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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


Suffering with Missing Teeth or Poor Fitting Dentures? : Dental implants can restore your self-confidence and appearance. We place and restore our own implants. No need to visit an outside Specialist: Our extensive post-graduate education and experience allows us to complete virtually all phases of your dental treatment under one roof ie. Implants, Invisalign, Veneers, Oral Surgery and Root Canals. All with IV sedation when necessary for your comfort. Insurance Accepted: We work with and accept almost all dental insurance plans. Financing Available: We understand that money is always a concern. We provide several methods so your dental care can fit your budget. ( OAC)

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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



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


DMI Agency 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 BUS INE S S M ANAG E M E NT

Malkasian Accountancy LLP Gary Malkasian CPA JeffREy Malkasian EA Bookkeeper Marilyn Harris

6 Experience God,

10 Pet of the Month

Experience Life This Easter At

15 Fashion

Visalia First Assembly


Executive Editor Karen Tellalian

Assistant Editor TAYLOR VAUGHN

Office Administrator MARIA GASTON

 Prosperity, Happiness, Fortune and Luck

9 Chinese New Year


CRYSTAL R. R. EDWARDS WARREN GUBLER Sharon Mosley andy Salazar Penney Sick David Vartanian CRAIG WHEATON C. S. WYATT

12 Virtual Valley Crawling the Crafters’ Web 16 Focus on Fitness Hello Skinny Jeans!


Advertising Director Bridget Elmore 559.739.1747

18 Well, THAT Was Fun I’ve Figured It Out.


801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • fax 559.738.0909 email:

20 Business Cents The Tax Relief… Act of 2010.

Direct Magazine is published twelve times a year and is distributed via direct mail to nearly 49,000 homes between Visalia and Tulare. An additional 1,500 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: Online Issue at: ©2011 DMI Agency

Circulation of this Issue: 51,500



14 Culinary

22 Education 23 VUSD 26 Goings-On 28 Direct from Warren

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



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 This year, you are invited to ...

Experience God,


aster 2011 at Visalia First Assembly will be a special time to gather with family and friends, or to come yourself to worship and thank God for His ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. From the first note that is sung to the last word that is spoken, the Easter story will unfold through music and special lighting effects performed by the Worship Arts Department under the masterful direction of Pastor Karen Robertson. The resounding theme of the music and visual effects will be “That’s My King!” The Easter message by Pastor Mike Robertson will bring insight into God’s Word, which will inspire you to live a more fulfilling and productive life spiritually, physically and relationally. Pastor Mike is a rare communicator, full of energy and faith. He will make you laugh, but even more importantly, he will make you think. 6


“We are excited about what God is doing here at VFA,” said Pastors Mike and Karen. “This is the first time we’ve offered five services over Easter weekend on our Akers Campus. We would be honored to have you join us for one of these services as we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive. He has risen and He resides in His people.” Pastor Karen continued, “Our vision at Visalia First is that every person who steps foot on our campus would have an experience with God. Because it is only after that, that a person can truly experience life!” Pastors Mike and Karen will be celebrating their third year as Lead Pastors this Easter. In their time here, VFA has grown from two Sunday services to five services this Easter. First, a third service was added on Sunday, and then a Saturday 5 p.m. service was added.  

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

Experience Life! “God’s hand is upon this church,” said Pastor Mike, “and we are here to share His love on Easter and at every service at VFA.” Kids: there is something special just for you! Bring a friend and experience what Easter is all about! This year, the VFA Kids Easter Program will feature special guests Ned & Joan Way. The Ways travel across the nation speaking to kids and will present a special Easter message on what living a life for Jesus is all about. You will laugh like crazy, be amazed and have a great time! Ned and Joan are professional illusionists, jugglers and family/ kids evangelists based out of Louisville, KY. They have performed for Ringling Brother’s/Barnum and Bailey Circus, Disneyland, Disney World, and other notable places. They have also been featured performers with Kid’s Gig (a part of the Billy Graham Crusade).

The Kids Easter program is for children in Kindergarten through 4th grades, and will be held during all Easter services: Saturday, April 23, at 5 p.m.; and Sunday, April 24, at 8, 9:45, 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. Hebrews 10:25 is a reminder of the importance of getting together with other Christ followers on a regular basis. If you have fallen out of the routine of going to church, Easter would be a wonderful time to Experience God, Experience Life! If you do not already have a home church, VFA is a church you can feel comfortable in as you worship God. The music is heavenly, led by Pastor Karen who worships God with a beautiful voice and her whole heart. Listen to Pastor Mike as he makes the resurrection story of Jesus Christ come alive, while relating to you with a little humor.



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 (Continued)

go green. get green back. We’ve got some green for you too.

