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Up Sales in Down Economy Reported by Custom Homesite Community

lasventanaslogo_cmykLas Ventanas Ranch attributes success to wildflowers and general optimism

Las Ventanas Ranch reports a surprising upswing in sales since opening for business last summer.  Seventeen of the first 28 released custom homesites are now sold or are in escrow.
“We have seen a marked increase in traffic and sales during what is usually a slow time,” said co-owner Brian Talley. “Perhaps it’s the widespread optimism generated by the presidential election in November; or maybe it’s the appeal of the green hills and the abundance of natural wildflowers. It’s hard to say, but we are delighted with the response.”
At a time when other developments are in financial difficulty, Las Ventanas Ranch continues to attract buyers, in part because the project is known for its sustainable practices. Goats are now being used to manage grass and brush, limiting the fuel load; and cattle have been brought back to the pastures to help strengthen the natural infrastructure of the ranch.
“We are pleased with the pace of sales and attribute the success at Las Ventanas to the high level of quality that the Talley Family put into this community. Clearly buyers are seeing the value and are responding,” said Chris Richardson, Managing Partner of Richardson Properties, Exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s Great Estates. “Also, the majority of our buyers are local people and very familiar with the attributes of this area.”


April 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sustainability Helps Grow the Garden

untitled1Two-weeks of activities at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden

At the intersection of cutting edge technology, responsible use of nature’s elements and money-saving design you find a Sustainable Landscape Garden. The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden has invited noted landscapers to exhibit the ease of incorporating sustainable elements into any landscape. The Botanical Garden, slated to be a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the ecosystems of the five meditrranean climate regions, has dedicated over 3,000 square feet of space to this sustainability demonstration. Each 400 square foot display will feature California native plants as well as xeriscape designs.
May 3 kicks off a two-week celebration of bringing the community back to the Garden. At Home in the Garden, May 3-16, will feature seminars, docent-led garden tours, guest lecturers, renowned author discussions, book signings and more. Sustainability is at the heart of the festivities, from the straw-bale construction of the Oak Glen Pavilion where many of the activities will take place, to the topics of discussion, including the Morro Bay Estuary Program, Sustainable Landscaping, Wildlife in the Garden, and the displays of eight Sustainable Landscaping demonstration gardens.  All events are $10 to attend for the general public and $8 for members. For a complete listing of all activities, visit www.slobg.org.

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment



San Luis Obispo Symphony Music Director Michael Nowak to appear in major motion picture


When the producers of the highly-anticipated upcoming film The Soloist needed someone to realistically portray the role of a Juilliard School conductor who comes down a little hard on young musician Nathaniel Ayers, they called upon “real-life” Hollywood film conductor and San Luis Obispo Symphony Music Director Michael Nowak. Nowak has performed on and/or conducted the scores for hundreds of films over the past thirty years working in the Los Angeles film industry.  From King Kong to The Kite Runner, Cheaper by the Dozen to Bedtime Stories, Michael Nowak has become the “go-to” conductor for many composers and directors in Hollywood.  Of course, Nowak’s work as a film conductor has always been behind the scenes in the post-production process; often heard, always appreciated, but never seen.  This will be the first time Nowak will appear on-screen in a major motion picture.  Because after all, who can play a conductor better than a conductor?

According to Nowak, “It was a great experience working on the film but it was particularly rewarding to get to know some of the folks who are still involved in the real Nathaniel Ayers’s life.  Nathaniel continues to enjoy master classes with musicians at the LA Phil, friends of mine, and of course Steve Lopez remains very much a part of Nathaniel’s life. It’s just a great story about the power of music and true friendship in people’s lives.”

On Friday, April 24, 2009, The Soloist will open in theatres.  Based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers (played by Jamie Foxx), a musical prodigy who developed schizophrenia during his second year at the Juilliard School and wound up homeless on the streets of Los Angeles, The Soloist is directed by Joe Wright, written by Susannah Grant and based on a series of columns written by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez (played by Robert Downey, Jr.)  The film is an emotionally soaring drama about the redemptive power of music and the unique friendship that forms between Ayers and Lopez, a friendship that transforms both their lives.  (For more information about the film and to view the trailer, go to http://www.soloistmovie.com.)

Michael Nowak has served as Music Director of the San Luis Obispo Symphony since 1984 and has succeeded in making the San Luis Obispo Symphony one of the foremost music organizations in San Luis Obispo County. His many contributions to the organization include making music education a priority and building the Symphony’s many programs to their current level reaching over 16,000 children and adults every year. He has led the Symphony on four successful tours–to Spain in 1996, New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2001, the Sydney Opera House in 2006 and Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2008.  He has continually encouraged the orchestra to musical excellence, programming challenging symphonic music and commissioning new works.

In 1973, Mr. Nowak moved to Los Angeles, California to conduct the YMF Debut Orchestra from 1973 to 1975, and was a member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra with Sir Neville Marriner until 1980. In 1980, Nowak began his association with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival and traveled to Europe for a series of concert tours and recording with the Stuttgart Bach Collegium.  He is a featured soloist on the Oregon Bach Festival’s Brandenburg Concerti recording with Helmuth Rilling and he is also active as a recording musician and conductor in the motion picture industry. Among the many notable films conducted by Michael Nowak are Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Under the Tuscan Sun, Bobby, American Gangster, August Rush, Lions for Lambs and The Kite Runner, nominated for a 2007 Academy Award for best film score.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment