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THE DLUGONSKI HOME Na Zdrowie A Home Built on Family Heritage



A Day Spent Flying High


THANKSGIVING GOES GOURMET Crown Roast of Pork November 2013


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24 HOME TOUR The Dlugonski Home


Varian Mace Prolific Artist Still Going Strong


Letter from the Executive Editor

10 Business Cents: Congressional Leaders Reach a Deal to Avoid Default 12 Word Play 18 History: White Wolf’s Growl Rattles Tulare County


22 Seasonal: Giving Thanks Beyond Thanksgiving


32 Service: A Legacy Honored


40 Soiree: The Giving Tree

Thanksgiving Goes Gourmet

48 Spirits: All the Leaves are Brown

Crown Pork Roast

50 Culture Quest: Dia De Los Muertos 54 Music: Soulful Singer Lands in Visalia 58 Happenings


36 T R AV E L

A Day Spent Flying High Ireland


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TOP: The entrance and walkway up to the Dlugonski residence is covered with smooth, checkered slate, featuring earthy tones.



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

SALES OFFICE 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • Fax 559.738.0909 E-mail: VIEW THE MAG ONLINE!

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

Circulation of this issue: 15,000 © 2013 DMI Agency


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LEFT: The fire pit in the backyard is one of the many features that brings family to the Dlugonski home. Surrounded by tall pine trees, it creates a nature inspired atmosphere. COVER: The exterior is a highlight of the Dlugonski home. The prominent black doors with unique window accents are a great touch for their newly remodeled home.



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

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

One of the most endearing aspects of our community is our resident’s willingness to expand their current understanding of unfamiliar cultural traditions. For some, that means they must reach beyond what is comfortable. For others, it’s seeking and embracing new ideas and customs. Regardless of which one you most readily identify with, we appreciate the various ways our residents celebrate days that are special to them. Recently, local event Dia de los Muertos, presented by the Tulare County League of Mexican American Women, did a beautiful and colorful job of helping bridge the gap of understanding what is likely an unfamiliar custom to many. A 3,000-year-old tradition, this event celebrates the cycle of life and honors ancestors to help ease the fear of death. We thank the League for the work they do in empowering women and enriching our lives by increasing our knowledge and understanding in such an entertaining way. We also appreciate the many organizations who are getting ready to help feed and clothe the thousands in our community who need help every day, and even more so this time of year when temperatures drop to near freezing. Many of the people in need are children who rely on their parents for basics such as food, shelter and clothing. When a parent is unable to do so, these children are powerless to help themselves. During this time of Thanksgiving, and as the climate turns from “crisp and clear” to “ it’s so cold I can’t feel my toes,” it doesn’t take much to make a difference in the life of a struggling family. Another great way to support your favorite local charity is by attending the annual Christmas Tree Auction. You won’t want to miss this year as there is a new twist, the Gropetti Giving Tree, a beautifully decorated tree is going home with the very lucky holder of the winning ticket. Proceeds from the tree will be donated to the winner’s designated charity. So, if you’ve ever wanted to take home one of these trees, but the bidding amounts rose beyond your personal economic tolerance, this could be your lucky year. Be sure to contact the Visalia Chamber for more information. As always, we thank you for taking the time to read Lifestyle, and wish you, your family and friends a happy season of Thanksgiving.

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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Congressional Leaders Reach a Deal to Avoid Default Text by Andre Goddard, VP Investments, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC


fter months of political wrangling and a week of last-minute maneuvering, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders have reached a compromise. This agreement is likely to prevent a government default on its debt and spending as well as re-opening previously closed nonessential government services. However, the compromise does not resolve all the budget problems; it only provides a temporary postponement. Nevertheless, reducing the risk of default could help lift sentiment and boost economic activity over the near term. The budget and debt deal is likely to create a window of opportunity for more serious negotiations. A special committee is expected to meet between now and mid-December to try to work out some acceptable changes to short-term budget issues in exchange for some possible longer-term reforms. It is too early to say whether these discussions will lead to substantive changes or another political standoff. But, this week’s last minute compromise will include new spending and debt ceiling deadlines early next year to prevent these new negotiations from dragging on too long. Unfortunately, the deal is just a temporary fix to the default problem, not a big fix to the longer-term deficit problems. Consequently, investors did not occur this month, but disappointed that Congress has only been able to kick the can down the road once again. We recognize that the longer-term budget problems are a drag on economic activity. But remain longer-term positive on the U.S. economy and the U.S. stock market because the private sector continues to recover from the 2008-

2009 recession despite all the uncertainty created by the political rhetorical and inaction from the government sector. The political process is sometimes messy, but lawmakers eventually get the message and take action. Politicians watching recent poles saw that consumer sentiment has been hurt by the dysfunction in Washington. For example, the University of Michigan’s preliminary October consumer sentiment index dropped to its lowest level since the Fiscal Cliff political standoff early this year. This drop in sentiment created an added reason to compromise as the government’s borrowing limit approached. Other polls showed similar declines in attitudes. Specifically, the latest Wall Street Journal news polls indicated that the percentage of survey participants who thought that the nation was headed in the right direction dropped to only 14 percent in early October from 41 percent a year ago. The percentage who thought that the country was headed in the wrong direction jumped to 78 percent this month. The Wall Street Journal survey also showed that a majority of individuals thought that both President Obama and Congressional Republicans were putting their own political agenda ahead of what is good for the country. However, the Republicans were viewed more negatively than the President. Similarly, a majority of survey participants disapproved of the job that Democrats and Republicans are doing in Congress. Yet, Republicans were viewed worse with a 70 percent disapproval rating compared to a 59 percent rating for Democrats in Congress. These high disapproval ratings should be a wake-up call for both parties. Congress has created a short window of opportunity to address public dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to solve problems when political differences are still far apart. But, next year is an election year, and if disapproval ratings remain high, many lawmakers could face difficult re-election prospects. In the near term, the U.S. economy was probably not permanently damaged by the government shutdown. Therefore, we believe that economic activity could resume at a more modest rate of growth in the weeks ahead as the debt ceiling issues fade from the headlines. This article was written by Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Andre Goddard, Vice President-Investments in Visalia. Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANKGUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.


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hree women find themselves at odds with most of the rest of their society, or lack thereof, in novels by three authors embarking on their careers. City of Women is David R. Gillham’s debut novel. Sigrid Schroder is the wife of a Nazi army officer fighting at the front while she faces battles of her own on the home front in Berlin. At first, she tries to maintain some normalcy in the crumbling police state – keeping her job as a typist, living with her embittered mother-in-law and dreaming of her Jewish lover who has gone away – until a young rebel neighbor involves her in intrigue. From then on, it is a game of cat and mouse where, from moment-to-moment, you can’t tell who is which. Hannah Payne is a future Hester Prynne in Hillary Jordan’s second novel When She Woke. Like Hawthorne’s character, Payne lives in a society where the church and state are one. Adultery is a major crime – especially when it happens with a pillar of the church – and abortion is worse. Instead of going to prison, or wearing a scarlet letter, Hannah is “chromed” – her skin is turned red to mark her as a murderer and a person to be shunned by all. Hannah rejects her fate, fights to get her life back and see her lover (whom she has never revealed) one more time. The title in Alex Adams’ debut novel, White Horse, refers to a disease unleashed on the world by an unscrupulous pharmaceutical company. Zoe cleans the rat cages at the company and ponders a mysterious jar that shows up at her apartment before people worldwide begin to succumb to a devastating illness that either kills or deforms them beyond human recognition. Zoe refuses to surrender her humanity as she travels through this altered world on an odyssey of hope. Adam’s sequel, Red Horse, due out next July reveals that some order has been restored, but citizens of City One are executed for asking questions. Valley Writers Gerald and Janice Haslam’s In Thought and Action: The Enigmatic Life of S.I. Hayakawa has won another award, this time from the Institute for General Semantics. It is the 2013 Samuel I. Hayakawa Book Prize, which goes to the most outstanding work published in the past five years on topics of direct relevance to semantics. The Haslams received their award at the 61st Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture last month at the Princeton Club in New York City. Ron Hughart, of Exeter, was traveling in Germany recently with his wife, Ann. While there, he wrote to let his fans know that his latest book was awaiting him at home. He describes


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Déjà Vu of a Skeptic as “a semi-fictional novel” based on an experience in Placerville. The fictional beginning and ending surround his real-life encounter with déjà vu. Hughart wrote the book while living on Coronado Island last year. He is back in Exeter in a house on Badger Hill with a marvelous view. California State University, Fresno political science professor Thomas Holyoke’s book Competitive Interests was published in 2011 but is no less relevant today. His discussion on lobbyists in Washington goes beyond the influence they have on public policy to a discussion of how an explosion in the numbers of groups involved can result in compromise as much as conflict. He also discusses the negative aspects which can lead to gridlock as well as the kinds of interest groups that have advantages in long struggles. Publishing TIME magazine promoted Nancy Gibbs to be its first woman managing editor. The editor-in-chief is also a woman – Martha Nelson. Gibbs has had one of the most prolific writing careers at TIME and plans to re-launch with former The Daily Beast alumnus Edward Felsenthal in charge. She began as a factchecker at TIME 28 years ago. Popular Science has closed its online comments. They claimed too many “trolls and spambots” were shutting down intelligent conversation. The comments were turning into shout-fests that were interfering with disseminating scientific knowledge, which is the goal of the 141-year-old publication. Quirky Work Writer’s Digest’s “13 Quirky Workplaces of Famous Writers” describes some of the places authors have written besides at a desk. They include on horseback, in a basement storage room and in a bath tub. Contest The Lamar York Prizes for Fiction and Nonfiction deadline is January 31. Details at: https://thechattahoocheereview. The Last Word “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” – C.S. Lewis (1898–1963)









Varian Mace PROLIFIC ARTIST STILL GOING STRONG Text by Lisa McEwen | Photos by Taylor Johnson


itting in her light-filled home studio, Varian Mace is surrounded by the results of her lifelong passion for drawing and painting. Mixed in among the drawing tables, art supplies and books, bins of original work fill the living room while framed prints hang throughout the Visalia home she shares with her high school sweetheart and husband, Phil. That’s not to say her work isn’t sought after – in fact, it hangs in several private collections throughout the western United States. But to Mace, creating art is like breathing – it is a basic necessity. “I can’t stop doing it,” Mace said. “It is a natural desire in me to paint.”



A ARTIST PROFILE The start of a career When speaking about her career, Mace said it is important to discuss her childhood, as it had a great impact on who she became as an adult. As an only child, living in Northern California, she spent her early years in a log house three miles from the closest town. “My mother had a huge family, and when her brothers would come home on leave from World War II, they would visit us and bring me comic books. I got Superman, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman and Batman comic books. I would look at the books and then begin to draw them.” After high school graduation, she and Phil enrolled at University of California, Berkeley together. Phil studied law, and she began studies in the decorative art department. They married in 1959. A highlight of her early career in art was winning a Mademoiselle magazine contest, through which she earned a summer internship to work on the publication’s popular fall college issue in New York City. That sparked a personal challenge to get her drawings published. Though college courses taught her about color and design, she didn’t know much about getting a job. But in true Varian Mace style, she figured it out herself. “I didn’t even own a portfolio,” she recalled. “All my work was in a cardboard box tied with string. I went to San Francisco to the first publishing company I could find, and dumped my work on the owner’s desk. He liked my work and asked me to make four or five card designs for their company, Troubador Press.” That connection soon produced contracts to illustrate children’s books. By this time, the couple had three children and lived in Paradise, a foothill town east of Sacramento. Mace worked from home while caring for their young sons, Doug, Richard and Gregory. “They would sit under my desk in the garage with their coloring books; it took nine months to illustrate the books,” she said, with proofs being mailed back and forth from San Francisco. “It was just like having a baby. When the mailman brought me a big box of published books, that was a good feeling.” Visalia-bound Phil took a position with the county counsel’s office in 1987, and Mace took advantage of offering her work in a new area. The Frigulti-Black Gallery advertised her as an “out-of-town artist,” which must have worked, she said, because she sold several paintings. She also met COS art professor Ralph Homan, who invited her to display at the campus gallery. This led to a faculty position as an instructor of color and design and drawing classes. At COS, Mace became fast friends with Ellen Gorelick, an instructor of art history and then-director of the Tulare Historical Museum. “She is a lovely friend, and the students loved her,” Gorelick said. “She was very giving and generous with her students and encouraged them. She wanted them to be successful.” It was during her teaching tenure that Mace’s impact on the local art scene took lasting hold. She and Gorelick started the 16

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“Varied Impressions” exhibit held annually at the Tulare Historical Museum. This exhibit invited local artists to give their impressions of the Valley’s myriad landscapes, resulting in a range of media. A Visalia Times-Delta columnist interviewed Mace in 1996 about the city’s growing art scene. A quote she offered – and the columnist countered – ignited a firestorm of discussion: “Do Visalians appreciate art? Do they know good art when they see it? Do residents only buy art because it matches their sofa?” Miffed, Mace took the article to her COS students, who were equally incensed. Never one to back down from a challenge, Mace assigned her students a task: create a piece of art with a sofa in it. The tongue-in-cheek, whimsical and absolutely unpretentious “Sofa Art Show” was born. A few weeks and 47 pieces later, Mace teamed up with friend and fellow artist Luci Merritt and asked former Main Street gallery owner Larry Collins for permission to borrow his exhibit space. What was supposed to be a two-day show hung for six weeks. “When the show came down, people asked me, ‘What are you going to do next year?’” Mace said. “It showed me that people were yearning for something fun to do. It just got to be so much fun that it was almost illegal.” Nineteen years later, Sofa Art is still going strong. “Who knew it would last so long?” Mace asked with a smile. Arts Visalia curator and COS art instructor Kevin Bowman was initially skeptical about the Sofa Art exhibit. But like the conversations held with students in his own art classes, the exhibit sparks debate: What makes good art? “I see it as kind of a community event. It’s an open invitation for people to be creative,” Bowman said. “By the very nature of Sofa Art, the fact that it emphasizes that you don’t have to be an ‘artist’ to participate, it challenges your preconceptions about artists and what art is. Art is meant to be something that people can be engaged by and ask questions from.” Moving forward Retired from teaching, Mace continues to draw and paint daily, taking commissions and exhibiting regularly. She enjoys her teenage granddaughters, Sarah, and her namesake, Varian. Despite having exhibited in some of the trendiest towns along the California coast, from Carmel to Laguna Beach, and in the Southwest, including Arizona and New Mexico, one of her favorite small towns is Exeter. “It is my second hometown,” she said. Together with Phil, the petite Monet’s Wine Bar and Bistro is on her list of best places to enjoy a meal and a glass of wine. And it’s a good opportunity to check on her many pieces hanging in town, as well as the stunning “Poppies and Lupine” mural behind the Wildflower Cafe. She estimates she has sold hundreds of paintings in the area, some hanging in restaurants, law practices, medical offices and homes. Reflecting on her career, Mace said, “I’ve enjoyed everything I have done and I’ve loved doing it.”


White Wolf’s Growl Rattles Tulare County


Text by Terry L. Ommen


he White Wolf fault is only about 34 miles long, running between Highway 58 and US 99 near the towns of Bakersfield, Arvin and Tehachapi. This almost invisible fracture in the earth’s crust was discovered in the early 1900s and had long been presumed dead. But early in the morning on July 21, 1952, this “playing possum” fissure roared to life, shaking the ground from San Francisco to the Mexican border. The Tehachapi earthquake was the most powerful to hit California since the big one in San Francisco in 1906. The massive 7.7-magnitude temblor made its violent appearance on Monday at 4:52 a.m. All over California buildings shook, water mains broke, windows shattered and electrical power was knocked out. Despite its long reach, most of the earthquake’s rage centered on the little mountain town of Tehachapi. One eyewitness at a service station described what he saw when the quake hit. “The earth rocked convulsively and the entire faces of buildings crumbled and fell in,” he said. Early reports indicated considerable loss of life, many injuries and significant property damage. The military police were brought in from Edwards Air Force Base to help the Kern County deputies with security, and additional doctors and nurses came to help care for the injured.

