SLO LIFE Dec/Jan 2020

slolife

SLO LIFE

magazine

REAL ESTATE

BY THE NUMBERS

SEASONAL

FAVORITES

NOW HEA

WINTER

WONDE

ADVENT

HEALTH

TRENDS

CENTAL COAST

WINEMAKING

LOCAL

CULTURE

SAN LUIS

OBISPO

NEWS

BRIEFS

SAN LUIS

OBISPO EVENTS

DEC/JAN 2020

SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

MEET

WENDY WENDT

EXPANDING OPPORTUNITY

& STARTING STRONG

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 1


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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 3


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the

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 9


16

SLO LIFE

magazine

CONTENTS

Volume

34

36

38

NOW HEAR THIS

14

PUBLISHER’S

MESSAGE

Info

Family

10

Number 6

Dec/Jan 2020

On the Rise

40

WENDY WENDT

18

Sneak Peek

20

In Box

26

Briefs

30

View

28 Timeline

10 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020

32

Q&A


One new name.

An extensive

network of care.

A COMMUNITY BUILT ON CARE

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and Twin Cities Community Hospital are becoming Tenet Health

Central Coast. We’re building a robust network of care facilities located across our community’s region

to meet all of your healthcare needs. So from urgent care centers, primary and specialty care clinics, and

outpatient diagnostic services to our two acute-care hospitals, you can count on us to deliver advanced,

compassionate care for your whole family.

To learn more or to find a physician,

call 833-300-8749 or visit TenetHealthCentralCoast.com

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 11


| CONTENTS

78

Taste

86

Kitchen

88

WINE NOTES

50

COMMUNITY

54

68

72

Dwelling

Real Estate

Health

92

BREW

96 Happenings

12 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DESIGN. BUILD. MAINTAIN.

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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 13


| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

We had a tradition growing up, which was borne of the lean times. Rather than everyone ravishing through

the opening of their Christmas presents at once, we would take turns. Long, drawn-out turns. This had a way

of extending our time together at the base of the tree, and it made everything feel bigger and more bountiful

than it really was.

One year, I must have been eight or nine years old, I had fallen in love in a way that only a little kid can,

with my idol: Danny White. Now, that may sound like an odd word choice, “fallen in love,” but it is the only

way I can describe it. I tried writing that sentence a couple of times with alternatives, such as “admire” and

“mesmerize,” but only the word “love” worked—brotherly love. I looked up to Danny White as if he were

an imaginary big brother. I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on him. He was the quarterback of the

Dallas Cowboys, and they were locked into battle with the Washington Redskins. When the team was on

their own thirty-yard line facing fourth down with seven yards to go, White dropped back fifteen yards to

punt the ball. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen, a quarterback who was also the punter. Wow!

My parents had clued into my Danny White obsession that winter, and after adhering to the family rules for our slow-motion unwrapping of presents—

mostly school clothes plus a new football and a kicking tee—I finally made my way to a card with “Tommy” written on the front. Inside, I found a

three-by-five note card that read, “Go out to the garage.” I hopped up and the booties built into my pajamas skidded across the linoleum floor as I

bounded through the kitchen on the way to the garage. Throwing the door open, I saw it: the chest of drawers my mom had been painting. Only, she

was not just painting. She also plastered it with all of the photos of Danny White from the pages I had torn from Sports Illustrated, from that point

forward preserving them in perpetuity under a double coat of shellac. Without thinking, I wrapped my arms around that old piece of refurbished, handme-down

furniture for a “bro hug”—the same hug I imagined I would give Danny White after he threw me the first of many touchdown passes, that is

before I took over for him at quarterback after his retirement.

It was a few years ago now, my son Harrison would have been six or seven years old, when he and I flipped on a college football game one lazy Saturday

afternoon in October. There was a play where the young Texas Tech quarterback scrambled, escaping a collapsing pocket before he scampered around

and flicked a sidearm, no-look pass to his running back in the flat. I turned toward Harrison, who had a look in his eyes that I immediately recognized.

The only thing he could manage to say was, “Wow!” In that instant, Harrison had found his Danny White. Only his name was Patrick Mahomes.

When news surfaced that Mahomes had been drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, overnight Harrison became a die-hard fan, rarely leaving the house

without his fire engine red baseball cap, “KC” emblazoned on the front. The whole family now gathers around the television whenever the Chiefs are

playing, hooting and hollering and cheering them on to victory. And, Harrison has his future mapped out. He has done the math and figured that he

will be a rookie quarterback for the Chiefs during the last year of Mahomes’ career. “That way,” he explains, “I can be his back-up for a year, and we can

be friends, and he can teach me everything he knows.” He also adds, “Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, I’m going to buy you a condo in downtown Kansas

City right next to Arrowhead Stadium, so you’ll never miss a game.”

Last year, as my wife, Sheryl, was reviewing her list and checking it twice, she realized that she was one gift short for Harrison. I had an idea. She was

skeptical when I shared it, but I said, “You’ve got to trust me on this one—I’ve got it.” So, when Christmas morning arrived, and the kids made their

way—slowly, one-at-a-time, as is still the tradition—through all of their presents, one remained. It was tube-shaped and tucked behind a now empty

tree. After Harrison unwrapped it, I stood up and held the unmarked cardboard cylinder in place while his mother unfurled a Fathead cut-out poster

revealing a six-foot-three-inch life-sized version of Patrick Mahomes. Harrison was speechless, overcome with emotion, as tears streamed down his

nine-year-old cheeks. I did the same—I couldn’t help myself. Then, I scanned our bombed-out living room, paper and boxes strewn everywhere, to reveal

the best gift I have ever received: The entire family was wiping away tears, caught up in a moment of pure and complete innocence and joy. Mahomes, it

turns out, did much more than win the MVP trophy last year.

I want to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who had a hand in producing this issue of SLO LIFE Magazine and, most of all, to our

advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you. And, to you and your family, my best wishes for a happy holiday season and a healthy and

prosperous 2020.

Live the SLO Life!

Mahomes

Tom Franciskovich

tom@slolifemagazine.com

Get the story within the story by going to GrowWithTom.com and

subscribing to Tom’s Bombs to receive the next installment.

14 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


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SLO LIFE

magazine

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

SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

info@slolifemagazine.com

(805) 543-8600 • (805) 456-1677 fax

PUBLISHER

Tom Franciskovich

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EDITOR

Sheryl Franciskovich

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Alexandra Wallace

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Charlotte Alexander

Erika Fitzgerald

Paden Hughes

Zara Khan

Jaime Lewis

Andria McGhee

Brant Myers

Jessie Rivas

Shawn Strong

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

David Lalush

Vanessa Plakias

Donald Quintana

CONTRIBUTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

and city for verification purposes. Contributions chosen for publication may

be edited for clarity and space limitations.

ADVERTISING

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

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

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

media kit along with testimonials from happy advertisers.

Nicole Pazdan, CSA,

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16 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020

SUBSCRIPTIONS

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

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

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

gift that keeps on giving!

NOTE

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

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

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

CIRCULATION, COVERAGE, AND ADVERTISING RATES

Complete details regarding circulation, coverage, and advertising

rates, space, sizes and similar information are available to prospective

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

before date of issue.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

info@slolifemagazine.com

4251 S. Higuera Street, Suite 800

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

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


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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 17


| ON THE COVER

A SNEAK PEEK

BEHIND the scenes

WITH WENDY WENDT

BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

I noticed a special book, a children’s book, on

Wendy’s shelf. One of her friends from Russia

had written it and hand-drawn all of the imagery

in it. She read a bit of it in Russian. It has a very

inspiring story line, it’s about an elephant that

feels misplaced before falling asleep and waking

up to a new world of endless possibility. That, to

me, pretty much summed up my impression of

Wendy during our time together.

We met at Wendy’s office in SLO where she

showed me her favorite photo, which was her

daughter’s hand mixed in with her schoolmates

when she was just a little one. I loved the diversity

of the shot, the symbolism—it was powerful.

Next door to Wendy is Jason, and he is hilarious. A lot of good

energy. Wendy said that he does a lot to help her out in her

work, and he makes her job better and easier. They’re a strong

team. Jason streams a read aloud and music on Facebook every

Friday morning. He was wearing a t-shirt, which was part of

First 5’s “Talk. Read. Sing.” campaign. You’ve probably heard

the jingle, “Talk. Read. Sing. It changes everything.”

We ended the

shoot in a peaceful

courtyard outside

of the office. I asked

her to run her hands

under the water,

which somehow

seemed sort of fitting

with the helping hand

logo from First 5.

And, symbolically,

it was a source of

replenishment—it was

a warm, hot day—so

it just seemed to fit.

She said, “After all

these years I’ve never

tried this, and it’s

lovely.”

SLO LIFE

18 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 19


| IN BOX

Take us with you!

Hey, SLO LIFE readers: Send us your photos the next time you’re relaxing in town or traveling

far and away with your copy of the magazine. Email us at info@slolifemagazine.com

MOUNT WHITNEY

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

MELISSA LATIMER

JUNEAU, ALASKA

CHRISTIE RAMSEY

QUEBEC, CANADA

SUZANNE and GLEN

KEITH and SHARIE HAMILTON/ROUSE at Montmorency

Falls—the falls are 30 meters taller than Niagara Falls!

20 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


PARIS, FRANCE

MAINE

JEAN RENO, CINDY MCCOWN, ANN MARSHFIELD, and

CINDIE RHODERICK started their friendship as youth in

SLO. They plan an annual “girl’s gig” and this year’s travels

took them to Maine!

PEINADO FAMILY

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA

JEAN and JOHN HYDUCHAK celebrating Jean’s very

special birthday!

RANDY and KIP DETTMER

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 21


| IN BOX

SLO LIFE travels!

PINECREST, CALIFORNIA

AEGINA ISLAND, GREECE

SLO LIFE Magazine traveled with a group of teachers,

students, and parents from SLO CLASSICAL ACADEMY to

England, France, Italy and Greece this summer during our

school’s Europe Through the Ages history trip.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA

The FRANKLIN, VERES, and CALLAWAY families

camping at the Lair of the Bear.

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING

THE GILL FAMILY

MICHAEL and NANCY JACKSON

22 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


LAKE POWELL, UTAH

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

JIM BAGNALL

KARNATAKA, INDIA

OWEN WELLS, GUS RINGLEY, SADIE LACHAPPELLE,

NATALIE WELLS, WADE WERNICK, and AMELIA

WERNICK at the Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

HVAR, CROATIA

JASON VORK and VICKI POBOR

CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE

MATT and KIM WORMLEY globetrotting with SLO LIFE

Magazine at Mysore Palace.

KAPALUA, MAUI

TOM OHARA

GLORIA WILLIAMS and

CINDY HOLBROOK-WILLIAMS

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 23


You showed us!

ROME, ITALY

LOS OLIVOS, CALIFORNIA

JONATHAN YOUNG, LINDSEY YOUNG, PAM COSART, and

TAYLOR YOUNG at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin

in front of the Bocca Della Verità.

NEW YORK CITY TIMES SQUARE

SLO NEWCOMERS “Glamping Group” enjoying a

get-a-way in Los Olivos while taking a moment to enjoy

SLO LIFE Magazine!

HAMPSHIRE, ENGLAND

NICK CASSUN

RICH and CAROL GUENTHER at Highclere Castle, the main

filming location for Downton Abbey.

24 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


VENICE, ITALY

SURPRISE, ARIZONA

KENNY LEE LEWIS of the Steve Miller Band with his wife,

singer-songwriter DIANNE STEINBERG-LEWIS at San

Marco Square.

BRENNECKE’S BEACH, KAUAI

San Luis Obispo Country Club (SLOCC) USTA Women’s

Tennis Team competed at the National Championships

against regional winners from throughout the U.S.,

including Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The

National Championship draw placed SLOCC in a tough

position, playing the eventual semi-finalist and finalists

in the first and second rounds, and only losing by a third

set tiebreak. SLOCC went on to finish 12th out of the

6,000 teams competing!

ICELAND

MARY BETTENCOURT

and PATTY MANION

JIM and SALLY BROOKS-SCHULKE

with PAM FISHER

Please send your photos and comments to info@slolifemagazine.com

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

Visit us online at slolifemagazine.com

Letters may be edited for content and clarity.

To be considered for publication your letter should include your name, address, phone number, or email address (for authentication purposes).

