Compiled by Camas Frank
Susan Bransen is the new executive director of the California Transportation Commission effective April 1. Former director, Will Kempton, stepped down at the end of March. Members commended Kempton for his leadership and dedication to the Commission, thanking him for outstanding service to the State of California, and wishing him well in his future endeavors. Bransen’s career spans more than 25 years in transportation. Prior to this, she was the Commission’s chief deputy director, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the CTC, and serving as chief of staff and policy advisor to the Commission’s executive director.
Cal Poly’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design will join a national effort of the American Institute of Architects Foundation and the American Institute of Architects to design studios dedicated to helping communities become better prepared for natural disasters and climate change. “The NRI studios represent the six regional areas of need for resilience planning within the 10 federal regions designated as at-risk for the effects of disaster by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” said Architects Foundation Executive Director, Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop. The National Resilience Initiative was established in 2013 as a joint program of the AIA and the Foundation with partners that include the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Association for Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and Public Architecture.
Local technology company, Mindbody, sponsored a film titled “Connect US” that debuted March 18 at the SLO International Film Festival. Produced by Blake Beltram, the film follows the company’s 3,000-mile road trip to highlight a diversity of wellness businesses, from New York to California. “Driving through the heart of America and witnessing our subscribers positively influencing their communities was magical,” said Beltram. “It became clear that these wellness providers, and our team members, are connected to the global wellness movement through a common thread — passion. This movie embodies both revelation and celebration of the passion behind our subscribers — the tens of thousands of individuals that have dedicated themselves to building a healthier, happier world.”
On April 1 the Pianetta Winery Tasting Room sold “tribute bottles” of their 2013 Red Blend (75% Cabernet Sauvigon-25% Petite Sirah). The bottle is crafted as a Tribute to those who have served and are currently serving in our in the U.S. Armed Forces. “We are reminded that years before the current conflicts, thousands of men and women of our nation’s military put their lives in danger with no promise of fortune, fame or stability, read their announcement. “This wine is a tribute to those heroes. The bottle features Harry Moyer who flew a P-40 fighter bomber… on the label.” Prior to flying in China, Moyer participated in the invasion of Sicily and then the invasion of Italy, flying ground support as well as air to air. Moyer married the sister of his best friend, of a pilot shot down in the European theater. Harry and Gabrielle, both now 94 and reside in SLO.
Walter Heath of Morro Bay was elected to the America in Bloom board of directors at its annual meeting in March. America in Bloom is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting nationwide beautification programs and personal and community involvement through the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements. AIB provides educational programs, resources, and the challenge of a friendly competition between participating communities across the country. “What an honor to have Walter join the AIB board of directors. He has been an active volunteer in both Morro Bay in Bloom and America in Bloom, so it will be nice to harness his leadership and creativity at the national level by serving on the board,” said Laura Kunkle, AIB executive director. For information about America in Bloom, see: www.AmericaInBloom.org.
Luna Red has a new bar manager, Joel Schneider. He graduated from Cal Poly with an English degree, but saw bartending as a skill set he could take anywhere in the world and that would endure any economic climate. Referencing a quote, he said, “No matter how somebody’s day is going or how the economy is, they’re going to go to a bar and have a drink; no matter if they are looking to celebrate or commiserate, if they just won the lottery or they just went bankrupt they’re going to drink.
“I like making people happy. When they take that first sip and they lean back and they sigh,” he added. “That’s all I want.”
Palo Mesa Pizza, with two locations in Arroyo Grande and one in San Luis Obispo, recently competed at the International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas, Nevada. The International Pizza Challenge is a competition of who can make the best pizza out of their element with a panel of food critics, Le Cordon Bleu chefs, and pizza connoisseurs as their judges. “These competitions are the best of the best and it makes one continually raise the bar in product and service for our guests. We are very blessed to not only have the team we do at Palo Mesa Pizza but also the support from our community each and every day”, said Michael Stevens, member of the American Pizza team since 2013. The original Palo Mesa Pizza is located on the Mesa of Arroyo Grande, at Halcyon Road and Highway 1 next to Tanner Jacks.
In February, Food 4 Less teamed with the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County for their 8th Annual “Have A Heart” campaign. Customers purchased pink paper hearts at their local Food 4 Less stores in Paso Robles, Atascadero, and San Luis Obispo to show a commitment to end hunger. In San Luis Obispo County they estimate, “One in six of our neighbors face hunger, that’s over 46,000 children, seniors, families, and individuals who are unsure of where their next meal will come from. The Food Bank works with a network of community partners to alleviate hunger and build a healthier community in San Luis Obispo County.” The 2016 Have A Heart campaign raised $16,729 this year.
The Experts Exchange, an online community of technology professionals, has launched its annual scholarship contest, open to students looking for financial help. The idea targets mainly local students who attend Cal Poly, the alma mater to many Experts Exchange employees. Experts Exchange is calling for all students who are currently enrolled in, or accepted to, a college, university or trade school to participate in the contest. Each will have a chance to win $1,500 first place, $1,000 and $500 for second and third place, respectively. The Fall contest deadline is June 30 and the Winter contest deadline is Dec. 31. For more information about the contest and contest rules, see: https://pages.experts-exchange.com/scholarship.
Local veterans are invited to Cuesta College’s community provider fair set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 19 at Cuesta’s San Luis Obispo Campus, Rm. 5400-5401. Representatives from local agencies will be on hand to provide information on local veterans services. “This event is open to all veterans in the community and the goal is for our local veterans to come and learn about the many great resources available to them,” said Cuesta Veterans Affairs Certifying Official, Karen Andrews. Free lunch provided. For more information on the event, call the Veterans Resource Center at 546-3142.
San Luis Kitchen, 3598 Broad St, in SLO offers free monthly Kitchen Design Seminars at the store’s showroom. RSVP to: (805) 541-7117, as seating is limited. From 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 16 is “Beyond the Basic Work Triangle” focusing on how to design a kitchen to accommodate multiple cooks and various specialty appliances. From 10:30-noon Saturday, May 14 is “What’s the Best Counter?” led by guest speakers from Pyramid Marble Tile & Masonry, and Presidio Tile of Santa Barbara. A free gourmet lunch follows.
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