Bouquets and Brickbats: Why so much red tape for recycling?

Ultimately, the saga of the small businessman trying to install a recycling station in Oceano — only to get caught in a tangle of red tape — ends on an upbeat note. But the route to that happy place was so long and tortured that we’re going to deliver a no deposit/no return brickbat to SLO County Building and Planning.

We won’t subject you to the minutiae, but in a biodegradable nutshell, Jose Mendoza applied to the county to open a small recycling collection station similar to ones he already operates in Arroyo Grande and Guadalupe.

Mendoza’s application was denied — not so much on the basis of the proposal — but because under a strict interpretation, the station was located within 100 feet of an intersection.

But here’s where it gets strange. Planning commissioners weren’t so sure that said intersection — an alley that dead-ends on a street — fits the definition of an intersection. They approved the project 3-2, but it didn’t end there.

County planning staff returned at a subsequent meeting and informed the commission that the project would require a building permit, which would have triggered a host of additional requirements.

Planning commissioners balked — good for them — and as a result, Mendoza won’t be required to apply for a building permit. He will have to return in two years with a proposal for a more permanent operation. Sounds reasonable — two years is long enough to determine whether the business is a good fit for that location.

We just wonder, why did it take the county so long to arrive at such a logical conclusion?

Student CPR training a fine notion

In the wake of the sudden death of their 30-year-old son, the Winokur family of Paso Robles is trying to pull positives out of negatives. Mary and Jerry Winokur lost their son, Ryan J. Clarke, to sudden cardiac arrest on March 17.

They’ve since started a nonprofit organization, the Ryan J. Clarke CPR Fund for Schools, that aims to teach first aid to local high school students. The Winokur family will start by teaching CPR to underclassmen at Paso Robles High School.

This is an excellent idea; sudden cardiac arrest affects more than 300,000 people each year and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. And here’s the really scary part: It can strike individuals who appear to have no prior history of heart disease or other risk factors.

Training students in CPR will not only help empower them to help in an emergency, it should also raise their awareness of heart health in general.

We toss the Winokurs a heartfelt bouquet for their lifesaving crusade; we hope it catches on in many more communities.

A farewell to Highroad cycling team

SLO’s cycling community is hugely disappointed — as are we — to lose team HTC-Highroad, an elite pro cycling organization that was among the world’s most successful.

Since it formed in 2008, Highroad’s men and women won 484 races, but without a major sponsor, the men’s squad will have to disband at the end of the season. The fate of the women’s team remains up in the air.

The impact Highroad had in SLO was great. It exposed the city to elite competition on a national level, with cyclists regularly racing the Amgen Tour of California, the Giro de Italia and the Tour de France. It also gave local cycling fans a professional team to cheer on.

Equally impressive, there was never a hint of any performance-enhancing drug scandals surrounding the team. Indeed, the name “high road” was a reference to the extensive drug testing protocols the team followed to ensure riders never used banned substances.

We offer each and every member of the team a farewell bouquet of long-stemmed yellow roses.

Thanks for the ride, Highroad.