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Extensive Search Yields New San Luis Obispo Symphony Executive Director

Georgia musician, educator, and arts leader, Brian Hermanson, appointed to top position

After a months-long process, The San Luis Obispo Symphony’s 10-member Executive Search Committee, facilitated by the firm of Doug Patti, LLC, Orchestra Consulting, is pleased to announce that Brian Hermanson has been appointed as Executive Director. An innovative and dynamic leader in arts and education, Hermanson most recently served for four years as Executive Director for the Cobb Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in Kennesaw, Georgia.

A trained musician, performing and recording artist, Hermanson received his BM in clarinet performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., and earned Eastman’s highest honor, a Performer’s Certificate. He has served as an advisor for Kennesaw State University’s School of Music, on the advisory board for a charter music school in the city of Marietta, on the advisory board of The Georgian Club, and as a community representative for Eagle Scout Board of Reviews. He is also an active member of Optimists International. At just 29 years old, Hermanson is the youngest Executive Director the SLO Symphony has hired to date.

Hermanson founded and served as executive director for the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, and was a founding force for the Cerulean Wind Quintet, which was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts for it’s progressive work in musical enrichment for underprivileged children. He directed After-School Programs for a first-ward charter music school in Houston Texas where he helped win Oprah Winfrey’s Wildest Dreams Competition.

“One pundit noted that the great among us have their idles set a little higher than the rest, thus generating more energy and fueling higher expectations,” said Hermanson. “I’ve noted this quality in abundance [at the San Luis Obispo Symphony], and I could not be more excited to be a contributor to it.”

Hermanson will relocate to San Luis Obispo with his wife, Alice Ann, and assume his new post on April 15th.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Brian Hermanson to our musical community,” said Board President Michael Zigelman. “It is very exciting to celebrate our 50th Anniversary Season in 2010-2011 while at the same time welcoming such a dynamic new leader to San Luis Obispo. Brian’s passion for the arts and commitment to collaborative partnerships and youth programs – not to mention the breadth of his own orchestral experience and knowledge – make him an outstanding fit for our needs and goals as we begin our next fifty years of music, education and community.”

Since 1961, the San Luis Obispo Symphony has grown from fledgling community orchestra to thriving cultural presence both in San Luis Obispo and abroad, touring Spain, Australia, and the U.S., and playing such well-known venues as Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. A leader in music education for the community, the Symphony reaches more than 16,000 children every year through its extensive programs. For more information, please call (805) 543-3533 or log onto www.slosymphony.com.

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March 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

French Hospital Medical Center to announce plans for $39 million expansion/enhancement project

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.

As French Hospital Medical Center’s reputation for excellence grows, demand for increased patient capacity grows too. Though improvements have been made since becoming a CHW hospital, the 40-year-old facility has not undergone a major renovation since its original construction. Projected growth for San Luis Obispo County over the next 10 years creates a critical need for expanded health care services and advanced technological support.

Plans for the ambitious expansion include:

  • A new Cardiac Day Stay Suite with a dedicated 12-bed unit
  • 11 bed Intensive Care Suite/ICU Remodel and Redesign
  • Renovated Emergency Department
  • A new Patient Care Wing that adds 16 beds
  • A New Patient Care Unit that adds 5 beds
  • A New GI/Endoscopy Suite with advanced technology support
  • A new Health Education Pavillion
  • Separate from the expansion but important to the hospital campus is a new 3-story, 43,000-square-foot physicians’ office building plus 66 additional parking spaces.

Full details via a formal press release plus a virtual tour will be made available to members of the media at the event.  Photo opportunities as well as private interviews can be arranged by calling Megan Maloney at 805.542.6498.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scouts Earn Merit Badges “Under the Hood” at Rizzoli’s Automotive

Boy and Girl Scouts Get Hands-On Automotive Training

Twenty local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts recently earned their Automotive Merit Badges after an evening of hands-on instruction at Rizzoli’s Automotive in Santa Maria. An even mix of boys and girls ages 9 to 15 received instruction and were given the chance to change tires, check fluids, and spend time “under the hood” at the Rizzoli’s shop on W. Tama Lane in Santa Maria.

