News Briefs

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.

January 29, 2021

Local Marketing Firm Wins Gold

Rock Harbor Marketing in Morro Bay took home gold in the 15th annual international AVA Digital Awards.
AVA Digital recognizes outstanding achievement by creative professionals involved in the concept, direction, design, and production of media that is part of the evolution of digital communication. Work ranges from audio and video productions to websites and social media sites that present interactive components such as video, animation, blogs, and podcasts to other forms of user-generated digital communication. Judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

Rock Harbor Marketing was innovative in the social impact space by creating a call to action campaign benefitting California flower farmers on the verge of ruin due to COVID-19. The California Cut Flower Commission recognized the importance of social media and digital to connect with their audience to ignite change effectively and worked with RHM to create the now multiple-award winning Saving the California Flower Farmers campaign.

“RHM was instrumental in helping our members get national attention during the COVID-19 pandemic to help us stay in business,” said David Pruitt, CEO California Cut Flower Commission.
Rock Harbor Marketing was also honored with gold for Best Call to Action for the same campaign in the 5th annual Shorty Social Good Awards, an award recognizing excellence in social media marketing.

French Hospital Introduces LifesavingDiagnostic Technology

French Hospital Medical Center has a new lifesaving technology in the clinical laboratory department. CellaVision offers a proven technology called Digital Cell Morphology that replaces or complements manual microscopy to create an automated digital workflow to detect life-threatening blood cancers.

This automation removes the laborious and tedious aspects of performing blood cell analysis, making better use of staff and skills while empowering the hospital laboratory to deliver faster and more standardized test results.

“Time is of the essence when diagnosing blood cancers,” says French Hospital Chief Medical Officer and Hematology Specialist, Jim Malone, MD. “With this critical technology, we can offer greater efficiency, quality, and staff proficiency.”

The purchase of this medical technology was made possible by a donation from Steve and Barbara Hearst. Steve Hearst is a longtime supporter of the Hearst Cancer Resource Center at French Hospital and continues to be a strong advocate for enhancing cancer services for our community. The Hearst family and foundation were instrumental in supporting the opening of the Center and creating a permanent endowment.

As our community continues to combat a pandemic, it is an important reminder that people are still struggling with other life threatening medical conditions such as cancer. Throughout these unprecedented times, the Hearst Cancer Resource Center continues to offer critical programs and services to cancer patients either virtually or by phone.

SLO Breaks Ground on Railroad Safety Trail

For people who work or play in the City of San Luis Obispo and want to get around while helping the environment will soon have a larger, safer area to embrace pedal and foot power.

The City of San Luis Obispo held a virtual groundbreaking event for the Taft to Pepper Streets portion of the Railroad Safety Trail (RRST). The RRST has long been one of the highest-priority multimodal transportation projects in the City and is expected to be completed in July 2021. The project provides safer access for bicyclists and pedestrians while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project is partially funded by the Local Revenue Measure. 

Over the past two decades, approximately 40 percent of the total four-mile trail was completed and over 1,000 pedestrians and cyclists per day enjoy existing portions of the trail. This project will focus on expanding the trail from Taft Street to Pepper Streets, which connects Cal Poly to the Downtown area. This segment was included in the 2013 Bicycle Transportation Plan and supports the City’s goal for improving sustainable transportation.  

“Completing the Railroad Safety Trail has been a top priority for many of our bicycle and pedestrian community members,” said Public Works Director Matt Horn. “Through partnerships with Cal Poly, Caltrans, and Union Pacific Railroad, the City is pleased to provide another safe and accessible alternative transportation opportunity for the community.” 

In 2015, the City applied for a Caltrans Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant for the Project and was awarded $3.24 million in funding towards project construction. Over the past five years, the project progressed with planning, design, environmental review, permitting and right-of-way acquisition to the current “shovel-ready” stage. 

The RRST extension from Taft Street to Pepper Street, is estimated to cost $5.2 million, and will encompass approximately 0.4 miles from the existing trail alignment on the west side of California Boulevard, near Taft Street, south along the existing bridge crossing over Highway 101, then shifting away from California Boulevard behind the California Highway Patrol property to a new bicycle/pedestrian bridge crossing over the Union Pacific Railroad and connecting Phillips Lane to Pepper Street. A local contractor, Souza Construction, was selected for the project and will begin work this month. 

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