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VISALIA - The historic freight railroad between the east and west of the South Valley's farming belt, once facing a threat of abandonment, has extended its life as it recently underwent a major make-over.

Those who took on the venture to renovate the San Joaquin Valley Railroad corridor between Huron and Visalia will gather next month to celebrate the accomplishment.

The completion of the Cross Valley Rail Corridor Project will be formally dedicated in a ceremony on Oct. 10 at the Depot Restaurant in downtown Visalia. The ceremony is set to start at 2 p.m.

The public-private partnership project costing $14.2 million resurfaced the entire rail corridor to accommodate heavier freight traffic. Improve-ments included replacement of about 46 miles of rail, 50,000 tons of ballast and two miles of siding among other facilities, according to a press release by Lemoore City Manager Steve Froberg.

The upgraded rail, Froberg said, can now transport up to 286,000-pound-capacity refrigerated railcars.

"It's an important economic development tool," said Lemoore Mayor Ed Martin in a statement. Martin serves as chairman of the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board which was formed to bring about the project. "Rail transportation can improve air quality, increase highway safety, reduce road and highway maintenance costs and provide important economic and job development opportunities along the line."

According to Froberg, the project dates back to 1993 when a group of citizens and Kings County staff conducted a study to see if it was feasible to have passenger rail service along the route which has traditionally been used for freight. The study concluded that the railway was in near-abandonment condition and that passenger service feasibility was out of the question without improvements.

The JPA was eventually formed to seek funding sources for the renovation. A variety of governmental entities as well as businesses came on board to chip in for the project.

The public funding providers include: Visalia; Lemoore; the Kings, Tulare and Fresno associations of governments; the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District; the California Department of Transportation; and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Private investment came from Rail America/San Joaquin Valley Railroad, Los Gatos Tomato Company and Western Farm Services.

Officials with Huron-based Los Gatos Tomato say the renovation allowing heavier cars will provide a key efficiency for their business.

Since the Huron to Lemoore segment was completed, the company has reduced truck trips by 4,500 trips a year, said Ray Medeiros, Los Gatos Tomato general manager.

"We utilize both the Union Pacific and (Burlington Northern and Santa Fe) rail lines with a short line shipper," Medeiros said in a statement. "Now we can put the equivalent of three truckloads of product on a single rail car. It's more efficient."

The fruition of the freight portion of the project also sets a seed for a long-term goal of the project, passenger service.

With a new rail line in place, a new study is on the verge of taking off to explore the possibility of making passenger rail service available along the same rail corridor.

"Light passenger service may sound far-fetched, but many said the same thing about our efforts to upgrade and renovate the freight portion of the railroad," Martin said.

The last study by Kings County officials, which led to the recent renovation, indicated it would take as long as 20 years before such a service becomes feasible, according to a press release by Froberg.

But interest in the idea is apparently gaining some momentum.

There have been rounds of talks over the last few months on the subject among interested officials, said Froberg, who also serves as the JPA's executive director. The JPA was asked last month to spearhead the study, he said.

Dignitaries attending the Oct. 10 dedication ceremony will have an early opportunity to ride on the renovated rail as passengers. Trains will take those with reservations on a short round trip between Visalia and the west end of the city or to Hanford, Lemoore or Huron, depending on their choices.

For more information about the ceremony, call Froberg at 924-6700.

The reporter may be reached by e-mail:

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Kings Christian School in Lemoore holds its annual carnival

By Eiji Yamashita

Sentinel Reporter

LEMOORE - Strong parental involvement is the heart of Kings Christian School, according to volunteers who were working Saturday to help run a fund-raising event for the school.

"We're just excited about our school because it is a parent-involved school, and we want to get the excitement going to help raise money for the school," said Cindy White of Lemoore. She was one of many parents volunteering for the annual fund-raising carnival held at the private school's campus on Saturday.

The carnival is held each fall to raise vital money to help relieve some fiscal stress at the school so that it won't have to rely on dramatic tuition increases to make ends meet.

"We like it," said Carey Hinch, a coordinator of the carnival. "We know most of the parents, so we like it, and we have a lot of them who work every year to help this event."

The event raised more than $6,000 last year, Hinch said.

The money raised will pay for costs not covered by tuition, such as high energy expenses during winter and facility repairs, Hinch said.

Kings Christian's open play area was filled with a variety of games to keep everyone happy throughout the event.

