Bouquets and Brickbats

New state parks chief down to business

letters@thetribunenews.comMarch 29, 2013 

Retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Anthony L. Jackson, right, takes the oath of office as California state parks director as he is sworn in by Natural Resources Secretary John Laird on Friday.

RICH PEDRONCELLI — Associated Press

New State Parks chief Anthony L. Jackson is coming to town to check out the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. There’s no date certain — it will be sometime within the next couple of months — but we plan to slap on sunscreen and greet him with a bouquet of welcome.

We’ve had visits from parks chiefs before — former Director Ruth Coleman attended a la-di-da event at Hearst Castle last year — but we’re impressed that Jackson is embarking on a fact-finding mission. He’ll not only tour the park, he’ll also meet with county Air Pollution Control District staff and board members, and he’ll hear from critics and supporters of the OHV park, which has been criticized lately for failing to meet county deadlines to reduce dust pollution.

Let’s hope Jackson, a retired Marine Corps major general, inspires his staff to get with the program.

Disappointing library delay

The city of Atascadero may have to celebrate its centennial without a grand opening of its new library — and for that, we’re shelving a few literary brickbats under “BD” for big disappointment.

The opening of the library — which had been scheduled for late this year — has been delayed on account of a hitch in the county’s bidding process. One contractor challenged the decision to award the bid to Maino Construction, and that led to a protest hearing and to a recommendation that the county start the bidding process all over again.

The Board of Supervisors, though, won’t take action on that until April 16, which means the new bids won’t be returned until May 15, and interior construction won’t finish until next year — too late for the centennial.

Sigh. We understand that such things happen, but if the county could find a way to expedite the process, that would be aheck of a nice way to say happy birthday to Atascadero.

Kudos to local English teacher

SLO High English teacher James Bruce earns a couplet of bouquets to go along with his Hero Award from the California Arts Council.

Bruce won the honor for promoting Poetry Out Loud — a recitation contest that encourages students to study, memorize and perform historic and contemporary poems. Students compete first at the county level, with winners going on to the state and, finally, to the national level.

Sounds like a great way for students to develop an appreciation of poetry while honing their public speaking skills. Bravo, Bruce.

A healthy place to live

Freshly picked bouquets of fresh fruits and veggies are on their way to local residents whose healthy lifestyles helped SLO win a spot on a list of the healthiest communities in the nation.

The San Luis Obispo/Paso region ranked No. 10 out of 189 metro areas rated on a “well-being index.” It was the only metro region in California to make the top 10.

The well-being index was based on Gallup poll telephone interviews that covered a variety of health-related topics. In general, residents of communities that scored well tended to smoke less and exercise more — no surprise there.

So, let’s raise a shot of wheat grass and jog around the block — the hard work is paying off.

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