STYLE, ART, CULTURE, + EVENTS OF THE SOUTH VALLEY MARCH 2018
THE BLAIN RESIDENCE
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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REFLECTIONS OF VISALIA
DISNEY MAGIC COMES TO TULARE COUNTY
THE BLAIN RESIDENCE
Hundreds of adults and children, used as extras, had fond memories of the summer of 1946 when filmmaker Walt Disney used Tulare County as a backdrop for the movie “So Dear to My Heart.”
The Tulare home of Realtors Dani and Kevin Blain serves as both a place to live and work, proving that this lifestyle can be successfully achieved.
8 Letter from the Executive Editor 16 Word Play 18 Charity Event: Visalia Rescue Mission
Dublin “still remains intimate and exudes a friendly, village vibe,” according to the National Geographic, which lists Ireland’s capital as a top 10 destination for 2018.
38 Charity Agency: ABLE Industries 48 Gardening: Award Winning Flowers 50 KUDOS 54 Fashion: Handbag Handoff 58 Happenings
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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Glick’s Adam Rodriguez shares his Blood Orange Crème Brûlée recipe, and Ryan Lucas of Tazzaria offers Blackened Rock Fish With Pineapple Salsa, Char-Grilled Salmon With Cucumber Salad, and Asparagus Tips and Prosciutto Ravioli in Parmesan Broth.
COVER: Kevin and Dani Blain redid their kitchen with a lighter granite countertop. TOP: Kevin Blain’s bachelor pad, which he purchased in 2010, has evolved into a 3,200-square-foot family home that serves as both residence and work space.
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COUNTERTOP LOCATIONS 210 Cafe AMCC Arts Consortium Arts Visalia Ashoori & Co. Jewelers Blend WIne Room Bravo Farms Smokehouse Café 225 Chad Clark Hair Salon Charcuterie Chelsea Street Boutique Citizen's Bank CreekSide Day Spa Skin & Laser Center Downtown Visalia Alliance Ed Dena Auto Center, Visalia Exeter Chamber of Commerce
For Such a Time Boutique Franey's Design Center Fugazzis Glick's and Co. ImagineU Children’s Museum Janeen’s Furniture Gallery Kaweah Delta Hospital Keller Williams Reality Max's Cookies Metropolis Day Spa Michael's Custom Jewelry Monét’s, Exeter Pacific Treasures Premier Medical Clinic Renaissance Salon Sage Salon Salon 525
Sherman & Associates Tazz. Coffee The Gardens at Cal Turf The Looking Glass V Medical Spa Velvet Sky Visalia Ceramic Tile Visalia First Assembly Visalia Fox Theatre Visalia Marriott Visalia Medical Clinic Watson's Wildflower Café, Exeter Williams, Brodersen & Pritchett, Attorneys at Law Windows Plus, Inc. Wyndham Hotel
Visalia Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and is distributed via direct mail to nearly 13,600 homes in the upper-middle and high-income neighborhoods in Visalia. An additional 2,000 copies are distributed at various distribution points around Visalia, Tulare, and Exeter. Views expressed in columns are those of the columnist and not necessarily those of DMI Agency or its advertisers. Circulation of this issue: 15,600 © 2018 DMI Agency
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FR O M TH E
h my goodness, driving to my office the last couple of days, the view of the Sierras has just been outstanding. That view was one of the things that drew me to Visalia some 30 years ago, and I’ve never tired of seeing those snow-capped mountains on a clear day. If we could just capture these moments in time, and hit repeat day after day. In my office, my desk is piled high with paper, which can make life feel a little
taken some effort, assisted by the fact that their offices are on opposite ends of the house, giving each their own space to work and shut the door when it’s time to “go home.” More about their story can be found on page 22. With the beautiful spring weather comes a lot of exciting things to do in and around the county, and we hope that you take advantage of all our community has to offer. Whether you prefer jeans or fancy
The view of the Sierras ... was one of the things that drew me to Visalia some 30 years ago, and I’ve never tired of seeing those snow-capped mountains. E X E C U T I V E
E D I T O R
K A R E N
T E L L A L I A N
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SUBMIT A STORY IDEA, CONTACT ME AT KAREN@DMIAGENCY.COM
chaotic. Sorted by client, or subject, or urgent, it is truly never ending. Even though the clutter might go home with me in my mind, I am grateful to be able to turn off the lights and lock the door behind me, then head home to my personal sanctuary. Not so for real estate power couple and homeowners Dani and Kevin Blain. The Blains live, work and play out of their “happy place,” their home. Not only do they make it possible, they have done so with incredible success. Finding the right balance between work and home life has
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cocktail attire, there’s always something happening. If you need a little inspiration, you’ll find it in our “Happenings” section starting on page 56. As usual, there’s plenty of eye candy found inside, and we always love hearing about your favorites. Until next month,
FUELING FOR THE GREATER GOOD.
Comes to Tulare County T E X T
he summer of 1946 was special for Tulare County and especially Visalia. It was the time that Walt Disney, the already famous animator and filmmaker, brought his talent and crew to the county to use as a backdrop for his new movie called “So Dear to My Heart.” Although ultimately the film was not a box office hit, Disney himself did get personal satisfaction in making it, later sharing, “‘So Dear’ was especially close to me; why that’s the life my brother and I grew up with as kids out in Missouri.” But the movie mogul was not the only one pleased with it. Hundreds of county adults and children used as “extras” were also happy and count their experience as one of their finest memories. The full-length Technicolor film was directed by Harold Schuster and starred Beulah Bondi, Harry Carey, Luana Patten, Bobby Driscoll and included a new actor named Burl Ives. The story
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was set in 1903 and was built around the adventures of a little boy and his prize black lamb — all centered in the fictitious Indiana village of Fulton Corners and the Pike County Fairgrounds. The film was called “liveaction,” which meant that live actors were used, with occasional brief animated scenes interspersed throughout. The village of Fulton Corners was created about five miles east of Porterville along the Tule River. A railroad station, water tank, blacksmith shop, church, stores and homes were built. But the prize was a large older structure moved onto the site from nearby Plano. It was a stroke of luck for Disney, according to Tulare Advance-Register reporter Redford Dibble, who wrote, “The technician in charge of buildings heard of a deserted village store at Plano, about five miles from Porterville, and went over to look at it. He could
hardly believe his good fortune. It seems that an early day Plano merchant had died in 1903 and his sentimental widow had locked up the store and adjoining blacksmith shop just as he left them and declined to dispose of them. Inside was a complete stock of 1903 merchandise — even a 1903 calendar hanging on the wall. In the blacksmith shop were tools and equipment of the same period — a perfect setup for the Disney crew. Hollywood persuasion prevailed and the merchant’s widow let the technicians tote the two buildings, complete, to the location.” Trees, plants and shrubs were added to give the town authenticity. Even though the village scene was filmed around Porterville, Visalia was selected as film headquarters, with Walt Disney and his top company production staff staying at the Johnson Hotel, located at Main and Church streets. Accommodations for the other hundreds of film crew members became
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a serious problem. In July 1946, Hazel Dutton, secretary of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce, stepped in and appealed to the community for help: “All who have available rooms in homes, trailer camps, motels, auto camps, hotels or apartment houses” should let the chamber know. Eventually, accommodations were found, but were spread throughout the county. Another challenge was finding a suitable site to shoot the big county fairgrounds scene. The location needed to be heavily wooded, so obvious choices for consideration were Cutler and Mooney Grove parks. Members of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors gave their approval for use of the parks, so Disney officials closely inspected both. Cutler Park was initially selected as it was more isolated from vehicle noise. Eliminating the sounds of nearby motor vehicles, especially their engines, was critical while shooting the film. But, ultimately, Disney producer Elmer A. Tambert selected Mooney Grove. Walt Disney inspected the park and agreed with the decision. Arrangements were made with the California Highway Patrol to install temporary stop signals near the park on the Visalia-Tulare Highway, now called Mooney Boulevard. As a scene was shot at the park, the director or his assistant would flip a switch activating the signals, which would stop the traffic during the shoot. When filming was finished, traffic would be allowed to proceed. Visalia and Tulare furnished 500 “extras” for the fair grounds scenes. Each received costumes, some were paid, many rode on buggies, and all were treated to a picnic lunch. On July 31, shooting began at the north end of Mooney Grove, the location of the Pike County Fair. The area had been transformed into a typical county fair scene complete with tents, banners, midway, judging arena and corrals. Excited children were in their places, with proud parents watching the action. A Visalia Times-Delta reporter noticed that the children were being carefully watched and reported in his story, “Very much on the job was a motherly and efficient-looking welfare director who
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came up from Los Angeles to see that the youngsters get the proper care, and that they were not before the cameras longer than the law allows.” Prize sheep were on scene, brought in from the California Polytechnic Institute at San Luis Obispo, and were augmented by other animals from local school farms and ranches. For about 10 weeks, the Disney troupe was on location in Tulare County. On Aug. 7, 1946, the set at Mooney Grove 14 L I F E S T Y L E | M A R C H 2 0 1 8
was dismantled. On their way out, members of the Disney company donated $2,000 worth of trees and plants still in barrels and cans to the county. They were gladly accepted by Tulare County Parks Superintendent J. E. Ross, and taken to the nursery at Mooney Grove for future replanting throughout the county park system. “So Dear to My Heart” was released by RKO Radio Pictures on Jan. 19, 1949.
