The Cambrian

In Brief: Third arrest made in sculpture thefts; Alzheimer’s talk in Cambria on Saturday; ‘Wet’ year really just about average West Village paving put off to April

Third arrest made in sculpture thefts

S heriff’s deputies arrested a third man March 10 in connection with the theft and destruction of numerous art pieces in Cambria.

James Scott Armstrong, 37, of Cambria was booked into County Jail on suspicion of grand theft, possession of stolen property, conspiracy and a parole hold.

Two other Cambria residents were arrested March 8 in connection with nearly $40,000 worth of sculpture thefts. Shelly Renee Davis, 38, and Gustavo Dejesus, 33, were arrested in Morro Bay on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property.

Sheriff’s Department Cmdr. Ben Hall said that deputies are seeking any other victims. Hall said at least some of the sculptures were broken apart and sold for scrap.

Between Feb. 23 and the first week of March, owners reported six separate thefts of bronze statues from garden areas and front yards of Captain’s Cove and the Seago Gallery on Moonstone Beach Drive and from the 4600 to 4800 block of Windsor Boulevard on Park Hill. A seventh theft was reported in the 1000 block of Main Street. At two of the locations, two sculptures were taken, for a total of nine artworks.

Values were from $250 to $9,000, and some of the sculptures reportedly weighed as much as 500 pounds. The statues were of young and adult humans, deer and dolphins.

— Cynthia Lambert and Kathe Tanner

West Village paving put off to April

The weather-delayed county project to repave Main Street in West Village probably won’t start until the first full week of April at the earliest, according to the resident engineer on the job.

Engineer Joe Whalen said the Cambria job might start about April 5.

In the $266,000 County Public Works project, Souza Construction crews first are to grind off approximately 2 inches of the roadway’s choppy surface (from Cornwall Street to the Windsor Boulevard/Charing Lane intersection). — Kathe Tanner

Alzheimer’s talk in Cambria on Saturday

W hat does it mean to have Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia? What is the difference between them? Can anything be done for the patient or the family to make life better?

While there is no cure, there are some answers, and caregivers may not know there’s also some help available.

The Alzheimer’s Association of San Luis Obispo County will hold a free informational workshop in Cambria at noon Saturday, March 20, at Gym One, 1266 Tamson Drive.

Advance reservations are requested, for space is limited. Call 547-3830 for reservations or details.

At the panel discussion, information will be provided for patients, caregivers or family members of persons afflicted with the memory-robbing diseases, or for anyone with questions.

A light lunch will be served; Linn’s Fruit Bin Farmstore is a co-sponsor of the event.

Workshop participants include:

• Dana Nelson, pharmacist for Health Plus and Cambria Village pharmacies;

• Dennis Pezzato, author and volunteer at CARES (Cambria Adult Resources Education and Support day care);

• Sara Bartlett, area director of Alzheimer’s Association, San Luis Obispo County; and

• A family caregiver.

Mel and Barbara Schwimmer of Cambria say they also will be speaking; she has Alzheimer’s and he’s her caregiver.

Barbara Schwimmer reports that “I have good days and bad days. I’m losing it, but I’m doing OK … We laugh a lot, we cry a lot. We do what we can. We live in the moment, because I forget stuff, and that’s the hard part ….”

For additional information on Alzheimer’s and dementia, go to

—Kathe Tanner

Main St. bridge hearing Friday

Replacement of a narrow, 88-year-old bridge on Main Street near Santa Rosa Creek Road could move ahead if the county Planning Department’s hearing officer approves the project Friday, March 19.

The tentative-action hearing, which also will include reports on the project’s potential environmental impacts, is set for 9 a.m. Friday, March 19, in the county supervisors’ chambers, 1055 Monterey St., Room D170, San Luis Obispo.

Interested parties may request a full public hearing by submitting a letter to the Planning Department. For details on File DRC2009-00041, go to,or contact planner Airlin Singewald at 781- 5600.

Planners say the longer, wider new bridge will have one bike lane on either side. The cast-in-place concrete bridge, 37.5-feet wide and 150 feet long, would span the creek, allowing more space for a flood waters to flow underneath and no in-creek pillars to trap debris.

The project’s cost is estimated at $3.2 million. In 2009, it was said construction could start in 2011. —Kathe Tanner

‘Wet’ year really just about average

If the winter of 2009-2010 seemed unusually rainy, it was, but only in comparison to the last couple of rain seasons.

The effect of a steady rain season that started with a bang Oct. 13 is evident on hillsides and meadows blanketed by wildflowers and green-velvet grasses.

But from July 1 through March 16, two official rain gauges in Cambria have recorded 21.62 and 22.18 inches of rain, respectively.

Average rainfall for the area is 20.61 inches. According to the Cambria Community Services District’s sewage-treatment plant’s Web site,,Cambria’s heaviest recorded seasonal rainfall since 1973 was 42.62 inches in 1997-1998.

Perhaps more to the point is what’s ahead.

John Lindsey, Diablo Canyon meteorologist, said Monday, March 15, “It looks dry for the next 10 days, but we could see rain again by March 25.”

Average rainfall in April in Cambria is about 1.21 inches, according to district records. Ryan Kittell, National Weather Service forecaster in Oxnard said average monthly rainfall in April over the past 30 years has been 1.3 inches in San Luis Obispo. “We’re at the tail end of our rainy season,” he said.

Areas throughout the county have had near to above-normal rainfall levels so far this season. “I know a few avocado growers who are really happy about the rainfall, not to mention the cattle ranchers,” Lindsey said. —Kathe Tanner

Census forms arrive in area mailboxes

Census forms have begun arriving in mailboxes of those who live on the North Coast and across the U.S.

According to letters received during the week of March 8—which gave recipients a heads-up that another letter and the official questionnaire would arrive during the following week — “results from the 2010 Census will be used to decide the number of representatives each state has in the U.S. Congress, and will help each community get its fair share” of more than $400 billion in government funds over the next decade for highways, schools, health facilities, programs for children and the elderly and many other services.

Funding for those programs often is based on an area’s population.

It has been estimated that an “undercount” could cost the county and communities in it millions of dollars each year.

Recipients are to fill out the questionnaires by April 1 and return them in the postage-free envelope. The forms request household details and age, heritage and other information for each member, even babies and people who have no permanent place of residence but who are staying in the household for a time.

Bureau officials promise all personal data will be kept confidential.

The bureau will host in-person help sites from March 19 to April 19 in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Atascadero, plus toll-free national Q&A lines in English, Spanish, other languages and a TDD line for the hearing-impaired.

For details, go to —Kathe Tanner

Greetings sought for longtime teacher

Former Cambria-school students and others with fond memories of Margaret French can send voice-mail messages to the former, longtime teacher in honor of her upcoming 90th birthday.

Those messages, which will be transferred to a CD for her, can be recorded at 748-7298. Cards also can be mailed to 1149 Market Avenue, Morro Bay, CA 93442.

Her granddaughter Briana French Jones has asked more than 300 alumni and others to tell the former teacher “how she touched your life in any small way,

whether it be creative inspiration, guidance, friendship, memories of times with her or simply a ‘happy birthday’ ” greeting.

Margaret and Karl Edward French moved to Cambria in 1952 and lived here for more than four decades. After retiring, she and her husband built and operated Captain’s Cove bed-and-breakfast on Moonstone Beach Drive.

Margaret French has lived in Eugene, Ore., for 16 years.

—Kathe Tanner

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