Consider this your personal invitation to come to Visalia First Assembly on Easter weekend ~ you will be encouraged by the hope you will discover through Jesus Christ, and you too will be able to Experience God, Experience Life! Easter Worship times at Visalia First Assembly Saturday, April 23, at 5 p.m., Sunday, April 24 at 8, 9:45, 11:30 a.m., and at 1:30 p.m. on the Akers Campus. Spanish Service at 12:30 p.m. on the Walnut Campus. For more information, visit our website: (559) 733-9070

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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

chinese new year

Prosperity, Happiness, Fortune and Luck! Cafe 210 in Downtown Visalia opened its doors to the public on Saturday, February 19, to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at the 8th Annual Chinese New Year Party, put on by the Center for Integrated Medicine. Red lanterns – which are regarded in Chinese culture as a symbol of brightness, happiness and reunion – lined the café’s ceiling. Beneath them the public walked from booth to booth exploring what the Chinese culture has to offer: from tea sampling to origami, to holistic healthcare and well-being, to Chinese youth performing their culture’s traditional dances and folk songs on stage. This event succeeded in bringing the Chinese culture from thousands of miles away right into the heart of Downtown Visalia. An enlightening cultural experience, this annual event was a great way to start off the Year of the Rabbit!



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 OF THE MONTH Don’t Delay… License Your Pet Today! Licensing your dog or cat is easy and gives your pet an inexpensive insurance policy for their safety and protection. Reasons to License: •

Excellent identification to help reunite you and your pet if they are lost.

License renewals help you keep track of your dog’s rabies

vaccinations and lets others know your pet has received proper vaccinations. •

Provides proof your dog or cat legally belongs to you.

IT’S THE LAW If you reside in the city limits of Visalia, Valley Oak SPCA is your licensing agency. Purchasing your license is simple. Visit and purchase or renew your pet’s license online.

A D O P TA B L E P E T O F T H E M O N T H MEET ASHITAKA Ashitaka is a female mix, but has noticeably more Husky traits in her. She thrives on companionship, loves to be a member of the team, and her favorite past time is going for long run or walks. She is very intelligent and learned the commands "sit" and "down" in less than 10 minutes. Ashitaka tends to get bored easily, which is why the previous owners brought her to Valley Oak SPCA. When Ashitaka is bored, she likes to create her own fun, which includes testing her super-dog ability to leap seven foot fences in a single bound! An ideal home for Ashitaka would be one that provides the mental stimulation she craves and the loving attention she needs. Kennel card number #41553. If you’re interested in meeting Ashitaka, please call (559) 713-4688 or email or visit the shelter Monday-Saturday, 9:00a to 5:00p.

Visit Ashitaka and all her friends at Valley Oak SPCA shelter or online at

VALLEY OAK SPCA 29016 HIGHWAY 99 VISALIA, CA 93277 Phone: (559) 651-1111 Web:



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

Spring is approaching... it's time to get your yard in shape!

Jon Opper, owner of Garden World, is here to help! The only locally owned lawn and garden equipment shop in town, Garden World’s hometown service is incomparable. And now the shop is conveniently located off Highway 198 off Shirk, on Pershing, to better serve the needs of its customers. Known for its quick turn around and lower prices, Garden World provides Visalia residents with everything needed to service their yards. Jon encourages everyone to come check out their new location and their extensive line of lawn and garden equipment, as well as to learn about the quality repair and services they provide. Being a locally owned company allows Jon and his staff to provide their customers with quality hometown service you just cant get anywhere else!

For more information stop by the store located at 6837 W. Pershing (off Shirk) or call (559) 651-3388. PAID ADVERTISEMENT



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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 Crawling the Crafters’ Web

Beading, quilting, knitting and various other crafting hobbies occupy, literally, a fair amount of space in our household. My wife enjoys assembling bracelets and necklaces, creating jewelry that easily matches items we’ve seen in stores and at craft fairs. Handmade items are given and received as gifts in both of our families; my mother and sister-in-law both quilt and sew. One thing I’ve learned about crafters is that they respect the handmade projects of other crafters. It is a community with a passion for supporting each other; these artisans are small-business owners, too, selling their crafts. There is no better way to show your support for arts and crafts than by buying items made by the men and women at local craft fairs ... my wife and I visit craft fairs several times a year. During the winter months, there are fewer such markets. But fog, rain and even snow do not stop crafters from 12


finding each other. The World Wide Web offers a year-round, 24-hour a day craft fair for artists to sell, buy and share inspiration. Many artists use eBay, Amazon Marketplace and Craigslist to sell their creations. However, these websites are not known for arts and crafts. For selling items, Etsy is the clear leader. Etsy ( was founded in 2005 by artist Rob Kalin. According to Etsy’s website, “We work to highlight the true value of handmade goods and their creators and encourage awareness of the social and environmental implications of production and consumption.” Anyone can create an online store for handmade crafts, as long as the items do not violate copyright or patent laws. Items you sell on Etsy must be original creations. Etsy’s media relations department reports this online marketplace for artists facilitated more than $314 million in transactions in 2010. The technical wizards behind Etsy have created a system that allows shoppers and artists to search items by everything from the type of craft to their colors. You can search “jewelry” or you can look for a “blue” item. For a special experience, you can shop “Curated Lists” of items. The Etsy team compiles items by subject, such as “For Baby” or “Celebrate Cinema.” This makes it easy to find the perfect gift for someone else or yourself. The forums on Etsy allow artists to discuss ideas, share business tips and communicate with customers. If you enjoy a craft, the odds are someone on Etsy can help you learn even more about it. The sense of community makes Etsy unlike most retail websites. One alternative to Etsy is ArtFire, founded by artists in 2008. ArtFire is still a small website, however, it is growing rapidly and often feels like Etsy. Because ArtFire features promotions from major craft suppliers like Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores and Lion Brand Yarn, I expect this site to become a major destination for crafters. If you want to shop worldwide, DaWanda (http:// is the website for you. With the slogan “Products with Heart,” this German-based company sells only handmade arts and crafts from around the world. They do accept vendors from anywhere, as well, but they screen online vendors for quality. This selectivity means shoppers select from some of the best crafts available. If you’re a

