Year in Review

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January
Jan. 10 – Students attended classes at the new Lindsay High School for the first time.
Jan. 15 – Yesenia Martinez, 8, of Farmersville was found hanged in her home in the 800 block of E. Ash St. Her death was ruled an accident.
Jan. 25 – The Exeter City Council appointed Dale Sally, Jr. to fill the seat vacated by Councilmember Leon Ooley.
Jan. 29 – The Lindsay Chamber of Commerce held its 99th annual Awards Banquet. Winners were: Man of the Year, Kirk Ingoldsby; Woman of the Year, Rachel Hill; Volunteer of the Year, Sharon Dimmit; Youth of the Year, Angela Bolanos; Organization of the Year, Lindsay Cultural Arts Council; Employee of the Year, Jeff Munter; Business of the Year, Ag Irrigation Sales.
 
February
Feb. 5 – The Tulare County Historical Society rededicated the plaque marking the site of Tulare County’s first election in 1852.
Feb. 15 – Woodlake High School takes second place at the Tulare County Mock Trial competition.
Feb. 16 – Mart King celebrated her 40th year of working at Security Pacific Bank, then Bank of America at 100 E. Pine St. in Exeter.
Feb. 21 – Five-time Grammy winner and country legend Marty Stuart performed at Orange Blossom Junction.
Feb. 22 – The USC Mobile Dental Clinic, through a partnership with Kaweah Delta and Visalia Unified School District, offered free dental examinations to 78 students in Ivanhoe.
Feb. 26 – The Exeter Chamber of Commerce held its 88th annual Awards Banquet. Winners were: Man of the Year, Sepp Becker; Woman of the Year, Barbara Sally; Heritage Award, Leon Ooley and Vicky Maier; Beautification Award, Monet’s; Centennial Award, Dave and Phyllis Turner; Business of the Year, Orange Blossom Junction.
 
March
March 2 – The City of Exeter celebrated its 100th anniversary of incorporation with a parade, mural dedication, time capsule ceremony and Sons of the San Joaquin concert.
March 2 – Peter Reynoso of Farmersville filed a lawsuit against Amber Frey after the former mistress of Scott Peterson refused to comply with a book and screenplay contract the two entered in 2009.
March 5 – The Exeter-Farmersville Council of the Knights of Columbus held their 20th annual Community Services Recognition Dinner. Winners were: Exeter Police Department, Ashley Salinas; Exeter District Ambulance, Shane Myers; Farmersville Police Department, Officer Kenneth Jones; Farmersville Fire Department, Jason Maze; Woodlake Police Department, Officer Vince Diaz; California Highway Patrol, Officer Cedric Hughes; Tulare County Sheriff’s, Deputy Brandon Von Curen; Tulare County Fire Department, Claudia Whitendale.
March 6 – A Farmersville teen was killed when a house party turned into a street fight between rival gangs.
March 10 – The Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute was named one of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship honorees by the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation.
March 11 – A committee of organizations named Woodlake winners during the 49th annual Woodlake Community Awards. Winners were: Man of the Year, Alex Reynoso; Woman of the Year, Ana Hilaria Carretero; Man of the Decade, Gerald Whittaker; Lifetime Achievement, Olga Castillo Jiminez and Bob Pearcy; Youth of the Year, Vanessa Reynoso and Alberto Reynaga-Aguilara; Commitment to Youth, Brian Vaccaro; Recycler of the Year, Dryvit Systems, Inc.; Spirit Award, Bengal Football Coaches; Business of the Year, First Choice Foods.
March 15 – Exeter debuted its certified Farmers Market on E Street between Palm and Maple streets.
March 20 – Lindsay-licensed Kings Radio KZPO 103.3 FM lost its signal after a snow storm damaged its transmission tower on Blue Ridge. The radio was off the air until April 10.
 
April 2 – The Exeter Optimist Club handed out its food awards at the 4th annual Chocolate Romance. Winners were: Chocolatier of the Year, Chef George Quilty of Orange Blossom Junction; Restauranteur of the Year, Chef Hope Elvert of Monet’s; People’s Choice Dessert, Chef George Quilty; People’s Choice Entrée, Cassi Alves of Sassi Cassi/Hometown Emporium.
April 3 – Detectives with the Tulare County Reduce Auto Theft Team (T-RATT) arrested Juan Carlos Castellanos, 23, and a juvenile, 17, both of Teviston at an olive orchard in Lindsay in connection with the theft or more than 30 vehicles.
April 9 – McKenzi Blue was introduced as the 79th annual Orange Blossom Festival Queen.
April 9 – Friends of Residential Exeter Dogs (FRED-EX) held a grand opening for the Exeter Bark Park on F Street across from City Hall.
April 11 – Lindsay Unified School District board approved the Loma Vista Charter School to offer an alternative education program within the district.
April 14 – Elias Santillan, 18, of Tooleville was shot and killed on Morgan Avenue east of Spruce Road.
April 26 – Exeter Public Schools confirmed Dr. Laurie Goodman as Deputy Superintendent to succeed Diane Graziani-Orton who retired in June.
April 30 – The Exeter Union High School Alumni Association awarded Steve Maaske its Alumni of the Year.
 
May
May 1 – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Tulare County and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias united under the latter name. The unification created a countywide Boys & Girls Club with 10 sites serving more than 7,000 members.
May 5 – Family HealthCare Network broke ground on its new 10,000 square foot facility at the corner of Lakeview and Lemona in Woodlake.
May 7 – The steeple of the former Methodist Church in Farmersville held its first wedding in nearly a decade after it was relocated to city-owned property on Farmersville Boulevard. The historic church is the oldest building in Farmersville.
May 8 – Woodlake brothers Ian and Eshom Nelms shoot their latest movie “Lost On Purpose” at the Woodlake Airport.
May 11 – Bob McKellar, owner of McKellar Farms and Seven Sycamores Ranch in Ivanhoe, was named Agriculturalist of the Year by the Tulare County Farm Bureau.
May 11 – Sophia Acosta, 3, of Exeter was killed from blunt force trauma at her home in the 800 block of W. Visalia Road. On June 2, Exeter Police arrested Sophia’s mother’s boyfriend, 20-year-old Chris Cheary of Exeter, on charges of murder, torture, sodomy, assault and lewd and lascivious acts with a child. Cheary is expected to go to trial sometime this year.
May 16 – Bryan Wagner of Lemon Cove climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa with a prosthetic lower right leg. Wagner was part of a team of injured soldiers and NFL legends who scaled the world’s fourth tallest mountain to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. Wagner, a specialist in the 529th MP Company, lost part of his leg from an IED explosion on Dec. 17, 2007 in Iraq.
May 18 – Country singer Jason Michael Carroll put on an emotion and fun-filled show to kickoff KJUG’s free Summer Concert Series at Exeter City Park. He performed his hit single “Alyssa Lies,” about a child who is being abused, just a week after an Exeter girl was beaten to death.
May 21 – Sequoia Riverlands Trust, a non-profit conservation group, opened the Dry Creek and Homer Ranch preserves to the public for the first time.
May 22 – Reanimate, a Christian music festival, made its debut at Lions Stadium in Exeter.
May 31 – Radio DJ Dave Daniels does his last morning show on KJUG 106.7 FM. Daniels left to become the executive director of entertainment at Twilight Park in Woodlake. Daniels eventually left Twilight on Nov. 25 to return to the radio industry.
 
June
June 1 – Strathmore Auto Parts closed after 30 years in business at 19744 Orange Belt Dr, Strathmore.
June 10 – The final Steve Garvey Day at Steve Garvey Junior High School in Lindsay was canceled after Los Angeles Dodgers great was unable to attend. The school was renamed Reagan Elementary to begin the 2011-12 school year.
June 11 – The Farmersville Community Center held its first event with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sequoias’ Summer Night Lights gang prevention program.
June 11 – Former Waterman Industries President Don Appling died at the age of 80.
June 14 – Exeter Public Schools renamed the Exeter Union High School pool the Montgomery Aquatics Center in recognition of longtime coaching couple Bruce and Alana Montgomery.
June 14 – The Farmersville Community Center was closed after the City Engineer Mike Knopf claimed that the engineer and builder, Rising Sun Co., had not constructed the building to meet current earthquake codes. The building remains closed and work is scheduled to retrofit the building. The center is expected to reopen sometime early this year.
June 22 – Thousands endured triple digit heat to see rising country stars Steel Magnolia at Exeter City Park as part of the KJUG Summer Concert Series.
June 22 – Private investigators with Pipkin Detective Agency arrest Guadalupe Gonzalez, 55, of Lindsay for embezzling thousands of gallons of honey from Cary’s Honey Farms in Lindsay.
June 25 – World famous magician Charlotte Pendragon performed her illusions at the Lindsay Community Theater.
June 27 – Larry Lee retires after 42 years of photography in Tulare County. His studio at 120 N. E St. in Exeter was taken over by Staci Welch Photography.
 
July
July 5 – Blues guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, older brother to Blues Hall of Famer Stevie Ray Vaughan, played at Orange Blossom Junction.
July 6 – The Exeter Optimist Club brings back free Movies In the Park, showing animated movies at Exeter City Park, after taking it over from the Exeter Cultural Arts Council.
July 8 – Lance Walheim of Exeter watched as his brother, Mission Specialist Rex Walheim, launched into space on the Space Shuttle Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It marked the final launch of NASA’s space shuttle program.
July 16 – Country singer David Frizzell, brother of Lefty Frizzell, returned to his adopted hometown of Lindsay to perform at the Lindsay Community Theater.
July 20 – John Zapalac, Woodlake Police Chief, is elected as chairman of Family HealthCare Network’s board of directors.
July 21 – About 5,000 people gathered at Exeter City Park to see country heartthrob Joe Nichols perform as part of the KJUG Summer Concert Series.
July 25 – Caltrans increased the speed limit on Highway 198 through Lemon Cove from 40 to 45 mph.
July 26 – Tonyville residents successfully defeated a 10% annual sewer rate hike approved by the Board of Supervisors.
 
August
Aug. 1 – Bill Martin, owner of Martin’s Tire & Auto Service in Lindsay, celebrated more than 50 years in the tire industry in Tulare County.
Aug. 8 – Lindsay Unified School District dedicated its newest school Roosevelt School at 460 W. Hickory St. in Lindsay.
Aug. 8 – Sheriff’s detectives bust a multi-million marijuana drug cartel based in Farmersville arresting a total of eight people in Farmersville, Strathmore, Plainview and Goshen.
Aug. 17 – Mt. Whitney High School math teacher Scott Nelson was killed while trying to avoid a jogger while riding his bicycle down Rocky Hill.
Aug. 19 – A record 18 girls enter the Miss Exeter personal development scholarship contest and a chance to preside over Exeter’s Fall Festival.
Aug. 19 – More than 5,000 fans watched the inaugural concert at Twilight Park in Woodlake as country’s dynamic duo Montgomery Gentry performed on the world’s largest permanent outdoor stage.
Aug. 21 – Charles and Frances Kirkman of Exeter celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary.
Aug. 22 – Omar Carrillo, 11, became one of the youngest people to ever sit on the board of a public agency in Tulare County history when he was installed as an Honorary Member of the Farmersville City Council.
Aug. 22 – Foothill Growers Association, a medical marijuana collective, moved to 579 N. Spruce Road in Exeter from Ivanhoe after a judge ruled that its former location was zoned for agricultural use, which does not include medical marijuana growing.
Aug. 23 – The Exeter City Council approved starting a K-9 program through the Exeter Police Department.
Aug. 23 – The Exeter Union School District approved converting Rocky Hill (grades 3-5) and Lincoln (K-2) elementary schools to grades K-5 beginning in the 2012-13 school year.
Aug. 30 – Miguel’s Bakery opened offering whole wheat, soy-based, non-fat traditional Mexican pastries at 722 Visalia Road in Farmersville.
 
September
Sept. 1 – Heidi Newfield performed in Exeter City Park capping off one of KJUG’s most successful free Summer Concert Series.
Sept. 2 – Lindsay Orange Blossom Festival Parade matron Helen Easton died at the age of 82.
Sept. 5 – Former Lindsay Mayor and VP of Lindsay Ripe Olive Co. Walt Kimball died at the age of 92.
Sept. 6 – Lindsay Wellness Center opened its doors to regular hours for the first time. It’s first tenant, PRO-PT, also opened its doors in Lindsay for the first time that day.
Sept. 9 – Principal Loretta Bryant threw a party for Jefferson Elementary students to celebrate the school’s 39-point increase on its API score.
Sept 11 – Exeter, Farmersville hold memorial ceremonies on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Sept. 13 – Jesse Peterson of Farmersville celebrated his 103rd birthday at the Farmersville Senior Center.
Sept. 15 – Country duo Big ‘n’ Rich, along with Gretchen Wilson, performed in front of 7,000 people at Twilight Park in Woodlake.
Sept. 16 – Church of God of Exeter celebrated its centennial.
Sept. 18 – Kimberly Rowley of Exeter is awarded the Greatest Gardner for the 2011 Tulare County Fair after taking home trophies for 23 entries.
Sept. 23 – Nearly 500 lightning strikes and little to no rain created a perfect storm for wildlfires, burning 400 acres near Woodlake and Exeter.
Sept. 23 – The Tulare County Association of Governments awarded the City of Farmersville with its Innovation Award for using its Geographic Information System database to identify and track road repairs and transportation projects within the city.
Sept. 23 – Joe Mello, 49, of Woodlake was killed near Ivanhoe after a collision with a pickup ejected him from his motorcycle.
Sept. 24 – Felipi Martinez, 34, of Woodlake was killed in the 300 block of S.Palm St., possibly the result of a bar fight that spilled into the streets. No one was arrested.
Sept. 26 – The Woodlake City Council presented Clerk Ruth Gonzalez with the Key to the City at her last meeting before retiring after 38 years with the City.
Sept. 29 – Sheriff’s deputies find Sonny Gutierrez, 17, of Lindsay dead from gunshot wounds at the Olive Cemetery on S. Foothill Ave. in Lindsay.
 
October
Oct. 2 – The Farmersville Honorable Knights Chess Team finished fourth at the National Chess Competition in Santa Clara, Calif.
Oct. 3 – Kayla Clark was crowned Miss Exeter of the 98th annual Exeter Fall Festival.
Oct. 3 – The Woodlake Fire and Police departments organize a charity volleyball game against the WHS volleyball team to raise money for Catherin Macias, 7, of Woodlake who had a rare condition where a tumor was growing at the base of her brain stem. Catherin’s condition is improving each day.
Oct. 9 – Strathmore Town & Country Club celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Oct. 10 – Perko’s Café closes in Exeter. It is the third themed franchise owned by Fresno-based Dynaco to close in the same location.
Oct. 12 – Enrique Dominguez of Los Angeles was shot and killed by a suspect attempting to steal marijuana from the home at which he was visiting in the 20100 block of Road 244 in Strathmore. No arrests have been made.
Oct. 13 – Quinten A. Luallen of Lindsay, who sat on the Lindmore Irrigation District board for more than 50 years, died at the age of 92.
Oct. 17 – Farmersville Police find a dead newborn in a trash can in the 700 block of N. Shasta St. A woman police believe to be the infant’s mother was not arrested. Police are awaiting toxicology results from the Crime Lab in Sacramento.
Oct. 21 – EUHS Ag Teacher Dan Crookham was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree during the FFA’s 84th annual National Convention and Expo.
Oct. 22 – A fire at the Mt. Whitney Apartments displaces 50 senior citizens. Quick work by Lindsay Public Safety Officers evacuated everyone safely out of the building. The seniors were housed at the McDermont Field House and then the Lindsay Senior Center before being allowed back into their apartments.
Oct. 24 – Farmersville City Council approved Atlas Walnuts plans to move its processing facility from Visalia to 45 acres south of Noble Avenue in Farmersville.
Oct. 25 – Board of Supervisors swear-in Joe Garcia as the new chief of the Tulare County Fire Department. The 37-year veteran of California fire service replaces Steve Sunderland as chief over every fire station in the foothill communities with the exception of the Woodlake Fire District and Lindsay Department of Public Safety.
Oct. 30 – Eric Reyes, 25, of Lindsay was shot and killed in the 900 block of East Samoa St. in Lindsay. No arrests have been made.
Oct. 30 – Local handyman Jose Armando Avilez, 53, was killed during a fire at his home in the 200 block of Manzanillo Dr. in Woodlake.
 
