Arroyo Grande Coast News Grover Beach Pismo Beach

Looking Back on 2017

The Coast News takes a look back at 2017, a year where public access piers were closed for repairs in two beach towns, the drought lessened, public art was front and center, some city leaders retired while others took to the helm, and recreational marijuana was legalized.

January

January 1 saw the implementation of new traffic laws aimed at keeping Californians safer. One of the most prominent was Assembly Bill 1785, mandating drivers keep wireless electronic devices mounted in vehicles while in use and to not require more than a few finger taps or swipes to interact with at a time. The law prohibits holding a cell phone while talking on the speaker function and using the palm or wrist on the wheel.

More than two years after it closed, the Avila Beach Pier remained closed to the public throughout 2017. The Port San Luis Harbor District, which received ownership of the Pier in 1984, is exploring fundraising options to rehabilitate or replace the iconic structure.

Anita Shower was named the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce Person of the Year. Shower not only enjoys being active in the community, she feels that it is a responsibility. “Service was always a big deal especially in high school,” said Shower. “We had an advisor who believed that you were on this Earth to serve.”

The Kon Tiki Inn was chosen the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. In her speech during the awards ceremony, presenter Effie McDermott recognized the establishment for its continued success.

The Arroyo Grande Community Hospital unveiled what they’re calling a “Legacy Garden” in the space between the facility’s main entrance and their Emergency Room. A ceremony was held Jan. 26, for the project, which offers a public art exhibit, pavilion and benches recognizing the names of donors. Montisa Phelan Lopez, the hospital’s vice president of philanthropy, said they were now $3.5 million into an initiative to raise $5 million for a remodeled and expanded ER, new quarters for their MRI and a space for “acute rehabilitation.” The facilities for physical rehabilitation would not only aid patients of the hospital’s noted work in joint replacement but also those recovering from strokes and injuries associated with aging.

February

The District Attorney’s Office filed two felony charges against former Grover Beach police officer Alex Paul Geiger alleging that he failed to maintain control of a dangerous animal on December 13, 2016 that led to the death of 64-yer-old David W. Fear and serious bodily injury to 86-year-old Betty J. Long.

Following heavy rains, a variety of mushrooms thrive in our local oak forests. They magically appear from one day until the next, some as small as a dime and many others the size of your hand or, as in this case, hands. Our oaks are a perfect home for the Jack-O’-Lantern Mushroom. Sometimes mistaken for the edible Chanterelle Mushroom, the Jack-O’Lantern Mushroom, while not lethal, is poisonous and will produce hallucinations.

Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim was investigated for an alleged Brown Act violation in which he was accused of passing along closed session information related to his role on the South County Sanitation District. He was ultimately cleared of the allegations in an independent investigation.

Avila beach unveiled its first-ever public art exhibit, celebrating two lifeguard towers painted with murals. “Port San Luis Harbor District is thrilled to have this artwork on our lifeguard towers,” said Andrea Lueker, harbor manager, noting she had started her lifeguard career on the Central Coast. “It’s an honor not only to have the artwork there, but to honor the profession of lifeguarding.” Tower 1 tells the story of Avila’s colorful past. Artist Colleen Gnos studied old photos loaned out from past residents, delved into people’s memories and reached into her own family’s history to express the many changes that the community has been through over the years.

The new head football coach at Arroyo Grande High School is a familiar face to most players and fans of the Eagles. Michael Hartman, 39, took over as head football coach for Tom Goossen, who retired after coaching for 43 years, 10 of which were as head coach. “They made a great decision,” Goossen said about hiring Hartman. “Mike is hard working, dedicated, great with kids, and positive for our school.” Hartman has coached at Arroyo Grande High School for the past 5 years serving as the assistant football coach. Because he has been a part of the Eagles’ staff, Hartman is hoping for an easy adjustment for the team.

Folks in several parts of South County went without power during a lineup of storms that took out trees and power lines. The good news was that Lopez Lake was reported at 50% full on Feb. 20. More rain was expected that weekend.

The Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) closed temporarily due to weather and reservations were canceled through Feb. 20. Recent storm activity, hazardous Arroyo Grande Creek conditions, and anticipated storms led to the closure, according to a news release from the Oceano Dunes District. The Oso Flaco Lake Natural Area in the SVRA and the North Beach Campground also closed for a time. Park access and additional closures will be elevated based upon protection of resources and concerns for public safety.

March


Pismo Beach closed its famed pier for a $8.78 million renovation, which is expected to be complete by 2019. “Our pier, while heavily used, is tired and damaged,” said City Manager Jim Lewis. “The sections that are 93-years-old are certainly showing their age. Had we not moved forward with this project today our pier would continue to deteriorate and be closed during almost any storm event, during any period of high swell, and we would be unable to use it for events.” The pier consists of:
382 timber piles,
115 steel piles,
A 60,100 square foot deck with 2,840 ft. of guard railing,
A cantilevered fishing deck
And four diamond pedestrian decks, along with utility and trunk lines, some of which normally support the bait shack and an information kiosk.


The anticipated multi-million-dollar sale of Camp Arroyo Grande fell through, leaving the future of the 132-year-old Methodist Camp property and its breathtaking views overlooking the Village of Arroyo Grande in question. The 29-acre property was put up for sale last year by the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (Cal-Pac).

For three years staff at Lopez Continuation High School in Arroyo Grande have been, if not taking the edge off that transition, at least giving students the tools to cope with life after high school. Through their Capstone program the traditional march towards graduation is augmented with a focus on actual life skills and the beginning of an exploration of careers. The program, scheduled out for a two-year span, but sometimes compressed for students who transfer into the school with a deadline looming, has significantly increased graduation rates, said Principal Jennifer Bowen. On March 9 students came into a classroom one by one to face a panel of their teachers, and community members who volunteer their time, to hear the student’s presentations on what they’d learned.

Matthew Ashton was sworn in as the new Chief Harbor Patrol officer. Ashton brings 13 years of experience on the water to the lead position. He started his career in the United States Coast Guard (USCG), upon leaving active duty his rank was assistant engineering petty officer. He was looking into career options and leaning toward the military when he decided to go with the Coast Guard. Ashton said he felt that the skills learned in the USCG would transfer easier to civilian life. He spent 8 years of active duty and was last stationed in Morro Bay. After leaving active, duty Ashton was offered a position on the San Luis Harbor Patrol. He is still a USCG reservist.

April

Arroyo Grande High School won a countywide track meet in May. Although most events are individual efforts their points added up to a big win at the 43rd Annual Elks San Luis Obispo County Track Meet at Cuesta College. AGHS finished first in the team scoring in both the boys and girls competitions; Paso Robles was second; and SLO HS third.

The 2nd Annual Arroyo Grande Spring Fun and Family Tea Party was held at the Women’s Center. Attendees enjoyed finger sandwiches, tea, cookies, pies, and entertainment including face painters and appearances by the Easter Bunny.

Officials from Pacific Gas & Electric and the Economic Vitality Corporation began making the rounds to community groups to discuss the impact of the impending closure of the Diablo Nuclear Power Plant in 2025. Mike Manchak, CEO of the EVC, said the Diablo closure could exacerbate economic challenges in the County, including housing and tax revenue. The EVC plans to have proposals from firms capable of performing the study reviewed by late April. The actual study would come some time in the summer with the next step being a second round of proposals to develop a strategy.

The Clark Center for the Performing Arts and Lucia Mar School District unveiled the statue ‘Rehearsal’ on March 27 in front of the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande.
The ceremony honored artist Nell Bannister Scruggs as well as her family, the donors who commissioned the statue, Don and Teri Ernst. Scruggs is a native of Asheville, North Carolina, with work in galleries on the East Coast, but her local “larger than life” installations include the ‘Oh Great Spirit’ statue at the corner of Prado and South Higuera in the City of San Luis Obispo.

The City of Arroyo Grande got ready for a new city manager to start May 1, marking their fourth in as many years, depending if one counts interims and duplicates. James A. Bergman, an Arroyo Grande resident, past city employee and current head of the SLO County Planning and Building Department, was selected for the job officially March 28 at the city council meeting. Bergman was previously planning manager for the city but left for a higher position in California’s “North Bay” City of Windsor in Sonoma County before moving ‘closer to home’ to return for another promotion in SLO County.

The Pismo Beach Pier is for sale, at least pieces of it. The City of Pismo Beach is selling 60,000 square feet of salvaged wood from the pier in an effort to raise funds for the structure’s rehabilitation, as well as to share a bit of history for those interested. After several inquiries from citizens concerning what the city planned on doing with the removed wood, officials decided to make the pieces available for purchase. Ben Fine, director of public works and city engineer for Pismo Beach, said that there is no official estimate on the amount of money the fundraiser may yield, but half a million would be a pleasing result.

The Arroyo Grande Police Department investigated a shooting that occurred on the 1400 block of El Camino Real. Police responded to what was reported as an assault shortly after 9 a.m. on April 13. “When officers arrived they found a victim with a single gunshot wound to his abdomen,” said Cmdr. Mike Martinez. The victim was transported to the emergency room at Sierra Vista where he underwent surgery. At this time the victim’s name has not been released. “The suspects involved in this had fled the area, so we developed a process to try to search the area,” Martinez said. California Highway Patrol air support, along with K-9 Units, were deployed during the search. None of the suspects have been identified or apprehended at this time. Investigators are unsure of how many people were involved.

May

Progress on a decades old community dream to connect the City of San Luis Obispo’s bike route network to the Avila Beach Bob Jones Trail—and by extension to bike corridors in Shell Beach and Pismo Beach—got a bit closer May 9. Over the last several years that progress has been measured in bureaucratic hurdles overcome inside County government; but a major physical link at the border of the City of San Luis Obispo was finished in 2014 with a City-to-Sea Bike Trail extension. That project installed a bridge completing the Class 1 bikeway from Prado Road and the Water Resource Reclamation Facility to Los Osos Valley Road and with the addition of repainted bike lanes at the LOVR / Highway 101 interchange last year the links are in place for City commuters.

Some of the most interesting models from the early years of motoring made their way up the coast to Arroyo Grande on a trip from Santa Maria on May 4. Photographer Herb Shoebridge caught up with the group of pre-1916 horseless carriages at a stop over in the Village of Arroyo Grande, while members of the group had lunch and toured the South County Historical Society buildings in Heritage Square.

Tourists’ love of the Pismo Pier might have given Mayor Ed Waage quite the thrill when discussing the $7.6 million in contracts to rebuild the core of City’s economic engine in March, but that love for a landmark won’t pay next year’s bills. The 2018 proposed budget came up $3.1 million short when discussed at the City Council’s special budget meeting on May 18. That’s a total of $35.8 million in revenues and $38.9 million in outgoing expenses.

After years in the works, a new public art installation, designed with the whole world in mind, graces the on-campus entrance to Arroyo Grande High School. The 11-foot-tall sculpture, “Arboring Our Root of Diversity,” represents the globe in place of the branches that would crown an oak tree. The tree’s roots wrap around a pedestal emblazoned with the values the artists hope students will embrace, Unity while maintaining Individuality, Diversity and more.

June


County animal control officers investigated a case of animal abuse involving pet snakes, apparently left to die in a storage unit. According to Dr. Eric Anderson, the head of County Animal Services, they responded May 24 to a report of snakes found in a storage unit of a facility on Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande. “Upon arrival,” Dr. Anderson said in a news release, “officers found 42 ball pythons in plastic storage containers stacked within one of the facility’s storage units. Of the snakes recovered by the officers, 22 were dead and in various stages of decomposition.”

KYXZ-LP “Excellent Radio” has had a rebirth on the dial at 107.9 FM nearly 20 years after the former “gorilla” station went off the air. Low watt broadcasters reaching a radius of approximately 3.5 miles have a long history of serving small communities with local voices and culture, but in 1978 the Federal Communications Commission started cracking down on an increasingly crowded dial. Not everyone who found them selves operating an unsanctioned station chose to shutdown however, giving rise to so called pirate or gorilla radio. In the year 2000 the FCC backpedalled, recognizing the value of local broadcasts, but the licenses weren’t exactly easy to come by.
Local Boy Scout volunteers were honored for their service at the Camino Real District recognition dinner held in San Luis Obispo. Over 70 scouts and scouters were on hand to thank those “who have been of exemplary service to the scouting youth in our area.” The “District Award of Merit” — the highest award that a Scout District can present to a local volunteer leader — was given to Nate Maas and Jarret Prichard. Maas was a long time scoutmaster of Troop 308 and Prichard was cub master of Pack 13 and is now scoutmaster of Troop 489. Other award winners were: Jessica Lorance (Woodbadge Beads and Rookie Leader of the Year); Tamie Johns (Volunteer of the Year); Austin Werland (Boy Scout of the Year); Lucas Alley (Rookie Boy Scout of the Year); Kevin Farage and Brian Hall (Boy Scout Leaders of the Year); Ian Campbell (Rookie Cub master of the Year); and Rubin Ruiz (Committee Member of the Year).

A local softball league that’s been a refuge for girls age 6 to 18 for nearly a decade is looking a new home field. Tim Holt, manager of the nonprofit High Tide and Rip Tide Softball club based out of Pismo Beach, said they were saddened and disappointed to be leaving the field adjoining Arroyo Grande’s Hope Church on Oak Park Boulevard. That’s not least because he and volunteers spent countless hours building up a practice facility for the girls there, not to mention all the materials. For the moment the league’s teams are having practice sessions split between Nipomo High School and Grover Elementary.

A bit of history rolled through town during the annual Vintage Trailer Rally held at the Pismo Coast Village RV Resort. The look at the past draws crowds during the open house open to the public.

The Bob Jones trailhead, which sits nestled next to the 101, received an additional camera to aid in the fight against crime. The first camera was installed about a month ago, and though it has caught images of suspects there were still areas that failed to be in its range. The new camera will hopefully make up the difference. “The first one can’t do the complete job, but you can kind of get a good overall view,” Commander Jim Voge of the San Luis Obispo Sheriff Department, “but there are some blind spots, so we wanted to place a second one.” The cameras are digital recorders and can be accessed remotely via a computer, tablet or smart phone. The parking lot, located on Ontario Road next to the Avila Beach Dr. Highway 101 exit, has been host to a series of “smash and grab” burglaries; about three or four a month. Perpetrators shatter windows of parked cars and pilfer their belongings. Voge said that there are several reasons why more of these types of crimes occur at this particular parking lot. “Bob Jones is kind of like a perfect storm for criminals,” he said, “because they can get down there quickly because of the highway and just leave there quickly too.”

July


After four years on the job, Arroyo Grande High School Principal Conan Bowers returned to teaching elementary school, he told staff and the Lucia Mar Unified School District Board in mid-July. The Board held a special meeting July 18 to appoint a replacement, after an abbreviated internal search process. Dan Neff was named as the new Principal of Arroyo Grande High School set to take over when students return from summer break.

CowParade San Luis Obispo County raised over a quarter million dollars for charity, the organizers announced in July. The public art and charity event, held from September 2016 through May 2017, raised $250,653 for more than 40 local nonprofits, “making the campaign an enormous success as both a cultural milestone and a public service,” according to a news release. CowParade SLO County started with 101 plain white fiberglass cow sculptures. Each was adopted by a sponsoring business or agency and decorated by an artist or team of artists using everything from simple paints to mosaics and even a few complete reconstructions of the original sculpture (going from four legs to standing on two legs).

More than two years since Governor Brown declared a state of emergency asking all Californians to reduce water consumption by 20 percent two SLO County cities are declaring the all clear. At their regular June 20 City Council meeting, the City of Pismo Beach declared they’re good to go as regards to their previously mandated restrictions to residential water use. An urgency ordinance was adopted, not because of any sudden threat or of an emergency, but rather to revise wording in City code regarding what constitutes a “Normal Water Supply.” The City of San Luis Obispo acted virtually in unison with Pismo Beach to rescind similar restrictions as well at their June 20 meeting, although with different wording and reasons.

Just as the planners had hoped when they “broke ground” on the Pismo Pier refurbishment back in March, the “First Diamond” of the structure was ready to go for Independence Day. Although open to a select few for a day – as the platform for the $25 a ticket VIP viewing section for the evening fireworks display and the Pismo Beach Police Command Post—the Pier now remains closed as the entrance to a construction site.

If visitors or City of Pismo Beach workers find certain sections of the Dinosaur Caves Park or sidewalks and paths of Shell Beach particularly spotless this week, there’s one group of locals to thank. After an hour of scouring their neighborhoods, most of the 30 folks participating reconvened with their “finds” at the relatively new frozen yogurt shop on the strip, JOY, where some of the delicacies are named for the dogs that walk by with their people every day.

August

August brought closure to the family of Pfc. George Bernard Murray, a soldier lost in battle 74 years ago. Murray was laid to rest shortly before noon on Aug. 18 at the Arroyo Grande Cemetery. The ceremony featured honor guards from throughout the Central Coast, veterans of all ages and service branches, a flyover of World War II vintage aircraft and at least 80 flag bearers. Murray was killed just two weeks after his 20th birthday in one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific Campaign, fighting to secure the tiny island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll.

City of Arroyo Grande Chief of Police Steve Annibali retired. The chief closed out almost exactly a decade of service in Arroyo Grande since taking the job on August 27, 2007. His wife Deb Annibali served her last day as director of law enforcement training at Allan Hancock College on Aug. 11, setting the stage for the couple to head north to the Washington Peninsula and start traveling in an RV.
The Central Coast experienced about a 65% eclipse in August. Although much of the area was fogged in or overcast, if you went high enough into the mountains or far enough inland, the view was perfect. The eclipse was the first total eclipse to cross the United States since 1979. If you missed this eclipse, don’t worry, the next one over the United States will be in 2024.

Arroyo Grande City Manager Jim Bergman recommended the appointment of Police Department Commander Beau D. Pryor as the City’s new Chief of Police. Cmdr. Pryor has been a Police Officer for the City of Arroyo Grande for the past 23 years. Widely seen as former Chief Steven Annibali’s protégé, Cmdr. Pryor spent years in a wide variety of department roles.

The Steaming Bean has been a fixture and the local’s coffee shop in Shell Beach for decades. It has gone through several modifications through the years, most of which have been the changing of ownership. The Bean has acquired its fifth owner since its inception. Marshall Williams is the latest owner and has big plans for the local hangout. The tiny coffee shop went through an expansion phase 10 years ago, when a wall that separated two parts of the building was knocked down. The Bean now has two front doors and no longer has that cramped feeling that plagued it for years. Williams plans to expand the shop even further with a hooded grill and an ‘L’ shaped counter where people can sit and watch the short-order cook work.

Science for girls returned in Arroyo Grande. Tosha Punches, co-founder and director of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) Camp for Girls, being held for the fourth year in Arroyo Grande, said the main difficulty in getting, or indeed, keeping young women on track for a career in the hard sciences is what they absorb in their teenage years. “Our goal is to expose [camp attendees] to women in STEM careers,” said Punches. “Women in the world that do things every day that [the girls] may not have thought of before.”

September

The ECOSLO Coast Clean Up Day mobilized thousands of Central Coast residents along 30 sites Sept. 16 joining folks around the world and across the sea in getting garbage off their own beaches. Pirate’s Cove, recently in the news as a much-neglected County Park that failed to garner any additional funds at a Sept. 5 County Board of Supervisors meeting, was a good poster child site for the clean up effort. There, volunteer “Site Capt.” Gene Quayle estimated that they took about 1,000 pounds of trash out of the trails and parking lot with around 50 volunteers.

San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach firefighters lined the Dolliver St. overpass as a procession of public safety personnel travelled along Highway 101 in honor of Santa Lucia District Forest Service Battalion Chief Gary Helming of Pismo Beach. Helming was killed Aug. 31 in a vehicle accident when another driver’s vehicle blew a tire and ran into his pickup on Highway 41. Helming was returning from an assignment on the Railroad Fire burning near Yosemite National Park. He was 47-years-old. Helming began his career with the Forest Service 22 years ago. He is survived by a wife and three children.

October

The approval of the Bridge Street Bridge Project by the Arroyo Grande City Council was one of the rare moments in government that seemed to make everyone involved happy. “I appreciate all of the hard work that’s gone into this plan,” said Councilwoman Barbara Harmon, who served on advisory and community bodies concerning the bridge. She called the lengthy approval process to start an environmental report and eventual restoration of the structural elements on the beloved local landmark an illustration of why things can take so long in local government, but added that she was very happy with the outcome.

The City of Grover Beach decided on which two entities would be allowed to go forward with plans to open medicinal marijuana dispensaries within their municipal borders. The number was moved down from four in previous decisions and exactly a dozen applications came in to be judged in a tiered rating system devised by City staff. A day after their coastal brethren approved the sites for “brick and mortar” locations, the Arroyo Grande City Council approved an ordinance that allows for three permits to deliver medicinal and, in 2018, non-medicinal cannabis, within the City limits. Only one medicinal marijuana delivery permit was active at the time.

Rail enthusiasts were all aboard the festivities during the annual Central Coast Railroad Festival featuring educational and recreational activities for the whole family. The festival takes place throughout California.

Pooches and their human companions had a barking good time at the annual Best in Shell Amateur Dog Show. A boy named Max took home the highest honor of Best in Show as chosen by the audience. Other activities included a costume contest, stupid dog trick, owner and dog look-alike and more. The event was put on by the Shell Beach Improvement Group, and funds went to help SLO County animal rescues.

The annual Pumpkins on the Pier put on by the City of Pismo Beach was moved to Dinosaur Caves Park this year due to the closure of the pier for reconstruction. The new location still packed in people and pumpkins.

November

The Grover Beach City Council introduced a measure with a 4-1 vote that would double the monthly stipend for council members. The proposed pay raise would increase the stipend for the directly elected mayor to $750 a month, while council members would get $600 a month. None of the pay raises would immediately benefit the current council until December 2018 after the next municipal election. Grover Beach leaders are the lowest paid among San Luis Obispo County city officials at $300 a month currently. Grover Beach has a larger population than Pismo Beach and Morro Bay, as well as a slightly larger annual budget at $37 million. Yet, council members for Pismo Beach and Morro Bay are paid at least $200 more a month than Grover Beach.

More than 100 wounded military veterans and their supporters passed through SLO County to the flag waving cheers of school kids during the 2017 United Healthcare California Challenge. The vets rode 450 miles, from San Francisco to Los Angeles, including a trek from San Simeon to Pismo Beach via Cambria, Cayucos and Morro Bay.

Members of the public were treated to dinner and a show at the 34th annual Thanksgiving dinner put on by the Pismo Beach Police Officers Association Nov. 22. Tables filled up quickly at the festively decorated Veterans Memorial Hall. Patrons grabbed plates of Thanksgiving dinner and chose from a selection of desserts. Members of the police officers association spent many hours preparing for the big day, which included more than 2,000 pounds of turkey, 1,500 pounds of potatoes, 35 cases of stuffing, 20 cases of broccoli and 10 cases of cranberry sauce.

December

Teens and tech go hand in hand. But 16-year-old Hailey Barneich didn’t realize how useful that natural pairing could be for older generations until her own grandma started asking for help navigating the digital world this summer. “It was just simple things, like sending a video by text message,” she said. “I talked to my friends and they said it was super common in their family as well.” Hailey saw an opportunity to offer support on a larger scale by hosting a workshop for less-than-tech savvy adults in the 5 Cities area. With the help of her mom—Arroyo Grande City Councilmember Kristen Barneich–Hailey has organized a free, 1 ½ hour workshop.

San Luis Obispo Auditor-Controller Jim Erb had as many questions for attendees as he had answers during his open house discussion on a cannabis taxation ordinance he plans to present to the Board of Supervisors Jan. 9. Sitting on the dais with members of his staff, Erb outlined options he thinks the board needs to consider when contemplating a tax on production, manufacture, and transportation and retail sales of marijuana. He encouraged citizens to speak freely with their insights on the fledgling industry. Citing low estimates from consultants, Erb said the county could see $2-5 million a year in taxes from the cannabis sector. The tax ordinance he will propose early next year would not designate how the money should be spent. The money would be added to the county general fund and used as directed by the Board of Supervisors.

A half-dozen protestors representing the 5 Cities chapter of Indivisible Guide—a progressive political advocacy organization—held signs in an early December demonstration at the corner of Grand Avenue and Oak Park Boulevard in Grover Beach. Their political messages drew cheers, honks and jeers from passers by. Cheryl Storton said the group is non-partisan and seeks to protect the nation’s democracy from the Trump Administration.

More than 50 people braved the chilly air Dec. 11 to attend a candlelight vigil in the Village of Arroyo Grande to remember Foxy, a young, grey fox euthanized last month by federal wildlife officials. The informal gathering was made up of men, women and children who shared memories of their Foxy sightings. Some brought their dogs that had played with Foxy. Marissa is a local resident who came to remember Foxy. She wore a fox sweatshirt and brought her dogs Bandit and Wizard. She said she has a video of Bandit playing with Foxy. Other attendees also shared stories of their interactions with the playful fox.

The Lucia Mar Unified School District hosted a Career Technical Education (CTE) Expo at the Oceano Community Center. California Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, gave a talk after touring booths with student work from Nipomo High School, Arroyo Grande High School, Mesa Middle School and others. The Lucia Mar Foundation for Innovation co-hosted with the intent of bringing community and industry leaders into volunteer or mentor positions. “Our goal is to get folks to talk with the students and see what they’re capable of,” said Garin Sinclair, board president for the Foundation, “Tech-Ed [technical education] is compatible with college track classes, with AP [Advanced Placement] classes too, but we want to give these students opportunities outside of the debt that comes with college student loans.”

A citywide survey commissioned by the Grover Beach City Council last spring helped confirm what local officials suspected were top concerns: roads and homelessness. The survey was conducted Oct. 2-12, when residents were contacted by phone or completed the survey online. The sample size included 395 men and women, ranging in age between 18 and 68+. The survey questions were developed by Godbe Research and Mayor John Shoals and Mayor Pro Tem Mariam Shah. Residents were asked a variety of questions about citywide issues, including road conditions, homelessness, police and fire services, the courtesy of city staff and if residents were “satisfied” how the city was providing services. Sixty-one percent of those polled said they were “very satisfied” and another 19.3 percent said they were “somewhat satisfied.”

New storefronts for massage, tattoos and other “personal services” were temporarily banned by the Pismo Beach City Council at a recent meeting. The moratorium went into affect immediately for a 45-day period with an option to extend that ban for another 10 months and 15 days as city staff studies the matter. City Manager James Lewis told that council that recent inquiries were made at the city that were “not consistent” with the council’s vision for the city. He brought the urgency ordinance to the council to stop new shops for opening or existing shops from moving or expanding in their current locations.

Grover Beach officials began exploring funding options to help pay for water system repairs that are bubbling up at more than double earlier estimates. The city initially budgeted about $250,000 a year for water system repair and upgrades as part of Measure K-14 road construction improvements throughout the city. That was increased to $427,550 this year because of the pace of road construction. But construction on roads and other incidents are revealing a bigger, more expensive problem. So far this year, the bill has come to about $700,000.

The Arroyo Grande Rotary Club presented donations to the Arroyo Grande and Nipomo high schools’ music programs; net proceeds from the Club’s 2016 Christmas Sing-Along show. The show netted some $700, which was split between the two schools’ programs ($350 each).

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