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

Tex t by C. S. Wyat t

talented artist, this is the best craft fair on the Web. Artists enjoy a different type of “market” on whoopdwhoop ( Unlike Etsy, whoopdwhoop isn’t about buying and selling goods. Whoopdwhoop doesn’t try to be a consumer-only website. This is a site for artists. Whoopdwhoop is a barter website, describing itself as “The currency free creative marketplace.” You have to have something to trade to participate in the whoopdwhoop community. When someone requests one of your handmade creations your account is credited with “Whoops,” a virtual currency for barter. You can set the initial value of an item from one to five “Whoops,” but you are always free to accept a different payment. It takes time to learn the perceived value of your handicrafts. The more goods you ship to others, the more “Whoops” you earn to trade for items you might want. If you want to learn more about crafts, without necessarily buying, selling or trading items, the website Craftster (www. is popular. The site was founded in 2003, which is way back in Internet time. Craftster allows people to share “how-to” instructions complete with photos and videos. The Craftster site includes this warning: “Craftster is for freely sharing how to make things! Don’t post pics of things you sell in hopes of getting some sales or we’ll have to bust out the limbo stick on you!” If you use Craftster to sell items, they ban you from the site. It is a community and social networking site. I encourage everyone, not only artists, to visit the virtual craft fair websites. Shopping for gifts at a craft fair, online or in person, guarantees that the gifts you buy are unique. Plus, it feels great to support independent business people. Some places to buy, sell or trade arts and crafts: Etsy: ArtFire: DaWanda: Products with Love: Whoopdwhoop: Th  e Currency Free Marketplace: iCraft: Creativity without Borders: Handmade Catalog:

Valley native Scott Wyatt has a doctorate in scientific and technical communication, focusing on issues of education, literacy and technology. Contact Scott at with questions or comments.



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 Recipe by David Vartanian, Vintage Press

in a Red Pepper Puree Ingredients: Swordfish 6 Swordfish steaks, 6 oz. each 2 T Dijon mustard salt & coarse pepper 2 T peanut oil Red Pepper Sauce 4 red bell peppers 3 T olive oil 1 small onion, sliced 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/4 C chicken stock 1 lemon, juiced Salt and pepper



Directions: Swordfish Season the fish with salt. Rub with the mustard and coat with cracked pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and sear the swordfish on both sides for two to three minutes. Keep warm. Red Pepper Sauce Roast the peppers over a medium flame. Remove peel and seeds. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sautĂŠ the onion for two to three minutes. Add the garlic and peppers. Continue cooking for two to three minutes. Then add chicken stock. Allow to simmer for five minutes. Puree in food processor or blender. Return to saucepan and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Spoon the sauce onto warm plates. Place the Swordfish on top of the sauce and serve.

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 Tex t by Sharon Mosley

going green Think you can’t go green with your wardrobe? Is it just too hard to read all the labels, do the research and go all-out natural? Sometimes we just give up before we even get started. Well, you don’t have to stop buying things other than absolute essentials to lessen the negative impact on the environment, says Christie Matheson, author of “Green Chic: Saving the Earth in Style.” “True, consuming just about anything is eco-detrimental,” admits Matheson, who cites production, packaging and shipping, which take their toll, “but that doesn’t mean I’m going to wear last year’s designer denim for the next eight seasons. Please.” Matheson has come up with a “more realistic” plan. “Be thoughtful about the clothes and accessories you buy and the habits you use when buying and taking care of them,” she says. “Along with the process of lightening your environmental footprint, there’s a surprising added bonus – you’ll probably cut way down on buyer’s remorse.” Here are a few of Matheson’s ideas to help you become a greener fashionista: Edit, edit, edit. Go through your closet: look at every single thing you own and pare it down, so you’re left with only the things you love to wear. The idea is that if you love everything in your closet, even if you end up with a third of

the clothes you had before you started the editing process, you’ll have a much easier time getting dressed in the morning, and you’ll always look stunning. Less is indeed more. Rid yourself of the pieces that don’t fit, don’t flatter, or make you feel like you’re wearing a tent. Opt for organic fabrics. Cotton is one of Matheson’s favorite ways to wear “green.” But not just any cotton will do. Organic cotton is grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, meaning none of that seeps into the air, the water, the soil or your skin. Read the label. If it’s organic, it will say so. Consider vintage. Who knew buying a gorgeous 40-yearold Chanel suit is actually a way to preserve the planet? Don’t comb through awful secondhand shops hoping for a miracle – go to nice vintage and consignment shops. Or consider swapping gently worn clothing with your girlfriends. Always institute a waiting period. This is good ecoshopping advice, but it’s also just plain good shopping advice,” says Matheson. “If there’s even a hint of doubt in your mind but the item you’re totally craving is expensive, or isn’t particularly eco-friendly, walk away for a day. Put it on hold if you think someone else will snap it up. Sleep on it. There’s a decent chance you’ll realize you don’t really need it. And if you do still want it, it’s probably something that you really love, something that belongs in your closet. DIRECT MAGAZINE