Children spent their time in bounce houses, inflatable slides and a sumo wrestling ring while their parents looked on.

More than 100 $20-a-piece tickets for games were sold prior to the day of the carnival.

The fund-raising included a silent auction which displayed nearly 300 donated items - everything from electronics to home decorations. The auction brings in a big share of the carnival's proceeds, White said.

Over the last few years, the fall carnival was held at Adventure Park in Hanford, but was once again brought back to the campus which has recently seen some facility expansion.

Over the years, parents say, they have from time to time played a crucial role in bringing in some of the major projects.

The most recent example is the school's new gym, which is by far the largest building on the 25-year-old school campus. The gym was built just in time for the graduation ceremony for the high school class of 2003.

The reporter may be reached by e-mail:

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Equestrian team member dies

By Sentinel Staff

FRESNO - A member of California State University, Fresno's equestrian team died after getting injured in a horseback riding accident earlier this week, school officials said in a statement.

Shana Virginia Eriksson, 18, of Tahoe City died at University Medical Center in Fresno, where she had remained in critical condition since the accident on the campus farm Wednesday, University spokesman Thomas Uribes said in a statement.

University Police reports indicate Eriksson fell from her horse while riding with two of her teammates on the campus farm around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Uribes said.

Another student-athlete suffered minor injuries when she jumped from her horse, but a third student was uninjured, Uribes said.

University officials, along with the University Police, are continuing their review of the situation to determine the cause of the accident.

The school observed a moment of silence for Eriksson during the football game against Portland State Saturday night. Flags will also be lowered to half mast across the campus Monday, Uribes said.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: LHS grad is back from Kuwait

By Barbara Swarm

Sentinel Reporter

LEMOORE - Krista Clark expressed how she wanted to see the sights and travel the world after she graduated from Lemoore High School in June 2002.

Ten months later she found herself seated among 250 passengers in a C-5 cargo plane, with no windows and no complimentary peanuts, on a 22-hour flight to Kuwait.

"Not quite what I had in mind," she said. "I was terrified."

The young Navy recruit had come a long way since her graduation. Clark signed up for the military, in part because of the events of Sept. 11. She also wanted to receive a quality education.

According to Clark, at least four of her friends in her 2002 graduating class enlisted in the military.

"None of us ended up together," she said.

Clark spent her first time away from home at boot camp 2,400 miles away near Chicago in Great Lakes, Ill. There, she signed up for "A" school to become a signalman learning flags and Morse code. Two months later she was assigned to the Naval base in San Diego.

Within two days, she received her first orders to ship off. However, the dates of her departure changed every two to four weeks. The time finally arrived for her to leave for the Persian Gulf - April 16, the day after payday.

Before enlisting, Clark and her mother Debbie discussed the possibilities of her being sent overseas.

"But we didn't figured she'd end up going that fast," said Debbie.

The whole time Clark was at boot camp and in San Diego, Debbie was glued to the television set. Day in and day out she watched the news.

The day her daughter left for Kuwait, Debbie stopped watching the events unfold.

"I never watched the news after she left," she said. "I didn't want to know. Even though I knew she wasn't in an area of immediate danger, they were still in danger."

In mid-April, Krista Clark arrived at her destination dubbed Camp Patriot, two hours from Kuwait City. With temperatures averaging 136 degrees and 90 percent humidity, Clark wondered what she had gotten herself into.

"At first, it was really dusty," she said. "We had bad dust storms."

As an example, Clark pointed to her mother, who was sitting about three feet away, and said, "you couldn't see from me to her."

The unpredictable weather then changed from hot and dusty to cold and wet.

"It rained really, really bad and flooded everything," she said.

Clark worked 120 days in the galley serving food to the thousands of Marines and Army service men and women who came in and out of the camp from Iraq. The remainder of her five-month tour was spent on midwatch from midnight to 6 a.m.

"I heard some real bad stories," she said, "gruesome stories."

Clark, who was the youngest female in a tent she shared with 12 others, did get homesick from time to time.

"We all went through those thoughts and each of us would comfort each other," she said. "We became like a family."

Clark was allowed to leave the camp twice, getting away from the military lifestyle she became accustomed to.

She would travel the hour-and-a-half trip by bus to the city. During the excursion every single window on her bus was closed off with curtains - not allowing those inside to see out, and those outside to see in.

