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VOSSLER FARMS’ C O R N M A Z E A N D P U M P K I N PAT C H Opens September 24, 2011


VIRTUAL VALLEY Virtual Theology:

Comparative Religion Goes Digital SEPTEMBER



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


DMI Agency 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 ADMINI ST RAT I ON & E DI TO RI AL

Executive Editor Karen Tellalian Assistant Editor TAYLOR VAUGHN Office Administrator MARIA GASTON Marketing Specialist Kyndal Kennedy CONTRIBUTING WRITERS


6 Vossler Farms

Opens September 24

10 Virtual Valley Virtual Theology: Comparative Religion Goes Digital

14 From Out of the Tules A Hero from the Land of the Tules: Manuel Toledo

18 Well, THAT Was Fun From Miniskirt to Minivan: The Transition From Sexy to Sensible

Future Architect: Richard Martinez


26 Lively Living Model Trains:

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: Online Issue at: ©2011 DMI Agency


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24 Culinary 25 VUSD 28 Education 30 Goings-On


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16 Fashion 22 Focus on Fitness



12 Pet of the Month

They’re Not Just for Kids Anymore

32 Warren Reports

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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

VOSSLER FARMS Text by By Kris Vossler



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

Vossler Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch:

Opening time is just around the corner! The Vossler family is very thankful that the maze and pumpkin patch have become a regular part of so many families’ fall traditions! Each year, the 10-acre corn maze has a unique design. This year’s maze is “Lady Liberty,” a maze of the Statue of Liberty to honor our country. Owner Kirk Vossler says that he has been wanting to attempt this maze for quite some time and this year just seemed like the right one. If this is your first time in the maze, don’t worry, “getting lost” is part of the fun! Since it is on 10 acres, you will be doing a lot of walking! Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring a flashlight if you are visiting after dark. Flashlights are available for purchase if you forget. Here’s what some of you are saying about Vossler Farms: “Our holiday season starts when the pumpkin patch opens in September. We gather pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to decorate our entryway. My favorites are the Cinderella pumpkins and the little pumpkin pie pumpkins. This has become a family tradition and we look forward to it every year.” –Andee Roberts “My family has visited the maze every year since it has been open. We always have a contest to see who can find the 12 checkpoints first!” –Tara Zwart “We held our daughter Ava’s second birthday at Vossler’s Pumpkin Patch. She loved it so much we went back for her third! The staff was great to work with; making set up and clean up a breeze. The party rooms in the maze are perfect for cake time and the kids were able to explore all the fun activities around the patch before and after. It was a perfect low-stress venue for parents … and a fun spot for kids of all ages. Thank you, Vossler Farms, for helping to create special birthday memories for our family.” – Elizabeth Giannini “I can’t wait every year to go to Vossler Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze and pick pumpkins and go through the maze. It’s really fun.” –Joseph Catalina , age 9 “I love the pumpkin patch because it’s not just a pumpkin patch, it’s a fun zone. My favorite pumpkins are the huge fat ones. When you’re done finding your pumpkin, go on the hayride. The little ones can take a train ride around the pumpkin patch. Don’t forget to take pictures with the wooden characters. After that, you can get a hot dog and soda at the snack shack. When you’re

done at the pumpkin patch your day has been very successful!” – Alexandrea Roberts, age 9 “We have visited Vossler Farms with our homeschool group for many years. Experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of a real working farm is both educational and fun for the whole family. I especially love all the facts posted throughout the pumpkin patch! From story time to the hayride to the challenging maze, there is always something new to learn. We look forward every fall season to our visit to the patch!” –Cindy Catalina Do you have a birthday or special event coming up? How about a corporate event? Why not spend it at Vossler Farms? There are three different party “rooms” available; one in the 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

VOSSLER FARMS Pumpkin Patch and two “hidden” in the Corn Maze. The rooms are available by reservation only and are filling up fast! Every year hundreds of preschool and elementary school children take a field trip to Vossler Farms’ Pumpkin Patch. Visit the website,, for full details or call 1-888-528-1724. If a field trip isn’t in your school budget, Vossler Farms offers wholesale prices and delivery for large orders of pumpkins. This year, Saturday and Sunday, October 8-9, have been designated as “Community Days.” Among the participants, the California Blood Bank will be hosting a blood drive from 12-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Donors will receive a free maze t-shirt and one free admission to the Corn Maze. Many local vendors will be selling their homemade crafts. This will also be an opportunity for other local non-profit organizations to share information about the services they provide. If your non-profit community service organization would like to participate in either day, please contact Vossler Farms, VOSSLER FARMS’ CORN MAZE HOURS: September: Saturday, Sept. 24, Noon-10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, Noon-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, 5-10 p.m. October: Wednesdays & Thursdays, 5-9 p.m. Fridays, 5-10 p.m. Saturdays, Noon-10 p.m. Sundays, Noon-9 p.m. MAZE CLOSED MONDAYS AND TUESDAYS 10



VOSSLER FARMS’ PUMPKIN PATCH HOURS: Open: Saturday, September 24 – October 31 Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-dusk Sunday, Noon-dusk

PRICES: Adults (12 yrs & up) – $9 Kids (5-11 yrs) – $7 Kids under 4 – free Senior Citizens – $5 Current Military ID – $5

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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

The Y offers programs, services and initiatives focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, according to the unique needs of our community. UPCOMING CLASSES/SPORTS


Ballet & Tap .................................................... 3-12 Hip-Hop .......................................................... 5-14 Cheerleading ................................................ 4-14 T-Ball ....................................................................2-9 Flag Football......................................................3-9 Basketball ...................................................... 3-12 Jazz & Lyrical ................................................ 3-12 Intermediate Ballet & Tap ........................ 6-12 Zumba ...................................................... 12 & up Judo.............................................................. 6 & up Contact The Visalia YMCA For More Info. 211 W. Tulare Ave., Visalia, CA 93277 P (559) 627-0700 F (559) 739-7819 FOR YOUTH DEVELOPMENT FOR HEALTHY LIVING FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY


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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 Theology:

