The Clovis restaurant scene is hopping: Openings, closings and other shake-ups


March 01, 2018 12:15 PM

Top surfers to compete in May just south of … Fresno?

Top surfers to compete in May just south of ... Fresno?
The World Surf League announced this week it plans to hold one of its contests at Kelly Slater’s artificial wave pool in Lemoore. In this video frame grab, Slater is the first to ride his perfect wave created by a machine. (Kelly Slater Wave Company)


In May, the greatest professional surfers from Australia to Brazil will come to battle it out in some of the most pristine waves in California — in the dusty croplands of Kings County.

The World Surf League announced this week it plans to hold one of its contests at Kelly Slater’s artificial wave pool in Lemoore.

Slater, the 11-time world champion considered the best of all time, spent 10 years working with a USC aerospace engineer to design a perfect wave, peeling 700 yards along a recontoured water ski lake. Videos of the wave, with hollow barrel sections and open faces to do aerials and cutbacks, have captivated the surfing world since the first one appeared in December 2015. But only a select few have been invited to see it, much less ride it.

“A wave of that shape sits in the subconsciousness of every surfer in the world,” longtime Surfer magazine editor Steve Hawk told The Times in 2016. “That wave is exactly the fantasy wave I drew on the margins of my notebooks when I was in high school.”

 For the first time, the facility, the Surf Ranch, will be open to the public during the contest, according to a World Surf League news release. The two-day competition on May 5-6, the Founders’ Cup of Surfing, will have “a festival backdrop honoring the culture of surfing — food, music, beverage, art and special guests will all be on site for enjoyment.”

In an unusual format, the wave-riders will not compete individually but in five-person teams (three men, two women) representing different parts of the world: Australia, the U.S., Europe and Brazil, and one team representing the best athletes from other surfing parts of the world, such as South Africa and Japan.

Global teams of engineers and surfers are vying to build artificial wave pools that can produce high-quality waves that come in rapid enough succession to create an economically viable surf amusement park. An obstacle has been energy use and the length of time the water needs to settle after a wave rolls through before the next one can come.

At a contest, this is less of an issue because of the small number of surfers in the water. And the bonus for contest organizers: the mood swings of nature are mostly out of the equation; no need to wait for distant storms to produce ocean swells. Barring mechanical failure, perfect waves will be coming on May 5.

Carnegie Arts Center to exhibit 80 pieces through March


What better way to celebrate the Central Valley than to exhibit photos that highlight life in this area?

The Carnegie Arts Center will be doing just that with an upcoming exhibit entitled Valley Focus. Eighty photo pieces by 50 photographers will be on display from Jan. 17 to Mar. 18.

Santa Cruz-based photographer Ted Orland selected the pieces from over 250 entries. Orland has worked for designer Charles Eames and was an assistant to Ansel Adams. He currently teaches master class workshops throughout the country.

An opening reception and awards ceremony will be held on Jan. 18, from 5-8 p.m. at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock, 250 N. Broadway.

Artists Included in the Exhibition:

Leslee Adams, Modesto
Rosalva Aguilar, Escalon
Janet Alcalde, Murphys
Ann Bailey, Turlock
Clifford H. Bailey, Turlock
Martin Baker, Modesto
Anna Barber, Ripon
Tracy Barbutes, Groveland
Fred Benz, Fresno
Barry Buttress, Turlock
William Calvin, Modesto
Carrie Anne Castillo, Turlock
Neil Cervenka, Turlock
Roberto Chiesa, Modesto
Susan Conner, Altaville
Scott Fergusson, Modesto
Michael Frye, Mariposa
Franka Gabler, Coarsegold
Charlotte Gibb, Lafayette
Clayton Gomez, Turlock
William Harris, Modesto
David Hoffman, Mariposa
Greg Hubbard, Merced
Gary Hunter, Oakdale
Alexis Isley, Delhi
Karen Jensen, Hughson
Linda Knoll, Modesto
Peter David Lee, Modesto
Alice Lessard, Merced
Larry Lew, Ceres
Lisa Livingston, Modesto
Emela McLaren, Manteca
John Moses, Fresno
Jodie Parolini, Turlock
James Quinley, Turlock
Evan Russel, Yosemite Village
Cassaundra Salvanera, Modesto
Joseph Scalero, Modesto
Tara Schendel, Turlock
David Schroeder, Modesto
Roberto Serrato, Riverbank
Jen Smith, Turlock
Elisa Solorio-Ontiveros, Turlcok
Lindsey Tallcott, Modesto
Andy Tolsma, Merced
Arturo Velasquez, Modesto
Christopher Viney, Atwater
James Weber, Discovery Bay
Dennis Wister, Modesto
Roger Wyan, Merced

There are new restaurants coming to the reborn Fulton Street. Here’s the latest

January 10, 2018 08:00 AM

Updated January 10, 2018 10:07 AM

Hotels set sights on Clovis

A handful of Clovis hotels are in the works, like this one next to The Barnyard Shopping Center on Clovis Avenue, to help the city better accommodate visitors. (Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup)

“You can’t find a room in Clovis”—that’s the current dilemma in the up-and-coming destination city according to Shawn Miller, the city’s business development manager.

As it stands, Clovis has the highest occupancy rate in the Valley, with its scare hotel rooms booked at or near 100 percent, making it difficult for visitors to find a place to stay close to Clovis attractions and amenities.

Thankfully, hotel chains are taking notice and are now capitalizing on the opportunity to come to Clovis.

At least five new large-scale hotels are in the works. Already under construction are a La Quinta Inn at Clovis Avenue next to The Barnyard Shopping Center and a Marriott-operated hotel at Shaw and Helm. Additionally, the Clovis City Council just approved moving forward with the construction of a third hotel across from Sierra Vista Mall. Already, the area boasts a Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites, and now will be welcoming Home2 Suites, run by Hilton.

Lily Cha, who works in the city’s planning department, said the Home2 Suites will be a four-story, 111-room hotel with a footprint of about 16,000 square feet and a total floor area of 66,234 square feet. The hotel will also allow for extended stays.

According to Miller, a fourth hotel yet to be announced is planning to locate on the south side of Shaw Avenue next to Sunnyside, east of Sierra Vista Mall, and several are currently exploring sites near Clovis Community Medical Center and in the Herndon and Clovis area. The hope is that there will be at least one hotel, if not more, that offer extended stay options near the hospital.

Hotels set sights on Clovis

Central Valley Cities Continue to See Increase in Tourism

By Patricia Reynolds
Business Journal Writer

June 22, 2017

STOCKTON — California’s travel and tourism industry enjoyed a seventh consecutive year of growth in 2016, according to the annual economic impact report released by Visit California and Dean Runyan Associates.

The May 4, 2017 report states that tourism generated $10.3 billion in tax revenue and supported 1.1 million jobs during 2016, reflecting a 3.2 percent growth in traveler spending.

Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties contributed to these figures, and as the peak summer travel season approaches, Central Valley communities expect to continue attracting visitors with sights and scenes unique to the area.

“We see a lot of our visitors checking out the Haggin Museum and the Stockton Cambodian Buddhist Temple, or just shopping and dining in the Lincoln Center and the Miracle Mile,” said Robyn Cheshire, Director of Marketing and Communications for Visit Stockton. “We also know that the water is a big lure for visitors regionally as they explore the Delta and enjoy its recreational opportunities in the summer months.”

According to Cheshire, Stockton is a drive market, drawing many visitors from within a 100-mile radius, particularly from the Bay Area and Sacramento.
Still, travelers from all over the state stop in as well.

“Being on the I-5 corridor, we also see visitors from up north and from Southern California.”

During the peak summer season, Stockton hosts more festivals, sporting events and other activities than other times of the year, and Visit Stockton markets via social media outlets where blog content is targeted at promoting Stockton experiences.

“Our most popular blogs emphasize on family fun, sports, arts and culture and agriculture,” Cheshire said. “We also target potential travelers on other digital channels where they are looking for something to do in the region.”

A bit further North, Lodi’s wine industry is a key attraction to the area.

“Lodi is known as a wine country destination, and visitors travel from all over the United States and beyond to visit our wineries and attend our events,” said Nancy Beckman, President and CEO of Visit Lodi! Conference and Visitors Bureau.

About 60 percent of Lodi’s Downtown Visitor Center guests are from California, with the largest number of overnight visitors being from the Bay Area and Los Angeles regions.

A sizeable amount of visitors, 40 percent, do travel to Lodi from out of state with roughly 10 percent being international travelers.

“Visit Lodi! advertises heavily in the spring and early summer months to capture the potential visitor in their vacation planning cycles. Also, we feature summer attractions and fun activities in blogs and on social media,” Beckman said.

Vacationers sampling Lodi’s 85 wineries have reported that while in the area, they also enjoy recreational activities such as kayaking, paddling and cycling along with visiting the area’s nature preserves, parks and downtown entertainment.

Hotels see an uptick in business during the summer season as well.

“It is not uncommon for lodging facilities to see a 10-20 percent jump in occupancy during the summer months over the first quarter of the year,” Beckman said.
The establishment of Lodi as a notable California wine region has helped boost tourism in the Lodi area. An economic study of the impact the winegrape and wine industry has had to the immediate area is in process, but the growth in tourism is expected to be positive.

“What I can say now is that the number has definitely increased the past few years,” said Wendy Brannen, Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission.
Wineries in Lodi, typically situated in clusters, tend to work together to increase traffic pull and will refer tasters from one winery to the next.

“It’s very common as you are leaving one tasting room for the staff or owners there to direct you to their neighbors down the way,” Brannen said.

Lodi wineries do not consider themselves as competing with the Napa and Sonoma wine regions for visitors. Instead, they consider the comparison as one of apples to oranges.

“The experiences are so different, and there is plenty of room in the California wine scene for all of us,” Brannen said. “We offer a very personal experience, and many times the people pouring your wines are the winery owners, and very realistically could be growing the grapes too.”
In Modesto, a proximity to rivers and lakes and the associated water recreation and camping opportunities they provide, along with the area’s agricultural richness draws visitors.

“We also have, and this is very seasonal, but we have a couple you-pick farms which have literally exploded,” said Jennifer Mullen, Executive Director at Modesto Convention and Visitors Bureau. “People really want that hands-on, ‘Oh my gosh, I picked it myself’ kind of experience.”

Ott Farms is one such operation giving visitors the opportunity to hand-pick cherries and blueberries.

Still, the biggest summertime draw is Graffiti Summer, a celebration which recognizes Modesto’s cruising heritage as depicted in George Lucas’s film, American Graffiti.

“We get thousands and thousands of people in town because they want to experience something to do with American Graffiti, the movie,” Mullen said.
Along with viewing the Graffiti car parade and car show, visitors can take a 1.5-mile walking tour downtown that features 25 information kiosks.
As part of that tour, visitors can now enjoy the walk of fame, a two-block area, and growing, that currently features 18 embedded stars with the names of those influential in Modesto’s cruising car culture.

“That’s all focused on what we’re so well-known for, our signature events which are the classic car shows, the hot rods, the music,” Mullen said.