Although Tulare County was a distance north of Tehachapi, it got a good jolt too when the quake hit. Porterville shook and plate glass windows shattered, but no serious structural damage was recorded. Both Pixley’s branch of the county courthouse and Traver’s elementary school suffered major building damage. Southern California Edison’s Kaweah Powerhouse No. 1 had its production cut when the quake broke a flume near Oak Grove. The Lindsay-Strathmore Irrigation District suffered a split in a 20” waterline, but a quick repair averted major damage. In Exeter buildings shook and cracked but no serious damage was reported. Woodlake and Three Rivers fared pretty well too with little or no damage. But Visalia had a different story to tell. Several residents described the quake as rumbling, yet others likened it to an atomic explosion. Regardless, the violent shaking woke almost everyone from a sound sleep. Dorothy Kame Neeley, 24 at the time, lived near the airport, and remembers distinctly being awake moments before the jolt. Why she was awake, she can’t explain, but when it struck, the normally floppy ears on her pet cocker spaniel, Taffy, shot straight out. “It was like a cartoon,” she said. At dawn the details of the quake’s impact on the city began coming in. Guests staying on the fourth and fifth floors of the

PICTURED: Visalia’s downtown business district was rattled by the big quake.


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TOP: Built in 1917 the Visalia Elks building suffered damage. INSET: Dorothy Kame Neeley, local Visalia resident during the 1952 earthquake.

Hotel Johnson at Main and Church felt the building sway. Chunks of plaster broke loose from the hotel walls, and doors to some of the guestrooms became stuck, requiring hotel staff to pry them open. The third floor of the Elks building at 203 W. Main lost pieces of plaster, and next door at Leonard’s Jewelry several window panes were badly cracked. Merchandise displays in many businesses including J. J. Newberry and Togni lost products as items fell from the shelves. But the effects of the earthquake were not all bad. John Thompson living at 923 S. Encina owned a clock that had not worked for several years, and after the quake, it came back to life and kept perfect time. But the building that seemed to take the biggest hit was the old Tulare County Courthouse – a structure built in 1877. When the quake struck, John Kutch and Troy Smith, janitors working inside, were thrown against the walls. Both escaped injury and wasted no time leaving the building. Tulare County Building Inspector Jack McWherter was quickly called to examine the old government building. He found bricks dislodged, chunks of plaster missing, and wide cracks everywhere. After his inspection, he asked four outside engineering consultants to confirm his assessment of the building. They spent five hours closely examining the structure and their conclusion was unanimous. The building was not safe. McWherter immediately condemned it and barricaded the doors. The three superior courts and county offices had to find new homes in the city. Later Visalia’s


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ill-fated county courthouse was demolished although the adjacent 1935-annex building was saved. Even though Tulare County and Visalia felt the impact of the earthquake, Tehachapi fared much worse. According to government records, nine people lost their lives in the town of about 1,500 and scores were injured. There was heavy property damage with brick and adobe buildings getting the worst of it. Terror and strong aftershocks drove residents into tents in the town park. Almost 70 percent of the business district was destroyed or heavily damaged. Nine days after the big quake hit, a delegation from the Visalia Junior Chamber of Commerce drove to the devastated little town and met with some of the nervous residents and their mayor. After the visit, Vaughan Hassett, president of the Visalia Junior Chamber, expressed his concern over what they had seen. “It was frightening to see their attitudes. They don’t know which way to turn for help,” he said. Hassett moved quickly and on July 31, he announced “Operation Earthquake,” a fundraising drive to raise money for those in need in the town. For the next ten days, members of the Jaycees made appeals to Visalians and surrounding communities for financial help. On August 11 with cash in hand, representatives from the Jaycees made their mercy trip back to Tehachapi. They had raised $1,800 and it was deposited into the “Rehabilitation Fund” in the local bank. Despite suffering their own hardships, Visalians shared with their traumatized neighbors to the south.



BEYOND THANKSGIVING Text by Dara Fisk-Ekanger


uring this time of year it’s common to count our blessings and focus on being grateful. Many of us will gather around a Thanksgiving table and take a moment to share what we are thankful for during the last year. Health, being together, having plenty of food are some of the most frequently mentioned items. But why limit thankfulness to one day of the year? Overwhelming research has shown the connection between gratefulness and both physical and mental health. People who keep journals recording things for which they are thankful and those who make it a point to focus on gratitude in their thoughts and words: report higher levels of energy and exercise; tend to be healthier overall; are less likely to report depression and stress; tend to be more generous with their time and resources; and feel better about their lives as a whole. And it’s not just “all in your head.” According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, “There is a complex

for supper, rather than thanking God they come home safe at all. Now is as good a time as any to change that. Take a moment to stop and really think about your life. If you have trouble coming up with a list of things to be grateful for, perhaps you should work your way backward: What would you miss if it weren’t there? Would you miss that stately shade tree in your front yard? Would you miss your eyes if they ceased to function? Would you miss your son, daughter or best friend if they suddenly passed away from this earth? What are you taking for granted right now? We live in a vibrant community with endless opportunities to engage in art, culture and recreation. We live in the breadbasket of the world with fresh produce and other agricultural products that so many never taste, or only taste after a two-thousand-mile trek in a semi-truck. We live at the base of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains and within a couple hours of an ocean that both offer breathtaking communion with nature.

“To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kindness that will stand behind the action … Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.” – Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician and medical missionary relationship between thoughts, moods, brain chemistry, endocrine function, and functioning of other physiological systems in our bodies. While we don’t yet completely understand how it all works, we know that it does. Psychology researcher Nathan DeWall from the University of Kentucky wrote a report reviewing five studies that demonstrate how gratefulness inspires people to be more empathetic with others and lowers aggressive tendencies. People who choose to focus on their blessings, to be grateful, to wonder at the beauty of a loved one’s smile or the perfection of a sunset are more patient and forgiving because they choose to see their life’s cup as full – not half-full or empty. Is it possible that the upswing in violence in our nation is not because we have too little, but because we fail to be thankful for the bounty that surrounds us? We live in one of the most affluent societies of all time. We have electricity, clean water, air conditioning, cars, computers, phones, but we’re often caught up in brooding over what we don’t have rather than focusing on what we do. We stew over why we didn’t get that last promotion rather than being grateful for the job we have. We take for granted the vibrant colors and endless variety of nature rather than marveling at its intricate design. We get frustrated with our children or spouse who come home late 22

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We are surrounded by people who truly care about us – friends, family, neighbors – who would give us the shirt off their backs if we needed it. We have non-profit organizations and churches whose volunteers donate countless hours to help those who need a hand-up, those caught in a dangerous cycle of poverty and despair, those abused and abandoned – offering all of us the support of “community.” It’s time to expand our giving thanks beyond one day in November. It’s time to intentionally notice the good things in our lives and to express our gratefulness – out loud, in writing or online. Drop a note to a teacher or friend who had a positive influence on you. Tell your co-worker how grateful you are for her help on a project. Hug your children with a whispered, “I’m so glad to have you in my life!” Thank God for “Every perfect gift …” that He sends your way. This Thanksgiving, try something new. Set a blank journal on each person’s plate. Challenge yourself and your companions, over the course of the next year, to daily write one “Today I’m grateful for …” entry in the journal. Next Thanksgiving, bring your journals out at the dinner table and see how many pages you can read before your eyes start to tear up and you realize just how transformational it is to give thanks.



PICTURED: A total remodel of the Dluglonski’s home created an open atmosphere throughout the living room seen above. The flow from the kitchen to this space allows family members to enjoy both rooms simultaneously.


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Text by Jordan Venema | Photos by Taylor Johnson




TOP: The kitchen and bar area are a true center to the Dlugonski home, with modern touches throughout. They are always ready and delighted to entertain family and guests, often times centered around a great bottle of wine.


omes fascinate us. They are not just abodes, or places to lay our heads at night, or storage spaces for all the things we have collected. A truly unique house, both its exterior and interior, is an expression of those who live in it, which is why we are intrigued by each other’s homes, even to the point of healthy voyeurism. We will enter a house, stare at framed photographs and read the spines of the books, all with the attitude of a casual stroll through a museum. We are naturally curious because homes are not just an expression but also an extension of our personal lives. When Mary and Joe Dlugonski bought their Tulare home 11 years ago, Mary wanted nothing to do with the move. They were leaving behind the family ranch where she had grown up, where she had lived her entire life, surrounded by family and wide, open spaces. If a home was ever an expression and extension of a person, it was Mary. Her grandparents had lived there, her parents had lived there, she had lived there with her husband and children, and now she was going to leave. “I hated to move away from my family,” said Mary. “I’m very close to my mom and dad, and I was born and raised on that ranch.” For Mary, the move must have felt like leaving a part of herself behind. So the task of looking for a new home largely fell on Joe. He found a short, squat house “with good bones” in a good neighborhood, and asked Mary to give it a chance. “Joe kept asking if I wanted to check it out,” said Mary. “Nope, 26

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I was adamant. I didn’t like the rock, the flat roof, the pink doors. It looked like a Brady Bunch house.” In short, Mary admitted that she “didn’t like a thing about it.” But Joe saw something in the home, its compact exterior and flattened roof, the short, stout chimney, and the horizontal sweep of the low, overhanging eaves, all of which are architectural hallmarks of the American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. “Exactly,” said Joe, “when we first saw the house, that’s exactly what it reminded me of. The style, the beam and pole, what he did years ago.” It is not surprising that their home, which was built in the ’60s, had been at least remotely inspired by Wright’s Prairie Style. It is characterized by solid construction, flat roofs, and horizontal lines created by wide windows and brick courses – all of which Wright used to architecturally represent the open, sweeping plains of the Midwest.

INSET: Mary and Joe enjoy a glass of wine in their beverage area, with the words “Na Zdrowie” painted above.

H HOME TOUR Joe persisted and Mary acquiesced, at least to take a look inside. But whatever similarities the house had with the Prairie Style ended at the front door. Wright typically built solid, almost block-like homes with wide and open interiors. This home had a solid, blocklike exterior with a compartmentalized and boxed-in interior. The 1960s home was retro and dated, indeed a “Brady Bunch” home full of small rooms. When Mary walked through the front door she was greeted by a wooden wall that separated the entranceway from the living room. “But when I walked around it, I said, ‘OK, I want this home.’” What Mary saw changed her opinion in an instant. She saw a living room lined with wide windows that spanned from floor to ceiling. But what grabbed her attention was what she saw through the windows, a large backyard with a pool and trees growing around a large swath of grass. “Oh yes,” said Mary, “I saw the openness and I said, ‘This is the place.’” So the Dlugonskis settled into their home, with its compartmentalized rooms, its pink door, and its white, wool rugs. Their home became a focal point for their family, their children and their grandchildren. Then and now, Mary wanted her grandkids to feel welcome, to feel like “they can come here and do whatever they want.”

Many small incidents led to a remodel. A leak above their bathroom whose source could never be found, and an oven window that broke. “Well, the house was so old,” explained Joe, that things began to need repairs. “We had an oven with the old square glass windows in it,” said Joe, “and it broke.” Instead of repairing the oven, Joe decided to replace it. But to replace the oven, that meant they would have to remodel the kitchen cabinets, because they no longer made that oven size. “And, well, while we were at it,” laughed Joe, a few minor repairs turned into a total renovation of the house. Walls came down, tiles were laid, the walls plastered and refinished. They tore down the partition that separated the entranceway from the living room, the wall that formerly blocked the view of the backyard from the entranceway. A hearth-like structure now separates the kitchen from the living room, but walkable space on either side creates an open atmosphere between the two rooms. An unobstructed view of the backyard spans from the living room to the kitchen, and organically ties together the center of the home with that open space that Mary loves. They turned a small dining nook into their “beverage area.” Above the small bar they have painted letters that look like random tiles from a game of Scrabble: Na Zdrowie, the Polish phrase for cheers, literally “to your health.” The phrase pays homage to Joe’s Polish heritage, and around the border they have also painted the Polish and Portuguese coat of arms. “He’s 100 percent Polish and I’m 100 percent Portuguese, and our kids are Poluguese,” laughed Mary. INSET: The master bathroom is adorned with rich browns and subtle cream colors. As you can see, the tile pictured here is featured throughout the entire house. BOTTOM: The master bedroom is one of Mary’s favorite spots in the house. With a built in fire place and fully stocked fridge, she can spend hours just relaxing there. The open flow throughout the house is also displayed here, as you walk from the bedroom directly back to the bathroom.


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PICTURED: The Dlugonskis have countless stories involving their family and friends hopping in and out of the large pool and jacuzzi. BOTTOM RIGHT: The bar and outdoor area have given the Dlugonskis many wonderful memories, perfect for entertaining friends and family.


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HOME TOUR H The Dlugonskis also repainted the house’s exterior, and added stacked stone at its foundation. Joe covered the original walking stones, large flat blocks of cement, with smooth, checkered slate. The pink front door was replaced with a black door with Art Deco accents. After the remodel, the Dlugonskis turned to Franey’s Design Center to help decorate a majority of their home. “From the curtains to the rugs, to decorative touches throughout our house, you see Franeys. They did such an amazing job for us,” says Mary. “We wanted to keep some of the integrity of the home,” said Joe, so they preserved the original roofing, even the slightly peaked and beamed ceiling in the living room, but tile was laid throughout the entire floor of the house. Granite tops were laid throughout the bathrooms and on the island in the kitchen. They added 18-inch wainscot panels under the windows in the living room and a coffered ceiling in the kitchen. “We picked everything out ourselves,” said Joe, down to the minutest details, like dimming lights in the niches and arched walkways. Mary is particularly fond of her suite, a small 15-foot extension of the master bedroom. “When we first got married, we were on our honeymoon and we were in a suite, and I said to Joe, ‘Wouldn’t you love to have a bedroom like a suite?’” So they built a semi-livable space with a sink, microwave, and small refrigerator. Mary calls it her retreat area. “Joe says I’m remarkable because I can read a book, watch TV and fall asleep all at the same time,” she laughed. “Here I can completely relax.” With her family, and especially her grandchildren always in mind, Mary had four different shower heads installed in the master shower. “I can put all the grandkids in here and say, have at it,” she laughed. Joe added that she “has an actual carwash in there.” Even after the remodel, the Dlugonskis are still living the Brady Bunch life. Their grandchildren visit often, “every day almost,” said Mary. Whether it is to swim or to eat or to celebrate a birthday, the house is the final destination for their family. The similarities between Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural style and certain characteristics of the Dlugonskis home is purely incidental, but interesting since they too desired open space, both outside and inside their home. For Mary, she initially wanted an openness that was reminiscent of the kind she found on the ranch on which she was raised. Ultimately the new home was a positive move for the Dlugonskis. Mary sometimes misses the ranch, but “you know what, it was a good change. We have a lot of good memories here, even before the remodel,” she said. And whenever family is concerned, she added, “This is an open house for them.”

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A LEGACY HONORED A tribute to Laurie Isham’s immeasurable commitment to the youth of Tulare County Text and Photos by Corey Ralston


f you have had the pleasure of meeting Visalian Laurie Isham you would know that she is not only extremely strong willed but she is a fighter. She is a fighter who has spent the last two decades championing a program to help the children of Tulare County. And although she recently retired from her position as CEO of Pro-Youth, her efforts of investing in children’s futures is not nearly over. During Laurie Isham’s time as CEO and founder of the Pro-Youth/HEART program, over 30,000 children



were helped in Tulare County. HEART, which stands for Homework, Enrichment, Acceleration, Recreation, Teamwork, is an afterschool program that was implemented to keep children off the streets. The need arose in the community in the early 1990s when gang-related violence was at an all-time high. A task force convened and eventually Pro-Youth was the fruit of its labor. Laurie Isham’s mission was to fund, guide and maintain the budding organization.

S SERVICE “From the onset Laurie tuned into the children’s voices. She continued to listen and that has changed the lives of countless Tulare Youth, deterring them from a life of crime and providing them with a path toward success,” said Daryn Davis, new CEO of Pro-Youth/HEART. The vision of the program is to see that every Tulare County child has access to high-quality after-school programming. Currently Pro-Youth is closer than ever to achieving that goal. “Some 350 employees at 36 sites are currently helping 5,000 kids. Those numbers speak to Laurie’s legacy,” Davis said. At a recent event called a “Legacy Dinner,” held at the Visalia Marriott, Isham was honored for her achievements following her retirement. A dinner and silent auction raised more than $30,000 in funds for the program with 140 people in attendance. In an almost “This Is Your Life” format, friends and colleagues spoke to attendants about the good Isham has done for the community. Davis spoke to the crowd about an important lesson she learned from her husband that fit Isham completely. “Character is made up by what you do for others who cannot thank you,” she said. Reverend Harry Wood, who has been a die-hard supporter of Isham’s efforts, made people laugh with his no-nonsense candor. “She combines the compassion of Mother Teresa, the brilliance of Steve Jobs and the ruthlessness of Donald Trump,” Wood said, adding that if you were to hold up a $20 bill in the air she would be the first person to come and take it. Dr. Andria Fletcher, chief consultant for the Center for Collaborative Solutions, has admired Isham’s tenacity from the very beginning. Isham called her in the early stages and spoke of her dream of forming the HEART program. She identified the needs of children in the community and asked Fletcher exactly what she needed to do to get it started. Fletcher candidly told Isham to call her when she had raised at least $400,000; six months later Fletcher’s phone rang again. That is when Fletcher knew how seriously determined Isham was. “Laurie is the heart of HEART. What a difference you have made. The number of lives you have changed by the number of people you have helped is amazing,” she said at the dinner. When asked why Isham has devoted her life to seeing ProYouth succeed, she had a simple yet powerful answer. “Children are our future!” Isham said.


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In Isham’s mind one of the greatest measures of HEART’s success is seeing what former students have done to help others. “Several HEART children are now HEART employees serving children because of the impact HEART had on their lives. What better endorsement could we ask for?” she said. Isham is quick to explain that she is just one cog in the wheel that has driven this program to the heights it has reached. “Our community is so unique and always on the cutting edge to pursue what is good for citizens. The Pro-Youth Board of Directors, staff and contributing friends will see to a bright future for HEART students,” she said. There is no question in her mind or anyone else’s that Daryn Davis was the perfect choice to fill Isham’s shoes. Daryn Davis officially assumed the office of Pro-Youth Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2013. Daryn brings 20 years of professional experience and distinctive skills to this position, including supervising hundreds of staff in successfully creating and sustaining community-based collaborative projects. She has worked for multiple non-profit organizations, creating and delivering education projects in remote rural and urban settings, locally and abroad, that seek to engage youth in becoming lifelong learners. “l believe that Serving Pro-Youth means serving a wonderful organization that is uniquely positioned to truly change children’s lives for the good. As CEO my goal is to meet the needs our children face every day, so that Pro-Youth continues as the recognized and undisputed champion of our children in Tulare County and beyond,” Davis said. A road is now laid out in front of Isham and the possibilities are endless. How will we she continue to make an impact on society after her well-deserved retirement? “The most meaningful experiences in my life have been unplanned, yet touched my heart and instilled the passion to get involved. So, with a wonderful husband of 53 years, four daughters, sons-in-law and ten grandchildren, I will keep my mind and heart open to the next chapter in my life,” Isham said.


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ROAST OF PORK Text by Elaine Dakessian | Photos by Taylor Johnson


s Thanksgiving tiptoes up on us this fall, many families are delegating tasks and deciding which dishes

they get to call their own. Luckily, this year the turkey is off the table. Local chef Elaine Dakessian has prepared a unique culinary centerpiece to your traditionally decorated Thanksgiving table. Don’t worry, your meal can still be adorned with hearty stuffing, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. But enjoy this non-traditional style Thanksgiving; it is sure to be a hit.


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Crown Pork Roast Serves 8 to 10 One 10 to 12 lbs. pork roast Tip: I have my butcher prepare it for me but if you wish to tie your own, slit the membrane between the bones so the roast will allow itself to curl around. Make sure the meaty part of the roast is on the inside. Use butcher’s twine to tie and secure. Preheat oven to 450° F.

Rub INGREDIENTS 6 cloves garlic, chopped 1 bunch each, rosemary, thyme and sage, roughly chopped 1 cup extra virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste Place garlic, herbs and olive oil in a food processor and blend to make a paste. Smear over the entire roast, generously salt and pepper. Using your fingers, put stuffing in the top of the roast (right in the center) and cover the stuffing and bones with foil to keep from burning. Place the roast in a roasting pan. Place the rest of the stuffing in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350° F. Roast pork at 450° F for 30 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350° F and bake for an additional 2 hours or until your meat thermometer registers 140° F. Remove from oven and place on a decorated platter for presentation and cover with foil to keep warm. I wrap mine with an additional towel to hold in the heat, and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.


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Sourdough, Bacon & Pistachio Stuffing INGREDIENTS 6 cups day old sourdough, cubed and placed in a large bowl 12 strips applewood smoked bacon 1 cup celery, diced 1 cup carrot, diced 1 cup yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 T each chopped rosemary, thyme and sage 3 eggs, whisked 1-½ cups chicken stock 1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios

Saute the bacon until browned but not crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the bacon fat to sauté the other vegetables. Add the carrots, onion and celery. Saute until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and fresh herbs and sauté for an additional minute. Add vegetable mixture to the cubed bread. Add eggs and chicken stock. Add bacon and pistachios. Stir just to distribute evenly. Once the pork is out of the oven, you can make a pan sauce or gravy if desired.


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THE GIVING TREE Photo by Erin Davis, Studio 317

PICTURED: The local community participates in decorating trees each year for the Auction. This tree by Redwood ASB was featured in last year’s Christmas Tree Auction.



Chances are if you’ve been to one of the tree auctions over the last 32 years, you’ve watched in envy as one of your favorite trees of the evening went home with someone else. Maybe you had every intention of bidding and buying, thinking this will be the year I’m victorious, only to graciously bow out of the bidding as it reaches into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. If this is you, then you’re going to love what the Visalia Chamber has done with this year’s 33rd Annual Christmas Tree Auction. With this year’s theme, The Giving Tree, it only seemed appropriate to give attendees the opportunity to take home a gorgeous tree. “The Giving Tree” is valued between $3,000-$5,000 and guests need only to purchase a $20 ticket for a chance to win the tree sponsored by Groppetti Automotive. The winner will receive the tree and proceeds will be donated to a local nonprofit selected by the winner. In addition to the Giving Tree, the Chamber will offer 14 live auction trees, 10-12 silent auction trees and around 35 silent auction items. The festivities will take place Friday, Dec. 6, at the Visalia Convention Center. Guests will have the option of either a “VIP” package, which includes a delicious sit-down dinner, hors d’ oeuvres, dessert, wine tasting and the live Christmas Tree Auction. The other option for guests is to purchase the “General Admission” package, including wine tasting, hors d’ oeuvres and dessert. Both packages include dancing until your feet hurt. The Visalia Chamber has made this event a legacy in the Visalia community and this year hopes to raise awareness for many local nonprofits. This gala encourages attendees to begin the holiday season by giving back to local charities, while enjoying a special night of dinner, dancing and the opportunity to take home The Giving Tree. To purchase tickets, call 734-5876 or visit


Home for the Holidays


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Text by Marsha Roberts


oup. Served with thick slices of Irish soda bread with luminescent ghost-white Irish butter and a pint of Guinness. It is especially good when consumed in a dark pub while listening to the remembrances of craggy old Irishmen tell tales of straw men, fiddles and relatives lost to unknown lands. Then go ahead, tell them your last name, I dare you. Within ten minutes you will be tearing across the countryside in search of that Irishman’s second cousin who knows a mechanic whose brother-in-law knows a McLoughlin who just might be your great-great-great-grandfather’s first cousin three times removed. The clan will invite you to dinner, only to find you are not related. But what the heck, you will spend the evening in front of the fire

hearing more Irish stories from some of the friendliest people on earth. This is the first tip about vacationing in Ireland; eat soup, drink beer and find an old Irishman. With so many wonderful things to see and do, my second tip is to choose wisely. With this in mind, we headed to Ashford Castle in County Mayo, perhaps one of the most famous castles in the world. It has seen the likes of President Ronald Reagan and 007’s Pierce Bronson hibernate within its illustrious walls. Lying just outside the charming village of Cong are the stone gates that guard the entrance to Ashford Castle. Follow the narrow winding road and slowly the castle opens up to you with small glimpses here and there until finally the vast panorama of this massive stone castle unfolds magnificently L I F E S T Y L E | N O V E M B E R 2 013



TOP LEFT: The Ashford Castle has a richly decorated interior with intricate woodcarving and lavish decor. INSET: The exterior of Ashford Castle looks like that of a medieval fortress. The oldest castle in Ireland, hundreds of years of history can be found here.

Photos by Cheryl Dieter

before you. Situated alongside Lough Corrib, this five-star luxury resort formerly owned by the Guinness family is just that – luxurious, grandiose and ostentatious, and I love it. The inside is just what you would expect; lots of intricate wood carvings, stately paintings, hovering “what-can-I-get-you” staff, quaint fireside inglenooks and huge Waterford crystal. The entire back of the castle looks out onto the lake where its own private boat takes guests out for some spectacular fishing. After a short walk past perfectly manicured grounds we arrive at the School of Falconry where an elderly gentleman looking like a character out of Harry Potter is working with an owl who thinks he is a human. All hawks think this way too, “but they believe they are the superior one in the relationship,” explained Deborah Knight, owner of the school. While Knight would not part with one of her birds “for a million euros,” the hawks would unceremoniously dump her for half a plump chicken leg. This is the most important thing we discover about hawks; they have no sense of loyalty. They only fly and return because they associate the falconer with food; it truly is a one-sided “affair.” 44

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Deborah has been a falconer for 23 years and is an expert on hawks. Her passion and enthusiasm for “her birds” and the sport of falconry is contagious. Throughout our stay Knight peppers us with tidbits of information. From Knight we learn: • Hawks are the fastest creatures on earth, reaching speeds of 234 miles per hour. • Hawks don’t fly unless they are looking for something to eat. • Hawks see in iridescent colors meaning that the world is much more colorful for them than for us. • Hawks’ pupils are independent of one another which means that they can scope in on one object while still scanning in the distance with the other eye. After being introduced to all the birds it is time to go on our “Hawk Walk.” I put on the thick leather glove while Deborah fetches Uisce, a magnificent Harris hawk. He is young, handsome and commanding with stout talons and dark feathers that dance in the sunlight. As we walk to the hawking grounds I remove Uisce’s jesses, which are the leather straps attached to his talons. The bells attached to his leg jingle in anticipation. I expect when Uisce leaves the glove it will feel like a gun recoil. Instead, he pushes away gently, disappearing from sight almost immediately. I place a scrawny chicken leg between my fingers in the glove and wait. The bells give away Uisce’s position as he suddenly appears out of nowhere soaring straight towards me. It’s not the way high up in the sky kind of soaring but a very low to the ground glide that makes this hawk fly with little effort. Keeping my arm outstretched and steady, Uisce swings upward and alights heavily on my arm. In a split second he grabs his treat and wraps his wings around it (called mantling) to protect it from any creature who thinks they may want it, including me. We repeat this flight pattern numerous times as we fly through the vast castle grounds, learning more about how a hawk hunts and maneuvers with each takeoff and return. Uisce returns and it is time for him to rest and for us to lunch. We then drive away from the castle casting ourselves as true falconers whose tummies are full of the best butternut squash soup that has ever been created.


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T TRAVEL LEFT: The Ross Errilly Friary contains monastic remains and is being one of the best preserved foundations in Ireland. INSET: Dave is handling Uisce, the hawk, very calmly during the hawk flying lesson overseen by Ireland’s first School of Falconry.

Photos by Cheryl Dieter



Third tip. Take a chance. As we head down the road to Ennis I spot a truly incredible set of stone buildings in the distance. I force Dave to find the road to the enchanting place which is how we happened upon Ross Errily Friary. Turns out that last week a movie was filmed in this exact spot due to the medieval ambiance that positively radiates from this site. Often designated as the best-preserved monastic site in the county, this Franciscan friary was established around 1460. Pillaged and conquered repeatedly the friary was finally abandoned sometime in the mid 1700s. But still the friars seem to inhabit the place. Huge stone altars dominate several sanctuaries while thick slab tombstones rest wearily upon the floors. Meanwhile, Dave takes out his bagpipes and plays to a silent audience. Green grass glistens in the center courtyard as the monstrous crows caw ominously and we search for sheela-na-gigs hiding above us. We rest on a small hill outside the stone walls taking in a patchwork of green surrounded by stone fences that cut like a sword across the countryside. Suddenly the skies darken and a torrent of rain is unleashed. We race back to the car sopping wet. Tomorrow we head off for Cloughjordan in County Tipperary where we will renew our twenty-fifth wedding vows in the ruins of the church where Dave’s great-great grandfather was baptized 175 years ago. But for now we laugh and marvel that we have had the privilege to partake in such a magical day. And we leave the friary in search of another bowl of rich, piping hot soup, a Guinness and more craggylike-the-hills old Irishmen.


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BROWN (And the Beer is Too) Text by Bryce McDonald


s the leaves begin to change, along with our wardrobes and home décor, for many of us the biggest transformation occurs at the dinner table. As fall sneaks in and brings with it an array of new flavors, ranging from sweet, decadent desserts to savory, flavorsome entrees, we use this time to gather with old friends and family, indulge in our favorite dishes, experience new flavors, and cherish time spent together. Yes, fall is a wonderful time to embrace and enjoy change and we’d like to think that this applies to the contents of our beer glasses as well. The seasons have always played an important role in beer production and consumption, either by virtue of ingredient availability or lack of refrigeration needed to ferment certain styles at specific temperatures. While the seasonal limitations on beer brewing are not nearly as applicable as they once were, one statement remains true: Certain beer styles and flavors are better suited for certain times of the year. Whether you’re new to seasonal beers or have come to enjoy them year after year, we’ve prepared a list of five beers you must try this fall. We’re not going to say that they are the five best fall beers ever produced (we dare not be so arrogant dealing with such a subjective topic), but simply that these beers are definitely worthy of making this year’s fall beer bucket list. Cheers!



BREWERY: Southern Tier Brewing Co. BEER: Harvest Ale STYLE: ESB (Extra Special Bitter) ABV: 6.7% NOTES: While this beer may deviate from the traditional ESB profile, it certainly brings a lot to the table. This beer pours clear and golden with a bubbly off-white head. Strong citrus and pinewood notes dominate the aroma, with sweet caramel and pine needles taking the lead in the flavor profile. The finish is dry, bitter and hoppy. PAIRS WITH: Stews, aged cheeses, and venison. BREWERY: Founders Brewing Co. BEER: Breakfast Stout STYLE: Imperial Stout ABV: 8.30% NOTES: This beer is not for the faint of heart. With its pitch black, opaque, and unbelievably thick pour, coffee colored foamy head, roasted malt and hoppy nose, and chocolate and coffee filled flavor, this brew can be sipped on throughout the chilly autumn nights. PAIRS WITH: Aged gorgonzola, oysters, beef with cream sauces, duck with cherry sauce and apple pie. BREWERY: The Bruery BEER: Autumn Maple STYLE: Fruit/Vegetable Beer ABV: 10% NOTES: Brewed with 17 pounds of yams per barrel and loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses and maple syrup, this beer is like Thanksgiving dessert in a bottle. It’s sweet, complex, and unique flavor profile certainly makes this a busy beer, not to mention what the Belgian yeast strain brings to the mix. Perfect for a fall feast! PAIRS WITH: Turkey, buttery red potatoes and pumpkin pie. BREWERY: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. BEER: Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale STYLE: American Brown Ale ABV: 5.50% NOTES: Sierra Nevada is one of those breweries that you can always count on to deliver. True to the style, this seasonal release is toasty, nutty, biscuity and clean. With a hop profile that certainly puts it in the “American Brown” category, this beer makes the cold nights just a little bit warmer. PAIRS WITH: Aged guida or young comte, hearty beef stew and herbed-rubbed lamb chop. BREWERY: Weyerbacher Brewing Co. BEER: Imperial Pumpkin Ale STYLE: Pumpkin Ale ABV: 8.00% NOTES: What can we say? This beer has many of the characteristics of your standard Pumpkin Ale, just a whole lot bigger! This dark amber colored brew brings a wave of spicy, caramel maltiness to the nostrils. The flavor is packed with cooked pumpkin and clove, finishing with a slight alcohol kick. PAIRS WITH: A traditional Thanksgiving dinner and pumpkin pie.


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Death Takes a Holiday:

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS Text by Carole Firstman


rom all around the county people gathered on Main Street in Visalia to participate in the annual “Dia de los Muertos” celebration presented by the Tulare County League of Mexican American Women. Painted faces, marigolds, sugar skulls and art filled the Garden Street Plaza, where altars for deceased loved ones were arranged and displayed. Traditional art, music, food, performances, demonstrations and craft lessons were just some of the scheduled activities for this event, a holiday to honor our ancestors and celebrate the vitality and richness of today’s community. Dia de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” has been celebrated in Latin America for more than 3,000 years. This party-type holiday connects the past to the present by visually illustrating a pre-Columbian, ancient and jovial view of death within the context of modern observance. It is an ancient and enduring ritual where the living commune (metaphorically) with the dead. “This is a celebration of life,” said Virginia Arenas, local event organizer and vice president of the Mexican American League of Women. “It’s about remembering the lives of our loved ones who have passed away and honoring our ancestors. It’s about the cycle of life and death, and learning not to be afraid of death. History of Tradition Most strongly associated with Mexico, this festival is a hybrid holiday of sorts. It combines indigenous Aztec philosophy and religion with elements of medieval European ritual as introduced by the Spanish missionaries. Ancient Aztec ceremonies held during the summer were mainly focused on celebrating the lives of those who had died – children, ancestors and fallen warriors. The Aztecs made altars to honor loved ones; there they placed offerings of food and small clay images that were supposed to represent the deceased. When the Spanish missionaries arrived in the Americas during the 1500s, they brought with them All Souls’ Day, a Roman Catholic holy day that commemorates the dead. Spanish priests were quick to see a correlation between the two celebrations. As part of their efforts to convert the indigenous people to Christianity, the Aztec festival was moved from summer to fall so that it coincided with Catholic customs.




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The result of this cultural blending is a modern Mexican festival with both Christian and Native American components. Contemporary festivities begin on the first of November with All Saints’ Day in which deceased children are remembered; it is believed that these children, Angelitos or “little angels,” have a special place in heaven. The second day of November, All Souls’ Day, honors the adult dead. Rest assured, Day of the Dead is not scary, spooky or somber. The spirits of the dead are thought to pay a visit to their families during these days, so it’s a time for music, dance, art and humor. You might say it’s a huge, boisterous party and everyone’s invited – living or dead. An Eclectic Mix of Symbolic Activities Across Mexico today, practices are fairly consistent. On the first day, families often visit the graves of their relatives. They decorate the gravesite with flowers and candles. They hold picnics at the graveside, interacting socially among themselves and with other community members who are also gathered at the cemetery. The meals prepared for these picnics include tamales and pan de muerto, a special bread in the shape of a person. It’s considered good luck to be the one who bites into the plastic toy skeleton hidden by the baker in each rounded loaf. Sweets are also part of the feast, including cookies, chocolate and sugar skulls. Friends and family members exchange gifts of sugar skeletons or other items with death related images. As in the case of pan de muerto, when the celebrant takes a bite out of the skull, the person symbolically “takes a bite of death” and thereby inoculates themselves against the fear of death. “So much of this holiday – the food, the symbols of skulls and skeletons, the face painting, the Catrina dolls – it’s all about recognizing the circle of life and death,” Arenas said. “Death is nothing to be afraid of; it’s a natural part of the journey we are all on. So now, on Dia de los Muertos, we laugh at death. We bite the bread and say, ‘Ha ha!’ We have a picnic at the cemetery. We make it a party.”



Decoration is not restricted to gravesites. People also set up home altars dedicated to relatives. These are often decorated with yellow marigolds. For the Aztecs, the color yellow referenced autumn, the season when nature begins to die. An altar will also include a framed photograph of the person being honored, a candle and an arch that symbolizes the bridge between life and death. Like the gravesides, home altars are also adorned with religious amulets and food offerings. “It might just be a bowl of fruit,” Arenas explained, “but it can be anything the person enjoyed during life, something they would like to have if they came back for a visit – even a beer.” Bridging Gaps, Building Community The Tulare County League of Mexican American Women is an organization focused on empowering women and providing educational opportunities to needy students. Over the past 30 years, the League has given more than $200,000 in need-based scholarships. While Dia de los Muertos was not a fundraiser for the League, it was an opportunity to raise awareness of the Mexican American culture and share a unique part of Latino custom. Several workshops were held during the months preceding the festival, each focused on a particular art form. The finished products were included in the decorations and displays at the event. Participants made sugar skulls, papier mâché skeletons, papel picados or “perforated paper flags,” and other elements that go into the building of an altar. Each item has some sort of symbolic significance “This event helps us bring people together and bridge the gap between cultures and generations,” said Arenas. “By celebrating the lives of those who came before us and those who have passed on, we are enriching the lives of everyone in the community and helping people see how we are all connected in life, and we will remain connected after death.”


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Text by Diane Slocum, Photos by Jacki Potorke, Third Element Studios


hen Joel Adam Russell came to the Central Valley from Dallas, TX, he didn’t know what he was getting into. He knew it wouldn’t be Los Angeles, but exiting Hwy 99 and driving through open farmland, he thought he was going into the middle of nowhere. “Part of me thought I was moving into a cultural vacuum,” he said. But he found out, “there is this undercurrent of musicians that is so strong and so vigorous; people who are passionate about music and not just stagnant in their passion, they’re alive in it.” He learned that Visalians did not just appreciate music, but they were curators of it. He cites local band Sound N Vision’s commitment to bringing great music on a national level to this comparatively small town as an example. “I just could 54



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M MUSIC not believe it when I started hearing some of the names that were coming through,” he said. “That really blew me away.” The talent that exists in Visalia, such as The Gospel Whiskey Runners, also amazed him. “The fact that someone like that would also be in this town doing something so great – that astounds me,” he said. Other Visalians might say the same about Russell. He recently released his first album, “Take Me Somewhere,” but his musical odyssey goes back to being in the Vans Warped Tour in 2004 and even before. His earliest musical memories are of his dad, who is from Louisiana, singing gospel, blues and soulful riffs around the house. Russell thinks this type of music influenced him when he developed his first interest in professional performers. When his kindergarten teacher asked students what they would be when they grew up, he said either an actor or in a boy band. In an elementary school talent show, buddies joined him in a Backstreet Boys act. In the seventh grade, one of Russell’s close friends found a newspaper article about a three-piece pop-punk Dallas band named DV8 that inspired the two friends to create a band of their own. With Joel singing and his friend on drums, all they needed to add was a guitarist. The duo found two brothers who were just learning to play guitar and bass guitar. With Joel’s original songs, their group, Minority, took off. “That took us on a four-year journey of playing all throughout Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico,” he said. “We got to be on the cover of The Dallas Morning News and played the local rock station’s big music festival, which had an audience of a couple thousand. Dallas was really intrigued by the four teenagers that were playing punk-rock music or pop-punk music.” When their band was selected to perform with the Vans Warped Tour in 2004, they were the youngest band ever to play for this event. They joined the Tour again the next year. During their four-year run, they also opened for bands such as Sugarcult, Bowling for Soup and Blue October. In their fourth year, they were under heavy pressure to either make or break the band. Though all of the parents had been highly supportive, there was a decision to be made. They either turn a corner where the band could be a career opportunity, possibly signing with a recording label, or choose different paths, like going away to college. “There ended up being a lot of strife at the very end,” he said. “A lot of anxiety. It wasn’t meant to be for that particular group.” At first, after the break-up, they didn’t quite know how to relate to each other, but it didn’t take

PICTURED: Joel Adam Russell performs songs off of his album “Take Me Somewhere” at The Cellar Door in Downtown Visalia.


