Category: Tourism

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 

Berkeley winery finding success with Lodi winegrapes

By Nora Heston Tarte

Jeff Morgan’s company Covenant Wines purchases grapes from Lodi’s Mettler family for its wines.

LODI—This area’s reputation as a profitable region for winegrapes, especially zinfandels, is no secret.

So, when Jeff Morgan, winemaker and co-owner at Covenant Winery in Berkeley, wanted to add a Lodi zin to his lineup of vinos, he turned to Mettler Vineyards in Lodi.

“The Mettlers are the classic, good-natured American farmers,” Morgan said. “You know that a handshake from a Mettler means as much as any legal document.”

Morgan was familiar with the Mettlers before he moved his Napa wine operation to Berkeley in order to achieve an urban offering in a more populated area. For many years he enjoyed a career as a wine journalist for Wine Spectator magazine.

“My job was to know who the best growers were,” Morgan said. “The Mettler’s reputation proceeded them.”

The move also allowed Morgan and his team to ditch the custom crush facilities they were using for production and begin offering more brands under the Covenant aegis.

Today, Covenant Wines makes 18 wines on seven labels under the Covenant umbrella, including an Israel brand, Covenant Israel. All wine by definition is kosher, but Covenant goes the extra step, assuring every bottle produced by Covenant is handled in the cellar by only Sabbath-observant Jews.

Jeff Morgan, co-owner of Covenant Wines stands with a load of Mettler-grown grapes that are used in making the company’s wines.

Three of the brand’s wines are made exclusively from Mettler grapes. Two of those varietals, the zinfandel and the roussanne, are part of the Mensch label, a Yiddish word meaning a really nice person. The third wine, a chardonnay, is part of The Tribe label also sold under the Covenant umbrella.

Morgan, his wife Jodie Morgan and Covenant co-owner Leslie Rudd source grapes from other regions, including Napa Valley and Sonoma County to make many of their wines, but the only Lodi grapes used come from Mettler Vineyards.

Covenant produces 7,000 cases annually out of its Berkeley facility, plus an additional 3,000 cases in Israel. Mettler wines make up about 20 percent of total production for Covenant in the U.S.

“The wines that we have made with Mettler grapes have done quite well with the wine critics,” Morgan said, adding it’s not just the zin performing well.

Larry Mettler, owner of Arbor Vineyards and Mettler Family Vineyards, said the partnership with Covenant is going well. Every year the Lodi farming family is able to meet Covenant’s needs and orders have grown since the initial 2013 bottle Covenant produced using Mettler grapes.

“We know a little bit about the needs of wineries and small wineries because we are one,” Mettler said.

With 1,600 acres of wine grapes on farmland either owned or rented by the Mettler family, Mettler Vineyards has access to a lot of grapes, boasting 15 different varietals. Popular choices are cabernet sauvignons, zinfandels and petite sirahs.

Lesser-known varietals are also abundant, including pinotage, mourvedre and grenache, as well as whites such as chardonnay, which Covenant buys, and albarino.

Lodi’s climate is responsible for the variety. Grape availability is high because the climate and soil are both conducive to growing several varietals.

“If wineries are looking for product, Lodi is a good place for them to look,” Mettler said. “We can always supply the grapes in the highest quality because we can get them ripe.”

In all, 90 percent of the property’s grapes are sold to other wineries throughout California. The Mettlers have an estimated 12-15 buyers in all.

The other 10 percent is used to create the wines Mettler sells under its own label—Mettler Family Vineyards.

Mettler said word of mouth brings in most of the vineyard’s customers and the mid-range price in Lodi helps. A small brand may start with as little as one ton of grapes from Mettler, but larger wineries like Gallo and Constellation take more.

“We’re all across the board as far as size and volume,” he said.

Morgan cited the price point as one reason the Berkeley-based urban winery decided to shake hands with Lodi farmers. Once known for its Napa Valley cabernet, the Morgans were aware their wines came with a hefty price tag.

In order to reach a larger audience, they wanted to make more accessible wines that didn’t lack quality.

Their first attempt was with a Mensch zinfandel because the Lodi region is best known for its zins. After they found success with one, Covenant expanded to the other two varietals, both whites.

“They’re light, they’re fresh and they’re eminently quaffable,” Morgan said. “As we all know, wine is made in the vineyard, so we attribute that to the quality of the grapes.”

The first year Morgan purchased five tons of grapes from Mettler Vineyards, enough for 250 cases of wine. Today, annual orders range from 30-35 tons.

“Its been a good relationship,” Mettler said.

Berkeley winery finding success with Lodi winegrapes

Historic Merced hotel to be repurposed

Central Valley Business Times

June 5, 2018

  • Hotel Tioga getting improvements under new owners
  • “This can be the foundation for the revitalization of the

Downtown that everyone is looking for” An icon of downtown Merced, dating back to the years when

Herbert Hoover was president, has been sold and is expected to be renovated The Hotel Tioga will be offering fully renovated and updated market rate apartments in downtown Merced.

The historic building, which opened in 1928, will have commercial spaces on the first floor.

PCG Commercial of Roseville is marketing the building. The property was purchased in April by Hotel Tioga Investors LLC and will be redeveloped by the same firm.

The city says the fully renovated Hotel Tioga will bring additional multimillion dollar investments to downtown Merced and will add to the major economic impacts of the El Capitan Hotel and Mainzer Theater projects that are currently underway.

“The Hotel Tioga was a huge boost for the town 90 years ago, and the sale and work that will be done shortly will once again be transformative,” says Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. “This is another big step forward for Merced and the Downtown.”

Mr. Murphy says the renovated property “will promote nightlife, and a diversified center that will include retail and hospitality.”

“This is an exciting time for Merced,” adds Merced City Councilwoman Jill McLeod, who represents Downtown area.

“The sale of the Hotel Tioga, along with the renovation of the El Capitan and the Mainzer will bring so much new life and energy to the Downtown.”

A Downtown Icon

The historic building, opened in 1928, has been an icon of downtown Merced and a social and business hub. Adding the additional market-rate housing to the downtown housing scene adds a new dimension to the work/life potential in the city’s core, city officials say. Economic Development Director Frank Quintero says a key element is having a strong residential base.

Hotel Tioga is strategically located close to the Merced Transportation Center and the University of California, Merced’s Downtown Administration Building on N Street between Main and 16 streets.

“Bringing this much housing to the Downtown will help attract the restaurants and other kinds of businesses that people keep saying they want,” Mr. Quintero says. “This can be the  foundation for the revitalization of the Downtown that everyone is looking for.”

He adds that once revamped, the Hotel Tioga will provide another option for living in downtown Merced. “Currently, the vacancy rate in Merced is under 1 percent, so the Hotel Tioga will create new opportunities,” he says.

 

The Renovation

When renovated the apartment units will feature new kitchens, countertops, light fixtures, and flooring. The 73,670-square-foot building will offer a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two bedroom units.

The architect for the project is Page & Turnbull, a full-service architecture, design, planning, and preservation firm. Founded in 1973, the firm has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. It brings together architects, planners, architectural historians, and conservators to take existing structures and adapt them to meet contemporary needs.

Nine decades ago when the Hotel Tioga was built it was aimed at Yosemite tourists. Visitors could drive up the “all-weather” Highway 140 or take the Yosemite Valley Railroad train to enjoy the natural wonder.

An Historic Building

The building, which cost $250,000 to build, is now on the National Register of Historic Places. In its prime it had a ballroom, handcrafted tile floors, art deco ceilings and the Merced’s first neon sign on the roof that could be seen for miles.

Also on the roof were two penthouses with legendary views of the Sierra and the Central Valley.

The guest registry is a blast from the past: John Kennedy, Calvin Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt, King Albert of Belgium and  Archduke Otto of Austria stayed in the six story building. Screen legends including Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper and Mary Pickford stopped at the Tioga. Natalie Wood used the hotel as her residence while filming “Bombers B-52” at Castle Air Force Base. John Wayne called the Tioga home when he came to the Central Valley to hunt. Richard Nixon was photographed under its awning during his run for California’s governor seat in 1962.

Merced’s first radio station, KYOS, began broadcasting from the Hotel Tioga in 1936. And during World War II the U.S. Army Air Corps took over part of the building for office space.

Fresno’s Fulton Street named one of America’s top main streets

Fulton Street was named one of 10 semifinalists on Monday.

From art to architecture you will find a little something different along Fresno’s Fulton Street.

The longtime pedestrian mall re-opened to vehicular traffic last October. On Monday the street was recognized in America’s main street contest.

“As an organization, we feel awesome to be in this running because it really is prime time for Fulton Street and Fulton District with the reopening of Fulton street six or seven months ago,” said Chilingerian.

The goal of the national contest is to help promote the importance and strong economic benefits of main streets and the small businesses that help them thrive

Fulton Street was named one of 10 semifinalists on Monday.

There are currently 18 vacant storefronts on Fulton.

Many have sat empty for years and are in need of renovation to be brought up to code.

