Duke Sterling finds his commute to and from work in Grover Beach quick, easy and even relaxing.
A few months ago, Sterling decided to sell his new GMC truck and now relies mostly on South County Area Transit to get to work, to the grocery store and around the Five Cities area.
“If you live and work in the Five Cities, there’s no reason why people shouldn’t take it,” Sterling said. “It’s so nice to be able to read and not have to drive.”
Sterling was prompted to give up his wheels after spending some time at National Train Day at Union Station in Los Angeles in May, where he learned more about San Luis Obispo Car Free. The program offers tourists discounts on hotels, restaurants, Amtrak tickets and bicycle rentals from various retailers if they pledge to travel to or around San Luis Obispo County without a car.
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It’s mainly geared toward visitors, but locals who want to enjoy a “staycation” and travel around the county by bus or trolley are encouraged to check it out.
For example, Sterling received a discounted train ticket on travel to Los Angeles for National Train Day. Soon after, he gave up his wheels, though he and his wife still share a vehicle that they plan to drive just a few times a week.
Sterling now catches a bus near his Arroyo Grande home and rides it to a stop near Ramona Garden Park in Grover Beach, a five-block walk from his insurance office.
What if he has an early meeting? Or works late? No problem.
“It runs every hour. It’s easy,” Sterling said.
To learn more about San Luis Obispo Car Free, a cooperative partnership led by the county Air Pollution Control District and the Central Coast Clean Cities Coalition, go to http://slocarfree.org. So far, 53 businesses are offering 58 different discounts, and 2,000 visitors have signed up online, said Meghan Field, an air quality specialist with APCD.
To learn more about South County Area Transit, go to http://slorta.org/fivecitiestransit.
Retired Grover employee honored
Grover Beach city leaders recently honored a longtime police department employee. Lt. John Bewick was hired as a dispatcher in 1986 and retired at the end of June.
He was described by co-workers as dedicated, calm and “essential to the department,” according to a proclamation presented to Bewick by the City Council in July.
As he worked his way up the ranks over the years, Bewick was instrumental in numerous department programs, including serving as coordinator for the department’s Special Olympic Torch Runs and the Toys for Tots program, and as liaison to San Luis Obispo County Crime Stoppers. He was named Employee of the Year in 2006.
“John was easy going, personable and extremely willing to do anything for the department and the community,” police Chief Jim Copsey said.
Former police Sgt. Tim Miller was promoted to commander to fill Bewick’s position.
First pitch goes to Oceano teacher
Oceano Elementary teacher Jim DeCecco’s arm didn’t let him down in front of thousands of San Francisco Giants fans July 15.
PG&E recently honored DeCecco with its 2012 Solar Schools Inspirational Educator of the Year Award for his ongoing energy conservation lessons. As a prize, DeCecco and 28 of his students traveled to San Francisco to see the Giants beat the Houston Astros.
DeCecco got to throw out the first pitch to Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner.
“I was slightly concerned about that,” DeCecco said. “I didn’t want to embarrass any of my friends in Oceano or anyone I play softball with.”
But fortunately, DeCecco was able to hit Bumgarner’s glove without inflicting any damage to onlookers.
“A perfect day,” he said, crediting PG&E.
Cynthia Lambert and Gayle Cuddy write the South County Beat column on alternating Wednesdays. Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @South CountyBeat on Twitter.