Takin’ Care of Business 12-14-2023

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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

Help an Animal in Need this Holiday Season

While you are hitting the stores and checking off those lists, don’t forget animals in need this holiday season.

Misty Gin, owner of the Pet House in Los Osos and the leader for Central Coast Girl Scout Troop 45130, will help make the giving easy. The troop has decorated a Giving Christmas tree at the Pet House with stockings for animals at the San Luis Obispo County Animal Shelter. Each stocking has a picture and biography of the animal. To help, individuals may come by and place any enrichment items (toys or treats) in a stocking on the tree. 

To complete the community service project, the girl scout troop will deliver the donated items to the Animal Shelter 

The Pet House, 1010 Los Osos Valley Rd 

Los Osos, is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Give them a call at (805) 528 5611.

Cambria Chamber Dinner and Awards Celebration 

The Cambria Chamber of Commerce’s Annual dinner and awards celebration is slated for Tuesday, January 16 to celebrate the 2023 Cambria Chamber of Commerce Citizen and Business of the Year.

The Business of the Year Award goes to Boni’s Tacos, 2253 Main St., and the Citizen of the Year Award goes to Dave Ehlers.

During the festivities, retiring president Mel McColloch will be honored. Vice President Oz Barron will also review the year’s activities by the Chamber, including a successful car show, participation in community events, the strong return of Hospitality Night, and the upcoming Art & Wine Festival.

The celebration doesn’t end there. The 2024-2025 board will be formally installed and introduced.

It all takes place at San Simeon Beach Bar & Grill, with a “terrific dinner with their usual wonderful staff.”

Book your reservations now at https://form.jotform.com/233386682658067 or call 805.927.3624.

CCSPA Appoints Interim Co-Executive Directors

The Board of Directors of the Central Coast State Parks Association (CCSPA) has two new interim co-executive directors. Julie Lewis and Sierra Emrick will replace Kristin Howland, who has taken an executive director position with Pacific Wildlife Care.

“The CCSPA Board is excited to have two talented and intelligent team members able to step in and lead us through this transition,” said Valerie Glahn, CCSPA board chair. “Kristin has left big shoes to fill but has laid a foundation for our two new co-directors to be successful. 

“The current CCSPA staff is comprised of an exceptional group of professionals. Julie Lewis was hired in 2020 and is currently the Retail Operations Manager. She brings invaluable institutional knowledge and business expertise in overseeing CCSPA’s retail operations. Sierra Emrick, hired as the Community Outreach Coordinator in August of this year, contributes her experience in program management, outreach, and non-profit governance.” 

Come January, Lewis and Emrick will assume their roles. Together, they will collaboratively provide guidance, motivation, and support to the staff, State Parks Partners, and stakeholders, aiming to advance the mission and impact of the Central Coast State Parks Association. 

“CCSPA is an ever-expanding community that I am proud to be a part of,” said Lewis. “In the past four years, I have seen CCSPA grow to new levels I could never have imagined. I cannot wait to make an even greater impact here and continue to support our amazing State Parks. Co-directing CCSPA is both an honor and privilege, and I am excited to build upon the strong foundation Kristin has laid to continue to foster the next generation of environmental stewards”. 

Poly to Tackle Power Grid Challenges 

Driven by a mission to transform power grids, Cal Poly Assistant Professor Jason Poon has secured $496,000 in grant funding to develop innovative computer methods for managing power systems. 

The award from the National Science Foundation is a collaborative grant that sends $267,000 to Cal Poly and $229,000 to the University of Minnesota for the three-year project, “Electronic Analog and Hybrid Computing for Power and Energy Systems.” 

“Managing the grid has become much more complex in the last 10 to 20 years,” said Poon, who began teaching electrical engineering at Cal Poly in 2022. “And existing computing tools are limiting our ability to make the grid more sustainable, reliable and efficient.” 

The evolution can be attributed to the rapid adoption of distributed energy resources, such as solar and wind, which can introduce rapid fluctuations in energy generation due to factors such as weather conditions, along with the increased adoption of electric vehicle (EV) charging that can contribute to higher electricity demand, especially during peak charging times. 

Using these new energy sources and loads is crucial to achieve global sustainability targets, Poon said, but incorporating them into the grid poses challenges in planning, operation and monitoring. 

The teams at Cal Poly and the University of Minnesota are aiming to evaluate the feasibility of radical new computing techniques that have the potential to be much faster and more capable than conventional computing tools used in grid applications, such as cloud-based servers or industrial-embedded processors.

“The development of these new computing techniques could enable faster, real-time decision-making, as well as support the adoption of advanced algorithms for control and prediction, including techniques based on artificial intelligence,” Poon said. 

Poon hopes to enlist undergraduate and graduate students across Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Software Engineering and Electrical Engineering — the three departments under the umbrella of the newly launched Noyce School of Applied Computing. 

“I think there are a lot of opportunities here to support the goals of the Noyce School, both in research and teaching, and I’m excited to collaborate with students and faculty across all three departments,” he said. 

The project’s emphasis on sustainability likely will appeal to a wide swath of students across the College of Engineering. 

“A lot of students and young people today are rightfully very passionate about sustainability and addressing climate change, and I hope this project can show them that having hard technical skills in engineering can provide them with the ability to make a meaningful impact on this space,” Poon said. 

The computing tools developed through the project could have applications well beyond the electric grid. 

“Computing — particularly real-time computing — is essential in a variety of applications, including transportation, manufacturing and consumer electronics,” Poon said. “What we’re developing could provide transformative benefits for all these areas.”

Save Energy with the Holiday Feast

This time of year, the kitchen becomes more popular as friends and family gather to share the joys of the season, but things aren’t so jolly if your utility bills rocket up to the top of the tree.

Kitchens can consume up to 15% of your home’s energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. From casseroles to cornbread stuffing and other wintry weather fare, the energy required to cook your seasonal feast can gobble up a significant part of your holiday energy bill.

 Before you roll up your sleeves this year, Pacific Gas & Electric offers these energy and money-saving tips:

 • Convection Connection: If your oven has a convection setting, use it! It cooks food faster and at a lower temperature, which saves energy, money and keeps your kitchen cooler.

• Keep a Lid on It: Roast your turkey and side dishes with lids on pots and pans and use glass or ceramic dishes. This reduces cooking time and saves energy and money.

• Don’t Peek: Every time the oven door opens, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, forcing it to work harder and use more energy. Use the oven window instead.

• Call in the Crockpot: Use a crockpot, hot plate, or microwave for smaller meals instead of the stovetop or oven to serve up energy savings. 

• Use the Dishwasher: Skip the rinse – just scrape and go! Using your dishwasher is more energy efficient than washing by hand. Wait until there is a full load before starting the dishwasher and be sure to stop it before the heated dry cycle.

• Potluck Power: Encourage your guests to bring their signature dishes, reducing the energy load on your oven and stovetop.

• “Watt” Else Can You Do? When the feast is over, dim the lights and switch to low-energy activities like board games or sharing stories. Make memories without maxing out your energy bill.

Are you or a neighbor Taking Care of Business. Is your business, including non-profits, supporting our community? Maybe you’re launching a new business, or you’re making updates to your current business model, or re-opening. Perhaps you have a job opportunity, or have been doing some volunteer work, or are collaborating with another business or a non-profit. Or maybe you know someone who is. Submit your awesome local efforts for publication to Editor@EsteroBayNews.com.

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