Kaweah Commonwealth - Three Rivers

News and Information of KAWEAH COUNTRY - Three Rivers,

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Lemon Cove and Woodlake

Visitor Information:
Three Rivers
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Real Estate
Local History
Travel Information
Weekly News and Features
Weekly Weather
Calendar of Events
Columns/ Opinions
Readers Poll
Newspaper Archives

Live Web Cam of
Sequoia National Park,
the High Sierra,
and Three Rivers, California
Kaweah Kam

AddThis Feed Button

In the News - Friday, January 2, 2009


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

Christmas Day storm

strands travelers, closes Sequoia

   When winter comes to the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, one of the best places to be is snug and cozy in Wuksachi Lodge singing refrains of “Let it snow, let it snow…” But on this Christmas past, an intense storm caused hundreds of park visitors to sing another tune.
   Christmas morning at Lodgepole and nearby Wuksachi dawned like so many other beautiful winter days in the high country. It was snowing and most of Sequoia National Park was being transformed into a virtual winter wonderland.
   That would have been just what the 220 tourists staying at Wuksachi ordered, many of whom had visions of snowshoes and cross-country skiing dancing in their heads. But the unexpected happened early Christmas morning — high wind gusts estimated at upwards of 75 mph knocked the power out to all facilities at Wuksachi, Lodgepole, Wolverton, and Giant Forest.
   Snowed-in isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it was snowing a blizzard and for most of Christmas Day, nobody could get in or out. While rangers dealt with whiteout conditions and surveyed the damage, portions of the Generals Highway, the only road into the parks, had to be closed.
   Throughout Christmas Day, guests with reservations at Wuksachi and visitors who came for snow play were turned away at the Ash Mountain entrance station. The situation in the nearby mountains, they were told, was currently just too hazardous.
   Meanwhile, back at Wuksachi Lodge, Delaware North employees and the throng of guests were making the best of a difficult situation. All the power was off in the 102 lodging rooms in the village, but the main lodge and dining room were being powered by a back-up generator.
   Everyone gathered in the lodge to wait out the storm. It snowed for several hours, dumping 15 inches in the area on Christmas Day.

  “We treated everyone to a complimentary Christmas dinner,” said Diane Mason, Wuksachi’s general manager.
   Later that afternoon, most of the snow had been plowed from Generals Highway so guests were able to leave. The concessions company provided stranded guests with room vouchers that many ended up using in Three Rivers once they got safely back down the mountain.
   The Wuksachi Village remained closed as did all the developed areas in and around Giant Forest.
   Dan Pontbriand, Sequoia district ranger, reluctantly issued a statement on Saturday, Dec. 27, closing the park above Hospital Rock to all visitors.

  “It is with deep regret that we implement this closure. We know that this is a very special time to visit and enjoy the beauty of the parks in winter. However, we have to ensure the safety of our employees and visitors. We’re making every effort to re-open the area at the earliest possible time.”
   All the developed areas of the park from Giant Forest to Wuksachi remained closed as park employees assisted Southern California Edison employees in locating the areas where the damage to the system had occurred. Wolverton had broken pipes, and the widespread power outages affected the heating, water, and sewer systems in all facilities.
   Nighttime temperatures in the single digits hampered repair efforts but park officials allowed the SCE crews to use snow-cats to access some of the more remote facilities. Park road crews plowed the Crescent Meadow and Moro Rock roads to furnish access to those areas.
   By Sunday afternoon, some 24 hours later, power had been restored to most areas and the Generals Highway was reopened above Hospital Rock. Power was fully restored to all facilities at Wuksachi Village and it reopened for business as usual on Monday, December 29. The Wolverton area reopened Tuesday, Dec. 30.

Former Sequoia-Kings Canyon

chiefs mark career milestones

   Two former Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks superintendents — Mike Tollefson (1995-1999) and Dick Martin (1999-2005) — marked career milestones in 2008.
   Tollefson, currently the superintendent at Yosemite National Park, announced his retirement earlier this year and will officially step aside from that post on Sunday, Jan. 4. Once Tollefson’s retirement is official, he will become president of the nonprofit Yosemite Fund.

