Monday, February 21, 2011

Slick Rock: A Playground That Truly Rocks

As the weather warms up, there are many great playgrounds to explore in Tulare County. One of the greats is Slick Rock.

Now is the perfect time to explore Slick Rock, one of the many recreation areas monitored by the U.S. Army Corps of engineers. Slick Rock is where the forceful Kaweah River makes a final stop before filtering into Lake Kaweah.

It's not hard to understand why it has long been a favorite playground of Tulare County residents. Even the county's earliest residents - the Yokut Indians, Wukchumne, and Kaweah people - used Slick Rock as a natural water park.

Thankfully, since we are still rounding out winter, it's way too cold to go for a swim, so the area isn't overcrowded like it can be in the summer. Chances are you'll have your pick of the parking lot, and you'll be left alone to explore, fish, take photos or meditate to the sound of the rapids.

But if you truly want to be left alone, don't forget to pay the $4 day-use fee to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The payment box can be hard to spot, so look for it at the top of the parking lot. You have the option of purchasing an annual pass for $30, which I highly recommend. It will definitely come in handy as you explore the rest of Tulare County's great playgrounds.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Nevada to Exeter Connection

People don't often think of Nevada and Exeter in the same sentence. That may be because there aren't many similarities between them. Nevada is often thought of as the land of casinos and powder-filled ski slopes, while Exeter is the city of murals often described as charming and quaint.

But we have two men to thank - Kenny Guinn and Robert List - for establishing the Nevada to Exeter connection. Remarkably, both men graduated from Exeter Union High School and went on to serve the great state of Nevada as governor. This very unusual and coincidental career path was recently called "mind-boggling" in a Sept. 12 article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

List served as governor of Nevada from 1979 to 1983, while Guinn served as governor from 1999 to 2007. Guinn, who passed away in July at the age of 73, was even named one of the nation's best governors by Time Magazine.

Both men were great examples of the hard working people of Tulare County. Not only did they work hard, they made people want to know more about our great county. They were two of Tulare County the Greats.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ralph Moore and His Roses

It's been almost a year since we said goodbye to this Tulare County great - Ralph S. Moore, the "Father of the Modern Miniature Rose." So, it's only fitting that we should take a minute of our day to thank Ralph Moore for the great work he did in Tulare County. Not only did his work earn us national recognition, it still inspires us today.

A native of Visalia, Ralph Moore set up shop back in 1937, at Sequoia Nursery at Noble Avenue near Lovers Lane. The nursery closed several years ago, and only remnants of it are around today, but it was once the place where Ralph spent more than 70 years creating over 500 varieties of roses.

He won many awards for his work. So many, in fact, it's hard to name them all. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame time and time again. He won numerous gold medals, nine of the first 10 Awards of Excellence ever given out by the American Rose Society and his work brought every serious rose person in the world to Visalia.

All of his life, Ralph Moore worked to create the perfect rose. And after every beautiful accomplishment, he would strive to create something better. It was amazing to be in the presence of someone who worked so selflessly and with such determination. He was so determined that before he passed, Ralph Moore had the foresight to ask that his work continue. That's exactly what's happening today at Texas A&M University. The university's horticultural sciences department has Moore's plants, including 80 rose patents, and the department has added miniature roses to its breeding program.

Ralph S. Moore was truly a Tulare County the Great.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Visalia Rescue Mission: A Tulare County Lifeline

Sunday is a chance for Tulare County the Great to take a look at one of the many great organizations in Tulare County. The Visalia Rescue Mission is one of them.

Established in 1981, Visalia Rescue Mission helps those who are homeless in Tulare County. It also lends a hand to those who are trying to get back on their feet after being in jail, or those who need help getting past addictions.
More than 200 volunteers a week - many from Tulare County - help Visalia Rescue Mission get the job done.

Like many similar organizations, Visalia Rescue Mission is stretching to serve those who need help in 2010. This year, the organization's meals are up 13 percent over last year. That's saying a lot if you look at its 2009 stats. In that time, Visalia Rescue Mission served more than 180,000 meals and provided more bed nights to more people than in its 29-year history.

Visalia Rescue Mission is just one of the many organizations that make Tulare County the Great. If you need more information on Visalia Rescue Mission, please visit the organization's web site:

Up tomorrow on Tulare County the Great: find out how Tulare County is getting healthier!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

L is for Lindcove and Lindcove is for Citrus

L is for Lindcove, and what some people may not know is that Lindcove, an unincorporated area of Tulare County, is home to the world famous Lindcove Research and Extension Center. You may have passed it on your way to Kaweah Lake, Three Rivers or Sequoia-Kings Canyon National parks.

This little gem of a center is committed to delivering the tastiest, most flavorful, citrus to the world. So how does it work?

The center was established in 1959 by citrus growers in the San Joaquin Valley and the University of California Riverside. Its 125 acres serves as the perfect place to conduct research to find out what type of citrus will make us smile when we go to the fruit stand or the produce aisle with a craving.

Why Lindcove? Its soils and the climate are representative of the 190,000 acres of citrus growing in our great Central Valley. That's why scientists love it. They can develop new varieties of citrus, figure out better growing practices and figure out how to keep the pests away from our beloved citrus.

There are grower tastings there all the time, in fact one this month offers growers tastings of over 15 varieties of Satsumas, but every December they also do a public tasting. I strongly encourage you to attend. It's set for Dec. 11 this year and that will be here before we know it, trust me.

The Lindcove Research and Extension Center is another Tulare County the Great. For more info on it, visit

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Lisa Project opens Friday

The Lisa Project has landed in Tulare County.

It's doors will open on Friday, in an effort to allow people to see, hear, and experience what life is like for children who are abused. Last year in Tulare County there were 19,786 reports of suspected child abuse. Hopefully after everyone has had a chance to tour this FREE exhibit, that number will decrease dramatically. That's the reason the Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council, one of the great organizations of Tulare County, has brought The Lisa Project to us. Remember, if you suspect child abuse, you can report it 24-hours a day by calling (800) 331-1585.

The Lisa Project, located in the parking lot at Acequia Avenue and Court Street, is open throughout the month of October. Hours are: 5-9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information on The Lisa Project, visit or call 735-0456.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

There's A Little Bit of Bob in All of Us

Tulare County the Great will use Thursdays as a time to celebrate the great people of Tulare County - our celebrities you might say. One of the biggest names in Tulare County, and one of the most revered, is that of Bob Mathias.

Whether you've grown up here, or you're a transplant, you should know his name. He was the Bob of Tulare County.

Born in Tulare in 1930, Bob Mathias is a perfect example of the hard-working and talented people of Tulare County. His drive and determination captured the hearts of this country in 1948, when at 17, he became the youngest person ever to win the Olympic decathlon. He took home the gold again four years later and set an Olympic and world record.

But he was more than an athlete. He served our country in the military, he served our country as a politician (four terms in Congress), and he even appeared on the big screen. He died in 2006, at the age of 75.

Bob Mathias is just one of the many people that have made Tulare County the Great.

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