SLO LIFE FebMar 2020

slolife

LIFE

SLOmagazine

EXPLORING

WINERIE

CENTRAL

REAL E

LOCAL

TR

N

HEA

THIS

CUST

HOME

FEB/MAR 2020

SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM MEET

SAN LUIS OBISPO

UPCOMING EVENTS

SEASONAL

ORITES

AND

NING

TRI

TIP

HIKE

ON THE

RISE

ERIC VEIUM

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

& LOCAL IMPACT

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 1


We’re more than

just ink on paper.

2226 Beebee St, San Luis Obispo, CA 805.543.6844 prpco.com

cfd

2 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

Print Mail Apparel Design Web


M O D E R N • C L A S S I C • J E W E L R Y

1 1 2 8 G A R D E N S T R E E T S A N L U I S O B I S P O

W W W . B A X T E R M O E R M A N . C O M

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 3


Cal Poly Art and Design Department | Art Director: Shaina Kim, Designer: Briana Jackson | Photographers: Ally Evans, Noelle Merrihew, Ysabel Sullivan

from school

to

my lo

commute

easily

cal

internship.

s me

SLO Transit let

1 Find your route 2 Enjoy the ride 3 Reach your destination

4 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

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GENERAL BUILDING CONTRACTORS . LANDSCAPE CONTRACTORS

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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 5


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6 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


Descended from

a historic Pozo

ranching family,

life-long SLO county

resident, Danielle Morgan

is enthusiastic about

her new role as

general manager

of bluemercury.

bluemercury

brings

customized

skincare

downtown.

With a cult-like following across the US,

bluemercury specializes in customized

facials using your choice of a wide

variety of premium skincare lines available

in their store. With a full time

licensed esthetician on staff, dropping

in for a quick skin make-over is as easy

as 1-2-3. “We carry products for virtually

every type of skin, many of them

100% organic. Our staff is educated on

every product we sell, so whether you’re

looking for something specific, or just

want some helpful advice, we’re always

here to help,” says Danielle Morgan,

general manager of bluemercury.

bluemercury

949 Higuera Street (at Morro Street)

Downtown SLO

(805) 329-3191

sanluisobispocollection.com

#sanluisobispocollection

Court Street • Monterey Street • Downtown Centre

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 7


CONTENTS

Volume

32

34

36

NOW HEAR THIS

12

PUBLISHER’S

MESSAGE

14

Info

Family

11

Number 1

Feb/Mar 2020

On the Rise

38

ERIC VEIUM

16

Sneak Peek

18

In Box

24

Briefs

28

View

26

Timeline

30

Q&A

8 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


Love your legs again!

Before & After actual patients

Bringing Quality Heart and Vascular Care

to the Central Coast since 2008

Nationally recognized single physician practice

Offering consultative cardiology,

vein care, and wound care

Linked with Concierge Choice, one of the

nation’s leaders in patient care

Affiliated with the Center for Medical Weight Loss,

a physician directed program

Dr. Ken Stevens

www.premierheartandveincare.com | 805.540.3333

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 9


| CONTENTS

72

78

Health

Taste

86

Kitchen

88

WINE NOTES

48

ARTIST

50

54

68

Candidates

Dwelling

Real Estate

92

BREW

96 Happenings

10 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


805.574.0777

www.sagelandscapes.net

@sagelandscapes

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 11


| PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE

My growing up years were spent two hours to the east. We called it the San Joaquin Valley. Back then, it was

covered by row after row of cotton fields. Many mornings, it felt as if those cotton bolls had awakened before

the rest of us to swarm the skies above. This phenomenon had a name: Tule fog.

It was this time of the year, late winter, early spring when the Tule fog was at its best. And, I use the

qualification, “best,” for a specific reason that was of critical importance to my younger self. When the cotton

levitated overhead, you could not see the other side of the street. And, when you could not see the other side

of the street, they canceled school.

The Visalia Unified School District was never bold enough to outright cancel it. That is why I lobbied my

parents to move to a more forward-thinking area, such as Earlimart or Waukena, where they did not hesitate

to shut it down. Instead, the best that my two younger sisters and I could hope for was a Plan C, which is

why we woke up early most mornings to glue ourselves to Channel 18.

It was a knob that thumped and clunked when it turned. The picture was fuzzy until the fine tuner was finessed, the rabbit ears twisted. We did not

care about the picture. We only wanted to read the words scrolling across the bottom of the screen: “THE FOLLOWING IS AN UPDATE FOR

TODAY’S FOGGY DAY SCHEDULE...” That’s when we would find out, again, that the kids in Earlimart had it made. It was so unfair. We then

prayed for a consolation prize. We prayed for Plan C.

At some point, the powers-that-be from schools all around the Valley came together to develop the Foggy Day Schedule system. Plan A was the worst.

It meant, “Nothing’s changed. Go to school, as usual.” Plan B was the second-worst because it only canceled the bus service. Although we never once

gave up hope for a straight-up cancellation, the best outcome was the declaration of Plan C because it meant that school started two hours later than

usual. Two hours! At least I did not grow up in current times—Valley kids now don’t even have a Plan C, the best they can hope for is a Plan B, which

today comes with only a ninety-minute delay.

One by one, tiny Valley towns which were defined by two numbers, more than any particular landmark—Ivanhoe, for example, was better known as

Avenue 328 and Road 156—became famous for their Foggy Day designations. Many of those places should not be called towns at all. They were more

like outposts in the unending flatness, which is why so many of them formed “joint” school districts. “Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District—Plan

C… Monson-Sultana Joint Union Elementary School District—SCHOOL IS CANCELED.” Wherever Monson or Sultana happened to be, the

Creator was looking out for them when He shaped the surrounding foothills. They were always receiving the nurturing embrace of Tule fog.

Sometimes, people passing through the Valley on Highway 99 would turn on their radio to find out why the clouds had fallen to the ground. More than

once, the DJ would say “patchy morning fog,” while the driver heard “Apache morning fog.” Tule fog and Apache morning fog are two very different

things. First off, there is no such thing as Apache fog because there were no Apaches in the San Joaquin Valley—it’s Yokut country. And, second, anyone

who knows anything about Foggy Day Schedule cringes when they hear the word “patchy.” You did not want patchy morning fog because patchy

morning fog was a one-way ticket to Plan A. You wanted the soupy stuff. Complete white-out. Zero visibility.

By the time I got to high school, Plan C had become a social phenomenon—similar to Snapchat now. Instead of remaining safe at home, everyone

navigated their cars by sonar to the donut shops and convenience markets with their friends. As we waited for the fog to burn off, we never lost our

faith in the belief that one day school would be canceled. The guy mixing the dough or the lady handing out the mojos and chicken fingers would grow

tired of our question, but we continued to ask it anyway: “Is it still just a Plan C?” The answer always came back, “Yes.” We remained grateful for the

windfall—two full hours—but we knew that Captain Ahab’s elusive whale was out there somewhere, hiding in the sea of cotton.

For as many times as I have explained the Foggy Day Schedule concept to my kids, they cannot seem to understand it. There is no equivalent here on

the Central Coast. And, I have tried to come up with something: You-Have-To-Wear-Something-Warmer-Than-A-Hoodie-Sweatshirt Day Schedule,

or Good Surf Day Schedule. It just does not translate. There is no Plan C because there are no cotton fields, and no fog—at least not of the Tule or

Apache variety. There are only sunny days and beaches and mountains called sisters. Not a bad trade.

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

our advertisers and subscribers—we couldn’t do it without you.

Live the SLO Life!

Plan C

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.

12 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 13


SLO LIFE

magazine

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

SLOLIFEMAGAZINE.COM

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PUBLISHER

Tom Franciskovich

Elder Placements realizes the

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Charlotte Alexander

Jeff Al-Mashat

Erika Fitzgerald

Paden Hughes

Zara Khan

Jaime Lewis

Andria McGhee

Brant Myers

Jessie Rivas

Shawn Strong

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Suzi Bliss

Amy Joseph

David Lalush

Vanessa Plakias

Jay C. Winter

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

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be edited for clarity and space limitations.

ADVERTISING

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Nicole Pazdan, CSA,

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14 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

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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.


True Community Banking

“We’ve known Jay with American Riviera Bank for over five years.

You can trace all the growth we’ve had at Scout back to that relationship.”

— Sara Peterson, Scout Coffee owner

Jay Beck, American Riviera Bank Senior Vice President, with Scout Coffee owners Sara and Jon Peterson, at their Foothill Boulevard location

How can we help your business grow?

Line of Credit | Business Acquisition | Equipment

San Luis Obispo Branch • 1085 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

805.965.5942 • AmericanRivieraBank.com • Paso Robles • San Luis Obispo • Goleta • Santa Barbara • Montecito

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 15


| ON THE COVER

A SNEAK PEEK

behind the scenes

WITH ERIC VEIUM

BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

I noticed right away that Eric had a coffee mug with

Kahil Gibran on it. He’s a famous poet and author.

Eric told me that he loved his poetry and shared a

favorite passage. It’s amazing. I really like this one:

“Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let

it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your

soul. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.”

The panels look like an ocean of solar, so I asked

him to jump as if he was jumping into a solar sea.

You see all those pictures on Instagram where

people are going off the end of a pier into the

water. And I thought, “Let’s replicate that the best

we can.” He was totally into it, so we had fun.

I took a picture of the inverter, which sends the energy to

the transformer over to that electric plant and then back

through those power lines. And that picture I took of him

by his car, you’ll see the power lines that go from the solar

farm behind him.

16 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

One of his goals—he’s got a lot —he’d like

to see more people commute on bikes, as

much as possible. He’s trying to make riding

your bike or using an electric bike the norm.

SLO LIFE


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 17


| 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

TAORMINA, ITALY

OAHU, HAWAII

KENNY and DIANE LEWIS at the Téatro Greco.

TYRRHENIAN SEA

SLO LIFE Magazine soaked up a little aloha at Oahu’s

fabled North Shore with STEVE and JENNIFER DINIELLI.

ASHFORD CASTLE, IRELAND

MIKE and MARGARET BURCHIERE and crew sailing the

Mediterranean off the coast of Stromboli in search of marble.

JOHN and FREDENE MAULHARDT at the setting for the

Quiet Man movie.

18 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


BIG FORK, MONTANA

MOUNT WHITNEY

LAURA HEIDEN

KEN and COURTNEY KIENOW

CAPE REINGA, NEW ZEALAND

SEA OF GALILEE, ISRAEL

RUBY SOLOMON, TINA RADOVICH,

SCOTT RADOVICH, and LAUREN HUTKIN

INDI THE DOG

MATT and KIM WORMLEY

POSTOJNA, SLOVENIA

Cycling through SLOvenia: VAL SEYMOUR, JILL BOLSTER-

WHITE, JAMES WHITE, JEFF STEIN, JEFF RADDING, JOEL

DIRINGER, CHIP BARCLAY, LYNN MANZELLA, KAREN

WORCESTER, and, not pictured, CHRISTINE HOFFMAN.

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 19


| IN BOX

SLO LIFE travels!

BANFF, ALBERTA, CANADA

THE FIERCE FLAMINGOS

PALACE OF VERSAILLES, FRANCE

LINDA and BOB COLLINS

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HAWAII

MARY SANCHEZ-ALLWEIN

EDINBURGH CASTLE, SCOTLAND

LAURA and MARK RUFFING

CHARLES WALDROP and CHRISTIE RAMSEY

20 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 21


| IN BOX

Trekking with you!

MONGOLIA

INDIAN WELLS

JIM, SALLY, PAM, AL, JOYCE and RITA

at Pickleball Nationals.

ADRIAN and ROSEMARIE LEROY at Hustai National Park

in the Gobi Desert.

HAVANA, CUBA

INLE LAKE, MYANMAR

KIM MARTIN and DAVID NORTON in front of the

“parking lot” at the market in Nam Pan Village.

DELVIS and NORINE FERNANDEZ

22 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

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).


LEARN BY DOING

WAS BORN HERE

CAL POLY AND LEARN BY DOING

HAVE BEEN RESIDENTS OF

THE CENTRAL COAST

SINCE 1901.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CAL POLY ALUMNA MAYA VAVRA (Biological Sciences, ’18)

Cal Poly students teamed with community

members to conduct field surveys in

Pismo Beach and throughout the state as

part of donor-funded research to determine

the status of the once-abundant Pismo

clam populations and to evaluate factors

that may help lead to their recovery.

See more Learn by Doing stories at

GIVING.CALPOLY.EDU

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 23


| BRIEFS

1,000

Susan

Roughly the number of people the County

of San Luis Obispo employs to work at

the polls each election day. The temporary

poll-workers, who can make between $68

and $182 for the day, must be at least

eighteen years old and a registered voter in

California or a lawful permanent resident

of the U.S.

740

pints

Atascadero resident David Black, a

veteran who received several pints of lifesaving

blood while serving in Vietnam,

recently donated his 740th pint of blood

at Central Coast Vitalant, who labeled

Black “one of our community blood

supply’s greatest assets.”

“Beau just

seems to fit

perfectly with

Cal Poly.”

Mustang director of athletics Don

Oberhelman announcing in December

the appointment of Beau Baldwin

as the University’s seventeenth head

football coach. Baldwin has a track

record of winning Big Sky Conference

and national championships, recruiting

top-notch student-athletes, and creating

NFL opportunities for his students.

“We all believe

in democracy.”

Devine, speaking during the fourth

annual Women’s March in downtown San

Luis Obispo on January 18, which drew

thousands of people who rallied in support

of human rights and social justice.

(805) 783-7774

A new 24-hour news line launched by the

City of SLO Fire Department to provide

brief, pre-recorded messages about major

incidents and emergencies occurring in

the area. It’s designed to offer critical

information about ongoing situations as

well as other announcements, and may

prove especially useful if evacuation orders

are issued during a fast-moving wildfire.

“We didn’t get

the lead gifts that

we needed.”

Executive director and curator Ruta Saliklis

announcing in January the suspension of the

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art’s plans for

construction of a new building at its current

site in downtown SLO. The organization

will re-group after failing to meet its $12

million target.

VolunteerSLO.org

Want to make a difference in your

community in 2020? Visit the County’s

number one source for volunteer

opportunities—more than 1,000 options

are listed with hundreds of local nonprofit

agencies. What are you waiting for?

25

Years

Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis

Obispo began 2020 by celebrating a

quarter-century of helping more than

3,000 children in the community reach

their full potential. There’s still work to be

done, however, as more than 100 children

are still waiting for a match with a special

one-to-one volunteer mentor.

$3

million

The California Strategic Growth Council

granted the funds to the City of San Luis

Obispo in December to help acquire a

1,000-acre conservation easement for the

Miossi Brothers La Cuesta Ranch just

northwest of the city. The easement will

ensure that the ranch remains as agriculture

and open space while protecting natural

resources and wildlife habitat.

24

The number of newly-installed electric

vehicle charging stations on Cuesta College’s

San Luis Obispo campus, paid for through

a grant from the Air Pollution Control

District and the college’s participation in

PG&E’s EV Charge Network. SLO LIFE

24 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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Schedule your showing today.

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approximately 7,169 square feet and has curb

appeal that is charming and inviting. The 1,351 sq

ft 3 bedroom, 1 bath main house features a

remodeled kitchen. The quaint Guest Suite in the

backyard has it’s own entrance, is approx. 584 sq

ft.The large backyard is ready for your inspiration

and summer BBQs.

Website: www.1828Johnson.com

TERRY GILLESPIE

REALTOR®, LIC. #01815083

805.459.2022

Stunning single level 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2,648 sq

ft home overlooking Avila Beach Golf Course and

the oak studded hills. 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, beaches and freeway access.

Website: www.3265LupineCanyon.com

KATE HENDRICKSON

BROKER ASSOCIATE, LIC. #01730943

805.801.1979

Exquisite 3 bedroom, formal office, 3 bath home

with approx. 4k sq ft of living space located in the

gated golf community of Cypress Ridge. Features

open floor plan with gourmet kitchen, hardwood

floors, granite countertops, luxurious master

bath, knotty pine vaulted ceiling, & fireplaces.

Website: www.2289Brant.com

KIM WURSTER

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KURTIS WURSTER

REALTOR®, LIC. #01931796

805.441.2112

805.441.1419

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

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 25


| TIMELINE

Around the County

DECEMBER ’19

12/2

The first legal adult-use cannabis delivery business in the City of San Luis Obispo

opens with plans to fill orders anywhere within the County. Headquartered in

Santa Barbara, Coastal Delivery SLO plans to employ ten workers in San Luis

Obispo including dispatchers, drivers, and inventory employees. Four additional

cannabis businesses in San Luis Obispo have been granted operator permits with

aspirations to open within the coming year.

12/16

The California Department of Parks and Recreation begins fencing off forty-eight

acres around a popular camping area commonly referred to as the “foredune” at

Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area to reduce dust and improve air

quality conditions for nearby communities. The closure, which does not impact the

off-highway vehicle riding area, riles the Friends of Oceano Dunes, whose president

immediately penned a letter to the Coastal Commission asking State Parks to “stand

down.” The closure was initiated to meet an end-of-the-year deadline set by the San

Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District. The fenced-off area will no longer

be available for camping or vehicle activity.

12/17

The City of San Luis Obispo completes the

replacement of the El Capitan Pedestrian

Bridge, restoring public access to trails

within the Poinsettia Street neighborhood.

The new thirty-three-foot-long bridge is

made of steel with wood decking and cost

$90,000. The original structure, made of

wood and put into service in the late nineties,

was destroyed during a storm in 2015.

12/6

RaceSLO, organizers of the SLO Marathon & Half,

announce that the weekend-long event will go on hiatus

for 2020 while they search for a new venue. The event’s

long-term location, the Madonna Inn, decided not to

renew its contract. The City of San Luis Obispo has

hosted the largest running and fitness festival in the

County since 2011, and city officials offered a different

venue in the short term, but RaceSLO Founder and

CEO Samantha Pruitt said without a long-term

commitment, they will look for another community to

host the event.

12/26

The California Supreme Court unanimously rejects an

automatic appeal by Rex Allan Krebs to avoid execution,

two decades after the bodies of his two college-aged

victims were found buried in shallow graves in rural

SLO County. The action exhausts the convicted serial

killer’s legal options and upholds his convictions on

first-degree murder, kidnapping, forcible rape, sodomy,

and burglary. Krebs, 53, has been on death row in San

Quentin State Prison since 2001, but it will likely

be years before his sentence is carried out, if at all,

following Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement

in 2019 that no condemned inmates will be executed

during his tenure in office.

26 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


JANUARY ’20

1/10

PG&E announces a compromise settlement with consumer advocacy

groups on a shutdown budget for Diablo Canyon, California’s last

remaining nuclear power plant. The settlement will cost PG&E ratepayers

$112.5 million a year through 2027, and the money will cover (among other

expenses) the cost of spent nuclear fuel disposal and site clean-up. The

utility originally sought $4.8 billion to close the plant, due to be shuttered

in 2025. If the settlement is approved by the Public Utilities Commission,

electric bills will increase about 59 cents a month per customer. The

settlement also calls for PG&E to seek ways to transfer spent fuel to dry

storage within four years of the shut-off, instead of waiting seven years as

previously anticipated.

1/1

The animated, fifty-foot-long float designed and built by

teams of students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal

Poly Pomona wins the prestigious Director Award for most

outstanding artistic design and use of floral and non-floral

materials at the 131st Rose Parade. Featuring a submarine

exploring a sunken shipwreck that is home to a colorful array of

marine wildlife, the playful “Aquatic Aspirations” was adorned

with 23,000 blooms ranging from blue irises to pink Gerbera

daisies to purple roses and multi-colored protea flowers. Since

1948, Cal Poly entries have earned fifty-seven awards.

1/13

Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) becomes the new primary

electricity provider for the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay,

partnering with PG&E to deliver affordable electricity service. Customers

in these communities will continue to receive only one electric bill from

PG&E, but it will include both MBCP charges for electric generation and

PG&E charges for transmission and distribution. In 2021, the not-forprofit

MBCP also will begin service to the cities of Arroyo Grande, Grover

Beach, Paso Robles, and Pismo Beach.

1/14

County Supervisors renew the San Luis Obispo County

Tourism Marketing District, managed by the nonprofit

organization Visit SLO CAL, for a ten-year period through

June 2030. The SLOCTMD, established in 2015 for a

five-year period originally set to expire in June 2020, is a

per-night assessment on all lodging in the county, including

the seven incorporated cities. It generates funds to create a

unified tourism marketing approach and to promote a greater

awareness of the county to potential visitors. Visit SLO CAL

recently conducted a return on investment study that showed

that for every $1 spent in marketing by the organization, an

average of $40 in economic impact is created in the county.

1/18

Promoting the theme “The Time Is Now,” the fourth annual Women’s March

in San Luis Obispo draws an estimated 6,000 participants urging voters to

go to the polls in 2020 and show their support for women’s rights, social and

environmental justice, Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQIA rights. Organizers

say they hope to inspire young people to take action and know they can make

change happen in the United States and around the world. SLO LIFE

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 27


| VIEW

Finding the

28 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


Frame

BY JOE PAYNE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY JOSEPH

Growing up in the Arroyo Grande area

exposed local photographer Amy Joseph to the

joys of riding horses and biking with friends to

the dunes. They took in pastel sunsets over the

Pacific from the mesa. Though she has always

loved her home on the Central Coast, Joseph was

not always found outside with a camera in hand.

After some health concerns led to an abrupt

career change, Joseph began putting her lifelong

computer skills to work at a web design company.

To promote her local clients, she started

photographing landmarks and vistas around San

Luis Obispo County. She soon began her own

business selling these images, called Central Coast

Pictures, which she manages today online. Joseph

reveals, “I wasn’t what I would call a professional

photographer when I started my website. I simply

had thousands of photos of the place I lived and

grew up in and wanted to share them.”

Local photo excursions are a must for Joseph,

everywhere from the rolling hills of wine country

to the beaches of San Simeon. She captures the

images you would expect, of course, of the Central

Coast sites that everyone knows, but she also has

an eye for the unexpected. Take this image you

see here, where Joseph turned her back on Morro

Bay’s massive geological namesake, and instead

trained her lens on the shore of the town and its

colorful rows of boxy homes. Far behind looms

Hollister Peak as an equally imposing plume of

cumulonimbus overtakes the skyline.

Hollister, along with the rest of the Seven Sisters,

is often the subject of amateur and professional

photographers alike. Joseph expresses, “If they can

be in a photo I’m taking, I try to focus on them.

In this image, the color of the town, houses, and

the boats were really standing out to me.”

The image also captures something quintessentially

San Luis Obispo: the juxtaposition of our cities

and towns wreathed in the natural beauty of

the Central Coast.

That’s something that

Joseph has always

understood growing

up here, she explained,

and why taking

some quiet time for

herself outside with

her camera scarcely

feels like work. She

explains, “The Central

Coast is, to me, the

most beautiful place to

photograph. There’s so

much to see, from the

beach to landmarks

like the Seven Sisters,

lakes, mountains,

countryside, Big Sur—

it’s so diverse.”

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.

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 29


| Q&A

PROCESS OF DISCOVERY

Fifteen years ago, SUSIE THEULE had an idea. Today, that idea has a name:

SLO Classical Academy. The private school, known to many as SLOCA, is a

uniquely California entrepreneur-in-a-garage start up story that now enrolls

412 students. Its director stopped by our office the other day to talk about the

challenges that come with balancing the management of a growing program,

which employees a staff of eighty, as well as remaining present for her

husband and four children. Here is some of what she had to say…

Okay, Susie, let’s talk about where you are from.

I grew up outside Chicago in a Northwest suburb

called Arlington Heights. I lived in only two

different houses there before going away to school.

For college, I decided that I wanted to get out

either to the beach or to the mountains, so I ended

up going down to San Diego. After graduation, I

ended up moving up to LA to get my doctorate

in clinical psychology. And, during that time, I

met my husband and got married. We lived in San

Clemente, which is an amazing little beach town,

but it’s still in Orange County. His brother had

gone to Cal Poly, so we had visited and knew that

we loved it here and knew we wanted to raise a

family here. So, when he had a job opportunity that

felt right, we moved.

And, how was the transition? As soon as we

arrived, I said to my husband, “How about we

start a school?” And the poor man had just been

through my doctorate, my dissertation, and my

psychology licensing, and we moved, and we had

just had our third child. He said, “Please, can

you please wait just a year?” So, a year later I was

looking for a book, and I met someone who was an

educator. She had always wanted to start a school

here and, so, we put our heads together and did a

bunch of work and ended up opening SLOCA in

2005. We started at four homes around the city,

including our own. We whitewashed our garage

and added a window. We had eleven first graders in

there and total enrollment was thirty-seven by the

first half of the year. I was pretty sure it wasn’t legal

for us to be doing this in our home.

