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Crafted to Perfection, A Seaside Christmas


SAN FRANCISCO Big City Christmas Close to Home



December 2013


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26 HOME TOUR The Safina Home


The Veyette Brothers Principal Ballet Dancers with Visalia Roots


Letter from the Executive Editor

10 Business Cents: California Housing Market is Expected to Be Up in 2014 12 Word Play 18 History: Visalia High – A School With A Fiery Start


22 Charity: Taste of Triumph


25 Professional Profile: Dr. Michael Wayne Regier


50 Wine: You Say Cabernet, I Say Pinot

Home Grown for the Holidays

52 Humanitarian: Kenya Dirt Road Ministry Winds Its Way to Visalia

Chateaubriand of Beef

56 Community: Better than Santa Claus 60 Happenings


38 T R AV E L

Big City Christmas Close to Home San Francisco PAGE

44 4

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PICTURED: Even though the Safinas completely reworked the exterior of the home and added two additional stories, they made sure to keep the Victorian style intact.


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DMI Agency Evolutions Fitness Center, Tulare Tazzaria Coffee & Tea Tulare County Library The Lifestyle Center Visalia Chamber of Commerce Visalia Convention Center COUNTERTOP LOCATIONS

210 Cafe Cafe 225 California Fitness Academy Creekside Day Spa & Wellness Center Courtyard Aesthetics Details Party Rentals Exeter Chamber of Commerce Exeter Golf Course Fast Frame Franey’s Design Center Frank’s Appliance Hobbs-Potts Associates Holiday Inn Pita Kabob Kaweah Delta Hospital Red Carpet Car Wash Smiles by Sullivan Tulare Chamber of Commerce V Medical Spa Valley Financial Group Velvet Sky Visalia Community Bank (Downtown) Visalia Eye Center Visalia Imaging & Open MRI Visalia Marriott Visalia Medical Clinic Wildflower Cafe-Exeter Dr. Keith Williams Williams, Jordan, Brodersen & Pritchett, Attorneys at Law Windows Plus, Inc.


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 2,000 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: 15,000 © 2013 DMI Agency


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LEFT: Warm Christmas decorations adorns the Safinas mantel. COVER: The staircase railing was handcrafted by homeowner Dave Safina and is the perfect setting for Kim’s christmas décor.

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Merry Christmas from New York. Randy and I are away enjoying a muchanticipated visit with our son and daughter-in-law, enjoying the sights and sounds of the big city. Although we are thousands of miles away, we wish each of you a blessed holiday season, filled with the joy that comes from giving, and look forward to seeing everyone when we return.

KAREN TELLALIAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR For more information or to submit a story idea email or call (559) 739-1747 or fax (559) 738-0909.

If you like to cook, or just love to eat, this is the recipe collection you’ve been waiting for. Since 2003 Lifestyle Magazine has collected and published culinary creations from our area’s best chefs. Now, you can have some of the most favored recipes while supporting the Visalia Rescue Mission. By purchasing this book, you can help serve thousands of meals in our community. For every book sold, Lifestyle Magazine will donate 50% of the net proceeds to the Visalia Rescue Mission. To purchase, go online to


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California Housing Market Is Expected to Be Up in 2014 Text by Erik Anderson, Keller Williams Realty Tulare County


t’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the end of another year. As each year comes to a close, I regularly take the opportunity to meet with clients to review the year and discuss potential real estate opportunities for the coming year. Here’s a look at how the real estate market played out this year and what’s in store for 2014. The California housing market had a decent performance in 2013. For the first nine months of 2013, sales of existing single-family detached homes were down 3.2 percent when compared to the same period of last year. This decline in sales was attributed partially to the hike in interest rates in recent months, as the average 30-year fixed rate increased more than 100 basis points since April 2013 and was the highest since the mid of 2011. Looking forward, annual sales of detached homes are expected to decline slightly from 439,420 units in 2012 to 430,270 units in 2013, with 2014 improving to 444,040 units. The year 2013 was a year when the housing market transition was from “investor sales” to “primary home sales.” The share of investor sales is expected to decline as the number of bargain properties continues to decrease, while the share of primary home sales is expected to improve as the economy continues to grow. As such, the increase in sales bought as primary homes will be undercut by the reduction in investor sales, and hence the slight decrease in overall sales in 2013.

Next year will be a more “normal” year and the economy will presumably grow at a faster pace, which will provide support to the housing market. With inventory levels remaining lean through the rest of 2013, the California median price is projected to increase 28 percent from $319,310 in 2012 to $408,600 in 2013. Here in Tulare County, the median price increased 10.6 percent in the past 12 months from $142,000 to $157,000. The significant increase in price in 2013 was due in part to the mix of sales. The sales share for higher end homes will continue to inch up or remain near the current level for the rest of the year. Thus, more homes in the upper price segments will be sold in 2013 when compared to 2012. The increase in the median price at the state level, however, appears to be slowing down in recent months. Since the sales share of distressed sales is already at a low level and is expected to remain at or near that level for the rest of the year, it is unlikely to see the sales share of distressed properties declining much lower next year. The price appreciation due to a shift in the mix of sales should thus be much smaller than what we observed in 2013. With the value of discounted properties continuing to appreciate, investors are paring their purchases of distressed homes as their profit margin narrows. As investors take a step back, inventory will likely improve slightly in the upcoming year. Meanwhile, the increase in home prices will also encourage more homeowners to put their houses up for sale. The housing supply will grow and should gradually climb back from under three months of inventory in 2013 to about four months of inventory in 2014. In looking at Tulare County, the housing supply has grown steadily each month since it reached its 12-month low in May at 1.8 months of inventory. As of the end of October, the housing supply has grown to 3.2 months of inventory. Erik Anderson graduated from the University of Utah with majors in Mass Communication and Film/ Media Studies. He began his career in Real Estate in 2008 in his hometown, Visalia. Anderson is a REALTOR and the Technology Committee Chairperson at Keller Williams Tulare County. He also serves on the Agent Leadership Council.



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ecember is a time to celebrate – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza – so what are Junkanoo, Montol and L’escalade? Junkanoo: Festival of the Bahamas (Macmillan Caribbean, 1992) by Clement E. Bethel describes the history and traditions of this festival which may have begun in the 16th or 17th centuries when slaves were allowed to visit their families around Christmas time. Now, it generally consists of parades with costumes and music. “Montol” comes from an old Cornish word for the winter solstice and the festival includes masked revelers carrying lanterns. For more about Cornwall, there is A.K. Hamilton’s Cornwall and Its People: Cornish Seafarers, Cornwall and the Cornish Homes and Customs (David & Charles, 1988). Another book on traveling in Cornwall is Devon, Cornwall & Southwest England by Oliver Berry and Belinda Dixon (Lonely Planet, 2011). “L’Escalade” is a Swiss celebration commemorating the December defeat of an invasion by the Duke of Savoy. For a different look at Switzerland, try Swiss Watching: Inside the Land of Milk and Money by Dicon Bewes (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2012). There’s more to the mountain nation than chocolate and watches. Valley Writers Delano-born playwright Luis Valdez is mentioned in Encyclopedia of Cesar Chavez (Movements of the American Mosaic) by Roger Bruns (Greenwood, 2013). Valdez put on plays by and for the farm workers who were involved in the farm labor movement. Porterville’s Shirley Skufca Hickman’s Sara Darlin’ was published by Oak Tree Press earlier this year. It takes place during the Gold Rush era in San Francisco and concerns a young woman raised by an Irish couple who falls in love with an English aristocrat. The Kindle edition of five of Marilyn Meredith’s mysteries came out this year. Spirit Shapes, Cup of Demons, Deeds of Darkness, Deadly Feast and Indian Paintbrush are all available electronically. The paperback version of Sprit Shapes came out in September. Deputy Tempe Crabtree gets pulled into a war between demons and angels. Passing On It’s been just over a year since children’s inspirational writer Sandra MacLeod Humphrey and her husband, Brian, were killed in a house fire, but her blog at is still up and worth reading. Even though she has passed on, through her blog and books, MacLeod is able to continue passing on her inspiring thoughts about children who dare to make a difference. Christmas Stories Santa Claus by Pat Koch and Emily Weisner Thompson in the Images of America series (November 2013) tells the story of Santa Claus, Indiana, and its post office, which obviously gets a lot of letters. Helen Keating’s Our Wagon Train’s One Special Christmas


