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November 30
From books to music to events, local gifts offer a sense of place

​Yakima Herald Republic

by Pat Muir

iheartyeakima shirt 

I know it sounds crazy, in this age of international commerce and buy-with-one-click shopping, but you can actually do some of your best holiday shopping right here in the Yakima Valley.

And, in addition to their inherent value as quality items, the gifts you can find here are unique to the area, making them more special. I mean, what’s going to impress your loved ones more, the latest soon-to-be-outdated gadget that would qualify as a gift for anyone, or something that has a story and a sense of place to it?

The former might as well be a gift card. The latter can be unique and tailored to a specific recipient. I know which one I’d remember getting.

So if you actually care about the people you’re shopping for this year, here are some local options to consider:

Local arts and crafts

Local galleries and arts organizations have a variety of offerings, from fine art to crafts, from a few bucks to a few hundred — often under the same roof. Among our picks this year are the Mighty Tieton Holiday Crafts & Antiques Bazaar, 608 Wisconsin Ave. in Tieton; Oak Hollow Gallery’s annual Holiday Show, 5631 Summitview Ave.; and Gallery One’s annual Holiday Gift Show, 408 N. Pearl St. in Ellensburg.

The bazaar in Tieton is one day only, this Saturday, and it costs $3 for adult admission. But it’s worth it. There will be more than 60 vendors plus live music from Gone Fiddlin’ Again and Lincoln Barr. And while you’re there you can stop in at the Boxx Gallery, 616 Elm St. in Tieton, for its First Anniversary Exhibit, featuring work from some of the region’s finest artists such as Andy Behrle, Mike Hiler, Ron Hinton and Rob Prout. For more information, visit www.mightytieton.com.

The Gallery One and Oak Hollow shows are ongoing and will be open during gallery hours at both locations. For more information, visit www.gallery-one.org and www.oakhollowframes.blogspot.com.

‘Christmas Belles’

In addition to the gallery and bazaar options, The Capitol Theatre is in the middle of a Facebook auction for its artistically decorated dress forms, the “Christmas Belles.” Bidding starts at $275, and as of this writing midday Tuesday, most of them were still available for that figure. That includes pieces by famed local artist Leo Adams, the Larson Gallery staff and plenty of other talented artists and designers. To bid, go to www.facebook.com/ The-Capitol-Theatre-134196885575.

Local books

Spencer Hatton is one of my favorite writers. And, yes, full disclosure, he used to work here. But that’s not why he’s a favorite. He’s a favorite for his mastery of tone, his versatility, his emotional vulnerability and his sly humor. Hatton’s second collection, “More to Crow About,” no doubt shines a light on all of those qualities. You can get a copy on his website, www.spencerhatton.com, for $18 or (better yet) buy one during his Dec. 17 book-signing at Inklings Bookshop, 5629 Summitview Ave.

The Yakima Coffeehouse Poets have put out a pair of chapbooks in the past two years: “twenty-first” in 2015 and “twenty-second” this year, which are both still available for $10 each. They include the best of the local poetry scene and are available by emailing local poet Ed Stover at stovered@gmail.com. Beyond that, there’s a full lineup of books published by local poetry press Cave Moon Press, www.cavemoonpress.com.

Local music

Shoot Jake has been around for years — they were On magazine’s best local band of 2013 — but they’ve never put out a full album until now. Their new release, “Get Real,” captures the full blues-rock power of the trio (Ben Johnson on guitar and vocals, Lindsay Johnson on drums, Dustin Rademacher on bass). You can pre-order it digitally at music.shootjake.com/releases, and it’ll be available on CD starting with a Dec. 16 album-release show at the Yakima Sports Center, 214 E. Yakima Ave., and at Off the Record, 1513 Summitview Ave., thereafter.

They’re not local anymore, having moved to Las Vegas earlier this year, but Indigo Kidd was one of my favorite Yakima bands. Right before they left, they released a six-song EP titled “Mixtape for Senpai,” and it’s available for $5 at indigokiddwa.bandcamp.com.

Local swag

Local civic boosters I Heart Yakima have a new line of apparel coming out just in time for the holidays (funny how that works) as well as a host of classic designs. And, yes, the Palm Springs of Yakima design made famous by rapper Macklemore on his visit to town this summer is back. This time it’s in a navy-and-maroon color scheme, selling for $25. But that’s just one of the options that will be available starting 4-7 p.m. Dec. 7 with the I Heart Yakima Sip & Shop event at The Seasons Performance Hall, 101 N. Naches Ave. For more information, visit www.iheartyakima.com.