Officials hope this type of national attention will catch the eye of potential business owners.

“We’re already seeing some businesses come in and open but something like this would bring even more foot traffic and even more potential businesses so I think national attention like this is really exciting for us,” said Jenna Chilingerian.

The winning main street will receive $25,000 in cash and prizes to help revitalize their street.

“We’re always looking for opportunities for more faade improvements tenant improvements like so those are the things we’re looking at right now,” said Chilingerian.

The winner will be announced June 4.

http://abc30.com/community-events/fresnos-fulton-street-named-one-of-americas-top-main-streets-/3532558/

Kern County named wind turbine capital of the world

  • BY STEVEN MAYER

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Kern has more wind turbines — 4,581 — than any other county in the nation.

The USGS has created a database that mapped all 57,636 of the nation’s wind machines, Energy Digital reported. Not only does the Golden Empire have more turbines, the USGS says it has the highest turbine density in the world.

 That’s a lot of juice.

According to the survey, Kern has a total wind power capacity of 4 gigawatts, and more turbines than the entire northeast region of the United States.

To put this in perspective, there are a billion watts in one gigawatt. That’s a lot of light bulbs. Now multiply by four.

 That’s enough to power between 1.2 million and 2.9 million homes, depending on the vagaries of seasonal demand. Obviously, most of that power is being exported outside of Kern.

Riverside County ranked second with 2,373 turbines, while Alameda County ranked third with 1,430 turbines. Nolan County in Texas ranked fourth with 1,374 turbines.

The USGS generated the database in partnership with the Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association.

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/kern-county-named-wind-capital-of-the-world/article_f4e22e40-5a34-11e8-a6a2-e7db220d3d8b.html?utm_source=bakersfield.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fheadlines%2F%3F-dc%3D1526641220&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline

Amgen tour launches from Stockton

The Stockton Arena was abuzz with activity on May 17, as cycling enthusiasts and local businesses alike gathered to attend the start of stage 5 of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California, a 109.7-mile journey from Stockton to Elk Grove.

The course is relatively flat with only one major change of elevation, allowing the sprinters among the contestants to shine. “This is a tailor-made sprint stage for the sprinters, and they have been raring to go,” noted announcer Brian Stover.

The Amgen Tour of California is an annual business boon to host cities throughout the Central Valley. Tourism revenue is bolstered by cycling fans following the tour throughout the state. In addition, each stop along the way is an opportunity for local businesses to have booths at the event. This is the second time Stockton has hosted the start of the event, the last time being in 2007.  Modesto and Lodi have also been frequented by the Amgen Tour of California in recent years.

Nonprofit booths made a strong showing at this year’s Stockton start to stage 5.

“One of the things I’ve encouraged the staff to do is to be involved in events like this, bring out some of the food we have … so they can see we’re actually providing healthy, nutritious, good food to those who really need it,” said Rick Brewer, CEO of the Emergency Food Bank. “Sometimes people will come by and throw a dollar in our [donation] box too, so we’ll get a couple donations.”

Amgen tour launches from Stockton

Gas-tax grant means more trains to Sacramento and a new passenger station in Madera

April 28, 2018 04:27 PM

Updated April 28, 2018 04:30 PM

New entertainment venue could come to downtown Bakersfield

  • BY JOSEPH LUIZ jluiz@bakersfield.com

Bakersfield could soon have more entertainment options in the downtown area.

The City of Bakersfield has a 223,000-square-foot piece of land at California Avenue and P Street that it intends to sell to Discovery Management Group LLC, partly for the construction of a venue called Discovery Bakersfield that would include a bowling center, restaurants, a music venue and more.

The city said Discovery Bakersfield would be a 38,000-square-foot, three-story building that would include 20 bowling lanes and a 950-seat music hall.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Community Services Director Jacqui Kitchen. “The City Council has had a vision of an entertainment area here for more than 10 years. I think the residents of Bakersfield deserve this.”

Kitchen said the goal is for the Discovery Management Group to eventually develop the rest of the property with restaurants and other entertainment uses, as well as a possible high-end hotel. Kitchen said she would also like to see some kind of microbrewery locate there.

Kitchen said the creek that runs along the eastern edge of the property would also serve as a great amenity. She said she would like to see a restaurant take advantage of the views.

“Mill Creek is the only opportunity in Bakersfield where you can have a restaurant looking out over the water,” she said. “You can almost imagine you’re sitting somewhere in Germany or Italy enjoying a meal.”

The company has already begun discussions with restaurants and other companies about developing on the property, Kitchen said.