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Eve Along the Oregon Trail (Western Christian Historical Romance Series), is available on Kindle (October 2013). Read the Book 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup is available in multiple editions. Northrup was kidnapped from Washington DC and held as a slave for 12 years. He was rescued from a cotton plantation in Louisiana in 1853. The original manuscript was published in 1855, after Northrup was rescued. The current movie by the same name stars Chiwetel Ejiofor. First Line From …? What novel opens with this line: “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.” (See below)** Writing Contests The deadline for the Carpe Articulum Novella Contest and the Essay/Nonfiction contest is January 7. Work previously published is accepted as long as it did not exceed 2,000 copies. Electronic entries are encouraged. Novellas may be up to 150 pages. Fee $25. First prize $1,000. Essay/Nonfiction fee is $20. First prize $300. Details at: The Austin Community College Balcones Prizes in Fiction and Poetry will accept books published any time in 2013. Submissions may be made by the author or publisher. The prize for each contest is $1,500. Deadline January 31. Fiction fee $30 and poetry $25. Details at: balconescenter.html. Writers Conferences San Francisco Writers Conference will be held over President’s Day weekend, Feb. 13-16, at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Some of the speakers are Chitra Divakaruni, Julie Kagawa and Noviolet Bulawayo. More than 60 sessions and over 100 authors, agents, editors and publishers will be available. Registration through Dec. 31 is $650. (Register ASAP – it does sell out.) Includes two luncheons, two breakfasts. Details at: Or go south on the same weekend to the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego, Feb. 14-17. Speakers include Laurence O’Bryan, Bhava Ram and Suzanne Redfearn. Agents include Terry Baranowski, Linda Langton and Sally van Haitsma. Registration is $425. All advance submissions for critiques must be received by Jan. 12. Critiquing fee is $50. Details at: www. The Last Word “Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – (1 Corinthians 5:8) **First line from William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984) 



Telling Stories Through Whatever Means He Can Text by Diane Slocum


efferson Beavers started on a fairly traditional path in journalism, but that’s not where he is today. Radio, film, magazines, blogs, teaching – all are a part of the mix he has engaged in over the years. He’ll use whatever it takes to tell a story. His latest venture is a photography project which, to his surprise, became part of an art show in San Francisco. Beavers had experience in photo journalism during his earliest days at the Dinuba Sentinel and the California State University, Fresno student papers, but he left that behind. Two years ago, as a Fresno City instructor, he decided to take photography classes at the school. He also focused on a technique used by a friend teaching at Fresno State. “Jes Therkelsen is a terrific documentary filmmaker and photo journalist,” Beavers said. “He challenged his photo journalism class to make portraits of 100 strangers during the course. It was a really challenging assignment. I took some inspiration from that.” His own project became 100 portraits in 100 days. His goal was to take one good portrait each day of whomever he was with from late February to early June. He posted his pictures online and received good feedback, but still didn’t know where to go from there until he heard from performance artist/Del Rey farmer Nikiko Masumoto about three months ago. She invited him to present his photos and stories in “Passages/ Home: A Central Valley Creative Encounter.” This guided bus tour was a part of the San Francisco Califas Festival. Beavers was one of six mixed media artists who started at the Fowler library and progressed through the Pixley community garden, the Tipton rest


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area, and back to Fowler doing performances at each stop. “I was really lucky to be in that project,” he said. “One week later, the people in San Francisco called and they wanted to put my show in their show.” The Califas Festival is an October-November celebration of media art from all over the state. “A completely random project, kind of a self-challenge,” he said. “And now it’s being presented in the big city.” Beavers was born in Visalia and grew up in Dinuba. Even in his early years at Monson-Sultana Elementary School his teachers encouraged his precocious interest in writing. “They allowed me to write a newsletter,” he said. “Eventually, it was kind of like a school newspaper.” During his last two years at Dinuba High School, he wrote a column about school activities for the Dinuba Sentinel. After graduation in 1991, he was the Sentinel’s sports editor while attending Fresno State. “I came into my journalism program having practical experience from my hometown paper,” he said. This gave him an advantage as he moved from reporter to managing editor to editor-in-chief at the campus weekly paper, Insight. Through that work, he received the Outstanding Student Award and the service award in 1996 when he graduated. “Cutting my teeth on working at my hometown paper and my college paper kind of formed my world view and what I think storytelling should be – not just in journalism but any kind of storytelling,” he said.

L LITERARY ARTS His newspaper career following graduation took him up the ladder of Valley papers. From the weekly at Gustine, he went on to the small daily at Fairfield, then the mid-size Modesto Bee and finally to the Fresno Bee. He liked the variety of experiences at all his papers, but one part he wasn’t too fond of was gathering the news. The writing aspect appealed to him more. “Going out and sticking my notebook in people’s faces at car crashes and working events ... that wasn’t really my forte,” he said. “When I became a copy editor and designer at Fairfield, it felt like I was still able to be a journalist and participate in the daily production of our news product, but I didn’t have to go out and pound the pavement.” He enjoyed working in Modesto. The paper was big enough to feel like a real, fast-moving daily, yet small enough to feel like family. “I really loved Modesto,” he said. “It was a great town, a great crew to work with. That was probably when I had the most fun. The Fresno Bee was pretty intense.” His time at The Fresno Bee when he worked as the front page copy editor and designer was also when he reached the highest level of professionalism. He called his co-workers there the most talented journalists he ever worked with. “It was also the place where I was in the middle of some of the biggest news stories of my generation,” he said, “being the front page designer for 9-11 and the Iraq invasion.” When he left the Bee in 2003, he returned to Fresno State for his Master of Fine Arts and launched his multi-faceted career. After graduation in 2007, he worked fulltime at Fresno State as the student media advisor for the campus paper, The Collegian. He loved the job and didn’t mind that he wasn’t writing because his students were and he felt he played a big role in their writing development. Then, in the first round of budget cuts in 2009, he



lost that position. For a few years, he taught part-time at several colleges, including three semesters at College of the Sequoias. Now, he is settled in at Fresno City College. While he was in graduate school he also wrote question-andanswer interviews for Fresno Famous. More recently, he has been writing book reviews for the new Fresno Life Magazine. He started working at the Fresno bureau of KQED Public Radio two years ago as an intern and continues to do production, reporting and research for them. He has had three features of his own on The California Report. “I really do enjoy public radio,” he said. “This past summer, I was lucky to work with them on two projects – with the bureau chief, Sasha Khokha – that I thought were really important pieces. I was the sound recorder on one and the researcher on the other.” The stories dealt with sexual assault of farm workers and food insecurity in Fresno and Tulare counties. Another place where Beavers hangs his creative hat is Fresno Filmworks. He has done marketing, printing, design and writing and has been communication director and now president of the board – which makes him the interviewee, for a change. “The group shows independent, international and multicultural first-run films,” he said. “Fresno-Visalia markets don’t get many independent films. Our goal is to enrich the cultural life of Fresno through cinema.” When Beavers was in school, he wanted to be a journalist to tell stories. Now, he’s not sure where the desire will take him. “I think I’m following whatever project or idea that I have right now,” he said. “I really just want to tell stories. I think that’s what we all want to do. Whether I tell that story in an essay or in a blog post or as a photograph or even in a tweet, I still think it’s all about faces and places. It’s all about telling stories, and however I figure out a way to do that, I’m going to keep trying.”


Visalia High — A School With A Fiery Start


Text by Terry L. Ommen


any people know that the land on which Redwood High School sits today is the oldest continuously used high school campus in Visalia. For more than a hundred years this site has provided young scholars a place to learn in an environment designed to prepare them for adulthood. But what most people don’t realize is that the school building constructed there over a century ago was almost totally destroyed in a mysterious fire soon after it opened its doors. The early history of Visalia’s public high schools is an interesting one. The first such school occupied space on the third floor of the Tipton Lindsey grammar school, a large and impressive brick structure built in 1891 on the northwest corner of Oak and Locust. By 1896 the space was too small, so in 1897 the first structure built exclusively for use as a high school was built on park land now known as the Lincoln Oval. It served as Visalia High for a dozen or so years and then it too was outgrown. Landlocked by the restrictive boundaries, the oval site was deemed not suitable for expansion and the board of education began the search for a larger site. They identified 10 possible locations, and by May 1910 they had selected the one in the Stevenson or Parkside tract – an 8.5-acre site bounded by Conyer, Giddings, Main and eventually Acequia, Some complained that the site was too far from Visalia’s business center, but proponents of the

site pointed out that it was no further than the oval park high school. Construction began and the cornerstone was placed in late 1910. The work moved quickly on the two-story Spanish Mission style building and by September 11, 1911, it was finished and classes had started. Visalia was proud of the new school and the reviews were glowing. Some boasted that it was as nice as anything in the state. The building itself of course was the centerpiece of the new campus. It was impressive with classrooms on both floors, a large assembly hall, and north and south wings giving it an “H” shape. Called “admirably arranged,” it had a shop for “mechanical training” for the boys, and for the girls a “domestic science” area for cooking and other home-related classes. The grounds included a beautiful lawn, gravel walkways, shrubs and trees with plenty of space left for “agricultural experiment” classes and a field for sporting events. Everything was going well for the 200 students on their new campus. However, at about 10:35pm on Friday, February 2, 1912, just a few months after the school opened, the building caught fire. After the alarm reached the firehouse, the crew raced to the burning building. Firemen Ray Townsend, Carmen Wenn, Bert Kitto, Austin Grant, Henry Goldstein and Harry Locey arrived and entered the building. But already the fire had become so TOP: Visalia High after the 1912 reconstruction.