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 ON fïTNESS Text by Andy & Eryn Salazar of Empower Fitness Training

h e ll o, skinny j e a n s ! Most of us have been there: we broke down and bought a bigger pair of pants because we got tired of barely breathing in our smaller ones. Here are seven fitness tips to lose weight, drop inches and fit into your skinny jeans once again. 1. Set realistic goals. Take it slow. Don’t go all out only to burn yourself out after a couple of weeks or months. Start off by making small changes to your lifestyle, and eventually you will move on to bigger changes. Write down specific shortterm goals and aim for them. 2. Meals: Pre-plan all of your meals. When you are prepared, you make healthier food choices. Don’t just fly by the seat of your pants and go through whatever fast food restaurant is closest. 3. Spread your meals out. Try to eat three meals and two snacks every day. This keeps your blood sugar levels even and helps to avoid overeating. There are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat. If you can burn 500 more calories than you consume every day of the week, you will lose a pound a week. 4. Drink lots of water. Drink at least four 16-oz. glasses of ice water a day and you will burn an extra 100 calories a day. Water is a natural fat burner and has several other health benefits like healthier skin, improved energy, and it helps to remove toxins from the body.



5. Exercise. Get in 30 minutes a day of some sort of continuous physical activity such as walking, running, house cleaning, mowing the lawn, lifting weights, etc. Walking four days a week and weightlifting three days a week works best. Resistance training helps your body to burn calories easier. The more muscle your body has, the better you will burn calories. 6. Fitness Plan. Make your fitness plan easy and nonintimidating. I see a lot of people who go overboard with their fitness plans and burn out. Make your fitness plan flexible so that it fits into your schedule and busy life. Any exercise is good exercise. 7. Three-Hour Rule. If you are going to be very active after a meal, then feel free to eat more calories. But, if you are going to be sedentary, consume fewer calories. Always think about what you will be doing up to three hours after you eat. Remember, set realistic goals and see them through. Your skinny jeans will be glad to see you again.

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


I’ve F1gured It 0ut It’s a well-established fact that I am not a morning person. Even as a kid, I would wander downstairs after hitting the snooze button four times, grunt when anybody talked to me, and pour myself a cup of coffee before lurching to a quiet corner of the house to stare at a wall and de-fog before heading to school. This is a nature-not-nurture thing. My mother is God’s own little chirpy bird who wakes up at 4:00 a.m. to clean the house, do the morning crossword puzzle, and work on world peace. I had her example shining at me for years, and still I barely manage to be functional before my third coffee. My children seemed to take after their grandmother. They wake up every day right at dawn, no matter how late they were up the night before. They come downstairs prepared for breakfast and stimulating conversation on topics such as “Can Superman see kryptonite through walls and thereby avoid traps?” and “What happens in the fridge when the light goes out?” (The answers are “No” and “The leftovers multiply,” respectively.) They are full of noise and activity and demands and chaos. However, now that Birdie Sue is 10, the truth is slowly being revealed. She, at least, is not a throwback. She comes down the stairs, gets a cup of coffee, and sits on the couch in a daze. She looks like her dad, but she’s me to the core. Hedgehog is six and Tapper is four, and they’re still bouncing around the kitchen like caffeine-addicted kittens in a roomful of grasshoppers. But I think their time is coming, too. You see, I’ve figured it out. The previous mayhem and morning whirl was part of a plot. My children were engaged in a conspiracy to drive me out of my mind, one loud morning at a time. I’m on to them now. Here’s how I envision it. The three of them got together and planned out their day before I ever got up. The conversation must have gone something like this: Birdie Sue: Hey, Hedgie. ’Sup? Hedgehog: Not much. You? Birdie Sue: Nothin’ yet. Let’s go get Tapper. [Sound of door opening, boy waking up and crying out.] Tapper: Holy cats, you scared me! I was dreaming about 18


