this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
3R man shot
On Thursday, Jan. 8, at 11:30 p.m.,
Tulare County Sheriff’s Department
deputies responded to Three Rivers upon
receiving a report of an armed assault.
Upon arrival, deputies discovered that
an attempted robbery had taken place during
which time Christopher Landstrom, 22,
received a single gunshot wound.
Detectives from the Tulare
County Violent Crimes Unit then responded
to the scene and in the course of their
investigation discovered an indoor marijuana
garden. Detectives from department’s
STEP (Sheriff’s Tactical Enforcement
Patrol) team then became involved in the
Landstrom was treated at
Kaweah Delta where his injuries were determined
to be non-life threatening.
YEAR IN REVIEW:
A look back at 2008
If you read
just one newspaper all year long,
should be the one!
This is the second installment
of the Year in Review 2008. Part One appeared
in the January
in the print edition: List of 2008 Neighbor
Profiles and their quotable quotes; "Saying
goodbye: Our dearly departed"; the
2008 Best of Kaweah Country list of winners;
and annual Kaweah Kalendar with 2009 dates.)
In the June 3 primary election, Supervisor
Allen Ishida, District 1 incumbent, retained
his seat with 73.97 percent of the votes
over Guy Christian’s 25.50 percent.
Connie Conway, chairman of the Tulare
County Board of Supervisors, won the Republican
race for the 34th State Assembly District.
TOPICS ON THE monthly town
meeting agenda included the countywide
ambulance services contract, an update
from a Bureau of Land Management planner
regarding the future of the North Fork
recreation sites, Kaweah River rafting,
law enforcement during the visitor season,
and a Park Service update.
THE FOURTH CLASS of service
dogs graduated from the Assistance Service
Dog Educational Center in Woodlake.
WOODLAKE HIGH SENIORS graduated
on the evening of Friday, June 6. The
Class of 2008 received nearly $300,000
WEATHER WAS SUNNY and clear
with daytime highs around 90 and lows
single-vehicle, rollover accident occurred
on North Fork Drive where so many have
happened before. Nobody was injured in
the crash of a 2003 GMC Sierra pickup
that the CHP said was driving southbound
on North Fork Drive in excess of 55 mph
when the driver failed to negotiate a
curve and lost control. The vehicle landed
on its roof in a private residence’s
driveway. The 19-year-old driver was arrested
and charged with driving under the influence.
ON JUNE 9, rangers eradicated
a pot-growing site on North Fork Drive
within the boundaries of Sequoia National
Park. More than 6,000 plants at least
three feet in height were removed from
the well-developed site by a ranger-led
task force. This was the third raid in
Sequoia this season.
TULARE COUNTY SHERIFF Bill
Wittman was in attendance at the June
9 town meeting to hear concerns from Three
Rivers residents about trespassing, break-ins
and burglaries, vandalism, and littering
that escalates in the area as the weather
THE TEMPERATURE WAS forecast
to reach 100 degrees on June 14.
were searching for a hit-and-run driver
who struck a 46-year-old Visalia man riding
his bicycle on Highway 198 west of Avenue
324 in Lemon Cove. The cyclist was struck
by the side mirror of what he believed
to be a white Dodge king-cab pickup. The
man received moderate injuries.
SIX THREE RIVERS students
graduated from Exeter High on Friday,
June 6. On Wednesday, June 4, 31 eighth-graders
graduated from Three Rivers School.
Lentz, 39, who was raised in Three Rivers,
was killed Saturday, June 14, in a single-vehicle
accident on Highway 198 near Old Three
THREE PEOPLE WERE stranded
on a small island in the Middle Fork of
the Kaweah River near Kaweah Park Resort
and required a technical rescue to be
returned to the mainland.
A SPECIAL TOWN meeting was
scheduled to host Sheriff Bill Wittman,
who would be outlining his plan to increase
law enforcement in Three Rivers during
the Fourth of July weekend and the busy
SHYAN SOUZA, 15, of Three
Rivers competed in the California High
School Rodeo State Finals in breakaway
RACHEL MAZUR, BEAR management
specialist at Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks, wrote a children’s
book entitled If You Were a Bear. The
book was published by the Sequoia Natural
A 192-acre prescribed fire
was ignited by the Park Service in the
Cedar Grove area of Kings Canyon National
Parks. In 2008, Sequoia-Kings Canyon commemorated
40 years of prescribed fire.
Mineral King wilderness bill to create
the new 69,500-acre John Krebs Wilderness,
honoring former San Joaquin Valley congressman
John Krebs was awaiting approval in the
THREE RIVERS AND Valley residents
were dealing with smoky conditions from
wildfires in the northern part of the
NEW LAWS WOULD go into effect
on July 1. One made it illegal for teens
to use a cell phone or any other wireless
device while operating a motor vehicle.
Adults would now be required to use a
hands-free device when using a cell phone
in the car.
THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH announced
the addition of menus to its restaurant
A THREE RIVERS HOME on Kaweah
River Drive was featured in the June issue
of Sunset magazine.
O’Connell, the only towing operator
in Three Rivers, announced that he would
be discontinuing that operation due to
the rising cost of insurance. In business
in Three Rivers since 1964, Pat O’Connell,
81, still would offer minor automotive
repair work, tire work, and lockout services.
TULARE COUNTY SHERIFF Bill
Wittman addressed the town meeting audience
once again to reassure residents that
his department had committed additional
resources to Three Rivers during the busy
summer months when the town is crowded
with out-of-town visitors.
A SATELLITE IMAGE showed
the drift of smoke settling over the San
Joaquin Valley and the Sierra foothills
and mountains from wildfires that were
burning throughout the state.
DAYTIME TEMPERATURES DURING
the week following the Fourth of July
were hovering just above the century mark.
leaving the store, a Three Rivers Drug
customer noticed a flame on the roof of
the building that also contains Serrano’s
Mexican Restaurant. Firefighters responded
immediately and doused the fire. The cause
was undetermined. Two days later, a blaze
broke out in the vicinity of the Western
Holiday Lodge. The fire, which also was
quickly extinguished, was believed to
have started from a spark from a power
pole that ignited the dry grass below.
ARMY SPECIALIST BRYAN Wagner,
who was seriously injured in Iraq, returned
to his family’s Mehrten Valley home,
where he was greeted with a hero’s
welcome. Bryan was a paid-call firefighter
with the Tulare County Fire Department,
stationed at the Lemon Cove Fire Station.
SEVEN MOSQUITO SAMPLES collected
in the Visalia area tested positive for
West Nile virus.
WARD ELDREDGE, MUSEUM curator
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
Parks at the Ash Mountain headquarters,
compiled more than 200 historic black-and-white
images and researched and wrote their
description for the latest addition to
the Images of America series entitled
“Sequoia National Park.” All
proceeds from the sales of these books
are being donated to the Sequoia Natural
SEQUOIA AND KINGS Canyon
National Parks participated in the system-wide
“Climate Friendly Parks Initiative”
to provide an interactive education on
how to reduce carbon emissions and promote
awareness about climate change.
FIRE RESTRICTION IN Sequoia
and Kings Canyon National Parks went into
effect Friday, July 11.
DAYTIME TEMPERATURES REMAINED
in the upper 90s with afternoon thunderstorms
occurring in the Sierra.
underground cable failed in Cherokee Oaks
on July 11, which caused an extensive
power outage from Three Rivers to Sequoia
National Park. More than 1,000 customers
were affected, including businesses, many
of which had to close early. The area
remained without electricity for about
four hours, until 9 p.m., but a Cherokee
Oaks neighborhood and some South Fork
residents were without power until the
THE LOCAL PARK Service announced
that plans had been approved for the rehabilitation
of the next two sections of the Generals
Highway. The sections of roadway scheduled
for work include the 1.5-mile section
from Amphitheater Point to Deer Ridge
and 8.5 miles between Wolverton Road and
the Little Baldy area.
KACIE FLEEMAN WON the 13-and-under
class of the Pinto World Championship-All
Around held in June in Tulsa, Okla. Shyan
Souza qualified for the National High
School Rodeo Finals following her performance
at the state level.
KOUROUMA, a Malinke drummer from Three
Rivers, released his second CD, “Sabari.”
The CD was recorded in Wadaba’s
ancestral village of Oroko in Guinea.
Eighteen artists contributed
to the CD, which includes traditional
west African songs with flutes and drumming.
The CD comes with a 12-page booklet that
includes the history of the songs, the
Malinke lyrics, and their English translation.
Sequoia Shuttle, which began its second
summer season of service on May 21, reported
that it was experiencing an 11-percent
increase in readership.
A 40-YEAR-OLD Tulare man
on a family outing drowned while swimming
at the Slick Rock area of Lake Kaweah.
The fatality was the second drowning of
the season in the area around Three Rivers
and Lake Kaweah. On June 23 in Kings Canyon
National Park, a woman drowned in the
Kings River nearly Boyden Cave after falling
from her kayak.
A 26-YEAR-old park visitor
required rescue from above the Roaring
River Falls scenic overlook in the Cedar
Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park.
He and his companions had ventured off-trail
and up-river from the paved trail. The
victim fell about 12 feet into Roaring
River where he struck a rock and dislocated
his shoulder. He was then swept over a
30-foot waterfall before grabbing onto
a boulder above Roaring River Falls. His
companions called for help and a search-and-rescue
ranger was shorthauled to the injured
man’s location, then both were flown
to a waiting ambulance. According to a
Grant Grove ranger, this was the ninth
search-and-rescue operation that occurred
in Kings Canyon National Park in as many
days, six of which were major SARs.
A SOLO ACCIDENT at 5:45 a.m.
on July 24 closed Highway 198 around Lake
Kaweah for more than an hour as crews
cleared the scene. Only minor injuries
AUTHOR AMY RACINA addressed
attendees of the 22nd annual Picnic in
the Park, sponsored by the Mineral King
Preservation Society. Amy’s book,
Angels in the Wilderness: The True Story
of One Woman’s Survival Against
All Odds, describes a 2003 backpacking
trip in which she fell 60 feet, landing
on a slab of granite. Amy told about her
harrowing ordeal and the “angels”
who saved her life.
DIGNITARIES FROM THE National
Parks of Thailand were in Sequoia Park
to experience firsthand how America’s
national parks operate. Thailand has 103
major wildand fire, the “Telegraph
Fire,” was burning between Mariposa
and Yosemite National Park and had consumed
nearly 30,000 acres. The fire’s
effects were far-reaching as the smoke
caused hazy skies in Kaweah Country. More
devastating, however, is that the fire
had destroyed at least 25 homes. More
than 4,000 firefighters battled the blaze
that was accidentally sparked by a target-shooter.
A 5.4-MAGNITUDE earthquake
rocked Los Angeles and points east to
Nevada and Arizona. More than 50 aftershocks
THE TULARE COUNTY Planning
Commission began its review of the General
Plan 2030 Update and its Draft Environmental
Impact Report. Significant issues that
the county will face in the next 20 years
include traffic, air quality, water storage,
energy, wastewater, and storm water. The
Commission’s vote directed the county
planning department to republish the notice
of the next round of public hearings.
ON JULY 25, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
signed legislation that will phase out
the use of trans fats in all California
restaurants beginning in 2010 and from
all baked goods by 2011.
A WILDLAND FIRE, ignited
by lightning, was burning above the Tehipite
Valley in Kings Canyon National Park between
5,400 and 7,400 feet in elevation. After
the series of lightning storms passed
through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
Parks, five other fires were also discovered,
but were not exhibiting the activity that
was being reported on the Tehipite Fire.
issue was solely devoted to the 10th annual
Best of Kaweah
Country readers’ poll results.
This edition of the newspaper, published
each summer, highlights the BEST places
to see, go, eat, stay, shop, drive, and
more. See the list of Best of Kaweah Country
2008 results on page 7 of this week’s
Rivers School was getting ready to embark
on its 80th year. The first day of school
was August 20. A short history of Three
Rivers schools was provided.
CONSTRUCTION COMMENCED ON
the new boat ramp and parking lot at the
Slick Rock Recreation Area at the east
end of Lake Kaweah. Recreational users
will be able to access both the river
and the lake, and the site will have picnic
areas and restrooms that will be open
year-round from sunrise to 9 p.m. A day-use
fee will be collected.
A GRASS FIRE on upper North
Fork Drive threatened a nearby home. The
fire was started when a tree fell on power
lines, which caused sparks to ignite the
dry grass below. Six engines and 12 firefighters
responded and kept the fire to a half-acre.
DAYTIME TEMPERATURES WERE
forecast to range from the mid-90s to
100 degrees. The high temperatures had
been hovering around the century mark
for several weeks.
LOCAL RACES WOULD be appearing
on the ballot for the November 4 presidential
election. The Woodlake High School board
of trustees would have five candidates,
including the two incumbents, vying for
two vacant seats. It was announced that
an appointment would be made to the Three
Rivers School board of trustees as there
were two vacant seats, but just one candidate
who filed to run.
THE TEHIPITE FIRE, ignited
by a lightning strike in July, had more
than doubled in size in the last two weeks,
encompassing about 500 acres. The Park
Service also reported that the fire had
recently jumped the fireline on the southwest
side along Tombstone Ridge and was burning
toward the Sierra National Forest.
