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NOE GARCIA, The Sentinel 

Hanford’s Baylee Dias gathers a ball off her stomach during the second half of a West Yosemite League game against Mt. Whitney at Douty Field on Friday.

Super Bowl of local flavors this week

HANFORD – Unlike this weekend’s Super Bowl where one team will win and the other will lose, at Hanford’s annual Beer vs. Wine Showdown, everyone is a winner.

The Kings County Farm Bureau hosts its annual Beer vs. Wine Showdown on Jan. 31 from 5:30- 8:30 p.m. at the Hanford Civic Auditorium, though fans of both wine and beer will find that all spirits, and imbibers of those spirits, are winners.

“At one time, there was a voting component but the event has outgrown our ability to sufficiently take votes,” Kings County Farm Bureau Executive Director Dusty Ference said. “We’ve been successful enough to outgrow the showdown aspect of it.”

Tickets for the wine, beer and food tasting, available only to those 21 and up, are currently available at $50 each. 

Ticketholders are will be entitled to sample some of the area’s tastiest beverages – and help local third graders learn about the ag industry while doing so. Proceeds from the event go toward the KCFB’s annual Third –Grade Farm Day, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 14 this year.

“Kids ask great questions and it’s a lot of fun how their brains work and what they think of when they’re introduced to a lot of these things,” Ference said. “It’s a great day and a lot of fun.”

Every third-grader in Kings County is invited for a field trip to the Kings Fair for the elementary school-sized agriculture expo. Last year, over 2,400 students visited the fairgrounds for the event, Ference said.

Students get to meet and interact with older FFA and 4H students to learn about their fair projects, as well as industry professionals who will explain what their future may hold, should they go into the ag industry as adults. 

Throughout the tour, the children also learn about the different kinds of ag equipment and harvesting as well as some of the more unique aspects of agriculture like beekeeping and crop dusting.

The Beer vs. Wine Showdown will feature nearly 30 food and drink vendors offering samples of adult beverages, as well as local foods, ice cream, coffee and other items.

“We’ve got quite an array of treats,” Ference said.

The local businesses to look forward to at the event include Lemoore’s Boparai Farms, Tulare’s Under the Oaks Ranch, Fugazzi’s, Rosa Brothers Milk Company, Paso Roble’s Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 201 Kitchen and more.

Ference described the event as laid back, saying that attendees are free to mingle and sample whichever items they want at any time, allowing them to make a beeline for their favorites or try new treats. Above of all, socializing is the name of the game, he said.

“The intention is to get people together for a good time,” he said.

A silent auction will take place during the event, giving attendees the chance to take home items including a booster pump rental, a Yeti cooler, framed artwork, baskets of locally-grown cotton products, locally-sourced nuts and other foods.  Traditionally, many of the items are donated by local businesses on the day of the show.

“Some of the best items are probably yet to be seen,” he said.

The KCFB recently celebrated its centennial anniversary and Ference said the organization is looking forward into its 101st year.

“We’re going to maintain our focus on water issues at the local and state level,” he said. “Water is everything for Kings County.”

The organization will host a Coffee with KCFB event at 8:30 Thursday, Feb. 7 at the El Capitan, 1220 Whitley Ave., Corcoran, to meet with members of the community and talk about the current state of the county’s ag industry.

For more information, call 559-992-2356.

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Salas presents check to John Muir Middle School

CORCORAN – On Friday, Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) and Joe Ashley from the California Resources Corporation presented a $2,500 check to John Muir Middle School.

The money is to help send students to Washington, D.C., to present findings from their Mission 12 experiment on the International Space Station in the annual Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) National Conference at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

“Supporting and encouraging students to pursue the sciences and providing the opportunity for them to engage in high level experiments with scientific experts will help prepare students for current and future success,” Salas said.

The SSEP is about inspiring America's next generation of scientists and engineers by immersing and engaging students in every facet of real science.

As 6th graders, four John Muir students designed science proposals, created hypotheses and ran experiments during Mission 12 to see if broccoli would germinate better in space than on Earth. The students discovered that the broccoli experiment from space grew better than on Earth.

“These young women are setting the example for the next generation of home grown scientists, right here in our own backyard,” Salas continued.

Now as 7th grade students, they will be able to formally present their experiment designs and results to their peers at the annual SSEP Conference.

“These amazing young ladies created an experiment that was performed on the International Space Station by real astronauts. Now, they will have the incredible opportunity to present their findings from the experiment at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.,” said Dave Whitmore, principal of John Muir Middle School. “This is an example that when given the opportunity, our students' potential is limitless.”

Corcoran has been accepted as one of the 38 communities in the U.S., Canada and Brazil to participate in SSEP’s Mission 13. John Muir Middle School has already begun experiments to see if shrimp will grow in space.

Taking care of their own

HANFORD — After learning one of their own is battling cancer for a second time, those at Hanford Post Acute have decided to hold a fundraiser to help with expenses.

Michelle Pierce, business office assistant, has worked at Hanford Post Acute for around two years. A little over two years ago, Pierce battled, and beat, breast cancer.

Right before this past Christmas, however, Pierce found out she had another form of cancer that spread to different parts of her body. She has been undergoing treatment ever since.

While treatment has taken a toll on Pierce, her co-workers said she has still been nothing but a delight to work with.

“She’s always smiling as much as she can,” Shayna Nagle, marketing director, said.

To help with the cost of medicine and other expenses, Hanford Post Acute will hold a fundraiser for Pierce on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

For $5, the office will provide lunch from a baked potato bar and a drink. The public is welcome to stop by the Hanford Post Acute office, 1007 W. Lacey Blvd., any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the lunch fundraiser.

Nagle said the dining room at the office will be open for those wishing to stay and visit while they eat, or, to make things even easier, phone orders can be taken and the food will be ready for pick-up on the day of the fundraiser.

So far, Nagle said there has been a great response online, where the event was shared on the office's Facebook page, and she’s hoping for a great turnout on Wednesday.

After hearing about the fundraiser, Nagle said many families who Pierce has worked with are coming back to see her.

“She’s touched a lot of lives in Hanford,” Nagle said.

Pierce, not someone who is very comfortable talking about herself, said she appreciates the support and prayers she has received from those close to her and the community as a whole.

“People always come together when you really need them,” Pierce said.

If there’s one message Pierce said she hopes to get across with her story is that people should never give up — no matter what the diagnosis is.

“Stay positive and move forward,” she said.

Pierce said she is lucky and very thankful to have a great support system, including her parents, husband, four children, family, friends and colleagues.

Nagle said Hanford Post Acute is always there to support their own and want to make sure staff know they are cared about and will always be supported by each other during difficult times.

In order to make sure there is enough food, Nagle is asking everyone who wants to participate to RSVP by calling or texting her at 977-6812.

Donations are also welcome.

Corcoran Police investigate shooting

CORCORAN — The Corcoran Police Department is seeking information on a shooting that occurred over the weekend and left two people shot.

Around 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, Corcoran Police officers said they responded to a report of shots fired in the area of the 800 block of Claire Avenue in Corcoran.

Upon arrival, officers said they found a female victim who had been shot once in the upper thigh.

The woman was transported to Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia and was treated for her wound, officials said.

Officers then learned Kings County Sheriff’s deputies conducted a traffic stop on 12th Avenue just outside of Hanford. During this traffic stop, officials said deputies discovered a second gunshot victim who was being taken to Adventist Medical Center in Hanford.

Police said the second victim was an adult male who had a gunshot wound to the arm. He was treated at the hospital for his wound.

Corcoran Police officials said they are continuing to investigate the shooting and are following up on leads.

The department is asking anyone with information to call 992-5151, or they may remain anonymous and call the confidential crime line at 992-3591.