  On Thursday, Dec. 11, Dick Martin — who retired from a 43-year National Park Service career when he left his Sequoia job — accepted the Henry Yount Award for Lifetime Achievement in the art and science of rangering.
   NPS Deputy Director Dan Wenk and Associate Director Karen Taylor-Goodrich presented the award at Ranger Rendezvous, a meeting of the Association of National Park Rangers in Santa Fe, N.M.

  “Dick Martin is truly the quintessential ranger,” said Mary Bomar, director of the National Park Service. “His selfless service over four decades to the profession of rangering continues to inspire the people who are following in his footsteps as 21st-century rangers.”
   Martin started his career in 1962 as a ranger at Olympic National Park. Aside from a few years in the NPS Washington office, Dick patrolled and helped manage some of the most spectacular parks in the system.
   The consummate ranger served two tours at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks — first as a backcountry ranger and, three decades later, as superintendent.
   On one occasion, when he was briefing a Commonwealth reporter on snow conditions at one of the chain-up areas, a visitor who was having difficulty with his tire chains asked Dick for assistance. The skilled public servant that he was, Dick crawled under the visitor’s vehicle and gave a hands-on demonstration on how to install chains.
   The visitor was astounded to learn later that he was assisted by the park superintendent. But to all who knew him, Dick dedicated his career to maintaining NPS values and placed a premium on the service.
   In his career, Mike Tollefson is credited with moving some major parks public works projects to completion like the relocation of visitor facilities out of Giant Forest and, more recently, at Yosemite National Park, the rehabilitation of the Yosemite Falls area and Tunnel View at the valley’s west entrance.
   Dave Uberuaga will serve as acting superintendent of Yosemite until a permanent successor to Tollefson is named. Uberuaga is currently the superintendent at Mount Rainier National Park and is a 24-year NPS veteran.

Northern California film festival

celebrates outdoor adventures,

addresses environmental issues

  For the seventh year, the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival will kick off the New Year. The Festival is the largest of its kind in the U.S. with 128 films (from two minutes in length to over two hours), 40 premieres, 100 speakers, opening receptions, free workshops, “chat with the filmmaker” discussions, wine stroll, live music, art shows, and more.
   The Festival is an important event in both the film festival and environmental activism worlds and draws filmmakers, activists, and attendees from throughout the nation. It will be held this year from Friday to Sunday, Jan. 9, 10, and 11 with tickets ranging in price from $5 to $325 (proceeds benefit SYRCL mission of protecting and restoring the Yuba River).
   The Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival is sponsored by the South Yuba River Citizens League and presented by Patagonia and many other national and local sponsors. Rick Ridgeway, renowned mountaineer, author, and Patagonia’s Vice President for the Environment will be a featured speaker.
   The film festival takes place throughout historic downtown Nevada City, which is in Gold Country, at the junction of Highways 49 and 20, about 65 miles northeast of Sacramento.
   Tickets may be purchased online at: www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org or by phone Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m., at (530) 265-5961.

Audubon bird count held in Sequoia

   On Sunday, Dec. 14, more than a dozen volunteers spent a stunning winter day counting a total of 4,400 birds (65 species) during Sequoia National Park’s ninth annual Christmas Bird Count. Despite a relatively low birder turnout, this was our highest count total to date. The only new species was a Townsend’s warbler. It was a big year for band-tailed pigeons and varied thrushes.
   Summary— Total Species: 65. Total Birds: 4,400. Total  Participants: 14. Total Count Hours: 36.50 on foot and skis; 5.30 by car. Total Count Miles: 40.20 on foot/ski; 33.50 by car.

Three Rivers Players present holiday show

   Those wacky Little Sisters of Hoboken are back at the Three Rivers Arts Center, and this time, they’re celebrating the holidays (better late than never!). NUNCRACKERS: THE NUNSENSE CHRISTMAS MUSICAL opens Thursday, Jan. 8, and plays through Saturday, Jan. 10.
   It stars the nuns you love, plus Father Virgil, Brother Jim, and the newest recruit, Maria. Featuring all new songs, this show is filled with Nunsense-style humor, some of your favorite carols, and a Secret Santa audience participation.
   NUNCRACKERS will make you laugh and maybe even tug at your heartstrings. It’s the perfect way to ensure that your holiday season ends merry and bright.
   Produced by the Three Rivers Players, this hilarious show features: Georgia Harris as Reverend Mother Superior; Tracy LaMar as Sister Robert Anne; Ariane Sarzotti as Sister Julia, Child of God; Elizabeth LaMar as Sister Amnesia; Amberly Quillen as Maria; Jim LaMar as Father Virgil; and Arlin Talley as Brother Jim.
   As NUNCRACKERS opens, we find the sisters taping their first cable TV special of their annual Christmas show in a makeshift studio in the basement of their convent. As the broadcast unfolds, the nuns and some of their convent school students gather together to spread as much holiday cheer as they can muster — and perhaps learn the true meaning of Christmas.
   As part of the broadcast, they plan to stage a ballet based on The Nutcracker, starring the dancing Sister Mary Leo as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Meanwhile, Sister Julia, the convent’s cook, and Father Virgil struggle with a holiday fruitcake recipe — and things get really interesting when it comes time to add the brandy…
   NUNCRACKERS will take to the stage on Thursday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 10, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
   Performances will be held at the Three Rivers Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and may be purchased at the door.
   For more information, call 561-4154.




  This is the second installment featuring biographies on the 2008 inductees to the California Museum’s Hall of Fame. Part One appeared in the December 26, 2008, issue.

Dorothea Lange

   Dorothea Lange’s photographs and photo journalism have etched the faces of the poor and downtrodden into American consciousness. Her compassionate images of the disadvantaged — Native Americans, displaced families of the Great Depression, and the interned Japanese Americans during World War II — helped shape the field of documentary photography as we know it today.
   Born in Hoboken, N.J., in 1895, she was stricken with polio at age seven and was left with a lifelong limp. Dorothea studied photography at Columbia University and worked at a New York portrait studio until 1918 when she began to travel.
   Stranded in San Francisco, she opened her own portrait studio. Dorothea made her living by taking photos of the city’s wealthier families, but she began to focus her own images on the plight of the unemployed and street people that she saw all around her.
   In the 1920s, with her husband, painter Maynard Dixon, she traveled the Southwest photographing the plight of Native Americans. She was a firm believer that the camera could teach people “how to see without a camera.”
   Amidst the Great Depression, she documented the sufferings of the dispossessed. In breadlines and labor strikes, her images captured the wrenching drama of waiting.
   In 1935, with her second husband, Paul Taylor, a labor economist, Lange was employed by the California and Federal Resettlement Administration to record the desperation of Dust Bowl families forced to move west to look for work. Her signature photo, “Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936” now in the Library of Congress, was taken during this assignment.
   During World War II, Dorothea documented the internment of Japanese Americans and then turned her cameras on women and minorities working side by side in the California shipyards. She said of her work: “The good photograph is not the object; the consequences of the photograph are the objects.”
   After the war, she covered the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco. Dorothea was the first woman to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship though because of illness she could not complete her project.
   In 1952, with Ansel Adams and others, she founded the Aperture Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fine-art photography. Throughout the 1950s and ‘60s, she traveled widely and published numerous features in Life magazine.
   The California Hall of Fame exhibit contains her “Migrant Mother” photo and two of her cameras. Her largest body of work is housed at the Oakland Museum.
   Dorothea died in 1965 and though she did not consider herself an artist, she said: “To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable… But I have only touched it, just touched it.”
   Dorothea’s photographs touch all who see her images. Her passion for people and the art of photography will continue to shape and define a nation’s perception of the 20th century.