my dried frog collection. What’s goin’ on? Birdie Sue: Nothin’ much, but we gotta hurry and plan our day before Mom wakes up. Hegehog: I made a list last night after lights-out. We haven’t done the “puke and gag on it” trick in a while. Tapper: Okay, I’m on it. What time? Hedgehog: Well, if you do that at 7:30, I’ll be ready for a near-death experience sometime shortly after. Birdie Sue: Cool. I’ve been working up some real good original messes, so I’ll follow Hedgie’s stunt with a tempera paint and cat litter cocktail. Can I use your sippy? Tapper: Yeah, just don’t break it. It’s my favorite Diego one. Hedgehog: So this takes us up to about 8:15. Wanna play “Buzzword” again? Birdie Sue: Yeah! What’ll it be today? Tapper: How about “Arrgh”? Birdie Sue: That’s always a cool one. She won’t know what hit her. Okay, so we all know the rules. Every time Mom says “Aargh!” to one of us, that one quiet down and another one take over being hysterical. Hedgehog: Got it. Tapper: Got it. Birdie Sue: What do you guys want for lunch today? Hedgehog: PB & J. Tapper: Sandwich and ... I don’t know. Any suggestions? Hedgehog: Dog hair, sidewalk chalk, the wheels of a Matchbox car ... Birdie Sue: Nah, he’s done those a couple of times in the last few days. Let’s kick it up a notch. How about her engagement ring? Hedgehog: Yeah! I know where she keeps it. I can sneak into her jewelry cabinet and filch it while she’s plunging the toilet. [Pause.] Did I tell you guys about that? Birdie Sue and Tapper, in unison: No. Hedgehog: Well, about three or so this morning I stuffed a Pull Up, a doll, and half the box of Mega Blocks into the toilet and flushed it a few times. Mom will have to fish the Mega Blocks out by hand, rescue the doll and clean it off, then

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

Tex t by Crystal R. R. Edwards

plunge the john to clear the Pull Up out. Birdie Sue: Excellent! Tapper: You’re an inspiration! Birdie Sue: So we ready? Hedgehog: Yep. Tapper: Mmm-hmm. Let me finish this nostril then I’ll start screaming. When I do, y’all head down the stairs and complain for breakfast and a trip to the playground. [Pause.] Tapper: Okay. Ready? Moooooooooooooooooooommmmm! I’m hungry! I have a booger on my finger! You said we could do art today!

Mooooooommmmm! Now that I’m savvy to the plot, I’m fighting back. I leave all the breakfast things out for them and let them serve themselves. I get my coffee, collapse onto the couch, and begin my daily brain thaw. Birdie Sue, who would probably love to join me, is left to retrieve the milk from the refrigerator and pour it for her siblings, who are at that point halfway through a raging argument over who gets which chair and why do you always get to sit there and I never get to have fun and you’re a poopy-head. I’ll ease up in a month or so. But for now, I’m enjoying this. It’s almost worth waking up for.



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

business cents Text by Penney Sick, Vice President/Investments at Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 On December 17, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (“Tax Act of 2010”). In addition to extending the Bush-era income tax cuts, the Tax Act of 2010 introduces changes to estate and gift tax laws and extends a provision allowing certain IRA holders the opportunity to donate assets in their IRA to qualified charitable organizations. The following is a summary of a few of the provisions of the Tax Act of 2010 that may impact you. Estate Tax, Gift Tax, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Exemptions and Rates On January 1, 2011, the federal estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax (GSTT) became unified so that the exemption for all three is now $5 million ($10 million for married couples) and the top rate is 35 percent. The exemption amount and tax rate will remain in place for two years, through 2012, and the exemption amount will be indexed for inflation beginning in 2012. On January 1, 2013, the current law is set to expire, and the old estate tax laws, with a $1,000,000 total unified credit, will again take effect. The chart below shows the scheduled changes to the unified credit and the estate and gift tax rates. Because these laws are complicated, and will likely undergo rapid and significant changes in the next few years, it is extremely important to contact your estate planning attorney to ensure that your plan remains updated. Highest and Gift Estate Tax Rates (and GST Tax Rate)

2009 2010 2011


Amount Exempt From Estate & GST Tax

$3.5 million

Unlimited - Taxes

Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption

$1 million

0 – no tax

Repealed (gift tax only)

$1 million


$5 million

$5 million

Retroactive Estate Tax for 2010 Under the provisions of the Economic Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), federal estate tax and GSTT were repealed in 2010. In addition, the full step up in cost basis enjoyed by heirs in the past was replaced with modified carryover cost basis. As a result, heirs of decedents who died in 2010 did not have to pay any federal estate tax or GSTT, but they did not receive the benefit of traditional stepped-up cost basis. The Tax Act of 2010 provides the heirs of decedents who died in 2010 the option to take advantage of the new $5 million federal estate tax exemption and the 35 percent rate as well as to apply stepped-up cost basis to their inheritance. If heirs do not elect to apply the new rules, they will not have to pay federal estate tax for 2010, but they will be subject to modified carryover cost basis. 20