One of the movie’s songs, “Lavender Blue,” sung by Burl Ives, earned an Academy Award nomination. Overall, the reviews were good, and Variety called it “a first-rate job of sentimental storytelling.” But the best feedback came from locals who were “extras” involved in the making of the film, such as Jo Ann Ledbetter George. She proudly remembers the film that gave her her “two seconds of fame.” L
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HELPING HEARTS FILL EMPTY BOWLS R A I S I N G
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his is the time of year when brisk days and clear, cold nights find many of us in the kitchen cooking big pots of our favorite soups. Flavorful ingredients simmering on the stove as the delicious aromas wind their way through our homes, fresh bread and butter on the side … few other meals serve up such nourishment, warmth and comfort all in one bowl. But there are many in the South Valley who don’t have the luxury of making and savoring a bowl of soup. For myriad reasons, they are on the street without homes or food, and their struggles, especially with hunger, leave them with little hope. In fact, “… hope starts with a meal” has become a common phrase in rescue missions because one meal can give someone enough hope to see what their next step might be. The Visalia Rescue Mission’s Community Kitchen served more than 124,000 meals to people in need in 2017, averaging 328 breakfasts and dinners each day at a cost of $1.92 per meal. On Feb. 20, 240 men, women and children from Visalia and the surrounding cities got a literal taste of how a simple meal gives hope when they attended the mission’s ninth annual Empty Bowls event. VRM Development Director Ryan Stillwater told the crowd that just getting someone to step into the kitchen for a meal can be a big deal – and the mission’s goal is not only to feed those in need.
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Jorge Garza of Clay Studio Art Zone creates a bowl on his potter’s wheel at the Visalia Rescue Mission’s Empty Bowls event on Feb. 20. T E X T
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With the glimmer of hope from a meal as encouragement, perhaps they will stay the night in the shelter and learn more about how the mission can aid them. The next step is to connect those who are willing to a case manager and recovery programs that will help them in the long term. Some will have the opportunity to apply to the mission’s Life Change Academy, a year-long residential program that helps men and women dealing with life issues and chemical dependencies reclaim and develop their mental, physical and spiritual health to rejoin the community as productive, sober individuals. When guests arrived at the Community Center for the Empty Bowls event, they found an array of handmade clay bowls on display, and the first order of business was to choose the one they wanted for their soup. This was not easy, as Clay Studio Art Zone’s Jorge Garza had beautifully crafted bowls of all shapes, sizes, colors and textures. With help from wife Maribel, the family business has made the bowls for this event for the past eight years. Jorge was on hand with his potter’s wheel to answer questions as he graciously accepted compliments on his creations. For an additional donation, extra bowls were available to purchase at the end of the night. The bowls serve as both a unique remembrance of the event, as well as a lasting connection to the
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ever-present and increasing need in the community. Savory appetizers provided by Café 225 were a tasteful beginning to the evening as friends chatted at their tables accompanied by music from Sarai Guzman on violin and Andrew Kenefick on guitar. Macy’s and other local businesses donated opportunity drawing prizes of merchandise, restaurant and shopping gift cards, and tickets for an upcoming Jethro Tull concert. Event costs were completely covered through sponsor underwriting, allowing all the proceeds from the evening to be used for the general operating needs of the mission. After a welcome and thank you to the sponsors from Executive Director Al Oliver, tables were dismissed for dinner. Guided by current members of VRM’s Life Change Academy, guests walked across the street, bowls in hand, to the Community Kitchen. The temperature had dropped to the low 40s and the conversation in line centered on hunger and the plight of the homeless, especially during this time of year. The warmth of the kitchen was as welcoming as the staff of the Vintage Press, who cheerfully filled guests’ bowls with their choice of Posole Verde, White Bean with Ham, Broccoli White Cheddar, or Red Potato and Onion Soups. Another staff server offered toppings of cabbage,
scallions, croutons, onions and cilantro, and everyone returned to the Community Center to enjoy the soup with fresh bread. It was clear that the impact of the experience of waiting in the cold for a hot meal tangibly connected everyone to the mission of the organization. After dinner, as cookies and lemon bars from Goodies Cookies and the Visalia Country Club, respectively, were served, guests were drawn into the mission even more as they listened to 2016 Life Change Academy graduate Greg Gonzales’ story. Greg’s life had spiraled out of control; he was a drug addict arrested multiple times for theft, robbery and DUI. “I was a lost, lonely, broken, sick man.” He spent his days avoiding arrest and shoplifting merchandise from local stores to sell and support his drug habit. “I had no life. I was ashamed and I had no hope .... I was heartbroken because I knew I needed to get clean, but I didn’t know how.” After his release from jail for a third DUI conviction in 2015, Greg went straight to the Visalia Rescue Mission and joined the Life Change Academy. Through the program, he began to learn about and strengthen his faith. He surrounded himself with healthy relationships, created boundaries and stuck to them. Working hard at the thrift
donation warehouse, he gained the skills to prepare for work and life outside the program, ultimately obtaining a job as a dispatcher with a large building materials company, where he is still employed and has been promoted to a supervisory position. The audience was drawn in as Greg emotionally recalled his experience and how far he has come. “My story has been nothing short of a miracle. I thank God and I thank the Visalia Rescue Mission for giving me the love that it takes for a person to heal. Each day is a chance to start a new beginning.” As Stillwater thanked Greg and recognized the many Life Change Academy graduates in the room, he repeated that the hope kindled in each of these individuals that led them to change their lives started with one meal. He expressed, on behalf of the mission and the people it serves, his gratitude for everyone’s support and encouraged them to get involved, reiterating that each person’s carefully chosen bowl “… serves as a reminder that we all have a place in addressing the need. With homelessness on the rise in Visalia, Empty Bowls helps us go deeper than the need we see on our streets. It reminds us of our ability to come together and be a part of the solution. It reminds us that with God, nothing is impossible.” L
Greg Gonzales, top left, is a graduate of the Visalia Rescue Mission’s Life Change Academy. Inset shows him when he joined the academy in 2015 after his release from jail. Top right, VRM’s Community Center is packed with Empty Bowls participants. Photos below, from left, include one of the soups offered, participants showing off their bowls, and a selection of bowls made available at the fundraiser.
