SLO LIFE Oct/Nov 2015

slolife

LIFE

SLOmagazine

ON THE

RISE

LOCAL

INSIGHT

DATE

NIGHT

UNDER

THE STARS

THE FUTURE OF

WILD CHERRY

CANYON

slolifemagazine.com

OCT/NOV 2015

CENTRAL

COAST

HARVEST

GET YOUR

PLANT BASED

POWER

LOVE

NEST

MUSIC

SCENE

EAGER

S

MEET

JEREMY BATES

INSPIRING OUR YOUTH

& DEALING HOPE

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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 7


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Join schools and communities around the world and celebrate!

Wednesday, October 7 th

Powered by Safe Routes to School,

a program of SLOCOG

Walk to School Day is an energizing event. It reminds adults and students alike of the simple joy of

walking or bicycling to school, while building support for creating or improving safer walking and

bicycling routes. Visit SLOSafeRoutes.org for more info.

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 9


SLO LIFE

magazine

CONTENTS

Volume

6

Number 5

Oct/Nov 2015

34

JEREMY BATES

We learn how the self-described

hope dealer connects with our

youth by teaching them that life

is best lived truthfully.

14

16

18

20

Publisher’s Message

Info

On the Cover

In Box

28

30

View

When Trini Schultz makes a stopover at the Laguna Lake

dog park, it leads to the perfect, spooky shot of the season.

Timeline

Look back at the most recent newsworthy events from

in and around the Central Coast.

10 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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| CONTENTS

32

42

44

46

Q&A

Excecutive Director of San Luis Obispo’s

Downtown Association, Dominic

Tartaglia, reveals his vision for the future.

On the Rise

Lead by an obsession for art history and

passion for social equality, Natalie Sada

shares her young successes.

Out and About

With vineyard harvest in full-swing,

Jeanette Trompeter takes us for an indepth

tour of our Central Coast wineries.

Now Hear This

American indie rock band, Eager Seas,

reveals the 90’s influence behind their

music, as well as some insight into their

name changing decision.

62

70

72

78

Special Feature

We take a close look at the potential development at

Wild Cherry Canyon and pose some of the questions

that will determine its future.

Explore

Bringing back a taste of classic Americana, Paden

Hughes takes a trip to San Luis Obispo’s long-standing

Sunset Drive-In Theater.

Health

We searched far and wide to bring you a list of six plant

superfoods that are more than just leafy greens.

Taste

American as apple pie, Jaime Lewis proves there’s good

reason to enjoy the longtime favorite dessert of fall.

84

Kitchen

More than just comfort food, Chef Jessie Rivas shares

his favorite lamb shank recipe.

48

58

Dwelling

With a career in concrete work behind him,

Jeff Wolcott and his wife, Cindy, share the

lush escape they call home.

Real Estate

We crunch the numbers on year-to-date

home sales around the Central Coast,

including right in your neighborhood.

86

90

Happenings

Check out the calendar to discover the best events

around the Central Coast in October and November.

The Last Word

Often going either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed,

Nicki Nysven shares her story of Lyme disease and its

prevalence here on the Central Coast.

12 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


There’s no

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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 13


| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

As part of our routine, most mornings over the past seven years that we have lived in our San Luis Obispo

neighborhood, we have walked our kids to school. It started when my daughter, who is the oldest of our

three kids, went to her first day of kindergarten at Bishop’s Peak Elementary. Under the weight of a mostly

empty oversized purple Care Bears backpack her tiny feet struggled to keep up.

About a quarter of the way to school at the base of a massive palm tree my daughter stopped and said,

“Daddy, I’m tired. Can you carry me?” As I reached down to scoop her up, she pointed toward something

on the ground and asked, “What’s that, Daddy?” I studied it for a minute, nudged it around a bit with the

edge of my flip-flop, when I realized that it was an owl pellet. My wife, who was pregnant at the time, and I spent most of the rest of the

walk fielding questions from my daughter and her three-year-old brother about “owl barf.”

Since that day we have made thousands of trips down that same path through the neighborhood on our way to school. Not always,

but sometimes we would come across a little surprise consisting of hair, bones, claws, teeth—whatever could not be digested. We

talked about owls quite a bit during those walks. I shared what little I knew of them and told stories about the ones I spotted on my

grandparent’s ranch when I was around their age, and my wife relayed tales from her early camping trips. Seeing those pellets brought

back a lot of memories that were long filed away.

This year, a couple of months ago, my wife and I walked our daughter to the bus stop for her first day at Laguna Middle School. Our

little girl was now a seventh grader, and we had talked her into letting her parents come along just one last time. With her two little

brothers, now in fifth and first grades, pedaling along side us, we were stopped in our tracks by an especially large grouping of pellets

that day. “You know,” my wife said, “I told a friend about this, and she said that the owl is probably nearby. She told me to just ‘look up.’”

My boys hopped off their bikes, and all five of us scanned the palm fronds overhead. There above, gazing down upon us with mysterious,

dark eyes set deeply into a snow white, saucer-like face was the majestic little sentry that had been watching over us all along.

I’ve heard it said that we go through different chapters in life; some say it happens in cycles of seven years. With the kids growing up

and heading off to school on their own now, it certainly feels that way to me. But, I know now—the old, wise moon-faced creature

taught me—no matter how old you are, or which chapter you may find yourself in, it’s best to just keep looking up, because you never

know what life may reveal next.

I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who has had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine

and, most of all, to our advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you.

Live the SLO Life!

Looking Up

Tom Franciskovich

tom@slolifemagazine.com

14 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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SLO LIFE

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Jeanette Trompeter

Paden Hughes

Dawn Janke

Jessie Rivas

Jaime Lewis

Nikki Nysven

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Dan King

Trevor Povah

Trini Schultz

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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16 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015

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

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

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

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


oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 17


| ON THE COVER

A SNEAK PEEK

BEHIND the scenes

WITH DAN KING


It was a bit of a challenge to get

this shoot on the calendar. Jeremy

is a busy guy who is traveling all

over the place and likes to fully

unplug and spend time with his

family when he is home. When we

finally coordinated, the conditions

weren’t ideal for outdoor shooting.

It was super bright out, but it

seemed to be a metaphor for my

subject. Jeremy was just positive

and outgoing. You could tell that

whatever life throws his way will

somehow turn out positive.



After getting the rundown on his interview,

it seemed like basketball was a big part of

his story. So, we decided to meet at a court

in Arroyo Grande near his house. I talked

a friend into joining me so that I could

have some help with the reflector. When

I’m working, I’m usually just focused on

the photography, but at some point, I think

I was changing a lens, I asked him about

how he became the Hope Dealer. He’s such

a straight-up guy in the way that he shares

his story. There was just no b.s. with him

at all. I think that’s why the kids he works

with have so much respect for him.


18 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


Afterward, we headed out to the

beach, and he was a good sport

about walking around the dunes

in his basketball shoes. He then

invited me to his house to meet

his wife and check out a jam

session with his kids. Jeremy could

definitely handle the guitar and

was really good on the drums, too.

When he was playing with his

kids, his personality really seemed

to come out. At some point, I

realized that all the shots I had

taken were of him in the same

black t-shirt. As I do in most

shoots, I asked him if he wouldn’t

mind changing so I can get some

different looks. Thirty seconds

later he came back out wearing a

different black t-shirt. [laughter]

It was definitely a what-you-seeis-what-you-get

moment.


SLO LIFE


oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 19


| IN BOX

You said it...

In the IN BOX in the AUG/SEP issue of SLO

LIFE there is a write-up about Dan Carpenter,

our City Council Member. This article is not

about the Dan Carpenter I have known since

he was a very little boy and growing up

through the years. He studies hard all the

issues concerning San Luis Obispo and then

represents us. He is fair and kind to all—friend

or opponent. He walks every day among the

people to see the real SLO, and he listens to all

the concerns. Everyone gets equal treatment,

which is so important for our city leaders.

When we have a problem he explains all the

parts and then acts on our behalf immediately.

He is a gentleman, honest, and a good leader

and good family man. I support him for County

Supervisor in the coming election.

— JEAN A. MARTIN, M.A.

I am a lifetime fan of Ken Schwartz and

found THE LAST WORD, San Luis Obispo

Water article, fascinating. A few questions

regarding how much water we need, is it

25,000 acre-feet? Where would I find a

map that shows the proposed locations

the SLO Engineering staff identified?

Could you publish the map? I am a long

time local, but have no idea where Yellow

Hill, Bald Top would be and would only be

guessing regarding the other locations. I

would love to see that map. Also Schwartz

did not mention Reservoir Canyon, which

at one time provided SLO with more than

enough water (1880ish?) and I wonder how

many acre-feet that was and where it was.

I know it was the canyon by Cuesta Park

and the water needs to flow to San Luis

Creek. I have seen the water levels, but it

still is a bit unclear as to who has rights to

what water. I hear that this fall we will be

getting more than enough water. I wonder

if it will overflow at Lopez Lake like it did

in the 70’s?

I look forward to hearing back from you

and reading more issues. I live in Hanford

now and like staying in touch with friends

and family. After living in SLO County for

50 years, I know a few people.

Best wishes to you and yours. I laughed out

load about the PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE,

Chicken Train!!! It reminded me of road trips

from my childhood and trips with my son as

he was growing up. Thanks for publishing

SLO LIFE.

— ROSE SHAPLEY

20 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


The following are more questions

than opinions regarding THE LAST

WORD in the last issue. I knew that

SLO opted out of the State water

pipeline that runs essentially along

SLO city to the north. Can we opt

in? If so, what will it cost? Where

does the water come from that goes

through this pipeline?

I understand that all the wineries

in our county keep going deeper

with the wells – over 700 feet. Does

this contribute to drying up the

resident’s wells? Is there a limit how

far they can go before they also

will run out of water? How long will

it take to replenish the reservoirs

and these wells even if we have wet

winters each year?

Why does the city and county make

decisions that limit our reserve of

water? Why do they allow more

water users when they know we

have a limit of water? Should

the media expose the greed that

apparently influences the local

politicians to make decisions that

in the long run will hamper the

community that they also live in?

Thank you for your article in SLO

LIFE. It was very informative.

— GREG SOMERS

Your mention of Cal Poly’s Arboretum motivated me to take a walk

through it. As I walked, I imagined my dad, who once taught for the

Horticulture Department, took his students through the Arboretum

for Plant Identification and related “learn by doing” opportunities.

I don’t see how the Arboretum can be moved and saved at the

same time. It adds insult to injury to suggest its location would be

better suited for student or faculty housing (or anything else). I

hope to goodness that friends of the Arboretum (existing students,

faculty, staff, those in retirement, and alumni, etc) rally to a “Save

the Arboretum” protest against Cal Poly’s Master Plan designs that

would substitute buildings for the Arboretum. There is plenty of

parking pavement below the Horse Barn for constructing whatever.

Cal Poly does not need campus housing for faculty. Faculty should

be able to find affordable housing in town. And they could if

existing neighborhoods designed for family workforce but now

infiltrated by high-density student renters were taken back by

the community of San Luis Obispo. Our “town-gown” activists

and decision makers need to work together for that and preserve

existing open space and agricultural values.

— SHARON (CONNER) WHITNEY, PHD

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 21


| IN BOX

We hear you...

The information in the attached

comment is fairly known in

academia, but not widely known in

the day-to-day world. I hope you

decide to print it. Thank you.

“The Rise of College

Administrators”

Every fall, as Cal Poly students

are returning to their studies—

and probably because I have

grandsons who will enter a

university some time down the

road—I think of the enormous

cost a college education

now represents. This was not

always the case, otherwise I

would never have been able

to afford a bachelor’s degree,

much less a Ph.D.

I was hired as an assistant

professor by Cal Poly in 1975,

and a couple decades later,

I realized that the number

of university administrators

had increased dramatically,

so I decided to find out by

how much. I started by asking

Human Relations and Payroll

Services how many students,

faculty and administrators

there were in 1975 compared

with today. Nobody knew. I

was tossed from one office to

another, and I finally gave up—

which is what they wanted.

In 2011, Dr. Shapiro, a more

persistent professor at Cal Poly

Pomona, published the results

of his own investigation:

22 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015

Full-time faculty members in the CSU

1975 2008

11,614 12,019 (3.5% increase)

Administrators in the CSU:

1975 2008

3,800 12,183 (221% increase)

This last phenomenal increase propelled the number of

administrators past the number of faculty.

Student enrollment went from 361,904 in 1991 to 435,663 in 2008,

a 20% increase that would have required the same increase in

faculty if instructional spending had been the priority. Considering

that administrators are paid significantly more than faculty, the

discrepancy is even worse than it looks. You may wonder who

pays for the administrative inflated salaries. As taxpayers, we all

do, but the parents of students obviously bear most of the burden.

Faculty members also suffer from this upside down system because

more and more are not offered tenure track positions, and instead

are hired as “adjunct faculty”—usually part-time positions with

low salaries and no security. It is interesting to note that, in 1975,

I had never heard of an “adjunct faculty.” According to Benjamin

Ginsberg in his book The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-

Administrative University and Why It Matters, things may be even

worse nationwide.

The facts indicate college education has been hijacked by

bureaucracy. We cannot expect administrators to control

themselves because, on the contrary, administrators are known to

make work for each other. Therefore, parents, students and faculty

must join their forces to turn the tide if a college education is to

remain within the financial reach of most people. I am glad to see

various politicians struggling with proposals to solve the $1.2 trillion

student debt problem, but I would really like to see them look at

the elephant in the room. Setting a maximum ratio administration to

faculty (for example, one administrator for three faculty members)

in all the public colleges and universities would go a long way in

helping solve the problem.

— ODILE AYRAL

PROFESSOR EMERITA

CAL POLY


MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

@kurt&shelley

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).

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 23


| IN BOX

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This photo was taken in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe,

Africa. This is the same park that Cecil the Lion was lured

from and shot. We were on safari for three days there and got

familiar with some of the locals’ response to that situation.

Lions, elephants, leopards, zebra, and giraffe were all seen and

photographed. Disclosure: no animals were harmed in the safaris

in our group.

— JOE SHEPARD

24 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


VENICE, ITALY

GORKHIT TERELJ NATIONAL PARK IN MONGOLIA

Marylou Gooden & Diana Barnhart

Send your photo to info@slolifemagazine.com

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 25


| IN BOX

SLO LIFE on tour

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28 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


| VIEW

Hauntingly

Familiar

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TRINI SCHULTZ

The path between San Francisco and her home in

Orange County became well-worn during the

few years that she accompanied her husband on

his business road trips. And because the couple

brought their dog along for the ride, they had to

be strategic when it came to their stops. It just so

happens that the dog park at Laguna Lake in San

Luis Obispo was almost exactly midway.

It was a late October afternoon, and a gentle but brisk wind was

ushering in the night, when the photographer dropped down to her

knees to rub her dog’s belly. Something in the distance caught her

eye, and she looked up to see an expansive, seemingly never-ending

meadow. An idea sprang forth, and she ran to the car where she

scooped up her Canon 5D Mark II, a tripod, a black cocktail dress,

and a sheer bit of black fabric. “I went into the bathroom there and

quickly changed into my dress because the light was just perfect,”

she chuckles at the memory. After a quick set up, she began posing,

snapping away with a remote control hidden in her right hand. To

get the shot she was hoping to capture, she enlisted the help of her

husband who held the black fabric draped around her face and head

into the wind. Schultz shot as quickly as she could in a race against

the darkness.

Although she was not exactly sure how the end product would

turn out, Schultz, who specializes in surrealism—her art is typically

identified by long, flowing fabric—had an idea for how to make it

special. It was not until she sat down at her computer and powered

up her Photoshop software that she realized that the fabric could

be made to morph into smoke. After many hours painstakingly

combining the two elements, she came up with the piece you see

here, which she titles, “Spirits in the Black Mist.” The spookiness

of the composition certainly does lend itself to this time of the year

when trick-or-treaters commandeer the streets of the Central Coast

in search of Kit-Kats and Butterfingers, but for Schultz it represents

a completion of a round trip artistic journey. “I started off as a painter,

my grandfather was a painter, but then I took a photography class

in college. This was before digital. I loved it so much that we built

a darkroom at my house,” she explains. “But, when I look at my

work now, it’s familiar in some odd way from the days when I was

painting; and I’ve realized recently that I took this big trip, but now

I’m right back to where I started.” SLO LIFE

It was a late October afternoon, and a gentle

but brisk wind was ushering in the night...

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 29


| TIMELINE

Around the County

AUGUST ‘15

8/16

Wearing no more than a Speedo, a swim cap, and a pair of

goggles, San Luis Obispo resident Dave Van Mouwerik

became the first person on record to swim across the

Estero Bay. Beginning in China Harbor, north of Cayucos,

the 57-year-old arrived in Montaña de Oro’s Spooner’s

Cove just over eight hours later to a round of applause

from family and friends. A boat, the Bonnie Marietta, had

accompanied Van Mouwerik for the 14.4-mile journey,

and his sons, Adam, 21, and Kyle, 24, dove in to swim

alongside their dad for the final stretch.

8/16

Motorists passing over the Cuesta Grade called in to report three separate fires

burning at the side of the road. A swift initial response including ten fire engines, four

aircraft, and two bulldozers, played a role in limiting the damage. After parts of Santa

Margarita were evacuated, the 2,500-acre fire was finally extinguished two weeks later

with the round-the-clock efforts of nearly 2,000 firefighters. It was later determined

that the source of the fire was a chain dragging from behind a trailer.

8/19

Cal Poly announced that it had finally settled its case

with a bankruptcy attorney over the sign hanging above

the scoreboard at its football stadium. Under the terms

of the agreement, the university must return $480,000 of

the $625,000 it had received from Al Moriarty, who was

convicted in 2014 of defrauding over 170 local investors

out of $22 million in an illicit Ponzi scheme. The

presence of the signage had been a source of ongoing

friction between the community and the university.

8/24

In a move that no one saw coming, HomeFed, a Carslbad-based developer, terminated its

agreement with the Port San Luis Harbor District to construct the highly anticipated Harbor

Terrace campground project. Stating in a letter that the soils at the site were unfavorable—despite

having possession of the soils reports prior to bidding on the job—the unexpected move leaves

many questions for HomeFed’s nearby Wild Cherry Canyon property [turn to page 62 for more].

Later that same week, the Harbor District’s Board of Commissioners, by a 3-2 vote, opted to not

renew its contract with Harbor Manager Steve McGrath

8/27

The San Luis Obispo Planning Commission began reviewing plans for Avila Ranch, a

700-home development on the south end of town, near the airport between Buckley Road

and Vachell Lane. Along with housing, the 150-acre area will also feature 35,000 square feet

of commercial space. Opponents argue that the already congested Broad Street and South

Higuera corridors cannot handle existing traffic, let alone the massive additional demands that

will come as a result of the new development. The environmental impact report, which will also

research probable traffic impacts, will be released later this year.

30 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


8/29

Elinor Dempsey of Los Osos was sitting in the water waiting for a wave at

Atascadero Beach (or “A-Beach” as it is known to locals) just north of Morro Rock

when a great white shark came along and took a 14-inch bite out of her surfboard.

The shark—later estimated between 13 and 15 feet long—was the latest of a

summer filled with encounters by Central Coast surfers. The 54-year-old Dempsey,

who briefly received international media attention following the attack, returned to

the water a month later with a brand new board.

SEPTEMBER ‘15

9/3

In the latest update of its Master Plan, Cal Poly revealed that it had dropped

the idea of building an on-campus hotel and conference center, postponed

the decision on year-round school, and opted to leave the arboretum in

place. The university also said that it will not develop any of the agricultural

land around the Highland Drive entrance. Although Cal Poly President Jeff

Armstrong continues to envision growing the student body to 25,000—up

from current enrollment of 20,xxx—he revealed that the university’s goal is

to house 65% of them on campus. Since there are just 7,500 beds on campus

now, the total will have to more than double to meet that objective.

9/11 . 9/16 . 9/18

A string of brutal attacks took place in September near the Cal Poly

campus. On the 11th, Derrick Moore, 25, of Atascadero randomly

attacked a 20-year-old woman by first attempting to disable her

with a Taser while entering her apartment on Foothill Boulevard.

The woman then fought him off with a small knife attached to her

key chain. Moore was later apprehended on suspicion of attempted

murder. On Wednesday night, the 16th, a 21-year-old student

was able to fight off an assailant who jumped from the bushes and

attempted to pin her down on the sidewalk as she was walking to her

home on Fredericks Street. Then, that Friday the 18th, Jay Hernandez,

a student at Cuesta College from the Central Valley, stabbed two Cal

Poly students in front of Mustang Village following a party.

9/12

Pozo-based organic farmer Eric Michielssen

announced his candidacy for the County Board of

Supervisors. Identifying himself as a “moderate,

middle-of-the-road guy,” Michielssen explained

that it was Debbie Arnold’s vote in favor of the

Las Pilitas rock quarry—despite widespread

public uproar—that motivated him to throw his

hat in the ring. The race for the 5th District, a

geographically massive although mostly rural

area, is expected to be hotly contested for which

the outcome will likely have significant implications

for the county.

9/22

Following the firing of Police Chief Steve Gesell in May, the

revolving door at San Luis Obispo’s City Hall continues to turn as

City Clerk Anthony Mejia announced that he is leaving after just

two years in that role. His predecessor, Maeve Grimes, lasted less

than a year. The news came shortly after the resignation of Finance

Director Wayne Padilla, who began his tenure in January 2013.

Padilla was the third person in as many years to fill the role. City

staff reports indicate that the trend is accelerating: in the ten years

from 2001 to 2011, the attrition rate was 8.5%. It rose to 10% in

2012; 19% in 2013; and 32% in 2014. SLO LIFE

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 31


| Q&A

Downtown with Dom

Two years ago, DOMINIC TARTAGLIA was installed as the new Executive Director

of the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association following several years of volunteer

service to the organization. We spent one recent afternoon getting to know him…

Tell us about yourself, Dom. Well, I’m fifth

generation here in San Luis Obispo. Tartaglia

is a Swiss-Italian name. Our family has had

a ranch off Stenner Creek Road since before

Cal Poly was out there. My upbringing has

always been about ranch life. So, growing up

as a kid it was all about raising animals and

hauling hay and driving trucks and hunting.

When I was a student at Cal Poly I could

literally just hop the fence and be right there

on campus and to class. It definitely wasn’t

the typical college experience.

How does having those long-time roots

affect your perspective? I feel like it

gives me more responsibility to be a good

steward of the community, and to ensure

we remember where San Luis came from;

and never forgetting that, because that is

what makes the character of our town so

special. I’ve listened to the stories from the

days when we had a dairy on our ranch and

my dad would drive the truck in with my

great-grandmother to deliver the milk to

The Creamery on Higuera, back when it was

actually a creamery where they made butter.

I look at those buildings now, and it’s just

totally different, but in some ways the culture,

the spirit, is still the same.

You’ve always been active in community

service. Where does that come from? I had

a really traumatic car accident when I was in

high school that totally changed my life. I

was 17 and we were on a ski trip through the

YMCA, on our way up to Tahoe. We were in

an 8-passenger van that was sideswiped about

an hour north of Kettleman City on I-5. The

guy, we learned later, was under the influence

and going 110-miles-per-hour while trying

to pass us on the median. He overcorrected

and hit us. I lost two of my friends. I was the

only person to walk away from the accident.

Everyone else was in the hospital. That will

really change a person’s life. It will really

teach you to appreciate every moment. I

guess that’s why I tend to gravitate more

toward extreme sports—rock climbing and

mountain biking, right now I’m training for a

100-mile ultramarathon—in all those sports

you really have to be in that moment. But,

mostly it’s taught me a lot about giving back

to other people.

How do you look back on the accident?

I’ve always believed that there’s a higher

purpose to life. Since then, I’ve been active in

volunteering and also with search and rescue.

Any time there is an opportunity to help

somebody, that’s what I want to do. I think

that came from being there with the first

responders at that accident; I’ve never met

them and never seen them since, but they

were there helping. How they treated me

made a lasting impression in my life. I stayed

conscious through the entire accident, so I

could feel the van rolling and flipping and

the triage afterward. It was horrible and I’ll

never forget it, but I’ve tried to find the good

in it. Service to people is what I think I’m

supposed to do. I always think back to the

Rotary motto, “Service above self.”

Before we let you go, talk to us about the

Vision Plan recently completed for the

Thursday Night Farmers’ Market. What

sort of changes can we expect to see?

One of the big concepts we’re exploring

and thinking about as a solution in light

of crowding at the Market is to expand on

the side streets to relieve some congestion

and create new attractions. Instead of

having everything on Higuera Street, we

can have it there as it always has been, plus

we can utilize the side streets. Currently,

we’re testing the concept once a month on

Garden Street as it turns into “STEAM

Alley” where we feature exhibits and

activities focusing on Science, Technology,

Engineering, Art, and Math. By keeping

everything going down Higuera Street

only, we’re not really utilizing the square

footage that we have to work with. Instead

of creating a space where people get stuck

and end up feeling claustrophobic, if we can

spread it out a little bit and create a little

more room, I think it will make for a better

experience. We’re working on it piece by

piece. It will be an iterative process, but that

is where the vision is taking us. SLO LIFE

32 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 33


| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

DEALING

HOPE

It was a turbulent childhood that led JEREMY BATES down a familiar path, but it all came

crashing down in an instant. In that moment he made a choice to not repeat the cycle, and

a period of intense self-reflection followed. He now travels the world sharing his story, and

teaching others how to change their own patterns. Recently, Bates and his wife, Shannon, along

with their two sons, Jordan, 14, and Justus, 8, have returned to the Central Coast after two years

of travel and have planted roots in Arroyo Grande. Here is his story…

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAN KING

34 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 35


36 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


get my kid to run through a wall when I can’t even get him to clean

his room?” I don’t know where it comes from. We had a bunch of kids

that I kind of used the medium of what they love, which happened to

be basketball, to teach life skills that I thought were important. So we

talked about communication, discipline, teamwork, commitment, you

know, and so, when I look back at the idea of inspiring people, that’s

really where it started. It was more like, “Let me teach you about life

through this thing that we love.” So, I did that for seven years.

It must have been around this time that you met your wife. Actually,

Shannon and I went to high school together at Morro Bay, but we

didn’t really hang out in the same group. But we both started working

for the City of Morro Bay. I always thought she was just fake. I’d say

to myself, “Nobody’s that nice, she’s just fake.” So when we worked

together, we would be friendly toward each other but I thought she

was a fake and she thought I was an ass. [laughter] And then one day

it was her birthday and she commented that nobody had ever taken

her to a nice dinner. Out of the blue, I said, “I’ll take you.” So, we

sat down at dinner and talked for something like three or four hours

straight. I remember after leaving the restaurant and saying to myself,

“Dang, maybe I was wrong about this girl.”

o, Jeremy, tell us where you’re

from. I grew up in Long Beach. For the first nearly 12 years of my

life I was pretty much in my mom’s care once her and my dad split

up. My mom had kids when she was 16 and 18 and never had any

education or job experience. She just went down this crazy path

of self-destruction and using these crutches that she learned early

on to deal with the baggage that she had. So, growing up in that

life while she’s trying to provide some sort of stability, you’re in all

these crazy situations, you know; which was six different elementary

schools in seven years while she followed her addiction around. And

her relationships were unhealthy, abusive in a lot of different ways.

When I was eleven-and-a-half, I got moved up to Los Osos to be

with my dad.

How did the move affect you? She blamed us for the trouble that she

was in. So, I’ve got trust issues; I’ve got abandonment issues; selfworth

issues—wondering am I the problem in all this? But the saving

grace once I moved was sports and music. So, when I moved up here,

life started to become kind of normal because of my stepmom, who

is a family and marriage therapist. When I was in middle school in

Los Osos—I’ll never forget it—a man named John Alston came and

spoke at our school for a leadership program and he told me, “I see

something special in you. I don’t know what it is, but you have a gift.”

Ironically, years later I got my first big break doing a keynote address

because John had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor and I was

asked to fill in for him at the last minute.

So, what happened? She came into my life during the perfect storm

in my world that changed everything. I would not have described

myself as an honorable man at this point. I had a girlfriend then, and

I was dating my boss’ secretary, and had another girl that I was with.

And they all found out about one another, so they called each other

and set-up a firing squad meeting, like an intervention, for me to walk

into. Afterward I booked an appointment with a psychologist, but he

said I was just suffering from depression and that he wanted to put

me on Paxil. I was like, “No, I don’t believe in using Western medicine

in that way. I’m not going to. I’m going to get to the root cause of

this. I’m going to do the work.” So, I quit seeing him and would go to

work, come home and read and contemplate; read and contemplate. I

started doing a lot of writing. I did a lot of songwriting, too. But the

biggest thing to come out of it was that I made a commitment to not

lie to myself any more. I realized that while I was growing up, telling

people—including myself—what they wanted to hear was a great tool,

a great survival mechanism.

So, in essence, you hunkered down and started studying yourself?

Yes, exactly. I went through a very intensive due diligence process

trying to find out who I was, and why I was acting in this way. I kind

of did that soul searching that nobody wants to do because it’s so

painful. My behavior did not extend to drugs or alcohol, instead it had

manifested in my personal relationships, which meant cheating on the

girlfriends that I had. I realized during this process that here I am,

wanting something different than where I came from, but I’m doing

everything that was going to put me on exactly the same path as my

mom. During this time, I came across one of my favorite quotes:

“I live in a place that everybody hates, yet nobody seems to leave.”

What answers did you find? I already knew all the answers. I just

didn’t incorporate them into my world. I tell young people all the

I tell young people all the time, “If you lie to me, that’s no big deal because

I’m going to find out; but if you lie to yourself, that’s a serious issue.”

So, what did you want to do with your life? I wanted to be a college

basketball coach. So, I started coaching high school basketball after

I graduated. I became the head freshman coach at Morro Bay High

when I was 19, and was the varsity coach at 21. It consumed so much

of my life that I dropped out of college at Cal Poly. But, we won our

first championship in 25 years. Even as a young kid, as I was going

through my own issues, I’d have these parents say to me, “How can you

time, “If you lie to me, that’s no big deal because I’m going to find out;

but if you lie to yourself, that’s a serious issue.” But I do know that

when we’re closed off and we cover our heart up and we walk around

with this image of who we’re supposed to be, it is very difficult to find

your true path. And the more that I can strip down that façade in life,

the more it becomes apparent where I’m supposed to be and how I’m

supposed to be. So, when my mind would want to make-up excuses

>>

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 37


about why I was doing this stuff. I would say, “No, that’s an excuse.”

And the minute that you start to get weak is the minute you have to

sit there another hour in silence. Deep down I wanted to take pride

again. There were certainly things that I was proud of through my

coaching and all that stuff. But character-wise, I wanted to be proud

of myself, proud of me as a man. I wanted to do this and I wanted to

do it for me, by me. I wanted to experience this in a way that when I

looked back, I could say, “You know what? I had courage to change,

and I didn’t run.”

What was it like coming out on the other side? I had just gone

through all this, and began spending time with Shannon. I was just

bleeding my heart out. I’m like, “Listen, I know what I’ve done and

this is how I want it to be.” And she would look at me and be like,

“Try to sell this stuff to someone else.” I’ve always had that gift of

knowing how it’s supposed to be, but I never really had the courage

to live it. That had changed. She was the person that I was so lucky to

encounter at that time in my life. And I was incredibly fortunate that

she was kind enough to give me a chance. But, when we first started

seeing each other people would say, “Girl, why are you with this guy?

You know what’s going to happen.” Her dad was a lieutenant at the

Morro Bay Police Department at the time, and when he found out

that we were dating he pulled me aside and said, “When you hurt my

daughter, I will come find you. Not if. But when you do this, I will

find you.”

Eventually you proved yourself. You were married, had kids…

When we had our first child on the way, frankly, I needed to make

more money. I got a job in drug and alcohol prevention. By the time

I was 28, I was running a school-based drug and alcohol prevention

program called Friday Night Live. My son was two-and-a-half, and I

started to realize that I was being a hypocrite. Here I was promoting

education to all these young people when I hadn’t finished college

myself. So, I went back to Cal Poly and asked the Dean of Liberal

Arts, “How do I get back in?” They let me enroll under academic

probation. I had to get a 3.75 GPA or higher, which I had never done

before. I took my family with me for a summer immersion program in

Mexico and came back with the idea to write a manifesto for evolution

in our country. My senior project adviser said, “It’s too big. Focus on

something you know.” So, I wrote a paper on revolutionizing the way

that we deal with drug and alcohol prevention. After I graduated,

I started presenting the paper around the state through my job and

people were telling me, “Wow, this is amazing! I love the content. I

love the way you present.” So, I started thinking to myself that maybe

I can go out and, you know, shake the world in this way.

That was the beginning? Yes, that’s how it started. I started my own

business, Revolution Speak. When I got out there, people started

seeing how much different it was when I was presenting than other

people, because it’s not preachy. I have kids all the time that will come

up afterward and just be like, “I feel like you’re a friend up there that’s

talking and I just want to keep listening to for hours.” There’s no

judgment behind it. It was never my place to come in and try and be

like, “If you’re living this way, let me show you the right way.” Instead

it was, “Let’s just have a conversation about the way that you roll and

see if you think it’s going to get you to the place that you want be.

And if not, then let’s have an honest conversation about some of those

things that you want to change because you’re either going to have to

change your expectation for where you want to end up, or you’re going

to have to change your behaviors.” With that approach my business

just blew up right away.

What is it that you think resonates so well with young people? It’s

more of this holistic message. Instead of scaring you into making

different choices, I’m there to help you rethink the way that you

see yourself; and maybe help you realize that the way that you do

look at yourself is based on some perceptions that you have that

somebody’s passed on to you that aren’t true; maybe it’s based

on the baggage that we carry from home. It’s a brief opportunity

to change your perception before we send you back home to the

same craziness that you came from; otherwise there is no space for

them to see any other path. And so, I try with my programs just to

create an environment that doesn’t exist outside those little walls of

wherever you are, and just try to strip things down in a way where

I can challenge you deeply, those most deeply held beliefs about

who you are, and the potential that you have, or the way life is. And

hopefully in an hour, get you to start to wash away some of those

things. And help you realize that the only thing that we have to

go off of, is the current state of who we are—not the past, not the

future—just right now.

But, how does this stuff work? Okay, sure. You have a reticular

activating system whose sole function is to find things in your

environment to reinforce what you believe to be true. So, if I

want to have a certain perspective of, say, “Oh, that guy Tom

is an ass.” Any time I see you, my brain is going to be looking

for things to support what I believe to be true. So the question

becomes, “How do I become better than my brain?” I can at least

38 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


We all smile in the

same language.

be more intentful when I start to process between stimulus and

response. They say that’s where greatness happens—that little

space between stimulus and response. Instead of doing what

comes naturally and just reacting with your biases, you can say to

yourself, “Wait, hold-up!” and make a choice with some intent.

If you want to start to make changes in your life there’s a science

behind it that you cannot get around.

Okay… So, you put all that stuff together and you happen to be

a kid trying to do great things in your life, but you’re hopeless

because of the situation you come from. Your dad has been telling

you that you’re not worth anything your whole life and your mom

left you for some other family, so your reticular activating system,

the seat of consciousness in your brain, is reinforcing for you how

much the world doesn’t care about you. So you find those negative

relationships, you surround yourself with the wrong kinds of people.

It’s this thing where your baggage creates habits, which then creates

environments. In other words, the baggage that you carry creates

your habits, which then finds environments that are conducive to

carrying around those bags. So wherever you are in life, you look at

the environment you’re in currently, and it was created by the habits

that you’ve had which was created by the baggage you carry.

This all sounds good, Jeremy, but can you give us a real-world >>

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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 39


example? We carry around this computer that is so powerful. It can

harm us or help us. So it becomes a matter of becoming disciplined

enough to want to do the work to catch yourself in those moments

between stimulus and response. But, okay, here’s an example: When

my wife goes to Las Vegas with her girlfriends and doesn’t pick up the

phone when I call her, the very first thing I think is, “Oh, she went

to Vegas because she’s cheating on me. I knew it! I knew it! I’m not

worth it to her. I knew it!” But then before I get all crazy and start

sending her frantic text messages, I say to myself, “Hold-up, hold-up!

No, this is not that woman. I have to make a different choice.” And in

that moment I have chosen to not repeat the cycle that was brought

on by my baggage. The other option is to be like my mom who has

been married four times and lost contact with both of her kids and

doesn’t know any of her grandkids.

people are seeking. I think the world is screaming for authenticity,

which is why I tell my story. And the more I do that, the more people

realize that they’re not alone. I think that’s one of the greatest gifts

that we can give people. But what do we do? We try to pretend that

it’s not happening. We get on Facebook and present something that

is not true, not real. We look for ways to promote ourselves in some

way that’s not really honest a lot of the times, and it comes at the

expense of losing out on real conversations and gaining real knowledge

and experiences based on peoples’ lives that we try to pretend never

happened. I tell kids all the time that life will always change as long as

you give it a chance to. That’s why I’m just as vulnerable as I would ask

them to be, and I’ll be as authentic as I can be in sharing my story and

shortcomings of who I am and how I’m trying to change. And if you

judge me, I can’t control that. And maybe that’s inspiring enough

I think the world is screaming for authenticity, which is why I tell my

story. And the more I do that, the more people realize that they’re not

alone. I think that’s one of the greatest gifts that we can give people.

Okay, I’m with you. But how do you get his message across to a

teenager? By being real, by being authentic. Look, I spent the first 24

years of my life worrying about being judged, and the minute that I

lost that fear and started to show people who I really was, that’s when,

all of a sudden, the light came on and I realized that this is what

for a kid to say, “I want to be a little more like that.” I ask people all

the time, “Do you hear me or do you feel me?” And if you just hear me,

then we have problems. Nine times out of ten they’ll say, “No, I feel

you because it’s not just something you’re saying. This is something of

who you are—this is real.” SLO LIFE

40 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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| ON THE RISE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Natalie Sada

Sixteen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School junior, NATALIE

SADA, shares her passion for gymnastics and social equality.

What sort of extra-curricular activities are you involved in? I am a member of the

National Honors Society, the San Luis Obispo High School Gay Straight Alliance

(GSA), and the Large Hydron Collider physics club. I also have competed on the Central

Coast Acrobatics Team for five years, which is a competitive traveling acrobatic gymnastics

program based out of Central Coast Gymnastics. I volunteer at the San Luis Obispo

Public Library, and recently finished a volunteer Madrichim (teacher’s helper) Program at

Congregation Beth David last spring.

What recognition have you received? I received the Mayor’s award for eighty hours

of community service last year. In 2014, my trio won first place at State, Regionals,

and eventually Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky for Level 7 of Acrobatic Gymnastics.

Last year, I placed first at State and fourth at Nationals for Level 7 at Nationals in

Greensboro, North Carolina. I also received the Golden Tiger award from SLO High

for recognition in Honors English and for being in the top ten of my class my freshman

and sophomore year.

What are your interests? My sophomore year, I took an art history class at the high

school, which helped me discover my passion for the subject. I am now considering a

career path involving art history, and would like to pursue it, whether as a major or minor,

in college. I also dedicate around thirteen hours a week to acrobatic gymnastics.

What do you want people to know about you? I am passionate about social justice, and

being a part of the GSA has influenced me to try to educate others about those who

are often silenced and unable to speak up for themselves. I am a member of the Jewish

Congregation Beth David, which advocates tikkun olam, or literally, humanity’s duty to

heal and repair the world through community service and social action.

If you could go back in history and meet anyone, who would it be? I would love to

meet Walter Gropius, leader of the Bauhaus art movement. Bauhaus is a minimalistic,

functional art style that unites creativity with mass production. It is one of my favorite

periods of art history, and Gropius had such a vision and direction in his artistic

movement that makes it still relevant today.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Hopefully, I will have received my bachelor’s and

master’s in art history, and either be curating a major national or international art museum

or doing art research and restoration for the impressionist and post-impressionist eras.

What do you dislike the most? I dislike arrogance and laziness. I think that it is very

important to remain humble and even more important to stay motivated and optimistic

about life.

What is going on with you now? Right now I am juggling four AP classes with the

beginning of our new season of acrobatic gymnastics, as well as starting a club called

Philanthropists of Wall Street. I am also applying to an internship for art history at the

Smithsonian next summer and still actively participating in the GSA.

What schools are you considering for college? I mainly am looking at public schools in

California, and currently, my top choice is UCLA. I love the campus, culture of the school,

and the city of Los Angeles itself. SLO LIFE

Know a student On the Rise?

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42 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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805.543.4366

blakeslee-blakeslee.com

San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles – Santa Maria

Member FINRA & SIPC

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 43


| OUT AND ABOUT

WINE REGION

HARVEST

I’ve been called a summer girl. I love summertime. I love the long evenings, the days at the lake, beach

or any body of water. I love pretty much everything about summer. But as much as I embrace the

season of sunshine, I think fall could be my favorite. Especially on the Central Coast.

BY JEANETTE TROMPETER

The signs of the season here may not be as obvious as other areas of the country,

but they’re out there, and they’re worth taking notice. If you venture out to any winery in the

area, it’s obvious when fall is in full swing. Harvest season means growers are hustling to get

grapes off the vine at just the right time. And with each varietal hitting peak at different times, it

means they’re busy for weeks.

“So, we started on August 20th and will go until about November 15th, depending on the

temperatures,” says Paul Hoover, owner of StillWater Vineyards in the El Pomar region. “Our

latest varietal that we harvest here is our Cabernet Franc, and my wife usually wants it harvested

before Thanksgiving. I try, but the weather makes that decision. It does look like this year we

may get it done in time for her to be happy.”

Hoover likes to let Mother Nature handle refrigeration during harvest. That means taking

advantage of cool nights and getting grapes to bins long before sun-up. Afternoons are spent

pressing grapes and preparing the vines that will be picked the next

day. They do that by clearing leaves so crews are picking only ripe

and ready fruit in the dark wee hours of the morning.

JEANETTE TROMPETER,

KSBY News anchor and

reporter, hosts the “Out and

About with JT” series every

Tuesday evening at 6pm.

“And then we have just grapes going into the trays, into the bins and

into the wine. So that way we don’t have any leaves coming into the

winery. No leaves in the wine, ‘cuz it changes the flavor,” says Hoover.

It is a labor of love for local vintners like Hoover, which is why

Harvest Wine Weekend in October is such a big deal to them. “It’s

our celebration about everything about the vine. About this entire

year that has been spent on this vintage,” says Christopher Taranto

of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

StillWater will join about 150 other wineries hosting events

October 16-18 designed to draw you out to pay a visit throughout

Paso Robles’ Wine Country. Barbecues, grape stomps, educational

seminars, sit-down dinners—unique opportunities at each stop.

“Especially to the personality of that winery,” says

Taranto. “So if they’re into cars, or if they’re really

into education, then they’re going to let those things

shine out of their personalities.”

And harvest doesn’t end when the grapes are off

the vines. Farmers will be picking olives through

Christmastime. They’re work may not be quite done,

but barring a curve ball from Mother Nature, they

have a pretty good sense of what the 2015 vintage

will bring.

“The quality of this year is good. The problem is

the quantity,” says Hoover. Because of the drought,

sustainable growers like Hoover cut back a lot of

their production, so what they do produce is healthy.

Hoover says Cabernet and Syrahs are probably

50% light in most wine grape-growing regions. He

says it’s pretty much the situation statewide this

year, and so what is harvested this year is in high

demand. “Everybody is scrambling to get what fruit

is available, and what we have to offer is good.”

Fall on the Central Coast, it’s a little more subtle than

other places in the country, but it’s pretty spectacular.

So find a place to park yourself and take note,

whether that’s soaking up the sunshine in a beautiful

open space, cooling down in the shade of ancient oak

trees, or heading to the beach to watch the diamonds

of sunshine from the low hanging sun over the water.

There are magic moments to be savored in the weeks

ahead, so take full advantage. SLO LIFE

44 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


No Bars. No Springs. No Sagging

748 Marsh Street @ Garden Street | Downtown SLO

SanLuisTraditions.com | 805.541.8500

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 45


| NOW HEAR THIS

MUSIC SCENE

EAGER SEAS

Centuries after Shakespeare’s Juliet pondered, “What’s in a name?”

local band Eager Seas is considering the same question.

For the past ten years, Eager Seas

has performed as Lakes. They released albums,

toured, gained a fan base, and created a name

for themselves locally and beyond. But recently,

that name began to cause confusion. Lead singer

Seth Roberts explains, “We were on tour last

year, and we realized that there were a lot of

other bands coming out with the name Lakes

or variations of it. At South by Southwest, for

example, there were three bands named Lakes.”

“We wrestled with what to do,” he continues,

“and long-term it just made the most sense to

change our name.”

Eager Seas plans to re-release their three

Lakes albums under the new name. They’re

also recording a new album at 20 West

Studios in Paso Robles with a release date

in early 2016. Roberts says, “We’re taking

time off from live shows and focusing on the

album. We want it to be, by far, better than

anything we’ve done before.”

46 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015

Roberts concludes, “We’ve seen so many people

who have stopped playing music, who have

stopped pursuing what they love. It’s given

us perspective.” Keyboardist Matt Covington

says, “As life keeps getting busier and more

complicated, we keep making time to get

together and create new music.” “For us,” says

Roberts, “it’s all about continuing to have a

creative outlet and making music that feels fresh

and new. But at this point, we really don’t have

goals of major success—we’ve already succeeded

because we keep doing what we love, and we

keep doing it together.”

What does it mean for Eager Seas to record

an album that’s better than anything they’ve

done before? “Well, we changed our name,” says

Roberts, “so in some ways we have already begun

re-defining ourselves. Now, we’re trying to look

at our music differently, too. The new album

will have more rock energy—it’s a little more

experimental. We’re breaking some of the rules

that we’ve defined for ourselves throughout the

past ten years.” Bassist Jeremy Wells adds, “A lot

of bands talk about how they look forward to

their new album. We are no different.” SLO LIFE

One thing is for certain: whether as Lakes or

Eager Seas, the band will continue to sound as

sweet, especially because they do what they love

and love what they do.

BY DAWN JANKE

After ten years together, the members of Eager Seas are looking forward

to the new, but they’re also holding fast to the old. “Our biggest influence

right now is the music we grew up with,” says Roberts. Guitarist Jacob

Wick adds, “There is a sense of nostalgia to the new music we have been

writing—something familiar and reminiscent.” Roberts explains, “Jeremy

keeps going back to his punk roots with Green Day and Bad Religion. On

our new album, we’re referencing alternative ‘90s stuff like Weezer, the

Rentals, Jimmy Eat World. ” He continues, “Realistically we don’t listen to

those bands anymore, but they’re a big part of our story, and we really want

to harness that moment and put it into our new music.”

The Eager Seas story began well before the band formed in 2005. All four

members grew up together in the local music community. “The local music

scene in the late ‘90s and early 2000s was really cool,” says Roberts. “Before

social media,” he continues, “we all came together through music. We would

decide on Monday to play a show on Friday, and there would be like 400

kids there. It was just what everyone did.”

And while things have changed in the music industry since they were

younger, one thing has not changed for the members of Eager Seas: their

bond. “When we were younger,” says Roberts, “we had these dreams and

goals of making it big, and I think that at this point we are more excited

that we can just play music together as best friends.” Drummer Teddy

Ramirez agrees, “It’s an honor playing, working, and writing with some of

my best friends.” Wick adds, “These guys are like brothers to me. We have

a loyalty to each other that is very hard to find. We have all been through

a lot together, and it’s proving to have a strong impact on the outcome of

how we write music.”

DAWN JANKE, Director,

University Writing & Rhetoric

Center Cal Poly, keeps her

pulse on the Central Coast

music scene.


Check out www.eagerseas.com for updates on their new album.

Matt Covington (keys, vocals)

Teddy Ramirez (drums)

Seth Roberts (guitar, vocals)

Jeremy Wells (bass, vocals)

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 47

Jacob Wick (guitar, vocals)


| DWELLING

LOVE NEST

Not one to sit and wait around, Jeff Wolcott built his retreat for the life he wanted.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TREVOR POVAH

48 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 49


2002, around the time that his general

contractor was called to another job never to

return, Jeff Wolcott was working full-time as

a concrete contractor by day and building his

dream home by night. When friends would

stop by to check on his progress, Wolcott,

who had been divorced two years prior,

quipped wryly, “I’m building a nest; I just

don’t know who my mama bird will be.”

50 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015In

Mama bird, as it turns out, would be a

long-time friend, who had been widowed

four years earlier. “Life was pretty crazy,”

remembers Wolcott. “I was working my tail

off and then I threw all of my emotions

in there by falling in love in the middle of

it.” It’s a good thing, too, because the nest

needed a woman’s touch, as the interior was

“three shades of white” before Cindy flew in.


Seemingly overnight, everything about the

home, as well as the bachelor’s life, went from

monochrome to Technicolor just like the old

Wizard of Oz movie. The couple’s first date

was in August, where Jeff ruminated over

buying a particular sink (she convinced him

to do it), by December they were engaged,

and married by May. “One of my longtime

friends said, ‘Don’t you want to wait and see

what sort of baggage he has?’ I just laughed

and told her, ‘I’ve known him for 30 years, so

I kind of know what his baggage is.’”

The couple had decided to tie the knot

midway through an Alaskan cruise. During

one of the stops, they were picked up by a

limo and taken to a garden where nuptials

were exchanged. Afterward, they asked the

limo driver to take them to the “funkiest

dive bar in town.” That night The Red Dog

Saloon, and its unsuspecting patrons—most

of them burly Alaskan backwoodsmen—

hosted the Wolcotts for their first night out

during what is now a twelve-year marriage.

Cindy describes the scene, “I walk in with

a blue wedding dress, and Jeff was in a tux.

There is sawdust on the floor; the music >>

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 51


stops, and everyone turns and just stares at

us. We ended up having the best time.” Jeff

rubs his chin and offers, “I figured that if she

could handle that, we were going to get long

just fine.”

Slowly but surely, the Wolcott’s house

became a home. Jeff, who had spent his

career bringing concrete to life in many

of the Central Coast’s finest buildings,

took mental notes along the way. Soon his

own home was filled with museum-quality

stained and polished concrete floors. And,

the walk-in shower he had come across

during one job was replicated in the master

bathroom. Despite the luxurious touches

here and there, the home is warm and

comfortable, both figuratively and literally.

Underfoot upstairs, embedded within a

two-inch layer of concrete, winds an intricate

webbing of plastic hot water tubing that

makes up the radiant floor heating system.

Since it is set at 69 degrees throughout

the year, it automatically kicks on during a >>

52 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 53


chilly morning. And, clerestory windows—

architecture-speak for windows placed

above eyelevel—effectively serve as an air

conditioning system. During most days,

the windows are opened with a special pole

and the rising warm air is vacuumed out,

which creates a gentle, almost imperceptible

interior breeze as the heat transfers from

floor to ceiling. Best of all, the entire system

costs less than $100 per month to operate

with the Wolcott’s natural gas bill averaging

$50 and another $40 for electricity. And,

water for the garden comes courtesy of

a 1,200-gallon tank in the backyard that

anchors the rain catchment system. All the

water that falls on to the metal roof, as well

as the driveway, becomes irrigation, so the

water bill is also microscopic.

The two-story home features 950 square feet

upstairs and 1,100 square feet downstairs—

mostly comprised of a guest suite and Jeff ’s

office. The living space, for the most part,

is upstairs. And, it really does feel like a

nest, as thoughtful placement of windows

encircle the unusually shaped custom home

(the perimeter was dictated by the setback

requirements of the odd-sized lot), and looks >>

54 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


Buying or selling a

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444 Higuera Street, 3rd Floor, San Luis Obispo, Ca 93401

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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 55


out onto a wide diversity of trees and vines

found throughout the quarter-acre property.

Because of its seclusion, the home off Ella

Street adjacent to

French Hospital in

San Luis Obispo, it

would be difficult

to know that it is

just five blocks from

downtown. Wildlife

abounds, and, Jeff,

an avid bow hunter

and outdoorsman,

has trapped

TREVOR POVAH is an

architectural photographer and relocated a

here on the Central Coast.

“dozen-and-axxx

half ” raccoons “during the past couple of

years alone” only to find them return to

partake of more of their dog’s kibble. “I’ve

set them out as far as Price Canyon, but they

always return,” Jeff marvels as he shares the

photographic evidence to prove it. “I put one

out in Santa Margarita and he turned around

and started running toward San Luis. He

just about beat me home.”

It’s not just the raccoons that want to be

home. “Each morning before we headed off

to work, we’d say, ‘Okay, have a good day.

I’ll meet you at the chiminea at 4 o’clock,’”

Cindy points across the patio. Mrs. Wolcott,

who had worked at MidState/Rabobank

for 32 years, retired this summer in tandem

with her husband. As the couple prepares

their 5th wheel trailer for an extended stay

in the Boulder, Colorado area where all five

of their grandchildren now live, Cindy, an

avid bird lover shares, “It’s not for everybody,

because the house is small. But, we get 50 or

60 friends upstairs once a year, all gathered

around the butcher block island in the

kitchen to make chili, and it’s perfect.” She

pauses to gather her thoughts, as a pair of

dove huddled in the aviary behind her coo

contentedly. “Plus, I heard somewhere once that

‘As big as your heart, so is your house.’” SLO LIFE

56 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


There’s a new

firm in town.

(Well, more like a family.)

Architecture

Landscape

Interiors

tenoverstudio.com

805.541.1010

oct/nov 2015 | 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

*Comparing 1/1/14 - 9/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 9/20/15

2014

44

601,807

590,104

98.29

44

2014

21

752,364

742,495

98.75

43

2014

20

634,938

622,816

98.32

36

2014

12

1,012,750

981,131

96.92

72

2014

35

761,737

745,445

98.32

42

2014

49

683,002

669,772

98.03

39

2014

19

688,853

668,202

97.12

65

2015

48

663,063

649,744

98.22

62

2015

21

731,229

725,442

99.30

60

2015

29

571,628

550,968

97.45

97.45

2015

6

930,500

865,000

94.28

28

2015

18

713,489

724,244

102.53

23

2015

37

741,635

730,809

100.11

28

2015

37

648,524

632,857

97.61

33

+/-

9.09%

10.18%

10.11%

-0.07%

40.91%

+/-

0.00%

-2.81%

-2.30%

0.55%

39.53%

+/-

45.00%

-9.97%

-11.54%

-0.87%

170.69%

+/-

-50.00%

-8.12%

-11.84%

-2.64%

-61.11%

+/-

-48.57%

-6.33%

-2.84%

4.21%

-45.24%

+/-

-24.49%

8.58%

9.11%

2.08%

-28.21%

+/-

94.74%

-5.85%

-5.29%

0.49%

-49.23%

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS

®

SLO LIFE

58 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


Knowledgable, professional, and

gets the job done. Always goes

above and beyond in finding and

closing a transaction.

- Chris Will

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

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 59


American

HEATING and COOLING

service . replacement . maintenance

| SLO COUNTY REAL ESTATE

by the numbers

GREGORY WILT

(805) 400-8737

american-heating-air.com

Lic# 572000

REGION

NUMBER OF

HOMES SOLD

2014

2015

AVERAGE DAYS ON

MARKET

2014

2015

MEDIAN SELLING

PRICE

2014

2015

GO

Arroyo Grande

Atascadero

193

267

207

271

64

60

69

53

579,000

435,000

655,000

455,000

GO

Avila Beach

Cambria/San Simeon

15

94

12

107

60

107

67

97

800,000

575,000

866,500

599,000

SOLAR ELECTRIC AND WATER HEATING

805.466.5595

solarponics.com/slolife

Lic:391670 Since 1975

Cayucos

Creston

Grover Beach

41

4

66

34

10

74

112

73

51

86

110

48

775,000

589,000

405,000

867,500

498,750

459,950

Los Osos

107

138

57

43

439,000

462,500

Morro Bay

96

107

91

62

499,250

570,000

Nipomo

147

179

62

61

499,000

534,000

Oceano

48

42

57

50

386,000

386,450

Pismo Beach

79

100

74

63

715,000

795,000

Paso (Inside City Limits)

297

370

55

67

380,000

416,000

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

55

72

70

81

320,000

322,500

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

61

94

133

103

325,000

405,000

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

44

51

84

87

394,450

419,000

San Luis Obispo

254

264

50

47

655,000

667,883

Santa Margarita

12

14

52

64

409,775

421,750

Templeton

84

79

74

76

521,500

510,000

60 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015

Countywide

1,964 2,225

*Comparing 1/1/14 - 9/20/14 to 1/1/15 - 9/20/15

67 64 476,950 515,000

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE


Christopher Cooke

(805) 206-8529

CalBRE #01953565

Leah Cowley

(805) 235-5195

CalBRE # 01497156

Aaron Anderson

(805) 550-7074

CalBRE # 01408502

Rock View Realty® . 146 North Ocean Avenue . Cayucos

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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 61


| SPECIAL FEATURE

WILD CHERRY CANYON

HOW

WIN-WIN

MAY BE THE ONLY WAY FORWARD

BY TOM FRANCISKOVICH

Imade it out to Avila Beach with

my family just once this past summer. As I

maneuvered the minivan through the handful

of streets that make up its downtown, I was

presented with a visual, real-time representation

of demand outstripping supply. Sunscreen

slathered beachgoers were everywhere, heading

back-and-forth to the sand with umbrellas and

boogie boards in-hand. After making another

hopeful pass through town in search of parking, I decided to drop off the family near the pier

and then head out by myself to find a spot for the car farther away. I had no idea how much

farther away “farther away” would mean. My search led me through the town’s one stoplight,

where it took three cycles to get through. Once back out onto Avila Beach Drive, I passed

what I estimated to be about a half-mile line of cars parked on either side of the road. So, I

headed the other direction, toward Port San Luis where, again, a long procession of cars and

RV’s framed the ocean view. As my search was nearing the thirty-minute mark, I passed the

gate leading to the lighthouse trolley tours and said to myself. “This is where they want to

build 1,500 new homes?” And the whole thing got me thinking…

>>

62 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 63


The Irish Hills are a fascinating place.

At the base of the north side of the

coastal range sits what is arguably

the quintessential manifestation of

modern-day consumerism: Costco.

On the other side can be found

unspoiled, virgin land that has been seldom touched

and lightly tread upon since the day Cabrillo first

laid eyes upon it from the deck of the San Salvador

in 1542. And, in the middle of it all is an antiquated

power facility dutifully splitting atoms around the

clock as it sits precariously above three separate fault

lines. Now, to further the intrigue, a New York City

conglomerate, through its Carlsbad-based subsidiary, is

looking to develop a massive swath of the oak-studded

hillside, perhaps tripling the population of Avila Beach

in the process.

It is a murky story, just how Leucadia National

Corporation was able to get its hands on the

Spanish land grant territory, and there appears to be

no cut-and-dried accounting of it; but, by piecing

together the fragment, it seems to go something

like this: In the 1960’s, the property owner, PG&E,

through its subsidiary, Eureka Energy, signed a

long-term lease, which included the development

rights, to a local group that had formed under

the name “Pacho Limited Partnership.” As the

territory in question is part of what is known as the

Pecho Coast, it was explained that when the entity was formed, a government clerk had

committed a typo when keying the official documentation. Therefore, “Pecho” became

“Pacho.” The lease effectively gave the partnership full control of the land, as it included

a 99-year term with an option to renew for an additional 99 years. For all intents and

purposes, there are about 150 years remaining before control of the land reverts to

PG&E. Somewhere along the line, the Pacho Partners needed capital and began seeking

investors. And, they found one in Manhattan that liked what they had to say.

Leucadia National Corporation is sometimes referred to as “Baby Berkshire” for its

similarity to Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway. Through its founder,

Joseph Steinberg, the publicly traded conglomerate has diversified into mining, drilling,

development, manufacturing, and banking, among other things. It has been phenomenally

successful at making money for its investors, and today it is worth about $7.5 billion. So,

when the Pacho partners explained that they controlled 2,400 acres of one of the most

beautiful parts of the California Coast, a place in San Luis Obispo County called Wild

Cherry Canyon, the deal was a slam dunk. Through the years, as Leucadia grew and

continued acquiring smaller companies, it shuffled assets around its balance sheet to keep

Wall Street happy. Somewhere along the line, 65%—a controlling interest—of a real estate

development company in Southern California called HomeFed was purchased. Over time,

Leucadia continued to buy out its Pacho partners, thereby increasing its interest in the land

to the point where it was calling the shots. These transactions occurred within a private

partnership at the time, so there is no way of knowing exactly how much Leucadia paid for

its stake, and, therefore, the land, although it has been estimated at $5 million. Today, after

transferring the leasehold asset to HomeFed, Leucadia carries the present value of Wild

Cherry Canyon on its balance sheet at $17 million.

In 2000, Leucadia’s executives were watching very closely as San Luis Obispo County

voters overwhelmingly passed the DREAM Initiative. Although it was not a binding

action, widespread support of DREAM—Diablo Resources Advisory Measure—was an

>>

64 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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eye-opener. The legislation was, in essence, a symbolic

proclamation of the people stating that, “At such

time when the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant

closes, the land should be acquired for public use

and recreation.” Seeing the writing on the wall, and,

just as importantly, an opportunity to monetize their

investment, a local representative, Denis Sullivan,

called the author of the DREAM Initiative legislation,

Sam Blakeslee, to talk. It turns out that Leucadia

was warming to a conservation deal. After hanging

up, Blakeslee picked up the phone again to call Kara

Woodruff, his wife at the time, to pass along the

interesting news. Within a day or two, Woodruff, who

was working as a land conservation advocate for the

Nature Conservancy, was out walking the property,

taking in stunning ocean views, with Sullivan. After

a few months hashing out the particulars, the Nature

Conservancy put down a deposit and entered into an

agreement to purchase Wild Cherry Canyon. By 2003,

the Nature Conservancy failed to raise the funds, and

the deal died.

authorized. Plans were underway to charter buses full of San Luis Obispo County supporters

to attend the meeting when Woodruff ’s phone rang. Her heart sank as she learned that the

vote would not be put on the agenda after all. It turns out that Governor Schwarzenegger

did not like how Sam Blakeslee, then a State Senator, and her husband at the time, had voted

on a particular budget bill. To teach the Republican a lesson in party loyalty, the governor

terminated the Wild Cherry Canyon deal.

Woodruff, who at this point had been working on preserving the 2,400-acre property for nearly

15 years, remained hopeful. It appeared that Jerry Brown, a progressive Democrat who had

spoken favorably on the subject of conservation during his campaign, looked as if he would

be back for another stint in Sacramento. But, by the time Governor Brown was sworn in, the

economy continued to implode, and California state deficit was forcing draconian cuts. Against

a backdrop of teacher layoffs, conservation suddenly became a luxurious line item that had to go.

Still, there was one last brief shot at pulling it together at the eleventh hour by sneaking the deal

through while funds were still allocated. All of the parties returned to the table for one more

attempt. It was during this period, however, that Senator Sam Blakeslee appeared as a guest

on the Rachel Maddow Show where he openly questioned the chummy relationship between

the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and PG&E as it related to public safety, particularly with

the fault lines found around Diablo Canyon. Shortly thereafter ALC’s phone calls began going

unanswered as PG&E dragged its feet; the final paperwork languished on various executives’

desks in perpetuity, which again derailed the Wild Cherry Canyon conservation deal.

Two years later, in 2005, Woodruff was then working

at the American Land Conservancy (ALC), when

she heard from Sullivan again—the partnership was

ready to explore another conservation deal. This time,

however, the State of California told the ALC that, to

receive any funds from the state, they would have to

also purchase the underlying fee title from PG&E. In

other words, the ALC could not just acquire the lease

to fully control the property for the next 150 years,

they also had to own it outright before then donating

it back to the state, so that it could be operated and

maintained by State Parks. By this decree, PG&E,

through its entity, Eureka Energy, would also have to

come to the table if Wild Cherry Canyon were to be

preserved. The land at the time was appraised at $24

million, and the American Land Conservancy had

raised $21 million when, in an ironic twist of fate,

the Great Recession caused the real estate market

to collapse and, according to the new appraisal, the

land was now worth $21 million. With 100% of the

necessary funds accounted for, the final hurdle facing

the ALC was the Public Works Board hearing where

the formality of allocating $6.5 million of State

Parks funds —the last piece of the puzzle—would be

Leucadia needed a Plan B, so it tasked HomeFed with envisioning a new

destiny for the property: high-end estate homes. To test the waters, a

senior vice president from HomeFed, Kent Aden, and their local frontman,

a consultant named Tom Blessent, invited Woodruff out for a cup of coffee

in downtown San Luis Obispo. After some pleasantries, the pair carefully

moved the cups and saucers from the table and unfurled a set of oversized

papers, flipping through them slowly, one page at a time. “They showed me very detailed

plans,” Woodruff recalls, “descriptions and pictures of Mediterranean-style houses,

landscaping, and other buildings. I told them immediately that I most definitely did not

think that it was a good idea.” Despite Woodruff ’s unambiguous response, HomeFed

decided to share their idea at a special Avila Valley Advisory Council meeting. Although

they never unveiled the detailed plans featuring the exquisite Italianate architecture of

stately homes overlooking the Pacific, they did go on record explaining that they were

looking at developing “as many as 1,500 homes” to help alleviate some of the pressure

felt by “the lack of affordable housing” in the area. The energy in the room was tense, and

although the crowd was polite, it was clear that if it had come to a vote, it would have

fallen somewhere between “No” and “Hell no.”

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

suspected that it could slowly win over the natives. Maybe it could be “greenwashed” by

building the much talked about trail connecting Avila Beach to Montaña de Oro. If only

it had a foothold in the community so that it could begin to foster relationships with

local politicians. That foothold came in the form of the Harbor Terrace Project, which

HomeFed bid on and won. Curiously, it was unlike any of its previous developments, and >>

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AG CLUSTER

Under a provision in San Luis Obispo

County zoning ordinances, a developer

can group or “cluster” homes more

closely together and net more total

homes, thereby increasing his or her

potential for profits, on land that has

been designated for agriculture. The

intention of the code is to incentivize

the developer to preserve the largest

amount of farmland in a given area as

is possible.

UPZONING

Huge profits are made when land

is purchased under one particular

land-use designation, but is changed

to another. For example, relatively

low-cost farmland designated for

agriculture is acquired by a developer,

who then lobbies for a zoning change

to residential or commercial, which

provides a dramatic increase in value.

Often, this is the realm of speculators,

who will then immediately sell, or “flip,”

the land to a developer.

GREENWASH

This is a term describes the practice

of deceptively promoting a product or

practice under the perception that it is

environmentally friendly. Perhaps the

most classic example of this concept

is the renaming of “Clean Coal” in the

energy industry. In the area of land-use,

greenwashing shows up in the form of

a developer proposing small, but highly

visible public benefits in exchange for

wide-scale development.

Make your voice heard!

Share your thoughts on the potential

development at Wild Cherry Canyon.

Please write to us at:

info@slolifemagazine.com

was much smaller in scale to boot. But, the little campground-by-the-sea was a nearly

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

Plus, their point man, Blessent, could move up to the Central Coast and start engaging

in a more meaningful way as an Avila local. The whole thing made sense, until it didn’t.

In a surprise move, this past August, HomeFed announced that it was pulling out of

the Harbor Terrace deal, making a vague reference to unfavorable soils at the site. The

rationale was immediately questioned, as the soils had been tested ad infinitum prior

to the bid request. In other words, HomeFed knew what they were digging into. But,

somewhere along the way they changed their mind. If Harbor Terrace was just a small,

token project to generate some goodwill—something they officially deny—then it would

not make sense that they would drop it in such a hasty and undignified manner, unless

the calculus had changed.

By all accounts, Tom Blessent is a “really nice guy.” And there is an

unmistakable sincerity in his voice when he talks about wanting to be a

“good partner,” but you get the distinct feeling that there are a group of

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

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,

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

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

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

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

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

of Cal Fire, which insiders suggest would be a very tough sell, especially after this past

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

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

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

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

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

The downside to the many obstacles facing the development of Wild Cherry Canyon is

that citizens become complacent. A company like Leucadia has the resources to forge

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

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

Avila Beach resident, is hoping to change the way the game is played in the future.

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

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

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

nationwide, including in Ventura County where it was designed to put rezoning matters

before a vote of the people, effectively ending the practice of developers buying up

agricultural land then pushing the planning department to rezone, or “upzone,” for a

much more valuable residential or commercial use designation. As of now, the initiative

Allen is currently contemplating would cover just the Irish Hills. It remains to be seen if

it will end up on the ballot.

It can be reasoned that it is the zero-sum quality of large-scale development that stirs

the emotions on either side. Just the fact that we have an “either side” makes it selfevident

that when one of those sides wins, the other loses. And vice versa. But, maybe

Wild Cherry Canyon is setting up to become one of those elusive “win-win” deals

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

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

market recovering. Instead of the land value coming in at $21 million as it did in the

last appraisal, it is likely now in the $24 to $25 million range. Considering an initial

purchase price of around $5 million, that’s a pretty sweet profit. And, for “we the people”

of the Central Coast, gaining access to a natural preserve in the form a state park that

connects Avila Beach to Montaña de Oro with a 20-mile trail is a unique opportunity

to affect many current, as well as future, lives. And, it appears that a deal is within reach,

as 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

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


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| EXPLORE

CLASSIC DATE

MOVIE NIGHT

under the stars

With the sun setting earlier and the days feeling shorter, it opens up many autumn evening date

possibilities. One of the very best San Luis Obispo has to offer is a Sunset Drive-In move night.

BY PADEN HUGHES

70 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


O P E R A S A N L U I S O B I S P O P R E S E N T S

Pietro Mascagni’s

Ruggiero

CAVALLERIA

PAGLIACCI

Leoncavallo’s

RUSTICANA

and

Romantic. Youthful. Nostalgic. Who doesn’t want to snuggle

under the stars in the back of a truck with your date, or bring

out the lawn chairs with blankets and sit outside drinking your

homemade hot coco? Low cost, outside, under stars, snuggled

up together to watch the newest blockbuster hit—dinner and a

movie just got cozzier.

Built in 1950, theSunset Drive-In brings historical charm to

San Luis Obispo. It’s such a notable venue that in 2014 Trip Advisor listed Sunset Drive-In

as one of America’s Top Ten best drive-in theaters. Once again our city makes it to the top

of the charts for being charming and wonderful. It’s one of the main reasons we continue to

support the drive-in. We view it as supporting a tradition—saluting the bygone days.

Once an iconic statement of the 1950’s social scene, drive-in movie theaters are disappearing

quickly around the United States. The original drive-in movie theater opened in New Jersey

in 1933 and by the 1950’s there were over 4,000 operating in the country. In 2012 the New

York Times wrote an article about the dwindling location count of this classic American

tradition stating only 368 drive-in movie theaters remain active in America.

Part of the decline of drive-in movie theaters is attributed to several compounding factors.

Viewership dropped in the 1960’s, likely as a result of daylight savings. This time change

hurt the drive-in culture as the new “clock” pushed back movie times later and later. Another

financial hardship for owners has been paying for newer technology in order to keep up with

emerging digital technology so they can continue to screen new box office hits. Finally, it’s

hard to continue to say, “No,” to land developers willing to offer cash for what was once just

farmland.

All of this historical context truly makes me love and appreciate the owners of Sunset

Drive-In who, despite the changing times, have continued to keep showing modern, new

movies to the families and couples of San Luis Obispo.

The more of us who pay a visit, the more likely our kids will be able to enjoy shows like Pixar’s

Inside Out on the main screen. While you can’t imagine overhead to be too expensive to

maintain, you can imagine it getting harder to resist land purchase offers as San Luis Obispo

becomes more and more populated.

PADEN HUGHES is

co-owner of Gymnazo

and enjoys exploring

the Central Coast.

Typically, in summer, the first showing doesn’t start until almost

9pm, now, in the fall, we see more family-friendly times with

movies starting around 7:30pm. At only $7 per person for a double

feature, and $3 for children, this is certainly a cost-effective way to

make any Friday night a memorable experience. You can also pack

in your own chairs, even couches, coolers, and take out.

Set up your drive-in experience with all the items you and your

date like, to make it a personalized movie night under the stars.

And remember, each time you visit, it’s one more local voting to

keep a remnant of a bygone era and continue to put San Luis

Obispo on the map for staying one of the best places to live and

work in the world. SLO LIFE

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Saturday - October 10, 7pm

Sunday - October 11, 2pm

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or by phone Mon-Sat 12-6pm

805.756.4849

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 71

2

0

1

5


| HEALTH

Superfoods

SIX PLANTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

Throughout history, in every pocket of the world, people have used plants to boost their health

and wellbeing—from the first practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine to today’s functional

medicine doctors. And, with good reason. Plants are healers. They revitalize. Here are six storied

power plants you can start working into your modern lifestyle… right now.

>

ROSE HIPS

GENUS: ROSA

Rose hips—the fruit of the wild rose bush—just sounds so much more

romantic than your everyday produce, evoking images of lush, overgrown

gardens. But it’s also a straight-up superfood, packed with more vitamin C

than oranges.

HOLY BASIL

>GENUS: OCIMUM

Holy basil is a sacred herb within Ayurveda—the centuries-old

medicinal practice from India—and has been called upon for

thousands of years to help combat stress. Nowadays, we understand

that it works by lowering cortisol levels in the body, says acupuncturist

Jill Blakeway, director of the YinOva Center in New York City.

“Holy basil is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen—a

class of herbs that help your body deal with stressors,” she continues.

Which is what helps make “tulsi”—the Hindu name for holy basil—

Ayurveda’s perfect antidote to the hectic pace of the modern world.

But holy basil’s benefits don’t stop at stress-busting. “I’ve also seen it

pretty widely used to treat common ailments like an upset stomach

or even a seasonal cold,” says celeb nutritionist and beauty-foods

evangelist Kim Snyder. “It’s thought to work because the chemical

compounds it’s comprised of can help decrease inflammation and

pain.”

Holy basil has a more peppery, clove-like taste than its familiar

Western counterpart, sweet basil, though the two are closely related.

And like sweet basil, it can be used to flavor all types of savory

dishes—just think more along the lines of spicy soups than Italian

pasta sauces.

But the herb may be at the height of its stress-squashing abilities

when it is enjoyed slowly, as part of a relaxing daily tea ritual. There are

plenty of ready-made blends available online or in health food stores,

or you can brew your own by steeping fresh or dried leaves. Then

simply sip. Breathe. Repeat.

“In the UK, during the Second World War [when citrus was scarce], people

made rose hip syrup from the fresh hips to supplement their vitamin C

levels and help keep them healthy,” says Tipper Lewis, lead herbalist at the

famed British natural health emporium, Neal’s Yards Remedies.

Blakeway goes on to explain that rose hips are also a known

inflammation-buster, so much so that they’ve been used to help treat

rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic inflammatory disorder). “Research has

shown [rose hip] to be helpful at reducing the pain, inflammation, and

swelling associated with the joints,” echoes Lewis.

“It’s thought to be a substance called ‘GOPO’—a galactolipid—that has

the main effect, so if you’re buying rose hips [for inflammation], make sure

they contain this substance.” Meaning buy it in whole or pure dried forms.

The fruit itself can taste a bit sour, so Lewis recommends trying it in

tea, which is “tart and sweet at the same time.” Infuse fresh or dried hips

in hot water, just like you would any tea, Lewis recommends. Or for a

refreshing summertime tonic, soak rose hips in cold water overnight, then

sip, letting the anti-inflammatory benefits wash right through you.

>>

72 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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ELDERBERRY

GENUS: SAMBUCUS

Elderberries look a whole lot like blueberries,

and while they’re nowhere near as wellknown,

they enjoy a comparable reputation as

a superfood among nutrition insiders.

That’s because the small, dark berries are

immune-boosting powerhouses, high in

“health-giving” antioxidants, like flavonoids

(which have serious anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial

properties), explains Lewis—as well

as anthocyanin.

The latter is “what gives them their lovely

dark purple color,” adds Blakeway—and

makes them a potent anti-viral (some very

promising studies suggest they can help fight

the flu).

Elderberries have longer-term benefits as

well. “[They] are also great for promoting

healthy blood circulation, because the

anthocyanins protect the inner layer of

blood vessels from oxidative stress and

inflammation,” says Blakeaway—two of the biggest culprits when it comes to so many chronic

diseases.

These berries don’t taste all that great raw, so many people sip them like tea, explains Lewis, or

as a sweet-tasting elderberry syrup. You take a dose of the syrup straight-up, much like you’d

take traditional cold or flu medicine… or use it on top of pancakes or frozen yogurt.

“But consistency is key,” she says. “Herbal remedies work best when used regularly” so up your

intake throughout the cold and flu season.

>

NETTLE

GENUS: URTICA

Don’t be put off by its painfulsounding

name; nettle, or stinging

nettle as it is often called, has a long

history as a super healing herb. We’re

talking goes-all-the-way-back-tomedieval-Europe

long, when it was

widely used as a diuretic and to fight

joint pain.

Nettle definitely can sting if you brush

up against it, because it’s covered in

fine hairs that pierce the skin and

release irritating chemicals. If, however,

you’re careful with how you handle it

(more on that below), nettle has lots of

modern-day applications, says Lewis.

First off, it’s a natural upper. “Nettle

is mineral and nutrient rich; it acts as

a tonic for the body helping general

vitality if you’re feeling run down,”

Lewis says.

Plus, nettle has antihistamine

properties, which means it can really

help cut down on the sniffling and

sneezing that accompany allergies and

hay fever. (Important note: Lewis says

you have to start sipping nettle tea

before the start of allergy season to help

prevent symptoms before they begin.)

And nettle is often used in cleanses

(score one for the medieval

Europeans!) because it’s a diuretic,

which Lewis says can help clear up

skin and detox the body. That explains

why the UK has embraced it as an

ingredient in many of its juice bars,

Lewis says.

To work nettle into your home wellness

routine, try sipping it as a tea. It can

have kind of a grassy taste, Lewis

warns, so if that’s not your thing, look

for blends with peppermint.

“You can also blanch the young, fresh

leaves in boiling water to remove the

stingers and eat nettle as greens,”

Lewis says. “It makes a delicious

ingredient in soups, too!” >>

74 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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BURDOCK ROOT

GENUS: ARCTIUM

>Burdock may look like a lowly weed,

because, well, it is—albeit one that

produces a rad-looking spindly purple

flower. Health gurus dig it—literally—

for its roots, and they have for ages,

especially overseas.

“Burdock root is used in herbal medicine

all over the world, because it’s high

in antioxidants and has a powerful

antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect,”

explains Blakeway. “In Japan, it’s eaten as a

vegetable and throughout Asia, it has been

used for thousands of years in combination

with other herbs to treat sore throats,

tonsillitis, colds, and even measles.”

Burdock root is also used to help treat skin

problems, like psoriasis and eczema, she

says, though experts still aren’t exactly sure

which of its active ingredients make it so

darn healing.

“You can also apply it puréed directly to

a problem area on the skin,” says Snyder.

“Since it treats so many varying issues,”

she says, “people should figure out if it’s

personally right for them.”

And proponents of the macrobiotic diet

say that it can help metabolize fat, so it’s

served as a weight-management veggie.

You can chow down on the roots—which

look a lot like white carrots or turnips—

much like you’d eat any other root vegetable

(perhaps roasted or pickled), or take it in

supplement form (burdock often comes as a

dried powder or in herbal tinctures).

But a word of caution to anyone

contemplating jumping on the burdock

bandwagon: Snyder says that people

who suffer from ragweed allergies could

potentially have a hard time with it, so

check with your doctor before you eat or

apply this powerful root. “It also has a

diuretic effect, so you need to be careful to

stay hydrated if you’re using it medicinally,”

Blakeway says.

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COCONUT

GENUS: COCOS

>Coconut oil, often cold-pressed from the

fruit, has been the indisputable breakout

ingredient in the nutrition and beauty

worlds for the last few years, winning

fans who adore it for being a total

wellness multi-tasker.

“People used to think coconut oil was

unhealthy, because it contains saturated

fats, but now we know that these

saturated fats are different to those

found in fatty meat,” says Blakeway.

“Coconut oil contains medium chain

triglycerides (MCTs) which are

metabolized differently in the body and

are a great source of energy.”

MCTs have even been shown to increase

energy expenditure in the body, she

says, which means coconut oil can aid in

weight loss. Plus, the oil contains something

called auric acid, which gives it antimicrobial

properties, Blakeway says, “making it a good

plant to ward off infections.”

From a culinary perspective, coconut oil makes

an awesome alternative to olive oil because it

can handle up to 450 degrees of heat, giving it

a high smoke point (i.e., the point at which the

good compounds in an oil begin to break down

and potentially problematic ones can begin

to form). Try it in stir-frys, or to pan sear lean

proteins. It also comes in handy in everything

from baked goods to bulletproof-style coffee.

And beauty aficionados are enamored with

it. “Coconut oil is by far my favorite beauty

product, and I use it wherever I can,” says

Snyder. Who should use it? “Everyone,

everywhere,” she raves. It’s also a hair

conditioner, star makeup remover, lip balm,

and body scrub (when mixed with sugar or

salt). No wonder so many wellness gurus love

to use and recommend coconut oil. SLO LIFE


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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 77


| TASTE

HARVEST

Apple Pie

Fall’s Hardest Working Dessert

Of all the dishes and desserts to capture the essence of fall, is any more iconic than apple pie?

Found on family tables from September through Christmas, this humble concoction of crisp

apples and earthy spices baked into a flakey crust signifies more than just a weather change—it

means comfort, warmth, and human affection. In other words, we ask a lot of our pie.

BY JAIME LEWIS

Our pie asks a lot of us, too, as I learned from a recent

tasting with friends of several locally-made samples.

In speaking with three benchmark San Luis Obispo

bakeries, I learned that crafting an apple pie is no mean

feat, requiring everything from a scientist’s tenacity

to a clairvoyant’s foresight to ensure that the pie

filling showcases the apples (without going gooey), is

adequately spiced (without overpowering the fruit), and

comes together in a perfectly golden crust (that’s neither

pasty nor tough). So much for basic.

Carl Sagan famously said, “If you wish to make an apple

pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” The

next step? Locate the best apples.

78 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


JAIME LEWIS is a

sommelier, world traveler,

and food writer, who lives

in San Luis Obispo.

“We use Washington Granny Smiths

to fall back on, but I’ll often go out to get

local apples myself from SLO Creek Farms,”

said The Apple Farm’s longtime Executive

Pastry Chef, Willie Vey, who grew up on a

farm herself and inherited the pie-making

gene from her mother. The Apple Farm recipe

includes a filling of whichever seasonal apples

are available, spiced with an earthy blend of

cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice,

as well as cornstarch, sugar, and a little salt.

The crust is simply made with flour, vegetable

shortening, salt and water. “We make massive

amounts of crusts,” said Vey, sharing that the

Apple Farm employs one person full-time to

make 20 to 35 pies per day, as well as others

during Thanksgiving week when the bakery

pumps out 1,200 pies. >>

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 79


At

the Madonna Inn, I met Bakery

Manager Amber Russell and was reminded that

the bakery there has a very proud—if slightly

overshadowed by towering cakes—pie history.

“Pie orders have gone up steadily for the past

several years,” says Russell, who was hired by Alex

Madonna himself and takes pride in carrying on

the Inn’s long-standing tradition of producing

beautiful baked goods. “We have a lot of locals

with repeat orders, banquets, and traffic from the

freeway,” she said. Each day, the Madonna Inn

bakes about 22 pies for the store, in addition to

special orders. Like at the Apple Farm, Russell uses

Washington Granny Smith apples for her pies with

a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of lemon.

Her crust, however, was the only one we tasted that

included some amount of butter “for flavor and

color,” said Russell. >>

80 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 81


TRADITION

TURNED

ON ITS HEAD

San Luis Obispo County excels

at deconstructing apple pie, as I

discovered in my search. A few

standout dishes:

The Apple Farm’s Willie Vey

makes a killer Upside-Down Pecan

Apple Pie that won our tasting

party over for its decadence and

creativity.

Ember Restaurant in Arroyo

Grande offers a seasonal

Apple Tarte Tatin with Vanilla

Shortbread, Sea Salt Caramel,

Brown Sugar Oat Crumble &

Crème Fraiche Ice Cream

Artisan Restaurant in Paso

Robles sources local apples from

Windrose Farms for its Baked

Apple and Tart Cherry Crumble

with Rum Raisin Ice Cream

Unlike the Apple Farm and

Madonna Inn, the Avila Valley Barn is a

working farm that grows most of the apples

used in its pies. When I asked what it’s like

to have control from tree to pie plate, owner

Debbie Smith laughed and cited the many

factors that have diminished See Canyon apple

production to 15 percent of normal this year.

“Control?” she quipped. “There is no control!”

Smith started baking pies 27 years ago when the

farm-produced more fruit than the farm stand

could sell. “Our recipe has changed a lot over

time,” she shared. “We started with a full-butter

crust, then a half-butter and half-shortening

crust, and finally we decided to cut all butter

out. It just makes the crust too bread-dough-y

for this level of production.” And what level of

production is that? A whopping 100 pies per

day, average, and more on weekends.

Smith’s apple pies are beautiful to behold,

piled high and covered with a golden crust

that’s scalloped around the edge like a cartoon

pie, set out to cool on a window sill. They also

taste spectacular, particularly those made with

a blend of apples from the Avila Valley Barn

or Gopher Glen, a property in See Canyon

planted to over 100 apple varieties that the

Smith’s purchased six years ago. “We use a

‘harvest blend’ for our apple fillings,” said

Smith. “Especially Jonagolds and Braeburns.

We like balance—not too soft or too crunchy.”

When asked how she spices her pies, Smith

raised a proprietary baker’s eyebrow and

giggled. “I can’t tell!”

SLO LIFE

82 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 83


| KITCHEN

SOPHISTICATED COMFORT

HERB CRUSTED LAMB SHANKS

WITH CREAMY POLENTA

Just in time for fall, Chef Jessie Rivas shares his version of classic, sophisticated,

comfort food. Pair this dish with roasted root vegetables and a hearty red wine such

as Syrah or red Rhone blend, which echoes the meaty character of the lamb and

provides complementary notes of pepper and spice.

BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS

84 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015


JESSIE’S TIP:

This classic dish is often accompanied by a

gremolata, which serves as a garnish or gastric

of sorts. Combine 1/2 cup parsley leaves, 2 garlic

cloves and zest from 1/2 a lemon. Mince all

ingredients until fully incorporated. Sprinkle over

!rim of plate just before serving.

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HERB CRUSTED LAMB SHANKS

WITH CREAMY POLENTA

¼ cup olive oil

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup mixed dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, and lavender)

2 tsp Spanish paprika

½ tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1 tsp ground cumin

kosher salt

crushed black pepper

4 large lamb shanks

½ cup red wine

1 ½ cup beef stock

1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a small bowl.

2. Stir together minced garlic and olive oil and rub on the meat of the shank.

3. Season the meat with the dry

ingredient rub.

4. In a dry, hot sauté pan, sear the

shanks on all sides, about 5 minutes

per side.

5. Transfer shanks to a shallow

braising pan. Add wine and stock and

bring to a boil.

JESSIE RIVAS is the owner

and chef of The Pairing Knife

food truck which serves the

Central Coast.

6. Reduce to a simmer and cover for

one hour or until fork tender.

7. To finish, pull shanks from pan

juices and reduce the juices to desired

thickness and adjust to taste with salt

and pepper.

8. Serve lamb shanks over creamy

polenta and top with reduced sauce

from pan. SLO LIFE

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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 85


| HAPPENINGS

OCTOBER

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

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SCARECROW FESTIVAL

Enjoy a fun and relaxing getaway

on the California coast in October.

Hundreds of whimsical scarecrows

are on display throughout the seaside

villages of Cambria and San Simeon.

October 1 – 31 // cambriascarecrows.com

EXHIBITION

Downtown Paso’s Studios on the Park

welcomes artist Erin Hanson for her

fourth annual October exhibition. Hanson’s

anticipated 30-piece collection focuses on

the diverse and magnificent landscapes found

across California’ wondrous wine country.

October 1 – 25 // studiosonthepark.org

GRAND OPERA DUO

Opera San Luis Obispo presents the

Citywide Arts Collaboration Grand

Opera Duo Cavalleria Rusticana and

Pagliacci featuring Central Coast

Children’s Choir, Civic Ballet San Luis

Obispo, Deyo Dances, Opera San Luis

Obispo, Resonance Vocal Ensemble,

and Ryan’s American Dance.

October 10 – 11 // pacslo.org

86 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015

CITY TO THE SEA

The City to the Sea half marathon course is a

point-to-point race that starts in downtown

San Luis Obispo. The course winds through

the city, takes runners along scenic backroads,

and ends alongside the Pacific Ocean in the

coastal community of Pismo Beach.

October 11 // citytothesea.org

MUNCHKIN MARCH

Enjoy food, games, activities, and

a parade around Meadow Park.

All participants are asked to

donate a can of food to the Food

Bank Coalition of SLO County.

Concluding the night, enjoy a

kid-friendly movie on the park

lawn under the stars.

October 23 // slocity.org


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Sunday, October 25

2-5pm

On the Bluff at the

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in Pismo Beach

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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:

oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 87


| HAPPENINGS

NOVEMBER

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HARVEST ON THE COAST

Enjoy a winemaker’s dinner along with

the Grand Tasting and Wine Auction.

And on Slider Sunday, each tasting

room will feature their take on the

“slider” paired up with wines, music, and

wine specials.

November 6 – 8 // slowine.com

A NIGHT IN HAVANA

Enjoy an evening of Cuban costumes,

music, food, drinks and film. Proceeds

benefit the San Luis Obispo

International Film Festival.

November 21 // slofilmfest.org

1

2

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16

17

18

19

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23

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25

26

27

28

29

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MORRO BAY TRIATHLON

Swim the bay, ride historic Highway

1, and run on the hard-packed sand

on the beach, boardwalk, dirt roads,

and paved roads. Come out and enjoy

some of the finest multi-sport terrain

on the West Coast!

November 8 // morrobaytri.com

WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING

A compelling family saga that takes us back

and forth in time from one generation to

another, from 1959 to 2039, from London to

Australia. With four generations of fathers

and sons, their mothers, lovers and wives, the

play is epic in its scope, yet at the same time

extraordinarily intimate.

November 20 – 21 // slolittletheatre.org

1351 Monterey Street . San Luis Obispo

(805)783-2887 . clippersbarber.com

88 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015

42ND STREET

The quintessential backstage musical

comedy classic, 42nd Street is the

age-old tale of a starry-eyed chorus

girl who becomes a star—a song and

dance fable of Broadway with an

American Dream story.

November 30 // pacslo.org


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oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 89


| 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

of two children, and we live in San Luis Obispo. My 11-year-old

daughter was diagnosed Center for Disease Control (CDC) positive

for Lyme disease in April 2014. My 17-year-old son was diagnosed

with Babesia, a co-infection of Lyme disease, in April 2015. I have

become an advocate for my children and for other people who suffer

from these diseases.

It all started when my daughter, who was four-and-a-half at the

time, told me her back was hurting. As time went on, she started to

complain that her neck also hurt, and she felt tingly feelings on her

arms and legs; she said it felt like lady bugs were crawling on her. She

had trouble bending over and could only reach as far as her knees.

Symptoms continued, and when she was in 4th grade, her knees hurt

so much she was no longer able to participate in sports. She had loved

playing soccer, but I had to pull her from the last game of a tournament

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

unbearable, she was even unable to participate in school recesses.

I promised her that I would never give up trying to find out what

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

going to stop until we had an answer.

For six-and-a-half years we had hundreds of doctor appointments,

volumes of blood work, MRI’s, CAT Scans, and specialist after

specialist, including a team of physicians at a children’s hospital

within a major California university. We were told that they could

not find anything wrong with her other than a vague diagnosis of

Reactive Arthritis. They said she would have to live with the pain and

learn pain management for the rest of her life.

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

extensive lab tests, and when they came back, they showed CDC

Positive for Lyme disease. We finally had the answer that I promised

my daughter.

Looking back, I now believe my son contracted Babesia around the

same time frame that my daughter contracted Lyme. With all that I

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

had the symptoms all along, but was able to function. The symptoms

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

insomnia, stomach pain, migraines, and random body extremity pain

seemed like everyday life to him. The beginning of this year things

got worse, which led him to miss more and more school. He was

having frequent migraines, extreme insomnia, air hunger (respiratory

distress), rib pain, light-headedness, and severe stomach pain—all

symptoms of Babesia. He ended up on home instruction the last few

months of his junior year.

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

since elementary school and played the club scene along with being

on the varsity team since his freshman year of high school. Now he is

uncertain whether he will be able to play this year, his senior year, or

in college. He was good enough that there was a realistic hope that he

could be awarded a college scholarship.

I didn’t want to wait six-and-a-half more years to get a diagnosis, so I took

him to the ND to rule out Lyme and other co-infections, even though I

was sure he had it. Sure enough, his tests came back positive for Babesia.

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

severity of these diseases.

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

Lyme exists right here on the Central Coast,

and do not know how to prevent it. Many

believe, wrongly so, that it is only contracted

on the East Coast. I believe it is likely that

99% of our local population does not know

the facts. Additionally, most of our medical

doctors on the Central Coast do not appear

to know that Lyme exists here, but it does.

And I am on a mission to spread the word.

I want to thank my husband for being so

supportive through all this. If it weren’t for

him, I would not have been able to help

our children and help others by spreading

awareness. Please—all of you who read

this—please help me spread the word. These

websites, limediseasechallenge.org and

ilads.org, are two great resources that provide

vital information about the disease and, most

importantly, how to prevent it.

NICKI NYSVEN xxx

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


oct/nov 2015 | SLO LIFE Magazine | 91


92 | SLO LIFE Magazine | OCT/Nov 2015

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