"You weren't allowed to move them," said Clark. "They had strict rules that you had to follow."

Once inside the city, Clark ventured to the Mall where she purchased a stuffed animal to add to her collection back in the States.

"It made me feel kind of like I was at home," she said, "to an extent."

The second time she left camp was a week before her return home. Clark and others in her company went to a water slide park to cool off.

"There were all kinds of people there," she said. "Foreign exchange students, and Kuwaitis - they'd go fully dressed."

"How did they ride the rides?," asked her mother.

"Fully dressed," Clark answered back.

According to Clark, the American soldiers were allowed to wear one-piece bathing suits. For those wearing a two-piece, they were told to wear a T-shirt to cover their midriff.

During her time spent at Camp Patriot, Clark and her mother were able to communicate with each other via telephone. Phone centers were set up with at least 20 direct lines to the United States.

However, each time Clark called home she would go through a $20 calling card.

According to Clark, all the cards, letters and care packages sent to those serving overseas did make a difference.

"We got gift packages all the time," she said. "People from churches and other organizations sent baby wipes and necessities. It made you realize you were doing something good and people really do care. You get blocked off from the real world sometimes. It was really depressing when you don't get mail. The most important thing is mail."

After five months serving at Camp Patriot, the day finally came for Clark to return home. As for her family, still residing in Lemoore, San Diego doesn't seem that far away now.

Looking at her daughter with a deeper sense of admiration, Debbie said, "she was only 17 when we signed for her. I am in awe, 'cause I couldn't do it. There's been a lot of growing. She is more independent."

While serving at Camp Patriot, Clark was allowed to fly the American flag during Iraqi Freedom.

"I flew it for my mom," she said.

From the time she graduated from Lemoore High School to her boot camp experience and now a time served overseas during a conflict, Clark said she brought back with her a better understanding of herself, and a quality education in life.

"I (also) brought back not to trust anybody," she added. "I can't trust anybody now - that's to an extent. You know who you can trust and who not to trust."

Now that Clark is back on American soil, she has plans on staying in the military.

"I don't think I would have been able to make it without my family's support," she said. "I was very proud that I was out there making a difference. I wouldn't change it."

The reporter may be reached by e-mail at:

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: Local Tech Trekkies

By Barbara Swarm

Sentinel Reporter

STRATFORD - Unlike many summer camps where bug juice, the smell of pine and campfire songs rule, Stratford Elementary School students Jackie Llamas, 12 and Maggie Quintero, 13, experienced a different kind of camp environment.

During their summer vacation the two seventh graders participated in the hands-on fundamentals of engineering, biology, ecology, physics and chemistry during Tech Trek, a math/science camp held at California State University, Fresno and sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

During their week stay at the Fresno State campus, Llamas and Quintero joined 80 other teen girls as they lived the life of a college student. Their week was filled with hot air balloons, nature hikes, and an opportunity to fly a mission to Mars at the Challenger Learning Center in Atwater.

"It was really fun," said Llamas. "I am glad I went."

The camper's began their days at 6 a.m. followed by breakfast at 7 a.m. and then ongoing activities throughout the day, concluding at 5 p.m.

"It is a great experience for them," said Larraine Bates, a teacher at Stratford Elementary.

The goal of Tech Trek is to provide a fun yet educational experience that will expand their minds. Tech Trek began in 1998 at Stanford University and has since grown to five campuses including Mill College in Northern California; California State University, Fresno; Whittier College and the University of California, San Diego.

Each year branches of AAUW select a female student who will be entering eighth grade and who also shows an interest in science and math. This is the second year the Hanford-Lemoore branch sent a student to camp.

Llamas expressed that her favorite part of the whole experience was making new friends. She also enjoyed the Challenger Learning Center, hiking, canoeing and swimming.

Quintero was enthused by her participation in building roller coasters and making DNA samples.

Even though the two didn't share a room together, they had a great time anyway.

Prior to their adventure, each of students applying went through an interview process by AAUW committee members.

Llamas was appreciative to AAUW for letting her go.

"It was a really nice experience," she said, "it's something I had never done."

During their free time, the girls were allowed to swim, bowl, and join in group meetings.

Upon returning, the girls attened a AAUW meeting, presenting a presentation of pictures and discussion of their activities as a show of appreciation.

"They were just so enthusiastic about it," said Carol Dias, president AAUW. "You could just tell that they had so much fun."

