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In the News -
Friday, jANUARY 13, 2006
Allen Ishida will serve as vice-chairman of the Tulare County
Board of Supervisors for 2006. He was selected by a unanimous vote of
the board at Tuesday’s (January 10) regular meeting.
In that role, Ishida will serve as chair-in-waiting under the 2006 chairman,
Steve Worthley, District Four supervisor. He could step in as chairman
to conduct the meetings in Worthley’s absence.
Traditionally, the chair positions are rotated on an annual
basis. With Worthley assuming the chair, the vice-chair would then be
Jim Maples, District Five supervisor.
Maples, who announced that he is retiring in December 2006,
deferred to his colleague Ishida. Supervisor Ishida is then in line to
become chairman in 2007.
was a situation where Jim [Maples] thought the long-range interests of
the board would be better served if Allen [Ishida] had the opportunity
to gain the experience,” said Eric Coyne, who handles the board’s
Coyne said the vice-chair qualifies for a higher rate of
pay so it was a noble gesture by Maples.
In other BOS business, the Planning Commission met Wednesday,
Jan. 11, and requested that Tom Cairns of Lemon Cove Granite “fish
or cut bait.” Cairns’s mining permit was extended last year
so an Environmental Impact Report could be prepared.
The extension ends this month so the commission has the option
to cancel the permit if no EIR is forthcoming. Next week, the county Planning
Department will meet with Cairns and his consultant, Quad Knopf, who have
asked for another year’s extension.
County staff also updated the Planning Commission on several
matters including the Kaweah River Management Plan. That’s the ordinance
that regulates commercial rafting on the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River.
the 2005 season that ran for 11 weeks there were no problems and no complaints,”
said George Finney, long-range planning director. “In fact, there
have been no complaints in the last several years so in the future staff
will only present an annual report if there are any new developments or
Theresa Szymanis, the countywide planning manager, said that
two new staff members have been hired, one of whom will be working to
complete the county’s general plan. The other person has a background
in historical preservation and will help monitor Native American issues
and assist with scenic-highway applications.
expect to complete the county’s general plan by the end of the year,”
Ishida also said that the Board of Supervisors would discuss
the next go-round on the proposed J.G. Boswell Company development in
Yokohl Valley at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Those wishing to address
the board during the public comment period should call 733-6271 or check
the agenda at:
‘Build it’: Assemblyman
scenic highway bill
This month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave his State of
the State speech with the recurring phrase, “I say build it,”
referring to several major initiatives, including transportation.
On Thursday, Jan. 26, Assemblyman Bill Maze (R-District 34)
will travel to Three Rivers for a special Town Meeting to provide a first-hand
report from Sacramento. Maze was in the audience for the governor’s
speech and will have the latest reaction to the bold plans.
It is Maze’s bill to designate State Route 198 a scenic
highway that could have immediate implications for the future of Three
Rivers. The legislation, now in a Senate committee, seeks to change the
current status of “declared eligible” to “officially
Tom Sparks, spokesperson for the Village Foundation, the
group sponsoring the meeting, believes that the scenic highway designation
is the foundation on which to build the future of Three Rivers.
learned some difficult lessons and have come to the realization that the
scenic highways program is the best hope to get grant money here,”
Sparks said. “At the upcoming meeting, Assemblyman Maze will tell
us more about the opportunities that are available in this program.”
Sparks said because Highway 198 was declared eligible years
ago, a corridor protection plan was adopted by the county as a general
plan amendment. Under this amendment, county and state officials can apply
certain rules to all new construction along the corridor that includes
the highway around Lake Kaweah and through the town of Three Rivers.
The existing corridor protection plan, which dictates that
new construction must be set back at least 100 feet from the centerline
of the highway, will be subject to review and updated as a part of the
new legislation. Sparks said the scenic highway status would bring both
benefits and obligations to the affected communities.
Sparks said a properly administered program would do the following:
from encroachment or inappropriate land use and preserve scenic values
by proper placement, landscaping, or screening.
development compatible with the environment and harmonious with the surroundings.
grading standards that prevent erosion and preserve existing contours
and vegetation whenever possible.
hillsides by maintaining open ridgelines and opting only for low-density
development on steep slopes.
the need for sound walls by using appropriate setbacks for residential
development adjacent to the highway.
community benefits of the program are obvious,” Sparks said. “We
can preserve an identity of a place while enhancing land values. When
we do these things, the area is even more attractive to residents and
To facilitate a more direct line to transportation enhancement
funding, Sparks was recently appointed as an alternate to the board of
the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG). That’s the
funding conduit for millions of dollars in grants, and Sparks hopes to
steer some of that money toward local projects.
Through the Village Foundation at the upcoming meeting, Sparks
will bring together a cross-section of the Three Rivers community to furnish
input for the Maze legislation. There will also be an update on the grant
for a playground project and plans to form a local chamber of commerce.
Assault supect to be arraigned;
rampant during holidays
Earlier this week, Jim Fansett, Three Rivers’ resident
deputy sheriff, was able to make more details public related to an assault
case that occurred New Year’s Eve on North Kaweah Drive. In that
incident, Stan McDowell, 66, a longtime resident of Three Rivers, discharged
a shotgun at his residence wounding a female companion.
According to the police report, the woman sustained minor
injuries. McDowell was booked into Tulare County Jail but released Thursday,
Jan. 5, on $60,000 bail.
Today (Friday, Jan. 13), McDowell is scheduled to appear
at a preliminary hearing to enter a plea on three separate charges stemming
from the shooting incident, including assault with a deadly weapon, making
terrorist threats, and brandishing a firearm.
As a result of the investigation, at least one item stolen
in a Christmas burglary at an Old Three Rivers Drive residence was recovered
from McDowell’s property. The item, a cuckoo clock, was returned
to its owner.
this stage in the investigation we can’t be certain that McDowell
knew the item was stolen,” Fansett said.
Breaking and entering-- There were three
burglaries reported over the holidays; two were residential and one occurred
at Three Rivers School. The one involving the missing clock occurred sometime
on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
The victim in that burglary reported food items among the
missing loot that included antique saws and possibly two firearms. The
value of the loss was estimated at $2,500.
Another burglary at a North Kaweah Drive residence was also
reported over the holiday period. In that heist, a computer valued at
$800 was stolen.
one was really strange because the computer was all that was stolen and
there were lots of other valuables left untouched,” said Deputy
Fansett said he couldn’t be sure that this burglary
was related to any of the other recent incidents. The victim said the
computer contained the records of a business that was recently sold.
The burglary at Three Rivers School occurred sometime during
Christmas vacation between December 16 and 31. A thief or thieves pried
open a rear window to the computer lab to gain entry and then stole at
least five processors and monitors, a digital camera, and a video camera.
Anyone with information that could aid in the investigation
of these or any crime is asked to call Deputy Fansett at 740-8894.
Pick your poison:
Friday the 13th
FRIDAY THE 13TH
The most pervasive superstition in western civilization is
the fear of the number 13 — streets, building floors, desks, and
room numbers traditionally exclude this number. And even in these oh-so-modern
times, it is estimated that eight percent of Americans will consider Friday
the 13th (that’s today!) a day fraught with peril.
For the rest of the population, the day may actually be a
bit safer as many others will choose to remain home.
The origins of triskaidekaphobia, especially when the number
coincides with a Friday (paraskevidekatriaphobia) are deep-rooted yet
growing misty with time. From Greek goddesses to the Last Supper and the
Crucifixion, several incidents are blamed for the worldwide shunning of
13, the most misunderstood number.
And, thank goodness, this month’s Full Moon misses
Friday the 13th by one night or things might have really gone “loony.”
Odd occurrences have also been noted through the ages during
the Full Moon, which occurs this month on Saturday, Jan. 14. The Moon-goddess
Luna is blamed for this phenomena, because early Christians believed that
worshippers of Luna were crazy, or “lunatics.”
As a result, the belief remains today that lunacy and other
psychic disturbances are affected by the Full Moon.
Flu season has started a little early in Kaweah Country this
year, though not with the vengeance that it has in other parts of the
state. Flu season usually starts to take off in mid-January and can peak
in January, February, or March.
California is among four states that the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention have identified as hot spots for influenza. Other
states include Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.
As Tulare County enters the height of flu season, health
professionals recommend slowing its spread with frequent hand washing,
not sharing food or drink; covering coughs and sneezes; avoid touching
your eyes, nose, or mouth; and getting regular exercise, plenty of rest,
and eat healthy, balanced meals. Those who develop flu-like symptoms should
stay home from work or school.
Symptoms include fever, cough, nausea, and headache.
Vaccines are still available, unlike last year when widespread
shortages were reported.
A person who has received the vaccine might still contract
the flu. It could be a different strain of flu than is covered in the
vaccine or it could mean the vaccine only weakened the virus’s strength,
instead of totally protecting against it.
CDC officials report that no particular demographic group
is hit harder than others, but children, the elderly, and those with chronic
diseases are most vulnerable.
For local information about flu cases and the availability
of the vaccine, call the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency,
Celesta Beutler Moffitt,
and educated in Three Rivers
1935 ~ 2005
Celesta A. Beutler Moffitt died peacefully at her Yakima,
Wash., home on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005, after a long, courageous battle
with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
She was 70.
Graveside and memorial services were held December 12 in
Yakima. A local service will be held Saturday, Jan. 21, 1 p.m., at the
Presbyterian Church of Woodlake, 600 W. Naranjo Blvd. (at Cypress Street).
Celesta was born March 11, 1935, in Colton, Calif., to Willis
and Frances Beutler, who later moved their family to Three Rivers, residing
on the North Fork and owning and operating the Three Rivers Market. Celesta
was raised in Three Rivers and enjoyed the Sierra Nevada Mountains where
she spent many days in the summer with her grandfather, Onis Brown, a
mountain guide and packer, and skied often during the winter.
After graduating from Woodlake High School, she attended
College of the Sequoias in Visalia, where she met the love of her life,
Harold (Hal)Moffitt. They were married in Three Rivers on Nov. 27, 1954.
Celesta spent the early years of her marriage raising three
children and working to help support the family while Hal was in graduate
school at the University of California in Riverside. In 1967, the family
moved to Wenatchee, Wash., where Celesta continued raising her family
and working in a State of Washington research laboratory.
In 1969, the family moved to Yakima, where she spent the
rest of her life. In Yakima, she worked in various research and quality
control laboratories until she opened her own business.
Celesta was an accomplished needlework artist and for a number
of years owned and operated the Knit Shop in Yakima. She was adept at
knitting and cross stitch, having completed many sweaters that served
as models in the shop (and later were given to family members).
One of her major endeavors was the completion of 20 elaborate
cross-stitch canvases of angels and fairies of which she was most proud.
She enjoyed sharing her knowledge and ability with her many customers
In later years, she became a stained glass artisan and created
many windows for homes and businesses in the Yakima area and lamps and
door windows in homes of the family.
Celesta and Hal enjoyed travel, particularly in their RV
to the mountains and beaches of western North America. In 2004, they celebrated
their 50th wedding anniversary with a trip to Alaska. Over the years they
have traveled to Canada, Mexico, Fiji, New Zealand, and Thailand.