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H HISTORY intense the heat and smoke drove them out. An explosion in a storeroom ripped open the roof in the south wing, which caused the flames to travel even faster throughout the structure. Some early reports indicated the firemen had difficulty with water pressure and water access, but the firefighters refuted the claims. Eventually sections of the roof began collapsing, and at that time the firemen knew the building was lost. Despite their valiant efforts, virtually all of the building’s contents were destroyed, and only some of the exterior walls remained standing. The loss was placed at nearly $50,000. Fireman Townsend ended up cutting an artery in his left foot and Wenn suffered serious cuts to both of his hands. The community was in shock and people wondered how such a disastrous fire could have happened. Concrete answers were illusive, but some speculated it was arson; others thought oily rags may have ignited, while a few laid the blame on faulty wiring. The cause of the fire remained a mystery. With only a few months left in the school year, the students returned to the oval park high school to finish out their term. The board of education vowed to rebuild quickly, but adding to their misery, it was discovered that the destroyed building was underinsured. The shortage of money complicated the rebuilding effort, but eventually the money was found and a new high school was reconstructed on the exact same footprint. By November 1912,

INSET: Visalia High on fire evening of February 2, 1912. BOTTOM: Visalia High is known as Redwood High School with the 1910 cornerstone now placed in front of the sign.



students had returned to the Main Street campus and the newly completed schoolhouse. Over the next decades there were major expansions and improvements to the campus. Acequia Street, the original campus boundary, was abandoned and the campus expanded south. Buildings were added while others were removed or remodeled. But of all the changes, none was more dramatic than the digging and equipping of the athletic bowl. Begun in 1929, the big dig was a huge undertaking. By 1933 the school was looking for help with the project and coincidentally, the federal government was looking for ways to put the unemployed to work. Thanks to the Civil Works Administration, about 30 men were hired with their teams of horses, and for two months they moved piles of dirt in the bowl using Fresno scrappers. Progress was made, but much work remained on the huge project. In 1940 the bowl lights were installed and finally on May 3 a dedication ceremony was held during the Central California Junior College Association track meet. The decade-long project was finished and the popular sports venue is now called Giant Mineral King Bowl. Eventually Visalia High became Visalia Union High School and in 1954 it became Redwood. The century-old campus is the oldest of Visalia’s four public high schools and deserves to be remembered for it.

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Taste of Triumph

CRIME VICTIM ADVOCACY CENTER OF TULARE COUNTY Text by Nikki Gilman | Photos by Beckie Nava

ver 250 guests gathered for the first annual Taste of Triumph benefiting the Crime Victim Advocacy Center of Tulare County. Guests enjoyed a beautiful evening at the Visalia Marriott ballroom featuring warm fall colors, tapas and wine, a silent auction and entertainment from up-and-coming local band Leaving Austin. Several contributors spoke throughout the event including Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, and guests enjoyed a night full of laughter, mingling and dancing – all to benefit a very important cause. Taste of Triumph guests gathered to support and raise funding for the Visalia organization that is breaking ground up and down the state by offering free legal representation to victims of crime. Crime Victim Advocacy Center (CVAC) is the first of its kind in California and is on a mission to provide equal access to justice for crime victims. CVAC was founded by President Amy Terrible, a local attorney who realized an unmet need for crime victims while working on a case involving a man who was never given the opportunity to take the stand in court after being sexually victimized as a child. Now a grown adult, Terrible offered him the opportunity to testify at an upcoming trial, “His emotional reaction all these years later opened my eyes,” Terrible explained. “I realized how many victims never get to be heard and how they carry that burden with them every day.” Since June 2012, Terrible has been operating as a solo practitioner representing crime victims, entirely probono with the newly developed nonprofit CVAC. Through her firsthand account, keynote speaker for the evening Angie Ortega allowed guests to see the criminal justice process through the eyes of a victim– Ortega’s daughter Lorraine was murdered in 1993. The loss of Lorraine has undoubtedly been painful for the family, but Ortega says that in life, everyone has a choice; hers was to put grief into action. Ortega is now supporting other victims as the Monterey County chapter leader for Parents of Murdered Children. This year, Ortega received notice that the convicted murderer of her daughter had an upcoming parole hearing. Ortega was fearful of this convicted murderer being released and stress levels were at an all-time high until she received a call from Amy Terrible. Terrible represented Ortega during the parole hearing and was able to piece together the deception of the murderer, “something we never would have been able to do on our own,” admitted Ortega. “Amy gave Lorraine a powerful voice. She spoke up and our lives were changed after that hearing.”

TOP: Festive pumpkins served as centerpieces for all the tables at the event. Bottom: CVAC’s Board Member Erin Lebow, Secretary Stacy Farmer, President Amy Terrible, Board Member Amber Myers and Vice President Paula Clark.


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New laws put into place have paved the way for the work of CVAC and victim rights. In 2008, Proposition 9, the California Victims Bill of Rights Act, “Marsy’s Law” was passed. Prior to the passing of Marsy’s Law, the court had the power to listen to crime victims but had no requirement to do so. The purpose of the law was to mandate that judges listen to and consider the views of victims. “In my opinion,” Terrible explained, “the biggest void in the criminal justice process is meaningful victim participation. Before Marsy’s Law was passed victims had very few rights. They really had very minimal participation in the criminal justice process.” Even with the new laws in place, the criminal justice system can be a difficult and confusing process for most victims. Many are left feeling overlooked and unheard. Before meeting Terrible with CVAC, Ortega felt defenseless, “There was no one to stand up for us, no one to say, ‘We want justice for Lorraine.’” For many victims like Ortega, having an advocate like CVAC representing them in court and guiding them through the process can make all the difference. Now CVAC is changing the landscape of the criminal justice process and providing new hope for victims. For now, Terrible is the only fulltime CVAC member and attorney representing victims of crime. The CVAC board of directors is comprised of a robust group of leaders and agencies that are in essence first-responders to victims. Terrible continues to work on a pro-bono basis while the CVAC begins to seek funding. With the hire of a new grant-writer and fundraisers like the Taste of Triumph, Terrible hopes to add additional attorneys, paralegals and secretaries to better serve clients, “We are planning additional fundraisers for early 2014 and hope to generate enough funds to better serve Tulare County so that no victim will be lost or forgotten.” Over the past year, Terrible has represented over 22 clients ranging from children as young as 4 years old, to adults and businesses. In each case, CVAC has celebrated a victory. Through CVAC, Terrible plans to grow this number of cases and will continue to be a resource and advocate for victims who are feeling marginalized. “Although victims almost unanimously tell me they feel isolated and alone,” Terrible said, “I remind them they are not. There are people who genuinely care and want to help them in any way possible. So let’s replace hopeless with action. We are fortunate in Tulare County to have so many agencies dedicated to assisting crime victims.”


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TOP: Keynote speaker Angie Ortega and CVAC Vice President Paula Clark. INSET: Local band Leaving Austin provided entertainment throughout the evening. BOTTOM: Taste of Triumph guests mingle while enjoying wine and tapas.


Dr. Michael Wayne Regier



r. Michael Wayne Regier is a unique psychologist who left a prestigious career in research to help couples and leaders become more emotionally connected. It was a generational issue that led Dr. Regier to choose his specialty as a marriage and business relationship expert. “It had something to do with the psychology of the era I grew up in that influenced mothers to trade breast feeding for daycare and careers. I was a small town Reedley latchkey kid who grew up with deep faith and family values. It has taken a lifetime of experience and study to understand the links between relational, spiritual and emotional health.” Regier says, “Behavioral psychology taught parents that nurturing a crying child only reinforced bad behavior. Current neuroscience research is teaching us how important emotional responding and bonding is for healthy child and adult development. Adults need attached relationships almost as much as children do. When adults are detached, their marriages often fail, they are more susceptible to emotional and physical problems and they are less successful as parents and leaders.” Dr. Regier received his education at Immanuel High School, Reedley College, Tabor College, Fresno State, The Fresno Pacific Seminary and Alliant University’s California School of Professional Psychology in Fresno. He traveled across the country to Philhaven Psychiatric Hospital near Hershey, PA where he completed his internship and worked in acute care as a staff psychologist. Wanting to deepen his understanding of how addictions and mental health interact, he then went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to complete dual

diagnosis treatment and research. It was at Johns Hopkins where Dr. Regier remembers changing career direction. “I remember thinking that the behavior modification approach that we were using at the time did not address the primary reasons our patients turned to drugs and alcohol for comfort in the first place. I believed addiction was related to a lack of interpersonal and spiritual connection, which many clients found help for in their AA recovery programs. It was then I decided to devote my career to deepening my understanding and capacity to help clients repair and grow their relationships.” Dr. Regier left Johns Hopkins to open a private practice in Delaware and to complete a two-year postdoctoral couples therapy internship in Philadelphia. In his Delaware practice he began to counsel and consult with leaders from Dupont, General Motors, the Maryland Bank and Shell Oil. He later received training in evidence-based Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and Executive Coaching. After being away 15 years, Dr. Regier returned to his Central Valley roots to be near his family. He and his wife and business partner Paula live in Visalia. He is an adjunct faculty member and the Director of Medical Leadership Training for the new Kaweah Delta, U.C. Irvine affiliated residency program. Dr. Regier has offices in Visalia and Fresno where he specializes in couples therapy. He is an author and speaker on the neuroscience of relationships and leadership health, and conducts seminars and consulting for faith-based, civic and business organizations.


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Crafted To Perfection,





HRISTMAS Text by Jordan Venema | Photos by Taylor Johnson


or this couple, the choice was easy. “We saw this home, walked up the steps, turned around and saw the view, and fell in love,” explained Kim Safina – not that it’s altogether surprising that anybody would fall in love with an unobstructed view of Morro Rock and Estero Bay. The home itself, a single-story Victorian, wasn’t exactly an incidental purchase, but both Dave and Kim agree, it was the view that sealed the deal. The Safinas grew up in the Central Valley; Dave in Tulare and Kim in Porterville, but they also loved the Central Coast. When their youngest son graduated from Exeter High School, Dave and Kim relocated to Cayucos, where they owned a small vacation house. But, said Dave with a laugh, “Kim likes to entertain.” So they began looking for a larger home, something they could share with others, a place where they could host their friends and family. Dave received what he called “a good education” from his past experience as a residential real estate appraiser. He estimates that he has walked through somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 houses. “So I’ve definitely seen a lot of homes,” said Dave, “and of course I picked up a lot of little ideas from what I’ve seen, things I liked and a lot of things I didn’t like.” That education came in handy when it came to purchasing and renovating their Los Osos home, a 4,500-square foot Queen Anne Victorian that was built in 1982.

PICTURED: Full of holiday cheer, the living room features bay windows, a grand piano and a Christmas tree decorated with family photos from past and present.

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TOP: Made from North American black walnut, the cabinetry in the kitchen highlights the home’s custom woodwork. MIDDLE: Holiday décor is found throughout the Safina home. RIGHT: The dinning room table is decorated for Christmas and serves as the perfect backdrop for a holiday meal.

Most home owners who say they’ve built a home usually mean they had the home built for them. It is more uncommon that a home owner has actually built the house himself. The Safinas bought a single-story house, so they did not exactly build it per se, but when they renovated the home, they added two additional floors, nearly doubling the square footage. And while Dave did not build the house from the ground up, he contributed more than just the design, more than just a few sketches. Since he was 10 years old, Dave has worked with wood. “I make furniture, little odds and ends, mostly gifts for family,” he explained. Dave began woodworking for practical purposes, because like most kids, he did not always have change in his pocket. So if he couldn’t buy it, he built it. “If I ever could have afforded to buy a thing,” said Dave, “I probably never would have gotten into woodwork.” So when the Safinas tore off the roof of their Queen Anne Victorian, Dave was prepared to redesign its interior. “We did a lot of traditional Roman-Greco type architecture – fluted columns, crown moldings and traditional wainscoting,” said 28

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Dave. While the Safinas hired draftsmen to draw up the floor plan, Dave personally did the detail work. He hired three men to help with the woodwork, but Dave was onsite every day during construction, which took almost three years to complete. “If I’d had to do it by myself, I’d still be working on it,” Dave laughed. The Doric fluted columns, the cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms, the staircase railing, the wine cellar, the crown molding, all were personally crafted by Dave. The mostly white interior of the home is like a portrait from the past, and the “traditional Roman-Greco” design is also reminiscent of what most might associate with American Colonial. The kitchen cabinets are made of North American black walnut, as is the hand-designed staircase railing. The varnished woodwork that can be found in most rooms


stands out against the white walls and white wainscot, the white Doric columns, the white crown molding. During the process of designing their interior, Kim cut pictures out of magazines, “some even from Lifestyle,” she added, and displayed them on the wall. She would ask Dave if this or that was possible and “he either gave me a thumbs up or thumbs down.” They also drew inspiration from Hearst Castle, and both the master and guest bathrooms were designed with marble tile, including a marble wainscot and crown to match the proportion of the wainscot throughout the rest of the house. “I had an open canvas,” said Dave, “to implement a traditional Victorian theme with interspersed nautical elements,” such as oval-shaped windows throughout the house, and an original porthole installed in the home’s elevator. One of the home’s four guest rooms is even called the nautical room. Perhaps one of the most unique features of the home is a 200-bottle walk-in wine cellar, built with North American black Walnut. As opposed to most cellars, Dave designed it so that the bottles lie flat against the wall instead of coming out horizontally. “That way,” he explained, “you can actually read the label of the bottle of wine.” Of course, as with anything else in the home, the room boasts ornate columns and wide crown molding. For all the effort that Dave has put into the house, he is quick to downplay the work he put into the smallest, minutest details of the home. But Kim sees it as much more. She calls it “a love home from my husband.” Kim often finds herself in one room or another, lying on her back and looking at the ceiling, looking at the fluted columns and thinking, “Wow, how did he do that? How did he take a piece of wood and design this idea on paper and then create it?” She is still full of wonder. “And now it’s in my

home and I get to look at it and enjoy it every day.” A true artist or craftsman doesn’t want his work to bring attention to himself; he wants the attention to be on the work itself. But Kim doesn’t hesitate to praise her husband even while he casually replies, “It’s just a house.” But if Dave was reticent to talk about his own work, he was eager to talk about his wife’s photography and to put it on display. “In the main hall in the house, I built a gallery with columns and wainscoting, and in between the columns are examples of some of her photography with special lighting from above.” Dave expressed that his wife has a real gift for photography, and he wanted her gift, her art to be on display. Of course, Kim was reticent to talk about her own work. “Yeah, I was a little bit embarrassed,” she said about having Dave design a place for her photography. “I’d just rather have my husband’s things up because I’m so proud of him.” There’s a bit of irony here, that both the Safinas have put so much of themselves into their home and yet they constantly point to the other. Dave became most excited when he talked about Kim’s family history. Her great-grandfather Wilfred Lucas was a Broadway and film actor who starred in more than 400 films between 1908 and 1940, acting alongside some of the greats of the time – Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy. Dave even designed a home theater, which also has an espresso bar that he built, where they have arranged reproduction posters of films in which Lucas was featured. Right now, more than the columns and wainscoting, more than Kim’s photography or the old film memorabilia, the house most prominently displays anything and everything Christmas. “My wife has been decorating for three weeks,” said Dave.

TOP LEFT: Marble tile is found throughout the master bathroom, surrounding the his and her sinks and large soaker tub.

TOP RIGHT: The uniquely designed wine cellar and cigar humidor are a highlight of the Safina home.


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SPAIN’S CLASSICS Features: Madrid, Royal Palace, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Valencia, Barcelona, The Alhambra, Lladro

October 4 - 14, 2014 For pricing or registration details call the Visalia Chamber of Commerce at 559-734-5876 or visit Grand Circle Cruise Line CST#2041626-40

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PICTURED: From the balcony of the Safina home, a panoramic view of Morro Rock and the Estero Bay provide scenery unlike any other.



HOME TOUR H “I think it’s a safe bet that there’s going to be some Christmas in the house.” He laughed, calling her a Christmas nut, and then quickly correcting himself, slowly saying, “No, say that my wife is a Christmas connoisseur.” But when Kim was asked about her love for Christmas, the first thing she said was that she was, in fact, a Christmas nut. “But everybody already knows that,” she said, laughing. Kim loves Christmas; she always has. “It’s family, friends, food, fellowship, fun; you know it’s festive. I could keep going on with all these F’s. It’s just a special time of year.” For her, as for most people, opening Christmas boxes is inviting those memories to return. “Each little ornament that comes out of the box brings back a memory,” said Kim. Of course, those memories are mostly of family. The Safinas have surrounded the living room Christmas tree with photographs of the family, all the way back to great grandparents on both sides of the family. For the Safinas, especially for Kim, Christmas season suits their home, it suits their desire to welcome others. “We wanted to be able

to bless other people,” explained Kim, and that means allowing people to come into their home, letting them kick up their feet and actually demand of her a cup of coffee or tea. “I like to entertain,” she explained, “but I’m sure Dave told you that happens a lot.” Dave had already said it: “It’s just a house,” and Kim, in her own way agreed. “The things that we have are just things,” she said. A home to her is “the comfort and the love of family and friends.” Whether that means living in an apartment with shag green carpets (their first apartment), or an 8,500-square-foot house with a view of the coast, “it’s not what you have but what you do with your life,” said Kim. Anyway, Kim said she’d live in a pumpkin if she had to, as long as she was with Dave. Even then, he’d probably carve out some beautiful design for her, and she’d hesitantly agree to hang her photography, and both would brag about the other while denying they’d done a thing. And why not a pumpkin, because what is a house but “the comfort and the love of family and friends”?





Principal Ballet Dancers with Visalia Roots Text by Carole Firstman

Photo By Sasha Iziliev


hen the curtain goes up, time slows down for Andrew Veyette, principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Every step, every foot placement, how the sole of his shoe glides or sticks to the floor – everything happens in slow motion in his mind. But from the audience’s perspective, he whirls and turns so quickly they see but a blur of his face. And his brother, Francis Veyette, principal dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet, reports the same phenomenon. “Time almost stops for me on stage,” he said. Yet we are awed by the height of his jumps as his legs leap up and out, his feet landing silently back on the stage in less than an instant. Meet the Veyette brothers: world-class ballet dancers with roots in Visalia. When Lifestyle Magazine caught up with Andrew and Francis, they both talked about their career paths and how they went from Visalia students to top-notch dancers. Both Andrew and

Francis, at ages 9 and 10 respectively, began dance training with Betty Downs at Dance Arts in Visalia. Fast forward 17 or so years: Francis and Andrew each hold title to the most prominent position a dancer can have – principal – which means they are probably among the top 50 dancers in the world. Francis began as an apprentice with the Pennsylvania Ballet (PB) in 1997 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2011. In addition to his work with PB, he has made guest appearances with Massachusetts Youth Ballet, Westside Ballet and Festival Ballet Theatre. He teaches in many summer programs, including BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, and has created several of his own works over the years for both Shut Up and Dance and Kansas City Ballet’s “In the Wings” program. Andrew became an apprentice with the New York City Ballet (NYCB) in 2000 and was promoted to principal in 2007. In addition to many guest performances with other companies, PICTURED: Francis Veyette as Albrecht in Giselle.



PERFORMING ARTS P he appeared in the film “NY EXPORT: OPUS JAZZ,” a scripted adaptation of the ballet of the same name, which aired on PBS and won an Audience Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Andrew was also featured performer last October on the PBS 40th Anniversary Celebration of Great Performances, where he performed among other great artists that night, including Itzhak Perlman and Ray Charles. Up Through the Ranks Thousands of dancers pursue the goal of joining a company like NYCB and PB, but only a handful will join each year. “Ballet by nature is an extremely competitive art form. There are lots of factors that play into a successful dancer’s career, and some things are beyond their control,” Francis said. “You have to be diligent, musical, committed – and hopefully not get injured.” For Francis and Andrew, getting to the top was a culmination of family support, professional guidance and self-determination. In addition to getting their start in Visalia, they also studied at Westside Ballet in Santa Monica while they were young, and took summer sessions at (among other places) The School of American Ballet in New York City. Their mother, Dallas Veyette, says that every member of their family made sacrifices while the boys were growing up. The family even bought a second home in Palmdale so her sons could study in Santa Monica while her husband continued to work and live (with their other children) in Visalia. “It’s a huge thing to set your life aside to help your boys do what they want. And there’s no guarantee they will ever make it into a company.” Once associated with a company like NYCB or PB, every professional ballet dancer must pass through the ranks to reach the top: apprentice, corps de ballet, soloist and principal. To become an apprentice, a few select ballet students are chosen – by invitation only, no open auditions – to join a professional company.

For example, the only way to get into the NYCB is to attend the School of American Ballet and hope for an invitation. At the end of a grueling and highly competitive apprenticeship year, some of those dancers are invited to join the corps de ballet – and are finally considered official members of the company. “If and when you are offered a corps contract,” Andrew said, “the really hard work begins. Corps members do the most dancing and get the least amount of time off.” Francis explained that the corps de ballet is the supporting cast, the large group dancing in unison around the featured roles. Though often seen as training on the path to becoming a soloist or principal, there are some dancers who spend their whole career in the corps. “The corps is the glue that keeps everything together, the backdrop of the ballet – they’re the base of the company, the architecture on stage.” The highest and most coveted position in the company is that of principal dancer. Performing the most challenging lead roles, principals are responsible for carrying the weight of the ballet’s story. Andrew explains that although ballet is a physical performing art, mental strength is a big part of how dancers succeed. “As a principal, what we do is about 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical.” He says that when he’s on stage he doesn’t have the luxury of thinking about an upcoming step he’s had to practice 20 times and still doesn’t feel totally comfortable with. “You have to get into a meditative state where you’re with the music and there’s nothing but you and your dance partner. You spend all day working and revising steps, devoting lots of mental energy – and right before you go on stage you tell yourself, ‘Now don’t think about any of that.’” “There’s technique and there’s artistry,” Francis said of the two levels of thinking that go on simultaneously during a performance. “It’s hard to make it look easy.”

Photo By Paul Kolnik

Photo By Sasha Iziliev LEFT: Francis Veyette as Albrecht in Giselle 2.

RIGHT: Andrew Veyette in George Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3. L I F E S T Y L E | D E C E M B E R 2 013



After the Curtain Goes Down When dancers choose to dedicate their lives to a career in the ballet, they also choose a life full of sacrifice. They often forgo relationships, a social life and a traditional education in order to pursue their passion from a very young age. When non-dancers have time off – nights, weekends and holidays – that’s when dancers work their hardest. There’s no such thing as “nine-to-five with weekends off.” Many dancers are in the theatre for 12 to 14 hours a day.

Photo By Paul Kolnik

The Role of a Male Dancer Many people think of ballet as a ballerina dancing en pointe in a tutu, but male ballet dancers are equally important. Considering that they jump higher than NBA players and lift women over their heads on a regular basis, the male dancer consistently delivers performances that rival any professional athlete. People often underestimate the athleticism and strength that it takes to be a male dancer – crazy lifts with one hand, the girl upside down, the girl between his legs, successive turns, spinning like a top and jumping in the air – it takes a lot of work. “We have to do the jumps and turns and everything that is physical and demanding, but do it with finesse,” Francis said. “You also have to come across as masculine and strong, but at the same time you have to be soft and vulnerable.” When asked about the difficulties he faced as a boy, Andrew said, “Of course it can be difficult for some kids. Imagine your playground buddies teasing you about wearing tights. But somebody once asked me why I started dancing. I said that I walked into a ballet studio and saw the male-to-female ratio and shouted, ‘Sign me up!’ But seriously, I wasn’t teased much. Once people got to know me it wasn’t really an issue. It also probably helped that my older brother danced, too – sort of paved the way, so to speak.” Francis says that although the male’s role is critical in ballet, “it’s best when the guy disappears, when you don’t even see him standing behind the girl. Because really, it’s all about the ballerina. Those are the most beautiful moments, when all eyes and attention are on her.”

Romance within the company is inevitable given how much of their lives they spend within the company walls. Surrounded by beautiful people day-in, day-out, it’s no wonder that inter-company romances are common. And many have very happy endings, too. Andrew is married to NYCB Principal Megan Fairchild. Francis is married to PB Principal Lauren Fadeley. While both Andrew and Francis are leaping confidently into their future – both personally and professionally – they also give a graceful nod toward their humble beginnings. “We owe everything to our parents,” Francis said. “And if it weren’t for Betty Downs, our instructor in Visalia, we wouldn’t be where we are today. She saw something in us, and she opened doors for us – gave us scholarships, sent us to other teachers who knew more than she did. Some teachers cling to talented students – want them to say local – but she sent us onto the next level.”

Photo By Sasha Iziliev TOP: Andrew Veyette and wife Megan Fairchild in Peter Martins’ The Waltz Project. BOTTOM: Francis Veyette and wife Lauren Fadely perform Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier in the Nutcracker.




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HOME GROWN FOR THE HOLIDAYS Text by Karl Merten, Photography by Taylor Johnson


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uring the holidays, families gather from near and far to spend the joy of the season with one another. Often times

this gathering is centered around a deliciously prepared holiday meal; a time for families to join together and break bread. It is our hope that you are able to replicate these recipes for your holiday festivities. Comprised of local ingredients including Visalia’s Oak Patch Farm’s tatsoi, arugula and butternut squash, Exeter’s Lindcove Farm’s pomegranate juice and Top O’ the Morn Farm’s eggnog, this 4-course meal features traditional holiday menu items with a twist and is guaranteed to have your family crowding around the dinning table.

Text by Karl Merten | Photos by Taylor Johnson

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C CULINARY Chateaubriand of Beef (Serves 4) INGREDIENTS

2-3 pounds of beef filet (center cut if possible; tie string every 2-inches) 2 T fresh garlic, chopped 1 oz olive oil Salt and pepper Rub roast with olive oil, garlic and liberal coating of pepper and salt. Pan sear or grill the roast on the barbeque. Transfer to baking sheet and finish in preheated 350°F oven until internal temperature reached 125°F for medium. Once you’ve reached the desired temperature, remove from oven and allow to rest in a warm place, approximately 1 hour. When ready to serve, remove string, and cut into eight slices (2 per person.) Chianti Reduction Sauce INGREDIENTS

One bottle Chianti wine 1 sprig rosemary ¼ to ½ cup red onion ½ cup beef stock ¼ cup sugar Add all ingredients to sauce pan and reduce by half. Strain and reserve for beef. If you find the sauce too thick or lacking in roast beef flavor, add the pan dripping from the roast. You may also add 1 T of butter to soften the flavors if too strong.


2 parts Tatsoi washed and dried 1 part arugula washed and dried 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1 inch squares) 1 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper 2 T fresh pomegranate berries 2 T Almonds, toasted

Pomegranate Cider Vinaigrette

Lightly oil and season butternut squash and spread on baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until lightly browned; chill and reserve for salad assembly. Combine all ingredients.

Reduce pomegranate juice and sugar over medium heat by half. Whisk together with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Toss with greens.


