare to be
on the outside
as you are
on the inside!
smart, eclectic, art to live on
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 41
| OUT AND ABOUT
As summer begins to wind down, a lot of us want to
squeeze every little last bit of fun in that we can. That
gets a little easier to do when you get Out and About with
the Morro Bay Yacht Club for the annual Zongo Yachting
Cup. It’s more than a boat race, it’s a day-long celebration
of life, especially when you are lucky enough to live along
California’s Central Coast.
BY JEANETTE TROMPETER
The day starts with a busy morning at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. After a
pre-race skippers meeting, it’s time to get the bumpers off and bodies on board for the 20-mile
run from Morro Bay to Avila Beach. “Okay, here we go!” says one person with a clap as
boaters start moving away from their slips. In many ways, the annual Zongo Yachting Cup
is more about fun than racing.
“There are about five vessels that are seriously racing for the most coveted trophy on the Central
Coast,” says race founder and Baywood Park fun-meister Paul Irving. “And the other 40 are just
out here for fun.” It’s appropriately zany because he’s the guy who
got the thing going. As captain of the Morro Bay Yacht Club’s
cruising fleet, Irving started the race to increase camaraderie among
marine enthusiasts along the Central Coast and beyond.
KSBY News anchor and
reporter, hosts the “Out and
About with JT” series every
Tuesday evening at 6pm.
“We have a bunch of sailboats. We have a bunch of multi-hulls,
Hobie Cat-styles. We’ve got three outrigger teams competing.
We’ve got two stand up paddlers doing a 20-mile trip. Pretty
amazing,” he says.
Against the backdrop of the bay, the beauty of the start is
worth catching even if you aren’t going to try to get on board
a boat. They gather just outside the jetty and once the race
begins, the boats separate, and the skills of their crews come
It is beautiful to watch from shore, thrilling if you manage
to get on board one of the support boats, or those in the
competition. Often Mother Nature will add to
the show as humpbacks are frequently lumbering
along the course route this time of year.
If you are not on the water, and do not get up
early enough to see the start in Morro Bay, find
a place to settle into in Avila Beach as the boats
begin arriving. The sparkle of the sunshine on
the Pacific combined with the beautiful sails
rounding the bend toward shore is a glorious way
to spend a summer Friday afternoon.
And after everyone has made it in, Irving and
his crew mates in his band, the Zongo All Stars,
serve up a perfect post-race celebration for the
yachting cup named in their honor at the Avila
Beach Farmers Market. “I love to have fun. I love
to sail. I love to play music. I like to organize
parties, and this is my best shot at trying to pack
as much as I can into a single day.”
His efforts make it a special day for a lot of us.
There is nothing like getting Out and About
with fun lovers who appreciate all we have to
celebrate right here on the Central Coast.
42 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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| NOW HEAR THIS
TALES OF FATE
What could be more whimsically romantic than naming your band after one of
Vladimir Nabokov’s greatest short stories? Look to local quartet Fialta for the answer.
BY DAWN JANKE
Enjoy Fialta live, check them out at their upcoming shows:
August 23 at Robin’s in Cambria, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm
September 3 at SLO’s Fresh Picked Concert Series, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Find out more at fialta.bandcamp.com and @fialtamusic
left to right
Beth Clements, Michael Leibovich,
David Provenzano, and Sarah Shotwell
44 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
In Nabokov’s “Spring in Fialta,” the fictional Mediterranean town of Fialta is said
to anoint one’s soul, and one could easily argue that the indie pop sound of San
Luis Obispo’s Fialta also anoints. When Michael Leibovich, Beth Clements,
David Provenzano, and Sarah Shotwell connected in 2010, it’s safe to say the
band had no idea how the twists and turns of fate would carry them to SLO
with the sounds they create today.
While it’s of course more complex, the simple story is this: Leibovich and
Provenzano were on tour with their alternative rock band, Sherwood. They met
Clements and Shotwell, realized they all had similar music interests, and started
making music together across the miles. Leibovich, who earned a degree in
Communication Studies from Cal Poly, explains, “We would email each other
song files and individual parts, and play around with how it would sound with
different voices and instruments.” And then…
…they all got married!
After the two couples permanently relocated to San Luis Obispo, Leibovich and
Clements moved downtown to a small studio apartment off of Pismo Street.
The band connected with the local music scene by hosting what they refer to as
“hootenannies,” where they would invite a bunch of musicians over, sit together
on the living room floor, and play songs. Clements, who originally hails from
Connecticut, says, “It was really nice to see how many musicians were here in
this community. It felt like such a supportive place to be doing music.”
The band’s momentum grew, and fate carried them to what would later fund the
making of their debut full-length album, Summer Winter, in 2013. Leibovich
explains, “The whole thing was really organic. We were offered free recording
time at a studio of a friend’s in Mountain View, so we made an EP with three
songs. Fast-forward, and one of our songs got featured in a K-Mart commercial,
which was the financial catalyst for us to move further as a band.” Fialta’s music
continues to be featured on commercials, most recently as part of a Chipotle ad
during an episode of Food Forward on PBS.
Fialta’s appeal to the commercial audience may be in part due to the sound they
invoke. Provenzano explains, “We all love pop music—any decade of pop music,
really—and have diverse influences, a sort of melting pot of all sorts of genres.”
As well, harkening to the fictional Mediterranean town of Fialta, the band is
influenced by layered harmonies and island-inspired instrumentation along with
what Shotwell describes as some Latin elements.
Whereas a typical band may be comprised of one songwriter along with
experts in particular instruments, Leibovich explains that something unique
about Fialta is that the band is made up of four songwriters who play multiple
instruments and have multiple competencies within their musical dimensions.
He adds, “It’s very democratic, but it’s somewhat of a challenge because we
have more choices about our creative structure. Can you imagine if you were
a painter, collaborating with three other painters on a piece? Whose different
brush stroke would go where?”
