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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — THE HEART OF THE SOUTH VALLEY

MAGAZINE

A MANCINI PRODUCTION PRESENTS

January 19, 2014 Visalia Convention Center

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

INSIDE JANUARY 2014 P U B L I S H E D BY

DMI Agency 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 A D M I N I S T R AT I O N & E D I T O R I A L

Executive Editor KAREN TELLALIAN Editorial Coordinator KATIE PRESSER Operations Manager MARIA GASTON CO NTR I BUTI N G WR ITE R S

ANDY SALAZAR CAROLE FIRSTMAN CRAIG WHEATON CRYSTAL R. R. EDWARDS C. S. WYATT KARL MERTEN LEE LITTLEWOOD SHARON MOSLEY VALLEY OAK SPCA WARREN GUBLER ART DIRECTOR

cover story

4 A Bridal Odyssey The longest running Bridal Show in Tulare, Kings, & Fresno Counties

SALES OFFICE

801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • fax 559.738.0909 email: direct@dmiagency.com B U S I N E S S M A N AG E M E N T

MALKASIAN ACCOUNTANCY LLP GARY MALKASIAN CPA JEFFREY MALKASIAN EA

Direct Magazine is published twelve times a year and is distributed via direct mail to nearly 33,000 homes in Visalia. An additional 2,000 magazines are circulated at distribution points around Visalia and Tulare. Views expressed in columns are those expressed by the columnist and not necessarily those of Direct Magazine. We are dedicated to serving the community. Please call us for questions, comments, article suggestions or for information about local events at 739-1747. Fax us at 738-0909 or email us: direct@dmiagency.com. Online Issue at: www.issuu.com/dmiagency © 2014 DMI Agency

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17 Pet of the Month 20 Fashion 24 Education 26 VUSD

32 Warren Reports

features

8 Virtual Valley

Our Valley Home: Virtual Life in the Valley

12 Performing Arts

18 Culinary

Account Executive KATHY LOOPER

16 Fitness

A DV E R T I S I N G S A L E S

Account Executive BRYCE McDONALD

10 Excursion

30 Goings-On

CHRIS BLY

GR APHIC DESIGNER

departments

The Brothers Veyette: Principal Ballet Dancer with Visalia Roots

ROSS YUKAWA

2

Home Grown for the Holidays

22 Taste of Triumph Giving Victims a Powerful Voice: Crime Victim Advocacy Center of Tulare County

28 Kids' Bookshelf Holiday Books to Warm Little Hearts


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

“Gloriously Varied, Stunningly Performed and Beguilingly Sexy” —TIMES OF LONDON

Visalia Fox Theatre Thurs, Jan 9 ~ 8pm

300 W . Main, Visalia 559 625 1369 ~ FoxVisalia.org

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

A BRIDAL ODYSSEY A MANCINI PRODUCTION PRESENTS

January 19, 2014 Visalia Convention Center

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

Text by C. S. Wyatt

What are Bridal Shows? For people planning a wedding, the task of hunting down inspiration and then the wedding professionals to pull off your ideas can be overwhelming. The internet is a great resource for wedding planning, but nothing beats the experience you get when visiting with wedding professionals in person. Unless you have an unlimited budget time, you can’t just go from shop to shop all around town to visit each one – that would take forever! But what if there was a place where you can touch, smell, feel, or taste what the best wedding vendor’s have to offer. Be able to check out their style, sample the products and talk to real people all in one place - all in one day? Well that is what bridal shows are for! These shows go out of their way to make the bride feel special, and you will be surrounded by people who want to hear all about your wedding plans and be able to sample food, cake, confections, and valuable information. Even if you’ve already chosen your wedding professionals, the cost of admission is worth it just for the experience – and it makes a great day to be out with your mom or bridesmaids, or special time with the man you are going to marry. Want to get in on the fun? The first bridal show of the year, is on Sunday, January 19th at the Visalia Convention Center. ’A Bridal Odyssey’ produced by Mancini Production. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $12. Brides can also register online and get a $2 discount coupon. Hours of show are 11 am to 4 pm with a fashion show at 2:30 pm. You might be one of the lucky brides to dive into the Sweet Treasure wedding cake for valuable prizes, or win a 5 day Carnival Cruise of your choice. “Sweet Treasures” Wedding Cake Dive “Sweet Treasures” wedding cake dive was a passing idea as a means to keep brides-to-be to stay till the end of our shows. The concept was so successful that the event has become a muchanticipated activity. “Sweet Treasures” is aptly named, as there are many ‘treasures’ buried in that sweet wedding cake. Sponsors have been generous with the value of gifts offered. Brides have opportunities to win honeymoon trips, floral arrangements, wedding videos, wedding cakes, tuxedos, and many other valuable gifts. At the 4 o’clock hour, which is the end of the show, there is a crowd of people waiting for the chance for their name to be drawn to participate in the cake dive. Depending on the number of gifts awarded determines how many names will be drawn from brides registered at the show.

Contestants will be invited on stage, dressed with plastic draping and shoe coverings. They surround the cake and suddenly the cake is literally destroyed in seconds in search of silver capsules embedded in the cake containing a note indicating the gift that has been won. “Sweet Treasures” has become a major happening at the shows as a participant and as a source of entertainment for those observing the excitement of this event. It was a featured item on the Food Channel in several episodes of the “Secret Life of Wedding Cakes."

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

A BRIDAL ODYSSEY

Mancini celebrates life’s successes With the fast pace of the business world, importance of customer service and personal attention can often takes a back seat to the detriment of business growth and success. “Mancini” Production, under the ownership of Greg and Debbie Mancini continue to mission their business with a firm focus on personal attention and the quality, individual service required to succeed in the presentation of their business. As an emcee and sound production company, the needs of clients must be met in a variety of ways. Having a strong corporate client base, as well as providing service for families, individuals, and special interest organizations, creates a unique demand that varies by each client. Mancini Production concentrates on events and celebrations that require detailed planning, organization and execution for each client. The personal attention required determining the special needs and structuring each event requires a unique talent. In the end, events must have a natural flow; timed with the appropriate music and sound bytes. Additionally, the Mancinis are producers of the nationally recognized bridal show, A Bridal Odyssey, produced every 6

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January since 1997. Each year A Bridal Odyssey continues to grow, and that growth has developed into an excellent relationship with the Visalia Convention Center in hosting these events. These shows have graduated into a production that is well above the average show in the central valley. The fashion show productions incorporate surround sound, theatrical lighting, and special multi-media affects through the efforts of Video Image Productions. The show’s audience anticipates and expects a fully produced show, and the attendance is evident of that expectation. With the professional quality, size and longevity of their shows, the Mancinis have earned acceptance into the elite association of the Bridal Show Producer International, (BSPI) –a coveted organization of international producers that closely network together to assist and perpetuate the quality of their members’ productions. With the effort, hard work and the many hours required to continue to produce successful productions, the business has become a passion for Greg & Debbie Mancini who ‘live’ their business; but it can’t be done any other way, and the Mancini’s wouldn’t do it any other way.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

VIRTUAL VALLEY

Our Valley Home:

Virtual Life in the Valley Mornings begin with a check of the local headlines, a glance at the weather and a skim of Valley-related Facebook group updates. The top of my Google News page features “FresnoVisalia” regional alerts. I try to be an informed, engaged resident of the Central Valley except for the minor detail that my wife and I now live 2,521 miles away. We are “virtual” Valley residents, with friends, family and clients in Tulare County. Thanks to the internet, cell phones 8

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and wireless data plans, we maintain some connections more actively than we did when living in the Valley. Even our cell phone numbers begin with the 559 area code, something that helps us remain connected to the region. Being virtual residents of the Valley has drawbacks. We can read about the Blossom Trail and see the photos, but that’s not the same as driving through the foothills. We follow Yelp reviews, but nothing is the same as eating at any of the great


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

Text by C. S. Wyatt

Central Valley family-owned restaurants. It is hard to find great Southwest and Mexican dining in the northern states. The thing we miss most, though, is fresh produce sold at stands throughout Tulare County. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a treasure. When my wife and I visit friends and family, we try to support local, family-owned businesses. We read reviews and listen to recommendations. Promoting the Valley begins at home. Too many Valley residents forget the great things about living in the region. From Bakersfield to Sacramento, there are some wonderful restaurants, great local shops, entertainment venues and more. When someone tells me there’s “nothing to do” in the Valley, I offer to help find something interesting. I encourage readers of this column to share news, photos and videos from the Valley. Post items to Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube and other social media. Including city and region names as hashtags helps people find the latest posts. For those of us currently far away from home, the updates help us stay connected. For Valley residents, sharing might remind others of places they should visit, businesses they should support, and ways to make the Valley a better home. Search Facebook for local communities, social groups, non profit organizations and businesses. Join the Facebook groups, like the pages and get involved in strengthening our community. For example, consider joining the “Central Valley Creatives” group on Facebook, which is open to all artists and supporters of the arts. Joining one group on Facebook leads to discovering others. I’ve “liked” Arts Visalia, Three Rivers Arts, The Enchanted Playhouse, The Visalia Players and many local artists on Facebook. When there is an event that might interest my Valley friends, I share it to my personal timeline. If you aren’t yet a member of Yelp and FourSquare, join those online communities and start endorsing local businesses. I consult Yelp frequently, searching for affordable, good, local dining options when I travel. It seems likely that visitors to the Valley might also consult Yelp and FourSquare for suggestions. Traveling throughout the nation, I’ve come to appreciate that our little hometown is a city. Like many Valley residents, we tend to think of Los Angeles or San Francisco as “cities” and our communities as something different. Then you discover that major cities in most states are smaller than Fresno. But being a tight-knit community is about more than census data. Even in the Virtual Valley, Visalia feels more like a small town than a city. The Facebook nostalgia groups remind many

of us of the great Valley places and events, whether you still live in the region or not. Visalia’s Main Street has evolved, as in many other cities, but it is fun to recall the red slide, shopping at Link’s or Shelling’s, and buying a copy of MAD magazine downtown. Online, those memories exist as shared photographs and scanned newspaper articles. Thanks to Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, we can see what’s happening back home. I’ve taken the Google Street View drives along Mooney Blvd. and Main Street in Visalia, noticing the vacant buildings and empty lots between new strip centers. Familiar names are gone, while new businesses have arrived. When you live somewhere, you forget how much it changes from year to year. A student asked me why I left California after he noticed my Facebook banner featuring rows of young orange trees near Woodlake. He asked to see other photos, because he hadn’t realized that the Central Valley was breadbasket to the world. Then I showed him photos from the national parks. “I have to go there!” It would be wonderful if he did visit our national parks, stopping to visit our communities. Some of my former students have written to me after trips to California. It is a wonderful place, and I do all I can to promote it. Moving away was not easy. The Valley is home and always will be. While it would be fantastic if you could pursue any dream in any location, the reality remains that some career paths run through a handful of places. As a colleague tells her students, you can’t be on Broadway if you’re not in New York. I’m not living in New York City, but my career goals and creative interests have led me to one of the best universities in the world, in a city with 37 active theater companies. As a playwright, there’s an undeniable benefit to having the support of such an active stage community. Because Visalians support community theater, I was encouraged to pursue this dream. Our high schools, the College of the Sequoias and community groups introduced me to live theater. That is why I am dedicated to promoting local artists and organizations. As I told the student impressed by orange trees, the Valley also exported William Saroyan and Audra McDonald. A successful writer can live anywhere, and I would like to return to California. No matter where I must be until I achieve my goals, I will try to be a good virtual resident of the Valley.

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

EXCURSION

California Hot Springs As the name implies, there is something definitive and special about the tiny foothill town of California Hot Springs. Located in the central-southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, just an hour and a half’s drive from Visalia, travelers happen upon this jewel of a site just after entering The Sequoia National Monument on Mountain Road 56. The town of California Hot Springs was first founded in 1882 and developed as a health resort that centered around the town’s naturally pure hot spring water. The Golden State is not without its fair share of geothermic activity, but the remarkable softness, low sodium and refreshing odorlessness of the water here has made it a favorite secret spot of generations of Californians. Once upon a time, members of the local native Yokut tribe would channel the scalding hot spring water into hollowed-out wooden logs. The resultant soaking tubs were used to relieve the pain of rheumatism and were perhaps the first in California’s rich tradition of spa treatments. Following in the footsteps of the area’s native inhabitants, 10

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the wonderful water of California Hot Springs was enjoyed by the gold miners of the 1850s and by the sheep and cattle ranchers that peppered the area through the 1880s. But despite the steady popularity of these waters, California Hot Springs remained a natural secret until 1882 when development of the area began. The year 1902 saw construction of its first hotel, and by 1920, a commercial center, swimming pool and therapeutic center were fixtures of the little town. Today, visitors can enjoy this area’s sparkling, naturally warm waters at the pool and spas. Located at elevations between 3,100 and 3,700 feet, California Hot Springs is nestled in a Goldilocks zone just above the fog line and below the snow line, so soaking temperatures are optimal all year around. The Sequoia National Monument also boasts many nature trails, and hiking enthusiasts will find that there is no better way to finish off a good trail day than with a luxurious dip in the spring-fed spas. For a local adventure that will leave you blissfully relaxed, a trip to the waters of California Hot Springs is a great way to go. With its natural purity, rich history, and natural tranquility, California Hot Springs is the perfect no-fuss way to enjoy a spa day – courtesy of Mother Earth. For more information on this local destination, visit www.CAHotSprings.com.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

PERFORMING ARTS Text by Carole Firstman

The Brothers Veyette:

Principal Ballet Dancers with Visalia Roots When the curtain goes up, time slows down for Andrew Veyette, principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Every step, every foot placement, how the sole of his shoe glides or sticks to the floor – everything happens in slow motion in his mind. But from the audience’s perspective, he whirls and turns so quickly they see but a blur of his face. And his brother, Francis Veyette, principal dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet, reports the same phenomenon. “Time almost stops for me on stage,” he said. Yet we are awed by the height of his jumps as his legs leap up and out, his feet landing silently back on the stage in less than an instant. 12

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Meet the Veyette brothers: world-class ballet dancers with roots in Visalia. When Direct Magazine caught up with Andrew and Francis, they both talked about their career paths and how they went from Visalia students to top-notch dancers. Both Andrew and Francis, at ages 9 and 10 respectively, began dance training with Betty Downs at Dance Arts in Visalia. Fast forward 17 or so years: Francis and Andrew each hold title to the most prominent position a dancer can have – principal – which means they are probably among the top 50 dancers in the world.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

Francis began as an apprentice with the Pennsylvania Ballet (PB) in 1997 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2011. In addition to his work with PB, he has made guest appearances with Massachusetts Youth Ballet, Westside Ballet and Festival Ballet Theatre. He teaches in many summer programs, including BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, and has created several of his own works over the years for both Shut Up and Dance and Kansas City Ballet’s “In the Wings” program. Andrew became an apprentice with the New York City Ballet (NYCB) in 2000 and was promoted to principal in 2007. In addition to many guest performances with other companies, he appeared in the film “NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ,” a scripted adaptation of the ballet of the same name, which aired on PBS and won an Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Andrew was also featured performer last October on the PBS 40th Anniversary Celebration of Great Performances, where he performed among other great artists that night, including Itzhak Perlman and Ray Charles. Up Through the Ranks Thousands of dancers pursue the goal of joining a company like NYCB and PB, but only a handful will join each year. “Ballet by nature is an extremely competitive art form. There are lots of factors that play into a successful dancer’s career, and some things are beyond their control,” Francis said. “You have to be diligent, musical, committed – and hopefully not get injured.” For Francis and Andrew, getting to the top was a culmination of family support, professional guidance and self-determination. In addition to getting their start in Visalia, they also studied at Westside Ballet in Santa Monica while they were young, and took summer sessions at (among other places) The School of American Ballet in New York City. Their mother, Dallas Veyette, says that every member of their family made sacrifices while the boys were growing up. The family even bought a second home in Palmdale so her sons could study in Santa Monica while her husband continued to work and live (with their other children) in Visalia. “It’s a huge thing to set your life aside to help your boys do what they want. And there’s no guarantee they will ever make it into a company.” The highest and most coveted position in the company is that of principal dancer. Performing the most challenging lead roles, principals are responsible for carrying the weight of the ballet’s story. “You have to get into a meditative state where you’re with the music and there’s nothing but you and your dance partner. You spend all day working and revising steps,

devoting lots of mental energy – and right before you go on stage you tell yourself, ‘Now don’t think about any of that.’” “There’s technique and there’s artistry,” Francis said of the two levels of thinking that go on simultaneously during a performance. “It’s hard to make it look easy.” The Role of a Male Dancer Many people think of ballet as a ballerina dancing en pointe in a tutu, but male ballet dancers are equally important. Considering that they jump higher than NBA players and lift women over their heads on a regular basis, the male dancer consistently delivers performances that rival any professional athlete. People often underestimate the athleticism and strength that it takes to be a male dancer – crazy lifts with one hand, the girl upside down, the girl between his legs, successive turns, spinning like a top and jumping in the air – it takes a lot of work. “We have to do the jumps and turns and everything that is physical and demanding, but do it with finesse,” Francis said. “You also have to come across as masculine and strong, but at the same time you have to be soft and vulnerable.” When asked about the difficulties he faced as a boy, Andrew said, “Of course it can be difficult for some kids. Imagine your playground buddies teasing you about wearing tights. But somebody once asked me why I started dancing. I said that I walked into a ballet studio and saw the male-tofemale ratio and shouted, ‘Sign me up!’ But seriously, I wasn’t teased much. Once people got to know me it wasn’t really an issue. It also probably helped that my older brother danced, too – sort of paved the way, so to speak.” Francis says that although the male’s role is critical in ballet, “it’s best when the guy disappears, when you don’t even see him standing behind the girl. Because really, it’s all about the ballerina. Those are the most beautiful moments, when all eyes and attention are on her.” After the Curtain Goes Down While both Andrew and Francis are leaping confidently into their future – both personally and professionally – they also give a graceful nod toward their humble beginnings. “We owe everything to our parents,” Francis said. “And if it weren’t for Betty Downs, our instructor in Visalia, we wouldn’t be where we are today. She saw something in us, and she opened doors for us – gave us scholarships, sent us to other teachers who knew more than she did. Some teachers cling to talented students – want them to say local – but she sent us onto the next level.” DIRECT MAGAZINE

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

VISALIA FIRST ASSEMBLY

"A Church for the Community"

Visalia First – Community Engagement A year and a half ago the leadership of Visalia First Assembly discovered that the church was no longer fully participating as “A Church for The Community”, a title held since 1928. In response to this discovery, the leadership embarked on a journey to reconstruct the ministry philosophy of the church. Throughout this process a new Pastoral position was created, and Jason LeFaive joined the church leadership as Pastor of Community Engagement in 2013. Since reconstructing the ministry philosophy of the church, Visalia First has been processing what it looks like to intentionally partner with and empower individuals and organizations that are working to bring healing and restoration to our community. Two such organizations we will be partnering with this year is the Visalia Rescue Mission Oval Project and Crowley Elementary School. Our heart this year is to grow in relationship with these bodies, to partner with them, and to learn from their efforts. Visalia Rescue Mission: The Oval Since 2011, the Visalia Rescue Mission (VRM) has partnered with the City of Visalia in efforts to revitalize Oval Park. Jessica Cavale, VRM’s Director of Development, recalls how the need in Oval Park grew a few years ago, and how the Mission responded. “We were feeling the Lord call us, and our Board, to partner with the City and spread the love and message of Jesus to those in the area,” Cavale remembers. As a result of this need, Ryan Stillwater came onto the scene as Oval Venue Coordinator. Stillwater talks 14

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about the negative connotation towards the Oval which has developed over the last couple of decades. Contradictory to the adverse association of Oval Park are the fond memories of those who used to frequent the area years ago. “My interest is not to go back in time and rebuild what’s been lost,” Stillwater says, “but to redeem a very unique park and surrounding neighborhood.” Stillwater expresses that the presence of VRM in the Park is to communicate that the people there, as well as the Park itself are not too far gone. Stillwater’s main focus is to bring a positive influx of the community back to the park. He states, “The endgame is a Park where kids play again, a neighborhood where people are taking bars off their windows instead of putting new ones up. If you think that’s naïve or improbably you may be right, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Faith is being sure of what you hope for.” Crowley Elementary Just down the road from the Oval is Crowley Elementary School. Crowley is a school of 630 K-6th graders. 49% of the student population is English Language Learners, and 100% of the student body is free lunch recipients. Since joining Crowley Elementary School six years ago, Principal Jesse Sanchez has seen significant growth in students’ academic achievements. In regards to the building momentum, Sanchez says, “This has me convinced

we are making efforts toward changing the culture at Crowley, because it shows in our data and in our actions.” Part of maintaining this momentum, says Sanchez, is taking on new opportunities in the coming year. One of these new opportunities will be partnering with Visalia First. “Building partnerships and relationships are keys to our continued success,” Sanchez states. “There is nothing more powerful or uplifting than knowing we have the right people that truly care about helping us accomplish our goals.” Through the partnership with Visalia First, Sanchez expresses a desire to support parents, motivate students, host community activities, and encourage staff members. Additional desires of Sanchez are to build a community garden and see every student own a library card. The goal of Visalia First is to come alongside Crowley Elementary to see these visions become a reality. Visalia First is looking forward to a year of learning as we engage the community and partner with organizations such as the VRM and Crowley Elementary School. In the words of Ryan Stillwater, “It’s time to get off the bench and stop waiting for other Christians to be the salt and light in Visalia.” Now is the time to participate and engage in what God is doing all over this city.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

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THE OFFICE OF Dr. Mariya Grigoryan, D.M.D. 2634 W. Walnut Ave., Visalia CA 93277 p 559.732.7224 Boston Graduate School of Dentistry, Certificate for Orthodontic Treatment Certificate for Oral Conscience Sedation, Fellowship Recognition for Implant Placement Member American Dental Implant Association, Certificate for San Francisco Implant Placement

THE GRIGORYAN FAMILY Simon, Hyke, Gary and Mariya

R E C I PE C OL L E C T ION IO N You’ve ripped out pages, made photocopies, or created space in your bookshelves in order to keep the collection of recipes near at hand. Now, you can have some of the most favored Lifestyle recipes of the last 10 years, while supporting the Visalia Rescue Mission. For every book sold, Lifestyle Magazine will donate 50% of the net proceeds to the Visalia Rescue Mission.

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

FOCUS FITNESS ON

Text by Andy & Eryn Salazar of Empower Fitness Training

How to Lose Weight, Once and For All! Many people say they want to lose weight but they never seem to do it. They come up with excuse after excuse about why they can't get going on their weight loss plan. I know it can be a daunting task and an uphill climb, but the first step to a successful weight loss plan is to make a commitment. Here are some really good weight loss tips that you can use to get serious about your weight loss. Set a schedule. Take out your smart phone or pocket calendar and schedule in your workouts 3-5 days a week in advance. Set a specific time, and days of the week the work for you. If you schedule your workout in advance you are more likely to stick to it and not miss workouts. Spice up your food. Kick up your spicy food intake and watch your scale go down. Eating spicy food raises your metabolism and also causes you to slow down while you are eating making you get full quicker, you will tend to stop overeating, thus taking in less calories and creating a calorie deficit with your new workout plan. Drink plenty of water. Water is a natural fat burner, yet most of us don’t drink enough of it. Make sure you are drinking enough water every day. The average size person should be drinking 9-12 cups of water per day. Drinking at least two cups of water before you eat will help you feel fuller so that you eat less. It also assists in the digestion and elimination process. Exercise regularly. Try to find physical activities that you

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find fun and do them as much as possible. Exercise does not need to be a chore, you can find it to be enjoyable, and there is no wrong or right program for anybody. Dancing, jumping rope, and playing fitness based video games are fun ways to get your needed exercise. Your goal should be 30-60 minutes of physical activity 3-5 days a week, preferably 5. Look good, feel good. Keep your self-esteem high with positive self-talk, compliment yourself when looking in the mirror and dressing nice is very important to your weight loss efforts. Never underestimate the power looking your best on your self-esteem. How we feel about ourselves is directly tied to how we perceive ourselves. Count your calories. Counting calories really allows you to see what you are putting in your body and how many calories you are really taking in a day. You can use apps on your smart phone such as myfitnessplaln or a journal and calorie counting website such as calorieking.com or book. By committing to the process and just getting started you are already leaps and bounds beyond what other people do. If you just stay committed and consistent, you will be successful. Don’t beat yourself up over bad days. You can do this, best of luck.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

PET MONTH OF THE

Text by Valley Oak SPCA

Furry friends need fun too:

Keeping your pet happy and active Our pets need food, water, shelter, training, medical care and lots of love. Our furry friends also need ample physical exercise and mental stimulation to lead truly full and happy lives. With nothing to do, our pets will find ways to entertain themselves and their activities often include less desirable behaviors like excessive barking or meowing, chewing, raiding the garbage, eating houseplants and scratching furniture. • Move it! Healthy adult dogs need at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise twice a day. Jogging, swimming and playing at the dog park are all great ways to burn excess energy. • Engage in structured games, like fetch, chase, hide and seek, they're not only great exercise but also teach your pet impulse control and strengthen the bond between you. • Keep your dog occupied when they are home alone by giving a food-stuffed puzzle toy, like the Kong, or some tasty chew toys. • Like their canine counterparts, cats also need plenty of aerobic exercise. Get kitty fit with rousing play sessions, such as chase and fetch with furry toys, small balls or toy mice. A paper bag, a box, or a few balls of wadded paper are all great entertainment.

• Scratching posts and cardboard scratch pads give kitty the chance to expend energy, remove worn claw bits, and play. • Offer lots of perches by windows, on shelves, and via cat trees so kitty can keep an eye on the wildlife outside. • Hide a few dry treats throughout the house. Some pets will hunt for these hidden treasures for hours. You can also buy treat-dispensing toys. • There are all kinds of organized sports and activities that you can do with your dog, including obedience, agility, flyball, musical freestyle (dancing with your dog), lure coursing, competition Frisbee (disc dog), tracking, herding, weight pulling and carting. There's something out there for everyone. • Just like people, dogs are social animals, and many enjoy spending time with members of their own species. Offleash play with other dogs can give your dog opportunities to practice their social skills with other dogs. Try a local dog park or doggie daycare. If you have friends or family with dogs, you can also arrange "play dates" at your respective houses. We are responsible for enriching our pet's life. Providing opportunities to exercise your cat or dog's mind and body will keep them healthy and happy - and enhance your relationship, too.

Valley Oak SPCA Animal Shelter/Adoption Center 29016 Highway 99, Visalia, CA 93277 Monday & Wednesday, 9:30a - 6p Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 9a-5p General Info: (559) 651-1111 Lost Pet Hotline: (559) 713-4700 To view profiles of our adoptable animals and help us save more lives, visit us online at: www.vospca.org | www.petfinder.com www.Facebook.com/ValleyOakSPCA

Hank, a 2-year-old male Pointer/Spaniel Mix

Pearl is a purrfect little girl she is a one year old ginger and white Tabby

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

CULINARY Text by Karl Merten | Photos by Taylor Johnson

Home Grown for the Holidays

Chateaubriand of Beef

Chianti Reduction Sauce

2-3 pounds of beef filet (center cut if possible; tie string every 2-inches) 2 T fresh garlic, chopped 1 oz olive oil Salt and pepper

One bottle Chianti wine 1 sprig rosemary ¼ to ½ cup red onion ½ cup beef stock or demiglaze or beef bouillon ¼ cup sugar

(Serves 4)

Rub roast with olive oil, garlic and liberal coating of pepper and salt. Pan sear or grill the roast on the barbeque. Transfer to baking sheet and finish in preheated 350°F oven until internal temperature reached 125°F for medium. Once you’ve reached the desired temperature, remove from oven and allow to rest in a warm place, approximately 1 hour. When ready to serve, remove string, and cut into eight slices (2 per person.) 18

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Add all ingredients to sauce pan and reduce by half. Strain and reserve for beef. If you find the sauce too thick or lacking in roast beef flavor, add the pan dripping from the roast. You may also add 1 T of butter to soften the flavors if too strong.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

Eggnog Crème Brule

1 ¼ cup eggnog (I prefer Top O’ The Morn Farms) ½ cup milk 1 pinch salt ½ cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract ¼ tsp cinnamon 5 egg yolks Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine eggnog, milk, salt, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon in saucepan over medium-high heat; stir and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes.

Parsley Potatoes 3 cups small red potatoes, wedge cut 2 oz butter 2 oz flour 1 tsp crushed fresh garlic 2 cups milk ½ cup grated white cheese (I like to use Asiago or Romano for a nuttier flavor) ½ bunch Italian flat leaf parsley Cut and boil red potatoes in salted water until firm and nearly tender. In a second sauce pan combine butter and garlic and allow it to sweat for a minute. Add the flour and stir constantly to form a roux. Add the milk slowly, and keep whisking, stirring as sauce thickens. Add the cheese and chopped parsley; then fold in the drained precooked potatoes. Season to taste and transfer into a serving dish

Bundled Haricot Verts 4 bundles of baby green beans 4 green onion leaves Salt and pepper to taste Simply blanch the baby green beans in boiling water. Once tender, approx 2-3 minutes, chill in ice bath to stop the cooking process. Blanch green onions leaves (one for each bundle) for just 10 seconds and chill in ice bath. Gather up 6-12 green beans and tie with green onion leaf. Quickly sauté over medium low heat in butter, seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well blended. Add the cream mixture a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into six 7 to 8 oz ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the crème brule is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Remove the crème brule from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar. Pour 2 teaspoons sugar evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the crème brule to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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FASHION Text by Sharon Mosley

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

Fashion's Passion for Purple It's official. Purple is the new emerald green. And it's blooming with a new radiance. Pantone, the global color authority, has announced that "Radiant Orchid -- a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple" is the color of the year for 2014. "While the 2013 Color of the Year, Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "It's an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones. Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health." Now who wouldn't want to wear a dose of that? Naturally, fashion designers have developed a passion for purple this spring. Expect to see a whole range of purples heating up the months ahead. But you don't have to wait until next year to perk up your wardrobe with purple. "Radiant Orchid is the perfect color to chase away the harsh winter blues," says Don O'Neill, creative director of Theia. The pink-toned purple shows up with a passion in Theia's spring runway collection. "This color is the color of love, nurturing, kindness and empathy. It's bathed in positivity." How could this new hue NOT make you feel good? O'Neill suggests incorporating the new purples into your life a little at a time, starting with accessories. "Look for silk scarves, cute sweaters and jewelry with purple accents," he says. "This color works great with the basic neutrals that are staples in most everyone's wardrobes -- black, navy blue, denim and white." Purple accessories are turning up everywhere, from sexy suede heels at Piperlime to bright flip-flops at Havaianas. Handbags, clutches, earrings and bracelets ... you can add a touch of purple to energize all your clothes. O'Neill encourages us to make a bold move and experiment with wearing Radiant Orchid from head to toe for festive occasions and special events. How about stepping out in the new hue in a colorful cocktail dress on New Year's Eve? Theia features glowing party dresses and evening gowns in duchess satins and printed silk organza in its 2014 resort and spring collections. Purple with pizzazz!

But you can get ahead of fashion's passion for purple by tweaking a few things in your beauty routine. Think a new shade of eye shadow, blush or nail polish. Lips are even getting a hit of the new pinky-purple color, which complements a variety of skin tones. Now purple hair? Hmmmm ... think we will leave that one up to Kelly Osbourne. She does it so well. DIRECT MAGAZINE

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TASTE OF TRIUMPH Text by Nikki Gilman | Photos by Beckie Nava

Giving Victims a Powerful Voice

Crime Victim Advocacy Center of Tulare County Over 250 guests gathered for the first annual Taste of Triumph benefiting the Crime Victim Advocacy Center of Tulare County. Guests enjoyed a beautiful evening at the Visalia Marriott ballroom featuring warm fall colors, tapas and wine, a silent auction, and entertainment from up-andcoming local band Leaving Austin. Several contributors spoke throughout the event including Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, and guests enjoyed a night full of laughter, mingling and dancing – all to benefit a very important cause. Taste of Triumph guests gathered to support and raise funding for the Visalia organization that is breaking ground up and down the state by offering free legal 22

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representation to victims of crime. Crime Victim Advocacy Center (CVAC) is the first of its kind in California and is on a mission to provide equal access to justice for crime victims. CVAC was founded by President Amy Terrible, a local attorney who realized an unmet need for crime victims while working on a case involving a man who was never given the opportunity to take the stand in court after being sexually victimized as a child. Now a grown adult, Terrible offered him the opportunity to testify at an upcoming trial, “His emotional reaction all these years later opened my eyes,” Terrible explained. “I realized how many victims never get to be heard and how they carry that burden with them every


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

day.” Since June of 2012, Terrible has been operating as a solo practitioner representing crime victims, entirely pro-bono with the newly developed nonprofit CVAC. Through her firsthand account, keynote speaker for the evening Angie Ortega allowed guests to see the criminal justice process through the eyes of a victim. Ortega’s daughter Lorraine, one of three children, was murdered in 1993. The loss of Lorraine has undoubtedly been painful for the family, but Ortega says that in life, everyone has a choice; hers was to put grief into action. Ortega is now supporting other victims as the Monterey County chapter leader for Parents of Murdered Children. This year, Ortega received notice that the convicted murderer of her daughter had an upcoming parole hearing. Ortega was fearful of this convicted murderer being released and stress levels were at an all-time high until she received a call from Amy Terrible. Terrible represented Ortega during the parole hearing and was able to piece together the deception of the murderer, “something we never would have been able to do on our own,” admitted Ortega. “Amy gave Lorraine a powerful voice. She spoke up and our lives were changed after that hearing.” New laws put into place have paved the way for the work of CVAC and victim rights. In 2008, Proposition 9, the California Victims Bill of Rights Act, “Marsy’s Law” was passed. Prior to the passing of Marsy’s Law, the court had the power to listen to crime victims but had no requirement to do so. The purpose of the law was to mandate that judges listen to and consider the views of victims. “In my opinion,” Terrible explained, “the biggest void in the criminal justice process is meaningful victim participation. Before Marsy’s Law was passed victims had very few rights. They really had very minimal participation in the criminal justice process.”

Even with the new laws in place, the criminal justice system can be a difficult and confusing process for most victims. Many are left feeling overlooked and unheard. Before meeting Terrible with CVAC, Ortega felt defenseless, “There was no one to stand up for us, no one to say, ‘We want justice for Lorraine.’” For many victims like Ortega, having an advocate like CVAC representing them in court and guiding them through the process can make all the difference. Now CVAC is changing the landscape of the criminal justice process and providing new hope for victims. For now, Terrible is the only fulltime CVAC member and attorney representing victims of crime. The CVAC board of directors is comprised of a robust group of leaders and agencies that are in essence first-responders to victims. Terrible continues to work on a pro-bono basis while the CVAC begins to seek funding. With the hire of a new grant-writer and fundraisers like the Taste of Triumph, Terrible hopes to add additional attorneys, paralegals and secretaries to better serve clients, “We are planning additional fundraisers for early 2014 and hope to generate enough funds to better serve Tulare County so that no victim will be lost or forgotten.” Over the past year, Terrible has represented over 22 clients ranging from children as young as 4 years old, to adults and businesses. In each case, CVAC has celebrated a victory. Through CVAC, Terrible plans to grow this number of cases and will continue to be a resource and advocate for victims who are feeling marginalized. “Although victims almost unanimously tell me they feel isolated and alone,” Terrible said, “I remind them they are not. There are people who genuinely care and want to help them in any way possible. So let’s replace hopeless with action. We are fortunate in Tulare County to have so many agencies dedicated to assisting crime victims.”

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SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY COLLEGE In an uncertain and ever-changing job market the field of pharmacy technology is proving to be a stable environment with very little turnover. “Pharmacy technology positions are found in a variety of establishments throughout the local community, from large drug store chains to small, privately owned pharmacies,” said Eric Lindberg, division manager for Allied Health programs at San Joaquin Valley College in Visalia. “SJVC’s Pharmacy Technology program focuses on preparing graduates to meet the high standards of their profession and the pharmacist’s expectations, first through an externship program and later through employment. The instructors work with each student to achieve the highest level of skills and confidence to progress from ‘good student’ to ‘great pharmacy technician,’” said Lindberg. Even in times of economic stress, people continue to become ill, seek medical assistance, and fill subsequent medical prescriptions provided to treat sudden or ongoing ailments. Pharmacies and their staff are necessary to fulfill medicinal therapies prescribed by qualified medical personnel. San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) in Visalia provides well-trained graduates of the Pharmacy Technology program to work under the direct supervision of a registered pharmacist as part of a team responsible for carrying out a physician’s, nurse practitioner’s or physician assistant’s prescription orders. Pharmacy technicians assist in the various activities associated with filling, labeling, distributing and dispensing medications. The Pharmacy Technology program at SJVC has provided hospitals, pharmacies and the community with well-trained professionals for many years. 24

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SJVC’s 14-month Pharmacy Technology program includes a balance of classroom and lab instruction, including hands-on applications in filling prescriptions, pharmacy simulations and business procedures, computer applications, compounding ointments, solutions, powders and other medicines for dispensing. The last five weeks of the program are devoted to externship, which allows students direct pharmacy experience with participating sites. “Our classrooms are equipped with appropriate industry equipment and technology, which provides a real-world experience so that they are well prepared for employment opportunities,” said Lindberg. Exceptional teachers add another major component to an already strong program. SJVC has outstanding instructors in its Pharmacy Tech program who make sure that students get what they need in the classroom to be successful in the field. Professional development is emphasized to ensure that graduates interact well with colleagues, provide sensitive customer service, and perform their duties in an

Industrial Technology Training Peaks Interest during Tight Economy

ethical and respectful manner at all times. Career opportunities available to well-trained pharmacy technicians include positions with franchise pharmacies, home health care agencies, correctional facilities and hospitals. Graduates of SJVC’s Pharmacy Technology program earn an associate of science degree, are qualified to register with the State Board of Pharmacy to become a licensed pharmacy technician and are eligible to take the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam to become a certified pharmacy technician (CPT). Graduates also earn Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) certification. Pharmacy Technology classes are offered both afternoons and evenings. The next PT program starts on January 21, 2014. For more information, or for a tour of the Visalia campus, please call San Joaquin Valley College in Visalia at 866391-3804. All Business, Medical and Technical classes are starting soon.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

AUTO SHOP QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

CLASSIC CAR REPAIRS AND SERVICE WELCOME!

Advise for the Holiday Season My car broke down on the freeway out of town. I was stranded and did not know where I should take it. I want to be able to find a shop that I can trust. What is your advise? Anytime you need a quality repair facility in California you need to contact an ASCCA shop. Their website is ASCCA.com, there you can find a shop that will be one you can trust. I have been a member since 1984 and my network of shops has never let me down. One example is when my daughter Beth had a flat tire on the 405. She called me and I called a shop near by that was a member. Within 15 minutes she was being towed to his shop. They gave her a ride to work, replaced the tire, serviced her car and had it back to her by day's end. That is what I am talking about, trust, knowledge, service, quality and getting it done. I have a car that needs the timing belt replaced. Is that something that I need to have done? Vehicles that have a timing belt need to have it replaced around 100,000 miles. It is IMPORTANT for failing to do it will usually result in a major engine failure. If you are unsure just give us a call and we can give you information you need. TIP: Don’t put off preventative maintenance it will only cost you more in the long run So until next article, Happy New Year. We wish the best for you in 2014.

your central valley family resource

Jim and staff If you have any questions, email me at jim@misfiregone.com.

The Central Valley’s only magazine designed for parents of children ages pre-K through high school

To advertise your business in RAISE call 559.739.1747

REACHING VISALIA, EXETER, TULARE AND WOODLAKE!

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VUSD Text by Craig Wheaton, Ed.D. Superintendent

What is “Common Core?” Last winter, I dedicated this column to an explanation of the new Common Core State Standards. In fact, I started with, “A big change is on the horizon for California schools: the implementation of Common Core State Standards.” In September, I read about a recent Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the public’s attitudes toward the public schools, and it revealed that 62 percent of adult Americans surveyed had never even heard of the Common Core. And, recently there has been an enormous amount of press about Common Core, some accurate and, frankly, a great deal of it, just not so accurate. So, I thought I’d give the topic some local flavor. Standards are what all students should know in each subject and at each grade level. Standards are not new to Visalia Unified or to California. We have worked with state standards since 1997 and “No Child Left Behind” accountability requirements since 2002. Standards and accountability have greatly improved learning for children in Visalia. Every year, we have more and more students at or above grade level across our district. In fact, the number of children at grade level has more than doubled in the last 10 years – in Visalia. We all have heard criticisms of educational accountability. Some say it has narrowed what kids learn in school, many feel it has relied on “bubble tests” too much or that there is just too much testing. Others are concerned about the need for problem solving, communication and writing skills. 26

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The Common Core State Standards address many of these concerns. The new assessment system will be, once it is fully implemented, based on computer adapted software; and that innovation promises to reduce testing time and to assess skills far beyond just multiple-choice questions! Common Core are the next generation of standards and are more strongly based on what students need to be able to do to enjoy a successful adult life in our globally connected world. One of the fundamental expectations from Common Core is that students be college and career ready when they leave high school. So, when I think about our children, I want to make sure they are prepared to be successful. Common Core Standards will encourage students to read the kinds of material they will see in the workplace, along with literature and history. Students will spend more time problem solving, thinking through critical issues, justifying their opinions by text references and facts, and communicating their work to others in writing. I believe we will continue to devote time and resources to the visual and performing arts as well as English language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. Common Core Standards are not the latest educational fad – it is what our children need to learn so that they can successfully compete and succeed, no matter what they decide to do after they complete high school. For more information on Common Core State Standards, visit “The Council of Great City Schools” website: www.cgcs.org.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

AIR SUN "The Benefits of Solar Energy" How To Choose A Solar Energy Company You are thinking about eliminating your electric bill by going solar. It will change your life for the good if it is designed and installed properly. While a solar installation is for experienced contractors, some companies don’t have the knowledge or experience, which can be disastrous. Improper specs and installation can cost you thousands of dollars in both future savings and repairs. Here are some things to consider when choosing your contractor: Some companies claim no on-site visit is needed. Is that good? A company that won’t make an onsite visit is usually from out of town and can’t do an on-site visit. Although some companies rely on Google Earth to evaluate a roof, Google Earth cannot show defects or imperfections in the roof or a roof that needs replacement. Only a site visit can reveal the size and condition of your main electrical panel. This and other issues that are important will ultimately cost you more in surprise change orders once the crew is on-site. What type of training does the solar contracting firm have? It is important to remember that you are putting a small power plant on your roof; the installation crew should be qualified to do this work. General day laborers are not qualified. Look at the level of experience when selecting a solar company. Select a company that has been around at least before the California Solar Initiative state rebate program was launched (2007) to know that the company you are using has renewable energy experience.

Check the California State License Board website to see if and when your contractor was licensed for solar. The lower the license number, the longer they have been licensed. A reputable company will have a combination of projects that are residential, commercial and industrial. By seeing a variety of projects, you can have more assurance that the firm is qualified. Know where your solar panels are coming from and who the manufacturer is. American-made products support the local and national economy. It does not make very much sense to declare energy independence but to be outsourcing your dollars to China. You want solar panels made by at least a 25-year old company with a reputable name and a proven track record to know that they will be able to honor your warranty. Do they try to offer off the shelf packages? A renewable energy system should be customized to your lifestyle and home. The type of system should be designed with your present and future energy and financial needs in mind. Don’t fall for “free installation” claims. It is the used car salesman game. The cost systems are mainly based on the quality of product, the local cost of labor, the level of service, the expertise of the engineers and installers and their reputation of service. Consider the difference between a skilled mechanic and an unskilled mechanic. The differences can be disastrous and cost you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, not only in equipment cost and repairs but also in the loss of your home and everything inside. Does the solar contractor outsource their crew? If so, there may be changes between your project engineering and installation. It is best to have a turnkey

operation that delivers your project from concept to completion so the company you are working with is accountable. It is also important to know that they are local. Compare Apples-To-Apples. Make sure when you receive a proposal for your project that you are looking at the solar power system size in AC (alternating current) watts. This is the power that your home appliances are running on. A higher efficiency system may have a smaller DC (direct current) rating and at the same time have a higher AC rating than a low efficiency system. Some contractors will try to increase system sizes by talking in DC watts instead of AC watts. What are the warranty specifics? Make sure that you are receiving warranties for both the materials (solar modules and inverter) used on your project and on the service itself. On your manufacturer warranty, has that solar panel company been in business long enough for you to be confident they’ll still be there when it’s time to honor those warranties? Visit the solar company’s facility. Drop by their facility and see if it is staffed. See how they take care of their place, vehicles and equipment. Meet the staff including those who will be working on your home or business. See what kind of investment they have made in their business. Build a relationship with the entire team, as you will be working with them for years to come. For more information, please call (559) 747-0111.

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KIDS' BOOKSHELF Text by Lee Littlewood

Holiday Books to Warm Little Hearts Brand new holiday books for children make perfect, timeless gifts. These are a few of the latest and brightest. The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson. Penned true to the original series by actress Emma Thompson, this new Peter Rabbit tale will thrill young animal fans. The wonderful-to-read-aloud tale begins when young Peter is sent to his aunt's to "fetch a cup of suet" and bumps into his cousin Benjamin Bunny on the way. The gloomy pair encounter William the Turkey, "a puffed-up person, full of his own importance," and set about to hide him away from his Christmas day dinner plate fate. A happy ending for readers, who will certainly cheer on the pair and William, the turkey survives (as a hat decoration), and Mr. and Mrs. McGregor have boiled potatoes and winter cabbage for dinner. Large, clear text upon uncluttered backgrounds, plus colorful, appealingly vintage illustrations combine to make Thompson's tale incredibly reader-friendly. The Oscarwinning actress throws her joy for Peter Rabbit's quirks and character, and the English Lakes area of his birthplace, into this enthusiastic, entertaining new tale. Lucky for us, a CD of Thompson reading aloud accompanies the book. Santa's Eleven Months Off by Mike Reiss. Kids wonder what Santa Claus does in his many months off. In this funny rhyming tale, Santa doesn't rest on his laurels in any way. He visits Hollywood in February, sings in the rain in April (even though he "sings worse than a goose and dances like a clumsy moose"), sumo wrestles in May and hammocks on a beach in August. Montgomery's Norman Rockwell-like illustrations add a classic feel to Reiss' uproarious words. Kids will sigh a breath of relief at the end, learning that Santa rests up all of November because, "He certainly deserves a pause. Sweet dreams to you, dear Santa Claus." Hanukkah in Alaska by Barbara Brown. This wintry, personable picture book is an entertaining read for young readers who celebrate any kind of holiday. With a focus on Alaska's cold weather and dark days, Brown brings in a spectacle with which kids on the "outside" will be amazed. There are big moose everywhere, and kids even hug trees while outside so moose can't knock them over.

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All the frigidness and moose annoyances aside, our young narrator is cheery and straightforward, making dreidel spinning in the snow and scaring the backyard moose away seem fun. The highlight of the fun story? When the rainbowlike northern lights present the family's very own Hanukkah Festival of Lights. A lovely, zesty chronicle of one child's winter holiday experiences, Hanukkah in Alaska is pure joy. Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco. Polacco's tales are always heartwarming, real and mindlingering. "Gifts of the Heart" is a beautiful story about a housekeeper named Kay Lamity who helps take care of two children after their grandmother dies. Since Grampa must sell their farm and money is tight, Kay shows the kids how making gifts from the heart is much better than those from the pocketbook. Non-Santa believers will also believe again, as young Richie does, after Santa's bells are heard on the rooftop on Christmas Eve. Best of all in this magical story, the family later learns that Kay Lamity was never actually a housekeeper sent from an agency. Readers are left to wonder where she came from -was she an angel? A fantastically hopeful Christmas tale, Polacco's family story proves there's much, much more to holiday joy than money and grief. Little Rabbit's Christmas by Harry Horse. Little Rabbit longs for a red sled and is disappointed with his bouncy blue ball, yo-yo and pair of mittens. Focusing solely on the sled, he refuses to join in the joy, until he finally spots his sled out in the snow. At first selfish and showofflike, Little Rabbit ignores his friends' pleas to play, eventually realizing sledding alone is lonesome and cold. Finally, when the sled breaks, his friends come to the rescue with tools and paint, and they all sled together with joy and abandon. A simple but kid-friendly reminder that sharing is more fun than be.


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

GOINGS-ON First Saturday Food, Fun and fabulous art. Every first Saturday of the month, the artists, restaurants, and merchants of Three Rivers open their doors and invite you to join in a town-wide celebration. You ca pick up a map and schedule at Anne Lang’s Emporium or the Historical Museum – the flyer shows all participating venes, art to see, lcations and times for special events. When: Jan. 4, 10a-5p Where: Anne Lang’s Emporium, 41651 Sierra Dr. (CA 198), Three Rivers Contact: www.1stSaturdayTR.com Forever Tango Luis Bravo's internationally acclaimed entertainment phenomenon is coming to Visalia for one night to set the city on fire. From irresistible rhythms to unmistakable passions, Forever Tango is a drama, a feeling and a way of life, who's popularity exploded across the globe. Join the world's greatest tango dancers and musicians as they bring the art of tango to life on stage. When: Jan. 9, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369

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“Favorite Places” Explore Jeri Burzin’s exhibit “Favorite Places” featuring her photographs from Yosemite and the Southwest, accompanied by Toni Best’s beautiful and unique gourds. When: Reception: Jan 9, 5:30p – 7:30p; Exhibit through Mar. 1 Where: Michael’s Jewelry, 316 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 734-7079 3 Doors Down Acoustic Mississippi rock quintet 3 Doors Down has sold more than 16 million albums worldwide, along with many more accomplishments since their forming in 1995. Performing their hit songs "Kryptonite," "Here Without You," and "When I'm Gone," this will be a show you do not want to miss. All proceeds benefit the Visalia Rescue Mission. When: Jan. 15, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369