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2 cups pomegranate juice 1 cup sugar 1 cup olive oil ¼ to ½ cup apple cider vinegar


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C CULINARY Eggnog Crème Brulee

Bundled Haricot Vert



1 ¼ cup eggnog (I prefer Top O’ The Morn Farms) ½ cup milk 1 pinch salt ½ cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract ¼ tsp cinnamon 5 egg yolks

4 bundles of baby green beans 4 green onion leaves Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine eggnog, milk, salt, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon in saucepan over medium-high heat; stir and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well blended. Add the cream mixture a little at a time, stirring continually. Pour the liquid into six 7 to 8 oz ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the

sides of the ramekins. Bake just until the crème brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

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

Remove the crème brulee from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes prior to browning the sugar. Pour 2 teaspoons sugar evenly on top. Using a torch, melt the sugar and form a crispy top. Allow the crème brulee to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Parsley Potatoes INGREDIENTS

3 cups small red potatoes, wedge cut 2 oz butter 2 oz flour 1 tsp crushed fresh garlic 2 cups milk ½ cup grated white cheese (I like to use Asiago or Romano for a nuttier flavor) ½ bunch Italian flat leaf parsley



Cut and boil red potatoes in salted water until firm and nearly tender. In a second sauce pan combine butter and garlic and allow it to sweat for a minute. Add the flour and stir constantly to form a roux. Add the milk slowly, and keep whisking, stirring as sauce thickens. Add the cheese and chopped parsley; then fold in the drained precooked potatoes. Season to taste and transfer into a serving dish.

Falling Star Cocktail INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz Disaronno ¾ oz peppermint schnapps 1 pinch cinnamon sugar 3 oz pumpkin spiced eggnog Shake ingredients with ice and serve in a caramel swirled, cinnamon sugar rimmed martini glass.


Jocelyn Buhler Iverson, DDS

Smiles Made Easy

Dear Patients, I'd like to wish you all the best throughout this holiday season. Enjoy time spent with loved ones, create new memories to cherish and indulge in the delicious foods of the season. Just don't forget to floss! In Good Health,

Jocelyn Iverson, DDS


“The most magnificent, romantic, exciting evening you can ever spend” –KGO RADIO

Jocelyn Iverson, DDS | Dennis K. Buhler, DDS 202 South N. St. | Tulare, CA 93274 | 559.686.6815

A Father-Daughter Practice

Visalia Fox Theatre Thursday, Jan 9 ~ 8 pm 559 625 1369 ~ Presented by Artbeat in part to benefit

Tulare County Symphony League L I F E S T Y L E | D E C E M B E R 2 013





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Text by Marsha Roberts


hristmas just doesn’t seem complete without a trip to the “big” city and for many that brings thoughts of New York to mind: the unparalleled shopping, light displays on the buildings, department store windows worthy of artistic awards, ice skating on Rockefeller Plaza, a touch of snow – not to mention cold feet, chapped lips, an airport and flight crowded by people with the flu … but wait! We have the perfect “walking city” practically in our backyard, minus the snow and associated discomforts. With mild days that promise just enough nip in the air to make a late afternoon spiced cider the perfect treat, San Francisco is the ideal two or three day holiday getaway for a dose of Christmas cheer. Even with the addition of the new span of the Bay Bridge, the

drive across the I-80 into San Francisco can actually be a slow crawl. But with the Embarcadero Center’s holiday-lit skyline reflecting off San Francisco Bay, the spectacular sight makes the drive pass too quickly. Once over the bridge, Union Square is minutes away. Named for the plaza that covers a city block, Union Square also refers to the shopping, hotel and theater district that extends for several blocks each way. With over 100 diverse hotels and a huge variety of retail choices, it’s the perfect location for your visit. You can shop until you drop – or until you drop it off in your hotel room and go back out for more! With Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks and Barney’s prominently along the Square, both Crocker Galleria and Westfield’s San Francisco Centre malls close by, and every conceivable store L I F E S T Y L E | D E C E M B E R 2 013



PICTURED: The ribbons of lights are hanging from the 17’ high ceiling of the Hyatt at the Embarcadero Center and the Snow Village sits below.

Photo by Cheryl Levitan

and brand in-between, it’s virtually impossible to go home empty handed. And the narrow pedestrian-only alley of Maiden Lane (just off the Square by Stockton Street), adds exclusive boutiques, galleries and cafes to the mix, along with a bit of history. San Francisco’s only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building is located here as home to the Xanadu Gallery. Go to www.unionsquareshop. com for a listing of stores, hours and a map. Shopping isn’t the only way to obtain your Christmas “fix.” Union Square and the surrounding area offer an abundance of activities and experiences that promise to impart the holiday spirit to the Scrooge-iest of folks.

Further north is Fisherman’s Wharf, site of the Lighted Boat Parade. Held on December 13, it’s been a holiday tradition since 1994. Beginning at 5:30 pm, boats travel northwest from Pier 39 to Crissy Field. If you miss the parade, the fleet remains decorated throughout the holidays at the Sport Fishing Harbor just west of Pier 45 along Jefferson Street. Two blocks south of Union Square, the Westfield San Francisco Centre has a nightly animated lightshow. Through projection and surround sound, the 1908 glass dome comes alive with sugar plum fairies, toy soldiers and gingerbread men. If you are traveling with children, they will truly enjoy this.

Holiday Lights What would the holidays be without lights? Macy’s 80-foot fir tree with 21,000 twinkling LED lights sits in Union Square. Lit on Thanksgiving weekend, the tree remains through the first week of January. Some of the best views of the tree and Square at night are from Burger Bar and Cheesecake Factory in Macy’s. Enter through Macy’s front door, take the elevator to the seventh floor, and then continue up the escalator. With heaters throughout the patio, it’s a wonderful spot to eat dinner. But beware of Macy’s decorated windows! They hold adoptable SPCA kittens and puppies so cute that you may find yourself taking home a little “friend” as a present! Just next door, Neiman Marcus’ Christmas tree fills the entire height of its four-story glass atrium. With subtle lighting throughout slowly changing color, the tall columns of glass look oddly like a Christmas cousin to the illuminated towers at the entrance to LAX airport. Just a short distance to the northeast, visit the towers of the Embarcadero Center. You will not only get a closer look at the lights that created the beautiful skyline from the Bay Bridge, but the Hyatt Regency is located within this complex. The hotel’s 300,000 lights hang in ribbons from its 17 story lobby with an impressive Snow Village and train display below. Remember that snow you missed by not traveling to New York? You can still enjoy it – without the flight – since “snow” falls three times daily from the Hyatt’s ceiling.

Gingerbread Houses A staple of the holidays, San Francisco doesn’t disappoint gingerbread enthusiasts. The St. Francis Hotel’s pastry chef has made a gingerbread castle since 2005, becoming larger and more elaborate yearly. Not to be outdone, the Fairmont’s pastry chef and engineers have been building a 22-foot tall gingerbread house each year since 2008. And by taking the 35-minute ferry to Sausilito, you can view and vote for your favorite gingerbread architectural wonder from the 30 displayed during the 7th Annual People’s Choice competition.


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Ice Skating While not as large as New York’s Rockefeller Plaza, the ice rink in Union Square has fewer intimidating “wannabe pros.” And where else can you skate surrounded by palm trees decorated for Christmas? Even non-skaters enjoy sitting with a hot chocolate while watching other people’s mishaps on the ice. Skating is available until January 17 and skates can be rented. Go to www. for more information. The Embarcadero Center has a larger rink open through January 5. Located by Four Embarcadero Center, more information is available at Theater and Shows If live performance is your route to holiday bliss, Union Square is the location. The Geary and Curran theaters are the



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T TRAVEL anchors in a district that offers a full array of comedy, music and productions. A TIX walk-up booth at 350 Powell (between Geary and Post) offers discount day-of-performance tickets for most of San Francisco’s performing arts along with show descriptions and maps. To ensure seats for popular touring shows at the Curran (like Cirque’s Holidaze or The Book of Mormon) go to www.shnsf. com for advance tickets. The Geary offers up a holiday tradition, the American Conservatory Theater’s presentation of A Christmas Carol, December 6-28. Purchase tickets at, at the box office, or by calling (415) 749-2228. Would the holiday season be complete without a viewing of the Nutcracker Ballet? The San Francisco Ballet has been performing the Nutcracker at the magnificent War Memorial Opera House since 1944. Tickets are available online for presentations through December 29 at SantaCon The annual SantaCon is decidedly bizarre, but certainly memorable. On December 14, hundreds of jolly revelers will gather by the Union Square Christmas tree. Wearing “creative” Santa suits they will then descend upon the city, one neighborhood to the next … leaving bewildered tourists in their wake. If you want to join, go to to practice the traditional, and not so traditional, songs you will be expected to know. Be aware that this group is pretty difficult to explain to children. And it’s also a good night to stay away from the bars. The Santas get a bit sloppy (too much eggnog?) after a day of singing and ho-ho-ho-ing. San Francisco Ferry Building This place is a lesson in silver linings. If not for the 1989 earthquake devastating the freeway (which obscured this largely abandoned 1898 landmark), revitalization would never have occurred. Withstanding both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes with its arched halls and 245-foot clock tower intact, it was Californians’ obsession with cars that almost destroyed it. Now back to its former grandeur, the Ferry Building has become a foodie heaven. Quality stores and restaurants abound, as do samples! I fell into a savoring

