SLO LIFE Aug/Sep 2015

slolife

SLO LIFE

magazine

FIND YOUR

HAPPY

BEHIND

THE SCENES

RESTORING

BEAUTY

SAILING

INTO THE

HIGH SEAS

SHOW

STO

IN

slolifemagazine.com

AUG/SEP 2015

BUILDING

A LEGACY

LIVING

THE DREAM

NOW

HEAR

THIS

BY THE

NUMBERS

OCAL

ING

MEET

TARA MALZONE

ECOLOGY, EDUCATION

& CHARTING THE FUTURE

Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 1


2 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 3


4 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


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


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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 7


SLO LIFE

magazine

CONTENTS

Volume

6

Number 4

Aug/Sep 2015

34

TARA MALZONE

We stopped by the Central Coast

Aquarium in Avila Beach to get to

know its executive director.

12

14

16

18

Publisher’s Message

Info

On the Cover

In Box

8 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015

24

28

Meet the Contributors

Get to know the people behind the scenes in this issue

of SLO LIFE Magazine.

View

You have seen Morro Rock many times before, but

never quite like this. We promise.


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| CONTENTS

30

32

40

42

Timeline

Come along with us in our time machine as

we look back at some newsworthy events

from around the Central Coast.

Q&A

Local developer, Gary Grossman, opens

up about his philosophy on housing

growth, as well as his personal life.

Art

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.

60

68

70

76

Legacy

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.

Explore

Paden Hughes heads over to Pozo Saloon to take in a

concert. Be sure to get her perspectives on the iconic venue.

Health

Best known for playing games, there’s a new deck of cards in

town designed to bring you more happiness.

Taste

With a major craving for carnitas, Jaime Lewis hits the

town to discover the best spots for delicious, local fare.

44

Now Hear This

Local quartet and multi-talented musicians,

Fialta, share their layered harmonies and

pop influences with the Central Coast.

82

Kitchen

Stone fruits pack a delicious punch when Chef Jessie

Rivas shares his no-longer-secret salad recipe.

46

56

Dwelling

GoDaddy.com CEO, Blake Irving and his

wife, Carol, open the doors to their historic

family home in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Real Estate

We crunch the numbers on year-to-date

home sales around the Central Coast,

including right in your neighborhood.

84

90

Happenings

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

development locally.

10 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


There’s a new

firm in town.

(Well, more like a family.)

Architecture

Landscape

Interiors

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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

stereo system.

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!

Chicken Train

Tom Franciskovich

tom@slolifemagazine.com

12 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


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SLO LIFE

magazine

4251 S. HIGUERA STREET, SUITE 800, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA

SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

info@slolifemagazine.com

(805) 543-8600 • (805) 456-1677 fax

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Jeanette Trompeter

Paden Hughes

Dawn Janke

Jessie Rivas

Jaime Lewis

Clare Duffy

Ken Schwartz

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Dan King

Trevor Povah

Jake Schmit

CONTRIBUTIONS

Have some comments or feedback about something you’ve read here?

Or, do you have something on your mind that you think everyone should

know about? Submit your story ideas, events, recipes and announcements

by visiting us online at slolifemagazine.com and click “Share Your Story” or

email us at info@slolifemagazine.com. Be sure to include your full name and

city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may be

edited for clarity and space limitations.

ADVERTISING

If you would like to advertise, please contact Tom Franciskovich by phone

at (805) 543-8600 or by email at tom@slolifemagazine.com or visit us

online at slolifemagazine.com/advertise and we will send you a complete

media kit with loads of testimonials from happy advertisers.

Nicole Pazdan, CSA,

Contact us today for FREE placement assistance.

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14 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Ready to live the SLO Life all year long? It’s quick and easy! Just log on to

slolifemagazine.com/subscribe. It’s just $24.95 for the year. And don’t

forget to set your friends and family up with a subscription, too. It’s the

gift that keeps on giving!

NOTE

The opinions expressed within these pages do not necessarily reflect those of

SLO LIFE Magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole

or in part without the expressed written permission of the publisher.

CIRCULATION, COVERAGE AND ADVERTISING RATES

Complete details regarding circulation, coverage and advertising rates,

space, sizes and similar information are available to prospective

advertisers. Please call or email for a media kit. Closing date is 30 days

before date of issue.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

info@slolifemagazine.com

4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

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


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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 15


| 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

swimming around.



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.


SLO LIFE

16 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


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| IN BOX

You said it...

