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A Solid Foundation Built on Family Roots



A Family Holiday Spent Aboard



Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallops and a Tomahawk-Cut Ribeye ECRWSS RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMER LOCAL

March 2014

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24 HOME TOUR The Witschi Home


Surf & Turf Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallops with Orange Beurre Blanc and a Tomahawk-Cut Ribeye with Compound Butter PAGE



Letter from the Executive Editor

10 Business Cents: Planning for Your Child With Special Needs 12 Word Play 14 Business Profile: Smile Visalia 18 History: Harnessing the Kaweah Visalia Becomes Electrified 22 Wine: Old is New Again 46 Arts: Sofa Art Reads a Good Book


A Family Holiday Spent Aboard Spain

54 Culture Quest: St. Patrick, The Man and The Legend 58 Happenings



5th Annual Empty Bowls The Visalia Rescue Mission COVER: The large jacuzzi tub in the Witschi’s master bathroom is one of the few luxuries Debi requested when building the home. PAGE

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PICTURED: Framed by a red-brick entrance, the exterior of the Witschi home represents Rudy’s ties with sturdy, European style building.

Our Gorgeous Gift Wrapping Is Our Gift To You! Kitchen Gourmet BBQ Accessories Garden Candles Bath & Body

Gift Baskets Baby Pet Gifts Gift Certificates Gourmet Tea & Chocolate Great Gifts For All!

219 West Main Street • Visalia, CA 93291 • 559.733.0213 I N B E AU T I FU L D OW N TOW N V I SA L I A S I N C E 19 91



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 Wildfl ower 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 © 2014 DMI Agency


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LEFT: The Witschi’s bring the outside, in, by lining the hallway and entrance with red-brick columns.

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Photo by Becca Chavez | Hair and Make-up provided by Velvet Sky

Since our last issue we have thankfully had some long-overdue rain. The few hours of watershed had social media sites buzzing and conversations were filled with the topic of clean air. Right now everyone in the Central Valley considers rain and snow to be a blessing. That’s when I started thinking about how important perspective is in our daily lives. Often we see rain as a hassle, or an inconvenience. We asked for rain, we prayed for rain, and there was rain … we should have all been standing in the streets letting it hit our faces and soaking up every drop. Rain can be a metaphor for anything in our lives, including personal or business droughts. How much better would it be if we looked at almost every rain as a blessing, instead of a dreaded inconvenience? If you’re living on the East Coast right now, you probably don’t have the same perspective and it is certainly about perspective. Rain or shine there are a lot of exciting things happening around town and one of the most entertaining is always the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and celebration. Just as Lifestyle hits mailboxes, the Visalia Irish Fest Craft Beer celebration is happening at Visalia Rawhide Stadium. But do you know the real history of St. Patrick? Most of us would say the day celebrates the patron saint of Ireland, but it is less known that Patrick was sold into slavery at age 16. Read more about this in “St. Patrick – The Man and the Legend” on page 54. After all of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, if you own a Harley, check out our Happenings section on page 58. As long as there’s been enough time between the consumption of beer and the time you get on the bike, the Central California C.O.P.S. Motorcycle Run is happening March 29. The Lifestyle staff is anxiously working on upcoming issues and we have some wonderful homes planned over the next several months. After all these years, we still get excited to preview a home and meet so many gracious homeowners. We are always treated so well as we invade their private spaces with lights, cameras and personnel. We try to thank them from the bottom of our hearts but I’m not sure that’s ever really enough. One of the ways you can you let them know how much you enjoy touring their homes each month is to visit our Facebook page. We, and they, are grateful for the feedback. May the spring weather be gracious to you and remember to run outside the next time it rains – each drop is a blessing.

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


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Planning for Your Child With Special Needs Text by Donald DeJonge, Financial Advisor, Northwestern Mutual


ne of the most challenging issues facing parents of a child with special needs is planning for their child’s future without them. Financial planning for families with a child with special needs often requires the development of a plan that honors the future needs of their loved one, with sensitivity to the rules regarding government eligibility for programs and services. The child’s parents, grandparents and other relatives may desire to coordinate their planning to best serve the interests of the child. With ever-changing laws and legal procedures, it’s important for families to regularly revisit their financial plans to ensure their child with special needs is well prepared for the future. Special Needs Trusts Many families are unaware that the receipt of an inheritance may cause eligibility problems for the child. An inheritance worth as little as a few thousand dollars could disqualify an individual with disabilities from most federal benefits, such as supplemental security income (SSI) and Medicaid, as well as risk qualification under some state programs. This is an enormous loss for many, reports the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY), since critical services such as supported employment and vocational rehabilitation services, transportation assistance, etc., could be jeopardized. For this reason, an effective estate plan should include a special needs trust – a legal document in which the family leaves chosen resources directly to the special needs trust, which is managed by a trustee on behalf of the person with the disability. The trustee is given absolute discretion to decide when and how distributions are made from the trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiary, thus ensuring that government benefits are preserved. It is imperative that the family works with a knowledgeable attorney and a financial professional in creating and maintaining a special needs trust. Funding the Trust Building a proper roadmap for all of the family’s financial goals and objectives is extremely important. For some families, funding a trust may require a reallocation of the assets they already have, while others may seek to ensure that there are additional funds available for their child upon the death of the primary caregivers. By naming the special needs trust as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, the family can rest assured that the trust will be funded with the resources necessary to provide for the future financial needs of their loved one with special needs. Planning Considerations There are important considerations parents can make when planning the financial future for children with special needs. Here are a few suggestions: • Prepare, review and revise legal documents. Parents should regularly monitor legal documents such as wills, trusts, power of attorney documents and healthcare proxies to make sure they are relevant and properly worded.


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• Develop a clear vision of how you want your child to live if both parents are no longer around. The family’s planning efforts should reflect their hopes, dreams and aspirations for their loved one. • Develop a written Letter of Intent that will assist future caregivers. Having a blueprint that provides vital information regarding the child’s physical and mental status will be invaluable to future caregivers and the child. • Surround yourself with a team of knowledgeable professionals who have experience working with families with special needs. Core members of this team should include an attorney, a social worker and a financial professional. • Provide funding for quality of life for a lifetime. Special needs trusts should be regularly checked to make certain that they are adequately funded for quality lifetime care and quality of life. Resources for Parents There are many government and nonprofit agencies to contact for more information on planning for the financial future for dependents with special needs and related issues. Following are some starting points for identifying local contacts: • The Arc of the United States • National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities • Special Needs Alliance • National Care Advisors Whether a family has substantial means or few assets, a young child or adult child with disabilities, planning for the financial future of a loved one is critically important. How parents and other relatives leave their assets after death may greatly affect the quality of life for their family member with special needs. Article prepared by Northwestern Mutual with the cooperation of Donald DeJonge. Donald DeJonge is a Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual, the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI, and its subsidiaries. Donald DeJonge is based in Visalia, CA. To contact Donald DeJonge, please call (559) 625-5782, e-mail at or visit




n honor of World Poetry Day this month, look up some of the works by valley poets on Some examples are Philip Levine’s “You Can Have It” and “What Work Is,” Larry Levis’ “Winter Stars” and “The Poet at Seventeen” and Kay Ryan’s “Nothing Ventured.” Due out on April 1 is National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: The Anthology by Western Folklife Center and Baxter Black. This collection includes over 100 of the poems from poets who have been part of the gatherings for the past 30 years. Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them by Anthony Holden and Ben Holden includes works by poets from Walt Whitman to Seamus Heaney, poems that have moved men to tears like J.J. Abrams and Colin Firth, John le Carre and Salmon Rusdie. The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed by Dana Roeser uses the voice of a standup comic to present themes such as a world spinning out of control and featuring characters from a priest to a drunk party goer.