During their live performances, the audience might actually witness the
decision-making of which brush strokes go where as the band members often
trade instruments mid-song. From opening for Colbie Caillat at Vina Robles,
to playing to a small scene at Robin’s in Cambria and performing at local
wineries across the county, Fialta’s musical zone is San Luis Obispo. And,
overwhelmingly, the band favorite was playing to a packed crowd at Concerts
in the Plaza last summer. Clements recalls, “That was hands down the most
amazing show I’ve ever played in my entire life. It was really special to all of us.”
Recently, the quartet and I sat down at Linnaea’s Cafe, where they performed
their first show back in 2011, to discuss their
upcoming second album. Provenzano, a musician
originally from the Bay Area, likens Fialta’s
experimentation on the new album to a Foster the
People song called “Hustling” with its blending of
electronic elements, guitars, drums, vocal effects, and
Shotwell, who has an MFA in creative writing and
earned her undergraduate degree in history from
Cal Poly, adds that Fialta’s forthcoming release will
include deeply complex lyrics and explains that
Vampire Weekend’s more recent album Modern
Vampires of the City was an inspiration because of “its
deeply satisfying pop sound with very complex lyrics
referencing classic literary and ancient philosophical
texts.” Clements says, “The lyrical content of our
upcoming album is really special to us—it’s deep in
our hearts, expressing a time and a space in all of our
lives: the here and now in San Luis Obispo.”
While the here and now is San Luis Obispo for
Fialta, the band is recording their new album up
north. “Every Saturday morning we get up at 5:00
a.m., we drive up to Noise Roots Studios in San Jose,
and we record all day Saturday and Sunday; then, we
drive home together Sunday night,” says Clements.
Leibovich adds, “We’re putting every ounce of free
time towards this album.” Shotwell continues, “And
once you put so much time in, you don’t want to
compromise on things. We are making it worth it.”
There is no doubt Fialta makes it worth it, especially
for their San Luis Obispo fans. Clements explains,
“There is something beautiful about the way
Nabokov describes the town of Fialta—the mood,
the tone—that reminds us of San Luis Obispo.”
Shotwell adds, “SLO is an interesting crossroads.
We love it here.”
In “Spring in Fialta,”
Nabokov writes, “in
Russian fairy tales, the
already told is bunched up
again at every new turn of
the story,” and with every
turn of Fialta’s musical tale
we see the old in the new.
There’s a familiar narrative
in the ways in which the
DAWN JANKE, Director,
band’s lives weave a tale of University Writing & Rhetoric
Center Cal Poly, keeps her
creativity and passion all
pulse on the Central Coast
wrapped up in the sounds music scene.
of a certain geographical
setting. That setting is the
SLO Life, and Fialta lives
it well. SLO LIFE
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 45
It took methodical planning, but for the Irvings,
bringing this beauty back to life was the only way home.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIN FEINBLATT
46 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 47
1999 it rained for 93 days straight in
Seattle, and the Irvings were miserable. The
couple, originally from two of the sunniest
spots in sunny California—Blake from
Thousand Oaks, and Carol from Taft—had
decided enough was enough.
There was one day, as the story goes, that
separately they each came to the realization
it was time to relocate. Blake, who is now the
48 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015In
CEO of GoDaddy.com, was then an executive
at Microsoft when he set out to crack the code
for their move. Carol began assembling a list of
all possible destinations, which were loaded into
Blake’s Excel file. In order to find exactly the
right spot for their young family, they created
a spreadsheet that was weighted according
to what the family most desired. Every
conceivable factor was analyzed from schools
to transportation, from restaurants to weather.
After all of the data was crunched, San Luis
Obispo showed up dead last on the list.
But, algorithms have a hard time calculating
feelings. It was a wedding that brought the
Irvings to the Central Coast. With the rest of
the family asleep in the car on the drive up from
Southern California, Blake was in the zone with
some exceptional jazz music he was playing
softly when Highway 101 veered eastward from
the ocean and the bucolic hillsides triggered
childhood memories. “I thought to myself,
‘Wow, this is a lot like were I grew up.’” The
Irvings had planned to make a vacation out of
the trip, spending time in both Cayucos and
Shell Beach during their visit. The beach was
great, but they found themselves continually
wandering back to San Luis Obispo with their
two young boys, then six and four, in tow. It
was sometime while strolling down Higuera
Street that the Irvings decided to scrap the
Shortly thereafter Carol returned with her sister
to do some house hunting. Everything looked
wonderful and she could see her family settling
in beautifully to many of the homes they visited,
but there was one in particular that stole her
heart. The only problem was that it was not for
sale. Driving around downtown, Carol hit the >>
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 49
akes at the corner of Buchon and Chorro. A
massive granite rock retaining wall sat at the
base of a home partially concealed by a steep
hillside and a full complement of old-growth
trees and shrubs. It was exactly the kind of
place that she imagined her kids would love to
trick-or-treat on Halloween, Carol remembers
thinking dreamily at the time. “You couldn’t
really see the whole house when you walked by,
50 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
there was a lot of privacy but it was still in the
middle of downtown.” After she came back to
her senses, the sisters found an available house
that would serve nicely for the family’s relocation.
It was years later when Carol was busy
picking up, or maybe it was dropping off,
her boys at practice when she received word
that the old Victorian on Buchon was going
on the market. She immediately booked
an appointment to tour the home, and the
Irvings were shocked to see how much would
have to be done to restore it. “You could drop
a marble on the floor and it would roll clear
across the room,” Blake described elevations
that were off by an inch or more. And the
interior of the house had been decorated
in such a way that each room had its own >>
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 51
theme. The kitchen, for example, followed a
Southwest motif, while a bathroom was ultra
modern, and one of the bedrooms was pastel.