SLO LIFE

FINDING

THE PERFECT

WAVE

5 YEARS

AND

COUNTING

ALGORITHM

OF DESIGN

HIKING

HARMONY

slolifemagazine.com

JUN/JUL 2 015

HEADLANDS

ARTIST

STUDIO

m a g a z i n e

UNPLUG &

RECHARGE

DEVELOPING

AN HONEST

OPINION

BUILDING

AWARENESS

THROUGH

EXPLORATION

KNOW

YOUR

MEET

ERIC SODERQUIST

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

factual overview.

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

straight years.

— 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

compassion.

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

time.

— 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

Will Nots.

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 info@slolifemagazine.com

Follow SLO LIFE on Facebook: Visit facebook.com/slolifemagazine

Visit us online at slolifemagazine.com

Letters may be edited for content and clarity. To be considered for publication your letter 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 info@slolifemagazine.com

DUBROVNIK, CROATIA

SLO LIFE goes to Hrvatska!

— AMY MCKAY

TORMÓN, SPAIN

@michaelfreeman

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

KOTOR, MONTENEGRO

@carol&richmortensen

Send your photo to info@slolifemagazine.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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| CONTRIBUTORS

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

reduction sauce.

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

匀 椀 渀 挀 攀 㤀 㜀 㐀

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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 25


WHEN

significance

matters to you.

| CONTRIBUTORS

INTERIOR | EXTERIOR | VEHICLES | BANNERS

3001 Broad St., San Luis Obispo

805.548.0413

nortonsignanddesign.com

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:

Sunken Gardens.

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

get another.

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

somewhere exciting.

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

lead next.

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

the history.

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

Trainor.

Life Lesson When someone shows you who they

really are, believe them.

Best interview Maya Angelou.

Guilty pleasure Peanut Buster Parfait from

Dairy Queen.

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

summertime.


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.

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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


| VIEW

ALL YOU

NEED

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


| TIMELINE

Around the County

6/2

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.

JUNE ‘15

6/3

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%.

6/7

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.

6/12

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.

6/19

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


JULY ‘15

7/2

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.

7/12

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.

7/13

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.

7/15

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


| Q&A

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


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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 33


| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

34 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


Coastal

Charm

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


Okay,

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

with you?

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

same language.

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 >>

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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


| ART

REPURPOSED

316 WORDS

with

Janelle Younger

>>

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

three dimensions.

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

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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 41


| OUT AND ABOUT

FRIDAY FUN

YACHTING

MORRO BAY

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.

JEANETTE TROMPETER,

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

into play.

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.

SLO LIFE

42 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


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| NOW HEAR THIS

MUSIC SCENE

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

choppy sounds.

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


| DWELLING

RESTORING

HISTORY

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

spreadsheet.

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

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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

in headlong.

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

freelance photographer

specializing in food,

architecture, and lifestyle.

Despite the desire

to restore the home

to its original

form, each room

also features a

contemporary piece,

something old and

something new.

And, much of the

customization came

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

laguna

lake

tank

farm

cal poly

area

country

club

down

town

foothill

blvd

johnson

ave

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

2014

31

627,952

613,858

98.02

49

2014

15

753,850

741,700

98.50

41

2014

18

631,708

620,156

98.43

37

2014

11

1,038,909

1,006,689

96.95

73

2014

21

725,138

715,100

99.32

38

2014

39

670,723

657,791

98.02

41

2014

14

702,307

683,025

97.23

64

2015

37

641,016

627,560

98.10

57

2015

12

730,325

721,282

98.82

71

2015

22

540,964

521,300

97.70

35

2015

4

947,250

872,500

93.81

30

2015

16

719,931

730,712

102.59

24

2015

27

742,393

726,128

97.90

27

2015

32

650,138

634,241

97.55

36

+/-

19.35%

2.08%

2.23%

0.08%

16.33%

+/-

-20.00%

-3.12%

-2.75%

0.32%

73.17%

+/-

22.22%

-14.36%

-15.94%

-0.73%

-5.41%

+/-

-63.64%

-8.82%

-13.33%

-3.14%

-58.90%

+/-

-23.81%

-0.72%

2.18%

3.27%

-36.84%

+/-

-30.77%

10.69%

10.39%

-0.12%

-34.15%

+/-

128.57%

-7.43%

-7.14%

0.32%

-43.75%

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

®

SLO LIFE

56 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


We sold a property in the Central Valley to do a 1031 exchange for two

residential properties in the Central Coast. We were referred to Bruce

by a relative and were extremely happy with the services he provided.

