The Cambrian

In Brief: Tidbits of Cambria news

Richard Macedo
Richard Macedo

Up to 2 inches rain expected Friday

T his winter’s moderately wet weather is expected to continue this week after a partly cloudy but dry day today, Feb. 25.

According to John Lindsey, PG&E meteorologist, a vigorous low-pressure system will tap into a warm, moist subtropical air mass Friday, Feb. 26, producing rain, heavy at times, with gale-force southerly winds of up to 38 mph. He estimated rain levels at between 1 and 2 inches in lower elevations with more at higher elevations.

Lindsey predicts showers for Saturday, including a slight chance of thunderstorms, and fair weather from Saturday night through Monday and rain returning Tuesday.

Rain gauges at the Cambria Fire Department recorded 3.03 inches of rainfall from Feb. 17 through midnight Feb. 23. At Cambria’s sewage-treatment plant, gauges showed 2.65 inches from Feb. 17 through 8 a.m. Feb. 23.

—Kathe Tanner

Elephant seals stray to cove beach

It’s mating season at the Piedras Blancas elephant seal viewing site, and as a result, some of the area’s other beaches have become “loser beaches.” The big alpha males at the main beach become fiercely aggressive as they defend their mating rights, and they chase younger and weaker males from the beach.

Some of these guys, termed losers by unfeeling folks, have ended up at the San Simeon Cove area, unfortunately close to human beachgoers. They usually just hang out there for a few days before giving up and heading to sea on their northward migration. There may have been more seals there this year because of the high tides and high surf that have reduced the size of the beaches at the main site.

State Parks district Superintendent Nick Franco said Feb. 13 that there are more seals at the cove, staying longer. State Parks hopes to prevent that from happening to one of the area’s most popular beaches. As a precaution, it has installed fencing to ensure wayward seals don’t move off the beach into parking lots or a nearby road.

Most people leave the seals alone, but others get too close, or allow their dogs to approach them. There are many good reasons to stay away from these large male elephant seals. First of all, it is against the law to harass them. Marine mammals are protected by federal law, and hefty fines can be levied by State Parks rangers and game wardens who keep their eyes on the beaches when the seals are there.

Another reason to avoid getting too close is that the seals have large, sharp canine teeth and strong jaws to enable them to eat tough prey, and they often do bloody damage to each other during the mating season. While they usually ignore people, if you or your dog comes close enough to a seal to make him feel threatened, he could attack. They can move faster than you might think, and people have been seriously hurt in the past.

A third caution is the threat of disease. Marine mammals carry diseases and pathogens that can be passed on to humans and dogs.

These seals will soon be gone. They have been in this area since late November, and they have not eaten since then. They have lost as much as 40 percent of their weight, and it’s time for them to head north to forage for food. The adult males travel to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska twice a year. They will return to Piedras Blancas in the summer to molt, then head north again, to return for the breeding season next year. Maybe they will have better luck next time.

So leave them alone.

A photo appears on Page 1; for more on elphant seals, see Elephant Seal News on Page 7.

— Joan Crowder, special to The Cambrian

Cambrian reporter Kathe Tanner and Editor Bert Etling

contributed to this report.

Only slight change for NCAC this year

To run for a North Coast Advisory Council seat, each candidate must now submit names and signatures of 10 people who live in the same part of town as the prospective member.

The all-volunteer council meets monthly and advises county supervisors and other officials on a variety of issues.

According to Council Chairwoman Amanda Rice, the new requirement provides “proof of support from residents of their area and provides another opportunity to raise Cambrians’ awareness of the council and our role in the community.”

Although several other changes were proposed for the council’s makeup and election procedures, none were approved during the advisory group’s Feb. 17 meeting.

Council members decided it would be impractical at this time, so close to the upcoming election, to modify bylaw requirements about such issues as the number of representatives or how they’re allocated.

The candidate-filing period for the May 4 election begins March 4 and ends when the council approves candidates and the ballot on April 21. Maps of the areas are at north

An Election Committee currently headed by Rice will continue researching a range of possible changes. That committee will meet again at 7 p.m. Monday, March 1, at Rabobank, 1070 Main St., and members of the public are welcome to participate.

Seats up for election this year represent:

Terms for appointed seats held by Dawn Dunlap (agriculture, with alternate Debbie Mix) and Mary Giacoletti (environment, with alternate Joyce Renshaw) are also expiring.

None of the incumbents have said if they’ll run again, although some, such as Rice, Lamb and Thompson, have served the maximum of two terms.

For details or to get a “conditions of service” form, e-mail Rice at cambriamaven@gmail.comor call 927-4191.

—Kathe Tanner

Election year starts shaping up

Though there’s a statewide primary election June 8, candidates for the Cambria and San Simeon community services districts, Cambria Community Healthcare District and Coast Unified School District don’t participate in the primary. So people contemplating a run for seats on those local boards are to file their paperwork between July 12 and Aug. 6 for the Nov. 2 general election.

There are various hot-button issues in each of those districts. All are facing more cuts in tax and other revenues, and the services districts each are wrestling with how to combat a shortage of drinking water.

Seats to be up for election this year include:

— Kathe Tanner

Cambrians give, council gives back

The Cambria Community Council may be below the radar of most area residents and sound like a quasi- government agency, which it isn’t. But thanks to the generosity of big-hearted locals, the low-key nonprofit group fills a big financial gap for North Coast charities, service organizations and the people they serve.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, the council handed out about $39,000 in grants to representatives of 20 local nonprofit organizations. Those ranged from school groups, libraries and animal-rescue organizations to programs benefiting children, teens, senior citizens, wildlife, open space and needy families.

Grants help fifth graders travel to Yosemite and eighth graders to San Francisco, provide scholarships to summer camp, buy library books, provide clothing to needy families and fill a host of other fiscal gaps in programs that help local people.

Donations to the council also help underwrite two Community Buses, which, every weekday, carry senior citizens and other non-drivers to their appointments and to do errands. (For details or to make a reservation for a free ride, call 927- 4173.)

Council President Jess Bathke told those receiving the grants that “this is a big deal for us and a big deal for you … the community was very generous this year,” despite the dire economy.

Treasurer Georgianne Jackson said 90 more people donated last year than had in 2008. “We had budgeted for donations to go way down, and they didn’t. We’re so lucky, because we have people in Cambria who support” so many causes.

Donations came from full-time residents and vacationers, businesses and other local groups. Some donations were targeted for specific organizations, which Jackson said the council always honors.

Organizations receiving grants included: Cambria Library, Cambria’s Anonymous Neighbors, Cambria Education Foundation, California School Federation, Coast Union High School Student Body, Homeless Animal Rescue Team, CARES, The Teen Center, Senior Nutrition, Sober Grad, Cambria Connection, 5th-Grade Outing and 8th- Grade Outing, Foster Program at Camp Ocean Pines, Community Emergency Rescue Team, Friends of the Cambria Library, The Learning Center, Cambria Wildlife Conservation, Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch and the Assistance League.

Donations to the Cambria Community Council’s “Open Heart” fund-drive are welcome any time, but the effort culminates toward the end of each year. Send donations to P.O. Box 486, Cambria CA 93428. —Kathe Tanner

Public servant Richard Macedo dies

Longtime public servant Richard Macedo, 68, of Cambria died Tuesday, Feb. 23. The non-smoker fought a seven-year battle with lung cancer, believed to have been caused by secondhand smoke.

Born in Hawaii in 1941, Macedo grew up in Fresno. An Air

Force officer, he participated in the evacuation of

wounded soldiers

from Southeast Asia, earned a Commendation

Medal, served in the reserves and retired as a major in 1986.

Macedo was a Fresno County administrator for 26 years, and taught confirmation and junior high school classes for the Catholic Church.

After moving to Cambria, Macedo served for 8 years as legislative assistant to 2nd District Supervisor Shirley Bianchi and was active with the Santa Rosa Catholic Church, county Food Bank and other causes.

Macedo is survived by his wife of 46 years, Consuelo, a columnist and freelance writer for The Cambrian; a daughter and son and their spouses; four grandchildren; a brother and two sisters.

Arrangements are being made for memorial gatherings in Cambria and Fresno. A private burial will be held in Fresno.

Memorial donations may be made to may be made to the SLO County Food Bank, P.O. Box 2070, Paso Robles CA 93446; Cambria Library Fund, Friends of the Cambria Library, 900 Main St., Cambria CA 93428; Poverello House, P.O. Box 12225, Fresno CA.; or Hospice Partners of SLO County. —Bert Etling

Facing closure, Plough theater hosts meeting

The Pewter Plough Playhouse, faced with closure until it installs fire-extinguishing sprinklers it can’t currently afford, will host a community forum at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at the theater, 824 Main St.

The live theater, open since December 1976, was ordered in late 2007 to comply with public safety codes. The last and most expensive item on the list, a fire-extinguishing sprinkler system estimated to cost $32,000, must be in place before the theater can reopen. The permit to install the sprinklers expires July 31.

County and local officials have worked cooperatively with the Playhouse, it reports, in extending deadlines and finding cost-effective fixes that still ensure public safety.

The theater will be allowed to finish the current run of the comedy “Finishing Touches,” which ends on Feb. 28. A firefighter must, however, be on the premises, which had cost the theater up to $100 per performance.

All Playhouse board members and volunteer staff, as well as Cambria Fire Chief Mark Miller, are expected to be attend Saturday’s forum. For more information, e-mail,go to,or call 927-3877.

—Bert Etling

Cambria singer seeks funds for Spain study

Sarah Wright of Cambria wants to spend her senior year of high school in Spain, and the community is coming together from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 6, to make sure the blind songstress is able to live out her dream.

The event is to include music by the Mighty Croon Dogs and others, live entertainment, a raffle and barbecue. Other performers also are expected, including Sheri Odenwald, Jon Boon Jones and others.

Barbecue tickets are $15 each, and they’re available from Wright and her family and from Shelly Woeste at Artifacts Gallery. For details, call 927-5311.

To raise additional money for the trip, Wright has recorded an Italian song, an English ditty and a number from “Guys and Dolls.” The “sampler” CDs, $7 each, will be on sale at the fundraiser.

The young singer, who has been blind since birth, plans to leave for Spain in August or September and spend her entire senior year abroad through the American Field Service program. She’s confident her condition won’t create any travel problems. “I had to convince AFS of that,” she said with a laugh.

Wright wants “to explore a different culture and learn new things as part of my schooling adventure.” —Kathe Tanner