ONE EARTH SOLAR, owned by
John Sturdevant of Three Rivers, adopted
a portion of Highway 198 through Three
Rivers on which the company was committing
to keep clean of litter.
wildfire near Amphitheater Point in Sequoia
National Park was ignited by a car that
erupted into flames. The fire was quickly
extinguished with the assistance of a
bucket drop from a helicopter, but the
Generals Highway remained closed for two
hours while firefighters watched for flare-ups.
THE TEHIPITE FIRE, burning
for more than a month, was now at 1,000
acres with several trail closures in effect.
Another lightning-caused blaze in Kings
Canyon National Park was burning slowly
in a remote area between Cedar Grove and
THE HUGE STEEL wheels from
an old steam traction engine used for
dry-farming that sat for years on the
Ogilvie property on South Fork Drive at
Old Three Rivers Drive were donated to
the Three Rivers Historical Society. The
wheels were relocated to the Three Rivers
GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING songwriters
Randy Sharp and Jack Wesley Routh performed
a two-hour set at the Three Rivers Arts
WOODLAKE HIGH SCHOOL senior
Jordan Vieira of Three Rivers was selected
as the student senator to represent Californi’s
18th Senatorial District at the 2008 session
of the “Sacramento Leadership Experience.”
JA NENE NATURAL Body Products
opened its first retail location in Three
Rivers at 41667 Sierra Drive. The company
is the only manufacturer in Tulare County
of natural skincare products sanctioned
by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
A NEW TULARE County display
was created by two second-year architecture
students from College of the Sequoias
and unveiled before the Tulare County
Board of Supervisors. It would soon become
part of the display in one of the 58 glass
enclosures — one for each of California’s
counties — that line the halls of
the State Capitol in Sacramento.
County’s code compliance manager,
Bruce Kendall, addressed the members of
the Tulare County Planning Commission,
stating that in Three Rivers and other
rural areas where archaic zoning is in
need of updating, some property uses that
have been in violation are now coming
under the county’s radar. Kendall
explained that this is because he now
has more staff to send out to check on
complaints. The county receives more than
800 complaints annually and conducts a
monthly average of 16 administrative hearings.
FIVE COLLEGE STUDENTS from
Three Rivers — David Fintel, Devon
Ehrlichman, Julia Ehrlichman, Deva DeLisio,
and Sharna Yee — discussed their
summer trip to Europe. They shared with
readers the advantages of the Eurail pass,
the cultural diversity of the countries,
the similarities and the differences between
the U.S. and Europe, and European reflections
on Barack Obama, presidential candidate.
brakes while descending the Generals Highway
were apparently the cause of a tragic
vehicle accident that took the life of
a 76-year-old New York man. He and his
67-year-old female companion were visiting
Sequoia National Park on the Friday before
Labor Day and were returning to Three
Rivers when the 1976 GMC converted van
camper in which they were traveling left
the road, hitting a rock and a tree, below
Hospital Rock. The female passenger was
treated at Kaweah Delta Hospital and released.
A 43-YEAR-old male was rescued
by Tulare County Fire Department, Cal
Fire, and National Park Service personnel
after becoming stranded on a ledge in
steep terrain between the Mineral King
Road and the East Fork of the Kaweah River.
The man and his female companion had been
camped at the river and the incident occurred
when they were climbing out of the rugged
canyon. The woman drove to the Tulare
County Fire Department’s Three Rivers
station to report the incident. A technical
rescue lifted the uninjured man to safety.
APPEARING ON THE November
presidential election ballot would be
a $28 bond measure for the College of
the Sequoias. If approved, campus improvements
would include upgrades to the health building,
security enhancements, modernization of
classrooms, property purchases for future
growth, theatre renovations, and match
state money to build a new gym.
THE LABOR DAY holiday weekend
marked the end to a very busy July and
August in Kaweah Country that featured
record numbers of European tourists due
to the weak U.S. dollar and gas prices
that, although at record highs across
the nation, were cheap in comparison to
DAYTIME TEMPERATURES WERE
in the mid to high 90s. There had been
no significant rainfall since February.
ON AUGUST 25, large, orange,
helium-filled balloons billowed 150 feet
in the air along Highway 198 near Yokohl
Valley. The balloons were intended to
serve as a visual aid to demonstrate what
transmission lines will look like if erected
in the area by Southern California Edison
Company. The balloons were installed by
PACE (“Protect Agriculture, Communities
and Environment”), a group formed
in opposition to this transmission-line
THE THIRD ANNUAL Smile Train
charity bike ride was being organized.
Several choices of rides were being offered
and cyclists were being enticed to participate
in the event with a large array of items
that would be included in the silent auction.
AS PREDICTED, THE Tehipite
Fire ignored the park boundary line and
crossed into Sierra National Forest, meaning
management would now be required by two
agencies. The fire, which was ignited
by lightning in July, had grown to more
than 1,600 acres.
A COUPLE OF Three Rivers
artists were creating works on a large
scale. Jana Botkin painted a Sierra scene
that would be the backdrop in a display
case at the Tulare County Museum in Visalia.
Nadi Spencer worked with students, staff,
and volunteers at La Sierra High School
in Porterville creating two murals for
medical emergencies that occurred in Sequoia
National Park over the last week required
the patients to be airlifted to area hospitals
for treatment. One patient appeared to
be suffering from ill-effects associated
with altitude at Bearpaw High Sierra Camp.
He was transported to Kaweah Delta Hospital.
In a separate incident, a motorcyclist
lost control on the Generals Highway near
Potwisha. The male victim was flown by
helicopter to Regional Medical Center
in Fresno where he was listed in critical
A WELL LOCATED on the McKee
ranch along Old Three Rivers Drive was
vandalized while the couple was on an
extended tour with the High Sierra Jazz
Band of which Earl McKee is a member.
The welded well-casing lid had been pried
open and rocks and dirt were shoved into
the system, causing total failure of the
on September 10 ignited several new fires
in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
The Tehipite Fire was now approaching
A “HIKING THE Parks”
feature entitled “Four lakes in
a day” recounted a day hike from
Mineral King in Sequoia National Park
to Crystal Lakes and Monarch Lakes.
is fall, winter, spring, summer and FIRE
ON SEPTEMBER 15, a property
owner operating a tractor on the river
side of Dinely Drive sparked a fire that
spread rapidly and threatened several
nearby homes. Within 15 minutes, the first
fire engines arrived and, soon after,
park helicopters were making water drops.
The fire consumed a total of six acres.
More than a dozen engines and aircraft
responded. No structures were damaged,
and firefighters credit the parks air
attack crew with the save.
CRYSTAL CAVE, A popular Sequoia
National Park visitor attraction, was
closed due to the Hidden Fire, a rapidly-spreading
wildfire burning in the North Fork drainage
12 miles north of Three Rivers. The lightning-caused
fire was discovered September 10 and was
burning in rugged terrain and consuming
heavy fuels at the 6,000-foot elevation
level. The fire was being managed by an
interagency fire management team. A meeting
was held to inform the public of the impacts
this fire would be having on the community.
THE WOOD ‘N’
HORSE show team competed in back-to-back
national and state appaloosa shows. As
a result of their efforts, the team won
the most high points that were offered
at both shows. Next up for the team would
be the Appaloosa World Show in For Worth,
Texas, in late October.
THREE NEW TEACHERS were hired
at Woodlake High School for the 2008-2009
academic year – Nicole Frazier,
science; Jaison Norton, mathematics; and
Charlie Abee, agricultural mechanics.
JAY O’CONNELL, LOCAL-history
author and former Commonwealth columnist,
contributed an article on the history
of the Civilian Conservation Corps in
honor of the CCC’s 75th anniversary.
task force of Sheriff’s deputies,
with the assistance of CAMP (Campaign
Against Marijuana Planting) and Bureau
of Land Management personnel, raided a
complex on Grunigen Creek about nine miles
up the Mineral King Road. The East Fork
area has been raided annually with the
biggest busts occurring in 2002 and 2004.
The recent raid netted 2,915 plants. No
arrests were made in connection with the
AT LONG LAST, the headline
was able to read “All park fires
fully contained.” This was welcome
news for Three Rivers residents who had
been dealing with smoky air, and park
visitors who had been dealing with trail
and road closures and even the closure
of Crystal Cave for the season. The Hidden
Fire, which cost more than $8 million
to suppress, was declared 100-percent
THE NEW BOAT ramp being installed
at the east end of Lake Kaweah at the
Slick Rock Recreation Area was completed.
Phil Deffenbaugh, Lake Kaweah general
manager, reported that the new facilities
should be completed by Thanksgiving.
THE MOST EXCITING news of
the week was the forecast of rain for
the weekend. There had been no significant
rainfall in Three Rivers since February.
The first snow of the season was forecast
for the higher elevations.
LAKE KAWEAH BENEFITED by
the annual Public Lands Day as 165 volunteers
picked up trash, painted structures at
the visitor center and campground, and
completed landscaping projects.
the recent town meeting, it was announced
that Measure R funds would be used to
expand the bridge at the entrance to the
Cherokee Oaks subdivision. The bridge
would be widened from 21 feet to 32 feet.