LIFEST YLE | MARCH 2018
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THE BLAIN RESIDENCE ALL UNDER ONE ROOF T E X T
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or many people, the end of a workday means that home is just a short drive away, perhaps delayed by a quick stop to get groceries or fill up a parched gas tank. The anticipation of walking through those familiar doors, greeting the family dog with a pat on the head and putting up your feet is often what gets you through the last half hour of the day. But what about the lucky few who get to call home their place of work? With desktop and dirty dishes only a few steps away from each other, one can’t help but wonder how anyone effectively transitions from the work hustle to the home bustle. Dani and Kevin Blain — owners of the No. 1 real estate team in the state of California, according to REAL Trends — live, work and play out of their Tulare home and are proof that this lifestyle is not only possible, but can be achieved with incredible success. “This home is so much more than a house to us,” said Kevin. “We live here, of course, but we work here, too. We conduct 50 percent of our work life out of our home, and then we have the dogs, so we also play here.” While the Blains don’t claim to have all
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An expansive entryway marked with double doors to the outdoors, top, greets visitors to the Blains’ Tulare home. Above, the entrance is viewed from the outside.
the answers for how to separate their work and home life, they have learned what works for them in order to balance the two all under the same roof. “There’s always that challenge because when you’re self-employed, you’re never really done with work,” said Kevin. “But as we’ve gotten older, Dani has helped me realize that we can shut the door and the work will be there tomorrow.” Even the layout of their home comes in handy for productivity. With Kevin and Dani’s offices conveniently placed on opposite ends of their 3,200-square-foot home, they each have their own space to conduct work and can easily shut the doors when the day is wrapped up. While you might think that the Blains designed the house themselves with this layout in mind, Kevin actually purchased the home several years before he and Dani were together. It wasn’t until after they married that they added the second office just off the master bedroom, as well as a larger walk-in closet. According to Kevin, the original closet clearly wasn’t designed with a woman’s wardrobe in mind. “The house is obviously a great design with a lot of awesome features — which is what made me buy it eight years ago — but the closet was a significant flaw for
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The house, which includes a roaring fireplace and well-appointed kitchen, has transitioned from Kevin Blain’s residence as a single man to one that the couple can call home, complete with new paint, furniture and decor pieces. “We didn’t go for a specific style, but we were drawn to colors, art pieces, chairs and things that were pleasing to the eye,” Kevin said.
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the size of the home,” said Kevin. “But we fixed it and added on, and I think the reason why we went to the expense and time to make the addition is because we see ourselves owning this home, probably forever.” When Kevin purchased the house in 2010, he bought it with the hopes of someday sharing it with a wife and family. It wasn’t long until he met Dani through mutual friends at Visalia First and, by 2012, his house also became a home for Dani and her two kids, Eibren and Mia. Neither Dani nor Kevin came from wealth or privilege, so they say it’s very rewarding to see the results of their hard work shine through the place they call home; Dani is especially grateful to Kevin for blessing them with the house of her dreams. “It makes me tear up,” said Dani. “I feel so thankful to Kevin because he works so hard and provided us with a really beautiful place to live. We are also so thankful to God because we know without him, our successful business and home life would not be possible.” From the start, the property has been more than any home Dani could have imagined for herself, but when she first moved in, it was already fully furnished and decorated with Kevin’s bachelor taste. Over the last few years, Dani has implemented her own decorative touch to the house with new furniture, décor and paint.
SUPPORTING THE VISALIA COUNT Y CENTER ROTARY COMMUNIT Y SUPPORT ASSOCIATION
A FUNDRAISING EVENT A T T H E VISALIA COUNTRY CLUB 625 N. Ranch Street | April 21, 2018 @ 5:30PM
Come join us for this popular, top-notch food and wine tasting experience. Spread over Visalia Country Clubâ€™s spacious Club House and lawns, guests socialize and wander among the delicious food and over 15 wineries. Enjoy views of the lush golf course, stately oak trees, water fountains, and swans effortlessly drifting in the pond that fronts the 16th green while bidding on exciting auction items. For more information or to get your tickets, please visit:
www.vccrwineauction.com sponsored by
Martin Enterprises Inc. Bourdette & Partners | Visalia Montessori School | ServiceMaster by Benevento Law Office of Afreen Kaelble | Maria Lanteri | Farm Credit West | DMI Agency American Ambulance | Rabobank | Romanazzi & Associates CPA | First Capital Group: Rilian Ball | El Rosal Restaurant | Kaweah Delta Health Care District | Vollmer, Daniel, Gaebe & Grove, LLP | Houk & Hornburg | Tri Counties Bank Quality Jewelers | Zeeb Commercial Real Estate | Dr. Steven and Karen Koobatian/Vocational Designs Inc. | Rainmaker Productions | Dick Toriggino | Wyndham Hotels | Collins & Schoettler | Tulare County Federal Credit Union Bragg Law Firm | Fox Interpreting | True Legacy Consulting | True Legacy Consulting HR | Visalia Rescue Mission | DeJonge Financial |Total Property Management | Scott, Mainord, Langley & Simmons, Inc. | Allen Broslovsky Central California Cartage Company | Larry & Erlene Benevento | Sam Logan- Merrill Lynch | Suncrest Bank | Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Realty-Visalia
County Center Rotary Community Support Association, Inc. is Charitable 501 (c) 3 entity and the funds raised fund local and International projects.
Even though much of the Blainsâ€™ time is spent in their home offices, the residence also offers room and furniture for relaxation, above left and left. The modern dining room table features 10 tufted side chairs, above.
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“Dani was really inspired to redecorate since a lot of the stuff was here before I met her,” said Kevin. “So now, because Dani is half of our home, it has truly become our home.” To help brighten up the interior, the Blains painted the entire house, installed a lighter granite countertop in the kitchen and recruited the help of Janeen’s Furniture Gallery in Visalia to pick out new furniture and décor pieces that aligned more closely with both of their styles. From the modern dining room table with 10 tufted side chairs to the rustic bedroom set and wall art, the house has slowly transformed from a bachelor pad
into a place that they both can call home. “We didn’t go for a specific style, but we were drawn to colors, art pieces, chairs and things that were pleasing to the eye,” said Kevin. “Dani also picked a lot of greys and blues because those are the colors I like.” In addition to the décor, the Blains recently remodeled Kevin’s office and installed a lighter wood laminate in several rooms throughout the home, including the master bedroom, Dani’s office and the guest bedroom. They even implemented a few “green” features like solar panels, an electric car-charging station and artificial grass in the front and back yards.
As avid dog lovers, Kevin and Dani unapologetically designed their pool with their three “fur babies” in mind. With a walk-in beach entry and a large shallow deck, the pebble glass pool is less for swimming and more for laying out and cooling off in the Valley’s extreme heat. “I’m not going to lie,” Kevin said with a laugh, “but we designed the pool to meet the needs of our dogs.” Dani added, “And we like to lay out, so the deck allows the dogs to be there with us without being deep in the water.” Knowing that this will likely be their forever home, it’s clear that the Blains have carefully invested in making the L I F E S T Y L E | M A R C H 2 0 1 8 29
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property fit their needs, both for work and daily living. And despite being successful Realtors who constantly see some of the Central Valley’s most beautiful properties, the love they have for their own home doesn’t waiver. “At one point, we had purchased a home at the coast, but we got homesick, so we came back … that’s how much we love this house,” said Dani. “And when we go out of town, we probably do maybe two or three days away, but we miss our home and want to come back.” As native Tulare County residents, the Blains have a lot of family close by, which helps keep them rooted. Not to mention, as owners of the No. 1 Keller Williams Realty team in the nation, their careers keep them close to Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties. “This is our community,” said Kevin. “We have offices in four locations in the Central Valley. The closest one is in Tulare, and a great segment of our team is in both Fresno and Kings counties.” When Kevin started as a broker with Keller Williams in 2007, he had a team of two. Within a few years, he grew the team to 10 agents and support staff members. When Dani joined the team in 2014, her previous experience in the staffing industry helped the team grow exponentially. “She’s done really well and has impacted our team to make us who we are,” said Kevin. “We were a much smaller real estate team three years ago, and what’s changed? Well, Dani has been involved in the business. We went from 10 people to 75.” Because of their success, real estate agents from around the nation have reached out to Kevin for consulting, which inspired him to start a coaching business this past winter. Although his main focus remains leading his team as a broker, he has really enjoyed helping agents succeed and learn how to reach their goals. While the Blain family’s business continues to grow, one thing will remain the same: Tulare County will always be their home. “We are very tied to Tulare, and I think we will always want a home here no The Blains’ pebble glass pool features a walk-in beach entry and a large shallow deck. The Blains acknowledge that the pool was, in part, designed with their dogs in mind. “We like to lay out, so the deck allows the dogs to be there with us without being deep in the water,” Dani says. Inset shows pictures of two of their three “fur babies.”
matter where life brings us,” said Kevin. “God willing, as long as we can afford it, we’ll always want to keep this house as our main home.”
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arch is the month when people around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. In the U.S., where five times as many people claim Irish ancestry as actually live in Ireland, celebrating this country’s patron saint seems reasonable. But for an island the size of Indiana (with a population only equal to the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego combined) to generate such affinity worldwide is pretty remarkable. Since it’s doubtful that corned beef and cabbage or pitchers of green beer alone are bringing out these revelers, there must be another explanation. I believe that it’s due to people’s desire, even if only for a day, to unlock a little inner “Irishness.” “Irishness” isn’t something easily described, but it’s something that’s definitely felt when visiting this country.
Two everyday Irish words begin to explain people’s general approach to life here – “devilment” and “craic” (pronounced crack). Not readily translated to English, both speak to an affinity for fun (sometimes bordering on a bit of mischief), story telling, not taking themselves too seriously, and feeling a sense of pride and strong connection to those around them. There’s an old Gaelic saying that illustrates the genuine kindness and warmth of the people as well – “Cead Mile Failte” or “a hundred thousand welcomes.” With all the beauty and history in this country, it’s the Irish peoples’ embodiment of these words into everyday actions that make this country’s beauty and history come to life. People here live and breathe their heritage and practice old traditions with pride.
So unlike the many festivals held around the world (which can often feel like tourist traps), in Ireland, they manage to still retain an underlying tapestry of Celtic history when social life revolved around markets and fairs. When all that is added to the ever-present music (which tells a story with a vitality and passion unlike any other country), it’s easy to understand people’s desire to embrace that culture once a year. It’s this “Irishness” that brings out the revelers on St. Patrick’s Day and also draws tourists to Ireland’s shores. National Geographic’s editors agree. When choosing Ireland’s capital city of Dublin as a top 10 destination for 2018, they did so because “visitors immediately feel at home in a city of 1.2 million people, which still remains intimate and exudes a friendly, village vibe.”
Ha’Penny Bridge, shown from the Temple Bar District, is one of three for pedestrians only that spans the Liffey River in Dublin. The buildings on the far shore have both shops and homes. LIFEST YLE | MARCH 2018
Dublin – with a compact city center built around the River Liffey and frequent bridges spanning the water – is a city easily covered on foot. And with this city’s burgeoning food scene, buskers (street performers) and spectacular architecture at every turn, walking makes possible those moments that turn a generic vacation into a memorable travel experience. Visitors need not worry about getting lost since signs are abundant and everyone speaks English (and with such an appealing accent!). If you do stop and ask someone for directions, be forewarned; they will probably walk you there (and regale you with a grand story along the way). Here are some iconic sites to see (and generally keep aiming toward as appealing sights and sounds along the way will invariably cause you to stray). • The River Liffey divides the city center north and south. Three of its many bridges are pedestrian-only; the most famous is referred to as the Ha’Penny Bridge for the half pence toll once required in order to cross. • City Hall: The tiled medallions and interior ornamentation make City Hall an outstanding example of mid-1700s’ Georgian style. The lower vault has an excellent multimedia exhibition that chronicles Dublin’s history, and visitors can often stumble across a wedding, as we did (complete with a 3-year-old ring bearer in his kilt).
• Sunlight Chambers Building: Located at Essex Quay and Parliament Street, this 1901 corner building was originally Lever Brothers’ (the soap and detergent manufacturers) Irish headquarters. The building is decorated with magnificent Italian-styled friezes, but closer inspection revealed them to illustrate the use and manufacture of soap. Ranging from the extraction of raw materials to merchants 34 L I F E S T Y L E | M A R C H 2 0 1 8
purchasing fragrant oils and women cleaning clothes, this is certainly an unexpectedly elegant promotion for lowly, yet necessary, soap. • Trinity College and “Book of Kells”: Dublin makes visitors feel as if they’ve stepped back in time. That’s certainly the case when walking through the cobbled courtyards and venerated halls of Trinity College, which was founded in 1592. Its 18th-century library is home to the Long Room – a 215-foot chamber filled with ancient books and busts of famous scholars. It houses some of Ireland’s most cherished relics, including the only remaining 15th-century wooden harp. Considered the symbol of Ireland, it’s displayed on everything from the Guinness logo to Irish coins. But it’s the “Book of Kells” for which the library is best known. Handwritten in 800 A.D. and dramatically illustrated, this copy of the four Gospels of the New Testament is the world’s most famous medieval manuscript. It attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually; lines to view it can be long, but “before-hours” tours are offered through TripAdvisor.
• Temple Bar District: This energetic spot on the southern end of the Ha’Penny Bridge is full of pubs, restaurants, artists and shops. Many of the bars have a line-up of live traditional music starting mid day and lasting late into the night.
• Guinness Storehouse: Seven floors of displays and memorabilia engage visitors in the story of this dark stout brewed here since 1759. Guinness variants are offered in the tasting rooms, and a free pint is served in the rooftop glass-walled Gravity Bar with panoramic views over Dublin.
• Dublin Castle: This city derived its name from the Black Pool (or Dubh Linn) originally at the site of the present castle garden. With some of the oldest architecture in the city, the original castle was finished in 1220 as the viceroy’s residence. Early fortifications predated that and have been partially excavated in the lower level Undercroft. The state apartments, now used for presidential inaugurations and state functions, can be toured along with the chapel.
Above, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin’s oldest building, was built on high ground overlooking a Viking settlement. It houses ancient manuscripts and artifacts. The bronze Famine Memorial, far left, shows emaciated victims from Ireland’s potato famine in the mid-1800s, when many people fled the country for better lives. About 1 million died. At left is fictional fishmonger Molly Malone. Visitors rub her for good luck, which is why her chest is so shiny.
• Green spaces: At 1,752 acres, Phoenix Park is the largest urban park in Europe. With a number of stately homes (including the Irish president’s official residence), sports fields, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and Victorian-styled gardens, it even has a large herd of deer originally introduced by King Charles II in 1662 for hunting. It is rich in history, and both Neolithic and Viking burial sites have been discovered on its grounds, and a medieval tower house sits fully restored next to the Visitor Center. St. Stephen’s Green is a 22-acre park in the heart of Dublin. Created in 1664, the park’s pond, bandstand, statues and gardens are a surprisingly quiet spot in the middle of city bustle. Directly across is St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Center with its informative and moving account of the Irish Potato Famine. 36 L I F E S T Y L E | M A R C H 2 0 1 8
• Grafton Street is a pedestrian-only shopping avenue anchored by St. Stephen’s Green and Trinity College at either end. • The Famine Memorial/Jeanie Johnston Ship/EPIC Emigration Museum: Ireland was forever changed by a single crop’s failure. Nutrient-rich potatoes were frequently the only food for tenant farmers (often Catholics forbidden from owning land) and a major component of every Irish diet. Caused by mold that blighted and then destroyed the potato crop, the famine was the greatest single peacetime tragedy in Western Europe since the Black Death in the 14th century. One million Irish died from starvation and another 1 million to 2 million left the country from 1847 to 1855. Initially reducing the population by 25 percent,
the disaster created circumstances that led to the further emigration of 8 million to 10 million more over the next 80 years. Reminders of this poignant history are in close proximity to each other along the north bank of the Liffey. The Famine Memorial consists of emaciated bronze figures of emaciated men, women and children standing along the bank of the river. The Jeanie Johnston is a replica of one of the ships that carried those seeking a new life across the Atlantic. The EPIC Museum is housed in the vault of the 1820 Custom House Quarter building (the original departure point for many emigrants). This museum tells the story of the Irish who left and their influence in their new countries. Interactive displays and resident genealogists also enable visitors to reference their own Irish ancestry.
• Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin’s oldest building and home to a 12th-century crypt, one of the oldest and largest in Western Europe. Founded in 1030 by Norsemen and incorporated later into the Irish Church, it houses ancient manuscripts, artifacts and costumes from the Showtime TV drama “The Tudors.” • Teeling Whiskey Distillery: Founded in 1782, it’s the only fully functioning distillery in a city renowned as the heart of the Irish whiskey industry. With a traditional three copper pot still, it has been completely rebuilt to allow visitors to experience the entire process through sight, smell and taste of the product, all with guides to explain and teach along the way. You may notice that I’ve included my maiden name in the byline – Cronin. It is Irish, passed down from ancestors who immigrated to America before the Revolutionary War. Lest you think that ancestral bias and pride are responsible for my glowing endorsements of both Dublin and the Irish, I had always believed that my ancestors came to America by way of Scotland. And my husband (with no similar ancestral claims) feels just as at home in Dublin as I do – and is the only one with corned beef and cabbage on his plate. L
The Teeling Whiskey Distillery, right, features a three copper pot still. Guided tours are offered at the fully functioning distillery.
UPCOMING TRAVEL ADVENTURES 2018 TOURS August 21-September 4, 2018 South Pacific Wonders: Featuring Cairns, Sydney, Christchurch, Queenstown and optional extension in Fiji
October 19-26, 2018
New York City
Islands of New England: Featuring Newport, Boston, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard
December 10-14, 2018
New York City Holiday: Featuring Greenwich Village, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Statue of Liberty, Radio City Music Hall and Broadway Show
2019 TOURS April 5-13, 2019 China
June 28-July 8, 2019 Gems of Eastern Europe: Featuring Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania
2020 TOURS May 14 – 23, 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play: Including Germany and Austria
VISALIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 222 N. Garden St. Suite 300, Visalia
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ABLE INDUSTRIES FILLS A VOID IN COMMERCE FUNDING AND LEADERSHIP CHANGES ARE AHEAD FOR THE LOCAL NONPROFIT T E X T
L I S A
M C E W E N
n an unassuming warehouse and office space in northwest Visalia, the staff and students-in-training of ABLE Industries complete a mind-boggling amount of work. From scanning important documents to assembling irrigation emitters, and from packaging gourmet mail-order meal boxes to making tooth powder, the nonprofit ABLE Industries is a clearinghouse of products that the business world consumes every day. The 68 employees of ABLE Industries work together with more than 200 individuals with developmental disabilities from throughout Tulare County to fill a void in commerce. Executive Director Wende Ayers believes that their actions not only assist in the growth of local and national businesses, but provide training and job placement to a segment of the community that yearns to contribute to society. “They are part of our community,” Ayers said of the adults who take part in ABLE Industries’ supported work programs. “When businesses reach out to us, it is a mutual gain for both. We can help them, and they can help us.” ABLE Industries began in 1962 in Tulare 38 L I F E S T Y L E | M A R C H 2 0 1 8
as the Tulare County Training Center for the Handicapped, with a volunteer staff and a client population of less than 20. Ayers has been at the helm since 1996. Using her creative blend of teaching, accounting, budgeting and networking skills, Ayers has expanded ABLE Industries’ capabilities — and profits — in unique ways, creating opportunities for both the business world and the disabled population of Tulare County. The next time that you purchase a bottle of Tulare-based Rosa Bros. milk, know that ABLE Industries’ clients helped the company in its early days; Rosa Bros. still employs two individuals from that initial connection. Local entrepreneurs have launched their products to QVC, the home shopping network, with assembly help from ABLE trainees. Sushi, tamale and ravioli meal kits from a Washington state-based entrepreneur make their way to the glossy pages of Williams-Sonoma catalogs courtesy of the packing expertise of ABLE trainees. A tour of ABLE’s facility reveals an impressive operation that runs nearly 24 hours a day. One constant task is the packing of personal care kits for prisons.
Toothbrushes, flossers, bottles of shampoo and a specially designed razor that minimizes risk to correctional officers are placed into petite plastic bags and shipped across the country. The facility is also one of the only sites in the country to produce tooth powder. When Arm & Hammer ceased production of its product, Ayers called the company, requested the recipe and filled a void in the dental world. Now ABLE Industries and its trainees produce, package and ship hundreds of pounds of the white, minty powder all over the country. Tooth powder, while providing cavity protection to inmates, is also a safer option than a tube of toothpaste for prison guards at high-security facilities, Ayers said. Trainees also contribute to the public in tangible ways. Ayers quickly lists the jobs that keep Visalia sparkling: cleaning of the downtown transit center and the downtown corridor, ridding the area of trash and maintenance of the city’s vast public park system, including Riverway Sports Park. ABLE Industries assists with the regular “Dump On Us” days sponsored by the City of Visalia, and shreds thousands of
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pounds of paper records. Trainees also provide year-round maintenance of the Chester H. Warlow Rest Area on Highway 99 north of Traver. Other trainees work in warehouses that abound in nearby industrial areas in Visalia and Dinuba: Ashley Furniture, Best Buy and Kawneer, among others. All these jobs help increase the amount of unrestricted funds in ABLE Industries’ $6 million annual budget, allowing for growth, stability for its employees and future opportunities for trainees. Fifty-four percent of its budget is funded by the government, a number that continues to drop, while Ayers is charged with finding the rest. She admits that this task sometimes prevents her from getting a good night’s sleep. All job training takes place at ABLE Industries’ 8,500-square-foot headquarters on Goshen Avenue, while personal life skills are taught at another, smaller site in east Visalia. Ayers said she is constantly looking for new job coaches, employment that is part-time to full-time. Change is on the horizon for ABLE Industries in several ways. Ayers is planning to retire in December after a total of 26 years on the job. (She spent the first four years as the organization’s controller.) The board of directors has launched a search for her
LIFEST YLE | MARCH 2018
replacement, with the goal of having that person in place by October. The candidate must possess knowledge and certification in adult education, special education and administration. Typical of a partially governmentfunded organization, funding streams are ever-changing. Ayers is in the midst of setting a path for ABLE Industries that will continue long after her retirement. In addition, a new plan from the California Department of Rehabilitation and California Department of Developmental Services stipulates that by 2022, ABLE Industries and other similar California organizations must transition from work-training to work-placement only. This means that the opportunities that benefit both the disabled population of Tulare County and local and national businesses are at risk. For example, packing of those gourmet meal kits would be eliminated under this new plan. Meetings with accountants and attorneys are underway to determine how ABLE Industries will meet this deadline. Ayers, whose enthusiasm for her work is undeniable, takes the challenges in stride. “I am trying to pave the way for the future,” she said. "I feel very loyal to this population. I don’t want to leave them hanging.” L
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Write up any changes on this proof and resubmit it to the production manager for edits to be completed and to receive a corrected proof. This proof displa HANFORD KINGSBURG LEMOORE PORTERVILLE TULAREshould add theVISALIA IMPORTANT: Approved proofs do not need to be resubmitted LINDSAY to Production. Rather, the sales representative order to the publication run 323approval N. 11th Ave.as a company 329 Sierra St. and as 755aN.reference Lemoore Ave. St. future1150 W. Morton 1132 E. Leland Ave. 1870 S. Central St. record, sheet for860 theSequoia ad rep’s visits to theAve. customer.
Hanford, CA 93230 (559) 772-8304
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LIGHTER SIDE R
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` ˆ ´ (SERVES 8) BLOOD ORANGE CREME BRULEE BY CHEF ADAM RODRIGUEZ, PASTRY CHEF, GLICK’S INGREDIENTS 3 blood oranges 3 cups heavy cream ½ cup granulated sugar, plus additional for finishing
1/8 teaspoon salt 10 egg yolks 1 vanilla bean
INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 350F. Set 8 ramekins in a large baking pan with shallow sides. Zest 2 of the oranges and place into a pot. Zest the third orange and mix with the ½ cup sugar. Segment the oranges into the pot with the zest. * Cook the zest, orange segments and any juice released over medium heat, stirring, until thickened to a compote consistency. Set aside and cool. Pour the cream into another pot. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise to split open; scrape the bean into the pot with the cream and add the vanilla bean scrap. Make the custard: Heat the cream-vanilla mixture until scalded (do not boil); remove from heat and discard vanilla bean scrap. Whisk together the eggs and sugar. Temper the eggs by slowly adding a ½ cup of the mixture to the hot cream, whisking constantly, then slowly add the rest of the egg mixture to the cream, whisking. Cool the custard completely. Spoon the orange compote into the ramekins, then spoon the custard mixture over the compote, dividing evenly. Carefully pour boiling water into the pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (Placing the pan with the filled ramekins onto the oven rack, then slowly pouring the water into the pan is the easiest way to accomplish this.) Bake the custards just until set, approximately 30-35 minutes. Remove from the water and cool, then chill for 4 hours (or up to 2 days). To serve, sprinkle the top of the custards evenly with a teaspoon or two of granulated sugar, and then use a kitchen torch to brûlée. Fresh berries with mint and whipped cream make delicious accompaniments. *To segment (or “supreme”) the oranges: With a chef's knife, slice off the top and bottom of the oranges. Stand them upright on a cutting board and carefully slice the peel and pith off from top to bottom in strips, following the curve of the fruit. Once all the peel and pith are removed, you'll be able to see the membranes between each orange wedge. Hold each orange over the pot with the zest and use a paring knife to carefully slice between the membrane and flesh of each segment; place the segments into the pot.