Despite the fact that Victorians traditionally
feature smaller rooms, that was especially true
in this home due to a series of remodels over
its lifetime. Although a spreadsheet would
have surely advised them to take a pass on
the centenarian fixer-upper, the Irvings dove
52 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
The home had a soul, that much was clear, but
it was a long ways off from living its best years.
With the strategy in place to tackle one room
at a time in a remodeling process that could
also be described as “uncovering,” the Irvings
called Holland & Knapp Construction. “Each
room had unique challenges,” Zachary Knapp
explains, “but there were significant problems
under the surface, too. The foundation needed
a lot of work, and the wiring looked like it had
been done by a pack of beavers.” He described
the remnants of an old knob and tube electrical
system that had been updated and expanded
haphazardly over the years, which was not only
unsightly and dysfunctional, but also dangerous.
Throughout the process, Knapp and his crew
members were instructed to carefully salvage
all of the original materials they had uncovered
during demolition. The process was tedious and
time consuming, but the effort paid off when >>
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 53
MEGA MAN CAVE with a work hard, play hard philosophy in
mind, Blake included an oversized garage complete with a
full bar as part of the remodel, which is outfitted with a secret
bathroom (the door doubles as a bookshelf) that would make
James Bond proud. The space recently hosted a gathering of
GoDaddy.com executives, who came together for an off-site
brainstorming retreat. Aside from business, the Irving family uses
it mostly for family fun, especially when guests are in town. The
man cave makes up the first floor of the second detached house
on the property. And the second level is comprised of an in-law
unit. Carol’s mother, who is known to make sandwiches for her
grandson’s friends, is a frequent visitor.
they were able to then refinish and reuse much
of it during the rebuild.
ERIN FEINBLATT is a
specializing in food,
architecture, and lifestyle.
Despite the desire
to restore the home
to its original
form, each room
also features a
something old and
And, much of the
with items that were
also from the same
years, 1904 to 1906,
when the house
was being built. Carol took the effort to heart,
spending many hours scouring the internet for
tiles and other salvaged building materials from
around the world that were created during that
period. Interior designer Michael Sagouspe
then conceptualized a series of circles that tied
the home together and incorporated the new
and old approach seamlessly. Remnants from
the past can be found throughout, such as an
old clock that kept time at the Ah Louis store
downtown, which Carol says she was lucky to
find at a local garage sale.
At the end of the day, for the Irvings, it keeps
coming back to the home’s soul, its spirit,
which has so warmly embraced the family
who painstakingly restored the health and
vibrancy of the old Victorian. Just as Carol
had envisioned the day she first laid eyes on it,
the house is now a favorite of local trick-ortreaters
on Halloween. And it also serves as
headquarters for her sons and their friends.
Their youngest, Griffin, who could be spotted
walking around SLO High most days during
the remodel with a Holland & Knapp t-shirt,
took a particular interest in the project. And,
when he and his friends are around—usually
goofing off upstairs in the converted attic—
Blake and Carol can always tell how many
kids are with him by the number of shoes
discarded at the back porch. On a good
day, it’s not unusual to see 15 or more pairs
scattered about. And the Irvings would not
have it any other way. SLO LIFE
54 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 55
| SLO CITY REAL ESTATE
by the numbers
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
Total Homes Sold
Average Asking Price
Average Selling Price
Sales Price as a % of Asking Price
Average # of Days on the Market
*Comparing 1/1/14 - 07/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 7/20/15
SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS
56 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
We sold a property in the Central Valley to do a 1031 exchange for two
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He took the time to understand what we were looking for and then
helped us find potential properties that met our needs. He always
worked around our schedule which was very important because we
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and even covered them for us if we could not attend in person. He
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444 Higuera Street, 3rd Floor • San Luis Obispo • CA 93401
(805) 748-0161 • www.BruceFreeberg.com
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 57
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by the numbers
AVERAGE DAYS ON
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58 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
*Comparing 1/1/14 - 7/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 7/20/15
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SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®
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Leaving a Mark
For 25 years Martha Chivens has touched thousands of families across the Central Coast.
Now she prepares for her second act.
BY CLARE DUFFY
But Chivens’ infectious passion for teaching was
evolving even before early childhood education
was on her radar.
After having studied English during her
undergraduate years at UC Riverside, she taught
high school English for two years in Arizona, at
a time when there were no requirement for entry
into kindergarten. Looking back, she says she
realizes what an impact this had on students.
Her family then moved to Northridge, where
Chivens’ younger son was enrolled in preschool
at the United Methodist Church.
“I would go in and think, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so
fun and this is so interesting,’ because you can
see them just figuring things out. It’s so much
fun to see them accomplish something and be
so proud of themselves—it might just be writing
the first letter of their name or doing something
with a truck and putting the pieces together, but
I thought it was really fun,” Chivens says.
Children cling to their parents’ hands. Or maybe it’s the other
way around; shaky parents trying to exude as much false
confidence as they can muster. Several hugs goodbye are shared,
as well as assurances—from parents to children and back —that
everything will be alright. It’s the first day of preschool.
But parents and children at the United Methodist Children’s Center (UMCC) could relax as soon
as they reached the preschool’s sign-in table, where for the last 25 years Director Martha Chivens
has greeted families with her warm and comforting smile.
When Chivens greeted me at her door several weeks ago and welcomed me in to the smell of
freshly baked chocolate chip scones, I, too, could understand the relief parents must have felt upon
Chivens educated not only preschoolers during her 25 years as founder and director of UMCC—a
post which she retired from in June—but also parents, teachers and future educators. From giving
tours of UMCC on any day and time of the week, to explaining the physics involved in building
blocks, to five years of teaching early childhood education classes at Cuesta College, Chivens’
holistic approach to learning has given life to a preschool that has served thousands of families in
San Luis Obispo County.