Valley Writers Former Visalian Jane Porter had a busy year in 2013. She was featured on the March cover of RT Book Reviews for her novel The Good Daughter, the second installment of her series about the Brennan sisters. In May, she was the inductee of Chick Lit Central into the International Chick Lit Month Hall of Fame. Also in May, Fresh Fiction for Today’s Reader chose The Good Daughter as the May 31 Fresh Pick. The third Brennan sister installment, The Good Wife, came out in September. This is the story of youngest sister Sarah, the beauty of the family, married to a professional baseball player. The novel was well received by Library Journal, RT Reviews and Kirkus. Not one to rest on her laurels, Porter’s Montana Born novella, Take Me, Cowboy, came out in October. When Jenny Wright is dumped at the altar by her city groom-to-be, the Montana cowboy she grew up with shows that he didn’t get to be a rodeo champion by giving up easily. Then in December, Porter’s holiday story, Christmas at Copper Mountain, was another Fresh Fiction pick. Beauty’s Kiss, the first book of her new series, Taming of the Sheenans, is due out soon. Keep up with Porter’s fast-paced writing life at Just out is the paperback edition of Gerald Haslam’s Many Californias: Literature from the Golden State. David Mas Masumoto is among the 10 authors added to the new edition. In all, 67 California writers from the length and breadth of the state are included. First Lines of …? What novels open with these lines (Hint: Think Irish) “Riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend 12

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of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.” “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.” (see below)* Writing Contests The 2014 Bristol Short Story Prize is open to published and unpublished writers, but entries must be unpublished. Any theme or subject is welcome, in any style including graphic. Maximum length is 4,000 words. Deadline is April 30. Details at: The 32nd annual International Writing Contest sponsored by the SouthWest Writers is open from February 1 to May 15, but the early deadline for reduced fees is May 1. The contest includes 10 categories from novels to creative non-fiction to poetry. First prize in each category is $300. Fees range from $10 to $60. The higher fees include critiques. Details at: Writers’ Conferences The Sewanee Writers’ Conference will accept applications until April 15. The conference is July 22 to August 3. The attendees will be selected on the basis of the strength of their work and how much it appears they may gain from the conference. The full fee, including lodging is $1,800. Some scholarships are offered. Former CSUF professor Steve Yarbrough is one of the many faculty participants. Details at: The American Society of Journalists and Authors 43rd Writers Conference will be held April 24 through April 26 in New York City. It will feature more than 120 top writers, including Damon Brown, Sam Greengard and Megy Karydes. The keynote speaker will be Daniel Jones, editor of the “Modern Love” column of The New York Times. Reduced fees for early registration go through March 28 totaling $358 for Friday and Saturday. Details at: The Last Word “I think we need stories, and we need to tell the stories over and over and over not only to remind us, but to be able to have that clarity of experience that changes us, so that we know who we are now because of who we have been at some other time.” – Colum McCann. *First lines are from James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (1939) and Samuel Beckett’s Murphy (1938). 




hy is a smile so important? It isn’t complicated. A bright, white smile speaks confidence and leaves a good impression. At Smile Visalia, Dr. K. Sedillo makes your smile his priority. Achieving healthy, white, straight teeth can seem complicated to many people because dental providers often offer only one specialty. With hectic schedules and busy lives, most patients find it difficult to arrange visits with multiple dentists and orthodontists. At Smile Visalia, Dr. Sedillo makes it simple. Focusing on cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics while serving patients needing traditional dentistry, Dr. Sedillo keeps


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patients’ teeth healthy and clean, with the best smile possible – all in one convenient office. “Your teeth are one of the most essential parts of your body. If you have straight and white teeth, you can smile with confidence,” Dr. Sedillo says. After earning his degree from the University of Utah, Dr. Sedillo then went on to earn his doctor of dental surgery from UCLA in 1995, where he expanded his knowledge in both general and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Sedillo was first drawn to dentistry because of his interest in orthodontics, but decided to focus on general dentistry first. In 2001, Dr. Sedillo acquired the practice of Dr. Winey in Visalia and has grown the

B BUSINESS PROFILE practice to what it is today. Many staff members at Smile Visalia have been with the practice for several years, fostering a welcoming environment for new and returning patients. Although Dr. Sedillo places strong emphasis on providing personal, individualized care for each patient, he is also a strong proponent for offering the latest dental technology. Advanced technologies such as high-definition intra-oral photography, laser assisted dentistry and digital radiography help make dental procedures easier, quicker and more comfortable for Dr. Sedillo’s patients. “I really enjoy serving people and improving their lives through their smile,” he says. “My patients tell me they appreciate how I take time to explain procedures and their dental condition while seeing their own teeth on a monitor in both X-rays and actual photos.” Dr. Sedillo and his friendly, cheerful staff offer general dentistry services including exams, X-rays, crowns, root canals and dental cleaning as well short-term cosmetic orthodontics called “Six Month Smiles.” These nearly invisible braces can straighten teeth in about six months and are ideal for adults and older adolescents. Dr. Sedillo also places a special focus on cosmetic dental procedures including teeth whitening, veneers and dental bridges to restore patients’ smiles. “We offer free cosmetic consultations where we use advanced technology to show patients before and after virtual photos of what they may look like,” he says. “Our focus for our cosmetic patients is to make the whole process easier and less stressful.” For those without dental insurance, Smile Visalia offers a membership plan that reduces the cost of dental care by 20 percent, which includes a dental exam, cleaning and X-ray at no additional cost. To accommodate busy work schedules, the office is open Tuesday through Friday as well as Saturdays. When you don’t catch Dr. Sedillo in the dental office making smiles beautiful, you may see him on the ski slopes, at a concert or comedy show. While living in Los Angeles, Dr. Sedillo quickly became a fan of the LA Dodgers and still enjoys attending Dodgers baseball games and UCLA events. He now has become a fan of Fresno State athletics since his son is in his junior year at the university. Dr. Sedillo believes in living life to the fullest and encourages patients to not let their teeth hold them back; let Smile Visalia help you face the world with confidence.


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559.627.OVAL O V A L P A R K . O R G

with special guest

Peter Frampton






PICTURED: The Mt. Whitney Power and Electric Company. Circa 1900’s.


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hen settlers first laid claim to this remote land in the middle of a huge oak forest, the only power they had at their disposal was human and animal muscle. However, it didn’t take long for these hardy people to recognize the value of a nearby natural resource and capitalize on it to make their lives easier. They hired native people to dig a narrow channel off of Mill Creek allowing water to be diverted to the waterwheel at the flourmill. By the early 1850s water power had made its way to the small settlement. Little did these early pioneers realize at the time that a half century later this same

form of power would again come to Visalia, but this time it would come through wires. Visalia’s early experience with power wasn’t limited to water however. Wood, especially oak wood, provided heat and kerosene provided light. In 1859 a new source of power came to town. Financed by merchants, a town lamp using four camphene burners with reflectors was installed on Mill Street (now Main). The pole lamp stood about 12 feet tall, four feet wide and included about 30 panels of colored glass, some painted with merchant names as advertising. How long it was used is unknown, but presumably PICTURED: The Mt. Whitney Building 2014. L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014


