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Inside: our new Student Life section ...this issue, focusing on FFA Week!

Volume XXXVII No. 4 • 16 February, 2017

Listening Sessions Set Regarding Visalia Wellness & Recovery Center Nancy Vigran With the escrow closing on property at 1223 S. Lovers Lane, Tulare County now owns the building. Located at the corner of Tulare Ave., the intent is for the property to fill a need within the county’s Health and Human Services Agency’s (HHSA) Mental Health branch, as a Wellness and Recovery Center. According to a recent HHSA press release, the facility follows mandates of the Mental Health Services Act, passed by voters in 2004, which requires wellness and recovery programs and provides funding for services and resources to promote wellness, recovery, and resiliency for adults, youth, children, and their family members based on five essential principles: • Consumer and Family Driven Services • Focus on Wellness, Recovery, and Resiliency • Community Collaboration • Cultural Competency • Integrated Service Experience The county could offer support groups, educational classes and vocational training at the new facility. Clients

could and will be advised to utilize budgeting workshops, cooking classes, arts and crafts for self-expression, library and computer stations for the promotion of education and employment, employment support services for job search, job readiness and retention, social and recreational engagement opportunities, and peer-to-peer and family groups to promote wellness, recovery, and resiliency skills. Neighborhood concerns continue to surround the center, mostly in reference to the potential individuals who may utilize the center – be it those formerly convicted of a crime, or former drug users, or addicts. The property is located close to Pinkham Elementary School on E. Tulare Ave., as well as many private homeowners. However, the county proposes the center “will operate from 10am - 7pm, to align with public transit schedules. Security officer(s), security cameras, and appropriate lighting will be placed at the exterior of the building to ensure compliance with the no loitering and no smoking outside designated smoking

BUILDING continued on 5 »

Paige Avenue, as it currently exists. Courtesy/Google Maps

Tulare’s Paige Avenue May Be a Tempest in a Turnoff Dave Adalian Controversy over the ultimate fate of Tulare’s Paige Avenue and its interchange with State Route 99 may be much ado about nothing, and in any case the upset is years too soon, say city and county officials. Popular unease over the aged and inefficient off-ramp stems from the possibility of its closure or reconfiguration in the next decade, and the impact to business and tax revenue that may result. At least one business owner in the area took to social media to draw attention to the issue, and the angst came to a head as the Tulare City Council deadlocked in

a 2-2 vote over whether the interchange should continue to exist at its meeting last November. But they’re all probably jumping the gun.

Paige Staying Open

“There’s no move to shut it down,” said Mike Miller, Tulare’s city engineer. “What we basically have is an old interchange constructed back when that first section of 99 was constructed. The area around it then was all farmland. It’s an interchange that does not meet current standards.”

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The washed out driveway leading to Patty Miller’s home. Courtesy/Patty Miller

Clogged County Culverts Strand Kaweah Residents Patty Miller and Jim Hewett, her groundskeeper, her dogs and livestock found themselves stranded because of Tulare County culverts that had not been maintained. During the mid-January storms, water that was supposed to run down the culverts and into the Kaweah River instead flowed unimpeded down Miller’s driveway and private road causing significant property damage which caused the road to collapse. The water also took out parts of North Fork Drive. Because of the damage to Miller’s property, her cows have been separated from their pasture and have been wan-

Catherine Doe dering off and grazing on other people’s private property. Both Miller and Hewett have disabilities, further affecting their mobility. Miller contacted Tony Bollord from the Tulare County Public Works Department for help. Bollord called her back and said he had actually been up there with his supervisor and took pictures and saw it was a private road so decided it wasn’t their issue. With the new round of storms the

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Hanford City Council Votes on Pot, Hotel Taxes At the February 7 Hanford City Council meeting the members voted to go forward with a transient occupancy tax measure and a medical marijuana facility tax measure. If approved neither tax will be paid by the residents of Hanford. The transient tax will be a special election mail-in ballot in August, and the tax on the medical marijuana facility will be on the November 2018 ballot. Hanford’s current transient, or hotel, tax is 8% and goes into the city’s general fund. The city staff recommended raising the tax to 12%. The four percent increase would be put into a downtown revitalization fund, which needs revenue to renovate building facades, improve infrastructure, and entice more businesses to move downtown. Visalia and Tulare’s occupancy

Catherine Doe tax is 10%. Hanford City Manager Darrel Pyle suggested the city do a mail ballot in August. This type of measure would require 66.67% approval from the voters to pass. Council members didn’t see a problem with reaching that threshold because outof-towners would be paying the tax. The last Tuesday in August is one of the dates approved by the registrar of voters for conducting this type of special election. Councilmember Justin Mendes suggested coordinating Hanford’s birthday celebration with the August election. During Hanford’s annual celebration the city could host an educational booth on the ballot measure.

HANFORD continued on 8 »

2 • Valley Voice

16 February, 2017 From the Publisher’s desk

Buying the Place With Beads

Years ago now--and apropos of nothing--I wrote a poem that began like so: I long to linger among the Hmong; how I hunger to hear their tongue! These nonsense poems frequently come as a sort of whisper I strive to catch up with in writing. More often than not, I’m unsuccessful. And at this remove I can’t even remember the rest of it--a good thing in general, I’d say, for poetry. But the point here is the Hmong--and, by extension, the plethora of immigrants among us. It is who we are. Except for this, from the Oxford Research Encyclopedia: “Laws barring Asians from legal immigration and naturalization in the United States began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and expanded to include all other Asian groups by 1924. Asian exclusion in the United States began with the 1875 Page Law and the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which restricted the immigration of select groups of Chinese. Building on the “Asiatic Barred Zone” established by legislation passed in 1917, the 1924 Immigration Act completed the legal exclusion of Asians from both immigration and naturalization eligibility by making the ability to immigrate to the U.S. contingent upon a person’s ability to claim American citizenship. Given existing racial restrictions limiting naturalization to peoples of European and African descent, legal Asian immigration effectively ceased at that time.” And this: FDR’s Executive Order 9066, subtitled “Springtime For Manzanar.” So, our first wave of immigrants had it fairly good until 1492; successive waves, it seems--except for those who came to conquer--have ever endured the acrimony of the status quo toward the newcomer. Nothing has changed. Or maybe everything has changed. Like Columbus, we seem to be voyaging through uncharted waters. Upon what uncertain shore shall we henceforth venture? I know! Let’s “elect” as president some lecherous narcissist. Let’s make sure he doesn’t divulge his taxes, and let’s see to it that he can use his office to enhance his business interests. After all, what’s good for him will be good for us! Viva trickle-down economics! Let’s surround ourselves with idiots! Wait--we’ve already done that. Let’s not pay any attention to the truth! In fact, let’s lie to the American public and the world at large! Especially about matters that are easily verified. Let’s have our erstwhile Cold War enemy settle our elections! Because, clearly, there has been pervasive voter fraud. Let’s belittle the free press. And let’s only take questions from journalists affiliated with conservative news organizations. Let’s honor and salute women by fondling their genitals. Especially upon first introduction. Let’s make it our way of saying, “Hello!” Let’s ruffle the feathers of every foreign leader we can. Because we can. Let’s totally co-opt one of our two major national political parties and expose it as comprising the cowards and hypocrites it truly does. And let’s not name which party--everyone knows which party we’re referring to. Let’s only like those who like us. Let’s mock anyone who isn’t us. Let’s see to it that the Supreme Court consists of an even number of justices--at least so long as it suits our purposes. But why stop there? Why not get altogether rid of an independent judiciary? This is a New World. What a hideous tapestry of hubris and stupidity. “Let’s set up a fort,” as Bob Dylan once exhorted, “and start buying the place with beads.” — Joseph Oldenbourg

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16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • 3

Political Fix Hey California! Don’t Let the Door Hit You On The Ass On Your Way Out

Why are Californians so different from the rest of the country? Is it because we are more likely than the other states to kiss on the first date or go out with someone of a different ethnicity? Is it because California has the three most well-read cities in the country? Is it because we are notoriously the worst drivers in snow, as many an Oregonian or Washingtonian can attest to? The differences between California and the rest of the country exploded onto the national scene during the presidential election. Donald Trump won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote, mainly because of California. Hilary Clinton received 4.3 million more votes in the state than Mr. Trump. According to the latest survey from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Mr. Trump’s disapproval rating in California is 60%, and only 30% of Californians approve of his performance. And the rift has only gotten deeper with each executive order. According to Calbuzz “Californians’ policy preferences are deeply at odds with the new federal direction on abortion access, climate change, health insurance, and undocumented immigrants,” said pollster Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. According to the PPIC survey, 85% of Californians believe there should be a pathway to legality for those immigrants. Only 16% of Californians favor outright repeal of the ACA. 65% of Californians see climate change as a major threat, and 63% favor the state’s making its own policies and agreements governing carbon emissions and climate change. 71% of Californians say the government should not interfere with a woman’s right to choose, while only 27% want stricter controls. Lets add lax gun control, the travel ban, the wall, colluding with Russia, weakening the Environmental Protection Agency, dismantling our public schools, stagnating the minimum wage, falsely alleging that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally……well you get the picture. This begs the question, should California stay in the union or leave? A citizen’s initiative that will most likely make it on the 2018 ballot will ask Californians if they want to leave the United States. If that advisory initiative passes, a special election would be called in the spring of 2019 calling for California’s independence. According to Yes California, “As the sixth largest economy in the world, California is more economically powerful than France and has a population larger than Poland. Point by point, California compares and competes with countries, not just the 49 other states. In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our children.” Realistically speaking, it’s not like California can actually leave the United

Catherine Doe

States, but it’s fun to talk about. I also don’t think Oklahoma would be crying alligator tears if California exited the union. Even if we could leave, maybe it would it be better for our state to work from the inside. Governor Jerry Brown has tasked California Attorney General Javier Becerra and special legislative counsel Eric Holder, the former US Attorney General under President Obama, to protect California’s interests in key areas where Mr. Trump’s executive orders and policies conflict with the core ethics of Californians. So California can fight from the inside, leave the union, or maybe a major earthquake will break it off from the rest of the country and the question would be moot. The National Earthquake Council said that the San Andreas Fault was “locked, loaded and ready to roll.” The San Andreas Fault runs from the Salton Sea in Southern California to San Francisco, meaning the two urban areas and the Central Coast could break off from the continental United States and become their own island. And that’s probably exactly where Oklahoma thinks California belongs.

in the US. One of the more serious predictions is that a top British doctor predicts that President Trump’s grueling schedule and being over-weight will lead to a potentially fatal heart attack when he enters the White House. I think I will stick to the real experts, The Simpsons. They say that one day there will be a female president, so it must be true.

And Finally…..

I looked down on the cigarette butts in the arm rest of our family car, and realized I didn’t care. I didn’t care about the clothes on the floor, stains on the tile, or the unmade bed. There wasn’t anything I wanted to buy, I didn’t want to go out to eat, or go to Starbucks. I looked at my clothes and realized I had been wearing the same outfit for two weeks. I actually had been wearing two outfits. One for home that I rolled into when I got out of bed, and the second I wore when I had to leave the house.

When it was time to go out, I would walk into my closet and step into a pair of pants on the floor and then shimmy into a shirt sweater combo. If it was raining the pearled material of my sweater would be hidden by my bright green rain coat. Only once did I take pause to evaluate what I was wearing, then realized no one notices. Even my clothes-conscious high-schooler, Mercedes, never noticed. We were at the gym and I had thrown my sweater next to the piece of equipment I was using. She asked whose sweater was on the ground. I said its mine and I have been wearing it for weeks. “Oh I’ve never seen it,” she said. I thought for a while that maybe I was depressed. Then I heard Mercedes and her boyfriend, Brendon, giggle on the couch. It dawned on me that I cared a lot more about life than I had realized. I was just living a new normal. I remembered when I was broke I made a list of all of the things with

POLITICAL FIX continued on 5 »

“Honey, my car broke down again.”

Who Needs a Psychic When We Have The Simpsons?

Did you know the Simpsons predicted that Donald Trump would be president? The episode predicting his rise to power first aired in 2000. Bart Simpson had a vision of the future with his sister Lisa becoming president. She was sitting at the desk in the Oval Office and declared to her staff that they were inheriting a country in bankruptcy after Donald Trump’s tenure as Commander-in-Chief. Then, in a 2012 episode, the Simpsons predicted this year’s Super Bowl performance by Lady Gaga. In this episode, “Lisa Goes Gaga,” it shows Lady Gaga jumping from the ledge of the stadium to the stage held by heavy cables. It seems that such prophesies are regular for the Simpsons and South Park. In a 2010 episode of South Park an engine fire lead to the electric toilets not working on a Carnival Cruise and the episode spent the rest of the show satirizing the passengers’ potty travails. The same incident happened in 2013 when a Carnival Cruise had an engine fire and lost power off of the Mexican coast. As a result the toilets started overflowing and the guests had to resort to pooping in plastic bags. There have been a string of cruise ship mishaps since, but the Carnival Cruise incident was the first. South Park then aired a show where Osama Bin Laden was killed in October 2010 after being shot in the head by a special forces Commando. The real Bin Laden died eight months later, after being shot in the forehead by a Navy SEAL.  The following are some predictions for 2017, found on-line and made by “experts.” To start, corrupt energy firms will cause an environmental catastrophe and a dome will have to be built over the contaminated site. Also, it will become illegal to teach evolution in schools, and Prohibition will return to several states

If you commute with CalVans, you’ll never worry about a breakdown. If something happens to one of our vans, we send a replacement right away. If only fixing your own car was that easy.


Public Vanpools Leading The Way


4 • Valley Voice

16 February, 2017

Departing Mann Presents Vision for Kaweah Delta Dave Adalian For a man with a nearly impossible task before him, Lindsay Mann is in a rather upbeat mood. With less than two months before he leaves his position as head of the Kaweah Delta Health Care District, Mann says he intends to finish an entire year’s work before he goes. Yet, he still has time to get excited about the recent rainfall. “For the record, I am so glad it’s raining in the Central Valley,” Mann said. “Really, I’m thrilled. Aren’t you?”

The Vision

Mann was preparing to launch into a lengthy monologue on the future of the county’s largest heath-care provider and how it will fair once he’s left for Mexico City to pursue a three-year mission for the Mormon Church. “It’s my duty to cast the vision in the organization, as I have earlier this week with our leadership team, with our board, and, ultimately, the community’s got to have some sense of what’s going on,” Mann said. “Now, this isn’t some kind of valedictory address in any sense, because you know by midyear I’ll be in Mexico.” But first he wanted to talk about the weather, about how the northern reaches of California are no longer in the grip of drought, and his sense of relief that our area may soon follow. “Wouldn’t we be thrilled to be out of the drought?” he asked. “That’s been permeating our consciousness for at least five years.”

Seismically Sound

Mann’s consciousness during the last

decade has been taken up largely with ensuring Kaweah Delta Medical Center meets the state’s seismic stability requirements before a 2030 deadline, and now most of the payoff for those efforts will come after he departs his job. Mann leaves KHHCD on March 31, and only after will the fifth and sixth floors of the hospital’s Acequia Wing finally be put to use and the ground broken on an expansion of the ER. “The fifth floor will be built out for 24 new beds, sixth floor for new NICU (neonatal intensive care unit),” he said, speaking at a near -breakneck pace. “Two new OB ORs that are already approved, interim emergency department expansion is happening within the next six months, and then as soon as the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development approves it, we’ll build out the expanded emergency department. We’ll literally double our capacities in the ED from 33 spaces to 66 spaces.” He talks about the renovation and expansion at the Exeter Clinic, the addition of a new urgent care center on Ben Maddox Way and expanding the District’s West Campus on Acres Road. “This is our board’s vision, to be this valley’s premiere health-care institution, not because we’ve got a big, prideful sense,” he said. “It’s about what we owe to the patient.”

Four-Star Rating

Kaweah Delta has gone a long way toward improving patient outcomes and satisfaction in the last two decades, especially since Mann took over in 2001. Infection rates at KDMC are down, and the hospital now leads the nation in

preventing catheter-associated urinary line and central line-associated infections, two of the 64 metrics used by the federal Center for Medicaid Studies (CMS) in its ratings. “It’s because we look at the low points and beat the heck out of them,” Mann said. “We are currently the only hospital in the Central Valley, including all of Fresno and Bakersfield, that is at a four-star level by CMS.” Gaining a four-star rating, then holding it as KDMC has done for two years running, is a difficult feat for any facility. It’s even harder in a poverty-stricken area. “It’s not a beauty contest,” Mann said. “To do four stars in Tulare County is pretty remarkable, because there is an emergency department attached to this place that’s pretty busy, and it’s an all-comers situation.” KDMC also holds a 4-A safety score with the Leapfrog Group, an NGO health-care auditor.

Five-Star Context

Mann says the District will continue to seek a five-star rating once he’s gone, but that it will require a team effort and an awareness of the difficulties working in this area present. “Five (stars) will be a really big challenge because the context of Kaweah Delta in Tulare County and the population we serve and the comorbidities,” Mann said. “What it will take is a very disciplined drive with physicians and hospital staff members to make sure that our following (of ) clinical guidelines, national best practices, are perfect, and also that patients and families have great experiences here.” To further that effort, the District

will continue to recruit nurses, doctors and clinicians, as well as working on its sometimes imperfect relationship with the community it serves, Mann said. So far in 2017, the District has hired 24 new nurses, and it would like to add to its residency programs in the coming months.

Better Care

Key to gaining a five-star rating is satisfying patients and getting the best possible outcomes for them. In January, the Joint Commission awarded the District a three-year certification for its program of stroke treatment, but Mann says that’s just not good enough. KDMC will add scanning capacity to drive down stroke treatment times, an example of just one of the ways the District is embracing technology, Mann said. “What it says is we’re not just resting on our laurels,” he said. “We’re moving to very leading-edge procedures.” In his remaining time, Mann will be sticking to plain hard work. “I’ve got plenty to do,” he said, “like a year’s worth of work to do just to set the groundwork for the year ahead.” Part of that groundwork is finding his replacement. The search is underway, and the District has hired a recruiter to aid its search. KDHCD’s four-star and 4-A ratings should make competition for Mann’s former job tough. Mann seems confident whoever replaces him will have a solid plan to follow into the future. “As I told the leadership team, it will be a very rich blessing to take this vision and more that will emerge and carry it forward,” he said.

Farmersville Gets Closer to Its Own Library Staff Reports The Tulare County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a three-year agreement with the City of Farmersville to staff and operate its long sought after City

library. The agreement will permit the City to use a portion of its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to pay for a professional, trained librarian from the County to staff the Farmersville location. The Farmersville Library will be locat-

Locally Grown

Local • Personal • Thriving • Federally insured by NCUA

ed in the City’s Community Center at 623 North Avery Street at the corner of Ash in central Farmersville. The Farmersville Community Center currently houses the Boys and Girls Club of the Sequoias, and will in a few weeks also be the site of a new senior citizens program in Farmersville in partnership with CSET, also funded through the CDBG Program. CDBG funds originate from the Federal government and are managed and passed down to local cities and counties through the State of CA, Department of Housing and Community Development (CA HCD). City Council Member and former Mayor Greg Gomez was in attendance at today’s Board approval and said, “We couldn’t be more excited that this project, which is near and dear to so many in our City, has come to fruition. It represents the work of many hands and many years of determination to provide better for our kids.” Gomez continued by thanking Dar-

la Wegener, the County Librarian and all those with the City and County who helped make this happen, but especially thanked, “all the residents and volunteers in Farmersville who wouldn’t give up in making this goal a reality.” The new Farmersville Library is anticipated to have a soft opening in April to get up and running followed by a Grand Opening celebration tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 22nd. On February 28th, the Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a companion a lease with the City to occupy the space at the Farmersville Community Center and according to City Manager John Jansons, “the City looks forward to completing this next step and to enjoying a long and lasting relationship with the County Library system for years to come”. For more information about the new Farmersville Library, check in at www. or find us on Facebook for more information about the scheduled opening and hours of operation.

16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • 5

Visalia City Council Seeking 4th of July Fireworks Sponsors Catherine Doe Fireworks flew at the February 6 Visalia City Council meeting as two council members argued over the merits of the Freedom Celebration. The fireworks show was unexpectedly canceled in 2015 when the city could not find a service group to host it. During its December 16 meeting Mayor Warren Gubler outlined 10 goals for his term as mayor. Reviving the fireworks show was fourth on his list. However, Councilmember Steve Nelsen said during the February meeting that the show was a waste of time, money and effort, and he objected to it even being on the agenda. The consent calendar item authorizes city staff to request a non-profit or service group to host the Fourth of July fireworks event, and offers a one-time $25,000 grant. According to the staff report, “$10,000 would be for fireworks, $10,000 as a first-year-only incentive given that the event would be held in five months, which does not give an organization a lot of time to fund raise, and $5,000 for City staff time including police, fire and parks and recreation employees to assist in the event.” Nelsen pulled the item off of the consent calendar to publicly discuss his opposition to the city’s paying the tab. He said that when the Freedom Celebration was canceled two years ago he did not see one newspaper article nor did he get any calls of complaint. The Voice did publish an article on

Building Continued from 1

area signs. Seven foot fencing will be added around the vacant lot just south of the building wherein a garden and outdoor space will be placed, as well as landscaping to beautify the area surrounding the building,” according to Tammie Weyker, HHSA public information officer. It also should be noted that the center “will not be a treatment clinic, a methadone clinic, medication service provider, or a residential program. It will not serve individuals who are not yet

Political Fix Continued from 3

which I was blessed. Like a good box of chocolates, some things in my life were not free. But the most important things in my life could not be bought. I’ve always been healthy and you can’t buy good health. Taking a deep breath, going for a bike ride, sleeping soundly, running after your dog are things healthy people do. And if you don’t have your health it doesn’t matter what you own. Equally on my list was healthy babies. Having uncomplicated births ending in a healthy newborn in my arms, five times over, can only be described as a gift from God. I worked for the March of Dimes and I know how rare that is. Then there is a sense of humor. You cannot buy a sense of humor. Everyone in my family is funny. Though my youngest son doesn’t know why he is funny, the

May 5, 2015, generating significant reader comment. Nelsen said that the only people who contacted him were Mineral King Bowl neighbors who threw Fourth of July parties and wanted to know when the fireworks show was coming back. Gubler said that the Freedom Celebration event was never about making money but an opportunity to show our patriotism and celebrate the birth of our nation, adding that he felt there had been an increase in illegal use of fireworks and accidental fires as a result of the Freedom Show’s being canceled. He suggested that Visalia use part of the $40,000 in fines each year from illegal use of fireworks to fund the show. “I hate when people use the patriotic card. That really bothers me,” said Nelsen. He suggested that the $40,000 be put instead toward fire prevention. The Visalia Parks and Recreation Foundation ran the show for 12 years before calling it quits because it lacked the resources. The show was previously run as a for-profit event by the Kiwanis and the Foundation was only supposed to be a stop gap measure while the city recruited another group. The Visalia City Council donated $10,000 every year to keep the show free but donations were requested at the gate. Carol Hoppert-Hays, Director of the Parks and Recreation Foundation, said two years ago that it took anywhere from $30,000 to $55,000 to run the show. She said that the Foundation trimmed the cost to get it into the black by changing from a computer-generated to a hand-fired pro-

gram. The Foundation was also able to extend the show from 15 minutes to 20 with the handfired fireworks. When looking back at old newspaper clippings, Hoppert-Hays estimated that the show had been a Visalia tradition for the last 45 to 50 years, with a few missed years in the 1980s. Hoppert-Hays felt that it could be a money maker, if admission were charged. “The event would be perfect for a large service group with a lot of members.” The city staff also felt that the event could make money. Its report stated, “With a reduction in expenses, and more aggressive marketing and sales efforts, especially the solicitation of a name sponsor, it is thought that the event could possibly make money for a nonprofit, or prove The 2014 Freedom Celebration was Visalia’s last, held at to be at least a break-even event the Mineral King Bowl. Courtesy/Alvarez Photography that would also continue a long high. Anyone who used to enjoy watching running community event. A list of the the fireworks from their front yard close to donors is also available from the Parks and the stadium can no longer see them. Recreation Foundation which could help The fireworks show stayed at Mineral facilitate sponsorship solicitation.” King Bowl because of tradition, but she Another reason the Parks and Recsaid that the fire department has let it be reation Department Foundation stopped known that the bowl can only be used for hosting the fireworks show was the safety a few more years. That was in 2013. If a issue. Four or five years ago it was reported sponsor is found, the new location would that the Visalia Fire Department did not be Groppetti Stadium. feel that the Mineral King Bowl was an The city council voted 4-1 to approve appropriate venue. The Foundation had with Nelsen voting no. City staff will be to modify its program by clearing a widsending out letters to potential sponsors er area and not shooting the fireworks as by the end of the week.

within their wellness and recovery journey, or those just entering into or not yet engaged in mental health treatment. It will not serve sex offenders or parolees. Nor will it offer mental health assessment or outpatient therapeutic treatment; such as diagnosis, therapy, and medication services. It will serve individuals who are within or advanced in their wellness and recovery journey and will be an alcohol and drug-free environment.” According to the county’s HHSA website, “mental health clinics provide services that help individuals with mental illness manage their symptoms and avoid crises. Our goal is to help you avoid hos-

pitalization and help you live and thrive within your community. To do so we use a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to support the wellness and recovery process.” The county received a Mental Health Services Act grant, covering the $1.2 million expense for the purchase of the property, for which escrow closed in January. The county is going through the process of determining just how the facility will be utilized as well as addressing possible concerns of neighbors in the area, said Supervisor Board Chair Pete Vander Poel. Assessing the county’s needs is being done over the upcoming weeks and

months, he added. “These were use it or lose it funds from the State of California,” he said. The county chose to use it. Some neighbors to the new facility remain concerned. “We understand their concerns and want to help them understand the intent on the part of the county and what the facility could be,” Vander Poel said. To that end, the county is conducting two community listening sessions. Meetings will be held at 210 Café located at 210 W. Center St. in Visalia from 7-8:30pm on Tuesday, February 21 and Wednesday, February 22. Any concerned citizens are welcome to attend.

results are the same and every time we sit around the dinner table we laugh. Neither can you buy talent. My daughters can sing, I can string a line or two together of prose, and my second oldest son can draw. Before his health deteriorated he used to draw this paper’s cartoon. My youngest son has self published several CDs of his original music and can play every instrument without formal instruction. My “new normal” has been the result of a difficult four years capped by my second son spending eight nights in the ICU. Quietly sitting in his room holding his hand it was painfully obvious just how very little one needs and what is truly important. Your health, children to keep things real, a sense of humor and laughter make a Prime Membership with almost silly. At the end of the day I realized that not picking out fresh outfits every morning wasn’t a sign of depression. It was a sign that I had found peace. On Valentine’s Day my husband

slips me a kiss and a box of See’s Candy. I eat my chocolates while wearing what I wore the day before and smile as I remember the greatest thing of all

on my list that money can’t buy - and that is love. Happy Valentine’s Day with many happy returns.


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6 • Valley Voice

16 February, 2017


Commentary: YF&R Program Develops Next-Generation Leaders Lindsey Liebig, YF&R For nearly 70 years, the California Young Farmers and Ranchers program has provided young agriculturalists an opportunity to connect with their peers and become engaged with Farm Bureau at a grassroots level, while developing dynamic young leaders for both agriculture in general and Farm Bureau in particular. YF&R members are between the ages of 18 and 35 and are involved both in production and in various agricultural business sectors. Whether they are in the field or in an office, YF&R members share a common passion for promoting agriculture within their generation. These volunteer leaders, at both the state and local levels, recognize the important role they play in the future of Farm Bureau and agriculture as a whole. The YF&R program strives to provide learning opportunities for members in the areas of leadership development, political advocacy and communications. By sharpening these skills, YF&R members are better able to transition from being active members of their local YF&R committees to becoming engaged leaders within their county Farm Bureaus and beyond. The energy and excitement of younger generations brings forth new ideas and fresh perspectives, thus encouraging progressive conversations in all facets of Farm Bureau. Members of the YF&R State Committee, representing the 21 Farm Bureau districts within California, are appointed to serve the local YF&R committees within their district. State Committee members meet on a regular basis and develop resources for county committees, execute leadership trainings and conferences, and participate in strategic planning for the YF&R program as a whole. These committee members are volunteer leaders who serve both their local committees and the greater YF&R program, representing California at national YF&R functions throughout their service on the committee. This past week, YF&R State Committee members attended the American

Farm Bureau Federation FUSION Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. This conference, comprised of YF&R, Women’s Committee and Promotion & Education Committee members from across the nation, focused on enhancing members’ skill sets in the areas of leadership, volunteer engagement, communication and grassroots advocacy. California YF&R committee members had the opportunity to network with members from other states, learning about their committee successes and exchanging ideas on ways to enhance the California program. These skills and ideas will be featured at the upcoming annual California YF&R Conference. This conference is attended by more than 200 YF&R members, sponsors and agricultural representatives from across California and neighboring states. The conference brings an opportunity to network with other YF&R members, gain insight and ideas for enhancing local YF&R committees, and receive resources and briefings on key issues and topics affecting California agriculture. The 2017 YF&R Conference will be held in Modesto on Feb. 23-25, with the theme: “Planting Seeds for the Future.” The conference will offer sessions focusing on agricultural technology, social media communications, media advocacy and Farm Bureau policy. Additionally, the YF&R State Committee will again host a one-day leadership training seminar for county YF&R chairs and other local committee leaders. This training is intended to provide leadership development specifically for those members wanting to take the next step in YF&R leadership. The seminar will be held in Sacramento on July 29; session topics will include committee resource development, communication, and meeting and member engagement. The discussions at this seminar provide direction for the State Committee as it develops the program of work for the coming year. The State Committee also focuses on facilitating regional agricultural tours aimed at bringing YF&R members together outside of traditional leadership conferences. The tours provide not only an educational activity, but an opportu-

nity for neighboring county committees to join together and expand their network, in a social setting. By hosting these networking events, members are able to experience the full spectrum of the YF&R program, through social, educational and professional development activities. California YF&R leaders celebrate success at the American Farm In addition to Bureau Federation FUSION conference last weekend in Pittsburgh. member involve- From left: Tyler Blagg of the California YF&R State Committee; Fresment and leader- no State student Hunter Berry, a finalist in the national Collegiate ship development, Discussion Meet; state YF&R Chair Johnnie White; Jenny Holterthe YF&R program mann, YF&R State Committee; AFBF President Zippy Duvall; Nick Ferrari, YF&R State Committee; Greg Taylor, Nationwide Insurance; focuses on pro- and Lindsey Liebig, YF&R state coordinator. Courtesy/AFBF viding opportuniment and networking aspects of the proties for members to become engaged in gram, YF&R promotes community serlarger political-advocacy efforts within vice through the Harvest for All program. Farm Bureau. YF&R members serve on This partnership with Feeding America— California Farm Bureau Federation Isthe nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief sue Advisory Committees, participating organization—allows YF&R members in each committee’s discussion, policy to take part in events that raise money development and resolution recommenand collect food for local food banks and dations. Through increased participation communities. in political advocacy, YF&R members California YF&R has been a nationare becoming more engaged within their al leader in this program, receiving acown county Farm Bureaus and Advisory colades for setting new records for total Committees. Additionally, they are able food contributions year after year. At the to share their experiences with their peers, just-concluded FUSION Conference, thus expanding member engagement at California was recognized with a 1st-place the YF&R level. award in the food donation category, with Along with political advocacy, the donations exceeding 15 million pounds, YF&R State Committee strongly ensecured through various gleaning events courages members to become involved in and community partnerships. political action through FARM TEAM®, For more information on the YF&R FARM PAC® and advocacy meetings. program, how to become involved in a YF&R members are active in respondlocal YF&R committee or YF&R events ing to FARM TEAM alerts and meeting and activities, please contact yfr@cfbf. with their elected representatives, both in com or visit Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Farm Bureau encourages YF&R members to (Lindsey Liebig is state coordinator for host elected officials on agricultural tours the California Young Farmers and Ranchers and to share their personal stories on how Program. She may be contacted at lliebig@ legislative issues affect their operations and livelihoods. YF&R members also asThis article reprinted with the persist with FARM PAC fundraising events mission of the California Farm Bureau at both the county and state levels. Federation. To round out the leadership develop-

Temperature Plan Could Cut Yield from Shasta Lake Christine Souza, CFBF Even as storage in Shasta Lake has risen to more than 135 percent of average, a fishery agency’s recommendation could require more water to be held behind the dam through the spring and summer— effectively reducing the amount available for downstream human and environmental uses. A draft proposal by the National Marine Fisheries Service recommends changing temperature-management guidelines for the reservoir, requiring the U.S. Bureau SALES, SERVICE, RENTAL AG EQUIPMENT & TRUCK REPAIR

of Reclamation to keep more water in it to ensure sufficient cold water for federally protected winter-run chinook salmon. The suggested change, part of a larger effort by fisheries agencies to benefit the salmon, is expected to impact those who depend on water from Shasta Lake—including the federal Central Valley Project. Ara Azhderian, water policy administrator for the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, said if more water is retained in reserve for temperature control, the result would be “less water to irrigators, less to wildlife refuges, less to cities, less for

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other species, less for delta outflow—so less all around.” Faced with high winter-run salmon mortality rates, especially during dry years, NMFS wants the Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Shasta, to use stored water to reduce Sacramento River water temperatures from mid-May through October to protect spawning fish. As part of the draft proposal, the bureau would study a new temperature regime for the remainder of the year. The process is expected to result in development of a final proposal and would likely inform the next biological opinion for the winter-run chinook. Louis Moore of the Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region said it is early enough in the process that fisheries agencies are still trying to figure out how to move forward. “It’s an ongoing discussion and will continue until folks come up with what’s the best practice,” Moore said. “(Temperature management guidelines for Shasta) are being updated to look at all of the new considerations and new data requirements.

This is an important step as they continue to do this review and come up with the best approach.” California Farm Bureau Federation environmental policy analyst Justin Fredrickson said ultra-conservative temperature control operations in 2016 kept the river cold, but so much water was held back through the summer that the end of the irrigation season saw 225,000 acre-feet of water stranded in Lake Shasta—enough to irrigate nearly 100,000 acres of land in the western San Joaquin Valley. He said that water was subsequently lost to flood control operations, while providing no additional benefit to the salmon. CVP agricultural contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta received just a 5 percent water allocation last year, and almost had even that water cut off last summer. That followed a complete shutoff of CVP water the previous two years. Azhderian said the regulatory activity on water temperature stems from the 201415 water year, when winter-run salmon

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16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • 7


Farm Leaders Find a Changed Washington Dave Kranz, CFBF Arriving during a time of transition in Washington, D.C., California Farm Bureau Federation directors met with congressional leaders, a Trump transition official and others involved in driving and monitoring the changing political landscape. During a two-day series of meetings in the nation’s capital last week, CFBF leaders conferred with members and staff at more than two-dozen California congressional offices, updating them on issues including water, immigration, trade, farm policy and more. “Our key issues often remain constant, but our approach to resolving them has to change to reflect new circumstances,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “Certainly, circumstances in Washington have changed. This trip to Capitol Hill gave us a chance to gain information firsthand about how the new Congress and administration may approach these issues, and how Farm Bureau can be most effective in making our case for our members.” Another key change in recent weeks has come from the weather, which has doused California with a series of storms that have swelled existing reservoirs—and brought increased attention to the need for additional reservoirs to capture water in wet winters. The storms followed on the heels of congressional passage of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act; among its provisions, the WIIN Act allows water agencies to capture more California water during winter storms and requires them to maximize water supplies, consistent with law. Farm Bureau leaders said the WIIN Act has allowed a large volume of additional water to be captured in California reservoirs so far this winter. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who carried the California drought provisions in the Senate version of the WIIN Act, told Farm Bureau directors the bill’s passage was “the biggest political fight of my life,” and said she remains concerned about the amount of water that can’t be captured during current winter storms. CFBF says additional congressional action will be needed to build upon the short-term provisions included in the WIIN Act, and has endorsed legislation

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experienced an especially high mortality rate—97 percent—reportedly due to warm Sacramento River temperatures. Results improved last year, when the winter run experienced only a 3 percent mortality rate, attributed to improved water conditions. Because salmon and their eggs are sensitive to water temperatures and are damaged or destroyed when temperatures rise above 56 degrees, NMFS, also known as NOAA Fisheries, has issued the draft recommendation on river water temperature. “You have two drivers behind this proposed change,” Azhderian said. “One is the perspective that Reclamation had missed temperature targets in the past, and there’s the drought—the estimated low egg survival that occurred in 2014 and 2015. As a species that has lost two of the three years’

by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, that would add long-term stability to the water system. Known as the GROW Act, for Gaining Responsibility on Water, the Valadao bill would aid in construction of water-storage projects and enact additional reforms of regulations that limit water deliveries. “Congress can help restore water reliability for California,” Wenger said, “in part by providing federal Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, seated center, discusses pending congressional legislation with a delegation of funds for immediate California Farm Bureau Federation leaders during a meeting in the U.S. Capitol. Participants in the meeting included, development of ad- from right, CFBF Administrator Rich Matteis, President Paul Wenger, First Vice President Jamie Johansson, Federal Policy Manager Josh Rolph and, at left, Second Vice President Tony Toso. Courtesy/Dave Kranz/CFBF ditional storage.” Otherwise, the jobs and the economic insurance provisions to accommodate On immigration policy—with Congress and the ad- boost they bring will likely drain away to more crops; prioritizing working-lands conservation programs; enhancing speministration seemingly focused on en- other countries.” Trade policy has been pushed to cialty-crops programs for marketing and forcement—Farm Bureau leaders urged the forefront in recent weeks, as Presi- research involving fruits, vegetables, nuts congressional representatives to create a dent Trump withdrew the U.S. from the and nursery crops; and ensuring scientific visa program for the entry of a foreign, Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement progress in research. legal workforce for farms and ranches. President Trump’s nominee for secreExperts estimate 70 percent or more and has raised the possibility of changes to the North American Free Trade Agreetary of agriculture, former Georgia Gov. of hired farm employees in the U.S. are ment with Canada and Mexico. Sonny Perdue, awaits his first confirmanot authorized to work in the country, tion hearing. Farm Bureau leaders met Noting that California exports more even though they present seemingly genagricultural products than any othwith Brian Klippenstein, a transition ofuine documents to prove employment er state, Farm Bureau leaders said they ficial working with the U.S. Department eligibility. “For a long time, California farmers would ask the administration to pursue of Agriculture, who said the transition is and ranchers have been unable to find negotiations with individual TPP mem- proceeding smoothly. Klippenstein described Perdue as an American-born employees who are will- ber nations—starting with Japan, which ing and able to work on farms,” Wenger imposes crippling tariffs on key Califor- effective advocate who “won’t be bashsaid. “At the same time, improved op- nia exports such as wine, beef, rice, citrus ful” in pursuing agricultural priorities in Washington. portunities in Mexico have reduced the and tree nuts. “Once the administration’s full trade The Farm Bureau leaders also heard incentive for people to migrate north looking for work. We have to make it eas- team is in place, we will also ask them a description of public-opinion research ier for people to come into the U.S. to to go slowly in re-evaluating NAFTA,” techniques from Kyle Dropp, co-founder take on-farm jobs—and then to return to Wenger said. “Rather than reopening the of the media and research firm Morning agricultural chapters of the agreement, Consult, and met with a half-dozen retheir home countries.” He said Farm Bureau would contin- we’d prefer pursuing changes through ex- porters and editors at the offices of Politiue to press for a visa program that would isting provisions of the agreement itself.” co, an online and print publisher specialCongress is expected to begin dis- izing in news about politics and policy. efficiently admit a sufficient number of cussions this year on a new version of (Dave Kranz is editor of Ag Alert. He willing and able agricultural workers. “These are jobs that create economic the farm bill, which includes federal may be contacted at This article reprinted with the peractivity through rural America,” Wenger farm and nutrition programs. Farm Bureau directors laid out priorities in a new mission of the California Farm Bureau said, “and we want to be able to offer farm bill that include improving its crop Federation. those jobs to the people who seek them. breeding stocks, the rationale by NMFS is we must do really aggressive things to save the species from going extinct.” Acknowledging the winter run to be “in bad shape,” he said water agencies are nonetheless frustrated by a “more-of-thesame strategy” focused solely on water temperature. “The temperature can be perfect, but if the spawning bed is choked with algae and weeds, then fish aren’t going to spawn in it. Our interest is to really round out what it is we begin to look at, so that we can ultimately begin solving this problem,” Azhderian said. Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District general manager Thaddeus Bettner said the NMFS proposal would have domino effects throughout the water system. “For us who divert water from the Sacramento River, this puts our diversions at risk. For folks south of the delta, that puts exports at risk. For the diverters and users

on the American River who rely on Folsom Reservoir, that results in Folsom Reservoir being drawn down as well as Oroville. Because the systems are so integrally operated and connected, changing that one operation at Shasta just reverberates through the system and potentially causes negative effects,” Bettner said. Shasta Lake has a storage capacity of 4.5 million acre-feet, he said, with flood stage considered to be 3.2 million acre-feet. But Bettner said the NMFS plan would shrink the reservoir’s effective capacity to a couple of hundred thousand acre-feet. “It is built to be more flexible and when you take the flexibility out of it, beneficiaries are going to suffer,” he said. Fredrickson said water users remain concerned about the fish, but said actions must be “reasonable and supported by science” to ensure the best outcome. “In the drier years especially, our statewide water supplies are limited and we sim-

ply cannot operate our key reservoir in the state to serve just one purpose,” he said. Azhderian said the 2016 water restrictions in the name of river temperature caused “all sorts of socioeconomic disruption” that continues to be felt in areas where water supplies were restricted. “We know (the proposal) would create impacts, because we saw the impacts that last year’s operations created and we would assume that they would be similar,” he said. “But simultaneously, we want to invest our energy in: What else can we be studying? How can we dedicate our experts and resources in helping develop a sustainable solution?” (Christine Souza is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at csouza@ This article reprinted with the permission of the California Farm Bureau Federation.mission of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

8 • Valley Voice

16 February, 2017

Council Moves Forward with Youth Programs Funded by Measure N Catherine Doe During the February 6th Visalia City Council Work Session the council discussed programs to be funded with Measure N money earmarked for the city’s youth. The half cent sales tax approved by voters will go into effect April 1st. It is projected that the sales tax will bring in over 10 million dollars a year and will mostly be used for public safety. Youth Programs were allocated 2% of the revenue generated by Measure N which represents $216,000 a year. The budget proposed to the city council was $75,000 for programs administered by the Multi-Agency Gang Intervention Task Force (MAGITF) and $100,000 for a Park and Recreation program called The Club House. $41,000 would be left over to accrue for the youth programs or to be put into the Uncertainty Fund. Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar gave the presentation asking for funds for the MAGITF. Salazar and Tulare Coun-

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problem has worsened. On February 6, a good friend of Miller’s, Deanna O’Leary, contacted several Tulare County Supervisors and the Resource Management Agency. Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley promptly responded to her email and sent the newly hired Reed Schenke, Assistant Director of Public Works, Tony Bollord and Johnny Wong, also from the Public Works Department, to inspect Miller’s property. During their inspection O’Leary and the county workers discovered that several culverts above Miller’s property had not been cleaned or properly maintained. They also witnessed a second very large culvert (36-inch pipe) that was completely blocked and the source of the most damage. The consensus was that these culverts normally divert water into a large ravine that leads directly to the Kaweah River before reaching Miller’s property. O’Leary said that had Bollord taken this issue seriously in January and actually thoroughly investigated the source of the problem Miller would not have the extensive damage that has now devastated her property. “The largest of these cul-

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The vote was 5-0 in favor.

Tax Considered for Proposed Hanford Medical Marijuana Facility

The second tax discussed would be levied on the proposed medical marijuana facility in Hanford’s Industrial Park. Purple Heart Patient Center has proposed to open a medical marijuana processing facility in the 900,000 squarefoot former Pirelli Tire Factory. The facility is projected to employ 1,115 workers at wages starting at $15 per hour. At full capacity, the cultivation center would be Kings County’s largest private employer and is projected to generate $14 million a year in tax revenue. The Purple Heart facility has not

House would be a much more structured education “providing opportunities for young people from underserved communities to explore their own interests and become confident learners through the use of technology.” The program’s focus is STEM which stands for Science, Technology, Energy and Math which is considered the education of the future and necessary for the future employment of our youth. Greenwood said that Visalia charter schools already have a STEM curriculum because it works better with smaller classrooms. Non-charter public schools tend to have larger classrooms. The types of projects offered by The Club House are, computer generated art, music & animations, students designing their own science simulations, writing and illustrating interactive poetry & stories, building kinetic sculptures and robotic constructions and designing their own web page. Council member Steve Nelsen said

ty Superintendent Todd Oto co-chair the MAGITF. According to Salazar’s memo to the council, “The funds would be designated to support identified activities and goals of programs/projects that work to improve the lives of at-risk Visalia youth or gang intervention/prevention efforts in the City of Visalia and are consistent with the mission of the Multi-Agency Gang Intervention Task Force.” Mayor Warren Gubler asked Salazar how he envisioned the funds would be distributed. Salazar stated that though the MAGITF has been in existence since 2006 they never had the money to fund youth programs. With the potential of funding, the An Executive Board made up of the Visalia Police Department, Visalia Parks & Recreation Department, and the Visalia Unified School District can now help at-risk youths. The Board would “work with task force members to identify existing gaps in services for at-risk youth as well as opportunities to improve proven and established programs/projects that provide

gang intervention and prevention efforts in the City of Visalia through non-profit organizations or city-sponsored outreach activities.” Such programs being considered are job training, Summer Night Lights, and youth leadership and character development programs.

vert pipes that were blocked actually had a large black recliner dumped into the ravine near where the trees and brush were blocking the exit path,” she said. Schenke responded saying, “the recent rain storms have been near historic levels and have caused impacts and challenges throughout the County and the State. The County is currently coordinating with Ms Miller as we work through our claims process regarding the damage. We recognize the urgency of the situation and the need for an expedient resolution.” Schenke sent a crew to clean the culverts to prevent further damage on February 9. According to Hewett, who is still stuck on the premises, the water stopped pouring onto Miller’s property once the culverts had been cleared. “It’s as if someone had turned off the tap,” he said. During their inspection of the damage, Schenke also advised Miller to proceed with a private contractor to repair her road because the county was spread too thin with all the other repairs from recent flooding. The private contractor said he could make the road passable again within a couple of weeks, and that it would cost up to $10k–depending on what he finds. During the tour of the damage to Miller’s property and the culverts, Miller and O’Leary and four others were told

by Schenke that the cost of repairing her private driveway and road would be reimbursed by the county. O’Leary also claims Schenke said that someone from the county “would get down to review all the damage to the property and structures to determine how it would be repaired or the reimbursement for those repairs.” When O’Leary recapped in an email to the Public Works Department what had been decided about who was at fault and that the county would pay for repairs, Schenke responded, “We stated that it was the primary objective and to everyone’s benefit to figure out how to most efficiently and quickly get this done. We did not state that the County would reimburse Ms. Miller for that work as I am not authorized to make that call at this time.” According to Shenke in an email to O’Leary, “To determine if the damage is eligible for reimbursement by the County, a formal claim will need to be submitted. To assist you with this process, Rob Anderson our County insurance specialist is prepared to walk you through the process. I have brought Rob up to speed on the history of the situation.” O’Leary said that she spoke with Rob Anderson Friday, February 10 to confirm the process. We [Miller and O’Leary] pressed

him on the urgency of the issue. Anderson explained that the county cannot do anything until we have a claim form and the process could take a month or longer. O’Leary reminded Anderson that the county dismissed Miller’s request for help for three weeks and asked if the process could be expedited given the circumstances. Anderson said that the county would look at it as an expedited claim, but that it has to be approved by the county supervisors. Also as a result of the damage, Patty’s Miller’s well stopped working because of exposed lines on the property leaving Hewitt and the animals with no fresh water. Schenke said he dispatched a crew to deliver cases of water to the grounds keeper for his personal use over the weekend. O’Leary started a GoFundMe page to help her friend pay for the repairs so she could get back home and take care of her animals. After a few hours the contractor called Miller and informed her that an “angel” had contacted him to fix the damage and restore the road and that they are taking care of the cost. The private contractor started the road repair the road repair on Monday, February 13 using the anonymous 10k donation.

yet been approved by the Hanford City Council. During last year’s election, Coalinga residents voted in favor of establishing an annual tax on their marijuana cultivation center that operates in a previously empty prison. The measure was overwhelmingly approved 61% to 38%. Coalinga jumped on the band wagon early and the small, poor Fresno County town is now reaping the benefits. According to Pyle, Coalinga has already received its first tax revenue check from their medical marijuana facility. Hanford’s proposed medical marijuana tax ballot measure would be similar to Coalinga’s. The measure would require that Purple Heart, or any other medical marijuana facility in the industrial park, pay $25 per square foot of the first 3000 feet and $10 per square foot for the remaining space used for the cultivation of medical marijuana.

The general tax ballot measure would only need a 50% plus one vote to pass. A general tax measure cannot be decided in a special election. A vote on a general tax must take place during a regular election and was proposed to be on the ballot in November 2018. California will start issuing permits for marijuana facilities in January of 2018 only to those companies that have already acquired a local permit. This would cause Purple Heart a lag time of 11 months before it could start operating in Hanford if the city waits for the outcome of the November election. The lag time lead to a debate over giving Purple Heart a local permit before the residents vote on the tax measure in November of 2018. Councilmember Sue Sorenson said that if the city council takes a wait and see attitude that the medical marijuana industry could be built out before Hanford gets its act together. Pyle

said that it was a guarantee that Purple Heart will look elsewhere if Hanford does not make some sort of commitment by issuing a local permit. Mendes said that he was willing to take the risk that Purple Heart might look elsewhere. He said that there are not a lot of million square feet facilities along highway 198 between Highway 99 and Highway 5. He said he would vote no on approving a permit before the residents had a chance to vote on the tax measure. Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson reported that the feedback he has received from towns with marijuana facilities is that they are notoriously non compliant. The companies are manageable but they are always looking for ways to get around the regulations. After the discussion the council voted 5-0 to pursue a tax measure but not grant permits until after the November 2018 election.

The Computer Clubhouse Network

Park and Recreation Director Jeannie Greenwood gave a presentation on a national scholastic program geared toward technology called the Computer Clubhouse Network. Referred to as The Club House, the Parks and Recreation Department had researched the program but until Measure N it was financially out of reach. Greenwoods plan is to install The Club House at the Manual Hernandez Community Center located in Visalia’s Recreation Park. Currently the Manual Hernandez Center has 50 to 60 kids participate in a drop-in after school program for homework or to play video games. The Club

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16 February, 2017

Tourism, Filming on the Rise in Tulare County Nancy Vigran During recent years, Tulare County has maintained a push for a tourism draw to the county, as well as providing locations for the film industry. And it’s paying off, said TC Supervisor Chair Pete Vander Poel. “From my perspective, compared to when I took office, it has absolutely taken off,” he said. Vander Poel was first elected in 2008. The county hosts extensive tourism and film commission websites, under the direction of tourism manager and film commissioner Eric Coyne. But another key facet to its success is that of participating in various travel shows throughout the state, as well as presentations given to Association of Film Commissioners, and other potential filming interests.

Travel Shows

During the early part of this year, Coyne and members of various tourism interests including the Sequoia Tourism Council (STC), are and will be attending shows including the Bay Area, the Los Angeles and the San Diego Travel and Adventure Shows. These particular shows are each chosen specifically with particular attraction to Tulare County, Coyne said. The county partners with the STC, which includes all representation from chambers of commerce throughout the county. The Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show, held in February, generally has 15,000-20,000 attendees, Coyne said. Tulare County and the STC together form one of about 900-1,100 exhibitors, including a lot of representation for international travel such as the Far East, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Locals of the Bay Area, are inclined to think of Yosemite when they think of local national parks and big trees, he said. The STC is there to show the draw to


Continued from 1 These days, the area near Paige and 99 has been given over to housing and industry, and is home to a large portion of Tulare’s sales-tax base, making the offramp a touchy subject at City Hall. Yet no one disputes the interchange is outdated and dangerous, with trucks frequently overturning on the southbound exit and short easement lanes on both on-ramps forcing drivers into dangerous high-speed mergers. But none of this is new information says Ted Smalley, director of the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG). “They’ve been talking about this for 30 years or so,” he said.

Time and Money

What’s different now is the money is available to start planning the much needed improvements to Tulare’s traffic. Over the last decade, matching funds from the Measure R one-half percent sales tax have been used to draw more than $1 billion in road funding into the area, and its finally Tulare’s turn to get a portion of that. “We started talking about the next 15 years of Measure R. It’s right around

Valley Voice • 9

Sequoia National Park, National Forest and the rest of the county. Often pointed out is Tulare County’s proximity with Sequoia and Kings National Parks to Yosemite. “In two or three days, you can see three National Parks,” Coyne said. “I also always tell people that Yosemite is full of visitors – ‘Do you want to see the trees, or do you want to see a mob of tourists?’” There are also people who may try to avoid National Parks altogether, NPS Ranger Kelly Evans staffing the Sequoia Tourism Council booth at the Bay Area Travel Show, Feb. 11-12 to promote Tulare County travel. Courtesy/Sequoia Tourism Council such as those traveling with their pet. Dogs are not par- Main St. in Visalia, as well as many in twine,” he said. “When you see a movie, ticularly welcome in the National Parks, Three Rivers, and other areas of the don’t you wonder where it was filmed?” And, like tourism, filming is an inbut are welcome in the National For- county, Coyne said. There are farmers markets and world famous rodeos. There ternational business. ests, he said. “Believe it or not, China has a bigger “People attending pay to go to the are also a lot of U-pick locations and farm stands. At the Orange Works Cafe, film industry than the US,” Coyne said. shows,” he added. “They are looking to in Strathmore, one can get pomegranate In recent years, filming in Tulare plan a trip, they are not just looky-loos.” ice cream, as well as orange. County has drawn the BBC, the DiscovFrom LA and San Diego, “we have “Where else can you get these ery Channel, various commercials and a a better chance with them,” Coyne said, things?” he added. multitude of music videos. Any film crew as Southern Californians are generally There are also two tourism booths at brings dollars into the county. more familiar with Sequoia. San Diego Ag Expo this week – one staffed by STC, True Detectives spent $80,000 to provides a great market, he added. and one by AgVentures. film in Balch Park last October. “Of course, another draw are the Coyne stressed the importance of “It took 401 people to kill one Holcows,” he said. Actually – agriculture, in general. volunteers who staff the booths, and par- lywood star,” Coyne said. “That’s a huge There are a lot of people from urban areas ticipate in other outreach tourism events. impact. That’s two full hotels for four “The volunteers, who represent the days and then add the restaurants.” who just have never seen a cow, or other county, have grown up here, or lived here “This has put Tulare County on the farm animals, he added. It’s the Number 1 agricultural food producing county in for years and years - they are the ones most map,” Vander Poel said, “promoting what affective to promote the area,” he said. we have here. the nation. “It’s a direct result of the Tulare “You’ve tasted Tulare County agriCounty Economic Development DeFilm Industry culture, now visit it,” he said. “Film and tourism naturally inter- partment, and Tourism,” he said. There are 40 restaurants on, or near, the corner,” Smalley said. “If we want to start a project, (planning) it takes 10 years. You really have to start working ahead of time if you’re doing to get this done.” It was during those initial discussions that talk of a new exit about a mile south of Paige serving the International AgriCenter began. The plan would not only lessen the annual traffic snarls each February during the farm show, it would also help open the venue to additional large events throughout the year. And, they have money. “One of the options that came out is the International Ag folks have agreed to pay $1.5 million of the environmental (impact report cost) and donate the right-of-way,” Smalley said. That lucrative offer is enticing, as despite all the large projects completed with Measure R funding, none of them has been done without some outside help. “The challenge that we face is not one big interchange has been done without state or private money,” Smalley said.

Why Not Both?

There doesn’t have to be a winner and loser here. Other options remain, such as building a new interchange at the Ag Center and renovating the Paige Avenue exit. But, because the two locations are less than a mile apart, the standard

separation required by Caltrans, a special allowance would have to be granted. That, however, would require a windfall on the county’s end to pay for the more expensive option. “There’s certainly not enough state money to build two big interchanges down in Tulare,” Smalley said. And, there’s no temporary solution available either. “Unfortunately, there isn’t a perfect scenario that everyone thinks is 100% in their favor,” Smalley said. “People assume you just sort of fix it. You can’t just fix part of it. Caltrans will not allow that.” In fact, all the options aren’t even on the table yet, and figuring out what those options are is still at least two years away, perhaps more. “I think in two years we’ll start to see a whole round of workshops and we’ll go from there,” Smalley said. “We’ll look at the potential improvements that can be done. All comments will have to be considered.”

In the Meantime...

Before that happens, a lot of study has to be done, Smalley said, and that data will have to be interpreted. “A lot of it has to do with if there is an industrial interchange, what can be done on the Paige corridor,” he said. “Is

it too close? Then you have the commercial alternatives.” It’s important, he said, to be thorough and to let the state finish its preliminary look at Tulare’s traffic flow. “You take all these different settings--instead of guessing we need to look at the facts and get it done,” Smalley said. “I’m going to wait and see, let Caltrans do its job.”

Tulare’s Opinion Will Count

After the state has weighed in, local interested parties will get their say again. “Ultimately, it’s for the citizens and businesses of Tulare to react from there,” said Smalley. “We expect then (2019 or later) to start technical workshops. There’ll be a number of workshops. We’ll come before (the Tulare City) Council.” Miller says the consensus at City Hall seems to be to keeping the Paige Avenue exit open by improving it, and Smalley says TCAG has a number of other projects, such as interchanges in Visalia and Porterville, that will occupy its time and energy. There’s also a rumor to put to rest: Paige Avenue is not closing, Miller said. “I would stress people get confused when they hear ‘close Paige Avenue,’” he said. “We’re just talking about the ramp. Paige Avenue will still cross the 99.”

10 • Valley Voice

16 February, 2017

Comments & Letters Get The Facts — They Matter

Kathleen Johnson, HCCA/TRMC Once again, community members armed with misinformation and fueled with personal animosity are attempting to send our Tulare community into ruins. Case in point is Mr. Hobbs’ recent Letter to the Editor of Tulare Advance-Register, where he opines that there has been a “misappropriation of public property funds” at Tulare Regional Medical Center. Nowhere does the article he cites state anything of the sort. It is important to note that while serving as a Tulare County Grand Jury member last term, Mr. Hobbs commented to local newspapers and the public about grand jury investigations. The law is clear that grand jury investigations are confidential and are not to be discussed outside the grand jury chambers. In his letter, Mr. Hobbs is only par-

tially correct in his mention of “the saga of TRMC”. Yes, the hospital had been mismanaged for well over a decade BEFORE HCCA came on board. It had 6 CEOs and as many CFOs in as many years, as well as multiple board changes. All that turmoil led to the hospital’s near collapse, a failed construction project, and a near catastrophe for our community. Let’s not forget the past. In the three years since HCCA has come on board, the hospital has experienced GREATER stability than it has had in decades, has more people working there now than ever before, and pays them more than ever before, bringing great economic prosperity to our community. Why can’t some members of our community see this? Why do they believe what opponents of the hospital spew at every opportunity, spreading false information and assassinating the

character of the people who have been working tirelessly to save the hospital from extinction? Every action that HCCA has taken has been solely for the benefit of our District. Despite what some people think, HCCA is NOT here to take our public hospital—it is Tulare’s public hospital and always will be. And, HCCA did not come on board to swindle this community, nothing is farther from the truth. There are far easier ways for an organization to make money than to grapple with and rescue a hospital that was near closure. HCCA is here to help improve the healthcare of Tulare. Period. As for Dr. Kumar, the leaders of the group of dissidents calling for his ouster are the very same people that failed the hospital, failed the community and brought it to its near demise. This group uses social media to attack and destroy

anyone who stands up to them, refusing to even post opposing points of view on their social media page. And yet they complain about a “lack of transparency?” Not to mention that in the past these same people were in charge of the construction of the new tower and completely messed that up as well. Does the community really want these people, who were nowhere in sight when the hospital was failing and 500 employees were about to lose their jobs, back in control? Now that things are good, these people want to jump back in and take us to what? Back to the destruction they wrought upon in the past? Could anything be more hypocritical? Get the facts. They do matter!

work! However, even in this situation, having a baby far away creates incredible hardship for any family but especially for our indigent families who struggle daily simply to make ends meet -- and often find it impossible to do so! Excellent care requires having local neonatologists who have a close working relationship with the local obstetricians, pediatricians, and family practice physicians AND all having mutual trust and respect while working for a common goal -- the best possible care for high risk mothers and sick babies. Most often that excellent care can be given at Kaweah Delta and does not require transfer out of the area. I have developed these important relationships in the local community, and we all work hard for the betterment of care and continuity of care for these newborns at Kaweah Delta Medical Center. I feel that closing the NICU to local, qualified, trained, skilled, and experienced neonatologists is a violation of my right as a physician -- to work in a hospital of my choosing. And it is NOT in the best interest of the tiny patients and their families that they and/or their obstetrician can no longer request a neonatologist of his/her choice to care for a baby in the Kaweah Delta NICU. Parents also have a right to choose who will care for their baby or child. Obstetricians working with parents also have a right to choose who they want to care for the babies they deliver! In addition, California law does not

look favorably at hospitals with “Medi-Cal” contracts that enter into exclusive agreements. Closing the NICU at Kaweah Delta to anyone but neonatology physicians from Valley Children’s Medical Group may be a violation of California state codes. It’s just not the right thing to do for the babies, parents or physicians. Visalia is thriving and growing community and needs MORE highly qualified physicians, not FEWER! To prevent qualified physicians from practicing in a hospital or unit of that hospital goes against the basic rights of a physician -- and I believe amounts to bullying and essentially running those doctors out of town. We will be forced to take our training, skill, expertise, and experience somewhere else. For many of us who love working here, that would be a devastating blow to us and to this fine community. This decision is just WRONG! If you agree that taking this step to restrict all locally qualified physicians is WRONG -- then I ask you to please help me (and others) in our effort to continue to serve you and your children. Remember this restriction would only allow contracted physicians working for Valley Children’s Medical Group to see NICU babies at Kaweah Delta Medical Center. Please take the time to contact your KDHCD Board Member to let him/her know that you are opposed to this decision and want the board to reconsider their action.

Kathleen Johnson is the Vice-President of Marketing for HCCA/Tulare Regional Medical Center.

I Am Asking For Your Help Kajori G. Thusu, MD I am a pediatrician and a Neonatologist who relocated to Tulare County in 1996 to work in a “Physician Underserved Area” as designated by a federal registry. Since then I have worked in a Federally Qualified Health Center as a pediatrician. I have also worked as a neonatologist at Valley Children’s Hospital, Community Regional Medical Centers, Saint Agnes Medical Center, and Kaiser Fresno. As you can see, my training, skill and experience is extensive -- and I am more than qualified to treat newborn babies with complex and complicated problems. I work with the most fragile patients from the moment they are born and in the hospital’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), as well as provide prenatal counseling to the high-risk mothers. I HAVE DEDICATED MY LIFE TO THE SPECIALTY OF NEONATOLOGY AND I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT THE QUALITY OF CARE THESE VULNERABLE, TINY HUMAN BEINGS RECEIVE. I also follow these babies after discharge and do developmental screening, and provide a “medical home” to these babies that many pediatricians would prefer not to see due to the complexity of their problems. I have recently relocated to Tulare County and have been working in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at Kaweah Delta Medical Center for 2

months. Kaweah Delta Healthcare District has contracted with Valley Children’s Medical Group to provide pediatric and neonatal services at Kaweah Delta Medical Center. The Board of Directors of the Kaweah Delta Healthcare District has recently decided to restrict the care of the sickest babies in the NICU exclusively to neonatologists from Valley Children’s Medical Group. Put in plain language, they will close the unit to local, qualified doctors and only allow those contracted doctors from The Valley Children’s Medical Group to provide care in the NICU. This would mean that I could no longer provide care to any of these babies -- even if their obstetrician, pediatrician, family physician OR the family itself requests that I provide that care. In other word, it would make it impossible for me to provide care from birth through childhood to a group of babies who often desperately need that kind of level and continuity of care. Clearly, this will adversely affect the patient population that I so passionately namely serve. I am concerned that this change and the contract with Valley Children’s Medical Group might result in more babies being transferred out of the area to Madera unnecessarily, even if appropriate care is available in Visalia. There are some very good and specific complex situations and complications where transferring a newborn to a NICU with special expertise is in the best interest of that baby. The best medicine requires team-

Comments from

I am willing to listen to both sides. I’ve talked with many on the opposition of our hospital. I’ve been blocked from the “Citizens” site, as a citizen of this town, along with several others that aren’t allowed to speak their voice. Everyone is allowed to speak their minds at the Board meetings. The citizens need to be heard during public comment, and more than one person spoke longer than 3 minutes… it wasn’t exclusive to one side… but it’s usually the same people saying the same thing over and over again, at the meetings every month. It’s nice to have a change and hear other voices that deserve to be heard. The positive stories should be heard. The newspaper never mentioned one word about the accolades we’ve achieved at the hospital and that was a huge part of the meeting. They are all about spreading the negative stories. That shows you how biased the paper is. Sad, isn’t it.

— Dave on New TLHCD Board Members Seated as Factions Develop

Let’s-Talk with Kassandra seems to be saying: If she says it’s so then it’s so. Anyone out there who disagrees with her is “misinformed” or ‘manipulating” her words. Kassandra seems to be handing out a lot of “alternative facts” in her talking points. Kassandra also seems to know a great deal inside information for someone who claims to not be an inside player for HCCA.

— Barbara on New TLHCD Board Members Seated as Factions Develop

Under HCCA we have seen lies and threats of hospital closure, lay-offs of long-term experienced staff, a continued decline in volume, losses of employee benefits, crazy move against your most important internal customer, the medical staff and lawsuits that could have been avoided. Let’s not forget deceit of Hospital business. All this for the cost of $3 million+ a year, it is very hard to be thankful for that devastation.

— Truth16 on New TLHCD Board Members Seated as Factions Develop

16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • 11

Comments & Letters

“You follow too much of G. Brown’s mindless rantor.” Unsigned Have been glancing at your tabloid infrequently and I would say “Valley (Brown) Voice” to make it more exact. Many of you left leaning editorial writters get it all wrong. Possibly from a lack of open minded education.??? You follow too much of G. Brown’s mindless rantor. Might you read the two pamphlets and a little back ground on the water situation.

Now about the water problem: Many years ago when the water subject came up with a bunch of politicians and money men, it was decided to buy up land AND MINERAL (WATER) rights in the area and lock down the water system. Consequently these individuals actually control the water stuff and dictate who and when to water flows. Look back into the past and your eyes and minds may flourish.

Good luck. Editor’s note: The above letter was received unsigned and we have reproduced it almost exactly as received, as is our policy with all letters and commentary. The two pamphlets the author asked the Voice to read were “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Master Plan Revealed To Conquer America Through ‘Civilization Jihad’” and “The Truth About Islam Is This Really a ‘Religion of Peace?’ What The Koran Actually Taches about ‘Jihad’ and Jesus”

“Qualified local physicians should not be blocked from deciding who will provide care to local families” Newborn babies with critical health problems, often at their first breath, are among a hospital’s most fragile patients. Some babies are so premature and small that they almost fit in one hand of the doctor who delivers them. Thanks to the advancement of medical technology, and the skill and training of neonatologists and pediatricians, these once hopeless babies can most often be granted the gift of life. Care for these sick babies has been provided by highly trained and skilled neonatologists and pediatricians in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Kaweah Delta Medical Center. However, the Kaweah Delta Healthcare District Board of Directors, with the urging of hospital administrators and support of the Medical Executive Committee, have decided to close the NICU to any physicians other than those contracted through Valley Children’s Medical Group. This would give all rights to manage patient care in the NICU to a Valley Children’s neonatology team under an exclusive contract, and would NOT allow other qualified, skilled and experienced local physicians to care for babies in the NICU. The undersigned physicians encourage the Kaweah Delta Health Care District’s Board of Directors to reconsider their decision, which would become effective in less than 14 days. This would allow qualified local doctors to continue to care for at least some of their tiny intensive care newborns rather than be denied access by an unusual “single provider” contract. We are not aware of any other hospital in California that has signed a similar exclusive services contract, and a Department of Health Services directive (2000) prohibits this if a hospital has a contract to provide services to Medi-Cal patients, which Kaweah Delta has had for many years. Over the last 14 years, local doctors have partnered with Kaweah Delta to develop the NICU from a Level I to a Level III facility, thereby increasing the complexity of cases that can be successfully managed at the hospital. Because of this effort and commitment, Kaweah Delta now provides the highest level of NICU care in Tulare and Kings counties. This has allowed many more mothers with high risk pregnancies

who deliver their babies at Kaweah Delta to anticipate that their babies could receive excellent care locally in most situations. Local obstetricians, family physicians and pediatricians have developed mutual trust and cooperative working relationships that now go back for over a decade. The closure of the NICU will eliminate their ability to work together in this way, and to decide together who should care for their sickest patients. Additionally, it is possible that local obstetricians, if denied the ability to choose who provides care for a highrisk baby, may choose to send pregnant mothers out of the area to deliver their babies. Valley Children’s Hospital, Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center, and many other regional hospitals all provide excellent back-up care for babies needing a higher level of intensive care. Local neonatologists and pediatricians currently send patients to all of them based on each baby’s clinical needs. We believe that parents and local doctors should continue to be able to decide where a baby should be sent if he or she needs a higher level of care. Valley Children’s Hospital has earned an excellent reputation and we do not question their medical expertise. However, we are puzzled why Kaweah Delta’s management and Board of Directors would decide to close the NICU to anyone except providers under an exclusive contract. The NICU should be open to any physician who is qualified, skilled and experienced to provide care for NICU patients, providing the physician follows hospital policies and procedures, provides safe care and meets the quality standards required. If financial incentives have been offered to or from Valley Children’s Hospital and its providers, the public and local doctors should be offered a full disclosure of the details. Relationships between doctors -and between doctors and patients/parents -- are built over time. Establishing this new exclusive arrangement with a single pediatricians group makes health care an impersonal business where highly trained local physicians are treated as if they are simply replacement parts on a sophisticated as-

sembly line. The residents of Visalia and Tulare County deserve better, as do the physicians committed to the care of those babies needing advanced medical care. We believe there are significant benefits to having a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that is open to all qualified neonatologists and pediatricians. It lets local obstetricians and parents choose the doctor they want to provide care for their child. In many cases their choice may be a doctor who has taken care of their other children over many years, or cared for the children of family members or friends. Visalia is called the “Jewel of the Valley” because this is a generous and caring community. We owe our babies the same personalized local care we have delivered for many years – which has resulted in a Level III NICU at Kaweah Delta Medical Center. If you agree, contact your Hospital Board member to vote to reverse the decision to close the NICU to an exclusive provider group (Valley Children’s Medical Group). Qualified local physicians should not be blocked from deciding who will provide care to local families. Board of Directors of Kaweah Delta Healthcare District: Zone 1: Herbert Hawkins Zone 2: Lynn Havard Mirviss Zone 3: John Hipskind, MD Zone 4: Carl Anderson Zone 5: Nevin House Signed, Robert Allen, MD Ana Carolina Coll, MD Elizabeth Enderton, DO Liliana Gelvez, MD George H. Latta, MD, MBA Christine Nelson, MD Monica Rivera, MD Ivan Sarria, MD Darinka Shaw, MD David Sine, MD Kealani Sine, MD Lance Tomooka, MD Cathy Ruifang Xu, MD Kirk Coverston, MD Gurtej Dhillon, MD Chawki Gerges, MD Onsy Said, MD Side Xi, MD

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Veteran’s Corner

Fertility Counseling and Treatment Scott Holwell The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced recently that it is amending its regulation regarding fertility counseling and treatment available to eligible Veterans and spouses. VA currently provides certain infertility services other than in vitro fertilization (IVF) services to Veterans as part of the medical benefits package. This interim final rule authorizes IVF for a Veteran with a service-connected disability that results in the inability of the Veteran to procreate without the use of fertility treatment. It also states that VA may provide fertility counseling and treatment using assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including IVF, to a spouse of a Veteran with a service-connected disability that results in the inability of the Veteran to procreate without the use of fertility treatment. “I have always believed that one of the main responsibilities of a grateful nation is to make whole the men and women who have made sacrifices on our behalf,” said VA Secretary Bob McDonald. “It is important that we fully understand the needs of our Veteran population, and incorporate the major scientific advances available today that can allow them to live a full life. Providing fertility counseling and treatment, including in vitro fertilization, is consistent with VA’s goal of restoring reproductive capabilities of Veterans and improving the quality of their lives.” As part of the medical benefits package, VA provides many different types of fertility treatments and procedures to Veterans. These include infertility counseling, laboratory blood testing, surgical correction of structural pathology, reversal of a vasectomy or tubal ligation, medication, and various other diagnostic studies or treatments and procedures Full implementation of this regulation requires that VA utilize and optimize existing capabilities for care in the community and develop internal processes that will provide Veterans with a seamless path to receiving ART services. Veterans can immediately schedule appointments with their local health care system for eligibility determinations, clinical evaluation and consultation, and initial treatment. For more information contact your local VA hospital/clinic. The Kings County Veterans Service Office can complete the DMV Veteran Status Verification Form for the new California Veteran Designation on your driver’s license and also issues Veteran I.D. cards to honorably discharged veterans. Contact Scott Holwell 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, call or visit our office. We can and will assist you in completing all required application forms. You can get information on the Web from the Kings County Veterans Service Office webpage at 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

12 • Valley Voice

16 February, 2017

Traffic Amnesty Program to Expire On June 24, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law a one-time amnesty program for unpaid traffic and non-traffic infraction tickets. The Superior Court of California, County of Tulare, is participating in the state-mandated program that is set to expire March 31, 2017. Individuals with unpaid tickets whose fines were originally due to be paid or had a court date on or before January 1, 2013, are eligible to have their debt reduced by 50 or 80 percent, depending on income and may have their license reinstated. Individuals who are currently making payments for unpaid tickets both before

and after January 1, 2013, are eligible to have their driver’s license reinstated but are NOT eligible for a reduction in the amount owed. Parking tickets, driving under the influence (DUI), and reckless driving cases are NOT eligible for participation. Individuals must take advantage of the program by contacting the court before it expires. For more information, or to determine eligibility please call the Tulare County Superior Court Collections Division at 559-730-5000 option 1, then option 3.

Measure N

initial outlay of equipment was clear but was wondering about the cost of staffing. Galen Quenzer, director of the Tulare County Boys and Girls Club, does not remember any of the organization’s branches using The Club House. Cox also voiced his concern with fronting any money until the revenues started coming into the city which would be in July. Greenwood felt confident that the Parks and Recreation Service could get the program up and running by the beginning of school even if they did not receive the money until the end of summer. Gubler added that he would like assurances that the program would be used. He mentioned that on one tour of the Whitendale Center that very few kids were using the computers. The City Council voted 5-0 to pursue the youth programs and to present a more detailed budget of each new program at the next city council meeting.

Continued from 8

that he thought it was an excellent program and that some students in Visalia do not have that kind of access to technology. Councilmember Bob Link agreed that STEM was the wave of the future but lamented about how all funds are geared towards the North side of town while there is great need in the south side of town also. He also inquired into what type of security the center would employ to safeguard all the new equipment. Council member Phil Cox was not completely sold on the program because he said that it was already tried in Tulare County and he heard that it did not work. . He said that a local Boys and Girls Club used the Club House with mixed results and didn’t believe they continued with the program. Cox also said that the


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Student Life FFA Week

16 February, 2017

Lemoore FFA Raises Puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc

Monache FFA seniors Morgan McCullar and Casey Beyerbach work in the school’s oneacre garden of winter vegetables, which will be sold at the Monache Farmer’s Market on March 4. Nancy Vigran

Monache High School Farm Seeing Many Improvements Garrett Keller, Monache FFA Over the past couple years at Monache High School, we are proud of the growth and expansion of our school farm. The farm has come to support a swine breeding enterprise, vegetable plot, and a poultry egg layer enterprise, additions to the swine facility, as well a new sheep building to house market lambs for the Porterville Fair. Plans are in the works to put in a brand new greenhouse for the Ornamental Horticulture department. All these different programs are almost exclusively managed and run by the students of the Monache FFA Chapter. With a membership of over 400 high school students led by the officer team, three advisors and a great FFA Booster and Ag Advisory Board, the Monache FFA Chapter is proud of the success of its members. The biggest improvement on the farm is the cultivation of the vegetable plot. A couple of years ago there was around an acre of land that just sat and grew weeds. Starting in the 2015-2016 school year. Monache FFA started planting, growing and selling vegetables grown right on the farm. Using drip irrigation lines along with the row cropping style of farming we have succeeded in turning this acre of unused land into a cornucopia of beautiful organically grown vegetables. The variety of vegetables includes multiple cauliflower specialty varieties, cabbage and broccoli.

Students and advisors are excited about the reconstruction of the greenhouse. The plans are in the works to install a brand new facility. Currently, the Ornamental Horticulture facility is used to propagate flowers, plants, succulents and citrus trees for the various classes on campus. The students also enjoy the newly-implemented Floral Design class, where students have created arrangements for various community events, as well as campus faculty. Another improvement to the farm is the breeding program for the swine project. In the past two years there have been two litters of piglets. This year the students were able to help with the farrowing of the piglets and castration process. Next year, the FFA chapter is hoping to improve to having three sows farrow instead of just one. In addition to improving the pig program, the poultry and sheep departments have also made great improvements. Before, sheep program students could not keep their sheep on campus, but with the construction of a new barn they are now able to keep them here. The chicken barn although not new, had an inside renovation and added a layer project to provide the school’s Culinary Arts program with eggs for their classes. These improvements have made Monache FFA’s school farm one of the best in the county, especially for the small space it’s allotted.

As an FFA SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience project) Lemoore FFA students receive 8-10 week old Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers or Lab/Golden crosses, raise and socialize them for 14-16 months. The pups are bred and whelped at the Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. campus in San Rafael, California. Pups are brought to the FFA members via a puppy truck or the members can travel to the campus to pick up their puppy. The students are responsible for the puppies 24/7 and are charged with introducing their puppies to as many different life situations as possible. Early on the puppies are taught their names, work on housebreaking and learn how to walk on a loose leash. Positive reinforcement techniques are taught to the FFA students, with these techniques being used throughout the socialization and raising period. Starting at an early age puppy socialization experiences include, but are not limited to, going to school, shopping, going to movies, going to restaurants, concerts, plays, meetings, riding public transportation - any activity that a visually-impaired person may encounter in their day to day routine or life. FFA members raising the pups have no idea what the life style of the dog’s future partner may be, so it is very important that the pups have as many different life experiences as possible. Puppies at Lemoore FFA go to school daily with their puppy raisers. Older dogs

Marybeth Hearn, Project Adviser accompany their raisers to classes, while younger pups stay in Ms. Hearn’s classroom for doggy day care. If a FFA student raiser has done their job well, when the dog is recalled to the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in San Rafael, or Boring, Oregon at the age of 14-16 months, the actual guide dog training can be completed by a licensed guide dog trainer in three to six months. At the end of the formal training period, the dog is placed with a blind person, who spends the next two weeks at one of the two Guide Dog campuses learning to work with his or her new partner. Upon completion of the two-week training period by the blind student and their new dog, there is a graduation ceremony, where the FFA member and their family are invited to the campus for the graduation ceremony to be reunited with the pup they raised and meet the dog’s new life partner. This is a non-paid, strictly volunteer project, done by the FFA members. The FFA Guide Dog Puppy Raising Project started at Lemoore High School in 1989. Lemoore FFA students brought national attention to the project and it was finally recognized as an FFA SAE project by the National FFA Association two years ago. Since the inception of the program at Lemoore High School, there are more than 250 FFA students in 10 Western states raising Guide Dog puppies as FFA projects.

Lemoore FFA Guide Dogs for the Blind Puppy Raisers pick up their puppies earlier this year. From left to right, top - Hunter Cole and Hitchcock, Sierra Phelps and Haiku, Kristen Measell and Helper, Jordan Lee and Gretsky, Nick Sheldon and Balto, Jimmie Jeff and Bengal. From left to right, bottom - Hannah Kollias and Data, Hannah Rodrigues and Hanzo, Sully with Austin Bradford and Bagel. Photo courtesy of Lemoore FFA.

FFA Chapters Plan Variety of Activities for National FFA Week Staff Reports There will be a lot of cows kissed, and Western-themed clothes worn around the South Valley during FFA Week, February 20-25. Together, Tulare and Kings Counties have 23 FFA chapters. The Valley Voice reached out to the advisors of all chapters for their input as to their FFA chapter and what they would be doing for FFA Week. These are the chapters which responded.

Central Valley Christian

Central Valley Christian is in its first year of the FFA Program. Students

have been involved in variety of local social and fundraising events, and their first competitive events have been in the public speaking realm. The Citrus Judging Team has been active in competition, and the Farm Power & Machinery, Livestock Judging, Dairy Judging and Dairy Products teams are all gearing up for competitions this spring. They are keeping it “low key” for FFA Week this year, as they ease their way into the FFA World. Plans for the week include a fundraiser event, Kiss the Cow. How it works is the teacher on campus who has the most money in their milk jar at the end of the week has

to kiss the cow. The plan is to give part of the proceeds to charity. In addition to Kiss the Cow, the school will have an Ag Fact read over the morning announcements, each day. They will also be holding Dress-Up Days to earn points, and the winning class receives a prize.


The Dinuba FFA has been active in many ways so far this year. They have had competitions in Cotton Judging and Vine Pruning. They are preparing for Speech, Veterinary Science, Nursery Landscape and Floral contests. This FFA Chapter also hosts a pet food drive

for The Cat House on the Kings. Any donations are welcome! This project is student driven from the Ag Leadership class. Other projects coming from the class include an Autism Awareness Day and celebration, while others are helping out at a homeless shelter by helping hand out food. The group continues to train Guide Dogs for the Blind and is currently training three dogs. Students learn to train dogs for future owners, and are with their dog 24/7. The Veterinary Science class members  have the chance to learn to care for these dogs by bathing,

ACTIVITIES continued on C6 »

C2 • Valley Voice

16 February, 2017

16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • C3

“I Owe It All to FFA and 4-H”

Tricia Stever Blattler Executive Director Tulare County Farm Bureau

I grew up in the small town of Exeter and was blessed with good parents who worked hard. But, when it came time to fund my college education they made sure I understood that their financial resources were limited and I would need to find a way to pay my own way. It was the 4-H and FFA experiences of my childhood and high school years that would propel me through college and fund my expenses for five years at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. And, it is from the hard work, sweat, and a few tears that I am in the career path I am today. I truly believe I owe it all to FFA and 4-H. I owe my perseverance and success to a handful of very dedicated teachers - mostly my high school agriculture teachers, college professors and one very tenacious high school honors English teacher for most of my future success in life. They believed in me, and gave me a tremendous amount of support and encouragement. I applied for hundreds of scholarships and was granted nearly $72,000 over the course of the next five years to fully fund my college education. I worked part time four out of the five years I attended Cal Poly, and I am proud to say I emerged debt-free with Bachelors and Masters degrees, two teaching credentials, and a lifetime of career potential. FFA and 4-H both played very formative roles in my life, particularly those

Tricia Stever Blattler, during her FFA days in high school, and now.

events, contests, and judging experiences that involved public speaking. Today, as I celebrate 10 years as executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau, I am constantly reminded that FFA and 4-H each played a significant role in my development as a young adult. Giving Livestock Judging Reasons, extemporaneous speeches, and critical thinking skills, I gained through numerous leadership and contest experiences, were foundational for the work I now do every day as the executive director of the Farm Bureau. I am often reminded of the mentors and teachers that gave me so much support and knowledge, which allowed me to gain and achieve in so many ways. “The best teachers in life show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see,” is a quote by Alexandra K. Trenfor,

which circulates the internet. I believe that most of my agriculture teachers and college professors were symbolic of this quote. They often provided me a path to follow and showed me where to look for success. But, it was my own hard work and tenacity that allowed me to see a future career in agriculture. As we celebrate National FFA Week, I salute our local FFA chapters and the advisors behind the scenes that are out there every day encouraging, supporting, and mentoring young leaders through FFA, as well as the parents and volunteers, working with 4-H programs. These are valuable youth development programs unlike any else in the nation. I believe in them whole-heartedly and I truly believe I do owe my own success to the FFA and 4-H.

Strathmore Steps Up Ornamental Horticulture Willow Werlhof, Strathmore FFA Nancy Vigran, Valley Voice Strathmore’s Ag Department has growing Floral and Ornamental Horticulture (OH) departments. We are currently in the process of building three 40 x 60-foot greenhouses, an aquaponics unit, and our 40-foot long CropBox. We are hoping to have all of the buildings up and running in the next few months on the 12 acres of land, Strathmore High School purchased last year. Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. A CropBox is pretty much a farm within a shipping container. A CropBox has the benefit of growing many different crops where you can monitor and maintain everything, without happening to worry about pests, or horrible weather. It helps students observe how each

FFA Advisor John Akin helps students in one of his Ornamental Horticulture class with transplanting rosemary into larger containers. Nancy Vigran

crop grows and teaches them how to maintain and care for the crop. CropBox is a part of Williamson Greenhouses in North Carolina. According to the company website, a CropBox uses “90% less water than conventional and greenhouse cultivation.” Our OH Department helps main-

Welcome to Student Life Joseph Oldenbourg, Publisher Having grown up in the Bay Area, and having lived in Mexico before moving to Tulare County in 1999, one thing about the Valley immediately became apparent: its students.

Whether in athletics, the arts, or in agriculture our students bring a passion and excellence to their approach. The Valley Voice therefore introduces Student Life to honor them. While not a regular feature, Student Life will focus on the activities un-

tain our greenhouses, and produces vegetables for our Farmers Market. They also grow flowers for our Floral Department. Strathmore High has always had an OH Department, but over the last few years there has been a lower interest in the classes.

STRATHMORE continued on C5 »

dertaken by local students. This issue’s focus is FFA, and the next issue will showcase the Western Classic Dairy Show, but future sections might include the arts, athletics, and academics. Welcome!

16 February, 2017

C4 • Valley Voice

COS Dedicated to Ag; Hosts FFA and Collegiate Agriculture Leaders Competitions The Tulare College Center is involved in supporting numerous March will be bustling at the College FFA Events this spring. The Tulare of the Sequoias, Tulare College Center, Campus will host the FFA Regionhome to COS’ agriculture programs. Not al Speaking contest on March 17 only is it the middle of the spring semes- and the FFA Parliamentary Proceter, but the campus is gearing up for some dure Contest on March 31. COS pivotal Future Farmers of America (FFA) students are involved in these and and student-related competitions being other FFA Spring Contests serving as timers, contest judges and orgahosted at the school. The month will kick off with the nizers which assists local chapters COS Agriculture Division hosting the and further develops the leadership Collegiate Agriculture Leaders’ (CAL) skills of the COS students. This follows the entire camSpring Competition where college agriculture students from throughout the pus participating in the World Ag state compete in skill building areas such Expo. COS hosted a booth in the as Job Interview, Employment Portfolio, Education Building, sharing inforPrepared Public Speaking, Extemporane- mation about the Ag Program and ous Speaking, Sales and Marketing, and the Student Ag Council Club uses the COS food booth, which fundDiscussion Meet. This last event is patterned after the raises for a whole year of student National Farm Bureau Contest and is de- activities. “The World Ag Expo is an intersigned to test student’s abilities to lead a discussion on current agriculture topics. national event that not only allows COS Ag Ambassadors at the Ag Ambassador State Conference in January. Photo courtesy of The event ends with a double elimination the College to promote programs to COS. Quiz Bowl, with the final two teams com- prospective students, but also gives as well as network with future employ- COS Giants hands-on learning opporpeting in front of the entire delegation current COS students the opportunity to ers,” said Louann Waldner, Tulare Col- tunities, whether by interacting with the during lunch. Industry partners work interact with industry professionals from lege Center Provost and Dean of COS community at the Fall Festival, or the anwith college faculty to help judge the var- around the country, attend unique workAgriculture. nual Spring plant sale, put on by the Orshops on new technologies in agriculture ious contests. Ag faculty are dedicated to offering namental Horticulture club, or at conferences and competitions throughout the state. Six COS Ag students attended the Ag Ambassador State Conference hosted at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in January. Shannan Cooper, Ag Business instructor and COS Ag Ambassador advisor, said “This conference provides students the opportunity to network with industry while learning about the current challenges facing agriculture. It also equips students with the knowledge and skills to become ambassadors and advocates for agriculture at our college and in our community.” Community members and prospective students of all ages are a regular feature on the campus and hardly a month goes by without some student, industry or community-related event taking place. Center staff and faculty recognize the unique position the campus has in the center of our nation’s top ag-producing counties. “We have an outstanding Ag Program that is the envy in the community college world. We are an essential partner with the large Ag industry in our region, while also serving as an important agent in Ag Education,” Waldner said. “Many of our students choose to transfer from our program to distinguished Ag programs across the state, as well as the country.” Opportunity is knocking—save on Kubota’s versatile BX Series sub-compact tractors today! The college opened this campus off Bardsley in Tulare in January, 2013. The $ state-of-the-art facilities include nearly * A.P.R. , for 500-acres—320 are farmed—an artificial Offer ends 3/31/17. insemination lab, a retail nursery, several green and shade houses, an equine mare barn, a riding arena for the equestrian team, a 12,000-ft. welding and fabrication shop, a show facility, pasture areas and much more. Mindful of conserva311 EAST KERN AVE tion, the campus was built with the intent TULARE, CALIFORNIA 93274 of being energy efficient and sustainable and earned a certificate for Leadership in (559)685-5000 Energy and Environmental Design from the US Green Building Council. Those interested in degrees and certificates available in agriculture through *$0 down, 0% A.P.R. financing for up to 60 months on purchases of new Kubota BX Series equipment is available to qualified COS can find more information at purchasers from participating dealers’ in-stock inventory through 3/31/2017. Example: A 60-month monthly installment repayment term at 0% A.P.R. requires 60 payments of $16.67 per $1,000 financed. 0% A.P.R. interest is available to customers, or by calling Tulare if no dealer documentation preparation fee is charged. Dealer charge for document preparation fee shall be in accordance with state laws. Inclusion of ineligible equipment may result in a higher blended A.P.R. 0% A.P.R. and low-rate financing may not be College Center Student Services at available with customer instant rebate offers. Financing is available through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A., 3401 Del Amo © Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2017 (559) 688-3017. Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Offer expires 3/31/2017. See us for details on

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these and other low-rate options or go to for more information. Optional equipment may be shown.

16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • C5

Tulare County’s Newest FFA Chapter, Central Valley Christian Katie Calac, CVC FFA Adviser A large percentage of the students who attend Central Valley Christian come from agricultural-based families. From dairy production to ag construction, a wide array of the agricultural sector is represented. CVC is right in the middle of the most productive agricultural area in the country and has long been supported by the Ag industry. FFA programs had not been a part of many of the parents whose kids attended CVC backgrounds, because many of them attended private Christian schools themselves. Prior to three years ago, FFA was only available to the public school system. When it became possible for private schools to be a part of the FFA program, a small group of parents who either were involved in FFA as kids or had heard the benefits of FFA, wanted the opportunity for their children to participate in formed a committee to bring FFA to CVC.

Parent Committee Formed

FFA was a new concept for many in the administration and staff at CVC. The process to expose and educate them was started and over the course of 18 months, or so, momentum was gained. The committee was strong and resilient, overcoming many obstacles along the way. The most important tools used were personal testimonies from some on the committee as to the effect FFA had on them as youth, and personal appearances from other local high schoolers who were very impressive and outspoken in support of FFA.

The committee stressed the leadership development aspect of the curriculum to overcome the objections by those in the CVC community who thought it was only about raising a pig or sheep. A couple of the committee members were able to get some administration and staff to attend the FFA State Convention that is held in Fresno every year. It is a very impressive display of youth who are all in, totally committed to FFA, and who have developed leadership skills that impress everyone who attends. After getting over the initial hurdles, funding the program became the next challenge. The committee made a commitment to the school to fully fund the program for the first three years, so no negative budget impact would be felt by any other program at the school. A campaign was started to raise the needed funds and the local ag industry responded whole-heartedly. We were able to raise the money required to begin the next phase and start recruiting an advisor for the new program. This was a critical part of the success in the committee’s opinion because the Ag advisor position is very unique as far as teachers are concerned. The FFA program requires an advisor who is willing to spend a lot of time after school and on weekends with the kids. Leadership conferences, judging competitions, fairs, and practices for all of these things require a special person who is willing to go the extra mile to help kids achieve success. There is a shortage of these people statewide so our search began with some urgency. We had decided to start a program in the fall of 2016 so the pres-

Strathmore High’s new CropBox waiting to be placed in its permanent location on the new land adjacent to the school designated for the school’ Ag Farm. Nancy Vigran

Strathmore Continued from C3

So, this year our advisors are really making it a main focus and trying to improve the department by giving it more appeal. There are now two classes of OH with 30 students in each class. Students must be of sophomore status to enroll in OH, and may take the class more than once. Our Floral Department use flowers grown by OH, to create arrangements for our Farmers Market. They also have a monthly subscription for arrangements. This class teaches students the skills it takes to be a floral designer. Currently we have a total of 230 students in our Floral and OH classes. On the newly 12 acres purchased for the Ag Farm, approximately six acres will be dedicated to growing lemons, said

FFA Advisor John Akin. Plans are for a new well to be dug on the land soon. The school plans on planting Chardonnay grapes, with a lot of room for fresh vegetables. There is plenty of room for more animal project pens including chickens, swine and lambs. The department plans on purchasing breeding animals in the future. “This is the stuff you want kids involved in,” Akin said. “The goal is to pay our own way,” he added. The department hopes to hold regular Farmers Markets with fresh produce, eggs, plants and floral arrangements available on a routine basis. During the holidays there could be flowers, wreaths, candles and other craft-related items available. It helps, Akin said, that the school has a lot support. “The superintendent is super positive,” he said. “He’s really onboard for us.”

Central Valley Christian’s officer team, from left to right, front row: Advisor Kadie Calac, Simon te Velde, Alexa Pinter, Jaclyn te Velde, Serena Schotanus. Back row: Dane Nelson, Mariah Westra, William VanBeek, Brandon Lemstra, Abbey Colburn. Photo courtesy of Central Valley Christian.

sure was on. I accepted the position and with it the task of starting a new program. As you can see below, CVC FFA is active and growing, both in the school and the community.

What We’re Involved In

We are now into the second semester of the first year of FFA at CVC, and as a chapter we jumped in head first. Like most chapters, we have monthly FFA meetings to discuss what is going on in our FFA and then have a social activity to follow. Our first appearances as CVC FFA were at some community service events. FFA members attended the Drive-to-Feed Kids fundraiser dinner and Tulare County Historical Society annual fundraiser. At these events our members helped set up, serve meals,

and clean up. Our first competition as a chapter took place back in October of 2016 at Hanford High School during the Opening and Closing Speaking Competition. We will also be participating in the Tulare-Kings Section Speech Contest on February 22 with four Job Interview contestants, three FFA Creed Contestants, and one Prepared contestant. Career Development Event (CDE) teams are also underway here at CVC FFA. The Citrus Judging Team has attended two field days and attended the State Finals in Fresno. Farm Power & Machinery, Livestock Judging, Dairy Judging and Dairy Products are all currently practicing to prepare for their contests beginning in March. We are beyond thrilled to have the program up and going!

16 February, 2017

C6 • Valley Voice


viding a special experience its members and students.

brushing teeth, applying parasitic applications, grooming and cleaning their ears. They currently have a dog that has gone through all her training and will be graduating and given to a new owner. Dinuba FFA’s Madasen Gutierrez will with sadness and excitement go to this ceremony and watch a person in need of a dog receive her dog, Gazele.

The largest focus of the Farmersville FFA chapter is to bring agriculture awareness and promote the countless opportunities within the organization to the students of Farmersville High School. The FFA program at Farmersville High School is growing. With growth, comes an opportunity to educate students about all of the opportunities to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. This year’s goal has been to get students involved in more leadership activities, attend more conferences, to become involved in career development events, and increase student understanding and participation in supervised agriculture experience program. The Farmersville FFA Chapter has some big plans for FFA Week. Each day there will be a themed dress-up day, as well as a scheduled lunchtime activity. Dress-up days include Animal Day, Western Day, Camouflage Day, and Blue-Gold Day. Some of the exciting lunchtime activities will be performed in the center of campus and will be open to the entire student body. Activities for FFA week are Chubby Chicken (a spin on the popular Chubby Bunny game), a cookie eating contest, Cow Pies (melted chocolate bar guessing game), and an obstacle course. The officer team is hard at work to plan fun activities to bring a positive awareness to FFA at Farmersville High School.

Continued from C1

El Diamante

Since 1947, National FFA week has been celebrated throughout schools in Visalia. El Diamante’s FFA chapter began in 2002. “It’s a great way to get our members involved and give peers a little sneak peak of some of the fun we have to offer as FFA members,” said Jenna Toor, chapter secretary. This chapter hopes to bring awareness to FFA and agriculture throughout the school’s student body during FFA Week by hosting various lunchtime activities including Potato Sack races, a Corn Hole competition and Kick Ball tournament. Agriculture-themed dressup days, and a feature in the school’s weekly video production of EdHews, will be offered. One of their most iconic activities they have done in the past is their Kiss a Cow fundraiser. One of our chapter members brings a cow, or steer, they plan to show in the Tulare County Fair, and volunteer teachers are lined up, as well as students, so they can give the cow a little smooch! “One of our biggest goals within our chapter, which applies throughout FFA, is promoting agriculture,” Toor said. “As FFA Week approaches, we plan to use this as an opportunity to excite and educate our members about the importance of agricultural education and to open their eyes to the influence of the industry, and how it affects their daily lives as humans and citizens of the Central Valley. We are constantly encouraging our members to take what they learn in the classroom, and whether it be educating another or participating in a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), appreciate what agriculture has to offer.”


The focus for the Exeter Chapter is to have a complete agriculture education program that consists of the three circles: FFA, classroom and SAE. On the farm, Exeter FFA has a horticulture unit, livestock units and a full agriculture mechanics shop. They offer a wide variety of courses to meet the needs of their students. Exeter has 430 FFA members who all have different interests. They offer hands on learning and leadership opportunities for all students. The Exeter FFA chapter has four days planned packed with fun activities for FFA Week. Some of the activities include a Dodgeball Tournament, a Giant Game of Clumps, a Staff Appreciation Lunch, and their annual Bed Races. A highlight of the week is the Bed Race activity. It consists of carts made out of bed frames, assembled by past agriculture mechanics classes that are pushed by a team of students around a track on campus. The teacher team is always the one to beat! Exeter FFA is looking forward to this awesome week and pro-



Hanford FFA is ready to kick off FFA week on February 20-24 with a bang! They have multiple lunchtime activities planned for its members, and are looking forward to all student bodies getting involved. Some of the lunchtime activities include Supermarket Sweep, Penny in a Haystack, and a Minute to Win It relay. All games are agriculturally oriented. Supermarket Sweep, for example, helps strengthen the members’ knowledge of California’s top commodities through riddles and a scavenger hunt. FFA week will also consist of school-wide dress up days. These days include Twin Day, Western Day, Blue and Gold Day, and Freedom Friday, which is a patriotic day. Along with these activities Hanford FFA is holding a free lunch time BBQ on each campus throughout the week. This year Hanford FFA is encouraging their members to “Think Outside the Barn.” They hope through this chapter theme, they will be able to break the stigma behind FFA. Hanford FFA wants their students and school population to know that FFA is much more than farm animals, and farming. It offers leadership opportunities, SAEs outside of animal agriculture, and valuable skills that will benefit students for a lifetime. They are excited to see the chapter grow and continue to help the community through various community service events.


Each year Lemoore FFA conducts an annual Community Pumpkin Patch for preschoolers through third graders, partners with local elementary school classes to implement the Partners in Active Learning (PALS) program, assists with the Kings County Fair cleanup days,

conducts canned food drive for local Christian Aid, and provides tour guides for Kings County Farm Day. They have installed a drought tolerant landscape for the City of Lemoore. Lemoore FFA is proud of its more than 25-year history in raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, which developed its recognition as a FFA SAE project by the National FFA Association two years ago. During FFA Week, Lemoore FFA will host a schoolwide dress up days including The Owl, when students may dress up like their favorite wise, old nerd; The Plow, when students may dress up as a farmer or in Western wear, The Flag, when students are to dress up in patriotic colors, and Blue and Gold Day, FFA colors. Other Activities throughout the Week include the airing of a promo video with a thank you to staff and others for supporting FFA, a Clue Game with advisors – new clues given out daily to see which advisor did the dastardly deed, and a Kiss the Cow event involving the entire school.


Monache has about 400 students involved in FFA with three teachers. Some 24 hogs, 10 sheep and a hundred chickens are kept on the campus farm, some of which will be shown at the Porterville Fair in May. The club hosts a Farmers Market on the farm, held on March 4 this year, with student-grown produce and plants available, as well as floral arrangements and other items. Monache High School FFA has something planned for every day of FFA Week. A Trivia Day will be held in class and a Tailgate party after school. There will be a Teacher Appreciation lunch and a FFA Mini contest on Friday, where students will participate in a variety of Career Development events (CDE) in each class.

Sequoia High

Sequoia FFA received its charter last year. Its focus is on Natural Resources and Forestry. The program currently works in collaboration with Reedley Junior College to offer a dual enrollment course in Chainsaw Operations, and Sequoia FFA works closely with Sequoia National Park for service learning projects. Last year, Sequoia FFA won the Western Region Hartzog Award, and had the opportunity to meet the then Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel when she visited the Cesar Chavez Memorial, last October. Through this program, students receive employment and internships with the National Park Service. Sequoia FFA is excited to continue expanding their unique program. For FFA Week, Sequoia FFA will be having a Logging Sport competition and a Salsa Making contest, in addition to doing community service projects in the National Park.


Strathmore FFA celebrates National FFA Week in many ways. This year, the chapter officers have planned a different lunchtime activity for each day. They also plan to hand out a special treat on each day. All members and non-members are encouraged to get in on the fun. The chapter also puts on its annual Drive Thru Dinner. The money raised

Sequoia FFA’s Jacob Vaz installs a chain on a chainsaw during the dual enrollment course between Sequoia High and Reedley Junior College in Chainsaw Operations. Photo courtesy of Sequoia High School.

will be put toward sending members to the State and National Conventions, and scholarships for seniors. The Drive Thru Dinner will be held on February 23, from 4-6pm at the Strathmore Ag Department Parking Lot. Strathmore FFA’s strongest and most popular areas are hogs and chickens. But, they also have a growing Floral and Ornamental Horticulture component to their program. They have a Crop Box (indoor hydroponics growing system), several greenhouses, and an aquaponics system going up this year. A California Ag Curriculum is taught during FFA Week to celebrate and help further knowledge of the importance of California agriculture.


Tulare High School Farm is home to the Tulare High School Agriculture Program and Tulare FFA. This is one of the most unique agriculture programs in the United States, due to the fact that its site is separate from the three campuses it serves - Tulare Union High School, Tulare Western High and Mission Oak High School. Additionally, this site is home to the programs 60-acre commercial farming operation and its Land ‘O Lakes affiliated 100 cow dairy. These facilities offer students a truly hands-on experience in agriculture as it prepares students to be college and career ready. In February, the Tulare High School Agriculture Program celebrates National FFA week differently than others by making it a month-long event. Already under way, Tulare FFA promotes FFA and Agriculture during the entire month of February.  Tulare FFA members will visit each of the 14 feeder schools into the Tulare Joint High School District, promoting FFA and agriculture.  Also, Tulare FFA will host the Sequoia Sectional FFA Public Speaking Contest, the San Joaquin Regional FFA meeting, the Tulare FFA Blue and Gold Dash, and many of the members of the Tulare FFA chapter are donating many hours of community service in the support of the events and operation of the World Ag Expo - the largest showcase of agriculture in the world.

ACTIVITIES continued on C7 »

16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • C7

Monache Enlarges the Hen House, Makes Room for More Projects back for evaluation with that in mind.

Nancy Vigran Recently, Porterville’s Monache High FFA students enlarged their hen house making room for its now 50 or so laying hens. There is an increasing interest in students who want to join the school’s chicken co-op, caring for its 13 varieties of hens and collecting their eggs, which are sold to the school’s culinary arts department. Monache’s Advanced Ag Mechanics class originally built the house, which was divided in half – half containing the hen house and half set up for the broiler chicken animal projects. However, this year, the decision was made to double the size for the laying girls, and moving the broiler chickens to another facility nearby. The laying hens are owned by the school and will remain there for life. The broilers are purchased as chicks in late February, and then shown by students and sold at the Porterville Fair in May. Sydney Dowling and Savannah Gamboa, both seniors, are currently the chicken co-op supervisors. Gamboa has been involved in the co-op for all four of her high school years. She finds the larger facility makes it easier to care for the hens with new waterers that are easier to manage, and more room for the hens to move around and exercise. There is also more room for egg laying and collecting eggs, she said. Anyone in Monache’s FFA program with an interest in poultry can join the co-op. There is a rotating system for animal care during the students’ free time, which takes place seven days a week.

Beyond Farm Animals

Sydney Dowling, shown here feeding the FFA hens, is a supervisor of the Monache Chicken Co-op. She, along with other students, assure that the school’s 50 hens are well fed, have fresh water and cleaned up after. Eggs are collected on a daily basis. Nancy Vigran

pus. Each student purchases, and retains ownership of his or her own lamb, while responsible for all its care including food and any veterinary care, said Dowling, who is also involved in a sheep project. The lambs are shown at the Porterville Fair and generally sold there, although any student has the option of keeping their lamb, if they so desire, she said. Recently, exhibitors purchased Suffolk and/or Suffolk-cross lambs from a former Ag teacher of the school. They are giving a little time for the lambs to adjust to their new environment before they are worked with on a daily basis for handling and grooming.

Monache’s swine facility, while not new, is updated to keep up with the best ways to provide care for its Chester White pigs, said senior Casey Beyerbach.

Monache owns one sow, Sheila, who has had three litters of piglets at the school. From Sheila’s recent litter of eight, the Veterinary Science class was able to castrate the males, as well as provide general health care. Students are able to purchase a piglet as a swine project animal. Piglets must fall between 115-280 pounds to be shown at the fair. The piglets may remain on campus in the 12-pen swine barn, prior to the show. The FFA chapter is looking to increase the number of breeding sow to three, Beyerbach said. Two females from Sheila’s second The piglets from Sheila’s -- Monache’s Chester White breeding sow litter have been held -- third litter were born in early December, some of which will be

ipate in our chapter level leadership and team building. Advisors put in a lot of effort and time to see this chapter succeed. The program has grown in size and score over the past four years, and hopes are to accomplish more by getting others involved. For FFA Week, the officer team came up with dress-up days and activities to celebrate the mission of FFA. Dress-up Days include: Tuesday is Tuxes and Tiaras, when FFA members will dress in formal business attire, Wednesday is Western Wear (country apparel), Thursday is Tiger Pride Thursday, when

members will wear school colors of orange and black for the annual Donkey Basketball game that afternoon, and Friday is FFA Friday where members will wear a lot of National Blue and Corn Gold to represent the colors of FFA. Activities planned include a Decorated Door competition, in which teachers will decorate their classroom doors with a theme of agriculture and organize their teaching content, so that each teacher can show their students how agriculture relates to their school subject. The officer team will judge the classroom doors and whoever does the best

Swine Projects

New Sheep Barn

The school has also recently built a new sheep barn, so that FFA students can keep their livestock projects on cam-

Activities Continued from C6

The members of Tulare FFA understand that we all celebrate agriculture each and every day - three times a day, at meal times.


The Woodlake FFA chapter focuses on the success and involvement of its members. It highly encourages members to be active by joining CDE teams, attend sectional and regional activities, and partic-

We are pleased to honor FFA & our local students!

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shown by FFA students at the Porterville Fair in May. Nancy Vigran

Tipton 380 N. Burnett Rd. (559) 752-4251

job will receive the award of a pizza party for lunch. Another activity, is a mini CDE field day on campus, where advisors will host different CDE competitions to promote involvement in FFA Competition teams. The annual Donkey Basketball game is held against Exeter FFA. This event will take place on Thursday, February 23, in the Woodlake High School Old Gym facility. Tickets are available at the door.  Woodlake FFA plans carefully in order to make their FFA week fun and informational for members and the community.

Honors FFA - the future of Agriculture

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We are proud of our local FFA Students!

Lawrence Tractor Honors Local FFA Students Visalia 2530 E. Main St. (559) 734-7406

Monache FFA also maintains a 23row citrus grove containing Cara Cara Navels, Pomelos, Valencias and more, said Morgan McCullar, FFA historian and a senior at Monache. Citrus grown here is sold to the school’s district office, a local packing house as well as the school’s Famers Market. There is a row of table grapes used for instruction including pruning techniques. Students also learn grafting on various trees including young avocados. There are 28 rows of vegetables, McCullar said, planted mainly in winter crops such as broccoli and cauliflower. FFA students also maintain an abundance of onion plots. This year Monache’s Farmers Market will be held on Saturday, March 4 at the Ag Farm from 8am – 5pm. A wide variety of produce will be offered, as well as plants including herbs, succulents and more. Also available will be eggs and floral arrangements. Farm tours will be given as well.

Hanford 9213 E. Third St. (559) 582-9002

(559) 686-0054

4780 South K Street Tulare, CA 93275

16 February, 2017

C8 • Valley Voice

Suncrest Bank salutes Future Farmers of America

GROWING LOCAL? WHY NOT BANK LOCAL TOO? Suncrest Bank is as local as you are. With location in communities throughout the Central Valley and the Yuba-Sutter area, our employees truly understand the unique needs of farms, ranchers and agribusinesses. Call us or stop by any of our branches to discuss how our Ag Lending products can help you grow your business. ● Loans up to $14 million for qualified borrowers ● Agricultural Real Estate Loans ● Crop Production Financing ● Equipment Financing ● Development Loans ● Flexible terms with fixed rates and longer maturities ● Regularly rated 5 stars for safety by Bauer Financial

Visalia 501 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291

Fresno 663 W. Nees Ave. Fresno, CA 93711

Yuba City 700 Plumas St. Yuba City, CA 95991

(559) 802-1000

(559) 225-1700

(530) 674-8900

Porterville 65 W. Olive Ave. Porterville CA, 93257

Kingsburg 1580 Draper St. Kingsburg, CA 93631

(559) 306-1300

(559) 802-1070

SB-17680 / Farm Bureau Ag Expo / Ag Lending / Full Page / 10.125” x 16”

Valley Scene

16 February, 2017

Mac King Comedy Show Booked for TCFB Fundraising Gala Staff Reports Mac King is set to perform a comedy-magic show at Tulare County Farm Bureau’s 30th annual fundraising gala on Saturday, March 4, at the Visalia Convention Center. The event will raise funds for TCFB’s Education and Scholarship trust. King has performed on television specials, often as a co-host. He uses a hilarious approach to his magic stunts that leave the audience in a fit of laughter. The popular steak and lobster will return as the favored menu, catered by Sue Sa’s Creative Catering. Major sponsorships are available and individual tickets are $100 and available at the TCFB office until Friday, February 24. While the gala has changed over the years, its mission remains the same – to

provide funding that supports agricultural education programs and numerous scholarships to students in Tulare County. TCFB’s school garden grants, Youth Leadership program, Blue jacket Bonanza awards, the countywide Calendar Art Contest, AgVentures! Day and numerous scholarships are all made possible by generous donors and funds raised at the gala. Continuing this year is the wine giveaway and the chance to win a one of a kind piece of jewelry custom made by Brown’s Custom Jewelry in Visalia. Raffle tickets for the jewelry prize, wine drawing and admission to the event are separate. Don’t miss out on a fun-filled night and the opportunity to support local education programs that benefit the youth of Tulare County. Tickets are available for reservation by phone at 732-8301 or by visiting the TCFB office.

Catch comedian/magician Mac King at the TCFB gala. Courtesy/TCFB

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Breakfast Lions’ Parade Staff Reports Visalia Breakfast Lions Club invites you to join them for the fun and festivities of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade! The parade will stroll down Main Street on Saturday, March 11 at 10am. Be prepared for a grand event, the entire town of Visalia will be celebrating. Also help us cheer on our 2017 Grand Marshal, Paul Hurley. Downtown will be filled with folks taking in the Irish Cheer, so arrive early to stake out your spot along the parade route. The parade will begin at Church Street, head west on Main Street and then north on Willis, ending at the Vintage Press just north of Center Street. Excitement will fill Downtown Visalia with sounds of marching bands from Visalia and Tulare County.

There will be 104.9 (all from sirens sounding Momentum from the Visalia Broadcasting) Police and Fire will be announcDepartments ing all the parade as they kickentries. They off the parade. will be at differPrancing horses, ent locations on mascots, a vathe parade route riety of antique so come on and collectable down and find cars, as well as your favorite floats, and comannouncer! munity groups The fun and will strut down excitement goes Main Street in on and on, but their St. Paddy’s it doesn’t stop Day best! with the parade! “Blarney Bill” at a previous St. Patrick’s Day 97.5 Morn- Parade. Courtesy/TCFB Throughout the ing Radio Host day, celebration Mike Pesto Chad, April Skye from Clas- will continue… sic Rock 99.7 and Randy Hendix from With so many events going on

throughout the day, we have partnered with the Visalia Towne Trolley and will be offering free trolley rides from 1pm – 5:30pm on March 11. The trolley will stop at numerous locations throughout downtown, as well as making stops at downtown parking garages and Rawhide Stadium. We encourage everyone to come out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Downtown Visalia. We thank our very special sponsors: Bueno Beverage Distributing and Budweiser, The Vintage Press, Le Boulevard, The Southern Pacific Depot, Jack & Charlie’s, A & W, The Times Delta Media Group, and Kaweah Delta Health Care District. For more information please visit, (go to forms to register on line) or call Terry Culotta at 559-909-0091

Porterville College Art Faculty Show to Run Through February 23 Deekay Fox The public is invited to the Porterville College Art Gallery to see the artwork of Mark Eaton, Jim Entz, Glenn Hill, Tom Howell, and Diran Lyons: the Porterville College Art Faculty. The exhibition runs from February 6 – February 23, 2017. Contact the front desk when you arrive to visit the show for a free temporary parking permit. The exhibition will reveal a broad range of approaches to making art from artists/faculty members who’ve come from a diverse range of experiences. Eaton’s and Entz’s work both embrace the element of chance in their working process. Hill sees himself in the role of the storyteller, as he says, “capturing these shared moments reveal the magic in everyday events.” Howell’s photographs are highly sensitive to light as they reveal the human form. Lyons talks about his work with pho-

tomontage and compares them to his Political Remix videos, “I create photomontages in much the same way that I approach the production of my political remix videos: unrelated sources appropriated from the Internet combine to stimulate thought on the mechanisms of narrative, representation, and causality.” Though all have exhibited their work regionally and some nationally, and all are art faculty members, they have formerly worked in such diverse occupations as animator, videographer, free-lance illustrator, magazine art director, stained glass artist, military veteran, graphic designer, photographer, and television director. Their work is in a wide range of media as well—painting, sculpture, ceramics, sculptural painting, drawing, photography, and photomontage. The work of these five artists is in a broad range of media: photography, ceramics, sculptural paintings, drawing, sculpture, painting, video, mixed media, installation and digital art—and each artist approaches their medium quite differently.

Mark Eaton discusses how his ceramic forms “deal with texture and the element of chance.” Jim Entz describes how his work “draws a line to nature through process—topographical landscapes of paint formed through an accretionary process of layering color.” Glen Hill says about his work, “As a painter, oils are my medium, and I wield them in the service of storytelling”. Tom Howell doesn’t say much about his work but his friend Jim Heitzberg says about Tom, “He has developed a considerable talent into mastery across several disciplines.” This eclectic mix of artists in the exhibition were educated at a variety of colleges, from Art Center College of Design, to Otis Art Institute, to UC Santa Barbara, and to Fresno State, and have a broad range of life and employment experiences, from military veteran, professional pilot, animator, film-maker, photographer, freelance illustrator, magazine art director, to graphic designer. Yet all are passionate about their artwork and all are passionate

“Harley Quinn” by Glenn Hill.

about their role as teachers and mentors of students of art, the budding artists, designers, photographers, animators, and illustrators of the future.

16 February, 2017

B2 • Valley Voice

California League All Star Game and Fan Fest Tickets Now On Sale Staff Reports The Visalia Rawhide announced that tickets for the 2017 California League All-Star Game and Fan Fest are on sale through The festivities are going to be hosted on June 19th and 20th by the Rawhide at Recreation Park at 300 N Giddings St. in Visalia. The California League celebrates its 76th season in 2017. For the first time since 1996, the mid-summer Advanced-A classic will be an intra-California League contest with All-Stars comprised of the North and South Divisions. It’s the first time since 1989 and only the second time overall that the AllStar festivities will be hosted in Visalia. “Baseball has been an integral part of the fabric of the city of Visalia for over 70 years, and we’re excited to see how the local community has already embraced the All-Star Game coming to Visalia,” said Rawhide General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft. The festivities will begin with the All-Star Fan Fest on Monday, June 19th at 6pm. The Fan Fest will feature a Charity Beep Baseball Game to benefit the Blind Babies Foundation of Tulare County and a Hitting Challenge for local high school baseball & softball players, where the contestants will have the chance to win scholarship prizes. The Fan Fest will wrap up with the traditional Homerun Derby and Skills Competitions among the All Stars. There

will be autograph and photo sessions throughout the event to give fans the chance to meet the future big-leaguers in person. The North and South Division AllStars will take to the field on Tuesday, June 20th for a 7pm game, which will be followed by a post-game fireworks show. While the game itself is the marquee event of the All-Star Festivities, the Rawhide will host a pre-game ceremony to induct the second class of California League Hall of Famers (still to be named), giving fans a chance to see some of the greatest stars in California League history from the closest seats to the field of play in professional baseball. “I have been filtering calls for tickets ever since it was announced that Visalia would host the All-Star Game in July of last year!” said Rawhide Director of Ticketing, Heather Dominguez. “Fans from all over California have added themselves to our waiting list, and are planning on traveling to Visalia to attend the event. There is a lot of excitement built up around the All-Star Game already. We will definitely sell out early!” Pendergraft also emphasized, “We are hosting all of the All-Star players, coaches, and league executives in Downtown Visalia hotels, and are pushing them to downtown restaurants. “We want the economic impact of this event to the businesses in our local community to be undeniable. The Downtown, City, and other partners are all ready for the celebration to begin!”

