Category: Quality of Life

‘Upscale’ hotel and conference center could be coming to Oakhurst

The Madera County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote next month on a $20 million project that would bring an upscale hotel and conference center to Oakhurst.

Component Coffee Lab brings big city flair, community values to Downtown Visalia

University researchers say coffee can help people achieve better scores on math tests, if they do this with it. Buzz60

Jonathon Anderson and Greg Amend had one mission opening Component Coffee Lab in Downtown Visalia: “To pour the best cup of coffee in town.”

The jury is still out on whether the business partners have succeeded, but if their consistently full parking lot and seating area — a behemoth 1,500 square foot industrial space on 513 E. Center St. (just off of Santa Fe Street) — is any indication, the Visalia natives are doing something right. (Component also has an entrance from Main Street through its patio.)

Amend and Anderson bring over a decade of combined coffee experience to Visalia. Anderson spent years as a Starbucks barista, while Amend won accolades as one of Fresno’s leading coffee luminaries with his Slow Train roasting operation.

They’re joined by fellow co-owners Miguel and Mikayla Reyes, who started Quesadilla Gorilla, another fixture of downtown dining.

Together, the four are serving specialty coffee and eats the likes of which Visalia has not yet seen, with an inviting atmosphere to match.

The shop’s signature drink, for instance, is an espresso tonic: Topo Chico topped with a lightly roasted Peruvian espresso shot. It’s a bold but simple concoction that’s particularly refreshing on a sweltering summer day.

Component have all the traditional bases covered, too, with Americanos, sweet lattes, fresh drip coffee, and an assortment of teas.

“We source high quality beans from sustainably operated farms, who are paying their workers above-average wages, throughout Central and South America,” Amend said.

This concept applies to all of Component’s ingredients. Their eggs and fruit come from the farmers market, for example, and their milk is delivered fresh from Tulare’s Top O’ The Morn Farms.

Amend’s roasting expertise is matched by the establishment’s cutting edge espresso machine, the Slayer 17. This Seattle-built beauty allows Component baristas unprecedented control over critical brewing variables such as extraction, pressure, time, and weight.

Geekery aside, the result is a smooth cup of joe that even those who don’t identify as coffee snobs will appreciate, for prices comparable to big chains like Starbucks.

Prior to Component’s late-June grand opening at the Center Street location, Anderson and Amend could be seen carting their fancy Slayer 17 espresso machine around the Downtown Visalia Farmers Market, serving drinks to curious shoppers.

“We wanted to build hype and give people in the community a chance to see what we were all about,” Anderson said .

The gambit paid off.

Amend and Anderson were unprepared for the success Component’s physical location saw right out of the gate. They attribute their success to their “focus on executing one idea very well.”

This single-minded devotion applies to the kitchen, as well. Miguel and Mikayla translate their monomania from quesadillas to donuts with predictably delicious results.

“We had a layover in Portland last year, so we chanced a visit to Voodoo Donuts, and they were amazing,” Miguel said. “We realized Visalia had no place like it.”

In February, the couple returned to Portland for what sounds like a dream vacation: A donut tour of the city. Upon returning, however, they went to work in the kitchen to perfect a variety of eclectic and classic flavors.

Miguel can arrive as early as 4 a.m. on busier days to prepare an assortment of donuts, including current favorites strawberry and raspberry mint.

Beginning in September, Component will offer a seasonal donut menu that changes with each month. Patrons can look forward to a PB&J donut with house-made plum jam — just in time for the back-to-school crowd.

Component also offers a weekend brunch menu from 8 a.m.to 11 a.m. featuring staples  with a unique twist.

The Reyes’ take on a breakfast burrito, for example, features sunny-side up eggs instead of scrambled and a chipotle sour cream. Their Nashville-inflected fried chicken and waffles, meanwhile, comes served in a waffle cone with maple whiskey syrup drizzled on top.

The four co-owners met through attending Radiant Church just next door to Component. Though they barely knew each other at the time, Anderson had attended the Reyes’ wedding five years ago. The party favors? Amend’s coffee beans.

This week, the Reyeses celebrate both the birth of a new child and a successful second Downtown Visalia venture.

“It’s all come full circle,” Miguel said. “We couldn’t be happier.”

Anderson hopes Component can be a hub for the community, similar to the role the church has played in his own life. He envisions people of all faiths — or none — united around a great cup of coffee.

It’s a vision that seems fully realized only two months out from Component’s launch: snuggling couples and frazzled students share tables with Kaweah Hospital employees and retired schoolteachers; oil paintings from staff and community members line the interior walls; music from a personal record collection fills the room.

“I don’t just come for the coffee,” said Danny Sciacqua, a recently retired Porterville College professor and Component regular.”I’m here for the atmosphere, the ambiance and the staff, who are all polite and fun to talk with”

“But the delicious donut holes and pour over don’t hurt, either.”

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/life/food/2018/08/29/component-coffee-lab-brings-big-city-flare-downtown-visalia/1114176002/

Burger boom hits Visalia, Tulare

In America, the hamburger is king.

In Tulare County, that has never been more true.

New burger joints have been popping up across Visalia and Tulare — and these aren’t just your run-of-the-mill burgers either.

Restaurants have been turning the burger on its side and residents are up for the change.

Here are some new places to grab a quick burger around town.

Burgerim

New spot Burgerim, located in the Kohl’s shopping center, has 11 different patty options and dozens of ways to customize your burger.

The menu includes several types of beef, turkey, salmon, chicken and lamb patties. For those who don’t eat meat, the restaurant also offers veggie and falafel burgers.

Rose Oganesyan, who owns the Visalia location, said she fell in love with the restaurant when she first tried it in Los Angeles.

Her favorite? The garlic aioli fries.

The made-to-order, 3-ounce burgers are bigger than a slider but smaller than what American tastebuds are used to.

Perfect for those concerned with portion control, Oganesyan said.

The store also offers family and party boxes for larger families or events and beer and wine.

Don’t want to wait in line? Soon, the Visalia restaurant will also offer Uber Eats delivery services.

Other than burgers, customer favorites include the milkshakes and chicken wings, Oganesyan said.

“Customers say they like the atmosphere,” she said. “Everyone says they like it because it’s something different in Visalia.”

The store is one of only 40 open in the United States. The chain restaurant was started in Israel about seven years ago and made its way to America in 2015, Oganesyan said.

More than 270 locations are in the works across the country, including just a few miles down the road in Tulare.

Oganesyan is currently working to open a Burgerim next to Bravo Farms at the Tulare Outlets.

For those who are overwhelmed with the menu, Oganesyan said to just ask for help.

“The first time may be a challenge, but we will try to help you and offer suggestions,” she added. “We’re new to town, just give us a chance.”

Wimpy’s to land in Visalia

Wimpy’s Hamburger, one of Tulare’s most beloved eateries, has set its eyes on downtown Visalia.

The burger joint will take over the former Gumbo Express on Court Street.

The restaurant’s owners plan to refurbish the location and expect to serve Visalians their tasty fries and burgers by next year, co-owner Willy Espinoza said.

Opening the location in Visalia will bring an additional choice for those who frequent the vibrant downtown scene and will fill the void Checkers left when it closed, Espinoza said.

“We have always liked downtown Visalia,” he said. “It’s a place where there are a lot of people walking around. There’s nothing like this in the area.”

With the downtown Visalia location, Wimpy’s Hamburger will have three locations. A location in Dinuba opened in December.

More meat in downtown

Well-known developer JR Shannon is leasing a former antique store at 531 E. Main to a local burger maker. Kingsburg’s Stacked Bar and Grill will be offering their “humungous” burgers here this summer after the 5,500 square-foot building is remodeled.

The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner and late night snacks.