According to Dias, the emphasis on the camp was geared toward science and math.

"We hope it (Tech Trek) exposes young girls to all the possibilities that are out there," said Dias, and for them to hopefully come back to us for a college scholarship. We were pleased in giving them that opportunity."

Scholarships provided for the Tech Trek Camp were funded in part by one of the AAUW annual used book sale in conjunction with the annual Hanford Antique Dealers Association Fair. This year the used book sale will be on Sunday, Oct. 19 at the Civic Auditorium.

Each camp attendee must be recommended by a teacher. Final selection of campers is done by the local AAUW branch. Young women of all ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds are welcome to apply. Girls completing the 7th grade in the spring of each year are targeted for this event.

The AAUW knows that girls experience a drop in self-esteem during the middle school years, and even talented girls may stop taking important math and science classes. One of AAUW's goals is to break this cycle and help girls realize their full potential.

For more information on Tech Trek contact Carol Dias at 924-7944.

The reporter may be reached by e-mail at:

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: Scholarship contest by Elks

HANFORD - The Elks Club National Foundation is putting on a Most Valuable Student Scholarship Contest.

This scholarship is available to High School seniors and applications are available now by contacting the Elks Scholarship Chairman, Quinton McElyea, at 924-4172 or the Elks Lodge office 584-7691. They are also available online at http://www.elks.org.

Applications are judged on financial need, scholastic ability, leadership-both on campus and in the community where you live, honors and awards, employment and your class standing.

The final date for filing is Jan. 9, 2004, and the application must be in the hands of the scholarship chairman no later than 4 p.m. on that date, preferably much earlier.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: ENF Legacy Scholarship event

HANFORD - Applications for the 2004 ENF Legacy Award Scholarship Contest for children and grandchildren of Elk members are now available. The Elks National Foundation will again award up to 500 one-year, $1,000 scholarships.

The contest is open to any high school senior who is the child or grandchild (or stepchild or stepgrandchild, or the legal ward) of an Elk who has been a member in good standing for at least two years. The applicant must apply through the related member's Elks Lodge, regardless of where the applicant resides. The applications must be submitted to the Foundation postmarked by Jan. 9, 2004.

Contact Quinton McElyea, scholarship chairman, for more information at 924-4172.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: 'Tex-Mex Style' set for Oct. 18

HANFORD - The Kings County of Mexican-American Women present "Steppin' out Tex-Mex Style" from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Hanford Fraternal Hall, 1015 N. 10th Ave.

The evening will feature "Variety DJ" who will spin a mix of Tejano, Norteno, Old School, Oldies, Cumbias and Country Western.

There will be complimentary hors d' oeuvres, door prizes, a best dressed contest (Western attire optional).

Tickets are $15 per person and may be purchased at Gomez Bookkeeping, 1021 N. 10th Ave. or by calling Isabel Gomez at 582-4458.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: Historical Society headed for Vegas

HANFORD - The Kings Historical Society will be hosting a three day motorcoach tour to the Mirage in Las Vegas departing Monday, Dec. 1.

Trip cost is $192 (double); or $252 (single) and includes Deluxe Motorcoach transportation' two nights Hotel Accommodations; two buffet breakfasts; one dinner buffet; Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat; Driver's Gratuity, tax and baggage handling.

Full payment is required to hold space. Deadline to reserve is Friday, Oct. 17.

For reservations or for more information call Joe Crain at 582-7920.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: Boy Scouts popcorn sales

HANFORD - Boy Scout troops of the Sequoia Council Boy Scouts of America (Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties) have launched their annual sales of gourmet popcorn to raise funds for Scouting programs within the Central Valley.

Each troop will be selling the specialty popcorn and gift items now through the month of October. All proceeds from the sales will benefit local and area Scouting programs such as camping, leadership, and educational opportunities sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America.

Funds raised by the Scouts will go toward scholarships for camp next summer, the purchase of troop supplies and recreational opportunities for youth.

For more information about the Scouting programs, contact Sequoia Council Boy Scouts of America at 320-2100.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: Balloons carry message of hope

FRESNO - On Saturday, Oct. 11 the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society holds its fifth annual Light The Night Walk.

This very special walk is dedicated to celebrating and commemorating the hundreds of thousands of lives touched by blood-related cancers. More than 2,000 Central Valley residents are expected to participate and raise at least $140,000 for leukemia and lymphoma research.

Funds raised support the Society's mission to not only improve the quality of life for patients and their families, but to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma.

Registration begins at 5 p.m. at the California State University, Fresno Amphitheater with the walk starting promptly at 7 p.m. For more information regarding the walk visit www.lightthenight.org or call the Central California Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at 435-1482.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: KCAO head start programs

HANFORD - Kings Community Action Organization is currently accepting applications for the Region IX and Early Head Start programs for the 2003-2004 school year. Head Start is a child development program for income eligible families who are residents of Kings County.

To qualify for the program, children must be between 0-5 years of age. Services for preschool-age children are offered in a center-based or home-based option. Infants and toddlers are enrolled in a case-managed, home-based program for adolescent, teen, or young adults who are parenting. Children with special needs are welcome.

If you would like to apply or need more information, please call Head Start at 582-4386, Ext. 176 or 184.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: Common Threads Quilt Guild

LEMOORE - Members of the Common Threads Quilt Guild will meet Thursday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. for socializing and meeting at 7 p.m.

Linda Matthew will be our presenter. She will show a selection of chenille work and also give a workshop on Oct. 18.

Guests are welcome. A $5 guest fee will be charged this month.

The Common Threads Quilt Guild meets the first Thursday of each month from 7-9 p.m. Meetings are held at the Lemoore Senior Center located at 709 S. 18th Ave. Call 582-0152 for more information.

(Sept. 28, 20003)

Lifestyle: Reciprocity Bureau meeting Oct. 18

TULARE - The Kings-Tulare Reciprocity Bureau of P.E.O. will hold its fall meeting Saturday, Oct. 18 at Tulare Historical Museum, 444 W. Tulare Ave., Tulare. The meeting will be hosted by Chapter RE, Tulare. Registration and coffee will begin at 10 a.m. followed by the meeting at 10:30 and lunch at 11:30. The program will be presented by Cottey College Alumni. Call Clarice Milanesi at 625-8114 by Oct. 4 to make reservations. All unaffiliates and active members are urged to attend. The cost for luncheon is $15.

P.E.O. is a philanthropic and educational organization interested in bringing women increased opportunities for higher education.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: Vein Seminar on Oct. 21

FRESNO - The California Vein and Laser Center, Paul R. Montague, M.D., is pleased to announced that a free Vein Seminar is being offered on Tuesday, Oct. 21 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Visalia Holiday Inn.

Learn about newest technologies in the non-surgical office treatment of varicose and spider veins. Seating is limited - please call now for reservations at 438-2800 or toll free 1-866-576-8346. Refreshments will be served.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: 'Clowning Around' at Pioneer

HANFORD - The Pioneer Elementary Carnival "Clowning Around" will take place on Saturday, Oct. 11 from 2 to 6 p.m.

Third annual family fun carnival. Food booths, silent auction, game booths, 4-H petting zoo, bounce house, cake walk, face painting and lots of other fun activities. Poceeds benefit Pioneer Elementary School children.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Lifestyle: Holiday boutique will take place this Friday

By Sentinel Staff

HANFORD - Local home based businesses will be hosting a Holiday boutique from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 4 in the Sierra Room of the Comfort Inn, 10 N. Irwin St.

All attendees will have a chance to win a prize valued over $100.

Entry cost to the event is $1.

There will be the latest in Tupperware; the newest Italian Charms; baskets by Longaberger; Swiss skin care products and cosmetics by Arbonne; beautiful scented Gold Canyon Candles; handmade bath products and massages by Ronda Nichols Luis, Certified Massage Therapist; Handbags & Accessories by Where'd ya get that purse?; all your cooking needs by Pampered Chef; Home décor items by Southern Living at Home.

Baked Goods will be sold by by Latin Assembly of God; and there will be tea and lemonade available for purchase.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Home and Garden: Store plans fire safety program

The Home Depot is holding a Fire Safety Awareness Day from 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 4 in all its stores. This free event is designed to educate participants of all ages about time-tested ways to prevent and survive a home fire. It will feature:

€ The Fire Shield extension cord, the world's only "smart" extension cord with built-in intelligence to prevent cord fires and provide ground fault protection.

€ A children's workshop for youths to build a wooden fire truck and receive fire truck pins and basic first aid training activity books. The materials are free while supplies last.

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€ Safety Works for Kids Photo ID program and a fire safety scavenger hunt.