“It’s really, really fun and rewarding. It’s a great job. As a director, I think the most important thing
you want to do is take good care of your teachers, listen to what the parents want, and, of course,
the children are at the top of everything,” Chivens shares.
This piqued her interest, and Chivens was
soon substituting and then teaching while her
son, and later her daughter, were in preschool
there. In the meantime, she was pursuing her
master’s degree in educational psychology at
California State University at Northridge, riding
her bicycle back and forth from campus to the
preschool. It was at this time Chivens recalls
putting together the pieces, realizing that she
wanted to pursue early childhood education.
When her husband accepted a job at Cal Poly
several years later, Chivens elected to complete
a final project rather than take exams to finish
her degree. But ultimately, she envisioned
herself going straight to work at a San Luis
Obispo preschool accredited by the National
Association for the Education of Young
Children (NAEYC), the standard she was
familiar with from living in Southern California.
However, upon her arrival, there was no such
accredited preschool to be found.
Pretending that she was writing a paper for
60 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
a class at Cal Poly, Chivens interviewed
other San Luis Obispo preschools to find
out how well they fit in with the NAEYC’s
“I had an internship at the Parent Participation
Program, and I would ask the parents if they
thought there was a need for a high quality early
childhood program in the community. They all
agreed that there was,” Chivens explains.
Determined not to lower her expectations,
Chivens reached out to the United Methodist
Church of San Luis Obispo, who had rented
rooms to other childcare centers but had always
wanted a preschool of their own. Thus, Chivens’
final project for her master’s degree, the UMCC
preschool, began to take shape.
“We had a year because all of the rooms at
the church were being rented, so it took a year
to get our philosophy and our thoughts for
the classrooms. You want really good ratios of
children to teachers. You’re looking at education
levels of the teachers. And then you’re looking to
make sure that the curriculum is child-centered,”
UMCC was opened in 1990 with 37 children
after a year of planning and set-up. Despite
Chivens’ early worries that there would not
be enough children to make the school selfsustaining,
admission grew monthly and by
April of the same year there was a waiting list.
CLARE DUFFY is from San
Luis Obispo and currently
attends the University
of Portland where she is
the editor of the college
In addition, Chivens
that her preschool
would meet the ten
for an accredited early
for children’s learning
And UMCC has undoubtedly provided a
service to the community, too. According to
Chivens, “If parents know that their child is in a
safe, warm, caring environment, they can go out
into the community and do their jobs and their
activities, and have peace of mind.”
During the 2014-15 school year, 143 students
attended UMCC on various days and times
throughout the week. In recent years, Chivens
added both a toddler class and an afternoon
class after tiring of constantly having to
tell parents there was a waiting list. She
has watched the classrooms and yards grow
along with admissions, and has also had the
opportunity to see many of her past students
grow up, too.
“This is a classic grocery store encounter: you see
a mom that went to the preschool and there’s
someone standing beside her that you don’t
recognize at all because the person’s 22 now,
and mom says, ‘Oh, don’t you remember Mrs.
Chivens?’ And they’re just blank, they don’t
even know who I am. The children eventually
don’t remember, but the parents never forget,”
Many members of the community are
wondering what Chivens’ will be doing with her
retirement. For now, she says, she’s just looking
forward to being “not too committed.”
In addition to visiting her children, traveling
and possibly joining a book club, Chivens will
be keeping busy with another one of her favorite
activities: playing the harp. She plays with local
rock and roll band, Boomerang, and hosts their
practices in her living room. Boomerang will be
playing at Claiborne and Churchill Winery on
October 2nd. She also said that she has another
music-related project she is working on, but isn’t
quite ready to reveal yet.
And it may not be long before families can
see Chivens’ smiling face at UMCC again—at
least for a few days. Incoming UMCC Director
Liz Richardson is expecting a baby in several
months, and Chivens says she looks forward to
filling in during her maternity leave. SLO LIFE
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 61
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62 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 63
64 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 65
Abercrombie & Fitch
The Apple Store
Cal Poly Downtown
Lush Handmade Cosmetics
Moondoggies Surf Shop
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
Solstice Sunglass Boutique
The Movie Experience
Splash Cafe Seafood & Grill
Open Air Flowers
Barnes and Noble
Ian Saude Gallery
California Pizza Kitchen
SloCo Pasty Co.
White House Black Market
66 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 67
Soaking it up
at Pozo Saloon
The Central Coast offers a variety of music venues including the
Performing Arts Center, SLO Brew, Vina Robles Amphitheater, the stages at the
Mid-State Fair, and Pozo Saloon. In an effort to explore a location we had not
been to yet we decided to check out a concert at Pozo Saloon.
BY PADEN HUGHES
First established in
1858, Pozo Saloon
has a rich cultural
history dating back
over 150 years.
Located 17 miles
outside of Santa
Margarita, this small
town was a popular resting spot for travelers
around the turn of the century, passing between
the San Luis Obispo area to the Central Valley.
The road running through Pozo was eventually
named Highway 178 and, in its early days, was
a busy place.
In the 1940’s the highway passing through
Pozo and the lifeline of visitors to Pozo Saloon
was re-routed north
about 10 miles and
58. With that change,
Pozo settled back
into a small quiet
forgotten town. Today
it is comprised of a
U.S. Forestry guard
station, a couple of
houses and, of course,
the legendary saloon
known for its pull on
musicians and ability
to draw crowds.
PADEN HUGHES is
co-owner of Gymnazo
and enjoys exploring
the Central Coast.
Always a place that attracted music, Pozo Saloon played host to
Professor Pico’s String Orchestra in 1899. Pozo has continued to host
concerts throughout the years, and more recently, has actively sought
musical groups and artists to perform—and without fail, crowds of
people make the journey to this otherwise sleepy town.
What makes Pozo a destination, aside from its historical charm, is the
summer concert series this small place brings to our community. If
there is one thing Central Coast locals are willing to sit in traffic for,
it’s live music. Pozo has attracted many acts, such as Willie Nelson,
Merle Haggard, Ziggy Marley, Black Crowes, and recently, Lee Brice
and Chris Young. While the owners aren’t quite sure what brings the
acts to such a remote and funky venue, they say the shows often sell
out and bands continue to visit.
As country music fans, my husband and I always look forward
to seeing who is coming to the Central Coast each summer, and
while the Mid-State Fair may have some of the best country
artists, we were thrilled to see that Pozo had Lee Brice and Chris
Young in June. We bought tickets, joined our friends and family,
and enjoyed one of the more authentically country experiences
our area has to offer.
The gates opened at 2pm, and by that time the parking lot was lined
with tailgate parties and giddy fans. We got in line and made our way
to the grassy general seating area already claimed by blankets, beach
chairs, and jovial attendees. We claimed our ground, made ourselves
comfortable, and enjoyed the concert that evening.
Watching the sun set over beautiful hills, and hearing some of your
favorite songs in the midst of many who know all the lyrics, is a true
Central Coast experience. I encourage you to enjoy the variety of
music, venues, and ambiance our county provides. So take the time to
enjoy the sunshine, good music, and the company of friends. SLO LIFE
68 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 69
AND THE CARDS YOU’RE DEALT
Even when you live in the Happiest Place on earth, you need a boost occasionally. And while
Instagram memes can be pretty uplifting, the latest trend in wellness inspiration is actually
happening off-line in the tangible form of a deck of cards.
Seriously accomplished wellness
gurus in spirituality, food, and yoga have
recently debuted decks of cards to help you
absorb and act on their teachings. We’re
talking Gabrielle Bernstein, Kris Carr,
Elena Brower, and more.
They’re kind of like wellness flashcards,
70 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
offering you a short cut to a calmer, more
self-actualized state of mind. “Do you
remember when you’d prep for a final exam
with flashcards? Well, there’s a reason
for that,” explains Caroline Chabert,
founder of Deckopedia, a company that
publishes decks of cards like The Raw
Food Beginner’s Deck. “The message is
straightforward and easy to read and digest,”
Plus, with these five new healthy decks from
super inspiring experts, there’s something
sweet (and convenient) about being able to
turn over a card on your nightstand or carry
your trusty deck wherever you go.
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 71
OWN YOUR AWESOME
BY TRICIA HUFFMAN
Forget sticky notes on your bathroom mirror. Remind yourself how awesome you
are by drawing a card from this deck of 52 affirmations, created by a professional
joyologist (pretty much the best job title ever). Read one first thing in the morning to
set a positive intention for the day, or pick one out when you’re feeling challenged or
frustrated (like, when you just your spilled coffee on your shirt, or you didn’t exactly
rock that big presentation). With cards reminding you to “choose gratitude” and love,
it should make it a little easier to keep the optimism flowing.
$28 // yourjoyologist.com
BY KRIS CARR
When was the last time you wrote yourself
a love note? Never? That’s what we
thought. And Kris Carr wants you to start
After being diagnosed with a slowgrowing,
incurable cancer in 2003, Carr
vowed she’d spend the rest of her life
living every second—and that includes
truly loving herself. (In the process, she’s
also become an impressive wellness leader
on a national scale and a New York Times
bestselling author several times over.)
The deck’s instructions like “Take your
fears to tea” and “Nourish yourself ” are
paired with creative illustrations by artist
Lori Portka reminding you to:
Choose love—extend your love to all
beings, most importantly yourself.
>> MIRACLES NOW
BY GABRIELLE BERNSTEIN
The modern girl’s self-help guru is setting spiritual trends once again with her Miracles Now
deck. After publishing her book of the same name, Bernstein noticed readers were using
it kind of like a deck of cards—flipping through, sometimes to a random page, for a bit of
guidance throughout the day. So she took all that positive, inspirational mojo and morphed
it into a deck with bite-sized pieces of Spirit Junkie wisdom that you can carry with you.
And in true Bernstein style, there’s a bit of sass and fun woven throughout—like a card that
reads, “I measure my success by how much fun I’m having.”
$13 // amazon.com
Nourish yourself—choose healthy,
wholesome foods prepared with love.
Notice the blessings—when we take stock
of our blessings, we receive more of them.
Be gentle with yourself—you are precious.
Accept yourself unconditionally—let go
of who you think you should be and fall
madly in love with who you are in this
$12 // kriscarr.com
72 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 73
ART OF ATTENTION >>
BY ELENA BROWER
“I use decks all the time, since a dear friend of mine gifted me with the Voyager Tarot,”
shares yoga luminary Elena Brower. So making her own, based on her gorgeous book,
The Art of Attention, felt natural. “I wanted something modern, beautiful, relevant, and
inspiring to add to my collection,” says Brower. Her Yoga Healing Cards are exactly
that: each one features a positive word like “silence,” “devotion,” and “believe.” Plus, the
beautiful yoga poses and photos might just inspire you to move while you’re expanding
your mind. And if you think cards are for luddites, check out the huge #ArtofAttention
following on Instagram, where you’ll see thousands of them photographed alongside
crystals, mala beads, and other sacred objects.
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74 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
BY EMILIE MCBRIDE
Looking to dip your toe into the raw food movement, but have no idea where to start?
French raw chef and health coach Emilie McBride’s got you covered with a whole
deck of cards designed to make cooking with raw food easy and accessible. “The deck is
simple to use, and helps you make healthy food that tastes really good,” McBride tells us.
The first grouping of cards includes info on eating raw, and how to properly stock your
kitchen, followed by 31 cards filled with recipes. “They’re great for those with no space for
cookbooks, or families who can use the cards together.”