Portability of Estate Tax Exemption Between Married Couples Due to the fact that every taxpayer will have a $5 million federal estate tax exemption under the Tax Act of 2010, married couples will have a combined $10 million exemption starting in 2011. Prior to the Tax Act of 2010, married couples often took advantage of their combined exemptions by incorporating A/B Trusts in their estate plan. As of January 1, 2011, married couples will be able to add any unused portion of the estate tax exemption of the first spouse to die to the surviving spouse’s estate tax exemption. For example, if a spouse dies after January 1, 2011 and only uses $3 million of his or her $5 million federal estate tax exemption, the surviving spouse may take advantage of the unused $2 million. As a result, the surviving spouse will automatically have a $7 million federal estate tax exemption. Nine-Month Extension for Filing Estate and Gift Tax Returns The heirs of decedents who died after December 31, 2009 and before the enactment of the Tax Act of 2010 have been given a nine-month extension of time from the date of enactment to file and pay estate and gift taxes. This applies to estates electing to pay the retroactive estate tax described above. What Remains the Same While the Tax Act of 2010 makes the new federal estate tax exemption and rate retroactive to January 1, 2010, the generationskipping transfer tax remains at a zero percent rate for the estates of decedents who died in 2010. In essence, the GSTT remains repealed for 2010, but returns in 2011, as outlined above. The annual gift tax exclusion is also unaffected by the Tax Act of 2010. Individuals are allowed to make tax-free gifts up to $13,000 per year ($26,000 for married couples) to as many individuals as they wish. This exclusion is indexed for inflation and will remain at $13,000 for 2011. Only gifts made in excess of the annual exclusion amount will be held against a taxpayer’s lifetime gift tax exemption. For example, if a donor makes a gift of $100,000 to another individual, the first $13,000 of the gift passes gift tax-free under the annual exclusion. The remaining $87,000 is also gift tax-free, but will reduce the donor’s lifetime gift tax exemption dollar-for-dollar and must be reported on a gift tax return. It is important to note that these provisions will expire, or sunset, on December 31, 2012, and revert to the pre-2001 rules unless additional legislation is passed.

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


Everyone knows that it is regular vacuuming and quick attention to the expected spots and stains that keep a carpet looking its best. But even with the most diligent attention to regular carpet care, all carpets will need a deep extraction cleaning every once in awhile to remove stubborn and embedded soil. These deep cleaning methods will keep carpets looking, feeling and smelling fresh and new. • A clean carpet will last much longer than a dirty one. Soil is abrasive and the longer it is on your carpet the more it will abrade your fibers. Get rid of it as soon as possible and save your carpet. • Carpet is a giant air filter and traps contaminants from the air. You must clean this filter on a regular basis to keep it working well. So clean your carpets often and enjoy relief from allergies. Clean carpets keeps your home smelling and looking fresh.

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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

San Joaquin Valley College

Dental Hygiene Program Provides No-cost Dental Care to Public Brenda Serpa, Dental Hygiene Program Director at San Joaquin Valley College in Visalia, knows that the best way her students will learn to be top-notch dental hygienists is by experiencing first-hand the theories they learn in the classroom. The Dental Hygiene program curriculum is designed so that once students have mastered techniques practiced on models of teeth and student partners, they advance to treating patients from the local community who have discovered this wonderful dental health care resource. Under the direct supervision of a dentist and dental hygienists, students perform preliminary dental exams, x-rays, sealants and cleanings for free in the program’s pristine operatories. “Our students get the practice they need and the community receives much needed dental hygiene services at no charge,” said Serpa. The 16-month Dental Hygiene program uses high-end equipment and technologies, such as radiography and intraoral photography for initial exams and computerized office and clinical management software for appointment scheduling and record-keeping. “We pride ourselves on meeting the needs of the dental community and strive to teach our students within the professional environment of our state-of-the-art clinic,” said Serpa. SJVC’s Dental Hygiene program provides students with the academic and clinical education and training necessary to secure licensure and enjoy a lucrative future in this professional arena. Classroom studies include: • Oral biology and radiology • Head and neck anatomy • Dental health education • Pharmacology • Pathology and periodontology • Dental practice management



Graduates earn an Associates of Science degree and are eligible to take the National Board written exam and a state and/or regional board exam for licensure as a Registered Dental Hygienist. San Joaquin Valley College’s Dental Hygiene program attracts applicants from great distances who have heard about the merits and high standards of this program. Jillian Landers, a dental hygiene student from New Mexico said, “The teachers really care about you and your education. They are behind you 100 percent and want you to succeed.” Landers, who graduates in May this year, continued, “You are not just a number, you are their next RDH (Registered Dental Hygiene) graduate.” “Our greatest asset is our experienced and devoted faculty,” said Serpa. “They truly care about the future of our students and our profession and make certain that our students are ready for a smooth transition from school to the work force when they graduate.” The next Dental Hygiene class starts soon. Email questions may be directed to Debbie Felix at, or call the toll-free phone number below. If you are interested in SJVC’s Dental Hygiene program, or any other SJVC medical, business or technical program, please call 866-391-3804 for more information or to arrange a tour of the Visalia campus, located on Mineral King.

