Tomatoes and football | Around About North County

OK, I guess I’m ready for football! We have been watching the tennis Open in New York City and it has been extremely hot and humid back there. I can’t even imagine competing in any sport for three or four hours at a time in that kind of weather! I am definitely ready for fall — the colors, the falling leaves, the acorns, the pumpkins, football, of course, and even the tarantulas. Haven’t seen any crossing the road yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. I’m sure the lady tarantulas are waiting. I understand that the male will often travel many miles to find the right mate.... more

Bonnie Wilkins Memorial | Around About North County

When I joined Quota International of Atascadero in 2000, the club was already 26 years old, having been chartered in 1974. I remember meeting a very special woman who was a charter member of the club. She was one of those people who simply lit up a room with their welcoming personality. Her name was Bonnie Lyn Wilkins. Bonnie was an artist in the true sense of the word and her work is her legacy. I am pleased to own a couple of her works that will now be a constant reminder of her and our friendship through Quota. ... more

Fall is coming | Around About North County

Last Friday afternoon, John and I placed our chairs on the sidewalk along El Camino Real by the old Chamber office, in preparation for the City’s Cruise Nite. By the time we got downtown, there were already hundreds of chairs already in place on both sides of ECR from Traffic Way to Curbaril, indicating the popularity of the event.... more

Cruisin’ weekend | Around About North County

This is going to be “the weekend of the car!” Around here we call it “cruisin’ weekend” and it is just that. Folks will line up along El Camino Real on a seven-and-a-half mile stretch and some groups gather for their own little parties along the way. The parade of autos runs from Traffic Way to Curbaril from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The count this year is around 400 cars from all over the state and there’s a little bit of everything to see, from new, old, and very, very old. What fun it is to see a car like the one your great-grandparents drove, or a car like your first car.... more

Wild About Art | Around About North County

I love our zoo here in Atascadero and they have a new event coming up that you won’t want to miss. This new event, “Wild About Art” will be held Saturday, Aug. 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Charles Paddock Zoo, located at the Atascadero Lake Park. Visitors will have an opportunity to watch as the Zoo’s animal residents create their own, unique and artistic works of art. Attendees will also be able to create fun arts and crafts too, with opportunities for children to color and paint and much much more! Talented local artists will be on hand to showcase their artwork, which will be for sale.... more

Tomatoes and the weather | Around About North County

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we are not dependent on farming for our livelihood. We planted six tomato plants this year and they are loaded with tomatoes. However, with the weather going from hot to cold and back again, the tomatoes are still not ready. When it stayed warm for a while we did get 3 or 4 that could be picked and they were delicious. ... more

Community Treasures | Around About North County

We are fortunate that most of the communities in our area have a “treasure” or two — some things that draw people in and make them want to visit or live there. Here in Atascadero, I believe we have several “treasures, including our historic City Hall, historic Printery Building (in the process of restoration), Sunken Gardens Park, Lake Park, Charles Paddock Zoo, and Atascadero Lake.... more

Busy Summer | Around About North County

Don’t miss out on the last two Tuesdays in the Park, Atascadero Chamber sponsored barbecues as summer winds down. The next is Tuesday, July 30 hosted by P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) and CALL (Creative Alternative for Learning & Living). Proceeds from the BBQ will support Atascadero’s Chapter P.E.O.’s mission “to celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.”... more

Remembering Tom Maas | Around About North County

Saturday, July 6, was one of those beautiful North County days and family and friends of Tom Maas gathered to say goodbye and pay tribute to a man who was loved and respected by many. The memorial was held at Pear Valley Winery, owned by Tom and his wife, Kathleen. Several of us, members of Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County, attended the memorial gathering to pay our respects and to support Kathleen, who is a valued member of our organization. Both she and Tom have been devoted to the support our members give to school children, through our Operation School Bell program.... more

Special Fourth of July | Around About North County

I hope you celebrated the 4th of July with family and friends and enjoyed good food, good company, and great entertainment! We started our day in Templeton with pancakes served by the Templeton Fire Department at their fundraiser. Then we watched the wonderful, very patriotic, Independence Day parade organized by our Templeton Rotary Club. It was one of those “feel good” parades that included WWII Veterans, Cecil Gambel, Rex Hendricks, Thomas R. Hidalgo, and Robert “Bob” Brown, as Grand Marshals, riding in a 1953 Buick convertible and a 1967 Oldsmobile convertible, owned by William O’Neil, the Templeton High School band, made up of current students and alums, and Camp Roberts soldiers in period costumes, who performed as part of the Daughters of the American Revolution entry, depicting the historic event when Molly Pitcher took over the firing of a cannon. (Look that one up in your history book!). There were over 70 entries and the crowd cheered Manuel Enrique and his Dancing Horses who performed with great precision. They were toward the end of the parade, needless to say — it was a clean-up issue!... more

