Greetings, fellow Avilones. Well, here we go again. I guess you can’t say we didn’t see it coming. Yes, chapter two of the Pandemic has arrived, and restrictions on our activities are back. Unfortunately, the Delta variant is running rampant, so much so that SLO County has returned to masking up status in all public places. How discouraging to those of us who were enjoying the rewards afforded the vaccinated populace. It was so nice to have a few months of non-masking normalcy, which now seems like a cruel tease.

However, the main difference is that we can still shop, dine out, go to the gym, movie theaters, and other indoor entertainment, albeit with the renewed safety precautions. And, in most cases, the kids are back in school. Of course, expert opinions vary greatly about just how long all these viruses will continue to disrupt our lives. But it is what it is, so lets all muster up the collective will to combat the spread and keep folks out of the hospital.

Speaking of masks, we are only a few weeks away from Halloween. Ironic that facial coverings are so popular among trick-or-treaters and party-goers, but not so much as a safety measure. I’m just sayin’.

On a sad note, I bid a fond farewell to my associate, Stephanie Rowe, who has served as the “Foundation’s” Project Support Specialist for the past three years. Stephanie was a valued member of our team and will be missed.

On the bright side, I am pleased to introduce our new Project Support Specialist, Kymberly Fazzio, who began her new role on Sept. 1. Kymberly and her husband Frank moved to the Central Coast from Northern California in 2004 to be closer to family and enjoy a better quality of life. Prior to living on the Central Coast, Kymberly held high-level administrative support positions for various Big Four accounting firms and other technical corporations. She recently retired after 16 years at Cal Poly, including five years in the Office of the President. Welcome, Kymberly!

When meeting new Avilones, I find it interesting to learn how they landed in this jewel of the Central Coast. Let’s face it, most of us arrived here from other parts of the state, or from further regions, for a variety of reasons and paths taken. My wife and I, for example, were living in the bustling/sprawling Orange County enclave of Irvine in the 1980s. It was a fun place to be with so much to do and enjoy in the surrounding areas. The problem was that population growth in Orange County made it increasingly difficult to access the abundance of activities that attracted the multitudes. It seemed that much of our existence was spent in traffic or in lines waiting to get into theaters, restaurants, banks, etc. So in 1988, we decided to explore other areas to live in, and without getting into great detail, ended up initially in Los Osos in 1989, then here in Avila in 1995.

I offered the above personal tidbit to invite others to share their journeys to Avila Beach, which I could then include in future issues of this publication. If you are willing to do so, write back to me by finishing a sentence or two that begins thusly. “I/we ended up in Avila Beach in (year) after having lived in (location), and came here because…”  This sounds like a fun exercise, and I hope some of you will humor me by playing along.

With summer now in the rearview mirror, Avila Beach should become less congested, though it will be interesting to see how busy it gets during the upcoming holiday season.  Last year, at the height of the Pandemic, travelers tended to stay closer to home, and much of what we experienced were locals enjoying our seaside sanctuary. However, I suspect things will look different this season, especially with the opening of the new Flying Flags Avila Beach Camping Resort. You might want to check out the site, which will have spaces for tent camping, RVs, and cabins.

Speaking of the holiday season, it’s time to start thinking about your annual year-end donations to support local non-profit organizations serving our community. All have been financially challenged the past two years and are doing what they can to stay afloat. As you know from past columns, the “Foundation” has already committed to providing our grantees with funds equal to what they received the year before the Pandemic, with no strings attached as to how these dollars are spent, be it special projects, programs, or general operating.

Along that line, I want to thank the Rossi Foundation for its recent, generous grant to the Avila Beach Community Foundation, which will enable us to invest more funds in our service area. That’s it for now.

See you at the beach!