H HISTORY just a short time as the highly flammable and unstable camphene was very dangerous. By 1886, Fred Holt and V. D. Knupp had developed a somewhat primitive electrical generating plant utilizing an “arc light” system. Their boiler type equipment provided usable power and even illuminated a number of streetlights, but it was unreliable and expensive requiring a half cord of oak wood per day to operate. While Holt and Knupp operated their system, Ben Maddox, publisher of the Tulare County Times, was publicly sharing his vision on the future of electricity. In 1891 he published an article called “Harnessing the Kaweah” in which he outlined a plan that would convert Sierra Nevada water into electricity. His plan was relatively simple. As the Sierra snow melted, water would fill the Kaweah River and the river water would drive a turbine creating electrical current. But the ambitious dream needed more than an enthusiastic champion to make it work; it required money, and lots of it. Maddox and like-minded entrepreneurs, including William Hammond, John Hayes Hammond and Albert G. Wishon found the necessary investors, and the Mt. Whitney Power Company began. In 1898 work started on the generating plant, flume and electrical lines. Construction progressed quickly and in June 1899 the Tulare County Times headline announced the big news, “Living wires bring power from the Kaweah to Lindsay & Visalia…the biggest enterprise ever undertaken in this county...” Proudly Maddox shared his delight and reported, “The Mt. Whitney Power plant is now completed and another mile post in the development of Tulare County has been erected. When the future historian shall write up the orderly progress of this portion of the San Joaquin Valley he will place the construction of the Valley road first, and second, the long-distance electric plant, which begins today to furnish the power that will make the wheels of manufacturing establishments turn, irrigating plants multiply, and darkness light.” Maddox’s dream had come true. On December 22, 1899, the Mt. Whitney Power Company filed for incorporation with the state of California. The company sold stock and the first stockholders’ meeting was held in Visalia in January 1900. At that meeting William Hammond, Albert Wishon, R. P. Hammond, Ben Maddox and Susman Mitchell were named to the board of directors. A year later the company leased office space on the second floor of the

S. C. Brown Building on Court Street near Acequia. For the next 11 years the building served as the company’s headquarters. The first power generated by the company was limited, but they quickly added more hydroelectric plants. By 1914 there were five plants in operation on the Kaweah and Tule Rivers and an additional steam plant in Visalia. Even though the benefits of electricity were becoming common knowledge, the company began an aggressive marketing campaign to educate the public. In 1907 they set up a display at Levinson’s store trying to get the public to think about electrical gadgets like meat boilers, coffee percolators, cooking ovens, hot cake griddles and curling iron heaters. Advertisements appeared in the newspaper pushing electricity. “Fan comfort” one read and boasted that an electrical fan “brings cool breezes to the man who can’t get away for a vacation…” Another ad, aimed at farmers, headlined, “Water for alfalfa land.” It espoused the benefits of pumping ground water to feed the thirsty crops. In July 1911, having great success, the power company announced plans to build their own office building and relocate from the Brown Building. Trewhitt & Shields of Hanford was the successful bidder for the new two-story brick building. In early 1912, the handsome $30,000 structure in the 200 block of West Main Street was finished. It was occupied on March 1, and the company had a party for employees and special guests. Tours were given and Palace Hotel food was served banquet-style on the ground floor. Proud company officials made speeches and the building was “declared by experts to be the best built structure of its class in the entire San Joaquin Valley.” The energy company occupied the fancy building at 215 W. Main Street for many years, even after the company became part of Southern California Edison in 1920. Ben Maddox served as the long-term manager of the company. He died on May 9, 1933, knowing his vision had become a reality. In 1955 Edison outgrew the building and built a new one at 701 W. Main. Coincidentally, the new building was again built by Trewhitt, Shields & Fisher. It is difficult to overstate the importance of these power pioneers and the impact of their work. Their vision, resolve and achievement improved lives and added immensely to the productivity of this land. Their work also reminds us of the strong connection between the Sierra Nevada and the valley floor. PICTURED: Portrait of Ben Maddox.


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OLD IS NEW AGAIN Text by Sonny Martin


recent article talking about some northern California winemaker’s trials, using terracotta clay amphorae or, large clay columns sealed on each end with beeswax, as one of the great new wine making techniques, made me pause. In years past the talk was of Nomblot, an egg-shaped concrete fermentation vats. Wineries built to avoid the use of pumps, by using gravity to move the wines from one stage of production to the next, are highly touted as producing the best and some of the most expensive wines. Tours of these wineries focus on how cutting edge it is to be as minimally intrusive in the wine making process as possible. Another hot topic is Bio-dynamic wine grape growing and production. What do all of these current hot topics have in common? The fact that old is new. What is believed to be the oldest wine cellar ever found was unearthed in Israel last year and, low and behold, forty 50-liter clay amphorae were found, filled with 4,000-year-old wine, made by the Canaanites, noted in the old testament of the Bible. The concrete wine tanks that so many wineries focus your attention on when you tour today were first introduced and used in the 19th century. But wait; in the 21st century this is the hot new technique to enhance the wine made. Wineries engineered to use gravity instead of pumps? I was touring a winery in Napa Valley that is housed in the original Grigsby-Occidental Winery. In 1878, it was the sixth bonded winery in the Napa Valley. Today it is the Regusci winery. It is a three-story building, built into the side of the hill, which is completely engineered for minimalist winemaking and the use of gravity. Trap doors in the wooden third floor were used to pour the crushed grapes and juice into the fermenting


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tanks sitting on the second floor. After fermentation, the wine would flow out of the tanks and into the waiting barrels on the first floor, ground level at the front of the building. The horse drawn wagons could then take the barrels out of the winery and to market. You would think that minimalist wine making and wineries engineered to utilize gravity, instead of pumps, have only just come into being with our advanced knowledge. This month’s menu brings to mind the principle of what’s old is new too. Looking at an entrée dish that includes both seafood and steak might cause some to feel confused about what wine to serve that would match this dish. Back in the days that biodynamics, concrete eggs, gravity wineries and, especially in the days of clay amphorae, the wine that people liked would be what they had available and that meant that the wine they liked was what would be served with everything. Let’s not get too caught up in the rules of what to serve with what and when. Don’t get me wrong; there are lots of great scientific principles that are proven when certain wines are matched with particular dishes. The complexity and enjoyment of the food is enhanced by the wine match and vice versa. But, if you find yourself feeling confused and that causes you to feel uncomfortable enough to eschew the wine and find another beverage to serve, throw the rules out and rely on the old is new tact. Serve what you like with the dish that you are looking forward to enjoy. Even if there might have been a wine match that could have increased the enjoyment more, I can assure you that having any wine with your meal is going to provide more enjoyment than none at all.


TO LI FE . It’s easier than you think to get back the function and beauty of a natural, healthy, happy smile. From comfortably treating sleep apnea to replacing missing teeth to preventive hygiene to cosmetic and general services, we’ve been keeping Central Valley families smiling for over 30 years. Call us today to schedule your appointment and let us finally bring your smile back to life. Call us today at 686-0078.

comprehensive dentistry

2011-2012 PRESIDENT

JOHN K. SULLIV AN , DDS + ALISA L. MART I N , D D S visit us at 925 North Blackstone Street in Tulare call us at 559.686.0078 or go online at



A SOLID FOUN Text by Jordan Venema | Photos by Taylor Johnson


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NDATION Built on Family Roots

PICTURED: What Debi has dubbed, “the heart of the home,” the Witschi’s large, open kitchen is the perfect place for family gatherings.