You just jumped in with both feet. Yes, exactly. I

really had no idea what I was doing, literally. I just

knew what I wanted for my kids. I would do many

things differently had I known what I know now.

So, we really needed to clean that up, but we also

knew that the school would not be sustainable if

people are driving all over the city to four different

houses. And, I knew that if we were in a setting that

was an actual school site that more people would

be attracted to it and have a higher level of trust.

Fortunately, that proved to be true. We just kind

of grew and grew and grew for years, by leaps and

bounds. We rent the old Teach Elementary School

campus from San Luis Coastal Unified and we’ve

had a great relationship with the district, but we

are outgrowing it. It’s across the street from Cal

Poly and we also rent houses across the street to

house our high school. We’ve completely gutted

and remodeled five homes over there, but we’re

outgrowing them, as well.

Let’s switch gears for a moment and talk about

your background in psychology. Sure, okay, I’m

a depth psychologist by training, so there are lots

of deep thoughts going on with me, and emotions,

and thinking about life. I have a rich internal life,

always thinking. My mind is running all of the

time. But, I really have a lot on my plate in terms of

just completing tasks and trying to remain present.

Every day, I’m aware of my weaknesses and how

I screw up with my parenting and my leadership.

People say to me, “I don’t know how you do what

you do.” And, I do it the same way everybody else

does it. I get up every day and put my clothes on,

take a shower, and just put one foot in front of the

other. But, yeah, I don’t know. I’m a bundle of other

things going on, I think, underneath this leadership

tag that I have somehow found myself in—I’m

a very reluctant leader. I really did this because I

wanted something special for my kids and then saw

that so many other people wanted that same thing

for their kids, as well.

That must be difficult to balance. You know, I really

am sort of a troubled soul. I’m very contemplative,

probably to a fault. So, everything that happens to

me goes through a process of discovery, wondering

what it’s about. I’m also a really deep feeler. I feel

a great, heavy responsibility, and so I carry that,

and I think about it a lot. I’m just contemplative

and thoughtful and can sort of get stuck in

that sometimes. And then I think what makes

it difficult is I really believe in living in the

moment. I really want to look in my kids’ eyes

and know what they’re thinking and feeling

that day. I also want to really know the people

I work with; and I’ve got a list of tasks that’s just

insane at work and at home. I have four kids. I think

that’s why going for a paddle on Lopez Lake works

so well for me. It gives me time to just sort of be

quiet. I don’t listen to anything out on the lake. I

just paddle and sort of pray and think. I try to tend

to myself a little bit. SLO LIFE

30 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 31


| NOW HEAR THIS

MATT NICE

AND THE DERLS

BY SHAWN STRONG

The Urban Dictionary defines the word “derl” as “someone that often exaggerates

their skills and abilities. Claims that the ability to learn is the proof of the

existence of skill.” In the case of the six-piece, psychedelic orchestra Matt Nice

and the Derls, however, it comes to mean something different.

32 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


This eclectic group of artists collectively

shares decades of musical knowledge

and experience, led by the accomplished

composer Matt Nice. Other band

members include Paul Dutton, who lends his

expertise on the skins, Chris Cunningham, who

puts his musical training to use on the guitar, Tyler

Rowland adds violin, Liam Bronker slaps the bass,

and Kaya Moody rounds out the group with vocals.

piece band made up of Nice, Adam Vanweerdenpoelman, and Robby

Porovich, The Earthtones saw the beginning of Nice’s multifaceted style

writ large. Over a period of months, the group would continue to make

regular releases showcasing increased intricacy and mastery within their

compositions. At the time, Nice was doing most of the songwriting

and recording alone. While this had worked for the artist since the

beginning, he began looking for new ways to add depth and variation

to his recordings, and to his live performances. With this in mind, the

Derls started to take shape.

The Derls songwriter and leader, Matt Nice, comes

from a rich musical tradition. His lineage includes

a varied group of bluegrass players from Wisconsin:

a grandfather who was a well-known crooner in

Canada, and a father who played guitar throughout

Nice’s youth. It could be said that all these complex

and unique sounds have made their way into the

Derls repertoire because of the young musician’s

upbringing. Born in Livermore, California, Nice

would go on to live in three different states, including

Massachusetts and Illinois. His family was always on

the move, an aspect of his life that eventually led him

to music. As change was such a continual presence in

his life, making music was a much-needed constant

throughout all the new schools, new living situations,

and new social groups.

Nice officially formed the group two years ago, looking to move from

the one-man-band concept to a more collaborative effort. He describes

his process now as one of discovery more than of songwriting. With the

five other band members now contributing ideas and their creativity,

Nice is able to get out of the studio and expand his own capabilities and

art. Nice made it clear that one of his primary goals with the Derls is to

create an experience for the people on stage that matches the experience

the audience is having. The sheer amount of improvisation and quick

thinking on the part of all six members creates a truly unique experience

where the audience knows just as much as the band does, and everybody

is kept unaware until the last minute. It’s a risky tactic, but with great

risk comes an incredibly lively and exciting

experience that cannot be reproduced.

The Derls is an incredibly talented and

innovative group of musicians, and what live

performances they’ve done so far have been

received positively. Having recently locked

down a solid line up, the Derls are focused on

building and creating and practicing. However,

in the next few months, the Derls are planning

on hitting the stage throughout the Central

Coast and hopefully beyond. Keep an eye

out for Matt Nice and the Derls, and if you

have the opportunity to see this whirlwind of

potential, make it a priority.

After having visited San Luis Obispo as a child, Nice

chose to move here permanently twelve years ago.

Initially, Nice would take the train up from southern

California to visit friends who were attending Cal

Poly at the time. On one such visit, after graduating

college, he threw away his return ticket and never

looked back. His first group, a rock band called The

Earthtones, offered a glimpse at the remarkable talent

and diverse skill set of the budding artist. A three- 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.

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 33


| FAMILY

Are You Up for the

Tri Tip Challenge?

BY PADEN HUGHES

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAY C. WINTER

It all started with a family

hike up “High School

Hill”—you know, the steep

hill off Lizzie Street above

San Luis Obispo High

School. There is a proud,

sometimes painted red,

tower on top of that hill, and it affords

incredible views of our beautiful city.

In fact, the first time I did this hike,

I remember not looking back at the

city below until I had reached the top.

Turning around to soak in the view

took my breath away.

We have made the pilgrimage many

times since, but once we paused at the

top to look at the writing on the tower,

we quickly picked up on a theme.

Many of the messages etched into the

structure mentioned something about

a Tri Tip challenge. Weird, right?

Probably some Week of Welcome

ritual, we thought at the time. We

didn’t learn anything more about it.

The next time we hiked to the top,

however, our curiosity was piqued

when we discovered that more people

had written something about the Tri

Tip Challenge and this time they

included Bishop, Madonna, and High

School Hill—we finally had the details

we needed.

next at 1,293 feet. And, finally, High School Hill at

1,135 feet. Altogether we’re talking about an assent

of 3,974 feet! That’s 22% of the way up Basecamp at

Everest or almost halfway up Half Dome in Yosemite.

It definitely gets you bragging rights in our town, and

here’s how I recommend tackling the trails:

8 am: Start at High School Hill. Why? Because despite

being the shortest of the three peaks, it’s the steepest

incline and most likely to be your mental challenge, so I

recommend getting it out of the way.

9:15 am: Head over to Bishop Peak via the Patricia

trailhead and from there, hike Summit #2.

11:30 am: Make your way over to the Cerro San Luis

trailhead near the on ramp to 101 South and hike

Summit #3.

Note:

If you are a strong hiker, you’ll blow past these times

I’ve outlined above. But if you’ve got kids in tow or a

large group, like we prefer, then these timelines will

be accurate.

Local Tip:

The single best way to culminate this epic Saturday

morning hiking event is, of course, to enjoy tri-tip from

my personal favorite, Old

San Luis BBQ. And don’t

forget, a frothy, ice-cold

local beer to celebrate the

conquest.

The Tri Tip Challenge is a local claim

to fame where you hike three of the

biggest hills in the area—Bishop Peak,

Madonna (Cerro San Luis) and High

School Hill (Bowden Ranch Trail)—

all in the same day. It’s a big feat if you

can do it.

Bishop Peak is the tallest, looming at

1,546 feet. Cerro San Luis Obispo is

In my opinion, the best

time to do this challenge

is right now, early spring.

It’s green, it’s beautiful,

and if you happen to hit

it on a sunny day, it can

be incredibly refreshing.

Happy Hiking!

#tritipchallenge SLO LIFE

PADEN HUGHES is

co-owner of Gymnazo

and enjoys exploring

the Central Coast.

34 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 35


| ON THE RISE

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Erin O’Neil

As an active volunteer with SLO Food Bank

and Big Brothers Big Sisters, this artistic

eighteen-year-old San Luis Obispo High School

senior is painting a bright future.

What extracurricular activities are you involved in? I have been doing aerial silks

for about eight years now and I am a silks instructor at Performance Athletics.

Beside that, I take technical art lessons and tutor my peers after school.

What do you like to do for fun? I enjoy going to the lake and going skiing with

my family. On the weekends, I love spending my time with friends at places like

the drive-in, downtown, and the beach. Year round, I enjoy painting landscapes. I

mostly use acrylic paints but just recently started using watercolors.

What’s something not many people know about you? I designed the Pacheco

Elementary School t-shirts and painted the Laguna Middle School sports murals

in the gym. Because of that, I have made it a goal to leave a mark on every school

I attend. I currently decorate my high school in vibrant posters through the

Associated Student Body.

What is important to you outside of high school? Just appreciating what I have:

a great family, a safe community, awesome friends, and lots of interests to keep me

busy. My parents are very supportive of me and I have a very adventurous brother,

who keeps me on my toes to say the least. I am thankful for having a solid support

system behind me so that I can branch out and explore new things.

What is your favorite memory of all time? I went on a school-sponsored trip

to Spain my junior year of high school. On the last day of the trip, a group of us

woke up at five in the morning while it was still dark outside, sprinted through the

streets of Barcelona for about two miles to the Mediterranean Sea, and watched the

sunrise. The placidity of the beach was unreal. Fun fact: that was the only day I can

say I was awake for thirty-eight hours straight.

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

the autobiography of Jean Jennings Bartik, who was one of the key programmers of

the first computer, ENIAC. During WWII, she was in the background pioneering

a new field of study. She was a mind blowingly intelligent mathematician. It would

have been an honor to meet her.

What do you want people to know about you? I am very easygoing. I have

never lost my temper or had conflicts with anyone. I move through life with an

underlying patience, which is why I think I am great with children. Also, I have

been told that I am a very thoughtful gift-giver. I am able to really listen to people

and understand their interests.

What schools are you considering for college? Hopefully, I will attend UCLA,

which has an outstanding math program. My other top choices are Cal Poly, UC

Irvine, and UCSD. Eventually, after completing my undergraduate degree, I would

like to attend Cal Tech or another research-driven school. But, I can honestly say

that I don’t mind where I end up because I believe, as long as I take advantage of

opportunities, I can be successful no matter the school I attend. SLO LIFE

Know a student On the Rise?

Introduce us at slolifemagazine.com/share

36 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 37


| MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR

38 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


POWER IN

NUMBERS

PHOTOGRAPHY BY VANESSA PLAKIAS

There is not much that ERIC VEIUM would not do for alternative

energy, including donating one of his kidneys. It was not a direct

this for that, or quid pro quo, but it might as well have been after he

“put it up to the universe” on election night, which would determine

the fate of Proposition 16, a California state initiative dubbed

“Community Choice.” Through a combination of serendipity and

passion, a lucky recipient was given a new lease on life, while the

rest of us finally have a choice on our utility bill each month: stick

with PG&E or go with the upstart, Monterey Bay Community Power,

which offers carbon-free electricity. The San Luis Obispo resident

then went on to spearhead the creation of the Cal Poly Solar Farm,

a 4.5-Megawatt operation that supplies the university with twenty

percent of its power requirements. Here is his story…

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 39


40 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


Alright, Eric, let’s talk about where you

grew up. So, I’m a Wisco kid. I grew up

in Wisconsin, a small town in Southern

Wisconsin. It was a pretty middleclass

upbringing. My dad was a carpenter, my

mom was a counselor. I was a middle

child, so I have an older brother and a

younger sister. It was idyllic growing

up there. We were actually the only

Jewish family in town. It’s changed a little bit over the years since I was

there. So, that added some interesting dynamics to growing up, for my

brother especially, but a bit for me, as well. It was maybe 12,000 people.

