Category: Impact

Cows are in at the Inn: Madonna Inn to host CowParade launch

Opening weekend events include artist & sponsor reception, 101-Cow Roundup

San Luis Obispo, CA – Madonna Inn is the latest sponsor to join the CowParade SLO County Herd, pledging support for three beautiful bovines and offering its event space for September’s opening weekend festivities.


Phyllis Madonna

Phyllis Madonna poses with a CowParade cow during a promotional photo shoot at Madonna Inn.

Before all 101 fiberglass cows – magically transformed by local artists – are put out to pasture in public spaces throughout SLO County, event staff will roundup the herd for an exhibit launch at Madonna Meadows. Artists and sponsors will have the first chance to view all 101 cows at a VIP reception Friday, September 16. The public is invited to witness the display and even see one sponsor’s cow live-painted on Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Food trucks, beer and wine for sale, live music, and the Harmony Town Ice Cream Truck will be on hand for this one-time chance to see all the cows in one place.


The following week, 101 colorful cows will be placed to be seen “grazing” in public places throughout the county. Sponsored by local businesses, organizations and individuals, the herd will become the talk of the town – seen by an estimated 500,000 visitors and residents – before the entire stock is roped in and driven to a gala charity auction in May 2017.


Auction proceeds benefit The Land Conservancy of SLO County, ARTS Obispo, and the California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation, along with sponsor designated charities of their choice. Proceeds from Madonna Inn’s cows will benefit the Cuesta College Rodeo Club and Women’s Shelter of SLO.


“We’re thrilled to be among the famous destinations who have hosted CowParade, and we felt Madonna Inn just had to be part of it,” said Clint Pearce, Madonna Enterprise President. “The combination of art and agricultural education makes this exhibit a perfect fit for SLO County and for Madonna Inn.”


In addition to sponsorship, Madonna Inn matriarch Phyllis Madonna showed her supported for CowParade SLO County early on by displaying her singing chops in one of several local “celebrity” videos promoting the event. Watch the videos here.


After the first CowParade launched in Chicago in 1999, CowParade events have been held in 79 cities worldwide, including London, Tokyo, Mexico City and Milan. Auction proceeds since 1999 now total more than $30 million.


Check out more about CowParade SLO at Limited cow sponsorships are still available. Please contact Heather Hellman at


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CowParade SLO Seeks High School Students to Join the Moooooooovement

Harmony, CA – CowParade SLO County wants creative high school students to join the herd and participate in the world’s most successful public art event!

After the first CowParade launched in Chicago in 1999, CowParade events have been held in 79 cities worldwide, including London, Tokyo, Mexico City and Milan. Now the colorful cattle drive has been led to San Luis Obispo County, raising money for ARTs Obispo, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and The California Mid-State Fair Heritage Foundation.

By fall, 101 beautiful bovines – fiberglass cows magically transformed by local artists – will be seen “grazing” in public places throughout San Luis Obispo County. Sponsored by local businesses and individuals, the herd will become the talk of the town – seen by an estimated 500,000 people – before the entire stock is roped in and driven to a gala auction in May, 2017.

While local artists are being chosen to decorate the life-sized hefty heifers, CowParade SLO is reaching out to each of the county’s high schools to paint “mini-moos” – Labrador-sized cows that will benefit art programs at the schools. CowParade SLO will donate blank sculptures to each school that wants to participate.

Art departments and their students will have two cow templates to choose from – one grazing and another standing with its head up. High schools will have until September to create their bovine for CowParade SLO. During the May gala, the cows will be auctioned off, and the proceeds from student-designed cows will benefit each school’s arts program.

It’s a great way to rustle up enthusiasm for the arts while raising money for schools. Interested SLO County high schools should contact Tom Halen at

Check out more about CowParade SLO at


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How Social Media Can Boost SEO

Contributor: Lindsay Kent

For business owners, search engine optimization (SEO) can sometimes feel like a mystery to everyone but the search engines themselves. Keeping up with the shifting rules for “good SEO” can seem time consuming and daunting. While it is a good idea to stay up to date with SEO best practices, they sometimesaren’t guaranteed to work because of ever-changing search engine algorithms (see Google’s SEO starter guide here).