Also at the meeting was a panel of fire
experts to debrief the audience on the
late-season fires that caused some of
the smokiest air quality ever recorded
in the Kaweah canyon. Alexandra Picavet,
spokesperson for Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks, reported that summer visitation
was down by two percent.
THE MOTORCYCLIST, IDENTIFIED
as a 65-year-old San Diego man, who was
airlifted after a September 9 accident
on the Generals Highway near Potwisha
in Sequoia National Park died from his
injuries less than a week later. A factor
in the fatality, investigators said, was
that the motorcycle was traveling at a
high rate of speed.
COLONEL ALLENSWORTH STATE
Park, located between Earlimart and Alpaugh
40 miles north of Bakersfield in the remote
southeastern corner of Tulare County would
be celebrating its centennial anniversary.
A NEW BAG of dog food in
the trunk of a late-model Honda parked
in a driveway along Sierra Drive provided
an irresistible temptation for a roving
bear. With relatively little effort, the
bear ripped open the trunk to reach the
snack before heading off in search of
another easy meal.
THE THREE RIVERS Carnival,
celebrating 60 years, was in the planning
stages. The annual community event is
sponsored by the Eagle Booster Club as
a fundraiser for Three Rivers School.
THE SECOND ANNUAL Three Rivers
Environmental Weekend was held with day
one featuring exhibits, multimedia presentations,
and demonstrations, including solar cooking.
Day two was devoted to a tour of earth-friendly
homes, as well as the new green police
station in Visalia.
Finnish visitor was assaulted at Western
Holiday Lodge after a vandal kicked in
the doors of several unoccupied rooms.
The incident occurred at about 2 a.m.
on October 15. The assault occurred when
the room’s occupant opened the door.
The assailant fled on foot.
THEFTS AT TWO stores located
in the Village shopping complex occurred
during the weekend of October 11-12. There
was no sign of forced entry at Three Rivers
Drug, which reported $300 missing, or
The Thingerie, which lost $50 in cash.
Interestingly, no drugs were taken from
the pharmacy and some of the more valuable
items at the thrift shop were left untouched.
A HUNTER WHO became lost
during the first cold snap of the season
walked into a ranger station at Cedar
Grove on Monday, Oct. 13. The hunter was
last seen near the end of the Big Meadows
Road in Sequoia National Monument on Saturday,
THE WILD AND Scenic Rivers
Act celebrated is 40th anniversary in
October. Today, the system protects 11,409
miles of 168 rivers in 38 states and Puerto
Rico, including the Kings and Kern rivers,
both of which have sections that flow
through Sequoia or Kings Canyon national
CALIFORNIA BECAME THE first
state in the nation to enact a law that
will require its restaurant chains with
20 or more locations to post calorie information
on menus. The legislation will go into
effect Jan. 1, 2011, however, by July
1, 2009, brochures containing calorie
content and other nutritional information
must be accessible to consumers.
Santa Ana winds that were buffeting Southern
California and creating havoc for firefighters
in the southland had some influence over
Kaweah Country weather. There were no
winds, but warm temperatures, low humidity,
and good air quality prevailed.
FIREFIGHTERS RESPONDED EARLIER
in the week to two spot fires burning
in steep terrain along the Mineral King
Road, two miles up from Highway 198. Cal
Fire and Tulare County units responded
and quickly doused the blazes. By mid
October, 1.54 million acres had burned
in California during 2008, the size of
the state of Delaware.
SEVERAL HUNDRED MUSIC fans
of all ages descended upon the Three Rivers
Lions Arena on Saturday, Oct. 18, for
the inaugural Fall Music Festival and
Dinner Dance. Performers included Wadaba’s
West African Drum Ensemble, J.J. Jackson,
key item on the upcoming town meeting’s
agenda would be discussion of the county’s
Draft Corridor Protection Plan. This plan
was the current step in a lengthy process
to establish a 16-mile stretch of State
Highway 198 as a scenic highway, including
a section through Three Rivers to the
Sequoia National Park entrance. A chief
planner with Tulare County’s long-range
planning department would be reviewing
what’s in the plan and how land-use
decisions would be affected by its adoption.
A 99-ACRE prescribed fire
by the Park Service was lit near Wuksachi
Village. A lightning-caused fire was burning
in the remote Golden Trout Wilderness
and had consumed 117 acres.
AT&T LINEMEN REPLACED
copper lines with new fiber-optic cable.
