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Local Leader Wins State Position

Barry VanderKelen elected to serve on League of California Community Foundations

San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation Executive Director, Barry VanderKelen, has been elected to the Steering Committee of the League of California Community Foundations. Comprised of 24 community foundations across the state, members ascribe to the highest of standards for accountability, transparency, and continuous self-improvement.

“The League is an important and valuable body offering those of us who oversee our own foundations the collective wisdom and experience of so many talented people,” said VanderKelen. “I am both honored and excited to have been elected to participate in guiding the state’s charitable giving efforts.”

Together, League members have investments exceeding $6.5 billion, VanderKelen explained, much of which has been permanently set aside by donors to generate income for annual grant-making in California’s communities. In 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, League members and their contributors have given more than $800 million to local nonprofit organizations.

“These nonprofits are a community’s lifeblood,” said VanderKelen, “doing important work in health and human services, education, the environment, economic development, and the arts. I am so proud to now be a part of ensuring they continue to be supported.”


January 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breakthrough Technology Gives Hearing Impaired Greater Control

Advanced Hearing Aid Center offers New Single-Touch Controls for Hearing Instruments

A breakthrough in hearing aid technology now offers hearing aid users a completely new and simple way to customize their hearing instruments. San Luis Obispo’s Advanced Hearing Aid Center is the only practice in San Luis Obispo County to offer Audibel’s new Anthem™ with Intelliflex™ Technology known as EZ Touch. This behind-the-ear hearing aid combines all of the usual buttons and dials into a single, seamless touch control surface that allows users to adjust the volume or change memories with a touch of the finger, giving even those with limited dexterity an easy way to adjust their settings.

“Traditional hearing aid buttons, switches and dials have sometimes been difficult for patients to find and manipulate,” explained Aaron Marquis of Advanced Hearing Aid Center. “Now they can easily make fine adjustments to volume, memory, and standby controls with a simple touch or sweep of a finger. We are excited to be offering this amazing new product.”

Marquis, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of hearing instrument sciences, said that this line of Audibel products uses multi-core processing, similar to the technology in computers, to provide three times more power than previous technology.

“These instruments offer comfortable, high resolution sound with smoother, seamless transitions between quiet and loud environments,” Marquis continued. “They automatically adjust to situations and levels most comfortable for the individual wearer.”

Aaron Marquis is the only specialist on the Central Coast with a Master’s Certificate in Auditory Prosthetics. With his certification in Electronic Diagnosis and Engineering in Hearing Instrument Electronics, Marquis has worked with major manufacturers studying and developing Digital Hybrid circuits for hearing instruments. His staff is committed to giving every patient a positive and successful hearing experience. Call (805) 544-EARS (3277) or stop by Advanced Hearing Aid Center at 1495 Palm Street in San Luis Obispo to find out more about Audibel’s new EZ Touch instruments.

“We’d love to show people how this new technology can dramatically improve their listening experience,” said Marquis.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stand-up Comedian and Host of CBS’s The Late, Late Show Headlines Rotary Fundraiser

Craig Ferguson comes to SLO for Benefit Comedy Show, to raise funds for local youth charities

This year’s Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa fundraising concert featuring hilarious stand-up comedy by The Late, Late Show host Craig Ferguson will be sure to leave the audience standing at their seats. The Valentine’s Day Benefit Show is co-presented by Kevin Main Jewelry, and will be held at the Performing Arts Center on Saturday, February 13, starting at 8pm. Proceeds benefit local youth charities.

As Craig Ferguson rang in the New Year he had much to be thankful for, having just celebrated his 1,000th show this past December. Ferguson began his career in entertainment in the early1980s as a musician and throughout the past three decades has expanded his career into film, television and the stage. Known for his comic parody of current events, the Emmy Award-nominated talk show host is most recently breaking television records for his performances on CBS’s The Late, Late Show.

Concert tickets range from $25 – $75 each and entry to an optional pre-show reception is $25. Tickets may be purchased at the Performing Arts Ticket Office, 10am to 5pm weekdays and 10am to 2pm Saturdays.  To order by phone, call (805) 756-2787 or online at www.pacslo.org.

There will also be a raffle for a Hearts on Fire diamond ring valued at $6,000. Tickets are $25 each and available at Kevin Main Jewelry at 782 Higuera St. in downtown San Luis Obispo. Only 500 tickets will be sold.

Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders who have united to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace.  There are approximately 1.2 million Rotary members, who are part of more than 32,000 chapters in over 200 countries. For more information on Rotary, please log onto the Rotary de Tolosa website at www.rotarydetolosa.org, or to the Rotary International website at www.rotary.org.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Local Insurance Broker Earns Prestigious Designation

Cary Adler Completes Certified Risk Management Course

Cary Adler, of Adler Belmont Dye Insurance Services, has successfully completed the fifth and final course required to earn his Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designation. Adler adds this new success to his currently held Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.

After completing five courses covering all aspects of the risk management field and passing five comprehensive examinations, Adler was awarded the Certified Risk Manager designation by The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research, the nation’s foremost provider of professional insurance and education.

“The program I just attended provides the most practical education available in the field of risk management,” said Adler. “I am glad to be able to offer this kind of comprehensive knowledge and expertise to our clients.”

Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, Adler graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Business Administration. With over 20 years’ experience, he specializes in business insurance, workers’ compensation, and bonding for Adler Belmont Dye Insurance Services.

“These are rigorous programs,” said colleague Kevin Dye. “And our clients will truly benefit from Cary’s achievement.”

Adler Belmont Dye provides a complete slate of commercial insurance products at competitive rates, offering property and casualty insurance protection, and including commercial property, commercial casualty, workers’ compensation, contract surety and employee benefits. ABD is located at 369 Marsh Street, Suite 200 in San Luis Obispo. For more information, call (805) 540-3900 or visit them online at www.AdlerBelmontDye.com.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

$15,000 Given by HEAL-SLO Coalition to Fight Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Three agencies win grant funds for innovative health and fitness programs

Close to $15,000 in grant funds were awarded this month to three deserving agencies by the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation’s (SLOCCF) Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL-SLO) Initiative.

“The HEAL-SLO Coalition was voted the lead umbrella organization for childhood obesity efforts in San Luis Obispo County,” explained Janice Fong Wolf, director of grants and programs for the Foundation. “This series of grants prioritized pre-school interventions as a result of data collected by the Public Health Department in 2005-2006 and again in 2009, that indicated a 29 percent increase in the rate of obesity in local, preschool age children.”

The severity of the obesity epidemic and the future costs that come with it inspired community action, and the Board of Supervisors endorsed the creation of a county-wide task force to address some solutions. The HEAL-SLO Coalition, established in 2007, grew out of their efforts and has a diverse membership ranging from sports therapy facilities to school lunch programs.

Its mission is: “To increase healthful eating and regular physical activity among children in SLO County by working at each level of the socio-ecological model, such as through policy, behavioral and environmental changes, to affect improvement towards a healthy lifestyle.”

The Coalition invited applications for grants that will support those agencies who work to achieve these goals. This year’s recipients include:

  • The Cal Poly Corporation – for an interactive educational curriculum for parents of young children, to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice at home.
  • CAPSLO Child Care Resource Corporation – for a barrel garden program that will promote healthy eating and increase the number of fresh fruits and vegetables served to children in 30 family childcare provider settings.
  • YMCA of SLO – for a nutrition and physical activity program in two YMCA preschools (SLO and Paso Robles) that will serve 40-50 children.

“We are delighted to see many diverse agencies getting involved in this critically important process,” said Wolf. “The HEAL-SLO Coalition is having a big impact on improving the health and wellbeing of our county’s children … and ultimately our future.”                                                                                                            For more information about HEAL-SLO, or any of the other funds and endowments held by the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation, please call (805) 543-2323 or log onto www.sloccf.org.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Longtime Performing Arts Supporters Singled Out for Symphony Honors

Cambria’s Jim and Lyn Baker to be honored at Symphony Ball for 22 years of Generosity

Longtime Cambria residents and ardent performing arts supporters, Jim and Lyn Baker, are this year’s recipients of the San Luis Obispo Symphony Honors Award, to be presented at the Symphony Gala Ball this February. The Bakers are the third recipients of this award, initiated in 2007 to honor those who have demonstrated longstanding commitment to the success and vision of the Symphony. The Bakers’ predecessors include Gene Shidler and Clifford Chapman in 2007 and Pam Dassenko in 2008.

Now both retired and free to spend time on their full agenda of volunteer work, Jim Baker is a Cal Poly graduate in Agricultural Engineering who spent his career in agricultural waste water disposal. Lyn Baker received her RN and later an M.S. and spent her career in the delivery of health care.

The Bakers grew up in Coalinga and began visiting the Central Coast in the 1940s, dreaming of the day they could move here. Jim played trombone in a marching band, Lyn played viola in the orchestra, and they both sang in school choral groups. Their eight grandchildren are also musical, representing ballet, flute, saxophone, voice, violin, and cello.