More: Rumor has it Visalia is booming with new restaurants

Todd Asajian and Noah Murguia, the owners of Stacked just celebrated their 1 year anniversary at their downtown Kingsburg location. Asajian also owns and operates multiple Deli Delicious stores in Visalia and Kingsburg.

Like its neighbor, BarrelHouse Brewing, Stacked will feature a backyard patio.

“This is the third new venture I am doing along East Main since the new brewery district was formed” said Shannon.

Burger of options in Tulare

Tulare burger connoisseurs will have plenty of options to grub on in the next few months.

Two new burger joints will be opening their doors to Tulare residents: The Habit Burger and Wayback Burger

Construction is well underway for The Habit Burger located on Prosperity Avenue.

The burger restaurant, which also has a location in Visalia, took over the spot that long-housed fast food restaurant Long John Silvers.

Not too far from The Habit Burger, construction crews are also hard at work to open Wayback Burger along Tulare Avenue near Tulare Union High School.

City officials foresee the burger joint being a hot spot for students.

“I think it’s a lot better to have a hamburger restaurant so close to the high school,” said Jeff Killion, Tulare planning commission chairman. “I am glad to see that change.”

Tulare Associate Planner Steven Sopp said Wayback Burger will only take about half of the current 5,300 square-foot empty building.

Also, Wayback Burger can be a place millennials consider their third spot, what’s described in marketing as the place to go after home and work.

“Kids have money to spend. If they want to patronize the downtown businesses, it’s good for business,” he said. “This is going to be an upscale meeting place. It is going to be a different type of atmosphere.”

According to its website, Wayback Burger was founded in 1991 in Newark, DE. Currently, the hamburger chain has 142 locations in 28 states, including restaurants in Firebaugh and Tracy in the Central Valley.

Wayback Burger also has locations in Argentina, Malaysia, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

Hometown favorites

While trying new things is great, sometimes a good old-fashioned burger from your favorite hometown hangout is all you need.

Here are some of Tulare County’s best burger places, according to readers.

  • Woodlake Drive Inn, Woodlake
  • In-N-Out, Visalia
  • Mama K’s Diner, Visalia
  • Buns and Torts, Visalia
  • Rainbow Drive-In, Farmersville
  • Docs Drive-In, Visalia
  • Buzz’s Drive Inn, Goshen
  • Juicy Burger, Porterville
  • Sno-White Drive-In, Tulare
  • Pita Kabob, Visalia
  • Good Times Cafe, Visalia
  • Martha’s Mexican Food, Orosi.

https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/entertainment/dining/2018/08/30/burger-boom-hits-visalia-tulare/882303002/

Fresno State named one of the 100 best schools in the country

Software engineering school opens inStockton

Central Valley Business Times

August 10, 2018

  • Code Stack Academy seeks students
  • “We know firsthand the challenge in recruitment and retention of software engineers”

Stockton’s first immersive, accelerated software engineering school offering students paths to high-paying careers and source for businesses in need of highly skilled employees has opened.

The San Joaquin County Office of Education says it has officially launched “Code Stack Academy,” Stockton’s first accelerated software engineering school. The immersive  coding school provides a route for students pursuing careers in technology and will help build a community of software engineers in the region ready to meet the growing demand for a highly skilled workforce.

“Students will have opportunities to find well-paid jobs with local businesses in need of workers with software-engineering skills,” says San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas.

Code Stack Academy offers a combination of hands-on workshops, one-on-one mentoring with career-experienced developers, peer-to-peer learning, and real-world project experience. It uses project-based “gamification” to measure progress and provide a fun and engaging experience. Students gain points as they complete projects. Points allow progression through the curriculum.

In addition to the full, nine-month course, Code Stack offers three-day and one-day Foundation Workshops throughout the year that teach core concepts of web development and equip students with all the basics to develop simple websites.

No previous coding experience is required for either the workshops or the academy course. Students must be 18 years or older to enroll. The first nine-month Academy Course begins in November.

Code Stack Academy will be operated through the SJCOE’s Center for Educational Development and Research, a software engineering department responsible for building web, software, or mobile apps used by over 5,000 school districts nationwide and over a dozen state agencies.

“We have the resources, curriculum, expertise, and experience to provide a broad and deep dive into software engineering,” says Johnny Arguelles, director of CEDR. “And as an employer,

we know firsthand the challenge in recruitment and retention of

software engineers.”

Business and government leaders voiced their support for the new Code Stack Academy and its potential to benefit San Joaquin County.

“Our community needs a workforce trained in technology to support growth of our current businesses and attract others to our area. This program will help to meet those needs,” says Jane Butterfield, president and chief executive officer of the Business Council of San Joaquin.

For more information:

https://codestackacademy.org/

Fresno Food Expo opens with plenty of fancy food, drink and new name

Downtown Hanford fills up

Finer Thingz
Jeanette Tackett, owner of Finer Thingz, shows examples of custom gifts available at her shop.

HANFORD — After years of seeing empty buildings and storefronts, downtown Hanford seems to be going through a transformation.

“We’ve kind of had a surge of businesses interested in opening in downtown Hanford,” Michelle Brown, executive director of Main Street Hanford, said.

Brown said it’s a great time for downtowns everywhere, not just in Hanford. She said she believes people are really starting to see the uniqueness of downtowns and the benefits of shopping small businesses.

Several changes can be seen in downtown Hanford, including these new businesses:

  • The Ivy Boutique & Home Décor, 201 N. Douty St. – specializes in women’s apparel and also carries gifts for any occasion.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Kings/Tulare Counties ReStore, 415 W. Lacey Blvd. – sells donated items like cabinets, doors, windows, plumbing, electrical supplies and more. Proceeds go toward the organization’s home ownership programs.
  • Board & Brush Creative Studio, 207 N. Irwin St. – this business will celebrate its grand opening on July 26 during Thursday Night Market Place. Board & Brush Creative Studio is a place for creating unique wood decor projects from scratch in an instructor led atmosphere.
  • Hop Forged Brewing Co., 106 W. Seventh St. – this will open in the fall and be the first brewery located in downtown Hanford. Hop Forged is a family-run business and each batch of beer is hand crafted in small batches right here in Hanford. The taproom will serve its own in-house-brewed beers, starting out with up to 10 options, with hopes to expand that selection to 20 within a couple of years.

Another business that has opened is Finer Thingz, located at 331 W. Seventh St. Owner Jeanette Tackett said the shop has been open since June 1 and things are going well so far.

Finer Thingz shares a space with Tackett’s other business, a print shop called J.H. Tackett Marketing. Tackett uses her printing skills to personalize and customize gifts, like mousepads, frames, cups, cutting boards and pretty much any other thing you can think of.

“The idea is to be able to create and customize and give a unique gift,” Tackett said, adding her products can work for any person or organization.

Tackett, who owns the building her businesses are in, said she loves being a part of bringing downtown Hanford to life.

“I think it’s a great place to be and grow,” Tackett said. “We just love being able to serve and putting smiles on people’s faces when they get that custom gift is priceless.”

Speaking of the Vendome building, three new businesses will open there soon:

  • Lab Artistry, 215 N. Irwin St. – offers services including lash extensions, lash lifts, body waxing, brow shaping, micro blading and make-up for special occasions.
  • Employee Benefits, 221 N. Irwin St. – this business specializes in health and life insurance, has been around for 34 years and is relocating to downtown Hanford.
  • Beautifully Damaged, 219 N. Irwin St. – specializes in hand-painted furniture and vintage home décor. Instructor-led paint classes for all ages will also be offered in the store.

When all three businesses open in early August, Brown said the Vendome building will be completely filled up.

Brown said she has spoken with lots of interested business owners and the only issue is finding the right location for that particular business.

“We’re running out of spaces for people,” Brown said, adding she hopes new restaurants will start to pop up as well.

