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Valley Voice

Enchanted Playhouse to lose its home

Visalia City Council approves scaled-down AM/PM station



After 21 years, the Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company is leaving the Main Street Theater, and not by choice, as City Hall is in talks to sell the downtown landmark.

In what seemed a foregone conclusion to those opposed, the Visalia City Council unanimously approved a plan to construct a gas station at the southeast corner of Caldwell Avenue and West Street. There is no appeal option to the Council’s decision.

City Bowing Out

Earlier this year, the city quietly began taking bids on the 400-plus-seat former cinema, with the minimum bid starting at $450,000. Many of the Enchanted Playhouse supporters were shocked to find out the group’s current production of Peter Pan on Main Street will be its last at the location. The play closed May 12. “A lot of people were surprised to hear it was for sale,” said Debbie Hardin, president of the Enchanted Playhouse’s board of directors. Many of those who did know the theater was up for sale weren’t aware the Enchanted Playhouse was in danger of losing its home base, where it stores its props, costumes, and rehearses plays and holds acting workshops. “I don’t think people realized that

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Volume XXXVIII No. 10 17 May, 2018

Paul Ryan and David Valadao spoke on May 2, praising a new tax bill. Catherine Doe/Valley Voice

the bill passed. He emphasized that if America does not have a strong manufacturing sector then it can’t be a strong country. The old tax code was holding back manufacturers, he said; but, with the new code, manufacturers like MEC can write off the cost of equipment. That means they buy more equipment and then you hire more people to use that equipment. He stated that tax cuts to

KERMAN continued on 4 »

AM/PM continued on 14 »

Paul Ryan visits Kerman to talk about new tax bill CATHERINE DOE

House Speaker Paul Ryan, along with Congressman David Valadao, stopped by MEC Aerial Work Platforms facility in Kerman to talk about the new tax bill. Ryan spoke in front of approximately 100 MEC employees, saying that the goal of the new tax bill was to revive manufacturing and that he has heard nothing but good news since

Last-Minute Re-work

At the eleventh hour, Chandi Group USA--which had seen its plans for the city’s largest gas station shot down by the Planning Commission--filed an appeal with a scaleddown version of its original plans. Those called for a 20-hose ARCO AM/PM gas station, car wash, drive-through restaurant and convenience store in a nearly 20,000-square-foot building. “It’s just a gas station,” said Mayor Warren Gubler in describing the changes. The hastily-prepared replacement plan reduced the number of hoses, and it eliminated the restaurant, car wash, and size of the store to 3,800 square feet. Chandi Group USA had already

Guest commentary: Tulare County DA Tulare Mayor’s analysis misrepresents needs to learn when to recuse himself attorneys’ fees at council meeting MATT DARBY SPECIAL TO THE VALLEY VOICE It’s now revealed that on two separate occasions a campaign donor of Tulare County District Attorney (TCDA) was investigated for committing perjury by the State Licensing Bureau and Attorney General. Lying on California state forms for a professional license is a felony. In the first investigation in 2013, conducted by the California State Attorney General’s office for the Department of Consumer Affairs, it was found that Ward’s friend committed perjury. As a result he lost his professional license. The second investigation appears to be ongoing. I’m not sure if my opponent for TCDA was actually referred either of these cases by the Attorney General or State Bureau. However, I find it troubling that the District Attorney accepted thousands of dollars from this individual and clearly gave a quid pro quo by agreeing to the granting of a

Corum Nobis motion that allowed his donor to have a former battery charge dismissed. In 2015, Ward did not file an opposition to the Defendant’s Corum Nobis motiion. Ward had a clear conflict of interest and should have recused himself from handling the Corum Nobis motion. Frankly, if one were giving Ward the benefit of the doubt and accepted his claim that he didn’t know about his friend’s committing perjury, one should then ask why the DA would fail to conduct an adequate background check on this person before granting his motion. A simple internet search without the investigative powers of the DA’s Office would have more than sufficed to give Ward all the information he needed to know. Ward has shown he cannot be trusted to properly recuse himself from a criminal case when a friend or donor is involved. I have personal knowledge of a man in his 40’s who committed a robbery at the age of 15. That man told me he regrets what he did everyday

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tract expires on June 6 and came up for discussion on the Tulare City cil’s agenda. However, his arguments In an attempt to justify his argu- weren’t particularly accurate. ment for contracting Tulare’s city at“When I first saw this sheet that torney last June, Mayor Carlton Jones everyone is looking at – this was before shared a schedule of legal fees for the we hired Goyette & Associates – if you city from look between 2007 through 2007 and 2016 during 2008, there the May 1 was one, two, City Counthree, four, cil meeting. five, six differHe arent firms that gued that were paid in during legal fees of that peri$567,409.58,” od, the city Jones said. had paid out “And, in millions to 2008-2009, more than 20 there were firms; what one, two, he failed to three, four, mention was Carlton Jones presents a breakdown of legal costs for the City five, six, sevthose dollars of Tulare. Tony Maldonado/Valley Voice en different were not alfirms paid ways spent to represent the city. $1,064,561.45; the next year all most His presentation came in support $700,000; 2010-2011 was $1.14m. And, of extending the contract with the also in that year we paid Mike Lampe city’s legal firm, Goyette & Associates, $275,000,” he added. “The next year Inc., for another year. The current con-


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17 May, 2018   Valley Voice



Take Five

Without any positive role model whatsoever, the Chief has nevertheless been a remarkably good mother for more than 31 years now. She took to motherhood naturally, even before giving birth to our oldest, Chuck. She grew in size to resemble the Hindenburg, it’s true, but I don’t recall that either the pregnancy or delivery were particularly difficult for her. It was different the second time around, with Alex, who was born in August. It was, shall we say, unlike April, when Chuck was born. It was, shall we also say, hot. The midwife was late in arriving and the Chief and I wound up delivering Alex on the bathroom floor. That was an experience. And though we didn’t know it at the time, it would eventually mean that we were with Alex at the beginning and at the very end, when he died last year. Teddy, our first daughter, was also born in August--and about two weeks late. She was conceived in the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake, when our life as a young couple was in total disarray. An earthquake baby. This time, at least, the midwife was in attendance. But as the Chief’s discomfort and our tension yet mounted, I’ll have to confess to being nearly useless. At best. I have to throw myself on the mercy of having been just 27 years old. No excuse, I know, but-mercifully--the Chief only murdered me with words. Manny came next, another April birth--but this time, also like Chuck, in a hospital. I remember it as a strenuous delivery. Easy for me to say, I know, but I recall the difficulty with this one was that, in a scant few months, we would be moving to Cabo San Lucas. Having a newborn about is never easy even at the best of times--and those don’t include a move, especially abroad. As soon as he could walk, Manny was liable to vanish. Terrifying--more so at night. On a cliff. Overlooking the ocean. Mercedes--the Kid--was actually born in Cabo, just as hurricane season was getting underway. In fact, she was conceived at the height of that season, the year before, during a storm. So we also have a hurricane baby. Hers was the only birth I missed. The balloon had gone up a few hours before school and I had to ferry the three oldest there. By the time I returned to the clinic, the Kid had arrived. They handed her to me all swaddled in blankets while the Chief, quite reasonably, went in to get her tubes tied. For two howling hours the Kid scowled the blackest contempt at me. In fact, for the first year or so, the Kid was inconsolable whenever the Chief so much as left the room. And there you have it--five paragraphs covering five births. But, as we all know, there is so much more to motherhood than that. I’m going to skip the big things precisely because they seem universal. Although people may describe their mothers differently, it all boils down to basically the same things: she’s someone’s “rock” or “best friend” or “first mentor.” Dying soldiers, famously, call for their mothers. Old sea dogs, stereotypically, wear a heart shaped tattoo emblazoned with “Mom.” You get the idea. While not entirely dismissing the big things--the maternal love, patience and support, for instance--it is the many small things that make each Mom unique. And because she’s been kicked about pretty remorselessly these past few years, I’m going take five, so to speak, and try to relate to you, fractionally, what’s so special about the Chief--my wife, Catherine Doe. Whenever any of the kids, when they were tiny, were out of sorts--for whatever reason--she’d sing to them. Softly, and in their ear. Edelweiss, from “The Sound of Music.” Always Edelweiss--and it always was soothing. Speaking of soothing, the most endearing thing Catherine ever did, I think, was to make a travel security blanket for Alex. I could ramble on about the many Halloween costumes she created, or the five Christmas stockings she made. She just sat down one day and kitted--maybe crocheted?--the first three without even knowing she could do it. But back to Alex. Although not overly so, he had, as a kid, a tendency to be anxious. And when he was very small he had what he called his “soft part.” This is the satin-like ribbon along the top of a blanket. Because it’s impractical to carry a blanket everywhere, Catherine made Alex a travel version about the size of a bib. Including the “soft part.” I can still see him, sleeping, sucking the first two finger of one hand while, with the other, unconsciously stroking his blanket. Joseph Oldenbourg

Valley Voice

The Valley Voice is your newspaper, published by The Valley Voice, LLC.

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Valley Voice  17 May, 2018

POLITICAL FIX Primary Predictions

We are on the cusp of the hotly anticipated midterm elections as voters mail in their ballots for the June 5 Primary. Primaries used to portend lower voter participation. But those on the front lines of the current political landscape say they have never seen this level of engagement. This is the first election since the emergence of the #MeToo movement, the Mueller Investigation, a surge of millennials registering to vote, and the Parkland shooting. We live in a different country, but will that affect the status quo? We will see June 5.

Congressional District 22, Candidates: Incumbent Devin Nunes Republican, Deputy District Attorney Fresno County Andrew Janz Democrat, Healthcare Administrator Bobby Bliatout Democrat, Businessman Ricardo Franco Democrat, Human Resource Analysis Bill Merryman Libertarian, Teacher Brian Carroll No Party Preference,

What a difference two years makes. Two years ago Mr. Nunes gave frequent interviews, held public events, and was available at his local offices for appointments. This year he did not even attend the opening ceremonies of the World Ag Expo in Tulare. And Democrats and Republicans are getting increasingly angry at the lack of access to their local representative. Two years ago Mr. Nunes was a moderate Republican who saved his salty language for the Tea Party or environmentalists. Now, he has alienated the Democrats with whom he works on the intelligence committee and many fellow House and Senate Republicans with his attacks on the Justice Department. When Congressman David Valadao, who is a close friend, was asked at a recent event what he thought about Mr. Nunes’ call to impeach Attorney General Jeff Sessions his response was, “That’s Devin’s world.” In Mr. Nunes’ world, the House Intelligence Committee, of which he is chair, found President Donald Trump innocent of all accusations and instead found collusion between the Democrats and Russia. He doesn’t understand why Mr. Mueller is not investigating Hilary Clinton. When the history books are written about the 2016 election, are they really going to say that the Democrats colluded with the Russians, who hate Ms. Clinton, so that she would lose the White House? This begs the question, as Mr. Trump’s surrogate in Washington DC, does Mr. Nunes still have the undying loyalty of his district? To find the answer I took a poll at the Visalia Saturday Farmer’s Market in the Sears parking lot. I asked 82 people one simple question, “Who are you going to vote for for Congress?” A full 50% said they were undecided, didn’t vote, or did not know who their representative was. That really messed with my sample, but I was using the back of a vendor’s mud caked van as my desk, so I was undeterred. Of the remaining 42 respondents - 18 said they were voting for Nunes,

11 said “Not Nunes,” 10 said Janz, and three said Franco. (Sorry Billy) That adds up to 24 likely voters against Nunes and 18 likely voters for Nunes. If my small sample holds up in the primary, that means Mr. Nunes will not breach 50% of the vote, which would make him vulnerable in the General Election in November. That has not happened since 2002. But what about the other 42 respondents who have been living under a rock and were undecided? During the 2016 Primary, voter turnout in Tulare County was 45%. That means out of my random sample of 82 Tulare County citizens, 37 respondents will vote and 45 will not. So it is safe to say that few of the Undecideds will vote. For the last seven elections Mr. Nunes routinely won by more than a 40% margin. My prediction is that the margin will be reduced to under 10% with Mr. Janz coming in second. I also predict that Tulare and Fresno Counties are going to have a little bit more access to Mr. Nunes after the Primary.

Congressional District 21, Candidates: Incumbent David Valadao Republican, Entrepreneur TJ Cox Democratic

A McClatchy reporter said that the path to a Democrat-controlled Congress most likely runs through California. Democrats are banking on flipping 10 California districts from red to blue that voted for Hilary Clinton for president in 2016. One of those considered the most vulnerable is Mr. Valadao’s 21 District. So wouldn’t it help if constituents knew the name of the Democrat challenger running against Mr. Valadao? Emilio Huerta used to be his challenger but withdrew from the race just days before the filing period closed. So who took Mr. Huerta’s place? I headed out to the Hanford Thursday night Farmer’s Market to see if anyone knew the answer. I asked 50 people one question. “Do you know who is running against Congressman David Valadao?” I asked all ages, ethnicities, the police, three Hanford City Council members and the town’s official pot stirrer, Skip Athey. Out of desperation, I did ask the man running the Republican booth, but he doesn’t count. So kudos need to be given to newly elected Hanford City Council Member Debbie Sharp, who was the only one to know the answer. When I asked her my question she grimaced, stammered, stomped her foot, and dug down deep, but finally summoned the name - TJ Cox. A blue wave is possible this election, but not here. I predict that Mr. Valadao will actually increase his margin of victory from the Primary two years ago and win 56% to 44%. Governor, Six top Candidates: Attorney General Gavin Newsom Democrat, State Treasurer John Chiang Democrat, Assemblyman Travis Allen Republican, Businessman John Cox Republican, California State Superintendant Delaine Eastin Democrat, Former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa Democrat Republican delegates attending the California state convention made a decision that will reverberate

3 a column by CATHERINE DOE — through the country in November. They couldn’t manage to officially endorse one of their own for Governor. The Republican front runner, Mr. Cox, is a socially tolerant fiscal conservative. Mr. Allen is facing sexual harassment charges and aligns himself with President Donald Trump. Tough decision. No official Republican endorsement may mean that neither Mr. Cox nor Mr. Allen survives the primary and that no Republican will be at the top of the ballot in November. Never in California has there been two candidates of the same party running for Governor. If Republicans do not show up to vote in the general election, every single Republican held Congressional district is in danger of flipping. (except Mr. Valadao’s) I’m going to lend some advice instead of give a prediction. If you are a Democrat and want to flip as many Republican Congressional districts as possible, vote for Mr. Villaraigosa. He is hanging on by his finger nails to a second place spot while the Republicans are splitting the conservative vote. If you are a Republican, vote for Mr. Cox. He will not beat Gavin Newsom for Governor, but he has the best chance of coming in second and will give Republicans a reason to go to the polls this November.

Assembly District 26, Candidates; Incumbent Devon Mathis Republican, Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler Republican, Tulare City Council Member Jose Sigala Democrat, Cattle Rancher Jack Lavers Republican

One could say that the assembly seat has been whittled down to a race for second. Mr. Gubler, who most likely will come in first, has run a textbook campaign and is the establishment’s dream candidate. I predict he will receive around 36% of the vote. Mr. Lavers has no name recognition and lives in a small community in Kern County with only 363 souls. It’s hard to imagine that he will get many more votes than that and will come in last with at most 9% of the vote That leaves Mr. Mathis and Mr. Sigala to split 55% of the vote. A Democrat is not going to win in this district, but any garden variety will snag 26% of the vote in a primary, and more in a general election. In addition, Mr. Sigala has had quite an impressive stint on the Tulare City Council and has received every Democratic endorsement. Mr. Mathis is the incumbent, but after a rough two years he knows even that might not be enough to get him through the Primary. So who is going to survive? It’s going to be complicated. Though minor, I have only heard two criticisms about Mr. Gubler. The first came from a couple of his acquaintances who didn’t appreciate how he had to litigate every point during the League of Women Voters candidates’ forum. The second was from a Republican voter who said that Mr. Gubler was too slick, too polished. That’s not something about which people normally get criticized, but it made me finally under-

stand how Mr. Mathis won as an unknown in 2014. He is the face of America. Mr. Mathis didn’t try to get elected riding on someone else’s coat tails like Rudy Mendoza did in 2014. He is the middle of nine siblings, his parents are divorced, and he wasn’t raised with a lot of money. He doesn’t have the perfect marriage and kids. His education was paid for by serving in the military, where he realized he was a lot smarter than he thought and graduated with honors. He wasn’t so smart though to prevent him from making some big mistakes while an Assembly member. By his own admission, during a speech where you could have heard a pin drop, he said, “Life isn’t easy. Politics is even worse. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons, a lot of hard lessons, about being in office, about responsibilities, about talking with people– that I need to do better.” But are the voters going to give Mr. Mathis a second chance? The Republican establishment never wanted Mr. Mathis to win four years ago and now they are determined to see him lose in the Primary. Mr. Gubler has their and the moderate Republican’s vote. Mr. Sigala has the Democratic vote that has increased in the age of Trump. Mr. Mathis? He is going to get the Tea Party vote, the Trump base, and every person out there who feels just a little ignored by society as a whole. Will it be enough for this born again underdog?

Tulare County Board of Supervisors District 4 covering Woodlake, Dinuba, Traver, and Ivanhoe, Candidates: Former Cutler-Orosi School Board Member Romelia Castillo, Dinuba Vice Mayor Kuldip Thusu, President of the Cutler-Orosi School Board Eddie Valero.

“My family moved to Dinuba in 1998 to raise our family and open our business that employs 65 medical professionals dedicated to the health of local families,” says Mr. Thusu’s candidate statement. Open a business he did. Move his family to Dinuba he did not. During the Orosi Candidates’ Forum he said the year was actually 1996, even though he was allegedly in Buffalo, New York getting his masters degree at the time. From approximately 2008 – 2016 give or take, his kids were attending Clovis North High School where the Thusu family owns a luxury home. In addition, I surveyed all of his donations and he received 14 from Fresno County and 6 from Tulare County, just like someone would who lived in one county and worked in another. Despite the fact that Mr. Thusu has a tenuous claim to residency in Tulare County, he has a ton of money and name recognition. I predict that he will come close to winning the supervisor’s seat outright in the Primary.