Local wine and beer

There are dozens of wineries up and down the Yakima Valley, and virtually all of them are worth your time and patronage. My current favorite is Yakima Valley Vintners, the Yakima Valley College teaching winery at 110 Grandridge Road down in Grandview. The wine is made by students, but as numerous regional competitions have demonstrated, it is on par with anything else produced in the Valley. And it’s usually very affordable. The tasting room there is open on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, visit www.yakimavalleyvintners.com.

The expansion of local beer offerings over the past five years has been fantastic, and it means there’s something local for just about every beer palate. Yakima Craft Brewing Co., 120 E. Yakima Ave., has a wide range all under one roof, available both in growlers and (for some beers) bottles. Bale Breaker Brewing Co., 1801 Birchfield Road in Moxee, is a bit more narrow in its focus, primarily brewing heavily hopped ales. That notwithstanding, its Dormancy Breakfast Stout is a great, dark winter beer. I wouldn’t mind a growler of that under the tree this year.

Tickets to local events

They say you should spend more money on experiences and less on things. I don’t know if they’re right, but I’ve heard them say that. With that in mind, you might consider a pair of tickets as a gift. Maybe to the Yakima New Year’s Eve Party at The Seasons, featuring a lineup full of homegrown acts. Rust on the Rails will rock you into the new year along with country star Zach Hinson, local boys The Common Deer and Yakima expats Indigo Kidd. Tickets cost $15 and $20. The show starts at 7 p.m. Dec. 31.

The Capitol Theatre has a huge range of offerings. You could, for instance, buy a 10-show pass to its 4th Street Features series for $60. Of you could choose from any of the big, Broadway-style touring productions set to come through in the next few months. The Abba-themed musical “Mamma Mia!,” for instance, will be at The Capitol on April 4. Tickets cost $12 to $79. For more information, visit www.capitoltheatre.org.​



November 29
Yakima Valley College students make the grade with judges at professional wine competitions

​Yakima Herald Republic

Emilse Osorio and Nereyda Ponce at the Tri-Cities wine festival 

GRANDVIEW, Wash. — During the Tri-Cities Wine Festival, attendees crowded around the booth of Yakima Valley Vintners.

The teaching winery at Yakima Valley College’s Grandview campus had submitted several wines — including the 2014 Red Backpack, a Bordeaux-style red wine blend, which turned out to be the most popular.

“We had a feeling that was the best one of the bottles we had,” said Emilse Osorio, 25.

Osorio, who will complete YVC’s winery technology program this spring, was right — judges not only awarded the 2014 Red Backpack with a gold medal but also named it  “Best in Class,” deeming it the best among more than 90 wines awarded a gold medal.

Yakima Valley Vintners received medals for nearly all the wines it submitted for the festival.  

What makes the student-run winery’s accomplishments noteworthy is the level of competition. With less than a handful of student-run wineries in the state, Yakima Valley Vintners’ wines were judged alongside commercial wineries.

“Because the judging is blind, the panel cannot differentiate if the wine was made by students, a small winery or one of the giants we have in the Pacific Northwest,” said Ted Davis, president of the Tri-Cities Wine Society, the festival’s organizer.

Other gold medal winners at the competition, for instance, included well-known wineries such as Hedges Family Estate in Benton City, Airfield Estates in Prosser, and Columbia Crest and 14 Hands Winery, brands from wine giant Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

Yakima Valley Vintners “has been submitting wines for a number of years and has done extremely well in the competition.” Davis said. “This is especially significant since these are student winemakers without some of the resources, experience available to some winemakers.”

Indeed, only one of the 18 YVC wines submitted to the Tri-Cities Wine Festival in the last three years did not receive a medal.  

And since the winery’s inception in 2007, Yakima Valley Vintners has garnered more than 75 different medals at various wine competitions.  

“It’s rewarding ... to see how much the students really honor the recognition,” said Trent Ball, vineyard and winery technology instructor at YVC and co-lead adviser for Yakima Valley Vintners. “It’s one of their first attempts to participate in something like this.”

Osorio said she is obviously thrilled when one of Yakima Valley Vintners’ wines is recognized but tries to see the positive when the feedback is not as glowing.

“When they say you lose, you actually win,” she said. “You’re winning the ability to know what you did wrong and to correct it next year.”