As far as vacancies are concerned, Brown said 100 W. Seventh St., 118 W. Seventh St. and 210 W. Seventh St. are still open.

Brown would love to see businesses locate in these vacancies and said when they do, Seventh Street will be completely filled up, which has not been the case for many years.

Brown said she hopes this new surge of businesses will bring even more positivity to downtown Hanford and convince people to make their way to the area to shop.

“These business owners are part of the community,” Brown said. “We need to spread the word and show our support by shopping small.”

https://hanfordsentinel.com/news/local/downtown-hanford-fills-up/article_f9edf024-00d6-53b4-9071-6316f0ff160c.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

Three new-to-Fresno restaurants to bring Korean fried chicken, giant sandwiches, more

July 09, 2018 

Tree Fresno breathing new life into an empty lot in Southwest Fresno

Tree Fresno along with a group of volunteers is hoping to turn a dusty plot of land into a new lush green community space

Tree Fresno along with a group of volunteers is hoping to turn a dusty plot of land into a new lush green community space.

The process involves a few steps– first is making sure that the ground is level. Then you take the tree out of the pot. You score it, put in the ground, cover it with dirt and repeat– 452 Times.

Thanks to grant funded by the High Speed Rail Authority, the non-profit is able to accomplish this feat. They will be planting Ginkgo Biloba, Scarlet Oak, and other trees on the 24 acre space along Annadale Avenue, next to West Fresno Middle School.

CEO of Tree Fresno Lee Ayres said, “They are going to help with the air quality, these are large trees so that overtime they can absorb up to three tons of carbon.”

Ayres said the project will have a lasting impact on the community. In the future the location might serve as the new site for a school. It will also provide tons of shade, a new gathering space and will encourage more people to go outside.

“When I come out and check this place early in the morning, like six in the morning on a Saturday, there are people out here working out.”

Eryn Roberts, who recently moved to Fresno, saw this as the perfect opportunity to give back to her community.

“It is definitely hot out here but it is really good enjoying getting to plant trees and seeing this new area, I’ve never been on this side of Fresno before.”

The non-profit will be planting trees from 8:00 a.m. to noon until the 12th, and they said the need all the help they can get.

Valley Children’s trauma center gets positive review

 

  • Now verified as a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons
  • “This verification is important to our Trauma Center”

Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera has been verified as a Lever II Pediatric Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons. It is the only pediatric trauma center in the region.

“This verification is important to our Trauma Center, as the ACS recognizes Valley Children’s – from our surgeons and nurses to our therapists and trauma coordinators – for providing exceptional pediatric trauma care as quickly as possible, from  start to finish, for children involved in car crashes, falls, accidents, acts of violence and other trauma,” says Valley Children’s Healthcare President and CEO Todd Suntrapak.

“Trauma center levels across the United States are identified in two fashions: a designation process and a verification process,” explains the American Trauma Society. “The different levels (ie. Level I, II, III, IV or V) refer to the kinds of resources available in a trauma center and the number of patients admitted yearly.”

Earlier this year, representatives with the ACS’s Verification Review Committee visited the hospital. They assessed commitment, readiness, resources, policies, patient care and performance improvement among other requirements. Verified trauma centers must meet essential criteria that ensure capability and institutional performance as outlined by the ACS.

“Injury is the leading cause of death and acquired disability for children, and providing expert trauma care across the continuum – from injury prevention to pediatric rehabilitation  and family restoration – is at the core of our mission,” says Michael Allshouse, medical director of Valley Children’s pediatric trauma program and pediatric surgery.

This verification by the ACS comes two years after the Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency designated Valley Children’s Hospital as a Level II Pediatric Trauma Center, the only such center between the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

With that designation, critically injured children could be transported directly from the field to Valley Children’s Hospital, ensuring they receive expert pediatric care even sooner than before.

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/657d8ae5-816b-4323-a6b3-bc71dec52253.pdf