stupor, dazedly going from one smell and taste to the next. The ferries have also been revitalized and are considered one of the top ferry rides in the world. Don’t take my word for it, that’s according to the Society of American Travel Writers, an organization of professional travel journalists and photographers. They recently ranked the trip between Sausalito and San Francisco as second-best in the world, just behind Hong Kong’s Star Ferry. Sitting on the ferry you feel all powerful, surrounded by water, a city skyline and bridges reduced to miniatures much like those in a Christmas village. It doesn’t get much better than that. For more information, visit Getting Around If you’ve never ridden a cable car, the Market Street historic F-line is a great trip to the Ferry Building. From Union Square, walk south to the turntable (where cable cars are manually turned around to travel back in the opposite direction) at Market and Powell. Buy your ticket there or from the conductor when you board. Ride to the Ferry Building station, further north to Green Street to the new Exploratorium at Pier 15, or to the end of the line at Fisherman’s Wharf. If you feel like walking, the Ferry Building is just 15 minutes from the east side of Union Square. If guided walking tours are more your speed, check out www. This organization offers free walking tours led by guides who make events and places come to life. Most tours are 1 ½ to 2 hours long and require no reservation; just show up. Offerings in the Union Square include: the hidden treasures and architecture of the Financial District, a tour of the city’s art deco buildings, the rise/fall/rebirth of the Ferry Building and the history of San Francisco theater.

Photo by Cheryl Levitan

Photo by Cheryl Levitan


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INSET: The Golden Gate Ferry ride to Sausalito shows the San Francisco skyline. BOTTOM LEFT: Here a cable car is being rotated at the turntable by a conductor and a gripman. This is the turnaround at Powell and Market Street, just south of Union Square. The cable route is a dead end, and the turnaround alows the cable car to travel back


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You Say Cabernet, I SAY PINOT Text by Sonny Martin




any people lack a sense of confidence in describing what they taste in a wine. I often hear, as do many in my profession, “I’m not a connoisseur like you, so I can’t describe the taste.” My answer has always been: the definition of “connoisseur” is “an authority.” I certainly concede that I am an authority on what I like. However, I consider every person I meet to be a connoisseur, since I am just as certain that they know what they like. The only difference between us is that experience and exposure have given me a larger vocabulary. During a recent conversation I used the following description about the difference between appreciating Cabernet Sauvignonand Pinot Noir-based wines, both of which would be great choices to serve alongside Karl’s recipe this month. I prefaced the description to say that I have also observed a consistent pattern in a vast majority of wine lovers. Most often start their journey by learning all about and collecting Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines, and they usually all end up passionately chasing the holy grail of a fine Pinot Noir. This pattern is consistent whether it is those on the East Coast beginning with a collection of Bordeaux and living out their days seeking to relive a great Burgundy experience or here on the West Coast where we favor more accessible Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons and extreme Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley or Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noirs. I explained this pattern of behavior by relating the wines to human characteristics. Cabernet Sauvignon is a masculine wine. Big, bold, powerful, intense are general descriptors used but also easy to understand and not very subtle. Pinot Noir, on the other hand, is a soft feminine wine. It has layers of very subtle traits that require a studied palate to even begin to pick up on. Complex and very hard to understand, but once you have experienced a great one you will face any challenge and do whatever it takes to relive the experience. I rarely ever meet someone who can tell me confidently that they truly, completely understand all that Pinot Noir can be. This way of describing these two wines was something that I came up with many years ago to try to capture the attention of my audience. I also use this to point out how vast is the language used to describe wine. As a college student I took a sensory evaluation course at UC Davis. On the first day the professor handed out a list of more than 14,000 words that he had found used to describe wine. He followed by issuing a challenge that we double the list before the end of the class. The fact is that taste is very personal and just like feelings, no one’s description of taste is inaccurate. It is simply their personal description. What is most unique about wine as a beverage is just how much we are able to connect to it on an emotional level. No one should ever be intimidated by wine. I try to reinforce that view by offering a quote from Robert Mondavi: “Wine has been with us since the beginning of civilization. It is the temperate, civilized, sacred, romantic mealtime beverage recommended in the Bible. Wine has been praised for centuries by statesmen, philosophers, poets and scholars. Wine in moderation is an integral part of our culture, heritage and gracious way of life.” In my own simplification I have always included wine under the general heading of lifestyle enhancement. 


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Kenya Dirt Road Ministry Winds Its Way to Visalia Text by Carole Firstman


hen Julius Pulei left his home village in Kenya less than a year ago and set out for the United States, he wasn’t quite sure how he would accomplish his goals, but he’s long known what he wants to achieve: to better the lives of his fellow Maasai tribesman. His plan is to raise money for the construction of water wells, schools and churches in the dry lowlands of Kenya, a place where people struggle to survive. In Visalia for just eight months now, Pulei, an evangelical minister and a member of the Maasai tribe, has already raised $50,000 for construction of the first of five wells. Thanks to the generosity of several Visalians, Pulei has an office on Main Street, is in the process of creating a nonprofit corporation called Kenya Dirt Road Ministry (KDRM), and has a solid community development plan in place. Pulei’s plan actually started back in 2004 when he founded Christian Servants Ministries (CSM), an organization in Kenya whose mission is to support and empower the nomadic Maasai people, a tribe of 500,000 living in the Great Rift Valley. Now that Pulei is raising funds in the United States through KDRM, CSM actually facilitates and oversees the financial and logistical details of


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the projects back in Kenya. Working in tandem, the two ministries’ current project focuses on five specific villages (with populations ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 each) that have no well water and thus rely only on occasional and unpredictable rainwater. Pulei’s long-term community development plan calls for five wells, five schools and five churches – one for each targeted village; a four-wheel-drive vehicle for travel between villages (for project development and evangelism); educational seminars focused on HIV/AIDS and drug use; health centers; orphanages; care centers for girls rescued from slavery and female genital mutilation; and micro-finance activities for poor and marginalized communities. First on the list, though, are the water wells. The Maasai’s struggle with water, food and poverty stems partly from political and tribal conflicts, Pulei explained. For thousands of years, the Maasai have lived a nomadic lifestyle, traveling in harmonious sync with the rainy and dry seasons. “During the hot season, the tribe lived in the highlands. In the rainy season, they lived in the lowlands. As nomads, the people knew how to effectively manage their land and resources.” But things changed politically, which eventually limited the availability of land surrounding the tribe.


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H HUMANITARIAN “Back when the British came and colonized, they pushed the Maasai to the dry lowlands,” Pulei said. “And when the British left, following the Kenyan independence of 1963, the land was not given back to the Maasai. Instead, other tribes took over much of the region that was once ours. In essence, the current Maasai tribe is now trapped – stuck in the dry parts of the valley, unable to move to the wetter areas when the seasons change.” Now women and children often must walk 16 miles to the nearest water source. It costs about $50,000 to build one well in a Maasai community. That includes the drilling, pump installation, generator (because there is no other electricity source to run a pump), a pump house and water tanks. One local business in the Visalia area, Western Milling, has stepped up to provide funding for the first well. Funding is currently being secured for a second. When talking about how the plan should improve things for those in his tribe, Pulei makes a distinction between projects that are sustainable versus projects that create welfare. “Effective development is not the construction of a road, a building, a well. Effective development is about developing people, not things. It’s about getting individuals to visualize the possibilities – see the opportunities around them, to think about how to utilize existing resources and make decisions. Developing a community hinges upon ground-level decision-making by the villagers themselves. When people take ownership of responsibilities, they are empowered to speak out for themselves. Our goal is to help them become proactive with forming their own visions of the future.” The building of wells and schools today is merely the seed of change. “If children can go to school instead of walking 16 miles a day to haul the family’s drinking water, then in thirty years that community will be different than it is today. One well and one school today will add up to a different mindset later on.” In addition to fundraising for these projects, Pulie also works with the homeless in Visalia. He often volunteers at Visalia Rescue Mission and speaks with many homeless people in various parks. It’s the same sense of working-towards-a-greater-good – whether here in Visalia or at home in Kenya – that he credits to the many Americans that have helped him raise funds for the first two water wells. “No good things come without hard work and sacrifice,” he said of the cumulative efforts of the many people who have been involved at various stages of this blossoming series of projects. “Many minds and hearts together can help build a sustainable organization that brings clean water to the neglected Maasai.”

PICTURED: Julius Pulei giving a presentation about Kenya Dirt Road Ministry to the Visalia Breakfast Rotary Club.