Comparative Religion Goes Digital Among the books in my personal library are several shelves of religious texts and scriptures from a variety of world religions. While most of my library consists of various Christian and Judaic texts, I also own a number of Qurans; Hindu Vedas, Puranas and Bhagavad Gita; some of the Buddhist texts known as Buddhavacana Sutras and Pali vinaya; and other texts from different faiths and philosophies. My preference for physical books for reading does not extend to research. Not that long ago I would have a concordance on hand to cross-reference words and phrases within a Bible or other scripture. There are concordances for Qurans and Sutras, but like Christian Bibles, the concordances differ by translation. If a poem, novel or other literary work referred to something from a religious tradition, I found myself wading through books hoping to find not only the “right” translation of the scripture mentioned but also the best concordance. What I need is a searchable library on my computer so I can locate words and phrases quickly. I also like to take notes and find unexpected connections between different works in various religions. When I’m connected to the Internet, I’ve learned you can use Google or Bing to locate specific sections of religious texts. The best online reference for any religious text is the Internet Sacred Text Archive ( With ISTA you need to be online to search the latest texts, though 12


you can purchase a DVD-ROM of the works in plain text. Some of the files are the same documents found on the Project Gutenberg website (, while others are better translations than you might find elsewhere. With a text file, you load the reference text or scripture in any word processor to quickly search for words or phrases. This might be okay for quick searches, but it is no way to conduct serious research. A good scripture and text reference application can display several translations of the same work side-by-side, along with notes and commentaries. Use specialized software when you can and you’ll discover a lot more about the works you research. For Christian texts, there are several software options for the theologically curious. During the 1980s and ’90s, I relied on QuickVerse to locate Bible references. The software remains the most popular Bible reference application. It offers a good range of Christian scriptures and study guides, at a reasonable price. It might seem expensive at $300 for the deluxe edition, but it remains much cheaper than similar reference collections. You need to remember that some of the works included, such as the Zondervan New International Version Study Bible, are only available commercially. If you are a serious theological scholar, which I am not, you might consider Logos Bible Software. It has the most

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

extensive library of works related to Christianity. You can purchase collections of Bibles and reference texts or you can buy most books individually. However, I found that to match QuickVerse Deluxe would cost $500 or more through Logos. If you are interested in the “lost books” of the Bible, known as the Apocrypha, or Christian histories from the Middle Ages, then you need to consider Logos. I’m teaching a literature class this fall that includes classic English works. One nice thing about these works is that we can assume any Biblical references correspond to the King James Version of the Christian Bible (“KJV”). I advise my students to visit CrossWire Bible Society to download free Bible reference software ( I use CrossWire’s Eloquent application on my MacBook Pro and have found it to be powerful, though not user-friendly (www. I understand when students tell me that couldn’t figure out how to accomplish simple searches, even after reading the online help. Still, free is a good price and the software is improving with each release. I do have to remind students that free Bibles and texts are limited to those outof-copyright or released freely by specific churches. For a literature class, this isn’t a serious concern because the KJV is so dominant in literature. For Jewish texts, the best database is Torah Educational Software’s DVD-ROM of the Bar-Ilan University Judaic Library. This database includes every major rabbinical commentary in the university’s library, making it a powerful tool for anyone curious about Jewish history and tradition. You should also purchase “The Complete Tanach” from TES to study the traditional canon of Hebrew scripture. Digital database versions of the Islamic texts and scriptures are also available. The Zekr Project ( currently offers several translations of the Quran for various computer platforms. Islam traditionally honors the actions

and sayings of the prophet Mohammed as sacred guidance, so you need to research the Hadith and Tafseer in addition to the Quran to understand some literary references to Islamic traditions. Thanks to religious reference software, you can carry a virtual library of the great theological works on your laptop computer. While the best software applications are not cheap, they provide hundreds or even thousands of works for a fraction of the price you’d pay for the printed books. CrossWire Bible Society ( CrossWire links to several free, but often difficult to use, applications that use the SWORD project open-source Bible format. There are CrossWire applications for all major computer platforms and most mobile devices. The applications work well once you master them. QuickVerse ( The most popular and easiest to use Christian Bible reference software. For $200 to $350 QuickVerse Deluxe Gold includes searchable versions of most popular Christian Bibles and reference works. Logos Bible Software ( The most expensive, and the most extensive digital Christian library available; expect to spend $1,700 or more for the “Scholar’s Library” edition of Logos. The Dead Sea Scrolls, major Apologetics and all known Apocrypha are included in the complete reference library. Torah Educational Software ( The largest reference database of Jewish works, Bar- Ilan University’s Judaic Library is approximately $700. Only some works include English translations. Zekr Project ( Free versions of the Quran for most computer platforms, with plans for the Tafseer and Hadith to be added at a later date.

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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

PET MONTH of the

Valley Oak SPCA is One of 50 Shelters in the ASPCA $100K Challenge! Community Support Needed to Win $100,000 Grant and Save More Lives Thanks to thousands of local animal lovers who voted for Valley Oak SPCA, our local organization won a spot in this year’s ASPCA $100K Challenge, competing for grants from ASPCA totaling $300,000, including a top prize of $100,000. The 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge is a nationwide competition for animal shelters (and their communities) Adoption Promotions: $20 TUESDAY All animals $20 off adoption fee. TUXEDO THURSDAY Every Thursday take $20 off all black & white dogs and cats. FELINE FEE WAIVED FRIDAY Free cat adoptions.* SENIOR SATURDAY Starting Saturday, September 10, free cat and dog adoptions* for anyone 60 years of age or older. *If you reside in the city of Visalia or Dinuba, license fees will apply. Other restrictions may apply. Dates and availability may vary, check calendar at 14


aiming to get more animals adopted or returned to their owners than ever before. Taking place from August 1 to October 31, 2011, Valley Oak SPCA will compete to find homes for more cats and dogs than we did during the same period in 2010. Competing against 49 other shelters, our goal is to save at least 300 more animals. How can members of the community help? Concerned members of the community can help by always making pet adoption their first option, by becoming a foster family for homeless pets, and by volunteering at the Valley Oak SPCA Shelter. Businesses can host or sponsor events. Donors can pledge prizes to help meet adoption goals. Not only will the community be helping the animals, they will also be increasing Valley Oak SPCA’s chances of winning the Community Engagement Award: $25,000 for the shelter that enlists the most community support in this life-saving effort. Another way community members can help is to submit photos and/or videos of any animal you adopt from Valley Oak SPCA between August 1 and October 31 and not only could your new pet be famous, but you could help us win a $1,000 grant from the ASPCA to save even more lives.