Tulare County District Attorney, Candidates: Incumbent Tim Ward, Deputy District Attorney for Kings County Matt Darby Mr. Darby has accused Mr. Ward of pay-to-play politics. Mr. Ward has

POLITICAL FIX continued on 11 »


17 May, 2018   Valley Voice

New leadership curriculum designed to empower parents TULARE COUNTY OFFICE OF ED Parents of children that attend the Child Development Center in Richgrove have begun participating in a new research-based leadership development program called Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors). The Abriendo Puertas (AP) program, which was developed by and for Latino parents with children ages 0-5, is widely used throughout the nation and supported by the National Head Start Association and United Way Worldwide. The purpose of the program is to develop parents’ leadership skills through a 10-lesson curriculum. The program builds parents’ abilities to promote school readiness, well-being and positive education outcomes for their children through the study of early childhood development, literacy, numeracy, bilingualism, health, attendance and civic engagement. Following the first week of the program, Alicia Franco, family/community partnerships manager for the Early Child-

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Watched by veterans and their families, Greg Stathatos of B-17 Archaeology unveils the restored nose art on Preston’s Pride, a WWII-era Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress that serves as a war memorial in Tulare on Saturday, May 12. Volunteers have restored the plane’s exterior finish, and will move onto the adjacent Vietnam-era Phantom next. Stathatos is searching for any photographs of the airplane taken by members of the public to include them in a DVD his group is preparing covering the plane’s history. Dave Adalian/Valley Voice

corporations would create a ripple effect through the economy — creating more jobs and improving the economy for everyone. Millions of workers will see pay increases and improvements to their 401k plans and health benefits, Ryan said. He claimed a hundred million more dollars has already been invested in factories around the country which means more jobs. MEC is on track to double its sales of aerial platforms in one year, Ryan added. “That’s exactly what we were hoping to achieve when we rewrote the tax bill,” he said. Valadao said that he was happy to see the Central Valley diversify. Agriculture is important, he said, but so is increasing the number of manufacturing jobs, which was happening in the Valley at MEC. He also praised the tax bill, stating that the standard deduction was doubled — meaning that 95% of the people in the Central Valley just doubled their deductions. With more of their paycheck in their pocket, they can invest or spend, putting money back into the economy. He was thrilled that a company right here in the Central Valley could be feeling the benefits so quickly of the new Republican tax bill, he said. After Ryan’s talk with the employ-

hood Education Program (ECEP), reported that the Richgrove parents felt, “privileged that they are the first group to go through our AP class.” She added, “They are excited and looking forward to learning skills to build positive relationships with their children that will lead to their school readiness.” Parents graduate from AP empowered with the tools and knowledge to become powerful agents of change in the lives of their children and the community at large. A study by researchers at UC Berkeley found that parents who completed the AP program made significant gains in knowledge of early learning and development, social-emotional skills, language and literacy, school preparation, healthy parenting and advocacy. Julie Berk, assistant superintendent of Student Support Services, reports that ECEP hopes to launch AP parent groups in communities throughout Tulare County in the near future.

ees, Valadao stayed for questions. He was asked about the California State Water Commission’s decision to allocate such a small amount of funding to Temperance Dam. Valadao said that he was frustrated with the governor, whose priority is High Speed Rail, he claimed. Commission members are appointed by the governor and approved by the State Senate. “That’s why we have to send good people to Sacramento,” he said. Valadao’s Chief of Staff, Justin Mendes, is running for State Assembly District 32, challenging incumbent Rudy Salas. Mendes has taken a leave of absence while running for assembly. Valadao also said that he and Ryan have endorsed Congressman Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House after Ryan retires. McCarthy has not yet officially declared he is running. When asked if the Republicans will keep the house, he said it will take a lot of work but that the special election in Pennsylvania was not how the rest of the country would go. A Democrat narrowly won a traditionally Republican seat in Pennsylvania last week in a special election. Senator Marco Rubio recently criticized the new tax bill, and Valadao said he didn’t know where Rubio was coming from and added Rubio has since back tracked. Valadao said believes that the tax bill was a great piece of legislation, especially in what it could provide to the Central Valley.


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Valley Voice  17 May, 2018

Tulare considering a third Sister City in Jalisco, Mexico NANCY VIGRAN

The city of Tulare just may get a third Sister City thanks to one councilman’s heritage. Jose Sigala has asked other council members to support the possibility of partnering up with a city from the state of Jalisco in Mexico. “In my district, there are a lot of people who immigrated from, or who have descended from relatives from the state of Jalisco,” Sigala said. Those people include Sigala, whose parents came from there. Sigala said he believed that Tulare had not had any activity with its existing Sister Cities since 1996. He came up with the idea of adding a Jalisco city last year and has been working on learning all of the criteria involved. He has talked with the consul at the Consulate of Mexico in Fresno, who was excited about the possibility, but who also suggested Tulare wait until after the July national elections in Mexico, so there wouldn’t be an interruption in the process.

Current Sister Cities

Actually, Tulare had a visit from Raquel Ferreira, a city council member and director of cultural affairs from Angra do Heroismo in January, 2016. Angra do Heroismo is a city on the Azorean island of Terceira in Portugal – an island from which many involved in the Tulare dairy industry have descended. Ferreria’s visit proceeded a celebration the 50th anniversary of Sister City relationship, and she came bearing Portuguese books gifted to Tulare’s library. The April, 2016 anniversary celebra-

tion was attended by Tulare County by Angra Mayor Dairy Women and Dr. Alamo Meneses the Tulare Chamand a delegation ber of Commerce. from the city. The Simoes, twin Tulare’s secbrothers, emiond Sister City is grated with from Inverell in New the Azores as South Wales, Austeenagers, in the tralia. It, too, was a early 1950’s. relationship start“I think the Sised in the 1960’s ter City program, with former Tuitself, is a good lare Mayor Willard one,” Harrell said. Glass and family “Towns can have a having hosted an lot of Sister Cities. Australian foreign An exhibit featuring Tulare’s Sister City Angra I think the one he exchange student do Heroismo is displayed at the Tulare Historical [Sigala] is thinkfrom Inverell, said Museum. Nancy Vigran/Valley Voice ing about makes Tulare historian perfect sense. And, Chris Harrell, manager of the Tulare because of so many people in Tulare Historical Museum. from the Azores, Angra was a good The last formal visit to Inverell by fit as well.” a Tulare representative was by former Tulare mayor, Claude Retherford and his wife, in November of 1996. Honoring Angra do A letter of condolence for the passHeroismo ing of former Inverell mayor, Jerry BotThere is a display representing trell, was sent by former Tulare mayor, Angra do Heroismo in the Tulare HisRichard Ortega, in October, 2005, a torical Museum. copy of which is the last formal correThere is even a larger appreciation spondence in Tulare’s records. for the Portuguese city in downtown’s While there has been little conTower Square, built in the early 1970’s nection with Inverell in recent years, th featuring 18 century Portuguese the ties between Tulare and the isarchitecture. The centerpiece of the land of Terceira remain strong. The design is a clock tower, known as the Tulare-Angra do Heroismo Sister City Angra Tower. Foundation remains active with reguIn the museum, there is a medal lar meetings and a Facebook page with awarded to the late Joseph L. Soares, 600 likes. who played an integral role between The page stays current with Porthe Sister Cities. tuguese-American activities and posts The medal signifies the order of including that honoring foundation Prince Henry, the Navigator, and is the members Mario and Joe Simoes having highest award given to a civilian from been named Dairy Family of the Year


Featured in the Angra do Heroismo exhibit at the Tulare Historical Museum is a citizen’s medal awarded from Angra to the late Joseph L. Soares for his role in the Sister City program. Nancy Vigran/Valley Voice

the Portuguese government. While the connection between Tulare and Angra do Heroismo remains active, another Sister City could be a welcomed edition by both Tulare and a new sister. Sigala said he will pursue the issue further after the Mexican elections. For now, he has the blessing of the council to continue his research and it will be brought back for further discussion by the city council once more is known and a potential city is named. Sigala is pleased that Harrell and the museum are also excited about the project, and he hopes to earn more support for the project through the Tulare Chamber and the Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

First Amendment dissent on Visalia City Council DAVE ADALIAN

Visalia’s City Fathers appear ready to square off over limits to the First Amendment rights of free expression, as they consider restricting how often the City Council can debate an item it’s already examined.

Recurring Themes

The battle lines were drawn when Councilman Steve Nelsen called for discussion of an item from the consent calendar, included in a series of other items for a single Council approval. The innocuous seeming oneliner--a request by Vice Mayor Bob Link for a talk on restricting “re-agendizing a Council-requested item recently considered and voted on by Council”--hit a Constitutional nerve with Nelsen. “I’d be opposed to the item,” he said. “I think you need to look at the restriction you’re putting on a council member to represent the constituents who put him into office.” Nelsen, though not naming Tulare, pointed to examples of other local councils who’ve had behavior problems. A restriction on recurring agenda items might stymie the Visalia Council, should a similar situation arise here. “There’s a local municipality, they currently had to deal with ethics and language that was being posted on various social media sites, and they dealt with it on a council level,” Nelsen said. “There’s another council that has had to look at credit card usage, because the policy wasn’t being followed.” He pointed specifically to Tulare’s ongoing problems.

“That same council in the last nine months has had an agendized item to remove on three occasions to remove the mayor as mayor,” Nelsen said. “When you put a restriction on a council member and he’s unable to bring forward a constituent’s request, I think you’re doing a disservice not only to the council member, but the people who elected him.”

his desire for a policy with a delay of no more than one year between consideration of a recurring item. “There ought to be a time lapse,” Cox said. “I don’t think this council would do it (bring the same item over incessantly).”

But, other future councils might. He invoked the specter of the Tulare City Council again. “Not too many miles away from us, we have a city council behaving poorly and badly, not only during their meetings, but everywhere else,” he said.

How Long Is Long Enough?

Nelsen says the call for a discussion of restricting recurring agenda items was the result of him bringing a matter back to the Council just eight months after it first considered it. He said he was asked on a weekly basis to have the Council reconsider its decision before he made his request. “So, I guess I’d ask, ‘What’s a reasonable gap?’” he asked before answering his own question. “There is no reasonable gap, because you’re restricting my capability of free speech, and I would definitely ask the attorney to investigate that, if you can restrict a council member’s ability to bring forward those items that a constituent has requested you bring forward.” The Council eventually split 4-1 in its decision to hold such talks at an unspecified future date. Nelsen cast the lone no vote. City staff promised to research the legality of such restrictions before the debate is held.

Time-Delay Politics

While Vice Mayor Link, who originally called for the debate, did not say directly if he supported such restrictions, Councilman Phil Cox expressed

Locally Grown For 70 Years FEDERALLY INSURED BY NCUA

17 May, 2018   Valley Voice



Cherry growers expect lighter crop yields

CHING LEE, CFBF Freezing temperatures just as cherry blossoms began to break likely reduced this year’s crop, with farmers in different growing regions reporting lighter yields. Harvest in the southern San Joaquin Valley started in late April, according to the California Cherry Board, which said it expects the state’s cherry season will run through early June. Compared to last year’s “bumper crop” of 9.5 million cases, Keith Wilson, owner of King Fresh Produce, a grower-shipper-packer in Dinuba, said he estimates the statewide crop could be as low as 3.5 million boxes this year. Other marketers have reported estimates ranging from 4 million to 7 million cartons. “That’s how cherries are, though,” Wilson said about the crop’s boomand-bust cycles, “especially in the south valley here in Bakersfield, Tulare, Kingsburg area. The varieties sometimes don’t set well.” Chris Zanobini, executive director of the cherry board, said though “nobody really knows” at this point the size of this year’s crop, he estimated it’s between 3 million and 4 million boxes, or 54 million to 72 million pounds. “The concern is that it is so spotty that most will not be harvested,” he said. Though yields are down, Wilson described fruit quality as “good,” with sizes larger than last year. And with the lighter crop, he said market prices are “quite high this year.” Looking at some of the orchards in his region, Kern County farmer Greg Tesch described most of his neighbors’ crops as “light” and his as “average.” He blamed the spring-like weather in January and winter conditions in March for the lower yields in some orchards. Not only did the frost damage flower buds before bloom, he said, but the lingering cool and rainy weather during bloom reduced bee activity and pollination. Because of the location of his orchard, Tesch noted he “did not get quite the freeze that others did.” Irrigating his orchard during that critical period also may have brought

temperatures up a degree or two and mitigated some damage, he added. Although he has a “normal crop,” he said, it is not as uniform as he would like, which means it will be more costly to pick his orchard multiple times. “Looking around the neighborhood, we’re fortunate to have those management issues to deal with,” Tesch said. “We’re very glad we actually have to pick the crop a few times. Some other people An employee at Tesch Family Farms in Kern County harvests cherries in an orchard that has lower-profile trees to allow easier don’t have to pick picking without the use of ladders. Photo/Cecilia Parsons eties will begin sooner. cherries. They’re probably going to sell at all. It’s a disaster He said he thinks a combination at a higher price because there’ll be for a lot of people.” of a low-chill winter and cold weather less of them.” Being the first cherries on the marprior to bloom likely led to his crop She said she’s concerned that ket, Tesch said demand is usually “exbeing “later than average and lighter word of it being a light crop may scare tremely good” during this time, and than average,” though he noted the away field help, adding that “it’s hard this year, “demand looks well above results vary depending on the orchard. enough to get field labor in the first average—and it shows in the pricing.” “We’re going to harvest everyplace anymore, because labor is beThe price of cherries may be highthing, so we’ll know more later,” he coming more and more difficult to er this year, but the increased price said. “Things were very favorable last come by and more difficult to keep.” won’t make up for the lack of producyear. We had a good crop, good weathTesch said he’s struggled to retain tion, said Fresno County grower Lance er and the market was strong. We’re good employees, even though he pays Jackson. He began harvesting the Corused to the cycle.” above minimum wage. To attract more al variety earlier this week and said he Kari Arnold, a University of Calpickers, he’s been planting low-profile likely won’t pick at all in one orchard, where there is almost no fruit. At an- ifornia Cooperative Extension farm trees that require no ladders. Even so, other ranch, he estimated production advisor in Stanislaus County, said she’s he said he’s had trouble finding peois down about 60 percent. Comparing careful not to paint the 2018 cherry ple to train. Jackson, who’s also starting harthe two orchards, he said it’s likely season as a disaster year “because it’s really not.” The crop may not be as rovest on early varieties of peaches that cold temperatures just prior to bust, she said, but this was somewhat and nectarines, said he has so far bloom caused the poor fruit set. expected, because last year’s crop not encountered any problems hir“Where the trees were in a little was so big. ing enough employees. But with his more-sheltered area, closer to a dwellWhat wasn’t expected, she said, cherry crop being so short this year, ing or on the edge of the field close to was the freeze in the spring, which he said, “it’s not going to take a huge a road, they had a little more fruit,” “did cause some damage to flowers.” number of people.” he said. “But you get out in the fields where the climate is 4 degrees colder, But the damage varied depending on the location of the orchard and wheth(Ching Lee is an assistant editor of there’s just nothing.” er growers were able to apply frost Ag Alert. She may be contacted at clee@ In the northern growing district protection, she added. of San Joaquin County, grower Michael “It’s still going to be a good crop,” This article reprinted with the perCorradi said harvest of Bings, the most she said. “It may not be the same as mission of the California Farm Bureau widely grown variety, will start toward last year, but they’re going to be good Federation. the end of the month, and other vari-

More resources help market enforcement CHING LEE, CFBF Farmers markets continue to be popular venues for locally grown, farm-fresh products, and those who assure the integrity of products sold at the markets have gained resources to try to keep pace with their growth. Market regulators and operators say legislation passed in 2014 has proven significant, because it brought much-needed funds to boost market investigations and enforcement. California continues to lead the nation in the number of markets, with

some 800 certified farmers markets and 2,500 certified producers. Its certification program, which dates to 1976, is itself unique, said Ed Williams, deputy director for the Los Angeles County agricultural commissioner. “No other state has that,” he said. “There is a national program, and (the U.S. Department of Agriculture is) promoting this whole concept of direct marketing nationwide, but it doesn’t have the same legal authority that California does.” He’s referring to the level of enforcement and the paper trail certify-

ing both markets and producers. The bulk of this enforcement is done at the county level, as agricultural-commissioner inspectors are the ones most often walking through markets and checking for potential violations. Those who regulate the state’s certified farmers-market program say efforts in recent years to bolster market integrity have led to significant changes, including improved resources and coordination between counties to root out bad actors. Taylor Roschen, policy advocate for the California Farm Bureau Fed-

eration, said vendors misrepresenting and reselling products they did not grow continues to be the most common violation cited by county and state regulators. As farmers markets proliferate, she said, the goal is to be sure all regions keep pace with enforcement. “There’s been a rise of (certified farmers markets) because of interest from consumers and producers,” Roschen said. “We want to be sure that counties continue to prioritize enforcement and education at CFMs.”

ENFORCEMENT continued on 7 »

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Valley Voice  17 May, 2018



Commentary: FARMER program helps replace farm equipment NOELLE CREMERS, CFBF A new, voluntary program provides a significant opportunity for California farmers seeking to replace older vehicles and equipment that may be regulated in the future under state air-quality rules. Farm Bureau joined many agricultural and other organizations last year to ensure $300 million in funding was included in the final Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan to help the agricultural community comply with many of the state’s air quality and climate change mandates. The plan included $135 million to go toward the replacement of agricultural harvesting equipment, heavy-duty trucks, agricultural pump engines, tractors and other equipment used in agricultural operations. Local air districts will distribute these funds under the Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions, or FARMER, program. The state Air Resources Board adopted the final guidelines to distribute these funds in late March. ARB is working to finalize contracts to distribute the funds to local air districts. The funds available through the FARMER program provide significant assistance to California farmers who

ENFORCEMENT continued from 6

Los Angeles County, known as one of the birthplaces of farmers markets, hosts the most certified farmers markets in the state, with 135. Due to the sheer number of markets, the county also reports the most violations, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Market regulators and operators say the 2014 law, known as Assembly Bill 1871, helped enhance enforcement in part by raising market fees from 60 cents to $2 per producer per market day. In addition, market fees were extended to other vendors selling nonagricultural products. Los Angeles County has lots of ground to cover, though. Some 94 percent of its markets are year-round, Williams noted. His staff performs quarterly inspections of each market, with at least one annual inspection of the county’s 130 to 140 farms, he added. Other fees in the program help fund these activities, including fees producers pay to be certified, said Kevin Martyn, deputy agricultural commissioner for Sacramento County. The markets themselves also pay an annual fee to be registered. Even with this funding, he said, “it doesn’t come near covering the cost of our inspections.” Despite the wide-ranging responsibilities of his staff, Martyn said farmers markets “carry equal weight with everything else that we do—unless SALES, SERVICE, RENTAL AG EQUIPMENT & TRUCK REPAIR

face the most stringent air quality requirements in the nation, if not the world. For example, trucks that will be phased out under the ARB diesel truck and bus rule may be eligible for funds to cover a significant portion of the replacement cost. Additionally, tractors that may be regulated in the future could be replaced now using FARMER program funds. Farmers can apply to their local air districts to receive funding for voluntary agricultural vehicle and engine replacements. The FARMER program provides funding for: • Heavy-duty truck replacements; • Mobile off-road farm equipment replacements; • Agricultural irrigation pump replacements; • Zero-emission agricultural all-terrain vehicles (ATVs); The Off-Road Mobile Agricultural Equipment Trade-Up Pilot Project, also known as the Ag Trade-Up Pilot Project. ARB will allow up to 85 percent of the cost of a vehicle or equipment replacement to be paid under the program, and 75 percent of the costs of ATV replacements. Currently, the Ag Trade-Up Pilot Project is only available within the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollu-

there is an emergency,” such as with an exotic pest. Although enforcement activities are typically initiated by market-heavy counties such as Los Angeles, Williams noted it is typically rural counties that do follow-up field inspections when violations are suspected. Scotti Walker, supervising agricultural/standards specialist with the Fresno County agricultural commissioner, credits AB 1871 for improving communication and coordination between counties to catch cheaters. Fresno County has only eight certified farmers markets, she said, but it regulates some 250 certified growers who market their products in other counties. “If an LA inspector sees something that they’re not sure or they don’t think is the grower’s production, they can take a picture of it and then they’ll send a request up to us to go out and do a field inspection,” Walker said. Williams described Los Angeles County’s disciplinary approach as “progressive”: a $400 penalty for the first serious offense, $700 for the second, and a $1,000 fine and up to 18 months of suspension for the third. Misrepresentation of products and fraud are considered serious violations. “Generally, we have a pretty good network among the regulators and we pretty much know who’s been suspended and who the parties are,” Williams said. Martyn said county authorities

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tion Control District. The $135 million in the FARMER program will be divided among the state’s 35 air districts. The San Joaquin Valley district will receive 80 percent of the funds, or $108 million. The remaining 20 percent will be distributed based on each district’s portion of emissions from farm equipment and the attainment status with National Ambient Air Quality Standards. There are 18 air districts with less than 1 percent of farm equipment emissions. Those districts will be pooled together, and applicants in any of those districts will be eligible to apply for the $5.5 million available to those districts. It is expected that one air district will administer the program for those 18 districts, and interested farmers will apply to that district once it is determined. The 18 air districts pooled together include: North Coast Unified, Siskiyou, Modoc, Shasta, Lassen, Northern Sierra, Mendocino, Lake, Placer, El Dorado, Northern Sonoma, Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Great Basin Unified, Antelope Valley and Mojave Desert. Districts proposed to receive direct allocations will determine whether or not to accept the funds and have 60 days from when they receive the

notice from ARB to decide. If a district chooses not to participate, those funds will be reallocated to the remaining districts. Some air districts are already accepting applications for the FARMER program or will use the funds for existing agricultural applications through the Carl Moyer Program, which provides funding for cleaner-running engines. Other districts are in the process of developing the application. All funds from the FARMER program will need to be committed by June 30, 2019, and spent by June 30, 2021. Farm Bureau urges anyone interested in participating to reach out to your local air district to apply. Contacts for the local air districts with individual allocations and additional information on the FARMER program are available on the California Farm Bureau Federation website at top-issues#environment. Look for the tab that says FARMER program. (Noelle Cremers is senior policy advocate for the California Farm Bureau Federation. She may be contacted at This article reprinted with the permission of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

A patron selects produce sold by Ge Moua Farm of Sacramento County at a farmers market in Sacramento. State law requires all farms selling at farmers markets to post signs that say they grow what they sell. Courtesy/Ching Lee/CFBF

want to promote markets and “try to be reasonable” with minor violations, such as those related to paperwork, but they also want to “make sure that people are doing things under the law to make it fair for everybody.” Another change that resulted from AB 1871: Producers now must post signs stating that they grow what they sell. Requiring producers to state this to the public has “created a lot of self-enforcement,” said Dan Best, general counsel of the California Federation of Certified Farmers Markets. “We’ve found that the amount of people who are trying to push the

envelope has decreased,” he said. “In some markets, they’ve actually stopped coming because now they have to make that claim.” He said market patrons also have become more sophisticated and educated about what’s in season. The best enforcement, he stressed, is done by other farmers. “I see a lot of integrity in what we’re doing,” Best said. (Ching Lee is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at clee@ This article reprinted with the permission of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

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17 May, 2018

17 May, 2018   Valley Voice

Valley Seniors

A Boys of Summer theme for Senior Day in the Park STAFF REPORTS The 49th annual Senior Day in the Park plans to hit one out of the park, with the theme of a Day at the Ballpark on Friday, May 18 from 9am-2pm in Mooney Grove Park. This popular event brings more than 1,300 attendees of seniors, families and caregivers, each year. It started not long after President John F. Kennedy declared the month of May as Older Americans Month, in 1963. The baseball theme came from an

event work session. “It’s seasonal, inclusive and everybody can relate,” said organizer Melissa Withnell, CSET communications coordinator. Attendees are encouraged to dress for the occasion by wearing their favorite team jersey and/or baseball cap. The theme will follow through in the decorations and the food. A 7th inning stretch will feature “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and spectators are encouraged to chime in. Other entertainment will include a senior dance group, The Crack O’

Day in the Park attendees show off their moves during last year’s event in Mooney Grove Park. Courtesy/ CSET

The always present and most popular entertainer at the Day in the Park is Elvis offering a hug, or a kiss, to the ladies. Courtesy/CSET

Dawn, specializing in a similar style to line dancing, but not specific to country music, and a youth Mariachi band. The always popular Elvis will be in the house, and a DJ will be spinning the records between shows. Visalia Rawhide’s Tipper will be making new friends throughout the day. The annual car show, produced by Visalia Vapor Trailers, will feature some 100 vintage cars. There are always some Model T’s and other antique vehicles, all show quality and polished up. There is no entry fee, and no judging for this event. Attendees may also expect more

than 40 exhibitors, and hot dogs with other ballpark favorite snacks. Play bingo for a variety of prizes! The Senior Day in the Park is presented by Community Services Employment Training (CSET) in coordination with the Kings/Tulare Area Agency on Aging. Organizers hope to reach more than 1,500 in attendance this year. Senior Day in the Park is open free to all seniors, their families and caregivers. For more information, visit or call (559) 732-4194.

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Podiatric surgeon Jeff Hagen, DPM, sees patients with foot and ankle concerns – from toenail problems and bunions to athletic injuries.

Cardiologist Reza Rafie, MD, treats diseases of the heart and blood vessels. He sees patients at VMC’s Tulare office, 938 N. Cherry St., 686-3481.

Orthopedic surgeon Jason Mihalcin, DO, treats osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions of the knee, hip and shoulder.

Gastroenterologist Shirley Pua, MD, treats diseases of the intestinal tract and liver, including peptic ulcers, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and pancreatitis.

Cardiologist Sarmad Said, MD, will begin seeing patients at VMC’s Tulare office in July. The office is located at 938 N. Cherry St., Tulare, 686-3481.

In addition, neurologist Rohini Joshi, MD, treats nervous system disorders, including stroke, multiple sclerosis, headaches, Parkinson’s and seizure disorders.

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Valley Voice  17 May, 2018


K/T AAA, a local source for the aging community STAFF REPORTS The Kings/Tulare Area Agency on Aging was formed in 1965 to help South Valley seniors and their families deal with the issues of aging. While designed to serve the economically challenged, services are open and available to anyone 60 years and above. Change is not always easy. Understanding government programs such as Medicare, what it covers and what not, and whether a supplemental insurance is needed and affordable, are things K/T AAA can help with. When one can and should start receiving social security is another issue. As is preparing a will. Aging can result in loss of a loved one, and lead to possible isolation. This can cause depression, and a lack of proper care of oneself. K/T AAA can help with meal assistance, whether in the home or lunches offered with others. It can also help provide resources for finding in-home assistance, and more. According to its website, the K/T AAA “is the only public or private organization in the area that combines so many services for older adults under one umbrella—and mostly at no charge to county residents who use the services.” K/T AAA also offers legal services as well as senior employment training and opportunities. The agency works in coordination with the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency. The governing board is made up from supervisors from both counties, and it has a

15-member advisory council. K/T AAA is always in search of new volunteers, whether helping with one event such as Senior Day in the Park, or the annual Stockings for Senior’s project, or a bit more involved help learning to become an insurance counselor through the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program. Counselors become state certified, learning about Medicare, other insurance programs, prescription drug resources, and long-term care insurance. The Advisory Council, which meets monthly, may be in need of people to fill those seats, as well. According to the website, the Advisory Council members participate in: • Identifying needs of elderly persons and prioritizing needs • Assisting staff in monitoring and assessment of service delivery • Reviewing and commenting on proposals submitted for funding • Advising on the development of Agency policies regarding services • Explaining services to the elderly and putting them in touch with available services • Disseminating information of interest and concern to older persons • Advocating for the interests of older persons • Reviewing and commenting on community policies, programs, and actions that affect older persons For more information, contact the K/T AAA office at 559-713-2875 or 1-800434-0222, between 8am-5pm, Monday through Thursday and 8am–12pm on Fridays.

One of the best parts of the Day in the Park is the food, which last year included root beer floats. Courtesy/CSET



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17 May, 2018   Valley Voice


Self-Help Enterprises named a top 50 affordable housing developer STAFF REPORTS Affordable Housing Finance has named Self-Help Enterprises, a leading housing and community development organization, among the nation’s top 50 affordable housing developers. Ranked number 42 on the list and among only seven nonprofits, SelfHelp Enterprises started construction on nine developments with 156 homes in 2017. Since 1965, Self-Help Enterprises has created rental and homeownership opportunities for families and farmworkers in eight San Joaquin Valley counties – Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, and Tulare – through the organization’s housing rehabilitation, self-help housing, rental housing and community development efforts.

With agriculture at the heart of the Valley’s economy, farmworker families occupy about 75% of Self-Help Enterprises’ new construction developments. “This ranking is a testament to our commitment to addressing the shortage of much-needed affordable housing,” said Tom Collishaw, President and CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “We are proud of our partnerships with public officials, community organizations, and many others who work with us to provide a range of homeownership and rental opportunities for low-income families.” Self-Help Enterprises’ housing efforts have increasingly focused on energy efficiency. In 2017, the organization completed a zero-net energy retrofit of Casas de La Vina in rural Madera County.

The 56-unit, nearly 30-year-old farmworker housing project underwent major energy improvements, including the installation of solar panels, low-flow water fixtures, LED lighting, and new windows. This is the first-known zero-net energy farmworker housing project with rental assistance. Last year, Self-Help Enterprises also broke ground on two new apartment rental communities in Tulare County - the 44-unit Sierra Village apartments in Dinuba and 50-unit Palm Terrace apartments in Lindsay. Both will be completed this year and will incorporate sustainable features, including solar PV, water conservation measures, and a vanpool program. The two rental properties use low-income housing tax credits as well as a combined total of about $9.9

million in funding from the state Capand-Trade Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program, which provides financing to projects that will reduce carbon emissions. This year, Self-Help Enterprises is seeking financing for more than 300 new multifamily units in six projects. In addition, the organization plans to build nearly 85 new single-family homes. These projects span across the organization’s footprint and includes rental properties in Patterson (Stanislaus County) and Fresno (Fresno County) along with single-family homes in Winton (Merced County), Planada (Merced County), Goshen (Tulare County) and Bakersfield (Kern County). For more information about SelfHelp Enterprises, visit

Tooleville residents seek water consolidation with Exeter STAFF REPORTS Tooleville, a small unincorporated community less than a mile from the City of Exeter, has struggled with unsafe drinking water since at least the 1980s. On March 8th, residents of Tooleville gathered in the Exeter City Council Chambers to ask the City Council to consider a full water system consolidation to resolve this drinking water insecurity that has persisted for decades. In response, the Exeter City Council indicated a willingness to consider consolidating its water system with Tooleville’s.

yet this is not enough for cooking and drinking.

Solution Identified

Tooleville residents and engineers retained by the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board have identified a permanent solution: connect Tooleville to the nearby Exeter water system. Funding for the project has been identified and the remaining impediment is political — Exeter and Tooleville Mutual Nonprofit Water Association must negotiate an agreement to deliver water to Tooleville. There are two alternative arrangements for connecting the water A History of Unsafe systems. Under the first “consolidation” alternative, the two water sysDrinking Water Tooleville is one of over 300 com- tems would be fully connected, and munities in California currently with- Tooleville residents would become out access to safe drinking water. The customers of Exeter. Under the secroots of Tooleville’s drinking water ond “wholesale” alternative, Exeter problems stretch back to 1973, when would agree to sell drinking water Tulare County identified Tooleville to Tooleville Mutual, and the Mutual and 14 other communities as “non-vi- would remain responsible for billing able” in its General Plan, formalizing a its customers and maintaining distripolicy of withholding water and sew- bution lines. A rate study prepared by Provost er funds. Today, only one of Tooleville’s two and Pritchard has shown that the conwells is operational. Both wells tested solidation alternative would be much above state drinking water standards more affordable than a wholesale arfor nitrates nine times each from 1997- rangement due to redundant costs 2012, and several times for hexavalent associated with continuing to run two chromium since then. Both contami- separate water systems. According to nants are associated with cancer, and the study, rates paid by Tooleville resnitrates can also cause “blue baby syn- idents under a wholesale agreement would be nearly double those paid under the full consolidation alternative. In 2017, Exeter offered a wholesale arrangement to provide water to Tooleville. However, due to the rate differences and the burdens inherent in running Tooleville is currently provided with emergency bottled water, but those and maintaining funds ran out in 2017. Courtesy/Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability a small water system, Tooleville resdrome,” a potentially fatal condition idents and the Tooleville Mutual board where an infant’s blood cannot prop- unanimously voted two times in 2017 to pursue full system consolidation erly absorb oxygen. Currently, Tooleville is provided with Exeter. Tooleville residents and advocates with emergency bottled water under a state grant. Funds for bottled wa- argue that consolidation benefits Exter ran out in late 2017, leaving the eter with a new state-funded water community without any clean water well and the availability of a $10 miluntil April of 2018. Residents receive lion zero-interest loan incentive that 50 gallons of bottled water a month, could be used for water-related infra-

The “Morgan Well Site” is the sole source of water for Tooleville. Courtesy/Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

structure like a storage project or the repair of existing water lines.

March 8 City Council Meeting

Over 20 residents and community advocates asked Exeter to consider consolidating its water system with Tooleville’s to provide safe, affordable and reliable drinking water to Tooleville. Tooleville residents spoke about living without safe drinking water. Eunice Martinez shared that once her neighbor asked during the summer why she did not have a swimming pool for her kids. She answered, “Oh no, I don’t want my kids to fall down and drink the water and get poisoned because the water is unsafe. If they fall they will swallow. I won’t buy them a swimming pool for that reason.” Another resident stated that growing up in Tooleville she had not realized that some people can safely drink tap water at home. “I don’t realize it when I go to a friend’s house, like, I ask ‘can I have a water bottle’ and they say ‘yeah just go get water from the sink.’ You can do that?”

Why Live In Tooleville?

Councilmember Dale Sally asked, given the water problems in Tooleville, why not move somewhere else? Many residents like Eunice Martinez responded, “This is my home.” Marcial Bautista added, “I am low income, and this place is affordable and that is the reason we are there and why we cannot go elsewhere. I would like to live in Visalia or Exeter but I cannot

... The water is bad but we are hopeful that you will help us to consolidate with you to have better water and better lives for our children and families.” Another resident responded “I live there, my grandma lives there, you know it’s just the place where you, its home. I feel like we live in Exeter, We don’t have our own zip code. I always felt like I’ve lived in Exeter.” Following comments from Tooleville residents, Mayor Teresa Boyce commented that the presentation had been “eye opening.” The comments from other Councilmembers were also supportive of finding a solution to this problem.

Next Steps

Advocates with Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and Self-Help Enterprises joined members of the Tooleville Mutual in thanking the Exeter City Council for its willingness to consider possible solutions to deliver safe and affordable drinking water to its neighbors in Tooleville. Tulare FoodLink also spoke in favor of consolidation. Community residents and advocates asked that the City consider direction to staff to further explore the benefits and costs of full consolidation. However, as there was no action item on the agenda, Mayor Boyce and all three Councilmembers in attendance directed staff to bring the item back for the next meeting. The Tooleville request will likely be on the Exeter City Council agenda for the May 22 session. The meeting starts at 7pm at 137 F Street in Exeter.

Valley Voice  17 May, 2018


Tulare hospital could get up to $22m; will not settle with HCCA TONY MALDONADO

Tulare’s hospital could get an infusion of $22m if a proposal by Assemblyman Devon Mathis succeeds. As the hospital’s board explores Mathis’ proposal and other options, it has decided to stop negotiating with its former management company for a settlement. Mathis presented the proposal to the California State Assembly’s Budget Subcommittee for Health and Human Services on Monday. Community members and hospital leaders, including board members, spoke to lawmakers to support the proposal as well. “Despite the best efforts, the board has entered Chapter 9 bankruptcy and needs your help,” Mathis told the subcommittee. “The pressure to reopen the medical center is mounting at a rapid pace because of the extreme healthcare needs beset upon the community.” “Reopening the hospital is a matter of life and death for the people of Tulare,” Mathis said in a press release. “The state needs to be a partner as we work to get the medical center’s doors open as quickly as possible.” Two residents have already “died in the streets” due to a lack of access to healthcare, Mathis said. Xavier Avila, a member of the Tulare Local Healthcare District board, sat next to Mathis and echoed the case for funding from the community’s point of view, noting the impact that the hospital’s closure has had on services in Visalia. “Anyone can go to the Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia and see the two tents that are pitched, and see so many people. And I recognize those

POLITICAL FIX continued from 3

maintained that Mr. Darby is too inexperienced and not ready for prime time. The truth? With his young family and two jobs, Mr. Darby has struggled to put the time needed into his campaign to unseat an incumbent. Mr. Ward, for his part, denies the pay-to-play politics and defends his timing into the investigation of Benny Benzeevi, CEO of HealthCare Conglomerate Associates, and the Tulare Hospital. Because this election will end June 5, I predict that the chances of Mr. Darby’s defeating Mr. Ward as very remote. Going in for a deeper dive, Mr. Darby stated that Mr. Ward’s formation of the Crimes Against Children Unit was a political ploy. This was a risky accusation because the Unit has been a very popular addition to the DA’s office. But a week after Mr. Darby’s claim, two adult victims of child abuse came forward to the press, saying that their case had been languishing for six months after the Tulare County District Attorney (TCDA) office opened an investigation. The DA’s office countered by saying that it handles 20,000 cases a year. So when it receives incomplete cases such as the aforementioned, it kicks them back to the originating police department to finish the in-

people,” Avila said. “They’re sick, they’re in pain, they have fevers, they have injuries. And they don’t know when they’re gonna be seen by a doctor — and it’s horrifying to see that.”

Funds vital to reopening effort

Between $18-22m could be needed to reopen, Rich Gianello, one of the hospital’s turnaround consultants, told the subcommittee. While some of that amount could be received through an affiliation with Community Medical Centers of Fresno, the lien placed on Evolutions — a popular gym owned by the hospital district — by the hospital’s former management company, Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, is a large impediment to seeking outside financing from Community or other lenders. “It’s hung up right now in the bankruptcy where the prior bankruptcy company has placed a lien on some of the assets that we might be able to use as collateral for that loan. We believe that lien — at least our attorneys believe that lien is not valid, but it will take quite a while to work that through the courts,” he said. He stressed that the funding the hospital is seeking wouldn’t be used to pay pre-bankruptcy debts, and only be put towards reopening the hospital.

Community comment

Deanne Martin-Soares, a member of the Citizens for Hospital Accountability group and former Tulare hospital board member, spoke to inform lawmakers on the history of the hospital — and the group’s vision of the hospital’s future. Her full remarks are

vestigation. This kick back resulted in two child molesters roaming free and an investigation sitting forgotten at the Exeter and Farmersville Police Department. Mr. Ward campaigned in 2014 on the fact that he formed the Crimes Against Children Unit so cases just like these would not fall between the cracks. Tulare County residents were lead to believe that the unit had its own team of investigators, supervisors and funds devoted to putting child molesters behind bars. But Assistant District Attorney Dave Alavezos said that they do not have the resources to conduct follow-ups with the police departments. He added that all their extra resources have been taken up by the ongoing investigation of Mr. Benzeevi. And thus we come full circle. Many a disgruntled Tulare resident believes that their hospital would still be open and that Mr. Benzeevi would have never been able to commit any alleged crimes had Mr. Ward opened an investigation in April of 2016. And the victims who broke their silence are still waiting for justice while two small cash strapped police departments struggle to complete their investigation – all because the DA’s office has run out of money. By the June 5 Primary two known child molesters, one local and one across the country, will have been free for eight months. What is the Crimes Against Children Unit going to do to protect their next victims?

available below in a letter signed by multiple members of the group. “Neither Dr. Benzeevi [the HCCA CEO], nor HCCA, had any prior experience managing healthcare facilities of any size—let alone a hospital. HCCA was formed as a company after being selected to manage and came on the scene after the request for proposal process bids had been closed,” she stated. “Dr. Kumar not only gained the favor from other board members to accomplish this, he made sure that all elected officials, via sizable campaign contributions, did not pursue any investigation into suspicious activity at TRMC. “Our ultimate goal has always been to have a strong and vital community hospital. We have nearly achieved our goal. Community Medical Centers, based in Fresno, has committed to assisting our hospital through management of the facility. They will invest in our hospital once we can obtain adequate funding to re-open. “It has been estimated to cost $1520 million to re-open, and being undercapitalized is extremely ill-advised. This difficult step to attain financing is the last remaining roadblock to re-opening. HCCA has bled our reserves, bled our assets, and bled our community dry.” Alex Gutierrez, a Tulare resident and son of Tulare hospital board member Senovia Gutierrez, appealed to lawmakers to consider approving the funding. “We are organized. Our community has fought hard, and our community is now proud to say that we are Tulare Strong,” Gutierrez said.

“Currently, this funding that you are considering would be very significant to help us open up our hospital, so we can show you and everybody that we can flourish, and that crooked people cannot put down a whole organized community.” Mike Jamaica, a Tulare hospital board member, also traveled to Sacramento to speak. “We’ve been put in a very bad situation and we’re doing the best that we can with what has been left to us, and we’re trying to come out of this hole and trying to be very productive here for our community and our surrounding areas,” Jamaica said. “With that, I hope that you gentlemen can take a real good look at this — and we need your help. We desperately need your help.” The issue was held open for future action. Members of Citizens for Hospital Accountability are working to start a community outreach campaign that would implore state legislators to approve the funding for Tulare’s hospital, according to a representative of the group.

No settlement on the table for HCCA

The day after the meeting, a press release from the Tulare Local Healthcare District stated that the board has “decided to remove any offer to settle litigation issues” with HCCA. “Negotiations [with HCCA] were moving very slowly, if at all, and we need to pursue more viable and less repugnant ways to get our hospital reopened,” Kevin Northcraft, the district board’s president, said.

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17 May, 2018   Valley Voice



Ground will be broken on the new elementary school in northwest Visalia at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29. The community is invited to attend this special celebration. The groundbreaking ceremony, at the corner of Ferguson Street and Denton Avenue, will include comments by Board President William Fulmer and Superintendent Todd Oto. The architect, builder and representatives of community organizations will also be on hand for the celebration. Over the next few months, an advisory group comprised of staff, students and parents will work to develop the school name, mascot and colors. The new school is set to open August 2019. “We take very seriously our commitment to keep up with our community’s growth, and this fast-growing area of Visalia needs this school,” Dr. Oto noted. “New elementary schools are funded with developer fees, and we maximize these funds by utilizing existing state-approved designs.”


On May 24th Assemblyman Devon Mathis, who is running for re-election to the 26th Assembly seat, will be the returning guest speaker for the Porterville Area Republican Assembly.

ENCHANTED continued from 1

if it sold to someone who wasn’t willing or able to rent the venue to us as is, as a theater, we would no longer have a home,” Hardin said.

Rotten Tomatoes

When the truth finally dawned, the outcry against City Hall started in earnest, but because no one at the Enchanted Playhouse had checked the city’s schedule, they were caught unaware and showed up late. “That’s when a lot people started calling and emailing,” Hardin said. “We didn’t know the meeting was at 4 (o’clock), so the information didn’t go out. It (the decision to sell) was in closed session.” Deputy City Manager Leslie Caviglia said the city is still receiving comments from citizens concerned about the Enchanted Playhouse’s future. “Certainly we have received some emails and so on,” she said. “They were right before the council meeting mainly. There were a couple received over the week.”

All Seems Lost

Those connected to the Enchanted Playhouse were holding out hope Rainmaker Productions, a local concert promotion business, would win the day. Their plan, had they won the bidding, was to let out the Main Street Theater for rent on a per-event basis. Rainmaker lost to Legacy Investments, a property development group operated by C.R. Shannon and associated with CRS Farming of Visalia. Shan-

Assemblyman Mathis, who is being challenged by Visalia’s Mayor, Warren Gubler and Kern counties candidate Jack Laver for this seat, will address several issues and answer questions from those in attendance. To Mr. Mathis’ credit, he has accomplish quite a bit for the Porterville area, including acquiring special funding to help Porterville’s east siders where many wells all but dried up. However, his “Cap and Trade” yes vote created issues within the party and a dog fight for his seat. On June 5th, the voters will cast their ballots for whom they would like as their assemblyman, and this public forum may be the last time Porterville’s electors will query Mr. Mathis re: any issue, legislation or lawsuit. PARA’s new meeting location for 2018 will be at TONY’S PIZZA, right next to Town and Country Market 1304 West Olive Ave. This assembly will start a 6PM sharp, so get there early for a good seat. For more info please contact A.L. “LUCKY” Lucketta, PARA President at 784-PARA or send e-mail to


Today, Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21) announced June dates and locations for his Mobile Office Hours program. To better serve you, Congressman Valadao’s staff conducts mobile office

non did not respond to a request for an interview. Caviglia confirmed the city is negotiating a contract, but she declined to elaborate, citing confidentiality. Hardin said Legacy will turn the theater into more downtown eateries. “I was told point-blank two restaurants, which I was shocked because I had no idea that anyone would make a proposal for a restaurant in a theater space, because it’s a full theater,” she said.

Ice House-Creative Center Rumors

Hardin said the city’s decision to sell the Main Street Theater has spawned rumors it also intends to sell the Ice House Theater, as well as the buildings that house the Creative Center. The Creative Center is a community arts facility for developmentally disabled adults, which shares a cityowned campus at Santa Fe Street and Bridge Street. Interim Director Bailey Hagar, whose last day at the Center was May 11, said he was unwilling to discuss the Center’s relationship with its landlord. “We’re holding close to the vest,” he said. “We don’t have assurances of anything. We hope to be in the same location for the next hundred years.” Caviglia again declined to comment about whether the city was in talks with the Creative Center Foundation, the Center’s parent body. Native Visalian Joel Glick, a former city official at Reedley City Hall, is replacing former director Amanda Guajardo, who resigned in January. Glick was hired in April to head the Center.

hours throughout California’s Twenty First Congressional District on a regular basis. This is a responsible, inexpensive way for you to voice your opinion on legislative issues or seek assistance with federal agencies. This program affords residents, who are unable to visit the Congressman’s office due to time or location restrictions, the opportunity to meet with congressional staff and receive services offered by Congressman Valadao’s office face-to-face. Should you have additional questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment in advance, you can call our Hanford Office at (559) 582-5526. Pre-arranged appointments, however, are not required and walk-ins are always welcome.

Kings County Mobile Office Hours Tuesday, June 12, 2018 Corcoran Chamber of Commerce 1000 Whitley Avenue Corcoran, CA 93212 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Avenal Branch Library 501 East Kings Street Avenal, CA 93204 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tulare County Mobile Office Hours Thursday, June 21, 2018 Earlimart Brach Library 780 East Washington Avenue Earlimart, CA 93219 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Tipton Branch Library 301 East Woods Avenue Tipton, CA 93272

“I think he is going to be an amazing director,” Hagar said. “He has experience in directing the community services department in Reedley for 22 years. He understands budgets. He understands dealing with governments and regulations, which we deal with here as a licensed facility.”

For the Best

Hardin says it may be a good thing the Main Street Theater is getting a new purpose, and that was the other reason the Enchanted Playhouse did not enter the bidding war for the theater. The first reason was they simply couldn’t afford the asking price. “The other (reason) was the theater is old enough to need some renovation,” Hardin said. “If we’d tried to buy the theater, we were looking at several hundreds of thousands of dollars along the way.” The simple truth, she said, is the old girl is plain warn out. “We’ve felt like something’s going to break, and we’re not going to have the money to fix it,” she said. “There just comes a point when your old washer breaks 24 times, do you fix it a 25th time?” The city is getting quite a return on its investment. While at the Main Street Theater, the Enchanted Playhouse has paid the city rent--up to $3,000 a month--and paid for the building’s upkeep for the last two decades.

The Show Must Go On

While the old show biz adage applies, and the show will go on, the question is where. “In the meantime, we have a season, we have directors and scripts for

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The Latino PAC would like to thank all the candidates for their time and efforts, and wish them the best. State Assembly 26 District: Jose Sigala Tulare County Superintendent of Schools: Craig Wheaton Tulare County DA : Matt Darby Tulare County Board of Supervisors, District 4: Eddie Valero


For the fifth year, the Tulare County Office of Education CHARACTER COUNTS! Program recognized high school senior student athletes with a Pursuing Victory With Honor college scholarship for their exemplary character on and off the field. Thanks to additional support from the Provident-Salierno Family Foundation, the number of $500 scholarships given to the students was increased from four to eight awards this year. The recipients, who possess exceptional traits in sportsmanship, leadership and initiative, are: Rhegan Fernandes (Mission Oak High School, Tulare), Brianna Gomez (El Diamante High School, Visalia), Cooper Henry (Redwood High School, Visalia), Heather Hutchinson (Golden West High School, Visalia), Dax Korenwinder (Tulare Western High School), Seth Lippincott (Tulare Union High School), Lindsey Swall (Mission Oak High School, Tulare) and Kallista Wales (Tulare Western High School).

a season, but at this time no place to hold it,” Hardin said. The group is awaiting its board’s choice of direction. “As soon as the Board says let’s do this, that’s when the feet hit the pavement.” Their requirement is simple. “We need an equipped theater in order to do what we do,” Hardin said. “Our hope would be that somehow it works out that Enchanted Playhouse could stay there and rent until the city moves forward.”

The Play’s the Thing

The Enchanted Playhouse isn’t just a theater production company. It also serves as an introduction to drama and theater for tens of thousands of Tulare County students each year. So far this season, the Enchanted Playhouse has presented to more than 13,000 students. So it’s in everyone’s best interest, Hardin says, to ensure her group finds an affordable, permanent home. “It would be beneficial to us and this community to have our own theater,” Hardin said. “The best thing for our actors, directors, innovative writers, and all those people involved would be to have our own self-sufficient place.” As is often the case in theatrics, reality has played a trump card. “We don’t have the funds for that right now,” Hardin said. “Starting very soon we are going to need public support for funds and for ideas and for sponsorship to move forward with a new location, and then eventually, hopefully own place.” For more information about the Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company, visit

Valley Voice  17 May, 2018



California Public Records Act lawsuit tion and non-litigation.” That issue came up in a recent Councilman Greg Nunley inter- deposition taken for the Brubaker lawagainst the city. Lampe later told the Voice that the jected, “If we have a couple of big is- suit against the city. continued from 1 payment, marked as being made in sues that we could spend half a milRequest for Proposal; was the lowest between six, $293,000; 2010-11, was not for legal fees but rath- lion or a million dollars on – you’re the next year $400,000; the next year Billing itemizations er a payment “in settlement of three going to handle those right?” $400,000; the next year $378,000; the The fact that a Request for Proposal “Those fall within our contract, separate lawsuits relating to a failed (RFP) was prepared, but never released next year, between 2015 and 2016, total we have not ever invoked the other motor sports complex.” prior to the hiring of Goyette & Associlegal fees between 10 separate firms – The Voice reached out to the fi- services portion of the contract,” Philates was also discussed. This, too, was $8,072,000. We’re averaging over $1 mil nance director for further clarification. lips replied. brought up in the aforementioned in legal fees between 22 different attor“No matter what, our complete She had prepared the document as deposition, as reported by the Voice. neys and firms. a request for any payment to any attor- exposure is $360,000/year,” Nunley Castellanoz asked if there was a “We now have one firm that we ney, regardless of the purpose of the expressed. RFP done prior to Hale, the city’s atpay $30,000. As long as I have been on “Correct,” payment, she said. torney before Goyette & Associates, council since 2010-11, I’ve never heard Philips said. Looking at this was Payments made to being hired. of itemizing this. We pay a flat amount Nunley addBingham, McCutchpart of my extreme Deputy City Clerk Roxanne Yoder – it doesn’t matter if a department goes ed, “And looking eon, and Best, Best explained that Hale was already servover, or if it goes under, we still pay vetting. Paying at this sheet, out & Kreiger were also ing as assistant city attorney. Former their attorneys’ fees. At the end of this of nine years on $360,000 a year for redevelopment city attorneys, Koczanowicz and Hale, year, we know, that we’ll pay $360,000. this sheet, we’ve work, which she adwhile not in the same legal firm, had makes a lot more “Looking at this was part of my exonly spent less mittedly forgot to been under contract with the city as a treme vetting. Paying $360,000 a year sense than paying $1 than $300,000 legal team. indicate as such. She makes a lot more sense than paying $1 one year we added that Best, Best million dollars a year. –spent Koczanowicz retired, and the city million dollars a year. $293,000, & Kreiger did serve replaced him with Hale, as a “continuiCarlton Jones, the Mayor of “So, whenever anybody asks me the rest of it is as the city attorneys ty between the two,” she said. why we’re paying $30,000 a month, Tulare, regarding a spreadsheet of $400,000-plus. for a month or two, Castellanoz reiterated that no RFP because I don’t want to pay a million legal costs to the City Council and So, if we have a following the dissowas distributed at that time, and so dollars a year. We have a great firm and big item – I mean lution of the rede- public. the council had set a precedent that it it would be silly for us to have unnecif we go five years velopment agency. was not necessary to do so. essary work. We have enough people and don’t have any big issues, then There were also a few firms that In recent history, Tulare has mostlike Lampe, that’s going to do that for we’re still going to save money, but if provided specialty work, such as The ly contracted its attorneys by the hour. we have one big issue, it’s going to save us. So, to do it for ourselves is kind of Zappia Law Firm, which did private inKoczanowicz worked for a flat fee of a bunch of money.” pointless.” vestigative work in an employee-relat$10,100/month during part of 2015, acIn the Goyette & Associates current ed issue; Jones & Mayer, where some Tucording to Thompson. contract with the city, it does allow for lare PD officers went for training; and Koczanowicz also provided itemIt’s not all actual city legal work outside the realm of the Highsmith & Colantuono, who repreized statements at the time, conflictattorney fees specified general law, labor and litigasented a co-op of California cities in a ing with Jones’s statement that he had Tulare’s finance director, Darlene tion. The contract reads as follows – never heard of itemizing work done on lawsuit with the state’s Department Thompson, corrected the mayor after Fixed Monthly Fee a flat rate contract. Other cities with atof Finance Redevelopment Agency. his presentation. City shall pay to G&A a fixed torneys on a flat fee basis, such as VisaThompson said she was unsure of the “Can I make a clarification on the monthly fee of Thirty Thousand dollia, also receive itemized billings. exact function of Smith, Lozano, but lars ($30,000), payable on a monthly report that the mayor just brought Such invoices are very much it was not basic legal work as well. It basis, for all services listed in Section out. We did spend a lot of money on needed, Thompson said, to differenwould take time to research that exact 1 (General, Labor & Litigation) of this attorney fees in prior years, but that is tiate which departments the costs work, she said. All of the above needs Agreement. Despite the Hourly Serwhen we had a redevelopment agency, need to be attributed to – this aids in to be deducted for a comprehensive vices Fee Section detailed below, it who at that point had their own attorbudgeting. cost of legal fees paid for routine city is the intent of the parties for G&A to neys and I just picked up all attorneys Departments such as water, sewer provide as much of the overall legal at that point in there. . . Redevelop- attorney work, leaving the following: and solid waste, which are not part of • $232,336 in the 2007-2008 services needed by the City under the ment had their own funds to pay for the general fund, receive an income as time period terms of the Fixed Monthly Fee secthose fees,” she said. they bills the city’s constituents. • $255,608 for 2008-09 tion of this agreement. She further stated that she was Councilman Jose Sigala motioned • $262,505 for 2009-10 Hourly Fee Services to be Renasked to provide the Interim City Manager to write a • $311,777 dered by Attorneys of G&A for payments for I have always felt the for 2010-11 proposal extension. In addition to the items deall attorneys — not In his motion, Sigala added there city should have an • $284,634 scribed in Subsection 3.a. above G&A just city attorneys to be explicit office for 2011-12 Attorneys will attorney that is well — when preparing I want to make clear hours in Tulare for • $287,801 render addithe document. versed in municipal for 2012-13 on this spreadsheet I the city attorneys, tional legal ser“I want to and for written • $320,768 law, and I don’t feel at vices on behalf make clear on this was directed at that regular reports as for 2013-14 of the City, if respreadsheet I was this point, that’s what • $221,712 to updates of legal time when I did this quested and audirected at that performed we have. And I’ll leave for 2014-15 thorized to do spreadsheet to list the work time when I did be provided to the • $331,383 so by the City, it at that. this spreadsheet to payment to all attorcity manager and for 2015-16. and if agreed list the payment to David Macedo, a Tulare City council — reports An average neys. They didn’t just to by G&A, at all attorneys. They Councilmember, on the current are required in the of $278,725 per a rate of $190/ say city attorney, but current contract, didn’t just say city legal representation provided to year over a ninehr. for senior attorney, but all at- the city. all attorneys. Some of but were providyear period. attorneys, $170/ torneys,” Thomped via regular (Best, Best & hr. for junior those attorney fees son said. “Some of those attorney fees Kreiger for 2011-12 and 2012-13 was left meetings with the attorneys and were awarded to a court order that we in the Voice accounting as city attorney were awarded to a prior city manag$125/hr. for the had to pay. It was because we had to fees, as was Smith, Lozano, for the bener, rather than in court order that we work of parapay it through the court order. So, this efit of the doubt. July, 2016- Dec.16, 2016 written form. legals and law had to pay. is a schedule of all attorneys and just was not included, as only part of the What he did clerks and subnot city attorneys, just a clarification.” year was represented.) not add to his moDarlene Thompson, Tulare’s ject to the conFrom 2007 – 2011, the city’s former tion was Jones’ atfinance director, on the spreadditions herein. redevelopment agency had its own tempt to omit the Any hourly fees sheet presented by Jones. Non-litigation vs. litigation legal contract with a separate firm. city attorneys havincurred will attorney fees ing to itemize their monthly billing. Those fees totaled $894,400 for those be due only if approved by the City Vice Mayor Maritsa Castellanoz The council voted 4-1, with Counfour years, according to the analysis in advance. tried to break down the average of dolcilman David Macedo against. Jones presented. Just what those items could be and Sigala’s motion was simply to Another example, and a far more lars per hour for the current attorney whether additional fees may be imexpensive one, is that of lawsuit settle- versus previous city attorneys, estimat- posed, are up for speculation. Similar- write the proposed extension, and not ments paid by the city, as well as the ing from 297 work hours by Goyette & ly, former attorneys did charge more a motion to retain the firm beyond its fees between 2008 and 2016 spent on Associates to be $100.74/hour. She list- per hour for litigation work, former current contract. “It’s the beginning of a process,” a potential race track that never ma- ed former attorneys’ costs as being: city attorneys Koczanowicz and Hale David Hale’s non-litigation fees – $160/ Sigala said in follow-up. terialized. charged $30/hour more for litigation Following the meeting, Macedo Jones further cited the payment of hour; Martin Koczanowicz – $160/hour; work vs. non-litigation work. $275,000 in “fees” to Michael Lampe, Cassedy and Whitmore – $285/hour; Councilman Nunley did ask that expressed his concerns regarding and so forth. the current legal arrangement to an attorney who has become a thorn “So, currently, were paying under council address, in a future closed ses- the Voice. in the mayor’s side as of late. Lampe what we paid these other attorneys for sion, the concerns that departments “I have always felt the city should represents former Tulare Police Chief non-litigation if I’m reading this cor- “are being held up,” referring to work have an attorney that is well versed in Wes Hensley in a suit against the city not being done in a timely fashion, rectly,” she said. municipal law, and I don’t feel at this for his termination; he also represents City Attorney Heather Phillips re- as part of the city attorney evalua- point, that’s what we have,” he said. former resident, Ben Brubaker, in a sponded, “That’s total hours – litiga- tion process. “And, I’ll leave it at that.”

17 May, 2018   Valley Voice


Tulare County deputy named Officer of the Year in Kern Valley should be.” Dep. Bryan Minor has been a resident deputy for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office for the past 16 years. He patrols 1,200 square miles, including the communities of Kennedy Meadows, Johnsondale and the Upper Kern River. He said he likes being up in the mountains and can see Lake Isabella from his living room window. “There’s fewer people and fewer issues,” he said. “Summers are pretty busy but the winters are laid back.” He was hired at the Sheriff’s Office in 1988, beginning his law enforcement career as a deputy sheriff assigned to work in the jails. After five years, he rotated to Headquarters Patrol and, after that, spent four years in the Sheriff’s Tactical Enforcement Team (STEP) and SWAT. “That was the most fun four years,” he said. “Our whole team would come up here on the summer weekends.” Now, it’s the Sheriff’s Swiftwater Dive Rescue team that comes up for summer weekends to help with river rescues and other emergencies.

“It’s a big part of what we do,” he said. Dep. Minor said he feels honored to be recognized by the Kern Valley Exchange Club as Officer of the Year. “I’ve never had any kind of recognition up to this point,” he said. “Once in a Tulare County Sheriff’s Dep. Bryan Minor, center, was honored as Officer while I’ll get a pat of the Year Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at a special luncheon hosted by the Kern on the back from Valley Exchange Club at the Paradise Cove Restaurant in Lake Isabella. Dep. a grateful per- Minor is pictured with Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, at left, and son who I helped Tulare County Sheriff’s Cpt. John Gonzalez, at right. Courtesy/Tulare County Sheriff’s Department find his way.” In his 30 years is a wonderful husband and a great faas a deputy, he said he’s always looked ther to their two children, Julia, 23, and forward to coming to work each day. Daniel, 20. “I love where I work and the people “He’s very dedicated to the Sheriff’s I work with: the locals, deputies and Office, his community and his famiofficers from other agencies,” he said. ly,” she said. “We’re each other’s backup.” His wife, Christine, said Dep. Minor


hicles to increase its customer traffic.

agreed to limit its hours of operation. The Council would eventually add a restriction to just 12 fueling hoses. The new design and plan also sport a lower canopy, restricted hours for deliveries, and fuel storage tanks have been relocated to avoid impacting the ability of surrounding homeowners to purchase federal mortgage insurance. However, the station will serve fleet ve-

Chandi Group USA’s future neighbors are fearful of how the business will change the character of the 40-plusyear-old neighborhood of mostly upscale housing. Many of them banded together to fight the gas station into a group they call Oppose ARCO. As at the previous Planning Commission meeting, they and their supporters turned out to pack the temporary council chambers set up at

the Visalia Convention Center. They’ve complained long and loud about the traffic, noise, crime, pollution and shift in nature of their neighborhood long and loudly. They kept at it at the May 7 Council meeting. “Nothing but trouble,” was how Susan Cooker, who lives one block northwest of the construction site, described it. For her next-door neighbor, Tony Hernandez, the concern was one of future compliance. “Who’s going to enforce this (Council-placed restrictions on the AM/PM)?” he asked. Wayne Girard, who lives just seven doors down from where the AM/PM will eventually stand and who was a grocery delivery driver for more than a decade, worried about increased truck traffic bringing the store’s supplies. “The deliveries will be endless,” he said.

STAFF REPORTS Dep. Bryan Minor was honored as Officer of the Year Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at a special luncheon hosted by the Kern Valley Exchange Club at the Paradise Cove Restaurant in Lake Isabella. He was nominated by his peers in Kern County, said organizer, Debbie Freeland. A California Highway Patrol Sergeant, Kern County Sheriff’s Sergeant and an official from the U.S. Forest Service all chose Dep. Minor from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office as the 2018 Officer of the Year. “This guy is the greatest,” she said. “He’s always patrolling the upper canyon and he’s there when we need him.” California Highway Patrol Sgt. Rick Goulding agreed, saying that Dep. Minor has helped with many river rescues and he always backs up the CHP at traffic stops. “I nominated him because his public service stood out and needed to be recognized,” he said. “On a personal and professional level, he’s a great example of what a peace officer

Oppose ARCO

continued from 1

‘We Don’t Matter’

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Members of Oppose ARCO were disappointed with the Council’s decision, and felt the decision had been made before the hearing was held. “Before the meeting, we thought we had a good chance of the Planning Commission’s decision being upheld,” said Robin Hernandez, who led the fight against this development. “Guess we were naive. Two hours of us presenting our positions for nothing. We didn’t matter. We don’t matter.” Vice Mayor Bob Link, who represents District 2, where the gas station will be constructed, said he had larger concerns than just the few hundred who turned up to protest the development. “I know I represent you as your councilperson, and I appreciate very much that, but you’re a small neighborhood,” Link said. “I have a huge area, so I can represent a neighborhood or I can represent a district.” He also echoed Councilman Phil Cox’s sentiment that living near a gas station is not as bad as those protesting have described it, and he said the dream of having a boutique grocery store come to Visalia was an empty one. “I think everybody in this room, plus everybody in this city, and certainly everybody at this table (the Council) would like to see a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, but that’s not reality today, folks,” Link said. “We’d love to say to you, ‘You have to put such and such

on that piece of property, but that’s not our responsibility. We cannot tell people what they can do.”

‘Nothing Left for Us to Say’

Hernandez said that although some in her neighborhood are considering continuing the fight, perhaps in court, she is done. “The City Council has spoken,” she said. “They’re backing this, and so there’s nothing left for us to say.” Mayor Gubler, despite Hernandez’s acceptance of defeat, applauded the results she and her group achieved. He couched it in a warning for future developers looking at Visalia. “I don’t think that this developer initially listened to your neighborhood, and that’s too bad,” he said. “I think a lot of these issues could have been taken care of, perhaps, up front, but for whatever reason there was no communication going on back then.” Every member of the Planning Commission who voted against the scheme told Gubler they felt the project was initially too large, he said. He described it as “way too big.” He also spoke to the accusation the city was out to “deny negotiation by an application” with the Council taking final say. He said the move was intended to avoid an endless cycle of reconsideration. “The reality is that it would go back to the Planning Commission. I suspect that most of you would say the same thing (in protest),” Gubler said. “The Planning Commission would make the decision. It would come back on appeal from one side or the other back to the City Council.”

‘Look at the Facts’

Councilman Greg Collins made a bid to ease the concerns of those living in the effected neighborhood. “It’s been my experience that often times, once the project gets put in and some time passes, people actually forget what they were concerned about,” he said. His decision, he said, was made clear by the city’s laws and policy. The project fit the area’s zoning and is “consistent with general plan.” “While it would be simple for me to concur with the crowd, that’s not what we’re elected for,” Collins said. “We’re here to look at the facts of the issue and weigh those facts.”

Valley Voice  17 May, 2018



Veteran’s Corner

“Let’s clear the record” on Gubler and taxes

Faster claims decision reviews



Use your voice by commenting at or email

I worked as a senior level manager for the City of Visalia for 16 years, including as City Manager from 2013 through the end of 2017, when I retired. During that time, Warren Gubler served on the City Council and as Mayor of Visalia. Warren is running for the State Assembly against the incumbent, Devon Mathis. In the last few days, I have seen two political mailers falsely and inappropriately attacking Warren’s record on the City Council regarding his positions on City fees and voter approved tax measures. I have first-hand knowledge of the matters cited in the mailers since the claimed “raised” taxes and fees occurred on my watch. I am writing to set the record straight.

The mailers claim that Warren was an advocate for raising taxes and fees while on the City Council. From a front row seat for many years, I can tell you that is very far from the truth. While the entire Visalia Council was fiscally conservative during my tenure, Warren in particular had a strong aversion to fee increases or taxes of any kind. Warren was always very mindful (and vocal) of the impact to citizens, builders, and the local economy when considering any kind of fee increase or tax. Any claim, whether in a political setting or elsewhere, that Warren was an advocate for such increases is just flat out wrong. Having known Warren for the entire nine years that he has served on the Visalia City Council, I can say from

firsthand experience that he was, and still is, likely to oppose any fee increases and approve fee decreases, and he resisted any tax increases while on the City Council. I consider the mailers to be completely false and misleading in an attempt to gain political advantage through distortion of the public record. I encourage voters in our Assembly District to trust Warren with their vote. Warren has an impeccable 35year history as a local businessman, nine of which he simultaneously served on the City Council. I’m voting for Warren’s honesty and integrity, which I have observed and respected for many years. Mike Olmos Visalia City Manager, Retired

Maria McElroy: “Thusu is making up a narrative...” MARIA MCELROY Kuldip Thusu’s accusations would be funny if they weren’t defamatory. Where is his evidence? Pictures? Video? Sworn witness testimony? There is no evidence because Thusu is making up a narrative to suit himself. Thusu is not someone I would have trusted with my reasons for running for office, and certainly not upon meeting him for the first time in October 2014 – aside from that, I made the decision to run long before his fantasized timeline. So why would Thusu spread falsehoods about me? I’m not in his head, so it is hard to tell with certainty. But, I can assume it is because occasionally I speak up at Dinuba City Council meetings on topics of ethics and transparency. This position doesn’t always mesh with Thusu’s interests or his carefully constructed narrative. When he was told to leave a closeddoor session of the Dinuba City Coun-

DA COMMENTARY continued from 1

and it has cost him. He hasn’t been able to get an adequate paying job despite pursuing college although he is a good and productive member of society. He’s a leader in his church, leads several men’s groups and has demonstrated a true change in his life, although he’s not wealthy or influential in the community by coun-

“ “

cil he shouldn’t have been in (an act witnessed by several attendees, including the press), it was because he had a conflict of interest. When he was reminded that he could not be involved in a different Council discussion in which he had a different indirect economic interest, he took offense. Thusu stated in the article above that Dinuba is “now” transparent. There is still a long way to go, due to his deception and ongoing failure to accept responsibility for his actions. Among quite a few examples, below are three that continue to cause concern. Each of these statements can be proven via Thusu’s own public comments, as well as by examination of publicly available records. 1) Thusu continues to fantasize about being the prevailing party in the lawsuit he lost against Dinuba. Both a Tulare County Superior Court jury and the subsequent Appellate Court said Thusu lost. He now owes Dinuba $152,000 and counting.

2) Thusu runs a business with negative net assets. So say the Alta Family Health Clinic’s tax returns. 3) Thusu has made public comments about coming to the Valley in 1998 (which is what is in his candidate statement), but also about coming here in 1996 (said at the recent Orosi candidates’ forum). In 1997, he is supposed to have been in Buffalo, NY working on a thesis. On top of the inconsistent dates, he wants to claim building and living in a million-dollar house in Clovis (Fresno County) was a mistake? Amazing that he now wants decision-making authority over multi-million-dollar budgets! Defaming me may be an attempt on Thusu’s part to distract from his ethical failures. Slandering me with intent to harm my reputation is wrong. Maintaining that narrative even when informed of how illogical his statements are shows that Thusu has something very seriously wrong with himself.

try club standards. After many years he was able to save up for an attorney and when he filed his motion to have his old case dismissed, Ward objected! Compare that to the treatment of Ward’s friend and donor. Look at Dr. Benzeevi and Medflow. Ward accepted $21,000 from him and sat back on his hands for over a year and did nothing until he was forced into action by an uproar in the com-

munity and the realization that his political career was on the line. As I’ve said from the beginning of this campaign, Ward is hopelessly compromised. Tulare County should have confidence that its District Attorney is pursuing justice that is blind and unstained from the influence of large campaign contributions. The days of preferential treatment to friends and large campaign donors are about to end.

Your comments, online Comments from Facebook and Tulare is doing great. We have some bitter election losers that make more noise now then they did in office. You know who closed the hospital. They want to do the same to city hall. Not on my watch! Hold those people accountable. They said they would make the hospital better. This isn’t better

” ”

— Carlton Jones on Deposition taken in Tulare PRA lawsuit This article is so wrong

— Carlton Jones on Tulare mayor’s analysis misrepresents attorneys’ fees

Kumar was Wards biggest campaign contributor which explains why he was so reluctant to investigate the theft of our hospital by Benzeevi and Kumar. When the hospital bond failed and when a Kumar was recalled by a huge margin, Ward finally saw the light. The investigation he is now conducting should have started 3 years ago. He does not deserve to be our District Attorney.

— Dave on DA Ward is pay-to-play, opponent claims

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced it is offering two opportunities for early participation in the new, more efficient claims decision review process outlined in the historic Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. These two opportunities will allow eligible Veterans to receive a review of a decision on a claim much faster than the current appeals process. First, VA will expand the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) by removing the requirement that Veterans first receive an invitation from VA in order to elect participation in the program. RAMP, which was initially launched in November 2017 as an invitation only program, allows eligible Veterans with a disability compensation appeal early access to the Higher-Level Review and Supplemental Claim Lanes outlined in the Appeals Modernization Act. By removing the invitation requirement, Veterans will have the opportunity to benefit from the new, more efficient decision review process, versus continuing to wait in the legacy appeal process. As of March 31, RAMP reviews were completed in an average of 52 days. Second, in May, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals will launch its Early Applicability of Appeals Modernization (BEAAM) pilot project. Under this project, the Board will partner with the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the California Department of Veterans Affairs to identify 50 Veterans who are dissatisfied with a recent decision on their benefits claim. These Veterans will participate in a study that allows them the option of appealing directly to the Board or seeking a review in RAMP. In this study, the Board will collect preliminary data about Veteran choices and experiences. In October, the Board will begin deciding appeals from RAMP decisions using the features of the Appeals Modernization Act, specifically its new, separate Direct, Evidence and Hearing dockets. The expansion of RAMP, combined with the BEAAM, will allow VA to collect valuable data about implementation of the Appeals Modernization Act. For more information on this benefit and many others call or email us here at the Kings County Veterans Service Office. (Adapted from The Kings County Veterans Service Office can complete the DMV Veteran Status Verification Form for the California Veteran Designation on your driver’s license and also issues Veteran I.D. cards to honorably discharged veterans. Contact Scott Holwell at the email address provided below, if you would like to receive periodic veteran’s information by email. There are many state and federal benefits and programs available to veterans and their dependents. To determine if you are eligible for any of these benefits, visit or call our office. We can and will assist you in completing all required application forms. Scott Holwell, retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer, is the Veterans Service Officer for Kings County. Send your questions to the Veterans Service Office, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd, Hanford, CA 93230; call (559)852-2669; or e-mail scott.holwell@


17 May, 2018

Funny Man Brian Regan in Visalia on June 10 DAVE ADALIAN

Comedian and actor Brian Regan is coming to the Fox Theater Visalia June 10, and he knows exactly what he’s doing. Sort of. He’s got a prediction anyway. “Doing stand-up comedy on June 10th!” he said. Tickets for the 7pm show are available by calling (877) 435-9849 or online at It’ll be the comedian’s fourth trip to Visalia, all of which have sold out. Regan doesn’t want to oversell it though. “Actually, I guess the audience will decide what I’m doing. I’ll be attempting stand-up comedy, and then as people walk out, they can decide whether that ended up being stand-up comedy or not.” There’s a good chance they’ll get their money’s worth.

‘Honest Connection’

Regan, of course, isn’t in it for the cash. He can’t help himself. “I would pay to do it,” he said. “I don’t tell anybody I’m working for this. So I feel like I have the ultimate scam going. When the show’s over they give me a couple of dollars, and I’m like, ‘Man, this is amazing!’” Regan will really be looking for a little integrity and a bit of connection when he hits town. “I like the honesty of a laugh,” he said. “You know people can fake a lot of things in life, but very few people fake laughs. So, when you’re on stage and you get a room full of people going, you can trust that it’s an honest connection.”

‘The Goofy Guy’

Self-deprecation is one the hallmarks of Regan’s on-stage persona, and for him it’s a way to be accessible and open, which is how he gets to the laughs. “The goofy guy is part of it,” he said. “When I hit the stage, I try to be real and normal, and a guy who hopefully people relate to, and then I do these exaggerated fantasies, like I talk about how dumb I feel in a certain situation.” Once he’s got his audience hooked, he likes to go in different directions. “I might goof it up within that bit, but then my next bit might be an anger fantasy or show another side of me,” he said. “I try not to make it a onetrick pony.”

‘Double-Barrel’ Funny Stuff

Among his comedy influences, Regan put George Carlin at the head of the list, and adds Richard Pryor, Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, and especially Steve Martin. “Steve Martin though was one of those people that hit part of my brain differently than the other guys. I found his comedy to be double-barrel,” he said. “His character certainly

was goofy, but the comedian was smart. You’re laughing at two different levels. You’re laughing with the comedian and you’re laughing at the character.” Regan strives for that, too. “It’s weird. You want to show two things on stage, at least I do. I want to be confident, but I also want to show vulnerability,” he said. “You can’t have a lack of confidence on stage, or the crowd won’t follow you. You have to come off like, ‘Hey, I belong up here!’ But, at the same time, I want to show that I’m a vulnerable human being, that I know I’m capable of feeling dumb in certain situations. I also like to poke fun at other people being dumb. I’m just part of the world, and I’m looking at this world and I’m poking with a stick at things.”

Winning and Losing

Like Regan, his hero George Carlin often said he had a ring-side seat to the tragic comedy of the human condition. Regan never got to meet the nowdead comic genius. He came awfully close, and even that was life-changing. “One of his last shows was here in

Valley Voice

Las Vegas--I live in Las Vegas. I was married at the time, and my ex and I were trying to decide what to do,” Regan said. “I wanted to see George Carlin, and she wanted to see a Neil Diamond impersonator.” She won. Or, more correctly, he lost, but Regan takes it in stride. “George Carlin died about a month later,” he said. “Talk about grounds for divorce. She said her whole spiel in court, then I said, ‘Judge, listen to this...’”

Life’s Good

Despite the recent divorce, things are going well for Regan. “It’s going all right,” he said. “It’s weird. It’s like I’ve worked years to have this happen, and now things kind of fall together, and you go, ‘Wow. I guess things work out occasionally.’” He’s got an hour-long stand-up show running now on Netflix, another coming out next year, and the online TV giant plans to give him his own show--a “hybrid between stand-up and some other things”--that should drop this year. He’s also got a role on Peter Farrelly’s (Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Irene, Shallow Hal) TV series Loudermilk, which is about to start filming its second season. The show may be hard for viewers to find. “It’s on the most obscure television channel known to man,” Regan said. “It’s on the Audience Network, which is on DirectTV.” Regan will be at the Fox Theater Visalia at 7pm June 10. For more information, visit

17 May, 2018


TCOE Theatre Company offering June camp TULARE COUNTY OFFICE OF ED. Young actors and singers will have an opportunity to learn and perform the adventure story of Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Kids during the Theatre Company’s third annual Summer Camp. Open to students grades 1-6, the Summer Camp program will help young performers develop their stage skills through three weeks of performance training. “The Theatre Company is very excited to once again create a summer camp, this time featuring 101 Dalmatians Kids,” said Theatre Company Director Bethany Rader. “This show has been part of our OnStage touring production for many years, so we’re looking forward to taking a fresh new perspective with it here at home. We hope the kids who come to join us look forward to having fun

exploring a beloved Disney classic.” The Summer Camp will be conducted by Bethany Rader and Theatre Company On-Stage directors Andres Garcia and Karly Butler-Shirk. The team will work with the participants on refining their voice, dance and acting skills. The Theatre Company Summer Camp will be held Monday-Friday, June 11-29 from 9am until 11am. The program will culminate with a performance of 101 Dalmatians Kids on June 29 at 7pm. The Summer Camp will be held in the Elderwood Room at Tulare County Office of Education’s Doe Avenue complex. The cost of the Summer Camp is $100 per student. Registration is due June 4. For registration information, visit tcoe. org/TheatreCo, or contact the Theatre Company at (559) 651-1482.

Visalia Chamber announces Man, Woman, Young Professional of 2018 STAFF REPORTS 2018 marks the 65th year that the Visalia Chamber of Commerce will honor individuals and businesses consistently go above and beyond to support and give back to our community. This year, more than a dozen individuals were nominated by the community for these prestigious awards. Different from years past, the selection committee requested that the Chamber announce the winners of Man, Woman and Young Professional of the year in advance of the Annual Awards Celebration on June 14, 2018. “While announcing the winner in advance takes away some of the suspense during the Annual Awards Celebration, it provides the family and friends of the recipients the opportunity to make arrangements to attend the celebration to support their friend or loved one who is being recognized” stated Gail Zurek, President & CEO, Visalia Chamber of Commerce. The following individuals have been selected as the 2018 Man, Woman and Young Professional of the Year. • Man of the Year: Sam Logan • Woman of the Year: Dena Cochran • Young Professional of the Year: Cody Stephens In addition to the above mentioned awards, the Visalia Chamber

will announce the winner of the Business of the year awards at the Annual Award Celebration.

Small Business Finalists 2 Market Visuals Gross & Steven Inc. Momentum Broadcasting Store-It Zeeb Commercial Real Estate

Graduates prepared for colleges and careers TULARE COUNTY OFFICE OF ED. Beginning this month, over 150 students will graduate from TCOE programs, including La Sierra Charter School, University Preparatory High School (UPHS), the Special Services AcCEL Programs and Community Based Instruction Classrooms (CBICs), and the Court/Community Schools. To reach this important personal milestone, each graduate has taken a unique pathway with the support of these programs. Graduates from the 10 Tulare County CBICs have been working to develop key life skills, such as character development, money management, personal health and fitness, and communication, navigation and job skills. The goal of the program, which supports students ages 18-22 with special needs, is to prepare them to live as independently as possible following their graduations.

4 Creeks Best Buy Market Park Visalia Assisted Living

Large Business Finalists Rabobank Tucoemas Federal Credit Union VF Outdoor VWR


Able Industries CSET Habitat for Humanity of Tulare/ Kings Counties Happy Trails Riding Academy ProYouth

For more information about the Annual Awards Celebration go to www.

For the third year in a row, the Court/Community School program will graduate students. Since 2016, the program has partnered with Instructional Access, a widely-used online resource, to enable students to complete needed courses at a pace that meets their learning style and to fulfill their graduation requirements. This year, La Sierra Charter Schools will graduate 43 students. Three of the graduates have already been accepted to Fresno State University (FSU). Principal Anjelica Zermeño is proud of the cadets’ accomplishments, pointing to advances that the school has made in preparing students for college. “Beginning in 2011-12, La Sierra implemented a ‘whole child’ approach for social emotional learning, which included utilizing trauma-informed practices,” she said. “Couple this with La Sierra being chosen for the

GRADUATES continued on B6 »

$419.6m in tourism dollars injected into Tulare County economy in ‘17 STAFF REPORTS

Medium Business Finalists

Non-Profit of Year Finalists

Three La Sierra Military Academy students have been accepted to Fresno State, (l-r) Brenda Yado, Cadet Sergeant Luis Sanchez and Cadet Captain Noelia Franco, commanding officer. Courtesy/Tulare County Office of Education

Tourism was instrumental to Visalia’s success in 2017, with visitor spending reaching $419.6 million in Tulare County, according to the Dean Runyan Associates report released Monday by Visit California. The local tourism industry supported 4,460 jobs and generated $35.3 million in state and local tax revenue last year. Statewide, visitors spent a record $132.4 billion, and the tourism industry provided more than 1.14 million jobs for Californians. State and local tax revenue generated by tourism reached $10.9 billion, providing communities with the resources to thrive. “Tourism brings economic prosperity to every region in California,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California president and CEO. “The money visitors spend creates hundreds of thousands of jobs for Californians and generates billions of dollars of tax revenue to fund vital local services.” Last year was the eighth consecutive year of tourism growth in the state,

a testament to the success of the industry’s innovative strategies designed to maintain California’s market share of visitors. Visalia’s transient occupancy tax, which is added to the city’s general fund, increased 12% in fiscal year 2016/2017 over the previous period. This indicates we are seeing an increase in visitation to Visalia at a rate that mimics what is being seen throughout the state. That is great news for Visalia. In 2017, $6 out of every $10 dollars of visitor spending in California was attributable to out-of-state residents. Tax revenues generated by visitor spending are a vital source of income for Tulare County, funding local services such as police, firefighters, roadways, libraries and more. “These services improve quality of life for residence here in Visalia as well as enable us to continue to attract tourists and conventioneers to our geographically appealing city where state conventions can ‘Meet in the Middle’,” said Carrie Groover, General Manager of

TOURISM continued on B6 »

17 May, 2018   Valley Voice


Book Notes


So well-known is the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first flight in a motor propelled aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903, one might ask: What more can be said? The answer is quite a lot, given The Wright Brothers by Pulitzer-prize winning author, David McCullough. McCullough’s illuminating volume carefully chronicles both the trials and triumphs of the dynamic duo whose invention fulfilled humankind’s centuries-old dream of soaring in the skies like the birds. Wilbur, born in 1867, and Orville, in 1871, came of age in Dayton, Ohio, where they achieved success as pioneers in the fledgling bicycling business at the turn of the twentieth century. Possessing inherent intellectual curiosity, the brothers interest in flight began in childhood. Upon reaching adulthood it had become an obsession. Thus, Wilbur and Orville developed a practical plan to move forward. The Wrights found themselves in competition with other innovators. Unlike their rivals who saw power as most important, the

brothers determined that balance and equilibrium were most critical for successful flight. This insight came from their careful observations of birds in flight who kept themselves aloft with maximum efficiency and minimal effort. The two also obtained a wealth of information from the Smithsonian Institute—then in the midst of its own experiments with flight; and through correspondence with other pioneers of flight— the most important being Otto Liliehnthal and Octave Chanute. Armed with this knowledge Wilbur and Orville chose Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, as the site for their experimental flights. This

remote seaside settlement was selected for its steady source of wind. Following a three-year period of trial and error, Orville Wright took to the skies remaining aloft for a mere 12 seconds at a speed of just over six miles per hour on 17 December 1903. Despite their success, initial reaction to the Wrights’ first flight was disbelief. Skepticism continued despite a series of subsequent demonstration flights near their hometown of Dayton, Ohio. The highly respected Scientific American claimed that the Wrights could not have possibly engaged in successful flight. Finally, in 1908, the broth-

ers gained the recognition they deserved following a highly publicized journey to France where their demonstration flights won over skeptics both in the United States and abroad. Thus, the Wrights quickly sought to turn their invention into a flourishing business, known as the Wright Aviation Company. But they faced a series of twelve lawsuits. All were ultimately settled in their favor. Such triumph, however, was short-lived, for older brother Wilbur died of typhoid fever in May 1912. He was just 45. Orville, who had narrowly survived a fatal aviation crash some four years earlier, lived for another thirty years, thus witnessing the dawn of the space age. He died in 1948 at age 77. The Wright Brothers vividly portrays the lives and times of the two brothers, whose initially inauspicious invention forever altered the course of the twentieth century. Newell G. Bringhurst, a retired COS Professor of History and Political Science welcomes responses and comments at

Valley Voice  17 May, 2018


Read for Life Pass the Word Scholarship awarded to Redwood High senior STAFF REPORTS Redwood High School senior Loveleen Kahlon is the recipient of the Read for Life Pass the Word Scholarship. Loveleen was awarded the $500 scholarship, given annually to Read for Life by the Visalia County Center Rotary Club, for performing 225 hours of literacy-based work. Her “Act of Courage” project created a

“DREAM” poster made up of Sticky Notes from students throughout Tulare County. With every five sticky notes submitted, a book was donated to a child in northern India which is the birthplace of her parents. A total of 100 books were donated to children who had none before. She has a 4.0 grade point average and plans to major in biochemistry and eventually attend medical school.

