LEMOORE — Lemoore Interim City Manager Nathan Olson gave over an hour of his undivided attention to community members Thursday morning in the city’s first community roundtable. It is something he would like to continue doing to better reach out to the citizens of Lemoore.
“It’s nice,” Olson said after the meeting. “I like to sit down in front of people and hear what they have to say.”
Olson said the idea for the community meetings started when he was the public works director and wanted feedback from the public. Admittedly, not many people went to those meetings he held, but the idea stuck with him.
Nothing was off-limits at the meeting. Olson would answer any questions that were asked, and if he couldn’t answer, he promised he would get the answer.
Some of the issues discussed included the city’s fees regarding impounded animals, homeless people, city budget, expenses and contracts, and the undeveloped Venture Place land in Lemoore’s Industrial Park.
Olson said as the interim city manager, he generally hears the complaints people have; and he was glad he heard what those who attended had to say and had face-to-face discussions with them.
He said the only way the city can improve is to hear the feedback, and forums like the community roundtable are the best way he can gauge how the city is doing.
“It wasn’t like ‘Well I think the general services I’m receiving from the city are no good’ type thing,” Olson said. “So that tells me that, as on organization, we’re providing the services that our residents are enjoying at this point.”
Olson said the laid-back and more relaxed setting offers people an alternative option for those who may be intimidated to get up and talk during the City Council meetings.
Connie Wlaschin, a very involved Lemoore resident and staple at every City Council meeting, said she thought the community roundtable was a great idea.
Wlaschin said she usually gets her questions answered from council at the meetings, but liked the roundtable because it was a smaller, more intimate setting.
“I was really pleased with [the discussion],” Wlaschin said. “It was very diversified.”
Wlaschin, who was born and raised in Lemoore and has owned a business there for over 32 years, encourages everyone to get involved in the community and go to the council meetings to know and understand what goes on in the city.
Danielle Keener saw the announcement on the city’s website when she was looking up the city’s master user fee schedule. She said she saw the roundtable as a way to get her voice heard about an issue that is close to her heart: rescuing animals.
“I think it’s really nice to be able to voice your opinion and have a conversation with somebody who oversees our city,” Keener said.
Although her questions couldn’t be answered right away at the meeting, Keener said it was still good to get feedback from Olson and be assured the city would follow-up with her and provide the answers she sought.
Keener said the community roundtable was definitely something she would attend again because she learned a lot about the goings-on in the city from the questions others asked Olson.
Only a handful of people attended the meeting and Olson said he’ll work on getting the word out to the community so more can attend in the future. He said he would like to have the meeting at least quarterly, but people don’t have to wait for a meeting to speak with him.
“I have an open-door policy,” Olson said. “I encourage people to call, to reach out to myself or staff.”
Olson said he thought the meeting went great because people got things off their chests and some of their questions answered.
“Anytime you can have a meeting with people who have concerns and they leave smiling and talking and happy, then I think you’ve built bridges,” Olson said.
Olson said the issues that were discussed will definitely be looked into and the meeting’s attendees will get a follow-up call from the city.
HANFORD — New restaurant 201 Kitchen opened this month and customers are excited to try its poke bowls, a dish that has become popular in the rest of the state.
Poke is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, and sometimes as a main course. The popular ahi poke is generally made with yellowfin tuna. Adaptations may feature raw salmon or various shellfish as a main ingredient served raw with the common "poke" seasonings.
Customers at 201 Kitchen call out to Sunny Law, the owner and chef of the restaurant, as they walk in. Many of them are already familiar with his other local eateries including Boba Island and Sushi Table in Lemoore.
“I came in the first week,” customer Phil Wren said. “The food is great. I actually like Sunny’s other restaurants. I’m a big fan.”
The restaurant opened on Sept. 23, and Law said has seen a large number of first-timers coming in to try the poke bowls.
Law likes to have a good relationship with customers and believes offering a good service has helped him stay in business and why he has opened the new restaurant in Hanford.