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

VUSD No Room for Bullying Text by Craig Wheaton, Ed.D. Superintendent

I think we have all experienced a bully at one time or another; and if you ask any student in school, you will find that bullying is still around. School staff members deal with bullying when they see it and make it clear to kids that bullying is not acceptable. In VUSD, when bullying does occur, we intervene along two lines. First, appropriate discipline is applied; this discipline ranges from conferencing and warning the student to suspension or even expulsion from school, if the bullying is continued and severe. The second line of intervention involves ongoing support for the bully and the victim so that the behavior may be eliminated and the harm caused by bullying may be repaired. We believe that great schools are the result of work in providing students with strong academic preparation and also with a strong sense of significance and belonging. When we say “significance and belonging” we mean that students feel safe and valued within their school community so they don’t feel compelled to engage in behaviors that hurt others – including bullying.  We encourage our teachers to engage students in team-

building activities as they teach. These activities provide students with a safe, structured way to get to know each other while they learn. Good, respectful relationships make bullying far less likely. A number of programs aimed at developing a positive school culture also impact the occurrence of bullying. Programs such as Link Crew and Breaking Down the Walls in the high schools and WEB or peer mediation in the middle schools encourage students to get to know each other and to eliminate conflicts. In the elementary and middle schools, the Olweus Bullying Prevention program and Character Counts! are examples of programs in place that help curb bullying. In today’s world, bullying isn’t limited to a school playground. It may be on a cell phone, the Internet and social networks, and is prevalent in all segments of our community. It isn’t confined to one neighborhood or another. My advice is to talk with your children and keep close tabs on all their interactions, know their friends, and don’t let them bully others or be bullied by others! If bullying is occurring, communicate with your child’s teacher or principal and together we can make school a safe learning place for all. CULTURE, COMMERCE, AND COMMUNITY IN VISALIA AND TULARE - THE HEART OF THE SOUTH 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



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

Question: I have a code reader and it tells me the oxygen sensor has set a code in the computer. I replaced the sensor, but it still has a code. Why did it not work? Answer: A code reader can only get you close in most cases. You need a scanner to actually read the data that is coming from the computer. You also need to know what all the numbers and data stream mean. The use of a code reader can be misleading, and usually ends up in replacement of parts that were actually still fine. The reasons you still have an oxygen sensor code could be many. To give you just a few examples: you may have a dirty mass air flow sensor, your fuel pressure may be too high, or you may have a small vacuum hose leak. If you really want to know what is going on, you might invest in a scanner; it provides considerably more information than a code reader. You might also consider taking a few auto tech classes. I always tell my tech's, “You can't fix something unless you know how it works first.” I hope I answered your question. C


If you have a question about your vehicle please e-mail me. If I use it in my next article we will do a free oil and filter change on your car or light truck. I will need the year, make, model, and engine size.


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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 Celtic Crossroads at the Fox

Celtic Crossroads is a performance experience consisting of traditional Irish music, bluegrass, gypsy and jazz partnered with the rhythms of exciting Irish dance percussion. Spontaneous mid-show ovations are the norm at these electrifying performances, which are alive with the spirit of Ireland. When: Friday, April 1, 7:30p Where: Fox Theater, 300 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369 or

Music at the Main – The Chamber Music Series: The Best of Colburn

One of the world's most renowned performing arts academies, The Colburn School produces some of today's most talented young musicians. This last concert of the season will feature “The Best of Colburn”, an ensemble of Colburn's best students, many of whom have already played with symphonies around the world. When: Friday, April 1, 7p Where: Main Street Theater, 307 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 635-1761

Tulare County Symphony League “Appraisal Affaire”

If you have any antiques, collectibles or treasures you would like appraised by a staff of specialty appraisers, The Tulare County Symphony League invites you to this event benefiting the Youth String Scholarship program. When: April 2, 10am-2p Where: Holiday Inn, 9000 W. Airport Drive, Visalia Contact: Meriel Heinsohn, 627-1533

Alliance of California Artists:
2011 Open Juried Competition Hosted by Arts Visalia, this exhibition invites some of the Central Valley’s most talented artists to submit their latest creations for consideration by independent jurors. Come browse our local talent's work and pick your favorites. When: March 3-April 29, 12-5:30p Reception: Friday, April 1, 6-8p Where: Arts Visalia, 214 East Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 739-0905

1st Saturday in Three Rivers

Celebrate art, music, dance, storytelling, food and drink as you browse the art galleries, studios and gift shops of downtown Three Rivers. For discounts and participants visit website. When: April 2, 10a-5p Where: Maps at Anne Lang's Emporium, 41651 Sierra Dr. (CA 198), Three Rivers Contact: Nadi Spencer, 561-4373 or visit

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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 Rawhide Baseball season begins

It's that time of year again! Visalia Rawhide starts things off with their season opener against the Bakersfield Blaze. Take the whole family out to the ball game and support Visalia's very own Minor League baseball team- you may even get a picture with Tipper, the Rawhide mascot! For information on tickets and game schedules visit When: April 7, 7p Where: Recreation Ballpark, 300 N. Giddings St., Visalia Contact: Main Office at 732-4433

Borders Book Clubs

Borders hosts the Young Adult Book Club every other Monday. Contact Borders Visalia for information on current member-selected title. Invitation is open to the public. All are welcome! When: Every other Monday, 5:30p Where: Borders, 3415 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia Contact: 733-2525

63rd Annual Springville Sierra PRCA Rodeo

Kick up your heels at this annual rodeo in the foothills of the SierraNevada mountains. This year will also feature a contest to find a Rodeo Princess and Rodeo Queen. Entry forms, rules and more information can be found online at When: April 22-24 Where: Sequoia Ranch, 34754 Highway 190, Springville Contact: Dianne Shew at 539-3908, or Kassi Corzine at 359-5358