General Manager Bruce Best provided information about vehicle, airbag and child restraint safety, as well as the braking and other automotive systems.

“We tried to give everyone the opportunity to work with an actual vehicle,” said Best, “And it was great seeing just as many girls as boys interested in learning about cars.”

At the end of the evening, each of the 19 participants passed muster and were signed off for their badges.

“My son is an Eagle Scout,” said Best, “and I helped him with his projects, so I enjoyed myself immensely. It was really a joy to spend time with these kids and to help them in the process of earning their merit badges.”

“I’m sure we’ll be doing more of this is in the future,” said Kyle Rizzoli, general manager of the San Luis Obispo shop. “It’s always been important to us to be a part of our communities, and this was such a great way to help            out.”

Family-owned and operated since 1976, Rizzoli’s Automotive services and repairs all makes and models at two locations: 2584 Victoria Lane in San Luis Obispo and 1149 W. Tama Lane in Santa Maria. Visit www.rizzolisautomotive.com for more information.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Healthcare Reform: Long Needed, And a Long Way to Go

A viewpoint from French Hospital Medical Center President & CEO Alan Iftiniuk and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital President & CEO Rick Castro

Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) and its local San Luis Obispo County hospitals, French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC) and Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH), has long been a strong advocate for meaningful, comprehensive health care reform.

The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, addresses the real problems in our health care system: too many people without coverage and the high cost of care for all.

But the benefits from this legislation won’t happen overnight; in fact, full implementation won’t occur until 2018, and some coverage provisions for the uninsured will be years before taking effect.

With the economy still in turmoil and unemployment rates in San Luis Obispo County topping 10.6 percent, the need for health care insurance is especially urgent today.  So many jobless people go without medical coverage, and some struggling businesses have had to drop coverage for their employees.

Fortunately, community hospitals like ours provide a safety net for those most in need.

Years ago, CHW introduced one of the most generous payment-assistance plans in the nation, providing free or discounted care to individuals and families earning up to 500% of the federal poverty level (that’s $110,250 for a family of four in 2010).

During fiscal year 2009, CHW provided 1.2 billion dollars in charity care, community benefit programming, and uncompensated care. This includes more than 16 million dollars provided by FHMC and nearly 10 million dollars by AGCH to our local residents.

But our efforts alone were not enough. In order to ensure that quality, affordable health care services are available to all, meaningful health care reform was necessary. We are pleased that the country is now on a path to providing access to health care to tens of millions more people, and making that care more affordable for all.

Now hospitals and the health care industry must meet the challenges posed by this legislation. CHW hospitals have been preparing for this change and have already taken major steps, such as investing in medical technology, electronic health records, our facilities, and our people, to serve the increasing need for quality health care. In fact, FHMC is looking forward to announcing plans very soon that will significantly transform our hospital and the way we deliver patient care in order to better serve our community in the future; while AGCH will soon be celebrating its recent accreditation as a Community Hospital Cancer Program.

Reform will accelerate the effort to make health care more integrated, more cost effective, and more available. As always, CHW and our local hospitals will continue to work with our national leaders, our excellent caregivers and staff, and the communities we are so fortunate to serve to ensure that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care.

Respectfully,

Alan Iftiniuk, President & CEO                                               Rick Castro, President & CEO

French Hospital Medical Center                                              Arroyo Grande Community Hospital

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Award-Winning Frame Shop Celebrates 20 Years in Downtown SLO

Frame Works turns 20 and customers benefit

As Frame Works gets ready to celebrate 20 years in business this April, second-generation owner Ali Semon says the shop is doing well, despite big box competition and a down economy. In fact, says Semon, her accomplished staff plus two national awards for frame design give her added reason to throw a party.

“I am so proud of what we have achieved,” said Semon. “A second member of our staff recently earned her CPF (Certified Picture Framer) status from the Professional Picture Framing Association. And last year, we received international recognition for frame design.”

Frame Works, located off of the Marsh St exit at the entrance to downtown, will kick off its month-long celebration during “Art After Dark” on Friday, April 2, 2010 where they will showcase a retrospective of artwork shown at Frame Works over the past 20 years. In celebration of this milestone anniversary, the public is invited to stop into the store and enter a drawing for a chance to win 1 of 5 gift certificates for $100 towards complete custom framing with Frame Works. There is no purchase required, and the winner need not be present at the time of the drawing, which will be held on April 30.

“We really wanted a way to thank our customers for coming back year after year,” said Semon. “The drawing and the party are small tokens of our gratitude.”

At a time when many businesses are closing their doors, Semon credits the success of her shop to her talented staff, their attention to detail, and the shop’s many loyal customers.

In 2004, Semon relinquished her teaching career to take over the popular frame shop when her parents retired and put the store up for sale. Since then, she’s become one of the most visible faces in the community, generously giving back to the city she loves, as a member of Rotary of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, volunteering with the Leadership SLO Program, and now as a member of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

In addition to crafting the perfect frame for local art lovers, Frame Works specializes in framing valuable documents, memorabilia and photography. They also offer a comprehensive art consulting and framing service for businesses.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blue Rooster Heralds New Day in Telecommunications

Longtime business partners launch business telecom company

Longtime business partners, Jeff Buckingham and Cheryl Lovell are proud to announce the launch of Blue Rooster Telecom, a brand new business telecom company, ready to provide service now. Offering traditional local and long distance phone service, plus Internet, private networks and more to local businesses, Blue Rooster is the latest venture from these two long-established and well-respected names in the industry and the community.

Blue Rooster President Jeff Buckingham began his career in 1983 at Call America, one of the first competitive long distance carriers on the Central Coast. Buckingham guided Call America through the 1980s, and positioned it as the first commercial Internet service provider in the area during the ‘90s.

In 2001, Buckingham and business partner Cheryl Lovell (Blue Rooster’s Vice-President) founded a reincarnation of Call America (which had merged with GST in 1997). Together, they grew the company to support more than 2,000 business customers generating more than $7 million in annual revenues. Promising live, local service representatives to every customer, every time they called, superior personalized customer service became the hallmark of these telecom industry veterans. Blue Rooster will continue that tradition.

“We are not your typical telecom provider,” said Buckingham. “So we wanted our name to be unique. Blue Rooster has a great ring to it. It’s different … like we are. And it’s fun. Kind of grows on you, doesn’t it?”

As a member of the board of directors at the Competitive Telecommunications Association (COMPTEL), Buckingham helped shape national policy before the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, and the White House. He is also a member and past President of the California Association of Competitive Telecommunications Providers (CALTEL), representing the concerns of his industry at the California Public Utilities Commission and the California State Legislature. In 2009, Buckingham was presented with the CALTEL Champion of Competition Award.

Buckingham is active in the community as a member of the Rotary Club of SLO de Tolosa, Cuesta Foundation Board, Farm Bureau Board and was SLO Chamber Chairperson in 2007.

Lovell began her career at the original Call America and has worked with Buckingham since 1991.  Together they re-launched Call America in 2001. Lovell will serve as head of operations at Blue Rooster.

“Our success has always been based on a customer-first philosophy. At Blue Rooster, we’ll continue to focus on putting customers first. Our people are smart, dedicated, and we love what we do,” said Lovell. “We like to say that Blue Rooster is the most fun you’ll have with a telecom company.”

Joining the new Blue Rooster team is Janice Petko, Director of Sales and Marketing. Bringing more than 20 years experience to her post, Petko is one of the most experienced telecom professionals around, having worked for such companies as Digital West Networks, twTW telecom, and of course, Call America where she  worked with Lovell and Buckingham for years.