For 22 years, the Bakers have attended Symphony Balls, bidding on and winning many a treasure at the Symphony auctions; and they entirely support one performance each season.  They have also been strong supporters of the Youth Symphony, as well as the Performing Arts Center, the Master Chorale, Youth Outreach for the PAC, and the Pacific Repertory Opera―prompting Cal Poly to award them the prestigious Cal Poly Arts Award.

“Jim and Lyn give of their time, resources, and energy like no one I have ever known,” said Symphony Board Past President, Sandy Dunn, “expecting nothing in return.”

This year’s ball, Carnival in Venice, marks the 22nd annual Symphony Ball and will be held Saturday, February 27th at 6 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Grand Ballroom. The Bakers will be honored with a special celebration that evening, a costumed affair that will include a sumptuous dinner, auctions with dazzling prizes, and of course music and dancing.

“We were stunned when Sandy let us know that we were to be honored,” said Lyn Baker. “We feel such a part of the Symphony family, and to be singled out for this honor is humbling.”

Reservations for the Ball and Honors Celebration are $120 per person. “Tribute Ads” honoring Jim and Lyn Baker may be purchased and will be printed on the program booklet for the evening, then presented to them as a gift. Proceeds go to support the Symphony’s many Music Education Programs that reach over 16,000 County school children every year. For more information or to make your reservations, please call the Symphony office at (805) 543-3533 or visit the Symphony website at www.slosymphony.com.

First formed in 1953, the San Luis Obispo Symphony has been bringing the joys of orchestral music to local audiences county-wide for more than half a century. Today’s SLO Symphony is a world class orchestra that has performed to unanimous acclaim in venues across the globe.

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Youth Programs Receive a $115,779 Boost From the Pathways to Adulthood Initiative

Teens Get Mentoring and Employment Assistance from Plethora of Programs

Five local organizations received a total of $115,779 in grant funds from the Pathways to Adulthood Initiative this year.
Established by the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation (SLOCCF),
Pathways to Adulthood seeks to answer the question: “What do our teens need
from communities to help pave their way toward adulthood?”

Through its proactive partnership approach, Pathways to Adulthood makes
grants available to youth-serving agencies countywide, thereby fostering
innovative programs and improving the systems that support our young people.
Grants are available to qualifying organizations that work to provide young
people with career exploration, employability skills and mentorship. This
year’s recipients are:

‧      Animus Learning Foundation – to enhance the “Getting About Town
Program,” a cooperative effort between the ALF, the Paso Robles Chamber of
Commerce Education Committee, and Liberty Continuation High School to offer
mentorship and employability skills training.

‧      CAPSLO’s LifeBound Leadership – to expand the existing youth
leadership and advocacy curriculum to include job readiness/skills
curriculum, mentorship, and career exposure/shadowing for teens.

‧      Senior Nutrition Program SLO County – to enhance a partnership
between the SNP and three youth-serving organizations to provide job
training and mentoring to 35 transitional-age youth and to encourage
positive interaction among young people and seniors.

‧      Atascadero Community Link – second year grant to support continued
operations for “Teens at Work” and the plan to make it self-sustaining.

‧      Big Brothers Big Sisters – second year grant to support continued
operations for “Youth Career Exploration and Mentoring Program” and the plan
to make it self-sustaining.

“Since its inception, the Pathways to Adulthood Initiative has
proven to have an extremely positive impact on career decision-making among
our teens,” said Janice Fong Wolf, the SLO County Community Foundation’s
Director of Grants and Programs. “We are pleased to be able to continue to
fund these life-changing programs for young people.”

For more information about Pathways to Adulthood, or any other
fund and endowment held by the Foundation, please call (805) 543-2323 or log
onto www.sloccf.org .

January 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Local Boy Receives Life-Saving Service Dog

Funds for allergy detection dog presented to family by Jack’s Helping Hand

A four-year-old boy named Cooper Giron was presented
with funds from Jack’s Helping Hand, Inc. that will allow his parents to
purchase a specially trained service dog. Next month, the Giron family will
travel to Colorado where a specially selected dog will be trained with his
new owner, ending a several month-long effort to obtain the needed funds.
Follow their story on www.coopersdog.blogspot.com.

Cooper has life-threatening allergies to tree nuts and peanuts that are so
acute that even the slightest contact can produce anaphylactic shock and
subsequent death. Despite his parents’ hyper-vigilance, Cooper is still
vulnerable. To maximize his chances for survival and to increase his
independence, Cooper’s physician prescribed an allergy-detection dog that
would prevent his exposure to these allergens, and provide instant access to
his medications in an emergency. A nonprofit company in Colorado called
Angel Service Dogs, Inc. raises and trains Allergy Alert dogs and have
accepted Cooper and his parents into their program.