“Now mostly people like to eat healthy food, so the people like the sushi. [Poke bowls] are very popular because you can decide on the toppings,” Law said.
He likes to put seaweed noodles and kale with quinoa in his poke bowl, but says that part of the poke bowls popularity is because of the options it allows people to have.
“It’s good to have other options besides hamburgers all the time,” said customer Jeff Gaines. “I like sushi, and it’s good to have something different.’’
Customers that come into 201 Kitchen have a multitude of choices starting from the basics for their poke bowls. Ingredients include sushi rice, steamed white rice, brown rice, cabbage slaw with creamy sesame dressing, quinoa and kale salad with miso dressing, or a mixed green salad with Asian vegetable vinaigrette for the first choice.
They can then add their second topping choosing tuna, salmon, spicy tuna, or seared tuna.
For those who are not comfortable with the raw fish or raw food, cooked shrimp, crab, tofu and hokkigai, which is a Japanese clam, are also offered as toppings.
Third topping options include edamame, cucumber, seaweed noodles, fresh seaweed, sweet onions, green onions, pickled ginger, jalapenos, sweet corn and cilantro.
After the main ingredients are chosen, customers can choose from different types of sauces and at the very end can add crunchy toppings like cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, shredded nori, bonito furikake, crispy onions, sesame seeds and classic shoyu togarashi sesame.
The spicy yuzu sauce is the most popular, Law said. The restaurant also offers a spicy yuzo salmon bowl made up of sesame-soy, spicy seasonings, edamame, cucumber, seaweed, sesame seeds and white and green onions.
Boba drinks are also offered at 201 Kitchen with a variation of up to 32 flavors that can be ordered iced or slushed in either a regular sized drink for $3.95 or a large sized drink for $4.95.
Apart from the poke bowls, Law also plans to add a few sushi rolls in the coming weeks as soon as his staff becomes better trained.
“We decided to get this (poke bowls) started first, and we are also training the [employees] first,” Law said.
Fanny Law, his wife and also a chef, will be taking turns with Sunny Law to make sure all three of their restaurants are functioning and with training their employees.
“I hope to hire more employees so they can get a job. I mostly train the people from high school,” Sunny Law said. “It’s really hard [for them] to find a job because they don’t have experience. That’s why I always like to hire new people and help them by training them so they can have more experience.”
Sunny Law graduated from the Culinary Business Institute and trains at the Culinary Institute of America.
He will be participating in this year’s Signature Chefs Auction in Clovis in support of the March of Dimes for the ninth year in a row.
HANFORD — After reportedly doing doughnuts in the middle of the street with his car and taking Hanford Police officers on a high-speed chase, 34-year-old Donald Flenoid was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence; but not before crashing into two power poles, according to police officials.
Several transformers blew out near the area as a result of the collision, and officials said Southern California Edison crews and Hanford Fire crews were called to help. Two small fires had to be extinguished and the downed power lines were blocking streets, police said.
It all happened on Wednesday around 9:30 p.m., after Hanford Police officers said they responded to a call of a reckless driver near the area of Irwin Street and Hanford-Armona Road.
Police said several callers stated a white Dodge Challenger was speeding and doing doughnuts in the middle of the street.
Officers said they located the car near Phillips and Scott streets, but it took off as officers approached it and sped into the opposite lanes of traffic attempting to flee.
Officers said they initiated their emergency lights and sirens in an attempt to get the vehicle to pull over, but the Challenger just kept on going.
After failing to stop at the posted stop sign at Scott and Irwin streets, police said Flenoid accelerated to a high rate of speed going northbound on Irwin Street, with several police cars chasing him.
Because he was going so fast, police said Flenoid lost control of his car near Douty and Lang streets and crashed into two Southern California Edison power poles, sheering both poles in half.
With the car stuck in the middle of the road, officers said they were able to get Flenoid out of the vehicle and arrest him.
Officials said Flenoid sustained injuries from the collision and was transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno for his injuries. Police said he was found to be intoxicated.
Police officials said charges will be submitted to the Kings County District Attorney’s office against Flenoid for felony evading and DUI.