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San Luis Obispo County Rotarians at Work April 30

Three clubs join together to build a sheltered classroom for Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School

             SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – Three Rotary Clubs in San Luis Obispo County are setting aside April 30 to build a new outdoor classroom at Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School as part of “Rotarians at Work Day.” Each year on the last Saturday in April, Rotary Clubs around the world select local, one-day public service projects in which to participate.

This collaboration between Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo, Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo Daybreak and Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa will result in a outside sheltered classroom allowing students to pursue Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School’s motto of “hands-on learning” year-round, despite weather conditions. No outdoor classroom has ever been built and it will provide students with appropriate and adequate space to explore the dissection aspect of the Marine Science Program.

“It’s great to see our San Luis Obispo clubs coming together again for the sole purpose of improving our community,” said Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo President Ed Naretto.  “These Work Days are rewarding and fun, and anybody who wants to lend a hand is welcome.”

The three clubs will be at Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School working from 8:00am to 3:00pm on Saturday, April 30th, being led by Rotarians Anthony Palazzo of PMSM Architects and Christi Fry with Triad/Holmes Associates. The public is welcome to join. Businesses outside of Rotary have already agreed to contribute to the project including Airvol Block, Miner’s Hardware and Farm Supply Company.

“Rotarians at Work Day” began in 2006 as a joint effort between two Rotary Districts (one in the United States and one in Mexico). Each year, clubs around the world identify a hands-on project that all members can participate in to help their local community. Rotary has 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries. Its motto is “Service Above Self.” Clubs meet regularly to organize local service projects as well as participate in national and international humanitarian efforts. For more information about local Rotary Clubs, visit www.rotarydistrict5240.org.

Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School has been providing “hands-on learning,” environmental education for over 40 years. More than 250,000 students have attended Rancho El Chorro facilities and programs. For more information about Rancho El Chorro Outdoor School, visit www.ranchoelchorro.org.


April 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Congregation Beth David Launches Effort to Save Temple

Default on loan inspires creative thinking and a passionate effort to raise $2.3 million

            SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – A local Jewish congregation hopes to blaze the trail again in unconventional thinking to save their temple from the auction block. Congregation Beth David (CBD) is in default of their loan held at Mission Community Bank and has until May 5 to pay off the $2.3 million required to satisfy the bank. They hope to do this through launching an unusual effort to raise the needed funds.

The Temple, located at 10180 Los Osos Valley Road in
San Luis Obispo, CA, was built in 2005 on 92 acres. The Temple was the first LEED-Certified synagogue in the world, and gained national attention. In addition to the building itself being sustainable, 62 acres were also designated as wetlands and permanent open space with the County. On the remaining 30 acres, adjoining the land on which the Temple is built, three lots were to be parceled out for future sale, intended to support the pay off of the loan. Permission for occupancy was gained in 2006.

After the nation’s financial collapse in late 2008, CBD saw a dramatic decrease in support coming in for the Temple, as families buckled down to weather the poor economy. “I think our zealousness for this innovative, wonderful space combined with a lack of knowledge of what was to be in late 2008 with the economic crisis led us into this unfortunate situation,” said Gregg Loberstein, who is co-president of the CBD Board of Directors, along with his wife, Debi. Loberstein adds that, in 2009, CBD recognized they would start having difficulty making the monthly interest payment, so contacted the bank to work on a sustainable solution. “We’ve worked with the bank for the last 18 months to try to structure a solution that worked for all involved. Though the bank did discount the payoff amount by $1 million, we weren’t able to raise the balance before they took legal action.”

What CBD did do, however, is get pledges for over $1 million, still leaving them approximately $1 million in the hole. “I think we’ve come up with a unique way to raise funds to save the Temple, and also give those coming forward with donations an opportunity as well,” Loberstein says. Being the first in the world again, as far as they have been able to determine, they have put together a nonregistered offering within the Temple family, coupled with a request for additional donations from the extended community.

With the May 5 deadline looming, CBD is working hard to get the word out to the Jewish community locally and nationally, and to the community at large. They will be launching a Facebook page that will carry specific information about their efforts and be updated regularly. Visitors to the Facebook page and the CBD website can make donations of any size online in either place, right on the spot.

Congregation Beth David was founded in San Luis Obispo in 1959 and the group of 200 families is led by Rabbi Scott Corngold. The Temple is viewed as a community asset, and has been the venue for events for organizations ranging from the SLO Chamber of Commerce and environmental groups to the SLO Symphony. For more information on supporting Congregation Beth David, visit them online at www.cbdslo.org or call (805) 544-0760.

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Performing Group with Various Abilities to Appear at Awards Ceremony Honoring Accessibility

International Barrier Breakers will headline Access for All Awards Program at Clark Center this month

            SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA—International Barrier Breakers will headline Access for All’s Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Awards Ceremony (PWAAA) on April 30, 2011 at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande. Now in its 10th year, this event honors an individual, a business, and a community organization for their outstanding efforts to create a more accessible San Luis Obispo County.

The International Barrier Breakers is a performing group with various abilities who bring ability awareness to communities nationally and internationally. It is recognized as a Role Model for Inclusion by the US Department of Education and US Department of  Special Education.

“We are really excited about this year’s event,” said Barry VanderKelen, Executive Director of the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation (SLOCCF), which holds the Access for All Fund. “Winners will be announced at the event, so they’ll be a complete surprise to everyone. And of course, we are delighted to have a performance by a group that features performers of all abilities.”

Last year’s winners included Jill Heuer in the individual category, for her dedication to NPR’s StoryCorps Project in SLO County; Trader Joe’s in the business category, for its initiative -employing people with disabilities; and Parents Helping Parents in the organization category, for hosting several workshops on raising a child with a disability. Also a distinguished advocate, Reverend Doug Carroll was given a special certificate of recognition for his advocacy in educating the community about multiple sclerosis.

The ceremony is free to the public and starts at 2 pm with doors opening at 1 pm. Special accommodations are available.

Access for All is dedicated to breaking down physical, attitudinal, or informational barriers to equality for people with disabilities. Established in 2000 by Bryan and Beverly Gingg, PWAAA honors local architect Paul Wolff for his contributions in creating a more accessible community for all. For more information, call the SLOCCF at (805) 543-2323 or log onto www.sloccf.org and click on “Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Awards” in the lower right hand column.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Calling all Super Sleuths!

SLO Revealed: a fun and challenging event in Downtown San Luis Obispo

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CAComing on Saturday, May 14, 2011, SLO Revealed promises to be an afternoon full of fun and adventure. Teams will race against the clock and other teams throughout downtown finding riddles and solving clues. They will discover local history and intrigue while competing for wacky prizes.

Stumped? Need a hint? Buy one from a roving band of experts. Afterward, celebrate with a dinner, dance and awards party at The Creeky Tiki on Higuera.

“We’ve been looking to do something that involves the entire San Luis community and this event will be super fun. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Children’s Museum,” says Susan Stenovec of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Luis Obispo County.

The cost to participate is $40 per person, children under 10 are $6. Each team will receive a string backpack, clue book, and free hint. Each participant will also receive a dinner and drink ticket. Check in will begin at 2pm on the Creeky Tiki patio. The adventure race will begin at 3pm sharp. Raffle prizes, award ceremony, dining and dancing to DJ Willie will take place from 5-7pm.

Children under 10 will also receive a backpack of their own with age-appropriate activities and  clues to solve alongside their team. “Being downtown ourselves, the Children’s Museum is thrilled to co-present a new family activity that draws upon the lore, art and architecture of San Luis Obispo,” said the SLO Children’s Museum’s Executive Director, Michelle Jenkins.

Special thanks to Joan G. Sargen for sponsoring the event, and to our partners, San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department Visual Art in Public Places Program, Arts Obispo, The History Center, Creeky Tiki and all the merchants who are part of our game.

Everyone is invited to this unique event. Brought to you by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Luis Obispo County and the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum. For more information or to register, visit www.slorevealed.com or call (805) 545-5874.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


San Luis Obispo, CA The 50th Anniversary Season of the San Luis Obispo Symphony will end with shouts of joy in a two-day concert celebration at the Christopher Cohan Center in San Luis Obispo. On Saturday, May 7th at 8 pm, over 200 performers will take the stage in a performance of Beethoven’s immortal Ninth Symphony. Then, on Sunday, May 8th at 3 pm, they’ll do it again! The Symphony will mark its first-ever double concert set as part of this weekend event, which will also feature the world premiere of Celebrations! written by composer and award-winning Cal Poly professor Craig H. Russell, and commissioned by Maestro Michael Nowak to commemorate this landmark year. Tickets start at just $17 and may be purchased at the Performing Arts Center box office by calling (805) 756-2787 or online at pacslo.org. There will be NO FREE DRESS REHEARSAL for this concert.


For this very special double season finale, composer Craig H. Russell has written Celebrations!” a unique and original work that will feature the Youth Symphony Concert Orchestra playing side-by-side with our SLO Symphony orchestra in a joyful musical “conversation” between two generations. After intermission, the San Luis Obispo Symphony, joined by the Cuesta Master Chorale, the Cal Poly Choirs and vocal soloists Julia Kierstine, Jacalyn Kreitzer, Jon Garrison and Gary Aldrich, will take the stage for Beethoven’s masterful Ninth Symphony. The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire. It is considered by critics to be one of Beethoven’s masterpieces and one of the greatest musical compositions ever written. The symphony was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony (thus making it a choral symphony). The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the “Ode to Joy”, a poem written by Friedrich Schiller with additions made by the composer. When Beethoven wrote the Ninth Symphony, he was completely deaf and unable to hear his masterpiece. There is a well-attested story that, at the end of the premiere of this ultimate masterpiece, he had to be turned around to see the tumultuous applause of the audience; hearing nothing, he wept. Over 200 artists will perform together in this finale to the Symphony’s landmark 50th Anniversary Season, a musical gift to the community we love. To quote Beethoven in his Ode to Joy: “O you millions, I embrace you, here’s a joyful kiss for all!”

FOOD BANK COALITION – Music feeds the soul and the food bank feeds the hungry.

As part of this end-of-season community celebration, the Symphony is partnering with the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County in a food and donation drive. Concert patrons are encouraged to bring donations of cash or non-perishable food items to the concert, in support of the Food Bank’s efforts on behalf of our community. For more information about the Food Bank Coalition of SLO County, please visit www.slofoodbank.org.


Dr. Craig H. Russell received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in guitar performance from the University of New Mexico and his Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Steeped in the music of Spain and the Hispano-American world, Russell has published over 70 articles on subjects ranging from Mexican Cathedral music and eighteenth-century Hispanic studies to Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Russell has been a professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, for more than 20 years. The recipient of NEH and Fulbright grants, Professor Russell has also won several teaching awards, including California State University Trustee’s Outstanding Professor Award, the President’s Arts Award and the Wang Family Excellence Ward presented by the CSU Board of Trustees. He is an extraordinarily dynamic and charismatic lecturer.

As a composer, Russell has received wide praise and recognition for his work.  His compositions have been featured on two compact discs with the San Luis Obispo Symphony:  Concierto Romántico, with guitarist José María Gallardo del Rey, and Rhapsody for Horn and Orchestra with French hornist, Richard Todd, distributed by Naxos. Both works received their East Coast premiere at Carnegie Hall in April, 2001 featuring the San Luis Obispo Symphony. Rhapsody was also performed at the Sydney Opera House in 2006 and both were again performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2008 along with Russell’s last commission for the SLO Symphony: Ecos armónicos, featuring violinist Kathleen Lenski. In addition to his work with the SLO Symphony, Russell has worked closely with the acclaimed vocal group Chanticleer, including the production of four CD’s: Mexican Baroque, Matins for the Virgin of Guadalupe, Our American Journey, and Mission Road.

According to Music Director Michael Nowak: “The music of Craig Russell reflects and affects our community’s artistic soul. I have seen it move, energize and enchant concert-goers both here and abroad. I am honored to be able to work with such a talented and innovative composer.”


Since 1961, the San Luis Obispo Symphony has been an artistic, economic, educational and community-centered force on the Central Coast.  Now celebrating its 50th Anniversary Season, the Symphony presents a nine-month season of concerts including a classical masterworks series in San Luis Obispo, a chamber music series in more intimate venues around the county, a seaside Pops concert in Avila Beach and a Children’s Concert at the Performing Arts Center. San Luis Obispo Symphony Music Education reaches more than 16,000 children and adults every year with a variety of programs providing a continuum of performance, outreach and experience activities for all ages.

Under the direction of Maestro Michael Nowak since 1984, the Symphony is a leader in San Luis Obispo’s arts community. Under Nowak’s baton, the San Luis Obispo Symphony has commissioned new works and championed the music of California composer Craig H. Russell on three continents.  The orchestra has produced two critically acclaimed recordings of Russell’s music and premiered others in concert.  They have toured Spain, Australia and the United States, including performances at Carnegie Hall in 2001, the Sydney Opera House in 2006 and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in June, 2008.  Maestro Nowak’s unique vision has overseen the growth of a fledgling community orchestra performing in local churches to a thriving cultural presence in San Luis Obispo County and beyond.


This concert is sponsored by Silas & Jimmie Brewer, Diane & Joe Brocato, Clifford W. Chapman & Gene A. Shidler and Dr. Maurina Kusell & Dr. Michael Zigelman. Generous 2010-2011 Symphony Season Sponsors include the City of San Luis Obispo, Trilogy Central Coast, Van Beurden Insurance Services, Inc., Embassy Suites Hotel, KCBX Public Radio, the San Luis Obispo Tribune and generous Symphony business partner Sage Restaurant at Cal Poly. Symphonic Forays with Dr. Craig Russell is sponsored by Ursula & Michael Fitzgerald.

Further details about this concert and about all of the concerts and programs of the San Luis Obispo Symphony are available at www.slosymphony.com or by calling (805) 543-3533. For interviews and other information, please contact Communications Director Patty Thayer at (805) 543-3533, ext.#105.

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WineCoastCountry.com Takes Home ADDYs at Two Regional Awards Ceremonies

The Verdin|Riester team takes home bronze awards for Interactive Media

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – In March, the American Advertising Federation chapters across the country held regional ADDY Award celebrations, recognizing creative excellence in the advertising industry. In Phoenix, AZ and in Santa Barbara, CA, the San Luis Obispo County Tourism Business Improvement District (CBID) website www.WineCoastCountry.com took home Bronze awards for Interactive Media.

Both the Metro Phoenix and Santa Barbara Chapters of the American Advertising Federation had dozens of advertising agencies, graphic design companies, students and corporate marketers submitting hundreds of entries seeking recognition in various categories.

“We hired Verdin | RIESTER to develop our brand and our website,” said CBID Board of Directors Chair Mike Hanchett. “Their creativity combined with an

Ashlee Akers of Verdin Marketing, Mary Verdin of Verdin Marketing and Mike Hanchett, CBID Board of Directors Chair.

understanding of the visitor to our county has resulted in a wonderful and inviting website that is already exceeding our expectations of success.” Hanchett notes that the website, launched only five months ago, is already seeing upwards of 14,000 visitors per month.

Verdin | Riester started researching the development of www.WineCoastCountry.com in March 2010. After the launch last October, close to 1,200 pages of content have been created for tourists and locals alike to learn, discover and rediscover San Luis Obispo County.

Main features include a dynamic home page with five hero shots that change out monthly to show off the county; an itinerary builder where visitors are able to create their ideal trip by researching and adding where they want to eat, play, stay and which events they wish to attend while in the area; and currently drawing people to the site is a contest to “Win Your Dream Vacation” to win a $500 vacation.

For more information, contact Mary Verdin at (805) 541-9005 or visit www.WineCoastCountry.com.

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Action Hero: The Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


The Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention Center urges prevention of sexual violence

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – April 4, 2011    April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention (SARP) Center is urging county residents to become aware of sexual assault and how it can be prevented. The SARP Center has several upcoming events, including:


  • Empowerment and self-defense workshops
  • 9th Annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes & Family Fun Fair on April 30th in Mission Plaza
  • Several fundraisers at local businesses (see attached calendar)
  • Tabling at SLO Farmers’ Market
  • Proclamations at the County Board of Supervisors and most city councils

Survivors of sexual assault are often unaware of what constitutes assault or the resources available to them. By publicizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the SARP Center hopes to raise awareness about sexual violence and help survivors access the resources they need in order to recover emotionally and physically.

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact from another individual, including rape, fondling, sexual harassment and stalking. While the act of sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or ability, victims are more often women: 1 in 6 women are likely to experience some form of sexual assault, and approximately 1 in 33 men are sexually assaulted.

In 2010, 98 sexual assaults were reported to law enforcement in SLO county. But according to national statistics, only 11% of rapes are reported to police. This means there were approximately 890 sexual assaults in our community that were NOT reported. Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity to talk about the reasons why rape is so underreported, and what can be done about it. It is important to remember the assailant in sexual assault cases is often not a stranger, but a person known to the victim, including friends, neighbors or family.

The SARP Center has been serving San Luis Obispo County for more than 30 years, providing crisis intervention services, clinical counseling, prevention education and self-defense classes to survivors, their loved ones and the community. Last year the SARP Center provided:

  • 452 crisis interventions to victims and their significant others
  • accompaniment with 98 survivors to medical exams, law enforcement interviews and court appearances
  • individual and group therapy to 59 clients at no cost to them
  • 298 presentations to more than 4,700 students and residents in the county
  • 33 self-defense workshops to 528 participants

For additional information please visit www.sarpcenter.org or call (805) 545-8888. Thank you for joining the movement to end sexual violence during Sexual Assault Awareness Month!


April 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment