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Glitz, Glamour, Shine! We Install with Pride & You in Mind





Escape From Alcatraz

Country Living in the City

Major Rogers swims for cancer, for healing, and because he can.


8 Letter from the Executive Editor 10 Wordplay 12 History: Tragic Pitch Strikes Star Player


SMOKED CHICKEN Wanted for Fall The temperature is cooling down, so it’s time to crank up the heat on your BBQ.


20 Charity: Making a Difference for Life Banquet – A Mystery Solved 46 Sip: Fall Brews – Getting in Touch With the Tart 48 Literary Arts: From the Mormon Church to Tulare County – Newell Bringhurst Explores the Mysteries of History 52 Local Adventure: Autumn in the Valley 54 Fashion: Making the Transition – Dressing



for the In-Between Season 56 Happenings

Is It for You?


Discover the in’s and out’s, and the up’s and down’s of the river boat cruising industry.

COVER: A tropical oasis sits on an acre of land in the Mills’ backyard, creating a perfect environment for their kids to grow. TOP: The family room and kitchen blend together, creating the open floor plan that Beau and Alicia wanted in order to entertain family and friends.



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DMI Agency 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 Karen Tellalian Kelly Lapadula Katie Presser Ross Yukawa Chris Bly Kaci Hansen


Cheryl Levitan Christopher Wilder Diane Slocum Major Rogers Mike Stivers Ryan Lapadula Sharon Mosely Terry L. Ommen


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Maria Gaston Leah Perez 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • Fax 559.738.0909 Instagram: visalialifestyle


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Visalia Convention Center

COUNTERTOP LOCATIONS 210 Cafe Arts Consortium Ashoori & Co. Jewelers Avedian Properties Bravo Farms Smokehouse Café 225 California Fitness Academy Chicago Title CreekSide Day Spa Skin & Laser Center Courtyard Aesthetics Dale Bruder Law Offices Envie Boutique Exeter Chamber of Commerce Flow Studios Franey's Design Center

Fugazzis Hobbs-Potts Associates Holiday Inn Kaweah Delta Hospital Keller Williams Reality Lewis & Associates Michaels Jewelry Monet's, Exeter Pacific Treasures Pro-PT Renaissance Salon Sequoia Prompt Care Sherman & Associates Smiles by Sullivan, Tulare Smile Visalia Suncrest Bank

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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: 15,500 © 2015 DMI Agency

LEFT: Every morning, Kensie and James Mills look for eggs in their chicken coop. 6 LIFEST YLE | SEPTEMBER 2015




any of our long-time readers will remember one of our very first writers and all around great guy, Major Rogers. I first met Major years ago when I joined the Lifestyle staff and immediately appreciated the way he lived life abundantly. He was always up for an adventure, and I loved hearing about his escapades around the world, even if some of what I heard was not, ahem, Lifestyle appropriate. Major is now an adjunct professor at COS and doesn’t have as much time for freelance writing, but when we found out about

who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2007. Now married to wife, Alicia, and the father of three, Beau has traded in his time on the road for time with the family. This month, Lifestyle caught up to the Mills at their home, which happens to be a stone’s throw from both of their parents. This beautiful home and family is found on page 24, “Country Living in the City.” At my own home, we just spent a long weekend relaxing in the pool and doing one of my favorite things – slow cooking meat on the smoker and letting our neighbors know what they

We cannot close out yet another month without letting our readers know how much we appreciate having the opportunity to share with you month-after-month. E X E C U T I V E





his most recent 1.5 mile “Escape from Alcatraz” swim, we just had to share the story with you. Major, a former water polo player and coach, has made this treacherous swim before, and does it without a wet suit (can we all agree this is crazy?), but this time was different. Major swims in memory of his late wife, Dr. Natalie Claussen-Rogers, a beautiful spirit with a smile that warmed an entire room. Natalie lost her battle to cancer in Aug. 2011, and this year, Major was determined to make his swim the most authentic ever, wearing denim pants and a shirt, just as the original prison escapees would have been wearing. For the full adventure, turn to “Major Rogers Swims for Cancer, for Healing, and Because He Can,” on page 16. Local baseball fans will recognize the name “Mills,” as in Beau Mills, a graduate of Golden West High School


are missing. The only thing that would have made it better was the Smoked Chicken recipe on page 34. This month, Glick’s Old Fashion Meats & Deli introduces us to Smart Chicken, and you won’t believe how good it is. We cannot close out yet another month without letting our readers know how much we appreciate having the opportunity to share with you month-after-month. We have heard from so many about how much you like the new design, how last month’s home tour was one of your favorites, or how another article touched your heart in some way. Although we love what we do anyway, you can’t begin to imagine how much we appreciate the positive feedback. Thank you for understanding when there is an occasional blip and for cheering us on during the days when we need it most. Lifestyle readers are truly the best!





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


eptember 21 is the United Nations International Day of Peace. Books published this month relate to peace in a variety of ways. Women, Religion, and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen, (United States Institute of Peace) by Susan Hayward and Katherine Marshall, studies the obstacles women face worldwide when trying to work for peace, and calls for changes to make peace-building more of a possibility. The Oxford Handbook of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (Oxford University Press) lists the successes, failures, and lessons learned in the peacekeeping process since 1948, by examining the 67 operations from that year through 2013. It also views trends in peacekeeping and the overall impact of the UN peace forces. For personal peace, Stress Less Coloring: Mandalas – 100+ Coloring Pages for Peace and Relaxation (Adams Media), features drawings by Jim Gogarty. Following the trend of adults coloring for relaxation, this book provides intricate patterns to calm the mind and manage anxiety. A mandala is a circle which is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism. VALLEY WRITERS

Springville author Marilyn Meredith’s Deputy Tempe Crabtree series is up to book 14 with River Spirits. In this installment of the mystery series, a film crew on the Bear Creek Indian Reservation finds trouble when they trespass on sacred ground. A missing woman, a murdered actor, the recurring Hairy Man, and much more challenge the local heroine’s investigative skills. Book 13, Spirit Shapes, pits Tempe against warring demons and angels. Check astrology writer Hazel DixonCooper’s website for her monthly forecasts and her series of books

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with a comical take on astrological characteristics. Janice Stevens and Pat Hunter’s latest collaboration, published this year, is An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1. Hunter’s watercolors illustrate the magnificence of the California coast along the legendary highway. Steven’s commentary reveals their explorations, discoveries, and reactions to the people

subscription. Previous winners are not eligible. Deadline Oct 1. Details at: editors-prize-contest. The Rhino Founders’ Prize Contest accepts submissions from Sept. 1 through Oct 31. Submissions must include a cover letter. Winner receives $500, publication in the next issue, and nomination for a Pushcart Prize. All entries are considered for publication. Entry fee is $10. Details at: contests/founders-prize. WRITERS’ CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS

and places they encounter. One of their earlier books is Remembering the California Missions. They were honored with a California Image Award from the Daughters of the Golden West for their body of work. Hunter’s paintings have been displayed at the Yosemite National Park Art Center, where she has been an artist in residence continuously since the early 1990s. WRITING CONTESTS The Missouri Review 25th annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in Fiction, Essay, and Poetry offers a $5,000 prize in each category. Enter no more than 25 pages of prose or 10 papersof poetry. The $20 entry fee includes a year-long

The New England Crime Bake annual Mystery Conference for Writers and Readers will feature Elizabeth George as the guest of honor. The conference includes classes in writing and selling fiction, opportunities to meet with editors and agents, presentations on criminal justice and forensics, and more. Sign up for Friday Master Classes, which fill rapidly. Details at: The La Jolla Writer’s Conference will be held on Nov. 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency. Keynote speaker will be American Sniper author Scott McEwen, who is also a trial attorney in San Diego. Registration fee: $395. Private read and critiques are $55 each. Limited to 200 attendees. Details at: The Whidbey Island Writers Association presents a workshop on turning the first draft of your novel into a book that agents, publishers, and readers love on Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts in Langley, WA. Details at: eventbrite. com/o/northwest-institute-of-literaryarts-6790161727. THE LAST WORD “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

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

The injured Frank Chance was taken to the Palace Hotel shown in the center of this photo behind the horse team with wagon (Main and Court Streets, circa 1900).