November
Nov. 4 – Former Deputy Superintendent Diane Graziani-Orton was awarded the Pupil Personnel Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators.
Nov. 4 – Country music legend Mark Chestnut performed at Orange Blossom Junction in Exeter.
Nov. 8 – Woodlake area voters passed Measure X with more than 80% of the vote. The measure unified the elementary and high school districts and formed a new unified board. The separate school boards will govern their respective districts until July 1, 2012 when the newly elected unified board will take over.
Nov. 8 – Don Mason and Al Vanderslice were elected to their fourth term as trustees of the Farmersville Unified School Board.
Nov. 10 – About 900 EUHS students were treated to a day at Adventure Park in Visalia after the school received the highest API score of any comprehensive high school in Tulare County. The trip was funded through donations from the community.
Nov. 11 – The U.S. Army National Guard dedicated the Visalia Armory in Memory of Spc. Daniel Unger of Exeter. It is the first California armory to be renamed after a soldier. Unger was killed protecting Iraqi civilians on May 25, 2004 near Baghdad.
Nov. 11 – More than 300 people stood in the rain to watch EUHS Classes of the 1960s dedicate a Battlefield Cross bronze monument to eight classmates who were killed in the Vietnam War. The monument is located at Joyner Park in Exeter.
Nov. 15 – Exeter Police Officers found a homemade bottle bomb in an elderly couple’s backyard in the 1400 block of West Willow St. The Regional Bomb Squad was called and detonated the bomb with a remote robot and a water cannon. Police do not think the couple was a target. No one was injured.
Nov. 15 – A gas leak near Ivanhoe forced police and fire to evacuate 80 homes and an elementary school and shut down part of Highway 216 for three hours. No one was injured.
Nov. 17 – Manual Jiminez of Woodlake was awarded the 2011 Peace Prize from the California Wellness Center for his work in preventing violence and promoting peace by working with youth at the Bravo Lake Botanical Gardens in Woodlake.
Nov. 19 – LHS junior Nestor Varela and LHS graduate Dulce Dias were named Youth of the Year by the Tulare-Kings Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Nov. 26 – Francisco Garza, 18, of Lindsay was shot several times in the 400 block of N. Gale Hill Ave. He survived and is recovering from his injuries. An arrest was made but no charges have been filed.
Nov. 28 – Jim Williams stepped down from the Lindsay Unified School Board after 13 years as a member of the board. Williams’ tenure was marked by two bond measures, a new elementary and high school, realignment to K-8 schools, Migrant Ed, Dual Immersion and the new performance based system.
Nov. 28 – The Exeter Police Department makes the biggest marijuana bust in its history after arresting a man in the 1100 block of Chestnut St. for possessing 119 pounds of processed marijuana.
 
December
Dec. 1 – EUHS graduate Chris Lee performs during opening night of the Exeter Downtown Open House after being featured in the article “California Country” in the Nashville Music Guide.
Dec. 5 – Bishop Eric Meneese, head of the Diocese of the San Joaquin of the Anglican Church, visited Woodlake for the first time to install Father Jim Rouse as rector of St. Clement Church.
Dec. 7 – Tulare County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Final Environmental Impact Report of the county’s General Plan Update 2030. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the document sometime this year.
Dec. 7 – Exeter realtor Tricia Kirksey, owner/broker of Tricia Kirskey Real Estate, was named Realtor of the Year by the Tulare County Association of Realtors.
Dec. 8 – The Exeter Woman’s Club held its first ever Holiday Home Tour after moving the event from the spring with great success.
Dec. 8 – Proponents of the effort to recall all five Lindsay City Councilmembers were notified that their Recall Petition met state guidelines and that they could now begin collecting signatures to place the recall on the ballot.
Dec. 9 – EUHS students were treated to an on-campus concert by rising country star Hunger Hayes courtesy of KJUG 106.7 FM as a reward for FFA’s donation of 3,000 cans of food to the Exeter Food Closet.
Dec. 12 – 600 people gathered in Tonyville to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Catholic ceremony the miracle of the image of the Virgin Mary’s appearance in Mexico City in 1531.
Dec. 12 – Superintendent Janet Kliegl announced she would retire on Aug. 1, 2012 after 12 years as head of the Lindsay Unified School District and nearly 40 years in education.
Dec. 12 – A home in the 1000 block of West Maple St. burned down after serving as home to the Evrett family for three generations.
Dec. 15 – District 1Supervisor Allen Ishida helped deliver 100 computers donated by the Latino Rotary and Tulare County to school-nominated children who did not have access to one at home.
Dec. 20 – Twilight Park held its first Sleigh Ride to Twilight event with free hot drinks, cookies, toys and Santa Claus.