Appliance Repair in Visalia, CA

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Whatever appliance repair issue you're stressed over, there's no problem too big or small for our team to handle. At Appliance Service Plus, we offer a total package of quality service, fair prices, friendly customer service, and effective fixes. Unlike some appliance companies in Visalia, our technicians are trained rigorously and undergo extensive background checks. We work with all major appliances and are capable of GE appliance repair, Maytag appliance repair, Frigidaire appliance repair, and more.

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Latest News in Visalia, CA

Potentially toxic algal mats discovered at Kaweah River

Potentially toxic algal mats were discovered at Kaweah River, according to state and local health officials.Recently, state officials notified the Tulare County Environmental Health Division that an algae bloom was spotted at Three Rivers' Skyline Pond, and the site was tested. Algal mats were also discovered in the Slick Rock area, west of Dinely Bridge.Following the discovery, Three Rivers Community Service District posted “Toxic Algae Alert” signs at recreational areas along the river.These ...

Potentially toxic algal mats were discovered at Kaweah River, according to state and local health officials.

Recently, state officials notified the Tulare County Environmental Health Division that an algae bloom was spotted at Three Rivers' Skyline Pond, and the site was tested. Algal mats were also discovered in the Slick Rock area, west of Dinely Bridge.

Following the discovery, Three Rivers Community Service District posted “Toxic Algae Alert” signs at recreational areas along the river.

These blooms can produce toxins that make people and animals sick, according to Centers for Disease Control. People, dogs and horses frequent the area.

"Because children and dogs are most susceptible to serious health impacts, it is recommended they avoid touching any suspicious-looking algal material found in the water or along riverbanks," health officials stated in a press release.

Water board staff will conduct more tests in these areas and post the results on the California HAB Reports Web Map. Regular updates will be provided to the public postings are removed on the map.

In the meantime, boaters and swimmers are asked to "to be alert" when they enter the water.

Harmful algal blooms are caused by algal or cyanobacteria that grow floating in the water. Additionally, some algae or cyanobacteria grow attached to the bottom surface of waterways and can form algal mats.

There are health risks associated with the toxins produced by algal organisms, health officials said. The potentially toxic algal mats can be found either attached to the bottom, floating in the water, or stranded on the riverbank.

Algal mats ranges from bright to dull-green, orange, brown, and maroon material.

If you see algal mats, avoid touching or swallowing any algal mat material in the water or on the riverbanks. Dogs shouldn't drink water from the rivers. If your dog is exposed, wash them immediately, health officials said.

People exposed to cyanotoxins may experience the following symptoms:

Visalia Rotary Community Foundation announces scholarship winners

The Visalia Rotary Community Foundation (VRCF) 2022-23 scholarship winners showcase the area’s best and brightest, including students who are passionate about music, medicine and engineering. Student winners came from all four of Visalia’s public high schools, demonstrating that talent abounds all over the city.VRCF offers four kinds of scholarships, each funded by a major donor from a local Rotary club. These include The Jane and Bill Nash Scholarship (one year, for a Redwood High School graduate); The Dwelle Four-Year Sc...

The Visalia Rotary Community Foundation (VRCF) 2022-23 scholarship winners showcase the area’s best and brightest, including students who are passionate about music, medicine and engineering. Student winners came from all four of Visalia’s public high schools, demonstrating that talent abounds all over the city.

VRCF offers four kinds of scholarships, each funded by a major donor from a local Rotary club. These include The Jane and Bill Nash Scholarship (one year, for a Redwood High School graduate); The Dwelle Four-Year Scholarship (also for a Redwood grad, for four years of college); The Provident Salierno Family Foundation Music Scholarship (a one-time gift for students interested in a music career); and The Richard B. “Dick” Watson STEM Scholarship (two, one-time scholarships for students pursuing a major in science, technology, engineering or math).

Scholarship winners this year are:

McKenna Cook, a Redwood graduate, received both the Nash and Dwelle scholarships, for $4,000 and $20,000 respectively. Cook had a weighted GPA of 4.20, and lettered in soccer three years at Redwood. She plans to attend San Diego State University majoring in kinesiology with a career goal of becoming a physical therapist.

Sylvie Gonzalez (Golden West) and Sean Nickell (Redwood) both received STEM scholarships for $2,000. Gonzalez will be the first person in her immediate family to attend college. Her ultimate goal is to study medicine and become a doctor to honor her late uncle, who was a pediatrician. Nickell graduated from Redwood’s Linked Learning Engineering Academy with a weighted GPA of 4.07. His goal is to major in Civil Engineering and become a civil engineer.

Five students received $1,000 Salierno music scholarships. Jordana Chano (Golden West) graduated from Golden West with distinction. She is passionate about music and plans to make it a primary focus of his college experience.

Yhency Labasan (Mt. Whitney) graduated from Mt. Whitney with a weighted GPA of 3.65. He plans to major in Music and his ultimate goal is to becoming a music producer.

Benjamin Moreno (El Diamante) with a weighted GPA of 3.57. He plans to attend CSU Los Angeles and major in music with the ultimate goal of becoming a music producer.

Julia Sample (Mt. Whitney) plans to attend a performing arts academy, majoring in theater, and master the craft of acting to be able to perform in plays and movies.

Kyla Seitz (Redwood) finished with a weighted GPA of 4.15. She plans to attend UCLA to major in music and hopes to become a band director or symphonic percussionist.

VCRF was established in 1992 and has been giving out scholarships since 2000. Its Board of Directors is comprised of members of the five Rotary clubs in Visalia: Visalia Rotary Club, County Center Rotary, Breakfast Rotary, and Sunset Rotary. To learn more about the VCRF scholarship program, visit https://www.visaliarcfoundation.org/available-scholarships-and-applications.

Walmart to open first clinic in California at its Visalia store

Walmart on Demaree St. near Goshen Ave. will debut the state’s first Walmart Health clinic offering primary care, labs, X-rays and mental health servicesVISALIA – A Visalia Walmart is taking the trend of clinics opening in retail spaces to a new level by being the first in California to offer a clinic at one of its stores.Walmart has been issued a building permit from the city of Visalia to renovate its existing store on Demaree Street near Goshen Avenue to include what could be California’s f...

Walmart on Demaree St. near Goshen Ave. will debut the state’s first Walmart Health clinic offering primary care, labs, X-rays and mental health services

VISALIA – A Visalia Walmart is taking the trend of clinics opening in retail spaces to a new level by being the first in California to offer a clinic at one of its stores.

Walmart has been issued a building permit from the city of Visalia to renovate its existing store on Demaree Street near Goshen Avenue to include what could be California’s first “Walmart Health” medical clinic. A manager at the store confirmed the plan saying the clinic would offer similar services to those currently operating at 24 sites in southern states. Walmart opened five new health centers in Florida in April. The manager said the new Visalia clinic could open early next year. He was not sure if the roll out may include other Tulare County Walmart locations.

Following the model seen at other Walmart Health facilities, the Visalia clinic is expected to offer primary medical services, urgent care, labs, X-ray services, dental, hearing, eye care and behavioral health services. Walmart Health is typically located next to a store with a separate entrance for customers.

Walmart Health centers are operated by qualified medical professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, behavioral health providers and optometrists, according to its WalmartHealth.com. Onsite “care hosts” and community health workers will help customers navigate their visit, understand resources and be a familiar presence for regular visits. Working in partnership with local organizations, the health center will offer specialized community health resources, online education and in-center workshops to educate the community about preventive health and wellness.

On its website, Walmart states it is “committed to making healthcare more affordable and accessible for customers in the communities we serve. To expand on this commitment, we launched Walmart Health to provide affordable, transparent pricing for key health center services for local customers, regardless of insurance status.”

The Visalia clinic location could be the first in the state as the mega retailer looks to gain a foothold in the lucrative California medical marketplace. Tulare County, with its large low income population, is already targeted by competing clinic systems, pharmacies, health plans and hospitals. Unlike competitors, Walmart already has a cadre of dedicated shoppers who might try this new convenient service while shopping. Similar to its retail message, Walmart emphasizes the affordability of its new service.

Another report last year suggested Walmart plans to roll out “4,000 primary care ‘supercenters’ in stores by 2029 that will include clinical laboratory testing services.” The news report went on to say “Clinical laboratories already have growing competition in the healthcare marketplace from pharmacy chains CVS (NYSE:CVS), Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA), and Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) which have installed in-store healthcare clinics in their retail locations—many of which offer limited, but common, medical laboratory services—as well as from existing Walmart Health locations.”

Walmart opened its first in-store health center in Dallas, Ga. in September 2019. Walmart Health now has 24 locations in Georgia, Arkansas, Florida and Illinois. In 2021, Walmart Health partnered with telehealth company Epic, expanding into virtual services. Epic is the most widely-used and comprehensive health records system in the U.S., used by more than 2,000 hospitals and 45,000 clinics, including most U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked hospitals and medical schools. Its patient portal boasts “enhancing communication, personalization and information sharing amongst health care professionals and patients.”

Patients will be able to make an appointment, input insurance information and confirm eligibility at walmarthealth.com.

John Lindt is the publisher of Sierra2theSea.net, an online newspaper covering California’s Central Valley and Central Coast.

Great Wolf Lodge Coming Near Visalia?

A resort hotel could be coming to Tulare County.Great Wolf Lodge — which opened a location in Manteca last year — could open in 2024 in the 127-acre Sequoia Gateway Center, at Caldwell Avenue and Highway 99, west of Visalia.The Tulare County Planning Commission gave preliminary approvals for the project on Jan. 12.Operating two resorts in California and 19 nationwide, Great Wolf Lodge focuses on family adventure. The facility is known for its waterslide park, its “MagiQuest” — a kid-friendly...

A resort hotel could be coming to Tulare County.

Great Wolf Lodge — which opened a location in Manteca last year — could open in 2024 in the 127-acre Sequoia Gateway Center, at Caldwell Avenue and Highway 99, west of Visalia.

The Tulare County Planning Commission gave preliminary approvals for the project on Jan. 12.

Operating two resorts in California and 19 nationwide, Great Wolf Lodge focuses on family adventure. The facility is known for its waterslide park, its “MagiQuest” — a kid-friendly scavenger hunt-type game — indoor rope climbing, and dining options.

“We are currently evaluating the prospect of developing one of our signature indoor water park resorts for the Central California region. We’re in early stage discussions with officials about a promising location in Tulare County, and appreciate that both the county and city of Visalia support this endeavor. We look forward to continuing our discussions with officials as we further evaluate this opportunity,” GWL spokesman Jason Lasecki told GV Wire.

Stephen Peck, the Sequoia Gateway Center project manager, said the center has 35 acres waiting for Great Wolf Lodge.

“We’re designing the balance of the project around their use. I can’t say that we’re in contract or when they will close, but we’ve been working to bring them to the community. But I think they’re still in some phase of the due diligence. But we are going through the entitlements necessary to accommodate them on the site,” Peck said.

Sequoia Gateway Center will also feature retail and medical facilities. Valley Children’s Hospital plans to build a six-acre regional pediatric care center there.

Great Wolf Lodge could open around 2024 or 2025.

County planning documents indicate the new GWL could be 700 rooms. The Manteca resort is about 500.

Even though GWL offers an all-inclusive resort — where guests don’t have to leave the hotel — Peck expects nearby hotels and restaurants to benefit.

“There are a lot of spillover benefits. It’s a big facility. If you stay at one of these facilities for two or three days, you also go in town and have a meal,” Peck said. “We looked at the market studies for Manteca, and there’s about a 15% bump in occupancies in other hotels. Just because people stay another day.”

For example, Peck said mom and dad can drop leave the kids at GWL while embarking on a night out on the town.

Great Wolf Lodge operates two California resorts— in Orange County near Disneyland and in Manteca, which opened in 2021.

When GV Wire reviewed the Manteca location, the company said another California location was possible.

“About the middle of the year, Great Wolf kind of made themselves known to a bunch of Valley communities. We were able to winnow down to the last one or two and we’ve been working with them for four or five months now,” Peck said.

Peck said GWL was also considering Bakersfield and Lancaster.

“Partly because of our readiness and because of the more centralized location, I think they like the Visalia-Tulare County market.”

Kaweah Health plans to build new $500M, 240-bed wing; bond measure for taxpayers likely

Kaweah Health leaders are moving forward with plans to replace the Visalia hospital's aging Mineral King Wing with a nine-story, $500 million building.The new wing would add 240 rooms with more than double the space of the current wing, which was built in 1969. The pie-shaped structure was considered cutting edge at the time but is cramped by modern standards and loathed by patients as a result, CEO Gary Herbst said.The new tower would also include a pharmacy, cafeteria and basement. It beat out other proposals &...

Kaweah Health leaders are moving forward with plans to replace the Visalia hospital's aging Mineral King Wing with a nine-story, $500 million building.

The new wing would add 240 rooms with more than double the space of the current wing, which was built in 1969. The pie-shaped structure was considered cutting edge at the time but is cramped by modern standards and loathed by patients as a result, CEO Gary Herbst said.

The new tower would also include a pharmacy, cafeteria and basement. It beat out other proposals — including one that would've built two, shorter towers — because its projected cost is about $150 million cheaper than the alternatives.

"Aesthetically, I prefer (two towers), but it's hard to argue with a $150 million savings ... The public was loud and clear about preferring a single, cheaper tower," said David Francis, Kaweah Delta Health Care District Board president. The board agreed to move forward with planning the new wing, but no construction has been approved.

"This is not a shovel-ready project," Herbst said of the proposed expansion that would sit west of the Acequia Wing, near West Street.

The clock is ticking, however, because of a state law requiring California hospitals built before 1973 to meet modern earthquake safety standards.

The deadline set by the law is 2030 though that may change as hospitals across California reckon with the financial fallout of the coronavirus, which has gutted Kaweah Health's reserves despite multiple rounds of stimulus money.

For the first time in recent history, more than half of the state's hospitals are operating in the red, according to a study published this week by financial consulting firm Kaufman Hall.

California hospitals have collectively lost more than $20 billion since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the study found. The loss has been particularly acute in the San Joaquin Valley, with Tulare County reporting among the highest rates of Medi-Cal enrollment in the state, Herbst added.

"The findings of this study underscore the importance of ensuring legislators and policymakers understand that while COVID-19 cases are waning, the crushing effects on our health care delivery system will be with us for years if not decades," The California Hospital Association, of which Kaweah is a member, said in a Tuesday tweet.

The financial strain on the hospital will limit its ability to finance the new construction internally. A tax measure to help pay for the tower's construction is inevitable, Herbst and Francis said.

The hospital leaders said they hope to wait a few years, however, before asking the public for money in the form of a general obligation bond — giving both the hospital and homeowners time to recover from the pandemic's economic consequences.

"I don't think I can go to the community and ask them to support the entire $500 million because our community has also been hit really hard, and people are hurting right now," Herbst said. "This isn't the time to go out with a big tax measure, and so we've been very mindful of that."

Francis and Herbst said they learned their lessons from Measure H — a failed 2016 bond measure that asked the public to help pay for the hospital's earthquake-safe expansion. The proposal was met with criticism that the bond's language was unclear and that the hospital didn't include the public in its plans ahead of the vote.

The measure led to multiple board members being ousted during the same election year.

"We definitely learned a lesson from that (Measure H's failure). This is a major do-over for us in many respects," Herbst said, adding that the hospital has engaged public and patient stakeholder groups in the years since.

Any future bond amount is unclear at this time, he said. The hospital is working with the architects to lower building costs and determine what's feasible. Herbst anticipates that the proposed bond might reach voters in November 2024.

That means the construction timeline is also unclear. Francis said that even if a bond were approved today, the wing likely wouldn't be open and serving patients until 2030.

Herbst noted that the hospital has only issued two voter-approved bonds in its 60-year history, one at the hospital's inception in the late 1960s and the second in 2003 to finance the construction of the Acequia Wing — home to the NICU, mother-baby unit and heart center.

Rising inflation and construction costs mean the hospital feels pressure to build the wing "as soon as we can," Herbst said.

"A new facility is what’s best for our patients, staff, and community — and will serve us well for generations to come," he said.

Joshua Yeager is a reporter with the Visalia Times-Delta and a Report for America corps member. He covers Tulare County news deserts with a focus on the environment and local governments.