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BLACKENED ROCK FISH WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 4 rockfish filets Blackening seasoning Salt and pepper PINEAPPLE SALSA: 1 pineapple – very small dice 1 ripe mango – very small dice 1 red onion – very small dice Cilantro – roughly chopped Juice of 2 limes Salt and pepper to taste. Season both sides of the rockfish with your favorite blackening seasonings and a pinch of salt and pepper. In a very hot nonstick pan, add a little olive oil and cook the fish about 3 minutes on each side. For the salsa, combine all ingredients and mix well. To serve, divide the salsa on four plates and place a rockfish filet on top. Chef Ryan’s note: tilapia, sea bass, red snapper, black cod, halibut and other flaky fish will also work well in this recipe.
EPICURE CHAR-GRILLED SALMON WITH CUCUMBER SALAD
Serves 4 INGREDIENTS 4 salmon filets, skin-on Salt and pepper FOR THE SALSA: 4 cucumbers – very thinly sliced (a mandolin or "Y" vegetable peeler works best) 4 Heirloom carrots (very thinly sliced on mandolin or peeler) Handful of mint leaves (roughly chopped) 1/4 cup of cilantro roughly chopped 1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar Heat a grill on high and oil the grates. Season each salmon filet with salt and pepper. Place the salmon on the grill, skin-side up, and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the filets over and cook another 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest. For the salad, combine all ingredients and mix well. To serve, divide the salad on four plates and place a salmon filet on top. Chef Ryan’s note: Swordfish, mahi-mahi or shark will also pair well in this dish.
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ASPARAGUS TIPS AND PROSCIUTTO RAVIOLI IN PARMESAN BROTH INGREDIENTS 1 3/4 cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour 6 large egg yolks 1 large egg 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil PASTA DIRECTIONS Combine all ingredients and mix together to form a ball. Knead the pasta dough for about 10 minutes, folding it onto itself over and over to develop the starch (that gives it the bite); when the pasta snaps back, you can stop kneading. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes to an hour. While the pasta is resting, start the filling mix. FILLING INGREDIENTS 1 bunch of asparagus 1 piece of prosciutto, 1/4-inch thick 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated A pinch of saffron threads Rind of the Parmesan cheese Salt and pepper 4 cups water
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When the entire amount of filling has
Cut the prosciutto into small cubes and place into a hot pan with a little oil (to help with browning). Render the cubes until lightly browned. While the prosciutto cooks, cut the tips of the asparagus into small pieces. Add the asparagus tips to the pan and cook another few minutes until everything is nicely browned. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir all together to make a paste with the heat from the pan. Remove from the heat, set aside and make the pasta.
been placed on the pasta sheet, place
PRESSING AND FILLING THE PASTA
the cheese in a pot over medium heat.
Using a pasta press, start on the largest setting and roll the dough through. Keep rolling the dough through, reducing the setting until the pasta is almost see-through. Roll out two 2-foot-long sheets and place them on a well-floured surface. Place a teaspoon of the filling about every other inch on one of the pasta sheets.
the other sheet of pasta on top. Press firmly around the mounds of filling, making sure that there is no air left around each scoop. Use a sharp knife or pastry/pasta wheel to cut around each scoop of filling, leaving 1/4-inch edge around to create the ravioli. Place the ravioli on a well-oiled tray and make the Parmesan Broth. MAKING THE BROTH AND SERVING Combine 4 cups of water and the rind of Cook until the broth has reduced by one-fourth, add the ravioli one at a time and cook for roughly 2 minutes or until they float to the top. Add the saffron to the pot, stir and evenly portion out the pasta into warm bowls. Ladle the hot broth over the ravioli (leave the Parmesan rind in the pot) and serve.
Interior and exterior plantscaping, along with some simple design elements, STAGING can make your home, place of business, or event more warm and inviting. DESIGN AND INSTALLATION CALL 559.734.4920 TO SEE HOW WE CAN BRING YOUR SPACE TO LIFE. LIVE PLANT RENTAL AND LEASING
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A GREENER VIEW
AAS FLOWER AWARD WINNERS
T E X T
J E F F
R U G G
hen you are looking at garden catalogs and plants in the garden center, it is sometimes difficult to know how well a plant is going to do in your garden. All-America Selections is an independent nonprofit testing organization that tests new plants. It has more than 60 test gardens, from Alaska and Canada, to California and Florida. It also has more than 175 display gardens all across the continent that are used not for judging but for showing gardeners how well the plants grow locally. The judges evaluate the plants all season long, not just at the end of season harvest. Only the entries with the highest nationwide average score are considered to be worthy of a national AAS award. Some plants will do better in a hot, dry climate or a cool, humid region and therefore wouldn’t win a national award, so the country is divided into six regions and a plant might win one or more regional awards. The flowering plants are evaluated for desirable qualities such as novel flower forms, flower colors, flowers held above the leaves, fragrance, length of flowering season, and disease or pest tolerance or resistance. When you see the red, white and blue logo of AAS on seed packets and bedding plant tags or in catalogs, you can expect the plant to do well in your garden. Even AAS winners from several years ago are more likely to prove successful than non-winners. I like canna plants, and the 2013 AAS winner South Pacific Scarlet has a new addition to the family. South Pacific Orange is unusual not only for its flower color but also for being grown from seeds, not division of the rhizomes. It is shorter than most other kinds of cannas, so it can be grown in containers. It will attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Buy the seeds early, and start them indoors a month or two before the date of the last frost. FloriGlory Diana is a new variety of cuphea, commonly known as Mexican Heather. It is commonly used in containers and hanging baskets.
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Canna South Pacific Orange
Gardeners will like the compact size (10 to 12 inches tall), longer flowering time, and drought and heat tolerance. Baby’s breath flowers are often so scattered and far apart on the plant that they don’t make a good display. The Gypsophila Gypsy White plant is much more compact; the flowers are larger, and there are a lot more flowers. This variety can be used by itself in containers and to fill spaces in flowerbeds. Marigolds fell out of favor for a while, partly because the plants require deadheading of old flowers to stay looking good. Marigold Super Hero Spry will help people fall in love with marigolds again, as there is no deadheading required. The short, 1-foot-tall plants are covered in bright red and orange flowers that will catch your eye. Ornamental Pepper Onyx Red has dark-purple leaves that are very unusual. The bright red peppers shine above the leaves. This plant will be less than a foot tall in pots or the garden, but it will be so noticeable that it will seem to be a lot bigger. Zinnia Queeny Lime Orange is 2 feet tall and has 3-inch flowers. Each flower has a bright red button center that is surrounded by greenish-yellow ray flowers. As the ray flowers mature, they spread out from the center and turn to orange. The resulting effect is the flower heads appear to be glowing. L
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Zinnia Queeny Lime Orange
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(559) 733-4505 4025 W. Caldwell Ave, Suite A Visalia, CA 93277
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HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
bout 40 guests from Habitat for Humanity had the pleasure of sitting down at Café 225 to an amazing seven-course meal created by owner-Chef Karl Merten on Sunday, Feb. 18. Claudio Basei, winemaker at Cacciaore Fine Wines, paired each course with Cacciatore wine to help build the best flavor experience for the diner. Habitat for Humanity has been working with Café 225 for several years, developing wonderful evenings of food and wine in an effort to raise funds for its homeownership and home
repair programs. Habitat works directly with the community to raise funds and awareness for its vision that everyone deserves a decent and affordable place to live. Having the opportunity to share stories and enjoy a great evening is as much a friend-raiser as a fundraiser. Thank you to Karl Merten and his staff at Café 225 and to Claudio Basei for doing a magnificent job of paring Cacciatore Fine Wines with Karl’s wonderful menu. Join us for our next Wine & Dine in the fall of 2018.
