Councilwoman Holly Blair asked to discuss a $20,000 yearlong agreement with Kings County Economic Development Corporation, also known as Kings EDC, because she said she was not confident in what the organization could provide for the city.
“I would just like to know what your plans are and how you would be different than in years past where we’ve given money and not seen a lot of return for the investment that we’ve placed in your hands,” Blair said.
The city and Kings EDC maintained a relationship for most of 45 years until 2014 with the understanding that the organization attract and retain business to Lemoore, including services to support and help facilitate growth of existing business through financial counseling and assistance, business incentives and routine visitation of existing businesses by Kings EDC.
John Lehn, President/CEO of Kings EDC, relayed to council what the organization has been able to provide, including maintaining contacts with Lemoore businesses, visiting various places across the U.S. to talk to business leaders about the Central Valley, sending email blasts and annual reports to real estate brokers and providing expert advice to Lemoore businesses regarding state and federal incentives.
Lehn told council that Kings EDC tends to focus on industrial growth and economic development, but Blair was still skeptical and said she thinks city staff has done fine on their own in terms of planning for economic development.
Councilman Eddie Neal was also critical of the organization’s track record, and wanted to hear concrete plans as opposed to just the strategy presented.
“If we’re going to keep doing the same thing we’ve always done, then we’re going to have the same outcome, and I’m not seeing anything here that’s vastly different,” Blair said.
After about 30 minutes, Mayor Ray Madrigal said the discussion had become too long on something that should have been a simple decision. He said he thought Kings EDC could help with economic growth and an agreement with the organization would send a positive message to developers looking at Lemoore.
Finally, Councilman Dave Brown made a motion to approve the agreement with Kings EDC, but no other council member seconded the motion, so the motion failed.
The city did, however, unanimously approve an agreement with CrisCom for governmental affairs consulting services for $3,750 a month.
The CrisCom deal was different in that CrisCom specializes in lobbying, grant service and governmental outreach on a level of expertise that City Manager Nathan Olson said city staff just doesn’t have.
Besides the lack of specific expertise, Olson said the city just doesn’t have the staff to spend a large amount of time lobbying in places like Sacramento.
“This is really our voice for Sacramento and through the assembly to help us get additional funding,” Olson said.
CrisCom, who has been providing services to Lemoore for a few years, actually took a pay cut in the deal; going from $5,000 a month to $3,750.
CrisCom president and CEO Chuck Jelloian ensured to council and community members present that the company would not relax on the scope of work and advocate for all the city’s departments.
Recently, CrisCom was involved in getting over $900,000 to the police department and an ARCO Gas Station has agreed to locate in the city, which Jelloian said should generate about $30,000 in revenue.
Neal had nothing but praise for the work CrisCom has been able to do for the city in just the last few years. Blair also said she felt confident in the work CrisCom has been able to accomplish in putting Lemoore’s name out in Sacramento.
HANFORD — On any given Friday night, Andy Taylor, Christopher Verioti and Larry Jones meet up beneath the Neighbor Bowl football lights and stand attentively by the sidelines watching for any signs of injuries.
“We found that there is a gap in the care that the student athletes are getting, and we are hoping to [bridge] that gap,” Taylor said. “We are trying to build that ultimate partnership with the students and branch to the city, the rest of the community and out into the county.”
Taylor is the new Sports Medicine Outreach Coordinator and Athletic Trainer for Adventist Health and has been working hard in building a strong medicine team around the community and its student athletes.
Jones is the Director of Rehabilitation Services for Adventist Health Physical Therapy Department and Verioti is the Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon. All three men are part of Adventist Health Physicians Network team.
Nichole Mendes, Hanford West High School’s athletic administrator, said Taylor and Verioti met with Hanford Joint Union High School District administrators, principals, athletic directors and trainers from Hanford West, Hanford High School and Sierra Pacific High School in August to discuss working with Adventist.
Along with Verioti and Jones, Taylor worked with therapists at Adventist Health / Physical Therapy in Hanford and Lemoore to offer free sports physicals for student athletes and more in depth screenings to make sure they are healthy and don’t have to drive out of town for care.
“We tried to spread more awareness and get out into the community last year, but didn’t have someone like Andy to really be the coordinator and be out in the community, out in the high schools promoting it,” Jones said.
After serving 10 years in the military and six years as a medic in the National Guard, Taylor went on to receive a bachelor’s in Sports Medicine and a master’s in Sports Administration from California State University, Fresno. He also holds various trauma certifications and is a certified EMT.
He played a variety of sports in high school including basketball, baseball, football, track and powerlifting and feels like he can relate to the athletes out on the field; especially how it feels to miss a game because of an injury.
Verioti, as the lead orthopedic surgeon, enjoys treating athletes after he himself played football and ran track at Boston College, where he earned his bachelor’s in biology.
He went on to earn his medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and where he completed his residency and cared for players from the Philadelphia Soul of Professional Arena League Football, the Michigan Warriors in the North America Hockey League and completed his fellowship with the Atlanta Braves.
“I conducted spring training physicals and regular season physicals for the draft class of 2015,” Verioti said. “I also attended home games and cared for the players’ injuries before, during and after games.”
Verioti, Taylor, Jones and the rest of the Adventist Health Physicians Network team are already making a huge impact in the schools they serve.
Mendes said Taylor was able to attend some volleyball games and all three men have attended all home football games as extra support staff. They hang out on the sidelines or on the bleachers during most games, but are ready to jump into action and take over if the athletic trainers need their help.
“There was a game not too long ago where it was Hanford West versus Hanford High and we had three kids go down with only one medical trainer,” Jones said. “We had one athletic trainer taking care of one student, while Andy and Dr. Verioti were taking care of another.”
“They have been very helpful in advising our trainer and supporting our student athletes,” said Beau Hill, Hanford High’s athletic administrator.
Friday nights can get real busy for athletic trainers, not only keeping an eye out for the hometown team, but also the visiting team.
“There’s always one athletic trainer on the sidelines keeping an eye out for about 50 kids, but the action doesn’t stop when you are taking care of one person,” Taylor said. “It’s always great to have an extra pair of eyes and an extra pair of hands when something happens.”
“HJUHSD is very grateful to Dr. Verioti, Andy Taylor and Adventist Health for working in partnership to help support our athletic programs,” Mendes said.
HANFORD — Police arrested a man who was under the influence of methamphetamine Wednesday after he sent threatening text messages and fired three shotgun rounds outside a home in Hanford.
When officers arrived at the scene in the 1200 block of Manor Avenue around 6:30 a.m., they said 40-year-old Eric Avina was standing in the driveway of a home holding the shotgun.
As officers approached, Avina started to walk down the street holding the shotgun, police said. They said Avina was ordered to drop the shotgun and he ultimately surrendered.
Avina was found to be under the influence of methamphetamine and was in possession of a small amount of meth as well, officers said.
Police said victims involved in the case were at the scene and had threatening text messages from Avina on their phones, which made them fear for their lives.
While investigating, officers said they learned from witnesses that Avina had fired off three shotgun rounds outside before they arrived.
Officials said Avina was booked into Kings County Jail on suspicion of criminal threats, committing a crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang, negligent discharge of a firearm, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
Police said the shotgun and a separate firearm were confiscated from the scene.