5K Earth Day Trail Run/Walk

The 5K Earth Day Trail Run/Walk is the second annual celebration of outdoor fitness and nature. Please join us for a beautiful spring day on the Kaweah Oaks Preserve trails. When: April 23, Race starts @ 8a, Preserve opens @ 6:45 for registration Where: Kaweak Oaks Preserve, Rd. 182, just north of Hwy. 198 Contact:Richard, 741-6004

Visalia Farmers’ Market - Harvest of the Valley

Weekly event open to the public featuring free live music, kids activities, cooking demonstrations and local, fresh produce available for purchase. When: Thursdays- Downtown Visalia 5-8p, Saturdays- Sequoia Mall, Sears parking lot 8-11:30a Where: Church St. Visalia & Sears parking lot at Mooney and Caldwell, Visalia Contact: 967-6722 or

Tulare County Library

Baby/Toddler Time (Tues. 10a) Preschool Storytime (Wed. 10am) When: Call or visit website to confirm times. Where: Tulare County Library, 200 W. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 713-2700 or

If you would like to have your event considered for a free listing in our “Goings-On” section, please email your submission 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 prior to publication.

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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

DIREct FROm WARREN Text by Warren Gubler, Visalia City Councilmember

Cool, Clear Water As a boy, I remember hearing the Sons of the Pioneers sing:

“All day I’ve faced a barren waste Without the taste of water, cool water Old Dan and I with throats burned dry And souls that cry for water Cool, clear water.” I was reminded of this song when I attended the Visalia City Council Strategic Planning Workshop on February 4, 2011. A report on Visalia’s water supply was presented there by Kim Loeb, Visalia’s Natural Resource Conservation Manager, and Mark Larsen of the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District. The following are excerpts from that report: Visalia’s water supply is obtained solely from ground water that is primarily purveyed by California Water Service Company (Cal Water). Ground water beneath Visalia occurs in the Kaweah Basin, which is part of an inter-connected aquifer system that extends across much of the San Joaquin Valley. In the Kaweah Basin, agricultural pumping accounts for about 90 percent of the groundwater used. The depth to water in Visalia averaged less than 20 feet below the ground until about 1960; averaged 20-40 feet from 1960 to 1990; declined precipitously to about 75 feet by 2000; and dropped down to an average of 115 feet below the ground in 2010. By December 2010 the depth had come back up to 110 feet, most likely due to groundwater recharge efforts. During the 1990s, the average decline in our Visalia groundwater table was three feet per year. In the 2000s that increased to four feet per year. Cal Water’s annual pumping has increased about 233 percent from approximately 15,000 acre feet in 1980 to about 35,000 acre feet presently. Cal Water estimates that it can pump 23,500 acre feet per year without contributing to the overdraft. Cal Water pumping has exceeded the estimated sustainable amount since 1995; however, regional overdraft has a significant impact on water levels beneath Visalia, irrespective of Cal Water’s pumping. As surface waters become less available for farming purposes, mainly due to environmental issues, more groundwater is pumped, adding to the decline of Visalia’s water table. Likewise, as Visalia’s population continues to grow, more water usage is anticipated. The majority of the city’s water is used for landscape irrigation. The City is at the forefront of efforts to address this water overdraft issue. Visalia has an ongoing groundwater recharge 28


program. When funding is available and prices are reasonable, the City purchases surface water on the spot market to recharge groundwater. The water is run through waterways or placed in basins to percolate into the ground and recharge the aquifer. Over the last five years, the City has recharged an average of 2,800 acre feet per year. In 2010 the City purchased and recharged over 7,800 acre feet. Visalia’s current water conservation plant upgrade will enable the City to recycle 100 percent of our wastewater. Some of the recycled water will be used to irrigate facilities on the west side of the city, but plans are to trade the majority of the recycled water with farm irrigation users west of the city in exchange for surface water that can be used for recharge on the east side of the city. Approximately 14,500 acre feet of recycled water will be generated annually by the upgraded water conservation plant, and as much as 24,500 acre feet may be generated by 2025. Additionally, plans are to construct infrastructure to deliver recycled water from the wastewater treatment plant to irrigate Plaza Park, Valley Oaks Golf Course, and the Visalia Municipal Airport so that irrigation wells at these facilities can be turned off. The system can be expanded to support new development on the west side of the city. Of course, water conservation by our citizens can directly improve the city’s water supplies. While analysis suggests that less than half the water artificially recharged may provide a direct benefit to the city (although it does to the region), water conservation provides a one-to-one direct benefit. An acre foot not pumped is an acre foot saved. Visalia, and the region, is on an unsustainable course. At this rate, wells will continue to go dry, requiring expensive, deeper drilling. The city must do its part to reduce its increasing water demand and to increase supply. The General Plan update will address these concerns further. Long-term regional solutions are also required as more than 90 percent of groundwater use in the Kaweah Basin occurs outside of the city. If you have questions or topics regarding the city which you would like to have addressed in future articles, please email Warren at, or call (559) 713-4400 x 3313. Warren Gubler Visalia City Council Member

April 2011  

Direct Magazine APRIL 2011

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