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 25


| BRIEFS

| BRIEFS

535,266 535,266

calories calories

SLO County commuters burned over half

a SLO million County calories, commuters removed burned 14,272 over vehicle half

trips a million from calories, county roadways, removed 14,272 prevented vehicle

59.3 trips tons from of county CO2, roadways, and saved prevented $79,158 by

riding 59.3 tons the of bus, CO2, carpooling and saved and $79,158 making by

other riding smart the bus, commute carpooling choices and during making

Rideshare other smart Week commute October choices 7-11. during

Rideshare Week October 7-11.

2,932

The number of dogs and cats who have

received The number accessible, of dogs affordable and cats who spay/ have

neuter received surgeries accessible, at the affordable Daphne spay/ Fahsing

Spay/Neuter neuter surgeries Clinic at the in Atascadero Daphne Fahsing during

its Spay/Neuter first year of Clinic operation. in Atascadero Opened during

November its first year 2019, of operation. the low-cost Opened clinic in

operated November by 2019, Woods the Humane low-cost Society clinic

provides operated sterilization by Woods Humane surgeries Society for pets

from provides all over sterilization the county. surgeries for pets

from all over the county.

40%

The increase in the cost to build a new

county The increase animal in shelter, the cost up to from build an a estimated new

$14.5 county million animal in shelter, 2016 to up $20.3 from an million estimated

today. $14.5 The million price in has 2016 skyrocketed, to $20.3 million according

today. county The officials, price has because skyrocketed, of the according ongoing

boom to county in the officials, building because industry, of the including ongoing

high boom demand in the building for contractors industry, and including labor,

tariffs high demand on materials, for contractors and State-mandated and labor,

skilled tariffs on labor materials, requirements. and State-mandated

skilled labor requirements.

905 905 lbs. lbs.

How much did this year’s Great Pumpkin

weigh? How much After did spending this year’s months Great caring Pumpkin

for weigh? his giant After pumpkin, spending Bill months Quirk caring won

first for his place giant in pumpkin, the fourteenth Bill Quirk annual won

competition first place in in the downtown fourteenth San annual Luis

Obispo’s competition Mission in downtown Plaza during San Luis Farmer’s

Market Obispo’s on Mission October Plaza 17. during Farmer’s

Market on October 17.

“Now is the

time to bring

it home for

the Preserve.”

Executive Director Kaila Dettman

announcing Executive Director in November Kaila Dettman that the The

Land announcing Conservancy in November needs to that raise the just The

$423,000 Land Conservancy more to complete needs to the raise $17 just

million $423,000 Pismo more Preserve to complete project the and $17

open million it to Pismo the public Preserve within project months. and

open it to the public within months.

slocleanair.org

slocleanair.org

Your source for current air quality

conditions Your source and for forecasts, current air as quality well as

advisories conditions that and can forecasts, make a as difference well as

for advisories your health, that can such make as measuring a difference the

impact for your of health, smoke such from as fires measuring Northern

and impact Southern of smoke California from fires on in SLO Northern

County and Southern residents. California on SLO

County residents.

30 YEARS

2019 marks three decades for the San

Luis 2019 Obispo marks three Botanical decades Garden, for the and San

supporters Luis Obispo celebrated Botanical with Garden, a first-ever and

Art supporters at the Garden celebrated show with and a first-ever fundraiser

in Art November. at the Garden show and fundraiser

in November.

1.2

1.2

miles

miles

The length of a round-trip walk on the

Cal The Poly length Pier of off a round-trip Avila Beach walk Drive on the

just Cal Poly west Pier of the off San Avila Luis Beach Creek Drive Bridge.

Normally just west of only the faculty San Luis and Creek students Bridge. get

the Normally chance only to go faculty the distance, and students but once get

a the year chance visitors go can the attend distance, “open but once pier”

featuring a year visitors hands-on can attend touch an tanks “open filled pier”

with featuring live marine hands-on creatures, touch tanks microscopes filled

for with viewing live marine ultra-small creatures, sea microscopes

creatures, and

other for viewing interactive ultra-small displays—at sea creatures, the end and of

other Pier, interactive of course. displays—at the end of

the Pier, of course.

“Our hearts

“Our hearts

go out to

go out to

those who

those who

have lost

have lost

loved ones to

loved ones to

overdose.”

overdose.”

SLO County Health Officer Dr. Penny

Borenstein SLO County confirms Health an Officer alarming Dr. Penny increase

Borenstein deaths from confirms fentanyl alarming overdose increase the

county. in deaths From from May fentanyl to October overdose this in year, the

ten county. people From died May from to toxic October levels this of year, the

drug, ten people compared died from with two toxic or levels fewer of deaths the

per drug, year compared in each with of the two previous or fewer four deaths

years. per year Fentanyl in each is of a synthetic previous opioid four 100

times years. more Fentanyl potent is a than synthetic morphine. opioid 100

times more potent than morphine.

@211slo

Follow SLO County’s own 2-1-1 on

Facebook Follow SLO or Instagram. County’s own The 2-1-1 phone on line

is Facebook a free, confidential or Instagram. one-stop The phone access line to

health is a free, and confidential human services one-stop information access to

and health referrals and human twenty-four services hours information a day,

seven and referrals days a week. twenty-four Bilingual hours assistance a day, is

available, seven days too. a week. Bilingual assistance is

available, too.

26 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


E X P EC T B E T T ERSM

AVILA BEACH

www.3265LupineCanyon.com

Stunning single level 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2,648 sqft home overlooking Avila Beach Golf Course and the oak studded hills of Avila Beach. Located in the Heron Crest

development within the private gated community of San Luis Bay Estates, this property beautifully blends the peace and serenity of country living with the

convenience of nearby hiking, shopping, dining, and beaches. Travertine floors, granite and marble countertops, cherry wood cabinets and interior doors, and

Milgard windows are featured in the home. Bright and airy great room is adorned with natural light through large picture windows and features 10ft ceilings and

gas fireplace. Great room and master suite open to back deck with sweeping views of the golf course and hills.

KATE HENDRICKSON, BROKER ASSOCIATE, LIC. #01730943 805-801-1979

SAN LUIS OBISPO MORRO BAY LOS OSOS

Bungalow home with detached studio nestled in

the heart of downtown SLO. Built in 1921, these

renovated homes feature a remodeled kitchen, 3

remodeled bathrooms; new electrical, plumbing,

roof, windows. Boasting mature lemon, apple,

orange trees, and passion fruit vines.

Website: www.1221Pismo.com

SUMMER WEBER

REALTOR®, LIC. #02099729

SARAH WEBER

BROKER ASSOCIATE, LIC. #01077788

650.279.2906

805.550.6405

3 bedroom 2 bath 1400+ sqft home features an

oversized street to street lot with 2 bonus rooms.

The home has recently been painted inside with

new flooring. The large back yard and patio is fully

enclosed for privacy and backyard entertainment.

Beach access just blocks away.

Website: www.2900Cedar.com

STANLEY CRAIG

BROKER ASSOCIATE, LIC. #00995466

SUSAN CRAIG

REALTOR®, LIC. #01431785

805.305.8882

805.235.6079

Breathtaking new construction boasting almost

4000 sqft of living space on a generous, usable

1.5 acres with stunning views. This modern

farmhouse, Sea Ranch inspired home includes

rustic hickory kitchen cabinetry, local live edge

walnut bar, and custom kitchen island built with

oak wine flavor sticks. Extensive back and front

yard with professional landscaping.

Website: www.1548LOVR.com

HOLLY RODGERS

BROKER ASSOCIATE, LIC. #01431559

805.215.2884

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Haven Properties

441 Marsh Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

805 Main Street, Morro Bay, CA 93442

1401 Park Street, Suite C, Paso Robles, CA 93446

BHGREHAVEN.COM

805.592.2050

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 27


| TIMELINE

Around the County

OCTOBER ’19

10/18

Tennessee-based Contour Airlines begins nonstop

service four times a week to Las Vegas from San Luis

Obispo County Regional Airport. Contour’s thirty-seat

aircraft serving the route features all-leather seating,

complimentary snacks and beverages, and one free

checked bag with every fare. The new service brings the

number of airline carriers serving SLO residents to four,

and the number of cities served to seven.

10/7

Thieves vandalize a playground in SLO’s Sinsheimer Park by removing a twelve-bytwenty-foot

strip of synthetic grass. The estimated cost of repairing and replacing the

section that was stolen from the slide hill is approximately $10,000. The SLO Police

Department is investigating but no suspects have been identified.

10/13

The SLO Parks and Recreation Department completes installation of new graphic

design wraps on the toll booths at all downtown parking structures. The colorful

public art features iconic San Luis Obispo locales such as the Ah Louis Store, the

Mission, the Fremont Theatre, and the “Iron Road Pioneers” statue in Railroad

Square. The banner art was designed by a local creative firm, (iii) Design, and

installed by Quality Tinting and Signs.

10/17

Cal Poly students pack up their half of the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade

float, shipping it off to Cal Poly Pomona, where students from both universities

plan to continue assembling and decorating it in time for the Pasadena parade

on January 1. The theme of the 72nd float on which the two universities have

worked is “Aquatic Aspirations,” in keeping with the parade’s theme “The Power

of Hope.” It features a submarine navigating around a sunken shipwreck that is

home to colorful marine wildlife including animated turtles, jellyfish, swimming

fish, a rocking ray, swaying kelp, and a thirteen-foot-high octopus waving its

tentacles toward the crowd.

10/19

Architect, former mayor of San Luis Obispo, and

“father” of Mission Plaza Ken Schwartz dies at age

ninety-four. A resident of the city for nearly seventy

years, the Cal Poly faculty member and 1993 SLO

Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year” served

as mayor for a decade from 1969 to 1979. He is

known for spearheading the development of Mission

Plaza, working with Cal Poly students to construct a

plan that resulted in the closure of Monterey Street in

front of the Mission. In addition to his work on the

plaza, Schwartz also contributed to the city’s General

Plan, Downtown Concept Plan, Capital Improvement

Plan, long-term water management plans, sign

regulations, street tree planting, and acquisition of the

Jack House.

28 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


NOVEMBER ’19

11/8

County Agricultural Commissioner Martin Settevendemie releases a comprehensive

economic analysis that shows agriculture supports nearly 14,000 jobs and

contributes some $2.54 billion to the local economy every year. That’s $6.97million

per day, or $290,000 every hour, or $4,833 per minute. That also makes agriculture

one of the county’s top industries, representing seven percent of the county’s direct

economic output.

11/16

Transitions-Mental Health Association and the Housing

Authority of San Luis Obispo hold an open house for the

long-awaited Bishop Street Studios, a visionary project

eight years in the making. The project transformed an

abandoned orphanage turned juvenile detention center

into thirty-three single-occupancy apartments for adults

living with mental illness.

11/12

The SLO City Council approves a new fifty-foot-tall $1.6 million parking

structure as well as a new home for San Luis Obispo Repertory Theatre.

Located at the corner of Nipomo and Palm street, the garage will contain 404

parking spots, forty-three electric vehicle charging stations, and thirty-two bike

parking spots. It is funded by the City’s parking fund, while SLO REP is raising

the $9.5 million for the 23,344-square-foot theatre that will sit on Monterey

Street behind the garage.

11/14

A power failure is blamed for an early morning sewage spill from the California

Men’s Colony. Some 33,000 gallons of partially treated sewage was released without

going through a final UV treatment process. The leakage was stopped within

minutes but not before contamination reached Chorro Creek and the Morro Bay

estuary. San Luis Obispo County health officials posted warning signs in areas

impacted by the spill.

11/17

Hundreds of people attend a vigil to remember Kristin

Smart, a Cal Poly student who went missing more

than two decades ago in San Luis Obispo. Early on a

Saturday morning in 1996, the 19-year-old left an offcampus

party to return to her dorm, but has never been

seen again. The vigil began at the gazebo in the Village

of Arroyo Grande, then moved to the front of the

family home of the last person seen with Smart before

she disappeared. SLO LIFE

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 29


| VIEW

DAY AT

THE BEACH

BY JOE PAYNE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DONALD QUINTANA

After years of experience photographing wildlife in San Luis

Obispo County, the Central Coast, and beyond, Donald

Quintana has learned not to let a foggy day get in his

way. This shot of two breaching Humpback whales was

captured after Quintana heard from a friend that the massive

mammals had been out the day before, frolicking just within

sight of the San Simeon pier. “People always say, ‘You should have been

there yesterday,’” Quintana said. “So, I took a chance in hoping that they

would make an appearance the next day and went out to capture them. I

was thrilled they chose to make a second appearance while I was there.”