Julia Morgan

   On her path to becoming the first female architect in California, Julia Morgan designed the glass ceiling, and then shattered it. During a career that spanned nearly 50 years, she designed more than 700 buildings.
   Julia Morgan was born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland. She attended the University of California at Berkeley where, in 1894, she was the first woman graduate of Cal’s civil engineering program.
   Upon receiving her degree, she was off to Paris, where she applied to the renowned Ecole des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts). The school did not accept women, so it took Julia two years of persistence before she was admitted. In 1902, she became the first female to graduate from the prestigious school with a degree in architecture.
   She returned to California and was hired by San Francisco architect John Galen Howard, who was supervising the University of California’s master plan. She was draftsperson for the Hearst Mining Building and supervising architect for the Greek Theatre, both on the Berkeley campus.
   In 1904, she opened her own office in San Francisco, taking with her a Howard staff member. Howard never forgave Julia for this defection, so it wasn’t until the 1920s that she again had the opportunity to design buildings on the UC campus.
   In 1906, her career became secure following the San Francisco earthquake and fire. Her civil engineering degree proved she was up to this challenge.
   She received many commissions from throughout the Bay Area, gaining her notoriety and guaranteeing financial success. Most notable was the restoration and major repairs of the Fairmont Hotel, located at the summit of Nob Hill, which reopened within a year.
Phoebe Apperson Hearst was one of Morgan’s first clients. In 1912, the women collaborated to design and build the YWCA conference facility, today the Asilomar Conference Grounds near Monterey, managed by Delaware North Companies (Sequoia National Park’s concessioner). All 14 of her original structures there have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
   Julia Morgan’s most famous association was with William Randolph Hearst, the San Francisco newspaper magnate. In 1919, Hearst selected Morgan as the architect for what would become known as Hearst Castle, in the hills overlooking California’s Central Coast on what was previously a Hearst family campsite.
   For nearly 30 years, she worked on this project — her most magnificent and most well-known. Hearst Castle has been managed by the State of California since 1958 and is open for public tours.
   Her building projects also included private residents, schools, churches, stores, hospitals, gymnasiums, theaters, and numerous YWCA facilities. For the rest of her career, Morgan was Hearst’s principal architect, producing the designs for dozens of buildings from the Mount Shasta area to the Grand Canyon to Mexico and throughout the Bay Area.
   Morgan’s philosophy regarding her work was, “architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves.” She evaded publicity, did not have her work published in architectural publications, and would not allow signs bearing her name at construction sites.
   Julia closed her offices in 1951. She died in 1957 at the age of 85 and is buried in Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery.
   In her display at the California Hall of Fame is a replica of the blue-and-gold mosaic tile from the Roman pool at Hearst Castle (the indoor pool under the tennis courts); hand-drawn designs, plans, and blueprints; her UC Berkeley commencement hood; a drafting table from her San Francisco office; her certificate to practice architecture; and a scale model of Hearst Castle. Her great-niece,   Ellen North, accepted the Spirit of California award on Julia’s behalf from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the induction ceremony held Monday evening, Dec. 15.

Jack Nicholson
(b. 1937)

   With his Cheshire-cat-like grin, devil-may-care attitude, and powerful charisma, Jack has seen his star rise in five decades to become the most popular and celebrated actor of his generation. A classic anti-hero, he was among the first of Hollywood’s new breed of leading men — rebellious, contentious, and defiantly non-conformist.
   A supremely versatile talent, he established himself as Hollywood’s dominant screen presence in the 1970s with films like Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, Chinatown, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that won critical acclaim and also were box office hits. Since that enormously successful decade, Jack has remained an enduring counterculture icon throughout his long and distinguished career.
   Born in Neptune, N.J., Jack was raised by his mother and grandmother. After graduating from high school, Jack visited California, intending to return to attend college on an engineering scholarship.
   It never happened. Jack became so caught up in the West Coast lifestyle that he stayed, landing a job as an office boy in MGM’s animation department. It wasn’t long before he was studying acting and performing with the Players Ring Theater.
   During these early years he landed some bit parts on television and acted in local stage productions. While acting in one of the latter, Jack was spotted by B-movie producer and director Roger Corman.
   In 1958, Corman cast Jack in the lead role of The Cry Baby Killer, in which he played a troubled teen. That type of role kept Jack busy for nearly a decade while he waited for a chance to land a mainstream Hollywood movie.
   His first collaboration with actors Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda came in The Trip, an acid-culture drama produced from Jack’s screenplay. After he rejected a role in Bonnie and Clyde, Hopper and Fonda asked Jack to co-star in Easy Rider.
   As an ill-fated, alcoholic, civil-rights lawyer in that counter-culture epic, Jack’s career was catapulted to stardom. For his efforts, he received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, his first such recognition by his peers.
   From that time on, he garnered Oscar nominations in every decade. In 2002, he received his 12th for his performance in the lead role of About Schmidt, making him the most nominated actor in the history of the Oscars.
   Jack has won Academy Awards three times, twice for Best Actor for his work in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and for As Good as it Gets (1997), and once for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Terms of Endearment (1983). Among his other outstanding awards are numerous Golden Globe Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Jack also has a colorful association with the town of Three Rivers. He was the on-again, off-again companion of Anjelica Huston from 1973 until 1990 and once made an offer to purchase the 2,500-acre Thorn Ranch.
   During the recent Hall of Fame induction ceremony, after accepting his own award, Dave Brubeck was provided a script to introduce Nicholson. But rather than read the lengthy list of the actor’s awards and films, Brubeck told a personal story about when he first crossed paths with Nicholson nearly 50 years ago.
   Brubeck recalled that famous stare, which is a Nicholson signature. And one night he said that gaze fell upon him as he seated himself on a bar stool next to this as-yet unidentified fellow whose company of actors had taken over a motel and lounge somewhere in the Southwest.
   Supposedly, they were in town to shoot a movie. At least that’s what they told the owner of the motel and bar.
   The owner asked Dave Brubeck, who was playing jazz at the place, to check out the movie-making troupe to see if they could be trusted to pay their mounting bill.