Jack’s Helping Hand, Inc. and Bishop’s Peak Elementary School presented a
check to Cooper and his parents for $5,000 so they can make the trip to
Colorado, receive their dog, and undergo training with him. Bishop’s Peak
Elementary and Jack’s helping Hand have been in collaboration to instill in
the local youth, the importance of community service. The 6th graders at
Bishop’s Peak have been collecting and recycling items all school year
through a program called “Go Green” to raise funds to donate to a child with
special needs, Cooper was chosen for this year’s donation.

“Despite our repeated appeals, our insurance refused to cover the costs of a
service dog for Cooper,” said Christina Giron. “We are so grateful to Jack’s
Helping Hand for their generous support.”

Founded in 2004, Jack’s Helping Hand, Inc. is a local nonprofit organization
dedicated to helping the families of children with disabilities, injuries,
or illness who need special equipment, treatments, or therapies not covered
by insurance. For more information, please call 547-1914 or log onto
www.jackshelpinghand.org .

January 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) is proud to announce it is the recipient of three distinct, prestigious and unsolicited awards. Two of the awards are attributed to cardiac care, while the other centers on orthopedic care. This week, the hospital received notice it is being recognized by Thomson Reuters as one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the United States for Cardiovascular Care. This is the second year in a row that FHMC has been honored with this award.

FHMC has also received a 5-Star rating for patient quality outcomes related to the treatment of heart attack from HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization. This is the second consecutive year French Hospital has been recognized for excellent outcomes for heart attack patients making it the best rated in the San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles Region for cardiology and ranked among the top 15 % in the nation for the treatment of heart attack two years in a row.

HealthGrades has also named FHMC as the recipient of the HealthGrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award. Additionally FHMC is ranked among the Top 10% in the Nation for Joint Replacement, 5-Star rated for total hip replacement, 5-Star rated for joint replacement eight years in a row, and 5-Star rated for total hip replacement eight years in a row by HealthGrades.

Cardiovascular Benchmarks Award

“For a community hospital in a relatively small town to receive these three awards at one time is quite extraordinary. These are very prestigious awards, based on publicly reported statistics. These unsolicited awards are a testament to the commitment French Hospital and its physicians has made to improve the quality of healthcare provided to our community. We continue to push the bar to new levels to improve safety, and survival rates while continually focusing on high-quality, compassionate care. We are very proud to be the central coast’s choice for cardiac care. I wish to thank our physicians, staff and volunteers for their continued commitment to advancing French Hospital’s goal to provide the highest levels of care on the central coast,” says Alan Iftiniuk, FHMC President and CEO.

The Thomson Reuters award, 2009 Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals®: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success, examined the performance of 970 hospitals by analyzing clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with heart failure and heart attacks and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and angioplasties. Thomson Reuters researchers analyzed 2006 and 2007 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, 2007 Medicare cost reports, and data from other sources.  They scored hospitals in key performance areas: risk-adjusted medical mortality, risk-adjusted surgical mortality, risk-adjusted complications, core measures score, percentage of coronary bypass patients with internal mammary artery use, procedure volume, severity-adjusted average length of stay, and wage- and severity-adjusted average cost.

FHMC Awards

To learn more about this award, its criteria and to see a list of all Top 100 hospitals, go to www.100tophospitals.com.

The HealthGrades study, the largest annual report of its kind, analyzed patient outcomes in nearly 40 million Medicare hospitalization records from 5,000 hospitals over the years 2006, 2007 and 2008. HealthGrades’ hospital ratings and awards reflect the track record of patient outcomes at hospitals in the form of mortality and complication rates. HealthGrades rates hospitals independently based on data that hospitals submit to the federal government. No hospital can opt in or out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated.

For 28 procedures and treatments, HealthGrades issues star ratings that reflect the mortality and complication rates for each category of care. Hospitals receiving a 5-star rating have mortality or complication rates that are below the national average, to a statistically significant degree.  To learn more about the 2010 HealthGrades ratings go to  www.healthgrades.com.

Members of the media are encouraged to contact Megan Maloney at 805-542-6498 for more information or to set up interviews. 

About French Hospital Medical Center

Located in San Luis Obispo, California, French Hospital Medical Center is a not-for-profit hospital founded in 1946. Our team of 521 employees and more than 330 physicians work daily to extend the mission of providing compassionate, high quality health care services to San Luis Obispo and the surrounding communities. French Hospital is a member of Catholic Healthcare West, the largest Catholic healthcare system based in the western United States with 42 hospitals and two medical practice groups in California, Arizona and Nevada. To learn more log on to www.frenchmedicalcenter.org

January 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment