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Volume XXXIII No. 5 • 19 September, 2013

www.ourvalleyvoice.com

Fields of Dreams Shared by Many

DAVID MARSH Interest among baseball-playing es and/or commitments from current Visalia families is already heating up and former city leaders. And though over who will be assigned the playing it appears true that each group has at rights at four baseball diamonds at Visa- some point in the past been promised lia’s popular Riverway Sports Park. The playing rights for the diamonds at Rivonly real problem, according to city erway when they become available, it leaders, is that the baseball fields won’t will eventually fall to the five memeven exist for at least another 3-5 years. bers of the the city council to vote on The four as-yet-to-be-devel- and decide the issue once and for all. oped diamonds are at the heart of the At the heart of any discussion confourth and final stage of development cerning the Adult League possibly movplanned for the family-oriented multi- ing to Riverway or anywhere else, acsport complex covering 83 acres on cording to city officials, is the insistence the city’s northern edge. The baseball by representatives of the Adult League fields will eventually be developed in that a promise of official sanctioning of the southwestern corner of Riverway alcohol be made a part of any new locawhere a pending basin currently sits. tion for the league. Current official blanPlans for ket policy at the final phase all of Visalia’s of developcity parks exment were put pressly forbids on hold when smoking and the recession possession dried up funds of alcohol. for developing Although areas around it is universalthe park ly acknowlwhich are critedged off the ical to plans record by city 2002 Riverway Sports Park plan officials and for providing permanent and reliable drainage for administrators, Adult League players the nearby Target shopping center that and fans who attend the games played at currently relies on the Riverway pond- Plaza Park that alcohol is brought to the ing basin to prevent potential flooding. park in private ice chests and commonly The two groups vying for play- consumed after the games, nonetheless ing rights at Riverway are Visalia’s Visalia city leaders balk at the notion of Adult Softball League (currently using officially sanctioning the consumption of four lighted fields at Plaza Park, along alcoholic beverages at any city park, and with one unlighted field), and the especially the high profile and youth-tar375 girls ages 4-13 who make up the geted venue at Riverway Sports Park. teams of the city’s girls’ youth league Long-time players and their rep(currently playing on makeshift, un- resentatives in the Adult League mainlighted fields at Whitendale Park). tain that the city itself conducted alRepresentatives of each group say cohol sales at Plaza Park during Adult they have a legitimate claim to the play- League games during a period of ing rights based on previous promisContinued on p. 4 »

Newcomer Michael Brown Vies for City Council Seat

As a fairly new resident to Visalia, Michael Brown, 33, is motivated and ready to get involved in city government. Why Visalia? First, his wife, Sarah, is a Mt. Whitney alumna, so the connection is homegrown. As newlyweds, they have chosen to settle and possibly start a family in Visalia. Sarah is currently employed by Kaweah Delta Hospital and Michael is a lawyer and energy consultant working to establish his client base here in Visalia. While his friends and family are excited about his running for office, he was asked why such a new arrival would be interested in filling a Visalia City Council seat. Brown said he is really impressed with our current city planning and thinks Visalia is the most beautiful city in the Valley. He firmly states, “I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the current city

ADINA ESCARSEGA

Michael Brown

council; they are doing a great job, but I feel I can help bring something new.” He says that Visalia reminds him

Continued on p. 14 »

208 W. Main St., Ste. E • Visalia, CA

Virginia Gurrola, Porterville City Councilmember. Photo by: Tony Maldonado

Porterville’s Mayor, Vice-Mayor Replaced by Hamilton, Ward

TONY MALDONADO

Porterville Councilmembers Virginia Gurrola and Pete McCracken were removed from their posts as mayor and vice-mayor, respectively, during a Sept. 17 City Council meeting. Newly-minted Mayor Cameron Hamilton, Vice-Mayor Brian Ward and Councilman Greg Shelton voted to reorganize the council and make Hamilton mayor during the meeting in a 3-2 vote, with Councilmembers Gurrola and McCracken dissenting. In a subsequent 3-2 vote, Ward was made vice-mayor, with Mayor Hamilton and Councilman McCracken dissenting. Thirty minutes was allocated during the meeting for public comment; around eleven people spoke. Public comment for the agenda item relating to the council reorganization was separated from normally scheduled public comment; attendees were given thirty minutes to comment on the proposed reorganization. Many supporters from the LGBT

community attended, though the assembled crowd was significantly less than had appeared at previous meetings concerning the pride proclamation. The meeting was also significantly calmer than previous ones held. “This is the third time that this issue has come up, in the last fifteen or twelve years. Unfortunately, it involves the same issue, and the same person,” Teresa de la Rosa said. “What bothers you so much about Virginia Gurrola? That she’s a woman, that she’s a Latina, and that she’s strong?” “If we’re going to speak about fairness, before everyone dogpiles on Councilman Ward … he’s never sat in the center seat; and, if you wanted to make the case, it’s because of his religious views,” Rodney Martin said. “I’ve seen all of the nasty blog comments, and they’re despicable.” Ward defended himself against criticism from the public

Continued on p. 9 »

Downtown Alliance Confronts Pan Handling After receiving frequent complaints from retailers about aggressive panhandling and the homeless, the Downtown Visalia Alliance and local police officers met to come up with some solutions. Don Sharp, the president of the Downtown Visalia Alliance, said, “It’s a growing problem and we have to try and alleviate it.” The problem is the growing number of panhandlers coming into stores and restaurants to use the facilities and asking customers for money. A counter person at Baskin Robbins, who has worked there for a year, deals with the problem daily. “They come in at night around 8 p.m. sometimes to bathe in the bathrooms and then harass the customers.” Steve Gonzales, who owns Fatte Albert’s Pizza Company, said that the city of Visalia is trying, but the issue is not being managed consistently. He will see more police and security guards and the panhandlers will leave, then the cycle starts all over again. His wife, when walking with their four

CATHERINE DOE` children, does not feel comfortable going past all the homeless to get to their restaurant. “I wonder how many other families feel the same,” said Gonzales. Gonzales has owned his pizzeria in Hanford for seven-and-a-half years and never had this problem. A cashier at Pacific Treasures said she has seen an increase in the homeless over the last few months. She has been asked several times for money but usually does not give. One time, she was approached by the same person while serving coffee at her church and then again while working at Pacific Treasures. He was using different excuses about why he was homeless, so she knew he was just making up stories. Gonzales echoed her sentiments. “I don’t know what to call them because they don’t fit the description of homeless. It looks like they have somewhere to sleep and come here to hang out, get high and ask for money.”

Continued on p. 16 »


2 • Valley Voice

19 September, 2013 FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK

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The Curse of Strawberry Canyon In Strawberry Canyon in days of yore, our sturdy eleven could run up the score. But now a wanion hangs over our fellows-and not even Heaven can make gold out of yellow.

Football is back--particularly for me, college football. Perhaps nowhere else in American sport is there so ballyhooed and comprehensive a tradition. This season will see the 100th Rose Bowl, after all, and to my mind no other sport brings such a clash of histories and mindsets. When you follow college football, it is much more than your team against another. It is your school against theirs; it is your colors against theirs; it is your band, fight songs, and mascot against theirs--in short, it is your ancient culture against theirs. And there is no generation gap. Students and alumni are always on the same side. I am a Berkeley grad, as is my wife and almost everyone in our families. For me, the saga began in 1968, when, at the wise old age of five, I began attending home games--but do I remember that as a year of assassinations and civil unrest? Of course not! I’m still incensed at the lousy officiating that cost us every game we lost. I’m 50 now, and while I have seen my share of execrable calls, I know enough to appreciate, proverbially, the way the ball bounces. But we have not been to a Rose Bowl in my lifetime. And this involves much more than bad calls or the contrary bounce of a football. It is, of course, the Curse of Strawberry Canyon. For those unacquainted with it, the University of California’s Memorial Stadium is situated in the mouth of Strawberry Canyon in the hills above Berkeley. It is the most beautiful setting in sports, period. Over the northeast side of the stadium looms Tightwad Hill, a natural bleachers of sorts for the un-ticketed and the emplacement site for our cannon, which is fired when the Bears first take the field and then in celebration after every time they score. Over the west rim of the stadium you can see straight through the Golden Gate. But the on-field sights are what I remember most: The 1970 Big Game victory over Heisman-winning QB Jim Plunkett’s Rose Bowl-bound Indians; receiver Steve Sweeney, lining up as a tight end on the last play of the 1972 Big Game, snagging a Vince Ferragamo pass in the very back of the south end zone before falling face down, in the worst mud the field had ever seen, to win the game 24-21 when the Bears could more easily have tied it with a field goal; Mike Langford’s unbelievably long field goal (in 1974, a 50-yarder might be akin to 65-yards today) to steal a Cardinal victory as time expired; Chuck Muncie running amok in 1975, when he should have won the Heisman and the Bears should have gone to the Rose Bowl; in 1976, in the last season of his young life, Joe Roth, operating calmly in the pocket, looking an awful lot like another Joe--Montana--we would soon come to love. And of course I was there in 1982 for the fabled Play, the five-lateral squib kick touchdown return through Stanford’s band which gave the Bears a 25-20 win and, in John Elway’s own words, ruined his college career. We all knew we had just witnessed History, and when, after lengthy deliberation, the referee signaled a score, the sound of the cannon was an affirmation of our otherwise mediocre season. Even though it is my own pet theory, perhaps it is time to explain the Curse. In 1972, Stanford--which had been known as the Indians since its founding-changed its mascot in a fit of political correctness. To this day, nobody quite knows what the Cardinal means--but that’s their problem. 1972 was also the first year the Bears came out in blue and yellow. The school colors are blue and gold, of course, for the Pacific Ocean and the Golden State, so it was something of a shock when the gold pants and numbers and the block C on the helmet were all replaced by something milder. Even the blue was toned down to a lighter hue. But yellow? What the hell does yellow mean? It was as if we didn’t know our own team. Picture it like this: Notre Dame is famous for their solid golden helmets, and if they took the field wearing yellow ones it would be mighty confusing. And disappointing. I’ve been waiting 42 years to see the original Bears again. The Curse is simple, really. How can any team win when it doesn’t even wear its own colors? I’m not talking about the occasional specialty uniform for, say, spirit’s sake. I’m talking about identity. And pride. The Bears will never be really successful until they wear the school’s true colors: blue and gold. — Joseph Oldenbourg

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Published by The Valley Voice, LLC. Publisher/Editor: Joseph Oldenbourg joseph@ourvalleyvoice.com Associate Editor/Sales: Steve Pastis (steve@ourvalleyvoice.com) Staff: Catherine Doe, writer (catherine@ourvalleyvoice.com) Jordon Dean, photographer (jordon@ourvalleyvoice.com) Tony Maldonado, webmaster (tony@ourvalleyvoice.com) David Marsh, writer (david@ourvalleyvoice.com) April Heath Pastis, writer (april@ourvalleyvoice.com) Louie Luna, sales (louie@ourvalleyvoice.com) Contact us & share your opinion www.ourvalleyvoice.com 208 W. Main St., Ste. E • Visalia, CA 93291


19 September, 2013

Valley Voice • 3

Political Notebook DEMOCRATS NO LONGER HAVE SUPER MAJORITY

For anyone counting, the Democrats no longer hold a super majority in the California legislature. Super majorities are powerful one-party governments that can act with no need for compromise. They are veto-proof majorities. Democrats in California gained their first supermajorities since 1883 in both the Assembly and Senate during the last election. Senate District 26 is vacant since Senator Curren Price left to become an L.A. City Council Member. Assembly Districts 52 and 45 are also vacant. All were held by Democrats and just one seat would have to go Republican to end the supermajority. The special elections to fill the vacancies are this week and next. This legislative session did not produce the liberal onslaught that Republicans had warned about when Democrats won two-thirds majorities in both houses. The California Chamber of

Commerce said the minimum wage legislation was the only one of the 38 bills passed that it had labeled as a “job killer.” MAYOR OF WOODLAKE RUNS FOR STATE SENATE Woodlake Mayor Rudy Mendoza has thrown in his hat to run for the 26th State Assembly District. The seat is currently held by Connie Conway, the assembly minority leader, who will be termed out of office next year. Mendoza’s kick-off party was in June in Woodlake’s Twilight Park. “I am an experienced legislator who has made effective change in Woodlake, and I would like to bring my talents to Sacramento,” he said. Mendoza has amassed an impressive list of endorsements, including our three local congressmen and every member of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. His latest endorsement came from Andy Vidak, the newly-elected state assembly senator from Hanford, who may also find himself running in the 2014 election to defend his seat. The Republican

CATHERINE DOE primary will be held in June and the general election will be in November 2014. Check out his Facebook and webpage at Mendozaforassembly.com

Californians.” Conway is the longest serving female Assembly Republican Leader.

ASSEMBLY REPUBLICANS REAFFIRM SUPPORT FOR CONWAY

LEAGUE OF WOMEN’S VOTERS HOST VUSD FORUM On the evening of Tuesday, October 15th, from 7:30 – 8:30, the League of Women’s Voters will be putting on a candidates’ forum for those running for the Visalia Unified School District Board. This is the second time that Visalians will be voting by area rather than atlarge. Four of the seven areas are on the ballot. Elda Balderas, an optician, will be challenging incumbent Charles Ulmschneider in Area 1. Two newcomers will be vying for the seat in Area 4, David Alviso, a teacher, and John Crabtree, who is retired. Juan Guerrero will be running for Area 2 unopposed, as will Jim Qualls for Area 3. Paul Hurley, former editor of the Visalia Times Delta, will be moderating. All candidates have confirmed that they will attend the forum.

During the California State Assembly Republican Caucus meeting on September 10, members delivered a letter demonstrating their support for Assemblywoman Connie Conway to continue serving as Republican Leader. “I’m honored to have the continued confidence of my colleagues,” said Conway. “I admire the passion, principle and talents of every member of our caucus. We are at our strongest when we stand together. As the end of session approaches, we are focused on fighting for a quality education for all students, keeping our communities safe and stopping the state from further burdening taxpayers. Together, I know that we will accomplish great victories on behalf of hardworking

After a two-week remodel, Starbucks on Main and Court will be opening this week.

Advancing the Way We Serve Our Customers and the Community Southern California Gas Company’s new Advanced Meter is the latest example of our on-going efforts to improve our technology, add convenience and empower our customers to save energy and money. With the advanced meter technology, you will be able to: • View up-to-date information about your usage and costs

• Take an energy survey to learn how you can save

• Set and achieve your savings and conservation goals

• Analyze your usage over time

For more information on the additional benefits of Advanced Meter, visit socalgas.com (search “ADVANCED”).

Avanzamos en la forma de servir a nuestros clientes y a la comunidad El nuevo medidor avanzado (Advanced Meter) de Southern California Gas Company es el más reciente ejemplo de los esfuerzos continuos que hacemos por mejorar nuestra tecnología, aumentar la comodidad y empoderar a nuestros clientes para que ahorren energía y dinero. Con la tecnología del advanced meter, usted podrá: • Ver su información actualizada de consumo y costos

• Hacer un análisis de energía para saber cómo puede ahorrar

• Ponerse y alcanzar metas de ahorro y conservación

• Analizar su consumo a través del tiempo

Para más información sobre los beneficios adicionales del Advanced Meter, visite socalgas.com/espanol (busque la palabra clave “AVANZADO”). © 2013 Southern California Gas Company. All copyright and trademark rights reserved. N1350062 0413


4 • Valley Voice

Riverway Continued from p. 1

time in the 1990’s, but Visalia’s Parks and Recreation Director Vincent Elizondo said that was before he took the helm at Parks and Recreation and therefore he could neither confirm nor deny the claim. The last official action by the city council concerning future plans for the proposed diamonds at Riverway Park was a May 3, 2010 vote by the council of 4-1 in favor of reducing the plans for the design of outfield fences to a distance of 225 feet, thus assuring eventual use of the diamonds to the girls’ youth league whose fences are officially set at 225 feet. Adult League softball is played on fields with a setback of 300 feet for the outfield fences. According to city records (minutes for the meeting), immediately following the council’s 4-1 vote, Elizondo, addressed the council and informed them that the Master Plan adopted by the Visalia City Council in 2001 stated that the Adult League would be moved from Plaza Park to the Riverway Sports Park. He urged the council to further explore the issue of previous commitments made to the Adult League and the council agreed to send the matter to the Parks and Recreation Commission for further study of the records and a recommendation. Although Elizondo maintains that “No official decision has been made regarding eventual use of the diamonds”, city records do not reflect

19 September, 2013 any official changes subsequent to the council’s 4-1 vote in favor of moving the outfield fences in to 225 feet. The Parks and Recreation Commission will examine the issues, including the feasibility of a possible special exemption from the ban on alcohol at Riverway Park for the Adult League games. Council members are not bound to follow recommendations made by the commission. An informal Valley Voice poll of the current council members was 3-1 in favor of maintaining the current ban on alcohol within the city’s parks, with former mayor Bob Link undecided pending a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Commission. Link said he “would support staff recommendations” even to the point of allowing alcohol in the park at Riverway under tightly regulated circumstances along with a requirement that Adult League members each sign a code of conduct that is, excepting conditions relating to the proposed alcohol use, similar to the one they are currently required to sign. Mayor Amy Shuklian also tentatively supports the concept of an agreement allowing alcohol for the Adult League games if they were held at Riverway under tightly regulated circumstances along with a revised and signed code of conduct from each league member. “I could see myself supporting some sort of special exclusion for alcohol at Adult League games played at Riverway,” Shuklian said. “Just so long as we got the assurances that we would need and every-

body acted responsibly. I don’t think that we should rush to rule it out without first taking a long look at what is possible.” “I could not morally support the idea of having the consumption of alcohol in such close proximity to the kids there,” said Councilman Steve Nelsen, while pointing out that the outfield fences for an Adult League configuration of the new diamonds would place them just a few feet away from those of the field where the boys play their games. He added that “I support the concept of Riverway being primarily a youth-oriented park and a place for the families of Visalia to go and have a good time. And I have a difficult time seeing how the use of alcohol could fit in as a part of all that.” Nelsen pointed to long range plans for a new city park on east side of Visalia and north of Highway 198 close to the flea market out there as a much more suitable setting for the Mens’ League and any possibility of allowing alcohol in a city park on a tightly restricted basis. “They’d be out there all by themselves in a park envisioned at well over one hundred acres,” said Nelsen, “with plenty of room for any possible future expansion of their league.” “I could support the adults playing at Riverway,” said Councilman Warren Gubler, “ but not along with the consumption of alcohol and especially when the alcohol would be consumed so close to where the kids are playing. I believe that Riverway was intended to serve primarily the young people in our community.”

Visalia has invested much money in recent years in what many see as a losing and wasted effort to improve the aging facility at Plaza Park that the Adult League calls home. $225,875 for new backstops, dugouts and foul line fencing as well as esthetic upgrades around three fields that was paid for in part with monies from the $8.50 per team surcharge the city collects for the self-supporting program. Many of the league’s members believe falsely that the funds have gone toward securing the proposed new fields at Riverway for the use of the Adult League. “That is false,” said Elizondo. “The truth is the money has been applied toward paying off the league’s portion of the bill for upgrades and improvements.” The city recently spent an estimated nearly $650,000 for improvements to the irrigation system and playing fields at the Park. It is hoped that the irrigation upgrades will result in improved turf quality on the fields, another complaint of the Adult League teams. But nobody knows where the money for a badly needed new stateof-the-art athletic lighting system will come from, estimated to cost around $350,000 to $500,000, will come from. The city and the Adult League administrators both agree that the lighting upgrade is a critical and necessary tool for successfully enticing more teams from out of the area to attend potentially lucrative weekend tournaments hosted at Plaza Park. As for the girls’ league playing for the past 25 years out of barely adequate facilities at Whitendale Park, there is very little opportunity to host money-raising team tournaments at a facility with no amenities, no lights and poorly maintained playing fields. For Carl Bivens and the numerous other parents of baseball-playing children of both sexes, the usual issues a baseball-parent is faced with are magnified many times over simply due to the considerable distance separating the inner-city facility used by the girls’ league from the almost rural location that is Riverway Park. “What it means is that on occasions when both my boy and my girl are scheduled to play on the same day, me and my wife are forced to decide who will go to Riverway in support of our son, while the other parent is left to attend the girls’ league game at Whitendale Park. And it doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be that way,” Bivens pointed out. “If our girls are given the diamonds out at Riverway, a well placed chair somewhere between the two diamond complexes would allow every parent the opportunity to watch both a son and a daughter playing at the same time just a few feet apart,” said Bivens, now serving his third year on the board of directors for the girls’ league, along with two years as a volunteer coach. “Riverway is a family park, so let it be for the families.” “With the diamonds out at Riverway for us to use,” said Visalia Youth Softball (girls’ league) President Britney Bly, “we could hold some very nice tournaments and raise money for scholarships and equipment for our girls.” Who will take the highly prized playing rights for four as-yet-to-be developed baseball diamonds at Riverway Park? The answer to this question has at least four years to take shape in a community that has quickly become enamored of its state-of-the-art multi sport complex.


19 September, 2013

Valley Voice • 5

Valley Businesses Prepare for ObamaCare While more than 90 percent of the Valley’s businesses are not mandated to provide health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), better known as ObamaCare, they are not free from requirements. On October 1st, all employers must notify their employees about the existence of the Health Insurance Marketplace. This little known part of the 2,409page law has not escaped notice by local broker, Dan Ward, vice president of sales of Ahart Benefit Insurance Services. He advises small businesses to review the model exchange notice requirement by contacting their brokers/insurance agents. The U.S. Department of Labor also has downloadable templates for employers to use to make it easier to meet the notification requirement. There are templates for employers who offer insurance and those who do not offer insurance. The notifications must be delivered in writing. For information and to access the downloadable forms, visit dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform. Although there is no fine for not complying with the notification requirement, companies who do not meet it will be out of compliance. On October 1st, Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, will also be accessible for all businesses with 50 employees or less. The rates, which vary by region, are said to be comparable to those previously only available to large companies. The Obama Administration contends that many firms that do not currently offer coverage will be more

likely to do so because of lower premiums and wider choices in the exchanges. Companies that do offer insurance are also eligible for a substantial tax credit. Businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees making less than $50,000 a year may qualify for a small business health care tax credit. Starting in 2014, the tax credit is worth up to 50% of the contribution toward employ-

qualifying for the credits. If you currently get the credit, it is important to make sure your insurance is through the insurance exchange or a qualified broker to continue to receive the tax credit after 2014. Also, if you qualify for the credit, don’t forget to claim it. The Government Accountability Office reported that many businesses don’t claim the credit even though they are qualified.

ee premium costs (up to 35% for tax-exempt employers). This will make the cost of providing health coverage lower. The credits are also advance-able, so businesses can pay lower health insurance premiums each month rather than wait for a whopping reimbursement check come tax time. It is also refundable, so even people with moderate incomes can get the full benefit of the credit. To see if you qualify for the credit, visit IRS.gov that has an online calculator and additional information about

Glenn Morris, president/CEO of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce, echoed other local chamber executives around the Valley, “At this point, our advice is to get as much information and education as possible prior to making any final decisions. “We recommend that business owners take the time to meet with their brokers/agents and to do as much independent research as they can so that they know what their options are relative to the new law.”

APRIL HEATH PASTIS Sandy Blankenship, director of Exeter Chamber of Commerce, said most of the businesses in Exeter are very small and don’t offer insurance. Very few businesses have even called to ask about the Affordable Care Act. “To be honest with you, I don’t know enough about it because it keeps changing,” she said. So she refers them to a local broker who has kept up to date on all the changes and known for his integrity. “We don’t expect a lot of companies to run out and sign up,” Blankenship said. Lindsay Wellness Center Director Marie Arroyo also said businesses in Lindsay weren’t waiting with baited breath for the marketplace to open. “I don’t think there’s any employer here right now that’s planning on signing up,” Arroyo said. According to a recent poll by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 82% of small business owners didn’t know what the Health Insurance Exchange was. The poll also showed that 56% of exempt small business owners still believe they are required to provide insurance. In 2015, large companies that don’t offer insurance face penalties of up to $2,000 per employee. This mandate applies only to businesses with 50 or more people who work upwards of 30 hours a week. That makes 96% of employers exempt. Yet a majority of business owners with fewer than 50 workers believe the mandate applies to them, according to a recent survey of 259 companies by online insurance marketplace EHealth. Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the reason

Continued on p. 6 »

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6 • Valley Voice

19 September, 2013

Visalia Deals with Lawsuits Following VWR Move With the recent Federal Court signing of a settlement agreement dispensing with the last lingering lawsuit still facing the city of Visalia and co-defendant VWR International, city leaders are looking to put a positive spin to the end of a tumultuous period in our city’s history. The pair of lawsuits filed in both state and Federal courts by the Teamster’s Union and a trio of environmental organizations stung by the sudden relocation to Visalia of a regional shipping warehouse previously operating out of Brisbane,

a small industrial city in the Bay Area. The pair of lawsuits alleged that the city and VWR conspired to circumvent environmental safeguards during the permitting and construction phases of VWR’s new 500,000 sq. ft. Visalia shipping warehouse. And that the city and VWR failed to submit an Environmental Impact Report required under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), and that the city unlawfully agreed to pay $1.5 million in costs VWR incurred relating to the relocation.

Originally tossed out by a Tulare County Superior Court judge, the lawsuit was reinstated by Fresno’s Fifth District Court of Appeal, with the California Supreme Court affirming the ruling of the appeals court and refusing to hear an appeal by Visalia and VWR. As a court date for the suit loomed larger, VWR and the city decided to agree to settle the case without admitting guilt. Attorneys for the city say the move was solely intended to avoid the high costs associated with the litigation of such a case.

Obamacare

benefits,” said Morris. “I don’t think that anyone has a quarrel with the objectives of the initiative – ensuring that families have access to affordable care. The concern is with the methodology chosen which puts the burden of that effort on employers and, in particular, small businesses. Given the fact that we’re just starting to come out of the most difficult economic period in a generation makes it even more difficult to increase the cost of operations right now.” Starting in 2014, all plans will offer the same basic coverage that fall under the “Essential Health Benefits” as defined by Obamacare. These services include doctor visits, hospitalization, emergency care, maternity and newborn care, pediatrics, prescriptions, medical tests, mental health care and others. Plans must also cover preventive care services like mammograms and colonoscopies with no out-of-pocket cost to consumers. Ward said because the plans are the same, many employers who already offer insurance will not switch to the ObamaCare Health Insurance Exchange. “We don’t see a large migration for small

businesses to the exchange,” said Ward. “The only advantage for small employers with 25 or less employees are tax credits. But small employers must meet certain qualifications,” he said. “Brokers should be able to answer employer questions and provide quotes for inside the shop exchange and outside the exchange.” To qualify for the tax credit, businesses must have less than 25 employees earning below $50,000 annually, and the company must pay at least 50 percent of insurance premiums. Credits are available on a sliding scale. Employers with ten or fewer employees and average wages of less than $25,000 are eligible for the full credit. “The major concerns that I hear about the Affordable Care Act center around two themes,” said Morris. “One is the potential for increasing the cost of doing business, along with restricting business owners’ flexibility in controlling their costs. The second is the potential impact that the act may have on employment as businesses decide either to not hire more people or to restrict hours (and income) to avoid the costs of the requirements.”

Continued from p. 5

businesses don’t offer health plans is not because there weren’t penalties. “Surprise! It’s because up until now it’s been unaffordable,” he said at a town hall. The Health Insurance Exchange will address that barrier, he said, by giving businesses access to multiple, competitively-priced plans and control over how much they pay for premiums. On October 1st through March 31, 2014, small businesses can check out the plans offered and their potential savings by visiting CoveredCA.com in the SHOP, (Small Business Health Plan Options Program) area. Business will need to provide their Employer Identification Number, Tax ID and number of employees (and their employees’ dependents if they choose to cover them). Call 1-800706-7893, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with any questions on Covered California’s SHOP program. “The majority of our small business owners are very concerned about increasing their costs to provide new

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DAVID MARSH The city of Visalia agreed to donate $50,000 to The Rose Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to the support of Community and Environmental Issues operating out of Oakland. As for VWR, the industry leading worldwide provider of laboratory supplies and services, the company agreed to a litany of environmental moves and changes at its Visalia Distribution Center, including replacing all lighting with energy-saving LED bulbs, installing an

Continued on p. 14 »

The area’s largest industry, agriculture, may be the most impacted by ObamaCare, Ward added. “Farmers that have employees that work 30 hours per week will have to offer insurance or pay penalties come 2015. Seasonal workers may be included if the seasonal employee is deemed to work 30 hours per week, meeting the ACA definition,” he said. Tricia Stever Blattler, executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau, said, “Farmers are taking a waitand-see attitude,” on how they will deal with the Affordable Care Act. “They may be extremely adversely affected by the possible applications of the law. Its hard to make any generalizations.” The bureau held several workshops in the winter to educate farmers on the law. “The food processing and preparation industries will be the most affected because they have the most full-time employees,” Blattler said. “Agricultural businesses need to be mindful of the special consideration PPACA provides for seasonal workers, which make up a great deal of the agricultural workforce,” according to California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF). The CFBF is the state’s largest farm organization, comprised of 53 county farm bureaus currently representing more than 74,000 agricultural, associate and collegiate members in 56 counties. The employer mandate, which requires a business with over 50 full-time employees to provide insurance, exempts seasonal workers. However, the definition of seasonal workers has caused some confusion. “A seasonal employee is one who works for less than 120 days. Anyone who works less is not counted among the 50 you must employ to be a large employer required to offer coverage,” said Bryan Little, CFBF, labor relations. According to the CFBF, the IRS has stated that an employer can use its own reasonable definition of ‘seasonal’ and determine an employee’s full-time status by looking at a 12-month measurement period. “Examining employment over a 12-month period leads to the conclusion that seasonal workers are not fulltime employees that must be provided health care insurance coverage because, although they may work more than 30 hours per week, they are not employed continuously for a 12-month period.” According to a report issued by the Center for Rural Affairs, one-third of farmers purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company. This is more than three times the national average. If the ObamaCare marketplace is successful in bringing down the cost of insurance, local agricultural businesses stand to benefit significantly from the new marketplaces, the report concluded.


19 September, 2013

North Side Visalia Gets New Retail Center The Visalia City Council approved Riverbend Village, a development on the southeast corner of Dinuba Boulevard and Riggin Avenue. Initially zoned residential, the council voted to rezone the 9.88 acres as commercial on September 3. Riverbend Village is located directly south of the new Target in Orchard Walk and will include a Wendy’s and an Arco station with an AM/PM market and car wash. More retailers and an anchor store will soon come to north Visalia now that the corner is zoned commercial. Shane Anderson, of Commercial Retail Associates, said, “The city council has been begging for development on the north side. Now that the market is picking up, residential and commercial is in demand.” Scott Patterson, of California Gold Development Corporation, described the land under consideration for rezoning as a “hard corner” in which the best and highest use would be commercial. Dinuba Boulevard is a major north-south artery for Visalia, and Riggin Avenue is a straight shot to highway 99. The growing population, traffic count and location are exactly what retailers and developers are looking for. The design of Riverbend Village will have an old heritage feel that will compliment Orchard Walk. The retail selection will also compliment their neighbor because Target Stores have a restriction on gas stations. Local residents will appreciate having an Arco and another eatery besides McDonald’s across the street. Patterson explained that shoppers like to have choices and a full complement of services. Riverbend Village does not see Orchard Walk as competition but rather, with two high-quality develop-

ments on each corner, as a partner in attracting more shoppers. “Business attracts more business,” said Patterson. Riverbend Village had a rocky road to travel before its zoning was changed from residential to commercial. In April,

becoming the next Fresno, he pointed out that, “When driving in Fresno, and coming upon four commercial corners, you always get your winners and losers. Some corners will have successful anchors and vibrant retail while

the development had been approved by the planning commission three votes to two, but that decision was appealed by developer Donahue Schriber of Orchard Walk. Schriber’s concern was that the initial design was insufficient and needed enhancements to better blend with his retail center. Riverbend Village made the needed improvements and returned to the planning commission, but its original supporters were absent and Riverbend did not gain approval. Developer Tom Hughes decided to take the issue straight to the city council, where his team received compliments on its updated design. He succeeded in getting the property zoned commercial. Council Member Greg Collins was pleased with the improvements made to Riverbend’s design, but outlined the pitfalls of having four hard corners zoned commercial. Ever vigilant of Visalia not

one corner always has a high vacancy rate, payday loans and massage parlors.” Two corners on Dinuba and Riggin are already zoned commercial and Collins wanted Anderson to address his concerns. Council Member Steve Nelsen also worried about having Riverbend Village put in sidewalks, infrastructure, “a nice Wendy’s” and a gas station, then the rest being just dirt. Anderson said it will take time but, “activity brings activity and more businesses will want to locate there.” He added that the Hughes family owns the southeast corner and that they may decide to keep it strictly residential. Mayor Amy Shuklian stated that Orchard Walk West was empty and that smaller retailers are not going to be interested in buying pads until they secure an anchor. Home Base was scheduled to build there in 2008 but pulled out just

Valley Voice • 7 CATHERINE DOE weeks before breaking ground because of the economy. A housing consultant described Orchard Walk West as a victim of bad timing. Once the residential market slowed down, commercial development had no choice but to pull back. Without the economic downturn, that corner would have been fully built out by now. The north side is a growing part of Visalia and the city council is pushing the area. Big block stores are starting to show interest. Council Member Bob Link has always been a proponent of retail growth on Dinuba Boulevard. “It’s the Mooney Boulevard of north Visalia.” Link believes that in ten years Riggin and Dinuba will be like Walnut and Mooney. “I don’t believe more than 18 months will pass before something happens in Orchard Walk West.” The final vote was four to one, with Collins dissenting. “Only so many boxes are coming to Visalia and if you open up too much property to commercial development you end up with a lot of vacant land.” Collins had no issue with the design. He felt the developer brought their “A” game, but was concerned about what will happen to the northwest corner of Dinuba and Riggin when the northeast corner starts to develop. “If you have all hard corners where is the balance?” he said. Bridgecort Homes LP owns the project, which is being developed by Hughes Homes. Tom Hughes is the developer and has been in the home construction business for 20 years. This is his first foray into commercial development.

NEXT DEADLINE: September 26, 2013 I believe in the community’s health, safety, and economic vitality, as it contributes to the overall Quality of Life to Visalia.

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8 • Valley Voice

Visalia in Need of New 911 Call Center

The city council voted at their September 3rd meeting 5-0 to develop plans for a Visalia Emergency Communication Center (VECC) and a public safety building that would include a modernized police department. Because of the urgent need for a new 911 call center, it was recommended that the city proceed with building the VECC even if they can’t afford the public safety building. The city council could decide later to go ahead with the public safety building if it were financially possible. That decision will be made in the fall of 2014, when the city evaluates the financial forecast and has considered the building’s financial impact on other city needs. Visalia’s 911 call center is currently in the basement of the police department. Completed in the mid 1970s, it has outgrown its space and the center’s 1980s equipment borders on the obsolete. According to Eric Frost, administrative services director, the situation is critical. “People are stacked on top of each other. The basement is next to Mill Creek so flooding is a real risk.” Frost added, “If you don’t tell a police officer where to go, it doesn’t matter how many police officers you have.” The proposed VECC will not just be a 911 call center. It would also house the Emergency Operations Center and the fire department administration. The public safety building would include a centralized police station. Currently the police, detectives, and gang enforcement are spread between City Hall East, City Hall West, and other locations. The new facilities

will be built in East Downtown Visalia on the corner of Burke and Goshen. Mayor Amy Shuklian reminded the board that there would be a four to six million dollar savings if the city constructed one facility to hold the VECC and public safety building right now, versus putting it off and paying for two separate buildings later. Besides the redundancy of two buildings, such as elevators, reception area and stairs, 15% of the cost is in design alone. Constructing one building would save 15% right off the top. Because cash resources are insufficient to pay for either the VECC, let alone a public safety building, the city will need to consider how much risk they are willing to take. Building the VECC would prove to be the lowest risk to Visalia’s finances. Its construction would not adversely impact the city’s operating budget and is a sustainable project. Of moderate risk is financing approximately $1 million a year in debt service to build a public safety facility that may not be sized, or have features, to serve the community through 2030 as previously desired. This project might disrupt city operations in bad times. The construction of a public safety building that meets all of Visalia’s needs through 2030 would be considered a high risk investment. Financing that exceeds $1 million a year in additional debt service poses a high risk of disrupting ongoing operations of Visalia. There are some good reasons why Visalia should take on the higher financial risk of constructing a top-notch public safety building. Besides the fact that

the economy is improving and interest rates are at an historic low, construction costs are also at their lowest levels. Most importantly, Visalia’s public safety needs are barely being met with the current infrastructure. “There are immediate departmental needs,” says Frost. City staff made preliminary cost estimates of $20 million to build the VECC and $50 million to build the public safety building. Currently, the city of Visalia has $14 million available. Councilman Warren Gubler admitted to having severe sticker shock on seeing the costs for the first time and questioned whether they were reliable numbers. He pointed out that Kaweah Delta Hospital just finished an administration building about the same size as the city’s projected public safety building for $10 million. He wanted to know why Frost felt our building would be $40 million more. It was explained that a building deemed “essential services” needs to be earthquake and flood proof as mandated by California law, and can triple the costs. Along with the additional equipment and electrical needs, an essential services building typically costs $450 to $500 a square foot to build versus $160 a square foot for an administration building. Council Member Bob Link pointed out that Visalia has other avenues of revenue that have not yet been explored. If the city built a new council chamber as part of a public safety complex, for example, and moved out of City Hall East, that property could be sold as a downtown hotel location. The same would be

19 September, 2013 CATHERINE DOE true with City Hall West, though that property is not as valuable. The sale of city property could greatly reduce the debt taken on to build the Civic Center. During several council meetings the members have discussed the costs of fixing their current chambers. Instead of throwing away money on a building that is falling apart, their dream is to build a civic center that includes a public safety building, city administration and their chambers. Last April, Gubler expressed the desire that Visalia needs to act like a city that is maturing and build its own civic center. All of the members have expressed the need to finally consolidate staff in one location. The city has $3 million available to build new city council chambers, but Frost estimated it might cost as much as $15 to $20 million. The council chambers would not be considered an essential building, so costs per square foot would be one third less than the VECC. The long-range budget forecast suggests that the city can support $1.1 million per year in additional debt service, while also providing funds for new employees and general wage increases. A more expensive building would mean the city has less to invest in other areas such as staffing, capital projects and reserves. Depending on how the economy fares, it was Frost’s opinion that Visalia can afford to spend approximately $45 million, which would pay for one facility that would include the VECC and a scaled down public safety building.

Stanton Optical Replaces Glasses Damaged in Taliban Attack

Dion Dorado dedicated 18 years of his life to his country as a U.S. Marine and U.S. Army soldier. On July 2, he was working as an advisor and mentor under a Department of Defense contract for DynCorp International. While stationed in Afghanistan, the company’s barracks were destroyed during an attack by a suicide truck bomb. Dorado had a pair of eyeglasses from Stanton Optical with him at the time. “While searching my living quarters, I located my glasses in a neighboring room under the debris I had been buried under earlier,” he said. “My glasses were destroyed, with one lens missing and the other polycarbonate lenses fractured. I did have a habit of falling asleep with my glasses on but am not sure if

this acted as protection for my eyes.” After returning to the United States, Dorado brought his glasses to the Stanton Optical store in Visalia to get a replacement pair. The optical company normally covers 20% of the replacement cost on damaged glasses, but after hearing Dorado’s story, the local sales manager contacted his district manager, Brad Rodman. Stanton Optical agreed to replace Dorado’s glasses at no charge. “We are trying to locate the Nike frame so we can replace them,” said Clint Olivas, sales manager at the Visa-

lia store, who had some nice things to say about Dorado. “He’s a great guy. He has a video of the aftermath that is pretty intense. His barracks were completely destroyed while he was asleep.” Dorado’s award from DynCorp gives a brief summary of what happened during the attack: “At 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013, an enormous explosion ripped through Camp Pinnacle, Afghanistan. Insurgents then penetrated the breach in the wall – with the sole purpose of killing as many people as possible. That day, we lost three fellow co-workers who will never be forgotten.”

Richard McEvoy, program manager for DynCorp International, thanked Dorado for his service. “On behalf of a grateful company, please accept this certificate of appreciation for your efforts that day and the days afterwards,” he said. “Your courage and determination allowed our program to keep operating. You make DynCorp a great company and it’s an honor to serve with you.” “I would like to mention that although this is a terrible event that occurred, I feel as if without the brave souls of my teammates who had valiantly fought to repel this attack we would have suffered greater losses,” said Dorado. “To those warriors of Elbrus barracks, I am forever grateful to had served and fought alongside of you that day.”


19 September, 2013

Porterville Continued from p. 1

regarding the reorganization proposal. “I guess adding to bigot and homophobic, I’m now a sexist and racist,” Ward said. “I have never supported anybody in the center seat after their first year. You can go back and check the public records, I have been an avid supporter of rotation since 2008. It didn’t matter what sex they were, what race they were, what orientation they were. I believe in rotation.” Councilmember Gurrola also spoke in support of Ward before the vote. “I can say that Councilmember Ward is not a monster. He is a very good person, he has a family, and he takes very good care of them. He contributes to this community, and is a valued member of this community,” Gurrola said. “Is it a setback? No. Have I, as the mayor, lost anything? No,” Gurrola said. “Because this position doesn’t define who I am. I define who I am. I can be effective, and any of us can be effective, in any of the positions we hold.” “I place myself in God’s hand, and he lets me know what is happening, and no one else will do that in his place.” The vote passed without any contention from the audience or the council; following the vote, the councilmembers voted on various committee reassignments. During the public comment section, Melissa McMurry, a representative of Gay Porterville, offered Gurrola an art piece as a gift from the LGBT community. During a brief recess following the vote, Gurrola accepted the art piece, created at a recent vigil held in Porterville.

Valley Voice • 9

More online View this article, and previous articles regarding the Porterville City Council, online at www.ourvalleyvoice.com. In addition, readers can watch video of past meetings and the meeting mentioned in this article.

Porterville Vice-Mayor Brian Ward. Ward proposed the reorganization of the Porterville City Council. Photo by: Tony Maldonado

Edith La Vonne, speaking at the recent Porterville council meeting: “We have the best dog and pony show in the state. I don’t want a dog and pony show. I want a city council that takes care of its citizens.”

An art piece presented to Councilmember Gurrola. Photo by: Tony Maldonado

Greg Collins for Visalia City Council ... the Quality of Life Candidate Dear Visalians,

One more time! This will be my last venture into Visalia politics, win or lose. Serving this community has given me great joy and I’m grateful to Visalians who have entrusted me with the responsibility of helping to guide the city for 22 years! I look forward to the numerous challenges and opportunities Visalia and the city council will face in the future. I hope you’ll vote for me in the upcoming city council election so together we can ensure that Visalia continues to be the “Jewel of the Valley.”

As a veteran of 22 budget sessions, I have helped guide Visalia through many challenging economic times. Today, Visalia is in a position to reward its valuable employees, replenish its reserves and begin to work on capital projects (paving of roads, etc.) that have been neglected in recent years. But we should never stop there. We need to:

• Invest in public safety to keep our citizens safe

• Preserve the agricultural land that surrounds Visalia

• Solve our groundwater overdraft problem

• Continue to pump life into our one-of-kind downtown • Discourage sprawl and promote urban infill

• Collaborate with our public partners - COS, Kaweah Delta District Hospital, and Visalia Unified School District

• Work with the Oval and Washington neighborhood groups and families to support their efforts to revitalize the areas through providing better lighting, more aggressive code enforcement and public safety involvement

No leading city - regardless of size or previous successes - gets a free ride into the future. Without wise management, vision and thoughtful decision-making, Visalia could easily slip into a fiscal hole and mediocrity. My promise to Visalians is that I will continue to work towards making Visalia the best city in the Valley. Please support the qualities that are Visalia’s strength by re-electing me to Visalia City Council on November 5.

Contributions: Greg Collins for Visalia City Council 1002 West Main Street, Visalia, CA 93291 Contact: (559) 281-1160; greg@weplancities.com For Signs: e-mail your address to greg@weplancities.com


10 • Valley Voice

19 September, 2013

Festival of Hope Highlights Suicide Prevention

Now in its fourth year, the Festival of Hope is one of the most unique experiences available in our community. (See more about the festival on page 19.) This free two-day event (happening Sept. 28-29) showcases a broad collection of artists, musicians, dancers and presenters, and includes a plethora of activities open for public participation. The event was founded to highlight suicide prevention in a positive and creative way. Also featured will be resource and information booths for mental and behavioral health care, drug and alcohol recovery, services for veterans, The Trevor Project, foster care and adoptions, and numerous other services and organizations. The festivities begin with the 2nd Annual Walk of Hope on Saturday, September 28, at Del Lago Park in Tulare. Check-in and registration opens at 8:30 a.m., with ceremonies beginning at 9 and the walk commencing at 10. The Walk of Hope is centered on increasing awareness of mental and behavioral health as well as suicide prevention. Attendees are encouraged to create their own t-shirts, form teams, and enjoy the morning. This year’s walk will feature a series of paintings by local artist Steven Suggs, “My Hope Is…” canvases, and information about symptoms of mental illness, as well as the risk and protective factors related to suicide. If you have lost a loved one to suicide, this is a great opportunity to memorialize the person you lost. Parking is available at the Tulare Outlet Center, and a shuttle will run between the Outlets and Del Lago Park, helping to make participation more convenient. After completing the Walk of Hope, opening ceremonies for the Festival of Hope begin at the Tulare Outlet Center at noon. From noon until 10 p.m., the Main Stage will feature free performanc-

TULARE COUNTY CHILD CARE WELFARE SERVICES All day, both days, a Bubbles the Clown, ScienceDipity, the 450-foot-long tent will cover All Aboard Train and a visit from Visalia a section of the central park- Rawhide mascot Tipper the Bull. Both ing area in the Outlets. This days of the event will also feature pet tent will house the Mural adoptions, making this an opportunity to Area, featuring professional bring hope to a lovable cat or dog. The street painters Lorelle Mill- children’s area will also showcase a City er, Genna Panzarella, Lisa of Tulare fire engine, free face painting, Jones, Lysa Ashley and Jony fingernail art by Red Nails & Lipstick, Tolentino. These five artists and hair decorations by Headlines Salon. will be joined by dozens of New to this year’s activities will be a local muralists and mural series of workshops, trainings and docteams. This is an opportuni- umentary videos. These sessions will ty for schools, service clubs, be held at the Charter Inn & Suites in social groups, co-workers, Tulare, which is just across the parking families and individuals en- lot from the Outlets. These sessions will joy a wonderful weekend take place starting at 10 a.m. and will creating beauty in our com- run throughout the festival. Presentamunity. Artists can arrive as tions will include The Trevor Project’s early as 8 a.m. both days and Lifeguard Workshop, the National Allican stay until the close of the ance on Mental Illness’s (NAMI) workevent at 10 p.m. on Satur- shop titled “Ending the Silence,” and day, 9 p.m. on Sunday. Any- documentary films “This Emotional one wishing to join in and Life, “A New State of Mind” and others. creature a mural should visit The Festival of Hope is one of the www.sptf.org. Registration is major ways that the Tulare & Kings free, and chalk pastels will be Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force provided. All murals should (SPTF) connects with the community express themes of hope, and and works with partnering organizaartists are encouraged to in- tions to make resources and information clude sunflowers in their art. as easy to access as possible. Suicide can For the little ones, there be an incredibly difficult subject to talk will be a Children’s Area un- about. The festival provides a comfortder the clock tower in the able atmosphere, charged with energy The Festival of Hope features a broad collection of artwork. Outlets. From noon until and beauty, and makes resources availes and concerts, starting with a magic 6 p.m. on both days, chil- able that make the conversation about show and followed by cultural perfor- dren will enjoy the Tulare Super Target suicide easier. The Festival of Hope isn’t mances by Ballet Folklorica Sierra Lin- Reading Center, Music with a Kiddie about death but about saving lives, and da, the Tule River Dancers, Tseem Tub Beat, illusionist The Amazing Jonathan, that is truly something to celebrate. Ntxhais (a Hmong dance troupe), Los Tulare County Chubascos Del Norte and the Tule RivHealth & Human Services Agency er Drummers. The evening, organized by the Sound N Vision Foundation, will be punctuated with additional free concerts Children of all ages throughout Tulare County featuring the Song Preservation Society, Caught a Ghost, and our festival headneed a safe place as they go through a liner from the U.K., Big Black Delta. difficult time in their lives. Performances continue on Sunday starting at 12:30 p.m. with the return of the magician, followed by Momentum Dance Academy, the Tule River Drummers and Dancers, the Tulare Youth Cheer League, Zumba and Ted Nunes. The Sunday evening lineup by the Sound Tulare County Foster Care Licensing offers: N Vision Foundation will feature some • Ongoing training • Support and mentors of the Central Valley’s most popular bands: Mezcal, Gospel Whiskey Runners, • Networking and headlined by Poor Man’s Poison.

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19 September, 2013

Visalia Tops State Best Drivers List

The Allstate Insurance Company has released its ninth annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report,” revealing that Visalia tops all California cities in driving safety with the lowest car collision frequency in the state. In the 2013 report, Visalia also ranks in the top ten of America’s safest driving cities, landing at number eight. Based on Allstate claims data, the report ranks America’s 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers. According to the report, the average driver here will experience an auto collision once in a little more than every 12 years – more than 18 percent better than the national average of once approximately every 10 years. “Drivers in Visalia and California’s Central Valley are making great effort toward keeping America’s roadways safer,” said Phil Telgenhoff, field vice president of Allstate Insurance Company in California. “We salute their best drivers and recognize their safe driving skills, which make all of our communities safer places to live, work and raise families.” But will this salute result in lower rates for Visalia drivers? “No,” says Jim Klapthor, Allstate’s senior communications consultant. “Allstate’s Best Drivers Report has no impact on insurance rates. It is a reflection of collision data in the specific city. The three largest factors in determining car insurance rates are the annual miles driven, a person’s driving record and the driver’s driving history – how long have they been licensed.” He explained that survey numbers are based on how many insurance claims are made in a city, not how many claims are made by drivers living in the city. If a driver from Visalia gets into a collision in Fresno, the accident becomes part of Fresno’s data – and vice versa. He noted that Glendale, in L.A. Counnt: A&W ty, does not do well in Allstate’s annual gned by: Cribbsproject - New Media Design surveys, but that is a result of four maect: Ad for Valley Voice jor freeways passing through that city. 5x6 Klapthor added that the statistics are : 9.12.13 not a reflection of public safety in a particular area. “If you back into a grocery

ESIGN (PROOF)

STAFF REPORTS store lightpost, you don’t call the police, but you do call your insurance company. About 70% of collisions where Allstate is called are ‘low speed’ – someone snaps off their rearview mirror when they pull in or back out of the garage.” The Allstate America’s Best Driver’s Report was created to facilitate an ongoing dialogue on safe driving that saves lives. This year’s top honor of “America’s Safest Driving City” is Fort Collins, Colorado, the third year the city has held the top spot in the report’s nineyear history. According to the report, the average driver in Fort Collins will experience an auto collision every 13.9 years, which is 28.2 percent less likely than the national average of 10 years. According to the most recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crash fatalities increased by more than 1,700 from 2011 to 2012, the first year-to-year increase in fatalities since 2005. While fatalities have increased over the past year, Allstate research found that 70 percent of vehicles involved in auto claims are considered drivable, which indicates that most claims are the result of low speed (under 35 miles per hour) collisions that take place in “stop and go” traffic locations. “It is vital for us to educate American drivers about safe driving behaviors they can practice on the road that will help make our roadways safer,” said Telgenhoff. “Minimizing distractions, obeying traffic laws and using your car’s safety features like turn signals and headlights are all ways to be safer, no matter where you drive.” For the past nine years, Allstate actuaries have conducted an in-depth analysis of company claim data to determine the likelihood drivers in America’s 200 largest cities will experience a vehicle collision compared to the national average. Internal property damage reported claims were analyzed over a two-year period (from January 2010 to December 2011) to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences such as weather or road construction.

Valley Voice • 11

Visalia Chamber Launches 2014 Young Entrepreneurs Academy

STAFF REPORTS

The Visalia Chamber of Commerce kicked off the first session of the Visalia Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) class of 2014 on September 17. YEA! is a year-long program that guides high school students in launching their own real business. Throughout the year, students will work in close cooperation with local business leaders, community leaders and educators who will use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to develop ideas and objectives, write a business plan, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, establish e-commerce and a web presence, and much more. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program. Individuals and businesses participating in the first session of the program, which runs to November 12, include: • Heather Bixler, adjunct instructor, COS & Brandman University Chapman University System, class instructor • Bob McKellar, CEO, McKellar Farms, “Cool Business” Field Trip Host • Craig Van Horn, owner, A&W Restaurant, “Food Franchise” fieldtrip host • Matthew Bixler, attorney, Ruddell, Cochran, Stanton, Smith & Bixler LLP, Legal Services guest speaker

• Samantha M. Rummage-Mathias, general manager, Visalia Holiday Inn & Conference Center, business mentor • Lori Dunagan, Tulare County Economic Development Corporation, business mentor • Kent Mishler, Kaweah Delta Health Care, Business Mentor • Kurt Hardcastle, marketing supervisor, Tucoemas Federal Credit Union, business mentor • Brett Taylor, realtor associate, Realty Stars, business mentor • Dan McGregor, chief credit officer, Suncrest Bank, business mentor • Philip Barnes, support staff, Bio World Products, business mentor “The chamber has made a commitment to become a key source of support for individuals who are trying to create jobs in our community through entrepreneurial efforts,” said Glenn Morris, president/CEO of the Visalia Chamber. “The YEA! program is the first major new initiative launched by the chamber in this effort. We are excited to be part of an effort to give our next generation of leaders and employers the tools necessary for them to be able to create futures for themselves and for Visalia.” For more information on the YEA! program, including how to become a community participant or sponsor, call the chamber office at 734-5876, or contact Nicola Wissler, program manager, at nicola@visaliachamber.org

Historical Photos Needed for 2014 Calendar Central Valley Community Bank is requesting original photographs from the Tulare County region (excluding family photographs) for its 2014 Tulare County Community Calendar. Photos of Tulare County businesses and residents from 1850 to 1955 should be brought into any of the bank’s Visalia

or Exeter locations by September 30. Each person submitting a photo will be required to submit a release form. All submitted photos will be voted on and the top 12 will be featured in the bank’s 2014 calendar. The pictures will be scanned and returned.


12 • Valley Voice

Exploring Technology through Robotics

CRAIG WHEATON, ED. D., VUSD SUPERINTENDENT As Dorothy said, “Toto, I’ve a feeling tance to an object, recognize touch and we’re not in Kansas anymore.” I might measure rate of change. The last compohave the same reaction as I enter Visalia nent, Make a System, further increases Unified’s new elective course at the mid- the complexity of the tasks the robots dle school level, Exploring Technology. can perform, such as moving a ball, The new course provides students the picking up and placing objects within opportunity to explore technology in a field, simulating manufacturing, and fun, innovative ways, beginning with a communicating their locations by ussemester-long experience with the Lego ing the idea of systems within a system. Mindstorms Robotic Programs. You The course is one of the first to be may have read recently about students built around the new Common Core in the Silicon Valley having these oppor- State Standards, which encourages cretunities, but VUSD is one of the first in ative thinking, problem solving, teamthe Central Valley to receive the newly work and communication skills. The released EV3 Robotic platform. Visa- second semester activities include design lia Unified is committed to developing engineering learned in the first semester, a strong STEM (Science, Technology, extended activities in energy and the enEngineering and Math) program; and vironment, flight and space, green archiwe started at the middle school lev- tecture and the medical field. The proel with the intent of creating pathways gram is also connected to afterschool for to the high school in more advanced students wishing to continue to explore technology, engineering and design. and expand their learning with robotics. Finally, Visalia Unified is excited to The course curriculum is structured around open-ended, problem-solving announce that all four middle schools activities that contain three main com- will be represented in this year’s First ponents. The Make It Move component Lego League Challenge, Nature’s Fury. challenges students to build robots using Over 200,000 students (ages 9-16) and math and science skills that are able to 70-plus countries will strive to find measure distance and speed, move with- solutions for the challenge of what hapout using wheels, and maximize power pens when natural disasters meet peoto move up an incline. In the second ple in places they live, work and play. So when Dorothy sees what is gocomponent, Make it Smarter, students ing on at our middle schools, she will will add sensors to their robots that say, “We’re not in Kansas. We must measure ambient and reflected light, be in Visalia, and it feels like home distinguish specific colors, measure dis… ‘there is no place like home!’”

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19 September, 2013

Florida May Develop GMO Citrus Trees to Fight HLB

CATHERINE DOE

Citrus greening in Florida, which cannot be cured.

According to the Fresno Bee, more psyllids than could be counted were discovered on three young citrus trees in the back yard of an eastern Dinuba home, the most ever seen in the Valley. Fortunately, none of the bugs were infected with huanglongbing disease, or HLB. Treatment has begun on all citrus plants within 800 meters surrounding the site where the insects were trapped. Over the last two years, none of the psyllids found in the San Joaquin Valley have been infected with HLB. In January 2012, the first psyllid was found in Strathmore, then two more in November. This July, six more psyllids in were found in Porterville, prompting quarantines in both areas. With all the publicity, it’s hard to remember that it’s not the insect that kills the trees, only those that are carrying HLB. This begs the question: why don’t the insects found in California have it? Only one tree in California has tested positive for HLB. That citrus tree was in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles and was promptly removed and destroyed. The Asian citrus psyllid was first detected at a residence in Southern California in August 2008. The industry spent

millions of dollars to keep the psyllid from jumping to the Valley from Southern California. Those efforts, up until now, have been successful. But finding multiple bugs means that there is a reproducing population of adults that can easily infest other trees. Once that happens, the San Joaquin Valley will have an established population, if it doesn’t already. Surveys have also found infestations in areas of San Diego and Imperial counties. Nationally, the psyllid is also found in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and Hawaii. Citrus Greening has no cure, and since 2005 has devastated Florida’s citrus industry. About 50% of their citrus acres have been destroyed because of the disease. According to the New York Times, to slow the spread of HLB, Florida chopped down hundreds of thousands of infected trees and sprayed an array of pesticides to kill the psyllid – but the state could not contain HLB. It is estimated that nearly 100 million trees in 40 countries are affected by this disease, especially in countries like India, China, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as in the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. More recently, HLB has been found in Brazil and the United States. Florida growers sent search parties around the world to find a naturally immune tree that could serve as a new progenitor, but no evidence of immunity was found to exist. This may be true of citrus trees, but it was hypothesized that it could not be true in all of nature. As stated in the New York Times, “With a precipitous decline in Florida’s harvest predicted within the decade the only chance left to save the trees was one that the industry and others had long avoided for fear of consumer rejection. They would have to alter the orange’s DNA with a gene from another species.” The goal is to genetically engineer resistance to HLB for which standard treatments have proven elusive. This “transgenic” tree could take a decade and $20 million to develop and test for safety. There is an emerging scientific consensus held that genetic engineering would be required to defeat citrus greening. One University of Florida scientist put it this way, “People are either going to drink transgenic orange juice or they’re going to drink apple juice.”


19 September, 2013

News in Brief... New Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit Introduced Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward announced the creation of the “Enhanced Violence Against Women Prosecution Unit” at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors Meeting in Woodlake on September 10. This new unit consists of three specially trained prosecutors who specialize in prosecuting crimes of domestic violence-related homicide, aggravated domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking cases. The cases will be prosecuted following a true vertical prosecution model, where the assigned prosecutor will handle each case from filing through sentencing. This model will support a true victim-friendly environment. The Victim/Witness Assistance Division of the Office of the District Attorney will provide crisis intervention, orientation to the criminal justice system, court support, case status information, referral counseling and assistance in filing for financial reimbursement for any losses incurred.

Co-sponsors Sought for 2014 Freedom Celebration The Visalia Parks and Recreation has committed to continuing the Freedom Celebration at Mineral King Bowl in Visalia for 2014 and is seeking co-sponsors for the event. Due to the community response and with the help of the Visalia Fire Department Pyrospectaculars, Visalia Unified School District and the City of Visalia Parks and Recreation Department, a plan has been put in place to modify the fireworks display to maintain the quality of the show and the safety of the community. With these modifications in place, the board of Visalia Parks and Recreation Foundation voted at their August meeting to sponsor the Freedom Celebration on July 4th, 2014, and hold it in its traditional location of Mineral King Bowl. As the costs, attendance and logistics of this event continue to grow, the Visalia Parks and Recreation Foundation is seeking one or more co-sponsors for this event – corporate entities or service organizations that want to contribute to this community event by becoming active partners with the foundation. Valley Business Bank Receives FiveStar Rating According to the Business Journal, Valley Business Bank of Visalia received a five-star rating in the latest assessment. The bank reported a net income of $1.6 million in the second quarter of the year, up about 79% from $892,000 in the same quarter last year. Deposits were up 6.4% to $322 million and assets were up 4.2% to $364.6 million. Burlington Coat Factory to Hold Grand Opening Oct. 25 The official grand opening of the new 50,000-square-foot Burlington Coat Factory in Visalia will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, October 25. The store will be located in a part of the former Home Base location.

Two signature community-based programs will be part of the grand opening – Burlington Gives Back and Charity Day. Burlington Gives Back is an effort to distribute new merchandise – apparel, housewares, accessories, baby products, etc. – to local partner agencies that provide assistance to needy families and individuals. Charity Day is a VIP shopping event to be held the day before the grand opening. Kaweah Delta Online Nursery to Help Families Share Baby Photos Kaweah Delta Health Care District has a new online nursery to help Tulare County’s newest parents share photos of their little ones. The online nursery is accessible from the home page of KaweahDelta.org by clicking on “online nursery.” The online nursery allows site visitors to see pictures of babies who have been photographed inside Kaweah Delta’s in-house photography studio, staffed by Blue Daisy Baby Photography. From Kaweah Delta’s online nursery, the photos can be shared with family and friends in more than 300 ways including by e-mail and social media. Established in 1963, Kaweah Delta Health Care District is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. California Boiler Earns Award For the second year in a row, California Boiler was awarded the Power Flame Presidents Club Award, a distinction reserved for the company achieving the highest dollar performance overall

Valley Voice • 13

among Power Flame sales representatives and distributors. “Cutting edge technology from Power Flame as well as a strong relationship with our partner has allowed us to provide superior boiler solutions to a diverse range of customers,” said John Clarkson, vice president of California Boiler. “In addition to the Presidents Club Award, California Boiler has continued to achieve the highest sales dollar volume obtained by any PFI Representative in our recorded history,” said William Wiener, president of California Boiler. For more than 30 years, California Boiler has provided boiler service, sales, parts and rentals. Headquartered in Huntington Beach, the company has offices in Visalia and Modesto. PC to Host Send Silence Packing Event Porterville College will host Send Silence Packing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 30. Send Silence Packing, a program of Active Minds, is a nationally recognized suicide awareness program of 1,100 donated backpacks representing

the 1,100 college students who die by suicide each year. PC is one of 12 California colleges and universities hosting an event this fall. The goal of Send Silence Packing is to raise awareness about the incidence and impact of college student suicide and help people understand how they can be part of the solution. Active Minds, Inc. has collected and continues to collect backpacks and personal stories in memory or in honor of loved ones impacted by suicide to give a “face” to the lives lost; the personal stories written by families and friends accompany the backpacks. Send Silence Packing carries the message that preventing suicide is not just about lowering statistics, but about saving lives. This display is being sponsored by the California Mental Health Services Authority, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Program. For more information, call 7912326.

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14 • Valley Voice

Brown

Continued from p. 1

of the earlier days in his hometown of Stockton before it faced bankruptcy. “Stockton has so many problems now, and I don’t want to see this happen to Visalia. I want to help make sure Visalia maintains and improves by helping young college graduates find work in newly established industries.” Brown cites North Dakota’s 1% unemployment through new jobs as a result of increased industry for college graduates as an example for success. “This is my area of expertise. I would like to help create more opportunity for employment through manufacturing, storage distribution, food processing, transportation hubs, factories and energy.” He believes bringing in more small businesses and expanding industry is the future for our city’s continued success. Brown says he became far more interested in politics after joining the Federalist Society. He has worked with Bob Barr (former U.S. Congressman and Libertarian presidential nominee) and John Burton (former California Senate Pro Tem and current California Democratic Party chairman). He admits this experience has really helped him to see political issues from both sides and gain the needed wisdom necessary for a future in politics. He believes serving on city council is the best way to get started. As a past employee of Pacific Gas and Electric, Brown says he is now an expert in energy matters with a BS in industrial engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. While working for PG&E and also serving as a consultant on gas

19 September, 2013 and water issues at a San Francisco law firm, Brown attended law school and eventually passed the bar. He has eight years of experience as an energy consultant and has been actively involved in water politics. Although also now an attorney, he is still employed by Clean Tech Law Partners of San Francisco. When asked about some of the current issues facing our city, Brown readily admits he needs to learn more. He enjoys walking around town, meeting new people, and asking them about their main concerns and issues in Visalia. He agrees that “infill” should be a priority, but he also hopes that this would not interfere with the progress of new jobs coming to the area. “I believe in the long-term that the city will continue to grow to the north and west. I believe in encouraging development. I also believe Visalia needs to retain its character and sense of community. I would like to revitalize downtown Visalia by attracting more tourists, artists and commercial businesses. I would seek to discourage empty lots and abandoned properties.” Brown believes that his vision for increasing industry would help to alleviate some of the crime that is the result of joblessness and homelessness. “Visalia has some very positive attributes which make it potentially attractive for businesses. Visalia is centrally located between the ports of Oakland and Los Angeles, the relatively low cost of living makes Visalia attractive for raising families. It is located near Sequoia National Park which is great for tourism, and Tulare County is still an ideal place for agriculture. The main obstacle for Visalia is convincing industry to move into

this area and really making it a place business leaders want to come and set down roots. I believe I can help recruit business to Visalia.” Brown says that he is hard working, ready to learn, share his knowledge and contribute to his community. On a personal note, Brown enjoys playing guitar and is also quite an adventurer. He loves travel and lived in San Sebastian, Spain, for eight months and speaks fluent Spanish. He proposed to his wife, Sarah, at the base of Mt. Everest before climbing “some of it.” He also loves sports and is a regular basketball player at Kaweah Delta’s Lifestyles Center. More information about Michael Brown and his campaign are on Facebook. The writer, Adina Escarsega, owns The Clay Café in Downtown Visalia.

State of the City Presentation Set for September 24 Visalia Mayor Amy Shuklian and Vice Mayor Steve Nelsen will present “State of the City” on Tuesday, September 24, at 6 p.m., in the Charter Oak Ballroom of the Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia. The presentation will include discussion of the city budget, business growth and an update on city projects. A question-and-answer period will follow. Light refreshments will be served. Mayor Shuklian can be reached at 713-4400, ext. 8313, or ashuklian@ ci.visalia.ca.us. Vice Mayor Nelsen can be reached by calling 713-4400, ext. 7313, or snelsen@ci.visalia.ca.us.

Lawsuits Continued from p. 6

electric car charging station for use by its employees who wish to go electric, replacing all forklifts at the facility with electric powered models, removing all air conditioning equipment and replacing it with swamp coolers and a continuing list of other environment supportive upgrades. Visalia Mayor Amy Shuklian said she is happy to see the period come to an end with VWR safely settled into the community with its $2 million plus in annual sales tax revenues ready to dump into the city’s coffers each year. “We (the city council) feel that we did the right thing, and made

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the right choices in bringing VWR to Visalia. Despite the significant cost of the settlement for the city, it was a good investment for the city.” Councilmen Steve Nelson and Warren Gubler strongly echoed Shuklian’s position on both the settlement and the successful pursuit of VWR by the city. Both enthusiastically identified themselves as emphatically pro-business as representatives of the City of Visalia. Councilman Bob Link had no comments to make regarding the settlement or VWR, and Greg Collins could not be reached for comment.


19 September, 2013

Empty Storefronts Disappearing

In 2013, several commercial real estate market sectors have seen increased movement and new investment in expansion. The surplus of empty storefronts is dwindling—a welcome sight for both consumers and business owners. The diverse nature of commercial real estate in the Central Valley makes accurate and comprehensive market information often difficult to come by. Many ongoing projects, though, evidence the commercial market’s trending growth. In Visalia, the Sequoia Medical Center is still set for completion on July 1, 2014. In Tulare, a second Dollar General is slated to be finished in 2014 to compliment the company’s existing Tulare location. Further north, Fresno’s Marketplace at El Paseo is scheduled to open in March of 2014. This large-scale retail development, if successful, could spur similar developments in other Central Valley cities. Multiple Listing Service indicators show commercial property sales increased modestly from 2011 to 2012. This year is on pace to continue that growth. The number of available commercial listings has proportionally matched, and in some cities exceeded, the number of sold commercial properties. Inventory is still robust throughout Tulare County and the entire Central Valley. The sudden shift from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market, as recently seen in residential sales, is not likely to occur on the commercial side. Each commercial property trans-

WILLIAM MENKE action is highly dependent on a variety of factors. Cost comparison of leasing versus buying, potential renovation/ construction expenses, capital improvement calculations, environmental issues and location considerations are all part of the commercial purchasing agenda. Many of these aforementioned items slow the commercial property acquisition process. One newly emerging topic on the minds of prospective small business owners entering the commercial real estate market is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many buyers are hesitant to invest in a business/property without a confident understanding of how this new law’s provisions might impact their employment practices. The biggest hurdle for the purchase of commercial property remains financing. Government entities like the U. S. Small Business Administration offer specialized small business loans and grants that are accessible to businesses that meet certain operational standards or individuals who possess specific background qualifications. Options like Certified Development Company/504 Loans and the California Small Business Loan Guarantee Program provide non-traditional financing strategies that can help businesses acquire commercial property. As with the residential market, interest rates—though rising—are still at low levels. William Menke is a Realtor with the Guarantee Real Estate Flex Office. He can be reached at William@Guarantee.com.

Valley Voice • 15

TCWF Honors Lali Moheno

Lali Moheno is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of female farmworkers in Tulare County who are often victims of sexual harassment and other forms of violence. As a result, she is one of three community leaders to be honored by The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) with the 2013 California Peace Prize for their efforts to promote peace and prevent violence. In 2002, Moheno organized the inaugural Farmworker Women’s Health, Safety, Education and Environment Conference in honor of her mother, Juanita Saenz, and other mothers who worked as migrant laborers. Now in its 11th year, more than 1,000 people attend the annual conference, which addresses violence and other health concerns in the community. Moheno’s experience has taught her that many of the female farmworkers victimized in the fields were forced to suffer in silence due to fear of losing their livelihoods. Through her efforts, thousands of women and their families in Tulare County have been connected with health care and mental health services, as well as

advocacy support to combat sexual harassment. “Farmworker women are traumatized by violence and harassment, but it is never too late to rise above it,” said Moheno. “I know these women are strong, and we as a community can be supportive.” In addition to coordinating this annual conference, Moheno has served her community in numerous capacities including the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, Visalia Unified School District School Bond Committee, Association of Mexican Educators, Tulare County Mental Health Board and the Agricultural Workers Health Initiative/ La Cultural Cura. She is also active in the Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Latino Mental Health Collaborative. The other honorees are George Galvis, who promotes restorative justice in communities in the Bay Area, and Tasha Williamson, who provides support and compassion for families in San Diego County who have lost loved ones to gang or gun violence.

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16 • Valley Voice

Homeless

19 September, 2013 Lt. Steven Phillips, who covers the Oval and Downtown area, wants the public to know that, “I would prefer money be given to a designated and reputable charity (eg. Visalia Rescue Mission, His Kitchen). This way they don’t chance supporting a drug or alcohol habit. You just don’t know. It is always best to send the money where you know it will used in their best interest. Give money to a program with structure; where the money will be truly used to help someone to get off the streets.”

ones with homes that beg for a living. It is hard to know the difference. Homeless are less aggressive and pitiful. Panhandling is aggressive and very manipulative with grand stories. Other popular areas in Visalia targeted by aggressive panhandlers are the Dollar Tree and Grocery Outlet parking lot, Ross and Kohl’s parking lot, and Mary’s Vineyard. Everyone agreed that as long as we continue to support begging, begging will continue and it will get worse.

hiring another security guard just to stand in Garden Street Plaza and the adjoining parking structure to keep Continued from p. 1 homeless and panhandlers moving. A Sharp added that, “It is especially bad security guard cannot make an arrest, around Garden Street Park, but it is but their presence discourages loitera public park so there is nothing you ing and lets families enjoy the fountain can do about it unless they do somewithout being harassed. Downtown thing illegal. The police can ticket them already has security guards and two but they don’t have a permanent adpolice officers, but they cover an area dress to send the ticket to. It’s really a that extending from the Oval to downfrustrating mess and getting worse.” town that encompasses some 70 blocks. According to a report made by city Police officers also move along staff, there were 450 calls for a patrol ofthe homeless who try ficer to deal with a transient to sleep on the benchproblem from July to Dees when Garden Street cember 2012. In the first six Plaza closes at 10:30pm. months of 2013, the calls for Sharp and the Downservice have increased to 533. town Alliance plan on beSolutions range from ing very proactive about the the obvious to the creative. problem. “We’ve worked too The Visalia Rescue Mission long and too hard to make (VRM) is working alongdowntown the positive place side the city to end aggresit is and will throw every lesive panhandling and reduce gal means possible to deal the number of homeless. with it. We aren’t going to let The VRM is updating their the homeless change that.” “Connect Cards” that peoAidina Escarsega, ownple should hand out instead er of The Clay Café, said, of cash. These cards have all “These past few months the information a homeless I have seen an increase of person would need. They panhandling, bicycles and list all the services Visalia skateboarding on the sideThe Visalia Rescue Mission will be implementing a storage bin program in an attempt to cut down on stolen shopping carts. provides and where to get Cavale explained that some of Another solution the VRM will be walks, especially in the Garden Plaza three meals a day. “There is no reason anyone in Tulare County should go the panhandlers are not homeless implementing at the end of October, area of downtown. The police and secuhungry,” said Jessica Cavale, director of and many of them are not even from with the help of city staff, is a program to rity are boosting efforts to help with the development. “The VRM serves three our area. Some are professional pan- confront the problem of shopping carts problem. I have seen a lot of improvemeals a day, 365 days a year with sand- handlers that are bused in from oth- throughout the city. The homeless will ment these past two weeks. I think if wiches available in between. We strong- er cities, collect money, pool it at the be offered a locked storage bin to put we can all work together, we can keep ly advocate against panhandling and end of the day, and go back home. their belongings instead of pushing them this a nice area for families and couples Lt. Phillips explained that home- around town. The shopping cart will then to visit. Downtown Merchants and the discourage anyone from giving money. If you want to buy somebody a ham- lessness and professional panhandling be returned to the store where it belongs. public can help by calling security when The Downtown Visalia Alliance necessary to report any wrong doing. burger fine, just don’t hand over money.” are two different issues. There are the true homeless, and then there are the had more obvious solutions, such as


Tulare County Farm Bureau to Host Fourth Annual Bounty of the County

Bringing the Beatles to Visalia are (l-r): Gregory Wilmot (“John”), Axel Clarke (“Ringo”), Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”) and Jesse Wilder (“George”).

50th Anniversary of Beatlemania to be Celebrated at Visalia Fox With the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania only a few months away, an award-winning musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein comes to the Visalia Fox Theatre on Friday, September 27 at 8 p.m. Featuring the live music of renowned tribute band Abbey Road, the show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. In mid-December 1963, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” began playing on U.S. radio stations. Two months later, Liverpool’s Beatles first set foot in New York and charmed America at their first press conference, but the British Invasion officially began when the Fab Four sang four of their original songs (“All My Loving,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”) on the February 9th airing of The Ed Sullivan Show. This performance alone captivated 60 percent of the American viewing audience and before you could say, “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” Beatlemania swept the country. Within a matter of weeks, the Beat-

les went from complete unknowns to household names in the U.S. At one point in the spring, the band held down all top five positions on the Billboard “Hot 100,” a feat not accomplished before or since. “In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” gives the audience the chance to “be there” at pivotal moments in the extraordinary career of The Beatles: Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club, their first American press conference, The Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, Abbey Road Studios and the final live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corp offices. With manager Brian Epstein serving as narrator, In My Life allows the audience to get a glimpse inside the world of The Beatles from their point of view, as well as hear some of the greatest songs ever written. More than a Beatles tribute concert, historical settings such as the Cavern Club are established on stage with videos and images, which play behind the actors and musicians on a video screen. Four Beatles tribute musicians and

Continued on p. 22 »

20th Annual Taste of Downtown Set for October 1 Downtown Visalia’s community of restaurants will open their doors and offer a taste of their favorite menu items at the 20th Annual Taste of Downtown Visalia on Tuesday, October 1, from 5- 9 p.m. A ticket for this oldest annual food tast-

Shelly Wade, owner of Gourmet Desserts & Wedding Cake, (second from right) at last year’s Taste of Downtown Visalia

ing event in the Valley gains admission to 30 participating downtown restaurants and host locations, as well as entrance to wine tasting at Bank of the Sierra and beer tasting at Central Valley Community Bank. Attendees will spend the night strolling the streets with friends, enjoying culinary treats and live music, or jumping on the Visalia Towne Trolley for a lift to their favorite restaurant. Guests from all over the United States have come to this popular event that some have dubbed “a grown-up’s trick or treat.” Tickets are $35, but the ticket price goes up to $40 after September 20 (and this event sells out each year). Tickets can be purchased at the Downtown Visalians office, 119 S. Church St., Visalia, by phone at 732-7737 or online with a Paypal account at www.downtownvisalia.com.

The Tulare County Farm Bureau will present Bounty of the County from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday, September 28, at the Historic Seven Sycamores Ranch in Ivanhoe. Bounty of the County will be a celebration of local agriculture with bountiful samplings of food, beverages and specialty products grown in Tulare County. The country casual evening will also include live music by local country rock band Poor Man’s Poison as well as door prizes provided by Family Farm Fresh, participating exhibitors and the Farm Bureau. “We’re excited to provide the community with an event where they can come out and enjoy samples of fine local food and wine in a casual, country environment,” said Steve Godlin, Tulare County Farm Bureau president. Some participants showcasing their culinary specialties at Bounty of the County include: Family Farm Fresh, Rosa Brothers Milk Company, 210

Café, Candace’s Creative Catering, Barefoot Wines and Summerhill Dairy. New this year is the “Best of Bounty” contest, where patrons can vote for their favorite dishes exhibited at the event. Guests will vote for their favorites in the categories of: Most Savory, Best Sweet Treat and Best Fresh Product. Exhibitors will be awarded prizes, recognition and, of course, bragging rights for being named the “Best of Bounty.” Tickets are $30 and are available by contacting the Tulare County Farm Bureau at 732-8301 or TCFB@tulcofb.org. For more information, visit www.tulcofb.org. Tulare County is the leading dairy-producing county in the nation and a top agricultural producer in California. The Tulare County Farm Bureau represents more than 2,200 family farmers in the county and is dedicated to public education and advocacy on behalf of its diverse membership.

Vintage Press offered roasted baby pumpkins at last year’s event.

Visalia Home Expo to Feature More than 250 Booths The 12th Annual Visalia Home Expo is coming to the Visalia Convention Center September 21-22. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The show will feature more than 250 exhibits including: • The Home Depot will show its Smart Appliances and explain the 3R’s of home improvement. • Eight companies offer a floorto-ceiling Master Bedroom Makeover grand prize, which includes design consultation, professional painting, flooring, window coverings, a comfortable sleep system, luxurious bedding and a closet upgrade. • XFINITY Home will present total security and home control solutions including video monitoring, real-time alerts to a mobile device, thermostat control and more. • Star Wireless will show the latest deals on popular Direct TV packages including the NFL Sunday Ticket.

• AeroSeal will present its newest products, which locate and seal leaky air ducts. • Weed Man will explain what’s best for your lawn this autumn, and the owners of a new local company, goGreenXtremeClean, will show you how restore concrete or walkways back to their natural beauty. • Talk with realtors, expert homebuilders and local mortgage lenders. • Enter to win show prizes including: a Spa Getaway including wine tasting, a Samsung 3D Blu-Ray Home Theater System, and a $350 Mall Shopping Spree. Other highlights include the 6h Annual Kids’ Cook-Off, emceed by Kathy Powers, CEO and executive producer of the national PBS series “Hey Kids, Let’s Cook!,” and the 7th Annual BBQ Rib & Chili Cook-Off. Tickets are $5, $3 for seniors (62+), and children (12 and younger) are admitted free.


18 • Valley Voice

19 September, 2013

Corcoran Cotton Festival to Celebrate City’s Roots Corcoran’s small town roots and agricultural past are put on display every fall during the Cotton Festival and Parade, which coincide with the start of the cotton harvest. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 6. Events will include a pancake breakfast, music, craft show, frog-jumping contest, puppet shows and dancing in the streets. The most popular events are the parade with floats

Joe Nichols

Tyler Farr

KJUG-106.7FM continues its concert series with two more South Valley concerts this month. On September 23, Joe Nichols will headline concert at Civic Park in Hanford, and on September 25, Tyler Farr will perform a concert at Adventure Park in Visalia. Nichols is known for combining outside elements with his country music, looking to create his own unique sound. “There’s always going to be a traditional element in my music that I won’t change, and really just can’t change,” he explained. “But I can reach beyond my comfort zone, too. Certainly in 2013, it would be foolish not to try. “I realize there are purists who could be let down by that mindset, and there have been times I have absolutely felt that I was letting people down by trying new things. And, of course, that created massive fear in me that probably led to decisions that hurt my progress. So I’m glad that I now feel comfortable enough in my own skin to know what being true to myself really is. I

am true to traditional country music and always will be. I have bled and sweat and cried country music my entire life. And broadening my approach won’t change that one bit.” Farr was first introduced to country music at age 16, when he spent a summer on the road with his stepfather, who played lead guitar for country icon George Jones. Farr grew to love country music, and he decided to make the move to Nashville to pursue a career as an artist. He landed a job working as a bouncer at the legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge for five months until he was able to convince the management to let him sing. For the next few years, he would play the Tootsie’s stage four nights a week, in addition to working security at the door. In addition to recording and songwriting, Farr has toured extensively with Colt Ford, for whom Tyler wrote the song, “Hey Y’all.” Both concerts are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. For more information, visit kjug.com.

sponsored by local businesses, and the crowning of the King and Queen of the Cotton Festival. The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Whitley Avenue. Other activities will include Kid’s Days activities, a Rib Cook-off, beer tasting and music. Vendor forms and contest guidelines will be available prior to the event. For more information, visit http:// corcoranchamber.com.

Nichols, Farr to Headline KJUG Concerts

A highlight of the annual Corcoran Cotton Festival is the parade. (Photo by Evelyn Fabrie, and courtesy of The Corcoran Journal)

Motorsports Show, Craft Boutique and Car Parts Swap Meet Planned

Have a meeting? Need a room?

Why not come to the Courthouse Gallery and Exeter Historical Museum, where there is a meeting room for most types of events? With room for nearly 100 people, the conference room upstairs has kitchen facilities and a panoramic view. Need more room? Expand into the patio downstairs. Located in the old Mt. Whitney Light and Power building, the Courthouse Gallery & Museum now showcases the best artists of the area. Come visit the gallery and museum and stay a while in historic Exeter, Tulare County’s Mural City.

The Courthouse Gallery & Museum 125 South “B” Street Exeter, California 93221

(559) 592-5900

www.exeterhistoricalmuseum.com Saturdays & Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Last year’s Calvary Chapel Visalia Motorsports Show featured 170 vehicles.

Calvary Chapel Visalia will host its 5th Annual Motorsports Show, Craft Boutique and Car Parts Swap meet on Saturday, September 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, which is free to the public, offers a variety of activities for all ages. Last year’s show event featured 170 cars, trucks, motorcycles and specialty vehicles on display. There were over 30 craft booths with a wide variety of unique items including clothing, jewelry, handmade craft items and food. This year’s show is expected to feature 200 cars, with many of the local

car clubs competing for the “Most Car Club Members” award. Along with the craft booths and car show, there will be a kids’ area with a bounce house and organized children’s activities, and food… lots of food, including coffee and breakfast items, a BBQ lunch, baked goods and the A&W Root Beer Truck serving ice cream floats. There will be music throughout the day and a great selection of raffle items to bid on, including a beautiful, fully refurbished antique Coke machine. Finally, this will be the second year that car parts swappers can set up a booth and display their wares. This event supports the Calvary Kids’ Bible Clubs, which are afterschool programs in elementary schools around Visalia. Currently, there are 12 Bible Clubs in eight schools. Each week, volunteers meet after school with kids who have signed up for the program for an hour or so of games, music, crafts and a Bible message. All of the proceeds from this show are used to support this program and the Reaching Youth Karate Program. Each car registered ($25 entry fee) earns its owner a t-shirt, free BBQ lunch, and merchant award (first 150 cars registered). Craft and car parts vendors may rent a space for $25 – no percentage of sales required. Calvary Chapel Visalia, the site of the event, is located at 11720 Avenue 264 in Visalia. For additional information on attending or registering a car, call the church office at 687-0220. For information about setting up a booth in the craft/boutique area, call 625-2638.


19 September, 2013

Valley Voice • 19

Sound N Vision to Supply Music for Festival of Hope

The Festival of Hope combines art and music for all ages.

Festival of Hope Returns to Tulare County Innovative chalk art murals and entertainment for children and adults will highlight the fourth annual Festival of Hope on September 28-29 at Tulare Outlet Center, 1407 Retherford St., Tulare. Performers and live concerts on the main stage at the two-day event will include Tulare River Drummers, Mezcal, Gospel Whiskey Runners, Poor Man’s Poison and the new international sensation from the U.K., Big Black Delta. (See accompanying article.)

The Festival of Hope, which starts at noon both days, is hosted by the Tulare & Kings Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force and other partners, including the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency, Kings County Behavioral Health, Turning Point, Tulare Youth Service Bureau and Kings View. The event is funded by the Mental Health Services Act, Proposition 63. For more information, visit www. sptf.org, www.facebook.com/HOPE. SPTF or twitter.com/sptf.

Tulare Historical Museum Celebrates National Museum Day Live with Free Admission On Saturday, September 28, Tulare Historical Museum will open its doors free of charge as part of Smithsonian Magazine’s ninth annual Museum Day Live! A nationwide event, Museum Day Live! offers free admission to visitors presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket at a participating museum or cultural institution. Museum Day Live! represents Smithsonian’s commitment to make learning and the spread of knowledge accessible to everyone, giving museums across all 50 states the opportunity to emulate the admission policy of the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C. Last year’s event drew over 400,000 participants, and this year’s event should draw record-high participation. The Museum Day Live! ticket is now available to download at Smithsonian.com/museumday. Visitors who present the Museum Day Live! ticket will gain free entrance for two at participating venues for one day only. One ticket is permitted per household, per email address. For more information about Museum Day Live! 2013 and a list of other participating museum and cultural institutions, visit Smithsonian. com/museumday.

In 1980, a group of Tulare residents with a passion for local history formed the Tulare City Historical Society. Their mission was to build a museum that would tell the story of Tulare from its beginning to modern times, where visitors can “meet” Tulare’s pioneer families and see fully furnished rooms from their homes and businesses. The museum features Tulare heroes, including Olympic champion Bob Mathias and Sim Iness; military leaders Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. and General Maurice Preston; and renowned aviators Tex Rankin and Bryan Allen. The museum they built, Tulare Historical Museum, is located at 444 W. Tulare Ave., Tulare. Its hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. The museum is also open the third Sunday of the month for free, during the months of September-May to correlate with its Sunday @ 2 program Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors 55+ and Southern California Automobile Club members, $2 for students, and free for Tulare City Historical Society members and children under 5 years old. For more information, call 6862074 or visit www.tularehistoricalmuseum.org.

Once again, Tulare and Kings Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force has teamed up with Sound N Vision Foundation to present the all-ages and free Festival of Hope at Tulare Outlet Mall on September 28-29. This year, performances by the U.K.’s Big Black Delta and Los Angeles’ Caught a Ghost and Song Preservation Society are among the highlights. Big Black Delta’s live show is nothing short of explosive. Band leader Jonathan Bates, (who also played in mega-band M83 and fronted Mellowdrone) stands center stage swapping instruments throughout the set, while delivering a throaty tenor over unapologetic layers of catchy fuzz, portentous synthesizers and samples, all the while backed by a tight live rhythm section highlighted by two female and male drummers in perfect synchronized time. The Festival of Hope show is their last night on an impressive world festival tour. Caught a Ghost is a new project from Los Angeles songwriter and producer Jesse Nolan. The core of the group features Nolan’s kindergarten classmate Stephen Edelstein on drums and sultry vocals, along with percussions from actress Tessa Thompson. The group’s modern take on blue-eyed soul combines elements of classic Motown and stax volt compositions with influences from dubstep, 90s rap and contemporary electronica. A horn section and back up female singer fill out the groove in the live setting, making the band a must-see. Song Preservation Society’s fromthe-heart music is brought to full and beautiful life with brass, woodwinds, strings and even fuzz guitar. In 1966, it could have fit between the Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, and Love; in 1976, it would make people think of the last Big Star album; right now it shines through bands like Fleet Foxes and The Shins to be a ray of light all its own. When they started out, they might have picked that name just for fun, but on Ready Room, they’ve really made something worth preserving. Poor Man’s Poison, Gospel Whiskey Runners and Mezcal will take the stage on Sunday, September 29.

Big Black Delta

Over the past year, Hanford’s Poor Man’s Poison have become the valley’s pride and joy. After winning the National Texaco Country Music Showdown the band has been nationally televised and toured extensively. Their unique Americana songwriting centers around big vocal harmonies and the acoustic instrumentation of guitars, mandolin and banjo. Visalia’s Gospel Whiskey Runners were recently flown to select U.S. cities such as Chicago and New York for Pandora Internet Radio-sponsored performances. The band has gained global popularity through their success on Internet radio. But perhaps band frontman Jerrod Turner said it best, “Our goal has been to bring our hope-filled songs to those who are stuck in the darkest places in this world. We’ve sung in bars, churches, nightclubs, street corners and homeless shelters. Playing music for people at all of these venues has opened up conversations about the songs we sing and why we sing them. We would like to let the music continue to be a means of filling ears and hearts with the sweet news of hope.” Local Visalia favorites Mezcal express their love for a wide variety of world music, combining elements of cumbia, jazz, rock and soul. This family band is led by Carlos Rodriguez. For this performance, Rodriguez will also showcase his youth music students that he mentors year-round.

The Festival of Hope features a variety of bands. Main Gallery artists Lonni Flowers, watercolorist, and Jeri Burzin, photographer, will display their artwork “Central Valley Colors” at Sue Sa’s Clubhouse at 699 W. Center St., Visalia, from September 6 to October 30. Pictured above is Burzin’s “CSUF Vines.”The artist reception is 6-8 p.m. Friday, September 6. For more information, visit www.maingalleryvisalia.com.

12th Annual


Sept. 25 – Ribbon Cutting Peoples Care 10-11 a.m.
 The Visalia Chamber of Commerce will hold a Ribbon Cutting to welcome People’s Care at 909 W. Murray. Sept. 25 – Oak Meadows 10th Anniversary Open House – 3:30-6 p.m. Oak Meadows will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an open house. The event will feature a guided tour, refreshments and an awards presentation. Oak Meadows is located at 111 W School Ave., Visalia. For information, 732-4152.

music

September

Sept. 20, 21 (Every Friday and Saturday) – Friday and Saturday Nights with The Crawdads – 7 p.m. The Crawdads play all the standards and classics live every Friday and Saturday nights. Afterwards, dance ‘til you drop with DJs on the first and second floors at Crawdaddy’s in downtown Visalia from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Call 625-5300 or visit crawdaddysvisalia.com for information. Sept. 21 – Blues and Roots Festival – 6-9 p.m. Hanford’s Annual Hanford Blues and Roots Festival will be held from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. under the stars in beautiful Hanford Civic Park. Bring your dancing shoes, blankets and lawn chairs for this evening of Blues in downtown Hanford. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the music kicks off at 6 p.m. There will be the traditional beer and wine garden sponsored by Budweiser, BBQ and other food vendors. Admission is free. For information, visit mainstreethanford.com/blues.htm. Sept. 22 – COS Symphonic Band and Sequoias Winds – 4 p.m. The College of the Sequoia’s Symphonic Band and Sequoias Winds will perform a free concert in the College of Sequoia’s Theater. Sept. 23 – Joe Nichols – 7 p.m. Joe Nichols will perform at Hanford Civic Park as part of the free KJUG concert in the park series. Sept. 24 (Every Tuesday) – Three’s A Crowd Band – 7 p.m. Every Tuesday Three’s A Crowd Band plays pop tunes from 70s to current hits at Crawdaddy’s in Downtown Visalia. Join DJ Jr Perez from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. for Phat Tuesdays. Call 625-5300 or visit crawdaddysvisalia.com for information. Sept. 25 – Tyler Farr Tyler Farr, known for his single “Redneck Crazy,” will perform at the Visalia Adventure Park on Wednesday, September 25. Tickets, $10, includes concert and unlimited mini-golf, bumper boats, family track and batting cages. For information, visit adventurepark.com. Sept. 27 – In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles - 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 - $45. For more information, call 625-1369 or visit www.foxvisalia.org. September 28 – Concert on the Grass – 1:30 Three Rivers Performing Arts will present its annual Concert on the Grass with the Sosa Sisters headlining. The event begins with a casual hour picnic with performances by Ken Elias, Ruben Reyes, and the Kaweah Brass. The concert includes musicians and dancers Lauren Adaska, Gabe Pesquiera, Patricia LaCroix, Keith Crain, Anna Adaska, and Carol Greninger. Works from the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers book will be also be on display. Admission is free, though donations gratefully accepted. The event will be at 44879 Dinely Drive. For information, visit ThreeRiversPerformingArts.org

September 28 – Visalia Opera Company and the Arts Consortium Fundraiser – 7-9 p.m. Visalia Opera Company and the Arts Consortium will host a fundraiser for the 2013-2014 opera season at The Lakes Clubhouse, 1605 North Acres Street. The event will feature live artists demonstrations, including performances by the VOC singers and ballet company. A silent auction will be held and wine and cheese will be served. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the Visalia Opera Company. For information, visit visaliaoperacompany.org. Sept. 28 – The Joshua Tree – 8-10 p.m. The Joshua Tree (The Ultimate U2 Tribute Band) will perform at the Cellar Door in Visalia. Over 21 only. Tickets, $10, available at ticketweb.com. For more information, visit www.snvfoundation.org. Sept. 28 – Mehrten Drive – 10 p.m. Mehrten Drive will perform its contemporary Country sound at the Visalia Brewing Company, 112 W Main St., Visalia.

October Oct. 4 – Streetlight Junkie, Motel Drive Streetlight Junkie, Doc’s Holiday and Motel Drive will be playing at the Cellar Door in Visalia giving the proceeds to Sweet Nectar Society. $10 at the door. For more information, visit www.snvfoundation.org. October 5 – Ernie Sites - 7 p.m. Mavericks Coffee House and Roasting Company, a venue for cowboy music and poetry, will present Ernie Sites, the complete cowboy entertainer. Tickets $25 at Mavericks, 238 E. Caldwell, Visalia. Seating is limited. For information, 624-1400. Oct. 5 – Tone of Voice – 8 p.m. Tone of Voice, rated No. 3 on the ReverbNation alternative charts for Fresno, will perform at the Visalia Brewing Company, 112 W. Main Street, Visalia. Oct. 10 – Pure Bathing Culture – 9:30 p.m. Pure Bathing Culture will headline this 21+ show at the Cellar Door in downtown Visalia. Brother Luke & the Comrades will also perform. For more information, visit www. snvfoundation.org. Oct. 10 – COS Fall HS Choral Festival – 8-12 p.m. The College of the Sequoia’s Fall High School Choral Festival will be held at the L.J. Williams Community Theater, 1001 W Main St., in Visalia. Admission is free. October 11-13 – Visalia Roundup The Cowboy Cultural Committee’s 23rd Annual Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering will be held at Clarence Ritchie’s Barn -16338 Avenue 308, Visalia. Headlining the event is musician Nancy Lee, poet Gary Robertson, and The Saddle Cats quartet. Friday features show, peach cobbler and a dance. Saturday features dinner, a show and cobbler. Sunday morning a

cowboy church will be held. Tickets, $40-$48, available at visaliacowboys.com. Oct. 15, 16 – Mid Semester Recital – 3 p.m. The College of the Sequoias Music Department will hold its Mid Semester Recital in the Sierra Music Building on the Visalia Campus. Admission is free. Oct. 18 – Miner – 9:30 p.m. Miner will headline this 21+ show at the Cellar Door in downtown Visalia. Joel Adam Russell Band will also perform. A free Taste the Arts afterparty is slated. For more information, visit www.snvfoundation.org. October 19 - Cup of Jazz - 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Cafe 210 will present a Cup of Jazz featuring fresh coffee and jazz at 210 W. Center Ave., Visalia. For information, 739-9010. Oct. 19 – Triumphant Tchaikovsky! – 7:30 p.m. Tulare County Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 2013-14 season at the Visalia Fox with a musical visit to Vegas, complete with rhinestones and furs. The concerto includes a stop along Route 66 and a bubbly carbonation of Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. For more information, visit tcsymphonyleague.org.

November November 1 – Mary Kay - 7 p.m. Mavericks Coffee House and Roasting Company, a venue for cowboy music and poetry, will present Mary Kay, multiple award-winning western performer. Tickets $25 at Mavericks, 238 E. Caldwell, Visalia. Seating is limited. For information, 624-1400. Nov. 1 – Vince Gill – 7:30 p.m. Visalia Fox Theater and KJUG will present Country music star Vince Gill at The Visalia Fox Theater, 300 W. Main Street, Visalia. The singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist has recorded more than 17 studio albums, sold more than 26 million copies and won 20 Grammys and 18 CMA Awards. Tickets $40-$100. For information, visit foxvisalia. org. November 8-10 – Marriage of Figaro Visalia Opera Company will present the Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Main Street Theater in Visalia. For information, visit visaliaoperacompany.org. Nov. 9 – Joni Morris – 8 p.m. Joni Morris performs “Legendary Ladies” at the Hanford Fox Theatre, 326 N. Irwin Street, Hanford. Morris performs the songs of such legends as Patsy Cline, Connie Francis, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris, and other favorites. For information, visit foxhanford.com. Nov. 10 – Meat Puppets – 7 p.m. Meat Puppets with The World Takes, featuring Bonebrake of X and Strangevine will perform an early show at the Cellar Door in Visalia. Tickets for the 21+ event are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For information, visit www.snvfoundation.org. Nov. 17 – COS Symphonic Band and Sequoias Winds – 4 p.m. The College of the Sequoia’s Symphonic Band and Sequoias Winds will perform a free concert in the College of Sequoia’s Theater.

events

September

Sept. 19 – Lunch Bytes Seminar – 12-1 p.m. Visalia Chamber of Commerce’s Lunch Bites Seminar will focus on Email for Business. The event is free at Fresno Pacific University, Visalia Campus. For information, 734-5876. Sept. 19 – Independent Film Movement Series 6- 7:45 p.m. Tulare County Library, Visalia Branch will continue its monthly independent film movie series with La Sirgia in the Visalia Branch Library Blue Room. In the film, Alicia lives with war memories that invade her mind. She tries to reshape her life in La Sirgia, a dilapidated hostel on the shores of a great lake in the highlands of the Andes. The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles. Parental guidance is recommended. For information, call Rocio Haro, 713-2705 Sept. 19 – Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group – 6:30-8 p.m.
 On the third Thursday each month, Tulare & Kings Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force holds a peer support group for Survivors of Suicide Loss. Attendees are not required to share, but are encouraged to feel comfortable doing so. The group meets at 210 W. Center in Visalia. Sept. 20 – SHRM of Tulare/Kings County 12th Annual Conference – 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. SHRM of Tulare/Kings County, a local chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), will hold its 12th Annual Conference on Sept. 20 at the Visalia Convention Center. Renowned motivational speaker Craig Zablocki will give the keynote address. Registration fees are $125 for SHRM of Tulare/Kings County members and $150 for non-members. For information, call Noemi Sanchez at 651-5000 or visit www. shrmtularekings.org. Sept. 20-22 – Tule River Pow Wow The Tule River Tribal Council and Eagle Mountain Casino present the Annual Tule River Tribal Pow-Wow. The event features a drum contest, dancing contest, chicken dance contest, hand drum contest and cultural demonstrations. Participants from tribes throughout California and beyond participate. Arts, crafts, and food booths are also a part of the event. For information, Tule River Tribe Recreation Department, 782-5554, ext. 2109. Sept. 20 – Viva Cristo Rey!’ Mexico’s Cristero War, 1926-1929 – 7-8 p.m. Porterville College Cultural Historical Awareness Program (CHAP) will sponsor a presentation by History Professor Jay Hargis at Porterville College Theater. The event is free. For information, visit www.pc.cc.ca.us/CHAP. Sept. 21-22 – Visalia Home Expo – 10 a.m. The 12th Annual Visalia Home Expo will be held at the Visalia Convention Center. More than 250 home and garden displays featuring decorating, remodeling, home theater and technology. Giveaways include a master bedroom makeover, valued at $5,000. Tickets are $5; $3 Seniors; Children Under 12 free. For

information, visit VisaliaHomeShows.com. Sept. 21 - 16th Anniversary of Evening Under the Stars – 7:30-11 p.m. This annual benefit for Lemoore Youth Recreation Scholarship Fund, featuring live entertainment, hors d’ouevres and specialty dishes, wine tasting, imported beers, a silent auction and drawings, will be held in downtown Lemoore between Heinlen and Fox Street. Tickets are $50, $350 for a table of eight. Discounts for tickets purchase by Aug. 16. For more information, call 924-6767. Sept. 22 – 22nd Annual Tulare County Job Fair – 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tulare County Employment Connection will present a job fair at the Visalia Convention Center. For information, visit employmentconnect.org. Sept. 22 – Harvest Moon BBQ – 4:30 p.m. The Tulare County Historical Society will hold a Harvest Moon BBQ on Sept. 22. All proceeds to benefit the museum improvement fund. Juni Fisher, winner of the Western Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award and Tulare County native, will perform. BBQ beef and chicken dinner provided by the Happy Cookers of the Tulare Ag Show. Homemade ice cream will be served for dessert. Tickets must be purchased in advance for $45. For information, call 732-5829 or 626-4988 before Sept. 21. Sept. 24 – State of the City – 6 p.m. Visalia Mayor Amy Shuklian and Vice Mayor Steve Nelson will present a State of the City presentation in the Charter Oak Ballroom, Visalia Convention Center. The presentation will include a discussion of the city budget, business growth, an update on city projects and question-and-answer period. Light refreshments will be served. For information, call Nancy Loliva at 713-4535. Sept. 24 - Community Ceramics - 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Porterville College Community will offer a non-credit course Tuesdays. This class includes learning techniques in hand-building, slab-building and wheel throwing. Supplies needed include 5 lbs. of clay (not included). Cost is $30 per person. For more information on Community Education Classes call 7912492 or visit portervillecollege.edu/community_ed. Sept. 24 – National Voter Registration Day 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
 The League of Women Voters will have a table for National Voter Registration Day in the Visalia Mall near the North entrance. Sept. 24 – State of the City – 6 p.m. Visalia Mayor Amy Shuklian and Vice Mayor Steve Nelson will present a State of the City presentation in the Charter Oak Ballroom, Visalia Convention Center. The presentation will include a discussion of the city budget, business growth, an update on city projects and question-and-answer period. For information, call Nancy Loliva at 713-4535.

Sept. 25-26 – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) Training - 8:30-4:30
 Tulare & Kings Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force will hold an ASIST training session at the 210 Center in Visalia. Registration is required. For information, visit sptf.org or call (559) 624-7474. Sept. 26 – Business After Hours – 5:30-7:30 p.m. Business After Hours will be hosted by Keller Williams Realty at Main Street Promenade, 00 East Main Street, Visalia. For information, 734-5876. Sept. 26 – Tulare County HRD Wellness Fair – 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
 The sixth annual Health and Wellness Fair will be held at the Visalia Convention Center on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012 with over 1,400 employees participating. For information, visit visalia.org. Sept. 26 – Corcoran Cotton Festival Coronation – 6 p.m. The Corcoran Cotton Festival Royalty Coronation will be held. Location has not been announced. For information, 992-4514. Sept. 26 – An Evening of Mexican Folk Dancing- 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Tulare County Library, Visalia Branch will host An Evening of Mexican Folk Dancing in the Visalia Branch Library Blue Room. Learn about the different styles of Mexican folk dance and enjoy performances of the dances by Woodlake High School students and their teacher Hector Corvera. For information, visit the Reference Desk or call 713-2703. Sept. 27 – Fourth Friday Coffee – 7:30 a.m. Meet with Corcoran Chamber Ambassador Mike Graville for a cup of coffee at MariscosEl Capitan, 1220 Whitley Avenue. Networking, Information and Coffee. Topics are up to you, coffee is on the chamber. Sept. 27 – Intro to Microsoft Word – 8:30 a.m. Tulare Public Library’s computer class will be Intro to Microsoft Word, Part 2. To register, call 685-4503 or visit the Library Research and Information Desk. September 28 – Walk of Hope - 9 a.m.
 Tulare & Kings Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force (SPTF) and NAMI Tulare County will hold a Walk of Hope at Del Lago Park in Tulare. Free bus service from the Tulare Outlet Center to Del Lago Park and return transportation will be provided. For information, visit facebook.com/HOPE.SPTF. Sept. 28-29 – 4th Annual Festival of Hope
 Tulare & Kings Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force will hold a two day event featuring a Walk of Hope, entertainment, resource booths, kids activities, and professional and amateur chalk murals, at the Tulare Outlet Center. For information, visit facebook.com/ HOPE.SPTF. Sept. 28 – Annual Bounty of the County Event – 5-8 p.m. The Tulare County Farm Bureau will host this tasting event at Historic Seven Sycamores Ranch, Ivanhoe. Call Farm Bureau for tickets at 732-8301 – after July 15.

community September

Sept. 19 – Friends of the Library – 6 p.m. Friends of the Tulare Public Library will meet in the Charter Room. The public is invited to join. Sept. 22 – The Visalia Harley Davidson Customer Appreciation Ride The Visalia Harley Davidson Customer Appreciation Ride will be held at Visalia Harley Davidson, 30681 Highway 99, in Visalia. The groups will ride to Cambria for a free BBQ Hamburger Lunch. For information, call 7334647. Sept. 23-Oct. 17 – Fat Burning 101 – 4:20 p.m.-5:20 p.m. Porterville College Community will offer a non-credit course Mondays-Thursdays in the campus Fitness Center. Cost is $40 per person. This course is designed to teach members of the community to signal their body to burn fat; lose fat without losing muscle weight; do burst training exercise that melts fat off like butter; eat their way out of excess fat; achieve and maintain their healthiest body for life; analyze their ultrasound body composition; lower their risk for heart diseases, stroke, and diabetes; and to prepare simple snacks, drinks and meals for a healthy family. For more information, call 791-2492 or visit portervillecollege.edu/community_ed. Sept. 25 – Porterville Relay For Life Blood Drive – 3-8 p.m. Porterville Relay for Life will hold a Blood Drive at Black Bear Diner, 910 West Olive Avenue. Donors will receive a T-shirt and an individual pie, plus a variety of discounts from Valley businesses. Photo ID and Social Security Number are required at donor registration.

from Valley businesses. For information, 781-3200. Sept. 28 – Corcoran High School 19571958 Reunion Corcoran High School classes of 1957 and 1958 will hold a reunion at a private residence in Corcoran. Tickets are $15. For information, call 285-5784 or 380-6077. Sept. 28 – Sci-Fi Fantasy Club – 1 p.m. Tulare Public Library’s newest book club will meet on the last Saturday of Sept. to discuss Von Nuemann’s War. To register, call 685-4503 or visit the Library Research and Information Desk. Sept. 28 – Family Game Night – 5 p.m. The last Friday every month, Tulare Public Library holds its Family Game Night. Oct. 2– COS Blood Bowl – 10 a.m.–3 p.m. A blood drive will be held in the Quad area of the College of Sequoias. Donors receive a Blood Bowl T-shirt and discounts for valley businesses. For information, call 737-6195. Oct. 3 – Porterville Developmental Center Blood Drive – 12:30-4:30 p.m. Porterville Developmental Center, 26501 Avenue 140, will host a blood drive. Donors will receive a CCBC tote bag, plus a variety of discounts from Valley businesses for dining, recreation, entertainment, and services. For information, 782-2090. Oct. 3 – Exeter Community Blood Drive – 3-7 p.m. The community of Exeter will host a blood drive at A & W Root Beer, 420 N. Kaweah. Donors will receive discounts from Valley businesses. For information, 732-5356.

Sept. 26 – Southern California Edison Big Creek Blood Drive – 10 a.m.-1 p.m. A Blood Drive will be hosted by Southern California Edison Big Creek, at Camp Edison Campgrounds, 42696 Tollhouse, in Shaver Lake. All participants will receive a voucher for a free Pint of Baskin Robbins Ice Cream, Fresno Fair Vouchers and Fresno Grizzlies game discounts. For information, call 893-2052.

Oct. 4-5 – Lemon Cove Women’s Club Huge Yard Sale The Lemon Cove Women’s Club will have a yard sale at 32792 Sierra Dr. (Highway 198) in Lemon Cove on Oct 4 at 9 a.m. and Oct 5 at 7:30 a.m. Donations of yard sale items are welcome. Booth space is available for $25 a day. For information call 597-1416 or 3594465.

Sept. 26 – Last Thursday Book Club – 6 p.m. The Tulare Public Library Last Thursday Book Club will discuss The Happiness Project. To register, call 685-4503 or visit the Library Research and Information Desk.

Oct. 6 – 9th Annual Lost Girls Breast Cancer Ride – 8 a.m. The Lost Girls Motorcycle Club will hold its 9th Annual Women’s Breast Cancer Ride to pay for mammograms, biopsies & MRI’s for patients who cannot afford them or don’t have insurance. The ride starts at Sequoia Imaging, 4949 W. Cypress Ave., Visalia. Registration is from 8-10 a.m. This is a women’s only ride, but men can join riders at the luncheon at Dry Creek Deli, 33454 Sierra Drive, in Lemon Cove. Cost is $25 for each rider and passenger

Sept. 27– Quality Pain and Body/Hertz Blood Drive – 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Quality Paint and Body/Hertz will host a blood drive at 983 W. North Grand, Porterville. Donors will receive a variety of discounts

kids

Sept. 21, 28 – Kids’ Activities – 1-2 p.m. Every Saturday, Tulare Public Library offers kids’ activities in the Olympic Room of the library.

Sept. 21 – 6th Annual Central Valley Kids Cook-Off – 11-5 p.m. Kathy Powers, host of the award-winning national PBS series “Hey Kids, Let’s Cook!” will emcee the Central Valley Kids Cook-Off. Children, ages 6 to 18 years, are invited to submit recipes that promote healthy eating habits until Sept. 6. Ten finalists will be chosen to compete in the cook off during the Visalia Home Expo at the Visalia Convention Center. To submit entries, visit VisaliaHome-

Shows.com/kidsCookOff. Prizes include a Build A Bear Workshop Party for 10; 4 resort passports and kitchen tour to Disneyland, and gift cards to JC Penny, Macy’s, and Visalia Mall. Sept. 24 – Teen Game Night – 5 p.m. Teen Game Night for ages 13 to 19 is the Last Tuesday of each month at the Tulare Public Library, 475 North M Street. For information, visit tularepubliclibrary.org. Sept. 24 –­ Storytime – 6:15 p.m. Every Tuesday, the Tulare Public Library has a bilingual story time. Storytime is also held Fridays at 11:15 in the Kid’s Space of the library.


22 • Valley Voice

19 September, 2013

Beatlemania Continued from p. 17

The Redwood High (Visalia) string quartet will accompany the band for four songs.

actors were cast to portray the Fab Four in the musical. With their tight harmonies, flawless renditions, custom–tailored costumes, vintage instruments, Liverpudlian dialect and precise attention to detail, they recreate the magic of the Beatles, including the Fab Four’s cheeky personalities and familiar onstage banter. In My Life takes the audience

theater Sept. 26-29 – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying Encore Theatre Company presents this musical satire at the Tulare Encore Theatre, 324 South N Street, Tulare, Sept. 26-29 and Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 10-12. Advance tickets available. For more information, visit www. tulareencoretheatre.org. Oct. 4-6 – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying See Sept. 26-29 description.

back to February 1964 when America watched the Beatles for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show, playing “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Progressing through their various musical stages, the audience re-experiences the psychedelic era of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the creation of the haunting “Blackbird” and the raucous rock and roll of “Revolution.” The four musician/actors cast to play John, Paul, George and Ringo were selected from 220 Beatle tribute musicians, most of whom showed up for auditions in costume and in character. The band features Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”), Gregory Wilmot (“John”), Jesse Wilder (“George”) and Axel Clarke (“Ringo”). Brian Epstein is played by Alxander Jon. The show has been touring for years and the Orange County Register proclaimed, “If you see one tribute show, see this one – smart and loads of fun.” The show played to capacity crowds in 2011 at the Warnor’s Theatre in Fresno and 2012 at the Tower Theatre. Oct. 4-6 – The Gin Game The Gin Game, a Pulitzer Prize winning tragicomedy, opens Oct. 4 and runs for three weekends at The Ice House Theatre, located at the corner of Race and Santa Fe in Visalia. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m on Oct. 4-5 and a matinee will be at 2 p.m. on Oct. 6. For information, visit visaliaplayers.org. Oct. 10-12– How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying See Sept. 26-29 description. Oct. 11-13 – The Gin Game See Oct. 4-6 description.

St. Mary Armenian Church of Yettem Dine-In or Take-Out

Shish Kebab Luncheon

Ticket Price

Arts Alliance of Three Rivers Celebrates ‘Sierra Wonders’ Debut Sierra Wonders, the new book published by the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers, celebrates the richness of the Southern Sierra. Now fresh off the press, it can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates nature, art, poetry and storytelling, all themed around the Southern Sierra’s rich natural heritage. Thirty-eight artists and writers from throughout California contributed to the anthology. The Arts Alliance welcomes everyone to celebrate the book debut, October 4 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. The gathering offers an opportunity to meet some of the authors and artists who contributed to the Sierra Wonders, hear a couple of readings by authors and see the exceptional artwork created by many of Sierra Wonders artists. The art show continues Saturday, October 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. Sierra Wonders features artwork and a wide variety of essays, stories and poems throughout its pages. On the liter-

Oct. 11-13 & Oct. 17-19 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream The College of the Sequoias Theater Department will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The shows begin at 7:30 p.m., with two matinee performances scheduled on Oct. 13 and Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors. For tickets, call 730-3907. For information, visit costheatre.org Oct. 11, 18 – Rocky Horror Show – Midnight Loosely based on the Frankenstein tale, Rocky Horror Show is about a lonely, transvestite space alien who creates his very own love slave, Rocky. It just goes downhill from there. Admission is free. Donations welcomed. The show will also be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 12 and 19. The Lindsay Community Theater is located at 190 N. Elmwood, Lindsay. For information, visit lindsaycommunitytheater.com

$20

ary side, some selections are light-hearted; others remind us of nature’s fragility, and a few share vignettes of life in the Southern Sierra. Lemon Cove author Sylvia Ross’ “In the Sierra, 1856” provides an uncompromising glimpse of the hopeful yet harsh conditions faced by early settlers in the area. Three Rivers naturalist Bill Tweed takes us mountain climbing and bird watching then asks, “I wonder what else is going on out there?” Mona Fox Selph of Three Rivers recalls her high Sierra treks in “Surveying the Wilderness.” Her vivid recollections bring readers with her throughout Yosemite, Sequoia and beyond. She describes her memories of those journeys as “treasured memories, hard earned, but experiences for me worth more than a mountain of gold or a lake of silver.” In “Returning Home,” Santa Barbara poet Deborah Dal Zuffo challenges readers to listen as: “The siren of nature beckons the listening soul, To return to its rightful place, Welcoming it home…” Brilliant artwork complements the literary selections and allows readers to see the Southern Sierra interpreted through the eyes of painters, photographers and sculptors. Tulare County residents will recognize works by local favorites including Steven Ball, Jeri Burzin, Jana Botkin, Nadi Spencer, LaVone Sterling, Virginia Wilson, Denis Milhomme, Matthew Rangel and more. Artists from Yosemite foothill towns, Southeastern Sierra, Bakersfield, Big Bear, Copperopolis and beyond stepped up, too. Art enthusiasts will enjoy the diversity of artwork they see in the book and in the Sierra Wonders art show. Sierra Wonders will be available for purchase at the Friday night celebration and Saturday’s art show. All proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers’ Jonnum-Young Scholarship Fund for aspiring local artists.

Featuring Hagopian’s Deli Shish Kebab

Sunday, October 6, 2013 11am - 3pm Visalia Veteran’s Memorial Hall Corner of Willis & Center Streets Lunch includes: lamb shish kebab, rice pilaf, salad, gourmet green beans and peda bread.

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“R” Ya Brave Enough to Eat the Gator, Frog Legs and Buffalo?


19 September, 2013

‘Gone Girl’ a Thriller with Guile, Power and Backstabbing Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, opens immediately as a he-said, she-said narrative. Each of the novel’s chapters is told in the first-person narrative, alternating between Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne. This vacillating is indicative of the conflict between spouses that is to come, the tug-of-war of guile, power and backstabbing that centers this thriller. In Gone Girl, the reader shifts as readily as the narrative viewpoint, changing our minds and our affections as we come to know the characters and their skeletons. As readers, we believe we are getting the full story surrounding the mystery right off the bat—we’re inside the heads of the two main characters, and we assume honesty when we’re reading the private thoughts and seeing the solitary actions of either Nick or Amy. Nick speaks directly to the reader, and we gather his emotions and reactions from the typically trustworthy first-person narrative. With Amy, we view her through her diary, which causes us to trust her implicitly: people don’t lie in their diaries. And yet, the regular foreshadowing and blatant dark hints that Flynn throws in begin to work on the reader, to give us pause in our earnest acceptance. Nick admits that he lies, many times, when the police question him after his wife’s disappearance, and yet does not disclose what those lies are. Amy’s diary fits so flawlessly with the “perfect wife, unstable husband” narrative that this flawlessness gradually obliges us to wonder if Flynn is manipulating our sympathies. And Flynn is manipulating our

sympathies. After our introduction to the characters and the knotty scene that Flynn has set, we learn that this manipulation is the crux of the novel: Nick and Amy pit themselves against one another, in a tennis match of wit and acumen, and through watching this back-andforth, we enter into a tennis match of allegiance. We first love Amy, then believe Nick, and we move in this pattern throughout the next 54 chapters. Each plot point serves to disorder us, to turn us toward or against either Nick or Amy, but never commiserate with or be skeptical toward both at the same time. The novel does not have room for equal parts sympathy and distrust in its characters, especially not in both characters at once. However, sympathy and distrust turn out not to be the most important concerns in terms of how we root for the characters. In the final throes of the novel, the character to whom we feel the most sympathy is not the character with whom we feel the most satisfied. Then again, it isn’t necessary to leave room for complex feelings toward Nick

and Amy, especially as the novel is not particularly concerned with creating realistic, fleshed-out protagonists. Flynn deals not with character development but with secrets, and she doles them out with perfect rhythm, injecting energy into the plot at crucial times. For the first half of the novel, we think we know the characters, and we cannot help but hypothesize as to the end of the novel. The story is unsavory and titillating, but it isn’t until the second half of the book that we really get into the depraved and truly big-league secrets. Our loyalties shift quite suddenly, and it is not because we learn a character is sympathetic, or particularly worthy of our loyalty in any way; it is because Flynn unleashes Author Gillian Flynn more secrets, and these secrets are larger, riper and danker than any before. Flynn doesn’t need character development when she has such captivating plot development. Her characters are just excuses for actions, and she chooses actions of such noteworthiness that we hardly care about the characters themselves. Of course, even when our attention

Valley Voice • 23 HANNAH GREEN

turns fully to the development of the plot and its emerging puzzle pieces, we still play favorites with the characters. Flynn works Nick and Amy in such a way that even when our sympathies lie with one character, we can’t help but root for the other. Although Nick turns out to be the lesser of the two evils, Amy deserves the last word. The couple plays games throughout their courtship and marriage and during Amy’s disappearance, and Amy plays smartest. Nick forfeits his status as “favorite” when he stops trying to change the game (which is the only way he could win). Nick never rises to Amy. He never becomes as witty, brilliant or as good an actor as she does. He tries, but finally, he must capitulate, and meet her on her own terms. His character feels hollow when he’s given up changing the game—for in trying to beat Amy in her own game, he relinquishes any chance he had at winning, and thus any claims as the favorite. In the end, the novel is about who was the furthest step ahead, and, of course, that always has to be Amazing Amy. In the end, the twist in Gone Girl seems par for the course for this genre of entertainment mystery. Gone Girl is captivating, and fairly well written, but the twist ending, in its enormity, nearly overshadows the rest of the novel. The tennis matches, battles of wit, triumphs and downfalls lead up to a spectacular climax, but they do little else. Gone Girl is the perfect summer read: it’s a good, absorbing bestseller, and it’s also easy to leave behind once the novel is over.



Christ Lutheran Institute of Performing Arts - CLIPArts FREE Classes in Dance, Music, Art, Drama & ASL Classes resume Sept. 16 at 3:30 pm To pre-register call 559-732-1851, email cliparts@wildblue.net or pick up a form at:

Christ Lutheran Church 3830 W. Tulare Avenue, Visalia

  


24 • Valley Voice

Kaweah Delta to Welcome Paralympic Gold Medalist to Oct. 5 Fitness Expo

The first U.S. archer to win a Paralympic Games gold medal since 1984 will headline the Kaweah Delta Community Health & Fitness Expo and 5th Annual Rehab Reunion on Saturday, October 5, in Visalia. Jeff Fabry, who took the gold last year in London will show expo attendees the rewards of perseverance as he performs archery demonstrations and signs autographs at the event. He was chosen to headline the expo because the event is in part meant to celebrate and inspire patients of Kaweah Delta Rehabilitation Hospital who have recovered or are on the road to recovery following traumatic injuries. “You can’t let anything get in your way. You have to go, go, go,” said Fabry, who at age 15 lost his right arm and leg in a dirt bike accident. “When something traumatic like that happens you want to do things but you can’t do everything. You are going to have setbacks, but you have to get over those obstacles.” Following the loss of his limbs, Fabry began shooting arrows with the use of his teeth and a mouthpiece. He was soon a regular competing at a national level against able-bodied individuals until one

Jeff Fabry, Paralympic Games gold medalist

day, it was suggested to him to try out for the USA Archery Paralympic Team. For Fabry, the rest was history, including his 2012 performance in London that made the history books. None of it would have happened if Fabry let his disability get the better of him, he said. “You can’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something,” Fabry said. “Cause if you want it bad enough you will find a way to get it done.” Expo festivities are set to begin at 8 a.m. on October 5 with a 5K Harvest Run and 1K Minds ‘N Motion Brain Injury Awareness Walk, and will continue through noon with festivities including archery demonstrations, a pancake breakfast, community booths, free screenings, a teddy bear clinic and more at the Kaweah Delta Rehabilitation Hospital, 840 W. Akers St. in Visalia. For a schedule of events, visit www.kaweahdelta.org/events or call 624-5985. Established in 1963, Kaweah Delta Health Care District celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013. Kaweah Delta is a 581-bed district and is the only level III trauma center serving Tulare and Kings counties.

Search Underway for the Best Menudo in Town The Tulare County League of Mexican American Women, in association with Nuestro Tiempo Promotions, is hosting its inaugural Menudo Cook-Off for local restaurants to compete for the title of Best Menudo in Tulare County as for well as cash prizes. The community is invited to judge and vote for their favorite restaurant’s menudo. The event will be held on Sunday, October 20, at Recreation Park in Visalia. Any restaurants that would like to

participate should contact Raymond Macareno at 972-7097 or via e-mail at Raymond@nuestrotiempo.net. Applications to participate will be accepted until October 1. Only restaurants may apply. Also, businesses that would like to participate with a booth may also inquire about participation on-line. Additional information and forms to participate can be found at www.nuestrotiempo.net or on Facebook for Nuestro Tiempo Magazine.

19 September, 2013

Wish Upon A Star to Host Bravefest Tulare County residents are invited to help dreams come true on Saturday, September 28, during California Law Enforcement’s Wish Upon A Star Bravefest. The event, set to take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Visalia Rawhide Stadium, is a fundraiser to grant wishes for children throughout California with high-risk and life-threatening illnesses. It’s also a chance to watch members of law enforcement, firefighters, emergency and military personnel have their heads shaved publicly by professional stylists, a visual act of solidarity to honor children who have lost their hair to chemotherapy. “This event is for the entire family and it serves a very special purpose – helping grant big wishes for children

who often have very little time,” said Carmen Perez, executive director of California Law Enforcement’s Wish Upon A Star. Throughout the event, attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy a chili cook-off, live music and activities for the entire family including a ceremony honoring the 2013 Top Agency and the 2013 Top Cop. In 2012, Bill Diltz of the Visalia Police Department was named top cop. Wish Upon A Star is a non-profit, law enforcement effort designed to grant the wishes of children ages 3 to 18 years old dealing with high-risk and life-threatening illness. In the past 30 years, Wish Upon A Star has granted more than 1,900 wishes. For more information, visit www.wishuponastar.org.

Writing Conference Planned for Young Writers The Visalia Creative Writing Conference (VCWC) on October 5 is an event aimed at encouraging young writers at any level of experience to be inspired and challenged. There is a thriving writing community in the larger cities of Fresno and Bakersfield, but Visalia is also beginning to make its mark. The Tulare Kings Writers Group is connecting writers in the Central Valley; Taste the Arts has expanded in recent years to include literary performances, and Visalia now has its own monthly poetry slam run by Redwood alum and VCWC Assistant Conference Coordinator Michael Jasso. The mission of the Redwood High School Creative Writing Program connects young writers with an audience, improves their craft and increases their connection to the larger literary community. With these goals in mind, Redwood’s Artist Café Club, with a grant from the Visalia Education Foundation, will host this conference for high school writers and their teachers. This half-day conference will be held on the Redwood campus from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Featured speaker and workshop leader Tim Z. Hernandez is a graduate of Redwood High School and an award winning author and performance artist. Hernandez will be making a stop on his book tour to promote his latest work, Manana Means Heaven (UA Press, 2013). His keynote address is titled “The Rebel Eye: Documenting Your World.” He will bring his special brand of humor, humility and insight to the VCWC. Attendees can choose from one of three breakout sessions. The first, “Writ-

Tim Z. Hernandez

ing Starts at Home,” will be led by Hernandez. “Written Voice 101 - Why Poetry? Why Spoken Word? Why Slam?” will feature local slam poet and teacher Lou Standifer, a gifted slam performer in his own right who is also very skillful in training students to find their own voice as poets. The third workshop, “Making People Up, Characterization in Fiction,” will be led by creative writing instructor Melissa Link. Link is a lifetime writer, slam poet and teacher at Redwood High School. Teachers are welcome and encouraged to attend with their students. Registration is $10 and will be accepted until all spaces are filled. All proceeds from the conference will be used towards promoting literary events and sponsoring author visits for young writers in the San Joaquin Valley. For more information, email Conference Coordinator Melissa Link at mlink@vusd.org or visit www. facebook.com/VisaliaCreativeWritingConference.

Classic Car Show Saturday, October 12, 2013 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 4525 W. Tulare Avenue, Visalia, CA

(559) 733-0901 Westgate is proud to sponsor this Free FAMILY event Activities for the kids provided 7:30-10:00 a.m. - Move-in • 12:00 Noon - Judging • 2:00 p.m. - Awards

FREE Lunch Raffle and 50/50 Tickets, Entertainment Car Show T-Shirts (all sizes), Refreshments, Vendor Booths Each entry will receive free: One Lunch Ticket, One Raffle Ticket, One T-Shirt To register (all the way up to the event), call Shayna at (559) 733-0901

Valley Voice Issue 5 (19 Sept. 2013)  
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