In the News - Friday, January
stories written by John or
Elliott unless otherwise noted
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
SUCH AS this blue oak (Quercus douglasii) in Three
Rivers were a
casualty of last week’s series of rainstorms.
After several years of
winters, trees can become infested with insects or
diseased, then can
break off or fall when rainsoaked. Homeowners can
keep their residences
safe from hazard trees by removing overhanging or
large branches and
inspecting trees for loosely attached branches, split
trunks, or other signs
weakness. Hire a professional, licensed tree service
for the bigger jobs
to ensure personal safety and that of your property.
revitalize Sierra snowpack
the February 1 statistics are released next week by
the California Department of Water Resources (DWR),
they are expected to contain some impressive numbers.
For the entire Sierra Nevada region, the snowpack
is predicted to be at 140 percent of the February
In the Kaweah drainage, where measurements
are recorded by Sequoia National Park personnel at
locations in Giant Forest (Middle Fork), Mineral King
(East Fork), and near Quinn Peak (South Fork), the
numbers could be as high as 160 percent of normal.
At elevations above 7,000 feet, there is currently
more than seven feet of snow on the ground.
Farewell Gap, which has a remote sensor
at 9,500 feet, checked in with 80.90 inches at 10
a.m. on Thursday morning with a temperature of 27
degrees. The water content was nearly 22 inches so
there is plenty of runoff waiting to be released,
hopefully later than sooner.
What does all that snow mean for the
rest of the season? It already means that if nary
another drop of rain or flake of snow were to fall
for the next two months, we would still be at approximately
88 percent of the April 1 normal.
April 1 is the season’s benchmark
used by the DWR to calculate runoff relative to every
season from 1950 to 2000. Last year on February 1,
the snowpack was barely 60 percent of the norm and
conditions only improved slightly after some mid-February
storms that increased the snowpack temporarily to
slightly less than it is now.
Of course, the water watchers are saying
that one round of storms does not a drought bust.
That’s because California simply does not have
the facilities to catch all the runoff when the precious
water does finally come cascading down the canyons
up and down the Sierra Nevada.
But for every El Nino — with its
flooding and destruction of coastal real estate —
there is a silver lining. With each precipitation
event, as records are set and broken, there are many
more indicators of what might be California’s
potential if we could simply capture all that water
for its efficient distribution and use.
In Three Rivers, the rainfall that occurred
on Friday, Jan. 22, increased the season total another
1.50 inches. Local stations are now reporting more
than 11 inches as of Thursday, Jan. 28, with more
precipitation expected as early as Saturday, Jan.
Town meeting to discuss
The monthly Town Hall meeting returns
this Monday night, Feb. 1, and is scheduled to begin
at 7 p.m. at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. Discussion
will center on an aquatic restoration project that
is being proposed for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
Parks’ backcountry and some updates on the use
of Measure R funds. Supervisor Allen Ishida
will also speak on the county’s latest efforts
to preserve an abandoned short-haul rail line.
But the hot button topic is whether the
National Park Service should remove trout from as
many as 85 backcountry lakes as a part of a proposal
to restore the mountain yellow-legged frog population
to the region. Some backcountry users are questioning
whether the risks of removing the trout are worth
the benefits of restoring the frogs.
Adrienne Freeman, Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks public information officer, said she
knows that this project is of interest to lots of
folks because the NPS has already received dozens
of comments that are being incorporated into the environmental
Some of the concerns, Freeman said, will
be addressed at Monday’s meeting.
what this public process is designed to do,”
said Freemen. “We want to give the public every
opportunity to raise questions and express their concerns
so we can choose the appropriate alternatives.”
The key questions center around how many
lakes should be considered for treatment and how should
the non-native trout be removed. Park ecologists want
to employ rotenone, an herbicide that has been used
effectively in other projects including one at Lake
Kaweah in 1988.
Opponents of the project question whether
the millions of dollars that would be needed to complete
the restoration are really necessary given the current
state of the economy. According to one local tourist
operator, the publicity around a project like this
would tend to steer some local tourists who fish the
backcountry to go elsewhere.
There is also the risk of using an herbicide
in pristine backcountry streams and lakes. Among questions
raised at a previous meeting were the impacts on other
aquatic species and how the project might affect water
Park ecologists claim to have the answers
to these questions but admit something like the scope
of this project in a national park has never been
where public input can play a crucial role,”
Freeman said. “Each comment we receive is carefully
considered in defining the scope of a project, especially
when we know there will be impacts to the environment
and the public’s use and enjoyment of the local
Other topics on this month’s agenda
include an update on local road conditions and how
Measure R funds can be utilized in Three Rivers, the
Board of Supervisors’ proposal to preserve the
rail-line right-of-way in Tulare County, and an update
on 2010 projects in the nearby national parks.