  “I went back and told the owner, if you want a motel tomorrow, just let these guys do what they want,” Dave recalled.
   After receiving his Spirit of California medal and arriving at the podium to pay tribute to Dr. Seuss, Jack quipped: “While everyone else discovers molecules, I’m drunk in a bar.”

Linus Pauling

  “He had the ability to comprehend the incomprehensible,” is what was said of Dr. Linus Pauling during his posthumous introduction at the California Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This may have been the understatement of the evening, of which there were many as attempts were made to describe the Hall of Famers’ indescribable feats and accomplishments.
   Dr. Linus Pauling is one of a small number of individuals to have been awarded more than one Nobel Prize, one of only two people to receive them in different fields (the other was Marie Curie), and the only person to have been awarded each of his prizes without sharing it with another recipient. Dr. Pauling was a chemist, professor at California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) from 1927 to 1964, and humanitarian.

  “I have always liked working in some scientific direction that nobody else is working in,” Linus Pauling once said. Thus his groundbreaking career as a scientist, his history-making efforts as an ardent peace activist, and his breakthroughs on health, the benefits of vitamins, the dangers of smoking, and fighting disease.
   Linus Pauling was born in Portland Ore., and received his Bachelor of Science degree at Oregon State University. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Cal Tech.
   As a young scientist, Pauling first made his mark in the world of chemistry. His research knew no bounds as he also made breakthroughs in physics, biology, and medical research, which included discovering treatments for and prevention of diseases while laying the groundwork for the later discovery of DNA. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954.
   As early as 1950, Dr. Pauling recognized that air pollution posed a health threat. He also realized that it was automobiles, not factories that were the primary source of air pollution.
   He was undeniably one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th century, but also was destined to become one of the most controversial individuals, which would cost him friends, research funding, and his job at Cal Tech. In 1945, after the first detonation of the atomic bomb, Pauling began studying the effects of radiation and discovered that these weapons would cause irreparable damage to the environment and humans.
   Pauling believed that the government was attempting to conceal the dangers of nuclear testing from the public, so he felt it was his duty to speak out. In books, interviews, and press conferences, he told about the hazards of radiation and campaigned for peace, disarmament, and the end of nuclear testing.

  Many Americans viewed such dissent as treason during these first years of the Cold War. As a result, the State Department revoked Pauling’s passport and he was vilified by the press and investigated by the FBI.
   Pauling drafted a petition calling for an end to the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. On display at the California Hall of Fame is the petition with more than 11,000 signatures of scientists from throughout the world that he personally delivered to the United Nations in 1958.
   This campaign led to a Nobel Peace Prize for Pauling in 1962. It also led to the first Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
   For the rest of his life, he remained active in anti-war movements, but he also turned his attention to the role of nutrition in fighting disease. In his 1970 book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold, Pauling recommended megadoses of vitamin C to ward off colds and lessen their symptoms, advice to which millions adhere today.
Dr. Linus Pauling died at his home in Big Sur in 1994 at the age of 93.
   Besides the anti-nuclear petition, other items on display at the California Hall of Fame include molecular models designed and used by Pauling (among the first ever constructed); a first-edition copy of his famous 1939 textbook based on his chemical-bonding research; his anti-war button collection; and a 1961 Henney Kilowatt Electric Car, the first modern electric car, which Pauling is credited with helping to develop.
   His eldest son, Linus Pauling Jr., accepted the Spirit of California award on his father’s behalf.

