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Cannabis application period is now closed

HANFORD — The cannabis application period closed Monday, meaning companies are one step closer to finding out if they will be allowed to obtain permits to do business in Hanford.

The application period opened Aug. 2 and gave medical cannabis businesses a full two months to perfect their applications.

The Hanford City Council decided in July that the number of permits allowed would be capped at 26, with eight freestanding facility permits and two cannabis campus permits. Each campus can have eight individual permits.

As of Tuesday, Mata said she has no idea how many businesses applied. She said the applications were sealed away as soon as they came into the office and have now been taken to the police department for safe keeping until the three-phase review process starts.

Larry Thacker, CEO of San Jose-based Caliva, said the company submitted its application Monday.

“We made the decision months ago that Hanford was the right partner,” Thacker said. “We’re committed to Hanford and making sure both sides are successful.”

Thacker said city staff did a good job on developing an application process that was “strict and delineated” in what it expected from the cannabis companies. He said he’s looking forward to working with the city through each of the phases.

The first phase in the application process is preliminary and will include background checks and criminal history. This is why the applications have been taken to the police department, Mata said, because they contain sensitive and confidential information.

This preliminary determination of eligibility costs the businesses $4,252, plus a $135 Live Scan fee and $300 background review.

The second phase, which will cost the businesses $1,689, includes ranking each submitted application according to location and its individual business, neighborhood compatibility, safety and security, air quality, labor and employment plans.

Only the applicants who receive 80 percent or more on the city’s scoring scale will move on to the third phase.

The third and final phase will cost the businesses $2,241 and includes another ranking system based on community benefits, enhanced project safety and environmental benefits.

The scores from the second and third phases will be combined and the top applicants will be forwarded to City Manager Darrel Pyle, and he will take the applicant recommendations to the council for final approval and awarding of permits.

The awarding of permits will cost businesses an additional $1,102.

Mata said the review of the applications should start sometime this week and expects the decisions to be taken to council sometime in November, though the schedule is tentative.

Caliva is moving rapidly through the planning and development process, Thacker said. He said the company is finalizing various engineering studies and sitting down with the proper consultants who will help them through the large-scale Hanford project.

“We’re feeling really good,” Thacker said. “We hope to break ground by the end of the year.”

Patricia Blue leaves lasting memories

HANFORD — Fortunate. That’s the word most people use when talking about Patricia Blue’s Christmas windows; because anyone who saw the decorated windows of Hanford Furniture during the holiday season was fortunate enough to have seen the magic, wonder and hard work that went into those windows.

For many years, families would wait with anticipation for the unveiling of those famed Christmas windows, each year better than the last. Blue’s family said making children happy with her decorations is what kept her going year after year.

“She was a wonderful person,” Rusty Robinson, Blue’s grandson, said. “She was an inspiration for Hanford and very giving to the Hanford community.”

Patricia Blue, who died Sept. 21 at the age of 87, and her husband, the late Gordon Blue, owned Hanford Furniture on Seventh and Douty streets together for over three decades.

The Blues were married in 1949 and remained partners in every sense of the word for 51 years, until Gordon Blue’s death in 2001.

The Blues were pillars of the community and part of the core group of Hanford residents committed to the success of downtown Hanford. They took part in the Rotary Club, Hanford Improvement Association, and were also instrumental in the formation of the Downtown Historical District.

Patricia and Gordon Blue were even two of the original owners of the Victorian Inn, now called the Irwin Street Inn.

In 2007, after the doors of Hanford Furniture had closed earlier that year, Blue received the Fred Martella Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hanford Chamber of Commerce.

Craig Johnson, owner of Salmon’s Furniture Galleries, said when he thinks of Blue, he thinks of both Patricia and Gordon.

“They were a team,” Johnson said. “They built that store together and it was a wonderful store. They were real furniture people.”

Not only were the Blues good people, they were good competitors, Johnson said. He said he wished Hanford Furniture was still around today because the competition made all the furniture stores downtown strive to be better.

Johnson said he was sad to hear about Blues death and has definitely missed the beautiful store that was Hanford Furniture, especially the Christmas windows.

“The windows were 100 percent Pat,” Johnson said. “They were Pat’s baby.”

Blue lived her whole life in Hanford; from riding horses in the Hanford countryside in her early years to attending dances with her friends as a teenager. In high school, she was even named Miss Kings County.

Robinson said Blue knew people from all walks of life, from Hanford business owners to her wonderful customers and everyone in between. Elegant, sincere, approachable and full of heart were just some of the ways he described his grandmother.

“She had a lot of wit and humor,” Robinson said. “She was an absolute pleasure.”

Blue remained active even after Hanford Furniture closed. She operated a furniture store in Fresno with Rusty, Thomasville at River Park, and was driving to Fresno at least three days a week up until May.

“She loved what she did and the people she did it with,” Robinson said. “She loved her employees and they loved her back.”

Blue is survived by her only daughter, Kristy Blue, Robinson and his wife, Theresa, and her great-grandson, named Patrick in honor of her; not to mention many “adopted” family members.

“She’ll be dearly missed by family and friends and, I believe, by the entire community of Hanford as well,” Robinson said.

Contributed by Arianne Wing 

This soup is one of the easiest to soups to prepare and it is a nourishing as well. 

Stolen vehicle found after getting stopped for U-turn

HANFORD — An illegal U-turn stop netted two arrests after the vehicle was found to be stolen and the occupants were found to be in possession of methamphetamine, Hanford Police officials said.

On Tuesday at around 1:15 a.m., Hanford police officers said they were on patrol in the area of the 700 block of South Harris Street when they observed a 1993 Chevy truck make an illegal U-turn.

An officer stopped the vehicle and contacted two occupants. Police said the driver of the truck was identified as Ignacio Cobian, 37, and the passenger was identified as Ruben Zuniga, 29.

A license check on the vehicle revealed it was reported stolen out of Fresno, so officers said they detained both Cobian and Zuniga and completed searches of them.

Police said Zuniga was found to be in possession of a meth pipe and Cobian was found to be in possession of a small amount of meth. In addition, a search of the truck revealed a police-type billy club.

Officials said Cobian was booked into the Kings County Jail on suspicion of stolen vehicle and possession of meth, while Zuniga was booked on suspicion of a stolen vehicle, possession of a billy club and possession of a meth pipe.

The stolen vehicle was recovered and stored, police said.