Morro Bay Rock, Rescue Submarines & Skateboards

Author Comment: Pre-4th of July my By the Bay column in the San Luis Obispo Tribune previewed two exciting magnets for tourists in Morro Bay. The community has so much history dating back to the military creating the bay to train troops for ground storming in Europe, use of Morro Rock to create myriad public works projects on the Pacific coast and in the Orient, the rescue after the sinking of the Montebello, the development of skateboarding, and on and on. Skateboarder Jack Smith established the Skateboard Museum recently enlarged to expand the exhibit and accommodate a growing number of visitors. And for 32 years Larry Newland and friends have been working on the Central Coast Maritime Museum and it seems to have developed some interest from Morro Bay City Manager, David Buckingham. A city with a history should have places and storyteller to tell others about the history….and a place to keep the artifacts that are closeted for lack of a place to showcase a community history. I hope to write more about both of these projects, but for now 4th of July 2015 was a banner holiday for both the Skateboard Museum and the Central Coast Maritime Museum.

And there is just something about the tug and pull of Morro Bay…could it be a Central Coast healing vortex? I think so.

CCMMA Rescue Sub & Larry NewlandLarry Newland previews the Rescue Submarine before visitors climb inside…by way of the underbelly hatch…currently in the parking lot on Front Street, Morro Bay CA waiting for its permanent home.

By the Bay: June 22 column in the SLO Tribune (www.sanluisobispo.com) CCMMA

Second only to Morro Rock, the DSRV-2 Avalon rescue submarine parked on Morro Bay’s Front Street is probably the most photographed visitor attraction in Morro Bay. Only two were built and only the Avalon is available for public viewing. The submarine is on long-term loan from the Navy due to help from Congresswoman Lois Capps and former Mayor Bill Yates. It is one of many maritime crafts to be displayed at the future home of the Central Coast Marine Museum (CCMMA).

“Tour the Avalon before watching the movie Hunter Killer. The DSRV is integral to the story,” said CCMMA’s board president Larry Newland. He spent an afternoon with set director James Spencer and special effects coordinator Peter Chesney. They are building a sound studio interior mock-up of the Avalon for a major Hollywood movie scheduled for release in 2016. Based on the novel Firing Point written by Don Keith and George Wallace, the movie is about an untested American submarine commander sent to rescue a crew off a Russian submarine under the polar ice in the Barents Sea.

A $5 donation will purchase a tour on July 4-5 from 10-3 p.m. of the inside the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle launched in 1971 after the loss of 129 men in the USS Thresher disaster. Intended to rescue submerged, disabled submarines, it was decommissioned in 2000 without a mission. It is 50-feet long, 8-feet in diameter, weighs 37-tons and can dive to 5,000-feet carrying 24 passengers plus the crew.

During the holiday weekend CCMMA volunteers will also be available to show a revised plan of the future maritime museum and talk about the tugboat, Alma. It was donated in 1995 by the Kelsey family, owners of Sylvester’s Tug Service. Typical of tugs working harbors along the west coast in the early 1900s, it was drafted to patrol the Central Coast waterways during World War II anticipating possible attacks by Japanese submarines. The Alma was anchored off Cayucos on December 23, 1941, when it heard explosions. The Union Oil tanker Montebello had been hit by a Japanese torpedo and sunk off the coast of Cambria. The Alma rescued 22 survivors.

Newland said talks with Morro Bay’s city manager, David Buckingham, have generated plans to jumpstart the permanent home for CCMMA’s fleet by early October. After completing preliminary site improvements to the designated 2-acres adjacent to where the fleet is currently parked, CCMMA can move the water crafts to pads for interpreted viewing.

“We’ve had dedicated volunteers and donations promised. With a permanent home we’ll be taken seriously,” said Newland. “With funding we’ll build our first building in 2016– a garage sized space for information displays and merchandizing.”

By the Bay: Column in San Luis Obispo Tribune June 29

Tribune MB Skateboard Museum pix

Have you ever broken a world record? Since 2010 Morro Bay’s July 4th festivities have included a skateboard competition produced by Jack Smith, one of the 1970s “downhill daredevils” featured in the documentary The Signal Hill Speed Run.

“Having been involved in long distance racing, the organizers of Morro Bay 4th approached me to create a new event on the Embarcadero,” said Smith, who owns and operates the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum. “It is a race for a few and a ride for most.”

Participating racers have included top amateurs like Bakersfield’s Daniel Engel, Nick Dicus of Los Osos, and Smith’s son Dylan Smith of Morro Bay. However, most of the 50-plus skateboarders ride along – and every so often they’ll earn bragging rights for being there, like when the loop mile world record was broken in 2013 by Engel in 3:32 seconds.

With the Morro Creek Bike and Pedestrian Bridge officially opening at noon on July 4th, Smith has reconfigured the Morro Bay Mile Skateboard Race route so skateboarders will beat out the parade bicyclists to become the first official event over the bridge. Skateboarders will register at Morro Bay High School’s back entrance at 9 a.m. Racing will start at 10 a.m. and hug the beach and bay until flying up and over the bridge to finish at the Front Street parking lot, the temporary display site of the Central Coast Maritime Museum’s historical rescue submarine.

“Racers won’t have to slow up to make a U-turn as in the looped race on the Harbor Walk,” said Smith. He reminds participants helmets are required, all ages welcome, it’s a free event and cash and product prizes will be awarded after the race.

Smith said skateboard races are held all over the country. They range from one mile to Georgia’s 3-day 188 mile race or San Diego’s Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon, a 26.2 mile longboard race that Smith has participated in.

“Every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. there are 3 to 12 of us that meet at Cloisters Park for a 6-mile loop just for fun and the exercise,” said Smith. “Anyone’s welcome to join us for 3 or 6 miles.”

The Morro Bay Skateboard Museum opened in 2012 with 700 square feet of display space. Still at 601 Embarcadero, it moved in April 2014 to the premier Marina Square space on the corner with triple the room for historical displays and retail product sales.

Smith said, “Trip Advisor says we’re the fourth top pick for things to do in Morro Bay. There are 300 skateboards on display, including the world’s second biggest. It has become a unique – and fun — photo opportunity for locals and visitors.”

ChablisMorroBayView

Morro Bay’s Embarcadero: a bay-side view.

Morro Bay Library: A Total Make-Over

Have you ever gone back to a former home that has been remodeled only to ask, “What were they thinking?”

That didn’t happen when Jude Sanner Long, who spent 24 years as branch manager of the Morro Bay Public Library, was asked to by Robert “Red” Davis, president of the Morro Bay Friends of the Library, to be Mistress of Ceremonies at the library’s grand reopening March 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. (See event details at www.mbfol.org or ask current branch manager Jackie Kinsey, 772-6394.)

“Oh my goodness! It is brilliant,” said Long, in describing the remodel.

Although she was actively involved in the more than $500,000 fund development campaign, she avoided participating in remodeling plans. “The look will totally surprise the community. The old-fashioned institution is transformed to flow with maximum use of space and good lighting,” she said.

Long joined the Morro Bay Public Library in 1975. She became branch manager in 1985. “The library was on Morro Bay Boulevard across from what is Sunshine Market today,” she said.

The building was once a pool hall, she noted. Checking out books was done by signature. Patrons thumbed through large card catalogues to find available titles, and “if books ordered came within a month patrons were happy,” she added.

The most popular books were westerns, romances and anything about World War II, Long recalled. “I remember a bride and groom came into the library in their wedding clothes looking for an appropriate reception toast. We were the place to find all information before the Internet. How to get a divorce and baby names were in high demand. People would call from bars trying to settle bets.”

Long believes libraries are the only place children and adults are treated as equals. Children have their own library cards, books, programs and section. “I know the library was the first place I was allowed to walk to by myself,” she said.

Long’s career ushered in the computer age with computerized catalogues in 1985. Patrons could check out their own books starting in 2005. Today patrons can check out movies, do Internet research, seek employment, check personal email — even borrow online books.

“People expect faster service and more access today,” said Long, who retired in 2009. She thinks the library is actually the largest recycling center. Books on the shelf stay there as the market demands. “Staff is constantly recycling what to buy, keep, shelve or pull off to make more room.”

According to Long, the library exists because of a longstanding public partnership between the county and city, augmented by significant support from library patrons and an active Friends group.

 

In retirement, she keeps busy as a board member for the Foundation for San Luis Obispo County Public Libraries and Morro Bay Rotary.

SLO County Womenade Worthy Crisis Intervention

A volunteer at the Food Bank had bone-on-bone pain in her knee. Medi-Cal pre-approved all procedures except the MRI required before surgery, a cost of $300 she didn’t have. Morro Bay’s Bonnie Allen requested help from San Luis Obispo County Womenade. The available funds were considered essential and immediately provided. Allen reports that not only was her surgery successful, but it jump-started her life in a new job and renewed lifestyle.

Mom leaving hospital with twins when prepared for single birth and needs crib, car seat, high chair, diapers – all the extras for the extra child. Womenade supporters who watch for Facebook pleas come to the rescue.

Family has exhausted all help-nets to come up with funds to pay rent when other major crisis impacts their on-the-edge budget. Womenade fills the gap with $300, a one-time offering to get them over to the next month for better priority planning.

Local founder, Sandy Richardson, explained to members of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church Women’s Guild that when she retired from teaching, she read about a unique program and thought it could work in San Luis Obispo. She invited seven friends to a potluck. They each donated the $35 they would have spent going out to dinner to create the first cash installment to help others. In 2009 it became a 501c3 nonprofit and continues to depend on quarterly potlucks to maintain cash resources. Appeals and updates are sent out through Facebook. From cribs to partial rent payments, this non-membership network has provided over $340,000 since 2003 to help people in crisis throughout the county.

Today San Luis Obispo County Womenade, www.slowomenade.com, provides time, items, or one-time cash donations up to $300. Referrals come from schools, medical professionals, county health departments, and organizations such as Family Care Network, Women’s Shelter, CAPSLO, and Prado Day Center. Richardson stated every dollar or items funded are reported on their website. Once a need is posted on their Facebook site, the goal is to verify the need and honor it anonymously and immediately.

Los Osan Carol Devore is the area leader and hostess of the north coast’s quarterly potlucks, planned for February 17 at her home. Richardson directed interested supporters to check their social media page. “We announce schedules and location details on Facebook. Our south-county and Trilogy potlucks are February 18. Everyone is welcome and donations vary more and less from the original $35 investments.”

Besides quarterly potlucks, serving dinners in Nipomo, and a backpack stuffing project at Laguna School, individuals and businesses create their own projects to support Womenade. One such ongoing project has been Pirate’s Closet at Morro Bay High School, which provides appropriate clothing and cash for students’ emergency needs. Devore credited Andrea Wasko and Meagan Gilbert of Los Osos for collecting donations regularly for the high school project. And for two years Beverly Ford Durrer and her husband, Lenny Blue, co-owners of Grandma’s Yogurt and Waffle Shop on Morro Bay Blvd., have promoted their shop as a drop-off site to collect clothes and money three consecutive Saturdays in December. In 2014 two carloads and two truckloads of clothes plus cash were donated. Inspired by its success and student needs, Durrer will continue to act as a collection site year round.

With no dues to pay, no meetings to attend Womenade offers busy people the chance to help others with equipment they may be donating elsewhere or funds they would rather spread to those who can’t find help any where else. http://www.slowomenade.com  for further information.

Invest Wisdom & Sweat Equity in Your Community in 2015

After Don Maruska founded three Silicon Valley companies, including the one that became E*Trade, he founded a new career based on the tenets of his first book, How Great Decisions Get Made. His biggest challenge yet might be his current assignment in Morro Bay, his own backyard. He’s been hired to help community stakeholders “develop potential initiatives” to enhance Morro Bay’s economy. A LEAP (Local Economy Action Plan) workshop is scheduled Wed. Jan. 21 from 6-8:30 p.m. inviting “merchants, businesses, tourism and community members” to participate.

A previous meeting suggested several creative ideas from a diverse group. Initiatives developed are posted at www.morrobay.ca.us/LEAP. More action items are solicited. However, not all representative stakeholders showed up and some showed up merely to observe. Maybe the stakeholders were busy, unaware, or need a personal invitation, but as Maruska encouraged from the get-go, “Offer your comments and share how you’d like to help.”

Maruka’s task is to guide. Without a broad representation of stakeholders committing to create and adopt initiatives they will become passionate about, the initiatives will fade. And a city council and staff cannot be held wholly responsible for creating a robust economy without community members willing to support initiatives developed by broad-based community stakeholders.

As John F. Kennedy reminded us, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” By the Bay invited ideas for today’s column accompanied by a resolve to support in 2015. There was an exceptional response and more resolutions are welcome. As space allows in my Monday column next week, I’ll add in more great ideas and post them here as well.

Note to Snowbirds who live here part time or regular…and even irregular visitors…you too know what you think would make Morro Bay a better experience to live in or visit, so your ideas are just as valuable. Add them to the comments. I will get them to Mr. Maruska.

See some of the commitments below:

Mayor Jamie Irons: I will continue to lead the community in open and respectful dialogue to update the General Plan and Local Coastal Plan, the blueprints for how our community grows into the future.

Ann Reisner, Morro Bay Beautiful: I would like to see a new, younger group of citizens/volunteers come forward to work and problem solve our issues. (Older citizens) would assist or recommend and new faces will begin leading/doing.

Jack Smith, Morro Bay Skateboard Museum: Bring the 2015 World Slalom Skateboarding Championships back to Morro Bay.

Andrea Lueker, Morro Bay Community Quota Fund: Make progress on shore side services and infrastructure to support the commercial fishing fleet, a MOST important community economic engine.

Dana McClish, Morro Bay Harbor Advisory and Youth Sailing Foundation: Develop a boat haul-out and storage facility and county-wide high school sailing team.

Bonnie Jones, Estero Bay Alliance for Care: Get safe parking and/or housing for those living in cars.

Wayne Benham, 97.3 The Rock: My hope is that the individual and the community both thrive in harmony.

To be continued next Monday….

20th Anniversary: S.W.A.P. Saves Los Osos, CA Elfin Forest

The Sun Bulletin, formerly a publication owned by the SLO Tribune, published this headline on March 2, 1994:  “SAVE THE ELFIN FOREST BY APRIL 1 – NO JOKE.” Members of S.W.A.P. (Small Wilderness Area Preservation) faced losing $1, 350,000 in promised grant funding if they couldn’t raise the balance of $125,000.

Recently at a 20-year celebration gathering, Chairman Ron Rasmussen reported support for the El Moro Elfin Forest is stable and their agreement with SLO County supervisors to maintain the public access area has been renewed. (www.elfin-forest.org) Charter member, Yolanda Waddell, provided a brief history and kudos to those who led the historic community campaign to preserve in perpetuity the parkland adjacent to the Morro Bay Estuary.

Barbara Machado chaired the fund development committee that included Rose Bowker, who was recognized for single-handedly securing a million dollars in grants. “Once grant funding was announced perception of possible success became probable success. Then the community stepped up,” said Elsie Dietz, Events Chairman in 1994. “It was my job to make people aware of the Elfin Forest so they would want to donate. It’s important that all levels from children to adults contributed.”

She explained children donated their allowances. Teachers held classroom penny campaigns. Multi-media support included continuous updates and events’ notices by the Sun Bulletin, Tribune and Bay News. Public events were uniquely designed to create a memorable experience before a donation envelope was passed by S.W.A.P. members. Dietz held a wine tasting party where winemaker Ken Volk sampled his Rain Forest Red, wine labeled specifically to support the effort with a percentage of sales. A Chamber of Commerce mixer included pans of donated fish and side dishes served in baskets hanging from the convoluted limbs of the elfin pigmy oaks.

Former Sun Bulletin columnist and community organizer, Ann Calhoun remarked her favorite event was when 100 attendees hiked the Elfin Forest path to hear a harpsichord in a pigmy oak tree grove. Dietz retold the story. “We used a travoir (a Native American transport device) to carry the harpsichord to Wood-Rat Hall (later renamed Rose’s Grove). I remember someone named Valerie was in full costume – a turquoise gown with a large hooped skirt swinging and bouncing off both sides of the path. There was a mime performing on a Persian rug and not a sound except the music. It was a magical moment.”

Waddell noted it was also the 20th anniversary for the El Forest mural created and painted by Barbara Rosenthal on Los Osos Rexall’s outside wall. “The hardest part,” said Rosenthal,” was finding all the donors who made it happen.” The committee’s goal was to remember everyone who gave a dollar or a major gift to preserve the Elfin Forest.

Walk the Elfin Forest and enjoy the pathway to the Estuary and bay overlook, the unique vegetation, and the memories of times past.

33rd Annual Morro Bay Harbor Festival – October 4-5, 2013

The 33rd Morro Bay Harbor Festival will mark several momentous occurrences. “My birthday is October 5th,” said Don Doubledee, the organization’s director and retired architect. “I invite my friends, my community, the world to come celebrate my 65th Saturday and Sunday.”

An avid music collector and regular singer on Otter Rock’s karaoke nights, Doubledee selected the Fabulous Thunderbirds with Kim Nelson to play Sunday at 2pm on the Dan Reddell Stage. “They’ll tour nationwide with Van Halen after the festival.”

Music permeates the weekend festival. Saturday’s featured group is a Beatles’ tribute band recognizing their 50th anniversary year appropriately selected by Doubledee to celebrate Morro Bay’s 50th year of incorporation. Pre-sale adult tickets are discounted until October 1 at $10 a day and then $12 at the gate. (www.mbhf.com)

Doubledee took the reins last year, but has celebrated birthdays working the festival since childhood. “My mother (Vivian Doubledee) was the first Chamber of Commerce director and a member of Quota Club. I’ve been a volunteer since the first one.” Doubledee explained they used to make tickets, posters and banners instead of printing them. He worked Quota’s booth with his mom and eventually sold beer or tickets as Rotarian.”

When Galen Ricard was director, Mark Allen taught Doubledee to plot and develop the site set-up. It became his volunteer job for years. “You’d think I’d know better, but last year I tried some things that didn’t work. It felt too crowded. I’ve gone back to the historic lay-out. The wine and beer pavilion will be completely open-sided.”

A major change is eliminating the food court. Doubledee said. “Restaurants within the site will be open and have barbecues outside their restaurants and Morro Bay’s commercial fishermen will still barbecue albacore kabobs. Giovanni’s will bring lots of oysters to their annual Oyster Contest.”

A family-oriented event Doubledee said they’ve enhanced the Kids Cove with a petting zoo, the Cumberland Alpacas, and magic acts. The train is back to move people from one end of the festival site to the other.

Tolosa Press/Bay News editor, Neil Farrell started the Hawaiian Shirt Contest. This year he’ll announce the festival will honor Bill Yates,” said Doubledee. The former mayor who passed away this year always wore a Hawaiian shirt.

The board of directors is led by John Solu and Jonni Biaggini. Steve Mathieu doubles as secretary and longtime site coordinator and Kristen Ray is Treasurer. “We couldn’t do this without the volunteer groups,” said Doubledee. “They run operations during the festival. The profits are divided among the groups that work. The Harbor Festival is approaching $525,000 that it has donated back to participating nonprofit groups over the past 30-plus years.”

TOASTED: The Perfect Toast for Every Occasion

What do you do when the love of your life for 25 years goes on a Harley road trip and doesn’t come home? Since 2008, Claudia Wright moved to Morro Bay, published a book, and reached out to 482 new friends.

“While golfing, Jim told his brothers he was tired,” said Wright. “He was 51. He had a heart attack.” Although a successful graphic artist, his wife and family of three were unprepared financially. “I couldn’t afford the mortgage. At one point we were homeless, but together we made it. The boys had scholarships for college, but losing their dad was tough. We had to pay three years for Toby.”

Formerly in management with Starbucks of Chandler, Arizona, she was a stay-at-home mom working on a book concept. Toasted: The Perfect Toast for Every Occasion had an advance from a publisher. Memories of her grandparents’ toasts, sparked the entrepreneurial idea. Wright planned to publish traditional and custom toasts for all occasions. When her publisher was bought out, her book idea was shelved.

She doesn’t know how they got her resume, but Apple Store called. Their second offer was appealing with Jim gone. She accepted a district manager position that ultimately transferred her to Mission Viejo, CA. She requested San Luis Obispo to be closer to her daughter in Monterey.

“I needed to jumpstart my life,” said Wright. “One night I discovered www.Meetup.com. I thought there might be others around Morro Bay wanting to hike or go to the movies. I created the group ’50 Years Plus Active Singles.’ We are 482 members with no defined structure but to show up.”

Meanwhile, rights to self-publish her book Toasted were returned. She invited STAX Wine Bar of Morro Bay to pour at her book signing at Coalesce Book Store in June, 2014 and launching her marketing method to her Meet Up friends and demonstrating to other Central Coast wineries how her book could be of value t their customers.

Living in the heart of wine country, Wright has collaborated with multiple wine bars and wineries. “It’s a pocket-sized book and I’ve included pages where wine tasters can keep notes where they’ve tasted and which wines they prefer. I’m can customize the book for the wineries or a wedding party to have guest memory books of toasts.”

Besides STAX Wine Bar and Coalesce Book Store, Opolo Winery, Central Coast Wines, and Saucelito Canyon Winery are a short list of supporters. www.toastedtoasts.com.

“My children encouraged me to follow my dream,” said Wright. “My goal is to get the book into the hands of people celebrating life. Let me share my grandmother’s Scottish toast…Cheers to life, love, money and the time to enjoy it all.”

South Bay Women’s Network Serves the Central Coast

In 1983, when Jean Brown worked at Security Pacific Bank, she believed the Los Osos area needed a networking organization for women in business to support their individual endeavors and share issues specific to working women.

Brown persuaded Cathy Stalter, Judi Tewell, Connie Framberger, Rosa Metzler, Diane McClish and Linda Villanueva to join her on the first governing board of the South Bay Women’s Network.

Last December the group celebrated 30 years of community support for the San Luis Obispo Women’s Shelter, including 2013 when $1,500 was raised at the annual Holiday Auction. Metzler reported the first holiday meeting was a wrapping party with each member donating a gift. Current president, Gila Zak, thanked her team of Metzler, Debra Angell and Peggy Zett for gathering community donations for their latest auction supporting the shelter.

“Helping the Women’s Shelter continues to be our major fund raiser, but we also give three $500 scholarships annually for women at Cuesta College,” said Zak, owner of Quantum Wave Biofeedback. “Mainly our mission is to encourage and support each other.”

Past-president Dawn Rodden, owner of Creative Design in Los Osos, explained the networking group commits to doing business with members, including helping women in transition. “One member’s car broke,” Rodden said, citing an example. “Another member helped this single mom replace her car so she could get to work.”

Rodden, who prefers being the quiet worker bee, said she “never thought I might lead the group as president, but with full support from the group, I had the confidence and a great experience.” She is currently the Interim director of the Los Osos/Baywood Chamber of Commerce.

Sally Brooks, owner of The Great Skin Company said, “I joined in 1996 because of the great causes we support, then so many SBWN members support my business. The friendships are invaluable. For me it has been a win-win.”
The group meets the first Tuesday of each month at noon at La Palapa in Baywood. www.sbwn.org.

The group has maintained their dues at $45 so women can afford to join. This year, the group plans to continue raising money for the women’s shelter and support member Paula Ufferherdt’s efforts as a longtime commissioner with the Status of Women, a commission of women appointed by the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors to advocate for women and girls and inform the supervisors of unmet needs in the county. This year both groups will celebrate women volunteers for their countless hours of volunteerism during a luncheon March 15 at the Madonna Inn. Details at http://www.slowomen.org

Seeking Life’s Balance in Work and Play

Work and play. Indulge and regulate. Exercise and relax. Participate, but pace your involvement. Regardless of age, a healthy lifestyle demands commitment with balance. According to a Morro Bay certified personal trainer and fitness adviser, Suze Crowley, “Balance is a big word with lots of meanings. I emphasize it is never too late and never too little.”

For over 25 years, Crowley has served others. Although she semi-retired two years ago to spend more time with family and on personal projects, she still works three days a week at FitnessWorks of Morro Bay or helps clients through her personal training business, AIM Accentuate Improve Motivate (suze@att.net). “I missed working with people. Seniors seem to be my forte.”

She explained the literal concept of balance. ”As we get older we have physical changes that challenge our balance. Vision, bone density, posture changes, and alertness – these changes contribute to balance issues that may cause falls and other procedures. I don’t mean to be trite, but if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. I work on the core muscles that give us strength and self- confidence.”

When her daughter, Nicole, was one, Crowley discovered aerobics at the Morro Bay Community Center. “I was asked to take over the ‘Off Your Rocker’ class. I loved choreographing the movements to the music and taught classes for Morro Bay Recreation.” Foot surgery slowed her down. “I was also a physical therapist aid for TherapyWorks (of Morro Bay). I wanted to teach ‘Fit for All’ classes at FitnessWorks. It was a natural progression after therapy for many clients.”

She taught choreographed fitness classes five days a week – each with a different routine. “People knew me as the crazy lady walking the streets of Morro Bay with ear buds making strange movements. I was practicing while walking to work.”

Today she focuses on personal training. “Some people need the motivation of a trainer to keep up their exercise program. Others might need to get started.” Crowley explained one client signed up for balance training because he loved to fish the area creeks, but felt tippy on the pebbles in the streams and didn’t want to risk a fall.pt

Crowley said, “Fear of falling, low blood pressure, an inner ear problem, changes in vision are some contributors to a balance problem. One exercise I do to test my balance is standing on one leg while brushing my teeth.”

A fall is the obvious warning sign that balance training would be helpful. But if one stumbles at curbs or on uneven sidewalks or trips over the dog, it is probably time to focus on balance to prevent a future fall that may disrupt life as you planned to live it.

SLO Blues Society Kicks Off 35th Season

The SLO Blues Society will launch a 35th season Saturday night at the San Luis Obispo Veteran’s Hall.

“In terms of continuous operation, the San Luis society is the third oldest in America. Interesting that Santa Barbara and Ventura are the next oldest,” said the organization’s president, Wayne Benham. “Our season goes from September through May with seven shows. We always invite a nationally touring artist to our first one. This year it is Chris Thomas King.”

King is a blues innovator with Louisiana roots. A multiple Grammy winner, he is an actor and musician with strong stylistic influences from Jimmy Henricks. His complete biography is at www.sloblues.org.

An aficionado of the Blues, Benham spins tunes Monday nights at 7:30pm on “Wayne’s Evening Blues” and Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9am to Noon on Estero Bay’s 97.3 The Rock. “I’ve always enjoyed playing music. One song hits a listener during my show and I’ve done my job.”

Regarding his musical preference, he said, “Blues when done right is so simple coming straight from the heart and soul. It might start out ‘my baby left me and we’re oh so sad, but, hey, we’re getting over it.’ The blues can be very upbeat and I love to dance so the ‘gettin’ over it’ part often is the part when we get up and dance the blues away.”

According to Benham there is a rhythmic pattern that keeps the Blues to its simplest form. Many consider it the only pure American musical form. Chris Thomas King tends to experiment with traditional Blues. “King might be better recognized for his work in the films “O Brother Where Art Thou” (2000) or “Ray” (2004). Many prefer that he’s going back to his traditional roots. We like his dance-ability. Amazing how the band and audience feed off each other.”

“Back in the day of the British invasion — the Beatles, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones — they started with Blues-Rock,” continued Benham. “Our American Blues musicians are almost ignored unless their famous like B.B. King, but they’ll go to Europe and are treated like super heroes.”

Benham is now retired from Dr. Bloodgood’s Photo Emporium where his duties spanned operations, financial services and technology implementation. He moved to Morro Bay in 1999 and got involved in the SLO Blues Society. Since 2005 he’s been active member and ultimately on the board in leadership roles after attending concerts and volunteering to help. “We always need good volunteers. We’re a nonprofit that has produced over 250 shows.”

“Part of the mission of the SLO Blues Society is to give reviews,” he continued. “We always have local musicians involved in our season. It is nice to give them a chance to play and be discovered.”