Leland Stanford

  “So think for a moment,” said Maria Shriver at the 2006 inaugural California Hall of Fame ceremony. “What would you do to stand out in the history of a state with 37 million people?”
   As governor, senator, university founder, and especially as a driving force behind the construction of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad, the accomplishments of Leland Stanford in the latter half of the 19th century are unparalleled.
   Leland was born in 1824 into a well-off farming family in Watervliet, N.Y. After receiving an excellent education, he entered an elite law office to prepare for a career as an attorney, passing the bar exam in 1848.
   Leland moved to Wisconsin where he opened his own law office. After three years, he made the journey with his new wife to California where Stanford’s brothers had already found success as merchants.
   Leland joined them in 1852 and began making enormous sums of money selling supplies and equipment to gold miners. He operated a general store first in Cold Springs and, in 1855, moved to Sacramento where he parlayed his wealth and influence into political pursuits.
   During these years, he helped organize the Republican Party, served as a justice of the peace, and ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer (1857) and governor (1859). In 1861, Stanford was finally elected governor — California’s eighth governor and first Republican governor — when the Civil War split the Democratic vote, and he was instrumental in keeping California loyal to the Union.
   As governor, Leland secured massive state investment and land grants to ensure the success of the eastbound section of the transcontinental railroad. With his “Big Four” counterparts — Mark Hopkins, Collis Huntington, and the Civil War split the Democratic vote.
   As governor, Leland secured massive state investment and land grants to ensure the success of the eastbound section of the transcontinental railroad. With his “Big Four” counterparts — Mark Hopkins, Collis Huntington, and Charles Crocker — he pledged to complete the railroad, and his contribution came largely in the form of political influence.
   When his term ended in 1863, Leland declined to run again and instead became president of the Central Pacific, a post he held more than three decades. He also served as president of the Southern Pacific and owned many of the construction companies that built the railroads.
   In 1869, Leland drove the famous “Golden Spike” at Promontory Point, Utah, linking the east and west coasts of North America. From the immense wealth he acquired from railroad building, he maintained large vineyards and owned a huge horse ranch near Palo Alto.
   In 1885, as a memorial to their son who died of typhoid at the age of 16, the Stanfords founded and endowed Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto. One of the first students was Herbert Hoover, who would later become a U.S. president.
   In 1885, Leland was appointed to the U.S. Senate where he served until his death in 1893.
   Leland Stanford is interred in a mausoleum on the grounds of Stanford University.

Alice Waters
(b. 1944)

   When Alice Waters made her way west from New Jersey to attend the University of California at Berkeley, that city was destined to become home to a delectable, mouthwatering, scrumptious, groundbreaking, world-renowned culinary revolution. But Berkeley would have to wait until Alice returned from France, where her life changed in one meal.

  “I’ve remembered this dinner a thousand times,” she said. “The chef, a woman, announced the menu: cured ham and melon, trout with almonds, and raspberry tart. The trout had just come from the stream and the raspberries from the garden. It was this immediacy that made those dishes so special.”
   Waters received her BA degree in French Cultural Studies in 1967 from the University of California, Berkeley. She then trained at the Montessori School in London, followed by a year traveling throughout France.
   In 1971, she co-founded Chez Panisse, named for a character in Marcel Pagnol’s 1930s Marseilles movies. To this day, the dining room features a single, fixed-price menu that changes daily based on the availability of pure and fresh ingredients from a network of farmers and ranchers who practice sustainable agriculture. In 1980, an informal upstairs café was opened at Chez Panisse that features an à la carte menu.
   In 1984, Alice opened Café Fanny in Berkeley, named for her daughter who was born the year before and who was also named for a Marcel Pagnol film. This restaurant, where orders are taken at the food bar, serves breakfast and lunch, still adheres to the Waters philosophy of supporting family businesses by serving meat and produce from local ranches and farms practicing ecologically sound and sustainable agriculture.
   Alice, who is currently the sole owner of Chez Panisse, has jumpstarted many a culinary career while also on a mission to change the way we eat with her internationally-renowned California cuisine.
   To commemorate Chez Pannise’s 25th anniversary in 1996, the Chez Panisse Foundation was formed with the vision of ultimately developing a nationwide public school curriculum that includes hands-on experiences in school kitchens, gardens, and cafeterias.
   The Foundation also supports providing healthy and freshly-prepared meals to all schoolchildren that not only offer them with proper nutrition but the education that healthy food that is freshly prepared tastes good, is good for the environment, and can reduce diet-related diseases and obesity.
   Two Foundation programs have been in effect for more than 10 years in the Berkeley Unified School District: the Edible Schoolyard, which teaches students to grow, cook, and share food; and the School Lunch Initiative, which has eliminated the highly-processed, high-fat foods from the lunch tray and replaced them with locally-grown, natural foods.
   In the display created in honor of Alice Waters at the California Hall of Fame are cookbooks, of which she has written eight; Chez Panisse posters commemorating the restaurant’s anniversaries; special-event menus; and an attractive, colorful Edible Schoolyard setting.
   Chez Panisse is located at 1517 Shattuck in Berkeley. Café Fanny is at 1603 San Pablo at Cedar in Berkeley.

