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SLO County Community Foundation Announces Scholarship Winners

Thirteen High School Seniors Win Weyhrich Leadership Scholarship Awards

Representing schools from every district in the county, this year’s 13 recipients of the Richard J. Weyhrich Leadership Scholarship are a diverse mix of deserving high school seniors who show a variety of strong leadership abilities and a desire to serve their communities. Each one received a scholarship in the amount of $1,250 to be used toward expenses for the upcoming first year of college.

Among this year’s recipients are class presidents, community volunteers, a camp counselor, a student school board representative, and a student coach.

“It’s always a difficult selection process,” said the Community Foundation’s Director of Grants and Programs, Janice Fong Wolf. “We receive so many compelling applications. These students should feel very proud of this achievement.”

Held by the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation, the Richard J. Weyhrich Leadership Scholarship Fund was established in memory of its namesake, a West Point graduate who later became a successful financial advisor.  Locally, Weyhrich supported such organizations as Hospice of San Luis Obispo County, Cuesta College, the Performing Arts Center and the Clark Center.

This year’s scholarship recipients are: Alexis K. Fabian and Sarah Park (Paso Robles High); Justin P. Clarke (Templeton High); Adrian F. Vallens (Coast Union High); Gregory D. Harris (Mission College Prep); Rachel M. Ayotte (Morro Bay High); Simon P. Phillips (San Luis Obispo High); Nathan R. Honeycutt and Michael C. Matosich (Arroyo Grande High); Santina N. Olney (Nipomo High); Jessica L. Gates and Matthew J. O’Connell (Atascadero High); and Joseph L. Honeycutt (North County Christian).

Front Row: Rachel Ayotte, Jessica Gates, Sarah Park, and Alexis Fabian. Back Row: Nathan Honeycutt, Michael Matosich, Santina Olney, Adrian Vallens, Gregory Dylan Harris, Matthew O'Connell, Justin Clarke, Joseph Honeycutt, Simon Phillips (not pictured)

“Weyhrich’s driving passion was empowering and encouraging individuals with leadership potential,” said Wolf. “A passion that continues to live on through this scholarship.”

For more information or to donate to this or any other Community Foundation fund, log onto www.sloccf.org or call (805) 543-2323.

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

Michelle Jenkins Named Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum

Interim director and two-year Museum employee named to top post

Michelle Jenkins has been appointed executive director of the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum, the Museum’s Board announced today. Jenkins has served as interim executive director since January and was the Museum Board’s top choice for executive director following an extensive search.

“Michelle has been committed to making the Museum a resource for children and families since joining us in January 2008 to lead our fundraising efforts,” said SLOCM Board President Allison Alltucker. “The Board is extremely pleased that Michelle will continue to guide and shape the Museum.”

Jenkins championed the Museum’s new pricing and membership structure in her interim role, adding new options and reducing pricing for the general public, seniors and military families as well as schools. Jenkins was also instrumental in establishing a reciprocal membership benefit so members have the opportunity to access for free 173 other Children’s Museums across the United States.

“It’s amazing to have this caliber of Museum in our community. My focus right now is on partnerships since I believe they are a fantastic way to reach more children and families. We recently partnered with the Autism Spectrum Center, Cal Poly and the Young Professionals Networking Group and each event was a huge success,” Jenkins said. “I’m also discovering past and present visitor favorites and finding ways to enhance the Museum, including rebuilding the popular Big Bubble exhibit.”

Jenkins and her husband, Gregg, are both graduates of Cal Poly and live on a ranch in Creston. They have four children who grew up with the “old” Children’s Museum. Before joining the Museum, Jenkins served as Director of Corporate Relations for the Cal Poly College of Engineering.

Museum board and staff are inviting everyone to “Dig In!” this summer and discover “What’s Growing, What’s Cooking, and What’s Gross” through exciting exhibit additions, programs and activities. The Museum is located at 1010 Nipomo Street in downtown San Luis Obispo. For current exhibits, activities, programs and hours visit www.slocm.org.

Caption: New SLO Children’s Museum Executive Director, Michelle Jenkins, with her daughters, Mila, 14 and Alexi, 16. Not pictured, sons Tyler, 19, and Niko, 10.

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

Blue Rooster Adds Expert to Staff

Jill DeCristofaro will join new telecommunications firm as customer service chief

Longtime telecommunications professional Jill DeCristofaro has recently joined the Blue Rooster Telecom team as Customer Service, Provisioning Coordinator. Selected for her many years of experience, first with Wynd Corporation and later with Call America, DeCristofaro will process customer orders and provide live customer service support to all of Blue Rooster’s customers.

“One of the things we’re most noted for is the live voice on the other end of the phone every time you call,” said Cheryl Lovell, Blue Rooster’s Vice-President and Operations Manager. “It’s so important to us that this tradition continue, and Jill is just the person to make sure it does. We’re delighted she’s come aboard.”

Blue Rooster Telecom is a new telecom company providing the full range of voice, Internet, and data network services to businesses of any size. Headed by proven names in the industry, Jeff Buckingham, Cheryl Lovell, and Janice Petko, the company is, in their words, “the most fun you’ll have with a telecommunications company.”

“I am really excited about my new position here,” said DeCristofaro. “The industry has really changed, and great customer service is more important than ever.”

For more information, call 805.543.8700 or log onto www.blueroostertelecom.com

May 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Hearing

Protection from Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Contrary to the commonly held notion that old age is the number one cause of hearing loss, it’s really noise exposure that is the most frequent cause of hearing loss. Noise Induced Hearing Loss or NIHL can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85db (decibels). This level of sound can be emitted by lawnmowers, fireworks, gun shots, MP3 players, TVs, and radios; it can also be experienced at concerts and sporting events.

Advanced Hearing Aid Center’s Aaron Marquis, a Board Certified Audioprosthologist with a Master’s Certificate in Auditory Prosthetics, reports that Noise Induced Hearing Loss is caused when the hair cells found in our inner ear are damaged due to noise exposure. Once these hair cells are damaged, Marquis said, they cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss.

Today’s advanced protection devices are custom-designed and can go a long way toward preventing hearing loss in a broad range of professions, sports, and activities.

“People are involved in a variety of activities that can be harmful to their hearing, such as construction workers, musicians, swimmers, and hunters,” Marquis said. “Today’s protection for these various activities is custom-designed to give them maximum flexibility in their jobs or hobbies, while ensuring their hearing is well protected.”

May is Better Hearing and Speech month, a time when everyone is encouraged to have annual hearing screenings and take steps to protect their hearing. For a comprehensive resource on hearing loss, its causes and solutions, log onto www.advancedhearingslo.com or call Advanced Hearing Aid Center at 544-EARS (3277).Caption: This ear plug image is designed specifically for hunters and
shooters that is customizable for the best fit.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Old Juan’s Cantina Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Helps Local Children

Recently, patrons to Old Juan’s Cantina enjoyed five festive days of Cinco de Mayo and had the opportunity to support Big Brothers Big Sisters at the same time. Restaurant owners, siblings Eva and Adam Verdin, donated $800 to the organization, which was based on a portion of every combination plate ordered May 1 through 5 during their Cinco de Mayo celebration. The donation was made as a memorial to their father, John “Old Juan” Verdin, who passed away on April 8 of this year.

Old Juan’s selected Big Brothers Big Sisters as the beneficiary of this first-ever event because they wanted to support a countywide organization that supported children, and had an impact in local Oceano, according to Adam Verdin. Verdin also had volunteered as a Big Brother several years ago and said he witnessed, first-hand “the positive changes that can occur while mentoring a child.”

Ken Kehs, development director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, said “We are grateful for the local support at the funds will be used to provide mentors to children in Oceano.”

Old Juan’s Cantina is located at Highway One and Pier Ave. in Oceano. A local establishment, the restaurant has been serving authentic Mexican food for 34 years and was voted Best Mexican Restaurant by the New Times. Visit them online at www.OldJuansCantina.com or call (805) 489-5680.

Pictured: Back row, L to R, Old Juan’s co-owner Adam Verdin, Ken Kehs, Big Brothers big Sisters Development Director and co-owner and Restaurant Manager, Eva Verdin. Front row: Mariachi band Trio Falaj

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blog Rooster Crowing Contest Winner – SLO Mixer Showcase

Blue Rooster Telecom had over 50 people do rooster crows in their “Crow for Dough” contest at the 2010 SLO Chamber Mixer Showcase.  What a fun group of people!  The competition was stiff! Check out the winners here and see why Blue Rooster Telecom is “The most fun you’ll ever have with a telecom company!”


May 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SLO Community Makes it Possible for Children to Reunite With Their Parents

“Get On The Bus” program helps over 565 kids stay connected with their incarcerated dads

On Saturday, June 5th and Saturday, June 12th – in celebration of Father’s Day – a local non-profit whose purpose is to connect children with their parents in prison will bus over 565 children to the California Men’s Colony to visit with their dads.  Now in its fifth year here in San Luis Obispo, Get On The Bus is a grassroots program that has continued to grow and thrive due to the generosity of community members.  The program, which started in 2006 with only 17 children on one bus, will be transporting over 565 children from homes as far away as Sacramento and San Diego on 19 chartered buses to the California Men’s Colony. Due to the growing number of participating families, the event will now occur over two days.

This event would not be possible without the assistance of the community.  Over 40 local schools, churches, and organizations have helped by sponsoring Get On The Bus. Hundreds of volunteers will be serving on June 5th and June 12th, at the prison or at one of the seven site reception locations in San Luis Obispo.

Along with the priceless opportunity to reconnect with their fathers, Get On The Bus provides the children with transportation for themselves and their caregivers, all three meals for the day, a photo of the child with his or her father, as well as “Stay-in-Touch” bags. Trained volunteers accompany the children to the prison and to a reception after the visits so that participants can share their experiences. In an effort to enhance public awareness of this unique program, the media is invited to cover this event between 8:30 and 10:00 a.m. inside the prison.

“Every child yearns to feel loved and connected to his or her parents. But children with parents in prison have a tough time keeping that connection,” says Sister Theresa Harpin, Central Coast Regional Director of Get On The Bus.

Get On The Bus offers them the priceless chance for a father’s hug, a family photo, a private conversation.” On the way home, each child is given a teddy bear with a letter from their parent, along with the opportunity for post-event counseling.

The media is also invited to cover the receptions to be held on June 5th at Congregation Beth David, Mountainbrook Community Church, Mount Carmel Lutheran Church, United Methodist Church and Front Porch College Ministry Center (next to Cal Poly), or on June 12th at Nativity of Our Lady Church, Zion Lutheran Church, Mount Carmel Lutheran Church and United Methodist Church between 2:30 and 4:00 p.m. Press credential are required for CMC. Contact Lt. Dean Spears at 805-547-7948 or email him at Dean.Spears@cdcr.ca.gov.  For more information visit www.getonthebus.us.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Local Music Education Supporters Find New Way to Celebrate Birthdays

Birthday Donations in honor of Clifford Chapman Bring Vital Program to Local Schools

Turning his birthday into a way to support music education, philanthropist Clifford Chapman has struck upon an idea that just might fill the gap in music education for some of our local elementary schools.

When longtime and often-honored Symphony supporter Clifford Chapman turned 80, he told friends he already had enough “stuff.” No presents, he insisted. If they wanted to recognize his birthday, Chapman suggested his friends make donations to the SLO Symphony and/or the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center. Word spread, and at last count, donations to the Symphony totaled more than $8,000.  Chapman decided to use the donations to underwrite Everyday Etudes, one of the Symphony’s most extensive music education programs, for a south county public elementary school.

“Everyday Etudes is an abundant outpouring of Symphony Music Education resources upon a school, sewn together by the thread of everyday listening,” wrote Patty Thayer, Communications Director for the Symphony. “It’s a partnership that integrates hearing and discussing classical music every day in the classroom, with live experiences in the concert hall, visits from the Music Van, and intimate performances by skilled symphony musicians … who tell the children: ‘I was eight years old once, just like you!’”