No immediate upgrade in service was planned,
but the cable is in place when service
upgrades are mandated for rural areas.
INTERSPERSED IN THIS October
31 issue of the newspaper were various
photos of arachnids, reptiles, amphibians,
invertebrates, and wild animals that are
often associated with Halloween, but when
one gets to know them, it is revealed
that they really aren’t so scary
Obama was elected 44th president of the
United States. The election was a defining
moment in the history of this nation as
Obama became the first African American
to hold the highest office in the land.
The president-elect would be sworn into
office Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.
OTHER ELECTION RESULTS included
Republican Devin Nunes easily retaining
his 21st District congressional seat with
69.55 percent of the vote and Republican
Connie Conway, the chair of the Tulare
County Board of Supervisors, being elected
to the 34th District State Assembly seat,
garnering 65 percent of the vote. Other
local voting statistics were provided
including how Three Rivers voted on the
presidential race, state and federal legislative
posts, and state propositions as compared
to Tulare County and California (for instance:
Three Rivers followed the California trend
by voting for Obama over McCain for president,
but Tulare County overall voted for McCain
by 57 percent to Obama’s 42 percent.).
Both incumbents – Kent Owen of Three
Rivers and Wayne Hardcastle of Woodlake
— were re-elected to the Woodlake
High School District board.
AND HERE’S WHERE some
Sierra Drive property owners turned against
the scenic highway plan. It was after
the town meeting on Monday, Nov. 3, when
David Claxton, chief planner with Tulare
County, announced that the corridor protection
plan must meet five legislatively required
elements and, here’s the kicker,
“admitted that the ground rules
for grandfathering [out-of-compliance
properties] changed…” There
was talk of setbacks and site plan review
fees, which business owners viewed as
burdens in what are already challenging
economic times. Proponents appreciated
that the proposed designation would enhance
tourism and provide a vehicle for grant
funds for infrastructure improvements.
A STORM OVER the previous
weekend dropped 1.11 inches of rain in
Three Rivers. This brought the season
total (as of July 1) in Three Rivers to
1.49 inches. The total one year ago was
2.57 inches. The temperature during the
days was about 70 degrees with nighttime
lows in the mid 40s.
THE SIERRA TRADITIONAL Jazz
Club announced that its November concert
would be free to the public. A benefit
usually reserved for jazz club members,
the club waived the admission fee in an
attempt to introduce all who were interested
in traditional jazz.
A LOCAL GROUP of Weight Watchers
members announced that they had lost a
combined 370 pounds. In celebration, they
would be donating a variety of food equivalent
to their weight loss to the Three Rivers
Bread Basket food pantry.
emergency rescue personnel responded to
a call for help from Oak Grove, six miles
up the Mineral King Road, on November
19 at about 2:30 p.m. A man in his 40s
had fallen 50 feet down a rocky embankment
and was semi-conscious. First aid was
administered and a technical rescue implemented.
The injured man was transported by ambulance
to the Three Rivers Golf Course where
a waiting CHP helicopter airlifted him
to a Fresno hospital.
SANTA ANA WINDS fanned the
flames of several Southern California
wildfires and more than 1,000 homes were
reported destroyed in Santa Barbara, Los
Angeles, and Orange counties. In total,
65 square miles burned.
SMOKE RETURNED TO Kaweah
Country as the 858-acrea Davenport Prescribed
Fire was ignited along the Mineral King
Road between Lookout Point and Atwell
A 41-YEAR-old female was
riding her 1997 Harley Sportster motorcycle
eastbound near the Village Market shopping
center when she overcorrected to keep
from crossing the centerline. The motorcycle
went down on its side with its rider and
skidded to a halt. The victim was airlifted
to a Fresno hospital with a concussion
and injury to her left leg.
ANTHONY MARCELLINI, A San
Francisco artist, presented artwork depicting
the history of the Kaweah Colony to THE
KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH. A wooden sculpture
weighing about 80 pounds that says “Karl
Marx” was initially created for
a San Francisco gallery exhibition. It
is a marker for the “Karl Marx Tree,”
so-named by the colonists but better known
today as the General Sherman Tree and
the largest tree in the world.
to the Lake Kaweah boat launching facility,
which began in August, were presently
nearing completion. The new recreation
area, located at the east end of Lake
Kaweah, includes a new access road, multi-lane
launch ramp, parking area, and restrooms.