During its April 11 meeting, the City Council authorized Mayor Karen Goh to sign a draft letter of intent from the city detailing terms for purchase of the property, the price of which has been set at $2.2 million. The city will now move forward with the purchasing process.

If the purchase goes through, the venue would be Discovery Management Group’s third location. The company already has a Discovery Ventura and is opening a Discovery San Luis Obispo this summer. Discovery Bakersfield would be its largest venue yet in terms of square footage.

Jeremy Pemberton, founder of Discovery Management Group, said at the council meeting that he believes the music hall in particular will draw a lot of people to the venue. Pemberton said he believes another music veue is greatly needed in Bakersfield.

“Currently, the City of Bakersfield and the county is void of a national touring spot for a music club that can host between 400 and 800 folks,” he said. “With the facility design that we have and the experience that we have, we know that we can create a facility that would eventually become a commodity for the touring industry.”

Pemberton and his brother Joshua initially approached the city in fall 2015 to discuss their desire to open a location in Bakersfield. However, Kitchen said plans were put on hold after the company suffered some setbacks in the process of developing its San Luis Obispo location.

Once the issues were settled and the project was moving ahead, the brothers returned to the city late last year to renew discussions.

“They believe Bakersfield has a young, growing population and a real desire for more entertainment choices here,” Kitchen said. “They think a location in Bakersfield would be a great addition. It’s not meant to replace any of our businesses, but enhance those and give the community more choices.”

If approved, construction of Discovery Bakersfield would start by the end of year and wrap up by June 2019, according to the Discovery Bakersfield Development Project Plan. A soft opening has been tentatively scheduled for June 5, 2019.

Discovery Bakersfield would be part of the city’s South Mill Creek Entertainment District, which already includes Maya Cinemas, the McMurtrey Aquatic Center and the Bakersfield Ice Center.

If approved, Discovery Bakersfield would be the second entertainment venue to open in the downtown area within just a few years. The BLVD, located on Buck Owens Boulevard, opens on April 19.

The 45,000-square-foot business will have a restaurant, three full-service bars, bowling lanes, laser tag, a ropes course, an arcade and more. It is owned by The BLVD LLC and Trifecta Management Group.

The two venues will share some services and features but Discovery Bakersfield would be more focused on music, Kitchen said.

Pemberton said he’s excited about the prospect of developing a project in downtown Bakersfield and working with the city.

“We’re excited about the opportunity here in Bakersfield and we look forward to providing a much-needed first-class concert venue and entertainment facility for the entire community,” he said.

Professional soccer comes to Fresno — finally this city will be on the map!

By ROBIN ABCARIAN

Professional soccer comes to Fresno — finally this city will be on the map!
Fresno’s only professional soccer team, the Foxes, play their first game of the season at Chukchansi Park, which is also home to the AAA baseball team, the Grizzlies. Fresno, despite its size, has a dearth of professional sports teams. Nearly 8,000 soccer fans turned out. (Robin Abcarian / Los Angeles Times)

Like any debut, the Fresno Football Club’s first game was not without a few glitches.

The scoreboard wasn’t working. A fire alarm went off for no reason. Merchandise sales were stalled by sluggish iPads.

But none of the nearly 8,000 soccer fans who turned out Saturday evening at Chukchansi Park seemed to mind. This was, after all, the first game of the first professional soccer team in an absolutely soccer-mad part of the state.

“We’re making history with a new team in Fresno,” said Alex Llamas, 26, a fourth-grade teacher and soccer coach who lives in Clovis. “To bring a soccer club here is amazing.”

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George Aguirre, a Reedley High School senior, was blunt. “Soccer is our life,” he told me before the game started. “We never actually thought this would happen.”

You can forgive Fresnans for feeling ignored by professional sports. Fresno State’s teams are beloved, of course. But when it comes to pro sports, Fresno has only the Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Houston Astros.

Despite being home to more than 500,000 people — making it the most populous city in the San Joaquin Valley – Fresno often has the feel of a sleepy little town. On a weekend, downtown streets are mostly empty.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, who has been working with city officials for years to revitalize the sclerotic downtown, told me that he hopes the soccer team — known as both the Foxes and the Zorros (Spanish for foxes) — will help get the city’s blood pumping again.

“It’s a big plus for the city of Fresno,” he said. “We have a large Hispanic population of very rabid soccer fans. It will be great for downtown.”

You always get the sense that Fresno thinks it’s on the verge of something big, that every advance is going to, finally, bring the world here.

