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STYLE, ART, CULTURE, + EVENTS OF THE SOUTH VALLEY MAY 2016

REVIVE TOUR

EPICURE

TRAVEL

IT STARTS WITH BLOOM

AN ODE TO DAD

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ART NOW

DOUG HANSEN Blurring Lines Between Illustration and Fine Art

16

REVITALIZING DOWNTOWN It Starts with Bloom

8 Letter from the Executive Editor

EPICURE

10 Wordplay

THE VINTAGE PRESS

12 Reflections of Visalia: Stylish Municipal

This Father’s Day, treat your dad to this delicious recipe for Kobe Beef.

Building Stands for Decades 20 Charity: Central Valley Rescue Railroad – A “Ruff” Road 44 Social: Kentucky Derby Party -

32

Tipping Hats to FoodLink 46 Sip: Farm to Highball 50 Community: Silver and Black -

TRAVEL

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS A Destination Close to Home

4 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6

REVIVE TOUR

Doug Hansen’s exhibit at Arts Visalia silences the confl ict between illustration and art.

An Ode To Dad

38

24

Visiting the Sequoias doesn’t just have to be a day trip for locals. Spend a few days inside the park, exploring its natural beauty.

Backyard with the Raiders 54 Soireé: ImagineU Dreambuilder’s Bash 56 Happenings

COVER: The Bloom Group, Inc. common area got a complete makeover with new furniture, hardwood floors, and modern fixtures. ABOVE: As soon as clients walk into the renovated Bloom Group office, they are greeted by soothing music, the scent of candles, and plenty of natural light.


JOHN K. SULLIVAN, DDS JOSEPH M. MARVIZI, DDS


Published By

Executive Editor Editorial Coordinator Editorial Staff Art Director Designer Designer Contributing Writers

Business Management

Operations Manager Advertising Sales

Sales Office

E-Mail WEBSITE View The Mag Online

DMI Agency 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 Karen Tellalian Kelly Lapadula Malynda Whitworth Ross Yukawa Chris Bly Kaci Hansen Aaron Collins Amber Newman Cheryl Levitan David Vartanian Diane Slocum Terry L. Ommen Malkasian Accountancy LLP Gary Malkasian CPA Jeffrey Malkasian EA Maria Gaston Melissa Olson Melissa@DMIAgency.com 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • Fax 559.738.0909 Lifestyle@DMIAgency.com www.VisaliaLifestyle.com Issuu.com/LifestyleMagazine Facebook.com/LifestyleMag Instagram: visalialifestyle

RACK LOCATIONS DMI Agency Evolutions Fitness Center, Tulare

Exeter Chamber of Commerce Tazzaria Coffee & Tea The Lifestyle Center

Visalia Chamber of Commerce Visalia Convention Center

COUNTERTOP LOCATIONS 210 Cafe Arts Consortium Ashoori & Co. Jewelers Avedian Properties Bravo Farms Smokehouse Café 225 Café Tommy Charcuterie Chelsea Street Boutique CreekSide Day Spa Skin & Laser Center Courtyard Aesthetics Dale Bruder Law Offices Downtown Visalia Alliance Ed Dena Auto Center, Visalia Exeter Chamber of Commerce For Such a Time Boutique Franey's Design Center

Fugazzis Glick's Old Fashion Meats & Deli ImagineU Children’s Museum Janeen’s Kaweah Delta Hospital Keller Williams Reality Max's Cookies Michaels Jewelry Monét’s, Exeter Peacock Medical Pacific Treasures Pro-PT Renaissance Salon Salon 525 Sherman & Associates Smile Central Valley, Tulare Smile Visalia Suncrest Bank

The Gardens at Cal Turf The Looking Glass V Medical Spa Valley Business Bank (Downtown) Velvet Sky Visalia Airport Visalia Ceramic Tile Visalia First Assembly Visalia Fox Theatre Visalia Marriott Visalia Medical Clinic Watsons Wildflower Café, Exeter Williams, Brodersen & Pritchett, Attorneys at Law Windows Plus, Inc. Wyndham Hotel

Visalia Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and is distributed via direct mail to nearly 13,000 homes in the upper-middle and high-income neighborhoods in Visalia and Exeter. An additional 2,500 copies are distributed at various distribution points around both communities. Views expressed in columns are those of the columnist and not necessarily those of DMI Agency or its advertisers. Circulation of this issue: 15,500 © 2016 DMI Agency

The entrance shows off its vibrant red door. 6 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6


“Amy has made it clear that public safety and Law Enforcement are top priorities for her. Please join us, the Tulare County Deputy Sheriff ’s Association in voting for Amy Shuklian for Tulare County Supervisor District 3.” Sergeant Mike Yandell

President | Tulare County Deputy Sheriff ’s Association

ENDORSED BY

P RAC

South San Joaquin Chapter of Peace Officer Research Association

Partnering With Our Community

Tulare County Deputy Sheriff’s Association

Colleen Mestas Police Chief (Ret.) City of Visalia

www.AmyForSupervisor.com 559.280.3054 • Amy@AmyForSupervisor.com facebook.com/AmyForSupervisor • twitter.com/Amy4Supervisor PAID FOR BY AMY SHUKLIAN FOR TULARE COUNTY SUPERVISOR 2016 FPPC #1379017


FR O M TH E

EDITOR

T

here are so many reasons to love spring, and although baseball tops the list, it is also the time of year when our downtown Farmer's Market reopens. In Visalia, we are twice as fortunate as there are two markets; one on the corner of Caldwell and Mooney, which is open Saturday mornings year round, and the other, Thursday nights on Main Street. I do enjoy both, but Thursday night has the added bonus of music and many of the shops stay open late.

Although we normally feature fabulous private residences, on occasion we have presented some really cool commercial building transformations, such as a former automotive shop turned into a popular gastro pub. After a dentist moved out across the street, the rather blah corner building sat empty for years. That is until recently, when Borna Binesh of Bloom Group, Inc. restored and remodeled it into something you might expect to find in a more metropolitan

We chose to feature this building as a way to showcase a property that, sitting empty, does nothing to add value to our downtown, but restored and revitalized, helps improve the vitality of our community. E X E C U T I V E

E D I T O R

K A R E N

T E L L A L I A N

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SUBMIT A STORY IDEA, CONTACT ME AT KAREN@DMIAGENCY.COM

Over the years, many of our Lifestyle culinary features have included fresh, local ingredients. This month, we found a tasty and exciting new twist on using only the freshest local ingredients in our “Farm to Highball” feature, starting on page 46. There, you’ll find five zesty summer cocktails using produce from our own Farmer's Market. As temperatures rise and entertaining season begins, surely you will find these recipes both easy and refreshing while you support our local farmers. The Lifestyle and DMI Agency (publishers of Lifestyle) offices have always been headquartered downtown, giving us the opportunity to witness firsthand some of the continued development happening here. Another town might call that revitalization, but honestly, Visalia has done a great job of holding to a concentric growth pattern for our city, helping keep our downtown alive and vibrant.

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area. We chose this building as a way to showcase a property that, sitting empty, does nothing to add value to our downtown, but restored and revitalized, helps improve the vitality of our community. If you are like me and don’t always see past the worn out carpet and peeling paint, please turn to page 24 for a little inspiration. Next month, we will return to our Home Tour with an extraordinary home. Stay tuned. We hope everyone had a beautiful Mother's Day; mine was very quiet this year due to conflicts in graduation and work schedules, but it reminded me how grateful I am to have family living close by (including my four-month-old grandson, who I promised not to gush about, but what the heck?). As life gets busier, always remember to relish the precious moments you do get to spend with your loved ones.


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219 West Main Street • Visalia, CA 93291 • 559.733.0213 In Beautiful Downtown Visalia Since 1991


T E X T

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S L O C U M

WO R D PLAY News on writing, books + the world of publishing

A

s spring slips into summer, let’s consider reading some hot debut novels. The Forgetting Time (Flatiron Books) by Sharon Guskin is a page-turner about a four-year-old boy who seems to have lived another life and his single mother who is devoted to him. The trouble is, the boy says he wants to go back to his other mother. They turn to a discredited psychiatrist who tries to prove there are children who have memories of past lives. The trio searches for the truth about that other woman. Another hot debut novel focusing on memories of a mother is Black Rabbit Hall (J.P. Putnam’s Sons) by Eva Chase. Amber spent happy summers at her family’s estate, until tragedy struck. Forty years later, Lorna decides she must be married at this now-run-down bed and breakfast, but as she does, memories of secrets hidden at the estate begin to emerge. A past that threatens to undo the present rears its head in Girl Through Glass (Harper) by Sari Wilson. As a child, Mira uses ballet to escape from her unhappy home life. She becomes a gifted dancer, but her relationship with her much-older mentor complicates matters. Decades later, dance professor Kate receives a letter from a man from her past that reopens the life she had buried.

Quotev, Kindle Worlds, and Wattpad. Newer novels with a huge outpouring of fanfiction include the Divergent trilogy and Fifty Shades trilogy.

FANFICTION

Marilyn Meredith’s latest Tempe Crabtree Mystery takes the Bear Creek deputy to Morro Bay for her son’s wedding, but all is not well, it also is Not as It Seems. No sooner do Tempe and her husband arrive, but they learn that the maid of honor has disappeared. Tempe is recruited to help find the missing girl. Tempe’s investigative talent and help from the spirit world lead her through a maze of clues and suspects.

Do you have some favorite characters in fiction whose stories you’d like to see continue or change? Then fanfiction is the place to look – or to participate. Websites abound featuring the rest of the story for novels like Harry Potter, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, and Hunger Games. Some of the popular sites are described at ebookfriendly.com/fan-fictionwebsites. A few of them are FanFiction, 10 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6

FAN GET-TOGETHER Jane Austen fans go beyond just fanfiction and get together to celebrate their favorite author. The Central Valley chapter of the Jane Austen Association will be meeting to discuss Lady Susan on Saturday, June 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the

In Jane Porter’s The Tycoon’s Forced Bride, Malcolm McKenzie’s wife, Ava, is an acclaimed ballerina before she is seriously injured in a car accident following a heated argument with her husband. She is also pregnant with their son. Malcolm raises Jack alone, until he and the boy decide Ava should come back to them, whether she wants to or not. The San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust’s “Respite by the River” features valley writers Daniel Chacon, Soul Vang, David Mas and Nikiko Masumoto, Liz Scheid, and Lee Herrick. Guests are invited to bring a picnic dinner, relax, and listen to musical performances from 6 to 7 p.m., prior to the featured writer. Authors will read from their works from 7 to 8 p.m. Go to riverparkway.org for dates for each writer. WRITING CONTESTS

Woodward Park Regional Library, 944 E. Perrin, in Fresno. VALLEY WRITERS

The deadline for the 2016 Litquake Writing Contest is June 1. The contest is open to all writers who have not published a book. Poetry, Essay, Short Fiction, and Short Scene submissions may be made. One submission allowed per author and must be sent via Submittable. Prizes include a pass for most ticketed events during the fall Litquake festival, a reading slot at the festival, and more. The festival takes place October 7–15 in San Francisco. Details at: litquake.submittable.com/ submit. THE LAST WORD “My mother always taught us that if people don't agree with you, the important thing is to listen to them. But if you've listened to them carefully and you still think that you're right, then you must have the courage of your convictions.” (Jane Goodall, 1934 - )


Most city departments moved to the new city hall in 1956, but the Visalia Fire Department stayed in the old building, circa 1950s.

ST Y LIS H M U N ICI PAL B U I LDI N G STAN DS

I

for Decades

n 1908 Visalia’s city fathers and community leaders began to seriously consider a new city hall.

records, and there was not enough

measure passed overwhelmingly by a

room for firemen to sleep. Fire Chief, A.

vote of 318 to 120.

W. Grant, agreed and joined the call for

The Visalia trustees had local

The existing one, built in 1872 when

a new city hall to replace the inadequate

architect, Morve L. Weaver, draw plans

the town had a population of about

one on the southeast corner of Acequia

up for the new municipal building. In

1,000, had served as the municipal

and Church streets.

February 1909, his detailed plans and

headquarters for 36 years. Now the

However, the city did not have the

specifications were finished and were

town had a population of about 4,000,

money, so creative ways of financing

given to the board for their review.

and the call for a new city hall was loud.

were explored. The city board of

They scaled back some of the elaborate

J. Sub Johnson, a local businessman,

trustees (city council) decided to put

features to fit the budget, and as a

was vocal, calling the old building

the $30,000 cost of the building on the

precaution, the modified plans were

an embarrassment to the town. The

ballot in a special bond election in June

sent to the Robert W. Hunt Co. of San

building lacked space for organizing

1908. Fortunately for most, the bond

Francisco for review. The engineering

T EXT

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BY

TE R RY

L .

O MME N


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firm recommended a few small changes, but overall gave a thumbs-up to the plans. After formal acceptance, the construction project went out for bid with three companies responding. Rickon, Ehrhardt Company of San Francisco came in at $50,000, W. D. Trewhitt of Visalia bid $30,000, and J. M. Nelson also of Visalia was the low bidder at $28,500. Nelson was awarded the contract. In early March, work began on razing the old building, and by the following month, the site was cleared. During demolition, the old building cornerstone was preserved as was a small zinc box that had been placed in the wall of the building serving as a time capsule. It contained many relics from the 1870s, including coins and documents. The plan was to put the zinc box and contents in the new structure. During the construction period, the board met in various locations within the city, and the fire department relocated to city property on Oak between Court and Church streets, directly across from the county courthouse. The construction of the new building moved along nicely in 1909. By mid-year, the basement walls were finished, and the reinforced concrete structure began to take shape. As the Spanish-style building neared completion in 1910, some of the smaller details of the construction project became the focus. A slab of marble was selected to be the cornerstone, but the wording to be placed on it proved to be a more difficult decision. Some wanted all the names of city officials listed on the stone, and others wanted

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fewer names. Finally, it was agreed that the names of the city trustees, L. A. Dollner, J. F. Jordan, L. Lucier, H. Askin, and President (mayor) A. R. Orr, should appear along with M. J. Byrnes, Clerk, Morve L. Weaver, architect, and J. M. Nelson, contractor. Once etched, the finished cornerstone was mounted next to the main front door. Other construction considerations surfaced as well, many of which focused on money. At least one of these issues made it clear that controlling the budget was on the minds of the trustees. When the time came for choosing lighting fixtures, the trustees debated whether to get the fancy ones for $837.50 from

the Roberts Company of San Francisco, or the more plain fixtures for $600 from the same company. They settled on the less expensive ones. Clearly, cheaper trumped expensive. By June 1910, construction was winding down, so officials began planning for a big July 4 building dedication as part of the Independence Day festivities. But the plan turned out to be wishful thinking. At the last minute, the trustees cancelled the opening ceremony. Obviously, there were still too many building details that needed to be attended to. In fact, the formal opening was postponed until much later.

In early 1911, the new city hall faced a serious challenge. January brought Visalia considerable rain, and on January 11, the Visalia Daily Times announced some bad news. “Water leaks through roof of new city hall in many places,” they reported. The roof of the new city hall was leaking like a sieve. Washtubs and pails were in place everywhere. The leaks in the firemen’s quarters had caused serious water damage to the plaster and the furniture. This problem must have caused embarrassment to Herbert Askin, city trustee, as the newspaper reminded readers that the trustee’s company had done the roof work. The H. Askin Co. wasted no time in making the many roof repairs. For 46 years the city hall served the needs of the community, proving a centralized point for city services. It even housed the municipal court for a time. Two of the biggest city departments housed there included fire and police services. The building was home for firefighters during long on-duty shifts and a variety of fire trucks could almost always be seen on standby. Police officers began and ended their shifts there and police cars were a familiar sight. But again, space needs for a growing community became an issue. In 1956 yet another new Visalia city hall was completed, this time at Acequia and Johnson streets. It remains there today. The 1910 city hall was eventually demolished to make room for the Visalia Convention Center complex, which was finished in 1972. Now there are rumors that the city will build another new city hall – one that will serve a population of more than 130,000.

Seen here is the 1910 city hall under construction.


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The cover art for Doug Hansen’s book, California the Magic Island. Copyright Doug Hansen 2016.


DOUG HANSEN BLURS LINES BETWEEN ILLUSTRATION AND FINE ART

S

ue was an ambitious artist. She had all the painter’s chops. Her work was selling well directly from her studio. She had a bachelor of fine arts degree from L.A.’s Otis Art Institute, which is among the more prestigious U.S. art schools. Sue was pretty, Basque and French, born in Fontainebleau. That biography lent her a bit of added, if perhaps unearned, cachet when courting gallery representation from her fellow Americans who knew the French region’s importance to art history. All she needed an agent to boost her career to the next level. “Too illustrative.” These damning words spoken of Sue’s work clanged like a bell, especially since they were uttered by one of the most notable and highly sought West Coast contemporary art gallery owners. Rejection always hurts, but never as much as from the top dog in the business. Sue’s predicament poses the ageold question concerning the distinction between illustration vs. art: Whose vision is it, anyway? What qualities determine what is fine art and what is relegated to

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Pop Surreal art movements in L.A. are two reactions that embrace an illustrators’ bag of tricks, but those remain the exception. It may be illustration, but Doug Hansen’s show, “Magical California,” is on view this month at Arts Visalia, a community art gallery. The show brings back to mind the above questions. But the artist manages to sidestep them altogether. Unlike most children’s book publishing – the great Maurice Sendak and a few others being exceptions – most children’s publishers want to assign their own illustrator to an author’s work, finding that writers and illustrators rarely inhabit the same person. In this case, Doug writes his own material. The work embodies his vision. “I chose the ‘Magical California’ title because it echoes the title of my newest children's picture book, California, the Magic Island,” said Doug. “But all my books involve the magical property of talking animals, of animals reflecting the behavior of humans or taking on familiar human roles, like in the Aesop's fables or Mother Goose rhymes.” Doug says that the landscapes and

ART NOW

illustration? Art world thinkers tire of these lingering questions and move on to more fashionable concerns. But the reality is, these are not hair-splitting philosophically antique musings, like Picasso vs. Matisse, or AbEx vs. Pop Art; to be tarred with the “Scarlet I” for “too illustrative” can still change career trajectories. It did for Sue, whose sensitivities enabled her to make great art but were also expressed by a thin skin that caused unacceptably high pain due to the frequent rejection that is common for artists seeking dealers’ validation. The Lowbrow and

C O L L I N S

|

P H O T O S

Hollywood Movie Magic by Doug Hansen. Copyright Doug Hansen 2016.

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the animal and plant life of ART California are NOW so remarkable that he feels he’s allowed to treat them as magical. “I chose many of the pictures [for the show] because I thought the places would be familiar to a Visalia audience, like the scene of The Oak and the Reeds that was inspired by the Kaweah Oaks Preserve.” (Visitors to Kaweah Oaks will recall the interpretive illustration featuring the region’s Native Yokuts at the preserve’s entrance kiosk – also by Doug Hansen.) Doug, a former cartoonist, newsroom illustrator for the Fresno Bee, is now an illustration professor at Fresno State. He has illustrated a number of books, from Mas Masumoto’s Heirlooms: Letters from a Peach Farmer and Letters to the Valley: A Harvest of Memories, to his own children’s books that include Mother Goose in California and Aesop in California. Selections from all three populate the exhibition, which will perhaps delight adults just as much, if not more so than children. Doug’s fecundity works for everybody. “Fine artists and illustrators use the same media and techniques and sometimes even have the same goals to uplift the viewer or tell a story. I believe studio artists strive to create singular, unique works that exist as precious objects. Illustrations, from the very start, are created to be reproduced or broadcast in multiples. Illustration is an applied art – pictures put to work,” said Doug. “My goal is to create beautiful pictures that attract the viewer, and to keep them coming back to rediscover all

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the visual goodies embedded in the art.” With California the Magic Island, Doug continues the mash-up formula of the earlier children’s titles. Actual California history underpins the vignettes but provide the artist merely a jumpingoff point to satisfy what appears to be a very fertile imagination. Most of the show features the newer work from this project. What would the artist like exhibition attendees to come away with, having seen the show versus just viewing the works as intended, via book reproduction? “The gallery is a wonderful setting designed to elevate and celebrate the objects displayed there. I always love getting up close to the actual works of master artists whom I admire and I hope visitors and viewers will enjoy doing the same. Finding a stray pencil line or a retouched blemish sometimes reveals the illustrator's struggle,” said Doug. “I believe viewers appreciate seeing evidence of the hand of the artist. In the gallery, viewers will be surrounded by dozens of images and maybe they will combine in a way that isn't possible as we go through the

books pageby-page.” If Doug’s influences can be traced, one might look to Russian folk tales by artist Ivan Bilibin, Art Nouveau master Alphonse Mucha, and overlooked children's artists like H. C. and Lucille Hollings. “All of them share what I call the ‘clear line style’ and viewers will probably recognize their influence in my work,” he said of the style that features flat areas of color defined by clearly delineated outlines, themselves often in color. Despite authorship of the vision for his books, and despite the singularity of his accomplishment, Doug still proudly considers his work to squarely occupy the realm of illustration. “Most of my career I have been a commercial artist: an illustrator making pictures that go with stories.” The first were made for comic books, back in his college days, then for two decades in The Bee newsroom. “I have illustrated a handful of books for myself and others, but I'm most proud of my three California-centric children's picture books,” he said. If the works from those projects rise to the level of art for most viewers, so be it. For more about Doug’s art and books, visit www.DougHansen-Art.com and go to www.Artsvisalia.org to learn about his show at Arts Visalia. TOP LEFT: Butterfly Migration. TOP RIGHT: Earthquake and Fire. BOTTOM LEFT: Reeds and Oak. BOTTOM RIGHT: Hansen’s Portrait.


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C E N T R A L

V A L L E Y

R E S C U E

R A I L R O A D

A “RUFF” ROAD I

t all started 16 years ago at Visalia’s annual Christmas Parade. BJ Motko was at a restaurant downtown when she saw the Valley Oak SPCA float go by with volunteers holding dogs. “I want to do something like that,” she said. Within several months, BJ became a volunteer with the Valley Oak SPCA. Within several years, her passion for dogs grew so much that she started her own dog rescue, Central Valley Rescue Railroad (CVRR). In 2015 alone, five years after achieving nonprofit status, CVRR rehomed 855 dogs. Though BJ considers CVRR as more of a rescue organization than a shelter, it is hard for her to look around her property and say they aren’t a shelter. With 19 kennels, three yards, an administrative office, dozens of dogs, and plans for an

indoor puppy building, it would appear as though CVRR is indeed a shelter. The difference is, CVRR is not open to the public, it is no-kill, it relies on foster families, and it is completely volunteer run (yes, even BJ is a volunteer). “I kind of consider this the halfway house,” said BJ. “We take the dogs in from various sources and rehabilitate them, get them ready, and move them on to permanent homes.” In a way, that is how the name “Rescue Railroad” came about. When BJ was a volunteer for the VOSPCA, her very first rescue group called itself the rescue railroad with the idea of the “underground railroad” in mind. Their goal was the get as many dogs rehomed as quickly as possible. When she broke off on her own and started working from

her home, the name just stuck. The very first dog BJ ever rescued from a shelter was a Jack Russell Terrier. At that time, Jack Russells were extremely popular, in part because of the show “Frasier.” Everyone seemed to be getting these smart, adorable dogs, but owners soon discovered these pups were more than they could handle. “For me, the whole idea of rescue started when I discovered our local shelter was filled with all of these Jack Russells,” said BJ. “A Jack Russell’s life in a shelter is much shorter than most breeds because it takes very little time for them to go kennel crazy. They become aggressive, they become stressed, and they set everyone else off.” Once BJ started rescuing dogs, she soon realized the bureaucracy,

CHARITY

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The CVRR sign was painted by Lola Collins, who also painted one of downtown Exeter’s famous murals.


CHARITY

The Whitney Barn provided a relaxed and fun atmosphere for the Bark ‘N’ Bid fundraiser.

(L to R) Kaiao Fox, Melissa Tashjian, Taylor Reynolds, and Hayley Tashjian.

paper work, rules, and regulations of a shelter had too much of a “hurry up and wait” mentality for her style. BJ started fostering from her home in Lindsay, worked with several other rescue organizations, and gradually split, making CVRR its own nonprofit entity in 2010. Over the years, BJ has formed partnerships with several animal centers around the state, including a facility in San Diego, where she is able to send 50 to 60 percent of her dogs each year to go up for adoption. Because CVRR’s facility is not open to the public, individuals interested in adopting must apply for the dog they want and set up an appointment to meet in person. CVRR also hosts dog adoptions every Saturday at PetSmart in Visalia as their public venue. For BJ, one of her biggest frustrations comes from the fact that in the last 10 years, it seems there has hardly been a dent in Tulare County when it comes to the number of homeless dogs and the number of animals being killed in shelters. But, BJ says there is a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to recent changes with the City of Visalia and Tulare County Animal Services. “For that much time to pass with this many people who care, but to not have a lot of change, that is really sad,” said BJ. “But I think we might be close to a 22 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6

There were many adorable dog-themed silent auction items up for bid.

turning point, a little bit of a paradigm shift in the way we handle animals in this area. It will be slow and subtle, but I can kind of feel that it is turning a little bit.” Though there is hope for the future and improvements are being made, BJ believes that no change can truly happen without massive spay and neuter efforts, which would require grants for education efforts and a larger spay and neuter clinic at a more affordable cost. “You can’t really rescue your way out of a crisis,” said BJ. “It doesn’t matter how much money you raise, how many volunteers you get; you can never find enough adoptable homes for the overpopulation. So the only way to fix the problem is to stop the overpopulation.” In the meantime, BJ and her team of volunteers will continue to advocate for dogs, working hard to get them in safe, happy homes. BJ admits she would never be able to do any of this without the volunteers who foster animals, host the adoption events at PetSmart, help with the mechanics of the facility, transport animals, and assist with fundraising. One of these faithful volunteers is Hayley Tashjian, who frequently helps out with the PetSmart adoptions and is part of the fundraising committee. “I started a little bit here and there, but it's hard not to get really involved

BJ Motko sits with Tigger, who was recently adopted.

when you care about the animals,” said Hayley. “I couldn’t volunteer if there were euthanizations or if we didn’t get to be involved in the actual adoptions, seeing where the dogs go and meeting the people. It’s amazing to talk to the families and be involved in the life changing decision they are making.” One of the fundraising efforts Hayley has had a major role in was the recent Bark ‘N’ Bid Benefit for CVRR that took place on April 30 at the Whitney Barn in Exeter. One-hundred seventy-five people from all around Tulare County showed up to support the dogs, raising more than $32,000, which will help fund a new indoor facility for puppies and dogs with medical needs. The facility will have heating and air to ensure a comfortable environment for the many puppies in their care. Overall, the event was a success, and CVRR is looking to open the doors to even more supporters at next year’s event, already scheduled for April 22, 2017. “I’d like to give a multitude of thanks to the community for supporting us,” said BJ. “We get support from the most diverse, eclectic group of people you could ever imagine, many of whom have adopted a dog from us. I think the event spoke for itself, and it was just a good time for everyone to come out, have some fun, and support the animals.”


Your Home. Your Look.

559.625.8884 220 W. Main St., Visalia www.janeensfurniture.com


R E V I TA L I Z I N G DOWNTOWN

The completed look of the Bloom Group common area with updated hardwood floors, gray trim, new lighting fixtures, modern furniture, and contemporary dĂŠcor. 24 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6


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f you take a stroll up and down the side streets of Downtown Visalia, you will notice that many businesses have taken up residence in old homes, built anywhere between the 1920s up to the 1980s. While some of these buildings have maintained their appearance and stand as an ode to Visalia’s historic past, some structures have begun to look outdated and dilapidated. It begs the question: how can our downtown maintain historical integrity, while also developing an updated aesthetic that attracts people to our community? While there are several businesses that have taken the initiative to modernize and bring their look into the 21st century, there is one in particular that has set the standard high and serves as a prime example of how an older building can become new again. Sitting on the corner of Stevenson and Acequia streets, Bloom Group, Inc., is a sight for sore eyes compared to what it used to be this time last year. Before Borna Binesh, CEO and founder of Bloom Group, got his hands on the building, it had outdated brown wood shakes, neglected landscaping, brown carpet, 70s tile, and was “nearly uninhabitable,” according to Borna. Now,

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Stevenson Street is proud to be home to a seemingly brand new building with its modern grey exterior and vibrant red doors. But the exterior leaves much to the imagination, as the interior steps up the design game to a level even home improvement shows would be envious of. As a broker, property manager, and business owner in Visalia, Borna had been looking to update and move his original business, Binesh Properties, Inc., to a new location with a new name, an updated look, and an established culture. In a way, Borna came full circle, as his new office is catty corner to the building where he started his real estate career nearly 10 years ago at RE/MAX Visalia with his first mentor, Ed Evans. “When this opportunity came up, it was absolutely perfect being close to downtown and just a block away from where I started my career,” said Borna. “In a sense, it’s home for me being close to where it all started.” Being in the real estate business, Borna was opposed to renting a building, so he was on the hunt for a property he could purchase in or near downtown. The challenge was that few buildings in downtown are ever for sale,

and it’s rare to see new construction, so once he saw the building on the corner of Acequia and Stevenson streets was for lease, he immediately reached out to Zeeb Commercial to inquire about its purchase. Even for an experienced broker such as Borna, it ended up being one of his most difficult transactions with months of negotiations and patience, but in the end, Borna fought for the building, won, and has no regrets. “Getting this building was around six months of waiting and patience, and it was a lot of work to get done, but I fought for it, and I’m glad I did,” said Borna. “I feel like this corner and location can’t be replaced and it can’t be found, especially to buy.” Once Borna acquired the building, he thought carefully about ways to implement his brand into every aspect of the office design. From the colors of the walls to the furniture to the music, everything complements the culture he strives to achieve. Different from most brokerages in the area, the floor plan of the office encourages a shared, collaborative workspace, meaning offices and desk spaces aren’t assigned – realtors can come in and out, using offices, desk spaces, and the conference

Everything, down to the color of the conference room chairs, was picked out to match the colors in the Bloom Group logo.


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REVIVE TOUR

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room as needed. “I truly wanted it to be something fresh and a positive work environment,” said Borna. “We wanted to break away from the traditional brokerage where people are confined to private offices. This floor plan really helps with the design since it’s all open anyways.” Though the building was dilapidated and in need of a lot of work, Borna realized its potential. From the start, he thought the open concept layout was modern, the bones were solid, and he loved the tall windows in each room, which provide ample natural light. He knew the renovations would be extensive, but he was determined to make it his own.

know what, we might as well do it now before we move in and invest in the building.” Now, when you walk into the Bloom Group office, it almost feels like you’ve entered a New York City loft, far away from Visalia. The greys, whites, and deep navy blue colors in the common area provide a clean and modern look, accented by contemporary lighting features and a sleek fireplace. The white, textured backdrop behind the front desk gives the office a subtle feminine flair, mixing contemporary and vintage patterns to create a timeless look. When it came to renovating and furnishing the office, Borna invested heavily to make sure

The sixth-month renovation involved demolition, eliminating a bathroom, opening up portions of the floor plan, moving load bearing beams, running new electrical and plumbing, moving the fireplace, and updating the aesthetics with chevron bathroom tiles, engineered hardwood floors, new paint, grey trim, exterior doors, fresh cabinets, modern fixtures, innovative technology, and chic décor. “Our idea at first was to do carpet, paint, and move in, but as we started, we realized it was going to take a lot more work,” said Borna. “So we said, you

everything was as local as possible. He worked with local contractors, Cal Turf in Tulare for plants, Bedrosians for tile, Visalia Countertop Design for the kitchen counter, Kelsey Walker for interior design and staging, Eddie Troutt Flooring for the hardwood, and Cal Bennetts for custom furniture. Borna wanted to create a boutique atmosphere for his brokerage, and that’s exactly what he did. While the business model alone appeals to a variety of realtors, the design of the office speaks for itself in attracting the next generation of leaders.

LEFT: The white, textured backdrop behind the front desk mixes contemporary and vintage patterns to create a timeless look. BOTTOM: Borna worked with Cal Bennetts to customize the desks to fit each office. RIGHT: Interior designer, Kelsey Walker, contributed to most of the office’s décor.

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“We wanted to have light colors, modern touches, so it’s kind of the boutique feel,” said Borna. “It’s a boutique brokerage in a sense, which doesn’t exist in this market place. For the new generation of realtors, it seems to be a working well. They walk in, there’s good music playing, the vibe is cool, it’s a good fit.” As a future-thinking brokerage, it was also important for Borna to cultivate an eco-friendly and virtually-run office. From LED lighting to eco-friendly thermostats to virtual transaction software, Borna considers his business a paper-less, green office, and hopes to install faux grass in the future. There’s even a wireless sound system that can be adjusted remotely in each individual office. It’s clear that Borna put an extensive amount of thought into his business, its design, and how it could benefit the future of Visalia. As a broker, Borna understands the immense investment it takes to bring a building back to life, but he hopes Visalia property owners will begin to follow suit. Gail Zurek, president and CEO of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce, is proud of Chamber members like Bloom Group, Inc., who have taken the initiative to improve the aesthetics and functionality of their businesses. 30 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6

“For businesses looking to do an update, it’s important to keep in mind that when a consumer or client comes into your office, if there is something unique or different, it becomes a conversational piece, which ties them back in,” said Gail. “It can be another way of helping your business stand out.” While there may be barriers in place for updating buildings that exist as part of a historical district, Gail is pleased that Visalia’s Historical Preservation Advisory Committee has been discerning when considering renovations, keeping in mind both historical significance and community functionality. “Sometimes that force can end up handcuffing a community’s ability to grow, but I am excited that our committee has been very thoughtful in the way they address these issues,” said Gail. Gail also recognizes the developers in downtown who have taken it upon themselves to uncover historical buildings that were concealed in the 70s and 80s. JR Shannon is one of these developers, and a most recent project was restoring the building now home to the Chad Clark Hair Salon on E. Main Street. The salon has polished concrete, exposed brick, and other features that show off the natural aesthetics of the

building. “At the Chamber, honoring our history while still allowing businesses to develop and thrive toward the future is critical, and it’s exiting to see when businesses make that happen,” said Gail. For Borna, he considers revitalizing downtown buildings as an investment; an investment in local business and in Visalia’s future. As a first generation American who comes from humble beginnings, Borna credits his parents with instilling in him the hard work ethic that drove him to start and complete this renovation and invest in the Visalia community. “I’m fortunate enough to have parents that support me and believe in me, and when I pulled the trigger on buying this building, even though it was a huge financial risk, they stood behind me and supported me.” Borna strongly believes that your office building is a reflection of your business, and that even tenants can make small changes to update their space. If you’re investing in your space and location, it becomes a positive reflection of how you run your business. “For us, we brought this building back to life,” said Borna, “and hopefully it becomes a ripple effect for other businesses in downtown to also take note and start renovating and investing in the building.”

The exterior of the Bloom Group office got a complete facelift with new paint and manicured landscaping.


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AN ODE TO

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othing says “Father’s Day” quite like steak, especially when it’s American Kobe Beef. Whether or not your dad is a “red-blooded American,” any man can appreciate the rich flavor and tenderness of a Kobe strip loin steak. This year, David Vartanian of The Vintage Press has made it easy for you to prepare an impressive Father’s Day meal the whole family will love.

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AMERICAN KOBE STRIP LOIN STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI AND GRILLED VEGETABLES Serves four INGREDIENTS 4-8 oz American Kobe steaks 1 shallot, chopped 3/4 C red wine 1 tsp garlic, minced 1 tsp fresh thyme 1/2 C olive oil Freshly ground black pepper Salt DIRECTIONS Rub the steaks with salt and pepper. Place them in a bowl and add the chopped shallot, garlic, thyme, red wine, and oil. Mix well and marinate for at least six hours. Grill the steaks over a hot fire. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the meat from the grill. Slice it diagonally against the grain. Place the steak portions on four warm plates. Spoon chimichurri over steak (about Âź cup) and top with grilled vegetables.

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CHIMICHURRI SAUCE INGREDIENTS 1 C fresh Italian parsley 1 C fresh cilantro 3 T white wine vinegar 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, dried 2 T fresh oregano, chopped 2 garlic cloves, peeled 2/3 C olive oil Fresh ground pepper Salt

DIRECTIONS Combine first six ingredients in food processor, add 2/3-cup olive oil, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

GRILLED VEGETABLES INGREDIENTS Bell peppers Eggplant Olive oil Zucchini Onion Yellow squash Olive oil Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS Cut assorted vegetables into 1/2 inch slices. Brush vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill assorted vegetables until tender, about five minutes per side.


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SPRING SALAD WITH STRAWBERRIES AND FETA CHEESE INGREDIENTS 4 C baby spinach, washed, trimmed, and dried 2 C baby arugula 6 oz feta cheese 3 C cleaned strawberries 1/4 C toasted pine nuts, (optional) Balsamic vinaigrette DIRECTIONS Toss the salad greens with the feta cheese, strawberries, and the salad dressing. Divide the greens onto six plates. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE INGREDIENTS 1 shallot, diced 1/4 C balsamic vinegar 1/2 C olive oil Salt and fresh ground pepper DIRECTIONS In a medium sized bowl, add the diced shallot and balsamic vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

ROASTED ARTICHOKE WITH BASIL AIOLI Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 4 artichokes, trimmed 3 C breadcrumbs 1/3 C parsley, chopped 1/2 C Parmesan cheese, grated 4 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 C butter, melted 3/4 tsp black pepper DIRECTIONS Boil the artichokes in salted water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool. Remove the choke. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Divide the breadcrumb mixture into fourths. Press the breadcrumb between the leaves of the artichokes with your fingers. Add the basil aioli to the center of the artichoke, or use as a dipping sauce on the side.

BASIL AIOLI INGREDIENTS 1 C mayonnaise 1 lemon, juiced 1 clove garlic, chopped 6-8 basil leaves Salt and pepper to taste DIRECTIONS Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. 36 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6


TRAVELER'S

TREK

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S E Q U O I A A N D K I N G S C A N Y O N N AT I O N A L P A R K S

A DESTINATION CLOSE TO HOME T he year 2016 marks 100 years of the National Park Service’s dedication to the preservation and protection of this country’s most scenic and historic lands. As part of the celebration, Americans are being encouraged to reconnect with our parks through their “Find Your Park” campaign. After moving to Visalia from the East Coast years ago, my husband and I tried to do just that. With both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks within easy driving distance, we made a number of day trips to see the trees, take a hike, play in the snow, and celebrate Christmas at the General Grant tree. But these two parks always felt like lesser cousins of Yosemite with its historic hotels and iconic Half Dome. Located just beyond a comfortable day’s drive and back, Yosemite also ensured an overnight stay with more ability to relax. Between the winding road past Three Rivers, difficulty justifying an overnight stay so close to home, and a “grass being greener” mentality discounting someplace in our own backyard, Sequoia and Kings Canyon sadly weren’t high on our list of places to fully discover. National Park Week seemed the perfect time to reexamine this thinking. With more than 1.5 million annual visitors, many of whom travel great distances, the chance that

PICTURED: Kings River and Canyon near Cedar Grove. RIGHT: General Sherman Tree.

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they were right and we were wrong seemed pretty likely. We planned our visit the way we would for any new area – by researching what to see and do, finding centralized lodging, and mapping a route to tie it together. Researching Sequoia National Park seemed pretty straightforward. Located closest to Visalia, it actually was given its name after a suggestion by the then editor of the Visalia Times Delta newspaper, George Stewart, the “Father of Sequoia Park.” Claiming the highest point in the contiguous U.S. (Mt. Whitney), it also contains the largest living thing in the world (the General Sherman Tree), and the greatest number of Sequoia trees overall. Kings Canyon, established in 1940, is a bit more complex. Divided into two distinct sections, the smaller western portion is closest to Fresno and consists of the original Grant Grove National Park along with the largest remaining single grove of Sequoia trees. The large eastern portion contains the canyon from which this park derives its name. There are many lodging choices in the parks, and because my ideal “campground” includes a private bathtub, fluffy mattress, and a really good restaurant, we stayed at the newest and most modern lodge in the area, Wuksachi. With breathtaking

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National Park Week seemed the perfect time to reexamine this thinking. With more than 1.5 million annual visitors, many of whom travel great distances, the chance that they were right C H E R Y L L E V I T A and we were wrong seemed pretty likely. snow capped Mount Silliman as a backdrop, its central location in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park was ideal. We devised a two-night stay with one day devoted to each park. Bypassing Three Rivers, we took 63 north to 180 east. Just a few miles longer, the road is infinitely better. It also allows for a visit to Cat Haven in Dunlap. As home to about 35 large and small wild cats, this nonprofit park is dedicated to the global preservation of endangered wild cats. Our guided tour was nothing short of spectacular. Who knew that whisker arrangement and spot patterns were unique to each cat just as fingerprints are to humans, or that cats either purr or roar, but not both? DAY 1: SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK As the earth’s largest living things, giant Sequoias’ spongy and almost luminescent, thick golden-brown bark makes them stand out in a crowd of pines. Growing only on the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas, you’ll spot 40 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6

them along the road, but spend the day here to learn their story. Giant Forest Museum. Once a market and parking lot, this is now a tranquil learning environment. After touring the museum, walk outside to the Big Tree Trail. Flat and paved, this short trail is probably the best spot to fully appreciate these breathtaking giants. Trail signs illustrate the struggle of seedlings to become adolescents and the resilience and fast growth of adults into monarchs. With bark and tannin that resist rot, disease, pests, and endure fire, Sequoia trees can live up to 3,000 years. Its weakness is a shallow root system and lack of a taproot. Although high winds and unstable ground can cause it to topple, this process (along with fire) is necessary to allow new seeds to germinate and grow. Moro Rock. This rock’s 400 steep and narrow granite-carved steps lead to panoramic views well worth the climb. Looking west, the canyon view highlights the tight switchbacks of the

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Highway 198 park entrance with Three Rivers and Lake Kaweah visible beyond. The view east shows the expanse of the Giant Forest below and jagged snowcapped peaks of the Great Western Divide of the High Sierra above. Lunch and the Journey. Stop for a quick box/picnic lunch, then drive past Auto Log and Buttress Tree (both toppled Sequoias with tremendous tangled and gnarly roots), Parker Group (considered among the finest clusters of Sequoia trees), and drive through Tunnel Log (toppled onto the road in 1937, requiring an opening cut for vehicles to drive through). General Sherman Tree. As the world’s largest living thing by volume and estimated to be 2,500 years old, General Sherman has a 103 ft. circumference and 275 ft. height. Relocation of the parking lot to create a more natural and healthful setting requires visitors to now hike a strenuous .8 mile round-trip. Its crown is dead wood, but it continues to grow in width. Moro Rock.


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Lodgepole Campground Market. Make a stop here for souvenirs and supplies. Wuksachi Lodge. At the end of your day, head to Wuksachi lodge for welldeserved wine, dinner, and rest. Stargazing. After dinner, head out for one last trek to stargaze and watch the moonrise over Mount Silliman with a naturalist from the Sequoia Field Institute. DAY 2: KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK Grant Grove. It has cabin and hotel accommodations in the recently refurbished John Muir Lodge, a convenience store and restaurant (the latter under reconstruction until April 2017). The Visitor Center with a small museum explains the evolution of this glacier formed canyon. Grant Grove Trail. Possessing only a small number of the park’s Sequoias, the trail includes the Fallen Monarch (a toppled Sequoia once used as shelter

for early visitors), an early rough-hewn cabin, a number of large Sequoias, and the General Grant Tree. Lunch at Boyden Cave. Continue traveling the 180 into Kings Canyon for a box lunch at Boyden Cave (staircase and souvenir shop currently closed due to Rough Fire damage), views of the roaring Kings River, narrow canyon walls, Grizzly Falls, Cedar Grove Village, picturesque Zumwalt Meadow, and finally Road’s End, where the road actually does end and wilderness begins. With this section of road closed in winter due to snow and rockslides, it happened to reopen the day we arrived. The Rough Fire that burned more than 150,000 acres last summer and fall has left miles of blackened devastation, yet spring has miraculously brought blooming wildflowers as signs of renewal. Wilsonia Village. If you want to stay inside Kings Canyon National park, these are the only privately owned cabins in the park. Most are rustic and

modest originals from the early to mid20th century. Quick day trips do not do visitors or these parks justice. Without time to truly be present, you miss so much. Our stay at Wuksachi Lodge only added to the experience. Having stayed a number of times at a variety of lodges in Yosemite, we were very impressed with the food, staff, rooms, and intimate, friendly atmosphere at Wuksachi. Repeated chance meetings at the lodge and trails led to conversations with tourists from all over the world, enhancing our immersion. After standing dwarfed next to those magnificent and ancient trees, we began to realize the insignificance of concerns at home that had seemed so important. As mere blips in the lifespan of the Sequoias and Kings Canyon, understanding the cycle of change, renewal, and rebirth through something as disastrous as fire, forceful as water, or as final as the death of an ancient monarch, these parks taught us much more than we ever thought possible.

As mere blips in the lifespan of the Sequoias and Kings Canyon, understanding the cycle of change, renewal, and rebirth through something as disastrous as fire, forceful as water, or as final as the death of an ancient monarch, these parks taught us much more than C H E R Y L L E V I T A N we ever thought possible.

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Wuksachi Lodge. Photo by Cheryl Levitan.

General Grant.


SOCIAL

TOP: The fancy hat contest is always a highlight of the event. BOTTOM: Betty Mozdir (center) won the fancy hat contest for the blue hat she purchased at Churchill Downs.

K E N T U C K Y

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TIPPING HATS TO FOODLINK

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here was a lot of generosity beneath each impressive hat, chic fascinator, and fancy bow tie at the Monarch Ford’s Kentucky Derby Party benefiting FoodLink of Tulare County. Stepping inside the Visalia Country Club lobby, guests were instantly immersed in southern hospitality after being greeted with complimentary champagne and bidding cards. Smiles glowed below hat brims, generating an instant atmosphere of community commitment. Outdoors, the air was filled with excitement, laughter, ample appetizers, and a cigar bar as

Erin Olm-Shipman and McKenna Friend-Hoffman show off their vibrant hats.

ladies and gentlemen placed bets on their favorite horses in anticipation of “the most exciting two minutes in sports.” This year, the Kentucky Derby Party happened to fall on Mother’s Day weekend, making it a perfect opportunity to get dolled up to support a great cause. Hayley Entabi and her mother Jennifer Look of Visalia were one of these motherdaughter pairs who came out to support FoodLink. With a little inspiration from traditional 100-year-old Kentucky Derby hats, they crafted their own hats and were both in the running for the fancy hat contest. Jennifer wore a light-colored sun hat and dressed it up with a large bow and peacock feathers, while her mother sported a black wool hat topped with decorative pheasant feathers. P H O T O S

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“We wanted to make our hats fun and unique, and since we have always made our own costumes and outfits for other occasions, it really would be cheating otherwise,” said Jennifer. When it comes to the fancy hat contest, the bigger the better. Some were well traveled with a unique story to tell, while others were decorated with personal touches to add extra oomph for the occasion. The winner of the fancy hat contest, Betty Mozdir, was quite surprised by her victory. Between her and her husband’s

The wine ring toss added another level of excitement this year.

love for the Kentucky Derby and the event being for a great cause, she considered it the best of both worlds. The highly anticipated annual FoodLink event is just that, the best of both worlds. It combines an opportunity to get dressed up and indulge in the finer things in life, all while providing FoodLink the resources to expand their vital services to improve the quality if life in Tulare County. Some of these include nutrition education, hunger advocacy, and hunger relief. “It was an amazing year of transition in 2015 for FoodLink as the first full year with Executive Director Sarah Ramirez, PHD,” said Hollis Fernandez, FoodLink’s board president and event chair. “Sarah brings incredible energy to FoodLink and unparalleled insight to the broad spectrum

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of food insecurity and what that means for the residents of Tulare County.” FoodLink has begun renovating a warehouse in Exeter and will soon gain the ability to expand the services they provide to Tulare County. “This year is shaping up to be a year of opportunity and growth as we foster partnerships with local agencies to ensure we are providing the best hunger relief and nutrition education to residents across the country,” said Hollis. Partnering with organizations such as the Cliff Bar Foundation and working with Lowe’s, FoodLink is excited to expand

Showing off the prize for contest winners.

upon food literacy and provide healthy options to Tulare County residents. Developing their services includes community gardens, cooking classes, and overall nutrition education. With diverse funding sources, working closely with farmers, food processors, and government agencies, FoodLink can continue to improve programs like SmartPack, which provides children with chronic hunger a weekend supply of kidfriendly, nutritious food. The Kentucky Derby Party is a unique event in the Central Valley, but it is also a reminder of the generosity and overwhelming support from those who strengthen our local nonprofits’ vital resources. That is the real feather in any hat. L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6

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Five zesty summer cocktails get a refresh with locallygrown ingredients from the Visalia Farmer's Market.

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o you remember the first time you had a tomato from the garden? It was a fruit so unfamiliar and delightful, you vowed to never again succumb to a grocery store tomato. Many of us enjoy farm-fresh additions to our meals, but now it’s time to give our drinks the same kind of love. In this feature, classic favorites like sangria, bloody mary, mimosa, whiskey ginger, and the mojito are given new personalities with just-picked ingredients that are in season where you live.

DIY Champion SANGRIA For those who enjoy a sweet and melodic drink, craft flavorful sangria, rich with fruit from the market. If you are up for a short field trip, visit Cacciatore Winery in Pixley to pick up a bottle or two of Terra Bella White Zinfandel. Then head to the farmer's market to gather your citrus. Vendors currently have kumquats, blood oranges, tangelos, and lemons, so decide if you want to serve a tangy or softer libation. Strawberries add a beautiful red and a new texture. Cut berries in half and citrus into slices. In a pitcher or punch bowl, pour wine and add fruit. Prepare ahead of time and set in refrigerator to chill. When ready to serve, dramatically drizzle honey from Wells Apiary into glasses, pour sangria, top with soda water (if bubbles are desired), smile, and share. For a non-alcoholic variation try substituting chilled Kombucha (fizzy, probiotic beverage available at many grocery/health food stores in a variety of flavors) in place of wine, but do not

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prepare ahead of time. You can also try using Ferry Farms Blood Orange juice instead of wine and then top off the sangria with a natural soda. BLOODY MARY If sweet isn’t your thing, make a savory – even spicy – bloody mary like you’ve never had before. Are you ready for a challenge? You promised you wouldn’t eat grocery store tomatoes, so there is no sense in buying pre-made bloody mary mix. With our help, you are going to make your own tomato juice. If you have a juicer, you can simply juice the tomatoes (and add carrots, cucumbers, kale, peppers – whatever your heart desires). If you do not have a juicer, no need to fear. First, sauté chopped onions and garlic in a saucepot before adding in three or four chopped tomatoes (beefsteak tomatoes are often available at the farmers market). Simmer on low for about a half an hour, let cool, and blend in a blender. If guests are going to be picky about consistency, it might serve you well to put the blended juice through a sieve before chilling overnight. When ready to indulge, mix the juice

SIP

with your choice of vodka. Garnish with habanero, lemon peel, garlic-stuffed olives from Haas Olives, a cube of pepperjack from Dairy Goddess, or some smoked cheese from Fagundes Farmstead. Do not forget to add a pickle (cut in quarters, length-wise) from Pollen Ranch and an enthusiastic sprig or two of parsley from one of several vendors. Provide a selection of hot sauces for your guests to peruse and add to their drinks, if they dare. Call it a chaser, call it a beer-back or a “snit.” Whatever you call it, from now on, serve your bloody mary with an 8-ounce glass of beer on the side. Rumor has it this is only tradition in the Midwest, but you deserve a little something extra for making your bloody mary from scratch, don’t you think? Check out the selection of smallbatch beers from the Kaweah Brewing Co. at the farmers market. For a non-alcoholic option, omit the vodka and you have yourself the most intense and wondrous smoothie ever served. Perhaps a wheatgrass shot could substitute the snit as well, just so no one feels left out.


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Last-Minute Hosts MINUTE MIMOSA For less-involved or last-minute ideas for which you can still use farmer's market ingredients, try making a mimosa with mandarin juice from Ferry Farms, and top it with a cheerful cherry from Hamada Farms. For a non-alcoholic option, make a half-andhalf concoction of sparkling juice and soda water, and top with mandarin juice and a cherry.

SIP

MOJITO ME CRAZY For a confetti-inspired mojito, simply treat yourself to your favorite rum and a beautiful bouquet from Whole Systems Agriculture. Choose a bouquet with calendula and lots of mint. Use the orange or yellow ower petals to brighten up a tray of ice cubes, and top with a cherry from Hamada Farms. Now your mojito will be ready to party. For a non-alcoholic option, add confetticubes, cherry, and mint to lemonade.

WHISKEY GIN-GIN Do you enjoy whiskey gingers? Several vendors have fresh herbs and spices available all throughout the season. If you happen to have extra time on your hands, you could experiment making your own ginger ale for this, but for now, just squeeze fresh lemons and grate ginger root into soda water and your whiskey of choice. Garnish with twisted lemon peel. For a nonalcoholic option, simply omit whiskey; or have Joia all-natural soda on hand for a sweeter drink to which you can add grated ginger. Fitting avors include Ginger, Apricot, and Allspice, or Blackberry, Pomegranate, and Ginger. 48 L I F E S T Y L E | M AY 2 0 1 6


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(L to R) Joe and Betty Rocha, Ida and Ed Dena, Candie Barrios and Aaron Moore, Laurie and Shane Benway. Rear: Brian and Jennifer Richeilu.

AND

COMMUNITY

Amari Cooper greets guests as they arrive.

Khalil Mack enjoys a relaxed evening at the Silver and Black Affair.

ED DENA HOSTS A SILVER AND BLACK AFFAIR FOR LOYAL CUSTOMERS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY

I

f you know anything about Ed Dena, owner of Ed Dena’s Auto Center in Dinuba and Visalia, it’s likely you know he is a die-hard Oakland Raiders fan, as are many of his customers, employees, and friends. On the night of April 23, Ed transformed his backyard into a tailgate party and played host to Raiders players Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, as well as

around 60 Raiders fans. Since the early 2000s, Ed Dena’s Auto Center has served as a car sponsor for the Raiders team and as a result, has developed relationships with some of the players. As part of the car sponsorship agreement, his dealership gets appearances from some of the players several times a year. You may

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P H O T O S

B Y

D A N N Y

remember last summer during Ed Dena’s Visalia grand opening, when the corners of Ben Maddox and Main streets turned into a sea of silver and black as Khalil Mack signed autographs for hundreds of fans. This year, Ed wanted to do something more intimate, so he invited some of his loyal customers, friends, and family to his “Silver and Black Affair.”

K L O R M A N

P H O T O G R A P H Y


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COMMUNITY

(L to R) Brian Richelieu, Amari Cooper, and Joe Rocha.

“The goal of the night was to make it feel like the players didn’t have to work,” said Ed. “They signed a few autographs and took some photos, but the goal was for them to have fun as well, which they did. They were having a great time.” Ed worked with Chris Lum at the Double-LL Steakhouse in Visalia to create a backyard tailgate theme. They even backed up Ed’s truck into his yard and filled the truck bed with ice, shrimp cocktails, and Coronas. The laid back environment allowed the players to have

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fun, relax, and get to know some of their fans on a personal level. Mack and Cooper, who were both first round draft picks and selected to play in the 2016 Pro-Bowl, may be young, but they are definitely players to watch in the next few years. Ed is grateful to sponsor such bright and promising players, and was thrilled to host them in his home. “The players actually drove three hours from the Bay area to come to the event, stayed from the beginning to the

To give the party a tailgate feel, Ed backed his pickup into the yard and filled it with ice, beer, and shrimp cocktails.

end, and then they drove all the way back that night,” said Ed. “They said it was one of the best events they’ve ever done, so that was really cool.” Ed even got a call from one of their agents the following week, who said the two players were raving about the event and what a good time they had. “I think the players and the guests interacted well and had a great time together. It was a really fun event for everyone.”

Khalil Mack and Jennifer Richelieu.


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I Mark and Nickie Krebsbach. Each table was decorated with a vibrant, masquerade themed cake.

Darlene Mata with Mark Silvas.

SOIRÉE

magineU Children’s Museum has done it again. The 2016 Dreambuilder’s Bash was an overwhelming success, and the perfect way to celebrate the new museum’s launch while also looking ahead to the future. Guests arrived to the Visalia Country Club adorned in elaborate masks, bright colors, and glitz galore to support the second phase of the museum’s plan to expand. From the extravagant Mardi Gras décor to the signature cotton candy cocktail to the beautiful cake centerpieces at each table, guests were guaranteed a night to remember. Along with continual plans to add new features, increase offerings, and provide new opportunities for fun and learning, Phase II of the museum’s development includes a multi-purpose room

and catering kitchen, which will allow them to develop new programs and establish themselves as a community hub. To help raise these funds, guests at the Dreambuilder’s Bash bid on amazing auction items, including a Cayucos vacation home getaway, a fighter pilot experience, a multi-course dinner for six at The Vintage Press, 14-karat gold Amethyst diamond earrings donated by Browns Custom Jewelry, and other amazing packages. Auctioneer, Eric Phillips, made it a lively auction, and approximately $85,000 was raised throughout the evening. Overall, it was a fun night, and another step toward ImagineU reaching its goals to expand and develop as a significant community organization.

Several guests show off their colorful masks. The museum’s new President of the Board Kathleen Kelly (right) with Julienne Jones.

ImagineU Executive Director Cheryl Christman with husband Art and family.

Auctioneer Eric Phillips leads the room in a lively auction.

Dru and Gene Quesnoy. 54

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HAPPENINGS

T H E AT R E & M U S I C

ART EXHIBITS

BLUES, BREWS, & BBQ

FIRST FRIDAYS IN DOWNTOWN VISALIA

Visalia resident and award-winning recording artist, Brad Wilson, will be performing with his band, The Rolling Blues Thunder Band, at Blues, Brews, & BBQ. Come out to hear Brad Wilson play great music while you enjoy beer, food, and a fun atmosphere. All proceeds go to the Visalia Emergency Aid Council. When: June 3, 6 p.m. Where: Garden Street Plaza Contact: 741-0245

THE OAK RIDGE BOYS With scores of number one hits, millions of albums sold, and sold out tours across the nation, country music superstars The Oak Ridge Boys are bringing their world famous sound to the Visalia Convention Center. Tickets go on sale on May 6 and can be purchased at the Visalia Convention Center Box Office. When: June 27, 7 p.m. Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 713-4040

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The Arts Consortium is pleased to present Downtown Visalia’s monthly art hop. Each first Friday of the month, explore the Visalia Art District to experience exhibitions, performances, activities, and more. Catch a guided tour on the Visalia Towne Trolley. When: Every first Friday, 5-8 p.m. Where: Downtown Visalia (check each month for details) Contact: artsconsortium.org


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ART FAIR AT THE LOOKING GLASS Come out to The Looking Glass in Visalia for a unique art fair experience. Local Artists will create art on the spot and have finished pieces available for purchase. There will also be booths where visitors can make their own art. When: May 21, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Where: The Looking Glass, 242 Caldwell Ave., Visalia Contact: 732.2787

“DOWN BY THE SEA” AT THE JON GINSBURG ART GALLERY Feel the ocean breeze and sand beneath your feet through art at The Creative Center. There will be an artist reception with Clam Chowder provided by The Whistle Stop in Exeter and wine donated from Penman Springs in Paso Robles. The exhibit will be up through July 29. When: June 3, 5 p.m. Where: The Jon Ginsburg Gallery, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia Contact: 733-9329

DOUG HANSEN AT ARTS VISALIA Arts Visalia is proud to highlight the work of Doug Hansen, an artist who is widely held among the most talented and prolific illustrators working in the Central Valley. Doug Hansen's "Magical California" features a selection of original illustrations from three of Hansen’s children’s books and coincides with the release of Hansen's latest book, California the Magic Island. When: Now – May 27 Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave. Contact: 739-0905

DIVERSIONS & EXCU R S I O N S DOWNTOWN VISALIA FARMER'S MARKET Thursday nights in Downtown Visalia are a lot more colorful! The Visalia Farmer's Market is back with all the fresh produce, delicious food, and handmade items you love. This year, there will be cooking demos, workshops, art exhibits, and more. When: Thursdays, 5 p.m.–8 p.m. Where: Downtown Visalia Contact: VisaliaFarmersMarket.com

HAPPENINGS

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EXETER UNION HIGH SCHOOL MUSIC OUTDOOR FESTIVAL, SPRING CONCERT & SILENT AUCTION Come listen to the EUHS jazz band while you bid on the silent auction at the festival outside of the EUHS auditorium (food and drinks will also be available) and enter a drawing to win a hover board or drone. Then move inside for the choir and symphonic band concert. Silent auction items include tickets to a variety of venues, collectables, lessons, golf packages, gift baskets, a quad copter drone, and lots of gift cards. Admission is free and all proceeds benefit the EUHS music program. When: May 23, 5:30 p.m. Where: Exeter Union High School Auditorium, 505 Rocky Hill Dr., Exeter Contact: 429-5142 or euhsmusicboosters.webs.com


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DOWNTOWN SUMMER JAM

JUGFEST AT INTERNATIONAL AGRI-CENTER JugFest is the Central Valley’s premier country festival hosted by KJUG, with headliners like Lee Brice and Bill Currington. This year’s festival is the 10th anniversary event, so you don’t want to miss it. The event is free admission, though reserved seating can be purchased for those who would like to get up close and personal. When: June 4, 12 p.m. Where: International Agri-Center, 4500 Laspina St., Tulare Contact: Jugfest.com

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Come on down to the Garden Street Plaza for Downtown Visalian’s 4th Annual Summer Jam, sponsored by Avedian Properties. Come out and dance all evening long to some great live music, and enjoy a cold adult beverage provided by Sequoia Beverage Company, tasty tri-tip sandwiches from Visalia Brewing Company, and some mouth-watering kettle corn from the Kettle Stop. This is a free concert featuring four bands. When: June 11, 4:30 p.m. Where: Garden Street Plaza, Main St., Visalia Contact: downtownvisalia.com

HAPPENINGS

C H A R I TA B L E EVENTS DOWNTOWN VISALIA CAR SHOW Come down to Main Street for the 28th annual Breakfast Lions Car Show. The event kicks off with a pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and ends with a cruise night at 5 p.m. at the Downtown A&W. The cars will be parked in downtown all day for your viewing. When: May 21, all day Where: Downtown Visalia Contact: visaliabreakfastlions.org


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HAPPENINGS

PARTRIARTIC AWARDS DINNER Every other year, Arts Visalia recognizes individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the arts in our community. Honorees will be John Friedrich, Paulina Leedom and John Vartanian, each having made many behind-the-scenes contributions to organizations such as Arts Visalia over the years. Tickets for the events are $35 per person and may be purchased through Arts Visalia by stopping by the gallery or by calling the number below. When: June 13, 6 p.m. Where: The home of Carol & Stan Trapp Contact: 739-0905

63RD ANNUAL AWARDS CELEBRATION

GUEST CHEF SERIES FOR FAMILY SERVICES OF TULARE COUNTY

Each year the Visalia Chamber of Commerce honors those businesses and individuals who consistently go above and beyond to support our community. This year dozens of businesses and individuals have been nominated for these prestigious awards. The categories include: small, medium, and large business of the year, non-profit of the year, as well as man, woman, and emerging Leader. Tickets are $75 each, or tables of eight for $600.

Join Family Services for the Annual Guest Chef Series, Tulare County’s premier food and wine event. Each year, we invite a different chef to prepare a unique, three-course tasting menu, featuring dishes that capture the event’s culinary theme. Each tasting course is paired with a fine wine, and the tastings are followed by dinner, catered by David Vartanian of the Vintage Press. This year’s theme is Italian! $150 tickets are all-inclusive.

When: June 16, 6 p.m. Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: VisaliaChamber.org, 734-5876

When: June 18, 5:30 p.m. Where: International Agri-Center, 4500 Laspina St., Tulare Contact: 732-1970

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Lifestyle Magazine - May 2016  

Style, art, culture, and events of the South Valley.

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