€ Free checklists on fire safety, home security and child safety.

€ Fire evacuation and safety presentations.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Business: Citibank grant allows businesses to join the Tulare Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

By Maria G. Ortiz-Briones

Sentinel Reporter

VISALIA - The Tulare/Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has received a $5,000 grant from Citibank which would allow them to offer memberships at half-price for this year.

"This grant will allow businesses to join the chamber and take advantage of our educational programs, networking and marketing opportunities," said Gil Jaramillo, executive director of the Tulare/Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"Our primary mission is to assist the underserved Hispanic business community of Tulare and Kings counties," Jaramillo said. "Many of our small Hispanic businesses have been unable to keep up with the rising cost of doing business and the very difficult economic environment."

"Helping to make life better is the foundation of the commitment we make to communities where we have operations," said Jane Fassel, Citibank's South San Joaquin Valley area manager. "We're proud to strengthen that commitment by assisting the Tulare/Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in their support of the small business sector."

"Many of these small businesses are the engine driving our local economy, and at Citibank, we want to help them expand and grow with our products and services, as well as through financial education and networking opportunities," Fassel said.

Jaramillo said the Hispanic Chamber is grateful for this partnership with Citibank that will allow the chamber to fulfill its mission to support local businesses.

"These family-owned and operated businesses have expressed a desire to join our organization or to renew their memberships but have been unable to due to financial hardship," Jaramillo said.

The Tulare/Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce - which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in November 2003 - hosts an annual business conference, monthly networking mixers, the Hispanic Times newsletter and educational workshops and seminars to benefit local businesses and promote economic growth and development.

For more information on how to join the Tulare/Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, contact Jaramillo at (559) 734-6020 or www.tkhcc.com.

The reporter may be reached by e-mail at:

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Business: Lemoore High School to host Virtual Enterprise Conference

LEMOORE - The Lemoore High School Business Department is sponsoring a Virtual Enterprise Workshop Conference from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the LHS Event Center.

Students from Kings, Fresno and Tulare counties high schools will bring their virtual company officers and attend sessions on "How to run a business."

Those sessions include training in banking; human resources; sales and marketing; accounting and informational technology.

Greg Borboa, from SK Foods and a business partner to Lemoore's Virtual Enterprise program, will conduct the human resources workshop.

Another workshop will highlight several Lemoore High School alumni and entrepreneurs such as Rick Rocha (Royal Car Care), and Travis Lopes (Lopes Landscaping).

At lunch the students will be treated to Hager's Frozen Freezes made and sold at Alexander's On the Corner, another business partner to Lemoore's Virtual Enterprise program.

The keynote speaker for the morning is Rich Rodriguez from KSEE 24. He will welcome the 125 business students to this informational and educational event.

For additional information regarding the conference call Kathy Oliveira, LHS Business Department head at 924-6600 ext. 136. For more information regarding the Lemoore's Virtual Enterprise program you can log on at www.virtualentreprise.org.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: Reduced till conferences set for October

TULARE - Farmers, researchers and ag support industry partners will be sharing recent experiences they have had with a variety of reduced tillage production systems in three half-day conferences set for early October.

These conferences continue the tradition of annual meetings that have been sponsored by the University of California/USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Tillage Workgroup since 1998.

In addition to the meetings that have annually been held in Five Points and Davis, the Workgroup is also sponsoring a conference this year in Tulare at the UC Cooperative Extension facility.

The format of these conferences will highlight case study panels of farmers, researchers, NRCS conservationists, PCAs and private industry partners who are working together to evaluate and develop reduced tillage production system alternatives for a variety of crops including corn, cotton, tomatoes, beans and small grains.

Each panel will describe the basic production system they are working on, give information on the equipment they are using, and provide insights on specific issues they have had to address in their search for sustainable systems.

Opportunities will be provided for questions following each case study panel presentation.

An important feature of these sessions will be the direct involvement of prominent farmers, researchers and PCAs who will talk about the range of management issues that they have faced as they move toward fewer tillage passes in their crop production systems.

A conference proceedings document, summarizing each case study, will be provided to all participants.

The Tulare event will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the UC Cooperative Extension offices at 4437 S. Laspina St., just across from the Tulare Farm Show grounds.