Indeed, for Ball, while the medals are nice, the feedback the students receive in such competitions is even more valuable. He explains to students that judges care less about what they enjoy, and more about whether the wine exhibits the characteristics of a high-quality wine.  

“It’s a way to validate where they’re at as they begin to enter their career as professional winemakers,” he said.

This hands-on approach garners praise from Co Dinn, who runs his winery, Co Dinn Cellars, out of incubator space at YVC.

The Washington wine industry benefits when it has trained winemakers who not only know winemaking techniques but also are familiar with making wines with grapes grown in this state, Dinn said.

“You get know the region, you get to know the peculiarities of the area,” Dinn said about the students working at Yakima Valley Vintners. “You’re much farther ahead when you go out in the job market.”

The majority of the fruit used in Yakima Valley Vintners’ wines is donated by area growers, though the winery buys it from time to time, Ball said.

The students are involved in every step of the winemaking process from crushing the grapes to bottling.

Dinn said the mentoring  and advice students receive by YVC instructors and staff is crucial – especially with a new batch of students coming to work at the winery each year. He credits that guidance for YVC’s success in wine competitions.

“The guiding part of the process gives you the experience and continuity from year to year,” Dinn said about the winery’s advising staff, which includes Ball, instructor Holly Ferguson and instructional technician Brad Smith, who helps manages the winery’s tasting room “They’ve built an institutional competency.”  

Osorio hasn’t been one to rest on her laurels. She’s been working diligently in the winery’s lab, testing wines that will be released next year.

“I hope the ones we’re working on will have even better medals,” she said.

After completing her YVC studies, which includes completion of the vineyard technology program, which focuses on wine grape production, she wants to study viticulture and enology at Washington State University.

“I want to learn the process from the dirt to the bottle,” she said. “You never know where life is going to take you, so I want to have both sides down.”

Watch Now: http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/business/local/yakima-valley-college-students-can-teach-professional-vintners-a-thing/article_3adaf89c-b3a5-11e6-8490-ab41cb8a133c.html​ ​

November 28
Yakima Valley College students can teach professional vintners a thing or two

​Yakima Herald Republic

yvcwineawards-YH-112816-1.jpg 

GRANDVIEW, Wash. — During the Tri-Cities Wine Festival, attendees crowded around the booth of Yakima Valley Vintners.

The teaching winery at Yakima Valley College’s Grandview campus had submitted several wines — including the 2014 Red Backpack, a Bordeaux-style red wine blend, which turned out to be the most popular.

“We had a feeling that was the best one of the bottles we had,” said Emilse Osorio, 25.

Osorio, who will complete YVC’s winery technology program this spring, was right — judges not only awarded the 2014 Red Backpack with a gold medal but also named it  “Best in Class,” deeming it the best among more than 90 wines awarded a gold medal.

Yakima Valley Vintners received medals for nearly all the wines it submitted for the festival.  

What makes the student-run winery’s accomplishments noteworthy is the level of competition. With less than a handful of student-run wineries in the state, Yakima Valley Vintners’ wines were judged alongside commercial wineries.

“Because the judging is blind, the panel cannot differentiate if the wine was made by students, a small winery or one of the giants we have in the Pacific Northwest,” said Ted Davis, president of the Tri-Cities Wine Society, the festival’s organizer.

Other gold medal winners at the competition, for instance, included well-known wineries such as Hedges Family Estate in Benton City, Airfield Estates in Prosser, and Columbia Crest and 14 Hands Winery, brands from wine giant Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

Yakima Valley Vintners “has been submitting wines for a number of years and has done extremely well in the competition.” Davis said. “This is especially significant since these are student winemakers without some of the resources, experience available to some winemakers.”

Indeed, only one of the 18 YVC wines submitted to the Tri-Cities Wine Festival in the last three years did not receive a medal.  

And since the winery’s inception in 2007, Yakima Valley Vintners has garnered more than 75 different medals at various wine competitions.  

“It’s rewarding ... to see how much the students really honor the recognition,” said Trent Ball, vineyard and winery technology instructor at YVC and co-lead adviser for Yakima Valley Vintners. “It’s one of their first attempts to participate in something like this.”

Osorio said she is obviously thrilled when one of Yakima Valley Vintners’ wines is recognized but tries to see the positive when the feedback is not as glowing.

“When they say you lose, you actually win,” she said. “You’re winning the ability to know what you did wrong and to correct it next year.”

