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24 HOME TOUR The Hardcastles


Oval Park: A Community Conversation


Letter from the Executive Editor

10 Word Play 12

Local Adventure: Balch Park


History: Templars Hall - A Buliding with a Sobering Past

46 Pairing: Shake Up Your Wine Pairing



50 Fashion 52 Artist Profile: Josh Talbott Paints Lessons on Life


56 Happenings

Go Flavorable for Fall


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34 T R AV E L

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L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014

ON THE COVER: The Hardcastle’s sitting room is adorned with vibrant blue chairs and fireplace, ideal for enjoying a cup of coffee with company. PICTURED: The front of the Hardcastle home is reminiscent of what you might find on the east coast, but with a west coast view.


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

210 Cafe Cafe 225 California Fitness Academy Creekside Day Spa & Wellness Center Courtyard Aesthetics Details Party Rentals Exeter Chamber of Commerce Fast Frame Franey’s Design Center Hobbs-Potts Associates Holiday Inn Kaweah Delta Hospital Keller Williams Reality Pacific Treasures Pita Kabob Pro-PT Smiles by Sullivan Smile Visalia Suncrest Bank Tulare Chamber of Commerce V Medical Spa Velvet Sky Visalia Business Bank (Downtown) Visalia Harley Davidson Visalia Imaging & Open MRI Visalia Marriott Visalia Medical Clinic Wildflower Caf, Exeter 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 © 2014 DMI Agency


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PICTURED: Lounge chairs and a beautifully landscaped backyard are just one of the fine touches the Hardcastles have added to their home.


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

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


L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014

Since somewhere in my mid-20s, I’ve struggled with my long-distance vision, increasing my contact lens prescription as often as necessary so I’m not a danger on the road. Contrarily, I can read perfectly without contacts or glasses, creating a need for drug store readers hanging around my neck, bifocal contacts, or simply asking the waiter to read the menu to me aloud. None of those solutions were great options for me. Most likely tired of hearing me say, “I can’t wait to take my contacts out,” my husband began urging me to look into LASIK surgery. Although a scary thought, I’d finally gotten to the point where I needed to do something besides complain. During the initial exam with Dr. Stan Feil, he explained that correcting my nearsightedness would create the opposite need – that I would no longer be able to read without reading glasses. In other words, I would be trading one vision issue for another. My heart sank. But, he went on to say I would be the perfect mono-vision candidate. Meaning, LASIK surgery would be performed only in one eye to correct my distance vision, but the other would be left in it’s current condition so I would also be able to read without lenses of any kind. If you think this sounds a little crazy, it did to me too, at first. According to the doctor, my brain would adjust, allowing me to see both near, and far. This letter perhaps sounds like an ad for LASIK surgery – and although it was a breeze – it’s the impact it made on my perspective that I write about. If only we all could have the ability to see things clearly, regardless of how near or far they are from where we currently stand. This surgery made its point – our brains can adjust and bring our vision into perfect focus, as long as we keep both eyes open. That was recently not the case when it was announced Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy would perform in a benefit concert at Oval Park. With a long-standing reputation as being in an undesirable part of town, a few people, together with the City of Visalia and the Visalia Rescue Mission, took on the task of transforming the park. As the time for the concert grew closer, a handful of people, most likely with one eye closed, and certainly with no financial or personal investment, took to Twitter discouraging Frampton from appearing at the park. The result? He cancelled. Although no one is saying the negative comments on social media were the only reason, still he did not appear. Lifestyle had planned for this issue to be filled with photos and memories of Frampton’s appearance, but the last minute cancellation left us without. The staff came together in what we thought would be an idea session about a replacement story. But then, we realized to ignore it would make us part of the problem. We decided to continue with the story from a different angle and asked the question: “Are we doomed to accept Oval Park as it’s always been, or is there a glimmer of hope that this place can be redeemed?” We hope “A Community Conversation” on page 18 provides some insight to what is happening there, and what can be accomplished if we’d allow ourselves to adjust to the new vision.

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n a trio of books by new novelists, the characters are uprooted from the lives they knew and thrown into challenging, new circumstances. The Wives of Los Alamos start their married lives with husbands who are scientists at universities and corporations all over America. In Tarashea Nesbit’s debut novel (Bloomsbury USA, Feb. 2014), some mysterious men arrive from the government and talk secretively with their husbands. The next thing the wives and children know, they are bound for some unknown destination out west. As their husbands continue to work in secret, and their families adapt to new lives, wives do household chores and make friends, but the project is always hanging over them like a mushroom cloud. In The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez (Knopf, June 2014), the Rivera family from Mexico find themselves in an equally alien environment when they move to Delaware to enroll their daughter, Maribel, in a special school. Their beautiful, free-spirited Maribel suffered brain damage in a devastating accident and her parents will do anything to get her back. Their one stroke of luck is that they move into an apartment building filled with residents from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries, all with their own stories. One teenager, Mayor, has always been an outcast in his own way. He develops a special bond with Maribel that leads to wonderful yet tragic results. Growing up in ancient Rome, Livia Drusilla enjoyed a privileged life in an important family. Phyllis T. Smith’s I Am Livia (Lake Union, May 2014) begins her story as Livia’s father is a part of the conspiracy to kill Julius Caesar. On a more personal level, Tiberius, one of the plotters, has been selected to be Livia’s husband. As Livia is forced to leave her family home as his bride, Rome erupts into civil war. Ever shifting alliances bring Livia into the strange circumstance of finding a soulmate in Octavianus, Caesar’s heir and the man who caused her parents’ deaths. With Livia by his side, he strives to become the most powerful man in Rome. Valley Writers Tim Z. Hernandez’ Manana Means Heaven won the 2014 International Latino Book Award for Historical Fiction. The book is a fictionalized account of Bea Franco’s affair with Jack Kerouac. Her story became a part of Kerouac’s On the Road, in which she was known as Terry, the Mexican girl. No one, except Bea herself, knew what had become of this Mexican girl – whether she was even still alive. Hernandez found the 90-year-old Bea Franco and tells her side of the story. The awards were presented this summer in Las Vegas during the annual meeting of the American Library


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Association. Doreen A. Oken of Reedley published I Am a Trophy Wife: A Book of Narcissistic Proportions through CreateSpace in April. Oken describes herself as a non-typical trophy wife – middle-aged and middle class. Read the Book In Gayle Forman’s If I Stay (Dutton Juvenile, 2009), teenage Mia has a loving family, a handsome boyfriend and a good life, until it is all shattered by a terrible accident. Her parents are killed and Mia is left in a coma on the verge of death. The question is, will she fight to stay alive or not? The book is geared to the young adult market but with its serious subject matter, may appeal to adults as well. Books on Radio Books and writers are discussed on Blogtalkradio on the Michael Dresser Show. Guests on one episode included Deb Carlin, PhD, author of Build the Strength Within: Create the Blueprint for Your Best Life Yet and Write, If You Live to Get There by Mary Jo Sonntag. offers the NPR program “fresh air” which also gives authors an opportunity to read from and discuss their books. One episode included Stephan Erik Clark discussing his novel Sweetness #9 about a flavorist working on a new sweetener who notices unfortunate side effects. Writing Contest The GrubStreet National Book Prize for 2014 will be awarded to an author with two or more fiction books published in 2014 or in 2015 by May 1. Contest deadline is Oct. 1. The winner will receive $5,000 and be invited to the Muse and the Marketplace conference. Details at: Writers’ Conference The Nightwriters Workshop at the Villa Spannocchia in Tuscany, Italy provides a balance between solitude and companionship. This Phyllis Theroux event begins Oct. 26. For a more solitary experience, Theroux has a writer’s cottage in Ashland, Virginia. Details at: The Last Word “It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” – Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919).

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ith fall just around the corner, we will all be searching for ways to escape the valley fog. Whether that means traveling to the coast or staying indoors, each of those options don’t give you and your family that sense of adventure. Taking a day-trip into the mountains will allow you to take a break from the dreary mornings and give you plenty of excursions to keep yourselves busy throughout the day. Just past Springville, Balch Park rests among the cool forests of the Sierras. Open from May through October, the 160-acre park is an ideal location for all things outdoors. Hiking, fishing, dog walking, camping and rock climbing are just a few of the activities that can be done there. The paved roads and developed campgrounds make it an easily accessible spot and great for both a novice adventurer and the experienced outdoorsman. Mountain Home Grove, a grove of Giant Sequoia trees located near Balch Park, holds four of the 20 largest Sequoia trees in the world. Since Mountain Home Grove sees less tourism and visitors each year than Yosemite and Sequoia National Park, this park is optimal for viewing these magnificent trees. A few of the main trees to make note of are: ADAM TREE: As the 20th largest tree in the world, the Adam tree stands at 247.4 ft. tall and was the first of the largest trees found in the grove. GENESIS TREE: Standing at 253 ft. tall, the Genesis tree is now the largest tree in the grove, and the 7th tallest in the world. SUMMIT TREE: Named and measured as the 15th largest tree in the world, the Summit tree stands at 244 ft. While in Balch Park, here are a few other landmarks to be sure to check out: BALCH PARK NATURE TRAIL: This one-mile trail will take you through nature without being too strenuous. Continue on the trail and you will learn about dogwoods, gooseberries and other trees. It will also take you past the other landmarks listed below. HOLLOW LOG: This hollowed out Giant Sequoia tree now lays for tourists and hikers to walk (or crawl) through. At about 75 ft. long and 15 ft. in diameter, most people don’t have any trouble walking through. LADY ALICE: Named after Alice Doyle, the wife of an early owner of Balch Park, this Giant Sequoia stands at 310 ft. and was originally named the largest tree in the world in the 1900s. BALCH PARK’S LOWER, UPPER AND HEDRICK PONDS:

Stocked weekly with fish, these ponds are large, great for fishermen of all ages, and are said to be a great spot to catch some Rainbow Trout. Be sure to have a fishing license and your own poles and tackle before you head up to these ponds. Balch Park also serves as a campground, making it available for overnight and weekend stays. With paved roads, RV spots and flushable toilets, it is one of the most developed campgrounds in the area. If you do decide to take a camping trip in Balch Park, beware of bears and other furry creatures. They are known for wandering through the sites, looking for food that is left unattended. As John Muir said, “[Balch Park is] home to the finest block of the Big Tree forest in the entire belt on the north fork of the Tule River.” – The Mountains of California, 1894. 12

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Text by Terry L. Ommen


ore than 65 years, the stark two-story wooden structure stood as a symbol of Visalia’s effort to rid the town of what many believed was the biggest curse to all mankind – alcohol. The Good Templars building sat on the west side of Court Street between Center and Oak, directly across from the Tulare County Courthouse. It is gone now, but during its heyday, it was a lively place filled with regular, impassioned speeches all vilifying the “devil’s brew.” In the mid 1800s, alcohol abuse reached such levels in America that organizations began to form for the sole purpose of drawing attention to the evil liquid. These temperance groups argued that not only did alcohol harm the individual drinking it, but it destroyed families, led to crime and wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy. The anti-alcohol sentiment did not escape Visalia. Drunkenness was common in this old west town and was frequently at the root

of many social problems. For example, in 1862, the Visalia Delta bemoaned, “Bad whiskey and six-shooters kept up a noisy and disgraceful time in town…” As a result, Visalia joined the hue and cry against “demon rum” and jumped into the temperance movement with great enthusiasm, often expressed through the local newspapers. After a man who went on a wild and drunken rampage in town was finally arrested, the newspaper reported, “Such scenes are always painful to officers and good citizens, but we shall have them just as long as whiskey drinking is tolerated and encouraged by those who ought to throw their voice and influence against it.” Another Visalia newspaper likened alcohol to a wild animal when it colorfully warned, “It creeps upon a man’s will like a wild beast, slowly and without his realizing its approach. And before he understands the thing that is on his trail, it has him down with its cruel, greedy fangs at the vitals of his soul.” PICTURED: Templars Hall, circa 1938, stood at 209 N. Court Street until 1940.


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TOP: This is a pledge to abstain from the use of alcohol, Circa 1890. BOTTOM: The Templars Hall site, circa 2014.

So, not surprisingly, by 1863, a national organization called the Independent Order of Good Templars (I.O.G.T.) had a chapter in Visalia. That year, 100 women and men, including soldiers from Camp Babbitt, were members of Lodge No. 48 – a large number considering the town’s population totaled about 750. Unlike most fraternal groups, the organization allowed both men and women to become members, pointing out that all were brothers and sisters in one united family. Not only were women encouraged to become members, they were welcomed into positions of leadership. In 1863, both Mrs. F. Martin and Miss E. Byrd were officers. The local lodge wasn’t at all shy about their position and took every opportunity to state it, especially in recruitment campaigns. On one occasion they wrote, “If every citizen who knows and feels that the whole liquor business, for drinking purposes, is a nuisance and a curse, would take hold of this living, acting agency heartily, and at once giving example, influence and labor to the good cause, it would be but a short time until a drunken man would be a rare sight in our streets, and the few last specimens might be considered beyond the reach of hope.” To that end, they made it clear they wanted the “rum holes” [saloons] of Visalia shut down. After more than a decade of preaching abstinence, the local group was ready for its next big step forward. They purchased lot #8 fronting Court Street in block #20 and in May of 1875, they hired local builders H. O’Hale & F. Kelten to construct their lodge building. By August, the two-story, 30-foot by 60-foot structure costing about $4,750, was finished. The first floor had three rooms to rent out for office space and the upstairs served as the lodge hall. The community was pleased with the new addition and proud that


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the project was part of the building boom taking place in town. By 1879, the group opened up the hall for general entertainment hoping to use the revenue to pay off the debt on the building. For the next several decades, Lodge No. 48 and other prohibitionist groups like the Anti-Saloon League, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Good Government League pushed the no alcohol agenda. But the debate had another side. Those who supported keeping alcohol argued that doing away with saloons would hurt business in town and therefore tax revenue would suffer. But the cry for abolishing liquor was loud and relentless. In 1911, the question of allowing saloons to continue to operate or abolishing them totally went to the voters of Visalia. The campaigning was vigorous, and when the votes were tallied, the majority voted the town “dry,” and the saloons shut down. But the 1911 vote was only the beginning. In 1919, the 18th Amendment (prohibition) was added to the U. S. Constitution and from 1920 to 1933 the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages was banned throughout the U.S. When the Visalia I.O.G.T. chapter officially disbanded is not clear, but they continued to meet weekly at Templars Hall until at least 1910. The following year, the building was sold to Emma F. Zumwalt for $8,000. From that time on, the old lodge building apparently was residential housing. By 1940, the 65-year-old building had fallen into serious disrepair and in November, it was torn down to make way for progress. In its place, Firestone built a new gasoline, auto supply and service store. It too is now gone, and an office building occupies the space.



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his article isn’t about Peter Frampton, and it’s not about the Oval, and it’s certainly not about the rumors that have been flying about the park. In a roundabout way, this conversation revolves around these subjects, but the angle is the conversation itself – and why the conversation matters. Now that August 29 has come and gone, and now that the local paper has given its perspective, maybe the time has come to lay the question to rest: why did Peter Frampton cancel his Guitar Circus performance at Visalia’s Oval Park? If you’ve been involved in the conversation and – what has been for some – the controversy, then you’ve probably heard the rumors anyway. Whatever the reason, the cancellation was to some a kind of victory, proof that the park can’t be anything other than what it already is. But for those who believe the Oval can be transformed, the conversation is only just beginning. It’s public knowledge that a handful of tweets about the Oval’s negative reputation were posted to Frampton’s Twitter account. Does that really surprise anybody? For years, Visalia residents have



considered the Oval the central hub for its homeless, druggies and prostitutes, a kind of local Skid Row. Go for a stroll in the park and you might step on a needle, it’s been said. When the City of Visalia and the Visalia Rescue Mission (VRM) partnered in 2011 with the objective to revitalize the park and its surrounding neighborhood, that negative perception entered a public conversation and became a hurdle to a very real question – is revitalizing the Oval even possible? That conversation became even more public, if not less courteous, when Ryan Stillwater, Oval Venue Coordinator, announced on Facebook that Peter Frampton would be performing at the park this summer. Because anybody who’s spent time online knows: the Internet is where reason goes to die. So did negative perception pull the plug on the concert? Stillwater, a VRM employee, admits the reason is more complicated. “It’s widely known that ticket sales weren’t as high as we wanted them to be, but they were still higher than any event that’s ever been held at the park before. So, in that sense, it was a total success.” Beside lackluster ticket sales, Stillwater



Text by Jordan Venema | Photo by Ryan Krauter

admits the park’s layout was an additional problem. “Logistically, it was far from ideal.” Trees, benches and the gazebo obstructed views. Rumors persisted that safety was an ultimate concern, but Stillwater insists that was never an issue. So then why did Frampton cancel? Is it possible that a few negative posts on social media led Frampton to cancel his performance at the Oval? Is it any less possible that some Visalia residents maintain and perpetuate an idea about a park that they’ve never even visited? Stillwater can’t exactly say, but he does admit he was surprised by the backlash on social media. “There was just bashing, bashing, bashing,” he says, referring to tenor of the comments left on the Facebook page for the event. Most of the rumors were rooted in an emotional response to the assumption that the concert, as a project, would fail. What’s the point, since one concert can’t change the Oval? And to a degree, Stillwater agrees. “It’s not like the rumors came from nowhere; the rumors came from a very true reality. But a past reality was put on a current situation.” Stillwater continues, “Rumor runs rampant. One person says prostitutes, so everyone says prostitutes. One person says dirty needles, so everybody says dirty needles.” And until



C COMMUNITY the community is willing to visit the park, those rumors will persist. The hope behind bringing Frampton to the Oval was simple: get people to the Park, and get their opinion to change. “The local stuff has been tried – farmers market, local bands, that kind of thing – but we needed something unique that would draw,” says Stillwater. “Because people are right, the people who posted online, ‘this concert isn’t going to do anything and as soon as the concert is done it will go back to normal.’ They’re right, at the end of the day it was a special event.” But for Stillwater, the concert was a means to an end, “to

get people there who had never been there before, the people who sit on Facebook and say things about things they’ve never experienced firsthand.” Stillwater gets it. “Who cares about Frampton or Buddy Guy, who cares about a concert? What I do care about is that there’s been a black hole in Visalia that is the Oval Park, and people are content with it. I was content with it. Why is that?” In the summer of 2013, Stillwater was faced with that very question. He had worked at the Fox Theatre for seven years, but he and his wife decided it was time for a change, “to take a leap of faith.” Within two weeks of his resignation at the Fox, a friend contacted Stillwater to let him know about an opening at the Visalia Rescue Mission. “I felt pretty skeptical that I was even

qualified,” he admits, and his wife joked, “you don’t even like people that much.” But Stillwater graciously accepted the position, he says, as a means to personally grow. Stillwater began the job with the same misconceptions that he is now trying to change. In his first months at the job, he kept the door of his office locked, which is in the park, even when he was inside. “I always felt embarrassed by that, foolish I guess,” he admits. “So I had to make the

Photo by Taylor Johnson

choice: these are people, and they have needs like everybody else. They need community, they need connection, they need people saying, ‘Nice to meet you.’” So, he unlocked the door. What walked through that door was real conversation, real transparency and real relationships. Stillwater, like many Visalians, had believed that Oval “locals” were homeless. That assumption has inspired well-meaning individuals to leave food and clothes for the people who spend time at the park. But as Stillwater quickly learned, they aren’t even homeless. “I was wrong,” says Stillwater. “The issue isn’t

even hunger. There is a helpful response and it’s not a box of food or clothes or even a ‘God bless you.’ It’s giving someone yourself. It’s being honest.” That currency is the only way to truly combat poverty, and when Stillwater actually gave himself to the neighborhood, that led to some very interesting, if not always comfortable, situations. Once, a man approached Stillwater asking for 30 cents, and Stillwater declined. “He asked, ‘why not?’ and I said, ‘because I don’t know you, man.’ And he got quiet, and he was like a foot taller than me,” Stillwater laughs, “and then he wrapped his arms

around me and said, ‘your momma raised you right.’” Stillwater could have given the money and limited their interaction to a monetary exchange. But when Ryan refused the 30 cents, he actually gave the man a whole lot more: honesty, transparency and mutual respect – the foundations for a real relationship. Three months after Stillwater accepted the job, he and his wife and three children moved just three blocks from the Oval. “Because how can you care about a community if you don’t live there,” he asks? And what’s more, Stillwater says he’s never felt unsafe. It was a process though, he admits, to bring his kids to the park. Recently, his daughter made a birthday card for one of the “harder characters,” a park regular. “You could tell he was

PICTURED: Visalia Rescue Mission employees Chelsea Stemkoski, Ryan Stillwater and Kristen Eichbauer meet at the Oval Park office to begin promoting their next event, falling on October 23.


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really touched, […] he was almost brought to tears.” And Stillwater has noticed other changes. “When I first started, [the park] was full of carts, full of people.” Now it’s cleaner and people are less suspicious of each other; he even recently saw a family eating ice cream at the park. “That,” says Stillwater, “speaks volumes as to what’s changed.” The revitalization of a neighborhood begins not just with individual action, but also with a belief that it’s possible. For the Oval, change can only happen when our community stops believing that the park is beyond hope. For Stillwater, a quote helps put his position into perspective: “it is better to light a single candle than sit and curse the darkness.” “As soon as I read that [I thought], that’s what we’ve been doing, we sit and curse Oval Park and the neighborhood.” To quote Frampton, “the sweetest fragrance, it brings a wind of change,” and change is a coming. There is a sea change of late in the public opinion toward the Oval, though it’s been overshadowed by a few loud and public opinions, and by the rumors surrounding the cancelled concert. One Visalia native, Doug Hurt, a lawyer and musician, is donating back to the VRM the $180 he spent on the tickets. And he encourages others who can afford the tickets to do the same. “I’m a lawyer, I earn a lot of money, and I live in a very nice neighborhood, but I’ve never been

to a blues club in a gated community.” Hurt knows that stepping out of comfort zones is where the music really happens. “To see Buddy Guy live is a once-ina-lifetime opportunity,” but for Hurt, the real disappointment wasn’t missing a chance to see a blues legend, it was realizing that Visalia failed to support its own community. “We are all inextricably connected in some way,” says Hurt, “and the best thing that one can do is to help someone else.” This sea of change has brought a new approach and atmosphere to the park. The Visalia First Assembly has, through conversations with Stillwater, adopted a different approach to the Oval. Formerly, the church sent groups to deliver food to the park, but now about five to 20 of its members go to the Oval just to be there. Every Monday, they buy food at one of the local restaurants and eat at a bench. It’s that simple. The intention, says Jason LeFaive, pastor of community services at Visalia First, “is to create relationships that are lasting and have value, and not to be a face for five minutes and then just walk away and say, ‘well, we did something good,’ and then never stop there again.” So now LeFaive and Stillwater and other members of the church show up, they sit, they eat and they stay. And in a non-committal way, they are actually making a serious commitment to be a part of something that, in the past, they might have too

quickly forgotten. “For us as a church,” says LeFaive, “our heart is that the city of Visalia would no longer see a north side and a south side but just see Visalia.” Because, he adds, “at the end of the day we’re all part of one community.” LeFaive points out that one woman in the group, in her 60s, “has lived in the community for a number of years, and never once had been to the Oval. She just never had the desire,” he says. “But the great part is that she took the risk, and became vulnerable. And she was floored by how beautiful the park actually is.” And that is where the conversation should start. Not with rumors about Peter Frampton and not with preconceived ideas about the Oval, but with vulnerability and humility. Stillwater would remind us that we are our brother’s keeper – that we’re as responsible to them as they are to us, but that our responsibility is also much more than an exchange of 30 cents or a sandwich. What’s at stake is more than the Oval, more even than our community. We are the ones at stake, because without vulnerability and humility to each other, we will have closed off ourselves from a world of hope and possibility. So before we ask if it’s possible for the Oval to change, maybe we should start by asking ourselves: am I ready to change? Photo by Taylor Johnson


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PICTURED: The formal living room has vaulted wood ceilings and a grand chandelier, with views into the backyard.





Text by Jordan Venema, Photos by Taylor Johnson





hen Greg and Gretchen Hardcastle moved to Morro Bay, the decision was made very suddenly. In 1999, they spent a weekend in Santa Barbara at a wine festival, after which they traveled north to Morro Bay where Greg called his friend and former coworker, Ron McIntosh, to help them look for real estate. The Hardcastles probably had anticipated leaving the coast with only a few new bottles of wine in their trunk, not a new lease. “It was on a whim,” says Greg, “and by the time we left town, we were in escrow on a house. It was crazy.” The Hardcastles’ purchase was impetuous, but it wasn’t the result of a wine-altered state of mind. The move to Morro Bay was the culmination of an idea that Greg had been mulling over for almost 50 years. Greg grew up in Visalia, but his childhood was full of weekend getaways to the coast. His aunt and uncle owned beach homes and in 1965, his parents bought a furnished, 620-square-foot bungalow for what seems like an unreasonably cheap six thousand dollars. In fact, Greg traveled often enough between Visalia and the coast that

in September of 1955, he and his family arrived at the fork where Hwy 41 and 46 meet. They arrived at the scene of an accident between a Porsche and truck that had happened only minutes earlier. James Dean was dead. “I was only seven,” says Greg, “but I remember it vividly.” Most of the drives weren’t as memorable as the weekends spent escaping the heat and participating in the kind of activities that could have been the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting: a family sailing on the ocean, children clamming on the strand, a young boy fishing on a pier, his jeans rolled to the knees and legs dangling over the edge. “Life was pretty easy,” admits Greg, for whom those summers must have been a Golden Age. “I always treasured those days, and I knew in my horizon, when I got older, I’d have my own place.” The horizon never opened up, but instead clouded with the busyness of adulthood, work, family and responsibilities. In the early 90s, his mother sold the bungalow, and for a season, Greg must have felt the horizon would be forever out of reach. Then Greg met Gretchen through a mutual friend at an assessor conference in San Diego in 1995. At the time, Gretchen PICTURED: The kitchen serves as the perfect entertaining space with a large island and vibrant touches of red, yellow and black.


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PICTURED: The formal dining room is set for a perfect fall meal, and is a great place for the Hardcastles to host family and friends.


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worked for Hewlett Packard and lived in Palo Alto, but the two formed a long-distance relationship that frequently brought her to Visalia. Gretchen, a self-described General Motors brat, grew up in Michigan and felt a resonance with Visalia’s midwestern sympathies. “I always wanted to go back to a small town where you got to know the people and got involved in the community.” So, those trips between the Bay Area and Visalia were never difficult for Gretchen. Not to mention, Greg adds with a laugh, “I was worth it.” Those frequent trips between Palo Alto and Visalia, and all the travelling throughout the first years of their relationship, likely prepared Greg and Gretchen for their move to Morro Bay – or at least, it set them up for the weekend where Greg would see his childhood dream become a reality. Their first Morro Bay home was actually built by Greg’s friend and former coworker, Ron McIntosh, a contractor active in both Visalia and the coast. “Ron was a real master builder. He doesn’t spare materials for quality,” says Greg, explaining why they purchased one of his homes. “He was good to work with.” The friendship grew between the Hardcastles and McIntosh, and in 2005, the contractor encouraged the Hardcastles to purchase a 13,000 square-foot lot in the Heights of Morro Bay, one of the town’s oldest subdivisions, located just one block from Main Street and another block and a half from the ocean. But the time wasn’t right, and another family purchased the lot and began construction on the property. A few years later, the unfinished home became available and McIntosh again contacted the Hardcastles. On this occasion, the timing was right. They had been happy with their previous home, but Greg and Gretchen wanted a home they could build together, a home that would reflect both their tastes, a home they could open to their friends and family. So in 2009, the Hardcastles bought the three-quarter finished house and began construction with McIntosh. “The bones were up in the house, but we had to make changes with the interior,” says Greg, explaining the first steps of their building process. Once those bones were fleshed out, the two-story house became, with its gabled roof and columned porch, the portrait of a classic, elegant Hampton home – they just exchanged a view of the Atlantic for one of the Pacific. And the view is spectacular: of Los Osos, Morro Rock, and the sand strip


TOP: The master bedroom opens up to the front, where watching the sunset and amazing views is a favorite activity for both Gretchen and Greg. INSET: Black granite and a walk-in shower make for a great master bathroom.

where Greg used to look for clams as a child. As for the interior of the home, says Gretchen, “that is where we were able to come in and make it our own.” Gretchen, who at one time hoped to study fashion coordinating design and interior art design during college, applied her love for textures, fabrics, wood and glass – “a little bit of everything” – to create a personalized home. She even sewed all the bedspreads, drapes and pillows throughout the home. But first, the Hardcastles began by tearing out the marble and relaying it. They purchased and installed new appliances for the kitchen, added the backsplash and replaced the wood of the cabinets with glass fronts. Gretchen insists the process of reinventing the interior wasn’t frustrating. “I loved every minute of it,” she admits. In fact, she calls the process an “artwork of love,” a means to create an inviting, open and welcoming atmosphere. “We wanted our house to be open, that’s the main thing.”


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That openness is apparent from the first step through the front door. Wide doorways lead between rooms, which create a seamless flow from the dining room to the kitchen to the 18-foot ceiling family room, and provide an uninterrupted view from the front of the house to the backyard. The vaulted ceiling of the family room, which peaks at various angles and is anchored by a magnificent chandelier, is covered in the same dark paneled wood that is laid throughout the first-story floor. The dark wood ceiling and floors contrast beautifully with the white walls and cathedral-sized windows. “We wanted the whole downstairs to open up so people could move through the house and have conversations anywhere,” says Gretchen, though guests tend to gravitate to the kitchen, which the Hardcastles call the heart of the home. Accented with yellow, red and black, the French country décor of the kitchen is welcoming enough on its own, but a large center aisle


covered with food doesn’t hurt either. Ultimately, Greg feels things have come full circle, from his youth to his retirement. Now, the Hardcastles can share their home not only with friends, but also with their grandchildren. Gretchen laughs and admits that she gets more than her share of stories from Greg that begin with, “when I was a kid.” Now, Greg is able to share those stories in action with his grandchildren – kayaking, sailing, walking the beach – as though he were following in his own footsteps, imprints that were washed away so long ago. The tide can wash away the past, but then it also drew them back. During the interview, Greg casually mentions, “We’re going home tomorrow.” No, he wasn’t referring to Morro Bay. Visalia will always be home to Greg, who has kept a house here. “I was born and raised in Visalia and I can’t ever imagine not having a home there because I love the community.” He is one of four generations who have attended Redwood High School; he even moved across town in the 80s to make sure his sons also attended his alma mater. “Yeah,” says Greg, “we’re in really deep.” And even though they’ve recently moved from Visalia, Greg makes the point, “it’s not like we’re in another country.” There’s only a two-hour drive between their two homes. Greg remains active with Rotary and he and Gretchen still attend football games at Redwood. “And I’ll tell you something else,” Greg adds, “you sure see a lot of friends and family over here, probably more so than in Visalia, ‘cause when you live around the corner, you tend to take them for granted.” The Hardcastles have actively kept their connection with the Central Valley, and Visalia in particular. Even their Morro Bay home has a kind of tie with Visalia, since its contractor, McIntosh, built homes in both the valley and along the coast. When the Hardcastles bought and built their home with their friend, they didn’t know then that it would be the last home he ever built. Due to health complications, Ronnie was unable to build another house. The Hardcastles wanted to share their home in Lifestyle Magazine as a way to say thank you and pay tribute to their friend, who passed away earlier this month.

PICTURED: The Hardcastles’ fabulous backyard is ideal for enjoying a beautiful Morro Bay evening by the fire.


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W Recipes by James Jessen & Mike Stivers, Tazzaria | Photos by Taylor Johnson

ith fall just around the corner, September 23rd to be exact, warm, comfort food is a must. This month, get adventurous in the kitchen with a homemade ravioli recipe for dinner and a scrumptious dessert detailed with sugar coral. (Sounds crazy, right?)

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Homemade Spaghetti Squash and Mozzarella Ravioli with a Brown Butter Sage Sauce

homemade spaghetti squash and mozzarella ravioli INGREDIENTS:

brown butter sage INGREDIENTS:

3 T butter Fresh sage leaves Fresh greens (arugula, spinach, etc.) DIRECTIONS:

On medium heat, place 2-3 tablespoons of butter and 3-4 fresh sage leaves in a pan and heat until butter starts to crackle. Immediately put the ravioli into the pan and continue to brown the butter. Coat the top of the ravioli with the sage butter as you fry it. When the butter has become browned, plate in a pasta bowl and serve with your choice of fresh greens. 36

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1 ¾ C all-purpose flour 6 large egg yolks 1 large egg 1 ½ tsp olive oil 1 T milk 1 spaghetti squash 1 C Mozzarella, whole **Note: A pasta rolling machine works best for this recipe**

Mound flour on a board and create a well in the center, pushing the flour to all sides to make a ring with sides about 1-inch wide. Pour the egg yolks, egg, oil and milk into the well. Use your fingers to break up the eggs. Begin turning the eggs in a circular motion, keeping them within the well. Keep moving the eggs while slowly incorporating the flour. Occasionally push the flour toward the eggs. When the dough starts thickening, begin incorporating the remaining flour by lifting the flour up and over the dough. Bring the dough together with the palms of your hands and form it into a ball. Knead the dough by pressing it, bit by bit, in a forward motion with the heels of your hands. Re-form the dough into a ball and repeat the process several times. Let the dough rest for a few minutes. Next, dust the clean work surface with a little flour. Begin kneading the dough again in this forward motion until the dough becomes silky smooth. The kneading process can take 10 to 15 minutes. Double-wrap the dough in plastic wrap to ensure that it does not dry out. Let the dough rest for 30-60 minutes for before rolling it through a pasta machine. Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with flour. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through the pasta machine, 2-3 times, at its widest setting. Guide the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2-3 times. Continue until the machine is at its narrowest setting. The dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8inch thick. Dust the counter and dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta. Cut pasta into 2x2-inch squares. Roast the spaghetti squash at 350°F for 3045 minutes depending on size. Once cooled, peel squash and remove the seeds, keeping the stringy insides. Cut the fresh mozzarella into medallions (about the size of a silver dollar.) Place the cheese and spaghetti squash strands on one layer of the ravioli, and place the other sheet of pasta over the top. Brush with water and pinch together. Repeat until you have all the ravioli you want. Boil in water, about 3 minutes; take out and set aside.


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Angel Food Sponge Cake with a Mascarpone Whipped Frosting & Spiced Cherry Purée angel food sponge cake INGREDIENTS:

1 ¼ C cake flour 1 ¾ C white sugar ¼ tsp salt 1 ½ C egg whites 1 tsp cream of tartar ½ tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp almond extract DIRECTIONS:

Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Then, add cream of tartar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Next, sift together flour, sugar and salt. Repeat five times. Gently combine the egg whites with the dry ingredients and pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Place pan in a cold oven. Turn the oven on; set it to 325°F. Cook for about one hour, or until cake is golden brown. Invert cake and allow it to cool in the pan. When thoroughly cooled, remove from pan.


mascarpone whipped frosting INGREDIENTS:

8 oz. mascarpone cheese ¼ C granulated sugar ½ tsp vanilla extract 2 C heavy whipping cream DIRECTIONS:

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla on high until completely blended. Add whipping cream and mix on low until cream is mostly incorporated into the cheese/sugar mixture. Scrape bowl. Then whip on high until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with your favorite frosting tip and frost your cake.

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spiced cherry purée INGREDIENTS

1 bag of frozen cherries 1 C water 1 C sugar ¾ tsp cinnamon ½ tsp ginger powder ¼ tsp nutmeg DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat until sugar has melted and cherries are unfrozen and easy to smash. For a smoother consistency, purée with a standard hand blender.

sugar coral INGREDIENTS:

2 C granulated sugar ½ C corn syrup ½ C water DIRECTIONS:

Combine ingredients in saucepan and heat while stirring until sugar reaches a temperature of roughly 290°F. (Note: add food coloring if you want some color.) Once sugar is at the right temperature, begin whisking. When it starts to bubble, take off heat and let cool for a minute or two. Then, put it back on the stove and re-heat. You should have a much different consistency now. Once heated and starting to bubble, stick under a faucet running with cold water. Sugar will freeze, leaving you with “sugar coral.” Chip off pieces and transfer to cold location quickly to avoid melting. Use to decorate your dish.



PICTURED: The Muese River lies on the banks of the town of Huy.


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Text by Marsha Roberts


had been waiting a long time to do this. Since 1988 to be precise. Standing before me is a counter filled with a vast array of chocolate. Silky, oh-so-impossibly-right, smooth Belgium chocolate. “I’ll take that one,” I say in such imperfect French that the woman wearing the perquisite tall, perennially creased white chef’s hat looks back aghast, yet somewhat amused. Like an addict in need of a fix, I don’t want to deal with the pleasantries. “I don’t need a box,” I say. “Just put it in my hand.” Before the change can even arrive, I take the first bite. It’s a perfect dark with a bit of smoky peat flavor infused with a hint of ripe berries. It melts in my mouth and dribbles down my chin. I am in heaven, which today can be found in the city center of Namur, Belgium. Today is market day and the streets are buzzing. Tent shops line the main thoroughfare where cheap T-shirts are

the norm with every saying in English and no national pride in site. Globalization in all its glory. It’s a pity really, but I am now more determined then ever to find what is unique in this marvelous country. We’re visiting Belgium because of a house swap. We are staying in a beautifully restored brick barn in the tiny farming village of Bovenistier, while the family who lives here will be minding our house in Visalia. Round doors dominate the hamlet while traditional lace curtains line the windows of all but the most modern homes. We have decided to concentrate our sightseeing efforts within the region of Liege where our “adopted” house is located. Good choice because there is so much to do in the area. But first, we check out the solitary business in the village: Boulangerie Patisserie, the local bakery. As I open the door, we L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014


Photo by Cheryl L. Dieter

T TRAVEL are immediately overtaken with the sweet scent of yeast, black rye and molasses. I point to a round loaf of bread crisscrossed with sweet sugar called Craquelin (which turns out to be the BEST bread ever,) five chocolate éclairs and a rice pie. I hurry home contemplating which goody to devour first. The creamiest, melt-in-your-mouth éclair I have ever tasted wins. We are up at 5 a.m. courtesy of the local roosters outdoing one another with their piercingly early alarms. By nine, we are on the road to Huy. We take the road less traveled, traversing the ups and downs of rolling green hills. Small villages float past, their pointed steeples making the first and last impressions of places long forgotten while fields of wheat infested with orange poppies dominate the landscape. Enclosed brick farmyards with their protected homes appear as they must have 150 years ago, with hay suspended precariously out their rustic upper doors. These are the types of places that the word “quaint” was invented for. Soon we arrive in Huy. Flanked by the Meuse River, the town is dominated by the Notre Dame Collegiate, as well as the Fort de Huy, which casts it’s shadow upon the entire city. It begins to pour as we make our way into this flamboyant, 14th century Gothic church whose first stone was laid March 15, 1311. The stillness and beauty of the place strip my lungs of air as I involuntarily hold my breath and take in the majestic archways and the gigantic rose windows. The painted vault, a rarity in Gothic churches, gives me a kink in my neck as I stand, head back, scanning the magnificent scene above me. Our steps echo as we weave in and out of ornate statues of Saint Christopher and Mary. Altars depicting “The Last Supper,” the birth of Jesus and the “Massacre of the Innocents” accentuate the quiet beauty of the place. We head downstairs to the Treasury where some of Belgium’s greatest pieces of art are assembled. Most people consider the gold and silver shrines of St. Mengold and St. Donitian crafted by Godefroid de Huy (1176) to be the showpieces of collection, but I am enamored by the sculpture Vierge assise a l’Enfant (1250.) With all the precious metals and gems, this is one place that you can definitely be “blinded by the light.” We then climb the hill to Fort Huy in a slight drizzle. Constructed between 1818 and 1823 on the site of the former Tchestra Castle, this fort was built for defense. Unfortunately, the fort was quickly overrun by the Nazi’s during WWII and soon became home to over 7,000 prisoners. The Fort now houses the Museum of the Resistance and Concentration Camps. It is a remarkable place which details the lives of those who fought against the Third Reich. About six miles northeast of Huy stands the distinctly checkered and moated Chateau de Jehay. Dating from the 16th century, it houses a small but impressive art and archaeological collection featuring a rare ice-skate made of bone, rich historical tapestries and paintings by artists such as Murillo, Bruegel and Lely. We watch the film to gain perspective of the place, but perhaps the best thing to do at Chateau de Jehay is to stroll the grounds and partake in the impeccable gardens and statuary. If you have jet lag, this is just the place to wander and shake it off. TOP: The Montagne de Bueren, a long stone staircase, climbs the hill at the heart of the town of Liege, with city views from the top. BOTTOM: The inside of the Notre Dame Collegiate in Huy, Belgium.




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T TRAVEL Another heritage site near Huy is Modave Castle. Originally built in the Middle Ages and now situated in the middle of a nature preserve, the castle was once owned by MaximilianHenry of Bavaria and Cardinal von Furstenberg. Especially impressive are the family trees in 3-D, as well as the horses and their riders that appear to burst out of the ceilings. South of Liege lies the fortified castle of Logne. For those who love the middle ages, this is a place that will infiltrate your dreams for years to come. It’s a bit of a climb, but worth the effort. With its remarkable and long history beginning with 5th century Germanic warriors allied to Rome, it’s a great place to explore subterranean passageways with a multilingual audio guide. Reconstruction drawings helped us identify the layout of the fortress, but we took the easy way out and let our kids learn about the castle on a guided treasure hunt as they scrambled over craggy rocks. The combination ticket also allowed us entrance to the museum that features objects found in the ancient well that illustrates daily life in the castle. Even more fascinating are the exhibits from the Merovingian cemetery. But what really captured our imaginations were the birds of prey hurdling through the air at fighter jet speeds and being able to interact with them after the show. Closer to “home,” we spend an evening at a local restaurant, La Campagnarde. It serves the best food we’ve had anywhere on this trip. While the indoor grill crackles and spits, locals Jean-Marie and Dominique Kinable, who detect our “American accents,” sidle up to our table and make us feel right at home. We discuss travel, politics and nearby places to visit. Andre, the owner, sends us off with a flourish and a complimentary shot of crisp, cold apple liquor. A memorable

evening, indeed. Of course, no story about Liege Province would be complete without exploring the city of Liege itself. While the city, at first glance, appears somewhat stark, if you scratch the surface you will find a place chock-full of history. We found the best way to take stock of the city was by way of a guided boat tour on the Meuse. The one-hour tour leaves from the aquarium, highlighting the city’s history and rich architecture. Next stop, the Museum of Walloon Life housed in a former Franciscan monastery. We loved the architecture and the interactive exhibits of Walloon and puppet theatre was enchanting to young and old alike. But by far, the most popular place to blow off excess energy was the Montagne de Bueren, a 374-step staircase built in 1871 to allow soldiers to by-pass dangerous alleyways as they traveled through the center of town. While we have enjoyed all the sites Liege has to offer, perhaps our favorite activity has been taking our daughter to the local gymnasium to work out. Here we have met the locals, shared stories and been amused as the 70-year-old instructor, who speaks no English, uses hand signals for Kellis to execute back-tucks off the balance beam. Just being with people, hearing the accents and trying to give each other a sense of who we are and where we are from is heartwarming. And that is the true beauty of travel. While the churches, great art and food of the region are fantastic, if you aren’t getting to know the people, you are missing something unique to the country itself. Happily, Liege Province lends itself to this type of local discovery and as we pack, we store not only our souvenirs but also our treasured memories of a place we never would have known had it not been for exchanging houses.

Photo by Cheryl L. Dieter

PICTURED: Chateau de Jehay, a small, 16th century castle that houses an impressive art collection.




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his month’s featured recipe is one that would match well with a very broad array of wines, both white and red. The richness of the spaghetti squash and nuttiness of the brown butter combined with the herbal character of the sage cries out for a wine with a good acid profile to counterbalance the dish. A Sauvignon Blanc or even one of the non malo-lactic fermentation Chardonnays would be a good white wine match, while most red wines have the acidity to play well with the dish. Text by Sonny Martin




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Personally, the first wine varietal that I thought of was a rich and aged Pinot Noir. This is an example where the perfection of a perfectly made, simple Italian dish, focused on the best ingredients, matches fantastically with the complexities and depth of a properly-stored, aged Pinot Noir from a great vineyard and vintage. As an example, a 2003 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, stored in cellar conditions. As fellow wine enthusiasts, you may be concerned about the effects of the recent Napa earthquake on the many wines that come out of that region. The 6.0 earthquake was centered in south Napa and occurred at 3:20 a.m. on August 24th. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has reported that the quake moved one side of the West Napa fault line 18 inches north. I’m not a geologist, but that seems like a pretty big shift. Friends in St. Helena, near the center of Napa Valley, told me that it was so powerful that it sloshed the water out of their pool about 50 feet to flood into their doorway. The wineries that seemed to suffer the most damage were those that stacked barrels six or more high in their barrel storage rooms. Most of these stacks are done with racks that only tie two barrels together and soar 20 feet or taller. Most people would probably be amazed, though, at how resilient a full barrel of wine is. Many of the barrels that fell simply bounced and created a huge tangled mess. Damage is still being estimated, but some reports have said it

could be as high as $1 billion. The good news for lovers of fine wine is most of the wine that was lost was from the 2013 vintage, one of the biggest harvests in history; second only to the 2012 vintage. Since there was so much wine in the first place, most wineries are not likely to make price increases that they tie to the losses of the earthquake. In terms of timing, it was very fortunate, too. Most wineries had sent the majority of workers home as the Sauvignon Blanc from 2014 was already fermenting in tanks and the Chardonnay and most red wines are still a few weeks away from being picked. The only real harvest crisis was a few wineries that had white wine in tanks and no back up generators. While the electricity was out, the wineries can’t run the glycol chillers that they use to control the temperature in the fermentation tanks. By evening, though, almost the entire valley had their electricity back on. The one message that all of Napa Valley wants to get out, though, is that they are open for business. The area has gone back and forth with Disneyland as the most visited place in the state and many businesses rely heavily upon those tourists. Harvest is usually one of the busiest times for tourist activity as all the hustle and bustle going on in the wineries is very interesting to lovers of the grape. If you already had plans, don’t worry about changing them. But, if not, you might look into it as there could be unprecedented deals to be had, due to the cancellations of people who were either uninformed as to the extent of the damage or have a great fear of earthquakes.

Over the years I have informed readers of the myriad health benefits from responsible consumption of wine, especially red wine. So, I was excited by recent headlines: “Could Red Wine Be Used To Prevent Cavities” and “Red Wine May Have Cavity Fighting Powers.” Unfortunately, this is not a time that I am going to jump on the bandwagon and report that red wine will be your dental panacea. The ADA (American Dental Association) had a nice follow-up article to these claims making the following rebuttals. Responding to the claim that red wine could prevent cavities, the ADA noted that while red wine was shown to inhibit the growth of five oral pathogens, it actually had no effect on the

bacteria specifically associated with cavities, S. mutans. The original research also reported that red wine inhibited the growth of some pathogens associated with periodontal disease. Here again, the ADA notes that you would have to follow the experimental conditions that the research was conducted under. Just hold the red wine in your mouth for two minutes, every seven hours for seven days in a row. But, even if you consider following this regime, the ADA points out that, while it inhibits the growth of two strains of pathogen, that could very well result in promoting the conditions for others to thrive. Wine has many health benefits, but your dental health should still follow the recommendations of your dentist.




You’re in charge of many things. Including your future. You know your life and your future are really up to you. And no matter how busy you are day-to-day, you have to build your wealth, plan for your retirement and manage your investments for the future. As your Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, I can help you keep control of your financial picture. Working together, we can evaluate your current portfolio and your goals, and adjust your investments. Meet with me to learn more. Let’s keep you in charge of tomorrow. Brucinda Myers Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor Vice President Financial Advisor 520 W Main St, Visalia, CA 93291 +1 559 636-5652 © 2013 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

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L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014



FASHION LIFESAVERS Text by Sharon Mosley


new season is an exciting time for fashion lovers - time to peruse the latest trends on our favorite websites, check out store windows and browse the pages of those giant, heavy-weight September magazines. And while we may have our eyes on that new, funkyfringed maxi skirt, there’s nothing that beats waking up to a closet well-stocked with a few dependable wardrobe essentials. Here are the timeless classics that you can depend on year after year:

THE DARK SUIT. It can be black or this season’s midnight navy, but a well-tailored two-piece pantsuit or skirt suit is an investment well worth splurging on. Wear the two matching pieces together, or separate them for even more fashion mileage. There are endless ways to work these pieces into your wardrobe. THE WHITE SHIRT. This classic has been around for decades, it’s true. But its tried-and-true crisp silhouette with button front, crisp collar and cuffs is a winner. Its menswear roots were softened into elegant attire for 50s movie stars and preppy looks of the 70s. And it still stands out as a refined basic that can be dressed up with black pants or dressed down, knotted at the waist and worn with jeans. For even more of a style update, cinch in the waist of a tunic-length white shirt with a wide animal-print belt. THE PENCIL SKIRT. Another wardrobe essential, this fitted skirt has stood the test of time ever since French designer Christian Dior introduced it in the 50s. This year, the sleek pencil skirt is styled in longer lengths with sexy slits, peplum tops and punchy patterns. It’s a classic base for all the oversize jackets and coats in this fall’s trendsetting lineup. Ditto for crewneck sweaters and, of course, those chic white blouses. Give a shapely pencil skirt a little bit of an edge by teaming it with a leather moto jacket.



THE ESSENTIAL PANT. Everyone has a favorite pant silhouette. Take a look in your closet and you’ll probably see skinny pants, wide-leg pants and tailored trousers. Or you may favor the ease of leggings and track pants. But chances are you have a favorite “go-to” pant that suits most of your wardrobe needs. If you want to add a new style this fall, check out the fuller gaucho pants for a contemporary twist. Highwaist jeans are another trendy update. THE CLASSIC JEAN. This is another closet staple for most women, but again, there are lots of different styles of jeans now. Many of us have one or two favorites that we rotate in our wardrobes, but it’s always fun to add a fresh pair to the mix, especially at the beginning of a new season. Darker, trouser styles work best for the office, while cuffed boyfriend or distressed looks are great for weekends. Flared jeans are making a comeback, too. THE SHEATH DRESS. Whether it’s an LBD (little black dress) or not, this simple cut has withstood the test of time. It’s always a favorite at cocktail parties, and in bold colors and prints, it has made a dramatic entrance at the office. A luxe fabric makes it worthy of an evening standout. The sheath is also a perfect layering piece for cardigans, jackets and coats. Slip into a sheath dress in a deep-red “sangria” color for fall. THE TRENCH COAT. You knew it was coming. The trench is another ultimate fashion classic. You can throw this one over just about anything in your wardrobe. Ever since its inception as a military favorite that was popularized by Hollywood after WWII, the belted (tie it; don’t buckle it) coat has been considered an essential of “cool” style whether you are a foreign spy or not. The trench is making news in hothouse floral prints and shiny quilted leather. Its versatile, all-weather appeal and iconic sophistication is still a reason the trench is always a fashion lifesaver.





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L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014



Josh Talbott:

PAINTS LESSONS ON LIFE [with legos and much more] Text by Diane Slocum


PICTURED: “Self and Other” painting, Talbott’s current favorite.


L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014

ne day, Josh Talbott was painting on a street when a little boy and his dad came by. The boy was struck by the painting of a Lego monkey on a banana boat. As Talbott remembers it, the boy said “Dad. Look. There’s a little monkey riding a banana boat. He’s going through the waves, until he gets hungry and then he’s gonna eat the banana and then he’s gonna drown.” Even though it was his own painting, Talbott was amazed at the child’s interpretation. “I was like, oh my God, it’s like the human condition and it took a seven-year-old for me to learn that,” he said. Talbott’s Lego paintings are playful and whimsical and just fun to look at, but they also have a tremendous amount of content, he said. Talbott is incorporates Lego figures and other toys, such as Barbie dolls, into scenes. Often, they include conflict such as a rubber snake swallowing a Lego Chewbacca. “I’m actually reining it in from what children really do with their plastic playthings,” he said. The figures look so real, at first glance you have to wonder if they are photographed in front of painted backdrops. But no, what you see is all formed by Talbott’s brush. The toy compositions got their start when Talbott was living in New Orleans and painting bugs as jazz musicians. He needed something to balance the scene and give it a brighter color, so he put a Lego in it. “After that, it hit me like a ton of bricks,” he said. “The Lego people.” He started painting adventures such as his pirate Legos battling ants. For Talbott, the possibilities seemed endless. However, the toy pictures have always been just a part of what he paints and, for a while, he felt confined by them. Sitting on the streets of New Orleans with his easel and brushes, he would try to talk to people about painting, but his notoriety would interfere. “You would hear it, quite literally, a thousand times a day – ‘Oh, the Lego guy! Look at the Lego guy!’” he said. “I don’t want to be the Lego guy. So I shied away from the idea for a long time.” Two friends he made in New Orleans who remain an important part of his life, Phil and Ocean, were the fellow artists who encouraged him to start painting and selling on the streets. Talbott was originally from Georgia, where he found refuge from his large family at his grandmother’s house and the art supplies he enjoyed there. He fine-tuned his self-taught skills while


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L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014



hanging out with the artists he met in New Orleans. He lost everything when Hurricane Katrina hit and he then moved on to Los Angeles. There, he continued painting and landed showings at galleries. Later on, it was Phil who convinced him to return to Lego painting by asking him to produce some of those pictures for his gallery in Florida. After Phil’s encouragement and the experience with the seven-year-old boy, he realized it wasn’t beneficial to judge his ideas – or for anyone else to limit their imagination. “As these things arise in our heads, and we discount them immediately, we are doing ourselves a huge disservice” he said. “Participating in our own imagination is a really important and powerful part of being a human being.” His paintings of other subjects are no less creative and imaginative. One of the themes that also interests him are people’s hands. “Our hands are the front line of participating in the world,” he said. “Where you move forward and touch the world with those ideas is usually through your hands.” He often paints his subjects, such as hands holding a book, over a collage of old sheet music, pages from old books, newspapers and magazines or old photos. He rescues these old images from obscurity and sets them out where people can experience a sense of what was. They add another layer of texture as they show through the painted images. He also uses this technique for murals. One shows a rocky coast with waves crashing in a cove. The printed pages of the collage show through in places. He has a mural at the San Francisco Community School on Excelsior Avenue that is four feet tall and 65 feet long. The job was on a tight schedule with little money. His housing arrangements fell through and his paint was stolen. Financially, he didn’t come out ahead, but he had complete artistic license and wanted the job. 54

L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014

“It was an adventure,” he said. “It’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. I got an email a few days ago from someone who said: ‘I just was walking by your mural again and I want to thank you for your contribution to our community.’ That was so nice.” Another project is a mural for a deli in Los Osos, which is the town where he now lives happily in a tiny house filled with his paintings and supplies, and a garden like his grandmother’s out back. Currently, his personal favorite of his paintings is titled “Self and Other.” It shows a dried rose reflected in a lens. “It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever made,” he said. “Some of them really do become kind of magical.” He struggles to put into words how ideas and artifacts of the artist can come together with the viewer to create feelings. “It’s sort of a cooperative nature, the making of the thing, which is really just canvas and paint and then there’s the expression of the idea. And sometimes the circumstances conspire to deliver tremendous results.” Now that he has created this painting, which has been described as gorgeous, amazing and a masterpiece by viewers of his works, what he is hoping is that he can continue this trend. “If you’re doing it right,” he said, “hopefully the things that you are doing now are more exciting than the things you’ve done in the past.” Josh Talbott paintings will be on display until October 31 at Jon Ginsberg Gallery at The Creative Center, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia. For a tour of the gallery, call 559-733-9329 or visit the Creative Center office at 606 N. Bridge St., Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Many more of his paintings can be viewed on his website at or on Instagram at talbottfineart. He sells his original paintings and giclee prints and also works on commission.


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CONCERT ON THE GRASS Bring a blanket or lawn chairs and join Three Rivers Performing Arts for its annual Concert on the Grass. Enjoy a casual hour with live music beginning at 1:30p.m., then the formal concert beginning at 2:30p.m. With a variety of performers in attendance, this will be a free show you don’t want to miss.

When: Sep. 27, 1:30p Where: 44879 Dinely Dr., Three Rivers Contact: 561-0610


Mary Lennox, a sullen and spoiled young orphan, is sent to live with her brooding uncle at Misslewaite Manor. Discovering a hidden, neglected garden, Mary plants the seeds of her new life for all those drawn into her street refuge. When: Sep. 26-28, Oct. 3-5, 10-11; 2p on Sun., 7p on Fri. & Sat. Where: Enchanted Playhouse Theatre, 307 E. Main St., Visalia Contact: 739-4600


Written by Horton Foote, this poignant story is about Carrie Watts, an aging widow, forced by circumstances to live with her son and daughter-in-law in a three room flat in Houston, Texas, circa 1947. Carrie imagines that if she can get away and return to her old hometown of Bountiful, she is sure to regain her strength, dignity and peace of mind. When: Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19; 2p on Sun., 7:30p on Fri. & Sat. Where: Ice House Theatre, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia Contact: 734-3375


L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014



OCT 18



Michael Jr.’s humorous jokes and hilarious observations have landed him on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” and many other television shows. Distinguished as one of today’s most successful “clean” stand-up comedians, Michael is best known for his ability to deliver a hilarious comedy experience appropriate for all ages. Tickets are $20. When: Oct. 5, 6-8:30p Where: Visalia First Assembly, 3737 S. Akers St., Visalia Contact: 800-481-2761 Join the Tulare County Symphony as they perform Philharmonic Dances. Listen to the sounds of the local symphony while enjoying an evening at the Fox. When: Oct. 18, 6:30p Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 300 Main St., Visalia Contact: 625-1369


Stop by the Brandon-Mitchell Gallery to view an exhibit put on by two brothers who are mainly self-taught in creating lush landscapes and other paintings. Their exhibit will be on display through Nov. 2. The opening reception is on Oct. 3. When: Oct. 3, 5:30-8p Where: Brandon-Mitchell Gallery at the Spiritual Awareness Center, 117 S. Locust, Visalia Contact: 625-2441


You've Heard of It. Now Come Experience It. Artisan Pizza Craft Beer Local Wine 514 E. Main St., Suite A, Visalia 559-713-0818 Happy Hour: Mon-Fri and All Day Sun

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Interior plantscaping and some simple design elements can make your place of business or home more warm and inviting. Call 559.734.4920 to see what we can do for your interior.

L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014



EXETER FALL FESTIVAL The Exeter Chamber of Commerce sponsors this family-friendly festival. Includes arts and crafts, food booths, live entertainment, parade (10-11a), car show and 10k run and 2-mile walk.

When: Oct. 11, 10a Where: Exeter City Park, E. Chestnut St., Exeter Contact: 592-2919


Head over to the largest fall home show in Tulare & Kings counties. This show features everything for the home including home improvement, decorating, design, home office, technology and more. This is the go-to place to find all the products, services and ideas you’ll need to spruce up, renew, restore, renovate or build your dream home. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for children under 12. When: Sep. 20, 10a-6p; Sep. 21, 10a-5p Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: (800) 700-7469

SEP 25


Presented by the Visalia Breakfast Lions Club, head to downtown Visalia to catch all your favorite waiters compete to see who take home the grand prize of $1,000. When: Sep. 25, 5-8p Where: Downtown Visalia Contact:


Grab your sneakers and flashlights and go on an adventure through the Vossler Farms Corn Maze. Make your way through the maze and find all the checkpoints. After, stop by the pumpkin patch and pick out a pumpkin for the whole family. Check out the website for more information on dates and times. When: Sep. 27 – Nov. 1 Where: Vossler Farms, 26773 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia Contact: 888-528-1724 or visit


L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014

SEP 27


Join the Center for Integrated Medicine in their annual tea tasting evening gala to celebrate the autumn moon festival. Enjoy a night of tea sampling, Chinese hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, performances by local artists and an autumn moon festival play in Chinese history. Be sure to bring your own Asian tea cup for sampling. All proceeds benefit the Asian Cultural Society. Tickets are $20. When: Sep. 27, 6p Where: Call for address Contact: 625-4246 or





The Lindsay Brewfest will offer more than 40 different beers to taste, along with free food and entertainment. Music by DJ Mikee. Tickets $35 in advance; $40 at the door. When: Sep. 27, 2-6p Where: Sweet Brier Plaza, 195 N. Sweetbriar Ave., Lindsay Contact: 284-2223 The Oktoberfest community celebration provides a unique opportunity for our food service industry to shine. Local restaurants and other businesses set up booths and provide samples to the thousands of local residents who attend to celebrate the fall season and enjoy live entertainment, excellent food and a great time together. Tickets are $35. When: Oct. 2, 5:30-9:30p Where: Vossler Farms, 26773 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia Contact: Visalia Chamber of Commerce, 734-5876



The Board of Directors of Citizens Business Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of

Mark S. Shelton to the position of Vice President, Center Manager with the Visalia Business Financial Center Mark has over 30 years of professional commercial banking experience in the Visalia Market as a relationship


banker. He is very involved in the community, is a part of several organizations, and currently serves as Chairman of the Board at Visalia Rescue Mission.

Contact Mark today

559.636.2500 500 W Main Street Visalia, CA 93291

Member FDIC

All designs, artwork, graphics and information are property of Citizens Business Bank. 0814 l 877.4.CBBANK |

L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014



AN EVENING UNDER THE OAKS Spend an evening with Sequoia Riverlands Trust under the Oaks to honor those who sponsored the purchase of Kawah Oaks’ 22-acre expansion. Live music by Ken Choe and food by the Vintage Press, this event is one you don’t want to miss. Tickets $35.

When: Oct. 1, 5:30-7:30p Where: Kaweah Oaks Preserve, 29979 Rd. 182, Exeter Contact: 738-0211


Downtown’s fabulous community of restaurants open their doors once a year and offer a taste of their favorite menu items. A ticket admits you to all of the participating downtown restaurants as well as entrance to wine and beer tasting. Spend the night strolling the streets enjoying culinary treats and live music or jump on the Visalia Towne Trolley for a lift to your favorite restaurant. Tickets are $40.00. When: Oct. 7, 5-9p Where: Downtown Visalia Contact: 732-7737


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




L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014

SEP 27


Tulare and Kings Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force presents the annual event of innovative chalk art murals and entertainment for adult and children. Through these activities, they will bring hope to those in the community who have lost and put resources into the hands of people who need them. All activities are free and everyone is encouraged to participate in the creation of sidewalk chalk murals. When: Sep. 27, 10a-6p Where: Tulare Outlet Center, 1407 Retherford St., Tulare Contact: 732-6264


California Law Enforcement’s Wish Upon A Star Foundation will hold Bravefest, an event in which law enforcement, fire fighters and emergency personnel come together to publicly shave their heads in support of children with cancer. Watch the “Shave the Brave” event while enjoying family activities, informational booths, live music performed by the Kings River Band and a chili bean cook-off. When: Sep. 27, 11a-3p Where: Rawhide Stadium, 300 N. Giddings St., Visalia Contact: 733-7753




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Movement is the cure. Exploring and learning about your body from the inside out is critical to reaching your ultimate self. Come PLAY and MOVE at the brand new CFA Playground. Owner, Justin Levine California Fitness Academy We Change Lives

219 N. Court St (right next door to the downtown Pita Kabob) 559.471.5704 |

L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014



BUILDING A BRIDGE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS Attend this great event to benefit Grandma’s House, an organization built to educate, support and empower today’s youth for tomorrow. Enjoy a night of food by Fugazzi’s, live auction featuring Tulare Mayor and auctioneer David Macedo, entertainment by recording artist Jazz Xperience Darnell Barnes and much more. Tickets are $40.

When: Oct. 4, 5:30p Where: Heritage Complex, 4500 S. Laspina St., Tulare Contact: 686-3824





Maverick’s Coffee House and Roasting Company proudly presents the Pony Express 5K Run with all proceeds benefitting Happy Trails Riding Academy. Grab the family and head out to support a great organization. When: Sep. 27, 7:30a Where: Happy Trails Riding Academy, 2773 E. Oakdale (Ave. 256), Tulare Contact: 624-1400



OCT 11



Happy Trails Riding Academy is celebrating their 30th Anniversary with their annual Round Up event. Enjoy a cowboy picnic barbecue, music, wine buy, riding demonstrations and a silent auction. Tickets are $30 per person, $240 per table of 8. When: Oct. 3, 6-9p Where: Happy Trails Riding Academy, 2773 E. Oakdale (Ave. 256), Tulare Contact: 688-8685

L I FE S T Y L E | S E P T E M B E R 2014

The first-ever Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is coming to Tulare County. Hundreds of residents from throughout the region will gather to raise awareness while enjoying refreshments, awards, team photos and a family festival. This event joins family, friends and co-workers as they walk to end Alzheimer’s. When: Oct. 4, 9a Where: Mooney Grove Park Contact: Jean Dickinson, (323) 930-6265 Run for Hope is a community health and fitness event organized to support the Visalia Rescue Mission. Test your endurance with the 10K run, or take it easy with a 2 mile run/walk along the scenic St. Johns River Trail. Medals will be awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. $25 for 10K, $17 for 2 mile walk/ run. Prices will rise after Sept. 22. When: Oct. 11, 7a Where: Culter Park, 15520 Ivanhoe Dr., Visalia Contact: 740-4178

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September 2014  

Style, Art, Culture and Events of the South Valley

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