The University of Wisconsin Whitewater was based there, so it felt a

little bit like San Luis Obispo. Our whole community was surrounded by

agriculture, and farm fields, mostly corn fields. I spent lots of time in my

youth shoveling stalls. It was great. I have fond memories of riding my

bike to school in the morning. This was the 90s, so it was all about Weezer

and JNCO Jeans and chain wallets and hacky sacks.

What were you like as a child? I was a nerdy kid. I was a totally nerdy

kid. I loved playing with computers, working with computers. That’s

where I got my start, fixing computers. I was always a smart kid, did well

in school, loved being in school, and just loved hanging out. Since it was

a college town, there was a lot of opportunity to hang out with college

students. I took a number of college courses when I was in high school at

the university, which was always such an attraction. Again, it was super

nerdy. Then, I went to Madison Area Technical College to study computer

relational database design and some other computer stuff. But, in life, you

get signals from different people letting you know whether you’re moving

in a good direction. So, when I was at Madison Area Technical College,

my economics professor there was a graduate of Cal Poly. I was curious

about it and did some research and found out that it had just an amazing

computer engineering school.

So, that’s how you ended up here? Yes, that’ right. When I was eighteen, I

came out on a road trip. It was my first solo road trip. I have family down

in LA. I stayed with them and I took the Greyhound up to SLO. After a

few days here, I was completely in love with this place. It wasn’t even the

campus; it was just the whole community. I was totally in love. After my

visit, I went back to Wisconsin and moved out to LA a year or so later

so that I could get California residency. Then, after I did that, I moved to

San Luis Obispo. Cal Poly was the only university I applied for, and I was

accepted in computer engineering. I started in the fall of 2002. I realized,

very quickly, that I really didn’t care about computer engineering. What

I discovered was that it wasn’t really the designing of circuits and things

that I was interested in at all. It was people and people’s interactions with

both human and natural systems. So, I switched to industrial engineering.

What exactly is industrial engineering? So, industrial engineering is

a really powerful discipline and set of tools around thinking in systems,

and being able to see how factors influence each other, and looking at

complex situations to come up with creative problem solving. In particular,

industrial engineering helped me to both understand the current industrial

economy and how people think or how that structure drives behavior.

Also, from the frame of sustainability, like tools and systems thinking to

be able to have insight into how to create the economy that we need as

a humanity and as a planet. It’s a really powerful tool, a discipline and a

toolkit to understand the existing industrial economy and the paradigm,

and to see pathways out of that. So, it was really there that I became

passionate about sustainability—within that context.

Was there something in particular that sent you down this path?

It was really when I lived in Germany for a year during college, in

Munich. It was transformative for me. I was an exchange student for

a year when I was at Cal Poly. Germany was leading the world in

terms of renewable energy at the time. And they’re known for their

engineering. So, there was the whole engineering piece of it for me,

the culture; I was super excited to soak it in and to go and explore

that culture and much of Europe. I was there for a full year and I had

classes on Tuesday. So, I just had unbelievable opportunities to travel.

I also had some great courses, but I also hitchhiked all over Europe

and couch surfed. That summer, I got an internship with Deloitte

Consulting, which, for an industrial engineering student, it’s the one

you wanted to get. Ultimately, they made me a job offer, which I

accepted. I immediately spent the signing bonus. But, I realized that

I didn’t want to leave SLO, so I wrote them a letter saying, “Thank

you, but no thank you—here’s your signing bonus back.” I scavenged

the Mustang Jobs website every day and took everything I could

find from landscaping and painting to helping an elderly lady with

her errands. I was making like eight or nine bucks an hour and just

working around the clock. But, I was meeting a lot of people in the

community, including some local environmental leaders. They paid me

more than I was worth to do odd jobs around their house.

And, somewhere along the line you got married and had kids?

That’s right. I have a beautiful wife, Alicia. We met eight years ago.

I was participating in something called The Landmark Forum. It’s

transformative education. It’s all about seeing the experiences that

happened in your past and how they are now influencing you without

your knowledge, really influencing how you’re showing up in the

present and future. I’ve been active in Landmark work for eight

years and it’s been a source of great personal peace and leadership

and creativity and everything that I’m up to in the world. It’s been

a structure to support me in that. Alicia and I did not know one

another, but we were both participating in The Landmark Forum at

that time. It’s a three-day event. This one was held in San Francisco

over a long weekend. I sat down in the crowd next to her. Afterward,

I was staying in the East Bay and got off on the 16th Street bus stop.

I started walking, and I looked to my right and there she is walking

with her bike. I said, “Hi,” and she told me she was heading to work at

a restaurant called Cafe Gratitude. She invited me to lunch. Later that

day, I needed to do some work, so I found a coffee shop. I was typing

away on my computer when I see her walking in with a friend. We had

this little exchange, and I just kind of blurted out, “Would you date

me?” She said, “Yeah, I’d date you if you lived closer.”

So, tell us, what happened next? This was all happening right before

the holidays, and we were both raised Jewish, so we didn’t have any

Christmas obligation. So, I went back to SLO and we continued

to talk. Two days later, I went back to the Bay Area and we spent

Christmas together. We went to Chinatown and had Chinese food

like Jews do, and took in a circus performance at the Mission District.

It was amazing. She moved to SLO a month later to be with me,

and the rest is history. I was living in a garage on Buchon Street at

the time that we called “The Garage Mahal.” Great memories. I

think that because we were both doing The Landmark Forum, which

again, clears out a lot of the stuff from the past that oftentimes gets

in the way being present with people in the future, we both had that

common experience and a common language around what was really

just excellent communication, which has allowed our relationship to

this day to be super successful.>>

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 41


What about the wedding? Okay, let me tell the story. We actually had

three weddings. It had always been a dream of mine, and I don’t know the

source of it, but it was always a dream to be married in Machu Picchu. So,

I proposed to her, and we created this possibility around being married in

Machu Picchu and having all of our friends with us. We ended up having

an amazing trip, a story in itself, where we had I think like twelve or

fourteen of our friends on Huayna Picchu, which is the spiritual mountain

overlooking Machu Picchu. Then, our second wedding was, as soon as we

got back to the States, at the courthouse just to make it official. The third

was a beautiful wedding in the Edna Valley with friends and family. It was

an amazing potluck. At our third wedding, we realized that Alicia was

pregnant. Soon after that, we found out that we were pregnant with twins.

Nine months later, Walden and Hans were born. They’ll be turning four

next month.

And, what are you doing for work these days? I manage energy,

utilities, and sustainability for Cal Poly. So, you may have seen the

solar farm on the way to Morro Bay near the Men’s Colony, so I

was the source of that project. My directions were to figure out how

to develop renewable energy for the university. So, I scavenged the

landscape of policies to understand how we could make a large project

like that happen, and I discovered a relatively obscure program, called

RESBCT. And, no, it’s not the Aretha Franklin song. [laughter]

Without getting into all of the technical details, this program allowed

us to build a renewable energy asset like a solar farm or wind farm—in

this case, a solar farm—up to five megawatts. Essentially, we generate

electricity and receive the renewable and financial benefits. So, right

now, it provides about twenty percent of our overall campus electricity,

and it saves us about a million bucks a year.

And, you have continued your advocacy work, as well? Yes, along the

way, I became part of a team that wrote a grant. I helped co-author a grant

to the California Energy Commission called SLORESCO, or San Luis

Obispo Renewable Energy Secure Communities. The purpose of the grant

was to quantify the renewable energy resource potential for the county

and to look at commercialization pathways. We were asking the question,

“How do we actually bring these resources to reality?” Community Choice

was one of the key commercialization pathways that we were studying. I

was a junior engineer at the time being mentored by some of the leading

thinkers and doers in California energy. That’s where I really cut my teeth

and gained an understanding and eventually mastery around Community

Choice and understanding how powerful of a tool it is for communities >>

42 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 43


to have local control over their energy. The grant was always a part-time

engagement. I still had to pay the bills, so I started a handyman service

called Greenhand Handyman.

And, you have quite a story connected to the Community Choice

initiative… That’s true. My mother actually passed away in 2012. She was

the best and I was super lucky to have her. She had the utmost love and

care. I also sort of adopted a second mother out here in SLO. Since we

don’t have any immediate family here, we just adopt aunties and uncles

and moms. So, I met Linda through the work I was doing around town

at the time. Later, her son was diagnosed with some crazy autoimmune

disease, and both of his kidneys were failing. He was on dialysis

constantly, and everybody in his family went in to find out if they could

be donors. None of them came back positive. It wasn’t going to work out.

So, one day, Linda sent out a mass email saying something like, “Nothing

is working, somebody please help.” I sat on that email for some time. It

was when Proposition 16 was on the ballot, which was the Community

Choice initiative. PG&E funded like $50 million to stop the effort. Our

group, which was pushing for it, raised only about $50,000. The way the

proposition was written meant that if it failed, Community Choice would

go forward. So, I put it up to the universe. On election night, I said, “Hey,

if you let this thing fail, I will immediately go and check to see if I’m a

candidate for a kidney donation.”

You made a deal with the universe to trade one of your kidneys for

Community Choice? I guess you could say that; yes, I made that deal.

So, that night was the most amazing election night. We were continually

down two or three points, and then slowly through the night the votes

kept coming in. We finally pulled ahead and ultimately won. The next day

I called the clinic. It was Cedar Sinai down in LA. I went down there and

I didn’t tell Linda about any of this, but I went, and I got myself checked.

It turned out that both Linda’s son and are about the same age, and we’re

both of Jewish descent—Ashkenazi Jews. I think it has to do with coming

from a certain part of Europe. Honestly, I don’t have all the details of

it. But, I received a letter telling me that I was a perfect match for him.

The following day, I was riding my bike and I see this bumper sticker on

the car in front of me promoting organ donation. It said, “Give Life,” or

something like that. Then, I see Linda on the sidewalk. So, I rode up to

her and shared the news. She just broke into tears.

Wow, that’s incredible. Now, can you back up for a minute and explain

exactly what Community Choice is? Sure. So, Community Choice

>>

44 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 45


enables local communities to take control of their energy supply. They

work in partnership with PG&E, which delivers the power over their

existing infrastructure. It’s a super powerful tool available to local

communities, which can then create resources to support all those

goals: de-carbonization, economic development and resilience, and

infrastructure, and environmental justice. Here in SLO, we are now part of

a five county Central Coast Community Choice energy program, service

just started in January. At first, it will be called Monterey Bay Community

Group, but it will rebrand with a Central Coast-specific name in this

next year. I spent ten years working on this and it is so amazing to see it

become a reality. Essentially, it’s a business that buys power and resells it

to us. It’s an alternative to PG&E. That power is carbon-free. For a lot

of people, Community Choice is a new concept. But, it’s important for

everyone to know that we’re going to help guide and support and hold the

program accountable to deliver the benefits to our region that should be

even better than promised.

And, what’s the downside? Downside? No, there is no downside. I mean,

it’s cleaner power that costs less. It offers choice and local control. The

savings gained are on the order of millions of dollars that are available

to invest in local resiliency and economic development. For years,

we’ve passed our responsibility to PG&E and onto the State Energy

Commission and the Public Utilities Commission. Now we’re responsible.

For years, the utilities and the public utilities commission have just been

throwing ratepayers under the bus. Now, we’ve got communities and

elected officials and people throughout our community and state that

are engaged, actively engaged in an energy conversation around decarbonization.

The law was written to create a locally accountable entity.

Without it, PG&E has so much existing market domination that there

would be no way that this could ever be possible without this type of

structure. It is so exciting to see it finally happening here. I mean, I’m

committed to creating a planet that works for all people, and this is a great

first step that we are taking together as a community. SLO LIFE

46 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 47


| ARTIST

PROFILE

Vincent

Bernardy

BY JEFF AL-MASHAT

W

hen you first see Vincent Bernardy’s work, it is

hard not to be drawn in by his playful brushstrokes and

the jagged lines of cut metal and wood in his sculptural

pieces. As you spend more time with the work you

start to notice that, despite the colorful and sometimes

childlike imagery, there is a heaviness in his character’s

facial expressions.

Bernardy, a self-taught painter, sculptor, a Central

Coast resident, and in another life, a musician, echoes

visual art greats like Robert Rauschenberg and Ed

Kienholz with his assemblage style of metal, real tree

branches, old tools, and odds and ends such as drawer

pulls, light bulbs, and torn fabric. He works back into

the pieces, going over and painting out some of his

found objects, and incorporating imagery like dinner

tables, people playing games, lollipop-style trees, and

work machines like typewriters. He references some

of the work of the folk artists of the deep south, with

a hint of Jean Dubuffet in his paint application that

seems more coincidental than forced.

While not formally trained beyond high school art,

Bernardy has been producing throughout his life and

has even done faux finishing in homes, which again, he

taught himself how to do.

“I don’t like to tell people what my work is about,”

says Bernardy. “I want to connect and communicate

with people through art in a way that words can’t. My

greatest inspiration comes from talking with other

artists and hearing kids talk

about what they see in my

work. That inspires me to

put these things together.”

The objects in his work

are things that speak to

him when he comes across

them. “I will pick up a

particular tree branch or a

piece of metal and know

that it has potential. In

some cases, I have held on

to an item for five or ten

years before knowing how

it is going to be used in a

piece of my art.” SLO LIFE

JEFF AL-MASHAT is a

writer and visual artist with

an MFA in painting from

Georgia State University. He

lives in Grover Beach.

48 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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| CANDIDATE FORUM

Election

2020

Presidential Primary Election 2020

The Other Races

It was Tip O’Neil, the former Speaker of the House, who is credited

with the quote: “All politics is local.” Aside from the questionable

grammar—we would argue that he should have said, “All politics are

local,”—he was absolutely correct. While the Internet makes it easy

to become drawn into every stanza of unending drama, which unfolds

daily on the national scene, the fact is that it’s the decisions that are

made right here, right now, locally, which affect our lives most.

This year, the State of California moved its Presidential Primary

Election up to March, which means that all of the down ballet local

races that go along with it will take place a few months earlier than

they normally do. Now is the time to dig in, learn the issues, learn

the candidates, and what they believe.

In San Luis Obispo County, all eyes are on the Board of Supervisors

contests shaping up in Districts 1, 3, and 5. With just five seats on

the board, any change will significantly alter the composition and,

therefore, the policy direction of the body. The supervisors control a

budget standing now at about a half-billion dollars annually, so the

stakes are high. And, unlike the other races in this election, these

three are final. Unless someone fails to garner more than 50% of the

vote, these seats will be decided in March.

We gave both the incumbents and their challengers the opportunity

to make their case to our readers in 425 words or less in the pages

that follow. Be sure to review what they had to say and then get out

there and vote.

CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY, DISTRICT 35

This one may be more of a formality, at least for now, as the incumbent,

Jordan Cunningham, a Republican, and the challenger, Dawn Addis,

a Democrat, will automatically advance on to the general election in

November unless a last-minute write-in candidate appears.

CALIFORNIA SENATE, DISTRICT 17

The incumbent, a Democrat from Carmel, Bill Monning, has termed-out,

which means this seat is now up for grabs. Four people have tossed their

hats into the ring, and the two with the most votes will continue on to the

November general election to decide the new state senator. The candidates

are as follows: John Laird, Democrat, and former state Natural Resources

Secretary; Maria Cardenas, Democrat, and executive director of a Santa

Cruz-based non-profit; John Nevill, Republican rancher and respiratory

therapist; and Republican Vicki Nohrden, a businesswoman from Carmel.

US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 24

The top two vote-getters in this three-person race will meet again in

November to decide the winner. Former Santa Barbara County supervisor

Salud Carbajal, a Democrat and two-term incumbent, will be facing

challenges from Andy Caldwell and Kenneth Young. Caldwell is a

Republican and the founder of COLAB (Coalition of Labor, Agriculture,

and Business) as well as a conservative radio talk show host. Young is

running as an Independent. He is a Santa Barbara-based civil engineer.

Vote

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020

50 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


District 1 Incumbent

JOHN PESCHONG

When you elected me four years ago, I promised to be someone who

would work for you. Since then, I have worked to improve the quality of

life in San Luis Obispo County by working for smaller, more efficient

government, lower taxes, and more personal freedom.

During my thirty years in North County, I have seen just how good our

quality of life is and have been fortunate to get to know my neighbors

through community involvement. Whether it was the time spent with

children in 4-H, my role as former President of the California Mid-State

Fair Board of Directors, and President of the Central Coast Taxpayer

Association, I have seen the importance of a strong local community,

which is why I have fought to preserve that way of life in North County.

As a County Supervisor, I served two years as Chairman of the Board

in 2017 and 2018. Currently, I serve as an appointee to the Rural

County Representatives of California (RCRC), the Golden State

Finance Authority, and Cal-ID Board. I’m also serving as the Vice

Chair of the Air Pollution Control District (APCD), Vice President of

the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), and I sit

on the board of the Consolidated Oversight Board, and the Integrated

Waste Management Authority (IWMA). I previously served on the

California State Association of Counties (CSAC), the Latino Outreach

Council, the Homeless Services Oversight Council, and the Economic

Vitality Corporation.

I have worked to ensure our first responders receive the resources they

need. These men and women risk their lives, and that is why I am proud

that we have added more Sheriff ’s deputies and strengthened county

fire departments.

I understand the importance of groundwater to the agricultural character

of our county, which is why I helped pass the Paso Robles groundwater

plan to ensure that North County’s groundwater stays under local control.

We have worked to expand resources to combat drug addiction, improved

housing programs for those experiencing homelessness, and improved

mental health access to help those with psychiatric emergencies. We are

not finished, but we have already seen real improvement from the small

steps. I would be honored to have your support.

District 1 Challenger

STEPHANIE SHAKOFSKY

I am a local farmer with a degree in Hydrology, and owner of a small

vineyard in Paso Robles. My career as a scientist began at the United

States Geological Survey, where I researched how nuclear contamination

moves through soil and groundwater, and I’m a recognized expert in the

reuse of contaminated property. I have served on numerous state and local

commissions helping communities and affordable housing developers

cleanup and safely reuse contaminated properties.

I am running for Supervisor because I believe that government

operates best when it operates in the open. Our Supervisors have been

making backroom deals on water and industrial cannabis—putting

our neighborhoods and local economy in peril. My candidacy is about

stopping the hidden deals, and I have a plan to establish a program of full

public participation.

I was born into a large family in Missouri. The eighth of ten children,

I was the only child in my family to attend college, working my way

through by waitressing and cobbling together scholarships and loans.

I understand hard work and the value of a dollar. I studied geology

at the University of Illinois in Champaign with an emphasis in

Paleontology, and then earned a master’s degree in Hydrology from

San Jose State University.

I worked as a research hydrologist at the United States Geological Survey

from 1991-1997, and then served as a technical analyst for the California

State Legislature, providing analysis of environmental regulation and

legislative reports on topical issues including the environmental and

economic challenges local governments and the private sector faced when

they attempted to reuse contaminated lands.

Then in 2000, I combined my technical expertise and my policy skills to

start a nonprofit focused on helping local governments and community

developers redevelop or reuse polluted lands. The Center for Creative

Land Recycling is a nationally recognized nonprofit.

In 2017, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of owning a vineyard when I

purchased a Zinfandel vineyard in west Paso Robles, planted by Richard

Sauret in the 1970s. The old vines had been neglected during the last

drought, and I’ve been busy restoring the vineyard while studying

viticulture part-time at Cuesta College’s new viticulture program. I live in

Paso Robles with my rescue cat, Apple.

I hope you will consider giving me your vote because so much is at

stake. I will honor your trust by supporting policies that are transparent,

responsive to community needs, and fiscally prudent.

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 51


| CANDIDATE FORUM

District 3 Incumbent

ADAM HILL

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as County Supervisor

since 2009.

At this moment, there are so many critical challenges in front of us that

will determine how we best protect our beautiful county, while better

managing the growth we have seen in our cities.

I am proud of the work I have done to prioritize funding to address

traffic congestion on Highways 227 and 101, and I am proud of the work

we are doing to manage our precious groundwater. Healthcare in our

jails has greatly improved, and I have been able to help us stand up for

more services across our county to better address the interrelated issues of

homelessness, mental health, and substance abuse.

We also face the looming closure of Diablo Canyon Power Plant, and

more than ever, we need an experienced leader with a deep understanding

of policy and regulatory issues, as well as the relationships with state and

federal leaders.

That is why I am running again and asking for your vote.

The March 3rd election is the most important local election we have had

in a long time.

We simply cannot afford to elect a novice who offers empty promises and

no acquaintance with the issues or even an understanding for how local

government works.

We need a full grasp of our issues and practical leadership, and the

balance I bring to our decision-making.

Who else has the support of local business leaders and our labor unions

and our firefighters and the Sierra Club?

Who else has the support of Planned Parenthood, and over twenty local

elected officials including the entire city council of San Luis Obispo?

And, I hope to have your support too, on or before March 3rd.

District 3 Challenger

STACY KORSGADEN

Integrity. Positive Leadership. Community.

These are the three guiding principles I have lived by my entire

professional life. I decided to run for County Supervisor because I

recognized that our current representative, Adam Hill, was not serving

our community with those same values. Like many residents of San Luis

Obispo County, I am tired of watching career politicians like Supervisor

Hill bickering, name calling, and bullying their way into getting what

they want instead of serving the people they were elected to represent.

If you are like me, you have had enough. You want thoughtfulness, not

fighting. You want results, not reckless personal attacks. I decided that it

was time for action, and I threw my name into the ring to represent you

with integrity and honesty on the Board of Supervisors.

Working with tenacity and diligence, my business has served the local

community for thirty years. I built my insurance agency from scratch

and it is now one of the top 1% of Farmers Insurance agencies across the

country—earning the trust and confidence of thousands of residents who

value honesty, integrity, and the highest levels of service.

I have volunteered for numerous charities and community organizations,

serving as the President of the local Boys and Girls Club and Chair

of the South County Chamber of Commerce, giving me a unique

perspective. This insight will allow me to pursue solutions, which will

serve our community.

I will bring the same approach to public office, serving with the highestlevel

of integrity and civility.

Our county is facing some tough challenges. We saw homelessness rise

32% between 2018 and 2019. We have failed to adequately respond to

our neighbors’ concerns on cannabis cultivation. We face a huge economic

loss with the decommissioning of Diablo Canyon’s power plant.

And where is our supervisor in all of this? He is using scare tactics and

intimidation to try to secure his reelection instead of focusing on the

issues that impact our community.

This job should not be a partisan one. This job should be about

serving the needs of our community. As your supervisor, I will work

to ensure that funding earmarked for treating mental illness actually

reaches those in need. I will encourage incentives for developers to

build more affordable housing instead of raising taxes and fees on San

Luis Obispo residents. I will work to promote economically viable

and environmentally responsible projects at Diablo Canyon. Most

importantly, I will serve this office with respect, honesty, and integrity.

52 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


District 5 Incumbent

DEBBIE ARNOLD

When I moved here in 1973 to attend Cal Poly, I fell in love with both

my husband Steve, and the farming and ranching values that had been

a part of the Arnold family way of life for more than five generations. I

bring to this job my passion for this county, as well as my personal and

professional experience.

While raising two children, I owned and operated Small Wonders

Preschool in Atascadero. Over those seventeen years I got to know

countless local families and watch as many of my former students grew

up and started families and businesses of their own.

I later had the privilege of advocating for these local families as I worked

as a Legislative Assistant at the County Supervisor’s office and later as

a District Representative for the State Assembly and the State Senate.

During these years, I worked with a broad range of community groups

and interests, bringing people together to solve problems. I have always

believed that there is nothing more powerful than an informed public,

and toward that end I have worked hard to promote better public access

to information about proposed policies that will impact local residents.

That is why our friends and neighbors, as well as many trusted

local leaders like San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson,

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, Atascadero Mayor Heather

Moreno, and County Assessor Tom Bordonaro are supporting my

campaign for supervisor.

As your supervisor, it has been my honor to serve our community and

deliver on the promises that I have made. I have held my colleagues

accountable while supporting policies to create jobs, keep our

neighborhoods safe, and protect our way of life.

I am a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother, a family rancher, and

proud small business owner. I will never back down when it comes to the

safety and success of our region’s hard-working families.

