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In the News - Friday, JANUARY 11, 2008

—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

 

In the print edition only:

 

PHOTO FINISH 2007: THE PLACES

Annual year-end review in photos

of the newsworthy places

in and around Kaweah Country

 

ELECTION 2008

Measure C rallies

Three Rivers support

  A decade ago, Woodlake Union High School asked voters in the district to approve a historic Measure J. After Three Rivers voted overwhelmingly to approve the long overdue site improvements, Woodlake High became the proud owner of a state-of-the-art Event Center and swimming pool.

  “Not all Valley communities have this opportunity and are missing the boat,” said Drew Sorensen, Woodlake’s principal in 1998. “It’s an opportunity to spend some money on our kids.”
   The $3.5 million that was used on those facilities were dollars well spent providing hundreds of students with after-school activities as well as an assembly site for the entire community.
   Now, according to Woodlake’s new superintendent, Tim Hire, it’s time to upgrade other areas of the 800-student campus and reach out to more members of the Woodlake-Three Rivers community. Hire and a contingent of Woodlake High boosters will be in Three Rivers on Tuesday, Jan. 15, for an information meeting about Measure C — on the Tuesday, Feb. 5, ballot — and how passage of this $4.5 million bond will benefit the future of our community. The meeting will commence at 7 p.m. in the McDowall Auditorium at Three Rivers School.
   With what’s going on in society today, it’s more important than ever to engage high school youth, Hire said recently. Measure C improvements will help Woodlake’s sports programs, build new classrooms, and include an extreme makeover of the aging Performing Arts Building.
   In the recent past, Three Rivers students at Woodlake High have made a contribution to the resurgent band and drama programs. Measure C will vastly improve the facilities for the performing arts and engage even more students in these after-school activities.
   The revenue generated from the obligation for property owners also provides the school district with ample opportunities to use matching grants. Plans to use a $90,000 rubber recycling grant with bond money will produce an all-weather track that will be a big boost to restoring Woodlake’s competitive track-and-field program.
   As an added bonus, the public will be permitted to run and walk on the new outdoor track. That translates to saving public health dollars and promoting better fitness for anyone one willing to exert a little energy.

  “What’s different about this bond issue is some of the built-in accountability under Proposition 39,” said Hire. “There is a citizens’ oversight committee and a $30 cap per $100,000 assessed valuation.”
   Also as a result of Proposition 39 — passed by voters statewide in November 2000 — local school bonds now need to be approved by a 55-percent vote of the local electorate. When Measure J was on the ballot 10 years ago, the law required that two-thirds (66-2/3%) of voters approve the measure for passage.
   Like previous local campaign forums, Bill Tidwell of Three Rivers will conduct a brief discussion of ballot propositions 91 through 97. There will be speakers, questions and answers about the ballot issues, and some surprise entertainment by Woodlake High students.
   For more information on Measure C, call the Woodlake Schools District office 564-8081, ext. 11, or Diana Pearcy, 798-2343.

For the record
Re: “Measure C to provide WHS improvements,” Jan. 4, 2008— The term of collection of the general obligation bond has been reduced from 40 years to 25 years.

Storm nearly doubles snowpack

   Before the recent series of storms, state hydrologists reported that the January 1 snowpack averaged 61 percent of normal statewide. Thanks to last week’s events, now those numbers have nearly doubled to 111 percent of normal.
   While most of California experienced some wacky weekend weather that brought widespread power outages, Kaweah Country escaped relatively unscathed. On Sunday evening, Jan. 6, a CHP dispatcher reported a fallen tree blocking Sierra Drive near Dinely Drive, but it was quickly removed by the first responders on the scene.
   The local mountains, including the area in and around the Giant Forest, received three feet of new snow and quickly became a winter wonderland.

  “As far as the local national parks, there was very little damage from the winds that accompanied the systems that moved through the area last weekend,” said Alexandra Picavet, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks public information officer. “There was nothing like the New Year’s storm of last season, and the new section of the Generals Highway really helped to keep traffic moving through the area during some very icy and slushy conditions.”
   When the leading edge of the Pacific-spawned moisture moved into the area on Friday, Jan. 4, it was raining all the way up to elevations above 7,000 feet. As temperatures dropped later in the weekend, that pool of moisture became a solid frozen layer on the existing snow.
   More than three feet of new snow made conditions in the mountains for the next two days a virtual whiteout. A ranger reported approximately 56 inches of snow at the Mineral King Ranger Station and lots of instability on the valley’s slopes.
   The report also described a snow slide in the upper Mineral King Valley and at least two trees down on the road between the Atwell Mill Campground and Cabin Cove. The depth of the snow at the Conifer gate was estimated to be 18 inches with some accumulation below Lookout Point.
   As of Wednesday, Jan. 9, Lodgepole rangers reported 52 inches of snow at the stake in that locale, bringing the season’s total to 79 inches; total precipitation for the season is 18.46 inches.
   Grant Grove checked in on January 9 with 31 inches of snow on the ground and a season’s precipitation total of 18.29 inches. Ash Mountain has recorded 12.73 inches of rainfall to date in the current season.
   In Three Rivers, local stations have recorded 10 inches for the season and are rapidly approaching last season’s total of 11.73 inches. With at least three more months of prime precipitation time remaining in the 2007-08 season, statewide water supplies should soon eclipse last season’s numbers.

Student dog trainers

observe surgery

   On Tuesday, Dec. 18, seven students from the Assistance Service Dog Educational Center in Woodlake took four dogs to the Lindsay Veterinary Clinic to be spayed or neutered.
   Jamie Wilson, DVM, invited the student-trainers to observe the procedures. They got to see how the animals were prepped for the surgery, and Dr. Wilson and her staff did an exceptional job of explaining the how and why of every step.
   Dr. Wilson went beyond the basic procedures to point out different internal body parts and explained their function and how they related to each other and the dog as a whole.
   They also learned about the different types of sutures and why each was used in a particular situation.
   The student-trainers were then able to observe the post-operative procedures and monitor the dogs’ recoveries. It was a rare and wonderful experience to see firsthand the behind-the-scenes view of a top-notch veterinarian in action.
   Article submitted by Barbara Sandberg of Three Rivers. She and her husband, Dave, are volunteers at the Assistance Service Dog Educational Center in Woodlake.

Fresno foundation targets

Woodlake community

   In the hectic holiday season of gift-giving some of the best gifts often go unnoticed. That’s why the Woodlake Family Resource Center wanted to gratefully acknowledge the good works of the Fresno Regional Foundation.
   For the past two years, the philanthropic organization from Tulare County’s northern neighbor has adopted the Woodlake community, making a $10,000 grant annually available through the Woodlake Family Resource Center. According to Greg Gonzalez, assistant program director for the resource center, the money is being used locally to reach out to a number of underprivileged children.

  “The Foundation funds that we have received for the past two years have made a tremendous impact on these children and their families,” Gonzalez said.
   The grant money has been used to purchase heaters, blankets, and sweaters for children of low-income families; served more than 200 lunches; provided more than 200 gift bags; sponsored an academic scholar to attend the Congressional Youth Leader Council in Washington, D.C., who may not otherwise be able to afford the travel expenses; and bought sleeping bags so impoverished youth could have the proper equipment to attend camping events.
   The Fresno Regional Foundation was established in 1966 as a nonprofit organization to provide an array of donor opportunities and to assure that gifts like the Woodlake grant would make an impact and address a wide spectrum of economic, social, and cultural needs.

CHAMBER CORNER
Local Chamber to market

region at state travel shows

   The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Sequoia National History Association (SNHA), will represent our beautiful region at two travel and tourism trade shows this winter.
   Chamber volunteers, SNHA staff, and a National Park Service ranger will hit the road during the weekend of January 12 and 13 for the Bay Area Travel Show in Santa Clara.
   Then, on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9 and 10, it’s off to Long Beach for the second year of attending the Los Angeles Times Travel Show.
   These shows, aimed at travel agents, vacation planners, families, and others, provide vacation information about locations in California, across the nation, and around the world. Over 30,000 people attend each of these shows, where the Chamber and SNHA will host a 10-foot by 10-foot exhibit booth focusing on visiting the national parks and the surrounding communities.
   Interested vacation-goers can talk to area representatives, enter for a chance to win a Three Rivers/Sequoia National Park weekend getaway, and receive a goodie bag filled with fun travel information and sponsor brochures.
   Special thanks to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors for providing support for these shows and to Delaware North Companies for sponsoring the exhibit booth. In addition, City of Visalia, Comfort Suites, Creekside Yarns, Kaweah Marina, Lazy J Ranch Motel, River Inn & Cabins, Sequoia Gifts & Souvenirs, Sequoia Motel, Sequoia RV Ranch, SNHA, Three Rivers Artists’ Studio Tour 8, Three Rivers Bed & Breakfast, and Three Rivers Drug provided sponsorship support.
   Chamber Corner is a weekly update of Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce activities and events, submitted by the directors of the organization.

OBITUARY
Barbara Strong
1946 ~ 2008

   Barbara Strong of Three Rivers died Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008. She was 61.
   Barbara was born August 1, 1946, in Berkeley. She was the daughter of landscape painter Ray Strong and violinist Elizabeth R. Brown Strong.
   When Barbara was two years old, the family moved to Mill Valley, where her father and grandfather built their home on the shoulder of Mount Tamalpais.
   Growing up, Barbara developed a deep love of nature, animals, art, books, and tennis, all of which remained passions throughout her life. She received her B.A. degree in Anthropology and an M.A. in Art History from UC Santa Barbara.
   After serving as a teaching assistant for two years at UCSB while working on her doctorate in Art History, Barbara was hired as the full-time art historian at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia. She retired from her position 30 years later, but continued teaching part-time for the next few years.
   Her home from the late 1980s on was in Three Rivers, surrounded by the nature and animals — domesticated and not — that she had always cherished.
   The excitement of learning ever more about her subject through reading, traveling, and visiting museums and archaeological sites and how to utilize each new advance in technology and teaching methodologies provided continual joy during her working life.
   In July 2006, Barbara was preceded in death by her 101-year-old father, Ray Strong, who was living with her in Three Rivers.
   She is survived by her brother, Tim, of Upper Lake, and niece Jennifer and nephews Christopher and Jeffrey.

 
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