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Sustainable Housing Community nearing completion

Homesites still available in the Las Ventanas Ranch Community

After a successful launch in August 2008, the Las Ventanas Ranch has announced that Phase 1 is nearly sold out. “We had strong sales during the end of 2009 and we are proud and excited to move into the next phase,” commented John Souza of Richardson Properties, the company managing sales.

The appeal of the community is obvious; partnering two- and three-acre homesites with permanently designated open space and nestling the homes among natural oak woodlands, open pasture and scenic vistas.  Most of the homesites have been purchased by current South San Luis Obispo County residents already familiar with the area’s natural beauty, but the project has attracted buyers from Southern California and the East Coast as well. Originally, 28 two- and three-acre homesites were released for sale, with an additional six added into the plan recently. 13 lots are still available.

An open house is scheduled for May 15 from 11am until 3pm for prospective buyers, and the general public, to meet with design professionals to learn more about how to design and build a custom home at Las Ventanas.  Some of San Luis Obispo County’s finest builders, architects, landscape architects, lenders and others, many of whom are currently working on homes at Las Ventanas, will be available to answer questions and provide other information about the community.

Founded on a 150-year-old working cattle ranch with scenic Talley Farms and Talley Vineyards as neighbors, Las Ventanas Ranch offers 1.5-  to 3-acre parcels on land that has been protected forever by a permanent open space agreement.  For more information, please call  (805) 489-0446 or log onto www.lasventanasranch.com.

February 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Survey to Determine Unmet Needs of Women in Three Target Groups

Women’s Legacy Fund asks women to help decide most critical needs

Women from three demographic groups in San Luis Obispo County—female college students, women age 60 or older, and Latina women—are being asked to take an online survey that will help determine their most pressing needs. From February 1st through February 26th, the Women’s Legacy Fund will make each survey available online as well as on paper at various participating nonprofits, agencies, and groups throughout the county. Student volunteers will also conduct face-to-face surveys with women 60 and older throughout the community during the final two weeks of the month.

While questions are tailored to address the specific concerns of each group, all three of the surveys will ask respondents to rank the top five issues they believe most need to be addressed in order to improve the lives of women and girls, their quality of life, and their access to assistance.

Results will be analyzed by Women’s Legacy Fund staff as part of a larger report on the status of women and girls in SLO County. The report will include input from other nonprofits and agencies to compile crucial demographic data as well as information about the education, health, safety, and economic well-being of women and girls countywide.

“This comprehensive report will not only be a valuable resource to the public,” said Janice Fong Wolf, Director of Grants and Programs for the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation where the Women’s Legacy Fund is held, “but it will also serve as an indicator of what issues need to be addressed … and help guide the WLF in issuing grants where they are needed most.”

Women who fall into any of the three groups—college age, over 60, or Latina—are urged to log onto www.sloccf.org and click on “Surveys Link” in the upper right hand section of the Home page after February 1st to take the survey.

“We hope the surveys will yield information that will assist helping agencies to remove the barriers keeping women from getting assistance,” Wolf explained. “The Women’s Legacy Fund wants to make sure they are better served.”

For more information about the Women’s Legacy Fund or any of the funds and endowments held by the SLO County Community Foundation, log onto www.sloccf.org or call 543-2323.

February 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Toast Wisely and Tip Well

Raise your glasses as you raise money for local special needs children at Corner View’s Guest Bartender Event on Tuesday, February 16th, at 5:00 p.m. Toast each other and tip generously as all tips will be donated to Jack’s Helping Hand.  Call (805) 547-1914 for more information. Since 2004, Jack’s Helping Hand has established and provided community programs that enable and empower families, professionals and the broader community to meet the unique unmet physical, mental and medical needs of special children and young adults who have not attained the age of twenty-one.

February 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Get Into Africa at the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum

Traveling Exhibit Arrives February 1st

Into Africa, a special traveling exhibit, is coming to the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum on February 1st.

Into Africa replicates a Serengeti village and comes from the KidZone Museum in Truckee, California. It’s the first traveling exhibit for the Museum and is made possible through a partnership with The Laureate School of San Luis Obispo.

The village set-up lets children shop in an African market, cook meals in a clay oven, camp out in a mud hut, read African stories, try on indigenous costumes, play musical instruments, and learn about animals that call Africa home. Special activities featuring African music, dance, crafts, and cooking will be held while the exhibit is at the Museum.

“We are very excited to host our first traveling exhibit,” said Michelle Jenkins, Interim Executive Director of the Museum. “We especially thank The Laureate School for sponsoring Into Africa. This exhibit gives the children and families who visit the Museum the opportunity to journey through Africa together and shows what is possible when the Museum partners with schools in our community.”

“Into Africa supports what we value at The Laureate School– providing children the opportunity to explore other cultures and gain knowledge hands-on about the world they live in,” said Roz Reymers of The Laureate School. “We were happy to sponsor this exhibit since it’s aligned with our vision and mission of preparing students for success in a global 21st century.”

Into Africa will be at the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum through the end of April.

