In the News - Friday, January
stories written by John or
Elliott unless otherwise noted
IN THE JANUARY 8PRINT EDITION:
FINISH: THE PLACES OF 2009
Week's Year-in-Review: The News
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
Meeting will explore 2010
The Three Rivers Town Hall meeting returns
Monday, Jan. 11. The regular monthly forum presented
by the Three Rivers Village Foundation will be held
at the Three Rivers Memorial Building from 7 to 8:30
The agenda will feature five speakers
who will furnish updates on an array of topics, some
of which are certain to be among the big news makers
for 2010. Topping the agenda will be transportation
issues that affect everyone who drives or bikes in
Ted Smalley, the executive director of
the Tulare County Association of Governments, will
discuss how the Measure R funds will be used in 2010.
In an era when most counties are slashing budgets,
Measure R monies have Tulare County moving ahead on
several new projects.
Smalley supervises a TCAG staff of 11
planners and administrators. He is involved in regional
San Joaquin Valley policymaking, the development of
the Santa Fe Trail linking Tulare and Visalia, planning
for light and short haul rail systems in Tulare County,
and the construction of more bikeways.
Johnny Wong will also be in attendance.
Wong oversees the road maintenance and building projects
for the Tulare County Resource Management Agency.
One of the agency’s recently completed projects
was the Cherokee Oaks bridge (2009).
Adrienne Freeman, public information
officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks,
will address 2010 road construction plans for the
will be an extremely busy summer with projects planned
for the Generals Highway — Amphitheater Point
to Deer Ridge — replacement of the Cedar Grove
Bridge, and the chip sealing of 95 percent of all
park roads and parking areas,” Freemen said.
The delays and closures will take some
cooperation from everyone to keep things running smoothly
this summer. When these projects start depend on the
weather, Adrienne added.
There will also be updates from the Sequoia
Foothills Chamber of Commerce and the Three Rivers
Got a question for any of the speakers?
There will be time for an open forum too.
3R resident shoots bear
If you live in Three Rivers, chances
are you’ve encountered a bear or two. Keeping
the prowling critters out of trash or pet food can
be a real challenge.
When a bear becomes a habitual diner
on these local food sources there’s bound to
be trouble. It’s trouble for the residents who
find their properties on the bruin’s nightly
rounds. Even more unfortunately, it’s trouble
for the bear.
Bears come into town, get into human
or pet food, and the situation escalates over time.
That’s the recent scenario that played out last
month for a Mineral King Road property owner.
talked to a [Sequoia] park bear tech and they told
me that our bear sounded a lot like one they recently
relocated from the Wuksachi area,” said Cliff
St. Martin, the Three Rivers resident who reported
the bear trouble. “He was a trash bear before
he came to my area.”
St. Martin, who has a trailer on a lot
he’s building on about a mile-and-a-half up
the Mineral King Road, said he noticed the bear had
been visiting early last month. In one night, the
hungry bruin destroyed some metal garbage cans to
get at three 50-pound bags of pet food, which he apparently
ate during this one visit.
In the meantime, St. Martin called the
Fresno office of the California Department of Fish
and Game and was informed that if a bear is prowling
around it’s best just to run the critter off
and inform the game warden of the incident. The department,
St. Martin was told, will assess the problem and then
take the appropriate action.
Department policy also states that if
the bear breaks into a house or building, or attempts
to break in, and is perceived as a threat to occupants,
then that’s a different situation.
After that incident, St. Martin said,
he put the rest of the pet food for the dogs and cat
inside the trailer. A few nights later he got a call
from an anxious neighbor informing him that his dogs
were barking like crazy and that the bear had returned.
I got to the property, I didn’t see anything
out of the ordinary,” St. Martin recalled. “My
dogs and cat were unharmed but I knew something was
St. Martin entered his trailer and didn’t
see the intruder until he opened the bathroom door.
he was standing in my bathroom,” St. Martin
said. “He had eaten some old peanut brittle
but no other food was touched.”
That’s when Cliff’s dad shot the bear.
The wounded bear stumbled back for a moment, then
A short time later, St. Martin found
the bear dead in a ravine about 100 yards from the
trailer. He estimated that he weighed between 450
and 500 pounds.
In the ravine was trash from dozens of
forays to nearly every property in the area. The St.
Martins contacted the Department of Fish and Game
and were issued a special tag that tallied the death
in the local population.
“The first time I ever saw that bear, I yelled
at him and tried to scare him off,” St. Martin
said. “He looked up for a moment from his dinner
and just ignored me like I wasn’t even there.
He was just a little bit too comfortable being around
DUI a factor in Harley wreck
It’s no secret among motorcyclists.
Riding the roads in the scenic Sierra is just about
as good as it gets.
But factor in a few drinks at a Badger
saloon and those twisting mountain roads can become
nearly impossible to negotiate.
Evidently, that’s what happened
to Charles Courtland Phillips, 54, of Tulare who crashed
his 2005 Harley Davidson motorcycle on Saturday, Dec.
26, while southbound on Dry Creek Road. The accident
occurred nine miles up from Hwy. 216 just after 5
When a passing motorist stopped to help,
he found the injured Harley rider was conscious. He
had Phillips get in his vehicle and started down canyon
to get help. When the motorist saw emergency personnel
en route he flagged them down to get Phillips treatment.
Phillips, who was wearing a helmet, complained of
neck and shoulder pain and had a cut on his head.
He was transported to a nearby hospital via ambulance.
A CHP officer who investigated the accident
determined that Phillips was intoxicated, and he was
charged with DUI. The accident victim was also found
to be driving with a suspended license as a result
of a prior DUI.
Officer Wright, a spokesperson with the
Visalia office of the California Highway Patrol, said
Phillips is facing even steeper fines and driving
restrictions due to the prior offense.
he petitions the judge for work-related driving privileges,
he would be a candidate for the new ignition interlock
program,” Wright said. “With the device
in place, only a driver with a zero blood alcohol
would be permitted to start and operate the vehicle.”
IID PILOT PROGRAM IN TULARE COUNTY—
The new interlock program is a part of AB 91, which
authorizes the DMV to create a pilot project requiring
all convicted DUI offenders in Alameda, Los Angeles,
Sacramento, and Tulare counties to install an ignition
interlock device (IID) on every vehicle they own or
operate as a condition to get their driver’s
An evaluation will be conducted to determine
if the IID pilots are effective in reducing the number
of DUIs at the conclusion of the project.
The new measure becomes effective July
10 years of counting Sequoia
On Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, 17 volunteers
participated in Sequoia National Park’s 10th
annual Christmas Bird Count. The weather was fantastic
and the birds really put on a show.
A highlight of the count occurred along
the flume near the Ash Mountain entrance station,
when a Peregrine Falcon was observed capturing a Western
Bluebird in mid-air. Needless to say, there were few
birds seen in the area for many hours afterward!
Some other notable sightings included
the first Mountain Bluebirds (four of them) ever recorded
for this count and the first Belted Kingfisher since
Total Species: 60
Total Birds: 2,054
Total Participants: 17
Total Count Hours: Foot– 51.5, Car–10.5
Total Count Miles: Foot– 41, Car–64.7
California Towhee (208), Acorn Woodpecker
(193), Dark-eyed Junco (192), Western Scrub Jay (181),
Oak Titmouse (162), Bushtit (117), American Robin
(109), Western Blue Bird (92), White-breasted Nuthatch
(87), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (81), Spotted Towhee (76),
Lesser Goldfinch (54), Golden-crowned Sparrow (53),
Wrentit (51), Hermit Thrush (40), California Quail
(39), European Starling (36), Northern Flicker (35),
Stellar’s Jay (31), Common Raven (29), Cedar
Waxwing (25), Mountain Quail (14), Red-breasted Nuthatch
(13), Black Phoebe (12), Purple Finch (10), Golden-crowned
Kinglet (9), House Finch (9), Red-tailed Hawk (9),
Hairy Woodpecker (7), Mountain Chickadee (7), Brown
Creeper (6), Mourning Dove (6), Great Horned Owl (5),
Nuttall’s Woodpecker (5), American Kestrel (4),
Mountain Bluebird (4), California Thrasher (4), American
Dipper (3), Fox Sparrow (3), House Wren (3), Red-breasted
Sapsucker (3), Red-shouldered Hawk (3), Rufous-crowned
Sparrow (3), Chipping Sparrow (3), Northern Pygmy
Owl (2), White-headed Woodpecker (2), Anna’s
Hummingbird (1), Band-tailed Pigeon (1), Belted Kingfisher
(1), Bewick’s Wren (1), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
(1), Canyon Wren (1), Cooper’s Hawk (1), Great
Blue Heron (1), Lark Sparrow (1), Peregrine Falcon
(1), Phainopepla (1), Rock Wren (1), Townsend’s
Solitaire (1), Northern Harrier (1).
by Danny Gammons, organizer of the Sequoia Christmas
From art to yoga:
tour of 1st Saturday
By Eddie McArthur
The 1st Saturday event in Three Rivers
just keeps getting bigger and better, and several
new faces and locales were added on January 2.
Shirley Keller opened her studio at SPIRIT
HILL with a colorful display of her multiple talents.
Shirley is a wonderful photographer,
a creator of ceramic masks, and a magician with recycled
art. With a penchant for turquoise – the color,
not the stone – in her painted rusty, rescued
art, the front of Shirley’s studio gleamed with
Spirit Hill is located on Skyline Drive
farther up Highway 198 than most of the open businesses
and studios, but it’s well worth the few extra
miles to visit with Shirley and view her interesting
art pieces. Shirley told me that this month she had
THE ART CO-OP has scheduled the monthly
reception for their featured artist of the month to
correspond with the 1st Saturday happenings. This
month, weaver Nikki Crain is featured.
Nikki is well known around Three Rivers
and offers many items, from her signature “mug
rugs” that serve as effective coasters to wonderful
scarves and shawls. Ask her about the connection between
higher mathematics and her weaving.
Nikki uses natural fibers and dyes in
her quest for both beauty and a healthy means of working
and living. In addition, Nikki offers soy candles,
a healthy alternative to commercial candles with a
Outside the Co-Op was, of all things,
a snowman at least six feet tall. One of the Co-Op
artists had brought a truck-full of snow down from
the Sierra and created the Three Rivers version of
“Frosty,” complete with sunglasses and
Just around the corner from the Co-Op,
Jalene Vincent-Welch has opened 3 RIVERS YOGA. This
month at the yoga studio, Miriam Briks and Kevin Yee
have on display paintings and reproductions depicting
Three Rivers scenes and visions inspired by their
recent trip to India.
In addition, Kevin provided music for
a yoga class in the form of a traditional Persian
instrument named for a peacock. Both Kevin and Miriam
are accomplished artists. They often work on a piece
together with Miriam starting a figural part and Kevin
adding background, embellishment, etc.
A free one-hour yoga class was offered
as part of 1st Saturday, and I managed to twist myself
into a few poses before I felt the need to continue
my tour for the day.
Jalene trained in India and is an accomplished
yogi. Back in my youth – okay, that was decades
ago – I taught yoga for awhile, so I can offer
a very heartfelt endorsement of Jalene’s abilities,
both as a practitioner and a teacher.
In addition to yoga, you’ll find
Pilates for strengthening core muscles and belly dancing
for great fun and a workout combined. Jalene is joined
by instructors Day Spencer and Jen Carpenter.
She will offer cards for either three
or six visits to be used within a month of the first
visit. If your New Year’s resolution includes
getting in shape, this is a great place to start.
Having run out of decaf coffee at home,
I wanted to be sure to stop in at HARRISON HALL at
COMMUNITY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH for a bag of their Fair
Trade Coffee. The church is generously opening each
1st Saturday to provide public restroom facilities
and free coffee and water to 1st Saturday visitors.
In addition, they offer the Fair Trade
Coffee and organic chocolates for sale. We also took
time to enjoy Jane Ziegler’s landscape and portrait
paintings displayed on the porch outside Harrison
Hall. This would be a great spot for two or three
more artists to join in the 1st Saturday fun.
After zipping home so I could finally
finish taking down my Christmas decorations, I talked
my husband into heading back out with me to visit
ORANGE RAY. The boutique, which features green, organic
items was closed, but their “Gnome Theater”
was open and playing to a full house.
Wendi Morrison and Keith Merritt have
opened this venue featuring both the boutique and
the Blue Crow, a spot for music, readings, and even
Gnome Theater. This month was “Ugly Little People,”
a puppet show that had both adults and children laughing.
So, this month I managed five stops out
of the 21 – yes, 21! – locations participating.
Given that several locations host additional participants,
as did 3 Rivers Yoga, there are nearly 30 participants
Next month, 1st Saturday will offer a
preview of the beautiful bowls to be featured that
night at the Empty Bowls dinner at the Three Rivers
Memorial Building. I can’t help but plug that
event. The ARTS ALLIANCE OF THREE RIVERS,
in partnership with the THREE RIVERS BREAD BASKET,
will be offering a dinner of soup and bread served
in handmade bowls. The price of a ticket will get
you both the dinner and the bowl to take home, and
all profits from the event go to benefit the Bread
Basket. Watch the Kaweah Kalendar for details.
Can Three Rivers honestly be billed as
an “artists’ community”? Absolutely!
Can the arts and artists of this little jewel of a
town be the catalyst for our own version of economic
recovery? It’s more than possible.
Visit THE ART CO-OP when you need a gift
or want to add a piece of local art to your home.
Stop by ORANGE RAY for organic products and take the
kids to theater productions.
Pick up one of the brochures prepared
by the ARTS ALLIANCE that will direct you to the studios
of many local artists. Stop by NADI’S STUDIO
for a mug, a T-shirt, or a tote if you aren’t
in the market for what is often perceived as “art.”
Tone up at 3 RIVERS YOGA and SMITH’S
FITNESS. But, most of all, venture out on the next
Eddie McArthur is
a Three Rivers artist and president of the Arts Alliance
of Three Rivers.