“I can’t wait to see the impact that Blue Rooster will have on this community,” said Petko. “This is such an exciting time to be in this industry.”

For a complete description of services and products, visit Blue Rooster at www.blueroostertelecom.com or call (805) 543-8700 where a live, local person will answer your call and your questions, every time.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Give the Gift of Sound – Recycle Your Old Hearing Aids — Gain a Tax Deduction

Advanced Hearing Aid center turns your donations into hearing help for needy children and adults

“So the World May Hear” is the mantra for an international program that gives the priceless gift of sound to the hearing impaired who cannot afford it otherwise. The Advanced Hearing Aid Center in San Luis Obispo is an official collection site for the Hear Now program, offering to receive donations, process the paperwork, and mail the hearing aids to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, who sponsors the Hear Now program.

“All hearing aids regardless of make, model, age or condition can be donated,” said Aaron Marquis of Advanced Hearing Aid Center. “And all funds generated help to underwrite the cost of the new aids provided in the program’s efforts to help others.”Advanced Hearing Aid Center has been a collection site for the program since 2004. Since then, more than 300 hearing aids have been received and donated to the Hear Now program by the Center.

“So many people just throw away their old hearing devices, thinking they can’t be of any use to anyone else,” Marquis explained. “That’s such a waste! Their donations can help someone else and benefit them at tax time, too.” Donations to the Hear Now program are a charitable tax deduction. Donors receive a letter of acknowledgment from the Starkey Hearing Foundation that they can give to their accountants at tax time. While it’s too late to benefit donors for this year’s taxes, donations made now will benefit them for their 2010 taxes. Many people may not know that hearing aids are recognized as a durable medical equipment expense and can be included, if you itemize your medical expense deductions on your tax forms.

“It is an intensely emotional and gratifying feeling to be a part of this incredible program,” said Anja Marquis, Patient Care Manager for Advanced Hearing Aid Center. “Watching a mother’s face as she hears her daughter’s voice calling Mama for the first time; or a child’s eyes light up with the joy of hearing the sounds of life for the first time … there’s not a dry eye in the house.”

“Just drop by our office with your donation, and we’ll take care of everything else,” said Aaron. “It’s our business and our pleasure to help people hear better, so we love the idea that we can help even those we don’t see as patients in this wonderful way.” Aaron Marquis is a Board Certified Audio Prosthologist with a PhD in Audiology. He is the only specialist on the Central Coast with a Master’s Certificate in Auditory Prosthetics.

Advanced Hearing Aid Center is located at 1495 Palm Street in San Luis Obispo. Call 544-EARS (3277) for more information.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AAA Gives Rizzoli’s Automotive Highest Marks for Customer Satisfaction

Family-Run Auto Shops Receive 100% on Annual Evaluation

Emphasizing quality customer care for three generations, Rizzoli’s Automotive scores consistently high marks on the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) annual customer satisfaction evaluation. For 2010, the longstanding family-run business scored 100% in both their San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria locations.

“AAA holds their approved auto repair facilities to very high standards and continually screens and monitors them to assure all criteria are met,” said Rizzoli’s General Manager Kyle Rizzoli. “So we are really proud to have received such high marks from this respected organization.”

In the most recent survey, respondents were asked to evaluate customer service, professionalism in solving problems, accuracy of estimates, service completion on promised date, and customer loyalty. From those who responded to the survey, Rizzoli’s shops each received 100% in all areas.

Now in its third generation of family ownership, Rizzoli’s Automotive has won several awards for excellence in quality of work and customer loyalty. They service all makes and models, with shops located at 2584 Victoria Lane in San Luis Obispo and 1149 W. Tama Lane off Skyway Drive in Santa Maria. Call 541-1082 for more information, or log onto www.rizzolisautomotive.com.

