SLO LIFE Dec/Jan 2016

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LIFE

SLOmagazine

NOW HEAR

THIS

FRESH

FARE

LOCAL

MUSIC

SCENE

RELAXING WITH

REFLEXOLOGY

POLITI

REF

slolifemagazine.com

DEC/JAN 2016

HOLIDAY

HEALTH

ON THE

RISE

POWER

THROUGH

LITERACY

KEEPING

HE FAITH

IFORNIA

NGALOW

MEET

SARAH BELLUM

TRASH TO TREASURE

& THE ART OF ZERO WASTE

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SLO LIFE

magazine

CONTENTS

Volume

6

Number 6

Dec/Jan 2016

32

SARAH BELLUM

We sat down for a little trash talk and

learned how this Millennial is weaving

together a zero waste lifestyle.

12

14

16

18

Publisher’s Message

Info

On the Cover

In Box

8 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016

26

28

View

You’ll feel right at home for the holidays with this

warm reminder of life on the Central Coast through the

perspective of Mark Gvazdinskas’ lens.

Timeline

Look back at the most recent newsworthy events from in

and around the Central Coast over the past two months.


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| CONTENTS

30

42

44

Q&A

Associated with Leadership SLO since its

inception 25 years ago, Sandi Sigurdson

shares her insight on the organization.

On the Rise

A natural born leader, Victoria Paige Smith

shares her ambitions for the future.

Out and About

After a more than two-year-long closure,

the town of Cayucos celebrates the

reopening of its iconic pier.

74

Explore

After a long work week spent on her feet Paden Hughes

hunts down one of San Luis Obispo’s best kept

(affordable) secrets and indulges in a foot massage.

46

Now Hear This

With a penchant for rock, the bandmates

who make up Hot Tina are drawing a crowd

and breaking stereotypes along the way.

76

Health

With winter upon us we hit the books to discover seven

savvy ways to keep the blues away.

48

58

68

Dwelling

The Cameron’s thoughtful attention to

detail combined with a creative eye bring

this California bungalow back to life.

Real Estate

We share the year-to-date statistics of

home sales for both the city and the county

of San Luis Obispo.

Inspiration

Publisher Tom Franciskovich shares his

inside perspective on literacy and its often

misunderstood and overlooked impacts on

our community.

82

90

92

96

98

Taste

From old school to new school and everything in

between, Jaime Lewis savors some of the Central Coast

restaurants’ best made steaks.

Kitchen

Move over spiral sliced ham, Chef Jessie Rivas shares his

recipe for pork loin roast just in time for the holidays.

Happenings

Check out the calendar to discover the best events

around the Central Coast in December and January.

After Hours

With strong convictions and voices to match, the Purify’s

reveal their secret to lasting love and their passion for

building up the community around them.

The Last Word

Activist William Ostrander takes his turn on the soap box

and discusses his thoughts on campaign finance reform.

10 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 11


| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

Words have generally come easy to me; math, not so much. That is why it felt like such a cruel irony

when, as a seventh grader, I settled into my desk in the corner of the English 1 classroom. On the

chalkboard Mrs. Maddox scratched out something that looked suspiciously like long division—she called

it “diagraming a sentence.”

Up to that point, I had never given much thought to subjects and predicates—never knew they existed, to be honest. Most of the time, a story would

pop into my head and I would jot it down on paper, oftentimes one of those blue composition booklets, then grab a football and head out to recess.

Done deal. Now I was learning that there were rules involved, lots of rules. And, these weren’t the logical rules of mathematics. They were ridiculous,

arcane, arbitrary rules.

It was during a visit to my Aunt Melba’s house when I first debated proper comma usage. Aunt Melba was actually my mom’s aunt, which made her

my great aunt. She was a child of the Depression who saved just about everything, and repurposed and reused almost all of it. She “upcycled” before

it was cool. In her bathroom, which was so small that I could almost touch two of the opposing walls with my outstretched fingers, I found the most

confounding bit of grammar I had come across at that point in my young life. Sitting there on the back of the toilet, framed a hand-stitched placard

that read, “We aim to please you aim too please.” Although I suspected I was dealing with a dangling participle, at the very least I figured a comma

or two was in order. Perhaps, “We aim to please, you aim too please.” Or, two, “We aim to please, you aim too, please.” Or, even three, “We aim to

please, you aim, too, please.”

It’s funny how much a comma—or lack thereof—can really screw up a sentence. And, it’s not uncommon for a healthy debate to break out here while

copy editing the magazine. Consider some classic examples concerning the power of a comma. The most shared story, perhaps, is one you may have

heard a variation of at some point. In the early twentieth century, a man was sent on an expedition to the Congo in search of a gorilla for a zoo in New

York. The man sent a telegraph back to his boss which said, “They want $75,000 for the ape. Should I buy it?” His boss immediately replied back, “No

price too high.” And, the man showed up a few weeks later with a seriously overpriced gorilla. The boss, of course, messed up the grammar after “No.”

See how, “No, price to high” completely changes the meaning?

If that is not enough to illustrate the point, consider another, much more controversial example. Think about how grammar can affect this statement:

“A woman without her man is nothing.” Depending on your point of view, and likely your gender, you may add a couple of commas. “A woman,

without her man, is nothing.” But some different, and likely more accurate statement, comes about with different grammar. “A woman: without her,

man is nothing.” You can see how complicated this stuff becomes, but also how important it can be. [oops… I just ended this sentence with a verb!]

And in this new era of Tweets, texts, and posts, bad grammar can be found everywhere. Yet, there is hope, as in the case of the man buying a gorilla

in the Congo, if he were contemplating the purchase today, he probably would have done a video conference.

I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who 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. And, to you and your family, my best wishes for a happy holiday season and a

healthy and prosperous 2016.

Live the SLO Life!

Bad Grammar

Tom Franciskovich

tom@slolifemagazine.com

12 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 13


SLO LIFE

magazine

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

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Paden Hughes

Dawn Janke

Jessie Rivas

Jaime Lewis

William Ostrander

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

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Mark Gvazdinskas

Elliott Johnson

Gil Igleheart

Tina Morabito Waggoner

Scott Kam

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.

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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

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| ON THE COVER

A SNEAK PEEK

BEHIND the scenes

It was the first time that an

interview subject showed

up without any shoes, and

it was a cold day! She rode

her bike to our office. It was

an old Schwinn that she had

crocheted with these funky

plastic doilie-like things. She

said the bike was about 30

years old, and you could tell

when we took turns lifting it

off the ground. It must have

been made out of solid steel

because it weighed a ton.

We were talking the other day

about the word “passion,” which

appears to have become somewhat

of a buzzword these days, in that

everyone seems to talk about

what they are passionate about.

Interestingly, Sarah is probably

one of the most passionate people

we have ever met, yet she never

once used the word “passion” in

talking with us.

We really get to know the people we write about, particularly with the “Meet Your Neighbor”

feature. It usually amounts to a couple of interviews, some follow-up phone calls, then a photo

shoot, sometimes two. After talking with Sarah we decided to meet her out at Avila Beach to do

some photography. True to form, she pedaled her bike all the way out there, bare feet and all, to

meet us at the pier.

SLO LIFE

16 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 17


| IN BOX

You said it...

SLOm a g a z i n e

ON THE

RISE

LOCAL

INSIGHT

DATE

NIGHT

UNDER

THE STARS

THE FUTURE OF

slolifemagazine.com

OCT/NOV 2 015

WILD CHERRY

CANYON

LIFE

CENTRAL

COAST

HARVEST

GET YOUR

PLANT BASED

POWER

LOVE

NEST

MUSIC

SCENE

EAGER

S

MEET

JEREMY BATES

INSPIRING OUR YOUTH

& DEALING HOPE

Thank you for researching and writing

such a thorough article on WILD CHERRY

CANYON and its history of conservation

deals falling through. Such a sad history,

but hopefully a good ending is finally in

the works.

As you wrote about, traffic is bad on many

days, water is scarce, and we live with the

possibility of an earthquake, tsunami, fire

and nuclear accident. And with one road

out, this is really scary. To think of adding

hundreds more people and cars from huge

developments is mind-boggling.

— HEATHER NELSON

Thank you for writing the special feature

article about WILD CHERRY CANYON.

You provided clear, concise, historical

information, along with important issues

related to Avila Beach. Your introduction

perfectly expresses the concerns that

Avila residents as well as visitors have

regarding Avila’s unique location.

Currently, Avila advocates are asking

the County Board of Supervisors to

responsibly consider the negative impact

of the numerous “mega” proposals for

the area. As you mentioned, traffic and

parking are already beyond the maximum.

— BETTY HARTIG

Very nice article about WILD CHERRY

CANYON, Tom Franciskovich. Thank you

for putting it altogether for those of us

who have followed this project over so

many years.

I was very happy to see that the potential

for conservation of the property is still a

possibility. It seems like such appropriate

use of the land at this time and in this

community.

What can us citizens do to help move this

along?

— BARRIE CLEVELAND

18 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


| SPECIAL FEATURE

WIN-WIN

eye-opener. The legislation was, in essence, a symbolic authorized. Plans were underway to charter buses full of San Luis Obispo County supporters

proclamation of the people stating that, “At such to attend the hearing, when Woodruff ’s phone rang. Her heart sank as she learned that the

time when the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant vote would not be put on the agenda after all. It turns out that Governor Schwarzenegger

closes, the land should be acquired for public use did not like how Sam Blakeslee, then a State Senator, and her husband at the time, had voted

and recreation.” Seeing the writing on the wall, and, on a particular budget bill. To teach the Republican a lesson in party loyalty, the governor

just as importantly, an opportunity to monetize their terminated the Wild Cherry Canyon deal. was much smaller in scale to boot. But, the little campground-by-the-sea was a nearly

investment, a local representative, Denis Sullivan,

universally supported project and would serve as the perfect market entry for HomeFed.

called the author of the DREAM Initiative legislation, Woodruff, who at this point had been working Plus, on preserving their point the man, 2,400-acre Blessent, property could for move nearly up to the Central Coast and start engaging

MAY BE THE Sam ONLY Blakeslee, to WAY talk. It turns FORWARD

out that Leucadia 15 years, remained hopeful. It appeared that Jerry in a Brown, more meaningful a progressive way Democrat as an Avila who had local. The whole thing made sense, until it didn’t.

AG CLUSTER

was warming to a conservation deal. After hanging spoken favorably on the subject of conservation In a during surprise his move, campaign, this past looked August, as if he HomeFed would announced that it was pulling out of

up, Blakeslee picked up the phone again to call Kara be back for another stint in Sacramento. But, the by Harbor the time Terrace Governor deal, Brown making was a sworn vague in, reference the to unfavorable soils at the site. The

BY TOM Under a provision in San Luis Obispo

Woodruff, FRANCISKOVICH

his wife at the time, to pass along the economy continued to implode, and the California rationale state was deficit immediately was forcing questioned, draconian as cuts. the soils had been tested ad infinitum prior

County zoning ordinances, a developer

interesting news. Within a day or two, Woodruff, who Against a backdrop of teacher layoffs, conservation to the suddenly bid request. became In a other luxurious words, line HomeFed item that knew what they were digging into. But,

can group or “cluster” homes more

was working as a land conservation advocate for the had to go. Yet there was one last brief shot at pulling somewhere it together along at the the way eleventh they hour changed by sneaking their mind. If Harbor Terrace was just a small,

closely together and net more total

Nature Conservancy, was out walking the property the deal through while funds were still allocated. token All project of the parties to generate returned some to the goodwill—something table for one they officially deny—then it would

homes, thereby increasing his or her

taking in stunning ocean views with Sullivan. After more attempt. It was during this period, however, not make that Senator sense that Sam they Blakeslee would appeared drop it as in a such guest a hasty and undignified manner, unless

potential for profits, on land that has

a few months hashing out the particulars, the Nature on the Rachel Maddow Show where he openly the questioned calculus had the changed. chummy relationship between

been designated for agriculture. The

Conservancy put down a deposit and entered into an the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and PG&E as it related to public safety, particularly with

intention of the code is to incentivize

agreement to purchase Wild Cherry Canyon. By 2003, the fault lines found around Diablo Canyon. By Shortly thereafter all ALC’s accounts, phone Tom calls Blessent began going is a “really nice guy.” And there is an

the developer to preserve the largest

the Nature Conservancy failed to raise the funds, and unanswered as PG&E dragged its feet; the final paperwork languished unmistakable on various sincerity executives’ in his voice when he talks about wanting to be a

amount of farmland in a given area as

the deal died.

desks in perpetuity, which again derailed the Wild Cherry Canyon “good partner,” conservation but deal. you get the distinct feeling that there are a group of

is possible.

suits somewhere in some far off conference room who may not be giving

him the full story. And why would they? Perhaps the real play here is

a bluff. Maybe, by pushing hard for wide-scale development, they are

instead posturing for another conservation deal. As it stands now, the land is zoned for

50 homes, and as many as 65 if it were designed as an “ag cluster.” In order to clear the

UPZONING

way for 1,500 units the zoning would have to change, which means that it would have

to get the green light from the County Planning Department and then, most likely,

Huge profits are made when land

through appeal with the Board of Supervisors. Although the political winds are always

is purchased under one particular

subject to change, current Supervisor Adam Hill, who represents the 3rd District,

land-use designation, but is changed

which includes Wild Cherry Canyon, intimated that, “I have yet to meet someone who

to another. For example, relatively

feels that this [development] is a good idea.” And, even if it does pass muster with the

low-cost farmland designated for

planners and receives the blessing of the supervisors, it still has to endure the scrutiny

agriculture is acquired by a developer, of Cal Fire, which insiders suggest would be a very tough sell, especially after this past

The Irish Hills are a fascinating place. Pecho Coast, it who was explained then lobbies that when for a the zoning entity was change formed, a government clerk had

fire season. And, it is unclear as to whether the Coastal Commission would weigh in, as

At the base of the north side of the committed a typo to when residential keying or the commercial, official documentation. which Therefore, “Pecho” became

the development’s entrance would be along the Port San Luis shoreline. Even if all of

coastal range sits what is arguably “Pacho.” The lease provides effectively a dramatic gave the partnership increase in full value. control of the land, as it included

the ducks line up, Leucadia and its various entities would be looking at a minimum of

the quintessential manifestation of a 99-year term with Often, an this option is to the renew realm for of an speculators,

additional 99 years. For all intents and

eight years and millions of dollars before a bulldozer fells the first Coast Live Oak. This

modern-day consumerism: Costco. purposes, there who are about will 150 then years immediately remaining before sell, or control “flip,” of the land reverts to

realization has provided comfort for some, and concern for others.

On the other side can be found PG&E. Somewhere the land along to the a line, developer. the Pacho Partners needed capital and began seeking

I

unspoiled, virgin land that has been seldom touched investors. And, they found one in Manhattan that liked what they had to say.

The downside to the many obstacles currently facing the development of Wild Cherry

and lightly tread upon since the day Cabrillo first

L

Canyon is that citizens become complacent. A company like Leucadia has the resources

laid eyes upon it from the deck of the San Salvador Leucadia National Corporation is sometimes referred to as “Baby Berkshire” for its

to forge ahead while everyone else goes on with their lives, when suddenly, one day, tides

in 1542. And in the middle of it all, is an antiquated similarity to Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway. Through its founder,

turn, zoning changes, and the project is rubber stamped. Denise Allen, a local doctor

power facility dutifully splitting

Two

atoms

years

around

later,

the

in 2005, Woodruff Joseph Steinberg, was then

GREENWASH

working the publicly traded conglomerate eucadia has needed diversified a Plan into B, mining, so it tasked drilling, HomeFed with envisioning a new

and See Canyon resident, is hoping to change the way the game is played in the future.

clock as it sits precariously above

at

three

the American

separate fault

Land Conservancy development, (ALC), manufacturing, when and banking, among destiny other for things. the property: It has been high-end phenomenally estate homes. To test the waters, a

In 2000, the SOAR Initiative in San Luis Obispo was proposed but ultimately failed

lines. Now, to further the intrigue,

she

a

heard

New

from

York City

Sullivan again—the successful partnership at making This

was money term for describes its investors, the and practice

senior today vice it of is president worth about from $7.5 HomeFed, billion. So, Kent Aden, and their local frontman,

with county voters. The legislation, which stood for Save Open Space and Agricultural

conglomerate, through its Carlsbad-based

ready to explore

subsidiary,

another

is

conservation when the Pacho deal. This

deceptively partners time, explained promoting that they a controlled a

product

consultant 2,400 or

named acres Tom of one Blessent, of the most invited Woodruff out for a cup of coffee

Resources, has been adopted in various forms in an increasing number of communities

looking to develop a massive swath

however,

of the

the

oak-studded

State of California beautiful told parts the ALC of practice the that, California to

under Coast, the a perception place in downtown San Luis that Obispo it

San Luis County Obispo. called After Wild some pleasantries, the pair carefully

made it out to Avila Beach with

hopeful receive pass through any funds town from in the search state, of they parking, would I decided nationwide, including in Ventura County where it was designed to put rezoning matters

environmentally

have to to drop off the family near

friendly.

moved the

Perhaps

the pier

hillside, perhaps tripling the population of Avila Beach Cherry Canyon, the deal was a slam dunk. Through the years, cups

the as and Leucadia saucers grew from and the table and unfurled a set of oversized

my family just once this past summer. As I and then also head purchase out by the myself underlying to find fee a spot title for from the PG&E. car farther before a vote of the people, effectively ending the practice of developers buying up

most classic

In away. papers, I had no

example flipping idea how

of this through much

in the process.

continued acquiring smaller companies, it shuffled assets concept them around slowly, its balance one page sheet at to a keep time. “They showed me very detailed

maneuvered the minivan through the handful farther other away words, “farther the away” ALC would could mean. not just My acquire search agricultural land then pushing the planning department to rezone, or “upzone,” for a

is

the led

the

lease me through

renaming plans,” the town’s

of Woodruff one stoplight,

Wall Street happy. Somewhere along the “Clean line, 65%—a Coal” recalls, controlling “descriptions the interest—of and pictures a real estate of Mediterranean-style houses,

of streets that make up its downtown, I was where it to took fully three control cycles the property to get through. for the Once next 150 back much more valuable residential or commercial use designation. As of now, the initiative

energy

years, out onto Avila

industry. landscaping, Beach Drive,

In the and I passed

It is a murky story, just how Leucadia National development company in Southern California area called other of HomeFed land-use, buildings. was I told purchased. them immediately Over time, that I most definitely did not

presented with a visual, real-time representation what I they estimated also had to be to about own the a half-mile land outright line of before cars parked Allen is currently contemplating would cover just the Wild Cherry Canyon. It remains

greenwashing

then on either think side

shows that of it the

up was road.

in a good So, I

Corporation was able to get its hands on the Leucadia continued to buy out its Pacho partners, thereby form idea.” increasing of Despite its Woodruff interest in ’s the unambiguous land response, HomeFed

of demand outstripping supply. Sunscreen headed donating the other it direction, back to the toward state, Port so it San could Luis be where, operated again, a long to be seen if it will end up on the ballot.

a developer decided procession

proposing to share of

small, their cars and

Spanish land grant territory, and there appears to be to the point where it was calling the shots. These transactions but idea highly at occurred a special within Avila Valley a private Advisory Council meeting. Although

slathered beachgoers were everywhere, heading RV’s framed and maintained the ocean by view. State As Parks. my search By this was decree, nearing

visible

PG&E, the thirty-minute

public they benefits never mark, unveiled I passed

in exchange the the

no cut-and-dried accounting of it; but, by piecing partnership at the time, so there is no way of knowing exactly detailed for how plans much featuring Leucadia the paid exquisite for Italianate architecture of

back-and-forth to the sand with umbrellas and gate leading through to its the entity, lighthouse Eureka trolley Energy, tours would and said also to It can be reasoned that it is the zero-sum quality of large-scale development that stirs

wide-scale

have myself. to “This

development.

stately is where homes they overlooking want to

together the fragments, it seems to go something its stake, and, therefore, the land, although it has been estimated the Pacific, at $5 million. they did Today, go on after record explaining that they were

boogie boards in-hand. After making another build 1,500 come new to the homes?” table if And Wild the Cherry whole Canyon thing got were me to thinking… be looking at developing “as many as 1,500 homes”

the emotions

to help

on

alleviate

either

some

side. Just

of the

the

pressure

fact that we have an “either side” makes it selfevident

like this: In the 1960’s, the property owner, PG&E, transferring the leasehold asset to >> HomeFed, Leucadia carries the present value of Wild

preserved. The land at the time was appraised at $24 felt by “the lack of affordable housing” in the area.

that

The

when

energy

one

in

of

the

those

room

sides

was

wins,

tense,

the

and

other loses. And vice versa. But, maybe

through its subsidiary, Eureka Energy, signed a Cherry Canyon on its balance sheet at $17 million.

million, and the American Land Conservancy had although the crowd was polite, it was clear

Wild

that

Cherry

if it had

Canyon

come to

is

a

setting

vote, it

up

would

to become

have

one of those elusive “win-win” deals

62 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | OCT/NOV long-term 2015lease, which included the development

raised $21 million when, in an ironic twist of fate, fallen somewhere between “No” and “Hell

that

no.”

self-help gurus all seem to talk about. Conservation appears to be the only way

rights, to a local group that had formed under In 2000, Leucadia’s executives were watching very closely as San Luis Obispo County

the Great Recession caused the real estate market

forward. On the one hand, Leucadia stands to hit a home run now with the real estate

the name “Pacho Limited Partnership.” As the voters overwhelmingly passed the DREAM Initiative. Although it was not a binding

to collapse and, according to the new appraisal, market recovering. Instead of the land value coming in at $21 million as it did in the

Make the But, HomeFed was undeterred. It had experience with large-scale development, and

territory in question is part of what is known as the action, widespread support of your DREAM—Diablo voice Resources heard! Advisory Measure—was an >>

land was now worth $21 million. With 100% of the suspected that it could slowly win over the last natives. appraisal, Maybe it is it likely could now be “greenwashed” in the $24 to $25 by million range. Considering an initial

necessary funds accounted for, the final hurdle Share facing your building thoughts the on much the talked potential about trail connecting purchase Avila price Beach of around to Montaña $5 million, de Oro. that’s If only a pretty sweet profit. And, for “we the people”

64 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | the OCT/NOV ALC was 2015the Public Works Board hearing development where it had at Wild a foothold Cherry in the Canyon. community so that of it the could Central begin Coast, to foster gaining relationships access to with a natural preserve in the form of a state park that

the formality of allocating $6.5 million of State local politicians. That foothold came in the connects form of Avila the Harbor Beach Terrace to Montaña Project, de Oro which with a 20-mile trail is a unique opportunity

Please write to us at:

Parks funds —the last piece of the puzzle—would be HomeFed bid on and won. Curiously, it was to unlike benefit any many of its generations previous developments, to come. And, and it >> appears that a deal is within reach, as

info@slolifemagazine.com

Sacramento is now running surpluses, and the guy who would personally oversee the

process, Secretary of Resources John Laird, who, incidentally, in 2010 was bested by Sam

66 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | OCT/NOV 2015

Blakeslee for a seat in the state senate, has shared privately that, “the State wants to do

this.” The only question now remaining is, “Do we want to do this?” SLO LIFE

68 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | OCT/NOV 2015

I wanted to thank you for your well-written article on WILD

CHERRY CANYON that appeared in the Oct/Nov issue. Your

opening paragraph very adeptly touched on the myriad of issues

we face in Avila with parking and traffic. The remainder of the

article is an excellent overview of the historical perspective and

current situation with Wild Cherry Canyon.

— JIM HARTIG

WILD CHERRY CANYON

HOW

OCT/NOV 2015 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 62

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OCT/NOV 2015 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 68

Commercial Design

On-site visit, CAD renderings,

cooling & environmental

control, home tasting room

Fabrication &

Installation

Racks, cabinets, counters,

closets, garage conversions

I enjoyed the IN BOX letter written by Odile Ayral in your last

issue because I’d been watching the same thing happening

with the County of SLO. I know nothing about Poly, but since

I came to the County in the 60’s the ratio of population to

administration has been a joke. The services have gotten no

better because the actual number of workers has not grown with

the increase in bosses. It is what my husband had called “welfare

for the college graduates.”

— ADELE STERN

Lic# 940512

111 South St. SLO

805 543 9900

www.slogreengoods.com

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 19


| IN BOX

We hear you...

| THE LAST WORD

OPINION

Creating Awareness

A mother shares her journey in diagnosing Lyme disease

BY NICKI NYSVEN

Lyme disease awareness has become crucial to me. I am the mother seemed like everyday life to him. The beginning of this year things

of two children, and we live in San Luis Obispo. My 11-year-old got worse, which led him to miss more and more school. He was

daughter was diagnosed Centers for Disease Control (CDC) positive having frequent migraines, extreme insomnia, air hunger (respiratory

for Lyme disease in April 2014. My 17-year-old son was diagnosed distress), rib pain, light-headedness, and severe stomach pain—all

with Babesia, a co-infection of Lyme disease, in April 2015. I have symptoms of Babesia. He ended up on home instruction the last few

become an advocate for my children and for other people who suffer months of his junior year.

from these diseases.

My son has been an avid, dedicated, and disciplined soccer player

It all started when my daughter, who was four-and-a-half at the since elementary school and played the club scene along with being

time, told me her back was hurting. As time went on, she started to on the varsity team since his freshman year of high school. Now he is

complain that her neck also hurt, and she felt tingly feelings on her uncertain whether he will be able to play this year, his senior year, or

arms and legs; she said it felt like lady bugs were crawling on her. She in college. He was good enough that there was a realistic hope that he

had trouble bending over and could only reach as far as her knees. could be awarded a college scholarship.

Symptoms continued, and when she was in 4th grade, her knees hurt I didn’t want to wait six-and-a-half more years to get a diagnosis, so I took

so much she was no longer able to participate in sports. She had loved him to the ND to rule out Lyme and other co-infections, even though I

playing soccer, but I had to pull her from the last game of a tournament was sure he had it. Sure enough, his tests came back positive for Babesia.

because of her pain. It was devastating for her. The pain became so

unbearable, she was even unable to participate in school recesses. Overall, I have done a massive amount of research, not only to educate

myself but also family and friends. I wanted them to understand the

I promised her that I would never give up trying to find out what severity of these diseases.

was causing her so much pain. There had to be a reason, and I wasn’t

going to stop until we had an answer.

I hike the hills along with many people here who do not know that

Lyme exists right here on the Central Coast,

For six-and-a-half years we had hundreds of doctor appointments, and do not know how to prevent it. Many

volumes of blood work, MRIs, CAT Scans, and specialist after believe, wrongly so, that it is only contracted

specialist, including a team of physicians at a children’s hospital on the East Coast. I believe it is likely that

within a major California university. We were told that they could 99% of our local population does not know

not find anything wrong with her other than a vague diagnosis of the facts. Additionally, most of our medical

Reactive Arthritis. They said she would have to live with the pain and doctors on the Central Coast do not appear

learn pain management for the rest of her life.

to know that Lyme exists here, but it does.

And I am on a mission to spread the word.

Then, I took her to a naturopathic doctor (ND) who ran more

extensive lab tests, and when they came back, they showed CDC I want to thank my husband for being so

Positive for Lyme disease. We finally had the answer that I promised supportive through all of this. If it weren’t NICKI NYSVEN has lived

my daughter.

for him, I would not have been able to help on the Central Coast for 15

years. She loves hiking in the

our children and help others by spreading hills and going to the beach

Looking back, I now believe my son contracted Babesia around the awareness. Please—all of you who read

with her family. She has

worked as a personal trainer

same time frame that my daughter contracted Lyme. With all that I this—please help me spread the word. These and enjoys helping people

have learned about the diseases this past year I now recognize that he

feel better about themselves.

websites, limediseasechallenge.org and

She volunteers in her spare

had the symptoms all along, but was able to function. The symptoms ilads.org, are two great resources that provide time and prides herself in

were subtle enough at first that he felt it was normal for him. His

learning more about turning

vital information about the disease and, most

negatives into positives.

insomnia, stomach pain, migraines, and random body extremity pain importantly, how to prevent it.

If you would like to have The Last Word email us your 1,000 word opinion to info@slolifemagazine.com

90 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | OCT/NOV 2015

Thank you for publishing the magazine.

I enjoy it every month.

I was most interested in THE LAST WORD,

“Creating Awareness” regarding Lyme

Disease. There was one very important

word not mentioned: TICK.

Thanks to Nicki for a great article, THE LAST WORD, on Lyme.

Not only do people on the Central Coast not know about

Lyme, but neither do a HUGE segment of the medical

community.

I contracted Lyme on the East Coast and my daughter and

OCT/NOV 2015 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 90

husband, due to researching the internet finally found help

for me. I had seen four doctors, after a series of ailments:

neck pain, arm paralysis, Bell’s palsy, polyarthritis of my

lower limbs, none of whom suggested a test for Lyme (and

one of them had a wife who had Lyme... go figure).

I was finally treated by a wonderful infectious disease

internal medicine MD after suffering these major

neurological symptoms.

Ticks are the cause of various forms on

Lyme Disease. I was bitten many times

by ticks and fortunate not to contract

any aspect of the disease. I did see the

doctor very quickly as a precaution.

People, look on the Internet or in books

to see what these ugly bugs look like and

check for ticks on your dogs and when

you go hiking in woody or grassy areas.

There are several good documentaries highlighting the

focus of special interest groups (i.e., medical, insurance

and pharmaceutical industries) and their impact on the

treatment and diagnosis. Take a look at “Under Our Skin,”

and “Touched by Lyme.” They should be mandatory

material in every medical school in America.

Increasing awareness is essential. Lyme is one of the

most prevalent undiagnosed and mis-diagnosed diseases

in this country.

— DOMINIQUE DUNN

— MARILYN SIVERSON

20 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


ISRAEL

We took SLO Life to Israel. Here we are floating in the Dead

Sea with the latest issue!

— GRACE AND MIKE VAN DOREN

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).

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 21


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22 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 25


| VIEW

Home for the

Holidays

PHOTOGRAPHYBY MARK GVAZDINSKAS

Central Illinois and the Central Coast are quite

a bit different, and that is especially true during

the holidays. For Mark Gvazdinskas, growing

up in the Midwest meant dramatic weather

and often cold, really cold, winters. While

there is something undeniably nostalgic about

seasonality, perennially sunny California is hard

to beat. Except, maybe, during the holidays.

Drawing and painting always came naturally to Gvazdinskas,

though he claims to be “not that good at it.” With that said, it was

during a trip while a student at Colorado State that he stumbled

upon his lifelong pursuit. New Zealand provided all the fuel the

rookie photographer would ever need to stoke what is now a

full-blown passion for landscape shots, particularly those where

creating a surrealistic effect is possible. Years of feverish study and

experimentation followed, as did a never-ending quest for more,

new vistas. Before long he found himself teaching photography, this

time with a group bound for Iceland. But, it was during a monthlong

road trip with a buddy that he discovered the Central Coast.

After couch surfing for a couple of weeks, the recent college graduate

vowed to return just as soon as his “ski bum gig” in Colorado finished

that winter. True to his word, he returned, this time with a trunk

loaded with camera equipment.

Craving some snow and missing family, Gvazdinskas, now a

professional photographer, left his home in Avila Beach one morning

before first light on an exceptionally cold December day to practice

a new photographic technique he had been studying. On his way

to work, he spotted some dim lights just off the shoreline to his

right and curiosity led him to the Pismo Beach Pier. Unfolding his

tripod, the bitter cold sent a shiver immediately transporting him to

his childhood. With his Nikon D800 fitted with a dark filter and a

70-200 mm lens, the shutter was set for a long exposure, about ten

seconds. With the pier remaining stationary, the waves in the shot

you see here appear to be in constant motion. Looking up to behold

the majestic beauty of the deep blue sea, Gvazdinskas whispered

under his breath through a widening smile, “I see no need to move

from here, ever.” SLO LIFE

...the bitter cold sent a shiver immediately

transporting him to his childhood.

26 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 27


| TIMELINE

Around the County

OCTOBER ‘15

10/7

By a 3-2 vote, with Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton against, the

San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors opted to explore

methods to partner with Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

to bring consumer choice when it comes to electricity. Currently,

PG&E enjoys a monopoly with its utility service, but by forming

a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)—similar programs

currently operate in Sonoma and Marin counties—locals will have

the ability to choose an alternative power source, which will likely

lower rates and offer more environmentally-friendly options. The

City of San Luis Obispo endorsed such a plan in March.

10/19

The long-prosecuted saga involving Kelly

Gearhart—a real estate developer and former

Atascadero Citizen of the Year, who had been

convicted of defrauding Central Coast investors

through an illicit Ponzi scheme—finally came to

a close when 67-year-old James Hurst Miller was

sentenced to 7 years in federal prison. Miller, who

had operated Hurst Financial as a middleman for

Gearhart’s activities, pleaded guilty to four counts

of fraud and money laundering.

10/19

Countywide, the economy has not only recovered from the Great

Recession, but also appears to be expanding. With an employment

rate of just 4.1% and construction booming, San Luis Obispo

County embarks on $100 million in new building projects,

including the women’s jail expansion ($40 million), juvenile hall

expansion ($21 million), a new airport terminal ($32 million), and

reconstruction of the Cayucos Pier ($4 million).

10/22

A Thousand Oaks-based attorney was arrested in a San

Luis Obispo courtroom for resisting an officer. The

49-year-old lawyer, Jennie Mariah Kelly, was apprehended

during the seventh day in front of a jury panel that was to

decide a civil case involving the Atascadero State Hospital

and the California Men’s Colony versus a variety of State

agencies. Trouble started during a heated exchange with

opposing counsel which led to Kelly shouting and then

resisting the bailiff ’s attempts to remove her from the

courtroom as ordered by Judge Barry LaBarbera.

10/30

Public feedback was solicited on a new proposed development dubbed San Luis

Ranch, which would include up to 500 new homes and 350,000 square feet of

commercial space on the 131-acres historically known as the Dalidio Ranch.

Concurrently, Avila Ranch—a proposed 700-home development near Buckley

Road and South Higuera—was also seeking citizen input. In both cases, significant

concerns about water and traffic were voiced. Both developments will likely see a long

road ahead if approval is to be gained.

28 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


NOVEMBER ‘15

11/3

A year-long whistleblower lawsuit against the Community Action Partnership of San

Luis Obispo (CAPSLO) finally comes to an end when the organization reached an

undisclosed settlement with Dee Torres-Hill. The suit had alleged that Torres-Hill

was the victim of retaliation by her then employer, CAPSLO, after she expressed

concern for the safety of homeless clients at the Prado Day Center and the Maxine

Lewis Memorial Shelter. Conversely, CAPSLO had claimed that Torres-Hill, the

wife of Supervisor Adam Hill, had been demoted as part of a staffing reorganization

to operate more cost-effectively in order to better serve the homeless population.

11/5

An unexpected choice emerged when it was announced that Deanna

Cantrell of Mesa, Arizona would be tapped as the new SLOPD Chief. In

May, SLO City Manager, Katie Lichtig, fired then Chief Steve Gesell at

a cost to the city of $120,000. While it was widely expected that Lichtig

would have selected one of the SLOPD Captains, Keith Storton or Chris

Staley, who had been taking turns as interim chief, instead she opted for

the Arizonan, which is ironically where Gesell had spent most of his

policing career.

11/9

While playing near a known homeless encampment in Little

Morro Creek next to Lila Keiser Park in Morro Bay, two young

children were accidentally punctured by a discarded hypodermic

needle. Previous efforts by the city to clean up the creek were

met by a recent resurgence of the homeless population in the

area, which has coincided with a corresponding increase in calls

to the police department for various issues.

11/14

Chevron submits an application to convert its 95-acre ocean front

property, formerly a tank farm, into a 232-unit resort for Avila Beach.

Pushback from locals is decisive and immediate, with most objections

centering on concerns about traffic into the tiny seaside village. The

proposed development comes on the heels of the already approved

184-unit Harbor Terrace campground, which is expected to add

significantly more traffic upon its anticipated completion next year.

Avila Beach is also subject to a proposal to develop Wild Cherry

Canyon, which would bring as many as 1,500 new homes to the area.

11/17

The San Luis Obispo City Council weighed in on Cal Poly’s Master

Plan, the governing document for the campus over the next twenty

years. By a 4-1 vote, the councilmembers elected to craft a letter

asking university president Jeffrey Armstrong to incentivize faculty

and staff to live in the existing neighborhoods near campus while

encouraging an increase in new on-campus housing construction

for students. The lone “no” vote came from John Ashbaugh, who

argued that the city should take a stronger position on the addition

of a university sewage facility as well as plans for new neighborhoods

north of Slack Street and west of Stenner Creek Road. SLO LIFE

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 29


| Q&A

LEADING BY EXAMPLE

For twenty-five years, SANDI SIGURDSON has been involved with Leadership SLO, a yearlong

educational program designed to strengthen community involvement within the county.

Initially a member of the first class, and currently the organization’s Executive Director, she

also counsels inmates at the county jail as a volunteer, sits on the board of the San Luis Obispo

Symphony, and would like to square dance more often with her husband, if only she could find

the time. She stopped by to visit with us recently…

What do you remember from that very first

Leadership class? We were on our Ag Tour Day

down in South County and a farmer/rancher named

George Dana was leading the group. Now, George is a

pretty conservative guy; and I’m not. At one point we

were standing side-by-side looking at the exact same

landscape, which had farm buildings in the front and

fields behind and the hills further away; some more

farm buildings and a house. And George says, “When

my people got here,” and the Dana family goes way

back, “there was nothing; and look at what we’ve built.”

And somehow in that moment I got it. What he was

saying in terms of his work, his family’s history, their

productivity, their contribution to the community,

making food for people; and that was now side-by-side

with my point of view. I just wanted everything to be

green and the way it was when, you know, when it was

created. And I just kind of understood, in that moment,

how two people could look at the exact same thing and

hold very different, but very true thoughts. That really

struck me, and has carried with me for all these years.

Coming out of that Leadership experience you

actually decided to run for political office, right? Yes,

I entered the race for District 3 Supervisor. Shortly

after declaring my candidacy though, my husband

[Steve McGrath] and I were in a head on collision

with a drunk driver. It took us out of action for quite

some months. That really interrupted the campaign. It

was bad. It was 20 years ago this month, actually. We

were out on the 227. We were coming home from the

Symphony. We used to perform down at the Church

of the Nazarene in Pismo Beach. I had a cash box from

the event in my lap and, thankfully, I didn’t have an

airbag on my side, because a drunk driver was coming

the other way and tracked our headlights; and it was

slam, pretty good speed and drove the front of the car

into the cash box, into my ribs and ruptured my spleen.

I was very lucky to be alive. Once I came out on the

other side of that experience, it took a long time to

get healthy in my heart, and my head, and my body. I

realized that I didn’t really have the fire in my belly to

pursue politics the way I think you need to. You need

to have that passion for it.

What is it about Leadership SLO that drives your

passion now? It’s fabulous, just fabulous to watch

a couple of things. One is the relationships and the

kindness between people that might not otherwise spend

time with each other. You know, whether it’s a significant

age difference, or I don’t know what peoples’ political

leanings are going in to something, but often they’re

revealed over time. And to see people forge really deep

friendships and caring despite their political views, that’s

really rewarding. It’s great to see people raise their hands

after Leadership. Watch them say, “Yeah, I’ll be part of

this board, or I’ll get involved with something to make

the community better, stronger.” It’s so cool to see people

who may not have been involved in the past graduate

from Leadership and put their heart and energy to

giving back to the community in the way that they really

wanted to, in a way that it really making a difference.

I want to switch gears for a minute and talk about

you, Sandi. Tell us about yourself. Well, I grew up in

Southern California and was really shaped by that city,

Los Angeles. I lived in Inglewood; travelled all over

the city on the bus with my sisters. We spent a lot of

time at Griffith Park and the beach. I think my parents

helped me cultivate a real affection for the place.

Then I went to University of Colorado at Boulder,

got my degree there in political science. Came back

to California and worked in the hotel and restaurant

industry for a long time. I worked at a resort in Big

Sur, Fernwood. I was there in the very early 70’s and

had a great time. Then I was the manager at Cambria

Pines Lodge. Steve and I got married, and we made a

decision—because I’ve had some nice opportunities to

move up in the restaurant and hospitality world and go

to the corporate side— but we made a real decision to

stay here and be part of this community. And I’ve seen

other couples struggle with that same decision. You

know, where they have to kind of decide, “I could be

doing something bigger, better paid, more prestigious.”

So, you stayed here… Steve was a construction person

and it was after we got married—we’ve been married

for 30 years last month—he got his contractor’s license

and he swung a hammer for a lot of years. Went on

to CAPSLO and now the work that he’s doing with

harbors, first Port San Luis and now San Mateo. We

have two daughters and a son; two grandkids. We’ve

been living in our little house on Buchon Street

forever. We call it the “working class part of Buchon,”

it’s not the cute Victorians. [laughter] Yeah. It’s a

sweet house, 1,000 square feet. We always thought,

“How can we possibly raise three kids here?” We did.

And now they’re all living some place else and 1,000

square feet is just fine. You know, it’s been really special

to be in the same place to watch my kids grow up,

and see their friends grow up. It’s one of the things

that I really treasure. I can’t believe that Sarah, our

daughter Sarah—I wonder if it’s okay to say that she’s

40?—she is. When her friends come to town, we still

get together; and to be able to watch these wonderful

young women, all of them, making their way through

life with curiosity and art and family at the heart of

whatever they’re doing, it’s just wonderful. SLO LIFE

30 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 31


| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

32 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


TRASH TALK

By day, you can find SARAH BELLUM working at the Hemp Shak in downtown

San Luis Obispo, by night she is busy trying to save the planet from its addiction

to all things plastic. In her free time she can be found roaming Central Coast beaches

collecting trash, crocheting bikinis from plastic bags, blogging about how to live life

without creating any trash, and advocating a simpler existence for us all.

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 33


L et’s take it from the top, Sarah. Where

are you from? I’m from Portland, Oregon. I really loved it there, it was

nice growing up by the forest and just having so much open space and

trees to climb. It’s a great city, friendly. But, when I turned 18 I just needed

to get out. I needed something new and adventurous, something new in

my life. I was working at this place called Pizza Schmizza in Portland

with a girl who grew up in the area and she told me about the Central

Coast. I’d never been here before. I just bought a one-way Amtrak ticket.

And found paradise. That was five years ago now. I’ll never forget stepping

off the train in San Luis Obispo, the very first thing I noticed was that the

streets were sparkling in the sun. I was so excited. And the palm trees. I

was so excited about the palm trees. It felt so tropical to me.

34 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


How was the transition? It took me about a year to settle in. I just

started working at restaurants and that’s when I met my boyfriend,

Scott. At the time I was making a bunch of beenies and Scott

would jokingly call them “Sarah Bellums,” and it made me laugh.

Then I started researching that part of the brain, the cerebellum,

and I learned that it is in charge of your balance. I liked the double

meaning of the name and the way it sounded, so I kept it. We’ve

been together for four years now. He’s a surfer and got me involved

with the ocean, the surf culture, and the Surf Rider Foundation. I

started going to the beach all the time and it was very new for me.

Every time we’d go, he’d pick up some trash and so I’d pick up trash,

too. There would be trash every time; loads of trash, so much that

we couldn’t carry it all back with us. It really got me thinking about

the plastic pollution issue, and I started volunteering with Surf

Rider. And I just kept finding more and more plastic. Somewhere

along the line I thought about what we could do with it. How could

I re-use it? When I was eight years old, my mom taught me how to

crochet. I found out that, if you cut it into strips, you can crochet a

plastic bag just as you would some yarn. It takes a lot longer than

with standard materials, but it’s the same motion. I thought to

myself, “This is what I was meant to do.”

So, you crochet with plastic bags? Yes, and you can make just

about anything you can with any other materials. You just cut

it into strips and then tie the two circular strips together then

crochet like normal; it’s pretty simple. I’ve made bathing suits, hats;

you name it. I even crochet bombed my bicycle with 188 plastic

bags. People always stop and ask me about it. I’d like to think

that they’re inspired by it. They’re like, “Whoa, that’s cool—it’s a

crochet bicycle!” And then they start touching it and ask, “What

is that? Wait, is that plastic bags?” And so it’s kind a cool moment

where they’re like, “Oh, wow, that’s really beautiful. And then they

find out the story behind it. I think it’s a great way to approach

environmentalism, in a beautiful way rather than showing pictures

of dead birds with their guts spewing plastics.

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Okay, but just why are plastics such a problem? So, plastic does

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into smaller and smaller pieces without ever actually going away.

And right now, the plastic to plankton ratio is 6 to 1 in the ocean.

And a lot of people say, “Oh, we should just clean it up. Let’s just

figure out how to clean up the ocean.” Currently, more and more

of the marine animals that consume plankton are also consuming

plastic, so it’s working its way into the food chain; eventually

working its way into us, right? It’s getting substantially worse. So,

I say the plastic pollution ratio is 6 to 1, but really it is accelerating

very quickly along with our consumption. The last I heard it was

24 to 1, but I usually stick with 6 to 1 because it freaks people out

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Aside from crocheting with the stuff, what can you do? I personally

practice the zero waste lifestyle as best I can. And so I shop at SLO

Natural Foods Co-op. I bring my own reusable bags and buy in bulk.

And I shop at the Farmers’ Market for produce. There was an “ah-ha

moment” for me about a year ago after I had been crocheting with all

these plastic bags. I went to get a snack and opened my refrigerator

and said to myself, “Oh my gosh, everything’s wrapped in plastic.” So

much food is contained in single-use plastic packaging. Since then,

I have been steadily working toward zero waste and not having any

plastic in my life at all. I think the important thing though is just to

get started. We have to start reducing our consumption of the stuff.

It’s really hard and it doesn’t happen all at once. But once you start

moving in that direction, it gets easier every day. For some it may just

mean picking up a reusable water bottle and stop buying plastic water

bottles. When you start looking into it, you will be shocked by how

much plastic there is everywhere you turn.

Where might we be surprised to find it? So, for a long time, I was

thinking about toothpaste, right? Toothpaste comes in this little

plastic tube, one-time use. And, oftentimes toothpaste actually comes >>

36 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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At the root, for me, plastic is oil,

right? It’s a petrochemical product,

and so weaning ourselves from our

fossil fuel-based economy I think is

really important...”

with little polypropylene plastic balls that are inside. They’re called

“microbeads.” They’re very small, little plastic beads and they’re in a

lot of facial cleansers and toothpaste and they’re designed to go inside

of your body; and directly down into the drain; into, eventually, our

oceans because they’re so small that they slip through all the filtration

systems. Fortunately, they were recently banned in California, so

starting in January you can’t sell it here anymore. But, for years and

years this stuff was found in many of the major brands of toothpaste

and cosmetics. All that time we had been putting plastic directly into

our bodies and then letting it flow out into our oceans. I personally

use just baking soda instead of toothpaste. I really like it and I feel

like it makes my teeth whiter. I like it plain, but you can also try

adding a little peppermint, or essential oils, or stevia powder.

In a way, aren’t you ostracizing yourself from society by striving for

this zero waste lifestyle? Ironically, it’s been just the opposite. You get

to meet all these people, local people, doing awesome things. And you

get to learn from them what they are doing and what is working. And

you get to support local people and eat healthier. I go to the Farmers’

Market with my reusable bags. I’m more tuned in to where my food

is coming from. I can talk with the person that grew it. And it’s just

fresher, too. But getting back to your question, there are also a lot of

people who are starting to rise up against plastics. Recently, right here

in town we were able to ban the use of polystyrene, or Styrofoam, and

are working hard on expanding it countywide. And the beach clean

up days I talked about earlier, there are lot of people involved in that

effort, which is a great way to invite people into the conversation

in a very approachable kind of manner, rather than getting them all

depressed on the facts.

I’ll admit that I’m feeling pretty depressed about the facts. Do you

see any hope? I think there’s tons of hope! At the root, for me, plastic

is oil, right? It’s a petrochemical product, and so weaning ourselves

from our fossil fuel-based economy I think is really important,

especially with climate change and everything going on with that, as

well. And investing, taking investments toward a zero waste policy

change. And encouraging citizens to become activists, to take action,

I think is really important. I see it happening more and more. I talk

to people my age, and I think the Millennial generation is ready. It’s

our time to step up. And, I think the older generations, too; the much

older generations remember life without plastic. I mean, plastic did

not really become mainstream until the 1930’s, and even then there

wasn’t much of it around. So there’s a few people that I know that

remember life without plastic. And you know, people were doing

fine without it for a really long time. In the scheme of things, it’s

a relatively new material. So, yeah, I think that informing people

and inspiring people, and building a community and meeting our

neighbors and talking about these things is really important, because

that is where it all starts.

But we all start from different places, right? For sure. I was, like,

completely brainwashed growing up just by the whole consumer

culture. Who isn’t? We’re watching TV and being seduced by

commercials and eating junk food. It’s been quite a change for me.

But it has been a positive change, and wonderful getting to know

myself better and getting to know our community better. And really

taking a step back and witnessing our culture, and really trying to live

consciously. Thinking back, it was really interesting to grow up in a

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38 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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There’s a consumer muscle, and there’s a citizen muscle.

And our consumer muscles are really strong. Everyone knows how to shop

and consume really well. But, our citizen muscles—how to get involved

in our community, how to make a difference—are pretty weak.

We can all use a little strength training in that area.

different styles. One where the TV was always on, and there’s candy

and lots of packaged goods, potatoes from a box. And, then at the

other house, where my mom would make green smoothies. And

we all care, we definitely care about the world and we care about

each other in the community, but it’s hard to take that caring and

that knowledge and translate it into activism, and actually doing

something. My little brother, who is 16 now, thinks that I’m a totally

crazy hippie [laughter].

Is he right? I don’t know. Some people probably think I’m crazy. I

think everyone’s a little crazy. It’s good to embrace it. But no, a lot

of my friends in the community, they’re really supportive. People

like what I’m doing. They like to see that at least I’m trying to do

something to make a difference. We’re all just one person. We can do

what we can, but we all have to realize too that we are so powerful.

But in our consumer culture, they want you to feel disempowered, you

know? And so I think it’s really cool to inspire people and empower

everyone to be an activist, in their own way, themselves. Our culture

has taught us how to be great consumers and they have seduced us

with all of these advertisements and such. And they don’t give—they

don’t empower people to be great citizens. There’s a consumer muscle,

and there’s a citizen muscle. And our consumer muscles are really

strong. Everyone knows how to shop and consume really well. But,

our citizen muscles—how to get involved in our community, how to

make a difference—are pretty weak. We can all use a little strength

training in that area.

What are you up to these days? I’ve been making bicycle panniers—

you know, those little racks on the back of bikes—out of plastic

kitty litter boxes that had been tossed out. They’re water proof and

really sturdy and durable. They’ll mount on the back of my bike for

my ride up to Portland. I’m doing a zero waste bike tour and will

be interviewing trash activists along the way, and stopping to visit

landfills to see how they’re managed. In San Francisco they use some

very progressive processes, which will hopefully start to get adopted

elsewhere. I’m leaving on February 2nd and will be camping out and

blogging the whole way. You should check it out. It’s sarahbellums.

com, that’s with an “s,” my name, sarahbellum.com was already taken.

[laughter] The whole thing will be zero waste, zero emissions. Yeah,

I’m going to camp and I’m trying to get gear right now. I’m going

to get everything either used, or I’ll make it myself out of trash. I’m

going to take my time and will drop in to talk with a lot of people

who are working on this issue to see what they’re up to.

So, you’ll ride your crocheted bike all the way to Portland then fly

back? No, I’m actually, in 2016, I’m not getting into a car for the entire

year. No car, no plane, no petrochemicals. Just simplifying my life has

been really eye-opening and feels really good, so I’m going to keep

moving in that direction. No plane for me. I’ll be riding back. My plan

from there is to go with the flow and see what the universe has in store

for me next. We’ll see how it unfolds. I really just want to do whatever

I can to best serve the world, really. Whatever I can do to make zero

waste more accessible to more people is what I will be doing. SLO LIFE

40 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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| ON THE RISE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Victoria Paige Smith

Eighteen-year-old Mission College Prep senior, VICTORIA

PAIGE SMITH, is an active volunteer and shares her

inspiration with us.

What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in? At my school, I am president

of Interact (two years), Royal Ambassadors, and I was junior class president and am now

senior class president. I participate in Mock Trial (three years), and last year was a part of

Peer Mediation and Not In Our Schools, a club that worked toward eradicating bullying.

I am also on the United Way Youth Board and work with CASA. Additionally, I created a

group called Fun Faces (Facebook @SLO Fun Faces) that go to different charitable events

and face paint for donations. The donations all go to the charity the event supports. It’s a

very fun thing to connect with the community and face paint! I feel very fortunate for the

opportunities I have, as well as the life I have, and the more I am involved the more I feel

like I can make a difference.

What recognition have you received? I have been recognized for attending RYLA, a

rotary leadership conference. I recently received the Elk’s Student of the Month award.

I am an AP Scholar and with one more semester due in December and will be a CSF

lifetime member.

What are your interests? I mostly love being involved in my community and trying to

make a difference. I am motivated by meeting people and connecting with them. When

I tore my ACL and meniscus, my sports career ended, opening up a whole lot more time

for me to get involved. The highlight of my Junior year was a missionary trip I took to

Nicaragua. It was so eye-opening and really very fun to connect to new people and speak

Spanish; I loved the people I met.

Who has influenced you the most? I have been blessed with many great influences in

my life. My parents, of course, have made the largest impression upon me by raising

me to be someone with good values and center. My life changed for the best when I

moved to SLO from Orange County, despite how much I didn’t want to move. SLO is

a great place to grow up and the community at Mission I have found has been amazing

at allowing me to grow and explore different things. My teacher Joannie Hamm really

inspires me and has been a great role model in my life. She always puts others first

and is very deeply caring. Cathy Nino is another person who has influenced me. She is

everything I hope to be one day and shows me that person whenever I see her. She is

forgiving, caring, loving, and patient.

What is something that not many people know about you? Music really is important to

me. I have played piano since I was four and picked up the guitar last year. I am trying to

write a song right now and love singing with my sister. Music can express so much more

than even the lyrics and I love how there are certain songs that fit every mood and lyrics

that say things better than we ever could.

What is it that you look forward to? Seeing where I end up. I know today it doesn’t

seem clear, but by now I have learned that things happen for a reason and you learn

from everything.

What schools are you considering for college? I have eleven schools on my list right now.

If I got into every school on my list, I would attend Duke as my first choice. Truth is Duke

is probably out of my reach though. Which is why I am applying to business schools on

both coasts. SLO LIFE

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42 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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| OUT AND ABOUT

SAVING

CAYUCOS PIER

Forced to close for more than two years when officials found damaged piles and cross-bracing that could

have caused the pier to collapse, Cayucos celebrates its success in the reopening of this iconic landmark.

BY JEANETTE TROMPETER

PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIL IGLEHEART

The history of the pier can be traced back to the man who put this little beach town

on the map. Captain James Cass settled in Cayucos in 1867 on 320 acres of a Spanish Land Grant.

He saw a future shipping dairy products, cheese, hides, beef and fresh water out the protected little

bay. Once Cass and his partners (who, depending on who you talk to, included Captain J. Ingalls,

John Harford of Port Harford fame, William Beebe and L. Schwartz) built the pier, a store and a

warehouse, a booming little community of commerce was born.

“It was longer and it was wider at the end, much wider at the end. There were rails that ran out to

the end,” explains Greg Bettencourt, chairperson of the Cayucos Pier Project.

Once Cass’s heirs donated the pier to the state in 1920, it became more of a tourist attraction,

drawing fisherman from the valley, as well as fishing excursion tours. Cayucos is no longer such a

hot spot for fishing or abalone, but it has continued to draw more tourists each year, and the pier is

part of the package that has attracted them here. It’s been repaired, patched and altered a little here

and there over the years, but its bones trace back to the beginning.

JEANETTE TROMPETER,

KSBY News anchor and

reporter, hosts the “Out and

About with JT” series every

Tuesday evening at 6pm.

It was a little more than two years ago when this beloved boardwalk

over the Pacific showed its age as fireworks trucks headed out to set

up for the big 4th of July display. “The pier was shifting. I mean you

could feel when you walked out here when there was surf, like being

on a ship,” says Gil Ingelheart, who worked with the Rotary Club of

Cayucos to raise money to save the pier.

In an effort to preserve this well-known Cayucos landmark, the

tight-knit community came together raising the funds needed to

support the county money and grants necessary to cover the $3.5

million renovation. The county wanted proof it wouldn’t be footing

the whole bill. “Our original goal with the Save the Cayucos Pier

Project Committee was $105,000,” says Igleheart. “And by the time

the dust settled, and we’re still taking money in for plaques, but I

think it’s close to $700,000 that we raised.”

Telling the story of how a community of just 2,500 raised that kind

of coin made it much easier for county officials to

ask their federal counterparts to kick in. “So we have

something here we call ‘Cayucos Rules,’ which is

basically: ‘You do whatever you need to do, in order

to get something accomplished,’” says Bettencourt.

“They didn’t want to see us march on Washington to

demand money for our pier,” jokes Igleheart.

Cayucos’ gem of the Pacific recently re-opened, and

seems to stand as tall with pride as the people who

made it happen. Improvements include new night

lighting, “It also illuminates part of the water,” says

Igleheart. “Waves come in you can see highlights of

the waves—phenomenal.”

“You can see Morro Rock so wonderfully from here,

and all the fronts of the Cayucos buildings along the

pier. It’s really picturesque,” says James McCoy, who

along with his wife, Elizabeth Spurr-McCoy, stepped

up quickly to make a $10,000 donation toward the

reconstruction efforts.

Day or night, the pier is once again a symbol and

beautiful offshore beacon of all the hard work

and activity that happens onshore in the quaint

community of Cayucos.

The hope is a major over hall will not be needed

again for a long, long time, and the folks with the

Cayucos Pier Project intend to make sure of it by

raising money for its upkeep for the enjoyment of

generations to come. SLO LIFE

44 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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| NOW HEAR THIS

MUSIC SCENE

THE WOMEN OF ROCK

“Our music is not background music, and I think that reflects how we approach

life as women: we are not background music.” This is how bassist Alexandra Wenzl

sums up the sound of female-fronted, local band Hot Tina.

BY DAWN JANKE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TINA MORABITO WAGGONER

See Hot Tina perform:

Frog & Peach Pub on December 30, 2015

The Libertine Pub in Morro Bay on February 20, 2015

Find out more at hottina.bandcamp.com and facebook.com/hottina

46 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


As a quintet, Hot Tina has been around for just about

two years now, but all five band members have been involved with the

local music scene for quite some time. Wenzel and keyboardist Hannah

Slobdenik, for example, played together as a duo called Trash, while lead

guitarist Shea Kelly performed in the Dirty Pink Slips with guitarist Rose

Hall. In its initial stage, Hot Tina was an all-female band, but when the

former keyboardist and drummer left about a year ago, Slobdenik and

drummer Brian Monzel were invited to join.

“At first, I was excited about being in a band with all women, in a band

that didn’t require one token man holding everything together,” says

Wenzel, “but with Brian it’s egalitarian.” Hall adds, “Everyone in the band

brings something unique to the table.” Kelly concurs, “A long time ago, a

great musician gave me this advice: play with your friends, and everything

else falls together. Well, we’re all friends, and it’s wonderful.”

According to Kelly and Wenzl, Monzel brings a lot to the development

of a new song because he’s been playing music for so long and has such

a great feel for it. Wenzl says, “It’s so interesting where a song starts

and where it ends up when one of us brings it in.” Hall, Kelly, and

Wenzl write music for Hot Tina and Monzel adds to the arrangements,

complementing the four female vocalists, including the operatic contralto

sound of Slobdenik.

“It’s cool that we have four vocalists,” says Kelly, “but I think that’s

something that’s difficult for most sound people when we perform live.”

“It can be hard to get the sound right, and it’s one of our band goals to

get the sound right,” says Wenzl. In an effort to do so, the band will soon

begin recording with Randall Sena at Certain Sparks Music in Lompoc.

Kelly says, “Lately we’ve been noticing that while some live shows blow

us away, the same band’s recordings do not capture that passion. In

the studio, I think that’s what we’re going for—we want to capture the

passion of our live sound.”

“For me, music is a sonic experience,” Kelly continues. “I can go to

the Clark Center for the Performing Arts, watch someone play piano

beautifully, and then discuss it with my mother, but I enjoy having that

sonic body experience. People often wonder why we are so loud,” she says,

“like there’s an image of how women are supposed to be when they play

music.” Wenzl adds, “Like that coffee shop vibe that’s really palatable.”

“But I want our audience to enjoy our music sonically, to be engulfed in

the music at a rock show instead of being offended by women who rock,”

says Kelly.

Kelly goes on, “We don’t write abrasive music—we write inspiring music

with socially conscious lyrics.” Wenzl interjects to add, “But I also don’t

mind slapping someone in the face with music. If we are pretty or nice,

that’s great, but it’s not the point. We are people expressing our lives and

our passions, and that doesn’t always sound pretty, but that doesn’t make

what we say less valid or less worthy of experiencing.”

Influenced by bands like Sleater Kinney, Skating Polly,

and L7, Hot Tina uses its music to break down barriers.

Kelly says, “Women get shamed a lot, and our music is

important because we don’t let people shame us. We are

middle-aged and have kids and still have this hobby,

and we are not going to let people shame us.” Wenzl

adds, “There are certain standards that our culture puts

on women, and we want to work against that.”

For members of Hot Tina, working against society’s

expectations of women extends beyond the stage at the

local bar. Wenzl explains, “There are not enough spaces

that are pro-women around the county, where women

feel safe to express themselves, and we want to create

more spaces for young women to come out, network,

and get involved.” Toward that end, this past August,

Wenzl and Kelly worked on the first annual, all-ages

Ladyfest, a music and arts festival with proceeds from

the event donated to MUSE Arts Education, a local

non-profit that offers musical instruments and lessons

to students with disabilities or financial hardships.

Kelly explains that one of the goals of Ladyfest was to

encourage local women to be supportive of each other:

“We are each other’s advocates.”

“Right after world peace and our children, playing

music is so important to us,” says Wenzl. Kelly adds,

“It’s cathartic: we’re weighed down by the week and

after an hour and a half of playing together we just

feel so good.” Hall agrees, “It’s a nice outlet to have

that’s different than anything else you’re doing in a

week.” Wenzli shares, “For us, music helps to wash

it all away.” She continues, “And thankfully SLO

County has a group of

movers and shakers,

people like Patrick Hayes

and others, who put their

heart and soul into making

sure that good live music

is happening.”

Good live music is

definitely happening on

the Central Coast, and

Hot Tina is there in the

foreground. Check them

out, and let them give you a

sonic experience to wash it

all away. SLO LIFE

DAWN JANKE, Director,

University Writing & Rhetoric

Center Cal Poly, keeps her

pulse on the Central Coast

music scene.

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 47


| DWELLING

MODERN COPY

With history in mind the Cameron family xxx

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TREVOR POVAH

48 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 49


With the professor droning on about a math

problem, Mark Cameron began daydreaming

about the house with the “For Sale” sign he

had walked through earlier that day. The Cal

Poly student was getting close to wrapping

up his engineering degree and had no desire

to leave San Luis Obispo. And, there was just

something about that house.

Originally built in 1928, the 900 squarefoot

California bungalow was one of the

first homes in the Caudill Tract off Broad

Street. With distinctive styling, which

could very well be described as Spanish on

the outside and Craftsman on the inside,

it captivated Cameron’s imagination.

Thoughts of the house continued to occupy

his mind, so the college kid called and made

an offer on the place. In 1988, just prior

to his graduation Cameron was handed

the keys and began what would become a

twenty-one-year stay.

50 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


As he settled in, he started noticing things,

lots of things. And, Cameron possesses an

attention to detail at a level well above most.

Although he earns a living fighting blazes

statewide with Cal Fire, he has clearly not

forgotten his engineering training. “I loved

how the house breathed,” he remembers. “The

gaps in the doors, the single pane windows,

its orientation on the lot; it had a really nice

feel to it.” Cameron talks in solid five-minute

bursts as he bounces between the intricacies

of vintage door hinges and the benefits of lath

and plaster versus Sheetrock. But, one day in

2002, something else caught his attention.

A hot shot graphic designer was moving into

the rental next door. Missy Reitner-Cameron

had always loved Los Angeles, but she needed

a break and a place to regroup. She loved

visiting her sister who had attended Cal Poly,

and her parents now lived in Shell Beach.

San Luis Obispo, she figured, would be the

perfect place to clear her mind and refocus on

her profession. Cameron introduced himself

and welcomed her to the neighborhood, and

before long the two were making up reasons to

borrow items from each other. The rest, as they

say, is history.

During the next few years, the couple was

married, and their love for each other spilled

over to a mutual adoration for the house. The

only problem was that the little bungalow >>

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 51


was showing its age, and things were falling

apart. “We talked about a remodel, but when

we looked at what had to be done we started

looking into a complete rebuild,” shares

Reitner-Cameron, now the creative director

and co-owner of iii Design. The couple began

sharing their ideas for a brand new home, but

they kept coming back to the same question:

Why not build a modern copy?

52 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016

And, if it were to be a copy of the original,

why not take it a step further and build it

in exactly the same way they would have in

1928? Soon every square inch of the house

was measured, analyzed, and photographed.

Material samples—paint colors, plaster textures,

hardwood floor patterns—were cut away and

stored. A vision began to bubble up as the

couple realized they could keep everything

about the house that they knew and loved, but

also modernize it for comfortable contemporary

living. Plus, Reitner-Cameron’s daughter would

be entering her teenage years before too long,

and a bit of extra elbow room could be a good

thing. By adding a basement, bumping out the

back of the building about five feet, and building

a second floor, the eventual 2,200 square-foot

structure would serve the family’s needs for >>


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years to come. And, most importantly, the home

would look and feel pretty much exactly as it

did, only better.

Since the couple had purchased the next door

rental property, tearing down the original

house would be the easy part. Storing the many

salvaged parts, doors, hardware, light fixtures,

window casings, and on and on, would fill a

shipping container in the backyard. A year

later, in 2010, the basement was constructed

54 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016

after eleven feet of excavation. Remarkably, the

entire house was built by just three men, all of

whom shared the passion and the vision for the

modern copy concept: Allan Stanley, Charley

Lackey, and Lee Genthner. Cameron pitched in

when he could, and various other subcontractors

got involved to a lesser degree at different stages,

but the trio would remain on the job site for five

years straight, from foundation to finish work.

“Not only did they build a modern copy of the

old house,” Cameron marvels, “but they did it in

much the same way, using the same techniques

as they would have in the 20’s.”

The beauty of the house is found not in its size

and scale, but in the details. The deeper you

look, the more you see. Screws are slotted and

not Phillips because that type had not been

invented yet; paint that had been thinned to the

consistency of a white wash of the era leaves

faint brush marks, as rollers were not available

then; the threading found inside door handles >>


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XXX xxx

is just so. The list goes on and on. “The details

on this house, it just keeps going. It’s five years

of crazy,” Cameron shares. The couple shares

stories of the massive multi-year treasure hunt

that developed in

pursuit of every

last period detail.

Glass door knobs

were debated—were

they 20’s or 30’s

vintage? And, what

of the P-trap visible

under the bathroom

sink—was it made

of chrome or nickel

brass? Perhaps the

TREVOR POVAH is an

architectural photographer biggest score of all

here on the Central Coast. came from across

town when they learned that The Madonna Inn

was selling a small trove of vintage furniture.

After repairing the pieces—some needed

a new leg or two, which had to be custom

fabricated and then stained—the furniture

is seen throughout the home. Additionally,

much of the wood and other materials that

could not be salvaged from the original have

been repurposed. The headboard in the master

bedroom started its life as kitchen cabinets, and

a dresser was reincarnated from old shelving.

Throughout the process, the couple

painstakingly built a home that did more than

just look like the original. Although most of

the exterior walls are now comprised of ICF

(cement) block walls, and radiant floor heating

is found throughout, the windows are all single

pane carefully positioned to the same sill

depth as they were before. And, the front door,

which had been salvaged has exactly the same

sized gap below it, so the home breathes in

much the same way it had during its lifetime.

The plaster is the same color and texture as it

was before. The exposed 2 x 4’s on the back

porch actually measure two inches by four

inches as they did during that time, as opposed

to the watered-down half-inch less version of

today. And the old linseed oil and cork kitchen

floor, which was painstakingly installed over

five long days, is exactly what you would have

found in the later part of the 1920’s. The whole

thing is a sight to see, a marvel of engineering

and history to be sure, but if you are not

careful you can miss it—unless you look very,

very closely. SLO LIFE

56 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


Meet our family

“Working with The SLO Land Conservancy on the Octagon Barn

Center has special meaning to me. This landmark project is going

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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 57


| 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

2014

53

620,689

609,912

98.39

45

2014

26

756,640

744,630

98.48

42

2014

23

640,289

624,709

97.75

41

2014

14

1,073,643

1,039,612

96.99

64

2014

38

751,679

735,068

98.21

41

2014

51

682,412

670,212

98.20

38

2014

22

676,709

657,856

97.39

78

2015

60

692,255

674,612

97.93

63

2015

25

731,672

725,751

99.24

58

2015

31

572,748

552,470

97.44

33

2015

12

1,044,917

1,031,750

95.95

39

2015

23

716,339

720,408

101.37

19

2015

42

736,155

724,749

99.86

29

2015

42

746,507

723,603

97.52

37

+/-

13.21%

11.53%

10.61%

-0.46%

40.00%

+/-

-3.85%

-3.30%

-2.54%

0.76%

38.10%

+/-

34.78%

-10.55%

-11.56%

-0.31%

-19.51%

+/-

-14.29%

-2.68%

-0.76%

-1.04%

-39.06%

+/-

-39.47%

-4.70%

-1.99%

3.16%

-53.66%

+/-

-17.65%

7.88%

8.14%

1.66%

-23.68%

+/-

90.91%

10.31%

9.99%

0.13%

-52.56%

*Comparing 1/1/14 - 11/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 11/20/15

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE

58 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


We have worked with Bruce several times, both as buyers

and sellers. He is very knowledgeable in the market and is

very easy to talk to. He treats you fairly and is willing to go

the extra mile if needed to get exactly what you want. We’ve

recommended Bruce to our friends, and will continue to do so.

- Wade and Jaime Crosno

Relax. Let me do the work.

For the best Real Estate

Search Site look here.

Bruce Freeberg • Realtor # 01771947

www.BruceFreeberg.com • bfreeberg@gmail.com

(805) 748-0161

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 59


CREATIVE

PERSONALIZED

GIFTS

| SLO COUNTY

REAL ESTATE

REGION

BY THE NUMBERS

NUMBER OF

HOMES SOLD

AVERAGE DAYS

ON MARKET

MEDIAN SELLING

PRICE

2014

2015

2014

2015

2014

2015

Arroyo Grande

248

275

63

68

572,500

661,000

Atascadero

340

344

60

53

428,500

469,450

Avila Beach

18

16

63

72

810,000

912,500

Cambria/San Simeon

120

134

104

101

566,250

592,500

3001 Broad Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

805-543-6514

www.borahsawards.com

Cayucos

Creston

Grover Beach

50

6

85

44

11

96

123

92

53

80

102

48

797,500

529,000

405,000

815,000

480,000

461,500

Los Osos

130

162

53

43

435,000

457,000

Morro Bay

115

136

85

62

500,000

575,000

Nipomo

193

225

66

64

499,000

540,000

Oceano

56

48

67

47

383,750

400,000

Pismo Beach

100

113

69

72

700,000

790,000

Paso (Inside City Limits)

369

456

56

62

380,000

415,000

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

76

91

71

80

320,000

325,000

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

79

115

131

105

365,000

410,000

Local, Handmade,

Organic, Fair Trade

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

San Luis Obispo

54

291

68

327

79

50

80

47

382,500

658,000

424,950

667,000

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Santa Margarita

13

17

54

75

402,550

423,500

1445 Monterey Street

San Luis Obispo

805.782.9868

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60 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016

Templeton

Countywide

98

2,441

99

2,777

*Comparing 1/1/14 - 11/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 11/20/15

79 75 521,500 585,000

68 64 475,000 517,900

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE


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62 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 63


64 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 65


Abercrombie & Fitch

abercrombie.com

The Apple Store

apple.com

Cal Poly Downtown

calpoly.edu

Chico’s

chicos.com

Lush Handmade Cosmetics

lushusa.com

Moondoggies Surf Shop

moondoggies.com

Pottery Barn

potterybarn.com

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe

powellsss.com

Starbucks

starbucks.com

Splash Cafe Seafood & Grill

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805.785.0511

Banana Republic

bananarepublic.com

Chronic Tacos

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The Movie Experience

themovieexperience.com

Salon Lux-Aveda

salonlux.com

Sunglass Hut

sunglasshut.com

Barnes and Noble

barnesandnoble.com

Express

express.com

Open Air Flowers

openairflowersslo.com

Sephora

sephora.com

Urban Outfitters

urbanoutfitters.com

Bowl’d

facebook.com/bowldslo

GAP

gap.com

Palazzo Giuseppe

palazzogiuseppe.com

Shoe Palace

shoepalace.com

Victoria’s Secret

victoriassecret.com

Bull’s Tavern

facebook.com/bullstavernslo

Ian Saude Gallery

iansaude.com

Papyrus

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SloCo Pasty Co.

slocopastyco.com

White House Black Market

whitehouseblackmarket.com

California Pizza Kitchen

cpk.com

Jamba Juice

jambajuice.com

Pizza Solo

pizzasolo.com

Solstice Sunglass Boutique

solsticesunglasses.com

66 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 67


| INSPIRATION

A TIMELY

MAKEOVER

KEEPS LITERACY HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

BY TOM FRANCISKOVICH

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELLIOTT JOHNSON

My earliest memory in life

takes me back to my grandparents’ kitchen

table. Eggs and bacon were crackling on

the stove top, and the coffee percolator was

chugging along like a locomotive struggling

with an oversized load. Directly across the table

from me sat my cotton-farming grandfather,

fresh from the shower with a thick mop of

silver and white hair combed straight back.

Looking down at his yellow legal pad, he scribbled some numbers he found in the

commodities tables of the previous day’s Wall Street Journal. Relieved to see that planting

a field of alfalfa was likely to pay off if the weather continued to hold up in the San

Joaquin Valley until harvest, he motioned to my grandmother. “Marian, get this kid some

more side pork,” which is what he called bacon, as he reached over and handed me the

front page of the paper. I took the gesture as a passing of the torch, an acknowledgment

of my figurative place at the table, even though I was only five years old or so at the time.

As grandma reached in over my shoulder and skillfully dropped two more oversized

strips of side pork on my plate, I pulled the paper in and focused my still-sleepy eyes

>>

68 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 69


on the headlines. Running my fingers along the

smudgy line of the paper’s lead story, I started

sounding out the first word.

The empowerment I felt from that experience with

my grandparents has never left me, and has led to

a life-long love for the written word. It also gives

me a greater appreciation for the struggles faced

by those who fall short in their proficiency with

reading and writing. Unlike many other social

challenges, the marginalization that occurs with

those who find themselves unable to read to their

children or fill out a job application, the solution

is readily available—but, it requires a lot of work.

My sisters and I were fortunate to see this effort

first-hand while we were growing up, as my mother

taught ESL (English as a Second Language) at the

high school, and then later at the local community

college. It was a rare day that we did not encounter

one of her former students, often while visiting the

grocery store before dinner. “Mrs. Susan,” a stranger

would say, which was a dead giveaway that it was, in

fact, a student, because pronouncing “Franciskovich”

was an unfair request according to my mom. “You

will never believe it,” the former student would

begin. “I just got a job at such-and-such place,”

the beaming, pride-filled expression on their faces

would tell the rest of the story.

Research on the number of non-literate people living on the Central Coast is spotty

because the ability to read and write, by its nature, is difficult to quantify. However, a

reasonable estimate, extrapolating from national data, is around one in seven. That is,

for every seven of your friends and neighbors, one of them struggles with the English

language. The immediate presumption for many in California is that this population

is made up primarily of Spanish speakers, which is inaccurate. While it is true that

first-generation Mexican nationals do make up a significant portion of the group, it is

also heavily represented by immigrants world-wide, including a surprising number of

local high school dropouts, and even high school graduates that had slipped through the

cracks. Up to this point, a non-literate person has had a couple of options locally: the

ESL program at Cuesta College, or The Literacy Council of San Luis Obispo County.

The Literacy Council—recently renamed Literacy for Life—is a non-profit that provides

tutoring services at no charge to its learners at one of ten locations around the Central

Coast [full disclosure: I am the board chair of the organization]. Last year it served 419

San Luis Obispo County-based learners with 299 tutors, who logged 21,196 teaching

hours. The tutors, all volunteers, go through a screening process to enter the program

and then meet one-on-one with learners in one of the nearby learning centers. On any

given day the centers are buzzing with activity, as the tutor-learner partners pore over

study materials in preparation for a wide diversity of goals ranging from a better job, to

citizenship, to passing the G.E.D., or better assimilation into their communities. The

energy in the centers is palpable, inspirational, and reveals the wide variety of people and

backgrounds seeking betterment through improved literacy—all of them working very

hard to seize the opportunity.

Recently, Literacy for Life was able to seize an opportunity of its own when it was

selected as the beneficiary of Verdin Marketing’s 24-Hour Give. The program, now in

its second year, is an annual charitable donation made by the company within a single >>

70 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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24-hour period. It was designed to cram weeks,

if not months, of marketing services into one day.

Along with the branding effort provided by the

San Luis Obispo-based marketing firm, a cadre

of complimentary services are donated by other

local companies, such as photography, printing,

website design, videography, and advertising—

lots of it. The value of the pro bono program

provided by the various companies involved has

been estimated at $80,000 in total. For Bernadette

Bernardi, the executive director of Literacy for

Life, the experience was a “game changer” for the

organization. “It was intense, very high energy,

which was just what we needed,” she reflected a few

days after catching up on her sleep following the

24-hour event. “It made a huge impact, and was

something we would have never been able to do on

our own.”

Bernardi, who had been working as a vocational

counselor prior to joining what was then The

Literacy Council, saw first-hand the power of the

organization when she was counseling a man in his

sixties who had been injured on the job and was going to be retrained for a different role.

“When I gave him a skills assessment, I found that he lacked in basic literacy, which, of

course, was going to hurt his chances at finding a suitable position.” As she searched for

a solution, she found The Literacy Council and was so impressed by their results that by

September of that year—1998—she had become its executive director.

But, something about The Literacy Council always gnawed on Bernardi—the name. To

her, “The Literacy Council” evoked the imagery of official looking men sitting behind a

table deeming whether or not someone was considered literate. The quasi-governmental

feeling that the name conjured never felt right, and certainly did not match the warm,

intimate learning breakthroughs that were happening daily at the learning centers.

The night before the 24-Hour Give, Bernardi tossed and turned. “I just kept thinking

about our name, feeling that if we were ever going to change it, now was the time.” That

morning, during the intake session where Verdin Marketing employees sought to clarify

the objectives of the branding effort, Bernardi threw a curveball. “What if we changed

our name?” she inquired. A brief debate broke out between the executive director and

the board members about the pros and cons of such a move, while everyone else began

exploring different name options. In the excited, caffeine-fueled brainstorming session

that followed, dozens of ideas were bandied about. At one point, someone threw out

“Literacy for Life” as a contender. “Literacy is critical for a good life in our society, no

doubt about it. If you want to have a better life, you better have some basic literacy,”

states Bernardi plainly. “Literacy touches on all aspects of our lives—literacy for life is

really what we do.” SLO LIFE

72 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 73


| EXPLORE

UNWIND

DATE NIGHT

Relaxing Chinese Foot Massage

They say the feet are the body’s second heart. Pressure points throughout the foot connect to

key organs and functions of the body and by relieving built up tension in the feet, ancient Eastern

massage practices believe these techniques create healing throughout the body.

BY PADEN HUGHES

74 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


If you work in the service industry, whether consulting, tourism or fitness, you spend

your time taking care of others’ needs. Doing so hour after hour can deplete your

energy. So what better way to recharge than by visiting our local spot for a Chinese

foot massage.

Several friends recommended U-Relax Foot Massage off Broad Street for its clean, relaxing

environment. Rumor has it that a couple can get in and out for under $60 and they allow

you to bring in your own wine to drink while enjoying a foot massage—needless to say, we

were sold.

I called ahead to book the appointment, and when my husband and I arrived a pleasant young

man greeted us and helped us select what service we wanted. We chose a 45-minute foot

massage, and at $26 each, the price was unbeatable.

From there we were handed a menu of three options: Chinese herb foot bath, milk crystal

foot bath, or rose aromatic foot bath. We picked the Chinese herb foot bath because it

boasted of over fifteen Chinese herbs all known for their healing properties.

Next we were led into a peaceful, clean sanctuary of relaxation where two bamboo buckets

with warm herbal water were brought out. Sitting on the edge of a massage chair with our

feet in the bucket, we were introduced to the first stage of the Chinese foot massage.

The Chinese historically have cultivated a number of unique techniques to provide a kind of

outer physiotherapy. It starts with a neck and back rub, then the practitioner works their way

down through the arms to the hands and then back up to the head and temples to release

tension. I had no idea I had so many tight, painful places in the small bones of my hand. The

massage felt amazing and I completely relaxed. After 15 minutes of this it was impossible to

carry any remaining stress from the work day, and I embraced the remaining 30 minutes of

the foot and calf massage awaiting me.

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We moved from a seated position to a partially reclined position and they propped up our

feet and began to kneed and roll every square inch of each foot. Being quite ticklish I am

always wary of someone trying to touch my feet, but I admit I felt like I was in such a state of

relaxation that I didn’t care and only wanted to release more tension.

On a weekday night it’s amazing that 45 minutes can create a respite of rest and jump start a

date night. We left feeling rested, pampered and rejuvenated.

PADEN HUGHES is

co-owner of Gymnazo

and enjoys exploring

the Central Coast.

U-Relax Foot Massage has been providing locals that same

experience for eight years. The owner, shared with us that it’s the

only one in town that practices ancient Chinese techniques. The

two young masseuses also communicated that they were trained in

China. It felt like another world at U-Relax.

Very soothing, with Kenny G-like melodies floating through the

air and with minimal conversation, it allows you to focus entirely

on yourself. This is something I think can be difficult in modern

day times. It’s hard to slow down, hard to relax and hardest to focus

on yourself. It’s a challenge to take care of others when you haven’t

taken care of yourself. So if you and your significant other need

some “me time” before you can support one another, this is a great

way to jump start an evening together. SLO LIFE

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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 75


| HEALTH

Beat the Blues

WITH THESE WINTER HEALTH TIPS

In the cold-weather months when daylight wanes and cold, blustery weather keeps you indoors,

you should not sacrifice your health and well-being. You can stave off the winter blues and keep

your spirits high by taking care of your body with a few simple wellness tips.

>SLEEP LONGER

Honor your circadian rhythm, which responds to your environment’s light and darkness. In the wintertime when the

sun sets around 6 p.m., use this as a reminder to wind down. Leave your work at the office, keep the lights in your home

dim and give into those feelings of sleepiness. Creating a sanctuary of calm in your bedroom with cozy blankets and

your favorite pillow will have you dreaming in no time.

>SIP TEA

Chamomile, Earl Grey, oolong, the list goes on, as do the benefits.

Want to stay warm and prevent the flu this season? Stock up on green

tea. Improve your antioxidants and reduce your risk of coronary heart

disease by drinking black tea. In the UK, the Tea Advisory Panel

commissioned a study that concluded that tea is just as hydrating as

water, so no matter your favorite flavor, put the kettle on and warm your

hand around a mug. >>

76 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 77


TAKE A STEAM

If the idea of heading to the beach makes

you feel instantly relaxed but you just can’t

get away for a tropical vacation, head into

a sauna or steam room this winter instead.

While sweating it out in a heated room has

not shown any medical benefits to the body,

the de-stressing and relaxation effects may

be just what your body needs.

>ADD SPICE

If tucking into comfort food is the first thing you

like to do at the hint of cold weather, consider

adding some spices to your recipes. Cilantro is an

important spice in the Ayurvedic diet, and is used

as a medicinal herb to aid digestion. Dr. Michael

Murray, a natural medicine doctor and author of

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, suggests trying

nutmeg, which may encourage sleep by mirroring

the effect of serotonin. Combat your irritable mood

or low-level depression by sprinkling turmeric in

your dish for a quick pick-me-up.

>CURL UP WITH A BOOK

Have you been meaning to catch up on the classics,

or did you buy a beach read that sat in your bag

on the sand? Substitute a night of TV watching

to focus instead on sharpening your memory and

concentration with a literary romp. You might be

surprised to learn that cracking open that hardcover

may even make you smarter by expanding your

vocabulary and your world view. >>

78 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 79


GET A MASSAGE

Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the

reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy

can be a powerful ally in your health care regimen. Experts estimate that upwards of

ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally

and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this

fast-paced world may be too idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress.

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80 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016

>TRY ESSENTIAL OILS

Used for thousands of years for cosmetic purposes, as well as for their spiritually and

emotionally uplifting properties, these health-promoting botanicals can be diffused,

inhaled, applied topically, and incorporated into massage to inspire a positive emotional

state. Research shows that the pure constituents in these oils stimulate olfactory receptors

and activate regions in the brain’s limbic system associated with memory, emotion, and

state of mind. To enhance your spiritual practice, dilute and apply meditative, empowering

essential oils directly to wrists, feet, and behind the ears, or diffuse in a quiet space. SLO LIFE


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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 81


| TASTE

Steak:

Old School,

New School and

Somewhere In Between

As recently as 35 years ago, the term “fine dining” often meant one thing: steak. Whether a

French entrecôte, New York strip or Western-style T-bone, steak was central to the menu for

many serious restaurants.

BY JAIME LEWIS

oday, fine dining is defined more by approach than by any one dish, and Americans’

consumption of beef has decreased by 30 percent since 1971. But with our proud

cattle-ranching history in San Luis Obispo County, steak is still a way of life. Here

Tare three local eateries with vastly different—and delicious—takes on the classic. >>

JAIME LEWIS is a

sommelier, world traveler,

and food writer, who lives

in San Luis Obispo.

82 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 83


Old School

It’s Nipomo on a Friday night at 7:30 p.m.,

and the bar at Jocko’s is as dark and gloriously

dive-y as ever. Regulars sidle up to the bar for

bottled beer and tiny glasses of wine beneath

the glazed eyes of eight trophy heads on

the wall. It would appear that nothing has

changed since Ralph “Jocko” Knotts opened

the saloon originally named “Jocko’s Cage” in

1925—neither the cattle brands adorning the

restaurant’s walls nor the sign outside with the

suggestion to “Come in an’ monkey around.”

Jocko’s is not the place for a dynamic, seasonal

menu or vegan specialties. “We love our Iowa

beef,” says Jocko’s General Manager, Ed

Fitzpatrick, of Jocko’s corn-fed meat. He adds

that a number of factors go into preparing the

perfect Jocko’s steak, including aging the meat,

seasoning it just right (a seasoning available for

purchase at jockosmix.com), and firing it over

red oak coals. The result is a hulking, meaty

masterpiece: juicy, tender, smoky, and utterly

enormous. Partner it with a salt-crusted baked

potato, bacon-flecked Jocko’s beans, pillowy

garlic bread and a bottle of Syrah, and you’ve

got yourself one of the best dinners available on

the Central Coast—or anywhere. >>

84 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 85


New School

Bright and beachy, The Spoon Trade opened

earlier this year in Grover Beach to rave

reviews from serious foodies and families alike.

Owners Jacob and Brooke Town have created a

warm, down-to-earth and casual neighborhood

spot with serious street cred (between them,

the Towns have worked at San Francisco’s

RN74, Nopa and Rubicon) that serves what

Brooke calls “elevated comfort food.”

Steak isn’t necessarily the focus here, but the

Grilled Bavette Steak and Bordelaise has

been on the menu since The Spoon Trade

opened, served with tomatoes and blue cheese

in summer, dragon tongue beans and oyster

mushrooms in fall. French for “bib,” the lesserknown

bavette is a bistro-style cut of flap meat,

dense in texture and flavor. The Spoon Trade

sources their all-natural beef from Niman

Ranch, after which Chef Jacob seasons it with

salt and cracked pepper, grills it to medium-rare

and lets it rest. The bordelaise sauce is 12 quarts

of veal stock and red wine reduced over the

course of 16 hours to just one quart, requiring

“lots of love and concentration,” says Brooke

Town, which looks to be the way The Spoon

Trade approaches everything. >>

86 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


Celebrate the Season!

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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 87


New-Old School

The Range in Santa Margarita manages to

exude country-western warmth and modern

cool simultaneously—like a chuckwagon

crossed with a Parisian bistro. Owners Jeff

and Lindsey Jackson transformed the former

drive-thru into a small but swanky, low-lit and

beautifully sparse restaurant where Tex Ritter

spins on the record player and beer is called

“barley pop.”

“I don’t know anything about computers, but

apparently, we have a website,” Chef Jackson

says before a server corrects him; the website

to which he refers is actually Yelp. “Well,” he

shrugs, “all I know is that people are writing

whatever they want about us.” Some of those

amateur reviewers have called The Range

a steakhouse, a term Jackson hates. But it’s

hard to argue with the quality of his steaks, in

particular the Coffee-Crusted 12-ounce Angus

Ribeye with Garlic Mash, Fresh Vegetables,

and Wild Turkey Peppercorn Cream Sauce.

Jackson uses organic Peerless ground coffee to

crust Midwestern corn-fed beef, which, along

with the whiskey pan sauce, make for thick,

juicy and perfectly savory steaks every time. As

quipped by Demetrtius, the Stetson-wearing

cowboy server, “The only thing better than a

ribeye here is another ribeye here.” SLO LIFE

OTHER BEEFY

GOODNESS

A grilled hunk of meat with mashed potatoes

and veggies isn’t the only way we do steak

here on the Central Coast.

Check out the Steak Salad at Cello Ristorante

and Bar at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort in

Paso Robles for a leafy melange of lettuce,

sirloin, and fried shallots.

Or Steak Fries off the “Street Fare” menu at

Sidecar in SLO, akin to steak nachos only with

french fries instead of tortilla chips.

And, of course, there’s always the gooey

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich from Sylvester’s

Burgers (Oceano, Los Osos and Atascadero),

thinly sliced tri-tip loaded with bell peppers,

onions, and jalapenos under a blanket of

melted Swiss cheese.

88 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 89


| KITCHEN

WINTER FARE

PORK LOIN ROAST

WITH APPLES AND WINTER VEGETABLES

Tender, moist and flavorful, Chef Jessie Rivas, shares his recipe for pork loin roast

paired perfectly with root veggies and in-season, local apples. And while spiral sliced

ham seems to take center stage for holiday meals, we’re betting your guests won’t

complain if you break from tradition and offer this delicious main course.

BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS

90 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


JESSIE’S TIP:

When you’re cooking pork, a good meat

thermometer is a must. You can quickly

go from moist to dry if you’re not carefully

monitoring the internal temperature along

!the way.

CENTRAL COAST FRESH HARVEST BOXES

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PORK LOIN ROAST WITH

APPLES AND WINTER VEGETABLES

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No Contract Required

Fresh caught local fish also available

1- 2 1/2 lb pork loin roast

2 Tbs vegetable oil

salt and pepper

1 large yellow onion, cut into large chunks

2 medium carrots, cut into large chunks

1 stalk celery cut into large chunks

1 fennel bulb, cut into large chunks

4 whole, smashed garlic bulbs

1 Tbs thyme

1 Tbs rosemary

3 See Canyon tart apples, sliced

4 Tbs butter

¼ cup cider vinegar

1 cup apple cider

4 Tbs whole grain mustard

1. In a large oven proof skillet or sauté pan add oil and heat on a medium

flame for about two minutes. Generously season pork loin with salt and

pepper. Sear on all sides until golden brown. Remove pork from pan.

2. Add onions, carrots, celery, fennel, smashed garlic,

thyme and rosemary to the pan. Stir together and

sauté about five minutes until golden brown.

3. Place the pork on top of the vegetables and sliced

apples. Place pan in a preheated oven set at 400°

until the pork’s internal temperature reaches

140°-150° about 30 minutes.

4. Transfer pork to cutting board and place

vegetables on a serving platter.

5. Return empty pan to stove top on medium heat.

Add butter, cider vinegar and apple cider to pan

and reduce to half. Stir in mustard, adjust salt and

JESSIE RIVAS is the owner

and chef of The Pairing Knife pepper and turn off heat.

food truck which serves the

6. Slice pork in 1/4” slices and arrange atop

Central Coast.

vegetables and apples. Spoon pan sauce over pork

and serve. SLO LIFE

SERVING

San Luis Obispo | Avila | Los Osos

Morro Bay | AG | Cayucos

Five Cities | Nipomo

sloveg.com

805.709.2780

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 91


| AFTER HOURS

THE HARMONY OF

GERALD & BETTY PURIFY

HOW THIS GOSPEL POWERHOUSE COUPLE IS BUSY BUILDING THINGS UP

Betty Purify was

13 years old

when she arrived

in San Luis

Obispo by way

of Missouri and

then Bakersfield. She explains

that she had “fallen through the

cracks of the system” and was on

her own, but also “very blessed.”

A year later she got her G.E.D.

and was enrolled at Cuesta

College, before long working her

way through Cal Poly. In the fall

of 1980 a big shot NFL prospect

named Gerald Purify rolled into

town from Stockton. The two

set eyes on each other and could

hear music—music that still

plays today.

“It’s kept us married,” Betty reveals a wry sense of humor that has

come in handy while the couple has raised eight children. First,

their own children, all except one remain in San Luis Obispo

today, and then four more. “We believe in helping those that are

less fortunate,” were the only details Gerald would share about

that fateful day when he and his wife drove up to Sacramento and

returned to the Central Coast with their nieces and nephews who

were 15 months, three, five, and seven years old at the time. With

an empty nest at long last within sight, they suddenly had a new

flock of mouths to feed.

No matter the troubles, they would always melt away with a song.

Gerald and Betty figure they have been a duet team for over three

decades now. And, uncannily, they both break out into the same

song at exactly the same time as they recount their mutual history.

Lord lift us up where we belong/Lord lift us up where we belong.

Lost for a moment, they return with jubilant laughter—Gerald

with a booming bass deep from the belly and Betty with bouncing

shoulders playfully nudging as she leans into her partner. “It’s not

uncommon to hear people say, ‘I came in here feeling bad, but I feel

so much better now,’” Betty explains, “Somehow your burdens just

seem to lift.”

The “here” that she is referring to is the Breakthrough Ministry,

a Pentecostal Church founded by the Purify’s seven years ago.

While Gerald is a correctional officer by day at the California

Men’s Colony, a career that has

spanned thirty years, he has

always ministered the teachings

of Jesus Christ to the inmates

whenever it was appropriate.

Mostly, due to the various

rules and regulations of the

institution, that meant more

often he had to “walk the walk”

as opposed to “talk the talk,”

which is what he prefers to do

anyway. “We had a guy come

here,” Gerald begins a story,

“and it turns out the police had

kicked him out from under the

bridge where he was living.

He told me, ‘I just feel dirty.

All my clothes are dirty.’ So,

we took his clothes home and

washed them and then brought

them back. When I handed

him his clean folded clothes, he

just broke down and cried like a baby.” Betty, who is now pursuing

a doctorate in psychology, observes that, “People should be treated

like jewels, and should be allowed to blossom in their own time.

Even if we don’t always get to see the outcome, it’s important to do

a good job with what we do.”

The Purify’s, including in varying degrees their eight children,

are now growing their church after having moved to a new

location. For its entire existence, the house of worship had been

located on Augusta Street in San Luis Obispo, but it has recently

moved across town to a standalone suite at the San Luis Business

Center on South Higuera. Gerald describes their services, which

are held on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, as “high energy,

with lots of singing and maybe even some dancing once in a

while.” Betty reflects for a moment and then shares, “It’s a place

of fellowship. It’s an inclusive thing. The goal is to help people,

to encourage your brother, to be available with an open door and

an open heart. No judgment. Just come in and bask in the love

and the support. It is really just based on what Jesus would have

done, and what he would have us do.” Gerald smiles and nods,

politely waiting for Betty to finish her sentence when he adds,

“When I was in school they talked about the United States being

a melting pot. I want this to be a melting pot where everybody

is welcome; everybody is celebrated. There are too many people

tearing stuff down these days; we want to build it up, be positive

and be supportive.”

SLO LIFE

92 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


Crossing Over with

John Edward

Live in

San Luis Obispo, CA

January 13 th

7:00pm

See John Edward LIVE

at the Embassy Suites

San Luis Obispo

Tickets Available at johnedward.net

and etix.com or by phone

1-800-514-3849

*Reading not guaranteed

@psychicmediumje

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 93


architectural

photography

trevorpovahphotography

architects | interior designers | engineers

contractors | landscape architects | & more

www.trevorpovahphotography.com

| HAPPENINGS

THE HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA

See Scrooge find his Christmas spirit in a heartwarming

tale of holiday magic, laugh until your sides

ache at the zany characters in a fractured fairytale

opera, and celebrate the music of the season in the

Holiday Vaudeville Revue. This holiday triple bill is

a special family tradition designed to bring a year’s

worth of smiles wrapped in a great musical and

theatrical experience.

November 19 – December 31 // americanmelodrama.com

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DECEMBER

CHRISTMAS AT THE CASTLE

Take in the impressive sight of

Hearst Castle decorated for Christmas

circa the 1920’s creating an impressive

spectacle and a special atmosphere

that is sure to make the season bright

for you and the whole family.

December 1 - 31 // hearstcastle.org

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94 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016

HOLIDAY PARADE

Come see why There’s No Place Like SLO at the 40th

Annual Holiday Parade in Downtown San Luis Obispo.

Starting at 7 p.m. on the corner of Palm and Chorro, the

event is one of the largest parades on the Central Coast,

attracting thousands of spectators and featuring all types

of floats, vehicles, marching bands, dancers, and more.

December 4 // downtownslo.com

REINDEER RUN

This 5K route is perfect for

runners and walkers of all

abilities. Enjoy pancakes

with Santa at the Senior

Center immediately

following the run/walk.

Holiday-themed costumes

encouraged.

December 5 // slocity.org


A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION

The Cal Poly Choirs will present

their annual holiday spectacular,

“A Christmas Celebration!” Under

the direction of music Professor

Thomas Davies, PolyPhonics,

the University Singers, and the

Cal Poly Early Music Ensemble

will perform holiday favorites

and new works. The Cal Poly

Brass Ensemble, conducted by

Christopher J. Woodruff, will add

to the festive performances. Susan

Azaret Davies and Paul Woodring

will accompany the choirs and

perform solo works for piano and

organ. Audience members will have

the opportunity to participate in a

carol sing-along.

December 5 // pacslo.org

A CHRISTMAS STORY

Based on the humorous writings

of author Jean Shepherd and

the motion picture of the same

name, A Christmas Story follows

the wintry exploits of young

Ralphie Parker, who spends most

of his time dodging a bully and

dreaming of his ideal Christmas

gift: a genuine Red Ryder BB Gun.

Frequently at odds with his cranky

dad but comforted by his doting

mother, Ralphie struggles to make

it to Christmas Day with his glasses

and his hopes intact.

December 5-21 // slolittletheatre.org

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THE SANTALAND DIARIES

The Santaland Diaries is a brilliant evocation of what a

slacker’s Christmas must feel like. Out of work, our slacker

decides to become a Macy’s elf during the holiday crunch. At

first the job is simply humiliating, but once the thousands of

visitors start pouring through Santa’s workshop, he becomes

battle weary and bitter. Taking consolation in the fact that

some of the other elves were television extras on One Life

to Live, he grins and bears it, occasionally taking out his

frustrations on the children and parents alike. The piece ends

with yet another Santa being ushered into the workshop, but

this one is different from the lecherous or drunken ones with

whom he has had to work. This Santa actually seems to care

about and love the children who come to see him, startling

our hero into an uncharacteristic moment of goodwill just

before his employment runs out.

December 5-21 // slolittletheatre.org

BABES IN TOYLAND

Cheer on Tom Piper and Mary

Contrary and the characters of

Mother Goose Land in their efforts

to save the toy factory from evil.

With stunning costumes, a beautiful

set and the expertise of the dancers,

Babes In Toyland is a Central Coast

family holiday tradition.

December 5 - 6 // clarkcenter.org

THE NUTCRACKER

It’s Christmas Eve and Clara is

about to have the night of her

dreams. Audiences of all ages will

marvel at the magic and wonder

of this spectacular, professional

production brought to you by the

Civic Ballet and accompanied

by the Opera San Luis Obispo

orchestra.

December 11 – 13 // pacslo.org

ZOO HOLIDAY MAGIC

Santa is visiting the animals at the

Charles Paddock Zoo a little early

to deliver special gifts to our animal

friends. Join in the fun from 11 a.m.

to 2 p.m. Santa has made his list

and checked it twice and it turns out

everyone was nice. Enjoy a visit with

Santa and start your holiday off with

tons of animal fun.

December 20 // atascadero.org

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 95


RUSS LEVANWAY

FAMILY, CONNECTING

& OPPORTUNITY

| HAPPENINGS

POLAR BEAR DIP

Kick off the New Year by

jumping into the cold waters

of the Pacific Ocean off

Cayucos as part of the

30th Annual Carlin Soulé

Memorial Polar Bear Dip.

Most participants wear

swimming suits or come in

costume, but no wetsuits—

because that would be

cheating. The festivities begin

at 9:30 a.m., with the Polar

Bear Dip at noon.

January 1 // cayucoschamber.com

JANUARY

1351 Monterey Street . San Luis Obispo

(805)783-2887 . clippersbarber.com

Business Portraits :: Product :: Headshots

Commercial :: Editorial

RESTAURANT MONTH

Visitors and locals alike can experience the region’s

locally inspired cuisine throughout January as

participating restaurants offer various special menus

and promotions, most featuring a three-course

prix fixe menu. Reservations recommended. Prices

and offers vary per restaurant. Dine out during

this delicious month celebrating some of the finest

cuisine on the Central Coast.

January 2 - 31 // visitsanluisobispocounty.com

805.448.2841

www.christopherbersbach.com

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SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

slolifemagazine.com

SLOm a

OCEAN LIFE

ABOUNDS

96 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016

DATE NIGHT

DINNER

BLACK

DIAMOND

SLEEP WELL

TONIGHT

BY THE

NUMBERS

LIFE

g a z i n e

INSPIRED

DESIGN

ON THE

RISE

BUSINESS

LOYALTY

SURF

SCENE

CREATIVE

SPACE

MEET

LA CUESTA RANCH TRAIL RUN

The race will take place at the gorgeous La Cuesta Ranch, just outside of San Luis Obispo

on Loomis Road. La Cuesta Ranch backs up to Poly Canyon and West Cuesta Ridge. This

private, working cattle ranch is also used as a local wedding venue. The start/finish area will

be staged at the historic ranch barn. This event features 100% dirt trails and ranch roads with

fantastic views of the West Cuesta Ridge.

January 9 // ultrasignup.com


DR SEUSS’ THE CAT IN THE HAT

From the moment his tall, red-and-white-striped

hat appears at Sally’s door, a rainy afternoon is

transformed by the Cat and his antics. This delightful

stage show, produced by Childsplay, proves that with

some tricks (and a fish) and Thing Two and Thing

One, with the Cat in the Hat, the fun’s never done.

January 24 // pacslo.org

CHOPINIANA

ROMEO & JULIET

In this double-ballet evening, the

company of 50 famed Moscow

Festival Ballet dancers will perform

Tchaikovsky’s original, magnificent

Romeo & Juliet, as well as Fokine’s

rarely seen work, Chopiniana. An

evening of beautiful ballet, danced by

one of Russia’s premier companies.

January 31 // pacslo.org

NO SHAME THEATRE

No Shame is an opportunity for anyone

and everyone to write, perform, and enjoy a

variety of entertainment ranging from scenes

to original songs to… you name it. No need

to submit your work for approval. Admission

is free, no reservations required. The first 15

scripts submitted will be performed. No script

will be turned away as long as it follows these

three simple rules: All work must be original.

That means the performer either wrote the

piece or has permission from the author to

perform the piece; All performances must

be five minutes or less; Nobody may break

anything, including the law.

January 15 // slolittletheatre.org

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LITTLE WOMEN

Inspired by the life and work of author

Louisa May Alcott, the play begins

with Louisa May recalling her own

childhood. We quickly meet the real

Alcott sisters and the many literary

greats who visited Orchard House, their

home in Concord, Massachusetts, as

well a host of other real-life characters

who influenced Ms. Alcott throughout

her life. As the dramatization of Little

Women begins, the fictional plot of

the novel and the real-life friends and

family of Louisa May Alcott are cleverly

entwined. This powerful, tender and

touching play brings us new insight into

the person Louisa May Alcott actually

was and showers us with renewed hope

in the strength of family bonds and the

spirit of love.

January 15 – 31 // slolittletheatre.org

BACH WEEK

Enjoy a week devoted to the

performance and exploration of the

music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Events range from chamber music

performed on period instruments to the

collaborative performance of large vocal

and instrumental works by students and

professionals alike.

January 19 – 24 // bachweek.calpoly.edu

dec/jan 2016 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 97


| THE LAST WORD

OPINION

INTEGRITY IN OUR ELECTIONS ORDINANCE

Elections must depend upon the Voters, not the Funders

BY WILLIAM OSTRANDER

In a recent New York Times poll, 87% of Americans believed that

our campaign funding system needs to be fundamentally changed or

completely rebuilt. Since the disastrous Citizens United ruling, money so

dominates elections that candidates for the presidency have for several

months been engaged in an “invisible primary” seeking wealthy billionaires

to finance their campaigns. GOP Senator Lindsey Graham decried the

way that “50 people are running the whole show” in financing campaigns.

Chris Christie and Rand Paul have called for measures to reduce the

impact of big money in politics. Hillary Clinton supports a constitutional

amendment to limit campaign spending. Bernie Sanders has made

campaign finance reform a centerpiece of his campaign. It is recognized

across the political spectrum that the legislative process is unduly

influenced by the insatiable need by policy makers for campaign funding,

leading to a very personal and primary conflict of interest.

But the corruptive impact of our finance laws extends beyond the shadowy

organizations and multimillionaires that have effectively captured the

presidential selection process. As Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal

Center has observed, “Practices are developed at the national and federal

level, and those that work are replicated at the state and municipal level.”

Locally, real estate developers are playing an increasingly dominant role in

our elections. The 2014 Board of Supervisors race was the most expensive

in our history with many donations from out of the area and state.

Short of a constitutional amendment, which the SLO City Council

urged our federal representatives to consider in Resolution No. 10395

(2012 Series), there are five measures that can help reduce the corruptive

influence of money in politics at any level. All are measures that are

perfectly compatible with Supreme Court rulings on money in elections.

1. Public financing of elections

2. Disclosure – meaning revealing the original source of the funding

3. A citizen’s ethics panel to review compliance to elections laws

4. IRS rulings that restrict 501(c)(4)’s, social welfare organizations, from

engaging in electioneering communications

5. SEC – require publicly traded companies to reveal their political donations

The first three can be enacted locally to help change the system that

betrays our democratic process and influences our representation.

At the August 18th San Luis Obispo City Council meeting, led by

the Citizens Congress, a local non-profit, of which I am the director,

local residents urged city leaders to consider a powerful antidote to the

Citizens United ruling through a new ordinance called “Integrity In Our

Elections.” This ordinance, consisting of public financing, disclosure, and

a citizens’ ethics panel, will promote honesty and fairness in local elections,

by removing the need for candidates to constantly seek support from our

wealthiest citizens for their candidacies. Instead, candidates must convince

all of us, not just the funders to win elections.

Publicly funded elections have been around for a long time and operate

in more than 28 states and almost all other democratic countries. The

Supreme Court supports public financing as long as the program is

voluntary—candidates can elect to stick with private financing if they

choose. Experiences in other cities and states show that 83% of candidates

choose the public financing system. Here’s how it works:

First is a $20 Democracy Voucher, a type of tax rebate much like a gift

card, to be sent to registered voters in the City of SLO on or about July

1st, the filing date for candidates. That card can be “swiped” at a campaign

event or used to make an online contribution, to any candidate or

candidates in our municipal elections. Voters have the freedom to divide

the $20 among as many candidates as they wish.

Second is public disclosure. Political speech is protected, but the ordinance

requires electronic disclosure to the City Clerk’s office of any campaignrelated

expenditure over $500 from individuals or organizations within 24

hours. Anonymous actors, often from out of the area, wishing to influence

our elections, must report their spending, divulging who they are so we

may consider their motives.

Third is a citizen based ethics panel. The ordinance empowers our existing

campaign regulations committee to receive, evaluate and report alleged

violations to the City Attorney’s office within 30 days. Unlike the Federal

Election Commission, which was designed for paralysis by those who

themselves might require an investigation, this program places political

power back in the hands of citizens.

Funding for the program, which we suggest come from the city’s general

fund, amounts to about one half of one percent of the city’s overall

budget during an election cycle. Insuring integrity in our democracy is no

different than maintaining the roads and sidewalks of our community and

this program encourages greater participation from citizens. You can read

the ordinance proposal at the Citizen’s Congress website, citizenscongress.us,

and email your support to the city council at: emailcouncil@slocity.org.

The city council will be hearing staff recommendations and voting

whether to proceed with this ordinance in December. We urge you to

show your support at this meeting. Citizens

Congress partnered with the Campaign

Legal Center in Washington, D.C. and other

election law experts in drafting this ordinance

specifically to the needs of San Luis Obispo.

Our ordinance is presently unique, but

could easily be a model for cities all across

America. Both major cities like L.A. and

New York and small cities like Santa Fe, New

Mexico and Tallahassee, Florida have public

financing. Seattle, Washington is currently

considering a similar program. San Luis

Obispo would be the first in the nation to

adopt our unique, comprehensive Democracy

Voucher program. Reform always starts

at the local level. We have the chance to

move campaign reform forward nationally

by enacting it locally. Just as we led the

way with indoor smoking bans and farmers’

markets, we could be a national leader in the

movement to strengthen our democracy.

WILLIAM OSTRANDER is

the director of the nonprofit

Citizens Congress,

and a sustainable farmer,

who is running for election

to the 24th District seat of

the United States House of

Representatives.

If you would like to have The Last Word email us your 1,000 word opinion to info@slolifemagazine.com

98 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016


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| 99


HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM

HAVEN PROPERTIES

A PAYNE INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION

DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON MORE THAN EVER,

OUR THOUGHTS TURN GRATEFULLY TO THOSE WHO

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THANK YOU AND BEST WISHES

FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

EXCLUSIVE AFFILIATION

Main Office: 1212 Marsh Street, Suite 1 | Gallery Location: 1039 Chorro Street

San Luis Obispo, California 93401

805.592.2050 | inquiries@havenslo.com

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100 | SLO LIFE Magazine | Dec/Jan 2016

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