Tr agic Pitch Strikes Star Player T EXT


isalians love the game of baseball and they have for a long time. Whether they were watching or playing, the sport provided many hours of enjoyment and gave the town a strong sense of pride. But on a few occasions, the national pastime had a gloomy side, casting a dark cloud over the community. One such time occurred at a Sunday afternoon game more than a century ago, when a player named Frank Leroy Chance, a future Chicago Cub and Cooperstown's Hall of Famer, was nearly killed. In the latter part of the 1800s, baseball in Visalia took on several forms. Children played on school grounds and merchant teams competed with each other in good





L .


natured rivalry. Another popular form was the creation of a town team. The best players were recruited, and once all the positions were filled, the locals played teams from other valley towns in an informal valley league. In 1894, Visalia's squad, known as the Visalia Baseball Club, boasted an impressive lineup that included left fielder Myer Simpson, who could not only hit, but when he got on base, was known for his sliding ability as well. Charles, or Charlie Button, was Visalia's highly regarded pitcher who not only had a superb fastball, but an amazing curveball as well. Shelly, his catcher, worked well with Button and the duo was highly respected. The season opened for Visalia on

Sunday, March 18, 1894, with Visalia playing Porterville. The Porterville team had recently formed, so they had very little practice time under their belt, and the game results showed it. Henrahan, the visiting team's pitcher, became an easy mark for Visalia's batters and when he wasn't throwing easy-to-hit strikes, he was “wild and woolly, and walked many.� But the pitcher wasn't the only problem for the Porterville team. The entire team committed a total of 35 errors throughout the game. Visalia beat Porterville 29 to 1. The following month, another team came to Visalia. This time it was Fresno and the home boys knew that they were going to be a much bigger threat than Porterville. The fans knew it too,

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and by game time, Sunday afternoon, April 22, about 1,500 people were in the crowd, a record at the baseball grounds. The attendance was even more amazing, considering Visalia's population was only about 3,000 at the time. When the game began, Button took the mound for Visalia and Wright pitched for Fresno. The first inning was all in Visalia's favor with Simpson, Williams, and Button each scoring a run; Fresno failed to score. In the second, the home team added one more run and the visitors again did not score. In the next two innings, Visalia picked up

Dr. Edwin Farrow was attending the game and rushed to the injured ballplayer. After some effort by the doctor, Chance regained consciousness. He was quickly taken by wagon from the field and placed in a room at the Palace Hotel. Immediately, the game stopped. Players from both teams and many fans raced to the Palace and waited for news while Dr. Farrow and Dr. Christian R. Bernhard tended to Chance. Everyone was relieved to hear the doctors announce that they had found no evidence of a concussion.

but soon it was clear he was recovering nicely. Once the news that Chance was out of danger reached Visalia, the Daily Morning Delta reported, "No one will be better pleased to know it than our people." Visalians were also pleased to hear that Fresno harbored no ill will against Visalia for the injury to their star player; in fact, the visiting team praised the treatment Chance received in Visalia. Frank Chance played a few more years for Fresno then went on to play 17 seasons in the big leagues, mostly with the Chicago Cubs. Once there, he gave

three more runs and again, Fresno had nothing. By the end of the fourth inning, Visalia led Fresno 7 to 0. In the fifth, Frank Chance, Fresno's 18-year-old hotshot, came to the plate. The young catcher and Fresno native was a handsome man with a “fine frame,” and was a popular hometown player. Chance liked to crowd the plate and did so as he waited for Button to throw his pitch. As a fastball was delivered, Chance lowered his head to avoid being hit, but it was too late. The ball slammed into the side of his head near the left ear. The Fresno star collapsed to the ground, motionless. Everyone recognized the seriousness of the moment and the mood of both teams, and the crowd turned somber.

As the evening went on, Chance seemed to improve. The Fresno players began considering the options and decided they should return him to Fresno on the midnight train. The Visalia players questioned the decision and strongly advised against the move, offering to provide him a private home in Visalia in which to stay until he further recovered. But the Fresno players insisted and Chance was placed on a cot and taken to the train. Showing an abundance of caution, they held the cot in their hands for the entire trip to Fresno to lessen the chance of unnecessary movement or jarring. Once Chance was in Fresno, reports about his condition were sent to Visalia regularly. The news was often mixed,

up his catcher's mitt and was made a first baseman playing for a time with Joe Tinker at shortstop and Johnny Evers on second base. In 1910, Chance was immortalized for his role in the famous double play combination still talked about today—Tinker to Evers to Chance. Frank Chance died in 1924 at the age of 47 after suffering for years from “chronic headaches caused by several beanings.” What part did Visalia play in his medical condition? We'll never know. In 1946, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.



This Visalia baseball park was used sometime after the 1894 season.


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ecause it's there.” This is the creed of every mountain climber as he or she reasons to scale the dangerous peaks across the world. I suppose this is one of the best reasons I can give as to why I have chosen to swim from Alcatraz Island three times in the past four years. There is, however, another reason I did it: Healing. My incredible, late wife, Dr. Natalie Claussen-Rogers, passed away of cancer in August 2011. She had a golden heart, and an American spirit, grown out of her Mid-Western roots. Natalie was Tulare County’s lead psychologist. She cared deeply for those in her care, and for those she wished she could reach with her care. Tulare County had an angel on its payroll.

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The first time I did the Alcatraz swim was in 2012, almost a year to the day Natalie had passed a year earlier. It gave me something to focus on and a place for me to leave the stress of the situation – in the swimming pool during daily training. The second year, I did it for the same reasons. The third year, I noticed I had actually signed up for the 2015 swim instead of the 2014 swim, which had sold out. However, it gave me some more time to think about something I had considered since the first swim: could I make it from the Island to the shore sporting similar clothing the inmates of the time would have been wearing had they entered the water on an escape attempt? I even went as far as to not do any swim training. The idea came to me



while perched on a bar stool at a local pub. I figured the inmates didn't have a chance to train, so to make the swim more authentic, I wouldn't train either. Even though I have always been a strong swimmer, the prospect still worried me, as I didn't want to embarrass myself. During the next few months, I collected a group of eight support swimmers to follow me on my swim. I recruited a team made up of young men I have coached at Redwood High School: Six Redwood water polo seniors, an alumnus, and the schools JV polo coach. They earned their spots by helping fundraise for the Natsfund foundation. We rode out to the island on a ferry, filled with a few hundred other participants. Most were wearing

Major Roger’s crew: (L to R) Houston King, Blake Hobbs, Trenton Pressley, Major Rogers, Jack Terry, Matt Bravante, Mario Bravante, Darron Serna and Kyle Rizzo.

wetsuits, but there was one participant dressed in denim: me. My theory for this was that if you escaped from the Island, you can't completely shed your clothes; if an escapee did make it to shore, they wouldn't want to attract attention by running around in their underpants. So, I worked on lessening my clothing resistance. I also wore an inmate-issued wool flat cap, for the novelty of it. When people ask me my thoughts on the fate of the three infamous missing inmates who escaped from Alcatraz (the ones made famous in the Clint Eastwood movie, “Escape from Alcatraz”), I say this: conventional wisdom says they drowned, however, it's typical that bay drowning victims eventually surface or wash up on beach shores outside the Golden Gate. Those three convicts disappeared without a single trace of any bodies, even with massive search efforts. If any of them did make it, they would be wise to keep their mouths shut about it, as there surely would be a faction of Americans who would insist they return to prison to finish their sentences. Freedom is, in fact, more

valuable than fame. The day of the race, the San Francisco Bay water was reported at 65°F, which, though cold, was 5° warmer than my last two swims, both done without a wetsuit.

The ferry stopped near the shore of the Island, and moments later, the side hatch was cleared and we spilled into the Bay. To say the water wasn’t cold is far from true. To say I didn't notice it, however,

Major Rogers finishing his swim, dressed in similar attire to what the prisoners would have worn.

is the odd truth. At the point I hit the water, my adrenalin was pumping so hard that the water temperature didn’t register at first. At a minimum I felt it, but didn’t react to it; at least not at first. We gathered in the water as a group, and at the sounding of the ferry horns blast, we were off. At that point, everything was really a sensory overload. Just imagine all of this happening at once: you taste the saltwater that finds its way into your mouth; you see the color of the water as you swim, but then your eyes can’t see the darkness in the ocean below you; you experience the quick fatigue that comes with an adrenaline rush, forcing you to slow your pace until body functions stabilize; you hear the babble of bubbles that buzz by your ears as you exhale along with the sound of your lungs as you draw the next breath.  Another familiar feeling came over me, as it did for everyone – when is this going to end? As you swim and swim, Alcatraz Island seems to stay the same size, and the shore doesn't seem to be getting closer. A low level of fatigue




started to take its grip. For some, it took a chokehold, as every few minutes a jet ski would pull a struggling participant to shore. On this swim, a new sensation came over me that I hadn’t experienced during my previous swims. I began to feel nauseous, and one of my team members suggested it came from swallowing too much salt water. The Bay water had a light chop to it this time around, so every so often when I turned my head to breathe, I ate a wave. The feeling eventually subsided after we treaded water for a few minutes, and quickly after, we were swimming again. Before every swim, people always ask me what I think about the sharks. Prior to my first swim, I researched the matter and found that, though there are in fact sharks in the bay, they are typically ground feeders, not man-eaters. The shark rumors were largely brought about in order to thwart inmates from escaping. So whenever people asked me about sharks, I just shrugged, mostly so I'd look brave and cool. My mistake came later when I researched the shark situation again, right before the swim. A new report came out that said they had tracked some great whites into the bay.

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More than likely, the encroachment was born from the growing seal population in the Bay. As scary as it was to continue on with the swim, it was too late. The odd thing was, during the swim, my body became the rational for the mind. During the brief moments when the thought of a shark would enter my mind, my body responded, “look, you should worry more about exhaustion, hypothermia, or the car ride home— because those are the realities of the danger you actually face.” Then I just kept swimming toward the shore. It was at these times I would fill my head with memories of Natalie. Picturing her smile, remembering her laugh, loving her heart, feeling that she was right there with me, lending me strength. We reached the shore 56 minutes later. The mix of fatigue and instant gravity made standing a little tricky, but the sight of loved ones on shore and the sounds of their cheers for the group lifted my spirits and lent strength to my legs. We came out ahead of several other participants in the race; we were a strong bunch. With every beat of my heart, my soul pulsed with life.  For me, this swim represented a lot of things, aside from an activity to help

my heart heal. It represented a group of friends who came along for the ride and braved the danger alongside me. I also swam in honor of Natsfund board member, Tammi Vogt-Mendoza, who just weeks before the swim was diagnosed with breast cancer. She bravely carried on foundation functions while undergoing treatment. I guess when it's all summed up, we swam for one reason above all else— because we could. We were alive, young, and healthy. I can't find a better way to honor those who we have loved and lost along the way, by not simply being alive, but by living to the fullest while we can; to not be someone that merely stands on a shore, but to be one who jumps into the currents. When all was said and done, my crew and our generous donors helped us raise $2,500 to go toward The Natalie Claussen-Rogers Scholarship Fund (NatsFund), which was set up for charitable causes that were near and dear to my late wife Natalie’s heart, including scholarships for students. These funds will allow Natalie’s heart’s work to carry on for many years.

Swimmers making their way from Alcatraz in the chilly water




o matter what the circumstances, there’s always something enthralling about a mystery; we’re captivated by the unknown and crave that element of surprise. That may be why the Visalia Convention Center erupted with excitement at Tulare-Kings Right to Life’s 20th annual Making a Difference for Life Banquet. For months, guests were left wondering who this “celebrity mystery guest speaker” could be. Since it was the organization’s 20th anniversary event, everyone knew it would be someone especially famous and outspoken in the pro-life community. And it was. Or



so everyone thought. As dinner plates began to empty, a patriotic video was played for the audience. When the final video clip ended with a picture of George W. Bush, everyone’s attention suddenly moved to the back of the room, where the former President of the United States entered, surrounded by secret service agents. The crowd stood to their feet and roared in applause as everyone was thoroughly convinced America’s 43rd president was in the room. It wasn’t until a few minutes into his speech that people began to realize it wasn’t him. The

event’s guest speaker was, instead, internationally renowned President Bush impersonator and look-a-like, John Morgan, who has appeared on ABC’s The View, NBC’s Today Show, and has performed for thousands world-wide. “Of course we wanted everyone to believe it was George W. Bush for as long as possible,” said April Kesterson, executive director of Tulare-Kings Right to Life. “They all loved our guest, laughed uproariously at his jokes, liked the fact that he had a tie-in with the issue, believed he did a great impersonation, and said they were

John Morgan, an internationally known George W. Bush impersonator, performed for the Tulare-Kings Right to Life event.

fooled initially. I think people were just delighted to be entertained in such a humorous way and not just listen to a ‘speaker.’” Throughout the years, TKRL has brought in a wide range of guest speakers for their annual event, from TV and radio personalities to senators and nationally-known pro-life advocates. Typically, past speeches have been more emotional, so John Morgan's humor was a fitting change of pace for their anniversary event. While John Morgan’s hilarious impersonations and entertaining show captivated the audience, he made sure to touch on the issues of abortion as well. The night was not only a special occasion because of the

spare bedroom in her home. Today, after 25 years with TKRL, the organization has an office with four staff members and many volunteers throughout Tulare and Kings counties. “I am humbled at what has been accomplished without government funding, taxpayer money, grants, etc. I am overwhelmed at the generosity of the people in our twocounty area,” said April. “I'll miss the people I work with. In addition to being just awesome people, they keep me young and teach me how to live in the crazy world of social media. It is a difficult job to leave behind because I really can't think of any other arena that is even remotely important enough for me to want to invest my life in.”

I am humbled at what has been

John Morgan’s book, "My Life as a Bush," tells the story of his career as a George W. Bush impersonator.

John Morgan had most of the audience convinced he was the 43rd president himself.


accomplished without government funding, taxpayer money, grants, etc. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in our 2-county area. A P R I L

organization’s 20th anniversary, but it also served as April Kesterson’s retirement party. After serving 25 years and making Right to Life what it is today, she is passing the torch over to the current director of the IRMA (I Regret My Abortion) Network, Kelly Quinn-Mauro. “She is quite capable of stepping into this position and has the drive, energy, enthusiasm, and creativity that I had years ago when I started,” said April. “I have confidence that she will build upon the foundation that has been laid for her and take this organization to greater levels of effectiveness that will save more lives and bring more healing to those wounded by abortion.” When April first succeeded Diane Bearfield as executive director in 1990, she operated out of the 22 L I F E S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5


Kelly Quinn-Mauro will succeed April Kesterson as the executive director of Right to Life starting in October.

During the event, April was honored by the TKRL board with several plaques to recognize her commitment to the organization, and at the end of the night, an offering was taken for TKRL, raising more than $126,000 in less than 20 minutes. “As I told the audience, we could never have grown and accomplished the things that we have without the support of a community of people who have firm convictions about the value of human life and are willing to invest in protecting and preserving the most innocent and vulnerable in our society,” said April. “I could never have done anything by myself. I owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have invested in Tulare-Kings Right to Life over the years.” April Kesterson, current executive director of Right to Life, standing with John Morgan, president Bush impersonator.

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The Mills repainted the entire exterior of the home to give it more of a modern look.





licia and Beau Mills were born and raised in the Central Valley, and both grew up in the country. Alicia, technically from Hanford, and Beau, from east of Ivanhoe, both wanted a home that balanced the remoteness of the country with the proximity of family, while offering the convenience of town. Not easy to find, perhaps, but the Mills had put in their miles, and they wouldn’t settle for less. Though the Mills grew up in the same vicinity, they didn’t meet until college when they were introduced by one of Beau’s cousins. “Our paths crossed sophomore year of college and basically we’ve been together since,” says Beau. Then Alicia laughs, adding, “Beau thought I was so good looking that he asked his cousin who I was.” “No, no,” Beau interjects. “Basically she saw me and that’s all it was.” Well, at least the two agree upon one thing – they liked what they saw. They began dating, and after marrying about seven years ago, they hit the road

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together for the minor league circuit. In 2007, the Cleveland Indians drafted Beau with the 13th overall pick. For the next fives years, Beau worked his way through the minor league system, earning an MVP along the way, while spending up to eight months of every year away from home. “Five years of marriage were on the road with baseball, which was both fun and crazy at the same time,” says Beau. And through it all, Alicia was there. “She traveled with me all over.” Since they spent so much of their early marriage traveling, the Mills never had the sense of settling into their first home. “When we purchased our other home, we had just gotten married, no kids, we were gone eight months out of the year,” explains Alicia. “It was home, but it was really a home away from home.” It would take some time before the Mills were ready to settle down, but “now seven years later, three kids later, we’ve totally figured out our style as a

couple, and we’ve made it practical for kids to be here,” says Beau. “It just took time.” Alicia laughs, “a lot of time.” They began looking for a new home late last year, though nothing had really caught their attention. Then Alicia found a 1989 home in northwest Visalia, “which I loved,” she says. “It was quiet, on an acre, a big lot with trees,” and most importantly: near family. Beau, however, wasn’t exactly sold on the home. “He was like, eh, I don’t know,” laughs Alicia. An older home with a jagging and jutting roofline that seemed to emulate the distant Sequoia peaks, its exterior was painted an outdated red and blue. “Oh yeah,” says Beau, “just that 80s theme, big time.” Beside the odd color combination, the home had other oddities: bamboo accents, “and a strange hidden door in the master bedroom, but it was maybe only two feet wide. I had to slide sideways to get through it,” he adds. For Alicia, though, “when we walked

