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Fast Facts 

Fifteen years ago, Rotarians started what is now an annual tradition of providing needy children with a pre-holiday shopping spree.

This year, during the early morning hours of Dec. 9, local elementary-age children danced between the racks of clothes to select their favorites, while Rotarians and local high school student volunteers chaperoned the lucky shoppers.

Each child was provided the opportunity to select an outfit in line with personal fashion expectations.

The Rotary Club sponsors the event to the tune of about $100 per child, and Mervyns aside from donating $2,500 to the event opened its doors early, provided a 25 percent discount on all sales, and presented each child with a wrapped toy.

With bulging shopping bags in tow, the children headed over to Embassy Suites to meet their families for an over-the-top breakfast with Santa Claus, compliments of Embassy Suites.

Stella Pittman sat at the banquet, accompanied by four of her grandchildren.

"The kids get so excited they don't know what to do with themselves," Pittman said. "The Rotary Club does such a nice job."

Rotary is a worldwide organization of businesses and professionals that provides humanitarian services and helps build goodwill and peace. There are approximately 31,000 clubs boasting more than 1.2 million members in 167 countries.

Donations are still being accepted for ChildSpree. Send checks, made payable to Rotary de Tolosa Charities, with ChildSpree written on the memo line, to P.O. Box 3938, San Luis Obispo, CA 93403.

Renew your mind and spirit and become rejuvenated at The Spa Central Coast, Atascadero's new luxurious full-service facility. The 3,000-square-foot retreat features a eucalyptus steam room and a couple's massage room.

Customers will find it easy to pamper themselves with a selection of personal services that includes microderm-abrasion, facials, massages, body contouring, warm stone therapy, and physician-administered botox.

The spa sits next to the Carlton Hotel at 6105 El Camino Real. For more info, call 464-0129 or visit

Dream Dinners takes the notion of fast food to a whole new level. The innovative concept allows customers to serve home-cooked meals without the drudgery of planning, shopping, chopping, or cleaning up.

At Dream Dinners, apron-clad customers assemble prepped, uncooked ingredients into baking pans and freezer bags to be cooked up at home for about $3 a meal.

Customers can preview monthly menu selections online and register to attend a meal assembly session consisting of 12 participants. Customers are treated to appetizers and beverages during the approximately two-hour session.

"We try to make it really fun so you can make new friends," said co-owner Karen Cipolla.

For more info, call 786-4852 or visit

What an opportunity. For just $20, you could win a beautiful holiday quilt while helping pay for the medical expenses of Kimberly Garbutt, who's currently awaiting a double organ transplant.

The handmade quilt, aptly named "Threads of Love," was quilted by Janet Willburn a member of an eight-member quilting group. It features patches of colorful Christmas-themed fabric put together to form a lightweight, lap-sized quilt.

"Each member of the group donated a quilt," said longtime San Luis Obispo resident Lynn James, Garbutt's mother. "The remaining quilts will be auctioned off during a dinner that is in the works. We don't have a date currently."

At 10 years old, Garbutt was diagnosed with diabetes, the No. 1 cause of kidney failure. She currently resides at a hospital in Edmond, Okla., awaiting organ availability.

Each day, approximately 74 patients receive transplants. Even so, in that same time period, 19 people die awaiting organ availability.

Tickets are available up until the day of the raffle: Dec. 20. Tickets are available at Kevin Main Jewelry, Farmer and Ready, and Patrick James. For more info, call James at 215-8439.

New Times staff writer Karen Velie compiled this week's Strokes and Plugs. Wanna stroke? Send your business news to

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