This is where social media comes in. Here is a list of five ways your company’s social media presence can boost your website’s search engine ranking:

Social media photo

Image credit: Jason Howie, Flickr

  1. The more the merrier: Using a variety of social media is the way to go. This means having your company on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – if your target audience is there, so should you. Just make sure you have the time and budget to keep the pages current and updated.
  2. Followers matter: More followers means a higher domain authority. Getting a healthy amount of followers to your company page involves:
    1. Posting regularly, but not too often. Over-posting can be more detrimental than not posting enough, as followers will begin to unfollow you. Finding a safe number of posts can be tricky, so putting together a social media calendar is helpful for organization.
    2. Well-written posts that are short, to the point, and relevant to the audience you’re seeking.
    3. Beware of links to sites that claim to get you more followers. These may work quickly, but can actually lower your search engine optimization if search engines catch on. Instead, opt for the old fashioned way. Follow other pages, engage and interact. On many social media platforms, you can pay to expose your page and posts to new audiences. This increases followers without putting your SEO at risk.
    4. To keep followers engaged, be sure to set aside time to reply to comments, reviews and private messages. This makes followers feel included and keeps them coming back to your new content.
  3. Interaction is key: The more shares a post gets, the better it will help your page. Search engines keep track of shares, likes and comments. Every bit of activity on a post helps. Posts that tend to get more shares include pictures, videos, infographics and anything eye-catching. Once a follower is drawn into your post, shorter content will keep them there. Finishing off a post by asking your followers to “share if you agree,” “click on the link below,” or asking them a question that entices a response is also effective.
  4. Put a local spin on things: Is your company involved with your city’s annual holiday parade? Post about it. Post pictures, tag people, tag companies involved. People are more likely to comment and share when they feel a connection with your post. This is called locally optimizing your posts. When people search locally, it makes your post more likely to come up.
  5. Lots of Links: Includinglinks in your social media pages and posts is important in a variety of ways. First, make sure a link to your site is included in the bio sections of your social media pages. In posts, use links to your site where followers can read more about the subject of your post. This way, you can keep the content short on social media, but curious readers can still click to learn more. A great way to accomplish this is by sharing regular content from the news section of your website, and from a company blog that posts timely, relevant material your followers will be interested in reading.

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Blurring Lines into Pop Culture: Emojis & e-Books as Advertising

Contributor: Stephen Zehnder

Contributor: Ellie Koscheski

As an ad-woman, I love seeing effective examples of advertising blurring the lines into pop-culture. Dove’s recent campaign for their Quench products for naturally curly hair had me all ears, errr, hair?


The Curl Issue

Coming from a straight-haired girl who permed her way through the ’80s in a quest for curls, I’ve always been envious of voluminous, luscious curls. So I was sad to learn from research Dove conducted for the Quench haircare line which found only 10% of adult women, and 40% of younger girls actually like their curly hair.

Their research also discovered a glaring lack of pop culture showing the beauty of natural curls. From Hollywood, to magazines, to runways–straight dominates. Dove set out to change that with their #LoveYourCurls campaign, and I’m a huge fan of the alternative advertising avenues they took to achieve that.

Image Credit: Dove

Image Credit: Dove



Of the thousands of emojis available on cell phones, none featured any females with curly hair. Why were straight-haired girls getting all the emoji fun? For those of you who don’t use them, this may seem silly, but for the 73% of people in the U.S. who claim they use emojis every day, this was a glaring gap. Users want emojis that look like them, and this omission has the potential of making girls with curls feel marginalized as yet another way pop culture ignores curls. This all changed last week, when Dove launched a free app called Dove Love Your Curls Emojis Keyboard. Available through the Apple App Store or Google Play, the app features 131 variations of curls, hair color and skin tone emojis. OMG – finally!


Personalized e-Book

To help girls celebrate and be proud of their curls, Dove launched a personalized e-book, downloadable for free. The e-book is a compilation of stories, poetry and illustrations that beautifully describe the reasons to love your curls. The books can be personalized for the curly girls in your life with names and photos. Of the 350+ reviews on Amazon, positive comments abound such as “awe inspiring,” “uplifting,” “a must-read,” “adored this book,” “empowering,” and “I wish I had this book while raising my curly-haired daughters.”