But like many an autumn or winter day on the Central Coast, the scene

was blanketed in white fog. Where a landscape photographer might call it

quits, Quintana only saw opportunity through the misty shroud. “I think

that adds to the feeling of the image,” he explained. “Weather shouldn’t

deter you from going out and shooting. It’s a factor that can make your

images stand out. Fog, or to be more exact, overcast cloudy weather, acts

as one of the greatest diffusers of light.” Armed with his Canon EOS 7D

and an EF500mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x teleconverter, Quintana was able

to create an effective focal length of 700mm to push in on the breaching

porpoises from his perch on the pier.

He explained that the challenge with photographing whale is simple—you

never know where they will surface. Humpback whale, which migrate along

California’s coast during autumn and early winter, can hold their breath for

up to forty-five minutes, but usually breach every seven to fifteen minutes

for air. “Patience is key; you really have to wait sometimes for your subject

to show up,” Quintana said. “Learning behavior can help you be in the

right location at the right time, but having the patience to wait for them to

show up is essential.”

Not one to keep his methods a secret, Quintana often leads photographer

excursions on the Central Coast and beyond and

is a wealth of knowledge—he has literally been

across the globe to photograph animals big and

small, from grizzly bear in Yellowstone National

Park to tarantula wasp in Hawaii. But the San

Luis Obispo area has always been home for him

and his ancestors who, he explained, first came

to the area in the 1840s. It’s also the perfect

place to be if you’re a wildlife photographer, he

shares, “San Luis Obispo is a treasure trove of

photographic opportunities for the nature and

wildlife photographer, you just need to get out and

about early enough to capture the animals when

they are going about their days. We have a lot to

photograph around here, from birds migrating

through the area to all sorts of marine mammals,

coyotes, elk, butterflies wintering in Pismo—there

are just so many opportunities. We live in an

amazing place.” SLO LIFE

JOE PAYNE is a

journalist, as well as a

lifelong musician and

music teacher, who

loves writing about

the arts on the Central

Coast, especially music,

as well as science,

history, nature, and

social issues.

30 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 31


| Q&A

HUMAN STORY

We sat down recently with SCOTT SMITH, the executive director of

HASLO—the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo—to talk about how

things have changed in the local housing market since he moved here in

1984. Here is some of what he had to say…

Let’s take from the top, Scott. Where are you

from originally? I’m a native Californian. Second

generation. My parents were born in LA and

wanted to get out of the rat race, so they headed

to Santa Barbara. That’s where I was born and

raised. I moved around after that: Berkeley, Los

Angeles, Mexico, and Washington, DC, before

returning. And, what brought me here was a

job in housing. Honestly, I had no interest in

housing and certainly had no intention of making

it a career. I was more oriented toward wanting

to help people. I was fascinated by third world

poverty issues, so when I graduated from UCLA,

I volunteered in Yucatan, Mexico. That’s where

I met my wife. Then, off to graduate school. We

were expecting our first child, so I was at a point

where I just needed a job, and through a friend of

a friend, I found something in housing. I realized

very quickly that I was dealing with the same

thing that I was always interested in, which is

to answer the question: “How do you help poor

people no longer be poor?”

So, how do you help poor people no longer

be poor? You start with a roof overhead. We

provide affordable housing to roughly 7,000

people every month throughout the county. We

actively develop and operate housing locally. We

also tackle this issue with the Housing Choice

Voucher Program, formerly called Section 8. A

tenant pays 30% of their income toward the rent,

and we pay the rest. A lot of these folks are senior

citizens or disabled and living on a fixed income.

Many of them will get a disability check from

Social Security, which amounts to about $900

each month. So, 30% of $900 is $300, which is the

amount that the government deems “affordable.”

But, where are they going to find something for

$300? Maybe in Bakersfield, but not here. So,

let’s say their rent is $1,500. We then kick in the

balance. Those are federal funds that come into

the county to pay for this program—about $20

million each year.

And, what about people who would not be

considered poor, but who cannot afford a place

to live? My wife and I have three young adult

daughters in their twenties and early thirties.

And, we’re watching them try to make a go of it

and seeing them struggle with the same issues

so many of us struggle with as we are impacted

by housing, as they ask the question: “How can I

afford to stay here?” There are so many aspects to

this issue in addition to just the general angst it

creates. When you don’t have an adequate balance

between housing costs and wages in a community,

it has a lot of unintended consequences. It strains

families when it becomes increasingly difficult for

the younger ones coming up to find housing of

their own. And, from a business standpoint, we

know that we need workers at all wage and skill

levels. So, how do we fill those jobs and retain

people in those jobs when they can’t afford to live

here? It’s not a healthy thing for the economy

when someone has a full-time job but still cannot

afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. There is

something broken.

How do you fix it? There is not one solution to

the housing problem. We need a whole bunch

of different solutions to keep us whittling away

at the problem. And, each community is unique.

If you look at San Luis Obispo, for instance,

you’ve got Cal Poly, where many of their students

are absorbing the rental housing stock in town,

which is causing rent inflation. A working family

can no longer afford to rent a three-bedroom

house because it cannot compete with six or

seven Cal Poly students whose parents are willing

to pay whatever price. So, building more oncampus

housing will absolutely make an impact

on affordability locally. It will help open up

supply and bring rents down to the point where

permanent residents can go back into those

neighborhoods and rent a single-family home.

Can you give us an example of the need that

exists here on the Central Coast? We see it

every day. It’s a very emotional issue for people.

It can be a traumatic issue. It’s a survival issue.

Housing—permanent shelter—is a basic

human need. And, there are programs that

offer assistance with housing, but they all have

super long waiting lists. I’m not sure the general

public realizes this, but we get so many referrals

and deal with so many truly heart-breaking

cases, but there is a really long line of people

that are having tough problems. When we

opened up a new apartment complex on Broad

Street recently, we received 900 applications for

just 46 units. That gives you just a little bit of

an idea for the demand. So, we’re all there on

the day it opened, and people are showing up

to move in with tears in their eyes. That’s when

you see that housing is really about people, that

it’s a human story. SLO LIFE

32 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 33


| NOW HEAR THIS

GRAND AVE

BY SHAWN STRONG

34 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


San Luis Obispo County covers approximately

3,616 square miles of land that is home to

an estimated 284,000 individuals. Within

these 3,600 miles is an exceedingly diverse

landscape filled with vast, sweeping stretches of coastal

hills, wide-open valleys, and serene mountain ranges, all of

which are bordered by some of the most fantastic beaches in

California. Driving through SLO County, it becomes obvious

that as the terrain gradually transforms, so do the communities

occupying these remarkable spaces. There’s a lot of life stuffed

into this relatively small region, and despite the short distances

between the cities and towns that reside within, the people that

occupy them couldn’t be more unique. This is one of the most

attractive aspects of the area and something that two local

musicians recording under the name Grand Ave have sought

to recreate.

In their own ways, Repetto and Breshears have been musically inclined

from childhood. The former pursued music in a more relaxed fashion,

picking up the guitar in the fifth grade, forming a band in middle

school, and eventually playing in church bands as well. Breshears

went a more traditional route, studying music theory and learning

to read music, playing saxophone in the school band. By the end of

high school, however, he had moved on to learning guitar and drums

while eventually picking up singing in college. It was at this point

that the two artists met at a pledge event for the Theta Chi fraternity.

After two years of impromptu jams and dorm room practice sessions,

the two Cal Poly juniors officially formed Grand Ave and began

playing around town, particularly at the weekly farmers’ market. Their

performances quickly attracted attention and soon after, they released

their first single “805 Summertime.”

In the time since, Grand Ave has expanded to a full five-man band.

Despite both musicians receiving attractive job offers, Breshears and

Repetto decided to pursue music full time following graduation.

Given that youth lends itself to the successful pursuit of the arts (with

exceptions, obviously) and the nine to five grind accepts any willing

Grand Ave is a project that sprung from the collective minds of

Cal Poly alumni Derek Breshears and PJ Repetto after meeting

during their freshman year. The name itself is a reference to

the street on which Cal Poly has been located for decades and victim, regardless of age, it makes as much

was home to the musicians for four long years. With Breshears

sense as any. Grand Ave continues with steady

and Repetto having completed their degrees in Industrial

releases, including two music videos created

Technology and Packaging, and Recreation, Parks, and Tourism

by local media production agency Platinum

Administration (RPTA), respectively, the duo has committed

Peek Productions and a live performance

to their musical pursuits in full. When questioned about the

on local country music station 98.1 KJUG.

goals for Grand Ave, the two artists say they’re dedicated to

Additionally, the band is currently recording

defining a musical genre all their own. A bold new approach

to country music and beach pop that they lovingly refer to as

a five-song album to be released soon. In the

“coastal country.” The amalgamation of these two distinct sonic

meantime, throw on an old pair of wranglers

landscapes is what makes Grand Ave so evocative of San Luis and some flip-flops and hit the beach. Be sure

Obispo County as a whole. By combining engaging storytelling

techniques typical of traditional country music with the

tranquil, easygoing sounds of the ocean shore, Grand Ave

to bring a speaker and some brews, and put

Grand Ave’s current catalog on repeat. Fall is

on the way but Grand Ave is sure to give you

delivers an undeniably infectious score that plays well anywhere. that summer buzz all year round. SLO LIFE

Los Angeles born, SLO County

raised, SHAWN STRONG’s

passion for the local music

scene and artists that have

created it, fuels his writing and

drives his commitment to living

the SLO Life.

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 35


| FAMILY

MAGIC OF THE

CAMBRIA CHRISTMAS

MARKET

BY PADEN HUGHES

Most of my family lives

in Europe and one

year, while visiting over

Christmas, we went to

a German Christmas

market and I was

captivated by the magic

of the experience. Wandering through warmly

lit aisles where street vendors showcased truly

unique items while I drank a hot buttered

rum and scouted my annual ornament was a

cherished memory I had no expectation of San

Luis Obispo county being able to afford me.

That is, until I heard about a little German

Christmas market in Cambria. That is literally

how it was described to me. If I hadn’t already

experienced one in Europe, I wouldn’t have

given it a second thought. I attended the market

in Cambria three years ago and have loved it

every year since, watching it expand and become

more grandiose. The Cambria Christmas

Market is now my number one favorite thing

to do in SLO county during the holidays and is

hands down my daughters’ favorite as well.

Bringing in over 80,000 guests last year from

over seventeen states and nine countries

(including Germany), this event is truly world

class. If you ever wondered about all the holiday

selfies taken in a tunnel of rainbow Christmas

lights, you now know that was the Cambria

Christmas Market.

The market is nestled behind and around

the Cambria Pines Lodge; the property is

completely transformed by over two million

lights bringing to life countless Christmas

themed scenes connected by a labyrinth

of glowing walkways. Wandering into a

truly magical world of lights, you could be

mesmerized by the splendor if you stayed too

long, or finished a second glass of glühwein

(German spiced heated wine).

“Our goal is to create a festive atmosphere for

friends and family to relax and enjoy the holiday

season. We have local, artisan vendors selling

a variety of handmade crafts and traditional German gifts,

food, and drinks,” shares Mike Arnold, the mastermind

behind the event.

The two best memories I have of this market are from last

year, watching my one and a half year old walk boldly onto

a stage in front of a crowd to sing karaoke to “Twinkle,

Twinkle Little Star” and that same year telling Santa she

wanted flying reindeer. To me, a truly great event is one

where someone took the time to care about the details, think

about how to wow their guests and set each attendee up to

create memories they will have for a lifetime. The Cambria

Christmas Market has never failed me in this regard.

Cool Facts

• Last year, the event welcomed an average of 3,000 guests

each night

• Two million+ lights

• Twenty-eight local artisan vendors and twelve food

vendors

• This year, the market will be featured on ABC Family’s

“The Great Christmas Light Fight”

• The popular train ride addition from last year will be even

better in 2019, with a secret light display just for riders

• Cal Poly’s Engineering department partnered with

Cambria Christmas Market on a mechanical light display

of the advent calendar with twenty-five windows, each

with a moving display

Dates & Pricing

Open 23 nights this season, November 29 through

December 23 (Closed December

2 and 9). Tickets range from $10

to $25 depending on how far in

advance they are purchased.

Local Tips

Book a room at the Cambria Pines

Lodge or the Sea Otter Inn. Both

offer amazing packages that include

tickets to the event. Staying at the

Cambria Pines Lodge allows you

to walk to the event and many of

the rooms have views of the lights.

Guests staying at the Sea Otter Inn

on Moonstone Beach can take the

complimentary shuttle provided for

hotel guests only. SLO LIFE

PADEN HUGHES is

co-owner of Gymnazo

and enjoys exploring

the Central Coast.