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

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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

From out

of the


Text By Ron Vaughan, Tulare Historical Museum

A Hero from the Land of the Tules:

Manuel Toledo On some occasions a hero is born from out of the Tules. Many young men in line to take over the family business and a life in situ are destined for more; although not all of them take the chance to find out. The select few that do, prove to themselves, their families and country that honor and dedication are what make up the heart and soul of those raised in Tulare County. This is the story of Manuel Toledo. Born July 13, 1918, in rural Tulare County to Portuguese immigrant parents, Toledo was set for life on the family’s dairy farm. After years lived at home, Toledo was ready for adventure and to discover what he had to offer the world. On January 28, 1941, he and 52 other young men from Tulare joined the U.S. Army’s Company B of the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Division. He said, “Most of us thought we’d find a little adventure in the army. We got more than we’d bargained for.” The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, catapulted them into a real war. Toledo and his buddies were assigned to desert combat training in the Mohave, under General Patton. Dressed in their tropical uniforms, the incompletely trained young soldiers boarded a transport in San Francisco Bay, and set sail in early April 1942. Much to their surprise, the ship turned north, and they found out their destination was not North Africa, but the icy cold Aleutian Islands. On May 11 they landed at Holtz Bay, Attu Island. The only opposition the first day was a couple of Japanese soldiers. But the next couple days saw combat, and Toledo’s platoon suffered the loss of 10 men and their lieutenant. Sgt. Toledo took command. Soon he was bayoneted in his left temple and received a shrapnel wound below his left eye. His 16


wounds were hastily bandaged, and he stayed on duty. He ordered his men to dig in, but the frozen ground made this impossible. During the foggy night, the enemy made a Banzai attack. Dawn revealed 18 more of the exposed platoon, dead from bullets or bayonets. Toledo said, “After all these years, the image of the bloody, mutilated bodies of those 18- and 19-year-old boys still haunts me.”

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

The next day he was sent out on patrol, to scout for the enemy in dense fog. He soon came under fire, and ran back to report. The noise of shooting drowned out his lieutenant’s challenge to give the password. Receiving no reply, the officer opened fire and wounded Toledo in his calf. This wound kept him out of combat for a short time. Soon they landed on Kiska, and Toledo was out scouting again, only to find that the Japanese had evacuated the island. Worse than bullets for the men on Attu and Kiska was the freezing climate. Most of the ill-clothed men suffered frostbite, and many lost toes or feet, fingers or hands, noses, or ears. Of the 18,000 troops on Attu, there were 2,000 frostbite injuries, 1,150 wounded, and 550 killed. During the landings on Kwajalein, Toledo’s platoon lost their leader, and later another. Both times, Toledo had to take over. The same thing happened when the 17th Regiment joined the invasion of the Philippines, October 20, 1944. Twice again, Toledo had to take command, when one and then another platoon leader was wounded. On October 29, his battalion was advancing through a swamp when they came under heavy machine gun and mortar fire. Fifty were killed or wounded, and Toledo was hit in the abdomen by a mortar shell that fortunately did not explode. Nevertheless, he was knocked unconscious, with gaping holes in his chest and back. He was thought to be dead, and stacked with a pile of fatalities. Miraculously, three of his buddies from Tulare (Timmy Lopez, Tommy Fikes and Manuel Sotelo) happened to glance at the bodies, and recognized him. They found he had a pulse, and hollered for a medic to patch him up. They carried him through the swamp, dropping him in the muddy water when a machine gun fired upon them. Finally they made it to a field hospital. Toledo said, “One of the doctors told the medics to leave me alone and take care of the others, because I wasn’t going to make it.” A priest gave him the Last

Rites. However, this tough sergeant was not about to give up. Eight hours later, he still had a pulse, so a doctor cleaned the wounds and sewed him up. He had damage to the upper lobe of his right lung, two splintered ribs, and spinal cord damage. On January 1, 1945, a hospital ship delivered him to Letterman Hospital in San Francisco. From there he was sent to Baxter General Hospital in Spokane ,Washington, for experimental surgery. He managed to survive the procedures, and in June 1945, he was released to the Fresno VA Hospital for rehabilitation. During his lengthy hospitalization, he had plenty of time to think and reflect. Toledo stated, “My life was spared many times, and I felt that I could give something back to my community by serving veterans.” True to his word, Toledo became involved with several veterans’ organizations, including being one of the founders of the Tulare AMVETS Post 56, which has grown to 2,500 members, and is considered one of the top 10 veterans’ organizations in the nation. He reckons that he has helped some 2,000 veterans over the years, helping them fight for their rights and benefits, insuring that they receive the healthcare and pensions they deserve. Toledo has also been active in a number of civic organizations. One of his projects was to collect numerous uniforms and set up a military museum in the basement of his jewelry store. He has been offered large sums to sell his collection, but he decided to render a service to the community by donating it to the care of the Tulare City Historical Museum. Every year hundreds of school children tour the Toledo Military Room, and learn something about the history of our nation and the sacrifices and service of our veterans.





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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 Text by Sharon Mosley

Sole Searching:

Fall's Newest Shoe Trends What should be at the top of your fall shopping list? A new pair of shoes! Or two or three! An instant wardrobe changer, this season's hottest footwear are going to get you headed in the right direction. Step out in chunky platforms, pointy toe flats, ankle booties, loaded loafers, furry heels or T-strap pumps. This fall, shoe designers have given us plenty of choices. Do your own sole searching and you'll come up with lots of shoes that will add extraordinary personality to your wardrobe. Start with this list of fall favorites:



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

Think texture. It's all about the mix this year, according to shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. "For fall, I was inspired by the softer feminine side of menswear," he says. Weitzman mixes various textures like ostrich, snakeskin, croco and haircalf to give his shoes unmistakable fashion flair. Don't miss the furry heels out there this season...they will add a real shot of glamour to your wardrobe. Ditto for shoes swathed in elegant lace. Think platforms. It's a season of ladylike classics, but shoe designers "pump" up the latest heels with thicker, "block-like" platforms that give the basic shape a sexier silhouette. Watch for sling-back pumps adorned with flirtatious bows to be big hits. Platform loafers and oxfords are also making news. For even more of a trendsetting style, search for platforms in bold colors like the cobalt blue pumps by Vince Camuto. Tres chic! Think luxe loafers. Yes, you can come down off your platforms and slip into some comfortable flats. But don't think these new loafers are dull and boring... they're loaded with ornate crests like the ones at Ralph Lauren or great animal prints like the ones at 3.1 Phillip Lim. Look for a pair of pointy-toe flats to really give your wardrobe a new edge. Think softer shades. It's not spring out there, that's for sure, but footwear designers are making us all blush with softer colors that mimic the pale shades found on the runways. Think subtle hues of rose, pale pink and nude neutrals. Think ankle booties. Whether they're flat and rugged in tough leather, or they're mod with a touch of '60s Beatles rocker style, ankle booties this fall are great to pair with leggings or wear by themselves with short or long mid-length

skirts. Higher heeled ankle boots with pointed toes or wedge heels lend more of a sophisticated polish to fall outfits. Think knee-high boots. The ultimate in the shoe story for fall, the stacked heel, knee-high boot gives any wardrobe a power surge of stylish energy. Wear them with fitted pencil skirts to add a fresh spin to fall ensembles. For a more relaxed look, pull on a pair of flat knee-high boots -- perfect with a chiffon dress or wool skirt and denim jacket.