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udy and Debi Witschi know a thing or two about building homes: as the owners of Witschi Construction, it is in their job description. In the 25 years since he started Witschi Construction, Rudy has built a number of homes from the ground up, but he has only built one for himself. Rudy describes it as a “simple house,” and some of his clients have wondered why he didn’t build a bigger, grander “dream house.” But for a guy who used to describe his home as wherever he slept for more than two nights at a time, the house is “already more than I could have dreamed of,” explains Rudy. The road that leads to the Witschi home is a long and windy one that begins in Switzerland and makes its way through the island of New Guinea before coming back to Visalia. Rudy grew up in Switzerland, studied construction there, and served in its military, but “due to an interest in history and geography,” he says, “I started traveling through Europe a little bit.” He even worked on a Kibbutz in Israel. Then, in 1981, Rudy and a couple friends decided to travel through Canada and the United


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States. They started in New York, where they bought a car, and began driving eastward. Rudy and his friends made it all the way to Silver City, a small mountain town in Sequoia National Park, in a “big ol’ station wagon.” They stayed there for three weeks, backpacking and hiking and doing odd jobs like building decks. Silver City left enough of an impression on Rudy that four years later, after a stint in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he returned. It was during his second trip to Silver City that he first met Debi. A lot changed for Rudy the year he met Debi. “I was very much, absolutely, totally into independence traveling,” says Rudy. “I loved that feeling of absolute freedom.” Perhaps that sense of freedom is partially what attracted Debi to Rudy. “I had always wanted to travel,” she says, “so it was exciting for me to hear that he was from Switzerland” - Although, as Rudy laughs to explain, she first thought he was from Australia. It was earlier that same year when Rudy also had a conversion experience through Cavalry Chapel.

TOP: Debi and Rudy Witschi pictured with one of their three children, Nate. BOTTOM: A monogrammed, wroughtiron gate fences the Witschi’s home located on the northern edge of Visalia.





PICTURED: Wooden beams draw attention to the living room’s vaulted ceilings while the stone fi replace and hickory fl oors add to the home’s rustic yet cozy feeling.

“I definitely changed a little bit,” he says. “I still had an adventure spirit but in a different direction.” Rudy explains he did not feel the need anymore to “do my own thing.” Instead, he wanted to channel his passion for travel in a different direction, and with somebody else. When Rudy traded in his backpack for a hammer, it became obvious that he and Debi were getting “pretty serious, pretty quick.” They wanted “to figure out what God wanted,” says Debi, so Rudy took a job working construction for Bill Maze while she worked at Valhallas. They married the following May, and very shortly after decided to enter the mission field. “We felt God wanted us to do something different,” says Debi, and perhaps it was also their love for travel that led them to join Wycliffe Bible Translators. For the next two and a half years, the Witschis lived in what was then known as Irian Jaya, now Papua New Guinea, the Western Province of the island of New Guinea. They lived in the settlement of Danau Bila, a language center, where the Witschis served in their respective fields: education and construction. Even Rudy’s experience as a traveler probably could not prepare him for an island where almost all traveling was done by foot or canoe or plane - at the time, explains Rudy, the island had only 60 or 70 miles of road. But for the Witschis, Irian Jaya was their first real home: it is where their first child, Nate, was born, and where, for the first time in years, Rudy had settled for longer than a single year. In July 1990, the Witschis returned to Hanford where they briefly lived with Debi’s parents. “The question then was, now what?” they asked themselves. After years serving as missionaries in a jungle, the Witschis had little to support

RIGHT: A framed-photo of two of the family’s children on a Witschi Construction job-site. L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014



themselves, but they took a leap of faith and began their own business. “We started up in the mountains again,” says Rudy, doing odd jobs, building decks and homes, “little by little.” Though they now had a family, for a short period they moved around like gypsies. “We housesat for different people,” says Rudy, later in a cabin, and then in a trailer in Dinuba for three months. But finally, at the end of 1990, they bought their first house, where they lived for the next ten years. It was a long time coming, but 14 years ago, after years spent traveling and years spent building homes for other families, the Witschis finally built their own modest, four-bedroom house on the northern edge of Visalia. For Rudy, building his own home “signaled that I was at the point in my life where I desired to provide a solid base for my family.” He did not just provide that solid base, he designed it and he built it with his own hands. “I chose not to build my house out of sticks,” says Rudy. “Coming from Europe, you know, brick, solid long-term kind of buildings, that is still deep somewhere inside me.” Wanting a solid, ranch-style home, Rudy constructed the home using a method of insulating concrete form (ICF) that, interestingly enough, developed out of a method first patented in Switzerland by August Schnell and Alex Boshard. “It uses a foam block that is 48 inches long, 16 inches tall and 12 inches thick, and at the center it’s open for six inches of concrete. We stacked them like Legos, cut out the openings, and poured in the reinforced concrete,” explains Rudy. The foam blocks are then left in place, which provide a 12

inch-thick insulated wall that has numerous benefits, including energy efficiency, sound absorption, fire protection and increased wall strength. Insulating concrete form not only helps keep the Witschi electrical bills at a minimum, it also met the need for building their home in a simple, sturdy style. “It’s just kind of a ranch-style home,” says Rudy, describing the single-story house. “It’s not over the top, it’s just us.” The home has its space, a large backyard, where the family had once set up soccer goals for their three kids. There is also that European sturdiness in the home, with red-brick columns in its living room. “I like the softness and yet the strength in them,” says Rudy of the brick columns, “they add to the simplicity of the home.” It is a simple but also slightly rugged home, which is not surprising considering Rudy’s background. There is real slate throughout the kitchen floors and dark hickory wood throughout the living room. The red-brick columns in the living room compliment a large, stone fireplace, whose large stacked stones seem locked in place by a simple wooden beam that serves as a hearth. Smooth arches span between the brick columns and counterbalance an arched ceiling with wooden exposed beams. Dark wooden furniture helps accentuate the floor and the exposed beams, adding to the rugged quality of the home. They designed the house to have the master bedroom separated from the other rooms by the living space. The master bedroom, like most other rooms, has a uniquely recessed ceiling, and the

PICTURED: Pops of red and dark wood furniture add warmth to the master suite.


L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014


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L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014


bathroom has one of the few luxuries that Debi really wanted - a large jacuzzi tub. Better to spend time in the tub than in the office, which they also included in the home. Rudy admits there was some concern to build a workspace at home, since he is a bit of a workaholic. “There’s not really that clear of a separation,” says Rudy, between work and home, but that is only because he loves his work. His son Nate also works for the family business, and they built a large shop in the backyard where, besides constructionrelated projects, Rudy enjoys making Pinterest-inspired projects with the kids. The Witschis may call their home simple, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t their dream house. Debi mostly wanted a place to host people, her family and friends, their church. Those memories, “the memories of raising our family here,” says Debi, “and the next generation to come, too,” that’s what makes for her a home. Debi particularly loves to cook for family and friends in the large, open kitchen, which she calls “the heart of the home.” As such, it is not the final product so much as the process for the Witschis. That is particularly true for Rudy, whose profession is really his passion. “I always had a natural interest in putting things together… and it’s incredible to put things into reality.” For Rudy, that passion was satisfied during the construction of his home, whenever he would stop what he was doing to watch the dog running in the yard or his children playing outdoors. Those were the moments when Rudy realized, “I was living my dream. Life doesn’t get much better than that.”

PICTURED: The large outdoor structure and woodburning fireplace are ideal for hosting friends and family for backyard barbeques.

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& Recipes by Elaine Dakessian | Phot


and meets ocean in this month’s culinary feature. This recipe serves as a great

opportunity to invite family or friends over and wow them

o s by T aylo r Jo

with a culinary creation. Not only will they be impressed with your presentation and

hns o

skill, but also with the amazing


flavors you have created. Try your hand at this gourmet take on a traditional surf and turf.





8 sea scallops, cleaned 8 slices applewood smoked bacon, partially cooked (about 5-8 minutes, I cook my bacon on a baking sheet in a 400째F oven) 2 T butter 2 T olive oil Salt and pepper DIRECTIONS

Wrap each scallop with one piece of partially cooked bacon and secure with a pick. Season with salt and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed pan (I prefer cast iron) melt the butter and olive oil together. Let the pan get hot and then sear the scallops on each side, about 2-3 minutes, until you get a nice sear. You want the scallop to have a deep, rich color. Keep warm in a 275째F oven. This will also allow the scallops to cook through a little more. If you prefer your scallops well-done, finish in a 400째F oven for an additional 6-8 minutes.


2 C orange juice 1 C dry white wine 2 C heavy cream 2 T fresh tarragon or parsley, chopped 1 stick butter, chilled and cut into chunks 1 orange, zested DIRECTIONS

Combine the juice and wine in a saucepan. Bring to boil and let reduce to half its volume or when the orange juice gets a little syrupy. Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil, allowing the cream to thicken the sauce. Once this has been accomplished, remove from heat. Add the butter a little at a time and incorporate. Finish with fresh herbs and keep warm. *If I am entertaining, I finish this sauce in advance and hold in a thermos that has been warmed with boiling water. Remove the hot water and fill with the sauce. It will keep for a couple of hours.


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Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallops with Orange Beurre Blanc and a

Tomahawk-Cut Ribeye with Compound Butter


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2 Ribeye Tomahawk Steaks (I prefer to sear in a cast iron pan but you can grill these as well). You will need a butcher to cut these for you. When sliced, two steaks feed four. Kosher salt and coarse black pepper DIRECTIONS

Bring steaks to room temperature before grilling, about 1-2 hours. Season the steaks liberally with kosher salt and pepper. If you are using a cast iron pan, preheat your oven to 400°F. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons olive oil in the pan, swirl around and use a paper towel to dab up excess. Bring pan to a high heat, place steaks in pan and sear about 4 minutes per side. Finish in the oven, about 8 more minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak (130°F for medium rare.) You don’t want to over-cook the steak. Tent with foil and let rest before slicing, about 10 minutes.


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature Kosher salt 1 T lemon juice 2 small shallots, minced 2 T fresh herbs, preferably the mixture you use in your Beurre blanc DIRECTIONS

Blend all the ingredients in food processor until smooth. Remove and shape into a log on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Roll up in the paper and place on a baking sheet to place in the refrigerator. Take out the compound 30 minutes before using. To serve, slice the steak and place on a plate. Slice the compound butter and place on the warm steak so it can start melting. Place the scallops next to the steak, drizzle with the Beurre blanc and garnish with orange zest. Do not worry about calories on this menu, enjoy and go to the gym in the morning. Hopefully, it will be worth it.



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PICTURED: View of the Granada from the Alhambra.


L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014


Text by Marsha Roberts


hristmas is a time for families, and it brought ours, my husband, two daughters and myself, to Andalucia, the southern most region of Spain. My brother and his family rented apartments for us to celebrate the holidays together and sightsee. The apartments were in a very quiet, picturesque village of Acequias, in the Granada Province. Andalucia is an area with snow capped Sierra Nevadas, isolated Mediterranean beaches, olive groves and cities rich with ancient history. Out the northeast windows we could see the mountains and, to the west, the wind generators that powered the scattered villages with clean energy. The south side of the apartment complex, across the cobbled road and over the underground river, was the local Catholic Church built in the 18th century. The church bells rang on Christmas Day as we ran in the rain to

attend mass. Later on, our Christmas feast consisted of sliced ham with gherkins and pickled onions, salads, delectable local cheeses with red wine. In addition, we dined on assorted sweet and savory local bread delivered daily. For dessert, we ate fruit cake with royal icing and mince pies. “Feliz Navidad” was cheered, and glasses clinked. When planning our sightseeing we had our children choose a place they really wanted to visit or see in Spain. Our youngest wanted to see a royal palace and our oldest wanted to see Picasso’s home town and do some local shopping. We were able to fulfill both of their requests. The word “tile” perfectly describes Spanish cities, houses and sidewalks. On our first outing in Granada, we encountered cobblestoned streets, tile clad alleys, above tiled roofs and L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014


T TRAVEL the Albayzin Islamic quarter for a taste of Spain’s past. Spain was invaded by Muslims in A.D. 711; Granada was one of the last surviving Muslim states on the peninsula until early 1492, when it was taken over by Catholics. We then experienced Muslim culture preserved in the famous Alhambra. Perched on a hill, the palace still dominates Granada’s skyline. Our tourist map lacked major details, but fortunately the locals did not mind redirecting tourists and practicing their English. Still jet lagged, we found ourselves crisscrossing streets and alleyways as we ascended to a church courtyard for a fabulous view. Granada is a modern city with high-rise buildings, a university, a vibrant cultural life and an unfortunate underclass of street beggars and unsightly graffiti. On our second outing in Granada, our extended family toured the Alhambra and Generalife. We had booked the tickets online beforehand, making it the only fixed date on our busy schedule, and of course, it rained. First we saw the Generalife, ‘Garden of the Architect’. The gloomy day had actually brought a mystic glow to the gardens and the magnificent 700-year old cypress tree. There

into a museum for almost 200 works of Picasso’s, donated by family members. Later on, we walked down Malaga’s main boulevard, past countless vendors with their sales pitches, and purchased a few souvenirs. As we headed for the city’s cathedral, we rambled through a lush park, and then passed a group of women protesting by the city hall. Building of the cathedral began in the 16th century and took 200 years, but is left incomplete and is now known as “La Manquita,” One-Armed Cathedral. Inside it has several richly carved 17th century wooden choir stalls, different alcoves dedicated to saints and bishops, as well as a “Belen,” or Nativity Scene. Afterwards, we sat on the terrace of a delightful tapas bar and sampled food, drinks and an added bonus, listened to a group of men singing along to a guitar, flamenco style, “cante jondo” (deep song). We asked our waiter to bring us what he recommended on the menu. Our table was soon filled with various tapas dishes: sun dried tomatoes, olives and crumbled bread or “migas,” meat balls in a light onion sauce, chorizo with baked zucchini and pita chips to

Photo by Avril Weeble

are many steps to the different levels of the palace and patios, with the “Jardines Altos” (Upper Gardens) and “Jardines Nuevos” (New Gardens), displaying different floral. In the afternoon, we had an allocated time to visit the famous “Palacio Nazaries,” or Royal House. It was easy to get lost in the amazing palace both mentally and physically. As we entered each building, with elaborate honeycombed vaulted rooms, our eyes were steered to the intricately carved gypsum walls, knotted wooden ceilings, and Arabic inscriptions. The courtyards had bubbling fountains, and channels for the water to run between delicate arched columns. We took many photos as we strolled through the palace, room after room, in awe of the unique architecture. Our trip to the city of Malaga was a smooth ride on Spain’s wellengineered highways. We encountered several amazing tunnels and bridges driving along the idyllic Mediterranean coastline. Malaga is the birthplace of Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973), a master of canvas and clay, and innovator of cubism. We wandered through the 16th century Palacio de Buenavista which has been converted

dip in olive oil and vinegar. On yet another day, we dined in the Alpujarra villages; they are well worth the winding road along the southern edge of the Sierra Nevadas. The view of the valley and surrounding hills are spectacular. The villages offered locally made chocolate and woven rugs. The main attractions were the shops, restaurants and even an area for children to play. To continue the play time, we managed a snow day in the mountains. Some of us played in the snow and the more experienced, snowboarded on well-groomed slopes. We spent the following day on the beach at Salobrena and Almunecar where three of us braved the cold Mediterranean Sea. It felt like going from winter to summer in a day. Sightseeing with young nieces and nephews and grandparents meant slow walking and many breaks. We found ourselves stranded several times, as shops and restaurants closed for several hours during the afternoon, because we were unaware of the eating schedules. Small bars are open most of the time where thick hot chocolate syrup and churros can be enjoyed by all after a chilly

Pictured: View of the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, the oldest bullring, in Malaga, Spain.


