Commission on Status of Women Luncheon | Around About North County

On March 9 at the Madonna Inn, I had the pleasure of attending the Recognition Luncheon for the Women’s Wall of Fame sponsored by the San Luis Obispo County Commission on the Status of Women.

The theme of the event was “Women Who Lead” and introduced a group of 18 women from throughout the county who were nominated for the Women’s Wall of Fame. Three women from Atascadero were part of that group. They included Bonne Scott, Nancy Casey, and Jeannie Malik. All three were recognized in the Volunteer category for their community involvement.

We had a great supportive contingency from Atascadero for all three women.

Congratulations to Bonne, Nancy, and Jeannie — my “Community Heroes for this week!

The SLO County Commission on the Status of Women is a government advisory commission that addresses local women’s issues and concerns in order to inform the County Board of Supervisors. They also have an appointee to the Executive Board of Directors for the State Commission on the Status of Women. The benefit to SLO County from this appointment is further exposure to other Commissions and networking throughout women’s organizations locally and within California.

The Commission is made up of volunteers who have been appointed by the County Board of Supervisors, representing each of the County’s five districts. Their goals are met effectively in a number of ways, including the following: outreach events, community relations, and partnering with other advisory groups.

The Commission identifies issues of concern to women that are not currently the focus of other advocacy or advisory organizations and may include the following: educational and vocational opportunities, medical and legal services, financial education, rape and other violent crimes against women, criminal justice policies and procedures, housing and transportation facilities, and childcare needs of women.

For more information and to see how you can volunteer, visit

The commission meets at 6:15 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. Commission members additionally commit to serving on varying subcommittees and public event attendance. They meet at the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., D161/162, San Luis Obispo.

In last week’s column, I promised to say a little more about the wonderful concert that the Atascadero Community Band presented on March 3 at Atascadero Bible Church. The concert on that day benefited Coats for Kids of SLO County that provides children and adults in North County with warm coats and jackets during distributions in Atascadero and Paso Robles in December.

Coats for Kids partners with Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles, Atascadero Loaves and Fishes, Salvation Army, and Atascadero Kiwanis Club at the distributions.

The concert theme was “A Humankind Epic” and was narrated by Matt Conrad who also played the Tuba during the concert. Musical numbers were conducted by guest conductors, Randy Schwalbe and Justin Larson.

Randy Schwalbe earned a bachelor’s in Music Education from UCLA and studied choral conducting with UCLA Professor Donald Nuen. He has served as the band director of Los Altos High School (near Stanford University) and later as the co-director of Palos Verdes Symphonic Band and as a guest conductor of the Peninsula Symphonic Winds in Los Angeles. Randy spent several decades conducting a prominent community choir and directing musicals with the Manhattan Beach and Torrance Community Theatres, and he conducted an opera with Casa Italiana Opera Company in Los Angeles.   

Justin Larson is a native of Atascadero and graduated from AHS. He earned his bachelor’s in Church Music from Fresno Pacific University in 2018 with an emphasis on organ and took conducting classes from Dr. Erik Leung D.M.A Northwestern School of Music. Justin has been a member of the Community band since 2007, performing on bassoon and percussion. The concert on March 3 was his first opportunity to publicly conduct the Community Band.

The music was truly moving — right from the first number, “Fanfare for the Common Man” and ending with “Festive Overture” by Dmitri Shostakovich, translated by D. Hunsberger.

Atascadero Community Band is an all-volunteer, nonprofit, public benefit charitable organization. Donations that were made at the concert will be presented to Coats for Kids soon. Watch for an amount and a photo here in this column! We thank the band for their support.

For more information, visit

Spring is here and it’s time for a tea party! Yes, indeed — save the date of Saturday, April 13 for “Afternoon Tea with Phoebe Hearst” as portrayed by local actress, Karen Harris. This special presentation will take place at the Community Church Hall in Atascadero from 2-4 p.m. The address is 5850 Rosario, the street by the Atascadero Police Station.

You will experience an “afternoon with Phoebe,” the remarkable philanthropist and visionary who was the mother of William Randolph Hearst and be treated to high tea with sweets, tea and a glass of champagne.

The one-woman show is sponsored by the Atascadero Performing Arts Center Committee (APACC). Tickets are $50 and are available at the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce or at (search Phoebe Hearst).

Enjoy the beautiful weather!



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