News Briefs 7-1-2021

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.

July 2, 2021

Land Use Meeting Changed

The Los Osos Community Advisory Land Use Committee’s Zoom meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday, July 6 at 7 p.m. in observance of July 4.
On the agenda: The CSD will make formal statements as to their concerns regarding the Los Osos water supply and further development. In support, the committee should consider making a statement to send to all relevant entities regarding concerns for the sustainability of the basin. LUC will discuss and vote whether or not to support the CSD and the other water purveyors in their efforts. If the vote is to support, the committee will compose a letter for LOCAC approval.
To get the Zoom access information, go to

Mask Update

Following recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance related to masking for fully vaccinated people, the County of San Luis Obispo wants to remind people that the State’s updated Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings remains in effect. This guidance mandates face masks in indoor settings, with few exceptions.
“While we anticipate that state masking guidelines may changes in the weeks ahead, they are currently still in effect, including in workplaces,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. “Many local businesses also have masking requirements in place, and I encourage everyone to respect and support these local business rules.”
Masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals, except in the following settings where masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status:
• On public transit
• Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare and other youth settings. This may change as updated K-12 schools guidance is forthcoming, pending updates for K-12 operational guidance from the CDC.
• Healthcare settings (including long term care facilities)
• State and local correctional facilities and detention centers
• Homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers
Additionally, masks are required for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses
The CDC’s updated recommendations for fully vaccinated people do not apply in situations covered by other federal, state, or local laws, including local business and workplace guidance. State rules, including those from the California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA, have not changed.
“The most powerful tool we have to protect our community’s health while moving beyond pandemic-related restrictions like masking is the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Borenstein. “Now is the time to get vaccinated and put this pandemic behind us.”

Small Business Grant Program Successfully Closes

The County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors officially announced the successful completion of the Small Business Grant Program. The program is part of the Road to Recovery initiative aimed at helping local businesses mitigate the harmful economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small Business Grant Program Highlights
• Originally earmarked $50,000 in micro-grants for small businesses in unincorporated areas. Due to demand, this was extended to $82,000.
• 30 businesses have been awarded with the initial $50,000.
• Remaining 20 businesses will be funded with the additional $32,000.
The number of businesses to be awarded at each tier are 44 at $1,500 (1-10 employees), five at $2,500 (11-25 employees) and one at $3,500 (26-50 employees).
“As we await further funding for businesses from the American Rescue Plan, the Board of Supervisors was elated to bring financial support to the small business community that has been negatively impacted by COVID-19,” said Supervisor John Peschong in a press release. “This first round of funding helped us establish the infrastructure needed to support grants. As more relief monies become available, we will be able to act quickly and efficiently.”
Officials said the key strategic partner for the Small Business Grant Program was the Workforce Development Board who administered funds through the Department of Social Services.
“The County Board of Supervisors could not have executed this effort without the tremendous help from the Workforce Development staff,” said Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg. “They provided the needed resources to create, review and authenticate all the applications.”

And Now for Something Completely Different

Researchers from Cal Poly are among a multi-university team that launched a community science project seeking to understand rattlesnake behavior by using cameras to view the snakes in their natural habitat.
Project RattleCam, which is hosted on the Zooniverse ( community science website, gives members of the public the chance to analyze thousands of time-lapse images taken at rattlesnake dens near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Members of the public can register for a free Zooniverse account and immediately begin assisting with research by answering questions about the photos, including counting the number of adult and baby snakes in each photo, identifying predators, and more.
“Community science is a way of bringing the process of discovery to people from all walks of life, improving the accessibility of science,” said Emily Taylor, Cal Poly biology professor, project co-lead, and a nationally recognized expert on reptiles and amphibians. “We are really excited to work with community scientists to discover the secrets of rattlesnake behavior. There’s so much we don’t know yet about these fascinating creatures.”
Scientists estimate that the den of prairie rattlesnakes, located on a private ranch, has at least 1,500 snakes. The photos will allow researchers to: characterize rattlesnake maternal care; learn how they obtain water in this extremely dry habitat; examine whether the rattlesnakes preferentially spend time with certain individuals (a behavior similar to humans having friends); and determine which predators eat the rattlesnakes.
Often portrayed as vicious and scary, rattlesnakes are actually secretive creatures that do not want to bite people. Project RattleCam allows people to see the rattlesnakes behaving naturally, in a virtual setting.
“If people could just see the rattlesnakes in person, they would realize how gentle they are — and people might not be so likely to kill rattlesnakes,” said Taylor.
In the future, the research team will add cameras that livestream to YouTube. “Soon you all can tune in to watch rattlesnakes sunning themselves live from your own desk,” Taylor said.
The Project RattleCam website is at

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