Indeed, for Ball, while the medals are nice, the feedback the students receive in such competitions is even more valuable. He explains to students that judges care less about what they enjoy, and more about whether the wine exhibits the characteristics of a high-quality wine.  

“It’s a way to validate where they’re at as they begin to enter their career as professional winemakers,” he said.

This hands-on approach garners praise from Co Dinn, who runs his winery, Co Dinn Cellars, out of incubator space at YVC.

The Washington wine industry benefits when it has trained winemakers who not only know winemaking techniques but also are familiar with making wines with grapes grown in this state, Dinn said.

“You get know the region, you get to know the peculiarities of the area,” Dinn said about the students working at Yakima Valley Vintners. “You’re much farther ahead when you go out in the job market.”

The majority of the fruit used in Yakima Valley Vintners’ wines is donated by area growers, though the winery buys it from time to time, Ball said.

The students are involved in every step of the winemaking process from crushing the grapes to bottling.

Dinn said the mentoring  and advice students receive by YVC instructors and staff is crucial – especially with a new batch of students coming to work at the winery each year. He credits that guidance for YVC’s success in wine competitions.

“The guiding part of the process gives you the experience and continuity from year to year,” Dinn said about the winery’s advising staff, which includes Ball, instructor Holly Ferguson and instructional technician Brad Smith, who helps manages the winery’s tasting room “They’ve built an institutional competency.”  

Osorio hasn’t been one to rest on her laurels. She’s been working diligently in the winery’s lab, testing wines that will be released next year.

“I hope the ones we’re working on will have even better medals,” she said.

After completing her YVC studies, which includes completion of the vineyard technology program, which focuses on wine grape production, she wants to study viticulture and enology at Washington State University.

“I want to learn the process from the dirt to the bottle,” she said. “You never know where life is going to take you, so I want to have both sides down.”​

November 28
Giving thanks in wine country

​Daily Sun News

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November 27
Yakima Latino barbers find success with style

​Yakima Herald Republic

BarberShopsLife-YH-112716-1.jpg 

The buzz of hair clippers is heard between hip-hop songs. The discussion tends to drift toward sports, careers, cars and relationships.

So goes the barber shop tradition — and it’s all part of the job.

Tony Rojas, owner of Fame the Art of Hair, says about 80 percent of his clients are young men ages 14 to 20. The hot topic among this group tends to be relationships, Rojas says.

“We just listen, mostly,” he said. “We’re kind of like counselors to them.”

Rojas, who studies business and marketing at Yakima Valley College, is among a growing number of young Latinos finding success in the profession but are motived to step into the career by different reasons.

Rojas, who plans to open a series of retail clothing shops in the future, enjoys the flexible schedule owning his own barber shop allows.

In 2013, the 21-year-old started learning to cut hair and about a year later opened Fame the Art of Hair at 1102 W. Nob Hill Blvd. The popularity of his shop, Rojas says, has inspired other young Latino males to get into the business.

It’s an opportunity to make a good living but it takes hard work and time to build a strong clientele base, he said.

For Ramiro Herrera, owner of A Barber’s Craft, providing the community with a service based on quality and professionalism is his motivation.

Herrera, 26, has been cutting hair for about 10 years, five as a licensed barber. Nearly two years ago, he opened his North Front Street shop, which offered him an opportunity to build the type of barber shop he wanted.

“I wanted to get back to the roots,” said Herrera of taking the risk of starting his own business. After being declined for a small business loan, an investor offered financing just days later. Since opening, Herrera has been able to hire another stylist and continues to grow his business.

Alex Sandoval, 24, works as a stylist for Royal Cutz Barbershop on the 1100 block of West Lincoln Avenue in Yakima. He infuses his talents as an artist into his styling, offering portraits and other designs. He regularly competes in barber competitions and his 9-year-old nephew, Joey Sandoval, is a regular benefactor of his creative style.

“Superman was my most favorite,” said Joey of the hair cut he received a few weeks earlier. This time around he was given a Lego Batman design, complete with blue, black and white accents penciled in with eyeliner. Sandoval cites inspiration from “Rob the Original,” a Texas barber that specialized in creating elaborate portrait designs on the backs of his clients’ heads. Since middle school, Sandoval has been cutting hair — mostly his own and for friends at first. It was a way for him to stay out of trouble that eventually lead him to study at Elite Academy of Cosmetology.

