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What a monster!

Carrying the Best torch

As the sports world turns its focus to Athens, New Times honors the
Best of SLO County winners.

Winning an Olympic event takes herculean effort. It doesn’t come easy.
A gold medal represents not only high achievement, but also many long
hours of daily hard training, insufferable aches and pains, and countless
sleepless nights.

That’s how it is for so many of the winners of the 18th annual New Times
Best of SLO County readers’ poll.

The individuals and businesses represented in these pages put in long
hours every day, with their own insufferable aches and pains, and sleepless nights, to provide you with gold medal products and services.
So, this year, the year of the 2004 Games in Athens, we offer our Best
of SLO winners an opportunity to carry the torch and to be recognized for
their Olympian efforts.

As we honor this year’s winners, let’s not forget the Olympic-sized hole
left in the community by the recent death of Alex Madonna. We’ll miss Alex.
For my money, I’ll take a pink medal, thank you.

Olympic champions may take the winner’s stand alone, receiving all of
the accolades for their achievements, but they don’t get there by
themselves. None of it would have been possible without the support of
coaches, family and co-workers.

That’s exactly how it is with the production of the Best of SLO County.
It’s a herculean task that aims for the gold, and requires the support of
countless individuals who put in a lot of extra time and effort to make it

Marketing assistant and all-American utility guy Michael Davidson is the
New Times decathlon champion, who performed the lion’s share of organizing the Best of SLO. This is Michael’s last issue with us. We’ll miss him as he heads to Las Vegas for new adventures. You’re golden, Michael.

Then there’s our editorial relay team of writers who helped carry the
Best of SLO baton to the finish: Kathy Marcks Hardesty, Shawna Galassi,
Kathryn Gillick, Brent Parker, Leiana Miller, Abraham Hyatt, Daniel
Blackburn, and Brandi Stansbury.

And hang a gold medal ribbon around Associate Editor Kat DeBakker’s neck
for editing three newspapers in one week and enduring my insufferable
complaints about working too hard.

You wouldn’t get much of a visual, of course, without the creative flair
of photographer Christopher Gardner, who designed the torch that lights
these pages. Other creative hands include designers Heather Walter, Britt
Nelson, and art director Alex Zuniga—all champs in their own right.

As we go to press, our sales reps are sprinting the final stretch,
burning the midnight oil, and making sure our winners get their share of
bragging rights. Without their hard work there’d be little gold at New
Times. Thanks to Rhonda O’Dell, Meg Rodriguez, Kirsten Blake, Jason Craven and Tracy Joyner Scuri. Their ads pass through the capable hands of graphic artists such as Roxanne Selene Chavez and Christy Arnoldussen, both of whom make New Times endurance events seem easy.

And finally, no one knows the challenge of newspapering like publisher
Steve Moss, whose high standards for quality journalism continue to make New Times the county’s Best Watchdog.

Pick up New Times at over 600 locations in
San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties.
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