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


From Miniskirt to Minivan:

The Transition From Sexy to Sensible I had a nice little car those first years out of college, back when I could still wear a miniskirt and my friends called me by a nickname that had no bearing on my real name at all. My skinflint parents taught me not to live on credit, so I saved for years and applied a small inheritance to buy a brand-new black 1991 Pontiac Sunbird for $13,000 cash. I nicknamed it “Baby” and took it back and forth across the U.S. for longdistance relationships, adventures in a new career, and random wanderings to visit scattered friends. Its license plate ended with the word CAT. More than one person vomited in it from drinking too much. Even more people changed/lost/removed clothes in it. It was wonderful. It was mine. After that, a series of SUVs that I never had much choice in paraded through my life; at the same time, my skirts got longer and everyone referred to me as “Crystal.” I hated the SUVs. The seating was awful and there wasn’t enough room for luggage, sports equipment, or anything else my growing tribe of children required. More than one person vomited in them from too much apple juice. Even more people changed/ lost/removed clothing in them, especially pants – but not in the fun ways of yore. These SUVs were terrible. They were all I had. 20


Three weeks ago we bought a used minivan. My childwrecked body trembled in excitement as we signed the final papers and drove it off the lot. I didn’t care we were doing it on credit. I didn’t care that it was a year-old model and had previously been a rental car. I didn’t care that it was a dusthiding, boring silver and that it didn’t come with the complete entertainment package. I didn’t care that it screamed “You’ll never be sexy again!” whenever I got behind the wheel. The license plate ends with the word MOO, which is proof that my life is a cosmic joke. But I don’t care. Middle age has beaten the caring right out of me. All I want is space, a reasonable monthly payment, and a way to schlep all the short ingrates to the places they want to go while I sit in the driver’s seat with my own horizons still unexplored. To test the new minivan, we immediately loaded it up for a 19-hour car trip. Five suitcases, three children, two parents and one puppy went into it. When we reached Ohio, five suitcases, two new duffel bags full of entertainment gear, three children, two mental patients and the best dog in the world spilled out into my parents’ driveway. We’d survived. I have no idea how, but I think it has to do with the magic of the minivan’s captain’s chairs and a rear bench seat that leans back,

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

allowing children to fall asleep and stay asleep through Tennessee, Kentucky, and the nightmare that is the I-71/I-75 split on the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati. Now that we’re home again, the minivan has made itself useful in new ways. For instance, it’s an isolation chamber. When the house gets too rowdy or loud, I escape to the driveway to, uh, clean it. I just sit in it and listen to the radio, pretending to wave a bottle of Windex around in case the neighbors are watching. I’ve taken my laptop out a few times, as well. The wifi signal is stronger in my driveway than it is in my office, and nobody bothers me for snacks, supper or calendar updates when I’m out there. Yesterday I managed to take a two-hour nap. The kids were confused when they piled in the back of the minivan last night and saw their cracker crumbs on the floor. They thought I’d been gone so long because I’d been actually cleaning it. I’ve also learned that I’m invisible while driving it. The SUVs we owned had a certain cache in the trendy, middleaged sexpot market. I’d get intrigued looks, me with my oversized sunglasses and so, so glossy lips. But now when I pull up next to, say, a fire truck full of buff 20-something men who are busy saving lives and treed cats, they don’t even look at me. They see the minivan and say to themselves (I can hear this), “Safe car. Safe driver. Let’s go look for the rollover-capable SUVs instead!” I’ve even started wearing tank tops to test this, and it’s true. I figure at this point I can pass every policeman at whatever speed I wish, drive the wrong way on one-way streets, and refuse to yield. I’ll be undetectable. They didn’t mention this feature in the manual, but it’s there. Oh yes, it’s there. I feel like Wonder Woman in her invisible plane. This is why I’ll be switching from a tank top to a strapless red, white, blue and gold bathing suit from now on while driving the

kids to practice. I haven’t decided yet on also carrying the gold Whip of Truth. I can see how having one might have benefits. So I’m no longer hip. I’m no longer tomboyish. I’m no longer sexy. I’m the proud driver of a minivan. I can plug my iPhone into the sound system to blast my New Wave playlist, but that’s about as radical as I get. When the sliding doors open on either side, children spill out the way my friends used to launch themselves out of the back of my hot little two-door car. “Let’s get ice cream!” has replaced “Let’s go to the club!” My passengers still wear short skirts, but that’s because their legs themselves are short, not because it’s a length that shows off the awesome knee boots and even more awesome single lady wearing them. Birdie Sue, aged 10, asked me the other day what kind of car she’s allowed to get when she’s driving age. I was standing in the driveway scraping bugs off the grill of the minivan. “Whatever you can afford,” was my reply. She looked dismayed for a moment, then picked up the hose and aimed it at the hubcaps of the van. I could see she was thinking things through. Finally an idea came to her. “Would you sell me this?” she asked. I laughed. “Vans are an old person’s car. Why would a young woman want a minivan?” She shrugged. “Why did you want it?” I don’t know how she intended the question, but it sounded to me like she considers me to still be a young woman. For that reason, and that reason alone, Birdie Sue is going to get the snazziest little black two-door car we can find, and vanity plates that say BABY. I’m hoping we can negotiate on the skirt lengths.

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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

THRIVING UNDER THIRTY Tex t by A aron Collins | Photo by Taylor Vaughn

Future Architect:

Richard Martinez Richard Martinez says of the vision for his future as an architect in the San Joaquin Valley, “I want to design with a sense of exploration for new and unimagined architecture.” Martinez, whose idealism sometimes echoes the tone of great manifestoes of earlier times, is well on his way to becoming one very bright contemporary architectural talent in the San Joaquin Valley; that is, if future work to be found here is challenging enough to hold the Kingsburg native and resident’s attention. 22


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

“In order to raise awareness about design in the Valley, we have to stop caring about what everyone else thinks is good design and instead strive to design a great building that is consistent with the sound philosophies of the architect.” Martinez says that architects should “start from scratch, challenge themselves, be bold, make a study, do something different that challenges conventional building or materials, become a mad scientist in their labs, and just have some fun designing,” adding that “if you are a great designer, your work will show it.” The Valley today has its pros and cons, he says, “but it excites me. I see a blank canvas. I see a place that has not been overcrowded by pedestrians or cars. I am excited about designing in the Valley because a good building here will be seen for what it really is, almost like an art piece,” Martinez says. The former Boy Scout and class president sees the ennobling power of architecture as a force for good in a region beset with poverty and various social issues. “My vision is one that needs investors to participate in funding creativity and in doing so, help provide a better way of life. If someone knows someone cares enough to provide them with a quality place to grow up, they will be proud of where they came from,” Martinez feels. Whether it’s a school, office, or residence, “the people [who occupy it] will feel as though they need to live up to that great building. I would love to see an architect design with a goal of inspiring young architects and leaving behind new ideas for them to branch off. If we continue to marginalize our designs for fear of a budget, nothing new will ever get done,” he says. How does the profession advance to that point, in his vision? If the Valley is to become a place shaped not only by challenging architects like himself, it also must become known for having adventuresome clients who underwrite challenging work with the capacity to both revitalize impoverished urban places and invigorate the minds of its citizens. “Here in the Valley, our biggest obstacle is money. It takes money to design and construct a building. … Bigger cities like L.A. not only have lots of [state-funded projects], but also lots of private investors,” Martinez says. The list of such architectural patrons in the Valley is relatively short. That paucity also means the presence of fewer architectural firms based in the region. But even so, Martinez’s gusto for his chosen profession has already landed him his first job with an architecture firm – that despite his not being quite finished with schooling, and despite a tough economy that enables only limited new construction, and therefore few job openings, for the time being. He currently holds a position as

draftsman at Visalia-based firm Mangini Associates/TPM Architects, which, says Martinez, has provided invaluable insight into how the business side of an architecture firm runs. His work there has focused mainly on large school projects. Further adding to his list of auspicious career beginnings, Martinez was recently awarded the McMillin Homes’ COS Architecture Scholarship, the first to receive the inaugural award from San Diego-based residential developer McMillin Homes. That Martinez is accomplishing so much in the San Joaquin Valley – never widely considered fertile ground for architecture – perhaps only underscores his accomplishments and future potential. Additionally, while at COS, he’s made the Dean’s List, served as an Architecture Club officer, and worked on a variety of award-winning projects including one for the 2010 Fresno State Design Competition. Perhaps someday, in the same manner that Robert A.M. Stern is associated with the Hamptons, or Frank Lloyd Wright with the upper Midwest, the name Martinez will be synonymous with the San Joaquin Valley. He certainly has the drive and energy. “Over the last several decades, architects marginalized our discipline by stepping away from the complex problems of our world, eliminating risk while simultaneously shedding responsibility and power to effect real change. The marginalization from forces that change our world have created a crisis of form, context, and social relevance in architecture. We can procrastinate and reflect on the great architects of the past, or we can seriously rethink form and become leaders for a message of transformation and put it into practice,” Martinez says. He has a point: When was the last time someone you know felt deep passion for a hulking local WalMart building, shopping mall, or more unfortunately, sources of erstwhile civic pride like schools, courthouses or other public spaces that shape our civic identity? In impassioned manifesto style, Martinez says he intends to “demolish the ruins of the past architecture in my mind because if I do not, they will reappear. I will not give up the purpose of design and concede the future to the past.”



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

Educating Yourself to Better Results:

Fat Loss Mistakes Is one of your goals fat loss? Do you want to lose fat but can’t seem to figure out what to do? Here are five of the biggest mistakes I see people make when it comes to losing fat. 1) Working out without a plan. In order to be consistent and make quality gains, you need to be working off of a fitness plan. Think of it as a road map to get you to your goals: a quality fitness plan will guide you through each workout and will continually challenge you and improve your fitness level. 2) Not having a support system in place. Involve your friends and family in your fitness journey to lose fat. Find a workout buddy or fitness professional who will hold you accountable. The support of your friends, family, and/or fitness professional will make attaining your goal a lot easier. No one should go at it alone without support. 3) Not mixing up your workouts. You workout routine should change every four or five weeks; this will ensure your body will continue to respond to your training and you will continue to get results. If you have been stuck on the same workout routine for over three months and have not received any results lately, it’s time to change it up. Starting today!



4) Poor nutritional habits. If fat loss is your goal, then you have to clean up your diet. It’s just that simple. You can’t have a great workout and then go eat junk and expect to get results. It just does not work that way. You need to drink a lot of water, four-to-six 8oz glasses of water a day, and eat lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates if you want to lose fat. 5) Over-training. Your body can only handle so much physical stress and change. If you overdo your training you can injure yourself and that can keep you laid up for months. Your body will shut down and you will not get the results you desire. Here is a healthy amount of exercise to lose fat: two or three times a week of weight training for 30-45 minutes, and five days a week of cardiovascular training for 30-45 minutes. Your fat loss goals are attainable if you utilize these helpful tips and get serious about what it is you want to obtain and how hard you’re willing to work to get it. Remember, if you are consistent, make lifestyle changes, and bring on the assistance of a workout partner or fitness professional, nothing will get in the way of achieving your fitness goals.

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 Church for the Community"

VFA’s Student Ministry is Here For Your Teenager! Many teenagers feel that church is out of date, boring, and has nothing to offer them. As a matter of fact, if you were to approach almost any teenager in the Central Valley, you’d find out most of them believe in God, but do not want to go to church. The Student Ministry of Visalia First Assembly of God is working to change that. This summer, VFA’s youth program has become a magnet for teenagers of Visalia and the surrounding areas, growing from 60 to more than 250 in attendance in the last few months, and 75 young people have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. When asked what has contributed to the growth of the ministry, Youth

Pastor Kevin Moore said, “Jesus said to go out into the highways and byways and compel them to come that my house might be full. So that’s what we are doing. We are giving teenagers of the Central Valley a compelling reason to come to church.” He added, “This summer we have had a Backyard BBQ serving up free burgers, we’ve played Crazy Lawn Games, as well as had an evening where we did an outdoor service and brought in a guest band, [played] volleyball, and had a giant SlipN-Slide. These fun things that we do compel teenagers to attend our service, which then gives us the opportunity to share Jesus with them. In the past few weeks during my messages we have tackled topics they need to hear and

answered questions they have about God, faith, family and friends.” The student ministry has outgrown the room they currently meet in, so they are making plans to move their entire ministry over to VFA’s second campus (Walnut/Demaree). Moore stated the launch at the new location will be on September 21, and is looking forward to using this facility to give teenagers a fun environment to introduce them to the person and work of Jesus Christ. The student ministry is for 7th12th-grade students. Doors will open every Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. and service will begin at 7 p.m. For more information about the youth program and the September 21 launch, call (559) 733-9070 ext. 124.



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 Tex t by El aine Dek assian | Photo by Taylor Vaughn

Grilled Pineapple Salad (with jicama, grapefruit and red onion) Ingredients: 1 pineapple, peeled and cored 1 small red onion, thinly sliced 1 small jicama, julienned 1 oz. olive oil 3/4 oz. champagne vinegar 1 small shallot, minced Pinch ground cumin Cilantro for garnish Arugula for garnish 2 grapefruit, cut into supremes which means removing the pith or membrane. You can purchase jarred grapefruit segments in the grocery store if you prefer.



Instructions: Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grate. Place pineapple slices on grill for two to three minutes per side, or until heated through and grill marks appear. In the meantime, mix together olive oil, champagne vinegar, shallot and cumin for the dressing. For slaw, toss together red onion and jicama. Remove pineapple from grill. Plate and place jicama slaw on top of the pineapple and garnish with arugula and sliced grapefruit. Drizzle with dressing.

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 Text by Craig Wheaton, Ed.D. Superintendent

Visalia’s Most Talented:

A Night to Enjoy! There is a small but dedicated group of community members diligently working, out of the limelight and public attention, for the benefit of the students of Visalia Unified School District. The Visalia Education Foundation is dedicated to improving the visual and performing arts in our school system. They raise money, sponsor events, and donate back to the students of Visalia in the form of individual scholarships and by grant support of many VUSD arts programs. Last year, as a new superintendent, I found myself attending numerous school and community events. One Saturday in November, I calendared the Visalia Education Foundation’s Visalia’s Most Talented show. I have to admit that it wasn’t my first choice in how to spend my Saturday afternoon and evening. Boy, was I in for a surprise! The afternoon elementary-age matinee was an inspiring hour showcasing a range of talented young children. COUPON

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The evening performance (students in grades 7-12) turned out to be one of the best “variety” shows I had seen in quite a long time. I am not sure what I expected, but I was impressed with the wide range of awesome talent. The presentations included dance, vocals, instrumental music, comedy, theater, magic acts, and even a “yo-yo” performance. I mention the “yo-yo” performance because that was the winning act. OK, I know what you are thinking, “YO-YO?” Well, it was fabulous! So, this year, I have calendared Saturday, November 5, for another edition of Visalia’s Most Talented with great excitement and anticipation. There are two performances at the L.J. Williams Theater: Students in grades K-6 will perform 2-4 p.m. Students in grades 7-12 will perform 6-8 p.m. My advice to you is to mark your calendar; you will enjoy the show(s)! Please encourage any Visalia Unified student to participate in the event. Cash prizes from $25 to $200 are awarded in several age and performance categories. For more information, visit the Visalia Education Foundation website at COUPON


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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

HOBBYIST Text by Major Rogers | Photos by Taylor Vaughn

Model Trains:

They’re Not Just for Kids Anymore To be clear here, model train enthusiasts do not “play” with trains; they “operate” them. This was my first lesson, during my first up-close experience with model trains, with California Central System Superintendent Ed Matheny III. He’s a man with a passion for the miniature, or H0 scale equipment, and he has built the ideal layout for this love. When asked about his early experiences with model trains, Ed’s story is the same as many of ours. “My father had a Lionel Train set, which we pulled out each Christmas.” Flash forward to 2006, Ed’s retirement date, and the beginning of laying the tracks that have grown to represent the train yards and routes from seven California and Oregon destinations. The recreation takes place in a 1,200-square-foot building behind his house. “Once I really got into it,” Ed explained of his hobby, “my wife insisted I install an intercom out here, so I would know when to come in for lunch and dinner.” When you follow the tracks through San Francisco, you may observe search-and-rescue scuba divers in the bay waters or a shoe shinning scene. Sounds of a fog horn, sea gulls and traffic, can be heard as the train makes its visit. In the nearby harbor you will see the sea-lions perched on their decks, as they do at Pier 39 today. As the train ascends the canyons of Cedarville, among the giant pines you see a family posing for a photo in a burnt out redwood tree, or an airplane circling the sky above. However, the most impressive whistle stop is that of Tulare, along with an actual working country fair going on, complete with a running roller coaster and bumper cars on the fairgrounds, all alive with movement. Close by a full circus parade streams down Main Street Tulare, complete with marching elephants and musicians. The entire spectacle is kicked off and brought to life automatically as the train pulls into town. The entire layout, which constitutes almost 800 feet of track, is so much more than the trains of our youth, where we just placed them on the track and let the batteries run them around in circles. The CCS layout contains almost every aspect of a commercial rail-yard. Everything in Ed’s set up is H0 scale, meaning people, trucks, cars and buildings are on a 28


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

scale that makes them a fraction of their actual size, but keeps all elements relative, thus making the scenery more realistic. In each of the city train yards are car cards; this is where the Operator stands while conducting business. Each of these cards lists a boxcar and the contents of that car, and where it is to be shipped. So you may have a Coalinga-based boxcar containing processed beef that is expected by businesses in Oregon. But what happens when the train arrives in Oregon and the boxcar is in the middle of the train’s length? Well, here is where it gets challenging. There are signal posts that magnetically uncouple the box cars from one another as the train pulls to a stop next to them. Here, the Operator must slowly pull his train to this spot, and once the boxcar is uncoupled it is separated from the other cars and pushed backwards into the rail yard, allowing the engine to leave the specific boxcar at the location. However, the rail yard has several off shooting tracks, to accept box car shipments, as well as store those waiting to be shipped. So the operator of the yard must follow a map on the control panel and activate various switches for a track change to allow the boxcar to be delivered to an assigned track. With the delivery made, the Operator can re-couple the original cars, or pick up more, to be hauled to the next location. As mentioned, the train yard works just as an actual one would, and it takes calculations and focus to keep the operations running smoothly. For an additional experience, Ed tells me they sometimes do “night runs.” Here the small world is darkened with nightfall, and with the flip of a switch, light posts and

buildings spark to life. Even signalmen who guide train operations stand rail side with glowing red lanterns. The detail is amazing, all the way down to the small birds that sit in the trees. There is so much detail to the scene, it consumes every aspect, and an observer could easily be entertained simply by walking around and discovering the numerous scenes. When it comes time to park the trains, you will hear the voice of the engineer counting down numbers, signaling the engine’s shutdown. Then you hear the engine shut off. Moments later, you can actually hear him open and slam shut the engineer’s door. “He’s now going to walk over to the Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said Ed, and he’s not joking. There is a model of a KFC restaurant near the rail yard, lit up and ready to serve dinner. Ed is very gracious in sharing his passion, and has a running monthly meeting of train enthusiasts. He also enjoys sharing his pride and joy with anyone who has a curiosity of the miniature world he has created. Once, a group of English tourists were wandering through Ed’s Tulare neighborhood on a walk, as they were staying the night at one of the highway side hotels. They got to talking to Ed, and before they knew it, the group had spent almost the full day in his train room, with the awe of children. “My trains have allowed me to meet people from around the world,” Ed proudly said. And after witnessing his layout, it is safe to say those who visit the rail-land will never forget the experience. ALL ABOARD!



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


Employers know the value of being knowledgeable in the very latest computer applications. During hiring cycles, they seek applicants with the best in skills and training. Recently, big changes have taken place in the world of Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Access, PowerPoint and Excel. “Computer software has evolved tremendously this year,” said Jeff Nevins, Division Manager for San Joaquin Valley College’s Business Administration program at the Visalia campus. “If you are not well trained in the complexities of these programs, you may fall behind in today’s competitive marketplace. In order to be hirable, strong computer skills are essential.” San Joaquin Valley College is committed to providing students with the latest technological advances in their business programs, which include Business Administration, Health Care Administration, and Human Resource Administration, as well as other medical and technical programs in which computer skills are required. “We want our graduates to have all the education and training advantages available so that they can explore career options with greater skill and confidence, 30


stated Nevins. San Joaquin Valley College’s (SJVC) Business Administration program offers Microsoft Office (MOS) certifications to those students who wish to take and pass the tests. The college provides a testing facility and covers the expense of the first tests. The college’s Business Administration program is well rounded and offers basic business education as well as specialty areas such as accounting, marketing, business trends and management. Another plus to this program is the small class size. “Students enjoy close contact with our instructors,” Nevins said. “Our low student-to-instructor ratio gives them lots of individual attention that benefits their learning potential.” SJVC’s 15-month accelerated Business Administration program focuses on desktop applications, including Microsoft Word, Access, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as general business skills such as word processing, accounting, database management and electronic spreadsheets. Training also includes economics, psychology, sociology, ethics and management, so as to expand a student’s basic business understanding and enhance career growth potential.

SJVC Business Administration Degree: Preparing Graduates with Microsoft Office Training

Graduates of this program can expect to work in such industries as government, education, banking, construction, agriculture, advertising, healthcare, manufacturing, insurance – virtually any company or facility requiring business support. On-the-job responsibilities might include demonstrating good customer service, producing computer reports, performing accounts receivable/payable tasks, producing sales presentations, or exhibiting team support. A business education will provide a strong base from which to branch out into many other areas of career interest. Graduates of SJVC’s Business Administration program earn an Associate of Science degree and the confidence to step into any business, office or sales environment. San Joaquin Valley College is a 10-campus, plus online campus, private junior college, serving California communities for 34 years. For more information about SJVC’s business, medical or technical programs, call toll free 866-391-3804. 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



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 Visalia Teen Idol

The City of Visalia Parks and Recreation Department will be holding the ninth annual Teen Idol singing competition. The top three finalists will win cash prizes and the title of Visalia Teen Idol. Tickets are only $5 now; $10 at the door. When: Sept. 10, 6p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: Ramsey, 713-4365

Blues, Brews & BBQ Join in on live music by Alastair Greene, refreshing beverages and delicious barbeque at this fun Downtown event. When: Sept. 2, 6-10p Where: Garden St. Plaza, Visalia Contact: 732-7737 or visit 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: Sept. 3, 10a-5p Where: Maps at Anne Lang’s Emporium, 41651 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers Contact: Nadi Spencer, 561-4373 or visit The City Harmonic The Canadian Christian rock band performs at the Fox Theatre. Having released their EP album in November, the boys are gearing up for their first big tour. Tickets: $11/$17. When: Sept. 3, 7:30p Where: Fox Theatre, 300 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369 Woven Identities of Japan: Ainu and Okinawan Textiles For more information about this and other exhibits visit When: Sept. 4-Oct. 29 Where: Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture, 15770 10th Ave., Hanford Contact: Virginia Soensken, 582-4915 32


Dennis Wong Memorial 5K Race A fun event for the entire family! The event will feature an open 5K race, a one-mile Kids’ Race and a two-mile walk. Awards will be given to the top male and female finishers in all age categories. All entrants will receive a goody bag, a free entry into the Tulare County Fair and post-race refreshments. Adult entrants will also receive a race T-shirt. When: Sept. 10, 6:30-10a Where: Tulare Santa Fe Trail (at the intersection of Mooney Boulevard and the Sana Fe Trail, behind Will Tiesiera Ford) Contact: 685-6100 Pops in the Park The traditional season opener will be a “Summer Night’s Splash” of Sousa, other patriotic songs, show tunes and light classics. Bring a picnic and chairs or a blanket and enjoy favorite tunes on a late summer evening. Tables available for an additional $250. When: Sept. 10. Gates open for picnickers at 5p; Concert at 8p Where: Zumwalt Park, Tulare Contact: visit 2011 Tulare County Fair It’s that time of year again! Come down to the fair and enjoy food, fun, games, music and farm animal exhibits. When: Sept. 14-18 Where: Tulare County Fairgrounds, 215 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Tulare Contact: 686-4707