Celesta is survived by her husband of 51 years, Harold; her
sons, Michael Moffitt and his wife, Angie, of Puyallup, Wash., and Patrick
Moffitt and wife Donna of Yakima; her daughter, Karen Smelser, and husband
Tom of Hermiston, Ore.; her mother, Frances Beutler of Woodlake; her brothers,
Garry Beutler and wife Jan of Porterville and Larry Beutler and wife Diana
of Twain Harte; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Celesta was preceded in death by her father, Willis Beutler.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be
made to the ALS Association-Evergreen Chapter and Memorial Home Health
and Hospice, in care of Valley Hills Funeral Home, 2600 Business Lane,
Yakima, WA 98901.
volunteers honored, the annual events season, and the beginning of what
would be a number of weather-related Sierra tragedies made headlines in
Spring 2005. THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH in retrospect, a month-long series,
April 1— The month kicked off with
the Commonwealth’s April Fool's issue. Just for fun, the editorial
copy and ads were printed in reverse position.
THE LEAD story explained that John Hanggi would be honored
by the Lions Club at Recognition Night for being a longtime, on-call responder
to hundreds of local emergencies — fires, traffic accidents, and
OFFICIALS AT Sequoia National Park conducted a special tour
for media and lobbyists to call attention to their efforts to restore
lands that had been clandestinely used to grow marijuana. Several park
employees made an impassioned plea to help get more funding for the cleanup
of park lands trashed by growers.
DAYTIME TEMPERATURES were in the upper 70s making the chilly
waters of the Kaweah River inviting but extremely dangerous.
April 8— The 32nd annual Jazzaffair
came marching into town. Nine bands played to appreciative audiences at
three venues. Rain on Thursday evening and Friday failed to dampen the
spirits of those who partied at one of the most successful festivals on
the traditional jazz circuit.
THE APRIL 1 snow totals contained good news for weather watchers.
The Kaweah River basin came in at a healthy 159 percent of the norm. Lodgepole
(at 6,700 feet elevation), where most Sequoia visitors venture to enjoy
winter play, reported 71 inches.
Farewell Gap in Mineral King at 9,600 feet measured a whopping
12 feet. Rainfall at a gauge located at 1,000 feet in Three Rivers measured
20.50 inches in a very impressive season.
April 15— Dick Martin, who had served
as superintendent of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks for four years,
announced his retirement. Martin’s career, which spanned 43 years
as an NPS employee, said his retirement would be effective June 3.
COUNTY PLANNERS held a local general plan workshop in Three
Rivers that had participants wondering what had happened to all the work
put in by local volunteers on a Three Rivers element to the county document.
Planners explained that the county was dealing with more
pressing issues like a surge in population growth in the unincorporated
communities along highways 99 and 65. Supervisor Ishida said a draft of
the county plan is still at least three years off.
MOUNT WHITNEY’S notorious Notch claimed its second
climber of the year. The mishap occurred when Patrick Wang, 27, of Hillsborough,
Ore., fell 1,000 feet in a cross-country portion of the snowbound route.
April 22— For the first time in its
56-year history, the Three Rivers Team Roping was a four-day event. Roping
chairman Nancy Brunson said the Lions were trying the new format in order
to finish earlier each evening and also because there were more volunteers
than ever before.
The annual event is the largest fundraiser of the year for
the local Lions Club. It also means thousands of dollars pumped into the
local economy, said Van Bailey, former chairman and one of the Lions credited
with rescuing the event in the early 1990s when it was teetering on the
brink of extinction.
TULARE COUNTY restructured its fire service provided by the
California Department of Forestry (CDF) in order to address an immediate
budget shortfall of more than $1.7 million. Under the reorganization,
15 full-time firefighter positions were eliminated, closing stations at
Lemon Cove, Woodville, Dinuba, Doyle Colony, and Visalia.
The immediate savings in the rest of the fiscal year would
be $250,000 and more than a million in the next. The supervisors ordered
staff to look into more ways to cut costs.
THE SNOWPACK remained stubbornly solid especially in the
higher elevations. At Farewell Gap there was still 10 feet of snow at
the remote sensor.
April 29— For the first time in years,
Kaweah Country was stocked with trout to encourage local fisherman to
stay home and fish. Hundreds of trout weighing at least a half-pound were
added to Lake Kaweah and the Kaweah River.
To be continued (Part 1 is on the Jan. 6 page; Part 3 will
be published next week).