COUNTY SUPERVISOR ALLEN Ishida
attended a meeting with Kaweah Country
business owners to discuss changes and
restrictions as related to the proposed
scenic-highway designation for a 16-mile
segment of Highway 198 that includes Three
A “HIKING THE Parks”
installment described a daylong hike to
the summit of Alta Peak, then an off-trail
detour to Pear Lake.
upcoming town meeting would address the
scenic highway proposal, which had been
causing concern amongst some Three Rivers
residents and business owners ever since
it was reported that “Caltrans guidelines
stipulated that any roadside properties
that are not in compliance with current
county ordinances could not be grandfathered
A JACK GRIGGS Propane route
drive was burned in a propane blast. He
was airlifted via a CHP helicopter to
Community Medical Center’s Fresno
Burn Center. Apparently, the explosion
was due to a broken connector line that
may have been compromised when an appliance
was disconnected or moved.
AN ABANDONED CAMPSITE near
Twin Lakes in Sequoia National Park left
no clues as to who the occupant may have
been. The camp — which included
a tent and backpack, some gear, and food
still stowed in the nearby bear-box —
was dismantled by the Park Service, but
information was still being sought as
to the whereabouts and wellbeing of the
THE WOOD ‘N’
HORSE show team returned victorious from
the by-invitation-only Appaloosa World
Championship Show, held October 26 to
November 1. All team members and coach/trainer
Christy Wood of Three Rivers received
accolades and awards for their performances.
A THANKSGIVING DAY rockslide
occurred on Highway 198 on the S-curve
between the Mineral King Road and Gateway
anonymous person purchased 120 Christmas
trees that were in the lot as a fundraiser
for the Three Rivers Volunteer Fire Department.
The trees were then provided for free
to all who showed up at Three Rivers Mercantile
to purchase one.
JUAN CARLOS MELENDEZ, who
was arrested on suspicion of possessing
stolen property, confessed to the October
burglaries at Three Rivers Drug and The
A NEW FEATURE in the newspaper,
“Healthy Living,” debuted,
which will tackle a different health topic
each week. The feature is meant to provide
simple ideas on how to improve overall
AIRMAN FIRST CLASS Sam Basham
of Three Rivers, currently stationed in
Kyrgyzstan, received two large boxes to
be shared with fellow airmen from a Three
Rivers Girls Scout troop. Snacks, cookies,
personal care times, DVDs, and video games
were included in the shipment.
TO PUBLICIZE AN author’s
event that would be held at Costco, author
Jay O’Connell, former Commonwealth
columnist, previewed two new books that
would be featured at the warehouse store:
California’s Day of the Grizzly,
by William B. Secrest, and The Southern
San Joaquin Valley: A Railroad History,
by John Bergman.
WINTER WEATHER ARRIVED in
earnest with daytime highs rarely going
above 50 degrees for the week. The current
season-to-date total precipitation for
Three Rivers was 4.36 inches. One year
ago, the season total was 7.67 inches.
CAL FIRE INSTALLED a kiosk
at the Three Rivers station so local residents
could obtain hazard-reduction burn permits
locally. Previously, when the station
closed at the end of fire season, Three
Rivers folks had to obtain permits in
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION overturned
a 25-year-old federal rule that severely
restricted loaded guns in national parks.
Under the new rule, which will take effect
in January 2009, visitors will be able
to carry a loaded gun into these areas,
but only if the person has a permit for
a concealed weapon and if the state where
the park is located also allows concealed
KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH presented its second
annual California Hall of Fame issue,
profiling in this and the Jan. 2, 2009,
issue the 12 Californians who were inducted
in 2008. The Hall of Fame and accompanying
red-carpet ceremony was conceived by California
First Lady Maria Shriver in 2006. Exhibits
highlighting the lives and careers of
the 2008 inductees will be on display
at the California Museum in Sacramento
through Oct. 31, 2009. This year’s
honorees were: Dave Brubeck, Jane Fonda,
Dr. Seuss, Robert Graham, Quincy Jones,
Jack LaLanne, Dorothea Lange, Julia Morgan,
Jack Nicholson, Dr. Linus Pauling, Leland
Stanford, and Alice Waters.
THREE TO FOUR feet of new
snow fell in the Giant Forest area of
Sequoia National Park during a Christmas
A 22-YEAR-old female driver
was injured in an accident near Horse
Creek Bridge at Lake Kaweah. The driver
lost control of the vehicle, causing it
to leave the roadway and strike a tree.
The victim suffered head trauma and was
transported via ambulance to Kaweah Delta
Hospital. A female passenger did not appear
to have injuries that required treatment.
These stories and so
much more in the weekly print edition
of The Kaweah Commonwealth.