Arts Visalia to host PatriARTic Awards Dinner on May 21 ALISON SCHLICK MINIACI PRESIDENT, ARTS VISALIA On May 21st, Arts Visalia will host a PatriARTic Awards Dinner celebrating three individuals who have played important roles in the growth and vitality of the arts in the community. Diane Mortensen, Russell Wright, and Kevin Bowman will be added to the growing list of honorees who have been recognized through this long-standing Arts Visalia tradition. The event will be held in a beautiful outdoor setting beginning at 5:30pm. The evening’s festivities will include a barbeque dinner served by the Sunset Lion’s Club, raffle prizes, live music, and the honoring of these three exceptional people. Tickets are $35 and may be purchased by visiting or calling the Arts Visalia gallery at 214 East Oak Avenue, 559-739-0905, Wednesdays through Saturdays between Noon and 5:30pm, or online at Arts Visalia: Then and Now Arts Visalia began in 1994 as the vision of a group of artists and art lovers dedicated to creating a permanent exhibition space for the visual arts in Visalia. Following its recognition as a 501 (C)(3) nonprofit organization in 1996, the charter Board of Directors began a capital campaign through which the organization was able to purchase the historic Golden Creamery building at 214 East Oak Avenue, Visalia. This was made possible through the generous donations of many individuals and businesses, together with a matching loan from the City of Visalia Redevelopment Agency and a grant from the California Arts Council. After a complete renovation of the Creamery building through the professional and physical contributions of board members and other volunteers, the vision for the Arts Visalia gallery became

a reality in January 2001. Today, Arts Visalia has established itself as a vibrant and growing visual art center for the community. Its mission to develop, foster, and promote the visual arts to enhance the quality of life in Visalia is realized through all it It offers a diverse program of monthly art exhibits by local, regional, and national artists. With an emphasis on local talent, the goal is to provide opportunities for artists at varying levels of experience to show and sell their work. the gift shop features unique items crafted by local artisans making it the perfect place to find a distinctive gift for yourself or other special person in your life. The gallery is open to the public, free of charge, Wednesdays through Saturdays, from Noon to 5:30 pm. A First Friday reception celebrates the opening of each exhibit. Also free of charge and open to the public, this reception is a great way to meet the artist. Artist talks, lectures, and demonstrations further promote interaction between the community and artists. On offer is a year-round schedule of art education classes for children and adults taught by qualified instructors, with scholarships available for youth who might otherwise miss out on the opportunity to explore their creative talents. In addition, there is open-studio space where artists can work while visiting with cohorts. Arts Visalia participates in community events such as the Arts Consortium’s Taste of the Arts Festival. Support the arts through our mission at Arts Visalia by donating, becoming a member, or sponsoring a child’s art class tuition. Go to www.artsvisalia. org and click on ‘Support’ today. Arts Visalia is a happening place. Check out the many offerings at www.

Our 44th Year in Downtown Visalia

316 W. Main Street Visalia, CA 93291


Cheyne Strawn, outgoing COS Student Senate President, and Casper Shaw, COS Student Senate President-elect. Courtesy/The Source LGBT+ Center

The Source LGBT+ Center congratulates Casper Shaw, COS Student President STAFF REPORTS The Source LGBT+ Center, serving Tulare and Kings County, congratulates Casper Shaw, who has been selected as the 2018/2019 Student Senate President at the College of the Sequoias. Shaw is a member of the Youth Leadership Academy at the Visalia-based LGBT center. Shaw, along with other members of the YLA, will be graduating from the center’s first annual academy on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Visalia. “There are over 15k students enrolled at COS. It’s an important role and Casper is up to the challenge. We are proud of you, Casper!,” said Nick Vargas, President of the Board of Directors at The Source LGBT+ Center. As a volunteer at The Source,

Shaw often staffs the walk-in center, located in downtown Visalia. Working with other volunteers, the executive director, and the board of directors, he provides important access to resources and information to the public. As a member of the Youth Leadership Academy, Shaw has taken part in classes, discussion groups, and field trips to locations such as the state capitol in Sacramento. Shaw attributes his ability move into this position of responsibility to his involvement as the Source youth board president, and as a member of the leadership academy. “Congratulations again Casper Shaw. I look forward to working with you during this transition,” Cheyne Strawn, 2017-2018 Student Senate President, said.


17 May, 2018   Valley Voice


Through May 25: Arts Visalia Wednesday Art Group Artist Society Opening reception on May 4th, 6-8pm. Arts Visalia is excited to present, for the first time, the Wednesday Art Group Artist Society! The exhibition will run from May 2nd to the 25th. This exhibition is generously sponsored by Bueno Beverage Company, Bank of the Sierra, UPS Foundation, Jack & Charlie’s, the Vintage Press Restaurante, and the Southern Pacific Depot Restaurant.

May 17 - 18: A Toto Tail Musical 12:30pm & 6:30pm, May 18 at 12:30pm - Join The Creative Center Players for a modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz in Silvia Gonzalez’s A Toto Tail! Dorothy dreams of becoming a pop star. However, Auntie Em and Uncle Tim need help on the drought-stricken farm in Visalia. Dorothy finds herself stuck at a crossroads - help save the family farm or follow her heart. Encouraged by her younger sister Tonya (aka “Toto”), the two start out on a wild adventure to Los Angeles. Along their journey down the 99, they meet a country-singing Scarecrow, a metal-playing Tin Man, and a reggae-loving Cowardly Lion. $10 general admission; $6 kids 0-12. Purchase tickets at the door (if available) or call to reserve (559) 733-9329. The Creative Center is located at 410 E. Race Ave. in Visalia May 17: Music and Motion Yoga Class Don’t miss out on this special yoga class! This class contains games, singing, and exercises to work on breathing and coordination. Located at ImagineU Children’s Museum, 210 N. Tipton, Visalia. For more information, contact Makenzie Huskey at 733-5975. May 17: Visalia Parks & Rec’s Rec on the Move - Dance Party! Visalia Parks & Recreation’s Rec on the Move events include themed outdoor games and crafts at local neighborhood parks. This event is at Burke Park, 3101 S. Burke, Visalia. Call 713-4365 for more information. May 17: Non-Profit Best Practices Workshop 9-10am - Thinking about starting a non-profit, or perhaps you work for a new non-profit? Join this workshop to review steps that are critical to non-profit success. $10 per person. For more information, dial 734-5876, or visit 2GOwUOg. Located at Fresno Pacific University, 245 N. Plaza Drive. May 18-20: Weekend for the Ladies at Rawhide Ballpark 7pm games May 18/19; 2pm Game May 20 - This weekend series of games is a must-attend! We’ll kick off the festivities on Friday, May 18th with our annual Mommy-Daughter Date night (special packages on sale, limited supply), head into Saturday for the popular Girls Night Out featuring over

30 booths catering to local ladies (all women-owned businesses here in our area), and wrapping up the series on Sunday with our in-game Belle of the Ballpark contest for lovely ladies age 70 & over, and hosting all ladies on the field after the game for the Quality Jewelers Diamond Dig - a chance to win several diamond jewelry prizes! For more information, go to or call 732-4433 xten 3. May 18: Irene Barba Speaks 7pm - Irene Barba of Three Rivers has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail solo in the last few years. She will present the second part of her adventure along the spine of the Pacific states in this program with focus on the Sierra Nevada, our own back yard. If you are curious about what lies beyond the trailheads of Sequoia/ Kings Canyon or Yosemite, if you wish to renew your memories of those beautiful places you once visited or you just wish to be inspired, please join us. Meeting is at the Tulare County Board of Supervisors Administration Building at 2800 W Burrel in Visalia at 7. No host dinner at Marie Callender’s at 5:15 pm where you can usually meet the speaker. May 18: “From Earth to the Universe” 6pm, 7pm - At the Pena Planetarium, 11535 Ave. 264, Visalia. The night sky, both beautiful and mysterious, has been the subject of campfire stories, ancient myths and inspiration for as long as there have been people on Earth. A desire to comprehend the Universe may well be humanity’s oldest shared intellectual experience. Yet only recently have we truly begun to grasp our place in the vast cosmos. To learn about this journey of celestial discovery, from the theories of the ancient Greek astronomers to today’s grandest telescopes, we invite you to experience From Earth to the Universe. For more information, dial 559-737-6334.

ber of Commerce, 300 E St. $30 per person; $15 for under-18s. Prizes for best dressed, best table, and best hat. Silent auction to be held. Menu includes baked chicken, roast beef, tossed salad, macaroni salad, rice pilaf, and dessert. Mother & daughter or young person. May 19: Tulare Historical Museum Springtime Picnic 3-6:00pm - Join us in THM’s Ellen Gorelick Courtyard for all the springtime fun. A $50 donation ticket allows for 1 drawing entry and event entry for 2. Free hot dogs, assorted picnic goodies and ice-cold lemonade will be on hand, as well as $5 Lynchburg Lemonades. As a very special added bonus, free beer will be provided by Tulare’s own Kaweah Brewing Co! Monetary raffle prizes range from $50 to the grand prize of $1,500. Winners need not be present to win, but we’re positive that you’d have more fun if you were! If food, money, music, playing cornhole, and a chance at getting some great raffle baskets weren’t enough, guests are encouraged to dress up in your best retro picnic attire for our “Relish the Retro Dress Up Contest!” The winner of the contest will receive a raffle basket. May 19: Moana Movie Night Under the Stars! Saturday, May 19th from 7 pm to 10 pm at Riverway Sports Park Special Event Promenande. During this magical night, meet the movie character Moana for photos and autographs; vist vendor and food booths and then, grab your comfy chair or blanket and sit back and enjoy the movie Moana on our giant inflatable outdoor screen! This is a FREE event for all ages. Dial 7134365 for more information. May 20: ‘Sundays @ 2’ 2pm - The Tulare City Historical Society and Tulare Historical Museum will present a very special ‘Sundays @ 2’ program on May 20th, in honor of Memorial Day. A book presentation and signing will be given by Bakersfield educator Jim Escalle, author of “Unforgotten Hero: Remembering A Fighter Pilot’s Life, War and Ultimate Sacrifice.”

May 19: 30th Annual Downtown Visalia Car Show We are hoping for our largest car show and beat the 329 entries from last year. Main Street will be lined from Willis Street to Bridge Street with hot rod cars, trucks, motorcycles and some very fancy rides. The street will be buzzing with music, food, information and vendor booths with a wide variety of entertainment.

Advanced copies of the book are currently on sale at the THM Gift Shop, as well as our online gift shop at The program will be held in the Heritage Art Gallery at the Tulare Historical Museum. The program is open to the public and is free of charge. Admission to the Museum is also free on this day during its hours of operation, 12:30-4:00pm.

Come out and enjoy this free public event. If you have a vehicle you would like to enter the Show please visit our website for Info and registration instructions at . Car Show Registration & check in - is 6:30 to 9:30 am on Main St. between Willis and Johnson St.

May 22: Visalia Chamber Business After Hours 5:30-7:30pm - Join the Chamber for our monthly networking mixer at The Vintage Press Restaurant, hosted by Mid-Cal Property Management.

May 19: Rainbow Tea Party 3-5:00pm - Held at Lemoore Cham-

May 23: Arts Visalia Ceramics Class 6:30-8:30pm - Learn the methods of ceramics in this adult orient-

ed class for beginners. Instructor: Chris Lopez. Tuition: $105. For more information: visit www.artsvisalia. org or call (559) 739-0905. May 24: Young Professionals Network Spring Mixer 5:30-7:30pm -Join us for an opportunity to network and connect with other young professionals while enjoying delicious appetizers and drinks. Held at Historic Seven Sycamores Ranch, 32988 Rd. 164, Ivanhoe. Prepurchase your ticket at 21+ ONLY. May 25: The Outpour Live 1-8pm - Held at the Porterville College Stadium. Register at; registration is free. For more information, dial 791-8232. May 25: Tachi Palace Community Breakfast 8:30-10am - Joining the Tachi Palace for breakfast goes a long way in helping our community while enjoying good food and company all at the same time. Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino will match your $5 contribution. Breakfast located in the Bingo Hall. May 26: “Something Sweet & Something Savory - Healthy Baking Tips & Substitutions” 9am - 12:00pm - The College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center is offering a “Something Sweet and Something Savory – Healthy Baking Tips & Substitutions” class. It will be held on the COS Visalia Campus and the deadline to register is Tuesday, May 22. June 1: Scribblescapes Artist Reception 5-8pm - The Creative Center welcomes guest artist Kirk Cruz to the Jon Ginsburg Gallery. The Scribblescapes exhibition features his most recent work in marker. These works are the captivating result of his unique process and his love of Color Theory. Also on display are works by process-driven artists from The Creative Center. Join us for a night of artists talks, poetry and a make-your-own-art session at the Jon Ginsburg Gallery: 410 E. Race Ave. in Visalia. This event is FREE. Exhibition is available for viewing May 11 to June 27. For more information, visit the Jon Ginsburg Gallery Facebook page. June 7: For the Love of Color! Paintings by Betty Berk 5-8pm - New paintings by Betty Berk, an award winning local artist, will be exhibited at Community Media Access Collaborative, CMAC, for the month of June, 2018. Come join her at First Thursday Art Hop in Fresno on June 7. Berk’s works are filled with exciting color compositions that celebrate life through bright color and expressive brush work. Betty Berk lives in Visalia where she finds inspirtation in hills, mountatins and the countryside of orange crops and wild flowers. Often carting home pots of flowers from the local nursery’s, she sets up still life subjects to paint in free spirited oil paintings. June 9: Neurological Educational Seminar

Valley Voice  17 May, 2018 1-2pm - Featuring guest speaker Perminder Bhatia, M.D., Board Certified Neurologist. Dr. Bhatia will be sharing the results of Alzheimer’s and Dementia clinical trials for agitation, seizures, hallucinations and delusions, using non-psychotic medications. Quail Park Memory Care Residences and The Alzheimer’s Foundation of Central California will be hosting this free event. The workshop will be held at the Lifestyle Center located at 5105 W. Cypress Ave., Visalia. For additional information or to RSVP call the Quail Park Community Relations office at 559-6243503. June 16: Civil Discourse in the Public Arena 9:30am-1pm - The League of Women Voters of Tulare County will present a team from the San Luis Obispo League who will teach a workshop on “Civil Discourse in the Public Arena”. The event will be in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 120 N. Hall, Visalia. This is free to the public and light refreshments will be served. The team will expand understanding of civil discourse, share ideas on how to promote it and explore why it is essential for a thriving democracy. RSVP to or 732-5061. June 10: Brian Regan returns to the Visalia Fox 7pm - Returning to Visalia after sold out shows in 2012, 2014 and 2016, Rainmaker Productions presents Brian Regan. Brian Regan has distinguished himself as one of the premier comedians in the country. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and physicality, Brian fills theaters nationwide with fervent fans that span generations. “Brian Regan is one of my favorite comedians ever. He is unbelievably funny.” – Jimmy Fallon Tickets on sale now - $45 & $55 at the Visalia Fox Theatre office, 308 W. Main St., Visalia; (559) 625-1369. June 15: Visalia Host Lions Club Murder Mystery Fundraiser 6pm - The evening will feature a three-course meal catered by Sue Sa’s Creative Catering and entertainment with The Murder Mystery

B5 Company of Los Angeles. Attendees in the dinner theater become participants in the murder mystery and interact with cast members to solve a fictitious murder scene. Mardi Gras masks, evening wear and ball gowns are encouraged. Cocktails begin at 6pm, and dinner at 7. Tickets are $75 per person. For tickets and information, call Lauri Aguilar at 936-5712 or email June 22: Rainmaker Productions Presents LeAnn Rimes 7:30pm - LeAnn Rimes is an internationally multi-platinum selling acclaimed singer and ASCAP award-winning songwriter. Globally, she has sold more than 44 million units, won two Grammy® Awards; 12 Billboard Music Awards; two World Music Awards; three Academy of Country Music Awards; one Country Music Association Award and one Dove Award. At 14, Rimes won “Best New Artist” making her the youngest recipient of a Grammy® Award. At the Visalia Fox Theatre. A portion of the proceeds from this event benefits The Creative Center Foundation. Tickets on sale, Friday, April 20 - $30-$60. Every Tuesday/Friday: Visalia Duplicate Bridge Club 12pm Tuesdays, 7pm Fridays - $6 on Tuesdays, including lunch. $7 on Fridays. At First Christian Church, 1023 N. Chinowth St. Mondays: National Alliance on Mental Illness, 5:45pm Education Meeting: 7pm Support Group St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Visalia, 120 N. Hall, Corner of Center and Hall. For more information call: (559) 627-1306 Mondays: Bridge Club, 9:30am2pm 210 W Center Street Visalia. Admission is free. For additional information call: Joan Dinwiddie, (559) 732-0855 Mondays: Knitters, 10am12:30pm 210 W Center Street Visalia. Every-

one is welcome. Mondays: Monday Karaoke at Barmageddon, 9pm-1am Karaoke Jockey Miss Sammi will be hosting from 9pm - 1am. No Cover. 3rd Monday, Monthly: Tulare Republican Women Federated (TRWF), 5pm Apple Annie’s in Tulare - no meeting in July or August. Tuesdays: Barmageddon Trivia Thunderdome, 9pm-1am Challenge your friends to the ultimate trivia throwdown. Earn some bragging rights in categories ranging from Saturday morning cartoons, classic video games, and pop culture films. Free sign ups at 9:30pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7am Healing Hearts Walks Walk a 1 mile loop on the paved roads inside the Visalia Cemetery after raising of the flag, pledge of allegiance and moment of silence. No charge or sign up. Free coffee after walk. Meet at the Veteran’s Memorial Wall. For more information call 734-6181. 2nd Tuesday, Monthly: Yappy Hour, 5-9pm Well-mannered, leashed pets are welcome on the patio at the Planing Mill Artisan Pizzeria, 514 East Main Street, Suite A, in Visalia. A portion of the proceeds is donated to the Valley Oak SPCA. For more information, call (559) 651-1111. Wednesdays: Barmageddon Game Night Come blow off some steam at our game night. Happy hour from 6-8pm. 1st Thursday Monthly through October: Diabetes Support Group, 5:30-7pm Kaweah Delta Health Care District offers a free diabetes support group through October from on the first Thursday of the month at the Kaweah Delta Chronic Disease Management Center, 325 Willis St., Visalia. Information: (559) 624-2416. 1st Thursday, Monthly: Veterans Support Group, 5:30-7pm Free support group for global war on terrorism & post 9-11 (Veterans Only) at the Tulare Public Library,

Senior Calendar The Visalia Senior Center is located at 310 N Locust, Visalia, and available by telephone at 559-7134381. Lunch is served daily at 12pm; reservations are required by 11am the day before by dialing (559) 713-4481.

The Tulare Senior Center is located at 201 N F St, Tulare, and available by telephone at 559-685-2330. Lunch is served daily at 11:30am; reservations MUST be made by 12:30 PM the business day before by calling (559) 685-2330. $3 donation is requested.

475 North M Street in Tulare. Facilitated by: Dr. Lance Zimmerman, PhD of Veterans Counseling Clinic. 1st and 3rd Thursdays, Monthly: Central Valley Tea Party Meetings, 6pm 819 West Visalia Road, Farmersville. 3rd Thursday Monthly through October: Diabetes Support Group, 5:30-7pm Kaweah Delta Health Care District offers a free diabetes support group through October on the third Thursday of the month at 200 E. Sierra Ave., Woodlake. Information: (559) 624-2416. 3rd Thursday, Monthly: Gathering At the Oval, 12:30-1pm Lifting up the needs and concerns of Visalia through individual prayer and meditation at Oval Park, 808 North Court Street in Visalia. For more information, call (559) 967-4065. 3rd Thursday, Monthly: Board Game Night, 6-7:45pm For ages 10+ at the Visalia Branch Library, 200 West Oak Street. Signups are not required. For more information, call (559) 713-2703. 3rd Thursday, Monthly: Ladies’ Night, 6-10pm At the Clay Cafe in Visalia, 1018 E. Mineral King Ave. $10 studio fee with ceramic purchase. Includes complimentary margarita, dinner and dessert. Door prizes too! Reservations required: (559) 733-2022. Fridays: Women’s Morning Bible Study, 9am-Noon 210 W Center Street Visalia.. For additional information call: (559) 7399010 1st Saturday, Monthly: AGLOW, Visalia Speaker Meeting at Christian Faith Fellowship Freedom Hall, 506 N. Court Street, Visalia. Live music and finger food. Saturdays: Cup of Jazz, 10amNoon At Cafe 210, Visalia. Free. Led by Richard Garoogian. Call (559) 7300910 for more information.

12:45-4pm — Contract Bridge Visalia Senior Center, Thursdays: May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

10am-12pm — Chess Club The Tulare Senior Center calen- 11am — Corn Hole 11am — Darts dar of activities was not avail- 1-4pm — Pinochle able at publication time. 11am — Brain Teasers 1:30-2:30pm — Garden Club Visalia Senior Center, Satur1-2pm — Typing Club Meeting (May 7 only) days: May 5, 12, 19, 26 1-4pm — Penny Bingo 1-4pm — Tables Tennis 9:00am — Gadabouts 12-4:15pm — Senior Pride Bingo

Closed on Memorial Day, May 28.

Visalia Senior Center, Sundays: May 6, 13, 20, 27 1-4pm — Contract Bridge.

Visalia Senior Center, Tuesdays: May 8, 15, 22, 29 11am — Darts

Visalia Senior Center, Mondays: May 7, 14, 21 10:30am — Volunteer Bureau (May 7 only)

1-4pm — Penny Bingo Visalia Senior Center, Wednesdays: May 9, 16, 23, 30 12-3:30pm — Poker

Visalia Senior Center, Fridays, May 4, 11, 18, 25 10:30-11:15am — Fun Fitness (May 4 and 18 only) 1pm — Friday Movie 1pm — Scrabble Club 1:30pm — Garden Club 1-4pm — Table Tennis

17 May, 2018   Valley Voice


Tulare County Supes announce 2017 Employee of the Year STAFF REPORTS

UPHS senior Jacqueline Lopez speaks to ABC30 reporter Brian Johnson about her experience being dual enrolled in high school and in college courses at COS. Jacqueline’s interview was used as part of the station’s latest Children First special, which will re-air June 9. Courtesy/Tulare County Office of Education

Graduates Continued from B1

California Academic Partnership Program by California State University and our development of CSU/UC-approved a-g coursework, we are now seeing 80% or more of our students go to college. For La Sierra, the three FSU-bound students will go down in history as the first to directly enter a CSU/UC school and, most importantly, they will be the first in their families to go to college.” For University Preparatory High School’s success in providing dual enrollment opportunities for its students at College of the Sequoias (COS), Visalia, the school was profiled in a recent segment of ABC30’s Children First series. The Children First special, entitled Ready for the Real World, looked at Central Valley programs helping youth transition to adulthood. UPHS was highlighted for providing students with early college experience and the opportunity to be enrolled both in high school and at College of the Sequoias. UPHS seniors Jacqueline Lopez and

Nicholas Seechan were interviewed for the segment. Both students credited the school for helping them gain the confidence to navigate college courses and prepare for the day they transfer to a university. “While many schools offer their students the opportunity to be dual enrolled, UPHS is unique because our students attend classes on the COS campus and access the same academic supports as college students,” said Eric Thiessen, UPHS principal. Thiessen reports that UPHS will graduate 58 students this year, two of them having simultaneously earned their associate’s degree from COS. ABC30’s Ready for the Real World will by re-aired on June 9 at 12pm. “Beyond the academic supports that each of our programs provides, we are equally proud of the added social, ethical and resilience training that puts our students on a path to success in college, if they pursue it, and career,” said Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Jim Vidak. “Join us in celebrating the remarkable accomplishments of the class of 2018.” For a schedule of TCOE graduation ceremonies, visit

Avenue of Flags Memorial Day Ceremony needs volunteers STAFF REPORTS The Avenue of Flags Military Veterans Association announces its annual Memorial Day ceremony at Visalia District Cemetery, 1300 West Goshen Avenue. On Saturday, May 26, 2018, starting at 7am, volunteers place nearly 4,000 small American flags on every veteran’s grave in the cemetery. Additional volunteers are needed to lay out the flag poles along the cemetery’s streets beginning at 2pm, Sunday afternoon, May 27.

On Monday, May 28, 2018, veterans and volunteers will place 2,200 large American flags at the cemetery. Each flag is marked with a deceased veteran’s name and branch of service. Members of the community are invited to help with these large flags starting at 6am, Monday, May 28, 2018, and taking down the flags and poles that same day at 3:30pm. Anyone wishing to help with the flags or flag poles on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday please contact Bill Morland, 559-300-2306.

More than 100 nominees from 19 Tulare County departments were submitted to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors as potential recipients of the 2017 Employee of the Year Award. With great difficulty, the Board narrowed it down to one lucky winner who was announced at the May 1, 2018 Board meeting: Samantha Franks. “The best, most efficient customer service ever received from any agency, government or otherwise has been given by Samantha Franks” is just one of the many compliments that she has obtained in her 26 years of service to the County. A Planner lll with the Resource Management Agency, Ms. Franks responds to over 700 inquiries each month via phone, email and the occasional fax. She produces and distributes the weekly building permit reports not only for Tulare County but the cities of Farmersville and Exeter as well. Aside from being an excellent teammate with impeccable attendance, Samantha is known for being a “go to” resource for her department. Her exceptional customer service to both the public and internal county customers has contributed to a high


Continued from B1 the Visalia Marriott Hotel at the Convention Center and Chair of the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Visalia has seen an increase in tourism in part because more people are visiting our local national parks. Sequoia and Kings Canyon had more than 2 million visitors in 2017, many of whom stayed in Visalia hotels, ate in the restaurants, bought gas and shopped in the stores. The Visalia Convention and Visitor The Bureau also brought to the city over 12,000 convention attendees in 2017 that had an economic impact of $7.1 million. As international competition continues to grow, Visit California’s statewide marketing efforts allow us to expand our reach and keep pace with other destinations. Last year, the industry invested in 13 international markets to attract visitors from around the world, who typically spend more and stay longer than their domestic counterparts. Once visitors decide to travel to California, our local tourism marketing efforts motivate them to visit

and positive morale in the workplace. She has encouraged other employees to be solution-oriented by working together to help customers, a strategy that has led to significant decreases in customer complaints. “To have a person in County service for 26 years and still hit it out of the ball park day in and day out is impressive,” stated Chairman of the Board Steven Worthley. “It is such a great accomplishment that makes us glad to honor her.” Samantha’s own peers have noted that her professional style is hard to match. “It is truly a privilege to work with Samantha,” shared Michael Washam, Associate Director of the Resource Management Agency, “I could share her many accolades regarding her positive attitude, researching skills, and willingness to go the extra mile but many times it is our own customers who say it best.”Says one such customer, “We wanted to express how much we appreciate all of her hard work and hope Tulare County knows the asset they have in her.” Samantha will receive an extra week of paid vacation along with a year’s worth of bragging rights knowing she is truly one of the County’s best assets. our region’s unique attractions and destinations, such as our local national parks. According to Beteta, “Without tourism, every California household would need to pay an additional $810 in taxes each year to keep the state funded at its current level. Given how much tourism contributes to our economy, it is in our shared best interest to keep California a top global destination.” To access the full “California Travel Impacts by County, 1992-2016, 2017 Preliminary State & Regional Estimates” report visit


Visit Visalia and Come Play in our Backyard! The Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau is a nonprofit organization charged with increasing awareness about the opportunities in Visalia for convention, business and leisure travel.


Visit California is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that inspires travel to California.


5650 sqft. of gated space on S. Mooney Blvd across from the Tulare County Superior Court 21 internal parking stalls, elevator, and spacious offices — ideal for attorneys! BRE #01115021


Valley Voice  17 May, 2018

COS Training Resource Center offers healthy baking class STAFF REPORTS The College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center is offering a “Something Sweet and Something Savory – Healthy Baking Tips & Substitutions” class. It will be held on Saturday, May 26 from 9am – 12pm on the COS Visalia Campus and the deadline to register is Tuesday, May 22. Do you enjoy baking, but don’t enjoy the unhealthy aspect of all that sugar and butter? Take this workshop where you will learn how to substitute healthier ingredients in to your favorite baking recipes. All ingredients will

be provided - as well as take-home bags for any extra goodies to enjoy later. Come have some “fun in the oven.” You will learn healthy baking substitutions, tips for baking healthier, what works and what doesn’t, sanitation and safety, hands-on baking and resources. Some of the recipes may include chocolate protein muffin and whole grain zucchini cheddar muffins. To find out more about this class, or to register, please visit the Training Resource Center webpage at www.cos. edu/communityed or call them at 559-688-3130.


Kaweah Delta, Key Medical Group to host May Medicare 101 seminar STAFF REPORTS Kaweah Delta Health Care District and Key Medical Group will host a free Medicare 101 informational seminar in May. This seminar, which will take place in Visalia, is intended for new retirees aging into Medicare, along with baby boomers working beyond age 65 and family members who are helping make healthcare decisions. Attendees will learn: • What original Medicare covers in benefits and premiums. • When to sign up for Medicare

• •

Parts A, B, and D. How to avoid late enrollment penalties. How to choose the right Medicare plan.

Reservations are required to attend this free seminar which will be repeated two times on the following dates and times (attendees only need to attend one seminar): • 6pm on Thursday, May 17 • 6pm on Thursday, May 24 Please call 559-802-1990 and use code 2403 when calling to receive a free gift.

Leadership Visalia participants graduate STAFF REPORTS The Visalia Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the graduation of the 2017-2018 Leadership Visalia class Tuesday, May 22nd, at the Lamp Liter Inn. Developed by the Visalia Chamber of Commerce in 1986, Leadership Visalia is the Central Valley’s premier leadership development course. The Leadership Visalia program is designed to develop effective and visionary leaders who will help our community remain successful while retaining its unique atmosphere. To date, more than 400 graduates have completed the rigorous program and realized their true leadership abilities and talent. For the last 9 months, class mem-

bers have explored topics including leadership styles, state and local politics, healthcare, educational and water. Class members participated in day long sessions, evening classes focused on leadership styles, and a class project that was a partnership with the Tulare County Library in Visalia. Class participants are challenged with the objective to become more engaged in civic activities with the longterm goal of giving back to their businesses and the community as a whole. The following individuals have successfully completed the 32nd Leadership Visalia class: • Natalie Bolin - Tulare County HHSA - Child Welfare • Matt Case - Central Valley

• • • • • • • • • •

Business Forms Peter Deluyker - Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Andy Di Meo - Green Acres Middle School - Visalia Unified School District Amalia Elias JOANN Stores West Coast Distribution Center Shelley Ellis - Visalia Convention Center - City of Visalia Samantha Ferrero - Tulare County Board of Supervisors Yvette Florendo - Rain for Rent Zach Green - Zach Green Films Dustin Hall - City of Visalia, Fire Department Christin Hastings - CASA of Tulare County Bryce Martinho - Visalia

Ceramic Tile JC Palermo - Kaweah Delta Health Care District • Marina Rojas - Tulare County Association of REALTORS / Spirit 88.9 • Aldiva Rubalcava - Recovery Credit Repair, Inc. For more information on the Leadership Visalia program, or to obtain an application for the 2017-2018 class, call the Visalia Chamber of Commerce (559-734-5876), e-mail Dante@, or visit Driving an opportunity economy, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce is a catalyst, convener, and champion of local businesses. •

17 May, 2018

A Weekend Away

Take in Shakespeare this summer, offered in many California locations STAFF REPORTS

One type of summer event you can partake of most anywhere is Shakespeare in the Park festivals. Different locations offer different plays and festivities from this 16th century British poet and playwright.


The Grant Tree Trail is a paved, easy trail through a spectacular sequoia grove. Courtesy/Kirke Wrench/National Parks Service

Kings Canyon offers views and activities beyond neighboring Sequoia National Park STAFF REPORTS

With the popularity of Sequoia, Kings Canyon National Park is sometimes overlooked. But it has its own features well worth a visit. The canyon, itself, was carved out by glacier movement and measures more than a mile deep. The park is believed to have the deepest canyon in the country. Kings Canyon is right next door to Sequoia, just to the north. John Muir called it “a rival to Yosemite.” Like Sequoia and Yosemite, it also is home to many Giant Sequoias, including the General Grant. It is said to be the second largest tree in the world, next to the General Sherman. Named after Ulysses S. Grant, and deemed the Nation’s Christmas Tree in 1926, is stands a little taller than 268-feet and about 107 ½ feet in circumference. Kings Canyon also has the largest living grove of sequoia redwoods, Redwood Canyon. Originally named General Grant National Park in 1890, the area was expanded and renamed Kings Canyon National Park in 1940 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was created to protect the giant redwoods from the logging industry, and remains with somewhat limited lodging and services. There are plenty of hiking trails, camping spots and horseback riding to take in its beauty. There are two villages to visit – Grant Grove Village and Cedar Grove Village. Grant Grove Village, located near the General Grant Tree and Grove, is along Highway 180, just past the Big Stump entrance to the park. Here, there is lodging available at the John Muir Lodge, or the more rustic Grant Grove cabins. While during the

summer season, reservations are difficult to get, flexibility is key – consider the possibility of an early-in-the-week stay. Nearby are the Crystal Springs, Sunset and Azalea campgrounds – group reservations are recommended, but individual sites are only offered on a first-come, first-served basis. They are open for RVs, trailers and tents. As mentioned, Grant Grove Village is just inside the park, near the Big Stump entrance. Big Stump refers to the Mark Twain Stump – a tree that was logged in 1891. It took two men 13 days to cut it down and all that’s left is the 26-footwide stump. The tree is estimated to have been 1,700 years old when logged. A one-mile trail leads to the stump, a reminder of the early days of logging these magnificent trees. Thirty-five miles to the east is Cedar Grove Village – the route between the two villages is known as the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. Be sure to plan time for a leisurely drive and stops to take in the views. In Cedar Grove Village there are a market and picnic areas surrounded by tall mountains, featuring two rock formations - North Dome at 8,717 feet in height and the Grand Sentinel at 8,518feet tall. The Cedar Grove Lodge offers 21 guest rooms. Nearby are the Cedar Grove Campgrounds – some, such as the Sentinel Campground, accept group reservations; individual sites are on a firstcome, first-served basis. Early check-in is advised, as the locations are remote. Some of the grounds do accept RVs and trailers, as well as tent camping. For more information on Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, visit

If you want to take in a performance close to home, checkout Woodward Shakespeare Festival in Fresno. From June 14 – July 7, on Thursdays – Saturdays, you can see Othello on the Woodward Park Stage. From August 2 – 25, same days, you can watch Much to do About Nothing. This local festival started productions in 2005. Seating is free with admission to the park. Visit for more information.

At the Coast or the Bay

When traveling to the coast or the Bay area, there are a couple of options. Santa Cruz Shakespeare is presented in The Grove at DeLaveaga Park. From July 10 – September 2, the lesser-known Love’s Labour’s Lost will be presented; and from July 24 – September 1, Romeo and Juliet will be performed. Check the website for specific date and time information, as well as ticket reservations, This summer the San Francisco Shakespeare Company offers A Midsummer Night’s Dream in five different locations including Pleasanton, Cupertino, Redwood City and San Francisco. Performances start the last weekend in June in Pleasanton’s Amador Valley Community

Park. The company then moves to Cupertino’s Memorial Park Amphitheater on July 21; and then to the grounds of Sequoia High School in Redwood City from August 11 through the 26th. It opens in San Francisco’s Presidio on September 1 and moves to San Francisco’s McLaren Park on September 15. All presentations are free. For more information, visit www.

Los Angeles

The Independent Shakespeare Co. is celebrating its 15th year in Griffith Park with the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival beginning June 30 with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Later, opening July 28, Titus Andronicus opens, running through September 2. Performances are held Wednesdays through Sundays at 7pm in the Old Zoo. For more information, visit


The Count of Monte Cristo, not a Shakespeare play, opens June 29 at the William A. Carroll Amphitheatre, located in William Land Park, across Land Park Drive from the Sacramento Zoo. King Henry V performances begin on July 6. The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival is produced by City Theatre at Sacramento City College. Visit for more information. There are other area groups and locations including Berkley, Cupertino, Marin, Martinez, Lake Tahoe, San Pedro and San Diego.

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Valley Voice Issue 117 (17 May, 2018)  
Valley Voice Issue 117 (17 May, 2018)