Wine Fest recap and Fourth of July kickoff | Around About North County

Last Friday evening, some of us, who are members of the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival Committee, attended the 9th Annual Kiwanis and Mayors’ Winemaker Dinner at the Lake Pavilion. Enjoying the wines served by our Winemaker, Raymond Smith, owner of Indigene Cellars, Carmel Valley, Monterey County, were Carol Porter, Lyn Fowler, Kristie Steele, Kim Jones, and Stacey Medema — along with me.... more

Wine Fest is here! | Around About North County

Well, here we go with our 24th Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival “Central Coast Reserve Experience” weekend. We’ve got the Kiwanis/Mayors’ Winemaker Dinner tonight and the Optimist Golf Tournament in the morning starting at 8 a.m. Enjoy Yoga and mimosas (while they last) at Wine’d Up at 9 a.m. with a free workout in the Sunken Gardens presented by Kennedy Club Fitness, ending the day with our “special” Lakeside Wine Festival starting in the late afternoon at 4 p.m. and going until 8 p.m. Then on Sunday you can experience Sunday Fun Day and visit some of the participating wineries to continue exploring all that the Central Coast has to offer. Special deals will be available at most locations. ... more

Tuesdays in the Park Kickoff | Around About North County

This past Tuesday, June 11 was the kickoff for the Tuesdays in the Park summer barbecues served by our nonprofits and sponsored by the Atascadero Chamber. Parents for Joy served on Tuesday and raised funds for the new Joy Playground located at Colony Park Community Center here in Atascadero. The next barbecue will be Tuesday, June 18 and will be served by members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.... more

Reserve Experience | Around About North County

If you have ever been involved in a large event you know that when you are 16 days out from the event, you’d better be pretty well organized and “ready to go.” That’s where we are with the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival and our “Reserve Experience” and we are right where we should be at this time — whew! Our amazing committee met Wednesday and everyone is on target, much to my relief. I’ve been involved since the first event and have seen it grow to become one of the premier wine festivals on the Central Coast. ... more

Recap of May activities | Around About North County

As we wrap up the month of May, I want to send kudos to Nancy Hair and the rest of Friends of Atascadero Lake for organizing the LakeFest and encouraging activities that occur on our beautiful Atascadero Lake. From Nancy’s report, everyone enjoyed the cardboard boat races and the other race categories. Congratulations to the crew of the Solarponics sponsored “Sun Catcher” that placed first in the Open Class in the Cardboard Boat Races. It’s not too early to start planning your entry for next year. Save some cardboard!... more

Memorial Day plans and Lighthouse 5K Fun Run | Around About North County

The 7th Annual Lighthouse 5K fun Run and Family Day will take place on Saturday, June 1, from 8 to 11 a.m., at Pomar Junction Vineyard and Winery, 5036 S. El Pomar, Templeton. Come out and run or walk! There will be a kids 1/2 mile and 100-yard dash along with raffle prizes, race awards, food, vendor fair and a bounce house.... more

Printery Foundation’s Annual Reception | Around About North County

Last Saturday John and I attended our Printery Foundation’s Annual Donors and Founders Reception at SpringHill Suites. It was a great turnout and I am convinced that Atascadero residents are now beginning to recognize what our group is hoping to achieve. During the program, Karen McNamara, Board President, introduced Architect Greg Ravatt, and Gillian van Enckevort for an Engineering Presentation regarding the Printery building.... more

Wine Festival | Around About North County

It doesn’t seem possible that I’ve been involved in the Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival for going on 24 years! How can that be? If you have not attended this event, let me tell you a little history. Twenty-four years ago a group of Atascadero community leaders came together to create an event to put Atascadero “on the map” of events and festivals. That original team included Mayor Hal Carden, Community Services Director Brady Cherry, former Chamber Executive Director Micki Readie, and business leaders Sid Bowen, Jan Bewley, and Anthony Farao. Also among the group were community volunteers anxious to be part of this exciting venture. I happened to be one of those volunteers.... more

Lighthouse and Tuesdays in the Park | Around About North County

I had one of those crazy days this week where I had my dates mixed up for a couple of meetings. It made me feel old and angry until I had a conversation with someone much younger. She has a “smartphone” where she keeps her calendar — she calls the phone her “life-line.” She misplaced her phone recently and did not find it that day until after dinner. She said she missed everything, including a doctor’s appointment and a lunch date with a good friend. I decided that maybe I wasn’t so old and angry, after all — at least I hadn’t lost my “flip phone!”... more

Gardening in Atascadero | Around About North County

This past weekend John and I attacked an area of our property that is covered with a huge variety of weeds I’ve not seen before, including Miner’s Lettuce. It is beautiful and lush and according to my research online, is edible. It’s amazing what came in with the winds this year. We’ve seen more wildflowers, also, that add to the beauty of rural living. This county is unbelievable — when you can live two miles from town, with deer, wild turkeys, grey squirrels, and other critters, it is a blessing, indeed.... more

Recap of Tea with Phoebe | Around About North County

Well, I heard from several of you that you missed my column last week. Thanks for noticing! However, it was nice that my “space” was filled with the article written by my friend Lon Allan, about the Atascadero Kiwanis Club celebration of 50 years of making a difference in our community. Thanks, Lon! Our Atascadero Performing Arts Center Committee (APACC) presented “Afternoon Tea with Phoebe Hearst” last Saturday at the Community Church Hall. Local actress, Karen Harris, was truly believable as Phoebe and impressed the audience with her Chautauqua-style of performance which was popular in the late 19th century.... more

Picnic in the Wildflowers | Around About North County

I remember reading a Chinese Proverb long ago about the miracle of life that went something like this: “The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.” I’d like to change that a little and have it read — “to walk on the earth among the wonders of nature and remember how blessed we are with the extraordinary diversity and beauty of it.”... more

Recapping Dancing With Our Stars | Around About North County

I remember participating in the first Dancing With Our Stars and I raised $3,000 which went to the Library project that year. All of us who danced were very excited to be part of the show and hoped that the fundraising committee would continue to produce the event. We knew that it had great potential for raising funds for the Library. Continue, it did and last weekend was the 10th production of what has become a signature event for Friends of the Library, who originally presented it, only now the dancers represent a nonprofit and raise money for that group. Friends of the Library continues to have a dancer represent it since there is always a need for raising funds for the maintenance of the building.... more

P.E.O. is 150 years old | Around About North County

This is certainly the year for some big birthdays when it comes to a couple of women’s organizations. I recently mentioned that Quota International is 100 years old this year. Another organization known as P.E.O., which stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization, turned 150! It was on Jan. 21, 1869, when seven young women came together at Iowa Wesleyan University, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, with their vision of P.E.O. For 150 years the founding ideal of loyal and compassionate friendship that created the Sisterhood’s structure has stood the test of permanency. From P.E.O.’s first days, wise flexibility also provided strength for endurance and expansion. Some early practices, like total secrecy, diminished with a changing cultural viewpoint. P.E.O.’s mission is to celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans, and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations. ... more

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.... more

Review of the Red Panda reception | Around About North County

Last Friday evening we attended a special evening reception for the opening of the Thelma Vetter Red Panda Experience at the Charles Paddock Zoo. The impressive new home for the zoo’s red panda population was made possible through a very generous bequest made by the estate of longtime Atascadero resident, Thelma Vetter. Thelma and her husband, William Vetter, moved to Atascadero in 1946 and had the insight to purchase numerous commercial properties in town. William passed away in 1993. Thelma was very active in the Atascadero Historical Society and the Friends of the Atascadero Library, among other local organizations and often gave generously to various charities. Thelma passed away in 2009 at the age of 91. Thelma Vetter was a kind and caring person who loved animals and was very concerned for their welfare. She left this significant bequest specifically for zoo improvements. Glen R. Lewis, trustee of the Thelma Vetter Estate, said that Thelma was a very private person and didn’t seek recognition, but he felt that in the case of this exhibit she should be publically acknowledged for her overwhelming generosity.... more

Quota celebrates a 100 years | Around About North County

Quota International is celebrating a 100 year history of “service to the community” this year. To celebrate, our local Quota Club, served a beautiful birthday cake that had a picture of Wanda Frye Joiner, the founder of the organization, on top of the frosting, at our regular luncheon meeting at the Lake Pavilion on March 21. Organizations often need to go through change to stay alive and meaningful. Sometimes the changes are small---just a tweak here and there. However, big changes may be needed and an organization has to reorganize and rebrand itself, still keeping their mission in focus. Rise is a perfect example and was born from the combination of two vital organizations in SLO County. The North County Women’s Shelter and Resource Center and the Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center of SLO County. The nonprofits were merged on Jan. 1, 2013 to create a stronger more effective agency. ... more

Rotary Crab Feed out of this world | Around About North County

Members of the Rotary Club of Atascadero sure know how to put on a Crab Feed and last Saturday night they proved it again. It’s an annual event and the Pavilion on the Lake was packed with Atascadero Rotarians with their families and friends, along with Rotarians I recognized from Paso Robles and Templeton clubs. I sat at the “Z Farm” table hosted by Tom and Linda Zirk and decorated, of course, in a farm theme. I think Jeannie Malik had her creative hand involved in the decorating and the table won first place in the decorated table competition.... more

ALSLOC Membership Reception | Around About North County

When we have storms in our area — rain I like, wind I don’t! As I write today, the wind has settled down and that feels much better. On Wednesday afternoon, members of our Assistance League chapter held our annual Membership Drive Reception at the beautiful Pear Valley Winery, 4900 Union Rd., Paso Robles. League member Kathleen Maas and husband Tom are owners of the winery and continuously give back to our San Luis Obispo County communities. Kudos to them for their support of the philanthropic work done by the many nonprofits in our area!... more

Chocolate and Valentine’s Day | Around About North County

I love February. I love the color red. I love celebrating my birthday and Valentine’s Day. I love collecting anything heart shaped and last but not least, eating chocolate! In fact, I’m dedicating today’s column to all of the mutual “chocoholics” in the world! I have a “sweet” little Hallmark book titled “For the Love of Chocolate” that presents some facts about the discovery of chocolate more than 2,000 years ago. It is thought that some early inhabitant of Mesoamerica roasted a few beans from the pod of a tree deep in the misty rainforest and as the rich aroma of the roasting beans filled the air, the love of chocolate was born.... more

Rain and daffodils | Around About North County

More rain — that’s a good thing! We have an area on our property, just off of our deck that is covered with oak trees and rocks. We dubbed it “The Park” and right now it is beautiful. The rocks are covered with vibrant green moss and when the sun shines through the trees it is simply breathtaking. During the drought, the moss was dry and we were lucky to see any green at all, but now it’s alive and well thanks to all the rain! Have you noticed the daffodils popping their heads above ground? You should see them in front of the Montessori School on Monterey Road. When they all bloom it’s going to be a sight to see! I think we are in for a beautiful display this year all over Atascadero. Thanks to Lee Swam, aka “Daffodil Man,” who started the “Daffodil Movement” several years ago. Thanks, Lee! ... more

Recap of weekend activities | Around About North County

I had looked forward to the Atascadero Tamale Festival with great anticipation since I had attended the Festival in 2018 and thoroughly enjoyed it. But this year it was not meant to be. Instead, we were dealing with our aging pet — a Border Collie and Lab mix who is going on 12 years of age. Cale was at a point that made us think she needed to be put down. That was the sad news. However, the good news is that we took her to see Dr. Renee Leton at El Camino Veterinary Hospital and she examined her, said her heart was strong and she was healthy — she was simply “aging” and needed some pain medication to help her deal with it. John and I said we certainly could understand that! We now give her the medication (like Tylenol) and she’s 90 percent better. The 10 percent is the “aging” part, which many of us understand!... more

Recap of annual chamber dinner | Around About North County

My friend Jeannie Malik was recognized as the Atascadero Citizen of the Year by the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce on Saturday night at the Annual Awards Dinner. A sellout crowd filled the Pavilion on the Lake for the event and gave Jeannie a standing ovation when she received her award. Grenda Ernst, 2016 Citizen of the Year, introduced Jeannie with these words: “Small but mighty. Raise your hand if you’ve seen her leap tall buildings in single bound. And furthermore, she has completed five San Luis Obispo Triathlons. She holds the Vanuatu National Record for the 88-pound tuna she caught. She has completed the Solvang Century Ride. And she rode the Denver Post Ride The Rockies 435-mile bike ride, with a cumulative elevation climb of 30,000 feet. She was Miss California Roller Skating Queen in 1978. Speaking of Queens, she has been the Homecoming Queen at Allan Hancock College and as far as her friends are concerned, she is the queen every day, of everything.”... more

ALF heroes for January | Around About North County

It’s exciting to have all of this rain — what a cleansing way to start 2019! The trees are getting rid of all their fall foliage and the hills are turning green again. However, it won’t be long before our weed-eater will need to be oiled and ready to go! I received my annual newsletter from Atascadero Loaves and Fishes Board President Tim Eckles and the statistics for this nonprofit, all-volunteer organization are impressive. The statistics from the Pantry for January through November 2018 report that 302,300 pounds of groceries were given out to 14,500 people, not including emergency vouchers.... more

Happy New Year | Around About North County

Well, Happy New Year! Looks like we may start 2019 with some rain this weekend, and won’t that be nice! We enjoyed two gatherings on New Year’s Eve — one with the Noyes family here in Atascadero and the other with Kathy and Michael Nutt at their Templeton home. Carol and Paul Porter, Linda and Pete Hendy, and Carol and Mike Talen also joined in the celebration. Believe it or not, we all stayed awake to welcome in the New Year as the local clocks struck midnight. By the time we packed up, drove home, and unloaded the car, it was 1 o’clock. Next morning I got up, fixed breakfast and then went back to bed! This old body still needs a “fixed” amount of sleep!... more

Holiday wrap-up and ringing in the New Year! | Around About North County

I found a special little book this year, titled simply, “The Book of Christmas.” It’s a collection of holiday verse, prose, and carols, compiled by Debra Starr and published by Borders Press, a division of Borders, Inc. The introduction to the book on the cover reads: “Our Christmases are marked by tradition — holiday recipes, handed-down decorations, each family’s particular ritual for trimming the tree. But most of all this season is defined for us by stories, in the carols, pageants, verse, and prose we’ve associated with this holiday since our childhoods. In their retellings of the first Christmas, and of the manifestations of its spirit throughout the ages, these stories carry within them our own Christmas past.”... more

Review of Coats for Kids 2018 | Around About North County

Coats for Kids 2018 was a huge success. We served over 700 families here in the North County, at the distributions in Atascadero and Paso Robles. Using the number five as an average number of people in a family, we served over 3500 individuals, with a warm coat, jacket, sweater or sweatshirt. That’s a huge number and we are grateful for all of the good, gently used and new donations we received this year. ... more

Re-cap Coats for Kids | Around About North County

It has been five very busy days so far this week. The hard-working Coats for Kids team and our wonderful volunteers served 262 families in Atascadero on Wednesday, after setting up coats and jackets for adults and children in the National Guard Armory on Monday and Tuesday. Tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 15) we will distribute more coats and jackets in Paso Robles, to 443 families, at the Paso Robles Event Center in the Frontier Building. The Armory is a huge space and we seem to fill every inch with not only Coats for Kids, but with the Kiwanis toy area, the Atascadero Loaves and Fishes food box area, and the Salvation Army voucher table.... more

Preparing for Coats for Kids distribution | Around About North County

When you read this, we will be packing up our enclosed trailer with donated coats, jackets, sweaters and sweatshirts for Coats for Kids. We will move our set-up equipment into the National Guard Armory in Atascadero this Monday, Dec. 10, starting at 8:30 a.m., if you want to volunteer. We still need more of those warm items, for children of our local families, for the distribution on Wednesday, Dec. 12. If you missed dropping your donation in one of our boxes, please bring your items to the Armory on Monday or Tuesday before 2 p.m. if possible. ... more

Update on holiday activity | Around About North County

As I write, I’m listening to the needed rain we are getting. My plants are so happy to have all of that moisture from the sky, and I am so happy that I don’t have to get the hose and water them myself! I was on KPRL’s Sound Off on Tuesday, with Jaime Umphenour. We talked about the Coats for Kids project and the 31 years I have been involved. It doesn’t seem possible that it was that long ago, but time passes very quickly these days.... more

Thanksgiving review and more | Around About North County

I hope you survived a joyful Thanksgiving and are now enjoying all the leftovers, which I think is one of the great benefits of that “fulfilling” meal! We traveled all the way to Paso Robles to share the day with our son David, his wife Shannon and their family. Shannon is a marvelous cook and she never lets us down. Due to family tradition, it is my responsibility to prepare a raw cranberry/Jell-O salad. The recipe was given to my mother by my father’s mother, my grandmother, Jenny Wofford, when my parents were first married in 1935, making the recipe over 80 years old.... more

Holiday activities and one dessert! | Around About North County

For those of you who read my recipe column, I just have to sneak in one more pumpkin recipe for the holidays. I ran out of room in my “Recipes from the Heart” this week, so I’m taking advantage of “Around About North County!” But of course, we “north-of-the-grade” folks love to cook and eat and I think you’ll love this dessert.... more

Holiday events update | Around About North County

Looking at the calendar you can see what’s coming — lots of events, food, toy and jacket drives and distributions in December. Of course, we will celebrate Thanksgiving this month and be grateful that we live in this wonderful country where we can experience an election, and no matter the outcome, we move forward. We move forward and accept the outcome, or work on making changes.... more

ALSLOC Shopping Estravaganza | Around About North County

On Monday our Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County opened our Assistance League Thrift Store for a “Holiday Shopping Extravaganza”. The event opened at 11 a.m. and there were shoppers lined up at the door when we opened. Normally we are closed on Mondays so we can stock the shelves, hold our monthly meeting in the large back room area, and generally do “operational” activities. However, we decided to open on Monday, Oct. 29, to kick-off holiday shopping. We worked all day Sunday, transitioning the store. The store is beautiful all the time, but it is exceptionally beautiful now, filled with lovely holiday merchandise donated by generous supporters, along with fully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths fashioned by members who retired from careers as professional floral designers.... more

Autumn activities | Around About North County

Autumn produces falling leaves. Maybe that’s why we call this season “fall.” Well, I’ve been raking leaves around here and believe me we have plenty to spare. We live in what I call an oak forest and this is the time of year that the trees do a cleansing by shedding some leaves. When a huge oak sheds some leaves, it makes a real statement on the ground. I’ve been observing other trees in our area also making statements by the color changes of their leaves — gold, red, orange, and amber — exciting to see!... more

Gearing up for Coats for Kids | Around About North County

It doesn’t seem possible that we are talking “Christmas” when we haven’t had Halloween or Thanksgiving yet! However, some of our projects require early preparations to be successful in December. One such project is Coats for Kids. Our team has been mentioning the distribution all year on “social media,” and I’ve mentioned it here in my column, but now we start our big push to get the word out, so here we go. We need new and gently used coats, jackets, sweaters and sweatshirts for children and adults for the Christmas distributions in Atascadero and Paso Robles. In Paso we partner with Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles, Toys for Tots, and Salvation Army, who distribute toys and vouchers for food. In Atascadero we partner with Atascadero Loaves and Fishes, Kiwanis, Toys for Tots, and Salvation Army.... more

The Leadoff: Exploded faces and hurt feelings

Did you hear the news? The NBA is going to televise the All-Star draft for the All-Star game this season and it is the best news I have received since I learned that Panda Express has brought back their honey sesame chicken. My birthday was on Monday and I still was more excited when I woke up Wednesday and instantly blasted my eyes with my ESPN update I thought too good to be true.... more

Column: One of the best Colony Days | Around about North County

Despite the rain in the middle of the week, the Atascadero Colony Days celebration went off without a hitch. It was a beautiful weekend weather-wise and one of the best Colony Days events I’ve been involved in for some time. The Friday night concerts in Tent City, organized by Heather Young and her committee, offered great toe-tapping music. And sitting in the Sunken Gardens, with the historic City Hall as a backdrop, surrounded by tents representing the early days of Atascadero, was special. A cast of community actors in period costumes revealed what it was like in those days by bringing history to life. The historical enactment continued on Saturday after the parade. Congratulations to Dianne and Wally Greenaway and the Tent City team for a job well done.... more

Leave Le'Veon alone

There are certain things in sports that are weird and mostly irrational that drive me completely crazy. No, I’m not talking about how in football many times the game, that has been played by literal modern-day gladiators, is decided by a someone significantly smaller that no one would mistake for a gladiator kicking a ball through some arbitrary yellow poles when they really don't contribute to the rest of the game at all. ... more

Signs of Autumn | Around About North County

For several years now, I have noticed my hearing loss coming on. Of course, for me age has everything to do with it. I struggled through hundreds of meetings, not really hearing everything that was said, but good friends always filled me in. Well, I finally got my hearing aids on Tuesday of this week and I am learning to hear all over again! It’s exciting. I’m hearing the ticking of our old antique clock and the striking of the hour, which seems so loud now, the rattling of the newspaper when I read it, the jingle of the bracelets on my arms, the running of water, and of course, the clanking of dishes and pots and pans in the kitchen! It will take some getting used to, but I’m up to the challenge.... more

Cruise Nite well attended | Around About North County

John and I had another commitment on the night of the Hot El Camino Cruise here in Atascadero last weekend, but we heard that it was well attended. With some 400 classic, antique and “hot” cars, it was a success according to all reports. I attended the Saturday night event, Dancing in the Streets, to help with the Printery Foundation booth. There were definitely more people enjoying the beautiful summer evening in the downtown Atascadero Colony District — more than last year I observed. With five bands, great food, and beer, wine, and cider tasting opportunities the event is growing and making for a fun weekend. Under the leadership of Terrie Banish, Deputy City Manager/Outreach, Promotions, Events, for the City of Atascadero, the organizers did a fantastic job. Congratulations to all!... more

Cruisin' today | Around About North County

Welcome to our big Cruisin’ Weekend here in Atascadero. Tonight, (Friday, Aug. 17) those beautiful, hot and classic cars from the past will be cruisin’ El Camino Real, so grab your family and friends and head on downtown. Don’t forget to take a lawn chair or two because the cars will cruise from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and you just might like to “sit a spell”. Tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 18) you can take in one of the most popular car shows in SLO County, at the Mid State Cruizers Annual Car Show at Atascadero Lake Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Then hop on downtown at 5 p.m. for the Summer Concert Blowout and Dance Party in the Downtown Colony District.... more


Fonzi: How a candidate sees the world matters

My last article suggested asking local candidates about their “Vision” for Atascadero and specific types of questions you might ask them. A candidate’s worldview is equally important since how a person sees the world influences how they govern. One need look no farther than Santa Barbara to see bad government at work albeit for the best of intentions. A ban on plastic straws was passed, ostensibly to prevent marine life from ingesting micro-plastic pollutants and being injured. Who could be against that?... more

The Leadoff: Cheaters prospered

Is it just me? Or does it feel like the World Cup Final that was on Sunday happened a decade ago? Maybe it was because I spent last week laid up in sunny San Diego sippin’ Sazerac and now have jumped straight back into the craziness that is fair week, but regardless summer is flying by, I mean, there are only 49 more days until NFL begins. ... more

The Leadoff: NBA free agency update

At 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, July 1 on the East Coast, NBA free agency began and things have been absolutely crazy so far. I know what you’re thinking, Kentavious Caldwell Pope went where?? OK maybe that isn’t exactly the move you were interested in but I am going to list all, or at least most, of the free agency moves along with my comments (sometimes about basketball, sometimes not) about my favorites. ... more

The Leadoff: Who wants free beer?

I ran a poll on Facebook asking our audience if they are watching the World Cup two weeks ago and the numbers came back in overwhelming fashion, you aren’t. So I should probably talk about something other than soccer, but if you think I am going to do that then you obviously don’t know me very well, Momma ain't raise no quitter. ... more

The Leadoff: No U.S.A., no problem

It is finally here, the world’s biggest and most watched sporting event. Not the Super Bowl, not the NBA finals, not the Indy 500, not the World Series, no, no, no. It’s the World Cup. When it comes to the beautiful game, America is full of uncultured swine. Americans are about as obnoxious and arrogant as they come — especially when it surrounds the world of sports. ... more

The Leadoff: North County domination

What an amazing week for sports it has been. I currently live in San Luis Obispo and because of that I find myself hanging around many former south county athletes (i.e. Mission Prep, SLO High, Righetti, you get the picture) and I have been letting them have it. The North County teams are blowing the doors off South County teams in the spring and it makes me very happy. Templeton’s softball team is still undefeated in the season (led by Ashley Daughtery, who may or may not have a rocket launcher attached to her right shoulder and also hits dingers), and the Eagles baseball team just took over sole possession of the Los Padres League after a big win on Thursday over Lompoc. ... more

The Leadoff: Drafting Josh Allen would be the most Browns thing to do

There is so much stuff going on right now that I don’t even know where to begin. Local sports in the area are beginning to heat up, the NBA playoffs just began and the NFL Draft is just a few days away. However, since my dad is a Cleveland Browns fan, I am contractually obligated to at least poke fun of this poor incompetent organization whenever I get the chance. They have won only one game in the past two years and I think they are about to do the most browniest Brown thing, I have ever seen (rhyme unintentional).... more

A penny for your thoughts

If you have been watching the NCAA tournament this past week (honestly, I don’t blame you either way. I’m not the hugest fan of college basketball but buzzer beaters are more addictive than heroin and once I get a taste, I’m stuck), you may have noticed a familiar face on the most exciting team’s bench, the Nevada Wildcats. Former Greyhound Elijah Cooks has been on my TV about 20 times. They cut to him a bunch, after big shots and once the Wildcats completed EITHER of their huge comebacks.... more

The Leadoff: Tiger's on the prowl

As the beams of sunlight began splitting the cracks in the white wood shutters that shade my room from the morning light and the darkness was forced to scurry to the corners like a frightened mouse, I awoke. It was not a normal day, it was the Sabbath, but that is only part of what made it special. As I peeled back the down comforter, it is revealed that I am already wearing a shirt, a polo shirt. Not just any polo, a red polo. This isn’t just any Sunday, you see, on this Sunday, Tiger is back. Alright, I didn't really sleep in a red polo shirt (but I would be lying if I said I didn't think about it) but if you turned on the TV this weekend to any sports channel you undoubtedly heard the phrase “Tiger is in contention.” ... more

The war on drugs is the war on our children: Reporter's Notebook

How many parents and teachers have ever thought, ‘oh my God, this kid is going to be the next school shooter.’ Yet Everyone’s too busy to fix the problem child. They blame guns. ... more

The Leadoff: The NFL has a personality problem

They say there are only two seasons in America — Football season and waiting for football season. Seeing as the NFL literally ended this month and the combine is still dominating Sportscenter and media coverage, I think it has been proven true. So if football is unquestionably America’s No. 1 sport — which it is — then why aren’t its players more popular? According to “TV by the Numbers,” in 2017, football games accounted for five of the top ten watched programs (all of the top ten were sporting events of some sort except the Oscars) with the Superbowl more than doubling the second most-watched program (another football game).... more

The Leadoff: Baseball needs more drama

It happens every year right around this time. Football is over and done with and we’ve all been forced to endure a Sunday without our fix. Basketball is temporarily suspended while in the middle of the All-Star break and without the Olympics this past week we would have been essentially sports-less. ... more

Which sports star would you choose to save your life?

The question is simple: If you found yourself in a dangerous situation and had to choose one person from the world of sports to save your life, who would you choose? Maybe LeBron James? JJ Watt? Conor McGregor? All great choices, but who is the best? The best part of this game is that it is subjective. Every answer is technically right. Then again, every answer is technically wrong. In order to be an arbiter of this conversation, I knew I needed to perform an extensive amount of research on the top prospects, and that is exactly what I spent my week doing. I combed the internet for any tidbit or morsel of information that I could find that might lead me to the answer.... more

The Leadoff: Multi sport athletes

As I was laying on my couch with my feet elevated onto a pedestal of pillows, halfway through my sixth episode of Ozark for the day, I received an invitation to a couple meetings about the beginning of the spring sports season. ... more

LaVar and the G-League

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year you know the name LaVar Ball. If that name doesn’t quite jog your memory, he is the father of the Lakers’ first-round draft pick, Lonzo Ball. Instead of signing a contract with one of the normal shoe companies like Adidas or Nike, the family started an apparel company called Big Baller Brand. LaVar has three sons, Lonzo being the oldest. The middle son is Liangelo and the youngest is Lamello. ... more

What makes a sport a sport?

In my few months as a sports reporter at the Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press, I have been blessed to cover a variety of sports(?). Why is the question mark in parenthesis you ask? Well, I’m not sure everything I’ve covered can be considered a sport, and it made me start wondering, what exactly makes a sport… a sport?... more

The Leadoff: Basketball analytics semi-explained

Much like everyone else, I have spent the last two weeks or so wandering the Earth not knowing what day of the week it is, and at times, what year it is. The week between Christmas and New Years wreaks havoc on me. I’ll eat anything you put near me (and by anything, I mean anything that is either chocolate or salty or covered in sugar), I’ll watch anything on TV (by anything I mean anything that requires a ball), and, like many I presume, I spent most of that time contemplating on if I’m ever actually going to return that sweater my grandma bought me or if I should just tell her it looks great anyways before I’ve put it on. ... more

How do we fix the broken replay system in the NFL?

I want to make it clear that, first off, I'm here for all the tomfoolery going on in the NFL. I am pro-anarchy and chaos. I tend to find the humor in just about everything. I mean, I'm getting back surgery on Thursday and have been making paralysis jokes all week so you know I'm not overly serious about many things. However, I’ve had it with the NFL and the referees and the slow-motion replays.... more

The Leadoff: Thanksgiving is the Christmas of holidays

Thanksgiving is finally here and I think it's time we recognize the greatness of the holiday. Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is treated the worst. It is the red-headed stepchild of the holidays. Thanksgiving is that cousin that comes to dinner at the holidays that is super cool but is constantly overshadowed by his older sister that is the golden child in the family because she won a spelling bee in fourth grade.... more