L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014


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Photo by Avril Weeble

Photo by Avril Weeble

day out visiting palaces, museums and cathedrals. At these bars my husband made sure to sample the favorite local cerveza, and I always indulged in the “cafe con leche.” The best deal for our money, when eating out, was the “Menu del Dia.” It consists of a main course, a drink, bread and dessert for about 8 to 10 euros. The food tends to be somewhat bland in most restaurants, except for the “paellas.” The paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish with seafood or meat. The last few days of our vacation were spent in Seville, the capital of the south, then onto Madrid. Seville has a vibrant nightlife of flamenco dancers, boat cruises along the Rio Guadalquivir, which divides the city, and Christmas decorations lit up along the streets. Vendors called out as they roasted chestnuts in clay ovens on carts and horse drawn carriage rides were offered at a hefty price. Young people hung out at the bars while grandmas shopped, children rode their bikes and runners got their daily mileage in. We reveled in the city’s historical sites, such as the Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza, the oldest bullring in Spain, “Torre del Oro” (Muslim watchtower), and Seville’s famous Gothic Cathedral, “La Giralda” or minaret, is a must see, despite the 31 floors one would have to walk up. The view of the city and surrounding hills are breathtaking. Once again, we found ourselves lost in the city as we followed the not-to-scale tourist map of the city center. We found being ‘lost’ has its bonuses as we saw parts of the city we wouldn’t have normally and were able to take a break from the well worn tourist route. We packed up our very small European car with our very large American suitcases for the last time as we headed to Madrid. The metro in Madrid is cheap, efficient and was a great way to see and experience a large European city. The weather was wet and chilly so we decided that Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza would be a sensible choice. The museum was originally a neoclassical palace but now accommodates a widerange of European art. Hours passed admiring works from artists, Singer Sargent, Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Pollock and Lichtenstein, to list a few. In addition, we appreciated the changing art from the 15th to 20th centuries. Lastly, we managed to squeeze in a quick visit of the Palacio Real, Spain’s royal palace, currently in use by government personnel. We then savored our last meal in the famous Plaza Mayor and said goodbye to España. Together we became sore footed and bleary eyed from touring, but warm hearted because of our family reunion and discovering somewhere new. Though we were thousands of miles away from our house we never felt so close to home because we enjoyed Christmas in Spain as a family.

Top: Shops in Albayzin, Granada. Bottom: The Palace Garden located in the Alhambra.


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L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014



19 T H


Sofa Art Reads a Good Book Text & Photos By Cheryl L. Dieter


ineteen years ago a local phenomenon was born. Today it is one of Visalia’s most revered and anticipated art events. What is this phenomenon? “Sofa Art.” “I have to take the blame for it,” said former College of Sequoias art instructor Varian Mace with a chuckle. It all started with a piece in the local newspaper in which the state of local art was criticized with the author expressing the opinion that fine art in the area consisted of people buying art to match their sofa. Mace acted swiftly. “I took exception to that article and so I had my students read it,” said Mace. “Needless to say, it raised the ire of many of those students along with members of the local art community. So I decided to give my students a tongue and cheek assignment in which they had to paint a picture that contained a sofa. When Lucy Merritt saw the results of that assignment she insisted that we had to have a show. That is how Sofa Art began. I never would have guessed at the time that Sofa Art would become such a popular and long-lasting tradition in the area.” The first show was held in Larry Collins’ downtown gallery. It was supposed to be a weekend show but the response was so great that it was left up for a month. “The whole idea was to make it as tacky as possible. We served Oreo cookies, Hawaiian Punch and licorice at the opening. We wanted to spoof the notion that art was a high-class affair and bring people into an art gallery who might never go. It was an attempt to make art fun and accessible for everyone,” said Mace. After making the rounds at different venues the first several years of its existence, Sofa Art came to Arts Visalia in 2001. As director Kevin Bowman explained, “This is an important show because the people who come and see the show leave thinking that they can create something too. It serves to give people an outlet who may have never done anything artistic before. People become inspired and before they know it they are taking art classes and developing a passion for the arts. It is really cool how the show changes an individual’s perceptions of art as well as how they define themselves as artists.” While the first event featured only paintings, today it has evolved into an explosion of different mediums including clay, photography, sculpture, digital art and paper mache. Any material may be used just as long as there is a sofa contained somewhere within the piece.


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TOP: “Sofa, Art with Sketch Book” by Gladys Tweedy. BOTTOM: “Curiouser & Curiouser” by Deanna Saldana.


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TOP “The Sisters Grimm Life” by Mattie Cole. INSET: “The Reader” by John Friedrich. RIGHT: “The Metamorphosis” by Joshua Awbrey.

The unveiling of the annual Sofa Art theme is also a much anticipated and contemplated subject. Past topics have included “Sofa Art Does the Big Apple,” “Sofa Art Down On The Farm” and “Sofa Art in Outer Space.” This year the theme was “Sofa Art Reads a Good Book.” One entry submitted by Mt. Whitney High School art teacher, Joshua Awbrey, featured a giant paper mache bug sitting on a sofa reading a book. It was the second Sofa Art show he has participated in. “As an art teacher I look for shows where I can submit pieces which will inspire my students. They love to watch as the creations come alive and it makes them consider the possibility of creating their own entries. It is such a fun way to make art meaningful and accessible to my students and to members of the community,” said Awbrey. For 13 year-old, Mattie Cole, the chance to have her artwork displayed in a gallery was an exciting possibility. Her art instructor, Pam Frye, introduced her to the idea of creating Sofa Art. As Cole explained,” I have wanted to be an artist all my life so I was overjoyed that I had the chance for my family and friends see my work. The show has encouraged me as an artist to keep working hard because that is the purpose of art…to be seen


L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014

and appreciated.” While some submissions were completed with the intention of being displayed or sold by the artists themselves, many of the pieces were commissioned and auctioned off by Pro-Youth/ HEART as part of their yearly fundraiser. “We serve over 5,000 children throughout five districts in Tulare County everyday. Our program emphasizes academics and the arts so it was only natural that we had some of our kids produce artwork for the auction. We are really proud of the effort they put forth for the fundraiser,” explained Daryn Davis, CEO of the program. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the event and already local residents are speculating about what the year’s theme might be. Although it has not been announced, Arts Visalia director Bowman believes that whatever it is the turnout and support by the community will be incredible. “This year we had hundreds of people attend the opening reception and the Art for HEART Auction and I expect we will see even more next year,” said Bowman. “The thing about Sofa Art is it is just plain silly and fun. The smiles and laughter of the folks who attend the show says it all - because art is meant to be enjoyed by everyone.”


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Text by Nikki Gilman | Photos by Katie Presser

5 T H








PICTURED: The 5th annual Empty Bowls features custom handcrafted bowls, made by The Clay Studio Art Zone and the Reedly College Clay Club.


reeted by a table of brightly colored and uniquely assorted clay bowls, handcrafted by local artists, guests of the Visalia Rescue Mission’s Empty Bowls event gathered to raise awareness and support for the organization’s mission. In February, more than 200 local community members filled the Visalia Rescue Mission’s Community Outreach Center for the organization’s annual event where each guest chose one handmade bowl to take home. Each empty bowl serves as a reminder for all those who go hungry in the world and in our community. Adding to the artistic atmosphere of the evening, professional potters were onsite throwing clay bowls while attendees enjoyed a silent auction and live music from local artist Jason Avila. Guests filled their bowls with an assortment of soups catered by the Vintage Press, served out of the same kitchen the Visalia Rescue Mission (VRM) provides daily meals to local men, women and children in need. From this community kitchen, the VRM serves three meals a day, 365 days a year. The VRM currently serves, on average, nearly

500 meals each day and sleeps an average of 200 people each night in their shelters. Founded in 1981, the VRM is a Christian-based nonprofit operating out of 14 facilities throughout the City of Visalia. In addition to the meals served and shelter provided, the organization also offers recovery programs for those struggling with addiction, and case management and counseling through the Next Steps Program for those who are looking for a fresh start. “Our first touch with someone is often through a meal,” explained Visalia Rescue Mission Director of Development Jessica Cavale. “They come in for a meal or a place to sleep and then we see their life change and transform.” Now in its fifth year at the VRM, The Empty Bowls Project is an international, grassroots effort to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger. Through this unique project, millions of dollars have been donated to hunger-fighting organizations as communities across the world participate in similar events. In 2009, the VRM was approached by a partnership between Nutrius and Diamond V, local animal nutrient companies, who had the idea to sponsor an Empty Bowls event to benefit the local nonprofit.