$20 // deckopedia.com SLO LIFE
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 75
King of Tacos
Comparing and contrasting different carnitas dishes is hardly a chore; fatty, crispy, and deliciously pork-y,
these “little meats” are my favorite filling for tacos, burritos, sopes, and tamales. As I would discover, the
preparations and ingredients used for carnitas vary widely across the Central Coast: some restaurants stay
true to the traditional Michoacán recipe with plenty of lard, while others opt for a healthier braise in orange
juice or wine. The common thread? Carnitas are universally decadent and always pack a wallop of flavor.
BY JAIME LEWIS
76 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
JAIME LEWIS is a
sommelier, world traveler,
and food writer, who lives
in San Luis Obispo.
My first stop, Taqueria Santa Cruz
Express in San Luis Obispo, is a modernist take
on the traditional taco shop, with a palette of
stainless steel and warm wood, and the comforting
banter of soccer commentators from overhead
TVs. At the front counter, I met owner Gonzalo
Hernandez who shared that his traditional carnitas
recipe begins with a secret blend of spices rubbed
into pork shoulder. (When asked which spices,
Hernandez gave a proprietary smirk and wagged
his finger to say, “Not so fast!”) Braised in lard over
low heat for several hours, the carnitas are then
removed from the pot, shredded and fried for a
crispy edge before filling tacos and burritos, topped
with a subtly spicy chipotle sauce. The result is
luscious and savory, with a zesty kick and plenty
of chew, especially when wrapped in a warm corn
tortilla alongside rice and refried beans. >>
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 77
Chronic Tacos, also in SLO, is a
slicker, more rock ‘n roll joint than Taqueria
Santa Cruz Express—think Day of the Dead
meets Lords of Dogtown—with shiny black
tile, red paint and a serious skeleton fetish.
The Chronic carnitas are lighter and un-fried.
“We marinate the pork roasts for twelve
hours in a blend of white wine, garlic, salt
and onions,” said employee Maria Vasquez,
after which the meat is braised—along with
the marinade—in lard for two to three hours.
Once it’s fork-tender, the meat is pulled
from the pan, shredded until fluffy, and ready
to eat. Vasquez shared that carnitas is the
most popular protein at Chronic Tacos, and
I can see why, especially when topped with a
piquant salsa verde, shredded cheese, cilantro,
onions and a squeeze of lime. >>
78 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 79
The tang and brightness
of Taco Temple’s creamy
cilantro dressing is
the perfect foil for the
richness of the carnitas
beneath—a foil I’ve
attempted to recreate
at home to no avail for
years. Thankfully, Adam
Pollard is an open-bookkind-of-guy.
lemon juice, Champagne
vinegar with salt and
pepper. Add a handful of
finely chopped cilantro,
and then slowly whisk in
olive oil,” he said. Keep
this tasty condiment in
the fridge for up to a
week and slather it on
everything from eggs and
sandwiches to nachos.
Whereas Taqueria Santa Cruz and
Chronic Tacos are both relatively young
establishments (established 2013 and 2015,
respectively) Taco Temple in Morro Bay has
honed its style over 18 years, and converted
plenty of devoted worshipers along the
way, including yours truly. Putting out a
classic California vibe with surf paintings
and longboards affixed to the ceiling, Taco
Temple offers what it calls “California fusion”
Mexican fare with loads of local vegetables
and house sauces that set it apart from the
average taco stop. “I hate average,” said owner
Adam Pollard. “We wanted to spice up
Mexican food with fresh everything—nothing
canned or pre-shredded.” Along with his
wife and business partner, Dawnelle, Pollard
developed the Taco Temple carnitas recipe to
be healthier, that is, without lard. Each day,
he lathers over 100 pounds of bone-in pork
butt with achiote paste, orange juice, and
spices, then cooks it low and slow overnight.
In the morning, the roasts are de-boned and
shredded, then fried to order on a flat-top
grill and finished with salt and lime juice at
the last minute.
What I really respect about Taco Temple
tacos also happens to be the very thing that
occasionally triggers complaints: they aren’t
“authentic.” Carnitas tacos, for example, are
teetering towers of flavor power served on
two corn tortillas with a drizzle of chipotle
puree, layered with frisee, shredded carrots,
sliced red cabbage, diced tomatoes, and a
squiggle of creamy cilantro dressing. In other
words, they look—and taste—nothing like a
standard taco, but they’re my favorite tacos on
the Central Coast, hands down. “We get two
or three complaints a year that the food isn’t
authentic,” says Pollard. “The other ninetynine
percent love it.” SLO LIFE
80 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 81
FRESH AND IN SEASON
STONE FRUIT & PROSCIUTTO SALAD
Inspired by this seasonal fruit and dying to use it in every recipe we can come up
with, Chef Jessie Rivas shares one of his favorite salad combinations. Complex but not
overly complicated, it’s the perfect balance to a warm Central Coast afternoon.
BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS
82 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
Any of your favorite stone
fruit works well with this
recipe, but make sure they
are on the firmer side. Bush
!berries taste great, as well.
CENTRAL COAST FARMERS’ HARVESTS
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STONE FRUIT & PROSCIUTTO SALAD
1 ¼ cup ricotta cheese
¾ cup goat cheese
8 thin slices prosciutto
2 white nectarines
2 yellow peaches
2 cups wild arugula
¼ cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1. On a parchment covered half-sheet pan, line the bottom with the prosciutto
slices. Bake in a preheated 350° oven until prosciutto is dried and firm, about
15 minutes. Allow prosciutto to rest on parchment until cool to the touch or
until ready to serve.
2. In a mixing bowl add ricotta, goat cheese, kosher salt and black pepper. Stir
until fully incorporated. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.
3. Cut the stone fruit into bite-sized
wedges. In another mixing bowl add
the cut fruit and mix with a touch of
honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and
lemon juice to taste.