I will continue to be our champion on the issues that matter most. I will

fight to keep San Luis Obispo County an affordable place to live, work to

combat homelessness, protect our water supply, and ensure tax dollars are

being used efficiently.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving our community as

county supervisor.

District 5 Challenger

ELLEN BERAUD

My name is Ellen Beraud (pronounced bay-ROW). As a longtime

resident of Atascadero, I care deeply about the San Luis Obispo County

community. Since moving here twenty years ago, I have raised a family,

founded and operated a small business, and served as an Atascadero

City Councilmember and Mayor. I love this community—from the

rural pastures and oak trees, to the family-run businesses and small town

charm—San Luis Obispo County is truly a special place to call home.

We are facing some of our biggest challenges ever—threats to our

economy, our environment, and our way of life. I want to see San Luis

Obispo County address these challenges and be a leader in our state once

again, but we need bold leadership to get us there.

Our county is currently one of the least affordable places to live in the

nation. Housing is unattainable for our young families (including my

own children, who have been forced out of the area), and it is even

impacting our local business community. We need leaders who will not

only prioritize addressing our housing affordability crisis, but will partner

with the community to make childcare and other key services for families

more accessible.

With homelessness on the rise, our county needs to take real action

on this issue. The new center at 40 Prado is only the beginning, as we

still have hundreds of unhoused people sleeping on our streets every

night. Programs like 50 Now could be significantly expanded, but

only if we prioritized more funding for them, which I will advocate

for as supervisor.

With Diablo Canyon closing soon, our county must begin preparing for

our economic future. In addition to advocating for our region’s interests

throughout the decommissioning and PG&E’s bankruptcy process, we

should be exploring local renewable energy projects to help offset the

loss of head of household jobs. At the same time, we must protect our

vital agrotourism economy by smartly managing our water supply and

safeguarding our coastline from risky offshore oil projects. Our Board of

Supervisors should be our number one advocate on these issues, but that

is currently not the case.

I am running for 5th District County Supervisor because I have a passion

for public service and giving back to my community. We need to bring

smart, honest leadership back to our county government, and restore the

priorities of the people of this community. I hope you will join me in this

effort, and I invite you to learn more about our campaign. SLO LIFE

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 53


| DWELLING

MODERN

54 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


REMAKE

BY ZARA KHAN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID LALUSH

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 55


A

fter graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in

Architecture and a minor in German, local architect

Jim Edmondson moved to Germany for his first job

and lived there for five years before returning to

the United States. During his time abroad, he was

surrounded by innovative

architects and adopted many

European design philosophies

that he continues to

incorporate in his designs

today. Many of his projects

showcase crisp lines, simple

color palettes, and celebrate

natural materials (wood,

metal, glass, and steel).

Alvar Aalto has always been

one of Edmondson’s favorite

architects. Though most >>

In addition to being an

interior designer, ZARA KHAN

is also a shoe aficionado and

horror movie enthusiast.

56 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


a place for modern living.

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 57


of his work can be found in Finland, Aalto was an

international architect who designed buildings all

over the world, including the United States and

Germany. Aalto is regarded as one of the first and

most influential architects of Nordic Modernism.

With his passion for modern styling, Edmondson

knew he wanted to design a home with clean lines

and warmth from natural materials. And, that is

where his father came in.

When Edmondson’s father decided it was time to

downsize, his only requests were to include high

ceilings and a drawer dishwasher in the kitchen.

With the large lot size and desire for a smaller home,

Edmondson was able to add a studio apartment

upstairs to provide flexibility in the use of the home

and maximize the efficiency of the space. With a

smaller footprint, they were able to upgrade the >>

58 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 59


finishes and opt for more efficient fixtures and

appliances.

When Edmondson submitted his plans to the city, he

was pleasantly surprised by how receptive everyone

was to the modern design. At the time, not many

buildings in San Luis Obispo had such clean, simple

lines, and Edmondson embraced both the productive

comments he received and the forward-thinking

nature of the Planning Department.

Despite the design freedom, the lot had a couple of

interesting parameters to work around in addition to

his father’s requests. First, the street ran parallel to

the highway with only nature as a barrier in between.

Second, a good portion of the back of the lot was

protected land that did not allow for construction.

Edmondson considered these restrictions and

decided to use continuous insulation for sound >>

60 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 61


dampening and chose to build up—vertically—since

he had limitations laterally. Gardens by Gabriel was

brought on to collaborate on the landscape design

and worked their magic.

The landscaping goal was to soften the geometry of

the modern exterior, while adding an overall organic

aesthetic to the property. The metal plant trellises

Edmondson added to the exterior pay tribute to the

climbing wall vines at his parents’ previous home.

On the inside, Edmondson opted for large windows

where he could embrace the natural exterior. His

philosophy for the interior was to keep the finish

construction materials as natural as possible and

to layer in texture and personality through the

furnishings and decor. To achieve this, he selected

black slate floor tiles, natural maple wood cabinetry,

and simple quartz countertops (also used as the >>

62 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 63


acksplash). And, to highlight the tall ceilings and

carry the organic materials throughout, long narrow

wood planks were installed in the ceilings at key

locations. Task lighting that “disappears” in the

design can be found throughout most of the home with

decorative lights placed strategically in certain areas.

In the bathrooms, Edmondson continued his

selection of simple, natural materials. He decided to

keep the materials consistent throughout the home

to instill a sense of cohesiveness and used the same

wood as the kitchen cabinetry on the bathroom

vanities. The concept of simple design does not apply

only to the aesthetics; it carries into the function.

Solid surface countertops eliminate grout and

provide an easy to clean surface.

Two of the most exciting design elements can be

found in the center of the home. The first is seen

in a large, linear fireplace in the living room (with a >>

64 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 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

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 65


smaller, similarly designed fireplace in the studio above).

The quartz fireplace surround is thoughtfully placed and

encased in natural wood with a large, exposed brushed

stainless steel flue above. Behind the fireplace is a floating

staircase that adds contrast and showcases how well the

wood and steel play off one another.

While tackling a project of this

scale was daunting, Edmondson

had an advantage with his

background in architecture,

and believes that the key to a

successful project lies in the

team behind it. His advice for

anyone starting a larger project

is to always plan thoroughly on

paper first and to utilize material

boards to get a sense of how the

materials will interact and the

overall emotion the space will

evoke. SLO LIFE

DAVID LALUSH is an

architectural photographer

here in San Luis Obispo.

66 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 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

2018

61

$832,729

$818,281

98.26%

39

2018

24

$865,908

$850,259

98.19%

41

2018

23

$1,033,591

$996,653

96.43%

31

2018

18

$1,224,938

$1,181,888

96.49%

79

2018

49

$934,100

$923,903

98.91%

52

2018

42

$882,217

$868,022

98.39%

30

2018

Total Homes Sold

58

Average Asking Price

$877,316

Average Selling Price

$861,368

Sales Price as a % of Asking Price 98.18%

Average # of Days on the Market 45

2019

64

$776,593

$764,410

98.43%

37

2019

33

$792,968

$784,012

98.87%

36

2019

26

$1,431,577

$1,387,519

96.92%

81

2019

26

$1,431,577

$1,387,519

96.92%

81

2019

72

$827,254

$809,768

97.89%

42

2019

45

$949,887

$903,709

95.14%

49

2019

59

$817,036

$796,918

97.54%

36

+/-

4.92%

-6.74%

-6.58%

0.17%

-5.13%

+/-

37.50%

-8.42%

-7.79%

99.10%

-12.20%

+/-

13.04%

38.51%

39.22%

0.49%

161.29%

+/-

44.44%

16.87%

17.40%

0.43%

2.53%

+/-

46.94%

-11.44%

-12.35%

-1.02%

-19.23%

+/-

7.14%

7.67%

4.11%

-3.25%

63.33%

+/-

1.72%

-6.87%

-7.48%

-0.64%

-20.00%

*Comparing 01/01/18 - 12/31/18 to 01/01/19 - 12/31/19

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE

68 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


New Year.

Fresh Start.

Now is the perfect time for a mortgage check-up.

We’re committed to a better mortgage experience.

Here’s just some of what you can expect with us:

• Low, low rates

• A variety of loan options to match your situation,

including low down payment options and Down

Payment Assistance programs

• A local, dedicated team for more efficiency,

increased capacity and superior customer service

• One of the most trusted lenders in the industry

with a 95% customer satisfaction rating*

Let’s keep the conversation going. Contact us today.

Donna Lewis

Branch Manager/

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8743

C: (805) 235-0463

donna.lewis@rate.com

Phyllis Wong

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 706-8075

C: (805) 540-8457

phyllis.wong@rate.com

Dylan Morrow

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8738

C: (805) 550-9742

dylan.morrow@rate.com

Luana Gerardis

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 329-4087

C: (707) 227-9582

luana.gerardis@rate.com

Maggie Koepsell

VP of Mortgage Lending

O: (805) 335-8742

C: (805) 674-6653

maggie.koepsell@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

*95% Customer Satisfaction: Data Source: Guaranteed Rate’s Client Satisfaction Surveys (Averaged 2015-2018)

Not eligible for all loan types or investors. Conventional loans only. Eligible for primary, 2nd home and investment properties. 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. Title company restrictions may apply, contact Guaranteed Rate for current rates and for more information 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) FEB/MAR • CA - Licensed 2020 by the Department | SLO of LIFE Business MAGAZINE Oversight, Division | of 69

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


| SLO COUNTY

REAL ESTATE

Happy

New Year!

BEN LERNER

805.441.9486

REGION

Arroyo Grande

Atascadero

Avila Beach

Cambria/San Simeon

BY THE NUMBERS

NUMBER OF

HOMES SOLD

2018

322

358

18

167

2019

320

379

28

149

AVERAGE DAYS

ON MARKET

2018

53

48

72

73

2019

56

42

105

70

MEDIAN SELLING

PRICE

2018

$770,917

$570,395

$1,248,919

$771,684

2019

$800,093

$580,860

$1,402,390

$900,046

Cayucos

59

55

101

126

$1,134,737

$1,198,035

Creston

11

8

147

83

$930,909

$868,250

Grover Beach

127

122

44

53

$532,604

$556,961

Los Osos

165

167

36

41

$644,764

$670,263

Morro Bay

148

136

65

62

$745,706

$760,166

Nipomo

295

306

53

57

$684,294

$669,454

Senior Loan Advisor

NMLS 395723

blerner@flagstarretail.com

1212 Marsh St., Suite 1

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Contact me today to learn

how I can help you purchase

or refinance your home.

Oceano

Pismo Beach

Paso (Inside City Limits)

Paso (North 46 - East 101)

Paso (North 46 - West 101)

Paso (South 46 - East 101)

47

140

389

58

108

55

57

136

388

58

113

65

50

78

37

48

89

58

65

86

45

63

77

60

$508,600

$969,197

$501,173

$537,203

$724,290

$770,209

$517,032

$1,152,648

$522,694

$572,100

$712,986

$627,972

San Luis Obispo

323

382

43

49

$923,782

$905,909

**

Santa Margarita

16

31

91

89

$401,813

$513,967

Templeton

119

116

76

76

$822,711

$797,717

* Top 1% Mortgage Originator | Mortgage Executive Magazine

** Scotsman Guide’s Top Mortgage Originators 2018

70 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

© 2020 Flagstar Bank

flagstarretail.com Est. 1987

Equal Housing Lender

Member FDIC

Countywide

2,771 2,886

*Comparing 01/01/18 - 12/31/18 to 01/01/19 - 12/31/19

55 58 $703,308 $720,972

SOURCE: San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS ®

SLO LIFE


Legal Document Assistance

. ,AFFORDAE


| HEALTH

Under the

Weather?

There’s a Yoga

Pose for That

BY ERIKA FITZGERALD

The sun shines through the ceiling-high

studio windows and rebounds off the

natural wood floors. A gentle breeze

brushes through wind chimes outside,

mingling harmoniously with the music

flowing through the speakers inside.

One-by-one, students quietly shuffle in,

leaving their shoes at the door. Here, in

yoga class, every detail is thoughtfully

curated to wash away worries and give

people a space to breathe.

For some, rolling out their yoga mat is

a sort of ritual experience. For others,

it’s a 60- to 90-minute escape from

overflowing inboxes and to-do lists. Or,

hey, it might just be an excuse to spend

more time in stretchy pants. There’s

no wrong reason to practice yoga. In

fact, practicing yoga poses—in or out

of class—can relieve the side effects of

stressful days, restless nights, and other

aches and pains of life. >>

ERIKA FITZGERALD is a

writer and traveler with

a healthy addiction to

kombucha and kale.