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“We wanted to do something different with our marketing dollars,” explained Patti Murphy of Nutrius, one of the founding event sponsors. “We wanted to put the money back into the community.” The founding sponsors are still involved in putting on the annual event although it has grown to include more sponsors each year. Over the past five years, this single event has contributed more than $67,000 to the VRM. For Bill Sanchez of Diamond V, the connection between Empty Bowls and the work of the VRM comes full circle, “When we learned about all the people the Visalia Rescue Mission feeds and the services they provide, we knew it was a perfect fit.” Sanchez added, “This event is so unique because it brings together all types of people within the community: Artists, chefs and businesses, they all come together to support the cause.” The VRM hosts several fundraising events and projects throughout the year in addition to the operation of two thrift stores in Visalia: Rescued Treasures and a smaller store located downtown, Simply Chic Boutique. All funds raised go towards the efforts of the mission and the transformation of not only individual lives, but also the community. In 2011, the VRM joined forces with the City of Visalia to begin a revitalization project for the Oval Park and its surrounding neighborhood. “The idea is to cultivate a new culture in the park and direct those who need help to the mission’s facilities,” Cavale explained.

In August, the park will host Grammy® award-winning guitarist Peter Frampton in concert with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Buddy Guy. Local residents are encouraged to consider hosting their own concerts, classes or group trainings at the park. This year, the VRM is partnering with local businesses and the community to launch a capital campaign in an effort to meet a growing need for its services. $1.6 million is needed for a new shelter and the completion of the Community Center, a space vital to the mission’s outreach services. The Community Center is home to a number of counseling services, job-placement and skills trainings, and with expansion, future programs aimed at restoring lives. “There are things that will happen on this campus that will change people’s lives,” explained Visalia Rescue Mission Executive Director Danny Little. “Whether we have somebody for two nights or two years, what we hope to do is to begin somewhere in an individual’s life and identify things that will help them move on and make better decisions in their lives.” Speaking to the heart of the mission’s services, a VRM program graduate and recovering alcoholic gave Empty Bowls attendees a first-hand account as he spoke at the event, “Through love, compassion and understanding, the Visalia Rescue Mission takes people like me who have no hope left and they build us back up to real human beings again. All through the power of God.”

PICTURED: Jorge Garza of The Clay Studio Art Zone “throwing clay” at the Empty Bowls event.


L I FE S T Y L E | M A R CH 2014








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The MAN and

The LEGEND Text by Dara Ekanger


he name is a sure giveaway … Saint Patrick’s Day celebrates the renowned patron saint of Ireland. But did you know this famous “Irishman” wasn’t Irish? Patrick (whose birth name was Maewyn Succat) was born in Roman Britain in about A.D. 385 to a wealthy Christian family. His grandfather was a priest, but according to his own Confession of St. Patrick, in his youth he did not share his family’s beliefs. At the age of 16, Patrick was captured by sea raiders, taken to Ireland and sold as a slave. For six years he was forced to work as a shepherd and endure the depravations of slavery. Many months spent alone in the green hills provided ample time to reconsider his family’s faith. He later stated that the Lord took pity on his “youth and ignorance” and he became a devout Christian.




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Eventually, he had a dream in which he was told a boat was waiting to take him home. So, one night he slipped away from his master, a Druid priest, and traveled to the coast, knowing that if he were caught, he could be sentenced to a torturous death. He did find a boat that was about to depart. The captain, however, refused to let him board; a penniless passenger was of no use to him. Patrick retreated a short distance and prayed. The other sailors called him back, saying they could use an extra hand, and the captain relented. After a three-day journey through treacherous waters, the crew was forced to abandon ship and journey on foot through France. After traveling nearly a month with hardly any food, the crew and dogs were starving and began to complain that if Patrick’s God were real, He ought to provide them with some food. Patrick answered, “‘Turn in good faith and with all your heart to the Lord my God … that this day He may send you food for your journey.’ And, by the help of God … a herd of swine appeared in the way before our eyes, and they killed many of them … After this they rendered hearty thanks to God, and I became honorable in their eyes; and from that day they had food in abundance.” Patrick eventually made it home where he decided to become a priest, study the scriptures and make up for his “lack of education.” The days of slavery were not wasted, however. Patrick had learned the culture, customs, and most importantly, religious beliefs that would later help him explain Christianity to the people. Eventually, Patrick had another dream: An Irishman handed him a letter stating, “We beg you, holy youth, that you shall


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come and shall walk again among us.” Patrick woke up, knowing he was supposed to return to Ireland. Patrick was consecrated Bishop of Ireland in 432. He was not the first Christian missionary to the isle, but likely the most successful. Fascinating stories exist of his confrontations with Druid chieftains and miraculous events that led the people to revere him. Even so, he was beaten and imprisoned numerous times. While tales of him casting snakes out of the land are likely later embellishments (or metaphorically referring to his “casting out” paganism), it is undisputed that during his 40 years in Ireland dozens of churches and monasteries were founded. By the time of his death on March 17, 461, Ireland was decidedly Christianized. While Patrick became the patron saint of Ireland, the shamrock has long been its patron plant. Frequently associated with the green hills of Ireland, legend has it that Patrick used the three-leafed clover to explain the concept of the Christian Trinity to the Irish pagans. Their belief in many gods made the concept of only one God – in three distinct persons – very confusing. But the clover analogy made sense to them. Stained glass windows depicting St. Patrick invariably show him with a three-leaf clover, representing the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in both countries of the Irish isle and is celebrated by Irish descendants (and nondescendants, just for the fun of it) in the US, Britain, Canada and many other countries. The restrictions of Lent (40 days leading up to Easter) are traditionally lifted in celebration of St. Patrick … leading to another familiar tradition – consumption of great quantities of green Guinness beer.


For 25 years I have enjoyed working with clients and assisting them in making confident financial decisions. I have found that by listening to the goals and dreams of those I serve and building long term relationships with them, we can develop an ongoing financial plan that allows you to plan for your future, while living your life today.