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beating Your Drum Without Tooting Your Horn

By Barry VanderKelen

Often people say to nonprofits, “You’re the best kept secret!” Why does this happen so frequently? I spoke about this with Mary Verdin, founder of Verdin Marketing Ink, a San Luis Obispo-based marketing and public relations firm.

“Publicity and exposure are beneficial to nonprofits,” Verdin said. “But many nonprofits’ leaders are more comfortable serving others rather than drawing attention to themselves. It may seem self-serving to promote the organization’s good work.” It’s hard for people to learn about the organization without promotion and publicity, however. What are some tips for board members and staff to promote the organization without coming across as bragging?

“One of the most effective ways is to be able to deliver your message succinctly,” Verdin said. “Imagine being on an elevator having to state your organization’s purpose in the time it takes to travel three floors. Such a brief time frame forces the focus to be on purpose, need and outcome; there’s no time to inflate or hype the organization.” Verdin likens this to “beating your drum without tooting your horn.” She says, “Finding ways to get your core message out in a consistent way, on an ongoing basis is what beating your drum is about. It requires everyone in the organization to stay focused on purpose, need and outcome. The more people involved in spreading the word, the better.”

Verdin adds that word-of- mouth marketing is one of the most powerful tools any organization has to use. The more people hear about your organization from friends, peers and colleagues, the more receptive they are to your message.

Other marketing tools such as paid advertising, printed materials, and social media have a role to play. Staying focused on purpose, need and outcome will allow each tool to be used properly to promote your organization.

Barry VanderKelen is executive director

of the San Luis Obispo County Commu-

nity Foundation. He can be reached at

barry@sloccf .org

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Give the Gift of Sound – RecycleYour Old Hearing Aids

Advanced Hearing Aid center turns your donations into hearing help for needy children and adults

“So the World May Hear” is the mantra for an international program that gives the priceless gift of sound to the hearing impaired who cannot afford it otherwise. The Advanced Hearing Aid Center in San Luis Obispo is an official collection site for the Hear Now program, offering to receive donations, process the paperwork, and mail the hearing aids to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, who sponsors the Hear Now program.

“All hearing aids regardless of make, model, age or condition can be donated,” said Aaron Marquis of Advanced Hearing Aid Center. “And all funds generated help to underwrite the cost of the new aids provided in the program’s efforts to help others.”

Advanced Hearing Aid Center has been a collection site for the program since 2004. Since then, more than 300 hearing aids have been received and donated to the Hear Now program by the Center.

“So many people just throw away their old hearing devices, thinking they can’t be of any use to anyone else,” Marquis explained. “That’s such a waste! Their donations can help someone else and benefit them at tax time, too.”

Donations to the Hear Now program are tax deductible and donors receive a letter of acknowledgment from the Starkey Hearing Foundation that they can give to their accountants at tax time. While it’s too late to benefit donors for this year’s taxes, donations made now will benefit them for their 2010 taxes.

“It is an intensely emotional and gratifying feeling to be a part of this incredible program,” said Anja Marquis, Patient Care Manager for Advanced Hearing Aid Center. “Watching a mother’s face as she hears her daughter’s voice calling Mama for the first time; or a child’s eyes light up with the joy of hearing the sounds of life for the first time … there’s not a dry eye in the house.”

According to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, more than 35,000 hearing aids were donated in a single year, and collection sites like Advanced Hearing Aid Center were responsible for processing more than 76% of them.

“Just drop by our office with your donation, and we’ll take care of everything else,” said Aaron. “It’s our business and our pleasure to help people hear better, so we love the idea that we can help even those we don’t see as patients in this wonderful way.” Aaron Marquis is a Board Certified Audio Prosthologist with a PhD in Audiology. He is the only specialist on the Central Coast with a Master’s Certificate in Auditory Prosthetics.

Advanced Hearing Aid Center is located at 1495 Palm Street in San Luis Obispo. Call 544-EARS (3277) for more information.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment