HANFORD — The Kings County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health Services announced its 2017 “Food Safety Silver Star” award recipients, and there are twice as many winners compared to the previous year.
Countywide, 88 food facilities earned the award for their outstanding food safety efforts in 2017. In 2016, only 47 facilities made the grade.
“I’m happy to see the numbers go up like that,” said Jeff Taber, deputy health director of Environmental Health Services.
The Silver Star program was developed by the division in 1996 to give positive recognition to those food establishments within Kings County that consistently exceed requirements with regard to public protection from food-borne illness risks.
Facilities eligible for an award are those that participate in food service preparation to the public. Eligible types of establishments include restaurants, deli operations and bakeries.
Many of the establishments inspected were cafeterias in schools, prisons, rest homes and other institutional settings.
Award winners must meet specific criteria on an ongoing basis in order to be selected for the award, including receiving a “pass” rating on all food safety evaluations performed by the department during the prior calendar year.
Señor Pancho's, a Mexican restaurant that has been in Lemoore for 40 years, has received the Silver Star Award several times, said owner Ana Jose Valdez. Valdez has been the owner since 1992 and said nothing makes her happier than getting the recognition from the Health Department.
“The Health Department is very strict,” Valdez said. “We try to keep it up the best we can.”
Valdez said the department has done a great job at advising the restaurant about the proper way to handle food and how to keep the place clean.
“We work together to follow instructions and do what they ask,” Valdez said.
She said her family eats at the restaurant as well, so she serves the public nothing short of what she would serve to her family.
“I love it because the food is life,” Valdez said.
Taber said the department tries to inspect every food-selling establishment at least twice a year. Most establishments pass with little 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.
Getting a failing grade means they likely had more than one critical violation and may have been repeat violators. Taber said these establishments get reinspected 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:
More Information about the Silver Star program, along with copies of all recent food facility inspection reports, can be obtained on the website at countyofkings.com/departments/environment-health-service/online-inspection-reports or by contacting the Kings County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health Services at 584-1411.
HANFORD — Does the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company host free, weekly improv classes? Yes. And they have fun doing it.
Wednesday night, a group of eight teens and adults worked with theater company artistic director Silvia Gonzalez on games to increase their skills in improvisational acting, including “yes, anding,” an improv staple.
The “yes, and” game involves two actors whose every reply to each other must begin with, “yes, and” as a way to keep building the scene. It could be something like, “yes, and... now we're in a spaceship,” “yes, and... now we're blasting off,” except hopefully much more funny.
Improv acting, an art form popularized by TV shows like “Whose Line is it Anyway” and troupes like The Groundlings, focuses on making things up on the fly, often relying on the audience for jump-off points.
The Hanford MTC improv troupe regularly performs at the Hanford Farmer's Market downtown during its season and practices in the Civic Auditorium.
“We want to bring art back to downtown,” Gonzalez said. “Downtowns everywhere are in decline, but when you reintroduce art, they begin to come back. That’s the way I’ve seen it.”
Every Wednesday, a children’s group practices from 5-6 p.m., followed by those 13 and up from 6-8:30 p.m.
Sisters Olivia and AllyBea Saltray were attending their second children’s’ class Wednesday night, playing games like gibberish theater, where actors must convey a story with fake words, and the distraction game, where actors must stay in character while others try to make them crack.
“It’s fun and you get to play games,” Olivia said. “We want to keep doing it.”
Their mother, Amanda, said the duo had been looking forward to class all week after having enjoyed their first time.
“They’ve been talking about it all week,” the mother said. “They got me excited about it. I’m going to try the adult class next week.”
Gonzalez is a playwright and actress who studied improv at Second City, the legendary Chicago-based comedy community that incubated such comedy stars as Tina Fey, Bill Murray, John Belushi and Jordan Peele.
She says that about 100 actors and actresses have come through the Multicultural Theater Company’s improv class since it started about two years ago.
“Because it’s free, you can come whenever you want,” she says. “People will come every week for months then take a while off, or they’ll get new jobs and not be able to come. But that’s part of what makes it fun. It’s always new people and it’s always different.”
During the “Yes, and” game, two actors respond to each other by starting off with “Yes. And…” the goal is to grow and expand the scene with bigger and bigger “ands” while also staying in the moment due to its reliance on the partner.
If an actor were to come on stage and say, “let’s go to the mall,” only to be replied to with a “no,” the scene would stop dead in its tracks. There’s nowhere to go from a negative. However, if the reply was, “Yes, and we can bring my high school principal” then you have a launching point for the rest of the scene. Yes, adding teaches the actors to keep going, no matter how weird things may get.
It’s skills that these that help teach the burgeoning actors and actresses how to stay on their toes with quick wits, both on stage and off.
The theater company recently announced that they will host a two-day monologue slam March 31 and April 1 in front of the Bastille in downtown Hanford.
For more information, visit www.hanfordmtc.com.
Fresno County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for a man who is accused of stabbing a woman multiple times after opening her car door and demanding her cell phone.
According to a sheriff’s press release, a woman was driving near South Academy and East Rose avenues just east of Selma at 1 a.m. Feb. 8 when she saw a man standing in the middle of the road.
The man opened her driver’s side door after she slowed down as she approached him on the street. He demanded her phone, but because she couldn’t reach it as it had fallen under his seat, the man got upset and stabbed her in the leg, according to the press release.
The sheriff's report that the man stabbed her two more times in her leg, took the key out of the ignition and reached into the passenger seat and took her purse. The suspect then walked around to her trunk, opened it and looked inside. The woman was finally able to find her key, start the car and drive away.
She drove to a nearby business on East Mountain View and South Indianola avenues where an employee called 911. Sheriff’s deputies and an ambulance responded and the woman was later treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The suspect is described as a man in his 20s or 30s, 5 feet 8 inches and with a thin build. He was wearing a long sleeve black shirt, black pants, black hat and black gloves.
Anyone with information on the suspect in this case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 600-3111 or Valley Crime Stoppers at 498-7867. You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.
The sheriff’s office encourages people to drive with their doors locked and to not stop for people on the road if they do not know them. If you feel the person may need help or is causing a hazardous situation, call law enforcement so they can respond to check on the person.