The Mills’ living room decor is simple with pops of color and a lot of natural light.

in, it was just open, with big windows and natural light, it wasn’t a cookie-cutter home at all. It was very unique and had a lot of potential, a lot of great character.” This was something they could work with, and for Alicia, who was then pregnant with their third child, she knew: “this is it, I can see us living here.” Alicia shyly admits that she “kinda talked my husband into it,” to purchase the house and basically renovate an entirely new home. “He’s really creative and has great vision,” Alicia says of Beau, so she had no doubt he’d be able to transform the 1989 home into something more modern. They bought the home last December and for the next four

wood floors, staining the ceiling crossbeams, adding new trim, tearing out the kitchen and adding new cabinets, replacing the old AC units, and removing separating walls between the living space and kitchen. They wanted a rustic modern look, and painted the interior whites and greys, that are accented by the natural wood of the newly laid floors and freshly stained crossbeams. “I wanted the place to look light, open, and fresh,” says Alicia. That openness, the Mills believe, represents who they are as a couple. “We really like to entertain and host, and we just like the idea of everybody being in one room,” whether that’s watching TV in the living space

months, until they moved in the following April, they renovated with contractor Evert Dixon. “He did such a great job,” Alicia describes, calling him “the easiest guy to work with – an absolute ten.” Beau was present during the renovation, doing about 95 percent of the demolition in the house. “I was here every day with the subcontractors, showing what we wanted, sharing ideas,” says Beau. “We did a lot. It’s basically a new house in an old frame.” The “phase one” renovation, as the Mills call it, included painting the entire exterior and interior of the home, laying new

or eating in the kitchen. “We love to hang and out and host, but we want it open so everybody can sit and talk.” And Beau believes that the amount of time and effort they put into their remodel has created a home that reflects their character: both open and light. “We love for there to be a lot of light in the house, a lot of action, even if it is a mess,” echoes Alicia. “It’s memories being made, and kids loving life. We try as a couple and as individuals to really enjoy ourselves, our lives, because we’re not here for very long.” The central space of the house already complemented the

28 L I F E S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5

LEFT: Very simple in design, the Mills’ master bedroom provides an open and clean space with a few subtle pops of color. PICTURED: The renovated kitchen is complete with subway tile backsplash, a farm sink, and white cupboards and counter tops.





Mills’ personalities, with its high, angled ceilings and window-covered walls. But to more drastically open the home, Beau tore down a wall between the kitchen and living space, adding a central, granite countertop island. “There was also a big wooden 6'x6' pole that came down through the middle of the kitchen to support the big middle beam that runs throughout the living room,” explains Beau. “So we actually brought an engineer in here to figure out how to get rid of that pole… The minute we took out that pole it

A wet bar provides the perfect place for Beau and Alicia to mix and serve drinks when they entertain. 30 L I F E S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5

really opened things up and changed the whole room.” Besides removing the separating wall and the vertical beam, the Mills added a mantle and hearth to the fireplace, thereby shifting the focal point of the room from the front door to the hearth. “So basically,” says Beau, as a result of remodel, “the whole room got shifted, turned the other way.” The end result is a room that, though built in 1989, looks surprisingly modern: light, open, angled, with high ceilings and long support beams at cross-angles,

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PICTURED: The peaks of the roof seem to reach for the sky, bringing a lot of natural light into the home. RIGHT: The Mills are settling into their home and love to stay active in their backyard.

and a patchwork of windows that reach to the highest crevice. As Beau puts it, “there’s nothing square in the house.” But even that modern interior is just a means for the Mills to open their living space into the country. “Those massive windows go across the whole wall, so when you’re sitting in the kitchen or [the living space], it’s like another extension of the outdoors,” says Beau. “You can see everything in the backyard.” And with that perspective, that window to the world, the Mills really have the right home for the right time. They desired a house that could offer their children the same experiences they had growing up – in the country. “We both grew up in the

They’ve set up chicken coops in the backyard, from which their kids love to gather eggs. They’ve got a pool, which gets plenty of use between three children and 108°F valley heat. Behind the waterfall that spills into the pool is a freestanding bar, as well as a bathroom and what the Mills call a changing room. “Maybe in the next couple years, I’d like to build a bigger outdoor kitchen where I can barbeque,” says Beau, reiterating, “we just love to entertain. It would be another area and extension of the house where people could hang out.” Built off the back patio is a little nook where the Mills have set up some furniture, where during evenings they sit with a glass of wine while watching their kids

country, and both loved our upbringing of being able to go out our back doors and just play until dinner time,” says Beau. “And in reality now, it’s hard to find country that’s close. So when it’s over an acre lot, and when kids can go out and get lost in their own little world out there, [and] when you’re just down the street from both grandma and grandpa’s house – that’s what appealed to us.” The Mills got that country feel without driving thirty minutes from town. As the crow flies, Beau’s parents live about a mile away, and Alicia’s parents are just a couple hundred yards from the front door.

play in the grass. This, they say, is where their home really comes together, and where they like to spend most of their time. “Our kids are active, love being outside. They play sports, ride their electric jeeps, love getting eggs from the chickens,” says Beau. These are the moments that matter most to the Mills – and even when it becomes a mess, or too much action, life never really slows down unless you take the time to appreciate it. Like Alicia said, life is short, but it can be found in these moments, inviting friends into your home or throwing a baseball to your child in the wide space of a backyard.






S T I V E R S ,

G L I C K ’ S







hile backyard BBQs may have a reputation for being summer affairs, it’s always a good idea to keep the smoker or grill close by toward the beginning of autumn. The cooler air calls for a little warmth by the fire, and the smoky and sweet flavors compliment the essence of what fall is all about: warmth.




( T A Z Z A R I A )










STUFFED SOUTHWEST CHICKEN INGREDIENTS 1 whole boneless skinless Smart Chicken breast 1 tsp all purpose seasoning 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp brown sugar Healthy pinch of salt and pepper FOR STUFFING ¼ C cilantro ¼ C red onion ¼ C green onion ¼ C pepper jack cheese

PEPPER JACK SAUCE FOR SMART CHICKEN INGREDIENTS 2 T unsalted butter 2 T all purpose flour 2 C whole milk 1 ½ C pepper jack cheese Salt and white pepper to taste DIRECTIONS First you'll need a small to medium-sized pot. Start the heat on low and melt the butter without browning it to make a blond roux. Once the butter is melted, add your flour. Still on a low heat, using a small rubber spatula, fold the two into each other with confidence. Continue to do so, folding and spreading in the pot, until you have a nice silky paste. Anywhere from 3-5 minutes on low heat. This is an imperative part in the roux-making process. Slowly add your milk in 1/2 C incriminates, this time whisking constantly to incorporate the roux and the milk. Once all the milk is added and thoroughly mixed, bring to a low boil for a few moments (the mix should be a loose gravy like consistency) and turn off the heat. Add your pepper jack cheese, salt, and white pepper to taste. Add this sauce to your Smart Chicken for more flavor. 36 L I F E S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5

DIRECTIONS Insert a long thin kitchen knife in the middle of the large side of the breast with the knife flat, parallel to the cutting board, to make a pocket for the stuffing. Slowly run the knife into the chicken, leaving a wall on all four sides of the knife. This method can be checked while in process by lifting the chicken breast with the knife, which will then slightly hang off the knife, then looking as well as carefully feeling for the knife from the outside of the chicken. Continue your cut as needed with a very flat palm, holding the chicken breast down on the cutting board. Next, fill the chicken with the stuffing mix. Season accordingly and cook either by marking off with a grill pan or BBQ grill, then finishing the breast in oven until reaching a temperature of 165°F or on the grill with an off-set heat, also until reaching 165°F. Accompany with a cilantro lime cream sauce or a favorite salsa or pepper jack sauce.

SMOKED SMART CHICKEN INGREDIENTS 1 whole Smart Chicken 4 T all purpose seasoning ½ C brown sugar 2 T smoked paprika 1 tsp granulated garlic 1 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper ¼ C canola oil

DIRECTIONS In your smoker, start your fire with a savory wood choice. We used applewood, great for smoking. For a single chicken, a ½ to 1 lb. piece of your favorite smoking wood will work. Let the wood burn to embers. Meanwhile, prep your Smart Chicken by adding the seasonings. When the smoker is at roughly 225°F and embers are smoldering, place the prepped chicken in the smoker. If using a BBQ style grill, the heat needs to be off set as to not char the poultry. The chicken can smoke anywhere from 45 minutes and on, depending on the preferred amount of smoke flavor. You'll need a thermometer to check your temperature. Chicken must be 165°F to be served safely. If you prefer less smoke, remove the chicken early and wrap in foil to stop the smoke contact and finish in the smoker and/or grill until it reaches the appropriate temperature. You can also use an oven to bring the poultry up to a safe serving tempature.

38 L I F E S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5

SUGGESTED USES AND PAIRINGS FOR A SMOKED SMART CHICKEN Your favorite side dish such as a sage mash potato, grilled corn, bacon green beans, or corn bread. This chicken can also be used in a pulled chicken style such as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or sandwiches.

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PICTURED: This Tauck Boat is a more traditional style riverboat – sleek and pointed. RIGHT: The Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary along the Eastern Side of the Danube River.





y husband and I love to travel, but when the subject of riverboats arose, we cringed; minuscule cabins, painfully slowpaced days, and elderly passengers with elastic waist pants? Not for us. Or so we thought. Time has passed, we’ve gotten older, we now appreciate pondering more than partying, and we have our share of wrinkles. The ways in which we have changed, however, pales in comparison to the changes in the riverboat industry. Cruising in general is more popular than it has ever been. Unpacking only once and eating familiar foods while visiting exotic locales is an increasingly favored vacation model. Major ocean cruise lines throughout the world have answered the demand with seven new ships hitting the seas in 2015 alone. In comparison, the river cruise companies will launch an astounding 41 new boats this year. Although aging populations in developed countries have helped drive this demand, the industry itself is just as responsible by changing travelers’ perceptions of riverboat travel. Most exploration by riverboat occurs in Europe. As the fastest growing segment of the travel trade, European riverboating has increased 16 percent each year for the last five years. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) states that the average passenger’s age is now 61 and that they’re more active and well traveled than in the past. Aggressive advertising is not only increasing interest, but also doing its best to convince potential customers that riverboats offer the T E X T

height of luxury and service. The truth is, however, that it’s very difficult (if not impossible) for them to equal the level of service, food, entertainment, lectures, staffing, or prices that you find on an ocean cruise ship. Rivers and canals create severe size restrictions, boat height is limited in order to pass under the many bridges, and length and width are limited as well by the locks (chambers that raise and lower vessels between stretches of water of

different levels). Size alone dictates that cabins and galleys will be smaller and there will be fewer options for entertainment, lectures, and meals. And with costs split between fewer passengers, riverboats are often not a bargain compared to ocean megaships. Many riverboats are also leased, often coming complete with crew from Eastern (not Western) Europe, where training standards and English fluency tend to be lower. And although the trend is toward floor-to-ceiling cabin windows and balconies, the proximity to land, frequency of being six inches from concrete lock walls, and the practice of A N D




berthing tied to another boat will mean cabin curtains are often closed. Finally, although your ship may have a ramp and elevator, older cities and villages will not, and they are unapologetic if their stairs and cobblestones make some areas inaccessible. What riverboats do offer, however, is hassle-free travel with captivating and changing vistas through historically noteworthy cities and charming villages. There’s no need for formal attire or seasickness paraphernalia either. Veteran ocean cruisers will appreciate the ability to sail directly to interior cities only reached in the past by mind-numbingly long bus rides. Note. However, that droughts and heavy rains can more easily disrupt river travel and buses will still transport passengers to sites further from the river. The major European river cruise route begins in Amsterdam on the Rhine River, which flows into Germany connecting first with the Main River and then with the Danube. The Main-Danube Canal, which links those two rivers, allows freight and pleasure travel to continue through Germany into Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, ending in Bucharest, Romania. A 14-day “grand voyage” traversing this entire route constitutes about a third of all European river cruises. The other 70 percent are either segments of this grand voyage, land and cruise combos, or trips along the Douro River in Portugal, the Seine and Rhone in France, or the Rhine from Switzerland into Germany. Prime European cruising is mid-May through September. “Shoulder” season (the dates to either side of prime L E V I T A N



The Danube River isn’t blue, but the spectacular scenery and charming villages make up for it.

Here we were on our way into the lock to be dropped down to the lower level.

The back of the Viking boats.

Dean Levitan standing by the deckhouse in its raised position.

We’ve experienced river cruising in both Europe and some exotic destinations. For us, river travel allowed for a perfect balance of cultural immersion and relaxation. The hardest decision was choosing a cruise line. C H E R Y L

cruises) costs less, as do chilly winter holiday cruises. Although Europe is by far the most common destination with the most boats and best fares, river cruises exist all over the world. Within the U.S., they are offered on the St. Lawrence, Ohio, Columbia, Hudson, and Snake Rivers, and soon will join the paddle-wheelers along the Mississippi. More exotic locales include the Mekong River in Vietnam/Cambodia, the Volga and Svir Rivers in Russia, the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar (Burma), the Yangtze in China, the Nile in Egypt, the Ganges in India, the Chobe River in Africa, and the Amazon through Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Often, these cruises are shorter in duration and part of a land tour. We’ve experienced river cruising in both Europe and some exotic destinations. For us, river travel allowed for a perfect balance of cultural immersion and relaxation. The hardest decision was choosing a cruise line. While in Europe, I attempted to get a better feel for the various companies’ 42 L I F E S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5


boats, crews, and passengers by snooping along the shores. I also did a lot of research, sifting through the volumes of self-serving information generated by the industry itself in order to find some unbiased assessments. Finally, I relied on the vast experience and knowledge of our favorite (and only) travel agent, Wes Roland, owner of the Cruise Experts Agency in Visalia. No riverboat company offers the best value and quality across the board. Those subjective judgements are dependent upon each traveler’s past experiences, expectations, and budget as well as a host of uncontrollable factors such as weather and traveling companions. That’s why published rankings aren’t very helpful. The information below is meant to differentiate between the companies who cater primarily to Americans in Europe. Before booking, speak with a travel agent to better assess your particular needs and get a copy of Berlitz: River Cruising in Europe. Berlitz includes invaluable general info as well

as descriptions of each and every boat on the water. Also, be aware of what is included in the pricing; if you don’t drink or participate in guided tours you may do better with less inclusive fares. When choosing a boat, remember that the saying “you get what you pay for” has stood the test of time for good reason. Finally, know that earlier booking ensures a better price (unlike the last minute ocean cruise “deals”) and locks in your desired cabin. AMAWATERWAYS: A family-owned company, they have excellent food and service, larger basic cabins than most, themed cruises, a “pillow menu,” exclusive access events, and cooking classes. The newer vessels have highspeed Internet (spotty Internet service is an ongoing issue with river cruising). Dinners can be pre-arranged and customized as to time and menu. All shore excursions and exclusive events are included, but not tips and airport transfers. The largest ships carry 164 passengers. They also sail in Portugal, Africa, Cambodia/Vietnam, and

Myanmar. AVALON: They offer all suite ships

in Europe with floor-to-ceiling sliding panoramic windows and 200 to 300 sq. ft. basic cabins with double sinks and full-size bathrooms. All ships are retired after six years. They remain in port for a full day to allow regional guest chefs to prepare specialty dishes. Ships have a beauty salon. Tips, transfers, and excursions are not included. Their new 16 cabin ship in Vietnam and Cambodia can sail from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap without the usual repositioning bus ride. GRAND CIRCLE: More affordable with older ships, they bypass travel agents by selling directly to consumers. Lower deck cabins are noisy when sleeping since passage through locks is scheduled overnight. Bikes are free to use, but the pace of tours tends to be slower. Wine is served with dinner and $5 corkage is charged for B.Y.O.B. Unlike other companies, they use local residents as onboard directors, lecturers, and tour guides. Many guests are return cruisers. TAUCK: The first and only all-inclusive

company includes premium liquor and wine, fully stocked minibars, small group excursions, bikes, airport transfers, and tips. Known for their attention to clients, they provide more U.S. staff onboard than most companies and commonly purchase surprise regional treats for guests. Family-owned and run, they lease and exclusively book Swiss boats, which sail only in Europe. Tauck also operates pre and post land arrangements and sightseeing (often with exclusive access). Ships have either 118 or 130 passengers with 14 or 22,300 sq. ft. suites with walk-in closets, rain showers, and some full-sized tubs. Most cabins have floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, and some have two story lofts. The Lido Bar transitions to an alternate dinner venue with five course meals and to top it off, they have a masseuse and massage room on board. UNIWORLD: Each ship is different in style and size with fine “old world” decor that’s refurbished every two years. The crew is trained in Switzerland. Most cabins are relatively small, but each ship has one or two

that measure 300 to 400 sq. ft. Pricing is inclusive of everything except an occasional tour, airport transfers, and tips. They offer no exclusive events but are the only line sailing in Italy and all the other areas except Africa. VIKING: California based, their innovation and aggressive marketing has done much to change American’s perception of river cruising. Their snubnosed “long ships” carry a whopping 190 passengers, but by off-setting the center corridor and removing the spa and gym, there’s space for some larger cabins. They own their 60 plus ships (most built after 2012) and it’s the largest river company controlling 30 percent of the market. They also sail in Russia, China, Vietnam/Cambodia, and Egypt. One complimentary excursion per port, optional ones are an extra cost. Beer and liquor are free at meals, through premium liquor and tips are extra. They have some premier berthing (docking) rights acquired through a buyout and their referral program allows passengers to obtain cruise credit. An optional limited casual dinner menu is offered on deck.

When choosing a boat, remember that the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ has stood the test of time for good reason. Finally, know that earlier booking ensures a better price. C H E R Y L

The town of Durnstein, Austria in the Wachau Valley. 44 L I F E S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5


TOP and BOTTOM: Several styles of riverboats along the Danube River.

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or people just beginning to dip their toes into the craft beer scene, autumn just might be the perfect season to take that headfirst plunge. With the varieties of beer that emerge during fall, it’s no wonder so many brew festivals occur between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. From beer geeks to novices, there is something for everybody during this flavorful season. What’s more, the dominant hoppy overtones tend to fade away during fall, which can make newcomers a bit less apprehensive about getting through that “acquire the taste” stage often associated with bitter beers. There are certainly the classics of fall: the German Marzen, Nut Brown, and American Amber, which pack a ton of flavor, but are not overtly heavy so as to fill you up after a single pint. They also offer choices for the beginners because of their not-so-aggressive qualities. However, there are two styles that often go unnoticed by many: Ciders and sour beers. While not the traditional fall libations for many beer enthusiasts, they conjure up thoughts and visions of what fall is all about – the harvest. While 46


traditional beers help us adjust to the wintertime stouts and porters, these two rogues celebrate the bounty that comes with autumn by using and infusing the very fruits that make fall so magical. Ciders can be both refreshing and heartwarming. Yes, the beer crowd will protest that ciders are not beer, and that is true. However, ciders get lumped in with the beer family, whether beer likes it or not. Considering its astronomic increase in presence over the last few years, it’s safe to include it in a fall beer article. And what better area to indulge in cider than the San Joaquin Valley? With the 90°F Septembers, a refreshing cider is just what those macho men crave after a cramping, asthmatic game of backyard football. With the base of ciders deriving from apples, many variations are hitting the store shelves; some of these include strawberry, mango, and green apple. With autumn upon us, one might be able to find some unique flavor infusions such as pumpkin spice or hibiscus. And then there are the sour beers. Sours are not for the faint of heart, but

you certainly don’t have to be a beer aficionado to enjoy them. They taste exactly like they sound – sour, and often times they don’t taste like a conventional beer. Sour beers are fermented with wild yeast (more like “accidental” yeast) that enters the unfermented beer from the surrounding environment. This unpredictable conception then brings out fantastically wild notes that would otherwise never be discovered. Some might claim that sours are an acquired taste, but the acquirement stage only lasts through the first gulp as your taste buds get used to this unique brew. Sour beers are fruity, full-bodied, and just downright fun. So sure, you can grab a pack of your go-to autumn ale and scoff at the cider sippers and sour snobs, or you can listen to your taste buds; they yearn for an exciting and adventurous fall. This season does not have to be only about darker colors and German beers (although they are outstanding in their own rights); it can be about overloading on flavor, sensations, and possibilities. Cheers.

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Newell Bringhurst is the author of several historical books about the Mormon Church and is a retired COS professor of history.








hy did the Mormon Church teach that people of African descent were less favored by God? That was one of the questions that nagged at Newell Bringhurst growing up in a Mormon household in suburban Utah. It was a question he sought to answer when it came time to write his dissertation for his doctoral degree, and it was a question that set him on a career of writing books on topics related to Mormon history. As a historian, Bringhurst writes his books neither to defend nor dispute Mormon beliefs. His goal is to discover the facts as best he can and present them to his readers. “I looked at it as a historical problem,” he said. “How did this policy of treating black people as different from other communicants in the Mormon Church come about? There was a lot of mystery, a lot of obscurity as to how the practice developed.” One of his books on this topic is Saints, Slaves and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism. He is also the editor, along with Darron T. Smith, of Black and Mormon, a collection of




essays from eight scholars reflecting on the Mormon practice of banning men of African descent from the priesthood and what changed when the ban was lifted in 1978. Yet another book on the topic, The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History, is due out in November. Bringhurst and Matthew L. Harris are the editors of this work, which presents their analyses of 30 church statements regarding the status of African Americans in the church before and after the ban was lifted. Though Bringhurst is still a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he has not been active or followed the beliefs since his mid-teens. He grew up in a small mining town about 15 miles from Salt Lake City. “It was not exactly a typical Mormon community,” he said. “Because it was a mining community, it was much more cosmopolitan. I was exposed to a diversity of cultures and beliefs. I guess that ultimately shaped my world view.” He said he became alienated from the LDS church largely because of the race issue, but also, it was partly



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due to teenage rebellion. Further, as he learned more about Mormon history, he discovered more aspects that did not sit well with his beliefs. “I was always fascinated with history, even growing up, a combination of history and politics,” he said. “When I was in school, a lot of the kids hated history, but I always loved it.” As a child, he enjoyed reading biographies of prominent Americans and other great men and women who had made an impact on history. Bringhurst received his bachelor and master’s degree in history from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. His minor was in political science. He came to California to study for his PhD at the University of California at Davis. This was where he wrote his dissertation on the Black issue in the Mormon Church. After 10 years of temporary teaching positions in San Jose, Idaho, and Indiana,

Corporation to develop Mineral King into a nationally ranked ski resort in the 1960s and 70s. He is hoping to complete a history of the College of the Sequoias by the time of its 90th anniversary in 2016-17. “It’s interesting how you get involved in one project and that leads to another,” he said. “People who really love history, that’s how it works.” While Bringhurst has branched into local and California history, the main body of his work remains on topics related Mormon history. “Even though I’m not a practicing, believing Mormon,” he said, “I’ve had very good relations with various individuals at institutions including Brigham Young University and including the LDS Church Historical Department. I’ve been able to interact and be involved.” He has been president of the Mormon Historical Association and a smaller

Smith to Mitt Romney. They have also worked together on the series The Persistence of Polygamy, which starts with the beginning of Mormon polygamy under Joseph Smith. The third in the series, an anthology of essays subtitled Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy from 1890 to the Present, is due out this month. “Polygamy in the Mormon church has a long, complicated history,” he said. “People are still perplexed by that whole issue of plural marriage.” Another of Bringhurst’s books is Fawn McKay Brodie: A Biographer’s Life. Brodie was a controversial biographer of Joseph Smith and Thomas Jefferson. She outraged Mormons by describing Smith as a conscious fraud and Jeffersonians by asserting that he had fathered children by his slave, Sally Heming’s. Bringhurst sees the study of history as a way to unravel intriguing mysteries.

One of the things I’ve always liked about doing research is that I want to look at problems that have some kind of controversy or some kind of profound deep question N E W E L L

he received a tenured position at College of the Sequoias in 1981 to teach history and political science. There he taught mostly United States and California history until his retirement in 2006. Since coming to Visalia, Bringhurst has become fascinated with local history. He worked on a project with Terry Ommen and others telling the story of Visalia’s Fabulous Fox: A Theatre Story. Bringhurst is the principal author, with a foreword by Annie R. Mitchell. This is his one major non-Mormon book. It was published in 2000, celebrating the restoration of the theater in 1999, and is still on sale at the theater. He has also written about the history of Sequoia Field, a former Army airfield, now a public-use airport. Another of his projects, working with Louise Jackson of Three Rivers, is a history of the attempt by the Disney 50 L I F E S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5


Midwestern group, The John Whitmer Historical Association of the Community of Christ, a separate branch of the LDS Church. He has also collaborated with Craig Foster on four recent books. They have been called “the odd couple of Mormon studies” because Foster is a devout, active member of the church, a church employee, and a conservative Republican. “We’ve been able to work very well together because we keep each other honest,” Bringhurst said. “We have our differences but we’ve been able to write carefully documented, honest history. That’s the real test. Neither one of us is out with an agenda. We just want to tell history as it happened, as close as we can assemble the facts of history.” One of their books is The Mormon Quest for the Presidency: From Joseph

For his master’s thesis while at Utah State, he wanted to explore a topic not related to Mormonism, so he chose George Dern, who was non-Mormon and a Democrat, yet he was elected governor of Utah twice in the 1920s. He wanted to find out how this could happen in Utah. “One of the things I’ve always liked about doing research is that I want to look at problems that have some kind of controversy or some kind of profound deep question,” he said. “Why or how did this happen? Just like reading a good piece of fiction with plot twists. How is this going to turn out? Good history is researched and written the same way. Looking at some mystery, some problem, some controversy. And that has been a constant theme in my research and writing.”

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here’s a good reason why we’re so obsessed with fall here in the Central Valley; after months of watching our air conditioning bills skyrocket and using any excuse to stay in the shade, we welcome the cool and crisp fall weather with open arms. Along with the relief, the Central Valley has some fabulous fall traditions and activities to get you in the autumn spirit. OKTOBERFEST Visalia Chamber of Commerce's Oktoberfest might not be on par with traditional German celebrations (which is probably a good thing), but it’s definitely one of Tulare County’s most popular events. Enjoy beer and wine, food tastings, live music, and local vendors, all while in the midst of Vossler Farm’s Pumpkin Patch. Taking place on the 1st of October, it’s the perfect way to start your fall. HORSE BACK RIDING Trotting leisurely along a trail with orange and yellow trees on either side, stopping in a grassy pasture for

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a picnic, and taking in the sights and sounds of nature; there is nothing better. Whether you’re a beginner or a practiced horse back rider, a slowpaced trail ride is a great way to spend an autumn morning. Throughout the Valley there are many trails and trainers who can lead you on a horse back riding adventure. VOSSLER FARMS PUMPKIN PATCH AND CORN MAZE Fall seems to evoke a sense of nostalgia in all of us as we remember picking out our own pumpkins and taking hay rides with our families. Here in Visalia, we can begin those same traditions with our families at the Vossler Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze. Opening on Oct. 2, this year’s corn maze is a “landmarks” theme, showcasing interesting landmarks throughout the U.S. Bring out the whole family to pick your pumpkins this year. SPRINGVILLE APPLE FESTIVAL Perhaps one of the Valley’s most

beloved fall traditions, the 35th annual Springville Apple Festival packs everything we love about small town life into one single event. From a number of “all things apple” booths to over 200 craft, gift, and food vendors, this two-day festival is a slice of Mayberry right in your own backyard. For the more athletic attendees, kickoff Saturday morning with the Apple Run, or start Sunday with the Fat Tire Classic Mountain Bike Race. Take the short drive to Springville on Oct. 17 and 18, and enjoy a slice of pie or two. BEER AND WINE TASTING Whether you stay local or take a day trip to the coast, there are plenty of stops to try interesting fall flavors and work on your wine tasting skills. More close to home, you can taste beer flights at the new Sequoia Brewing Company in Downtown Visalia, or head to Exeter for wine at Monét’s. A day trip to the coast is a perfect excuse to strap on your knee-high boots and wrap yourself up in a cozy scarf.

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feminine boost. Watch for high neck "bow" blouses to return as a sassy alternative to the crisp white menswear shirt. Wear them sans jacket with a sophisticated knee-length pencil skirt or flared trousers.

ooler weather may be just around the calendar corner, but in the meantime there are plenty of warm days that require our summer wardrobes to stretch into fall. But don't sweat it: here are some ways to make the transition in style and stay cool at the same time. Move over to the dark side. Yes, the old rule of not wearing white after Labor Day has gone by the wayside, but for many of us who have worn our white jeans thin over the summer, fall is a time to make the switch to darker colors. Change out those white jackets to more autumnal hues such as burgundy or teal green. Add black trousers or dark blue jeans.

CHECK OUT NEW PRINTS Fling the funky florals to the back of the closet. Opt for a new jacket or sheath dress in a graphic windowpane plaid or houndstooth check. Black and white make for a great transitional combination. CHANGE OUT YOUR HANDBAG Leave the canvas totes behind at the beach. Now is the time to bring out the leather or suede handbags that hopefully you bought on sale last spring! If you're shopping for a new tote this fall, scope out the bags swishing with the latest fashion fad: fringe.

TOSS ON A JACKET It doesn't have to be heavy and weigh you down, but a lightweight jacket will make that sleeveless shift dress feel and look more polished for the office. This season, update your wardrobe with long jacket “vests” to give skirts and pants a fresh twist.

GO FOR THE GOLD If you've been sporting silver jewelry all summer, mix in a few gold bangles or a chunky gold cuff for a change. Lighten up the gold with pearls. The gold pearl ear cuff is a new way to update your jewelry collection.

ADD A PIECE OF LEATHER You don't have to save that leather jacket until the first freeze. Instead, pare down the layers underneath – a cotton camisole or T-shirt – and team with gauzy skirts or jersey culottes for a breezy transitional take on the popular fashion statement. This fall, look for leather-like leggings to add some serious style to your wardrobe. TRADE IN YOUR TANK TOPS Blouses are back in a big way, and they are the perfect way to give your summer separates a

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Slip out of the sandals and flip-flops and into a pair of boots. It may still be a little too warm for the thigh-highs, but ankle boots instantly give whatever we wear more fashion energy, even if we wear them with bare legs. The perfect transitional boot? A "shootie," – an open-toe shoe boot in suede (with fringe of course). COBBLESTONE ESTATES

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TULARE COUNTY SYMPHONY PLAYS LATIN MUSIC The Tulare County Symphony performs “The Three Cornered Hat” along with “Estancia Dances” for a night of romantic rhythms of Central and South America. Come hear music director, Bruce Kiesling’s, pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $20 - $39.50 and can be purchased at When: Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m. Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: 732 - 8600

MAESTRO BILL BUTTS AND THE CRAWDADDY ORCHESTRA Back by popular demand, Crawdaddy’s presents Maestro Bill Butts and The Crawdaddy Orchestra, performing Songs from the Great American Songbook. Come to the second floor of Crawdaddy’s to be serenaded by the band as well as several special guests. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance at Crawdaddy’s. When: Oct. 13, 8 p.m. Where: Crawdaddy’s, 2nd floor, 333 E. Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-5300

THE VISALIA OPERA COMPANY PRESENTS “CARMEN” You’re invited to watch an inspiring performance of Bizet’s “Carmen,” presented by the Visalia Opera Company and the Visalia Arts Consortium. There will be four opportunities to see the show at 210 Cafe in Downtown Visalia. Tickets can be purchased online at the link below or at the Arts Consortium office. When: Oct. 30, 7 p.m., Nov. 1, 2 p.m., Nov. 6, 7 p.m., Nov. 8, 2 p.m. Where: Cafe 210, 210 W. Center Ave., Visalia Contact: www.voccarmen. or 802-3266

ART EXHIBITS FIRST FRIDAY Explore the multi-sensory art events featured throughout the downtown Visalia area. Stroll Main Street and see, hear, taste, and smell the art while spending the evening outdoors, engrossed in the cultivating arts scene here in Visalia. When: Oct. 2, 6-9 p.m. Where: Downtown Visalia Contact:

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Food, fun, and fabulous art. Every first Saturday of the month, the artists, restaurants, and merchants of Three Rivers open their doors and invite you to join in a town-wide celebration. You can pick up a map and schedule at Anne Lang’s Emporium or the Historical Museum for art, locations, and times for special events. When: Oct. 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Where: Anne Lang’s Emporium, 41651 Sierra Dr. (CA 198), Three Rivers Contact: Nadi Spencer, 561-4373 or www.1stSaturdayTR. com

A PEDDLER’S MARKET At this shopper’s paradise, you will find booths of handmade art, crafts and gifts, antiques, high-end re-treasures, and more. Mobile food vendors will be on-site to make your shopping experience a one-stop-shop. Free guest admission. When: Oct. 25, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Where: Visalia Elk’s Lodge, 3100 W. Main St., Visalia Contact:

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Thirty independent crafters will present a one-day craft boutique event you will not want to miss! This is a great way to begin your holiday season to find unique items to use in your own home over the holiday season or to purchase gifts for those on your list. Invite a few friends to join you as you browse and enjoy a great day of shopping and fellowship.

Experience a church event like never before! This full-day kids event gives 1st - 6th graders an experience they will never forget. Kids experience music, humorous stage performances, and relevant lessons from the Bible during two different chapel services. Team events include black light rooms, giant inflatables, crafts, and NERF battles. Make friends while being challenged to make good choices in the jungle of life. Cost is $25 online or $35 at the door.

When: Nov. 7, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Where: 5718 W. Laura Ct., Visalia Contact: 635-2531

OKTOBERFEST Visalia Chamber of Commerce's Oktoberfest is one of Tulare County’s most popular fall events. Enjoy beer and wine, food tastings, live music, and local vendors, all while in the midst of Vossler Farm’s Pumpkin Patch. Taking place on the 1st October, it’s the perfect way to start your fall. When: Oct. 1, 5:30 p.m. Where: Vossler Farms Pumpkin Patch, Visalia Contact: 734-5876

When: Nov. 14 Where: 3737 W. Walnut Ave., Visalia Contact:


DIVERSIONS & EXCU R S I O N S DOWNTOWN VISALIA WAITER’S RACE Join the Breakfast Lions Club for another exciting Waiter's Race taking place on Main Street in Downtown Visalia. Servers from various local restaurants compete for prizes and bragging rights. Enjoy the parade of racers at 5:15 p.m. with the main event starting promptly at 5:45 p.m. Registration is open now through 4 p.m. race day. To register, go to Entries are just $25 per racer and there's $7,000 in prizes awarded for Full and Quick Service categories. All Valley servers welcome! When: Sept. 24, 5:15 p.m. Where: Downtown Visalia Main Street Contact:

There are so many fun things to do at Vossler Farms Cornmaze and Pumpkin Patch. Each year, the 10-acre corn maze has a unique design. This year’s maze is “Landmarks,” a maze full of interesting landmarks covering the map of the USA. This year Vossler Farms will be also be expanding their Haunted Trail due to popular demand. It’s a good oldfashioned family scare, without the gore. It will be open the last three weekends of October. When: Oct. 2 – Oct. 31, check online for hours of operation Where: 26773 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia Contact:

AUTUMN MOON FESTIVAL TEA TASTING Hosted by the Center for Integrated Medicine, the “All the Tea in China” gala will benefit the Asian Cultural Society. Guests will be able to sample tea, enjoy Chinese hors d’ oeuvres and moon cakes, and hear performances by local artists. Please bring your own Asian teacup to sample the various tea types and a stand-alone candle or lantern for an evening light. Cost is $20 per person. When: Oct. 10, 6 p.m. Where: Visalia – Call for details Contact: RSVP at 625-4246

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C H A R I TA B L E EVENTS BRAVEFEST BENEFITTING WISH UPON A STAR Join Wish Upon a Star for their annual BRAVEFEST event, featuring Shave the Brave and the 3rd annual Chili Bean Cook-Off. Enjoy a free, funfilled day for the whole family, all for a good cause! All proceeds will be used to grant wishes for California children with life-threatening and high-risk illnesses.  When: Sept. 19, 12–3 p.m. Where: Garden Street Plaza, 300 E. Main St., Visalia Contact: 733-7753 or email info@

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11TH ANNUAL GARDEN PARTY WINE AFFAIR Support the Green Acres Little Theatre Foundation by attending this wine tasting hosted by The Cellar Door with hors d-oeuvres served from Fugazzi’s, the Vintage Press, Tazzaria, and many other valley restaurants. This evening includes a silent auction, 50-50 drawing, and a chance to win a jewelry donation. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. When: Sept. 20, 4-7 p.m. Where: 2205 Hyde Way, Visalia Contact: 739-1449

Mavericks Coffee House & Roasting Company proudly presents its annual 5K Run with all proceeds benefitting Happy Trails Riding Academy. Start times for three events are – Kids race (10 and younger) at 7:30 a.m.; walkers at 7:45 a.m.; and runners at 8 a.m. Registration fee is $30 for advance registration or $35 on race day. Kids ‘Fun Run’ registration is $10. Breakfast will be served and shirts will be provided for all 5K walkers and runners. When: Sept. 26, 7:30 a.m. Where: Happy Trails, 2773 E. Oakdale Ave. (Ave 256), Tulare Contact: 688-8685

RAISE THE ROOF BBQ Come out and enjoy a Tri-Tip and Chicken BBQ dinner followed by Häägen-Dazs and support the Tulare County Historical Society. Entertainment will be provided by the musical group, Sons of the San Joaquin. Proceeds for this fundraiser will go toward raising a new roof for the recently restored Visalia Electric Railroad Caboose. Tickets are $45. When: Sept. 20, 4:30-7 p.m. Where: Tulare County Museum at Mooney Grove Park Contact: 799-1164 for tickets and 287-6291 for more information

VALLEY OAK SPCA’S WINE & WAGS GALA AND AUCTION Enjoy fine wines and gourmet foods along with silent and live auctions. All funds raised will support efforts for a new Adoption and Education Center. When: Sept. 26, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Where: Jeanne Hoey’s Residence, call for address Contact: 651-1111

CALVARY CHAPEL CAR SHOW Join us for the 7th annual car show and wander through over 100 classic cars and trucks while listening to 50s and 60s music. Purchase a raffle ticket for a restored antique gas pump along with other prizes. There will be a BBQ lunch, A&W Root Beer on-site, a jewelry and clothing vendor, and a children’s play area. All proceeds benefit the Calvary Kids Bible Club. Register your car by phone; entry is free. When: Sept. 26th, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Where: 11720 Ave. 264, Visalia Contact: 687-0220,

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HAPPY TRAILS ANNUAL ROUNDUP FUNDRAISER Happy Trails Riding Academy is hosting its 5th Annual Round Up fundraiser. A ticket will include a cowboy BBQ, live music, a wine buy, and rider demonstrations. All proceeds of the event will directly benefit the Happy Trails Riding Academy program. Tickets are $30 per person and tables of eight can be reserved for $240. Happy Trails also has sponsorship opportunities available for this event. To reserve your tickets or inquire about sponsorships, please contact the office at 688-8685. When: Oct. 2, 6 p.m. Where: Happy Trails, 2773 E. Oakdale Ave., Tulare Contact: 688-8685

BOB CAREY MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT AND CRAB FEED The Visalia Breakfast Rotary will hold a golf tournament and crab feed in honor of past charter member, Bob Carey, to raise funds for a “Heart Safe Community.” Join Breakfast Rotary for the golf tournament at Valley Oaks Golf Course, and then head over to the Holiday Inn for a delicious crab feed dinner. To register, contact Bill Bland for an entry form. When: Oct. 16, 10:30 a.m., Crab feed at 5 p.m. Where: Valley Oak Golf Course and Holiday Inn, Visalia Contact: Bill Bland, 269-5986,

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WINE, CHEESE, AND JAZZ FUNDRAISER FOR THE CREATIVE CENTER FOUNDATION Join the Creative Center at the Jon Ginsburg Gallery for a night of sipping wine, enjoying cheese, and listening to Jazz while surrounded by art from Creative Center. When: Oct. 22, 6-9 p.m. Where: The Jon Ginsburg Gallery, Visalia Contact: thecreativecenterfoundation. org

HARVESTING THE BLESSINGS FOR HANDS IN THE COMMUNITY We are extending an invitation to you this year for our upcoming dinner and silent auction at the Visalia Convention Center Ballroom. When: Oct. 30, 7 p.m. Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: 625-3822

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7TH ANNUAL ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR CRAB FEED Benefitting the Visalia Rescue Mission and We Hear You! Foundation, Enterprise Rent-A-Car will be holding their 7th annual crab feed dinner. Enjoy cocktails, dinner, and a raffle at Clovis Veterans Memorial Hall all for a great cause. For sponsorship opportunities or to purchase $65 tickets, go to When: Nov. 6, 5:30 p.m. Where: 808 4th St., Clovis Contact: or call 352-1365

It’s not too early to get your tickets or to start thinking about how to decorate your tree for the annual Christmas Tree Auction. The auction is “THE formal event of the season” in Visalia, and this year takes it a step further with a “Champagne Jubilee” theme. There will be plenty of hors d’oeuvres, desserts, wine, beer, and dancing to keep guests entertained while they bid on beautifully decorated Christmas trees in the live auction, or on silent auction items. All proceeds benefit local charities and non-profits in Tulare County. When: Dec. 11 Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact:

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Lifestyle Magazine - September 2015  

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