KRL Staff Celebrates Anniversary With Favorite Articles

May 25, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Books & Tales

by Lorie Lewis Ham
& Staff

Matt Wiebe as Fanny in RCTC production

On May 29 Kings River Life will be three years old! It’s hard to believe it has been that long, and it’s exciting to see how far we’ve come and how much we’ve grown. We are blessed to have a great staff and wonderful readers. In this issue we do a little bit of paying homage to that first issue–we had an article on River City Theatre Co. in that issue, and have one in this one, we had our first local teacher profile of English teacher Janet Adams in that issue, and in this issue we have one of English teacher Elizabeth Hardcastle. Also in this issue are articles on animal rescue, pet rats and mystery-which have all become a vital part of who we are.

Last year we started our sister blog, KRL Lite. At the time, it was started as a backup site any time we might have server issues over on KRL, but now we regularly post book reviews–focusing primarily on fantasy and horror.
We are excited about the new year and the changes ahead! I hope you continue to enjoy all we have to offer and tell your friends!

Now we would like to share with you some of our favorite articles that we have written during the past three years! Please feel free to share yours in our comments section.

Sandra Murphy

I loved writing about the history of Perry Mason, from the old radio series to the made for TV movies, even past the death of the only Perry there ever could be—Raymond Burr. I hadn’t realized the series really started as a radio soap opera. In it, Della and Perry were a lot different than they were in the TV shows. There was a lot of dramatic music in the background, sound effects and Della was pretty wimpy at times.

I used the article as an excuse to watch every episode I could find—strictly for authenticity, of course. I checked out a good number of the books at the library too. The old books deserve a chance to be read and reread.

The made for TV movies were great because we got to see Perry and Della as they aged and showed the strong affection they had for each other. It just wasn’t the same when they pretended Perry was out of town and somebody like Hal Holbrook tried the case instead.

Another favorite was a book review I did recently. The book is Justified Action by Earl Staggs. Usually comments revolve around the book but one reader said I did a nice job describing the book. Compliments are always welcome. Even better, Earl was delighted with the review and emailed me to say so—also a rare thing, to hear from the author—and he promoted it on email lists and in social media. That gives us both a chance to be read and appreciated.

Writing for Kings River Life lets me do what I love best—watch movies and read books—and call it work.

Cythnia Chow

My favorite review to write was a recent one, ironically one of my shortest reviews for a short story. Working in a library and reading professional catalogs and journals, I would rarely have the opportunity to discover an e-book short story. So being able to read and review Craig Johnson’s “Messenger” was an absolute delight. Not only did it satisfy me until the next full Walt Longmire novel and second season of Longmire, but it also gives readers the opportunity to support a good cause.

Jackie Dale

My favorite article is The Little Marmalady book review and interview with author Kerry Bashir. It was my very first book review so it was both intimidating and challenging. It was a great opportunity to get to know Kerry better. Although Kerry had never met Marmalady, she did such an excellent job writing her compelling story. The book was so cute and whimsical while at the same time it was poignant and heartfelt. You could almost feel Marmalady’s emotions emanating from the pages.

Kerry Bashir came all the way from Boston for the Cat House on the Kings recent Spring Open House fundraiser so I was able to meet her in person. It was like seeing an old friend and I had her over to my home for dinner. The best stories always have the happiest of endings!

Terrance V. Mc Arthur

I love the San Joaquin Valley—I’ve lived more than 85 % of my life in the area from Kern to Madera counties—and I think the area has a lot to offer. That’s why I pitched the idea of Valley Gottados to Lorie. Gottados are those things to do and places to go that are part of living in The Big Valley. I made up a list of events, locations, and activities that I wanted to share, and I was off!

General Grant Tree

1. Yosemite National Park
2. Kings Canyon National Park/Sequoia National Park: Grant Grove, Nation’s Christmas Tree
3. Forrestierre Underground Gardens
4. Roeding Park: Chaffee Zoo, Storyland, Rotary Playland
5. Downtown Fresno: Meux Home, City Hall, Fresno Water Tower
6. Kearney Park: Kearney Mansion, Civil War Revisited, Scottish Games
7. Woodward Park: Japanese Gardens, Woodward Shakespeare Festival
8. Fresno Fairgrounds: Big Fresno Fair, Hmong New Year Festival
9. Greek Food Festival
10. Rogue Performance Festival
11. Mariposa Storytelling Festival
12. Hanford: Hanford Renaissance of Kings, Superior Dairy
13. Fresno ArtHop
14. Fresno Art Museum
15. Endangered Cat Haven
16. Coke Hallowell Center and the San Joaquin River Parkway
17. Sanger Depot Museum
18. Erna’s Elderberry House
19. Gold Chain Theater
20. Valley Animal Center

After two installments, taking us through Downtown Fresno (#5), the response was underwhelming. Nobody agreed, disagreed, or seemed to care. The series seemed to go nowhere, and Lorie and I agreed to put it to rest.

Along the way, I have managed to write articles about five additional entries on the list, but I have always felt a slight sadness that I didn’t explore all my Gottados. Take a look at the articles. Make comments. Demand that the articles continue! I wouldn’t mind.

Jessica Ham

My favorite article I’ve written for KRL was The Great Gatsby book review. The Great Gatsby is my favorite book of all time and I had so much fun writing about it. I got to tell people about something I love and why I love it. It was definitely the easiest article to write, and the most fun.

Jim Bulls

Reedley Watering Holes, and interviews with Ron Surabian and Burl Walter.

Ron Surabian

Diana Bulls

Interview/book review with James Ardaiz/Hands Through Stone and School Supplies Then and Now.

Lee Juslin


Since I write profiles of both therapy pets and rescued pets, I’ll select one favorite from each category. For the therapy pet profile, I would have to choose A Purr Massages the Heart both because it profiles a somewhat unusual but very accomplished therapy pet – Jake the Abyssinian cat – and because it is an unusual therapy pet situation – the recent Boston bombing. For a rescue profile, though I loved hearing and writing about all the rescued dogs, Terriers Rule edges to the front both because I am a terrier person but also because it takes pet provided therapy to another level.

James Garcia

I could easily tell you that my favorite article I wrote for KRL was in 2011 when I described the thrill it was to accompany the Kingsburg High School Wind Ensemble on their trip to New York City, where they performed at Carnegie Hall; however, I believe there was one other that was far more important. Earlier that year I wrote of a national organization called C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) in the light of the February 2010 tragedy in Minkler, California where two peace officers were killed in the line of duty. Having many family members and good friends in law enforcement, I am intimately aware of how vital it can be to have the kind of support that this organization provides to “those suddenly and tragically left behind.” It really is a shame that such a group is needed, but when that terrible knock on the front door comes, they are such a blessing as they “provide resources to assist in the rebuilding of lives of surviving families…extending a helping hand whether it is financially, emotionally or otherwise, however long that may be”.

Sheryl Wall

One of my favorite articles I did was about Irish Setters. I really enjoyed writing it because Irish Setters are considered to be a dumb breed by many but I think they are often misunderstood and I enjoyed sharing my experiences with my own Setter Maiyah and all that she is capable of.

Maiyah with Sheryl's daughter Kiana

Deborah Harter Williams

Mine was TV Advertisers – Love the One You’re With and be nice to your MAW. I am always intrigued by who TV shows are aimed at and who advertisers think are worth talking to. Now that we have many metrics, they clearly contradict popular assumptions. What amazes me is that the misconceptions endure and advertisers ignore affluent loyal viewers in favor of the fickle and unreachable.

Marilyn Meredith

Review of Thai Kitchen in Porterville. I reviewed it because I love this restaurant.

Brian Wall

Brian Wall on the summit

Editor’s Note: This is actually one of our most popular articles ever! I really enjoyed writing Camping at “The Indians” because it was just a great find for me personally, and it’s a lesser-known campground that is sparsely covered on the Internet. It was also the first time I was able to give creative voice to my aversion to what I call “kitchen sink” camping (i.e., where people bring everything with them, including the kitchen sink!) and promote a camping experience that is more connected with nature and truly allows us to disconnect from the rigmarole of daily life.

Margaret Mendel

I had a lot of fun writing the article about ‘the potato‘. It was my first try at writing something informative with a memoir slant. But if you asked my husband what were his favorite articles he would say they were those article where I baked cookies, cakes or pies so that I could take photos for the publication.

Larry Ham

Jesse Lownsbury

I guess my favorite article is the one I wrote about the 2010 Reedley College Football banquet. It centered around the unselfishness displayed by quarterback Jesse Lownsbury. He had been the starter the previous season, and didn’t play a single down in his sophomore year. That didn’t stop him from doing all he could to encourage the other players and do whatever he could to help the team. The best stories I have read are the ones that teach me something about life, or myself, and that experience did both. It showed a really positive side of sports.

Cheryl Senn

My favorite article, so far, which was published in the Kings River Life Magazine, is the article titled, A Safer Sanger Community, One Neighborhood At A Time. The reason this article is my favorite is because it was the first article, I wrote, which was published in an online magazine and it highlighted how regular every-day citizens can join together, with local law enforcement, to make a neighborhood and community safe. The story shows how neighbors can live right next to each other and not even know each other’s names. In the case of the Walton Ave. neighborhood, they decided to take a stand against crime after one of their own was burglarized. I love writing about how people, in the community of Sanger, can take on challenges and have positive results as an outcome.

Tom Sims

Favorites are always difficult for me because I have so many. Generally, it is the project that I am currently immersed in that captures my focus. I fall in love with every story. I suppose the one theme to which I return over and over is rather self-serving. Since regaining a healthy lifestyle two and a half years ago, I have been deeply interested in wellness, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle options. For that reason, I might say that Life After Meat – a Vegetarian Experience is my favorite of the moment, because it is so personal and something about which I am passionate.

Jesus Ibarra

My favorite articles are when I get to interview my favorite authors, which were Rob Thurman and Richard Kadrey. Those are my favorite because they challenge me to come up with interesting questions to ask, and I get to speak to some of my favorite authors. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that these are incredibly interesting people with interesting answers.

Maria Ruiz

Stories that I’ve written for Kings River Life Magazine include Clara’s Secret, The Turtle’s Treasure, One Smart Horse and others. Writing them has brought to my current memories some of the moments of my youth and brings a new way of looking at the joys of childhood.

My favorite one has to be Clara’s Secret because it was one thing I could count on, a family tradition that I could be a part of and, when it passed, I missed it. The life of my aunts and uncles was exotic and exciting and I had the great fortune to know and love them. Now they are all gone but my stories keep my memories alive and enjoyed.

Lorie Lewis Ham

Like Tom, I am not really sure I can pick my favorite but one thing I really enjoy is reviewing movies and theatre! I love both and feel it’s really important to support the arts.


  1. Congratulations on your anniversary! Best wishes for many more to come.

  2. Congratulations, Lorie, Sandy, and everyone else connected with KRL on this milestone. Best wishes for even more growth and greater success in the future.

  3. Congratulations. A lot of hard work and you’ve done it well. I’m looking forward to at least three more years.


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