Lewis Griswold

Retired DA joins Visalia Chamber board

2016 Dairy Princess Ashley Avila of Lemoore, left, representing District 7, stands with First Alternate Brigit Simas.
2016 Dairy Princess Ashley Avila of Lemoore, left, representing District 7, stands with First Alternate Brigit Simas. California Milk Advisory Board

Retired Tulare County District Attorney Phil Cline has been named to the board of directors of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce.

Cline retired as district attorney in 2013, started his own consulting company for governmental issues and teaches constitutional law at College of the Sequoias.

He became interested in the mission of the chamber after attending a chamber event last year.

Before being nominated to the board, Cline served on the chamber’s governmental affairs committee.

Joining him on the board of directors are Andrea Camarena, owner of Goal Line Media; Caity Meader, executive director of Family Services of Tulare County; and JR Shannon, a fourth-generation farmer born and raised in Visalia.

Since September 2014, Gail Zurek has served as chamber president and CEO.

“Things are starting to happen and move,” Zurek said.

Besides the traditional ribbon cuttings, the chamber is active in advocacy, entrepreneurship and leadership development, young professionals networking and education and workforce development, she said.

Board terms are for two years, up to three terms.

Terming out are Karen Tellalian, owner of DMI Agency; and Colby Wells, public affairs manager at Southern California Gas Co.

DAIRY PRINCESSES: June is the month of dairy princess coronations in Kings, Madera, Fresno and Tulare counties.

Ashley Avila of Lemoore was chosen 2016 Dairy Princess for District 7 (Kings County) by the California Milk Advisory Board.

She is a graduate of Hanford High, will attend West Hills College and then transfer to Fresno State to major in agriculture education, with the goal of being an agriculture teacher in animal science.

She is the daughter of Luis and Ann Avila.

For District 8 (Fresno and Madera counties), Amber La Salle of Firebaugh was crowned dairy princess.

She is attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, majoring in dairy science with an emphasis in husbandry.

She is the daughter of Robert and Joanne La Salle.

For District 9 (Tulare, Inyo and Mono counties), Annika Atsma of Tulare was named dairy princess.

She is a student at Tulare Union High and will graduate next year. She is active in Future Farmers of America, showing dairy animals, and competes on the dairy judging team.

She is the daughter of George and Tina Atsma.

Dairy princesses play a big role in community relations for the CMAB, and dairy is big business in the San Joaquin Valley. Last year, milk was the No. 1 agricultural product in Kings County. Rankings for last year in the other counties have yet to be announced. But in 2014, milk was No. 1 in Tulare County, No. 2 in Madera County and No. 4 in Fresno County.

WATER COMMISSION: Kayode Kadara of Allensworth, a low-income community in southwest Tulare County, has been appointed to the Tulare County Water Commission.

The commission advises the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on water issues.

Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida, chairman of the commission, said he appointed Kadara because of his experience and background in water quality problems that plague so many small towns.

“He can tell the story of water issues in disadvantaged communities,” Ishida said. “He brings credibility. He’s living it.”

Kadara serves on the Allensworth school board, the Tri-County Water Authority board, Deer Creek Storm Water board and the board of directors of Self-Help Enterprises.

Lewis Griswold covers the news of the South Valley for The Fresno Bee: 559-441-6104, lgriswold@fresnobee.com, @fb_LewGriswold