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

Art in the Alley The public is welcome to come out and view art on display by local artists. This event coincides with the Downtown Farmers Market. When: Sept. 15, 5-8p Where: Garden St. Plaza, Visalia Contact: 625-1520 Harvest Moon Social Swirl A formal benefit for The Boys & Girls Club of the Sequoias, the event includes premium wines, live and silent auctions, jewelry raffle, and dinner. For more information please visit website. When: Sept. 16, 6p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E, Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 592-4072 or visit United Way Golf Tournament Head out to the Tulare Golf Course and support United Way of Tulare County for their annual golf tournament. When: Sept. 16, shotgun start at 12p Where: Tulare Golf Course, 5320 S. Laspina St., Tulare Contact: 685-1766 Valley Oak SPCA Wine & Wags Gala and Auction Enjoy live music, delectable cuisine from local restaurants and premium wine tasting, plus an amazing silent and live auction featuring trips to Cabo San Lucas, Arizona, Carmel and much more! Tickets, $75, can be purchased online at or visit the center. When: Sept. 17, 6:30p Where: Private residence Contact: Development Department, 713-4687 “Falling into Fashion” The Visalia Charter Oak Lions Club presents “Falling into Fashion,” a fashion show lunch. Fashions will be provided by Chelsea Street Boutique, The Dress Barn and J.C. Penneys. Proceeds help fund community projects. Tickets are $25. When: Sept. 17, 11a Where: Lamp Liter Inn, 3300 W. Mineral King Ave., Visalia Contact: Lillette, 733-1483 or lillette0446@sbcglobal 18th Annual Taste of Downtown Visalia This annual event is fun for all of Visalia’s foodies! Get your tickets early and head Downtown for tasty samples of all of the finest Downtown restaurants, and wine and beer tasting. Purchase tickets at Downtown Visalians or by phone with credit card by calling 732-7737. When: Sept. 20, 5-9p Where: Downtown Visalia Contact: 732-7737

Bounty of the County Tulare County Farm Bureau presents a food and wine event to showcase Tulare County agriculture. For $25, experience all our county has to offer with local culinary delights, tasty wine and live entertainment by Ritchie’s Band. When: Sept. 24, 5-8p Where: Ritchie’s Barn, 16338 Ave. 308, Visalia Contact: Tulare County Farm Bureau, 732-8301 or Visalia Home Expo Over 250 exhibits in one location with the best in remodeling, decorating and technology makes this the largest home show in the South Valley. Come check out all the new styles in home décor this fall, and much more! When: Sept. 24-25, 10a-6p and 10a-5p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: (800) 700-7469 Taste the Arts The purpose of the festival is to allow residents and visitors to “taste” and experience the beauty of the Arts first-hand. The festival highlights the best of the region and features samples of the opera, the symphony, jazz and contemporary music, dance and theatre. When: Sept. 29-Oct. 1 Where: Downtown Visalia Contact: 713-4324 Tulare County Library First Tuesday Book Club (Sept. 6, 6:30p) Mystery Readers (Sept. 21, 6:30p) Where: Tulare County Library, 200 W. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 713-2700 or 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: Main Street; Visalia & Sears parking lot at Mooney and Caldwell, Visalia Contact: 967-6722 or

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


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 Councilmember

Medical Marijuana and Visalia Medical marijuana continues to attract attention in the news. In Kern County, eight people were arrested recently for growing 2,462 marijuana plants, supposedly for their own medicinal purposes. In Fresno County, pot dispensaries were recently raided by law enforcement, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash were found secreted therein. Right here in Visalia, greenhouses have been erected in a residential neighborhood with hundreds of plants being cultivated. A teenage boy selling marijuana was arrested at a local park, while in possession of his own medical marijuana card. “Specialist doctors” grant medical marijuana cards to the people lined up outside their office doors. Such cards can be had by practically anyone willing to pay the doctor’s fee. Such is the status of California’s experiment with medical marijuana, which began in 1996 when California voters approved Proposition 215, entitled “The Compassionate Use Act (“CUA”).” The CUA was intended to ensure that seriously ill Californians had the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes only where that medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician. In 2004, Senate Bill 420, entitled the “Medical Marijuana Program (“MMP”),” was enacted to clarify the scope of the CUA and to allow cities and counties to adopt and enforce regulations. In 2010, Proposition 19, which attempted to legalize all marijuana usage in California, was rejected by the voters. On the federal level, Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source of revenue to large-scale criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels. Congress enacted the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). Federal law preempts state law and per a June 29, 2011, U.S. Dept. of Justice memo, persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities are in violation of the CSA. Medical marijuana dispensaries are not expressly mentioned in either the CUA or the MMP, and the recent case of City of Claremont v. Kruse, concluded that cities retain their police power to regulate and, if necessary, restrict the operation of dispensaries. Numerous judicial decisions have confirmed that California voters did not intend to allow large-scale commercial operations. The court in People v. Urcizeanu held that the CUA “creates a narrow defense to crimes, not a constitutional right to obtain marijuana.” The city of Anaheim in 2007 banned all marijuana distribution facilities consisting of three or more 34


people who otherwise qualified as patients or caregivers under the CUA or the MMP. When the city was sued by a collective, the court concluded that Anaheim could use its police powers to ban marijuana distribution facilities and impose a criminal penalty for violating the ban. More than 130 California cities have imposed bans like Anaheim’s, now joined by Visalia. Visalia City Council members are sworn to uphold the laws of the state and nation. Accordingly, on July 18, the Council approved Ordinance 2011-10, dealing with medical marijuana issues locally, to be effective September 1, 2011. This ordinance was adopted pursuant to the city’s basic police powers, which permits the city to adopt laws protecting health, safety and welfare. In instances where the state has not preempted local lawmaking authority, a city is free to regulate. In summary, Visalia’s new ordinance prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries and all other medical marijuana businesses inside the city of Visalia. Such businesses are defined as a “facility or location, whether fixed or mobile, where marijuana is cultivated, made available and/or distributed by or to three or more persons.” State law permits individual use and cultivation for medical purposes only. Visalia’s new ordinance protects the integrity and safety of residential neighborhoods from smoke and odor by prohibiting outdoor marijuana cultivation and use. It prohibits large, uncontrolled cultivation activities in residential neighborhoods, which present safety, nuisance and blight problems to neighbors. Said ordinance only allows use of medical marijuana inside a private residence. Cultivation must occur in a fully enclosed and secured structure with solid walls and roof, but not in any living space. Any person cultivating up to 100 square feet per parcel indoors must obtain a city building and safety inspection every three months and must pay inspection fees. Such person must provide evidence of qualification to conduct marijuana cultivation as a medical marijuana user. Visalia’s new ordinance is a good-faith attempt to comply with state law, while providing protection to our citizens and neighborhoods from abusive practices. Nothing in state law requires or allows the for-profit sale of marijuana through dispensaries or collectives. If you have questions or topics regarding the city that you would like to have addressed in future articles, please email Warren at, or call (559) 713-4400 x3313. For past articles, visit

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



September 2011  

September 2011

September 2011  

September 2011