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Better than Santa Claus Text by Jordan Venema | Photos by Angela Eller Photography


hildren’s laughter and the deafening roar of 200 motorcycles are two sounds that are rarely associated with one another. But for 20 years, local business Visalia Harley Davidson has shown that the two sounds are not exactly mutually exclusive and might have more in common than you think. In October, about 200 bikers gathered in the parking lot of Visalia Harley Davidson for a group ride. The gathering was like an exaggerated scene out of the popular television show “Sons of Anarchy”: men dressed entirely in black leather stood in groups around their bikes. Some of them, bearded and smoking cigarettes, looked as aged as their leather jackets, their faces wrinkled from long rides in open weather. It would not be fair to say they looked unfriendly or unwelcoming, and maybe they were still waking up on this Sunday morning, but these guys – and gals – looked tough; you know, guys you would not want to pick a fight with…except for that guy holding a pink doll – wait, a pink what? Don’t be fooled by their black leather exterior, these men and women are full of heart. They gathered for the 20th Annual Tulare County Toy Run, the Visalia Harley Davidson Toy Ride Giveaway, a fundraiser that in the past has raised as much as $20,000, in addition to the individually donated toys, for local charities that distribute toys to less fortunate children during the holidays.


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YOUR OWN PERSONAL PARADISE 559.635.9637 | | Since 1978

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“Think of it as a way of preparing the party for the holidays,” said Lindsey Luis, the office manager at Visalia Harley Davidson. Most orchestrated rides require a registration fee, usually between $20 and $30, explained Luis. But for this Toy Ride Giveaway, bikers were asked only to bring a new, unopened toy. “We’ve got stuff as simple as a football, and we had one gentleman bring in bicycles, one for a boy and one for a girl,” she said. So while these bikers still looked tough as nails, they challenged the popular stereotype by cruising around the Central Valley with brightly colored toys strapped to the back of their bikes, like plush stuffed animals and frilly pink dolls. While these bikers might not be used to riding with dolls, they enjoyed the opportunity to challenge, at least for a day anyway, some of those lingering stereotypes about them. “It’s not like it’s an everyday thing,” laughed one biker, who goes by the name Hoss, a member of the Spartan Brotherhood, a motorcycle club for retired and active police officers. “The main reason we’re in it is just to help the kids,” added Gunner, another Spartan. “We don’t ride out with outlaw bikers or anything like that. We’re a family club.” These bikers are well aware that they are sometimes perceived as outlaws. “We get that a lot too,” said Sam, a member of the Disciples of Christ Motorcycle Ministry. “We pull up to cars and everyone’s like, ‘Oh there’s bikers next to us!’ But when you actually meet [us], we’re loving people, you know? Friendly, caring people. We’re not the façade that people think we are.” Casey Stevens, the president of Disciples Motorcycle Ministry added, “You won’t find a more supportive bunch of people than bikers. I mean, you give a cause, they’re there. We all come together when there’s a cause … anything to support kids.” In past years, Visalia Harley Davidson gathered the toys into 58

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one large trailer and delivered them directly to the charities. This marked the first year Visalia Harley Davidson had its bikers handdeliver the toys. At registration each biker was assigned a number that represented the charity to which he would personally donate his toy, either to the Visalia Emergency Aid, the Tulare Emergency Aid, the El Granito Foundation, or the Lindsay/ Strathmore Coordinating Council. Lindsey Luis thinks the change is an improvement. “The bikers, I think, would like to see their donation be turned right over to the charity, so they can see firsthand just how much of an impact it has on these charities, and how grateful they are.” The Visalia Harley Davidson also raised money for the charities by offering two optional games, a poker draw and 50/50 raffle. Tickets for the 50/50 draw were only a dollar, the winner of which received half the pot, while the other half went to purchase more toys for the charities. Each hand of poker cost five dollars, and participants would receive a single card at registration and at each of the four charity locations. The highest and lowest hand also received cash prizes. Between the four charities, the convoy of bikers stopped in Visalia, Tulare, Porterville and Lindsay. The ride concluded at Lindsay’s Fat Boyz Bar & Grille where the winners of the poker draw and 50/50 competition were announced. At this point in the ride, all the toys had been delivered, and the bikers, without their smaller accessories, were back to looking their usual leather-clad selves, but it wasn’t before they had challenged a few stereotypes. Maybe this year, Santa should trade in his red jumpsuit for a black vest and leather chaps. Either way, these traditional tough guys have done a lot more than a little fiction to bring some real life smiles to a lot of local children’s faces.


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ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONCERT Tulare County Symphony’s annual performance with traditional winter and holiday tunes, featuring local soloists and a local children’s choir. When: Dec. 14, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 732-8600





This comedy is a completely different adaptation of the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. The Styckes-Upon-Thump Repertory Theatre, a stuffy old British traveling troupe is embarking on their 15th annual farewell tour of the Dickens tale. When: Dec. 5-8, 13-15, 20-21 Where: Tulare Encore Theatre, 324 S. “N” St., Tulare Contact: 686-1300 or



Returning to Arts Visalia for the holidays will be the beautiful works of Chinese brush painting by Joy Harvey and her students. The exhibition is held in tandem with their Holiday Show & Sale, and the two exhibits make for a wonderful selection of art and gifts priced just right for the holidays. During the opening reception, Arts Visalia will hold their annual Holiday raffle featuring over thirty wonderful prizes. Tickets may be purchased from one of their board members or directly at the gallery. When: Dec. 4-20 (Opening reception Dec. 7) Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak St., Visalia Contact: 739-0905 or


Luis Bravo’s internationally acclaimed entertainment phenomenon is coming to Visalia for one night to set the city on fire. From irresistible rhythms to unmistakable passions, Forever Tango is a drama, a feeling and a way of life, who’s popularity exploded across the globe. Join the world’s greatest tango dancers and musicians as they bring the art of tango to life on stage. When: Jan 9, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369

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DEC 14


Courthouse Gallery of the Arts will be hosting their annual Christmas at the Gallery. Come enjoy the art auction and show, with fine foods, specialty wines and champagne. There will also be a silent auction and entertainment. When: Dec. 14, 4:30p-7:30p Where: Courthouse Gallery of the Arts, 125 S. “B” St., Exeter Contact: 592-9305




Food, Fun and fabulous art. Every first Saturday of the month, the artists, restaurants, and merchants of Three Rivers open their doors and invite you to join in a town-wide celebration. You ca pick up a map and schedule at Anne Lang’s Emporium or the Historical Museum – the flyer shows all participating venes, art to see, lcations and times for special events. When: Jan 4, 10a-5p Where: Anne Lang’s Emporium, 41651 Sierra Dr. (CA 198), Three Rivers Contact:


Explore Jeri Burzin’s exhibit “Favorite Places” featuring her photographs from Yosemite and the Southwest, accompanied by Toni Best’s beautiful and unique gourds. When: Reception: Jan 9, 5:30p – 7:30p; Exhibit through Mar 1. Where: Michael’s Jewelry, 316 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 734-7079


Enjoy exceptional shopping and dining while listening to your favorite holiday tunes from strolling musicians. Bring a canned food items to support our monthlong food drive benefiting a local food pantry. When: Thursday evenings, Dec. 5,12 & 19, 5-8p Where: Downtown Visalia Contact: 732-7737 or

22ND ANNUAL DOWNTOWN EXETER CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE Exeter downtown merchants will be open late few Thursdays in December. Come experience this “Old Fashioned” Christmas as you walk along the downtown streets. When: Dec. 5, 12, & 19, 5p-9p Where: Downtown Exeter Contact: 592-2919

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A BRIDAL ODYSSEY The ideal way to meet all of the wedding professionals you need to help create your wedding – all in one place – all in one day! Be face to face with scores of great wedding professionals, ask them questions, see (and taste) their work, and sign up for great prizes and discounts. When: Jan. 19, 11a-4p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact:

DEC 12


DEC 21



Join us in Exeter to tour four beautifully decorated homes, live music throughout the evening, hot cocoa and snacks. Presale tickets ($15) are available at Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Antiques by the Water Tower, and other locations. Maps & booklets available at the clubhouse, which will have refreshments and bathrooms, or feel free to start at any of the tour homes listed on the website. When: Dec. 12, 4:30-8p Where: Exeter Woman’s Club, 201 N. Kaweah Ave., Exeter Contact: 592-6738 or www. The Exeter Woman’s Club is back at it again this year, hosting their annual Nutcracker Ball. Come out for a night of fun while enjoying a nice dinner with live entertainment. When: Dec. 21, 6:30p-11p Where: Exeter Woman’s Club, 201 N. Kaweah Ave., Exeter Contact: 799-3641

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DEC 14



The Visalia Runners will be holding a 5K and 1/2 mile run/walk at the Tulare Outlet Center. Proceeds will benefit Salvation Army, allowing them to give toys to needy children, and local cross country teams. Long-sleeved holiday themed shirts will be given to all entrants. Christmas ornaments are given to the 5-year old age group winners. For registration information, visit When: Dec. 14, 8a Where: Tulare Outlet Center, 1407 Retherford St., Tulare Contact:


Bank of the Sierra’s 1st Annual Resolution Run is here to promote good health as well as giving back to the community. Distances include 5k, and a kids 1-mile run. Two charities, chosen by public vote, will be awarded the Resolution Run proceeds. Register by December 27. When: Jan. 1; 9:30a Where: Bank of the Sierra, 128 E. Main St., Visalia Contact:

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December 2013  

Style, Art, Culture and Events of the South Valley.

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