72 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 73


#1

A BREATH AWAY

FROM STRESS

For the unfamiliar, yoga is derived from the Sanskrit “yuji,” which means

union. In common practice, yoga unites mind and body. Movement and

breath. Anyone who’s been to a yoga class knows that breathing exercises

are common at the beginning and end.

These intentional breathing techniques help calm the mind and bring

focus to the present. So much so, even mental health professionals

recommend breathing techniques for patients recovering from anxiety,

PTSD, depression, and other traumas.

The best part? Breathing is free and doesn’t have any side-effects. You can

practice simple breathwork techniques anytime, anywhere. Next time you

feel uneasy, try exhaling all the air from your lungs. Then, inhale slowly to

the count of four. Hold your breath for one count at the top. Exhale slowly

to the same count of four and hold for one count at the bottom. Repeat

this rhythm for several minutes to re-calibrate your calm. Ahhh.

#2

PHYSICAL RELEASE FOR

PESKY PAINS

The notion that yoga can treat lower back pain is nothing new. Multiple

studies have proven that a downward dog a day can keep the physical

therapist away. However, yoga has often been lumped in with lessreputable

alternative therapeutics. Until now.

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine declared

yoga equally as effective as physical therapy in reducing pain, improving

function, and eliminating the need for pain meds. When practiced

regularly using proper form, poses like downward dog, forward fold,

and child’s pose elongate the spine and release tension from the lower

back. While you’ll find at least one of these poses in nearly every yoga

class, you can also add these easy-to-learn poses to your at-home

stretching routine.

#3

SLEEP TIGHT AND

WAKE UP BRIGHT

Restless nights got you feeling groggy and depleted? Yoga can help

with that, too. If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you know that a

streak of sleepless nights can really slow your roll—from glossy-eyed

space-out spells during work hours to mindlessly calling in a take-out

pizza (again) because you’re just too darned tired to cook.

Good news: practicing gentle yoga before bed preps your body

and mind for a good night of zzz’s. Gentle yoga incorporates deep

breathing, slow movements, long pose holds, and meditation—which

cues the brain into a state of calm. And because the brain and body are

inextricably connected, restless bodies will follow suit.

Similarly, a powerful vinyasa practice in the morning can add an

extra jolt of natural energy to your day by increasing blood flow and

circulation throughout the body. >>

74 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


HEALTH &

WELLNESS

Expo

Sat. March 21st, 2020

Alex Madonna Expo Center

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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 75


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#4

FOOD FOR

THOUGHT

Gentle and intentional breathing, as practiced in alignment with yoga postures, helps

balance the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) with the parasympathetic (“rest and digest”)

parts of your nervous system. The vagal nerves serve as a sort of liaison between the brain

and body, telling organs when to perform important functions—like breathing, beating,

digesting. The brain is well-known for sending messages to the body, but, in fact, the body

sends even more messages to the brain. This means physical movements that affect the

body also affect the brain.

If you suffer from chronic gut discomfort, bloating, or other unpleasantries associated with

digestion, try incorporating more deep breathing, abdominal stretches, and twists that

massage intestinal organs. Likewise, practicing these things before indulging in a big meal

can prep your digestive system for the extra work.

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76 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

#5

SO MUCH AS

TOO MUCH?

As with anything, too much yoga can be a bad thing. Benoy Matthews, a UK-based

physiotherapist, told BBC News that he’s seeing more and more yoga teachers with serious hip

problems because they’re pushing their bodies too hard for the sake of achieving “prescribed”

positions. The truth is, not every body is cut out for the fullest expression of every yoga pose.

“What’s achievable for one might not be achievable for others,” Matthews tells BBC.

THE KEY TO A HEALTHY AND BENEFICIAL YOGA PRACTICE?

Focus on what’s achievable for you—and you alone. Listen to your body. Stop

and modify any pose that causes pinching, blocking, or pain. And never let that

one person doing a single-armed handstand with lotus legs in the front row

pressure you into pushing past your own limits. There’s no shame in child’s pose

(that’s the one that looks like a dead bug facedown on the floor). SLO LIFE


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 77


| TASTE

I Brunch,

You Brunch,

We Brunch

Remember when brunch only happened on holidays or for the occasional

family get-together? Not anymore. Welcome to Brunch’s Gilded Age.

BY JAIME LEWIS

Brunch used to be such a basic and

only-sometimes affair. You got your

bloody mary, a cup of coffee, two

eggs, and maybe some french toast.

Brunch was a noun then.

But if you were born sometime

between 1981 and 1996, it’s very

possible that brunch is a verb to you. After all, “brunching”

is now a lifestyle.

The concept of brunch originated in 1895 when

Englishman Guy Beringer wrote an essay for Hunter’s

Weekly titled “Brunch: A Plea.” In it, he made the case for a

Sunday morning meal that prolonged the fun, frivolity, and

78 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

buzz of Saturday night. That idea caught, but brunch

didn’t become a national obsession, particularly among

young adults, until within the last ten years. Some social

scientists point to its rising popularity as evidence of

declining church attendance; others cite increasing

acceptance of daily alcohol consumption.

If you ask me, there’s no reason church-goers and

teetotallers can’t hang with brunch, especially here in

San Luis Obispo County, where the brunching is so

good. I visited three local spots that give brunch pride

of place on their menus. So, roll out of bed, don your

yoga pants and “Resting Brunch Face” tee, twist your

hair into the perfect messy bun, and head out for a

#sundayfunday to remember. >>

JAIME LEWIS writes about

food, drink, and the good

life from her home in San

Luis Obispo. Find her on

Instagram/Twitter @jaimeclewis.


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 79


PICTURESQUE PATIO

On a warm morning, I meet up with my friend

Bettina Swigger for brunch at Novo Restaurant

& Lounge in San Luis Obispo. We sit outside on

the patio overlooking SLO Creek, catching up and

enjoying the golden light filtering through the trees.

“Every Sunday, we treat brunch like a special event,”

says owner Robin Covey, and indeed, Swigger and I

dig into the three-course brunch package like it’s our

birthday. I go for the meze starter, an abundant platter

of Mediterranean lavash and hummus, dukkah, and

olives. I also order the Capocollo Benedict, decadent

with Capocollo salume, poached eggs, and housemade

hollandaise on English muffins—paired with

a mimosa, naturally. Swigger tackles the avocadoshrimp

spring rolls, Wagyu Top Sirloin Tartine, and

chocolate torte. All is fresh, expertly cooked, and

gorgeous to look at, though the Capocollo Benedict

takes our prize for favorite dish. Apparently, we’re not

alone: Covey tells me it’s the restaurant’s best-selling

brunch item. >>

80 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 81


HOUSE-MADE EVERYTHING

I walk into The Spoon Trade, the cheery modern eatery in

Grover Beach, and am greeted by owners Brooke Town

and Chef Jacob Town. The Towns boast major pedigree

in the hospitality industry, having worked front- and

back-of-house in San Francisco’s Nopa, RN74, and Spruce

restaurants. Their brunch menu reflects their fine dining

values as applied to American comfort food.

“Brunch is our most consistent clientele,” says Jacob,

pushing a plate of The Spoon Trade’s Eggs Benedict in

front of me. “It’s recovery mode for Monday; brunch is like

therapy.”

I taste the Eggs Benedict and dissolve into oohs and ahhs.

Perfectly poached eggs sit atop toast from Grover Beach

Sourdough (their bakery across the street), smothered in

béarnaise. This is The Spoon Trade’s pièce de résistance, but

my heart belongs to the potatoes served on the side. I’ve

never tasted anything so craggy, crispy, and soft, all at once.

The Towns scratch-make nearly everything on their à la

carte brunch menu, from the American cheese, bologna,

pickles, and bun for their House Bologna Sandwich, to hot

sauce and biscuits —even kimchi. >>

82 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 83


A TASTE FOR SAVORY

At Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles, I walk to the

restaurant’s quiet central patio for brunch with my kids, who

take breakfast very seriously. Perhaps intuiting this, Chef Libry

Darusman immediately brings out the brunch menu. Darusman

just joined the THO team four months ago after ten years in

Beverly Hills fine dining. The brunch menu is brand new and

reflects his taste, which skews savory over sweet, and light over

heavy. “I like eating like this,” he says. “It’s fun and light.”

The menu is indeed playful. Darusman brings us hazelnut

granola on a pool of mint yogurt, with caramelized bananas,

persimmons, and smoked maple syrup. He also shares a

sourdough pancake with bacon, cacao nibs, crème fraîche, and

chili-spiced nuts. Everything we taste nudges more toward salt

than sugar, an impulse I appreciate. Our favorite dish is the

Pumpkin and Pork Belly Hash, whose tender meat falls apart at

a glance, with charred scallion vinaigrette, a tangy counterpoint.

At one point, my daughter noshes a house-made biscuit and

declares its texture reminiscent of cheesecake. I taste it and agree.

Pillowy biscuits would make a brunching convert out of anyone,

I think. Even a curmudgeonly Gen Xer like me. SLO LIFE

84 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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Christian Science is applied to every challenge in the

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Sunday Church Services

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christianscience.org

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 85


| KITCHEN

Tomato Soup

and Swiss on Rye

Nothing says comfort food on a chilly day like soup served with a grilled sandwich. Chef

Jessie Rivas pulls out all the stops with this piping hot, creamy tomato soup paired with

swiss cheese and caramelized onions on rye crisped to perfection and made for dipping.

BY CHEF JESSIE RIVAS

TOMATO SOUP

CARAMELIZED ONIONS

SWISS ON RYE

½ yellow onion roughly chopped

2 large cloves of garlic

4 cups chopped canned tomatoes

¼ cup heavy cream

1 TBS olive oil

salt and pepper

In a stockpot, add oil, onion and garlic;

sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes

on low heat. Purée soup with hand mixer

or use a stand mixer until smooth. Return

soup to stove on low heat and season with

salt and pepper and stir in the cream.

Serve when soup is warmed through.

1 TBS butter or olive oil

½ large red onion sliced thinly

1 tsp light brown sugar

pinch of salt

½ TBS balsamic vinegar

ground black pepper

Caramelized onions directions:

Add butter or oil to a hot, 9-inch

sauté pan. Add the onions and cook

over medium heat for 5 minutes or

until onions are translucent. Add

sugar, salt, balsamic vinegar, and fresh

ground pepper. Simmer on low heat

for 2 minutes and set aside.

2 thick slices of rye bread

1 TBS soft spreadable butter

2 oz grated swiss cheese

½ cooked caramelized onion

Butter 2 slices of bread just on one

side, these will be the outer side

of the sandwich. Add the cooked

onions and spread evenly on the

inside of both pieces of bread. Top

the onions with grated swiss cheese

and put together. Cook sandwich

over medium heat in a sauté pan until

bread is lightly browned on both

sides and cheese is melted. SLO LIFE

JESSIE RIVAS is the owner

and chef of The Pairing Knife

food truck which serves the

Central Coast.

86 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


JESSIE’S TIP:

This is one of our family’s favorites.

The sandwich is also great made with

!prosciutto or pastrami.

FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 87


| WINE NOTES

on the

wild

side

BY ANDRIA MCGHEE

et’s talk yeast! What do you think about sourdough

starters? Isn’t it odd that you leave dough on a

windowsill, and it just collects yeast from our

environment? You can also purchase yeast to

make bread. Wine is no different. Here are some

winemakers that are going rogue and trying some

throwback methods of using yeast for fermentation to

make some top-notch wines. LMost of us have a general understanding of the age-old process known as

fermentation. It turns sugar into alcohol. It preserves foods. It occurs in beer,

bread, wine, kimchi, and more. If you really want to get frisky with fermentation,

check out Sandor Katz’s book The Art of Fermentation. I am hooked. To make

wine, all we need is sugar and yeast. One comes from juice, and the other is

floating in the air.

One popular yeast for

winemaking is called

Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Stay with me here. Choosing

yeast is like selecting a

favorite tea. Maybe you like

that it brews fast and has a

nice flavor. Most wineries

use this yeast because it does

not die until alcohol reaches

fifteen percent (as we all

would). If fermenting stopped

before that, you would be left

with a low alcohol and high

sugar drink.

ANDRIA MCGHEE received

her advanced degree in

wines and spirits from

WSET in London and enjoys

travel, food, wine, and

exercise as a means to enjoy

those around her.