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long. “We realized we spent four of the best years of our lives together and we’ll be brothers forever,” Russell said. After his own high school graduation, Russell wasn’t doing much in Texas – a little junior college, a part-time job. A friend who was the new youth pastor at Visalia First Assembly called to say he needed an intern. “California for Texans is kind of the Holy Land so any chance you get to make it out to California, you jump at it,” he said. Though he wasn’t sure what he was getting into when he arrived, he was impressed by the warm acceptance of the community and didn’t feel like leaving once the nine-month internship was up. He found work at a variety of jobs and last year, he began work on his album. Some describe it as Americana, but Russell doesn’t like to be pinned down. He wrote all the songs, but gives a lot of credit to the Visalia community for the finished product. “A big part of this album project was that I wanted to include as many of these musicians as possible,” he said. Jonathan Hendrickson was the producer, played a variety of instruments and helped with dynamics and arrangements. Others include John Sampietro (harmonica), Arthur Amaral (saxophone), Andrew Short (accordion, organ), Jonathan Sosa (electric guitar), Gabriel Ziessler (fiddle), Jerrod Turner, Leslie Vera, Camila Mora (second vox) and Jordan Quals (stand-up bass). As Russell is writing music for his next album, his goal is to create songs that are meaningful and worthwhile to his listeners. He performed last month at The Cellar Door and Charcuterie and is looking into venues throughout the Valley and beyond. “Music has always been something that has been a part of my life,” he said, “but performing has been just as important. I love to be in front of people, and bring excitement into their lives. You see the light come on in people’s eyes when they are part of something they enjoy, I love being able to bring that to them.”


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SOCIAL SWIRL GALA & GOLF CLASSIC Join the Boys & Girs club of the Sequoias at their pair of fundraisers. Enjoy an evening gala of exquisite food and fine dining provided by Executive Chef David Vartanian and his Vintage Press Team. Bid on live and silent auction items followed by a meal and wine pairing. On Monday, the golf classic will begin, where lunch and prizes will be awarded. When: Gala- Nov. 23, 6p; Golf Classic- Nov. 25, 10a Where: Visalia Country Club, 625 N. Ranch St., Visalia Contact: 592-4074


This performance brings Rock ‘N Roll history to the Central Valley. The Broadway musical is inspired by the true story of the famed recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkis for the first and only time. On December 4, 1956, these four young musicians were gathered together by Sam Phillips, for one of the greatest jam sessions of all time. Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal and celebrations. When: Nov. 19 & 20, 7:30p Where: Saroyan Theatre, 700 “M” St., Fresno Contact: 445-8200

NOV 23


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The pomp, the power and the pathos; join the Tulare County Symphony for a Night at the Operas where they celebrate the very best and beloved of all opera music. With them will be a collection of great singers who live and/or train in the Central Valley as well as a few special international guests. When: Nov. 23, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 732-8600



DEC 14



Theatre Company proudly presents Rodgers & Hammerstein’s great American musical, Oklahoma!. Set in a Western Indian territory just after the turn of the century, the high-spirited silvery between local farmers and cowboys provides a colorful background against which Curly, a handsome cowboy, and Laurey, a winsome farm girl, play out their love story. Performed by Tulare County students, grades first through twelfth, this musical is one that you won’t want to miss. When: Nov. 21-23, 7p Where: L.J. Williams Theater, 1001 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 651-1482


John Mueller’s “Winter Dance Party” is the official live and authentic recreation of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper’s final tour and the only show endorsed by the Holly, Valens and Richardsons estates. Each concert includes over two hours of unbridled, high voltage entertainment that feature all the hit songs of the 50s. Tickets: $22-31. When: Dec. 7, 7:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369

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

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Mark Your Calendar On Saturday, December 7th for the 22nd Annual

“Spirit of The Holidays”

An Exeter Tradition of Premium Wine Tasting, Hors D’oeurves, Silent Auction, And Live Christmas Tree Auction! Brought to you by The Kiwanis Club of Exeter

Event held at the Exeter Memorial Hall from 4 to 7 P.M.

Tickets $50

Tickets available from the Bank of the Sierra The Foothills Sun-Gazette, Exeter Chamber Nielsen & Assoc. Ins. and from Kiwanis members.

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33RD ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE AUCTION The Visalia Chamber of Commerce presents the Christmas Tree Auction- this year’s theme is The Giving Tree. This event is sure to put you in the holiday spirit, as donations will benefit more than 30 charities. Come to look at the beautifully decorated trees (or bid on one), participate in live and silent auctions, enjoy a sit-down dinner (VIP only), wine and entertainment. VIP tickets: $125; general admission: $60. When: Dec. 6, 5:30p-11p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 734-5876 or

NOV 30




DEC 14




Arts Visalia presents a solo exhibition by Richard Arenas. His bronze, steel and mixed media sculptures express the forces that have shaped California’s landscape. His goal is to immortalize the campesino, the people of pre-Colombian Mexico, and the indigenous people of the world. When: Through Nov. 30 Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: 739-0905

Food, fun and fabulous art. Every 1st Saturday of the month, the artists, restaurants and merchants of Three Rivers open their doors and invite you to join in on a town-wide celebration. You can pick up a map and schedule at Anne Lang’s Emporium or the Historical Museum – the flyer shows all participating venues and times for special events. When: Dec. 7, 10a-5p Where: Anne Lang’s Emporium, 41651 Sierra Dr. (CA 198), Three Rivers Contact: Nadi Spencer, 561-4373 or

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

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Ronald Petersen’s richly colored paintings are masterful syntheses of abstract expressionism, gestural figuration, and advanced color theory. This exhibit features over thirty works including his vigorous gestural paintings of the 1950s and his vivid colored “Picnic” series. When: Through Jan. 6 Where: Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R. St., Bakersfield Contact: (661) 323-7219




F R I DAY, DE C 6 , 2 0 1 3 V I SA L I A C ON V E N T ION C E N T E R V I P : 5 : 3 0 | GE N E R A L : 7 : 3 0 Over 30 charities benefit from live and silent auctions. The Christmas Tree Auction is the perfect place for a night on the town or your company’s holiday party. Includes wine, entertainment, and a chance to support over 30 local charities. VIP party also includes sit down dinner.


Order your tickets today at 734-5876 or

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NOV 16


NOV 28



The Catholic Church of Visalia (TCCOV) Pro-Life Ministry is hosting this annual event. Come learn about pro-life choices and see guest speakers Josh Brahm, director of education and P.R., Right to Life of Central CA, and Maricela Lupercio, director of Latinos4Life. This event will be catered by Cafe 225. When: Nov. 16, 6:30p-9:30p Where: St. Mary’s Parish Hall, 506 N. Garden St., Visalia Contact: Ralph Jimenez 300-3405 or James Wilfong 972-2388

The 5K run/2-mile walk offers a challenge to businesses, organizations, families, friends and co-workers to form a team, dress for the event and join together on Thanksgiving morning. The ¼-mile Kid’s race provides the kids a way to give back while promoting health, fitness and fun. Now included is a kids’ camp, provided by the YMCA in the Garden Plaza for the children to play, face paint and enjoy arts and crafts. When: Nov. 28, 6:30a (Registration Begins) Where: Downtown Visalia Contact:

DEC 12

EXETER WOMAN’S CLUB CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR Join us in Exeter to tour four beautifully decorated homes, live music throughout the evening, hot cocoa and snacks. Pre-sale tickets ($15) available at Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Antiques by the Water Tower, and other locations. Maps & booklets available at the clubhouse, which will have refreshments and bathrooms. When: Dec. 12, 4:30-8p Where: Exeter Woman’s Club, 201 N. Kaweah Ave., Exeter Contact: 592-6738 or


NOV 22


The Tulare Hospital Foundation’s Winter Gala is a semi-formal dinner dance with live tree auction. Enjoy a cocktail hour, dinner and silent and live auctions. Tickets $100. When: Nov. 22, 5:30p-10p Where: Heritage Complex, 4500 S. Laspina St., Tulare Contact: 685-3438 or


“12 Days of Christmas” with Grand Marshall Mrs. Laurie Isham. Kick-off Christmas in Downtown Visalia with the 68th Annual Candy Cane Lane Parade! The ½-mile route heads down Main Street so grab your blankets, hot chocolate, and get a seat on the sidewalk! When: Dec. 2, 7p Where: Main Street, Visalia Contact:


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

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

Tulare County Symphony League 62

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NON-PERISHABLE FOOD, TURKEYS, HAMS & TOYS As you remember your family this Christmas, please remember those who are in need of our help! Join VEAC as we widen the communal effort to end hunger in our community.

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November 2013  

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

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