The ‘State' of things
After a year like 2009 it would be easy
to preach doom and gloom. Who could question a forecast
that at every level of government we should brace
ourselves for more of the same because, let’s
face facts, recovery from this economic mess isn’t
going to happen overnight.
But to the credit of our current leaders,
each seemed more than willing to take on the challenges
of setting a course full speed ahead and riding out
this economic firestorm. Here are some excerpts from
what each had to say from Washington, D.C., Sacramento,
THE STATE OF THE UNION
On Wednesday evening, Jan. 27, President Barack Obama
spoke to a packed congressional chamber for more than
an hour. He had an inspiring message but he admitted
it will take a lot more than words to weather this
worst of the storm has passed but the devastation
remains,” President Obama began his remarks.
“These struggles that face all families are
the reasons that I ran for President.”
President Obama said that the change
he promised has not come fast enough for the millions
of Americans who are still struggling to make ends
meet. Why can we fix Wall Street but yet there are
lots of folks still losing their jobs and businesses
on Main Street, he asked.
The President went on by quoting statistics
that the economy, when measured in declining job losses
and overall growth, is beginning to turn around. Two
million more Americans are working now than one year
most urgent task begins with the economy and [more]
jobs must be our focus in 2010,” Obama said.
“What the American people hope and deserve is
that we Democrats and Republicans work through our
differences. Most of all, Americans want the ability
to give their children a better life and… that
begins with education.”
THE STATE OF THE STATE
In Sacramento on Wednesday, Jan. 6, Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger, cited the restoration of education
funding as one of his priorities during his State
of the State address. While he admitted that this
year’s budget will pose many challenges, the
Governor drew the line at education and called for
a historic realignment of California’s priorities.
The Governor announced that he would
work to protect California’s schools and to
shield higher education from further cuts. The Governor
called on legislators to help make California’s
education system a higher priority than prisons.
The proposal had some immediate effect
on state universities as they prepared to launch spring
semesters clouded with budget uncertainties and a
freeze on new transfers.
governor’s proposed 2010-2011 budget restores
$305 million to the CSU and provides and additional
$60.6 million for enrollment growth,” said Robert
Corrigan, San Francisco State’s president. “This
is the first hopeful news the public higher education
community has heard in years. It could help to restore
some much-needed classes and services, reversing some
The governor continued:
coming year can be summarized in one word: priorities.
As we face another round of fiscal challenges, we
must get our priorities straight and keep them straight.
Creating jobs and getting our economy back on track,
protecting education, reforming our tax and pension
systems and putting an end to our boom and bust cycle
must all be priorities.”
THE STATE OF THE COUNTY
Now in his third term as chairman of
the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, Steve Worthley
delivered his State of the County address at last
Tuesday’s (Jan. 26) regular meeting.
morning I can confidently report to you that the county’s
fiscal and physical health is strong,” Supervisor
He qualified that statement by saying
that like all governments and businesses, the county
faces challenges during these difficult economic times.
“But when we look around us,” Worthley
said, “our sufferings seem slight in comparison
with other governments.”
What makes Tulare County different? Ironically,
it’s the fact that Tulare County is not a wealthy
county and years ago county officials learned a lesson
that all governments would be wise to emulate.
within our means is in our DNA… so as others
saw remarkable fiscal growth from unsustainable increases
in real property values and surging sales tax, they
made long term commitments to benefits and salaries
that now leave them trapped,” Worthley said.
Tulare County moved forward, he said, but with an
eye on sustainability.
have historically made some equity adjustments and
given reasonable wage and benefit increases to our
employees,” Worthley said, “keeping in
mind that moving forward is preferable to backpedaling.”
An example of this policy that Worthley
cited was the creation of the Tulare County Fire Department.
When fire protection costs escalated beyond the county’s
ability to pay, the board had the vision to end the
contract with the California Department of Forestry
and eventually was able to restore some of the depleted
Another example is that the County of
Tulare became self-insured for worker’s compensation
benefits. The county has also leveraged funds in several
major public works projects including the building
of two libraries and a new sheriff’s substation.
coming year will be challenging, but I am indeed confident,”
Worthley concluded, “that at the end of the
day we will witness Tulare County moving toward our
collective vision through hard work and ingenuity
of our county employees and with the dedication and
hard work of the good people of Tulare County.”
‘Band-Aid for Haiti’:
EUHS to host benefit concert
The Music Department at Exeter Union
High School is assisting with the relief effort in
Haiti by hosting a concert fundraiser. Every dollar
earned via ticket sales will be donated to the International
The concert is scheduled for Thursday,
Feb. 4, 6:30 pm, in the EUHS Auditorium. Ticket donations
are $20 for adults and $10 per student.
The concert is in response to the earthquake
that struck Haiti on Tuesday, Jan. 12. It is estimated
that 200,000 people died during the disaster while
1.5 million have been rendered homeless in a country
that has historically struggled with poverty and political
The concert will feature a talent show
by students and clubs, as well as performances by
the EUHS Symphonic and Jazz bands, EUHS Women’s
Choir, Girls’ Glee, and a special appearance
by the COS Thursday Night Jazz Band.
Additional donations will be gratefully
accepted. If paying by check, make payable to “International
Red Cross” with “Haiti Earthquake Relief”
on the memo line.
Kirk Clague of Three Rivers is the EUHS
director of bands.
THREE RIVERS ART REVIEW
Arts Alliance announces 2010
Empty Bowls meal will
off ‘A Year of Giving’
By Eddie McArthur
This year marks the 25th anniversary
of the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers. It will be themed
“A Year of Giving.”
As such, the 2010 kick-off event is Saturday,
Feb. 6, with the Empty Bowls dinner.
The Arts Alliance has teamed with the
Three Rivers Bread Basket — with tremendous
financial support from the Three Rivers Lions Club
and St. Clair’s Altar Society — to help
feed the hungry in Three Rivers.
The dinner has been in the works for
several months with members and volunteers, led by
Nancy Jonnum, creating bowls, many of which were glazed
by Three Rivers School students. The bowls have been
fired and are ready for purchase.
The dinner is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m.
at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. Purchase of
a ticket buys a bowl in which a simple meal of soup
and bread will be served and will benefit the Three
Rivers Bread Basket.
Bowls may previewed at the Memorial Building
beginning at noon on February 6 as part of the 1st
Saturday event in town. In addition, a silent auction
of bowl-themed art will be held with those pieces
also available for viewing.
Tickets are available for purchase at
the school, The Art Co-Op and Three Rivers Drug.
From here, the Arts Alliance plans to
continue community projects throughout 2010. Mother’s
Day weekend brings everyone out for the historic Redbud
Arts and Crafts Festival. One or more scholarships
will be awarded at the end of the school year to student(s)
pursuing higher education in a field broadly defined
An all day “garden art” event
is being planned. The anniversary year will wrap up
with a celebratory event in the fall, tentatively
dubbed “Above the Fog.”
And, who knows?, more happenings may
take place throughout the year as this energetic,
all-volunteer group celebrates 25 years of supporting
the arts and the artists of Three Rivers.
Eddie McArthur of
Three Rivers is president of the Arts Alliance of
3R college student honored
Volleyball players like Tiffany Marinos
are a coach’s dream. Whether it was Three Rivers
School, Exeter High, or Fresno Pacific University,
Tiffany only knew one style of play — and that
was to go all out all the time.
On Monday night, Jan. 25, Tiffany was
honored by Fresno Pacific University as this season’s
Most Valuable Player and Most Inspirational Player,
special awards for a special player on a NAIA championship
Tiffany finished her four-year career
at FPU on a 2009 team that went 38-0, the school’s
first-ever undefeated season. During the four years
that Tiffany played for FPU, the team won three national
titles and one runner-up to a national title and she
played in more national championship games than any
other player in NAIA history.
By the end of the 2009 season, Tiffany
had also played in 148 matches and 476 sets, more
matches and sets than any other Sunbird in FPU history.
Tiffany also had a career high of 1,633 digs on a
team coached by Dennis Janzen.
Janzen’s game plan at the national
championship tourney in Sioux City, Iowa, depended
on team defense. Tiffany and Mariah Mandlebaum (the
team’s libero during Tiffany’s senior
season) were the defensive stalwarts during the Sunbirds’
most recent championship run. Janzen also used Tiffany
in her senior season as an outside hitter but throughout
her college career she made her place in the record
books with her defense.
think Tiffany and Mariah are two of the best players
in the country at their positions,” Janzen said
after the Sunbirds had completed their best season
in FPU’s history.
Tiffany, only one of two full-rotation
players that Janzen used in the championship finals,
contributed 13 of her team’s 48 digs. It was
a storybook ending to a storied career.
Tiffany already has some coaching experience,
taking over last season at Central High in Fresno
where she tutored boys’ volleyball. She took
a small team of mostly Hmong players and taught them
how to win by playing, what else? — defense.
After graduation this spring, Tiffany
will remain at FPU for the fall semester to assist
Coach Janzen and FPU’s run at a third consecutive
national championship. Following the completion a
couple of prerequisite courses that she needs for
grad school, Tiffany plans on enrolling in a three-year
PhD program at a university in Southern California.
Tiffany is the daughter of Manuel and
Cindy Marinos of Three Rivers.
Housing growth near national
limit conservation value
The growth of housing near national parks,
national forests, and wilderness areas within the
United States may limit the conservation value that
these protected areas were designed to create in the
first place, a new study has found.
The researchers determined that housing
development reduces the potential of these protected
areas to serve as a modern-day “Noah’s
Ark,” interrupting potential travel corridors
for some animals and altering habitat for others.
Results of the study were published this
month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
protected areas have become an amenity that actually
attracts housing development,” said Roger Hammer,
an Oregon State University sociologist and one of
the coauthors of the PNAS study.
is a convenient gauge because it is something that
is easily measured and can be traced back to the 1940s,”
he continued. “In essence, it serves as a proxy
for human-development impacts that include everything
from roads to strip malls.”
In their study, the research team looked
at how the growth of housing adjacent to protected
areas has created a patchwork quilt of land use that
essentially has shrunk the impact of the conservation
areas. The researchers did not look at potential impacts
on individual species, but rather focused their st
udy on how the housing growth has changed the landscape.
Between 1940 and 2000, 28 million housing
units were built within 50 kilometers of protected
areas in the United States. During the last three
decades, the rate of housing growth near these areas
has accelerated at the rate of about 20 percent a
In fact, since the 1990s, the growth
of housing within a single kilometer of protected
areas has far outpaced the national average of new
housing units, according to Hammer, a demographer
in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.
real growth began in the 1970s with a ‘back
to the land’ movement, when proximity to the
workplace became less important in determining housing
location than living in a rural area,” Hammer
said. “That was the first time that growth in
metropolitan areas was outpaced by growth in more
rural areas in this country.”
Hammer and his colleagues say that if
long-term housing trends continue on the same trajectory,
another 17 million housing units will be constructed
within 50 kilometers of protected areas by the year
2030. The situation actually could worsen, the researchers
acknowledge, because baby boomers are just beginning
to hit retirement age — and that could affect
housing in rural areas.
issues will not go away,” Hammer said. “The
largest cohort of baby boomers was born in the mid-1950s
and they’re just beginning to hit Social Security
age. Retirement has been a key factor in the increase
of housing near protected areas — and that probably
Hammer and his colleagues say that the
growth of housing near these protected areas includes
both full-time and part-time, or vacation, dwellings.
growth of seasonal homes has been a driving factor
in the proliferation of housing units built near protected
areas,” Hammer pointed out. “But from
a research standpoint, it’s difficult to gauge
a difference between a so-called permanent home and
a second dwelling. A seasonal home may be actually
be used on a year-round basis and a lot of dwellings
that begin as vacation homes may become permanent
residences when the owners retire.”
TO MY FOOD COLUMN
single-most favorite recipe'
NOTE: Regular readers of this column will know that
Tina St. John was raised in a large family with nine
children. For the next several installments of her
“Welcome to my food column,” she will
highlight one of her siblings and their all-time favorite
recipe. Tina said she wants to show “what came
out of a home where food preparation was such a big
part of how we lived.”
This week: Kay
Do I dare say Kay, or Casey as I call
her, was my partner in crime growing up? We shared
a room together. Need I say more?
Let me just add that what went on behind
those closed doors... well, thank goodness my mother
wore a charm bracelet that served as a good alarm
system. Every time one of us was born my father gave
my mother a silver disc charm with our name and birth
date engraved on it.
She always had that bracelet on so we
could hear her coming,warning that whatever we were
doing outside our permissible boundaries, we’d
better straighten up fast.
Kay is two years older than me. We got
along well. We had to, being that we were always up
A classic beauty, in my opinion, with
high cheek bones, thick blonde hair, and warm eyes.
She is the one who looks most like my mother.
Kay was a boy magnet when growing up. She probably
wouldn’t agree with that, but there are some
things that sisters just don’t forget. And she
has one of the happiest laughs I’ve ever heard.
These days, Kay lives in Westminster,
Colo., and works as a corporate real estate professional
focused on project management.
To this day she savors the finer things in life —
fashion, décor, and food. So the recipe she
sent me was no surprise.
This is a recipe from Julia Child’s
cookbook, our mother’s bible. This particular
book was always out in our kitchen.
I had no idea anyone ever read it, let
alone cooked from it, other than my mom. So enjoy
this decadent recipe that Kay is sharing with you
all as her favorite.
Makes 5 cups to serve 6-8 people
A 3-quart porcelain or stainless steel mixing bowl
A wire whisk or electric beater
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar (very finely granulated)
A pan of not-quite-simmering water
A basin of cold water
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture
is thick, pale yellow, and falls back upon itself
forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Set mixing bowl
over the not-quite-simmering water and continue beating
for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is foamy and
too hot for your finger (ouch). Then beat over cold
water for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is cool
and again forms the ribbon. It should have the consistency
ounces or squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate
4 tablespoons strong coffee
6 ounces or 1½ sticks of softened unsalted
Melt chocolate with coffee over hot water. Remove
from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time to
make a smooth cream. Beat the chocolate into the egg
yolks and sugar.
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
Beat the egg whites and pinch of salt until soft peaks
are formed. Sprinkle in the sugar until stiff peaks
are formed. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into
the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest. Top with
whipped cream sweetened with powdered sugar or, my
favorite, vanilla-flavored crème anglais (see
Makes about 2 cups
½ cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1¼ cup boiling milk
A 3-quart mixing bowl
A wire whisk or electric beater
Gradually beat the egg yolks into the sugar and continue
beating 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is a pale
yellow and forms the ribbons. Beat in the cornstarch
(helps the yolks from over cooking). While beating
the egg mixture, very gradually pour onto the boiling
milk in a thin stream of droplets so that the yolks
are slowly warmed.
1 tablespoon vanilla
A heavy bottomed enameled or stainless steel saucepan
A wooden spatula or spoon
A candy thermometer
Pour the mixture into the saucepan and set over moderate
heat, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden
spatula or spoon and reaching all over the bottom
and sides of the pan until the sauce thickens just
enough to coat the spoon with a light, creamy layer.
Maximum temperature is 170 degrees on the candy thermometer.
Remove the sauce from the heat while beating. Continue
to beat for another minute or two. Strain the sauce
through a fine sieve and beat in the vanilla.
1919 ~ 2010
Ned Ferris Baker, a longtime Woodlake
rancher and civic leader, died Sunday, Jan. 24, at
his home in Morro Bay with his family by his side.
He was 90.
Ned was born October 5, 1919, in Pomona
to Glenn and Nita Ferris Baker. He was raised on the
family citrus ranch west of Woodlake.
He attended Woodlake Union High School and College
of the Sequoias, then graduated with a B.S. in Marketing
from University of California, Berkeley.
Ned was the founder of Glenita Ranches
in Woodlake and a partner in Visalia Citrus Packing
Among his civic activities were as a
director on the boards of Agricultural Producers,
Tulare County Lemon Association, and Woodlake Rotary
Club. He was also an elected trustee on the Woodlake
Union High School and College of the Sequoias boards
for nearly three decades.
He was appointed by then-California Governor
Jerry Brown to the State Board of Food and Agriculture,
where he served for six years. Ned was also a founder
of St. Clement (Anglican/Episcopal) Church in Woodlake.
At one time in his life, Ned was serving
concurrently on nine boards of directors.
Because of his devotion to the betterment
of Woodlake, he was honored with the Woodlake Man
of the Year award in 1963. In 1997, he was inducted
into the College of the Sequoias Hall of Fame.
Ned is survived by his wife of 67 years,
Karyll Audrey Baker; his sons, Craig Baker and wife
Becky Walters Baker of Woodlake, Terry Baker and wife
Sally Dudley Baker of Woodlake, and Jeff Baker and
wife Mary Lou of Post Falls, Idaho; and grandchildren,
Kyle Baker of Santa Barbara, Jennifer Baker of Portland,
Ore., and Ryan Baker of San Luis Obispo.
A memorial service will be held tomorrow
(Saturday, Jan. 30), 2 p.m., at St. Clement Anglican
Church in Woodlake. In lieu of flowers, the family
suggests donations be made to St. Clement Day Care
Center (P.O. Box 505, Woodlake, CA 93286).