JESSIE RIVAS is the owner
and chef of The Pairing Knife
food truck which serves the
4. On a ten-inch platter, layer the inner
area with arugula. Add the ricotta
mixture in three equal spoonfuls over
the arugula. Place the fruit wedges
over the whole plate and crumble the
baked prosciutto over the fruit and
finish with cracked black pepper and
flake sea salt to taste. SLO LIFE
San Luis Obispo | Avila | Los Osos
Five Cities | Nipomo
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 83
888 MORRO STREET • SAN LUIS OBISPO
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84 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
BROADWAY BY THE SEA
Celebrate summer with an outdoor
concert featuring the voices of OperaSLO
performing the music of Broadway and
more at the Chapman Estate.
August 15 // operaslo.org
A hilarious, charming romantic comedy for
everyone who has ever welcomed a four-legged
family member into their home.
August 21 – September 6 // slolittletheatre.org
LIGHT THE NIGHT GALA
Celebrate the 125th birthday of the
Point San Luis Lighthouse with live
music, gourmet dinner, beer tasting,
as well as an auction.
August 14 // sanluislighthouse.org
Enjoy a festival dedicated to
everything olive. Oils, tastings,
soaps, gourmet foods, and
CENTRAL COAST CLASSIQUE
Enjoy a 30, 64, and 100-mile bike ride
that tours through the most beautiful
and scenic parts of San Luis Obispo
County. Ride along the coast with
oceanside views, through vineyards,
farmscapes, and lakeside scenes.
August 22 // centralcoastclassique.com
The Excellence Continues...
Experience the Passion and Artistry as
Cellist Zuill Bailey
Joins Your Symphony on
October 3, 2015 8 PM
Christopher Cohan Center
For Tickets (805) 756-4849 or PACSLO.org
Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 85
Free Medical Dental Seminar!
CASITA MONTANA BEAUTY & DENTAL TEAM
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Meet our team of experts and administrators to
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CALIFORNIA WINE MONTH
Raise a glass in celebration of the
state’s ideal climate for wine, beautiful
wine country landscape, talented and
ingenious winemaking families, and
our celebrated lifestyle and cuisine.
September 1 – 30
VIA DEI COLORI SLO
In keeping with a 24-year tradition, Via
Dei Colori SLO will feature over 100
talented artists who will transform the
streets surrounding Mission Plaza with
colorful, large-scale street paintings.
September 26 - 27 // viadeicolorislo.com
Enjoy an evening of premier wines, gourmet
dining, live and silent auctions, and more.
All proceeds benefit abused and neglected
children in San Luis Obispo County.
September 19 // slocasa.org
This horror story spoof hilariously
reconstructs a classic tale by injecting
it with musical parodies, pop culture
references and one-liners. Outrageous
characters and devilishly clever songs all
add up to a monstrously good time that
will have you screaming with laughter!
September 24 – November 15
Dog Training • Premium Daycare • Boarding • Grooming
FIRST DAY OF DAYCARE FREE!
173 Buckley Road • San Luis Obispo
86 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
LA GUITARRA CALIFORNIA FESTIVAL
Celebration of Guitar features 17 world-renowned artists
in nine concerts, five masterclasses, two guitar auctions, a
free guitar orchestra concert, an exhibit of guitar-themed
art, and 40 luthiers showing their hand-made instruments
in the vendor fair.
September 25 – 27 // laguitarracalifornia.com
The Original Hot Yoga Method
570 Higuera Street, Suite 195 · San Luis Obispo
805-545-5951 · bikramyogaslo.com
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 87
Inspired by watching participants in the 36th Annual
SLO Triathlon earlier this summer, we decided to try one
ourselves! Since we’re more at home sitting in front of a
computer than sprinting around the track, we asked some
local experts whether it was feasible for a non-athlete to try
a triathlon… and the resounding answer was, “Yes!”
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First off, it’s important to get past the perception of triathletes. Sure, it
is steeped in a history and culture of elite athletes pushing themselves
to their limits, but increasingly participants are more “Everyman” than
“Ironman,” in much the same way that marathons, half marathons, and
5k runs have become full of “non-runner-runners.”
Just get out there and start training. Walk before you run, float before you
swim, and roll on your beach cruiser before you cycle! The key is to get
moving. You will slowly build on the momentum.
Find a club, or a partner. There are many local resources available and
different group training at different stages and paces. Find one that feels
right for you.
Choose your event. Triathlons have been modified over the years and
range from insanely difficult to relatively easy. We are lucky to have some
great options here on the Central Coast. Look into the upcoming events
below, sign up for the one that best fits you, and get training!
Scott Tinley’s Triathlon, Lake Lopez, October 2-4, 2015
Wildflower Triathlon, Lake Nacimiento, April 29 – May 1, 2016
SLO Triathlon, Sinsheimer Park, July 24, 2016
Did you know? Many feel that triathletes are less prone to
injury than those that stick with just long distance running
because of the variation in movement. It’s the repetitive
motion in running that can be the source of many runner
88 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 89
| THE LAST WORD
San Luis Obispo Water B Y KEN S C H WA RTZ
A key reason the Franciscan padres founded Mission San Luis
Obispo de Tolsa where they did was the nearby stream we know as San
Luis Creek. As the little community grew, that water supply was soon
overdrawn and a supplemental source had to be found. This pattern would
be repeated over and over and over again.
The sad reality is that San Luis Obispo sits on a very constricted
underground aquifer, capable of safely supplying only 2,000-acre-feet
per year. Consequently, the City has had to look elsewhere for its water.
Meanwhile, the State established two very thirsty institutions at the City’s
edge: Cal Poly and the California Men’s Colony (CMC). Their respective
water needs produced an alliance when a potential new supply was
identified in the Old Creek watershed in the hills south of Cayucos. A
dam would be needed in addition to an aqueduct to carry the water back
to the three institutions, so an organization known as the Whale Rock
Commission was formed to oversee the construction and manage the
reservoir thereafter. The costs and consequent entitlements to water from
this effort were: SLO City 55%; Cal Poly 34%; and CMC 11%.