Follow him on Twitter @VTD_Joshy. Get alerts and keep up on all things Tulare County for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today.

Amid worsening California drought, Visalia restricts water use. Here's when you can water

The city of Visalia will uphold restrictions on residential and commercial watering as the San Joaquin Valley contends with a worsening drought and plummeting water table.On Monday, the Visalia City Council reauthorized Stage 2 of the city's Water Conservation Ordinance. That means residents may only run sprinkler system...

The city of Visalia will uphold restrictions on residential and commercial watering as the San Joaquin Valley contends with a worsening drought and plummeting water table.

On Monday, the Visalia City Council reauthorized Stage 2 of the city's Water Conservation Ordinance. That means residents may only run sprinkler systems twice weekly from March through November.

The city first adopted the Stage 2 restrictions in March 2021. Dry conditions have only amplified statewide since, with the Department of Water Resources announcing Friday that the Sierra Nevada snowpack — which provides water to roughly a third of California's communities and farms — had measured its lowest water content since the end of the last drought in 2015.

Despite the dire water picture, city leaders and Cal Water officials — the utility that serves most of Visalia's 140,000 residents — said people have done a good job of conserving water to date. Cal Water stressed, however, that customers should conserve as much as they can on a voluntary basis as the spring and scorching hot summer months approach.

Across California:Newsom orders tighter water rules that could ban some from watering grass

Visalia already experienced nearly record-busting heat this week with the mercury registering temperatures in excess of 90 degrees.

If voluntary water reductions are not met, it's possible that the city could move to Stage 3 of the ordinance, though any such move would have to be approved by the City Council. Under Stage 3, homes would only be able to use sprinkler systems once per week.

Hand irrigation using a watering can or hose with a nozzle may be done any day at any time, under both Stage 2 and 3 of the ordinance. All watering is prohibited following measurable rainfall.

Under the current Stage 2 restrictions, addresses ending in an even number may run sprinkler systems on Wednesdays and Sundays. Odd-numbered addresses may run sprinklers on Tuesdays and Saturdays. You must water before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. on your watering day.

Drip irrigation systems can be run any day before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

Stage 3 off the table — for now

Visalia Water Resources Manager Rhett Anderson noted that Visalia reduced its outdoor water use by roughly 5% in 2021 compared to the previous year. While any reduction is helpful, that's considerably less than the 20% reduction prescribed by Stage 2 of the ordinance.

Anderson attributed the lower than expected reduction to the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented code enforcers from catching, educating and — if necessary — citing the water wasters. Since mid-2021, he said the city has done an "adequate job" of ramping up outreach and enforcement, when needed.

He could not immediately say how many citations were issued since the Stage 2 restrictions were adopted.

Under the ordinance, receipt of more than one warning in a 12-month period will result in a $125 fine. A third citation will cost $250 and each subsequent citation will cost $625.

A water education class may be taken in lieu of the first citation.

Like the city of Visalia, Cal Water leaders said they prefer educating to punishing those who don't restrict their water usage.

"We try to take an educational approach rather than be water cops. Under Stage 2, the penalties are there if we have to use them," said Yvonne Kingman, the company's director of corporate communication. "We really hope to see an additional reduction moving into the spring and summer."

Kingman promoted a number of free programs Cal Water has implemented over the past year to help customers reduce and conserve water.

Dig deeper:Sierra snowpack worsens, plunges to 7-year low as California drought deepens

Those include rebates for customers who convert their lawns to drought-tolerant gardens, or who convert their sprinklers to more efficient drip irrigation systems. A new initiative will also send an evaluator to your property to identify equipment that might need repairs or efficiency upgrades, which the company will complete free of charge.

"We don't want money to be a barrier to using water wisely," Kingman said. For more information about the programs, customers can visit CalWater.com/conservation

At this time, Kingman and Anderson said there are no plans to consider recommending Stage 3 of the ordinance, though the utility and the city are working closely together to monitor water levels. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently called on local water managers to implement plans that prepare for water shortages up to 20%, which Visalia already has covered under its Stage 2 plan.

Kingman said the city reduced its water usage by 5% in February compared to the previous year, though water usage has fluctuated in other months.

"Even though 5% may not seem like much, Visalians have always done a good job of conserving water and are at a good baseline already," Kingman said. "Historically, our Visalia customers have always responded to our calls to voluntarily conserve water."

Joshua Yeager is a reporter with the Visalia Times-Delta and a Report for America corps member. He covers Tulare County news deserts with a focus on the environment and local governments.

Follow him on Twitter @VTD_Joshy. Get alerts and keep up on all things Tulare County for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today.

CA deploys nurses to Kaweah Health as Visalia hospital sits at 106% capacity, driven by unvaccinated COVID patients

Kaweah Health called off its Code Triage after reinforcements from the California Department of Public Health arrived to bolster the struggling hospital's staffing woes in the wake of a surge of COVID-19 patients.The hospital had declared an "internal disaster" on Nov. 3 after its emergency department saw more than 100 patients waiting for treatment and hospital beds. It was the second time in three months Kaweah had initiated an emergency response due to a shortage of beds and staff.The relatively smal...

Kaweah Health called off its Code Triage after reinforcements from the California Department of Public Health arrived to bolster the struggling hospital's staffing woes in the wake of a surge of COVID-19 patients.

The hospital had declared an "internal disaster" on Nov. 3 after its emergency department saw more than 100 patients waiting for treatment and hospital beds. It was the second time in three months Kaweah had initiated an emergency response due to a shortage of beds and staff.

The relatively small Visalia hospital is treating more COVID-19 patients than any other in California, stretching Tulare County's healthcare infrastructure thin as nurses and medical staff contend with burnout and low morale amid an ongoing delta variant surge that has no end in sight.

While three federally-authorized COVID-19 vaccines have brought relief to hospitals in other regions of the state, vaccine hesitancy remains high in Central California. Tulare County ranks 45 out of the state's 58 counties with just 47% of residents vaccinated.

More populous regions of the state with higher vaccination rates have seen far lower COVID hospitalizations.

As of Tuesday, Kaweah Health was treating 366 patients and was at 106% capacity. Of those, 93 were COVID patients and 24 were in the ICU.

Once COVID patients reach the hospital's ICU and require intubation, survival rates are low, ranging from 30% to 40%, according to Keri Noeske, Kaweah Health vice president and chief nursing officer. Tulare County recently surpassed a thousand COVID-related deaths.

"That's not normal for a critical care area, where more than half your patients pass away. Those things take a toll. There's really not much they can do because it really does damage and cause a lot of problems for patients," Noeske said. "I admire the people who get up and do this everyday because they know if they don't, then who will?"

While COVID cases account for just a third of the hospital's admitted patients, they require a much higher level of care and physician attention than typical patients due to the severity of the more contagious delta variant of the virus.

“While patients with COVID represent less than a third of our total patients they are having a tremendous impact on the healthcare system and it’s something that really could be avoided,” CEO Gary Herbst said in a statement. “We’ve seen how effective vaccinations are in keeping patients out of the hospital and 90 to 95 percent of our inpatients with COVID are unvaccinated.

"I just imagine what our condition would be like if we did not have those 105 patients with COVID needing hospitalized care right now.”

While the hospital remains full or above capacity, Herbst said additional staffing from the state will help relieve the stressed hospital, especially in the ICU.

“We are feeling some relief as we welcome the first of 16 registered nurses that the state is sending to help us care for patients,” Noeske said, adding that the nurses will stay at Kaweah until December and the state is paying their wages. “With these additional nurses, we’ll have staffing so that we can use surge beds as high volumes continue.”

State health officials said they are committed to ensuring that hospitals have the resouces needed to serve patients in the San Joaquin Valley and across the California.

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s top priority has always been to ensure all Californians have access to top-quality health care in order to help save lives," a CDPH spokesperson said in an email to the Times-Delta. "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s top priority has always been to ensure all Californians have access to top-quality health care in order to help save lives"

Kaweah staff said they are concerned about a possible influx of patients as the holiday season approaches. While COVID hospitalizations have been on the decline, influenza and RSV cases could be much worse than last winter, when much of the country was masking and social distancing and children were not in schools.

"We've already been seeing RSV in our pediatric patients needing hospitalization, and this is much earlier than usual. Last year, we had no RSV cases," Noeske said. "That's what really concerns me."

