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The California Coastal Commission invites all K-12 students to participate in the 2009 California Coastal Art & Poetry Contest, with a chance to win a $100 gift certificate for art supplies or books. Entries will be judged in four grade-level categories in both art and poetry, and teachers of winning students will receive $40 gift certificates for educational materials.

The commission is holding the contest to encourage youth to reflect on the grace and beauty of California’s coastlines, to develop stewardship. Entries are being accepted now and must be postmarked by January 31, 2009. Entry forms and guidelines are available at or by emailing [email protected].

After less than a year of being incorporated into the 211 network, 211 SLO Hotline is readying itself for what could be its busiest season so far. The hotline has during the past two years experienced almost a 60 percent increase in calls, and calls have doubled in just the last two months. The hotline can help residents in need as well as people who notice behavioral changes in friends or relatives but are unsure how to help.

“Many in our county are impacted by the economy, and cell phones expand the 211 connection to social services at a time when it is needed most,” said Linda McGregor, 211 SLO Hotline’s executive director. “The need for basic services like food and shelter is growing and as the stress mounts so do the requests for counseling and health-care, and the need for help with family issues.”

211 SLO Hotline is the only free service of its kind in the area, providing 24-hour access to more than 500 health and human-service programs, support groups, and confidential connections to compassionate listeners .

Entrepreneurial Cal Poly seniors Cameron Schaefer and Lindon Crow will be showcasing their new business 2nd Vine by raffling off a custom handcrafted wine rack in what the builders are calling the 1st Winter Wine Rack Holiday Raffle.

The best friends started their custom wine rack business after an initial rack constructed for personal use drew interest from friends and family. While neither student is a viticulture major, their common passion for wine spawned their company in March 2008. It has since been featured at Cal Poly’s Open House and Cal Poly’s Wine Festival earlier this year.

The contest begins Nov. 21 and ends Dec. 14. Winners will be selected on Dec. 20. To enter, visit

Intern Aaron Gaudette compiled this week’s Strokes&Plugs. Send your business news to [email protected].

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