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Contributed by John Lindsey 

Condor 606 in flight at Pinnacles National Park in April.

Hanford celebrates Dia de los Muertos

HANFORD — Charlie Isidoro walked around the Civic Auditorium Thursday dressed as a full, three-tiered pink cake, complete with a white-painted face and a hat with a candle on top.

Not only was Charlie dressed-up, the whole Isidoro family were sharply dressed and sported white painted faces reminiscent of skeletons. Charlie was dressed as a cake because it was also her birthday.

The Isidoros were the hit of the evening, which was a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration organized by the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company.

Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember family members and friends who have died. Rituals, like creating altars for the loved ones, are believed to help support their spiritual journey.

The Isidoro’s have attended many Dia de los Muertos events, including ones in Fresno and Los Angeles.

“We’re big on culture,” Janie Isidoro said. “We’re super big on celebrating passed family. We have very dear people who have passed.”

Isidoro said the whole family always gets into the celebration because they can show who their family members were with the altars, instead of feeling sad about the deaths.

“We do [altars] every year at our house, too,” Isidoro said.

This was the first of many Dia de los Muertos celebrations that the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company wants to organize, said Artistic Director Silvia Gonzalez Scherer.

The celebration was put on as a fundraiser for the company, which provides free acting classes for children, teens and adults.

There were musical performances and dancing from an Aztec dance group from Huron; Mexican food, drinks and bread; altars; face painting and coloring; vendors selling jewelry, artwork and clothes; and the largest sugar skull in the Central Valley.

Board member Miguel Sanchez stood by proudly as the event’s attendees took turns taking pictures with La Catrina, an elegantly dressed woman skeleton, which has become a well-known figure in Dia de los Muertos celebrations.

Sanchez made La Catrina himself out of recycled materials like cardboard, wood, water bottles, foam, newspaper, fake jewelry and plastic. It was the first Catrina he’s ever made.

“I like it, and so far, other people like it too,” Sanchez said.

Anyone wishing to take a picture with La Catrina was asked to make a small donation to the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company to keep the free acting classes going.

Scherer estimates about 300 people made their way to the Civic Auditorium for the event, and said it went really well, especially for being the first event. She said she felt an “outpouring of love, support and culture within the community.

“It’s really amazing,” Sanchez said about the turnout for the event. “Next year we are planning to have the whole park, block it off and have a big event.”

Scherer said many of the vendors have already expressed interest in coming back to the event next year, something the board is thrilled about.

“We’re going to do this every year until infinity,” Scherer said.

Scherer gave a demonstration of the children’s acting class with some of the students, and she and the board members invited anybody who wants to take free acting classes from the theater company to visit one of the classes any time.

Scherer has big plans for the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company, and said the Dia de los Muertos celebration was just the first step in many community events she hopes to become a part of.

“This is awesome,” Isidoro said. “There’s not a lot of local stuff like this. It’s absolutely nice to have something local here.”

Hanford to discuss awarding cannabis permits

HANFORD — Other items may be on the Hanford City Council agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting, but the big item at the end of the night will be the possible awarding of cannabis permits to several medical cannabis companies.

The City received 27 permit applications from five companies in October and City staff has completed a three-phase review process on each of the applications.

The last item on the night’s agenda will see Council discussing awarding 21 cannabis permits to three different medical cannabis companies, including:

  • Caliva - one cultivation permit, one manufacturing permit and one distribution permit
  • Genezen - one cannabis campus permit, 14 cultivation permits, one manufacturing permit and one distribution permit
  • Premium Extracts - one manufacturing permit

All five companies that applied passed the first two phases of the review process, but only Caliva, Genezen and Premium Extracts passed the third and final phase.

If Council chooses to award the permits, the companies are required to obtain a conditional use permit for each individual permit and will undergo an environmental analysis before the Planning Commission approves the conditional use permits.

Also on the agenda:

  • Two public hearings regarding changing zoning designations on one parcel located at the southwest intersection of Centennial Drive and Lacey Boulevard, and another parcel located at 206 W. Grangeville Blvd.
  • Approving an additional appropriation from storm drain reserves for Lift Station No. 35 in the amount of $32,381 and approving the purchase and installation of a new pump and motor from Valley Pump and Dairy Systems.
  • Approving the purchase of new water meters, meter box lids, automatic meter reading radio units, and attaching the hardware in conjunction with the flat rate to a metered rate conversion project for $461,787.

At least three candidates to run for District D council seat

HANFORD — The deadline to turn in nomination papers for the Hanford City Council District D recall election is Nov. 9, and there are already three qualifying candidates who intend to run.

Hanford City Clerk Jennifer Gomez said Shelli Barker, Paula Massey and Diane Sharp have all filed nomination papers and have qualified to have their names on the Jan. 23, 2018, recall election ballot.

Gomez said former councilman and mayor Lou Martinez just pulled nomination papers on Thursday and will also be on the ballot if he turns in all his forms by the Nov. 9 deadline.

District D’s incumbent, Councilman Francisco Ramirez, could potentially be recalled after enough signatures to warrant a recall election were gathered from registered voters in his district a few months ago.

The voters will be asked two questions on their ballots; the first question will ask whether or not voters want to recall Ramirez, and the second question will ask who they would want to replace Ramirez if he were to be recalled.

If the first question passes with 50 percent plus one, then the replacement candidate with the highest number of votes would win the council seat and be sworn at the next council meeting after the results are certified.

Sentinel File Photo 

Francisco Ramirez