Hospital leaders are looking to shore up staff, either through traveling nurses or by extending contracts with the state's nurses at the hospital's expense. At the same time, Kaweah is working with Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency to target zip codes with the lowest vaccination rates, in an effort to boost vaccinations countywide.

"I recognize the challenge people are faced with right now with all of the focus on the vaccine and vaccine choices," Noeske said. "But the reason I need people to be vaccinated or to mask and distance, is because there's too many people getting severely ill with COVID and overwhelming the healthcare system.

"Resources including people resources are drying out."

Those who wish to get a COVID-19 vaccine can schedule a same-day appointment on MyTurn.ca.gov, or visit participating CVS or Rite Aid pharmacies in Visalia, Porterville and Dinuba.

The public is urged to visit their primary care physicians or an urgent care clinic for non-life-threatening illness and injuries.

Joshua Yeager is a reporter with the Visalia Times-Delta and a Report for America corps member. He covers Tulare County news deserts with a focus on the environment and local governments.

Follow him on Twitter @VTD_Joshy. Get alerts and keep up on all things Tulare County for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today.

Northwest residents are 'so excited' as Visalia announces second Costco

Visalia will soon, maybe not soon enough for some, have a second Costco.This Costco will help alleviate major traffic jams along Mooney Boulevard and Visalia Parkway, city leaders hope. Councilwoman Liz Wynn confirmed the location Thursday, however, Costco representatives said they couldn't provide details.The location of the new Costco is on the northeast corner of Shirk Road and Riggin Avenue, an area owned by Ritchie-Vidovich Limited Partnership. The spot is surrounded by thousands of homes to the south and east and the busy...

Visalia will soon, maybe not soon enough for some, have a second Costco.

This Costco will help alleviate major traffic jams along Mooney Boulevard and Visalia Parkway, city leaders hope. Councilwoman Liz Wynn confirmed the location Thursday, however, Costco representatives said they couldn't provide details.

The location of the new Costco is on the northeast corner of Shirk Road and Riggin Avenue, an area owned by Ritchie-Vidovich Limited Partnership. The spot is surrounded by thousands of homes to the south and east and the busy Industrial Park to the north and west.

Northwest Visalia is among the fastest growing areas of the county but has a lack of shopping — that's about to change.

"[Costco] is coming. I’m guessing the growth in northwest Visalia, the Industrial Park employees and proximity to Dinuba may be contributing factors to the location," Wynn said. "Folks can stop on their way home to shop, get gas or pickup pizza."

Currently, Dinuba residents have to travel around 35 minutes if they want to shop at the South Visalia Costco or Hanford location, or around 47 minutes if they want to shop at the Clovis warehouse. The new northwest Visalia location is roughly 15 miles from Dinuba.

The project could take anywhere from 18 to 24 months, Wynn said. Many northwest Visalia residents already make the trek to Hanford's location to avoid the bustling Visalia spot, which also serves Tulare and Porterville.

News of the new Costco came as a welcome surprise.

"I am so excited. I can't wait. The other location is so crowded and feels so cramped," said Nadira Sutton, a northwest Visalia resident and mother. "This is going to save my family so much time."

Costco, the fifth largest retailer in the nation, is likely to draw more attention from other tenants, including a possible movie theater and strip mall with restaurants and shops. Conversations are in the early stages as the land owner begins to think about the surrounding area.

"We cannot comment on locations that will be opening more than three months from today," Costco's automatic reply to media requests states.

Costco's 'New Locations' does not list the northwest Visalia location.

The company's first location, opened in 1976 under the name Price Club, was in a converted airplane hangar in San Diego. At first, it served businesses but later branched out to welcome shoppers with a membership card.

Memberships range from $60 to $110 a year.

"Costco became the first company ever to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years. When Costco and Price Club merged in 1993, the combined company, operating under the name PriceCostco, had 206 locations generating $16 billion in annual sales," according to the Costco website.

Now, the warehouse has more than 800 locations worldwide — nearly 600 of those are in the US, according to the annual report to investors.

Lauren Jennings covers education and news for the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register. Follow her on Twitter @lolojennings. Get alerts and keep up on all things Tulare County for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today.

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