About the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum

The San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum reopened in June 2008 and is home to over 30 hands-on indoor and outdoor exhibits designed to inspire learning through play. The Museum is located at 1010 Nipomo Street in downtown San Luis Obispo. For current exhibits, activities, programs, and hours visit www.slocm.org.

About the Laureate School

The Laureate School strives to become a leader in education and to serve as a model for schools throughout the country and world in preparing students to be stewards, leaders, and citizens of the 21st century. The school is located at 880 Laureate Lane in San Luis Obispo. For more information about the Laureate School visit www.laureateschool.org.

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back on the Road Again – The Music Van is a Big Hit!

SLO Symphony’s Music Education Van – a hit for more than 20 years

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA―The San Luis Obispo Symphony’s Music Van is back on the road again, visting 4th grade classrooms countywide from mid-January through the end of March. Influencing children for more than 20 years now, The Music Van is a critically important music education program that introduces children to the instruments of the orchestra.

Led by trained music education docents, many of them SLO Symphony musicians, and assisted by volunteers, the program begins with an inspiring lesson on the different instruments of the orchestra, and a demonstration of each. Then each child is invited to squeak, toot, trill, blast and crash on the violins, cellos, clarinets, trombones, and cymbals that live in the Music Van.

“For some, it may be the first time they ever hold an instrument in ther hands,” said Music Van coordinator, Davia Rusco. “For many, the experience launches a lifetime love affair with music.”

The Music Van is free to local public schools, though a PTA donation is suggested. There are 47 dates allotted for Music Van visits, 30 of which are currently booked. Last year the Music Van visited 46 schools making 114 presentations serving 2,850 students.  Schools are invited to call the Symphony at 543-3533  ext. 107 to reserve one of the remaining dates.

The Music Van is partially funded by the Janssen Youth and Youth Sports Fund and PG&E and addresses California Music Content Standards. It’s just one of a dozen music education programs offered to Central Coast children and adults by the San Luis Obispo Symphony throughout the year. For more information, please visit www.slosymphony.com.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Year Brings Little Relief for the Hungry

Rizzoli’s Automotive accepts donations all year long to help the hungry and homeless

As the first month of the new year comes to a close, some 40,000 San Luis Obispo County residents still go hungry on a regular basis, according the Food Bank Coalition―a figure that has climbed by 25% just during the last year. But Rizzoli’s Automotive is helping to do something about that, and invites the community to contribute to their efforts.

What began three years ago as an Annual Holiday Food Drive to benefit local food banks is now an all-year, all-out effort to help keep the food banks in both counties full. Throughout 2009, Rizzoli’s has collected a total of 1,805 pounds of food at their two locations. Anyone who wishes to help can stop by Rizzoli’s at either their San Luis Obispo or Santa Maria locations and drop off non-perishable food. Rizzoli’s will deliver all donations to the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County Food Banks that serve the needy.

To show their appreciation, Rizzoli’s will give out a certificate for $5 off to anyone dropping off food, which can be used for any service or repair at either Rizzoli’s location.

With unemployment rates at 9.3% for San Luis Obispo County and 8.9% for Santa Barbara County, hunger and homelessness continue to loom large in the lives of many. With the weather growing cold and wet, now is a great time to give. Rizzoli’s Automotive is located at 2584 Victoria Lane in San Luis Obispo and 1149 W. Tama Lane off Skyway Drive in Santa Maria. Non-perishable food items of any size are welcome.

For more information, please call (805) 541-1082 or (805) 922-7742, or log on to www.rizzolisautomotive.com.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Children Hold Violin, Cello for First Time Thanks to Generous Grant

Bank of America gives $2500 to SLO Symphony’s “Strings in the Schools” program

Thanks to a generous grant from Bank of America, local school children who cannot otherwise afford it, can learn to play a stringed instrument, improve their grades, and contribute to the musical future of SLO County.  The grant supports scholarships to the San Luis Obispo Symphony’s “Strings in the Schools” program, which brings Symphony musicians into schools in Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, and Los Osos to teach classes in an after-school setting.

“Strings in the Schools requires no prior musical experience and is the key to success in academics for many children who are not otherwise engaged in the classroom,” said Andrea Stoner, Music Education Director for the Symphony.

As the only beginning string instruction program in the County, this program is critical to the future of the Youth Symphony, and the SLO Symphony orchestra in turn.

“Without string players, there is no orchestra,” said Stoner.

Previously, Bank of America supported the Apex for Kids Children’s Concerts (in 2006 and 2007) that provide children the experience of hearing an orchestra in the concert hall; they continue to be successful annual events.

“We are so grateful to the Bank of America Charitable Foundation,” said SLO Symphony’s Interim Executive Director Patty Thayer. “We are seeing so much need in this area right now, and this money will fund scholarships for kids whose families can’t afford the tuition.”

Additional generous sponsors for the Symphony’s Strings in the Schools program include The Blakeslee Family Foundation, Grace Mitchell and Supervisor Bruce Gibson.

Strings in the Schools is one of nine music education programs offered throughout the county by the San Luis Obispo Symphony, reaching over 16,000 students annually. For more information about these programs and the world-class orchestra that offers them, call 805.543.3533 or log onto www.slosymphony.com.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment