Estero Bay News Briefs 12-14-2023

Written by Theresa-Marie Wilson

Theresa-Maria Wilson has been a journalist covering the North Coast and South County area for over 20 years. She is also the founder of Cat Noir CC and is currently working on a novel.

December 14, 2023

Baywood Pier Sign Makes a Comeback 

Baywood may have one of the smallest piers on record, but it is — one that receives gigantic support from community members.

The Baywood Pier sign is now back in place in downtown Baywood Park thanks to local community volunteers and Dos Osos Timber Works, the old sign has been replaced with a brand new one. 

The sign was originally installed in the 1970s as an Eagle Scout Service Project completed by a young man who is now a police officer in Santa Cruz, CA. 

“Over time and with some tender loving care by members of the Baywood Navy, the sign has been tended to, mended, and repainted,” said longtime community volunteer George Brown. “The ravages of time had taken their toll, and the sign had a heavy list toward the ground.” 

Local contractor Bill Hurley and his crew from the Dos Osos Timber Works provided the expertise, skill, and energy to fabricate an entirely new sign. Starting from drawings made from a photo of the sign, they sandblasted, painted, and installed the new replica to welcome locals and visitors alike to the pier. 

“With thanks to the community spirit and teamwork of many folks the sign is back home for many more decades of showing off the pride of Baywood Park, said Brown.

Pictured are the crew behind the project: Bill Hurley, Candice Bello, Thomas Perez, Henry Catalan, Albert Garza 

Los Osos Middle School Among Honored 

Los Osos and Laguna middle schools were honored with the prestigious designation of National and State Schools to Watch. The recognition, awarded by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform in partnership with the California League of Educators, celebrates middle schools’ commitment to excellence in education and their outstanding support for students.

The schools received word of their designations last week. For Los Osos Middle School, this year’s designation marks their third such award, and second re-designation. Laguna Middle School is receiving the honor for the first time.

“To be one of 186 Schools to Watch model programs out of over 7,000 middle schools in California is an awesome honor,” said Karl Blum, principal at Los Osos Middle School. “And while the designation itself is great, the process is equally meaningful because it allows us to self-reflect on our successes and grow where we need to grow.”

Los Osos Middle School’s focus these past three years on Equity and Inclusion and meeting students’ needs socially and emotionally has been a priority as they continue to maintain high academic standards. 

“Los Osos has worked with a site equity team to highlight student differences and tolerance of others in a world where these values sometimes are forgotten,” Blum said. “We have specifically supported students with additional counselors and supports as these needs have grown within our student population over the past few years.”  

The Schools to Watch designation recognizes exemplary middle schools based on a reflective self-study in four areas: 

• Academic Excellence

• Developmental Responsiveness

• Social Equity 

• Organizational Processes and Procedures

The application is reviewed by multiple middle school educators from current Schools to Watch sites from across the state. If it is approved, the school hosts a validation visit where students, staff, and parents are interviewed to ensure the application reflects true practice. If the school meets the rigorous expectations according to the Schools to Watch criteria, they are awarded this prestigious designation.

Schools to Watch is a national network of over 600 schools in 17 states. 

New Phone Scam Alert

The SLO County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a phone scam currently making the rounds.

“We have received numerous reports today that someone claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office has contacted individuals to inform them they were due in court for jury duty,” said Tony Cipolla, Sheriff’s spokesperson, in a news release. “The caller ID ‘spoofed’ an actual number which made it appear to be coming from the Sheriff’s Office.”

The caller proceeds to explain that individuals can clear the matter by paying a fine through the use of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.

“One resident was almost bilked out of $1,700 but the transaction was not successful,” Cipolla said.

“We want to caution residents this is a scam. The Sheriff’s Office reminds you that it is not our practice to contact residents by phone regarding these matters. Anyone who receives a call like this should report it to their local law enforcement agency.”

The Sheriff’s Office asks that people family and friends about this scam, so they can be prepared in the event they receive a call like this.

Sustainability Training Program for Campus Peers

An interdisciplinary team of Cal Poly students has designed a sustainability training program aimed at raising awareness and changing behaviors among their campus peers. 

The 30-minute training, Sustainable Living Edu, which is offered to all incoming students, broadly addresses sections on consumption and fossil fuels, water, transportation, and waste management. Continuing graduate students as well as university employees can also access the training. And the students hope it can expand to serve as a model for other California State University campuses, from San Diego to Eureka. 

“It is a student-led effort to prioritize sustainability at Cal Poly and establish a culture of environmental awareness, stewardship and involvement among all students, staff and faculty,” said Kalea Conrad, a graduate student seeking a master’s in environmental sciences and management. 

The prototype was produced in the spring of 2022 during the Hermosa Beach, California, resident’s final quarter of her bachelor’s in environmental management and protection at Cal Poly. It was the culmination of the quarter-long, seven-person group project in Environmental Design 406 course: Implementing Sustainable Principles, a sustainable environments minor course offered by the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. 

The aim of the training is to communicate the necessity for focus on environmental preservation among all students and disciplines, not only College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences or College of Architecture and Environmental Design majors. With significant input from project advisors, professors, Cal Poly Sustainability Coordinator Kylee Singh and many others, the pair fine-tuned the script and videos were recorded in collaboration with Cal Poly theater students.  

The Sustainable Living Edu training, by the nature of its student-led creation, is specific to the community of San Luis Obispo. Its creators recognize the training will need to be adapted or recreated entirely to address the unique status of waste management guidelines and other sustainability efforts relevant to the other CSU campuses. Conrad and Furr recognize that the greatest challenge for this training is that it is currently optional, and there are few ways to engage returning students with training content beyond CSU-mandated trainings.

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