36 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 37


| ON THE RISE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Evan Jenkins

San Luis Obispo High School senior EVAN JENKINS

has received numerous academic excellence awards,

Medals of Honorary Merit in Latin, the Mayor’s Award

for Community Service, and was recognized as a

National Merit Scholar. We sat down to ask him a few

questions about himself and his future.

What extra-curricular activities are you involved in? I’ve been involved in the

nonprofit organization GleanSLO, which harvests excess produce and donates it

to the Food Bank for families in need. I have also been participating in many offseason

track practices and going to the gym. There is a long time until the start of

the season, but putting in the work now will help me have the best season I can.

What do you like to do for fun? My favorite thing to do in my free time is going

surfing. It keeps me outside and is a perfect mix of excitement—when I’m riding

a wave; and calm—when I’m waiting for one.

What is one of your favorite memories? My family took a trip to Oahu and

I had a blast being able to always go to the beach and surf some of the best

waves I’ve ever surfed. Learning about Native Hawaiian culture was also

very interesting.

What career do you see yourself in someday? I haven’t completely made up

my mind of what I want to do, but I could see myself as an environmental

engineer because I like spending time outside, and math is one of my stronger

subjects in school.

What do you want people to know about you? I would like to be known for my

work ethic, but also my willingness to have fun.

What experience has influenced you? I had a bone disorder in my elbow when I

was playing baseball, and throughout middle school and into high school, I went

through 3 surgeries, multiple casts, and an immense amount of physical therapy.

It allowed me to realize how much we take our health for granted, and how

lucky we are to live with access to many important resources. It pushed me to

appreciate what we have instead of looking at what we don’t have.

What is it that you look forward to most? I look forward to the college

experience of making new friends and exploring all of what my new home has

to offer.

What do you dislike the most? I dislike when people make excuses, or say that

they can’t do something. If you already have your mind made up that you can’t do

something, you aren’t giving yourself a fair chance, and likely will not be able to

accomplish that thing.

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

back and meet President John F. Kennedy. I admire his leadership and way with

words while leading our nation through serious issues.

What is something that not many people know about you? I like to learn about

nutrition. I think it is really important to know what you are putting in your

body. I think this helps me make healthier choices. SLO LIFE

Know a student On the Rise?

Introduce us at slolifemagazine.com/share

38 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 39


| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

CHIEF

EXECUTIVE

OPTIMIST

PHOTOGRAPHY BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

Beneath the shiny, sometimes dreamlike exterior projected outward toward visitors of this

magical place we call home, a place which none other than Oprah Winfrey herself once deemed

“the happiest,” lies a dark secret: far too many of its children are not getting what they need. And,

by need, we’re talking about the most basic of basics: adequate nutrition, a safe, nurturing home

environment, and regular health and dental services. According to the science, it’s those first

five years of life, which are so important, and, because that critical period of time arrives before

kids attend their first day of kindergarten where they begin to receive some level of oversight,

their needs often remain in the shadows, passing unnoticed. On the front lines of this everyday

struggle to shine a light is an organization called First 5. We sat down for a visit with its chief

executive, WENDY WENDT, a few days following her five-year anniversary with the non-profit.

While she continually steered the conversation back toward local kids, and the coalition of people

working in the trenches to change their lives, we finally coaxed her into sharing her own journey

and philosophy borne of an unshakable optimism. Here is her story…

40 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 41


42 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


et’s start from the beginning, Wendy.

Where are you from? I grew up in the

Midwest. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri,

which is where my dad’s family is from, but,

when I was two, we moved to Ohio. My dad

got a job at the college there, actually it’s a

college and a musical conservatory. And, so

that’s where I grew up, in this little town Lof Oberlin—just two miles in diameter—there were about 8,000 people,

and it grew to 11,000 when the students were in town. It was truly an

idyllic upbringing: kids and bikes everywhere, come home by dark, and no

fences between homes, and just a lot of wonderful childhood memories of

growing up in that little place.

What were you like as a kid? I was really into music, and I was verbal, very

verbal. I liked to talk. I liked language. I did well in school. My friends

used to say we were the nerds in the popular crowd. We hung out with

the popular kids, but we were definitely the nerdy ones, the nerdy friends.

Everywhere we went, our bikes were the mode of transportation. I rode

my bike everywhere. Most everyone in Oberlin seemed to love music, a

lot of my friends’ parents taught there also. I played in the youth orchestra,

did musical theatre. I wasn’t the greatest athlete; drama was my thing.

How did your family end up in the Midwest? I’m Jewish, my mother’s

side of the family is Jewish. Her parents escaped the Holocaust when they

left in 1938. My mom is of Austrian descent. She was born in Rochester,

New York two years after they arrived, before they settled in Indiana. My

dad’s side of the family comes from a long line of St. Louis Presbyterians.

By the time I was getting ready to have my own family, I was feeling more

of an affiliation with the Jewish side, just psychically and intellectually, it

was more in line somehow; it just sat better with me. So, when my son had

a bar mitzvah and my daughter had a bat mitzvah a few years ago, both

my parents came out from Boston where they live now. Dad brought Bill,

and my mom brought Peggy.

Wait a second, hold up. Who are Bill and Peggy? [laughter] Okay, this

is where things get a bit complicated. I was in my mid-twenties when my

parents split. They had been married at that point for thirty-three years.

Where the story takes a turn is when they both ended up partnering with

same gender people. My dad, his name is Carl, partnered with Bill. And,

my mom, Mary, ended up with Peggy. For the most part, they get along

really well now, they even go on double dates. I’ll call my dad sometimes

and he’ll say, “I can’t talk right now because Bill and I are heading out to

meet Mary and Peggy for a beer.” Looking back on it now, I think my

mom just had enough of this kind of cloaked secret life with my dad’s

sexual orientation, which was the immediate impetus for her to leave, but

there were other issues, as well.

Did you know all this was happening when you were growing up? For

my sister and me, no. We had no clue. But, I will be in a conversation

with an old friend from high school or something, and I’ll say, “Can you

believe my dad’s gay?” And they’ll say, “Yeah, we all knew it. We all knew

it, Wendy. Why didn’t you know it?” But, the fact that now at eighty years

old, with his health failing him, he’s in many ways, physically very, very

uncomfortable. And, yet, I would venture to say, he’s never been happier.

On some fundamental sort of psychic level, he’s in a loving relationship,

he’s got a great house, he’s got wonderful friends, he feels good about

himself in terms of the life he’s living. So, in moments when I doubt my

own situation or what’s happening in my life, I look at my parents.

How long has your dad been remarried? Dad and Bill only got married six

years ago, but they’d been together maybe four years before that. So, they’ve

been together about ten years now. And, then mom and Peggy, a couple of

years before that, three or four years before that. And, Peggy has a daughter

in San Francisco who is my stepsister. I’ll tell you, the thing that I took

from their experience is that you just never know when you’re going to be

the most happy in your life. Does that make sense? Here’s where we are.

We’re here, right now. I’m not saying it quite right, but the whole thing has

taught me that at any point in your life, something really great can happen

that enriches it in ways that either it was meant to be enriched or you didn’t

expect it would be. So, during all of those younger years, and I do think

that my parents had some pretty wonderful chapters, at least segments of

chapters, but there was always something missing. And, they both found it.

Alright, let’s get back to you, Wendy. What happened after Oberlin?

Okay, yes, I graduated from high school and then went off to college. I

got lucky enough to be accepted at Brown University in Providence. So, I

moved to the East Coast for my college experience. My college years were

spent studying History and Russian. I became a Russian major, which was

somewhat an accident of fate. I picked up a Russian novel in high school,

Crime and Punishment, and it caught my interest. I was quite intrigued by

how brooding and dark and complicated it all was. And, so I thought, “Who

writes a book like this?” I think that, especially during those formative

teenage years, there’s something that happens to us, whether it’s a book or

a film or a trip or something that just captures our imagination. That’s what

happened to me with Dostoyevsky’s book.

What came next for you? So, I headed off to college and started dabbling

in Russian literature classes. Then, I befriended some people in the Russian

department. Finally, I said to myself, “Well, heck, if I want to understand a

little bit more about the sort of psyche of these people in this place, I should

learn the language.” And, this was during the end of the Cold War, so it

also had a little bit of mystique to it. It was dark and dangerous, not at all

like London or France or something. This was the ‘80s, so it was the Iron

Curtain and scary. I did a term abroad in Leningrad, and when I returned

I taught Russian for a year; it was more of an internship, really. Around

that time, there was a huge surge of Russian Jewish immigrants who were

applying for refugee status coming out of the Soviet Union. So, I ended up

moving to Rome to work with a refugee resettlement agency called HIAS.

I became a caseworker there and helped people file their paperwork with

the US Embassy Immigration & Naturalization Service. After a year doing

that work, I went to an exchange program at a physics and math school in

Siberia. I taught English and took care of a group of high school exchange

students. I stayed there, in Novosibirsk, for a year.

Wow, a year in Siberia. Then, I came back, taught for a few more years at

Andover and realized that I wanted to go back to graduate school, but I

didn’t think I wanted to go into Russian. There just weren’t many jobs in

that field. Is this too much detail? I feel like I’m talking too much. So, I

ended up going back to school again. I got really lucky and had a chance to

get a master’s in public administration at Harvard. I was really interested

in the intersection between education and the schools and the community.

After grad school, I worked at an agency in Cambridge, Massachusetts

called Cambridge Community Services. I was the associate director there,

and one of my favorite programs that we ran was called City Links. It was

a program that was in partnership with a high school. The high school

in Cambridge taught a civics government class for kids, who were either

themselves immigrants or children of immigrants. And, in conjunction

with the civics government class, they also got paid internships in city

departments in Cambridge. >>

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 43


What a great concept. How did it work? So, each student would work

either at the police department, the library, the state clerk’s office, or the

hospital. And then they’d bring their experience back to share with the

class. So, that’s kind of an example of what I mean when I talk about the

relationships between inside and outside of schools. It’s both challenging

and, I think, ultimately quite enriching both for the broader community

of people, whether they have kids in school or not, and for the students

to be able to see the applications of what they’re learning as they go

along. I mean, how often do we as parents think, “Our kids are learning

all these things in school, but do they make that connection back to why

it’s important? Why those things are important.” And we’ve, over the last

twenty years, I would say, we’ve done a better job over that period with

schools doing that type of reaching out and reaching in. But, it was fun to

be part of that back in those early days. And, looking back now, I can trace

a line from those experiences to where I am today.

Let’s continue tracing that line… So, then I got married, and that sent

me along with my then husband on a journey to follow his career. I

was pregnant with our first kid at that time. We were bouncing around

from Cambridge to Hawaii, spent a year-and-a-half in Hawaii for his

postdoctoral fellowship, and then he got a job in North Carolina. Our

son was born in Hawaii, and our daughter was born in North Carolina.

Then, a couple of years later, he got a job at Cal Poly, so we came here.

It was a tricky time, it’s hard when you are out of your element as the

trailing spouse. I continued to do some work for my old employer,

Cambridge Community Services, but I was also trying to raise kids and

establish myself here, too. I began taking on freelance work with various

non-profits. The projects that I took on varied greatly, as I worked on

everything from creating strategic plans to facilitating board meetings.

We moved here in 2002, and this went on for the next ten or twelve years.

Overall, it was a tremendous learning experience. >>

44 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


Don’t miss the first ever

Damon Castillo Holiday Variety Hour

A benefit for Big Brothers/Big Sisters

December 15, 5pm. Court Street Terrace.

Free Tickets available online at

eventbrite.com/courtstreet

A community celebration sponsored by

The San Luis Obispo Collection

Court street Monterey Street Downtown Centre

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 45


When did you get introduced to First 5? I had been assisting First 5 in

the drafting of their children’s bill of rights when the executive director

position came open. It just felt like the right opportunity at the right time.

And, it also didn’t require me to give up all of my broad-based kind of

perspective on things, because pretty much all my projects had more than

an organizationally affiliated kind of focus. And, so, it’s very diversified

sort of assignment. First 5 itself is the same way. The only thing that binds

it all together is the age stage, zero to five. It’s a program that is statewide

and is manifested in local programs in all fifty-eight counties. And our job

is to be stewards of public investment in public tax revenue from tobacco

tax, a fifty cent per pack tax, which was an initiative—Proposition 10—

that Californians voted for twenty years ago.

