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    Morro Bay's Big Night Out Returns!

    All community members are invited to revel at a Mardi Gras themed fundraising gala on Friday March, 4th. Celebrate members of our community who have gone above and beyond in 2020 and 2021. Eat local fare, enjoy signature cocktails, beer and wine, bid on auction items and play a fun crowd participation game with an amazing prize.

    Beads, beignets and a Second Line!


    Event starts at 5:30p

    Cocktail hour with passed hors d'oeuvres

    Seated dinner

    Dynamic and lively programming

    We'll be transforming the Community Center into a venue worthy of Bourbon Street itself! 

  • Carole Truesdale, 2022 Living Treasure

    Carole Truesdale’s first reaction to receiving the honor of Living Treasure was, “All I can say is, WOW. I did not think that being kind and supportive has an award. It is just the right thing to do in all ways, always!” She is humbled to join the roster of previous Living Treasures, including Jack Smith, Jeremiah O'Brien, Lu Chi Fa (Gordon Lu), Lori French, Nancy Castle, and Marilene Peter just to name a few. “To stand with these individuals leaves me speechless.”

    But Carole Truesdale was nominated because she is everywhere, does what she truly believes, but respectfully with a smile and total passion for her adopted community, Morro Bay.

    It's been said Carole is everywhere - volunteering. Most of her time lately is with the Morro Bay Senior Center/Active Adults and is President of the Neighborhood Watch Association. For five years she produced and hosted “Let’s Talk Food and Wine” for Morro Bay’s Community Radio THE ROCK, but decided to “close my radio kitchen.” She continues to join her once a month radio show collaboration each third Friday, “Bodacious Ya Ya’s.

    She knew in the late 1980s she would someday live in Morro Bay and as “…life took its curves…,” she accepted a job based in San Luis Obispo, rented a small home in Morro Bay, but worked and traveled so much she never had the chance to get involved in the community. In 1999 she purchased her home and then met the love of her life, Larry, and remodeled it to accommodate their special interests. He’s a woodworker. She continues to cultivate her art. And together they enjoy pairing a local wine to the latest recipe they are trying.

    She is also a strong advocate for “the preservation of this beautiful city of Morro Bay…I monitor the City Council meetings…speak, ask questions, and send my questions to our City Manager, Scott Collins for further discussion. I will continue to be an active part in the community.”

    Chief Jody Cox, 2022 Citizen of the Year

    When Chief Cox was sworn in to serve and protect Morro Bay, he was already involved in the Morro Bay community. Jody Cox lives, works, plays, and contributes his off-duty hours giving back to many local community organizations.

    Chief Cox serves on the Executive Board and operations committee that produces the Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show, volunteers annually for Project Surf Camp and Operation Surf, and is an active member of the Rotary Club of Morro Bay. He’s a regular at meetings and working the grill with his grandson at Carla’s Kitchen for Rotary’s fundraising Tri-Tip barbecues. Chief Cox is typically visible at community events and while woodworking is a hobby, his unique creations have supported several Morro Bay fundraising events.

    I learned firsthand that Chief Cox doesn’t just sit back and accept invitations to be involved in community events. Chief Cox reaches out to offer his help. Bonnie Jones and I co-chaired the inaugural SLO County Anti-Human Trafficking Summit at the Community Center in Morro Bay. During Chief Cox’s first week on the job, he called us to offer his service to help make the sold-out event a success.

    His belief in community involvement is a quest and a mantra for Morro Bay’s top cop. As America’s law enforcement departments have experienced intense suspect and attack, Chief Cox’s advocacy for a strong community policing program was already in place. Not only has Chief Cox continued meet-ups with Morro Bay residents at National Night Out, Caroling Cops during the holidays, but he expanded the “Coffee with Cops” program at various local coffee houses to an evening event for daytime workforce families to join him and his officers at Pizza Port.

    Chief Cox took his belief in community policing a step further and implemented a program he designed, the Neighborhood Police Program. The goal strengthens Neighborhood Watch. Two officers are dedicated to each segment of Morro Bay’s community. The officer’s goal is to understand a neighborhood’s character – it’s residents and happenings - to build mutual trust and support when circumstances are unusual.  

    Chief Cox has been married and together with Kelly for 25 years. They have four children, and 13 grandchildren. Besides woodworking his off-duty passions are spending time with his grandchildren and cross-country Harley rides to check out Americana with his best buds.

    Coalesce Book Store & Wedding Chapel, 2022 Business of the Year

    Coalesce Book Store & Wedding Chapel has been owned and operated by Linna Thomas since 1973 with the original near where The Blue Sail Inn now stands overlooking the Embarcadero.

    The founding philosophy of the store is inherent in its name. The word “coalesce” means to grow together, to unite.  “That joining has always been the aim of the bookstore,” says Linna. “We wanted everyone to feel comfortable at Coalesce, to find something of value.”