Janet Martinusen, CFP速 Private Wealth Advisor

Martinusen and Associates A private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

1104 W. Center Ave. Visalia, CA 93291 559-732-4955 Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. 2013 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

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THE GREAT GUITARS Enjoy a night bringing together the leading acoustic guitarists of their generation. That includes the sounds from Martin Taylor, Frank Vingola, Vinny Rainolo and Peppino D’Agostino. When: Apr. 15, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


The Dance Department at El Diamante High School will be presenting their annual Spring Dance Production, “TURN UP THE MUSIC.” Tickets are $8 and will be available in advance at the El Diamante Finance Center and online at the EDHS Web Store. They can also be purchased at the door. Come enjoy a great show and help support the Dance Program. When: Mar. 20 & 21, 7p Where: L.J. Williams Theatre, 1001 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 735-3522

MAR 27


The Grammy Award-nominated, multiplatinum singer, songwriter and guitarist tells one story after another on his first full-length album, “The Road.” See him perform some of his hit songs echoing traditional country. When: Mar. 27, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


Mr. Willy Wonka is ready to share his magic. Come out and watch the Ruby Slipper Performing Arts Academy perform their rendition of Willy Wonka, Oompa Loompas and all! When: Apr. 4 & 5, 6p Where: The Rotary Theatre, 330 S. Dollner St., Visalia Contact: 732-7463


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The country act to watch coming out of California will be in Visalia for one night. Their songs tell the story of falling in love, good times, heartbreak and the country way of life. The husband and wife duo have shared the stage with some of the County’s biggest acts, such as Blake Shelton and Montgomery Gentry. When: Apr. 5, 7p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


The world’s number one touring ABBA tribute concert. Hits include “Dancing Queen,” “Waterloo,” “Mamma Mia” and many more. If you’re looking for an excuse to boogie, reminisce or simply be entertained, this is the place. When: Apr. 6, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


Stop by this exhibit Wednesday – Saturday, 12p-5:30p When: Through Mar. 28 Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 739-0905



Artists may submit up to 3 pieces of original art. This can include paintings, photography, ceramics, gourds, sculpture, weaving and digital. Reception for artists will be held on Apr. 11, from 5p to 7p When: Apr. 11-May 4, Every Sat. & Sun. 12p-4p Where: Lindsay Museum & Gallery, 165 Gale Hill, Lindsay Contact: 562-26894


MAR 15


Watch as the grand marshal, Francie Levy, and past grand marshals lead the parade down Main St. in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy a day of fun, music and great food. When: Mar. 15, 10a Where: Downtown Visalia Contact: 802-3266






Tulare-Kings Right to Life invites walkers of all ages and abilities to join in the 19th annual LifeWALK. There will be music, food, bounce houses, raffles, vendors and more! Walkers raising $150 or more will earn a free LifeWALK T-Shirt. The grand prize is a 7-Day Mexican Riviera Cruise for two. To register, get pledge forms, or more info, call or email When: Apr. 5, 9a Where: Plaza Park, Visalia Contact: 732-5000


Join the town of Lindsay for their annual Orange Blossom Festival. The day will include a carnival, parade, tours, bike rides, walks and many exhibits. When: Apr. 5-12 Where: Downtown Lindsay Contact: 359-9018

For this 21 and over event, attendees will enjoy a night of samplings of fine wines and cheeses from multiple locations in downtown Visalia. Tickets are available for purchase at 119 S. Church St. When: Apr. 3, 5:30p-8:30p Where: Main St., Visalia Contact: 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 can pick up a map and schedule at Anne Lang’s Emporium or the Historical Museum – art to see, locations and times for special events. When: Apr. 5, 10a-5p Where: Anne Lang’s Emporium, 41651 Sierra Dr. (CA 198), Three Rivers Contact: Nadi Spencer, 561-4373 or

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RAWHIDE OPENING DAY It’s that time of year again! Baseball season is officially here. Bring the whole family as the Visalia Rawhide take on the Stockton Ports. You don’t want to miss out on all of the fun opening day activities. Tickets start at $6. When: Apr. 3, 7p Where: Recreation Ballpark, 300 N. Giddings St., Visalia Contact: 713–4365


APR 24




More than 100 classic and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles will be featured at this event. Food, entertainment, 5050 drawing, raffle and more will be in attendance. Check out this annual event in downtown Tulare. When: Apr. 5, 10a-3p Where: Corner of K St. and Tulare Ave., Tulare Contact: 686-1547 or

Weekly event open to the public featuring free live music, kids’ activities, cooking demonstrations and local, fresh produce available for purchase. The market also accepts EBT and WIC. When: Thursdays, 5-8p; Saturdays, 8-11:30a Where: Thursdays, Downtown Visalia; Saturdays, Sears parking lot Contact: 967-6722 or


Three wineries. Two restaurants. One great night. Join three of the Central Coast wineries: Alemsa Winery, Baker & Brain, and Sinor-Lavalee for exclusive wine and fine dining. The opening reception begins at Jack & Charlie’s at 6:30p and continues across the street to The Depot at 7:30p for dinner. Come join the circus! For reservations, please call The Depot at 732-8611. When: Apr. 24, 6:30p Where: Jack & Charlie’s, 204 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 732-0577

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MAR 15


The Tulare County Farm Bureau will hold its annual gala that benefits the local agriculture in classroom outreach projects and curriculum development. It also benefits their nationally recognized youth leadership program, and the brand new Blue Jacket Bonanza™ program created to award deserving youth with an FFA jacket. The night includes a steak and lobster dinner and cocktails, as well as fun entertainment. When: Mar. 15, 6:15p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 732-8301


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19TH BLUE RIBBON CAMPAIGN & MARCH AGAINST CHILD ABUSE CASA of Tulare County, the Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Council and the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, are kicking off the 19th annual Blue Ribbon Campaign with a march on Main Street. Blue ribbons will be distributed for you to wear each day to draw attention to the tragedy of child abuse and neglect. CASA is asking for your participation throughout the month of April. When: Apr. 5, 9a Where: Gather at Center & Floral Street Contact: 625-4007

MAR 29


This international volunteer service organization for women is interested in improving the lives of women and girls throughout the community. Tickets for this event are $30 and will consist of a fashion show, a luncheon and raffles. When: Mar. 29, 10:30a – 2p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 713-4000 or


The Central California C.O.P.S. Chapter (Concerns of Police Survivors) and Visalia Harley Davidson are teaming up for this 11th annual motorcycle run. Event registration will be from 8a to 9:30a followed by a short memorial ceremony. The motorcycle ride begins at 10:20a and riders will make stops in Kingsburg and Reedley and end at Millerton Lake. There will be lunch, music and a raffle. Tickets are $35 and include a t-shirt, ride pin, poker ticket and lunch. When: Mar. 29, 8a Where: Visalia Harley Davidson, 30681 CA HWY 99, Visalia Contact: 733-4647 or




Join the Visalia Harley Davidson in their first annual event, benefitting Happy Trails Riding Academy. When: Apr. 6, 7:45-9:15a Where: Visalia Harley Davidson, 30681 CA HWY 99, Visalia Contact: 733-4647

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On sale will be top quality artificial flowers, just in time for Easter and Mother’s Day. All proceeds will help to purchase patient care equipment for Kaweah Delta Health Care District. When: Apr. 9-10, 7a-4p Where: Kaweah Delta Medical Center, 400 W. Mineral King, Main Lobby Contact: 734-3109




Come and find your favorite book or pick up a couple of new ones at this monthly event. Proceeds from this book sale will benefit the Friends of the Tulare Public Library, a nonprofit organization. When: Apr. 5, 9a Where: Tulare City Public Library. 475 N. M St., Tulare Contact: 685-4500 or

Local Drive

“ Local businesses know the value of a local bank. Suncrest is proud to be locally owned and operated, offering a full range of business and personal deposit products and loans.

Porterville Branch 65 West Olive Avenue (559) 306-1300 Visalia Branch 400 West Center Avenue (559) 802-1000

Rated Five-Stars by

Before opening Porterville Collision Center, Jan and Charlie Crissman worked together for many years at the same local body shop. They had often talked about striking out on their own, and when an opportunity arose to buy the shop, they needed a bank that really understood their needs and the local market. Suncrest worked with them every step of the way to secure the SBA loan they needed, and now the Crissman’s feel they have a partner they can trust. “I love going into Suncrest Bank,” says Jan. “Everyone knows me by name!”

Jan and Charlie Crissman, Owners Porterville Collision Center

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March 2014  

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

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