Major credit to Dove for delving into a sensitive topic for women and utilizing their advertising as a platform for change. Their integration of advertising into popular tech products like emojis and personalized e-books was innovative and seamless, and their continued trend of confidence-boosting ad campaigns for women is inspiring.


P.S. Dove’s “Love Your Curls” YouTube video was launched earlier this year and received 9.3 million views in its first day. To date, it has 70K comments, many from curly-haired women saying it had them in tears. Check it out.

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SLO County’s Dairy Creek Golf Course to see improvements under new contractor

Board of Supervisors approve contract with Golden State Golf Company to operate concessions 

San Luis Obispo – Owner Joel Clay of Golden State Golf Company said he’s planning significant improvements at San Luis Obispo County-owned Dairy Creek Golf Course in the coming year, following the county board of supervisors’ decision to allow him to manage food and beverage, driving range, and pro-shop operations.

The supervisors approved the nine-year contract on September 22, 2015. Golf course operations will still be operated by the county parks department.

Golden State Golf Company now manages concessions at all three county-owned golf courses, including Morro Bay and Chalk Mountain in Atascadero.

Dairy Creek Golf Course

New golf carts now available at Dairy Creek Golf Course.

Concessions at Dairy Creek Golf Course were previously managed by Fairway Inc. of San Luis Obispo, which declared bankruptcy in October 2014. Since then, the county has managed the concessions, but some services including food and beverages have been unavailable. The bankruptcy coupled with worsening drought and browning turf resulted in a 45 percent decrease in rounds last year.

“While we can’t solve the water shortage, we can bring back the services and amenities that golf patrons have come to expect, and we can do it better than before,” said Clay. Clay has more than 20 years of experience managing golf course concessions. He’s in the process of obtaining a liquor license for the restaurant, which currently operates on a temporary license and offers a limited menu. He also plans to install new TVs in the restaurant and he recently purchased brand new golf carts for the course.

“We believe this is a good thing all around,” said Clay. “Patrons will see significant improvement in service, and the county will no longer need to run the facility itself.”

Clay anticipates returning the restaurant to full operation in January 2016. Cart and club rentals, pro-shop operation, and golf lessons are available immediately.

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The Three Rs: Reading, Writing & Arithmetic – all part of Algebra I in STEAM classroom

Students at MBHS are using 21st century technology, communication skills in math lessons 

The “Expedition Algebra” artwork in Aimee Burrus’ Morro Bay High School classroom helps pave the journey for her Algebra I students. “Math doesn’t have to be boring,” said Burrus. “My students learn the skills of algebra while ‘climbing’ the nine Morros of San Luis Obispo County. Along the way, they also learn about the natural beauty of their surroundings and the Central Coast.”

Gone are the days where students may have excelled in reading, but not in math. Today, Burrus uses technology and communication lessons to help her students succeed in all areas of education.

It looks like this:

- Students check out a Google Chromebook as soon as they arrive to class, then take their seats at group tables designed for collaboration.
- With the help of Google Classroom, Burrus assigns lessons through her website, complete with video tutorials and example problems.
- Each student’s personal website allows them to access lessons, work on assignments, collaborate with other students, and communicate with Burrus.
- Burrus makes loops around the classroom to check in on progress and give more personal lessons if needed. If more than one group is struggling on an assignment, she’ll bring the class back together for another lesson.
- To finalize each lesson, students take “selfies” with their assignment and turn it in digitally through their website.

Google Classroom is a free suite of tools to help teachers create and collect assignments. It’s been available to teachers worldwide since August of last year, which timed almost perfectly with the

san luis coastal unified school district

Students work in clusters to solve math problems, then submit their work through personal websites.

district’s decision to fund the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) program at Los Osos Middle School. Google Classroom allows Burrus and other teachers to organize the learning experience in a way that is relevant to 21st century students. And it allows the students to work remotely and in real-time with their classmates.

“Some students love math, and some have struggled with math from a young age,” she said. “My goal is to create a learning environment in my classroom that allows students to reach their full potential.”

Burrus helped launch the STEAM program for 6th graders at Los Osos Middle School in 2013-14. The program aims to get students more engaged, while giving them the tools and critical thinking skills to succeed in a rapidly changing, technology-driven world.

The district continues to fund the program for the now 7th and 8th grade students, and is slowly rolling the model into Morro Bay High School classrooms.

Burrus taught at several San Luis Coastal campuses before moving to Morro Bay High School to teach Algebra I this year. She was named San Luis Obispo County Teacher of the Year in 2015.

To read more Class Notes features, visit Superintendent Dr. Eric Prater’s blog here. 

The Class Notes above can be downloaded as a PDF here. 

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Glenn Burdette named one of fastest growing firms by INSIDE Public Accounting

San Luis Obispo – Glenn Burdette, the leading certified public accounting firm on the Central Coast, has been recognized as one of the largest and fastest growing accounting firms in the west. It is the only Central Coast firm to make either list this year.


The recognition comes from the annual INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) survey. Glenn Burdette ranked 5th on the list of fastest growing firms in the western region, based on its revenue growth rate. It’s also listed as the 256th largest firm in the nation on IPA’s Top 300 list.


The IPA survey analyzes firms across the country and the annual rankings are among the longest-running, most accurate and up-to-date for the nation’s largest accounting firms. Since 1994, IPA rankings have served as a barometer of the overall health, challenges and opportunities of the industry.


Glenn Burdette had a revenue of approximately $10.9 million in 2014-15. Revenue grew by 15.4-percent, compared to the first ranked firm’s 22.4-percent.


“I am proud of our team,” said Dan O’Hare, Glenn Burdette President and Managing Director. “Since 1965, Glenn Burdette has been leading the way in the accounting industry through innovation and highly personalized service. I’m confident the next 50 years hold more progress and success thanks to our loyal clients and dedicated employees.”


Glenn Burdette was the first accounting firm in California to establish an employee stock-ownership program in 2000 and has been completely employee owned since 2007. The firm continues to grow and hire in 2015, including recruiting homegrown talent and the best and brightest from the Cal Poly Accounting Program. For more information about the company and career opportunities, visit



Glenn Burdette is a certified public accounting firm celebrating 50 years in business in 2015. The firm has offices in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles, and employs 34 certified professionals and 61 total employees. As members of the American Institute of CPAs, Glenn Burdette has voluntarily undergone peer reviews since 1988 to ensure quality and compliance. The firm has passed every peer review since.


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Superior Court judge signs off on Los Osos Basin Plan

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Martin J. Tangeman approved the Stipulated Judgment and the accompanying Los Osos Basin Plan on Wednesday, October 14, 2015, before a courtroom of Los Osos community members.  The Court’s approval is the culmination of a multi-year planning process that began in 2004.


Water purveyors in the Los Osos Groundwater Basin (Los Osos Community Services District, Golden State Water Company and S&T Mutual Water Company) and the County of San Luis Obispo worked together to develop the draft Basin Plan. The Basin Plan draft was first released in 2013 for public comment.  Incorporation of public comments and additional technical peer review resulted in an improved final Basin Plan released in January 2015.   The Basin Plan provides comprehensive strategies intended to restore the long-term integrity of the Basin water supplies for benefit of the entire community.


The Los Osos Basin Plan establishes goals, timeframes, and milestones to implement the Plan elements, and  metrics against which the  progress in restoring the health of the Basin will be measured.  It also defines fiscal and management authority to finance Basin Plan projects.  The water purveyors and the county will share the responsibility to bring the Basin Plan to fruition.


“The Basin Plan establishes clear goals and metrics to measure our success,” said Kathy Kivley, General Manager of Los Osos Community Service District. “We are pleased with Judge Tangeman’s decision. The cooperation the purveyors have shown should be encouraging for other communities in California facing similar water challenges.”


The Basin Plan Goals are to reverse seawater intrusion in the Basin, promote water conservation and ultimately, to ensure the Basin will provide a reliable, sustainable water supply for the benefit of the Los Osos community.


To view the entire plan, visit



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SESLOC awards grant to Santa Maria classroom for new computers

Santa Maria, CA – Students in one Santa Maria classroom will soon have access to additional Chromebook computers thanks to a $1,000 Education Grant from SESLOC Federal Credit Union. Arellanes Junior High School teacher Rachel Itzstein says the funds will help purchase computers that enable student collaboration on digital projects.


“I have seen the spark in my students when they are working together on projects,” said Itzstein. “Their creativity comes alive and they begin to talk about what they’re learning.”


Arellanes Junior High School serves 600 7th and 8th graders, many of whom come from an economically challenged suburban farming community. Itzstein noted that despite the pressures facing

L-R:  Kelli Fite, SESLOC Senior Vice President; Principal Stacie Rivera; Teacher Rachel Itzstein.

L-R: Kelli Fite, SESLOC Senior Vice President; Principal Stacie Rivera; Teacher Rachel Itzstein.

many students, the junior high has the second highest attendance rate of all 20 schools in the Santa Maria Bonita School District. She wants to continue to foster that commitment to education.


“You cannot put a price on watching students excited to learn and collaborate. You cannot put a price on feeling optimistic about our future. All of these things happen when the students have consistent access to technology,” she said.


Since the inception of SESLOC’s Education Grant program a little over two years ago, the credit union has awarded 41 grants totaling $18,000 for classroom projects.


“SESLOC has expanded its field of membership to include northern Santa Barbara County, and we’re pleased to award the first education grant in Santa Maria,” said SESLOC CEO Geri LaChance. SESLOC will open a new branch in Santa Maria at 2506 South Broadway in January 2016.


To learn more about SESLOC’s Education Grants, visit


SESLOC is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.


SESLOC Federal Credit Union, with 41,000 members, 132 employees and assets of $678 million, has served people on the Central Coast since 1942. It is a full-service financial institution that currently has branch locations in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande and Atascadero. For more information on SESLOC, visit

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United Way honors Glenn Burdette for community work

San Luis Obispo – United Way of San Luis Obispo County praised Glenn Burdette Wednesday evening for its dedication to community, ahead of presenting the firm with the 2015 Special Recognition Award during the nonprofit’s annual awards ceremony at Madonna Inn. The honor follows Glenn Burdette’s generous sponsorship of the 7th annual Flavor of SLO, an annual fundraising event that supports United Way. Glenn Burdette is the event’s first major sponsor since its inception in 2008, and the firm’s participation helped raise a record $12,000.


“The Special Recognition Award honors organizations in our community who utilize best practices in organizing and encouraging their fellow co-workers to ‘Live United,’” said Rachel Cementina, community engagement director for United Way of San Luis Obispo County. “Glenn Burdette promotes this concept of community both within the workplace and personal life, and holds the highest standards for its organization at all times.”


Flavor of SLO was originally created as a Cal Poly senior project, but is now presented by Rotaract SLO, a Rotary partner for 18-30 year-old young professionals. In its first year organizing the event, Rotaract obtained Glenn Burdette as the major event sponsor.


“Rotaract and Glenn Burdette support United Way of San Luis Obispo County’s vision of building a stronger, healthier, more compassionate community by focusing on education, income and health,” Cementina said.


Glenn Burdette’s President and Managing Director Dan O’Hare credited two employees for leading the charge to sponsor the 2015 event, Sarah Glaudel and Rachel Fuller. “Your leadership, dedicated volunteerism, and hard work for Flavor of SLO exemplifies our company value to ‘Go Beyond,’” he said. “On behalf of everyone at Glenn Burdette, and the community at large, thank you both for all you do.”



Glenn Burdette is a certified public accounting firm celebrating 50 years in business in 2015. The firm has offices in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles, and employs 34 certified professionals and 61 total employees. As members of the American Institute of CPAs, Glenn Burdette has voluntarily undergone peer reviews since 1988 to ensure quality and compliance. The firm has passed every peer review since.


Glenn Burdette Awarded

Pictured: Rachel Fuller (Glenn Burdette), Alexis Okumura (Board President, United Way of San Luis Obispo County), Dan O’Hare (Glenn Burdette), Sarah Glaudel (Glenn Burdette), Michael Glaudel (Glenn Burdette), Lynn Compton (SLO County District 4 Supervisor), and Jason Augustine (Glenn Burdette).

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