What’s it like to do this work? I’m so lucky to work with the staff at First

5, all of them. And, additionally, to work with the broader community

of partners in San Luis Obispo County who work on issues related to

kids. It’s been such an amazing learning experience, and a humbling

opportunity to see the kinds of things people in this community are

doing to try to lift the lives of local kids. And, because we get to work

in so many different aspects of their lives, we get to spend our days with

incredibly talented and dedicated pediatricians, preschool teachers, family

advocates, CASA volunteers, people at department of social services, and

other parents. It’s really pretty extraordinary, and also a little bit sobering,

because despite everyone’s best intentions, there’s still a ton of work to do

all the time. It’s just never ending.

And, why is the focus on those first five years of life so important? Well,

I think it’s a more straightforward answer than even ten years ago. There’s

a lot to it, but I’ll start with the science. There’s a lot of science that’s come

out in the last, let’s say, two decades, that shows what we’ve all known

somewhat anecdotally as parents raising children; during those first five

years of life, a lot is happening with children’s brain development. And,

when positively reinforced, it provides a sort of launching pad for life.

And when children suffer or struggle during those early years, it makes it

that much harder to fully thrive. So, it’s this unique moment in time, an

opportunity to, as a community, as a family, as parents, to prioritize the

best possible start. Because, in the end, all of us are better off, our kids

are better off, our community is better off, when we all thrive, when we

all have a shot at living a better life and growing up to contribute to the

greater good.

>>

46 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


䰀 漀 挀 愀 氀 䔀 琀 栀 椀 挀 愀 氀 䨀 攀 眀 攀 氀 爀 礀 匀 椀 渀 挀 攀 㤀 㜀 㐀

Family-owned and operated with two locations in SLO

YOGA

SCULPT

BARRE

AERIAL

w w w . s l o y o g a c e n t e r . c o m

匀 瀀 攀 挀 椀 愀 氀 椀 稀 椀 渀 最 䤀 渀

䌀 甀 猀 琀 漀 洀 䌀 爀 攀 愀 琀 椀 漀 渀 ☀ 䄀 渀 琀 椀 焀 甀 攀 刀 攀 猀 琀 漀 爀 愀 琀 椀 漀 渀

㐀 ☀ 㠀 䜀 愀 爀 搀 攀 渀 匀 琀 ⸀ 䐀 漀 眀 渀 琀 漀 眀 渀 匀 䰀 伀

㠀 㔀 ⸀ 㔀 㐀 アパート⸀ 㠀 㠀 㘀 ⴀ 眀 眀 眀 ⸀ 䜀 愀 爀 搀 攀 渀 匀 琀 爀 攀 攀 琀 䜀 漀 氀 搀 猀 洀 椀 琀 栀 猀 ⸀ 挀 漀 洀

Happy Holidays

Thankful for the opportunity to help 25 buyers

and sellers pursue their real estate goals this year.

How can I help YOU in 2020?

graham @ ccreslo.com

805.459.1865 | Lic. #01873454

www.ccreslo.com

3196 South Higuera Suite D, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 47


When it’s all said and done, what will you hope people say about

you? My gosh. I think I’ll want to look back and see that by virtue

of some of the things I’ve helped set in motion, because that tends

to be the job that I’ve had over these many years, is setting things

in motion, kicking up a good idea and kind of gathering the right

people around the table to move it down the road, I’d like to look

back and see that at least some of those efforts have taken hold and

that there’s been a collective commitment to moving them forward.

And, that it doesn’t have to somehow come back to, “And, Wendy

thought that one up.” I almost would rather it not be that, but if I

am sitting in my rocking chair and looking back, that I’ll know that

I had something to do with the sun shining on that community

challenge that has a solution if only people have the understanding,

the vision, the courage, the creativity, and the sense of possibility to

actually make things happen.

And, what have you learned about yourself along the way? I just feel

like there’s always potential for positive growth, learning from mistakes,

new chapters. Which, I don’t know, it feels sort of childlike in a way,

right? I mean, kids feel that way. Five-year-olds don’t have any sense of

limitations, or pessimism, or cynicism. Even the ones who are struggling

and have been given a really bad hand when they’re five, they still have

this sense that the world has possibility. Because that’s the time when

we can really help kids maintain that sense of optimism beyond their

fifth birthday and carry that with them, carry that optimism, carry that

sense of possibility, and creativity, and fun, and all that stuff that life has a

way of knocking out of us. But, you know, I’m often accused of being an

optimist. I think you have to be optimistic in this line of work because if

you continually throw your arms up and say, “That can’t be done,” or, “We

tried that ten years ago and it didn’t work,” then you’re just adding to the

problem. We can do better for our kids. SLO LIFE

48 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


Explore the

Extraordinary

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805-215-0511 lic.# 887028

CONSUMED

A PODCAST

Join SLO Life food columnist

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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 49


| COMMUNITY

GOOD BOOKS

BY TOM FRANCISKOVICH

The behind the scenes story of books and how they came to be and the inspiration that set the

author into motion in the first place are often as fascinating and instructive as the books themselves.

That is certainly the case for two recently published homegrown children’s books, both the result of

small, dedicated teams of Central Coast residents who never once wavered in their commitments

toward making tomorrow better than today.

ACCESS & OPPORTUNITY

The art table at Lindsey Haring’s house is well-worn. And, if it were

up to her, every kid in every home, everywhere, would have the same

opportunity to create and explore and expand. In other words, to do

this thing we have come to call art.

Last year, Haring’s second-grader, Jack, was showing promise with his

burgeoning collection of cat art. The first installment, which he called

his “ice cream cone cat,” was a hit with his classmates at C.L. Smith

Elementary near San Luis Obispo’s Laguna Lake. Before long, Jack

and his younger brother, Luke, had come up with an entire line of

whimsical cat characters ranging from “top hat cat” to “donut cat.”

Mom was certainly proud of her boys, of course, but did not think

much beyond the family art table, until her sister, their aunt, had a

look. Her reaction was immediate as she declared, “This could be a

book.” The wheels began to turn, slowly at first. But, each conversation

led to another and, before long, a project was launched with a very

specific purpose: to expand access and opportunity by underwriting

art classes at C.L. Smith Elementary, a Title 1 school.

A conversation over coffee with Maureen Vazquez, who owns

Pipsticks, led to the idea of self-publishing a book with the purpose

>>

Lindsey Haring with her sons Jack and Luke

50 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


of fundraising for the school. A week or so later, after her thinking

began to crystalize, Haring attended a PTA meeting where the topic of

conversation centered around the need to cutback. Funds were scarce,

just like always, and difficult decisions would be required. What should

stay, what should go? “That was the night it all came together for me,”

is how Haring recalls the unanimous support for her proposal of a book

fundraiser. The parents, it was decided, had something tangible to rally

around: Cats.

With the title, You Can Be That Cat, in place, the numbers came into

focus. Haring had done the math and realized how much a successful

campaign would mean for the plucky little elementary school by the

lake. If they could sell $30,000 worth of cat books, and subtract out the

$5,000 or so in expenses (which were kept relatively low thanks to a

grant from the Miossi Charitable Trust), the PTA would be left with

$25,000—enough money to pay for five years of art classes for all of its

400 first through sixth graders. A potentially life-changing experience,

particularly for those who do not have an art table back home.

C.L. Smith Elementary School students

Driven by the vision, Haring willed herself into an unfamiliar role.

“It’s been hard to be out in front. I’ve always been behind the scenes,”

she reflects, “but I have this passion for it. It’s real; it comes from a real

place.” And, with a leader taking the reigns, the team gelled quickly, each

of its members offering some missing piece of the puzzle. Kyle Alghren

came aboard to do the graphic design. Kendra Aronson raised her hand

to handle the photography and videography. A local illustrator, Melissa

Ormonde Guzman, pitched in to refine the kids’ creations.

Authoring a book is generally considered a solitary experience, but that

has not been the case for You Can Be That Cat; instead, it has brought

people together. And, it has also demonstrated how creativity and effort

can bring forth positivity and change, perhaps revealing an example of

the adage, art imitating life.

As of this writing, the book has raised just over half of its goal. Those

interested in supporting the project are encouraged to visit the website, which

can be found at YouCanBeThatCat.com.

Kendra Aronson with the authors

SUNSHINE AGAIN

Nancy Ballinger tried everything, every tool she had at her

disposal, and none of them were working. Although highly

trained as both a marriage and family therapist and hospice

children’s bereavement counselor, the situation was almost

too much to bear.

Twenty years ago, Ballinger found herself looking into

the eyes of two of her youngest clients. They had suddenly

lost their mother after she had succumbed to a protracted

illness. They were hurting. That’s when the idea struck.

And, in many ways, it required reaching back before

moving forward.

Stories carry an undeniable power. That has always been

the case for as long as we human beings have roamed the

earth together. First, it was the story of the hunt as we

gathered around the campfire. Then, it was the language we

used to understand the world around us. For Ballinger, she

saw an opportunity to harness that power—the power of

story—to reach a couple of fractured souls, two brave cubs.

Left to right: Nancy Ballinger, Julie Frankel, Marcy Adams, and Linna Thomas

The metaphorical tale flowed to the paper as if delivered >>

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 51


personally by the Big Guy upstairs. It was a story that was meant to

be, and it needed to be told. The words landed. They found a home

in young ears. The kids listened in raptured silence until the little girl

exclaimed, “That’s just like our mommy!” Ballinger knew the healing

process had finally begun.

Over the course of her career, Ballinger had retrieved the book—Two

Brave Cubs—when the situation called for it. Grieving children were

always the most challenging; she just wanted nothing more than for

their pain to end. She wanted it to stop. Nothing ever really worked,

but the story always helped. Somehow, it always seemed to come back

to the story; it always made things a little bit better and often marked

the beginning of the end. The day the sun began to shine again.

It has been said before by different people in different ways and at

different times: “Some things are just meant to be.” While the total

circulation of Two Brave Cubs remained at just one copy for nearly

two decades, Marcy Adams had always harbored a thought that

just never seemed to go away. She wanted to illustrate a meaningful

children’s book. Remarkably, Ballinger and Adams were both involved

during the start-up days of Hospice of San Luis Obispo, yet neither

could have predicted their future partnership. But, as they say, “Some

things are just meant to be.”

The author and the illustrator got to work on creating a proper,

professionally crafted edition of Two Brave Cubs. “The thing that

guided us was the enormity of grief that kids feel when they lose a

parent,” Ballinger shares. “Trying to do something to make it better—

that’s what propelled us.” And, to be sure, it did get them to a certain

point, but they soon learned that publishing a book was not a simple

DIY project. They both realized they needed to build out the team.

First, they brought on Julie Frankel to take on the graphic design

and page layout. Then, they reached out to Linna Thomas, who owns

Coalesce Bookstore in Morro Bay, as well as operates a small imprint.

With the foursome firing on all cylinders, Coalesce Press made Two

Brave Cubs available for purchase during its “soft launch” early this

year. While sales have trickled forth, the partnership has much larger

plans in store for the book. They have collectively committed to

keeping the price tag as low as possible—currently $9.99 each—and

plowing all of the proceeds right back into printing more copies. The

goal is simple: Reach as many grieving children as possible to help

them begin the healing process.

Beginning in January, the women are planning to do a nationwide

media push to bring attention to our most vulnerable during their

time of greatest need. The awareness that comes with the effort, they

hope, will lead to bulk sales to large institutions and organizations,

such as hospitals and schools and associations. Yet, no matter the

scale, even if all of the fuss and toil and effort only makes a difference

for just one child, the team agrees that the venture will have been

deemed a success. SLO LIFE

If you would like to support the mission of Two Brave Cubs by making a

donation or buying a book, you can find it for sale at Coalesce Bookstore in

Morro Bay or online at TwoBraveCubs.com.

52 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


A new generation of housing

cropping up in Spring 2020.

RURAL REDEFINED

Life at San Luis Ranch is in the heart of the city, but miles away from

ordinary. With farmland in your backyard, vibrant downtown SLO, and the

city’s job centers just a stone’s throw away, San Luis Ranch is rural redefined.

Multi-family and Single family homes starting in Spring 2020.

Exceptional

Amenities

Spectacular

Location

Farm to Table

Lifestyle

Join the Interest List – SanLuisRanch.org

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 53


| DWELLING

TINY

TOWN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID LALUSH

54 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 55


I

t seems that everywhere you go these days, people are

talking about tiny homes. Having recently hosted a Tiny

Home Expo attended by over 6,000 people and making

tiny living legal in the city, San Luis Obispo—Tiny Town—

is on the forefront of the trend. Often described as an

architectural and social movement, “going tiny” encourages

a simpler lifestyle in a smaller space. People from all

walks of life have determined that a large home and, more

specifically, the large cost of living that comes with it, are

both unnecessary and often an impediment to happiness.