88 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 89


Newlyweds Tyler and Rachel Eck are the type of people who not only

appreciate nature but listen to it. They ride a wave or harvest a grape that

they think will be able to show itself in its best way. This duo makes up

Dunites Wine Company. Their goal is to let the wine run its course with

very little intervention. One of the first steps to doing that is to ferment wine

with wild, or native, yeast. This is a yeast that is on the grape naturally from

the vineyard or just floating around our environment.

This is a crowd-pleaser yeast (along with the wild yeasts that die out at much

lower alcohol levels), which is naturally present on grape skins when they

are picked and brought to the winery. The Ecks chose to use only these wild

yeasts to ferment their wine. They continue to check the wines carefully

and systematically to make sure everything is going well. This approach to

winemaking requires vigilant monitoring.

Alternatively, a winemaker can add yeast to wine to speed up the fermentation

process, which is less risky. Dunites sticks with wild yeast for interesting layers

in flavor. Tasting the 2017 SLO Coast Syrah/Grenache has me wrapped around

its finger with rich blackberry and cherry flavors, yet it is super subtle and

velvety in the mouth. It’s impressive. Find the restaurants Novo, Spoon Trade,

or Farmhouse pouring their wines or get it by the bottle at Wine Sneak (SLO)

or Taste of the Valley (Pismo Beach).

Also on board with this method is Desparada, a small production winery

located in Templeton’s Tin City. Vailia Esh, the winemaker, chooses grapes

from her favorite locations, usually organic and biodynamic. Then she brings

the grapes in and starts experimenting. She may, for

instance, take a Sauvignon Blanc and put it in three

different types of vessels. Though I was there for the

whites, I left in love with the reds. Sackcloth & Ashes

and I locked eyes and left the party together. This

Cabernet blend brought the complexity that the natural

yeasts help create. Make an appointment and try them.

It’s an intimate experience that will leave you with a

good grasp of their wine.

The last winery on my wild journey led me to Center of

Effort. Here, they are firm believers in the idea that the

yeast strains that come from their vineyards are what

makes the wine special—a taste that you will only get

from that little section of the world. It has a complexity

that so many people—expert or not—can appreciate and

let linger on the palate. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but

their Effort Chardonnay is minerally with orange peel

and Bosc pear, and it is a steal for the quality. On the

other end of the spectrum, the Pinot Noir is worth the

reservation in order to have a taste—and the little bitty

snacks offered-up pair perfectly.

All of these winemakers are brave enough to go off-piste

and try less popular techniques for making wine. So get out

your wine map and take a walk on the wild side. SLO LIFE

90 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 91


| BREW

NEW &

NOW

BY BRANT MYERS

2019 was a year of shakeups for the local brewing scene—

construction projects, changes of ownership, relocations, and,

naturally, a shifting of staff between breweries. With a market that

saw double-digit growth for many years, it was inevitable that there

would be a period of readjustment for the industry once it settled

into a long-term strategy. Change is good; it signals evolution.

Luckily, no breweries have officially closed, they’ve just changed

hands and reinvented themselves along the way. Such is the case

with the story of Liquid Gravity Brewing Company, a shiny new

brewery in an old and familiar location.

Husband and wife team Brendan and Celeste Gough are the

driving force behind the new venture. Both quit their jobs to focus

full-time on renovating and revamping a familiar location that

began life ten years ago. It is housed at the former Tap It Brewing

(and, later, Santa Maria Brewing Company) location on Clarion

Court near the San Luis Obispo Airport. The previous identities of

a garage-themed tasting room resplendent with charming orange

and diamond plate steel have now been transformed into a homey

gathering spot with plush nooks, a fireplace, custom artwork, and

small touches, such as a full moon overhead light and throw pillows. Step into

the bathroom, and you get a blitz of flamingo wallpaper and a gilded mirror

covering the entire wall. They’ve worked hard for months and enlisted every

friend they could to help in everything from stripping paint to hanging said

wallpaper. When asked about their style choices, Celeste waxed on about how

their desire for a comfortable vibe, a living room away from home. And the best

part? You don’t have to vacuum after the party.

Brendan was hard at work in the back doing what he does best. Coming in with

prestigious local brewing history, he is no slouch and hits bangers right away

with an initial offering of five different beers of wildly differing styles. Starting

as a Shift Brewer for three years at Firestone Walker Brewing Company,

Brendan moved to the position as Head Brewer at Central Coast Brewing. He

subsequently won five medals at the Great American Beer Festival, along with a

Gold Medal for his IPA at the World Beer Cup in 2016. You can expect to see

his trademark West Coast IPAs come in strong at the brewery, but by no means

will that be the only offering to be had.

I got the grand tour. And by that, I mean, not only did I get to see the stainless

steel tanks, but I also tasted what secrets they were hiding inside. We started >>

92 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 93


with a go-to session beer, but naturally, Brendan is putting his years of skills to

the test by making a low-carb craft pilsner. Tasting somewhere between a lager

and a session IPA, their LG Zero utilizes a method commonly used in Brut IPAs

by adding an enzyme along with Saffir hops to create an incredibly flavorful

beer that punches around the 100 calorie mark. I offer advice to sell these to me

by the case because one or two is not enough. Another quaffable offering is his

Atomic Guava imperial kettle sour with guava and a late addition of citrus zest.

It’s a glassful of sunshine, and I can’t wait to imbibe many of these as well, but

preferably in the real sunshine of their patio coming this spring. Although at a

hefty 8% ABV, this may go down too easily, and I might miss the sunset.

We move down a row of fermenters and land in front of the flagship, Liquid

Gravity IPA. Throwing back to his roots as a brewer of some of the best hoppy

beers coming out of the Central Coast, Brendan has no qualms about making

a clean and clear bitter choice for discerning clients. This beer was still in the

process of becoming what we’ll be experiencing in the tasting room, as was

Miami Heist a Hazy DIPA (double IPA), but getting a sample of them, I was

able to pick up on some very familiar flavors and can’t wait to see the final

products pouring from a tap. Also, the label artwork is worthy of framing.

The final stop was a real treat. Twist and Stout, named by Celeste, is an imperial

stout with vanilla beans, lactose (milk sugar), and cacao. The end result is what I

like to call a “fireplace beer,” a big-hitting, high ABV beer that sips like a bourbon

and can be enjoyed throughout the night. Brendan emphasized his desire to

rotate the flavor profiles quarterly, resulting in a base beer that customers know,

but with a new twist every time. The sours will get different fruit, and the stout

will see different adjuncts. I’m a huge fan of Mexican hot chocolate varieties with

the addition of cinnamon and chilies, but, hey, it’s not my brewery. This twenty

barrel system can pump out ten to fourteen thousand kegs a year,

so keep an eye out for local tap handles and, once they survive the

grand openings and exciting rush of the first few months, they

have plans to distribute cans and bottles throughout the Central

Coast and Ventura County.

It takes a lot of work to start a brewery, and even one that was

already up and running takes efforts to make it their own. The

Goughs aren’t alone. During my visit, Brendan’s mother was

planting flowers next to their stage for an intimate live music

venue, while manager Monica Duggan coordinated food trucks

for their grand opening weekend.

Friends were popping in and out to

offer construction services, as my

own Facebook feed shows my circle

of friends announcing their new

positions at Liquid Gravity. It truly is

a family-owned, local operation, and

that love comes through in everything

they do. I can’t wait to experience

the new brewery in its full glory, so,

hopefully, I’ll see you there, and we

can raise a pint to the newest addition

to the Central Coast brewing scene.

Also, can I get a ride home? I had far

too many Atomic Guavas, and these

flamingos in the bathroom are looking

at me funny. SLO LIFE

BRANT MYERS is a 14-year

veteran of the Central Coast

craft beer industry who

enjoys sharing his passion

with anyone who doesn’t

put an orange in their

hefeweizen.

94 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


BELONGING:

LOCAL EXPRESSIONS OF BLACK EMPOWERMENT AND POSSIBILITY

Photo: Renoda Campbell Photography

A multimedia, multi-location experience February 2020

R. A.C. E. MATTERS

RESPONSIBILITY | ACTION | COMPASSION | EDUCATION racemattersslo.org

R.A.C.E. Matters is a community-based organization that amplifies the voices of Black

and other People of Color; in an effort to build an actively anti-racist Central Coast.

Check racemattersslo.org for event updates.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit

partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.

Dr. Joye Carter - Forensic Pathologist, Author, Lecturer

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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 95


| HAPPENINGS

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FEBRUARY

CHRIS BURKARD:

PHOTOJOURNALISM AT THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

Join SLO Classical Academy at the Performing Arts Center for a night of

multiple film screenings, music, and conversation. Local singer/songwriter

Inga Swearingen opens the evening with her full band, followed by an

exclusive viewing of Chris Burkard’s documentary, “Under an Arctic Sky.”

An audience discussion with the filmmaker about his off-the-beaten-path

lifestyle and a special screening of one of Burkard’s as-yet-unreleased films

rounds out the evening.

February 21 // sloclassical.org

BIG 40TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW

Internationally-acclaimed blues band Rick

Estrin & The Nightcats headlines the SLO

Blues Society’s anniversary show at the

Vet’s Hall in San Luis Obispo. Opening

this “eminently danceable high-powered

celebration” is Back Bay Betty, a Los Ososbased

five-piece dance band known for creative

original music and covers of classic and

contemporary rock, blues, soul, and jazz artists.

February 29 // sloblues.org

ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE

A delightful musical about friendship, country

music, and a brilliant artist who left us all

too soon. This tribute to the legendary singer

is based on the true story of Patsy Cline’s

friendship with a fan from Texas. Through

down-home country humor, poignant tales

of life on the road, and even some audience

participation, this musical play features

twenty-seven unforgettable songs.

February 7 - March 8 // slorep.org

SLO CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL

Celebrate the brewers of craft beer. Raise

a toast to unique and wonderful creations

from some of the best breweries in the

country during an event specially crafted

for both novice and expert craft beer

drinkers. Includes educational seminars,

music, food and beer pairings, as well as

guest speakers.

February 21-22 // slocraftbeer.com

FINE ARTS AWARDS COMPETITION

San Luis Obispo junior and senior

high school students compete for cash

prizes in a live, three-hour competition

recognizing excellence in classical music,

jazz, and visual art. Judges will announce

the winners at the conclusion of the

free event, sponsored by The Monday

Clubhouse Conservancy and held at The

Monday Club in San Luis Obispo.

February 23 // themondayclubslo.org

SLO CAL OPEN MORRO BAY

Watch up and coming surfers from

around the world compete in a World

Surf League QS1000 right here on the

Central Coast at Morro Strand State

Beach. Hosted by Surfers Of Tomorrow,

the four-day competition encourages

young California athletes to compete at

important and recognizable events in their

sport without having to leave the state or

travel great distances.

February 27-March 1 // surfersoftomorrow.org

96 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020


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FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 97


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| HAPPENINGS

THE MIKADO

Cal Poly Arts presents New York Gilbert &

Sullivan Players’ all-new production of this

fantastic voyage to Titipu, a land where a timeless

libretto, beautiful music, and favorite characters

await, including three little maids from school, a

wandering minstrel, a hilariously corrupt public

official, and, of course, the Lord High Executioner.

The production in Harold Miossi Hall features a

special treat: a pre-show lecture by Cal Poly music

history professor Alyson McLamore.

March 3 // calpolyarts.org

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Learn more about Ellen’s

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98 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

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MARCH

ULTRA, BEAST AND SUPER

SPARTAN RACES

If you’re looking to unleash your

inner Spartan and go to places

you never imagined, hundreds of

sprawling acres await you at the Santa

Margarita Ranch. You’ll dash past

vineyards and epic open landscapes,

all while surrounded by the towering

San Pedro National Forest. Whether

you run an Ultra, Beast, or Super

course, you are in for an unforgettable

experience.

March 14-15 // slocal.com

SLO FILM FEST

Founded in 1993 by a group of movie lovers, the San Luis Obispo International Film

Festival is celebrating more than a quarter-century of bringing exciting, independent

cinema to SLO. The festival continues to grow and thrive as an oasis for independent

filmmakers to screen their films, and to have face-to-face contact with enthusiastic

local audiences in talk-back sessions and workshops.

March 17-22 // slofilmfest.org


FEB/MAR 2020 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | 99


100 | SLO LIFE MAGAZINE | FEB/MAR 2020

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