Results have been impressive: In surveys taken during 2006-2007 across four local schools receiving Everyday Etudes, teachers report that students can now name classical composers and names of compositions; and that their listening and learning skills have improved dramatically. Many have also begun playing an instrument.

“We’re not creating something new here,” said SLO Symphony’s Musical Director, Maestro Michael Nowak. “We’re bringing it back.”

SLO Symphony’s Music Education Director Andrea Stoner said that state and national economic woes, plus massive budget cuts to schools have all but eliminated what used to be a standard and essential part of a young child’s education—the chance to hear and to play classical music.

“Now, it’s often only through programs like Everyday Etudes that children are exposed to the different instruments and to the beautiful sounds they make,” Stoner explained. “Our musical future depends on programs like Everyday Etudes to inspire our children to take up an instrument, and to reach the natural talent lying dormant until someone wakes it up.”

Cost of the multi-faceted Everyday Etudes program is $10,000 per school for the first year, and $5,000 for every year thereafter. This covers everything from daily listening materials to Children’s Concert tickets; real-time teacher support to visits from the Music Van.

“If your school does not have Everyday Etudes,” said Symphony Executive Director, Brian Hermanson, “the keys to getting it there are your principal and your PTA. Get them engaged and we’ll find a way to make it happen. The Symphony is here for you.”

And now, through the generosity of supporters like Clifford Chapman and his many, many friends, so is the money. In fact, the Chapman Everyday Etudes Fund is now an ongoing concern with additional donations coming in every day!  Hermanson said he hopes this practice of celebrating birthdays with donations to the Symphony catches on in a big way.

“If you have enough ‘stuff’ and want to celebrate your birthday in a truly significant way, this is the perfect strategy,” he said. “Your 50th birthday―or any landmark birthday―could end up bringing one giant musical gift to a local school and the community for generations to come. And who knows what ripple effect that could have.”

“Music education is vital,” Stoner added. “It helps children to make connections, to develop higher order thinking … even if they don’t become the next Leonard Bernstein. And it’s such fun … you just can’t measure the joy we can see on their faces.”

The San Luis Obispo Symphony’s many music education programs reach more than 16,000 children and young adults every year. To find out more about how to turn birthday presents into lasting musical gifts, or for more information about Everyday Etudes, call (805) 543-3533 or log onto www.slosymphony.com.

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Wellness Community

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ShopSLO DineSLO to Boost Local Economy

With tax revenue down, ShopSLO.org and DineSLO.org help publicize local businesses

The decline of local sales tax revenue over the past two years is something that has both business owners and consumers concerned.  However, things may be looking up. In an article that appeared in The Tribune (San Luis Obispo Sales Tax Shows Drop in Forth Quarter, April 24, 2010), City Finance Director, Bill Statler, predicted that, “Even though the numbers are not flat, at least it is a lower rate of decline.  If we are not at the bottom yet, we are close.”

In an effort to help local shops and restaurants increase their sales, the City has funded a campaign promoting local businesses to tourists and residents alike.  The Shop SLO Dine SLO campaign features two websites that are easy to use, free for business owners, and offer limitless opportunities for business growth. The two websites — ShopSLO.org and DineSLO.org — currently list all retail shops and restaurants within the San Luis Obispo city limits, along with locations and phone numbers, searchable by both category and name.  According to Marco Rizzo, co-owner of Café Roma, “Shop SLO and Dine SLO will make shopping and dining in San Luis Obispo even easier, more convenient, relaxing, and fun.”           

Business owners are encouraged to set up their own company profiles and add additional information such as business hours, flyers, photos, and links to their own websites.  They can also alert the public of upcoming sales, events, and promotions. Listen for advertising to promote the use of ShopSLO.org and DineSLO.org for Mother’s Day that will begin running on May 5, 2010.  For more information, call Emily Madson at 541-9005. To plan a day of shopping and dining, log on to www.shopslo.org or www.dineslo.org.

The ShopSLO and DineSLO programs are funded by the City’s Promotional Coordinating Committee as a way to enhance visits to the city for county residents and tourists alike. For more information on the program, contact Brigitte Elke, Principal Administrative Analyst for the City of San Luis Obispo, at 781-7151.

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