Those opting to downsize are doing so in a deliberate effort

to reduce the financial and emotional burden of the all the

stuff—stuff we call “stuff.”

With all the buzz around this movement, it did not

take long for Joe and Betsey Pollon to take notice. Joe’s

background as a contractor coupled with Betsy’s natural eye

for design and spatial planning makes them a tiny dream

team. They have been building, remodeling, and designing

since 1992. And, eight years ago they completed the most

challenging project, their own home. >>

56 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


To all the Clients, Consultants, Contractors

and Agencies we have had the pleasure to work

with over the years, we are extremely grateful

for your support and encouragement. While

we are very proud of our completed projects,

we consider our true legacy to be the lasting

relationships we have developed with you all.

ARCHITECTURE

LANDSCAPE

INTERIORS

MEDIA

Thanks for helping us make it to our 5-year

anniversary and for being a key part of our

TEN OVER family.

The TEN OVER family at our anniversary celebration.

TENOVERSTUDIO.COM

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 57


58 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020

In researching the tiny home market, they found the

largest segment of buyers were single women over fifty

years old. They recognized that the elevated sleeping loft

found in most tiny homes was not an ideal solution for

this demographic, and a single level option was much more

desirable. But, since tiny homes must be capable of traveling

on public roads, there are certain size constraints. The

maximum dimensions allowed, without obtaining a special

permit, are eight feet, six inches wide, thirteen feet, six

inches tall, and forty feet long. While this is the maximum,

it is rare to see tiny houses longer than thirty-two feet in

length, as they become increasingly difficult to maneuver. >>


C O M M E R C I A L & R E S I D E N T I A L

Gratitude

We at Ramsey Asphalt want to use this opportunity

to thank all our employees who work so tirelessly

throughout the year enabling us to work towards a

future where we continue to grow and learn. We feel

that we are so blessed to have met some of the

most amazing people along the way and we couldn’t

do it without all of you. Wishing everyone Peace and

Love throughout the Holidays.

www.RamseyAsphalt.com

Lic# 881030 A/C12/C32

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 59


The question the couple needed to answer was simple:

How could the living space be maximized in a singlestory

configuration while also maintaining a manageable

length? Joe grappled with an answer until it occurred

to him that the walls could be made to move. He then

designed a mechanism which enabled the kitchen and

bathroom section to retract into the bedroom and living

space. In that way, when the home had to be moved, it

could be done safely and legally. But, when it was parked

and set up for living, it could expand to relatively roomy

fourteen feet of interior width. Problem solved. And a

new business was launched.

“I wanted to create a tiny home that didn’t feel

cramped,” he said. “After experimenting with different

configurations, we came up with the Corbett Canyon

model and Central Coast Tiny Homes was born.” >>

60 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 61


Nestled in Corbett Canyon just north of Arroyo Grande,

their model tiny home is secluded and serene. As I pulled

in, my eye immediately searched for the wheels, but could

not locate them. Betsy showed me through a gap in the deck

boards how they dug out a sunken parking space to hide the

wheels and then conceal them with a deck. This served a dual

purpose: It enhanced the “curb appeal” of the structure, as

well as created additional outdoor living space.

After we walked into their 295-square-foot home, I had to

confirm the dimensions because it felt much larger, even

though it was only a single story. As we took a deep dive into

their objectives around the design process, I began to understand

how they were able to achieve this illusion.

First, windows everywhere. My favorite design detail can

be found on the bedroom and living room walls. The wood

siding adds warmth and depth to the space while drawing

attention upward. The triangle windows introduce visual

interest and let in natural light. With the invention of the

slide out design, the couple could now have two entry and

exit points as well as four distinct “zones”—kitchen, living,

bedroom, and bath. >>

62 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 63


Creative storage solutions, as is a common thread in tiny living, has

been taken to another level. Murphy beds, barn doors (or pocket

doors), and storage within furniture are all found in abundance.

Although it is a smaller space, there are plenty of opportunities for

customization. For instance, the Pollon’s bathroom has washer and

dryer hook-ups ready to go, but also a rod if you would like to opt for

more closet space instead. The pair admitted that balancing storage,

counter space, and appliances in the kitchen was a challenge, so they

were forced to make a difficult trade-off by leaving the dishwasher

out altogether.

While it might not come to mind, an important variable to consider

when building a tiny house is weight. Since these homes do need to

be transported at times, they must be as lightweight as possible. In

this case, all interior materials were analyzed and creative substitutions

were made when necessary. For example, they swapped out drywall for

plywood in constructing the walls and tile in the shower was replaced

with stainless steel sheets. Both of those decisions melted away the

extra pounds. >>

64 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 65


And, the Pollons understood that life on the Central

Coast affords a unique advantage, in that the living

spaces do not have to be confined to the interior.

A picnic table could host dinner. Yard games for

entertaining. A bistro table for a quiet coffee break.

Despite its diminutive stature, there does not seem to

be anything that cannot be done when compared to

a larger, more traditional single-family dwelling. The

only difference, it seems, is that some of it requires

more forethought and intention.

Joe Pollon views his tiny houses as a potential alternative to

assisted living. When family members begin to age they do

not always need the full care services many assisted living

facilities offer and would prefer to be close to family, he

reasons. A temporary backyard for these small structures is

an affordable way to keep an eye on a loved one while they

retain their independence and their own personal space.

And, with growing tiny home rental options, it can alleviate

the burdensome cost of building traditional guest house or

purchasing a tiny house.

Just the second city in California

to adopt a supportive ordinance

adding tiny homes into its housing

mix, San Luis Obispo is hoping

property owners will bring

these mobile buildings into their

backyards as long-term rental

units. While not the solution for

everyone, they do offer a cozy,

affordable option for those seeking

to simplify and unburden their

lives—leaving all the extra “stuff ”

behind. SLO LIFE

DAVID LALUSH is an

architectural photographer

here in San Luis Obispo.

66 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


HAPPY

HOLIDAYS

FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS

STEVEN PUGLISI

ARCHITECTS, INC

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Text: (805) 440-9945

corey@stollmeyerlighting.com

SHOWROOM

2304 Broad Street

San Luis Obispo

. parking in back .

stollmeyerlighting.com

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 67


| 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

2018

51

$850,944

$837,179

98.38%

36

2018

20

$866,790

$848,561

97.90%

41

2018

20

$1,033,591

$996,653

96.43%

23

2018

18

$1,224,938

$1,181,888

96.49%

79

2018

46

$897,020

$887,114

98.90%

54

2018

38

$892,397

$878,261

98.42%

29

2018

53

$884,187

$867,789

98.15%

45

2019

59

$767,730

$756,072

98.48%

31

2019

28

$801,734

$791,429

98.71%

28

2019

19

$1,061,295

$1,022,744

96.37%

36

2019

25

$1,455,840

$1,411,580

96.96%

73

2019

62

$830,702

$812,057

97.76%

42

2019

40

$951,438

$902,026

94.81%

46

2019

51

$826,473

$805,774

97.50%

33

+/-

15.69%

-9.78%

-9.69%

0.10%

-13.89%

+/-

40.00%

-7.51%

-6.73%

99.10%

-31.71%

+/-

-5.00%

2.68%

2.62%

-0.06%

56.52%

+/-

38.89%

18.85%

19.43%

0.47%

-7.59%

+/-

34.78%

-7.39%

-8.46%

-1.14%

-22.22%

+/-

5.26%

6.62%

2.71%

-3.61%

58.62%

+/-

-3.77%

-6.53%

-7.15%

-0.65%

-26.67%

*Comparing 01/01/18 - 11/20/18 to 01/01/19 - 11/20/19

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE

68 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


Thank you for

another amazing year!

We couldn’t have done it without our incredible community.

Don’t wait for the ball to drop! Reach out to us today to get started.

Donna Lewis

Branch Manager/

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8743

C: (805) 235-0463

donna.lewis@rate.com

Dylan Morrow

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8738

C: (805) 550-9742

dylan.morrow@rate.com

Maggie Koepsell

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8742

C: (805) 674-6653

maggie.koepsell@rate.com

Phyllis Wong

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 706-8075

C: (805) 540-8457

phyllis.wong@rate.com

Luana Gerardis

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 329-4087

C: (707) 227-9582

luana.gerardis@rate.com

Joe Hutson

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (831) 205-1582

C: (831) 212-4138

joe.hutson@rate.com

Rate.com/offices/CASanLuisObispo1065 1065 Higuera Street, Suite 100 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed

Rate for current rates and for more information.

Donna Lewis NMLS ID: 245945, CA - CA-DOC245945 • Dylan Morrow NMLS ID: 1461481, CA - CA-DBO1461481 • Maggie Koepsell NMLS ID: 704130, CA - CA-DBO704130 • Phyllis Wong NMLS ID: 1400281, CA -

CA-DBO1400281 • Luana Gerardis NMLS ID: 1324563, CA - CA-DBO1324563 • NMLS ID #2611 (Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) • CA - Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight, Division of

Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act Lic #4130699 • Joe Hutson NMLS ID: 447536, CA - CA-DOC447536

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 69


| SLO COUNTY

Happy

holidays

to you and

your family.

BEN LERNER

805.441.9486

REAL ESTATE

REGION

Arroyo Grande

Atascadero

Avila Beach

Cambria/San Simeon

BY THE NUMBERS

NUMBER OF

HOMES SOLD

2018

290

324

15

157

2019

293

333

26

131

AVERAGE DAYS

ON MARKET

2018

50

47

68

74

2019

55

40

87

67

MEDIAN SELLING

PRICE

2018

$766,816

$572,134

$1,226,432 $1,395,843

$749,028

2019

$807,192

$582,846

$925,323

Cayucos

51

52

85

127

$1,087,324 $1,224,864

Creston

10

7

153

93

$949,100

$935,357

Grover Beach

119

108

44

54

$534,509

$555,715

Los Osos

147

156

37

41

$650,300

$672,802

Morro Bay

133

120

62

65

$738,000

$749,541

Nipomo

270

278

51

59

$675,367

$666,477

Senior Loan Advisor

NMLS 395723

blerner@flagstarretail.com

1212 Marsh St., Suite 1

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Oceano

Pismo Beach

Paso (Inside City Limits)

43

133

360

50

120

345

50

78

36

67

80

45

$511,098

$971,806

$500,712

$520,596

$1,169,759

$525,429

Contact me today to learn

how I can help you purchase

or refinance your home.

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

54

101

51

109

48

90

63

74

$509,747

$675,780

$561,104

$722,646

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

50

56

59

58

$702,730

$614,710

San Luis Obispo

297

337

43

45

$929,772

$909,255

**

Santa Margarita

15

29

95

93

$424,600

$510,017

Templeton

112

99

78

72

$829,711

$813,759

* Top 1% Mortgage Originator | Mortgage Executive Magazine

** Scotsman Guide’s Top Mortgage Originators 2018

flagstarretail.com Est. 1987

Equal Housing Lender Member FDIC

70 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020

© 2019 Flagstar Bank

Countywide

2538 2591

*Comparing 01/01/18 - 11/20/18 to 01/01/19 - 11/20/19

53 57 $697,825 $724,374

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE


Personalized Landscape Design

805.215.0428 | dunngardens.com | 714.362.4618

@dunn_gardens

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 71


| HEALTH

BAD NIGHT’S

SLEEP? BLUE

LIGHT MAY

BE WHY

Artificial blue light may be wreaking havoc on our sleep cycles—and much more.

BY ERIKA FITZGERALD

Ever wake up feeling like you landed in a different time zone with a case of jetlag after latenight

Instagram scrolling? Or after bypassing the “Are you still watching?” screen on Netflix

more times than you care to admit? Well, you may have a blue light hangover.

A recent report from the New Zealand Royal Society suggests that our increasingly

“plugged in” lifestyle is wreaking havoc on our internal clocks—and the world at large.

Here’s what you need to know before you power-up the brightness in your life. >>

ERIKA FITZGERALD is a

writer and traveler with

a healthy addiction to

kombucha and kale.

72 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 73


#1

WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT?

Simply explained, blue light is a high-frequency wavelength that

appears naturally with sunlight and moonlight. The amount of natural

blue light varies based on location and weather but typically peaks in

the early afternoon.

Like all living things, we rely on this daily cycle of light and dark to

wake up, stay up, wind down, and go to sleep. Soaking up blue light

wavelengths at appropriate times during the day is good for all life on

earth. In contrast, after-hours exposure to artificial blue light from things

like energy-efficient LED bulbs and digital screens is cause for concern.

