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Mariachi metal-heads Metalachi return to Valley

VISALIA — Historically, there have been times when brave geniuses take two seemingly disparate things and combine them to create more than the sum of their parts.

Notably, there has been mankind’s combination of tin and copper, which resulted in the bronze age a turning point in human civilization, H.B. Reese’s combination of peanut butter and chocolate was a turning point for delicious candy and now heavy metal and mariachi have been combined thanks to SoCal band Metalachi.

“We got a good reaction and thought that this [idea] could work,” says frontman and singer Vega De La Rockha. “And tequila helps. It always does.”

The band will bring their symphony of destruction back to the Valley when they play the Visalia Fox Theater Saturday. The show is a co-promotion with the Hanford Fox, where Metalachi played last June.

"They're a great group of people, very nice and extraordinarily talented. They always put on a fun show," said Zach Rodriguez, programmer for the Hanford Fox Theater's Throwback Films series.

The band, once a traditional mariachi band, was given a request to play Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” at a quinceañera and the band obliged — with a traditional mariachi twist.

The band combined Ozzy’s magnum opus with the “Jarabe Tapatio,” a traditional mariachi song also known as the “Mexican Hat Dance” — and Metalachi was born.

The band has released two albums full of metal hits done in mariachi style, even keeping with tradition and not having a drummer. Songs like “Sweet Child of Mine,” “Ace of Spades” and Slayer’s “Raining Blood” comprise their albums and live sets.

The musical hybrid was broadcast to millions of homes in 2015 when the band appeared on “America’s Got Talent,” receiving praise from all three judges, including the “king of all media,” Howard Stern.

Since then, Metalachi have been touring — almost nonstop.

“We’ve been on tour all through the winter, which is strange for Metalachi,” De La Rockha said.

But who goes to Metalachi shows? Is it mariachi fans or metalheads? Are Metalachi’s fans heshers, punks or Jalisciense?  It’s all of these — and more.

“It’s not just one type of person who comes to Metalachi shows. It’s not just metal-heads or mariachi lovers. It’s also people who don’t like either and just want to come see the show,” De La Rockha said.

The band’s stage show is as much a draw as the music. The band’s outfits look as if Cheech & Chong joined KISS and the shows are full of humor between songs.

“We make fun of ourselves on stage,” De La Rockha says.

The band brings that humorous aesthetic to an audio podcast they do while on tour. The podcast, found at, sees the band talk about current events and interview guests.

“It’s just all our crazy minds,” De La Rockha said. “It’s definitely not for kids.”

The band plans to release “Tres,” their third and final album of metal cover songs, by this summer. The album will feature a cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which the band also hopes to shoot a music video for.

After that, the next project isn’t set in stone.

The band is has thrown around ideas for an album of original songs, covers of TV show themes and even an album of holiday and Christmas music.

“There’s so many things we can do with this concept and this sound,” De La Rockha said.

Police: Suspect arrested for sexual abuse, child molestation

HANFORD — An investigation into alleged child molestation and sexual abuse has led to the arrest of a Hanford man, Hanford Police Department officials said.

On Feb. 9, Hanford Police detectives said they arrested 50-year-old Jose Puga after a month-long investigation into alleged sexual abuse of a child under 14 years of age and child molestation.

Police said Puga came into contact with the victim while the victim was being cared for at Puga’s wife’s licensed daycare facility that she runs out of her home. Puga is listed as an employee of the daycare on the state license for the facility.

Officials said the investigation started in December 2017 after a juvenile victim reported to police that they had been sexually molested by Puga several times at two different locations in Hanford.

At least one of the reported incidences occurred at Puga’s residence in the 10800 block of Hume Avenue, police said.

Officials said the crimes occurred during November 2015 and May 2016 while the victim was being cared for at the facility.

Police believe this was an isolated incident, however, the state licensing board and Child Protective Services were contacted regarding the allegations and arrest of Puga.

Detectives said they are in the process of contacting current and former clients of the daycare facility.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hanford Police Detective Jason Gustin at 585-4723.

Last year's food safety failures

HANFORD — While there may have been more food safety stars in 2017 than the previous year, there were still several failures last year.

Out of the 999 inspections the Kings County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health Services conducted, eight places in Kings County that sell food failed at least one food safety inspection in 2017:

  • Asadero’s Mexican Food Seafood – Kettleman City
  • City of Avenal Recreation Center
  • Country Waffles – Lemoore
  • Freeze Style Frozen Yogurt – Hanford
  • La Esquinaita Mi Pueblo Taqueria #2 – Armona
  • Little Caesars Pizza – 1854 W. Lacey Blvd. in Hanford
  • M & A Market – Stratford
  • Shorty's Bar (closed) – Hanford

Jeff Taber, deputy health director of Environmental Health Services, said the department tries to inspect every food-selling establishment at least twice a year. Many of the establishments inspected were cafeterias in schools, prisons, rest homes and other institutional settings.

Most establishments pass with few to no minor violations, while others get marked for “needs improvement” due to several minor violations.

A minor violation can include cracked floor tiles or lack of paper towels in the restroom.

According to the Kings County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health Services, 703 places received a passing grade while 288 places were stamped with “needs improvement.”

Getting a failing grade means they likely had more than one critical violation and may have been repeat violators. Taber said these establishments get re-inspected more often than other places.

Taber said the department checks for critical violations based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most common risk factors for food-borne illness, which include:

  • Improper hot/cold holding temperatures of potentially hazardous food
  • Improper cooking temperatures of food
  • Dirty and/or contaminated utensils and equipment
  • Poor employee health and hygiene
  • Food from unsafe sources

Receiving a failing grade on one inspection does not mean the establishment failed for the entire year; the establishments have the chance to correct their mistakes before the inspector returns.

In the case of Freeze Style Frozen Yogurt in Hanford, there was no hot water available in the facility when the inspector visited on April 10, 2017, garnering the “fail” grade.

When the inspector returned the next day, the issue was corrected and the inspector noted no other violations and gave a “pass” grade. The facility passed again when it was inspected in October 2017.

When Little Caesars Pizza at 1854 Lacey Blvd. was inspected on May 30, 2017, the inspector noted several violations, including flies inside the building, the handwashing station contained food debris, the trash had not been taken out and all the equipment had food debris and dirt or dust.

The inspector returned a week later on June 7 and gave the facility a “needs Improvement” grade, stating the place needed more cleaning and sanitizing. The next day, the inspector gave the pizza place a “pass” grade and said it was cleaner than the previous visit.

The owner of this Little Caesars Pizza location could not be reached for comment.

Copies of all recent food facility inspection reports can be obtained at or by contacting the Kings County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health Services at 584-1411.

Man shot to death in Kettleman City

KETTLEMAN CITY — Kings County Sheriff’s Office deputies are looking for information about the shooting death of a man Tuesday in Kettleman City.

At around 6:45 a.m., Sheriff’s deputies said they responded to the 200 block of Maud Street for a report of a gunshot wound victim who was not breathing.

Officials said deputies, along with officers from the California Highway Patrol and Avenal Police Department, arrived on scene and found 33-year-old Armando Garza sitting in the driver's seat of a vehicle.

Deputies said Kings County Fire personnel arrived on scene and determined Garza was dead.

Sheriff’s detectives then responded to the location and took over the investigation, officials said.

Detectives said they determined Garza had been shot multiple times by an unknown suspect or suspects while he was sitting in his vehicle.

This case is currently being investigated, anyone with information is asked to call Detective Andrew Mazza at 852-4554.