VISALIA CHAMBER CEO RECEIVES HONORS
isalia Chamber of Commerce President/ CEO Gail Zurek has been recognized as an Accredited Chamber Executive (ACE) by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.). The designation is awarded to those chamber executives and staff professionals who meet stringent criteria set by the association’s board of directors. Zurek was the only Chamber of Commerce executive awarded accreditation this year at the association’s annual conference
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in Henderson, Nev. The accreditation program was started in 1993 to encourage chamber executives to upgrade and expand their skills through continuing education and training programs in the chamber management and business fields. There are currently 21 ACE recipients active in Chambers of Commerce in the West. Recipients of the Accredited Chamber Executive must apply for re-accreditation every five years in order to retain the designation.
YOUNG LIFE/ YOUNGLIVES TULARE COUNTY
oung Life/YoungLives Tulare County had guests laughing and dashing for delicious desserts at its annual fundraising banquet Feb. 22. Three hundred guests enjoyed a delicious dinner and entertaining evening hearing about the ministry of Young Life/YoungLives. A touching testimonial from a former student participant in YoungLives and a message from a retired Young Life area
director, Johnie Thomsen, communicated the value of Young Life/YoungLives in providing caring adult mentors for high school students. Young Life is an interdenominational, faith-based outreach to middle school, high school and college students, with special ministries for teenage parents and students with special needs.
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WO R D PLAY
T E X T
D I A N E
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News on writing, books + the world of publishing
lthough the Central Valley already has had many springlike days, the official first day of spring is March 20, a time to think of greenery and flowers. “Spring Garden” (Pushkin Press, November 2017) by Tomoka Shibasaki (translated by Polly Barton) is book number one of the Pushkin Japanese Novella Series. It tells the story of Taro, who is living in an apartment that is soon to be torn down for gentrification of the neighborhood. He meets another tenant, Nishi, who is fascinated by a sky-blue house next door. This becomes a focus for what the future may hold for them. “The Golden Age of Botanical Art” (Andre Deutsch, publishing April 3) by Martyn Rix, a botanist and editor of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, describes the explorers and artists who recorded the plants they discovered in their expeditions. “Hanging Kokedama: Creating Potless Plants for the Home” (Jacqui Small, March 15) by Coraleigh Parker shows how to grow ferns, succulents, herbs, orchids and small trees in a moss ball suspended on fishing lines. Parker is the founder of a New Zealand botanical design business with a fondness for living botanical artwork. VALLEY WRITERS Chris Brewer reports that most of his printing projects have been on hold as he has been struggling to upgrade video displays at the Exeter Historical Museum. He has installed documents relating to Visalia’s Civil War Union Camp Babbitt and the county’s most famous outlaws, the Daltons as well as John Sontag and Chris Evans. But he worries about the history that is being lost to the public. “We have some real hustlers out there with good stories and charisma, and
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people believe what they are being told so we are losing our history in yet another way,” he wrote. “It really bothers me to see these images and documents being snapped up and resold at paper shows and online, taking them away from the local area.” As these artifacts are lost to the public, they are also lost to writers of historical fact and fiction who could use them as resources in their research.
famous authors from Jane Austen to Edwidge Danticat, March is not the month to be born in if you want to become one of them (sorry – and, yes, it is a small sample – consider it a challenge). None of them was born in March. All the other months claim at least one of the authors. The best month – March babies just missed it – is February, with five of the 25 authors (20 percent). The February authors in the sample are Ayn Rand, Gillian Flynn, Amy Tan, John Steinbeck and Judy Blume. WRITERS’ CONFERENCE
POSTHUMOUS It has been a year since Amy Krouse Rosenthal died of ovarian cancer. She was 51. Her creative spirit lives on in the more than 30 children’s books she authored. Some favorites are “Little Pea,” “Duck! Rabbit!,” “Wumbers” and “Spoon.” Her books are full of fun while they impart lessons such as spoons needn’t be envious of forks or what you see may depend on how you look at it. Rosenthal also wrote adult books such as “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life,” which is filled with charming trivia worthy of a comedy routine. She began her career writing for National Public Radio. BORN WRITERS Based on a random sample of 25
The deadline for application to attend the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference is April 2. The conference takes place July 29-Aug. 3. The participant spotlight is on Javier Zamora, who was an attendee in 2010 and recently published his first full-length collection. Workshops in fiction and poetry will be led by writers with a long list of publications and awards, such as Howard Norman and Carl Phillips. The fee of $1,025 includes most meals. Details at: www.napawritersconference.org. WRITING CONTEST Black Lawrence Press holds two competitions each year for unpublished 16- to 36-page books of poems or short fiction. The spring entry period is from April 1 to May 31. Winners receive publication, $500 cash and 10 copies. Details at: www.blacklawrence.com/ submissions-and-contests/the-blackriver-chapbook-competition. THE LAST WORD “Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” (Tatanka Iyotanka aka Sitting Bull, 1831-1890) L
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HANDBAG HANDOFFS T E X T
S H A R O N
M O S L E Y
f your shoulders are aching and you’re tired of schlepping that heavy leather tote bag all winter long, then it may be time to get your hands on a brand-new bag. And it’s the perfect time to put some pizazz into your purse portfolio – it’s an instant way to update your wardrobe weeks before spring is finally sprung. Here are the top handbag trends to get carried away with this spring: • Get carried away with belt bags. These “new” bags at one time had a somewhat dubious reputation as the must-have accessory of American tourists who strapped on “fanny packs” and took to the streets in shirts blooming with giant hibiscus and huge chunky tennis shoes. Now these fanny packs have morphed into “belt bags” upscaled by fashion designers who have transformed them into the latest rage from tiny coin purses to large pouches attached to belts. Still a very practical hands-free accessory, the new belt bags in all their bold, colorful glory are just as easily slung over the shoulder as they are buckled around the waist. Some of the best belt bags can be found at Kate Spade.