Case study panels on corn, cotton and tomatoes, including local producers Gil Replogle and Tom Barcellos, and UC researchers Steve Wright, Carol Frate, Bob Hutmacher, Karen Klonsky and Jeff Mitchell, as well as other local farmers and PCAs, will take part as panelists.

The Five Points conference will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center at the corner of Oakland and Lassen avenues in Five Points.

Westside farmers including Bob Prys and Gary Esajian, ag support industry representative Barbara Kutzner, and UC researchers Dan Munk, Bob Hutmacher, Karen Klonsky and Jeff Mitchell will present findings on their recent evaluations of several conservation tillage systems.

Admission is free and PCA and Certified Crop Adviser continuing education credit has been applied for.

For further information, contact Jeff Mitchell at 646-6565 or at mitchell@uckac.edu.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: Farm Bureau supports immigration reform bill

SACRAMENTO - The California Farm Bureau Federation, as part of a coalition agricultural organization and farmworker group, announced its support for comprehensive bipartisan immigration legislation introduced Sept. 23 on Capitol Hill. The legislation will reform the nation's current guestworker program, known as H-2A.

The Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act of 2003 by Sens. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., would provide long-needed reforms to the current H-2A program. Companion legislation has been introduced by Reps. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, and Howard Berman, D-Los Angeles.

"We've been negotiating many years to try to get a workable guestworker program that Democrats and Republicans could support," said CFBF President Bill Pauli. "This is a compromise package. It is not perfect for either side but it is a major improvement from the status quo."

The bipartisan approach to comprehensive reform of the nation's agricultural labor system is supported by the California Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation, as well as the United Farm Workers Union and other farmworker advocates.

Supporters say the reforms would stabilize the existing workforce and provide for a reliable future labor supply. The specific goals of the act are to reform the existing H-2A guestworker program to provide a long-term labor safety net, and allow qualified and experienced but undocumented farmworkers a chance to earn the right to adjust to permanent legal status.

"The current H-2A program is unworkable, expensive and fraught with litigation and bureaucracy. It is not a timely type of program where we can get workers here quickly without going through a multiplicity of hoops with the federal government," Pauli said. "When there are shortages, we want to be able to have a flexible temporary foreign worker program where workers can be brought in, not to displace domestic workers, but to fill in the gaps when we can't find sufficient numbers of domestic workers."

Included in the final legislative package is a three-year freeze of the 2002 Adverse Effect Wage Rate, a wage rate that is higher than local prevailing wages.

The AEWR is designed to attract domestic workers, but Pauli said that in most cases it does not. He adds that it "substantially increases the cost of getting crops harvested."

During the freeze, the government will study the wage rate formulation. If Congress does not act on the study's recommendations, the freeze stays in effect with a cost-of-living increase annually.

Pauli said the AgJOBS bill would also attempt to simplify and streamline the current H-2A program by replacing the complicated and time-consuming labor certification process for demonstrating that sufficient domestic workers are not available. Under the AgJOBS bill, the employer agrees to comply with the wages, benefits and other standards of the H-2A program, to advertise job opportunities in the local labor market and to give preference in employment to qualified domestic workers.

"The Craig-Kennedy legislation attempts to eliminate many of the ambiguities in the current H-2A regulations that have encouraged expensive litigation, while strengthening worker protections," said Pauli. "The adjustment-of-status provisions allow experienced undocumented farmworkers to become documented by continuing to work in agriculture during a six-year period for a minimum number of days per year."

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: Supima launches the USA Pima trademark

Supima has developed the USA Pima trademark to start branding U.S. Pima products entering into the mass merchant channel. The textile products sold in these retail outlets are a significant and growing segment of the total apparel and home textile sales in the U.S.A. and abroad. The USA Pima trademark will be an effective tool for retailers and brands to communicate the quality of their product to cost conscious customers.

The Supima trademark, which has over 150 licensees worldwide, will remain exclusively for premium brands that are sold in selected department stores, specialty stores and catalogs. Like the Supima trademark, the USA Pima trademark will be nontransferable to allow Supima to control the use of the brand.

Supima has been in discussions with mass merchants in both the United States and abroad to become USA Pima licensees. The development of this brand will be significant in helping Supima achieve its goal of branding.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: New York trade show update

Supima is always looking for opportunities to expand the product categories that can include U.S. Pima.

One category that offers significant opportunity is intimate apparel. There is a distinct trend in this product group away from synthetic fibers which have traditionally dominated and are now moving toward cotton.

In August there were two trade shows in New York that focused on this interesting area for Supima:

1. Intima America: This show is the largest intimate apparel event in the U.S.A. with over 200 exhibitors, featuring on-site fashion shows, a unique swimwear section, intimate apparel fabric, educational seminars and international exhibitor pavilions. Buyers from top department stores, retail stores, luxury lingerie boutiques, specialty stores, e-commerce, catalog/mail order companies and purchasing groups attended this important show.

2. Lingerie Americas: According to the organizers this is the world's third largest venue for the intimate apparel trade. Lingerie Americas focuses on intimate apparel finished products only - No Fabrics - All product categories represented: Foundations, sleepwear, underwear, daywear, swimwear, beachwear, loungewear, hosiery, and men's underwear are represented coming from the best manufacturers in the world: U.S.A., Italy, Canada, France, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland among others.

Supima New York marketing director, Buxton Midyette, attended these events and made presentations to many of the exhibitors and show attendees.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: Applications for Kings Jr. Fair Board

HANFORD - Applications for the Kings Jr. Fair Board are now available at the Kings Fair office for the 2003-2004 year. Members must be in the eighth grade through 21 years of age to be eligible. Completed applications for new and existing members must be returned to the Kings Fair office by Sept. 30. For questions, call Donna Paulo at 584-6292 or Loretta Toledo at 584-5177.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: New insecticides to kill house flies

HANFORD - Fly baits (or scatter baits) have been used by dairies and other animal producers for many years to manage house flies as part of an integrated pest management program.

Until recently, all fly baits registered for use in California were similar. All of the baits contained the fly killing chemical Methomyl and the fly pheromone attractant Muscalure to attract flies.

Recognizing that Methomyl baits were no longer performing as well as they had prior to the 1990s, it was clear that new chemical baits were needed. Two new products are a fly bait strip called "QuickStrike" produced by Starbar and a granular fly bait called "QuickBayt" produced by Bayer Animal Health. Like other fly bait products, these new products contain the fly pheromone Muscalure as well as feeding attractants. What is new about these products is that they both use new chemical insecticides to kill houseflies. Both of the products can be purchased through local farm and feed stores.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: Viticulture group meets Nov. 12

FRESNO - The San Joaquin Valley Viticulture Technical Group will meet Wednesday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Viticulture and Encology Research Center, CSU Fresno. For more information, contact Jon Holmquist at 661-5539.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: Long Beach is site for CFBF meeting

LONG BEACH - Hundreds of members from 53 county Farm Bureaus will gather in Long Beach for the California Farm Bureau Federation's 85th annual meeting Dec. 6-10. Farm Bureau members are invited to attend the event at the new Long Beach Convention Center. The host hotel for the meeting is the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.

The meeting kicks off Saturday, Dec. 6 with the CFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee meeting. Several activities are planned including the YF&R discussion meet contest, the CFBF golf tournament at Black Gold Golf Club and the CFBF Rural Health and Safety Committee meeting.

Debate of agricultural issues in the CFBF House of Delegates begins Tuesday, Dec. 9. Formal adoption of 2004 policy occurs Wednesday along with the election of CFBF officers and directors of odd-numbered districts.

"This is the culmination of our grassroots policy development process that is unique among agricultural organizations and is critical to our work for the coming year," said Bill Pauli, CFBF president. "The policies adopted reflect the input of numerous committees and meaningful debate of the delegates to ensure we will meet the challenges ahead."

Members can get registration materials at their county Farm Bureau office or by calling CFBF at (800) 698-3276.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

Farm: Control of aphids and whitefly

Even with the pressure to produce high quality, non-sticky cotton, it is important to follow the basic tenets of IPM.

1. Visit and sample fields regularly.

2. Treat only when the population exceeds the action threshold.

3. Be realistic about yield potential and strive for the shortest season possible.

4. Manage the crop to achieve an early and successful termination. Take care with late irrigations; avoid situations that lead to re-growth before and after defoliation.

5. Use defoliants appropriate to your situation to minimize the length of time that lint is exposed to green leaves. If required, treat the fields to reduce adult whitefly or aphid populations.

6. Practice good insecticide resistance by rotating compounds with differing modes of action.

7. Visit the field between defoliation and harvest to ensure that aphid and whitefly are not present in damaging numbers.

8. Always read and follow labels.

(Sept. 28, 2003)

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