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

live several hours away. He arranged for all the necessary inspections

and even covered them for us if we could not attend in person. He

was very knowledgeable, gave us sound advice and went “above

and beyond” on numerous occasions to make sure the transactions

went smoothly and that we were fully satisfied. We recommend

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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 57


ZOEY’S

HOME CONSIGNMENTS

LIGHTING | FURNITURE | ART

PATIO & GARDEN | EBAY SERVICES

We’ve Moved!

( Just across the street.)

| SLO COUNTY REAL ESTATE

by the numbers

REGION

NUMBER OF

HOMES SOLD

AVERAGE DAYS ON

MARKET

MEDIAN SELLING

PRICE

2014

2015

2014

2015

2014

2015

Arroyo Grande

143

154

68

69

569,000

639,450

Atascadero

202

200

59

52

433,000

450,000

Avila Beach

11

8

62

56

800,000

857,500

Cambria/San Simeon

75

75

108

95

575,000

622,000

3583 S. HIGUERA ST | SAN LUIS OBISPO

596.0288 | zoeyshomeconsignments.com

Open Tues-Sat 10-6 | Closed Sun & Mon

Cayucos

Creston

31

2

26

8

60

27

97

53

775,000

506,500

867,500

505,500

Voted New Times “Best of SLO2015

Grover Beach

49

51

53

55

385,000

460,000

Los Osos

80

100

52

40

431,250

462,500

Morro Bay

80

85

100

60

500,000

550,000

Nipomo

108

133

68

61

499,950

535,000

Oceano

37

29

57

56

407,900

383,000

Pismo Beach

58

71

77

51

685,500

795,000

Paso (Inside City Limits)

209

266

56

72

379,000

409,500

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

39

49

62

87

318,000

320,000

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

42

70

132

100

320,000

408,500

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

33

34

72

93

379,500

390,000

San Luis Obispo

191

197

47

47

653,251

656,500

Santa Margarita

9

10

50

76

402,550

394,500

Templeton

65

59

67

78

535,000

500,000

805 - 440 - 2050

ConcreteEnvironments.com

58 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015

Countywide

1,464 1,625

*Comparing 1/1/14 - 7/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 7/20/15

66 65 480,000 510,000

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE


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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 59


| LEGACY

COMMUNITY

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

meeting her.

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

accreditation standards.

“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,”

says Chivens.

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

newspaper.

In addition, Chivens

was determined

that her preschool

would meet the ten

NAEYC standards

for an accredited early

childhood education

program, which

include requirements

for children’s learning

and development,

teachers, community

partnerships,

and program

administration.

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,”

Chivens smiles.

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 | 63


64 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 65


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Powell’s Sweet Shoppe

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Barnes and Noble

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Palazzo Giuseppe

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Sephora

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Urban Outfitters

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Bull’s Tavern

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Ian Saude Gallery

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Papyrus

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Shoe Palace

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Victoria’s Secret

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California Pizza Kitchen

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66 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 67


| EXPLORE

SPOTLIGHT

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

renamed Highway

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


| HEALTH

Happiness

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,”

she says.

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

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LOVE NOTES

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When was the last time you wrote yourself

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right now.

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

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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

moment.

$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

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74 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015

>>

RAW FOOD

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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

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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 75


| TASTE

DISCOVER

Carnitas:

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


DIY DRESSING,

TEMPLE-STYLE

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.

“Blend garlic,

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


| KITCHEN

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


JESSIE’S TIP:

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.

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8 thin slices prosciutto

2 white nectarines

2 yellow peaches

4 apricots

2 cups wild arugula

¼ cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

honey

balsamic vinegar

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

Central Coast.

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

SERVING

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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 83


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| HAPPENINGS

AUGUST

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84 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015

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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

SYLVIA

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

OLIVE FESTIVAL

Enjoy a festival dedicated to

everything olive. Oils, tastings,

soaps, gourmet foods, and

much more.

August 16

pasoroblesolivefestival.com

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

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October 3, 2015 8 PM

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For Tickets (805) 756-4849 or PACSLO.org

slosymphony.org

AUG 29-30

Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 85


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state’s ideal climate for wine, beautiful

wine country landscape, talented and

ingenious winemaking families, and

our celebrated lifestyle and cuisine.

September 1 – 30

discovercaliforniawines.com

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

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| HAPPENINGS

SEPTEMBER

CASA RENDEZVOUS

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

FRANKENSTEIN’S BRIDE

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

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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


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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 87


| HAPPENINGS

Try-athlon!

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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Here’s how…

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

SLO LIFE

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

related injuries.

88 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


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Aug/Sep 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 89


| THE LAST WORD

OPINION

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 info@slolifemagazine.com

90 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015


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| 91


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92 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015

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