• Get carried away with plastic. See-through vinyl handbags may be one way to sail through security, but they are also one way to cruise into the office with the newest handbag this spring. The best way to carry off these transparent bags is to take the bagwithin-a-bag approach and stash a smaller clutch inside a larger clear tote. And if you really want to get carried away with the trendy look, try matching your clear boots or shoes with your handbag. Very Chanel. • Get carried away with shape. It may be time to trade in your old rectangularshaped handbag for something a little more architectural – a circular hatbox wristlet, a geometric cube cross-body or a triangular hobo. You can even get cozy with a fluffy fur pillow bag. Check out the circular embossed leather handbags at Brahmin. • Get carried away with print and pattern. It’s all about graphic designs and brand logos this spring. The more whimsical designs the better. From Keith Haring graffiti at Coach to Parisian poster art at Balmain to cartoon images at Prada to labels like Moschino and Lanvin splashed across bags, artistic
statements are giving handbags even more pop. Give your wardrobe a real graphic punch and check out the Keith Haring designs at Coach. • Get carried away with straw. Spring and summer means switching to a lighter palette, and straw, raffia or wicker is a great way to lighten up your load. Make the change to cage-like handbags, woven totes or craft-inspired beaded macramé bucket bags. These new bags are no longer just for island girls bound for the beach. Check out the “Loren” raffia market handbag at Michael Kors. • Get carried away with embellishment. Just like shoes this season, the more extra details dripping off handbags the better. Put some personality in your purses with tassels, fringe, punky spikes and studs, floral appliques, or sequins and beads. Whether it’s an embroidered minaudiere, a rhinestone clutch or a studded backpack, there’s always room to add some whimsy to your handbag collection ... and it’s always fun to get a little carried away. Check out the exquisite floral applique designs on Nancy Gonzalez’s handbag collection at Bergdorf Goodman. L
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Visalia Senior Games 2018 The 2018 Visalia Senior Games return to the Central Valley. Open to people 50 years and better. $10 per person. When: March 17 and 18 Where: Register at Visalia Parks & Recreation, 345 N. Jacob St., Visalia Contact: Visalia Parks & Recreation, (559) 713-4365
‘Blade Runner’ CHOICES presents “Blade Runner” (1982). Tickets: $5 When: March 22, 6:30 p.m. Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: (559) 625-1369
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CASA of Tulare County second annual Superhero Run Join CASA of Tulare County at the second annual Superhero Run. It’s a great way to kick off the spring season with a brisk run or stroll through Visalia’s historic Mooney Grove Park. The event features a 5k and 1k Run/Walk (timed), raffle and a Superhero Costume Contest. When: March 24, 7 a.m.-noon Where: Mooney Grove Park, 27000 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia Contact: Amy Silveira, firstname.lastname@example.org
10th annual John Paul Magao Memorial Motorcycle Ride & Vendor Show Ride starts at Visalia Harley-Davidson and ends at Plaza Park, South Plaza Drive, south of the Wyndham Hotel next to the tennis and pickleball courts, Arbor #1. Riders $30, passengers $20. Lunch only (non-riders) $10. When: March 24. 8 a.m. Registration: 8 a.m., kickstands up, 10 a.m. Lunch at noon. Ride starts at 10 a.m. Where: Visalia Harley-Davidson, 30681 Highway 99, Visalia Contact: John Paul Magao Memorial Scholarship Foundation, James, (559) 972-2388; Janice, (559) 623-2264
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Civil Discourse in the Public Arena The League of Women Voters will present a program on “Civil Discourse in the Public Arena.” It will be a no-host, catered luncheon, featuring Sharon Kimball and Debora Humphreys. The cost for lunch is $25 and is catered by Sue Sa Catering. When: March 24, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Where: St. Paul’s Parish Hall, 120 N Hall St. Visalia Contact: Faye Zeeb, (559) 734-6501, email@example.com
Spring Break Farm Tours During the week of Visalia Unified School District’s spring break, McKellar Family Farms is setting aside specific times for families and small groups to schedule a wagon-ride farm tour. Because McKellar Family Farms can typically only schedule large groups, it is setting aside these times and dates so that families can enjoy the farm during spring break without needing to organize a large group. Tours include wagon rides and orange picking. To book one of the time slots, guests can visit mckellarfamilyfarms.com/events and click on the Sign Up Genius link. When: March 27-28, 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. slots available Where: McKellar Farms 32988 Road 164, Ivanhoe Contact: Kelly Lapadula at (559) 731.7925 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Silver Light: Fifty Photographs March welcomes artist Randy Ranger and his black-and-white photography exhibition. Randy is a photographer who deems inspiration from various parts of the Central Valley. This is a free event. When: Runs through March 30 Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: Arts Visalia, (559) 739-0905, www.artsvisalia.org
Visalia Naz Annual Eggstravaganza Join us for this year’s Eggstravaganza, where there will be crafts, egg hunts, bounce houses, train rides and more! Event is free except for food. Tickets: www.visalianaz.org When: March 31, 9 a.m.-noon Where: Visalia Nazarene Church, 3333 W. Caldwell Ave., Visalia Contact: Judy Hart, email@example.com, (559) 734-1117, www.visalianaz.org
Celebrant Singers Bowl-a-Thon The Celebrant Singers WorldTouch Bowl-a-Thon is an annual fundraiser to help send Celebrants on international outreaches. All funds raised will be used for Celebrant Singers’ 41st year of summer ministry. Every sponsored bowler gets an event T-shirt and is eligible to win prizes, including door prizes: fine dining gift certificates, gift baskets, etc., and grand prize: Mexico cruise for four to the person or team that raises the most money. When: April 8, 1-4 p.m. Where: Visalia Bowlero, 1740 W. Caldwell Ave., Visalia Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
86th Annual Lindsay Orange Blossom Festival The real fun is blooming at the Lindsay Orange Blossom Parade and Festival, featuring live music, food vendors, bounce houses, a 5k and 10k fun-run, a carnival and more! This event is free. Grab some lawn chairs and the whole family and make a day of it. When: April 14, 11 a.m.â€“5 p.m., parade starts at 10 a.m. Where: Lindsay City Park, Lindsay Contact: lindsayorangeblossom.org
South Valley Artist Studio Tour Join the Visalia Arts Consortium and more than 40 local artists across Tulare County as they open up their private studios for an up-close and personal look at the locations behind the best art in the Valley. Tickets are $15 and include a free collectible passport, which gives you all the locations and information needed to enjoy the show! When: April 14-15 Where: Throughout Tulare County Contact: email@example.com, (559) 802-3266
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AAUW Annual Book Sale The American Association of University Women is hosting the annual spring book sale, where you can buy used books. The AAUW Book Bin is located just inside the Sequoia Mall entrance. If you wish to donate gently used books for the next sale, take them to the Life Style Center on Cypress Avenue. When: April 18-23 Where: Sequoia Mall, 3355 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia Contact: Sandy Parmelly, (559) 732-2450
Randy Bachman Hands in the Community and the Joshua Ray Smallwood Foundation will present an evening with legendary rock musician Randy Bachman. Seats for the concert range from $35-$80 and can be purchased at www.foxvisalia.org or at the Fox Theatre box office. When: April 28, doors: 7 p.m., show: 8 p.m. Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: Visalia Fox Theatre, www.foxvisalia.org, (559) 625-1369
How to Beat Grown-Ups at Checkers A short series of on-screen game tips teaching critical thinking, perseverance, sportsmanship and planning ahead. Topics include power tools, defense and end-game. Refreshments and practice games, followed by raffle. Free to all. Adults welcome if accompanied by a student. For students in fourth, fifth and sixth grades. When: April 14, May 12, 10 a.m-noon Where: Visalia Branch Library, 200 W. Oak Ave., upstairs “Purple Room” Contact: Kiwanis Club of Downtown Visalia, (559) 697-3163, KiwanisVisalia@gmail.com.
Baskets and Gourds Containers of Our Culture VII Biennial show and workshop, “Containers of Our Culture,” running April 4-27, followed by the seventh biennial conference at the Elks Lodge Mill Creek Conference Center on April 28-29. When: Opening reception, April 6, 6-8 p.m.; closing reception, April 27, 6-8 p.m. Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia; Elks Lodge 3100 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: Toni Best, (559) 627-5430, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fifth Annual Golf Tournament Hands in the Community would like you to join them for their fifth annual Golf Tournament. Teams of four play for $550, which includes both lunch and dinner, and entry into the raffle. When: April 27, 10:30 a.m.-6:40 p.m. Where: Ridge Creek Golf Club, 3018 Ridge Creek Drive, Dinuba Contact: Lester Moon, (559) 625-3822, email@example.com, www.hnconline.org
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An Evening at the Derby A fun-filled evening of wooden horse races, prizes, live auction and silent auction. Delicious dinner and dessert included. Tickets: $50 When: May 4, gates open at 5 p.m., races start at 5:30 p.m. Where: Koetsier Ranch, 8230 Ave. 272, Visalia Contact: Assistance League Visalia, (559) 737-1907, firstname.lastname@example.org
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CASA of Tulare County presents Once Upon a Dream Join us for our annual semi-formal fundraising event to support volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children of Tulare County. Cocktails and hors dâ€™oeurvres, Dinner provided by the Vintage Press. No-host bar, silent and live auctions. When: May 11, 5:45 p.m.-1 a.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: CASA of Tulare County, (559) 625-4007
Power of the Purse The Power of the Purse is a signature fundraising event of United Way Womenâ€™s Leadership Councils nationwide. Individual tickets: $75. The Power of the Purse event will fund the Literacy Project of the United Way of Tulare County. When: June 8, 7 a.m.-9 a.m. Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: Power of the Purse-Tulare County, facebook.com/PowerPurseTC/
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Style, Art, Culture, and Events of the South Valley