    In the early 80s the move to 845 Main Street expanded their book offerings and gift sales, added a lush garden meditation courtyard and a chapel designed and built by Cal Poly students. Linna explained the expansion allowed Coalesce to share “our own backyard” for community activities. Not only locals, but also out-of-area visitors booked their weddings, anniversaries and other small-venue celebrations in the garden chapel.

    Intimate musical concerts have been performed often produced by the SLOFolks Concert Series. Linna recalled some notable performances: “Lawrence Juber, who played guitar for Paul McCartney and Wings; Chris Hillman, who played with the Byrds; Utah Phillips, a master musical storyteller; Peter Ostroushko, a violinist and mandolinist, who performed regularly on A Prairie Home Companion, and always an annual favorite to sell out the house was Peppino D’Agostino, who played at Coalesce for almost 30 years and also performed at the Performing Arts Center.”

    Besides supporting local musicians, Coalesce has always supported writers whether on book tour or kept in a special section for local writers in the shop. The store offers and promotes book signings to introduce authors to the public. Linna also hosted the Central Coast Writers’ Conference Presenters Social for several years bringing award-winning authors, agents and publishers to seek new talent, write, teach and visit Morro Bay, most likely for the first time.

    Coalesce has also published several books, including poetry anthologies contributed to by local poets. “Second Sunday at Seven was an open-mike poetry group that we sponsored in the Chapel for many years,” explained Linna. “First it was hosted by Carne Lowgren, later by SLO Poet Laureate Jerry Douglas Smith and mystery author Sue McGinty.” She anticipates Misty Wycoff will soon revive it. “We’ve also welcomed hundreds of classes and workshops over the decades, limited only by people’s interests and imagination. Shoosh Crotzer offers a weekly yoga class; we offer a monthly Buddhist meditation; and SLO Hospice has a free grief group that meets once a month.”

    Linna said, “In 2020, we closed for three months, March 19-June 1. It was a shocker for a business that had never closed more than four days a year. As we canceled all chapel activities – a full springtime, summer and fall for wedding bookings, we also had to scramble around madly and, overnight, turn ourselves into an on-line/phone order business. We delivered books locally for free and immediately instigated curbside pickup. We heard from people near and far, Florida, Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, all over California. The huge groundswell of support was amazing and heartwarming. Being involved in our community is what all of us at Coalesce love best, that and selling books that we believe can help change lives.”

    Linna has been active in the daily operations for 47 years. Manager Sher Hereford has worked at Coalesce 45 years, Joanne Hand for 37 years, Roxanne Styles for eight years and new “organizational wizard” Thuy Trang Nguyen joined Linna’s bookstore sidekicks a year ago.

    Morro Bay Lion's Club, 2022 Non-Profit of the Year

    Happy 75th Anniversary to the Morro Bay Lions Club! It is the oldest service organization in Morro Bay and the members value their club’s net worth by the number of services they can offer locally and internationally. 

    For years membership has remained steady at 30 and yet the Lions most recent free Community Thanksgiving Dinner event attracted 60 volunteer helpers. It has been a tradition for the MB Lions to collaborate with other local volunteers to produce a variety of community needed activities such as feeding the hungry, providing laundry service for those in need, collecting recyclables in order to expand food distribution, paying for eye exams and glasses for those without insurance, and even cover needed eye surgery available through the Lions Eye Foundation.  

    Although challenged, Lions’ ability to serve was not interrupted even by recent pandemic events. Lions continued to partner with Todd’s Garage to service and give away 35 vehicles over the past eight years, which is so critical for families and individuals to seek and maintain work. A recycling program was started in 2016, and in 2021, Lions collected and redeemed more than 16,000 pounds of glass and hundreds of pounds of plastic and aluminum. All proceeds went to charities.

    The Monday night dinners at the Morro Bay Veterans Hall are sponsored by Morro Bay Lions. Over the past nine years, more than 30,000 meals were served to the city’s hungry without fail every week.

    Morro Bay Lions also financially supported local charities and organizations including eye screenings for all the local elementary schools, scholarships for high school seniors, Morro Bay in Bloom, Estero Bay Alliance for Care (EBAC), Morro Bay Open Space Alliance (MBOSA), Morro Bay Maritime Museum (MBMM), Scouts, Noor Foundation, Natural History Museum, Cayucos Lost at Sea Memorial, and Morro Bay Recreation Programs.

    Although the City of Hope is not a local organization, people from Morro Bay take advantage of their many services, which Lions support.

    Members of the Morro Bay Lions are honored to be introduced in their 75th year as Morro Bay’s Non-profit of the Year and look forward to seeing everyone at the Gala event on March 4. 


    Thanks to Judy Salamacha of Estero Bay News for the wonderful write-ups of our Honorees. 

  • Thank you to our generous Community Leadership Programming Sponsors!