In that era, most coastal streams were looked upon as potential water
sources. All it would take was building a dam and a pipeline to carry the
water inland. At one time SLO County Engineering staff had identified
the following potential dam sites (with acre-feet yields): Bald Top, 10,400;
Upper Ragged Point, 17,500; Yellow Hill, 27,300; San Simeon, 18,200;
and Santa Rosa, 11,000. Then along came the environmental movement,
which turned the conversation to ecology and the need for Environmental
Impact Assessments. That ended any talk of building dams on coastal
streams; Whale Rock would be the first and last, and it turned out to be
a bit of a failure, providing just half of its expected yield. One critic of the
project kept calling it the “White Whale.”
During World War II, Army engineers had built a dam on the Salinas
River creating the Santa Margarita reservoir to supply Camp San Luis
Obispo. The Army then declared that camp surplus and wanted to rid
itself of the dam and reservoir. Who could put that water to beneficial
use? None of the downstream communities seemed to want the water, nor
did Cal Poly, so SLO City became the only legitimate “taker.” For SLO,
this was a good deal. The aqueduct from the dam to the camp crossed the
City’s filtration plant near Stenner Canyon Road, so it was a natural fit.
But, SLO County was interested in making Santa Margarita Lake part of
its recreational program, so it stepped in to take over management of the
dam. The dam was so new that a history of its performance in collecting
water was nonexistent, so the County decided not to release any water
downstream until the dam began to spill surplus water. It did not take
downstream users of the river’s underflow long to realize their wells were
not producing as before.
Obviously, SLO City wanted to capture and retain as much water as
possible in the reservoir, and North County water users wanted to pump
as much water as they could from the stream bed aquifers. Finally, the
State Water Quality Control Board stepped in and ruled that no water
could be impounded in Santa Margarita Reservoir until “a live stream
could be seen from the face of the dam to the Monterey County border.”
Therefore, SLO City no longer knew how much Salinas water it could
count on. To further exacerbate the problem, our State Assemblyman at
the time slipped a clause into a State bill to grandfather in all of the illegal
stock ponds that had been built on Salinas River tributaries, which would
have otherwise contributed to the river’s flow. Water for cattle was deemed
more important than water for people. To this day, SLO City’s “take” from
Santa Margarita is still a fragile number.
Yet, there was another source called The State Water Project—the
brainchild of former Governor Edmund “Pat” Brown. This massive water
project called for a “coastal aqueduct” to serve the future water needs of
SLO and Santa Barbara Counties.” Local voters bought into the idea and
began paying an annual tax assessment to build the project. SLO County
was to receive 25,000-acre-feet of water and Santa Barbara County,
57,700. But, both counties had to agree on the date to start constructing
the Coastal Aqueduct. Santa Barbara County acted first, and SLO
County’s response was a feeble, “Well, we’ll leave it up to individual cities
and water districts to join or not join.” The SLO City Council copped
out deciding voters should settle the issue, which they did resulting in a
rejection of State Project water.
In other parts of the County, Paso Robles and Atascadero city councils
said “no thanks” without asking their citizens to vote on the matter. Morro
Bay was desperate for a new water source at the time, so there was no
quibbling. Morro Bay now has State Water, as does Cuesta College and
Avila Beach. Whether SLO voters made the right decision will be debated
forever, but the fact remains that if you drive out Johnson Avenue into the
countryside, you will eventually observe on your left a long line of lowlying
structures that look like fortifications for snipers. They are vents for
the Coastal Aqueduct that is carrying State Project water to Santa Barbara
County without leaving a drop for SLO City.
One last reservoir remained to be tapped—Nacimiento in the far
North County, which is owned and operated by the Monterey County
Flood Control District. It had been built near the headwaters of the
Nacimiento River to control sea water intrusion around Monterey Bay.
Even though Nacimiento water originates in SLO County, SLO County
Supervisors did not require Monterey County to leave any of it for SLO
County residents. It wasn’t until the Monterey County Flood Control
District wanted to build a second reservoir that SLO County woke up to
its own water needs and required Monterey County to provide it with a
share of the reservoir’s water bounty. SLO County would get 17,500-acrefeet
annually, however, that water would be taken from the Nacimiento
Reservoir rather than the newer more distant Lake San Antonio. And
1,200-acre-feet would be left at Nacimiento to support local development,
leaving 16,300-acre-feet to be exported within SLO County. SLO City
was interested given the uncertainties of its other water sources, but
building an aqueduct that length would be costly. Due to growth in
population and viticulture—grapes need a lot of water—Paso Robles saw
countless straws being poked into its unregulated aquifer. So, Paso Robles
signed up for Nacimiento water, as did Atascadero. SLO City contracted
for 3,360-acre-feet and built a pipeline.
At this point in time SLO City can draw water from three widely
separated watersheds and manages those draws conjunctively for best
advantage. Even so, SLO City is faced with the fact that all reservoirs
eventually die (see Laguna Lake). The City Council’s thinking at the time
was that Nacimiento would be added as a contingency reservoir should
any other city reservoir need be taken off line for any number of reasons.
Nacimiento was not added to support population growth. Growth policy
had been established after a 3, 2, 1 drawdown to 1% residential growth
per year. But growth policy is a political football and takes huge political
courage to support (witness the failure to manage the Paso Robles aquifer).
Does SLO City have another water source down the line? Yes, but
who will step up to pay for hugely expensive sea water (desalination)
conversion? Will current ratepayers be willing to add this cost onto
their current monthly water bills? Or, should developers of new growth
inducing projects be required to pay? The answer to this question will
determine the physical character of San Luis Obispo tomorrow.
If you would like to have The Last Word email us your 1,000 word opinion to firstname.lastname@example.org
90 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015
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92 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015