Healthy Living
Weekly tip

   In keeping with the California Hall of Fame theme, this Healthy Living tip is courtesy Alice Waters. She writes that it is easy to eat wonderfully well if you cook, eat, and live by these fundamental guidelines:

Eat locally and sustainably
Eat seasonally
Shop at farmers’ markets
Plant a garden
Conserve, compost and recycle
Cook simply
Cook together
Eat together
Remember food is precious


Rueben ‘Nip’ Vane:

Resided in Three Rivers for 43 years
1923 ~ 2008

  Reuben “Nip” Vane of Visalia died Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2008. He was 85.
   Nip was born Feb. 25, 1923, to Tilla and Jalmer Vane in Dawson, Minn., where he was raised and educated. He was a standout athlete in high school and college, where he lettered in three sports.
   During World War II, Nip was stationed in China where he served in the Army Air Forces and Signal Corps.
   Nip met his future wife, Jean, while they were both attending Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn. They married in 1950, shortly after their college graduations.
   Nip’s career paths led him in many professional directions, including teacher and principal, real estate speculator, farmer, and hotel owner. In 1964, Nip accepted a teaching position at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, so he, Jean, and their three children relocated to Three Rivers from Costa Mesa.
   Nip and Jean lived in Three Rivers for more than 40 years before moving to Visalia in early 2007. The couple spent the summer months in South Dakota near extended family
   Nip sang barbershop quartet music and was a former member of the Mighty Oak Chorus, based in Visalia. He was also an avid golfer.
   In addition to Jean, his wife of 58 years, Nip is survived by his three children, Bette and husband Alan Crawford of Exeter; Tracy and husband Steve Jolly of Friant; and Scott Vane and wife Wendy of South Lake Tahoe; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
   Private family services will be held. Interment will be at the Visalia District Cemetery.
   In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Salvation Army, 1501 W. Main St., Visalia, CA 93291 (phone 733-2784).

Robert Graham:

Roosevelt Memorial sculptor
1938 ~ 2008

  In last week’s issue of THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH (December 26), a brief biography of Robert Graham was published as part of the California Hall of Fame coverage. Graham was selected as a 2008 inductee to the Hall of Fame, but was unable to attend the induction ceremony due to illness.
   Robert died Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008, at the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital. He was 70.
   Robert was born in 1938 in Mexico City. He was educated at San Jose State College (today CSU San Jose) and the San Francisco Art Institute.
   He lived in London prior to settling in the Los Angeles area in the early 1970s. In 1992, he married Academy Award-winning actress Anjelica Huston.
   Robert had ties to Three Rivers as his wife, Anjelica, has owned a ranch here since the 1980s. The sculptor was last in Three Rivers during the Fourth of July holiday.

  “Robert was an amazing sculptor who forever shaped the presence of sculpture art throughout California and the world,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “His work was truly influential, and he will forever remain an icon in this state.”
   He said he and his wife, Maria, are deeply saddened by Graham’s death. Robert and California’s First Lady were friends, and he designed the “Spirit of California” medals that have been presented to each year’s 12 California Hall of Fame inductees since 2006, when Maria Shriver first conceived and organized the event.
Robert’s massive bronze sculptures mark civic monuments across the United States, including the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. A life-size, bronze figure of FDR in his wheelchair marks the entrance to the memorial and bronze panels symbolize the 54 social programs that were initiated under the president’s New Deal.
   Graham is survived by his wife of 16 years, Anjelica Huston, and his son, Steven.

   These stories and so much more in the weekly print edition of The Kaweah Commonwealth.


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
© Copyright 2003-2008 The Kaweah Commonwealth