Lifestyle Magazine August 2022

Page 1

Inspiring Life In Our Community

Aug 2022


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What’s Inside


New Beginnings Issue



In Every Issue


Love of Clay: Madison O'Neal


Editor’s Note


Making History: Leslie Caviglia




Inspiring Change: Catalina Blair


At Home: The Van Grouws


Making an Impact: Robyn Icenhower


Fall Garden Prep


Restoring Inspiration: Sam Maxson


Food: Open Faced Sandwhiches


Mindfulness: Maya Rodriguez


History: A Daring Rescue

Interest 46

Pet Summer Safety


26 Cover photo by Dakota Jacobi. Story on page 26.


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The New Beginnings Issue

Thoughts from the Editor A few weeks ago, my son asked me, “Dad, why don’t you have the summer off?” I didn’t have a great answer for him at the time, so I replied with something like “Well, bud, I need to pay for our house and food.” Later that week, I came home to find both of my daughters playing the ukulele. I didn’t even know they knew what a ukulele was, and there they were, strumming away. On a whim, they decided to pick up the instrument for the summer. Now my house is filled with versions of “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” or any song by Jack Johnson. As I thought about the girls lounging and plucking on their ukuleles, and my son’s question about summer, it caused me to pause and reflect on the rhythm of rest and work. Summertimes and school years. Growing up, the summer represented that longed-for season of slowing down, sleeping in, and playing all day. In summer, all seemed right in the world. No alarm clocks, no homework, no need to take a shower—just jump in the pool. A child’s heart is made for summer. Rest and recuperation after a season of hard work is a rhythm that generates useful and healthy growth. We see this cadence all around us in nature. Just like plants need a healthy rhythm of fruitful productivity followed by rest, we all need seasons of rest along with seasons of productivity. Too much of one, without a counterbalance, leaves us either taxed and worn thin, or lethargic and unfruitful. The right proportions are a necessity for a good life. Right around August each year, the feeling of boredom would creep in as my boyhood summers wore down. When sleeping in had lost its appeal and late night video games no longer captured my attention, I knew that I needed something new. It was time for a shift. A new beginning of a new school year. In order to mature, I had to embrace new demands on my time, attention, and effort. But along with the demands came the excitement of a brand new year. So, armed with a fresh Trapper Keeper, No. 2 pencils, clothes, and nerves, a new beginning was at hand. As adults, most of us don’t live with the same schedule we had as kids. We also don’t live with the same anticipation for something new. When was the last time you picked up a new instrument on a whim? Unfortunately, life has far too often passed me by in an uneventful and monotonous trickle. But what if we awoke to a life of seasons? A life where we could try new things, enjoy our chances to rest, and then work hard towards meaningful contribution to our world? Both summertime and school years are gifts, if we are open to receive them. Cheers,

Eric Riley Executive Editor Lifestyle Magazine President / Owner Topograph



Contributors August 2022

Sue Burns

Natalie Caudle

Terry Ommen




Transplanted to Visalia from “the OC” in

Natalie is a Visalia native and graduate of

Terry has a passion for Tulare County

2015, Sue is a lifelong cook and first year

Fresno State. As a freelance writer, Natalie

history. Much of his time in retirement is

Master Gardener who loves creating

finds beauty in storytelling and believes

spent researching and writing about the

garden-to-table dishes to share with family

freedom is found when living

interesting historical morsels he discovers

and friends. A writer since she could hold a

authentically within a community.

with Laraine, his talented wife of over 50

crayon, Sue was the home chef behind Direct

Though most of her time is spent

years. Between history projects and visits

Magazine’s The Recipe Box from 2016-2020.

wrangling animals and her four kids,

with their two grandchildren, the two are

She has been blogging since 2010, and

Natalie relishes everyday moments

on the road or in the air exploring whatever

writing articles for Lifestyle and publications

knowing seasons pass all too quickly.

piques their interest.

Katie Perez

Mark Garcia

Abby Jackson




Katie graduated from FPU in 2012 with a

Mark is a multidisciplinary graphic designer

Abby was born and raised in Visalia and is

degree in Business Administration. She

from Visalia, CA. He graduated from PLNU

currently in her third year obtaining a B.S.

obtained her CTE: Arts, Media, &

in 2020 and started his role as a junior

in Business at Biola University. She has a

Entertainment teaching credential in 2019.

designer at the start of 2021. When he’s

love for marketing and has thoroughly

She has taught video production at Mt.

not working on design-related projects,

enjoyed being a part of the Topograph team

Whitney High School since 2016. When

he loves playing tennis, taking photos, and

as an intern this summer. When she’s not

Katie is not teaching the next generation of

riding bikes around Visalia. Mark believes

busy with work or school, you can probably

digital creatives, she enjoys spending

beautiful design makes people happy.

find her playing with her nieces, at the

quality time with her two boys and tending

His hope is that people have positive

beach, or baking!

to her many succulents.

encounters with his work.

that share her passion for cooking, baking, and community involvement.


Rachel Trigueiro WRITER

Rachel, wife and mom of four, spends her days homeschooling, dabbling in business ventures and chasing adventure with her family. As a child, she dreamed of being a talk show host. Today, she still believes our stories hold power and are meant to be shared with others. When she’s not reheating her coffee or reading to her kids, she can be found stealing away for a moment to write.


Dakota has been capturing love stories for five years, photographing families, seniors and couples. She aims to document the candid, organic, and “unposed” moments of life. Her mission is to not just take great pictures, but to build relationships and create experiences for her clients. When she’s not adventuring around California, or editing in her favorite coffee shop, she spends her days at home with her two kids.

New Beginnings

The New Beginnings Issue

A Look Inside August rings in back-to-school excitement and regular routines as little getaways dwindle down and summer vacations come to an end. In this issue, we’re highlighting the new beginnings that come with this fresh season. Get home inspiration from the Van Grouws as you take in their innovative yet timeless home with modern touches. Make time for yourself after you read about simple but effective mental health practices from Sequoia Kung Fu & Yoga. Find highlights of local women and learn how they’re making an inspiring impact in our community. Grow your knowledge of pet care for your furry friends and get your garden in order, with plenty of tips and tricks for the autumn season. Whatever it is that sparks your interest, we hope this issue gets your heart eager for the structured months ahead and all that’s in store.

The Lifestyle Team Need another copy? Scan the QR code below to see our list of rack locations or to sign up for a monthly subscription.

Published by Topograph LLC, 324 S. Santa Fe Street Visalia, CA 93292 Executive Editor Eric Riley Managing Editor Monica Fatica Operations Manager Maria Gaston Content Editor Marissa Carpenter Designer JJ Fry, Jonna Dodge Advertising and general inquiries Sales Office 324 S. Santa Fe Street Visalia, CA 93291 559.471.0700 View this Issue Online

Visalia’s Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and is distributed via direct mail to homes in Visalia. Additional copies are distributed at various rack and countertop locations around Visalia, Tulare, Exeter, and Kingsburg. Distribution is subject to change. Views expressed in articles and on advertisements are those of the writer and advertiser and not necessarily those of Lifestyle Magazine or Topograph. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings, and omissions. If an error is found, please accept our sincere apologies and notify us of the mistake. © 2022 Topograph LLC


Women in the Community

Leading the Way Celebrating the many ways women inspire, lead, and encourage growth. Photos by Katie Perez


Women in the Community

Love of Clay

Madison O'Neal's art of patiently producing a useful, beautiful object. Story by Lifestyle Staff

"I believe that handmade items can bring beauty to life in small but impactful ways."

Photo by Katie Perez 12

The New Beginnings Issue

Q: How did MADEceramics come to be? Has making pottery always been a passion of yours? A: I started my journey into ceramics on a whim. I had just moved back to the Central Valley from college and I signed up for a ceramics class along with a couple painting and drawing classes just for fun. I was quickly swept up in the art form, particularly in the process of creating on the potter’s wheel. I was instantly hooked, and took the class as many times as I could. As soon as I had the means, I bought a potter’s wheel and a kiln and set up a home studio for myself. Pottery became a real passion. After many years of creating pieces just for my friends and family, MADEceramics was born. Q: Do you juggle your business around family or another job? Feel free to share what your day to day is like. A: I spent many years with one foot in and one foot out of the art business while working a full-time job, squeezing in pottery on weekends and evenings. When the pandemic hit, circumstances in my life allowed me to quit my full-time job and focus my time and energy on MADEceramics. Though it was a hard time to try to grow a business, it allowed me the time and solitude to not only create, but to learn about all the other aspects of running a business selling art. Now I get to make my own hours, I have creative control of every aspect of the business, and I work alone—which, as a self-professed introvert, I really appreciate. Q: Can you share your pottery-making process? A: My process of making pottery begins with my favorite part: throwing on the wheel. A shapeless lump of clay can become something tangible. After throwing a piece on the potter’s wheel, it has to dry enough to be flipped over, placed back on the wheel, spun and carved to create a foot on the bottom. Then it can be finished, dried fully, and loaded into the kiln with other pieces for their first firing, called the bisque firing. After a long, slow firing and cooling process, the pieces are unloaded and glazed. Once glazed, cleaned up and dried again, they are loaded back into the kiln for their second, hotter firing, which melts the glaze and fuses it to the clay body. The process is long, and patience is a virtue when it comes to this particular art form.

Photos by Topograph


Women in the Community

Q: Are there specific design elements that are signature to your creations? A: Most common throughout my work are the neutral, earthy color palette and the incorporation of the bare, unglazed clay as a contrast to the glazed surfaces of each piece. I have learned to never create work with the sole intention of catering to another person’s taste. As long as I make pieces that I like and would want in my home, I can always be proud of what I’m creating. I gravitate toward simple, clean shapes and calm, earthy colors—that design element tends to shine through in my work. Q: What types of pieces do you make and is there a favorite or popular piece? A: The pieces I make are almost entirely utilitarian. What excites me most is creating something useful. My most popular pieces are those everyday functional items like mugs and my bestselling berry bowls! Q: What is the most fulfilling part of what you do? A: I believe wholeheartedly that handmade items can bring beauty to life in small but impactful ways. One of the most fulfilling parts of what I do is meeting people who get just as excited as I do about the simple beauty of a little ceramic object. Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? A: I’m just so happy to be a part of this growing arts community in the Central Valley. Things have changed so much in regards to culture and representation here in my lifetime. There is still so much work to be done, but I'm truly inspired by the incredible people in the community who are working hard every day to make this a more diverse, tolerant, better, and more beautiful place to live.

Find MADEceramics at: Arts Visalia Common Goods, Visalia Langley Threads, Exeter Photos by Topograph



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Women in the Community

Making History

Getting to know Visalia's first female City Manager, Leslie Caviglia. Story by Lifestyle Staff | Photo by Katie Perez

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to Visalia.

Q: Are there any community projects or hobbies you’d like to share that are important to you?

A: I was born in Salinas and grew up on a farm and attended a small

A: In 2008, Steve Salomon, who was City Manager at the time,

country school in Soledad, a town due west of here in the Salinas Valley. The City of Visalia drew me to this community

assigned me to work on developing a Cultural Plan for Visalia. I

when they advertised for a Community Affairs position, which

was a bit perplexed; I don’t have ANY artistic talent, and really

was very cutting-edge for government at the time, and I was

didn’t know where to begin. But as usual, the people of Visalia

thrilled to come work for a progressive City. I fell in love with

came together and we developed a process for creating a plan.

the community, and it quickly felt like home. I’ve lived in Visalia

We had an amazing consultant that helped us understand what

now for 35 years; my husband and I have raised our family here,

some of our first steps could be, and how to begin to implement

and it is very much our home.

more arts and culture into the community. It was through this process that the Arts Consortium began to really become a

Q: How long have you worked for the City of Visalia? Can you share what your day to day looks like?

significant community organization. Since that time, we’ve seen First Fridays, Taste the Arts, and My Voice Media begin in the

A: I’ve worked for the City for a total of 26 years (with a few years in

community, as well as many other projects and programs. More

the private sector). Every day is different, and that is part of what

people are becoming aware that arts and culture can really

I love about working here. First and foremost, it is about working

enhance a community. I’m excited about some plans that could

with the Council. Those five individuals are my direct bosses, so

be true community assets in our future.

it's important I understand the Council's expectations, as a whole.

Q: The Visalia City Manager job was founded in 1852. What do you most enjoy about serving in this position?

The day is often filled with emails and meetings that range from planning for growth, discussing finances, park maintenance, and

A: The feeling that by working together, we really can make a

recreation programs to addressing citizens' concerns and creating a positive work environment. It's the depth and breadth of what

difference in the lives of Visalians, both in the present day, and in

those items include that make it so interesting and fulfilling.

the future. Ever since coming to the City at the local government level, I’ve felt you really can make a difference for the people of

Q: Over the years you’ve achieved great success. Are there any practices you put in place in order to balance family life alongside a demanding career?

your community. As City Manager, that seems even more true, which is rewarding, gratifying, and a little scary! Q: What is something others might be surprised to learn about you?

A: Truly this is one of the toughest parts of working for the City, especially so when the girls were young. Being willing to work odd hours in order to flex my schedule to be with them was

A: I knit (mostly a few hats for the Blanket Ladies that do so much

challenging but helpful. I was fortunate that my job with the

good in our County), love to cook, and love running snack bars for

City was able to accommodate many of their activities and

community events. Also, I am the 7th generation to be born in

needs as long as I got the job done. I also included the girls a lot;

and 8th generation to live in California. Some of my ancestors

they have been to many events, meetings, and were there when

came over with Portolá.

I’d get stopped at church or in the grocery store by a citizen who had questions. And having a supportive spouse that is selfsufficient is imperative—I couldn’t do what I have over the years

Gaspar de Portolá was a Spanish military officer who led an

without his patience and support!

expedition into California and served from 1767-1770 as the first Governor of the Californias.


The New Beginnings Issue

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? A: The most important thing that any of us can do to make Visalia the type of community that we know and love is to be involved. At whatever level you can, invest yourself in our community: Be a youth sports coach, work with a nonprofit, join a service club, volunteer with an organization that interests you, call about graffiti when you see it, pick up trash when you see it — invest in this community. By working together, we can make a difference! Be informed. Follow the City of Visalia on social media @cityofvisalia, and subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter Inside City Hall: If you see something, say something. Report things you see that need work in our community through our online reporting portal for Visalia Works: We can and will respond. Finally: Know that your City of Visalia employees care about this community, and we're human. We make mistakes too. Most of the time, our folks get things very right, but when we don’t, we’ll admit it and do our best to fix it.

"By working together, we really can make a difference in the lives of Visalians." 17

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The New Beginnings Issue

Inspiring Change Catalina Blair's vision to positively impact schools. Story by Rachel Trigueiro

"I love my city. I love my community. And I care so deeply about our schools."

Photo By Katie Perez 19

Women in the Community

n any given weekend, you’ll find Catalina Blair sipping coffee


Prior to serving on the school board, “I was just living my life, my

with her kids, baking homemade raspberry pop tarts and

simple life,” Catalina says. “I love being involved as a parent. I know I

homemade jam (recipes that she’ll happily share), or skateboarding

have a strong voice and I want to be able to support and love my kids

through her neighborhood to their favorite strawberry stand on

and my school. I’d never want to put myself in the spotlight.”

Akers and Ferguson. Her love for Visalia runs as deep as the roots

And yet, seven months ago, she stepped into a new role on the

of the Valley Oaks.

Visalia Unified School Board. “I didn’t feel called to college. I gave

Like most Visalia natives, Catalina loves that the beach is a two-hour

myself to working at a preschool and raising my kids, and it’s taught

drive and the mountains are just a hop, skip, and a jump away. She

me everything I know.” Volunteering in the classroom, leading

enjoys Visalia’s quaint downtown and the fact that you can almost

read-alouds in schools, attending school board meetings,

count on running into someone you know. Because aside from the

participating in committees, and serving on PTA are some of the

wonderful restaurants and majestic views on a clear day, “It’s the

ways she embraces her community to make a difference.

people that really make everything in Visalia,” Catalina says.

Growing up in Visalia, Catalina was keenly aware at a young age how

One might say a byproduct of growing up in a small town is

leadership impacts a school. “My uncle, Jess Alaniz, was the principal

becoming a person who cares deeply for others and enjoys the

at Crowley Elementary. He knew everyone’s name and people loved

smaller things in life. This is Catalina. Married to Heath Blair and

him. I loved the way he led and changed the school. I realized then

raising three awesome humans: daughter Jovial, 14, an old soul

that the leader changes the atmosphere of a place.” Similarly, her late

who devours classic literature; son Beckham, 12, an artist and

cousin, Dick Doepker, transformed the atmosphere of Golden West

woodworker; and daughter Evangeline, 10, who’s always singing,

High School. “When someone shows up to love and serve, people feel

rallying friends, or fighting for a good cause.

it,” she says. “I’m aware of this [influence] and take it very seriously.”

Together, they enjoy playing the card game Dutch Blitz or hosting

Catalina longs to get the community more involved, while connecting

neighborhood movie nights. “We make popcorn and cocoa and

parents to their schools. “It’s not healthy if we’re all on our own. We’re

everyone sets up their chairs in the grass. I love our neighborhood,”

a community and we need each other,” Catalina states. “For years

she says. The kids have grown up putting on neighborhood plays and

most parents have completely trusted their kids to just go to school.

playing in garage bands, living childhoods of long days past. The

Parents need to be involved more than ever.”

Blairs haven’t fallen prey to the American habit of pulling straight

One way she hopes to connect the community includes faith-based

into the garage and closing it. In fact, they don’t even park in the

and business partners for schools across the district, modeled after

garage. Community is fundamental to their family.

Neighborhood Church’s wildly successful partnership with Houston

In November 2021, Catalina was sworn in as Area 4 School Board

School that's lasted over 15 years.

Trustee, still in the midst of grieving her nephew, who had passed away just weeks earlier. "I didn't even know which way was up. But I threw my name in and said, ‘Okay, God, if you want me to do this, I will.’"


The New Beginnings Issue

Photos by Topograph

The Houston Partnership begins at the elementary campus, but offers support to students through high school in The Neighborhood Degree ministry, by helping kids that want to go to college. Members help students with essays, scholarships, and practice interviews; members provide support in innumerable ways. The church offers support and care to the parents in that community, all on the Houston campus. They hope to offer Parent Café nights in the future.

Catalina reads to a group of VUSD students

Stephanie Benthin of Neighborhood Church explains that they began the Juntos “Together” parent group, similar to a PTA, where they provide food and movies and put on events for families in the school to participate in. Additionally, the church offers summer camps, like VBS, onsite at the school where parents already feel comfortable dropping their kids. Over the years, many have watched as this partnership transformed the school with a decrease in crime in the neighborhood along with test scores up in the school. “This is not about church membership,” Catalina says. “It’s about loving our neighbor. I’ve seen their model, it works, and I love it! I want it duplicated all over the city.” Her hope is to begin rolling this out in the coming school year. Much sacrifice is involved in leadership with the community at this level. But Catalina believes every person on (or off) campus has the

The Blair family playing games at home

opportunity to be a positive influence on a kid’s life. Catalina’s life experience and deep connection to the community underscores the value her voice brings to the district. She’s the ideal girl-next-door. “I love Visalia. I love our schools and I love our students.”

Catalina at home with her family catalina4vusd 21





5PM - 9PM



The New Beginnings Issue

Making an Impact Shared passion for community at Robyn Icenhower & Associates. Story by Lifestyle Staff | Photos by Katie Perez

Robyn Icenhower & Associates’ 20 agents and 5 full-time administrative staff members are ranked the top real estate team in Central California. With the highest Google ratings in the area, Robyn attributes their success to mentorship and giving back to the community. Q: When did you begin your career and your own company in real estate? A: After interviewing our family realtor Doug Lawrence for a college project, I became inspired to explore the field. Doug needed an assistant and hired me—something I am extremely grateful for. I balanced school and work to obtain both a BS in Business Administration and my real estate license. Over those five years, I learned to operate on my strengths and leverage my weaknesses. The main lesson Doug taught me was “Go fast alone, but go far together.” Over the years, Robyn Icenhower & Associates at KW has evolved into a team I am incredibly proud of—one that works together to grow and serve our community. Q: Does your day to day include juggling a family or other ventures? A: Oh yes. Between school, soccer games, and sleepovers, our two active kids, ages 8 and 11, sure keep us busy. We also have a border collie named Dodger that keeps us on our toes.

robyn_icenhower_properties 23

Women in the Community

Q: What successes have you and your team achieved? Feel free to share any sacrifices that were made or challenges that were overcome. A: Last year, our team ranked #1 in sales volume in Tulare County, and

Q: What is the most fulfilling or rewarding part of what you do? A: Being a part of each family's journey, and helping people achieve a goal. Whether it’s their first home, a home to grow their investment portfolio, or selling a home so they can get

that kind of success is built from a great team. Our goal is to help

somewhere they need to be—ALL are so rewarding when

agents find success quickly, stay in the industry, and stay off of the

accomplished. I feel incredibly fortunate to be involved in such

real estate roller coaster. The biggest challenge in real estate is

a large decision, and that trust is not something I take for

finding success as an agent. Most individuals switch from full-time

granted. It’s also about the relationships and connections I make

employment with consistent paychecks, to real estate, where it’s

with our customers, who often turn into friends—that is a huge

difficult to forecast your next paycheck’s timing. From the time

reason I do what I do.

someone wants to buy or sell, it’s about a 30-90-day time frame to close. 87% of realtors quit within the first 5 years. Q: Please share about any community outreach projects you're involved with.

Q: Do you have any hobbies or are you able to make time for self-care activities? A: My kids are my hobbies right now, ha! We like to spend time doing what they like, while showing them new things as a family.

A: Our longest standing (going on 10 years) and equally rewarding

Some of our favorite times are spent in Morro Bay hiking, paddle

community event is our annual canned food drive with Food

boarding, or frequenting the candy store or seashell shop. When I

Link of Tulare County.

can, I run to escape the world for a while.

During COVID, we dropped off Signs of Hope (“Visalia Strong”, “Stronger Together” and “Hope”) to our friends, family, neighbors, local businesses, and past clients to show support during a difficult season. We began sharing their incredible stories and messages on social media. For each picture someone shared with our Signs of Hope, we made a monetary donation to Kaweah Delta’s front-line workers. We were blown away by all the support the campaign received. We still see those signs in yards across town—proof that our community is special. We also love hosting client appreciation events: An easter egg hunt, free shaved ice, a fun night at ImagineU Children’s Museum, and Photos with Santa. We do these to stay connected, say thank you, and meet new people in our community.

" Robyn Icenhower & Associates at KW has evolved into a team... that works together to grow and serve our community."

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? A: The real estate industry helps create community. We’re grateful to work with so many great agents, teams, lenders, appraisers, and inspectors in our area.

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At Home


hen Kayla and Lance Van Grouw would pass each other in the hallways

of CVC High School, they never would have guessed that one day they would create their perfect home as husband and wife. Soon to be celebrating their four-year wedding anniversary, the Van Grouws are overwhelmed by the sweetness of life. “We are so blessed and fortunate to do a project at such a young age,” remarks Lance. “We have been able to build our dream home together.” After high school graduation, Lance’s plans were rerouted when a neck injury left him paralyzed. His dreams on hold, Lance worked diligently in physical therapy while attending College of the Sequoias and later transferring to Cal Poly. Before graduating, Lance purchased the farmhouse next to his family home in the citrus groves of Exeter. Not knowing where the roads of life would lead, Lance preferred to have his own space after college but desired to be close to his strongly supportive family. The 1992 farmhouse had been beautifully built but needed a bit of updating. “I dug into the remodel plans when I was still single, working with my mom on the floorplan. We started on the project, plans were done, demo hadn’t started, then Kayla and I started dating,” remembers Lance. Kayla chimes in, “He showed me renderings on a date, it was literally my dream house to a ‘T’. We compared our Pinterest boards and they were exactly the same.”


The New Beginnings Issue

"I really like the design of modern mixed with something old. Timeless is really our design style." 29

At Home

Kayla was no stranger to the field of design and architecture. Holding degrees from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and the UCLA Interior Design and Architecture Program, Kayla was eager to jump into the project alongside Lance. With an earthy design style that captures Southern charm and California vibes, Kayla created a lasting style for their home. "I really like the design of modern mixed with something old; timeless is really our design style,” says Kayla. The exposed wooden beams and modern black-framed windows give the home a beauty that will stand the test of time. Before Bothof Construction began the inside demolition, Lance surprised Kayla with a wedding proposal. Today their custom-made dining table sits in the very spot where Lance popped the question and is one of their favorite spaces in their home. The dining table was custom built by Nate Stott, Lance’s brother-in-law and gifted woodworker. Nate crafted a 7-foot round dining table out of Black Limba wood from West Africa. The couple chose a round shape so as to facilitate conversations with guests. Lance considers the table an heirloom to be passed down. Behind the table sits Kayla’s favorite piece—a painting from Bravo Farms in Tulare. “I had loved this painting since middle school,” Kayla beams. “Lance bought the art piece as a gift for our house and for me.” Most of Kayla’s fresh signature comes from a blending of styles she finds through research. Currently working as a lead designer for Derek and Sara Brinkman of dlb designs, Kayla loves to add pops of color in unexpected places like laundry room cabinets. When designing her future home, Kayla seamlessly married aesthetics and functionality. Thankful to be able to customize the home to meet their needs, Kayla designed flat thresholds, a roll-in shower, and a custom-made concrete sink with a front swoop that adds both beauty and practicality.


The New Beginnings Issue


At Home

The little family has grown to three with the birth of their son, Drake, who now toddles around the beautifully landscaped yard. Both Kayla and Lance find their favorite spaces to be outside with front-row views of Rocky Hill and the Sierras. Soaking in the rhythm of country life, Kayla spends her time watching Drake play in the yard and meandering through the garden. Lance echoes Kayla’s sentiments for an intentional pace of work and rest. “We love to be home. We really enjoy a quiet weekend at home just getting to catch up on things and relax.” Elements of exposed brick and complementing textures create a timeless elegance where guests feel at ease. The Van Grouws see purpose in their home that extends beyond their family. “We were challenged to keep our home open and invite others…we’ve tried to stick to that and make it a welcoming place,” says Kayla. The inspiration of their faith and the endless outpouring of support and sacrifice from both sides of their families has left a resounding mark on their life. Framed fruit labels hang in the pantry as a nod to Lance’s heritage and the legacy of citrus farming that has been passed down for generations. "Kayla and I both love life and are passionate about being joyful,” remarks Lance. There’s no doubt that each soul who enters the Van Grouw home can’t help but feel welcomed by an outpouring of love.


FALL INTO GARDENING Preparing for Autumn's Cooler Days Story by Sue Burns

It may still be 105 degrees outside, but autumn really is on its way, and now is the best time to plan for your garden’s transition. Tulare-Kings Counties Master Gardener Peyton Ellas shares that she actually thinks of the garden year “…not from January-December, but from autumn to autumn, since so much of our garden creation and recreation happens in the fall. The first half of September is preparation, and the second half is when the action really begins.” So find a cozy spot, settle in with a glass of something cold, and let your thoughts wander to crisp days dotted with jewel-toned leaves drifting on cool breezes into pumpkin and sunflower-filled fields. Imagine the flowers and cool weather crops you’d like to plant and make your list of fall to-dos.

FALL CARE FOR PERENNIALS Perennials—flowering plants that will live longer than two seasons—require some TLC as they enter their dormant period. Their leaves may turn brown and drop; leave this as cover and protection for the plant’s crown. A layer of mulch will provide additional defense. Keep watering the plants so their roots stay healthy. Fall is the perfect time to divide clumps of perennials to keep them flowering well. Gently dig up the root system, shake off as much soil as possible, and remove dead leaves and stems. Pull apart perennials with fibrous roots (such as chrysanthemums) by hand, or cut with a spade. Other perennials, like daylilies, grow woody with age; you may need a shovel or ax to separate them. To care for your roses, let the flowers develop into rose hips (the fruits or seed pods of the plant that form from a bloom left on the plant until the petals fall off). Hold off on fertilizing and heavy pruning now, as this encourages new growth, but do trim dead wood and overly long canes, and remove dead leaves and debris under the plants. This will make January pruning easier. Check the plants for pests and diseases like mosaic virus, which are most noticeable in fall and spring. If only a small area of the plant is affected, remove the mottled leaves.

The New Beginnings Issue


DON'T RAKE THOSE LEAVES! Falling leaves, the quintessential symbol of the season, are actually beneficial to the garden in several ways. Bees, bugs and butterflies overwinter in the leaves, which provide them a safe, dry environment until spring when they can return to preying on pests that can threaten your garden. The leaves can also provide mulch for your beds, suppressing weeds and promoting worms beneficial to the soil as aerators (their castings also make a natural fertilizer). You can even leave a thin layer of leaves on your lawn temporarily for protection and color. When they’ve dried, run your mower without the collection bag over them a few times to shred into small pieces that will sink into the grass and decompose.

FALL IS THE BEST TIME TO PLANT Fall is a great time to plant drought tolerant California natives (think lilac, buckwheat and sage), which will add beauty and diversity to your garden and provide a haven for bees, birds and pollinators. Another benefit: natives require less water and maintenance. In the edible garden, cool weather crops—broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, chard, lettuces, kale and herbs—will grow quickly in the milder temperatures and bring wonderful flavors and colors (not to mention nutrition) to your meals. Stroll through local garden stores beginning in mid-to-late September and pick starters to plant. You’ll be harvesting veggies until spring!

FOUR MORE IMPORTANT STEPS For fall garden prep and cleanup: 1.

Trim and prune shrubs, evergreen trees, and non-perennials.

2. Fertilize cool season lawns, following the package instructions closely. 3. Apply pre-emergent herbicide for cool-season weeds, before rain can water their seeds. 4. Fortify garden soil now with amendments such as sand, compost and manure so it can rest for a few weeks before planting. Add mulch to help retain moisture; compost and mulch can be top-dressed in all beds, too. Check soil moisture with a monitor or your finger to adjust watering as the weather changes. Heat waves may still occur in the fall, so be ready to pre-irrigate as needed to keep plants healthy. As you work, note how the sun moves across and lights your garden. No sense planting something in September that will not survive next summer’s scorching heat!

GET THE KIDS INVOLVED Let them help with clean-up and prep, then take them along to choose some of the fall seeds and starters. They’ll love seeing the wildlife in the flowers and plants and be more invested in what’s on their plate and in their lunchbox. Speaking of lunchboxes, back-to-school is the time to plant sweet peas for spring, so remember to pick a spot where you can have a trellis for the plants to climb! For the how-to on creating Sweet For more information on local gardening

Pea Teepees and other “funspiring” garden projects, check out Sunflower Houses and

and the UCCE Master Gardeners Program,

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. y a W h c i W ' y r e Ev 4 5


The New Beginnings Issue

Open-Faced Sandwiches A fresh spin with tons of flavor for this Danish dish, smørrebrød. General Directions: 1.

Toast bread slices.


Tomato Conf it Toa s t Ingredients

2. Layer ingredients in order listed.

1 cup cherry tomatoes, roasted 1/2 cup olive oil

Note: Toast or grill your bread until

4 garlic cloves, chopped

edges are crispy to prevent the

parsley, chopped (for garnish)

bread from becoming soggy.


Avocado Toa s t Ingredients 1 package of chèvre goat cheese

Roasted Tomatoes Directions

Freshly baked country bread from


Cellar Door.

1 avocado, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 red onion, sliced (pickled)

2. Add cherry tomatoes, olive oil,

1 lemon, juiced

garlic, and salt to taste to a

Salt to taste

shallow baking dish.

Pickled Onion Directions

3. Bake for up to 40 minutes until tomatoes begin to char.


Slice one-half of onion very thin.

2. Add sliced onion, juice of one lemon, and a generous pinch of


salt to a bowl.

Berr y Toa s t

3. Mix together and let rest for 10 minutes before using.

Ingredients 1 cup Greek yogurt 2-3 tablespoons honey 1 cup seasonal berries 1 tablespoon sugar mint (garnish)


Yogurt Directions 1.

Summer Squa sh Toa s t Ingredients

Mix yogurt and honey until

2 zucchini, sliced


1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced

Berry Topping Directions 1.

1/2 small onion, diced

Combine berries and sugar in a

3 garlic cloves

bowl, roughly smash and then mix

Parmigiano reggiano, grated on top to finish

with a spoon until sugar dissolves.

Zucchini Directions 1.

Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.

2. Add onion and garlic, sauté until slightly softened and aromatic.

5 Recipes by Tate Darwin Owner/Chef Cellar Door, Visalia. Photos by Topograph cellardoor101

Caprese Toa s t

3. Add tomatoes and sauté until soft.


5. Add salt and pepper to taste at each step.

4. Add zucchini and sauté until softened.

2 heirloom tomatoes*, sliced buffalo mozzarella (crumbled) basil, chopped balsamic glaze, drizzled 37

*sourced from Visalia Farmers Market

Women in the Community

Restoring Inspiration Bringing new life to old pieces with Sam Maxson at Oak Park Furniture Shoppe. Story by Natalie Caudle

"I’ve built a lot of confidence in trying new things. I want my kids to see that."


Photo by Katie Perez 38

The New Beginnings Issue

Photo by Topograph A church pew was refinished preserving burn marks from a fire it survived.

Not only can restoration expose the beauty in something long

two at a time—stopping and starting each project to attend to her

forgotten, it can also breathe in new life, making what was broken

family. Sam slowly began to figure out how to push pause on the

whole again. Bringing furniture back to its former state is a journey

project and come back with the same energy and inspiration that

that strengthened Sam Maxson’s inner self and mimicked her trek

had her “in the zone” just moments before.

with mental health.

Eventually, what began as a hobby grew into a business. Sam’s

With three littles playing at her feet and a worldwide pandemic

handiwork exposed her artistic talent and clients began seeking her

shutting them inside, Sam needed an outlet for creativity and the

expertise for their tired furniture pieces. “A project I loved was

space to find her identity outside of motherhood. Most wouldn’t

refinishing an old church pew from the Catholic church in

turn to power tools as a modality of creativity, but something

Woodlake,” Sam says. “It survived a fire and the client and I decided

clicked for Sam when remembering her childhood. “Growing up, my

to preserve the burn marks, to honor that part of its story.” Finding

dad was always in the garage or learning to fix things around our

new ideas through blogs and instagram and following fellow artists,

house, so I observed his attitude of ‘can do’ from a young age. I’m

Sam is inspired by their work, which gets translated into a project

not afraid to try a new way to express my creativity, but have

with her own spin on it. Sam loves hunting down the next special

especially found it while working with power tools,” says Sam.

piece in antique and thrift stores, to take furniture finds from

Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression,

ordinary to unique through different textures and varied techniques.

according to the Office of Women’s Health. Due to social stigmas and

With the support of her husband Matt, Sam has continued to

cultural expectations, women often suffer silently, afraid to seek

expand her business, tackling everything from a grey lacquered

help from a therapist or medical professional. When most of the

piano to an heirloom sewing table. With fistfuls of grit and talent,

world came to a screeching halt, Sam recognized her need and got

Sam begins each project with a light sanding to reveal the

busy making personal changes. “I have struggled most of my life

authentic wood underneath. The next steps of the process differ for

with mental health and the pandemic was a big mirror… It was time

each piece, depending on what she finds. “I’m not scared of trying

to face the heart of the issues,” remembers Sam. According to The

and messing things up; most things can be fixed,” says Sam. “It’s

Century Foundation, moderate to severe depression among adults

really exciting to see how comfortable I am to take ownership of

jumped from 7% to 30.2% over the pandemic.

that creativity. I’ve built a lot of confidence in trying new things.

So, Sam converted her garage into a workshop, emboldened by the

I want my kids to see that.”

support of her therapist. Sanding furniture with a Play-Doh sculpting

Sam’s business, Oak Park Furniture Shoppe, has exploded, with

child at her side, Sam gave herself permission to discover who she

clients waiting in line. Each piece, painstakingly restored, mirrors

was. One of the biggest challenges Sam faced was finding time to

the brave steps Sam took to reveal her own inner beauty that was

dedicate herself to her craft, only actively working for an hour or

buried and lost along the way.


The New Beginnings Issue

Mindfulness With Maya Rodriguez of Sequoia Kung Fu & Yoga. Story by Lifestyle Staff | Photos by Katie Perez

"We are drawn to the mountains and ocean because of the peace we feel—similar to the meditative state that is experienced with yoga. We can find inner balance, away from technology, rebooting our minds and bodies." sequoia_kung_fu_and_yoga 41

Women in the Community


aya Rodriguez was born and raised in Visalia, playing soccer in

She learned to listen to her body, developed more self-awareness,

high school, and going to the gym religiously in her 20s. She

gained a sense of peace and balance, and strengthened her coping

had self-pride in being strong and fit, but it wasn’t until she

skills. Yoga helped her manage her anxiety, and the migraines she

discovered yoga and meditation that she realized how much

was experiencing began to go away. “Yoga is a lifelong practice and

further her body could be pushed and strengthened. While living

learning process. Your body is constantly changing, so your practice

abroad in Beijing with her husband, Maya experienced anxiety due

should change as your body grows. After years of practice, I feel

to culture shock and not knowing the language. She sought out a

better in my 40s than I did in my 30s,” says Maya. Together with

solution with yoga practice, even though she had a preconceived

her husband, Sonny, she aims to help students feel confident and

notion that a yoga studio was just a trendy place where people

strong. They recognize that each person’s path and pace is unique

could flaunt their new yoga outfit. Soon after dedicating the time

to the individual, so they guide with concepts that make it

to the practice, she experienced both physical and mental benefits.

accessible to all. Here are some benefits of trying yoga:


Body Circulation


Finding inner happiness means connecting

Poor circulation can physically manifest

Most of us know someone who has

with your body and changing the inner

itself through symptoms like cold hands

experienced anxiety attacks when the

narrative. Stress and self-doubt holds you

and feet, numbness, muscle cramping,

nervous system reacts in a fight or flight

back from learning and growing; to get to

brittle hair and nails, and skin breakouts.

response. Or perhaps you’ve experienced

where you want to be, you have to first be

Movement like yoga is one of the best types

continuous irritating events that lead to a

okay with where you currently are. Spending

of exercise to improve circulation and can

burnout, causing an episode of “the straw

time practicing yoga allows you to spend

be practiced at all skill levels. The poses

that broke the camel’s back.” Yoga can help

time in your body, physically testing it. Try

promote flexibility, and can help relieve

you find your center when under stress. It

to prioritize the time and space at home or

pain and blockages, like muscle knots.

can release mood-boosting endorphins that

at a studio to learn about your physical self.

can positively affect how you handle stress.



me s

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International Agri-Center 4500 South Laspina Tulare, CA 93274 Tickets: $50 (members) $55 (non-members) To purchase tickets, scan the QR code to the left, visit or call 559-686-1547. Ticket price will increase by $10 after August 15th. Registration Deadline: August 19th

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Save the Date Friday, October 7 6:00 PM COS Tulare Campus 4999 E Bardsley Ave Tulare, CA 93274

State of the City Dennis Mederos Mayor City of Tulare

State of the County Pete Vander Poel III County of Tulare Supervisor 2nd District


A Daring Rescue

Story & Photos provided by Terry Ommen

Donaldina Cameron as she appeared in about 1920.

This is the Tulare County Jail as it appeared in about 1895 on the northeast corner of Church and Oak streets. (Current site of Jack & Charlie's restaurant)

y almost all measures, Donaldina Cameron was an unlikely


Everyone seemed to know that these illegal and demoralizing

fighter. She was tall, slender, and extremely shy. She was deeply

conditions existed, but few, including public officials, were willing to

religious and had the “gracious manners of a society belle.” But to

act, which added to the importance of the work of the mission and

those who crossed her, she was anything but timid. She could be as

Cameron. These women were desperately in need of someone willing

tough as nails when necessary, and her enemies knew it. They called

to advocate for them—to free them from indignity and captivity.

her the “white devil.” But to those in need, her compassion had no

Much of Cameron’s rescue work was done in San Francisco’s

limit. To them she was their “Little Mother.” Her home base was San

Chinatown, but she was willing to go anywhere in California and

Francisco, but her jurisdiction knew no bounds. In 1899, even Visalia

beyond when the circumstances required it.

made it into this freedom fighter’s travel plans—and her visit wasn’t

In 1899, the Tulare County seat came up on Cameron’s assignment

a social call! She came to free a captive young girl.

list. Visalia at the time was a half-century old with about 3,000

Cameron was born in New Zealand in about 1869 to Scottish

people, nearly 200 of which were Chinese. Most of them lived in the

parents who were sheep ranchers. Shortly after she was born, her

Chinatown district—an area established in the late 1850s.

family moved to California. She grew up in San Francisco where, as

Undoubtedly, mission workers were surprised when they heard that

a young adult, she began working at the Presbyterian Mission

one of the recent residents living in Visalia was in trouble. The young

Home on Sacramento Street. The mission was there to keep young

lady named Fong Jar had lived under the protection of the mission in

Chinese women out of the sex slavery business. It was a serious

1898. A young man named Gum You had frequently visited her and

problem. All too often, unscrupulous men brought these girls to

the two became good friends. Soon he proposed marriage. Jar liked

America strictly to be sex workers. It was a dirty but thriving

him and staff at the mission did too, so the two were married in late

business with these young girls often held against their will in

1898. Most predicted a long and happy marriage.

dark, dingy, shacks and rooms frequented by men with loose morals. Many of these ladies contracted venereal disease, and suffered mental breakdowns and horrible indignities. 44

The New Beginnings Issue

Shortly after their union, the couple moved to Visalia. Almost

When Cameron saw the community’s reaction, she decided to get

immediately, Gum You’s demeanor changed. He became “an idle and

local law enforcement involved. She met with Tulare County

dissolute person…who engaged in gambling and the sale of lottery

Constable D. R. Douglass and explained the purpose of her visit.

tickets.” And it got worse. He placed his new bride in a house of “ill

Seeing the Chinatown response, the authorities became concerned

repute”—presumably in Visalia’s Chinatown. Apparently his earlier

for the safety of the young girl and her rescuer and thought it best

show of affection toward Jar was an act. His plan was to control her

that the two stay in the Tulare County Jail under protective

and force her into the lucrative sex trade.

custody. They stayed there until the evening of Thursday, March 9th. Under the cover of darkness, the two, quietly and with escort,

In early 1899, scared and desperate for help, Jar sent a message to

boarded the San Francisco-bound train. Tulare County Deputy

her friends at the mission asking to be rescued. She wanted to be

Sheriff Hall accompanied them as far as Goshen. Cameron and Jar

returned to the mission in San Francisco, and her plea for help did

arrived safely at the mission.

not go unanswered.

The sex trafficking incident created quite a stir in Visalia, but it

Fearing her arrival would alert Jar’s husband, Cameron arrived by

appeared that no one, including her husband, was charged with any

train on the evening of March 8, 1899, without announcing her

crime. The Daily Morning Delta, although pleased with her rescue,

presence to the authorities. Using her secret contacts, she located

reported, “Miss Cameron made a mistake in not conferring with the

Jar in her “den.” Cameron freed the young girl and the two secretly

officers on her arrival here. She would have been given assistance by

hid at the Visalia House, a commercial lodging establishment almost

the Sheriff’s office, and all the excitement, incident to the recovery

as old as the town. It was there they planned their next move.

of the woman would have been avoided.”

Soon Jar’s husband discovered that she was missing from her

Donaldina Cameron retired from her mission work in the 1930s,

quarters. He alerted the Chinatown leaders to what he considered to

and although no precise count exists of her rescues, it is estimated

be a case of kidnapping. Jar was his property and he wanted her

that she delivered about 3,000 young women out of sex slavery.

back. To prevent the girl’s “kidnapper” from leaving town with her,

On January 4, 1968, at nearly 100 years old, she died in Palo Alto,

members of the local Chinese community watched the roads leading

California, a hero to many. Today the Cameron House, named in her

out of town. Others guarded the livery stables to be sure no buggies

honor, continues to operate, empowering the San Francisco

or wagons were used in her abduction. When it was learned that Jar

Chinese community.

was at the Visalia House with the “kidnapper,” a dozen Chinese men stationed themselves in front of the hotel. They would not let her and the kidnapper leave.

Below: Shown here is the Visalia House as it appeared in about 1900 on the northeast corner of Main and Church streets. Below: A Visalia Delta newspaper line drawing of Constable D. R. Douglass in 1898.


Pet Summer Safety

Friends Fur-Ever Keep these safety tips in mind this summer for your pets. Story by House of Paws Veterinary Clinic | Photos by Topograph & Friends

Sign of heatstroke in dogs and cats Heatstroke can be fatal if not treated quickly. Signs include: • • • • •

Panting Vomiting Excessive drooling Warm and dry skin Rapid heartbeat

• Staring and anxious expressions • Uncoordinated movements or collapse

What should you do if they exhibit signs? Call your veterinarian right away. In the meantime, you can: • Apply towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body (tips and back of ears, foot pads, belly, and inner thighs). • Do NOT use extremely cold water or completely immerse pets in water—this can create shock and worsen the problem. • Use a fan to help cool the pet. Note: Even if the pet seems to cool down, visit a veterinarian immediately, as body temperatures often spike again or cool below a safe, normal temperature.


The New Beginnings Issue

1. GIVE YOUR PET EXTRA WATER. Staying hydrated is crucial on hot days to avoid illness. Whether your pet is indoors or outdoors, be sure to fill their water bowls several times a day.

2. WALK YOUR PET IN THE GRASS OR THE SHADE WHENEVER POSSIBLE. If you need to take them outside to do their business, try wetting the surface to help make it a little cooler for them. A quick tip: if the pavement is too hot for your bare feet then it’s too hot for your pet’s paws.

3. TAKE EXTRA CARE WITH OLDER DOGS AND DOGS WITH SHORTER NOSES. Just like older humans, older dogs can be especially susceptible to higher temperatures. Certain breeds with shorter noses (like pugs and bulldogs) are at a greater risk of heatstroke.


Pet Summer Safety

4. APPLY PET-SAFE SUNSCREEN TO YOUR DOG. Sunburn can affect pets just like humans, causing pain, peeling, and skin cancer. Use a pet-safe sunscreen on unprotected areas, like the tips of the ears and nose, and the skin around the lips.

5. DON’T OVERDO OUTDOOR EXERCISE. Walking your pet at dawn or dusk is safest. Dogs often don't know when they need a break, so it’s important to stop frequently in the shade and offer plenty of water. Avoid being outside between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

6. NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN A CAR. Temperatures in a closed car can exceed 120 degrees in minutes. Cracking a window or parking in the shade does not help.*

m v s w a ofp vet house seofpaws @hou

*It's the law: Per law HB 2732, Good Samaritans can break windows to rescue unattended animals and children who appear to be in imminent danger. Good Samaritans who choose to rescue an animal or child must call law enforcement prior to breaking in and must stay near the car with the animal or child until the police arrive at the scene.



Because EVERY life matters. Tulare-Kings Right to Life works to revive a culture where all human life is valued and protected.

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