The advent of blue light-emitting electronics and lighting is adding blue

wavelengths to our environment at mind-boggling speed. In many ways,

man-made light makes modern life easier. So what’s the problem?

#2

A GLOWING CONCERN

Our brain receives environmental cues from our eyes, aligning when we

feel sleepy or alert with the time of day. Exposure to blue light wavelengths

after dark confuses our brain about the time of day. The result: trouble

sleeping, morning grogginess, and impaired focus and productivity.

Nothing sleeping pills and a double shot of morning espresso can’t fix,

right? Well, according to research from Harvard Medical School, basking

in blue light outside of our natural circadian rhythm may also contribute to

the causes of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and certain types of cancer, as

well as eye strain, cognitive dysfunction, and depression.

Our circadian clocks regulate many important functions, including

metabolism, immune function, behavior and mood, and—of course—sleep.

When these systems get thrown out of whack, our overall health and wellbeing

suffers the consequences.

#3

BEYOND DEEP SLEEP

Many of us spend a whopping 10 hours per day glued to a screen,

according to a Nielsen media usage report. Not only does this mess with

our sleep—but recent studies suggest it may also accelerate skin aging.

In 2014, the journal Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, wrote that

skin exposed to blue light showed “significantly more pronounced

hyperpigmentation that lasted up to three months.” This doesn’t mean

you should shun all your blue light-emitting devices and buy a pricey

skin serum promising protection from blue light.

Experts say there’s still a lot of research to be done on the relationship

between blue light and premature aging. In the meantime, stick with

your everyday broad-spectrum sunscreen and limit your screen time as

much as possible. >>

74 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL 2019,

FROM MY FAMILY TO YOURS!

Happy Holidays!

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REALTOR ® LIC#01947608

805.704.3622

April@HavenSLO.com

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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 75


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76 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020

#4

NATURAL CONSIDERATIONS

We humans aren’t the only ones feeling the effects of artificial blue light. Plants, animals,

and microorganisms also rely on light cycles to guide behaviors like photosynthesis,

pollination, migration, hibernation, and reproduction. Blue light in particular influences

circadian clocks in plants and animals.

As cities grow and switch from traditional orange-yellow light-emitting street lights to

white LED ones, we see an increase in blue light at night—which not only confuses the

circadian rhythms of our fellow earthlings but also creates unhealthy light pollution. If

you’ve ever looked up at the night sky from a crowded city, you may have noticed a starless

glow looming overhead. This artificial “sky glow” is a result of scattered artificial light. All

man-made light pollutes the night sky but blue light scatters especially easily, obscuring

our solar system and altering our natural environment.

While modern LED lights are good for saving energy, they can also interrupt natural

biological processes that keep our ecosystems healthy. To be a good neighbor, simply shut

off unnecessary outside lights and direct light downward so that it doesn’t spill into the

night sky.

#5

THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT

Artificial blue light is still relatively new on the scene, meaning more research is needed

to determine longer-term effects in many aspects of our daily lives. But the good news is,

you can avoid it simply by replacing bright-white light bulbs with warmer soft-white ones,

reducing screen brightness, using night-mode apps that reduce blue light emission, or better

yet, unplugging with a good old-fashioned book.

If you spend a lot of time behind a screen, blue light blocking glasses—or “blue blockers”—

also work well to filter blue light. More and more optical brands are offering blue blockers

with and without prescription lenses. You can pick up a pair of non-prescription blue

blockers for less than $100. As the famous song lyrics go, “I wear my blue blockers at night,

so I can, so I can sleep.” (Or something like that. You get the gist.) SLO LIFE


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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 77


| TASTE

THE BREAD

BASKET

Want to understand a restaurant’s culinary philosophy? Look no further

than the basket of bread on your table.

BY JAIME LEWIS

y friend Sharon Cumberland recently asked if I’d consider writing a column about bread service—

you know, the basket of bread that shows up soon after you’re seated in a restaurant. At first, the idea

seemed too pedestrian: isn’t all pre-meal bread the same?

She patiently described how some local eateries go above and beyond, though, and I realized how

easy it is to take bread service for granted. What would happen if it ceased to be served? Or what if Mour favorite bread-giving restaurants decided to charge for it? Very likely, a revolution would ensue.

I visited three South County Italian restaurants, all of which draw accolades for specialties like tender butternut squash

ravioli, perfect pizzas, and killer cocktails. But it’s the invitation to break bread that interests me here. This welcoming

gesture shortcuts to the heart of a restaurant’s philosophy, I’ve learned; in this case, the bread might be free, but it offers a

wealth of insight.

JAIME LEWIS writes about

food, drink, and the good

life from her home in San

Luis Obispo. Find her on

Instagram/Twitter @jaimeclewis.

78 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 79


A TASTE OF THE OLD COUNTRY

“You know what’s funny?” says Giuseppe ( Joe) DiFronzo of

Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica in Pismo Beach and San Luis

Obispo. “This concoction is what people talk about, but the

bread is really the star.”

Anyone who’s dined at Giuseppe’s knows exactly what

DiFronzo is describing: a blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar,

finely grated Grana Padano cheese, and minced garlic.

Guests at Giuseppe’s receive a basket of warm crusty bread

and a dish of this addictive dip before their meal.

“Literally, that’s it, DiFronzo says. “We call it ‘Italian peanut

butter’ because it’s so simple. But again, the bread is the star.”

DiFronzo shares how he grew up working in the bakeries

of his four uncles in the San Fernando Valley―all of them

immigrants from Puglia, a province in southeastern Italy.

The bread his ancestors baked is the same one he baked

with his uncles, and the same one he bakes every day for his

restaurants. Raised four times over the course of six hours, the

bread is crusty on the outside and pillowy light in the middle.

“The crust often gets criticized,” says DiFronzo. “People

say it’s burnt. That’s because they don’t know Italian bread,

or they’re not used to bread from the south of Italy. This

bread is different. It’s for peasants who can eat it three days

after it’s baked, with some olive oil and tomatoes, and call it

dinner. It’s been that way for hundreds of years.” >>

80 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 81


IT ALL DEPENDS UPON YOUR APPETITE

The setting at Gina’s Italian Restaurant in Arroyo Grande is one of cozy

familiarity: a quintessential neighborhood place with exposed wood beams,

a copper bar, and dependable comfort food. The restaurant has remained

this way for decades, in part because owner Manuel Estrella purchased the

property from its original owners and kept everything the same–including

Gina’s famous bread and tomato dip.

“It’s just tomato, basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper,”

says Estrella, who started as a cook in Gina’s kitchen. “It’s very simple.”

He explains that the French-style bread is baked fresh in house, and then

he brings out a basket for me. With the soft, sliced bread, he includes a

little dish of tomato dip, which is not unlike a bruschetta topping. The

flavor is tangy and tart, with juices that soak into the bread, turning it pink.

With a bottle of red or a bottle of white, this simple combination could

constitute a very satisfying meal, indeed. >>

82 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


BELONGING:

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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 83


AN IDEA THAT STUCK

I nab my friend (e.g. the impetus for this story) and we

head to dinner at Del’s Pizzeria in Pismo Beach. When we

arrive, owner Ryan Delmore welcomes us from the open

kitchen window, and we sit at a table with a red and white

checkered tablecloth and a view of the ocean, just down the

street. Italian opera pipes through the speakers.

Delmore brings us a little basket of rolls and a ramekin of

whipped honey butter. I slather a roll with butter and take a

bite. “Oh my gosh,” I say, my eyes rolling back in my head a

bit, “this is like a cupcake.”

The dough for the rolls, Delmore tells me, is the same

dough for Del’s pizzas, and the honey butter is just that:

local honey whipped into Irish butter. “It was Big Ed’s

idea,” says Delmore, explaining that his grandfather

thought up the rolls and honey butter concept in 1995, two

decades after the restaurant opened in its original Shell

Beach location.

“Honey butter isn’t very Italian,” he says. “But honestly, we

get more comments on this than anything else.” SLO LIFE

84 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


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magazine

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 85


!

| KITCHEN

HOLIDAY CHUTNEY

Whether you are looking to dress up a winter meal or pass

along a homemade treat to friends and family, this tasty,

colorful chutney is the perfect choice this holiday season.

BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS

JESSIE’S TIP:

This recipe can be adapted to be a little spicy by

adding whole Thai chilies, Sambal chili paste, or

chili flakes. Add these ingredients as the chutney

is cooling with the pectin. Just remember a little

!spice goes a long way.

86 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


HOLIDAY CHUTNEY

Ingredients:

4 cups Bosc pears or Granny Smith apples, diced

¾ cup cider vinegar

½ cup white wine

¼ cup lemon juice

½ cup golden raisins (optional)

2 cups fresh cranberries

½ cup small diced onions (yellow or white)

1 Tbs kosher salt

1 tsp allspice

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground ginger

5 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 pouch liquid fruit pectin

Add all ingredients, except pectin, to a large non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir

occasionally until the cranberries break down and sugar has dissolved. Take pan off heat and stir in

pectin and allow to cool. Pour in heat resistant jars and cool completely. Keep refrigerated until ready

to use—the chutney should last a couple weeks.

JESSIE RIVAS is the owner

and chef of The Pairing Knife

food truck which serves the

Central Coast.

Serve the chutney at room temperature with turkey or pork. Pairs well with root and winter vegetables.

SLO LIFE

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 87


| WINE NOTES

CRUSHIN’ IT

The best things are made with great care. Wine is no different. What happens from vine to barrel

(or tank) that makes winemaking such a difficult profession? Where is all this wine being made?

BY ANDRIA MCGHEE

Let’s start with the little vines which take roughly two to three years to produce grapes for winemaking. Winemakers

and vineyard workers monitor grapes, checking flavor and sugar levels. When the grapes’ ripeness and weather permits,

they are harvested.

The grapes in SLO are picked laboriously by hand, as they are in most of our county wineries. This process is done

early in the morning to prevent fermenting in the bins on the way to the winery. Leading up to and after this point,

every decision made is based on the wine to be produced. Winemaker Larry Brooks, a former Tolosa Winery Pinot

Noir magician and wine consultant, commented on just how many decisions are made for one bottle of wine. Certainly,

1,000 decisions are not far off.

Grapes in bins waiting to be juiced need to be taken somewhere close and fast. Here’s the rub. If you have the talent to

make wine, you don’t always have the cash to throw down for the expensive machinery. Fortunately, San Luis Obispo >>

County is home to custom crush facilities. I used to think these were for hobby winemaking, and I’m sure they can be,

but they are mostly for professional winemakers. These facilities provide a place to take the stems off grape clusters,

crush the grapes, ferment the wine, drain the juice from its skins, and maybe even store wine for aging.

ANDRIA MCGHEE received

her advanced degree in

wines and spirits from WSET

in London and enjoys travel,

food, wine, and exercise.

88 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


new year’s eve pops:

a night at the

oscars

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, SAN LUIS OBISPO

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Featuring the music of your favorite

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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 89


I had the opportunity to help Coby Parker-Garcia and his family

sort through grapes for his wine, El Lugar, at Center of Effort’s

custom crush facility. Gorgeous Pinot Noir grapes that were freshly

picked from Spanish Springs Vineyard at the beginning of the

2019 harvest glistened with dew in their bins. The electricity was

evident, even at 6:30 in the morning. Coby, super focused with rare

and beautiful grapes in his hands, was sure to make the most of the

opportunity. We sorted through de-stemmed grapes to make sure

no leaves or green grapes got through. Want a chance to get in on

this small production? To be notified of El Lugar’s tastings, join

their mailing list at ellugarwines.com. If you can’t wait for one of the

pop up tastings, the fun 2018 Pinot Noir Blanc as well as the 2017

Spanish Springs Pinot Noir can be found at Wine Sneak on Broad

Street or downtown at Central Coast Wines on Higuera Street.

Mike Sinor and Cheri LaValle Sinor also used the Center

of Effort crushing facility when they started their own label,

Sinor-LaVallee (pronounced la-vahley). While working for many

wineries, including Ancient Peaks, Mike dreamed of making wine

from the ground up. So, with cleverness and determination, the

couple bought a piece of land and grew grapes. Mike noted that

although it is great to rent a place that cleans up after the crushing

is done, it’s even better to use a machine at a moment’s notice and

visit your wine whenever needed. Mike and Cheri recently moved

to their own crush pad—it’s like getting your own place after

having roommates.

Mike’s wine can be tasted at the Sinor-LaVallee tasting room on

First Street in Avila Beach (near the playground) and is also poured

at many restaurants. Sinor-LaVallee makes a range of white wines as

well as Pinot Noir and Syrah. Their white label appeals to a lighter

palate, while the black label boasts a boomier taste.