Coming to the Hanford Fox Theater Golden Dragon Acrobats

Of Mice and Men will come to the Lindsay Community Theater. Courtesy/James Kliegl

“Of Mice and Men” Graces the Lindsay Stage Starting February 17 John Steinbeck’s brilliant novel, “Of Mice and Men,” comes to life on the Lindsay Community Theater stage. Show dates are February 17, 18, 24, and 25 at 7:30pm and February 19 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Parental guidance suggested; this show is a serious drama and is not suitable for children. Get tickets at or at the door. Box office opens 30 minutes before show time. The play centers around two itinerant farm workers, George and Lennie( Gordy Plaisted and Jessie Dugan), on a small farm in the Salinas Valley. They are hired to work in the barley fields during harvest time. They meet a variety of other workers, Candy (Jim Keeton), an older man who suffered an accident on the farm and lost his hand, Slim (Jan Owens), the foreman of his team, Carlson and Witt (Joe Patterson and Jip Woudstra), two other farm hands.

James Kliegl There is also Crooks (Curtis Taylor), a stable buck with an injured back. They also meet the Boss (Bill Butler or George Pearce), who seems like a nice guy, Curly (Shane Rangel), the boss’s son who is always spoiling for a fight, and Curly’s wife (Kallysta Tyler), a flirtatious young woman who always seems to be around the guys, which makes Curly have “ants in his pants” trying to keep an eye on her. When Candy tells George that there is going to be trouble because of Curly’s wife, he wasn’t kidding. As events unfold during the two days of the story, George and Lennie get entangled in the dramatic events that lead to the tragic conclusion of the story. The characters of Steinbeck’s novel are certainly memorable. This story is truly an unforgettable drama. George Pearce, long-time actor and director at the Lindsay and Barn Theaters, is the director.

Soroptimist International of Tulare Thanks Attendees

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 7:30 pm - $22 - $34

Irish Rovers Sunday, March 5, 2017 7 pm - $25 - $35

$5 Movies Beauty and the Beast Thursday Feb. 25, 2 pm

Singing in the Rain Wednesday, March 15 7 pm (559) 584-7823

Soroptimist International of Tulare wishes to thank all those who attended our 5th Annual Tea & Fashion Show on January 28. A sell-out crowd of 200 attended this year’s event. All proceeds benefited Tulare Soroptimist Scholarships, Tulare Hospital Foundation, and the American Heart Association, for which women wore red. The club wishes to thank the Tulare Hospital Foundation for this year’s wonderful partnership, and co-hosting. Guest Speakers included Dr. Shailesh Shetty, & Duane Iwamura, from Tulare Regional Medical Center. A special thanks to our Sponsors:

Greg & Marsha Watte, DARO Commodities, Tulare Cabrillo Club, TRMC-Duane Iwamura, Wells Fargo Bank, M Green & Company, and Tulare Hospital Auxiliary. A further special thanks to our fashion show models, Dress Barn, Gap Inc, and Espi’s Childrens Wear. Thank you to our table decorators, the event was lovely, Co-Chairs, Marmie Fidler, Trish Hitlin, Jan Smith, and all the members. Lastly, thanks to Jared Cota, for the wonderful entertainment, and to the Community for supporting us once again.

16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • B3

Sports Rawhide Announce 2017 Coaching Staff West Hills College Coalinga Rodeo tucky, native spent parts of nine seasons Staff Reports Dinner Tickets, Sponsorships Available in the Minor and Independent Leagues. New faces will be taking over the Visalia coaching staff in 2017, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced. Shelley Duncan will take the reigns as Field Manager for the Rawhide. Duncan has served for two previous years as a Manager in the Diamondbacks organization, having spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons at the helm of the D-backs Short-Season A affiliate in Hillsboro. Duncan led the Hops to a 42-33 overall record in 2016, and a resurgent 24-13 mark in the second half of the season that culminated in the club’s third consecutive trip to the Northwest League postseason. Duncan, 37, played in parts of seven major league seasons for the Yankees, Indians, and Rays, and enjoyed a 14 year career overall. A second round draft pick in the 2001 MLB draft, he made his big league debut in 2007 and retired following the 2014 season. Familiar faces will also be returning to Visalia in 2017, as Pitching Coach Jeff Bajenaru and Hitting Coach Vince Harrison will serve as top instructors once again. This will be Bajenaru’s second season in Visalia, and his seventh in the Diamondbacks organization overall. He previously worked as the Pitching Coach in short-season Missoula for two seasons, where he helped guide the Osprey to a Pioneer League championship in 2015. A native of Pomona, California, Bajenaru was a 36th round selection by the Chicago White Sox in the 1999 draft. He made Major League appearances with the White Sox in 2004 and 2005, and also came up briefly with the D-backs in 2006. Harrison will work in his second season with the Rawhide, and is entering his fourth year as an instructor in the D-backs organization. He has also served as a coach for Missoula, the Kane County Tigers, and the West Virginia Power. The 36-year-old Lexington, Ken-

More than 40 years in Downtown Visalia

He is the older brother of Josh Harrison (a 2014 All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates), and is the nephew of 2-time World Series champion John Shelby. Eddie Oropesa joins Visalia as the Bench Coach for 2017. A former pitcher hailing from Cuba, Oropesa spent four years at the Major League level with the Phillies, D-backs, and Padres as part of a 16 year professional career that spanned visits to the Mexican League, Independent baseball, and Minor League stops with seven organizations. Oropesa spent the 2016 season as a bench coach with the AA Mobile Bay Bears and worked in 2012 and 2013 as a Coach/Interpreter for Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Yasiel Puig. Chris Schepel, and Mike Locastro will round out the Rawhide Coaching Staff in 2017 as the Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach respectively. Both will be in their first year with Visalia. The Rawhide will seek a fifth consecutive playoff appearance in 2017 after advancing to the California League Finals last year. “We look forward to welcoming Shelley as the Manager of the Rawhide and to continuing the recent success we’ve seen on the field,” said club General Manager Jennifer Pendergraft. “We’re excited for the rest of great staff that has been put together as well. We’re proud to be celebrating our 11th season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have been a great partner to both the Rawhide and to the Visalia Community. 2017 marks the 71st year of baseball in Visalia at Recreation Ballpark. The Rawhide will open their season on April 4th, and will host their home opener on April 13th against the Inland Empire 66ers. For tickets and more information, visit or call 559-732-4433. Follow the Rawhide on Social media on Twitter (@VisaliaRawhide), Facebook (TheRawhide), Instagram (@visaliarawhide) and Snap Chat (visaliarawhide).


316 W. Main St., Visalia, CA 93291

Certi�ied Gemologist Appraiser


West Hills College Coalinga Rodeo Staff Reports Boosters are now selling tickets for their Tickets for the fundraiser dinner may annual dinner fundraiser. Sponsorship be available at the door, but purchasing advertising is also currently being sold for the upcoming spring rodeo, which them in advance is recommended. See any rodeo student, or call Rodeo Coach will be held on March 9 and 10. The prime rib dinner is Feb. 25 at Justin Hampton at (559) 934-2702. Sponsorship advertising for the upthe Coalinga Elks Lodge. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. Tick- coming intercollegiate rodeo is also now on sale. Businesses and individuals can ets are $40, with choose from a all proceeds benerange of ways fitting the WHCC to help cover rodeo team and the costs of scholarships for the upcoming rodeo team memspring rodeo, bers. Annually, ranging from a the Rodeo Boost$1,000 corpoers awards over rate sponsor$30,000 in scholship to a $50 arships to rodeo Falcon Helper students. West Hills College Coalinga has hosted “This is import- intercollegiate rodeo events in the past, including sponsorship. “Sponsorant to help replen- the one pictured above. Courtesy/WHCCD ship supports the ish the scholarship fund,” said Brooke Jackson, WHCC Ro- needs of the program for the producdeo assistant coach. “The boosters work tion of our rodeo, awards, specialty acts, so hard to be able to give scholarships and other costs associated with the proout and this is a good way to rebuild the duction of the rodeo,” said Hampton. funds for next year. We cannot begin to “WHCC Rodeo strives to promote the thank our boosters enough for all their sport through these types of events and hard work and dedication to the West bring as many people to the area as possible which in turn creates an economic Hills rodeo program.” In addition to dinner, there will also boost for our community.” To learn more about sponsorship be live and silent auctions, a Cowboy advertising or to become a sponsor, conCalcutta auction and prizes. tact Hampton at (559) 934-2702.

Calendar Now - February 25: Art Exhibition of Porterville College Art Faculty Show Monday – Thursday from 12 – 2pm and 4 -6pm - The public is invited to the Porterville College Art Gallery to see the artwork of Mark Eaton, Jim Entz, Glenn Hill, Tom Howell, and Diran Lyons: the Porterville College Art Faculty. Please contact Jim Entz at (559) 791-2257 with any questions. Now - March 11: 9th Annual “MINIATURES” Exhibition/Raffle Fundraiser Thursdays - Saturdays from 10am 4pm - Twenty-three local area artists have donated 55 original miniature works of art, created solely for the Tulare Historical Museum show. During the run of the exhibition, raffle tickets will be on sale in the THM Gift Shop, for a chance to win your favorite pieces. Tickets are $5 each, or 3 for $10. The drawing will be held March 15, and winners will be notified March 16-31. Proceeds from the raffle will help THM’s mission to preserve Tulare’s history. Admission to Heritage Art Gallery exhibitions are free. Now - End of Spring Semester: The Great Conversation at COS 2nd & 4th Mondays, 4-5:30pm The spring semester has just begun and The Great Conversation group reads and discusses some of the great classics of literature and philosophy published by the Great Books Foundation. The readings include excerpts or complete works by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Christina Rossetti, Frank O’Connor, John Rawls, and Max Planck. The book costs $24.95 through the Great Books Foundation. Contact Dr. Joseph Teller at josepht@cos. edu or at (559) 730-3924 for more information about the meeting location and book purchase. Now - April 15: CSET Free Tax Return Service Saturdays - 9am - 3pm - The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program prepares federal and state tax returns at no cost to households with less than $54,000 annual income. More information regarding the VITA program including contact information, documentation requirements and helpful links is available online by visiting www. or by calling (559) 741-4640. For information on tax preparation services offered in Kings

County, please contact Kings United Way at (559) 584-1536 or Kings Community Action Organization at (559) 582-4386. VITA Sites - VISALIA CSET Main Office - 312 NW 3rd Avenue, TULARE Family Resource Center 304 E. Tulare Avenue, CUTLER CSET Office - 12691 Avenue 408, PORTERVILLE Employment Connection - 1063 W. Henderson Avenue.

fEBRUARY February 18: Annual Victorian High Tea 1pm - The Friends of the Garden FOG (Friends of the Garden) have been busy planning the Victorian Tea. This is an opportunity to bring your daughter or granddaughters and friends and join them for this very special event. You will enjoy special tea sandwiches, delicious scones, fruits, delicate pastries and of course tea! There will be opportunity tables and sensational prizes to win. The tables will all be set by Branches of FOG, using their own lovely China and decorating the tables to a theme created by one of the books for the Storybook Garden. It is an amazing event and the decor all by itself is worth coming for. However, the friendship, the welcoming environment, and savoring the fragrance of time together is something you won’t want to miss. Tickets are limited so save the date and get your tickets early. Contact Judy for tickets (559) 341-4845.

Lunch served 12-1 pm $4 Please call 713-4481. Reservations m Monday

6 Eggplant parme-


Wednesday 1 Lasagna rollups with spinach, ricotta and Italian sausage in marinara sauce with Caesar salad, garlic bread and fruit


st sa w

February 2017 Lun


7 Salisbury steak

8 Pork tenderloin




1 Lasagna rollups 15 Spaghetti with


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13 Broccoli soup

with grilled ham and LUNCHEON Chicken breast in a marsala cheese, fruit and wine and mushroom chips sauce with bowtie pasta, Caesar salad, fruit and garlic bread

6 Eggplant parme7 Salisbury steak 20 Pastrami and swiss 21 Chicken parmi-

san with pasta mari- giana with mushroom graon marbled rye with – chicken breast Tuscansalad kale and nara, andbean fruit topped vy, mashed potawith mozzarelsoup la andvegetables marinara and toes, served with Italian roll style vegetables, fruit

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13 Chicken Broccoliand soup 27

with spinach, ricotta meat sauce, salad, and Italian sausage in garlic bread and fruit marinara sauce with Caesar salad, garlic bread and fruit

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8 Pork tenderloin 22 Pork chili verde


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with rice, beans, tortilpotatoes, vegetala and fruit

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DAILY SA 15 Spaghetti with 1

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ty, 649 S. County Center. RSVP to (559) 734-5876. 20 Pastrami and swiss 23 21 Chicken parmi22 Pork chili verde February 21: League of Women

on marbled rye with giana – chicken breast 23: with rice, beans,are tortil- ro Voters Meeting February The British Tuscan kale and bean topped with mozzarelw 11:45am - Continuing the study of Coming. . .latoand Visalia fruit soup la and marinara long term sustainability, Ryan Jen- 9pm - Beatles vs. Stones - A Musi-co served with Italian Ca sen will be the speaker. He is a com- cal Showdown at the Cellar Door. style vegetables, fruit munity water solutions coordinator The two greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands 27 the Chicken and 28 Meatloaf withall time face off as TheDAILY with Community Water Center of CellarSA Chicken C mashed potatoes, cheese enchiladas and his topic will be “Safe, Clean, Door grahosts tributes to the available Beatles vy, vegetables, fruit with rice, beans, salad Affordable Water.” Mr. Jensen has and the Rolling Stones. Taking the replacem and roll anand MSfruit from Colorado State, and side of the Fab Four is Abbey Road, has worked with the Peace Corps one of the country’s top Beatles trib**Items on Menu are and Engineers Without Borders. A ute bands. They engage in a musical luncheon will be served for $15 (in- “showdown” of the hits against precluding tax and tip). Reservations mier Stones tribute band Satisfacare required by February 17 by con- tion - The International Rolling Stones tacting or Show. Tickets $15 in advance; $18 calling 732-1251. Meeting will be at the door. The Cellar Door is loFebruary 21: 8th Annual Empty held at Left of Center, 699 W. Cen- cated at 101 W. Main St. in Visalia. Bowls ter in Visalia. The public is welcome. For more information, visit www. 5:30-7pm - EMPTY BOWLS is an international project to fight hunger, February 22: Learn QuickBooks February 25: A Night of Wine, personalized on a community level. in a Day The goal behind EMPTY BOWLS 8:30am - 4pm - A Workshop for Cheese and Chocolate! is to raise awareness about the is- Small Business through the Visalia 6:30-9pm - Tickets are now on sale sues of hunger and food security. Chamber Business Academy. In- for Tulare Historical Museum’’s ever Local sponsors provide hand-craft- structor Lance Wilkins has taught popular event, “A Night of...Wine, ed bowls and serve a simple meal. well over 100 QuickBooks classes Cheese, & Chocolate!” Back for its Guests choose a bowl for their meal from San Diego to Eureka. He has fifth year, this elegant evening of and keep it as a reminder of all the led classes not only for QuickBooks wine, cheese, and chocolate tasting empty bowls in the world. Hand- users, but taught QuickBooks-cen- takes place under the backdrop of made bowls crafted by local artisans, tered continuing education to Cal- THM’s Historical and Art Gallermeal catered by Vintage Press, silent ifornia CPAs. As part of Intuit’s ies. Tickets are $35 per person, and auction and on-site bowl throwing. Trainer/Writer Network, he has can be purchased by calling the MuHeld at VRM Community Center, been selected as a speaker for Intu- seum, online at www.tularehistori741 N. Santa Fe. Tickets: $30 and it audiences and has written mate-, or by speaking with may be purchase online at: www. rial for QuickBooks. This free class any of the Museum’s Board of will be held at Brandman Universi- ees. Tickets are limited, so purchase

4.00 Dine In

or Takeout & under 54 yrs:


must be made one business day in advance by 12 PM.



Chicken chili verde tew with rice, beans, alad and tortillas with fruit

3 SUPER BOWL PARTY Not-so-hot wings

with celery and ranch dip; pulled pork slider, homemade potato chips and fruit

Weekly Salad Option:

Chicken Taco Salad—in taco bowls with lettuce, chicken, black beans, corn with Mexican cheese and salsa

nch Menu / Visalia Senior Center

9 Hearty navy bean 10 Teriyaki chicken Chef Salad—with diced nd ham soup with breast skewers with 4.00 Dine Ina or Takeout & under 54 yrs: $5.00 cheeses, black olives,

rilled cheese sandwich on Texas Toast must be made with fruit


16Chicken Heartychili chili verde

tew rice, beans, eanswith with ground alad and tortillas urkey, with fruitcorn bread,

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93Hearty navy bean Cannelloni –

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ALAD Option: 16 Hearty chili

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pineapple and bell peptomatoby and hard per over basmati rice one business day inham, advance PM. boiled eggs with ranch with Asian vegetable dressingSalad Option: mix and Hawaiian roll Weekly



17 Meat lovers 3 SUPER BOWLpizza PARwith Italian sausage, TY Not-so-hot wings

salami, black olives, with celery and ranch tomatoes, bell pepper dip; pulled pork slider, and mozzarella with homemade potato Caesar salad and chips and fruit fruit

10 Teriyaki chicken 24 Fish and chips – breast skewers with

Breaded pineapplefish andserved bell pepwith oven fried potato per over basmati rice wedges, vegetable, with Asian vegetableroll and fruitHawaiian roll mix and

17 Meat lovers pizza

with Italian sausage, salami, black olives, tomatoes, bell pepper and mozzarella with law and fruit e subject to change. Caesar salad and fruit

Perfect Gar—in ChickenChicken Taco Salad den Salad Chicken, taco bowls with let-

walnut, dried black cranbertuce, chicken, ry salad with balsamic beans, corn with Mexivinaigrette can cheese and salsa

Beef Taco Salad ta—with—in diced Chef Salad

co bowlsblack with lettuce, cheeses, olives, beef, black beans, corn ham, tomato and hard with Mexican cheese boiled eggs with ranch and salsa dressing

Cobb Salad Perfect Chickentomato, GarWith Chicken, den Saladlettuce Chicken, avocado, and

walnut, dried cranberbacon bits with ranch ry salad with balsamic and feta cheese vinaigrette

yours today. All proceeds benefit the hours will be held at City Hall West, Beef TacoW.Salad —in taHistorical Museum its located at 707 Acequia Ave. 3 Tulare Cannelloni – 24 Fish and and chips – co bowls with lettuce, mission preserving Tulare’s Meetings are conducted in 15-minolled pastaoffilled Breaded fishimserved beef, black corn portant heritage. ute increments and beans, allow citizens with spinach and ri- with oven fried potato cheese wedges, vegetable,time roll towith meetMexican with Mayor Gubler otta served 25: withPorterville February College and City salsamatters and items and fruit aesar salad, garlic and discuss Foundation 7th Annual Hall of of interest. Walk-ins are welcome Fame Reception ALAD Option: to 5:45Salad p.m., appointments 6pm - at the Student Center hon- from 5 Cobb Caesar Salad slot betweentomato, 5:45 and With Chicken, former athletes and distin- for a time e oring as a meal can be scheduled in adavocado, lettuce and guished alumni. Tickets $25. For 6:30 p.m. ment. contacting Kathy Rouse, bacon bits with ranch more information, call (559) 791- vance by Visalia at fetaAdministration, cheese 2319 or email, pcfoundation@por- City ofand e subject to change. 713-4355. To reach Mayor Gubler directly, email - warren.gubler@visaFebruary 25: West Hills College or leave him a voicemail at Coalinga Rodeo Boosters Fund(559) 713-4400, x3313. raising Dinner 6pm - West Hills College Coalinga Rodeo Boosters are now selling tickets for their annual dinner fundraiser. Sponsorship advertising is also currently being sold for the upcom- March 2 - April 1: 29th Annual ing spring rodeo, which will be held Tulare Student Art Show on March 9 and 10. The prime rib The Tulare Historical Museum is dinner will be held at the Coalin- proud to proclaim that art educaga Elks Lodge. Social hour begins tion is alive and well throughout the at 6pm and dinner at 7pm. Tickets Tulare City School and Tulare Joint are $40, with all proceeds benefit- Union High School districts! Open ting the WHCC rodeo team and reception will be held on Thursday, scholarships for rodeo team mem- March 2, at the Heritage Art Galbers. Annually, the Rodeo Boosters lery at THM from 4-6pm. Each year awards over $30,000 in scholarships students throughout Tulare, from elementary school to high school, to rodeo students. show off their best works of art in February 28: Meet the Mayor various creative mediums, in this Visalia long-standing THM tradition. The 5-6:30pm - Visalia Mayor Warren reception is open to the public and Gubler welcomes Visalia residents free of charge. The Tulare Historical to “Meet with the Mayor.” Office


Museum is located at 444 W. Tulare Carolina with the words of Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Ave. in Tulare. March 5: Porterville Spring Fish- and Dolly Parton shaping her musical footing. At the age of 19, she ing Derby 9-11am - Parks and Leisure Services first gained fame as a contestant on is hosting their annual Spring Fish- the fifth season of “American Idol.” ing Derby at the Murry Park Pond. Tickets on sale now - $40-$83. For Young anglers, ages 2-15 years old, more information, visit www.foxare invited to enter the competition to showcase their skills and enjoy some outdoor fun. Trophies will be awarded to the top three children in each of the two age divisions, as well as to the biggest fish of the day. Participants must be able to reel in their own fish and provide their own rod and bait. Pre-registration wristbands can be purchased for $3 at the Heritage Center, 256 E. Orange Ave. The event sells out every year so don’t wait until the day of the event! For more information, call the Heritage Center at 791-7695. March 9: Foreigner at the Visalia Fox Theatre 7:30pm - 40th Anniversary Tour performing songs such as Cold as Ice and I Want to Know What Love Is. A portion of the proceeds benefits The Creative Center in Visalia. This show was sold out in 2008! Tickets on sale now - $50-$125. Brought to the Visalia Fox by Rainmaker Productions. March 10: Tulare Rotary Club 21st Annual Crab Feed 6pm - Along with all you can eat crab, there will be silent and live auctions. Social hour begins at 6pm and dinner will begin at 7pm. This is the largest fundraiser of the year, and supports many community projects. Held at the International AgriCenter, Heritage Complex. Tickets available through the Tulare Chamber of Commerce. March 11: Spring Blossom Vendor Fair 10am - 4pm - 30+ vendors with home decor, crafts, health and beauty, jewelry, candles, wearables, door prizes, food and more. Held at the Visalia Veteran’s Memorial Building, 609 W. Center. Details and more information, call (559) 308-8232, or (559) 623-2475; check Facebook Events - Spring Blossom Vendor Fair. March 18: Kellie Pickler at the Visalia Fox Theatre 8pm - Presented by Hands in the Community. Kellie Pickler grew up immersed in country music in the small town of Albemarle, North

March 23: COS CHAP - “All They Will Call You” 6:30pm - College of the Sequoias’ Cultural Historical Awareness Program (CHAP) program’s theme for 2016-2017 is: “Economic Inequality: Problems and Representations.” All CHAP events are free and open to the public. Campus parking is free during the events. in the Ponderosa lecture hall, COS will entertain Tim Z. Hernandez, novelist and poet. Hernandez will be celebrating the hometown release of his book, “All They Will Call You.” “All They Will Call You,” is the harrowing account of the California plane crash in 1948 that claimed the lives of 32 passengers, 28 of which were Mexican citizens; farmworkers being deported by the U.S. government. The narrative captures testimony, historical records and eyewitness accounts to paint an intimate portrait of those who perished. More information on these and other, upcoming CHAP events is available at or by calling 559.730.3921.

March 24: 9th Annual Leadership Visalia Golf Tournament the Visalia Chamber of Commerce and the Leadership Visalia Class of 2016 will co-host the 9th Annual Leadership Visalia Golf Tournament at Valley Oaks Golf Course. This annual event raises funds to support leadership education in Visalia. The Leadership Visalia Golf Tournament Committee is excited to announce that the most popular components of past tournaments will again be part of the event. This year the tournament will include: a putting challenge, closest to the hole challenge, hole in one competition and the longest drive competition. Other fun features include a gunshot bump up hole, and prizes for the top finishing teams. In addition, donated items will be raffled off to raise funds for the 2017 Leadership Visalia project. Sponsorship and player opportunities are available by calling the Visalia Chamber at 559734-5876 or going to

16 February, 2017

B6 • Valley Voice

Health HCCA/TRMC Provides Innovative Prenatal Care to Local Moms Kerri Bell RD, CLEC The Women’s Pavilion, a division of HCCA/Tulare Regional Medical Center is giving Tulare moms and newborns the best possible start by investing in better prenatal care. Its innovative patient-centered model brings top of the line prenatal care right here to Tulare, the only program of its kind in Tulare County. Centering Pregnancy is group prenatal care that brings eight to 10 women all due at the same time together for their care. It follows the recommended schedule of 10 prenatal visits, but each visit is 90 minutes to two hours long — giving women 10 times more time with their provider. A majority of prenatal care is education. Unfortunately, in traditional OB care, an expectant mother only receives about two hours of face-to-face time with her doctor during the entire ninemonth period. This leaves mom with unanswered questions, anxiety, and confusion; feelings no woman should experience during pregnancy. The solution to this problem is Centering Pregnancy. Women spend up to 10 hours of time with their provider and receive the best prenatal education possible. This leaves new moms feeling empowered and confident. The Centering model engages moms in their care by taking their own weight and blood pressure and recording their own health data with private time with their provider for belly check. Once health assessments are complete, the provider and support staff “circle-up” with moms and support people. They lead facilitative discussion and fun, interactive activities designed to address important and timely health topics while leaving

room to discuss what is important to the group. Centering materials help moms and providers ensure that everything from family planning, common discomforts, stress management, labor and delivery, and infant care are covered in group. The Women’s Pavilion staff has lined up local health care professionals including a dentist, international board certified lactation counselor and dietitian to give women the best access to care. Having so much expertise on board helps avoid “old wives’ tales” or traditions that may not be best practice for mom and baby. One of the best aspects Tulare Regional Medical Center and HCCA are introducing a new Centering Pregnancy group; pictured above is a Feb. 1 meeting. Courtesy/HCCA of Centering is the support tal care that is endorsed by the March ate physical activity to avoid excessive group that is established for new moms. Women bond over sharing of Dimes and the American College of weight gain during pregnancy. This is their similar experiences and find com- Nurse Midwives, yet still follows the especially important for our community fort that they are not the only ones ex- American College of Obstetrics and Gy- where gestational and Type II diabetes is periencing these rapid changes in their necology’s guidelines for prenatal care as so common. This innovative method of prenatal bodies and their lives. Moms who partic- well as aligning with the Surgeon Gencare is offered to women as the standard eral’s focus on Patient Centered Care ipate in Centering create lasting friendof care at the Women’s Pavilion. Services Initiatives. ships and are wonderful resources to one Other support services have been are covered by commercial insurance as another during a very exciting but also added to create convenience and better well as Medicare and Medi-Cal. stressful time in their lives. Having addiTo learn more about Centering health outcomes to Tulare moms. Free tional support can also reduce post-parchild care during Centering sessions and Pregnancy or to become part of a Centum depression in new mothers. Still unsure about Centering Preg- free Evolutions Fitness & Wellness Cen- tering group, call 559-684-4530, Ext. nancy? The outcomes speak for them- ter membership are offered to all preg- 5134. Women’s Pavilion is now enrollselves. According to the Centering nant women at the Women’s Pavilion. ing expectant moms due in August and Healthcare Institute, patients who par- Many patients I counsel in my office September of 2017. ticipate in Centering Pregnancy have cite excessive weight gain during pregKerri Bell is a Registered Dietitian, been shown to decrease emergency room nancy as the start of their chronic weight visits, pre-term births and low birth problems. Giving pregnant moms access Lactation Educator and coordinator for weight and have higher breastfeeding to our Evolutions facility gives them Centering Pregnancy at Healthcare Conrates. It is also a group model of prena- a safe place to maintain low to moder- glomerate Associates.

Kaweah Delta Awarded Full Accreditation from Joint Commission Kaweah Delta announced Monday that it had earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care. Kaweah Delta has long been accredited by The Joint Commission, but is required to renew its accreditation every three years. The medical center’s next survey for accreditation by The Joint Commission will take place in Fall 2019. “We have ensured our full accreditation and also demonstrated our commitment to provide our patients with the very best clinical quality, patient safety and service possible,” said Lindsay Mann, Chief Executive Officer of Kaweah Delta Health Care District. “Staff from across the organization continue to work together to develop and implement approaches to improve care for the patients in our community.” Kaweah Delta underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite survey in late 2016 for accreditation. During the review, a team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with hos-

pital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management. Surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews. The Joint Commission has accredited hospitals for more than 60 years. Its hospital standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and

patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help hospitals measure, assess and improve performance. Established in 1963, Kaweah Delta Health Care District is a 581-bed district hospital. Kaweah Delta Medical Center, the only trauma center between Fresno and Bakersfield, was recently awarded four out of five stars in overall hospital quality from the Centers for Medicare &

Medicaid Services and an A in hospital safety in Leapfrog’s Fall 2016 Hospital Safety Score. The district offers a comprehensive scope of services including everything from a well-respected pediatric hospitalist program to nationally recognized orthopedic and cancer programs. For more information, visit www. or follow Kaweah Delta on Twitter and Facebook.

16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • B7

Education COS Fêtes Giant Pantry Donors at Partners Celebration Staff Reports College of the Sequoias invited industry partners and donors to the inaugural COS Giant Pantry Partners Celebration on February 9. The event drew 42 donors including representatives from Ruiz Foods, Community Food Bank, FoodLink, Visalia Emergency Aid Council and Visalia Pride Lions Club. “COS is so grateful to its partner organizations and community members for their ongoing generous support of the Giant Pantry,” says COS Student Health Services Nurse Cynthia Norvall. “We are all making a difference one student at a time.” COS President/Superintendent Stan Carrizosa opened the evening which included live music by COS students Ennis Harris and Joaquin Ruiz, tours of the health center and Pantry, and refreshments by Café 225. The highlight of the evening was a screening of, “A Look into the Giant Pantry,” a brief documentary film recording the origins of the Giant Pantry and its impact in the lives of students who suffer from food insecurity. “My heart soared hearing the stories from our students and having the opportunity to thank our supporters in person,” said Cindy Piper of COS Student

Health Services. “They play such a huge role in the success of the Giant Pantry.” Thursday’s event closed an honored week for the Giant Pantry which won a community service award at the Visalia Soroptimist International awards dinner on Tuesday. COS Student Health Services Coordinator, Pattie Alvarez said, “I am very touched by the Award presented to us… I feel very blessed to have a great team that utilize their talents and passions to aid me in planning and implementing our health services.” Alvarez further recognized the support of a broad mix of COS students, staff and faculty and the community contributors that made this week’s events, and the Pantry itself, possible. The Giant Pantry is available to COS students at all three campuses—Visalia, Hanford and Tulare. Alvarez, said about its origins, “The Pantry started with a food insecurity survey on World Hunger Awareness/Soup Day in November 2013. The student’s responses were alarming; over 50 percent reported some type of food insecurity.” That sparked a Food Insecurity Task Force, made up of representatives from various District departments, to find solutions for the students. Alvarez further explains in the video that students faced a harsh decision,

COS Student Health Services Coordinator, Pattie Alvarez, says, “It was an honor to give Health Center and Pantry tours to our partners who helped make this possible.” Courtesy/COS

“How do I choose between buying books and buying food for our family?” The Giant Pantry opened October 1, 2014, as an on-campus resource where students could come, remain confidential and find a reliable source of meal options. An annual District-wide canned food drive adds to the many generous donations by area partners. Food resources available to the students are supplemented by campus Snack Stations and regular visits by FoodLink to the Visalia campus, and the Commu-

nity Food Bank to the Hanford and Tulare campuses, to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for students; the community is also invited to these events. “A Look into the Giant Pantry,” video is available for a short time on the homepage and can be seen at the COSGiant Vimeo site. Those interested in contributing to the effort may visit or those who would like to volunteer can contact Cynthia Norvall at 559.730.3880.

Todd Oto: Visalia Unified Welcomes a New Charter School Todd Oto, Ed.D., Superintendent Recently, the Visalia Unified Board of Trustees approved Global Learning Charter School, a new dependent charter school that will open in August 2017. This is an exciting development that I’m sure our community will want to know more about. Global Learning Charter School is a brand-new charter school that becomes the 42nd member of the Visalia Unified family of schools. GLC will start with kindergarten through grade six, but will grow into a K-8 school as students matriculate through the program. It will be located on the campus currently occupied by Fairview Elementary. Global Learning Charter is a dependent charter school. This means that the school is overseen by the Visalia Unified School Board and operates as a VUSD school in every sense: GLC will operate under VUSD policies, with VUSD teachers, and offer a program approved

by VUSD. GLC will be the fifth dependent charter school in our district. Each of our charter schools has a unique approach to serving the needs of students, and because the boundaries for charter schools are less rigid, they offer the opportunity to serve a broader geographical range of students than a traditional school and are more accessible by the community at large. Our other dependent charter schools are Visalia Charter Independent Study, Visalia Technical Early College High School, Charter Alternatives Academy, and Charter Home School Academy. Why would a traditional school district open a new charter school? The simplest and best answer is innovation. The heart of any school is its academic program, and Global Learning Charter has three areas of focus that represent different approaches for students and parents. First, the school will focus on developing skills that research and local industry tell us are critical for success in

the 21st century: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication. Second, the school will have a global education as a strong unifying theme for its program. This theme will develop a global perspective and skill set that allows students to engage more fully in a globally-connected world. Finally, the school will incorporate world languages starting with Kindergarten and continuing throughout the instructional program. Some might ask, if these things are so good for kids, why not do them at all of our schools? An important part of our charter school development concept is that the best ideas developed at these schools are carried into our traditional schools so that all students may take advantage of them. As a gardener might establish a hotbed to promote the growth of new plants, we seek to use charter schools to be a hotbed for the development of new ideas that support learning. A few ex-

amples from our current charter schools illustrate how this can work. Students may access online courses at all of our high schools because Visalia Charter Independent Study has pioneered that program and can support it at the traditional high schools. Visalia Technical Early College High School has a very strong concurrent enrollment program with College of the Sequoias, and we are working to bring options of this type to all high schools. By creating an elementary charter school, we will establish a hotbed at the elementary level where new ideas can be explored and then transplanted to our broader family of schools. Global Learning Charter School is an exciting new development for Visalia Unified. Enrollment at the school will be open through the middle of February. I look forward to updating the community on the progress of this school as it grows.

Registration Now Open for March 4 FFA Field Day at WHCC Staff Reports West Hills College Coalinga’s Farm of the Future will host a Future Farmers of America (FFA) field day on March 4, featuring four different competitions, with registration ongoing until Feb. 22. The field day will include competition in the agricultural welding, farm power, land judging and best informed greenhand career development events. Field days allow FFA members to prepare for the upcoming state finals for these contests.

The event is expected to draw over 100 students from schools across the state and is the eighth FFA contest hosted by the Farm of the Future. Dr. Timothy Ellsworth, Farm of the Future instructor and field day organizer, said the field day is an important way for high school students to learn about agriculture and the Farm of the Future’s educational offerings. “The college motto is the relentless pursuit of student success and, as a career development event that provides opportunities for high school students

to develop skills related to agriculture, these field days help these students achieve success,” he said. “The event also provides an opportunity to showcase the college farm and to introduce local high school Ag instructors and their students to our facilities and staff.” The action will start at 6:30 a.m. and culminate with an awards ceremony for winning teams and individuals. Buckles will be awarded to first place individuals and ribbons to 1st through 5th place teams. A sweep-stakes trophy will also be awarded.

Registration is available online at More information about the field day is available at For more information about the contest, contact Ellsworth at 559-9975339 or Registration for teams interested in attending is open until Feb. 22.

16 February, 2017

Valley Voice • B8

National Parks Announce New Film & Photography Process and Website

VMC Announces 3rd Annual Diabetes Memorial Walk Staff Reports Visalia Medical Clinic has set Saturday, March 25, for the third annual Diabetes Walk in honor of the late Dr. James Mohs, an endocrinologist who worked with diabetic patients in Visalia for many years. The 3K or 5K walk, and kids walk, begins at the clinic, 5400 W. Hillsdale, with registration at 8 a.m. and kick-off at 9 a.m. (rain or shine). There is no fee to participate and registered walkers will receive a free commemorative T-shirt, while supplies last. The registration form is available online at www. The walk will include booths offering diabetes and health information, resources to improve diabetes control, drawings to win prizes, and blood pressure and blood sugar checks. Participants

will also be able to donate blood and meet VMC’s physicians and staff. “Each year this event grows as people become aware of the opportunity to meet people and have fun,” said Visalia Medical Clinic diabetes educator Susan Smith, Ph.D. “We also want to diagnose diabetes earlier and encourage people to be more conscientious about their diabetes control.” According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year and diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes – up from 79 million in 2010. For information, contact Susan Smith at Visalia Medical Clinic, 7392087;

The National Park Service is excited to announce new procedures for film and photography permits for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The most exciting upgrade includes a new series of webpages for information, forms, and contact information. Applications and the website will go live today at noon. The website address is: “Commercial filming and photography in national parks are an opportunity to share these beautiful places with people who may never visit and inspire the imagination of people far and wide. There is a long history of painting, photography and film in national parks and Sequoia and Kings Canyon are excited to continue this tradition and make it

Staff Reports even easier for artists to share the beauty of our parks with others.,” said Christy Brigham, acting Superintendent for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Additionally, parks staff continue to work on the expanded use of, a federal website that allows for secure payments to Federal Agencies. This not only saves time for the permit applicant but also makes the operation much more efficient and secure. It is the policy of the National Park Service to allow filming and photography when it is consistent with the protection and public enjoyment of natural resources, and avoids conflict with the public’s normal use and enjoyment of the park.

Spring Fishing Derby Pre-Registration Wristbands on Sale Now Parks and Leisure Services is hosting their annual Spring Fishing Derby on March 5 at the Murry Park Pond from 9:00- 11:00 am. Young anglers, ages 2-15 years old, are invited to enter the competition to showcase their skills and enjoy some outdoor fun. Trophies will be awarded to the top three children in each of the two age divisions, as well as to the biggest fish of the day. Participants must be able to reel in their own fish and provide their own rod and bait. Pre-registration wristbands

Staff Reports can be purchased for $3 at the Heritage Center, 256 E. Orange Ave. The event sells out every year so don’t wait until the day of the event! Community sponsors include Carroll’s Tire Warehouse, the Success Bass Club and the Porterville Breakfast Rotary Club. For more information, call the Heritage Center at 791-7695, visit the City of Porterville website or check out Parks and Leisure Services on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest updates.

Valley Voice Issue 87 (16 February, 2017)  
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