The problem is, Fresno is geographically isolated. It’s smack in the middle of the state, surrounded by farmland. It’s about a four-hour drive from Los Angeles, and a four-hour drive from San Francisco.

Like many smallish big cities, Fresno struggles with its identity.

Years ago, it called itself the “All-American city.” Some boosters have called it “America’s best little city.” At some point, the Fresno/Clovis Convention and Visitors Bureau dubbed it “California’s year-round playground.”

And then, at least briefly, the city slogan was “Be world class. Be Fresno.” (Some have joked that Fresno should change its name to Fres-yes, but that’s a nonstarter.)

Three years ago, state and federal officials descended on a dirt lot next to a late 19th century Southern Pacific train depot for the groundbreaking of Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy project, the nation’s first high-speed rail.

There was much talk about Fresno finally coming into its own as a major California city, connected by high-speed rail to Silicon Valley and San Francisco to the north, and Los Angeles and San Diego to the south. At the time, I wrote that the celebration was so premature it was like “having a christening for a baby that’s still an embryo in a petri dish.”

The hurdles for this project continue to be immense, as my colleague Ralph Vartabedian has relentlessly chronicled. But the payoff for Fresno, if it comes, could be incalculable.

At least while Fresno waits for its moment in the sun, the town has a new professional sports team to root for.

Fresno Football Club forward Pedro Ribeiro goes for the ball against Miguel Angel Garundo Las Vegas Lights FC during the team's the first game at Chukchansi Park.
Fresno Football Club forward Pedro Ribeiro goes for the ball against Miguel Angel Garundo Las Vegas Lights FC during the team’s the first game at Chukchansi Park. (Kiel Maddox)

 

The team’s owner, Ray Beshoff, is a charismatic Englishman who got to know Fresno after he bought a Mercedes-Benz dealership in town a few years back.

I’ve known Ray for many years, ever since he fell in love with my friend Liza in Greece the summer after our junior year in France. A few months later, he left Liverpool with a few hundred dollars in his pocket and showed up on Liza’s doorstep on Balboa Island. After coming home from class at UC Irvine and finding him on the couch one too many times, she suggested he get a job. He ended up selling cars. Lots and lots of cars. They’ve been married for decades.

“Fresno is really underrepresented in the sporting world,” said Beshoff, who had been toying with buying a pro sports team for a while. “This is a community starving for soccer.”

He put together a group of investors and created the new Fresno Football Club, which is part of the United Soccer League, a step below Major League Soccer.

Beshoff, who owned a Mercedes dealership in San Jose from 2002 to 2015, got to know soccer legend Frank Yallop, who was then head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes, and is now the general manager of the Fresno Football Club. Fans may remember Yallop as the head coach of the Earthquakes when they won the MLS cup in 2001 and 2003. Or as the L.A. Galaxy coach who in 2007 brought David Beckham to town.)

Yallop and coach Adam Smith have assembled an international roster — players are from Brazil, Argentina, Sierra Leone, England, Scotland and the U.S.

“The big plan,” Yallop said, “is to have our own stadium. We’re hoping to stay downtown.”

The United Soccer League, he said, expects the team to build its own stadium in two to five years.

Fresno Foxes owner Ray Beshoff walks around Chukchansi Park, where the soccer team played its first season game. Beshoff, who owns car dealerships in Fresno and San Jose, enlisted soccer legend Frank Yallop to be team’s general manager.
Fresno Foxes owner Ray Beshoff walks around Chukchansi Park, where the soccer team played its first season game. Beshoff, who owns car dealerships in Fresno and San Jose, enlisted soccer legend Frank Yallop to be team’s general manager. (Robin Abcarian / Los Angeles Times)


On Saturday, the Foxes played another new expansion team, the Las Vegas Light. The Light scored their first goal in the first two minutes of play, and soon the score was 3-0.

It would not be until minute 72 of the 90-minute game that Fresno scored their first goal. In the closing minutes, the Foxes scored a second goal, leaving the final score at 3-2.

“Overall, it was an amazing game,” said Llamas, the fourth-grade teacher, when I reached him by phone after the match. He had the good fortune of sitting next to the Fire Squad, the football club’s independent pep squad, dozens strong, who played drums and chanted during the game. “They bring such a great environment to the field. It makes everyone feel welcome.”

Llamas said he wasn’t disappointed by the Foxes’ loss.

“Right now is a big moment for Fresno,” Llamas said. “Professional teams, the high-speed rail. It’ll bring a lot more people and put us on the map.”

My fingers are crossed.

http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-abcarian-fresno-soccer-201803120-story.html