As an apprentice to so many winemaking greats, Mike is now

paying it forward. Soon to share the Sinor-LaValle facility are up

and coming winemakers, Mikey Giugni and Michael Brughelli of

Scar of the Sea. Guigni and Brughelli have been producing wine

in the Santa Maria Valley, but have been shimmying over to San

Luis Obispo County as they have found it is one of the most special

places to grow and make wine. You may have seen Scar of the Sea at

Granada Bistro in downtown SLO or in some of the smaller shops.

Their style is elegant and I can’t wait to taste what their Pinot Noir,

Syrah, Chardonnay, and Pét-Nat from this area are like. You heard

it here first. SLO LIFE

90 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


smart, eclectic, art to live on

3076 Duncane Lane . San Luis Obispo

805 549 0100

1599 Monterey Street | 805.544.5900 | sloconsignment.com

(at the corner of Grove Street, across from Pepe Delgados)

Open Monday - Saturday 10-6pm

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 91


| BREW

PILGRIMAGE

BY BRANT MYERS

Having just returned from the holy

land of beer, Belgium, I thought it

appropriate to revisit some of the

iconic breweries and beer styles in an

ongoing effort to brag, errr, educate

readers about one of the oldest brewing

traditions in the world. Come with

me as I correlate travels through the

Benelux region with the suds they’re intrinsically tied to.

A mere half mile from the central train station in Brussels,

Belgium’s capital, you can find one of the hottest breweries in

the world—Cantillon. Known for their traditional Guezes and

Lambics, you arrive with preconceived visions of a decrepit old

farmhouse in the countryside making wild ales in a centuriesold

tradition. Yet there you are, plop in the middle of the

garment district in the center of town. It’s nondescript except

for the throng of tourists taking photos of the exterior, a sure

sign of any brewery in an industrial neighborhood. Not many

folks take photos of storefronts unless there’s beer inside. Once

inside, you’re hit with the distinct smell of invisible microbes

growing, a scent that only musty cellars full of barrel-aged beer can give

off. The smell is so unique, like that first whiff of your grandma’s house and

fresh-baked cookies flooding you with memories of visits past. I opt out of

the guided tour having seen my fair share of barrels in situ and head straight

for the upstairs bar.

The good stuff is being served in 750mL bottles, and brother, I hope you

brought the antacids because it’s going to be the gut Olympics. I plop

myself in the only open bar seat right in the middle of two guys feverishly

discussing the various merits of the two vintages of Mourvèdre, a Lambic

made with a blend of two grape varieties, 75% Mourvèdre and 25%

Carignan. I quickly join the discussion while they fill my glass. Much like

champagne from Champagne, Lambic is a beer made in Brussels due to the

wild yeast and bacteria strains native only to that area. Further, they thrive

in specific temperatures that give the brewers only a portion of the year to

make the style. This particular pour is nice and tart, with a fruity aroma and

acidic bite from the grapes. We move on to Gueze as our group expands to

include a brewer from Slovakia buying bottles costing more than his round

trip flight. We drink one of every bottle available and get kicked out as they

close their doors, but not before I corner owner Jean- Pierre van Roy, and

offer him a flabongo of Naturdays, because sharing is caring after all. >>

92 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


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Sunday Church Services

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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 93


Having consumed enough Lambics and Guezes (a blend of old and young

Lambics), I wake the next day and jump on a train to Brugge. This fairytale city

hasn’t changed in 400 years, except for a better beer selection at the local bottle

shops. I can see Brewery Bourgogne des Flandres from my hotel window so

before the luggage even hits the ground I’m sampling their red-brown blended

beer that mixes Lambic with top fermented ale to create a sweet and sour lowalcohol

Flanders Red Ale. It hits the spot and makes me thirsty to try more. I

walk past a myriad of stone buildings surrounded by canals filled with weeping

willows and white swans. Pinch me. A short stroll down cobblestone streets and

through a cathedral I come across De Halve Maan, the Half Moon, brewery

and since I know what I’m about, I start with the blonde single cornerstone,

Brugse Zot, and quickly make my way up the line to the dubbel, tripel, and

quad beers. Now that I’m feeling just fine I befriend the British couple adjacent

to my table, and next thing we know we’re at a restaurant having rabbit cooked

in Kriek beer, another type of Lambic but with the addition of sour morello

cherries. I have to say, the Belgians sure know their beer and I’m not arguing

when they put it in everything.

The next day, I finally find what I’m looking for, the holy grail of beers,

Westvleteren 12, referred to as the“best beer in the world”by numerous sources

and discerning palates. I drink it out of a plastic cup, much to the chagrin of

my friends, but hey, work with what you’ve got (in a brazen act of frivolity, I

also shared one directly out of the bottle with an equally enthusiastic Brit, but

don’t tell anyone). This beer is not only an amazingly flavorful and balanced

quadruple Belgian ale but has an almost cult-level status due to the incredibly

rare nature of the beer itself. Brewed by five monks in a monastery of twentysix,

they only produce enough to support themselves, they do not distribute

their beers, and you have to go there during specific dates and times to get your

maximum twelve bottle case. Father Abbott said it best, “We are not brewers.

We are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks.” I’ve been lucky

enough to have this beer on only two other occasions, and it lives up to the

hype. Truly world-class suds.

There are too many breweries to visit and not enough time,

so I make my way to Antwerp where I walk quickly past

shop windows full of glimmering diamonds—you can’t

drink diamonds!—and find one of the most unique drinking

establishments I’ve ever visited, Het Elfde Gebod, the

Eleventh Commandment, which deems “Thou Shalt Enjoy

Thyself ” and I am happy to announce that I did. Only a

young 594 years old, this small cafe is adorned from floor to

ceiling with hundreds of angel and saint statues and surrealist

art. I order a draft De Koninck, a Belgian pale ale brewed two

miles away, and the mussels cooked in white wine. It takes a

while, so I make sure to do thorough quality control and order

a few more while I wait. The beer does not disappoint. Served

in an iconic Bolleke glass with a shape similar to a half-round

chalice. This glassware is so linked to the De Koninck beer

that you can order one just by asking for a Bolleke.

I finish my feast and go for a stroll

mainly to enjoy the crisp fall air and

take in the sights but also to check

out some real estate because I could

live like this forever. However, the

trip is coming to an end and I was

able to taste beer styles from around

the country that have been brewed

for generations before me. And what

better place to savor the traditions of

centuries past than the areas where

they were born? So no matter where

you are, make sure to drink local and

take in not only the sights and sounds,

but the flavors as well. SLO LIFE

BRANT MYERS is a craft

beer veteran and the

founder of BIIIG, supporting

local businesses in the

hospitality industry.

94 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


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DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 95


| HAPPENINGS

POPS: A NIGHT AT THE OSCARS

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Cal Poly

Performing Arts Center with the San Luis

Obispo Symphony, presenting selections

from favorite award-winning Hollywood

films. Be swept away by some of the most

breathtaking and unforgettable scores in

movie history, including Casablanca, 2001:

A Space Odyssey, Lord of the Rings,

Dances with Wolves, and more.

December 31 // slosymphony.org

DECEMBER

PADDLEBOARD PARADE

If you miss the annual Saturday night

Morro Bay Lighted Boat Parade, don’t

forget this year’s non-motorized parade the

next afternoon with decorated kayaks, SUPs,

small sailboats, surfboards—anything that

floats, really!

December 8 // morrobay.org

THE NUTCRACKER

It’s Christmas Eve and Clara is about

to have the night of her dreams.

Audiences of all ages will marvel at the

magic and wonder of Civic Ballet San

Luis Obispo’s spectacular, professional

production of Tchaikovsky’s timeless

ballet accompanied by live orchestra at

the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center.

December 13-15 // civicballetslo.org

DOWNTOWN SLO HOLIDAY STROLL

See Downtown San Luis Obispo decked out for “Holidays Around the World” with retailers staying

open late for shopping and social celebration. Start at Santa’s House in Mission Plaza and hop on

the Classic Carousel, then meander through scenic Downtown streets, where participating stores

offer treats and special holiday gift sales. Enjoy live music on street corners and peer in shop windows

decorated with the holiday theme.

December 13 // downtownslo.com

HOLIDAY TIDINGS

You don’t have to sing along, but it’s

more fun! The San Luis Obispo Master

Chorale presents famous choruses from

Handel’s “Messiah,” followed by music

of brass, choir and the Forbes Pipe

Organ at the Cal Poly Performing Arts

Center. This year’s holiday treat features

the Westwood Brass Quintet.

December 21 // slomasterchorale.org

96 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020


ORCHESIS 50

In 1969, Dr. Moon Ja Minn Suhr established the Orchesis Dance Company at Cal Poly, and

the first dance performance was held in 1970. Now, fifty years later, the company presents

choreography inspired by previous concert titles and program cover artwork. “50” features

ballet, modern, jazz, and contemporary performances by Cal Poly faculty and students as well

as guest artists.

January 17-25 // theatredance.calpoly.edu

MACBETH

The young performers of SLO REP’s

Academy of Creative Theatre take on the

challenge of the Scottish Play, bringing

the classic story to life in an edited

version specifically written for students

in grades four through twelve.

January 10-19// slorep.org

JANUARY

3-2-1 STUDENT FILM COMPETITION

The Central Coast Film Society presents the winners

of its student contest at the San Luis Obispo County

Library. Films accepted for competition through

December 31, 2019, are limited to three minutes, two

characters and one location.

January 11 // centralcoastfilmsociety.org

KEN HUSTAD BASS RECITAL

Active jazz musician and local favorite

Ken Hustad performs music of Giovanni

Bottesini, including the Double Bass

Concerto No.1 in F-sharp Minor, “Elegia,”

and “Gran Duo Concertainte” with violinist

Brynn Albenese in this Cal Poly faculty

recital. Pianist Paul Woodring accompanies

all three pieces.

January 17 // music.calpoly.edu

DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 97


RUSS LEVANWAY

FAMILY, CONNECTING

& OPPORTUNITY

DEC

7-22

| HAPPENINGS

888 MORRO ST

SAN LUIS OBISPO

Bring the whole family to

A CHRISTMAS STORY for a funny,

heartwarming, nostalgic holiday treat!

slorep.org

WOMEN’S MARCH SLO 2020

The fourth annual Women’s March in San Luis Obispo brings thousands of local citizens

together with others across the nation and the world to work toward a positive and just

future for all. Advocating for women’s rights, human rights, civic engagement, and social

and environmental justice, organizers are rallying around the 2020 theme “The Time Is

Now,” saying “Your voice matters. Your vote matters. Your truth matters. Now is the time to

make them count.”

January 18 // womensmarchslo.com

Dr. Arnie Horwitz

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FOR THE BIRDS EXHIBIT

In celebration of the Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, the Morro Bay Art Association

presents its annual collection of fine art paintings and photography depicting the region’s vast

array of indigenous species of birds, birds seen around the world, and all things bird-related.

The 2020 featured artist is glass sculptor and California Glass Exchange co-founder George

Jercich, who taught glassblowing, glass forming, 3D design and sculpture at Cal Poly for more

than 35 years.

January 9-February 17 // artcentermorrobay.org

Give the gift of SLO LIFE!

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

slolifemagazine.com

SLOm a

OCEAN LIFE

ABOUNDS

98 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020

DATE NIGHT

DINNER

BLACK

DIAMOND

SLEEP WELL

TONIGHT

BY THE

NUMBERS

LIFE

g a z i n e

INSPIRED

DESIGN

ON THE

RISE

BUSINESS

LOYALTY

SURF

SCENE

CREATIVE

SPACE

MEET

MOURNING GROUP

Artists have long used their contemporary

practices to wrestle with grief and

mourning—both personal and collective. The

Cuesta College Harold J. Miossi Art Gallery’s

curated group exhibition running through

February 27 features work by select artists

who deal with these themes in a profound

and direct way. It opens with a sneak peek and

artist panel, followed by a reception.

January 30 // cuesta.edu


DEC/JAN 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 99


IT IS WITH LOVE AND GRATITUDE THAT WE CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON

WITH OUR CLIENTS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

AS WE CONTINUE TO GROW AND THRIVE. NOW IN SAN LUIS OBISPO,

MORRO BAY AND PASO ROBLES... WITH MORE TO SHARE IN 2020.

100 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | DEC/JAN 2020

BHGREHAVEN.COM

SAN LUIS OBISPO • MORRO BAY • PASO ROBLES

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