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As 2017 draws to a close, both Kingsburg and Selma look back on a year of welcoming new business to town, citizens concerned over crime concerns, the keeping of cultural traditions and the beginnings of new ones. Here’s a review of events from 2017.

January

Kmart closes

KINGSBURG – The announcement of Kmart’s closure was met with disappointment by local economic leaders and shoppers alike. The local store was among 100 nationwide that shuttered their doors. The building has since been purchased by State Foods Supermarket for $2.8 million. “The location makes perfect sense because it’s central to all our other locations,” State Foods CEO Mufid Mike Alamsi said.

Selma residents build Free Libraries

SELMA – Forty Selma residents gathered Jan. 21 to build 20 Little Free Libraries at Selma Unified’s first-ever library build day at the local Home Depot. The Little Libraries resemble small houses and will be stocked with free books. The libraries were later installed throughout the community. SUSD Library Coordinator Maria Petropulos said the effort will build literacy in town. “It gives me so much joy to see kids and parents and grandparents and Selma Unified employees all coming together to build these,” she said.

Selma High stages ‘A Spare Me’

SELMA – Selma High’s drama department’s “A Spare Me” play explored the concept of cloning and identity in its January production. English teacher/director Brynn Saponara said the modern drama depicted a utopian society where people’s personalities were being uploaded and backed up to create new people. “It’s the adult society deciding to ‘spare’ the children that they lose so they always have them,” she said.

Safe Food Alliance to build in Business Park

KINGSBURG – Safe Food Alliance broke ground Jan. 25 in the Kingsburg Business Park. Safe Food Alliance supports the food manufacturing industry through training, auditing, food lab testing and research. The firm’s new 20,000-square-foot lab will triple the size of their operations. Their relocation is projected to bring 30 full-time jobs to town and generate $10 million in revenue.

Olson named Citizen of the Year

KINGSBURG – Maxine Olson was named as the 2017 Citizen of the Year at the annual Chamber of Commerce Dinner and Awards Banquet in January. Corsaro's Family Pizza was named as the Business of the Year, Jacquelyn Kesting as Junior Citizen of the Year, Terri Wilson as Elementary Educator of the Year and Kingsburg High’s Mike Schofield as High School Educator of the Year. The Public Safety Award was awarded to Police Records Supervisor Corina Padilla. Lincoln Elementary School was named Recycler of the Year.

February

Kingsburg High stages ‘Mary Poppins’

KINGSBURG – Kingsburg High’s drama department showcased local talent through its February production of “Mary Poppins.” The show is known for its high-spirited dance numbers and whimsical songs, but also conveys an important message for families, the young actors said. “Mary Poppins” combines the 1964 Disney film and books by P.L. Travers to tell the story of a magical nanny that enters the lives of the Banks family.

Kings River flo