His passion for the art of styling is clear when he picks up the scissors. It’s a way for him to express himself through art on a daily basis while connecting with the community.

“There’s not one day I’ve considered this work,” Sandoval said.​


November 25
College Roundup: YVC men's basketball's comeback falls short

​Yakima Herald Republic

BKC-YVCMen-YH-112616 

LONGVIEW, Wash. — Scoring, as Yakima Valley coach London Wilson had said, would not be a problem early on for his Yaks men’s basketball team.

But defense? As Wilson also had mentioned, stopping opponents would not come as easily.

YVC did in fact have plenty of firepower in its season-opener Friday, but the Yaks nonetheless lost 102-99 to Everett in the first round of the Red Devil Classic at Lower Columbia College.

The Yaks continue tournament play at 1 p.m. Saturday against Mt. Hood.

Terrance White came off the bench for 16 points to lead five Yaks in double figures. Jason Ford posted a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds while Keyshawn Webb had 10 points and eight assists.

DeAndre Kambala, with 13 points, and Modesta Britten, with 11, were Yakima Valley’s other top scorers.

Though the Yaks outrebounded Everett 49-44, they might well have lost the game at the foul line by converting just 25 of 40 attempts (63 percent) while the Trojans were a slightly-warmer 28 of 43.

Ten YVC players saw action, with all of them playing more than 10 minutes each.

Yakima Valley’s primary defensive problem involved Brevin Brown, a 6-foot sophomore guard from Everett’s Cascade High School. Brown came off the bench to score 37 points on 14-of-20 field goal shooting that included a 5 of 6 performance from 3-point range.

“We just couldn’t locate him and put any pressure on him,” Wilson said. “We got down 20 in the second half and then made a fercious run to get within three with 1:21 left, but then we gave up an offensive rebound on a missed free throw.”

Gio Jackson and Kiante Ahmad-Woods added 17 and 16 points, respectively, for Everett, which shot 47 percent from the field.

YAKIMA VALLEY — Keyshawn Webb 4-9 1-2 10, Modesta Britten 4-8 3-4 11, Hodge 2-9 2-6 7, Jason Ford 5-9 3-6 13, Gaitor 3-5 0-0 8, Terrance White 4-5 7-8 16, DeAndre Kambala 5-8 3-6 13, Jones 2-13 2-2 7, Blodgett 2-3 3-4 7, Rivers 3-5 1-2 7. Totals 34-74 25-40 99.

EVERETT — Fitt 1-2 0-0 2, Gio Jackson 4-12 7-12 17, Kiante Ahmad-Woods 4-12 7-12 16, Ryan Diggs 3-15 5-8 11, Moffat 1-5 0-0 3, James 1-1 2-2 4, Deubel 0-1 0-0 0, Brevin Brown 14-20 4-6 37, Jordan Neville 0-1 0-0 0, Grayson 4-4 0-0 9, Cole 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 33-70 28-43 102.

Halftime — ECC 44-38. 3-point goals — YVC 6-18 (White 1-1, Kambala 0-1, Webb 1-3, Britten 0-1, Hodge 1-1, Gaitor 2-3, Jones 1-7, Blodgett 0-1); ECC 8-17 (Jackson 0-1, Ahmad-Woods 1-3, Diggs 0-2, Brown 5-6, Moffatt 1-4, Grayson 0-1). Fouled out — Rivers, Grayson. Rebounds — YVC 49 (Ford 12, Kambala 7); ECC 44 (Diggs 9). Assists — YVC 21 (Webb 8, Kambala 5); ECC 18 (Jackson 8, Ahmad-Woods 6). Turnovers — YVC 13, ECC 14. Total fouls — YVC 31, ECC 28.​



November 24
YVC's Winery Gets Seven Awards from Students' Wines

​Review Independent

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November 23
Learning Center hosts open house

​Daily Sun News

 — Yakima Valley College Learning Center will host an open house from 1-6 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Sunnyside Learning Center, 2590 Yakima Valley Highway.

The event will give visitors an opportunity to learn more about the center’s programs including High School 21+, GED, and I-BEST.

Staff will be available to answer questions. Refreshments will be served.

For more information visit www.yvcc.edu/ABE or contact 509-837-9623. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.​


November 23
YVC's Vineyard & Winery Technology Program Wins Big at the 2016 Tri-Cities Wine Festival

​Grandview Herald

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November 23
YVC Advising Day

​Grandview Herald

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