A Bridal Odyssey The ideal way to meet all of the wedding professionals you need to help create your wedding – all in one place – all in one day! Be face to face with scores of great wedding professionals, ask them questions, see (and taste) their work, and sign up for great prizes and discounts. While you are here – take a seat and enjoy our beautiful multimedia fashion show. When: Jan. 19, 11a-4p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: www.thebridayodyssey.com Scrub and Shoe Sale Please join the Kaweah Delta Hospital Guild and Life Uniforms in kicking off their first fundraiser of the new year. All profits from this sale go to purchase patient care equipment for Kaweah Delta Hospital. When: Jan. 20-21, 7a-4p Where: Kaweah Delta Medical Center Lobby, 400 W. Mineral King, Visalia Contact: 734-3109


CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

STYX The popular American rock band from Chicago became famous for its albums from the mid 1970s and early 1980s. Known for the hit songs "Lady," "Come Sail Away," and "Babe," Styx will be performing at the Fox Theatre for one night. Don't miss the band known for big rockers and soaring power ballads. When: Jan. 23, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369 Respect: A Musical Journey of Women This delightful show is a high-energy, musical review of the history of women from the early 1900's to today as illustrated through Top 40's songs. It is a lively and engaging celebration of women, as they go from codependence to independence, from "I Will Survive" to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Peppered with talwa of real women, this promises to be a delightful evening filled with song and story! When: Jan. 24-25, & 31, 7:30p Where: Ice House Theatre, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia Contact: 734-3375

Tule Fog 5k/10k Run, Walk & Kids Fun Run Join in the famous Tule fog as we run the St. John's River. With an annual attendance of over 500, this event provides runners a great race, chip timing and healthy snacks. Kick off your New Year the right way! Participants that sign up by Jan. 17 are guaranteed a commemorative event shirt. When: Jan. 25, 7a Where: St. John's Trail - Ben Maddox Entrance Contact: 713-4365

Poker for Pets Go ALL IN to help homeless animals. This Texas Hold 'em charity tournament will benefit the Valley Oak SPCA. Preregister before Jan. 31, and receive an additional $1,000 in free chips! Must be 21 or older to attend. When: Feb. 8, 4p Where: Visalia Moose Lodge, 3360 S. Fairway St., Visalia Contact: 713-4694 or 625-1369

Super Bowl Sprint Come join The Creative Center in their annual event, the Super Bowl Sprint. The Creative Center provides a creative outlet and instruction for developmentally challenged adults. This fun 5k Run and 1K walk is a fun event where the community can get together before the Super Bowl and run off all those anticipated calories of the upcoming day. When: Feb. 2, 8a Where: Mooney's Grove Park, Arbor 6 Contact: 733-9329

If you would like to have your event considered for a free listing in our “Goings-On” section, please email your submission to direct@dmiagency.com or fax to 738-0909, Attention Goings-On. Please note, we do not guarantee listing of any submission. Submissions must be received six (6) weeks before publication. DIRECT MAGAZINE

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CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE — T H E H E A R T O F T H E S O U T H V A L L E Y

WARREN REPORTS Text by Warren Gubler, Visalia City Council Member

2014: Moving Forward We’ve enjoyed the holidays and now are looking forward to a new year. As is tradition in my January article, I pause to look back at some of Visalia’s accomplishments in 2013 and note some things to look forward to in 2014. Mooney Boulevard Burlington Coat Factory recently opened next door to the new Walmart on South Mooney Blvd. It’s good to see that commercial center thriving once again. Other upcoming additions to Mooney Boulevard include Black Bear Diner, Dickie’s Bar-b-Que Pit, Mor Furniture for Less, and El Pollo Loco. In the Visalia Mall, new additions include Crazy 8, Starbucks and Sarku Japan. Sleep Train will be opening a mattress discount outlet next to Dick’s Sporting Goods, and America’s Tire Store will be going in just north of Packwood Creek. The big news is that the Sequoia Mall recently completed a short sale to new owner David Paynter. Look for much needed upgrades and new tenants there in 2014.  Historic Downtown Downtown continues to thrive, with approximately 96 percent occupancy. There’s a new Paris Boutique in the former Beverly Fabrics building. Family Health Care Network continues construction on its new 34,607-square-foot twostory addition. Other new businesses that are anticipated include Four Creeks Engineering, AGR Partners, San Joaquin Valley Homes, and conversion of the former Gold’s Gym to a professional office building. The new Imagine U Children’s Museum is breaking ground and will be a terrific addition to east Downtown (corner of Tipton and Oak). Also a new Pita Kabob will be opening in the former Strubel Auto Parts building on North Court Street. We note with sadness the closing of Link’s Menswear after 72 years in business, but look forward to the remodeling of that building, with new retail space and loft apartments. We wish Bob and Tom the best in retirement. Congratulations to Downtown Visalians, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2013.  Industrial Park The Plaza Drive interchange and widening project (a gateway into the Industrial Park) was completed at a cost of $29 million and dedicated in November. VWR is now fully operational with 93 employees. At 500,000 square feet and a cost of $38 million, it will double VWR’s capacity to serve the 32

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West Coast. An average of 32-42 (not 10,000) trucks a day will be servicing this location. Sorma USA, an agricultural packaging company based in Italy, has established its first US presence with a lease of warehouse distribution space totaling 42,000 square feet, with plans to add a manufacturing component in the future. Expansion of existing businesses in the industrial park include Kaweah Container, Inc., Perfection Pet Foods, Hydrite Chemical Company, and California Dairies. An-Fo Pacifica, which provides sterilization equipment to dairies, has opened a 46,272-square-foot operation. All of this means more jobs, jobs, jobs. Other Developments TJ Maxx recently opened a 22,000-square-foot store in the Orchard Walk Shopping Center in North Visalia. A new Wienerschnitzel is planned for East Noble Avenue, and Pizza Factory will occupy the former Sports Zone in the Visalia Market Place (Kmart Center). Phases 3 and 4 of Riverway Sports Park were completed, and include a new playground, promenade area and special events stage, a new picnic shelter, and restroom facility. The new Santa Fe Trail, approximately four miles in length, is now built and open for hikers and bikers. The water conservation plant upgrade, new southwest fire station, and new animal control shelter should commence construction in the new year. New single family dwelling permits were up 52 percent and all building permits were up 9 percent for 2013 over the prior year. In 2014, also look for the opening of the new splash pad to be installed just south of Rawhide Stadium, along with new pickleball courts in Recreation Park.  City Update Visalia has a new mayor, Steve Nelsen, and a new vicemayor, Warren Gubler. The city enacted a new shopping cart ordinance, prohibiting the use of wheeled devices in local parks, but at the same time provided storage space for our homeless population at the Visalia Rescue Mission. The city launched a new website, helpvisaliahomeless. com, that includes a resource list and ideas for helping the homeless, “change that counts.” In October 2013, The Visalia Convention Center had revenues of $314,808, breaking a fiveyear-old revenue record. While the state and national economies are just beginning to snap out of their doldrums, Visalia’s economy continues to heat up. More people and businesses are realizing that Visalia is a bright spot on the map, and success begets success. The upcoming 2014 promises to be another good year for Visalians, and to all our citizens I wish a Happy New Year!


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January 2014