In the News - Friday, February
stories written by John or
Elliott unless otherwise noted
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
special section: SIGNS OF THE SEASON (PDF)
MAGICAL GIANT FOREST in Sequoia National Park is currently
resplendent with more
five feet of snow. More snow is expected in the next
45 days, often the wettest period
knocks out cable TV
years ago it happened during the Super Bowl. This
week, the cable-broadcast service waited until one
day after the big game to turn to fuzz, but for a
time it appeared that the Winter Olympics coverage
might be in jeopardy.
The storms that passed through last weekend
dumped two more feet of snow on Blue Ridge at 5,733
feet in elevation. That’s the site where Charter
Communications maintains their broadcasting dishes
to have a clear transmission path for the cable signal
to find the Kaweah canyon repeater. The local repeater
is situated at 1,000 feet on Barton Mountain.
According to Richard Newman, Charter’s
chief troubleshooter, in addition to the company’s
transmitters going down, the storm also knocked out
power to the Blue Ridge site. After crews ploughed
their way in through as much as four feet of snow
on the site’s dirt road, they noticed that the
backup generator wasn’t running.
Evidently, someone had previously stolen
the battery to the generator so that zapped all the
auxiliary power to the site, too.
The bottomline was that for hundreds
of Charter subscribers, there was no cable service
for nearly three days.
After several forays to both the Blue
Ridge site and to Three Rivers, the technicians were
able to restore service on Wednesday, Feb. 10, two
days prior to opening ceremonies at the Vancouver
Winter Games on February 12.
it snow! Good news for the region...
data is in from the early February snow surveys, and
for water watchers it’s some of the best news
in years. The percentage totals for the Kaweah drainages
as of February 1 have been revised and now are reading
an average of 150 percent of normal for the season-to-date.
The Generals Highway across the Little
Baldy summit, which links Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks, is closed between the parks but visitors
may access the Grant Grove area via Highway 180. At
Montecito-Sequoia, the area’s premier Nordic
skiing destination, the ski shop is reporting excellent
the snow has been compacted we have a base of six
to 10 feet,” said Ben in the ski shop. “On
the ridges, it’s more like 10 feet.”
Sarah Jean at Montecito’s front
desk reported that the area received another 18 inches
of powder from the recent storms. She described the
current snowpack as “crazy-huge in some places.”
A day pass for access to Montecito-Sequoia’s
groomed trails is $25 and includes a hearty lunch.
As of Wednesday, there are no road escort restrictions
in effect. For the latest conditions, call the front
desk at 565-3388.
In the nearby mountains, the Farewell
Gap station at 9,500 feet in Mineral King is reporting
88 inches of snow on the ground with daytime temperatures
in the 30s. The water content of that snow is measuring
nearly 27 inches.
In the upper Mineral King valley, there
is 78 inches of snow on the ground with temperatures
ranging between 18 and 42 degrees. At Lodgepole, park
rangers are reporting 80 inches at the snowstake adjacent
to the visitor’s center.
The current rainfall totals for Three
Rivers are just slightly above 14.60 inches for all
reporting stations. With the 45 wettest days of the
season still ahead, Three Rivers and the nearby mountains
are on track to eclipse the April 1 norm for the entire
superintendent will be
at Sequoia Speaks
Sequoia Speaks series this Saturday (Feb. 13) features
a timely program entitled “Women in the National
Parks.” Adrienne Freeman, this week’s
speaker, will introduce Karen Taylor Goodrich, the
park’s new superintendent and first woman to
hold that top position at Sequoia and Kings Canyon
The speaker series, now in its third
season, is in the fourth consecutive Saturday of six
scheduled presentations. The programs are held at
the Three Rivers Arts Center from 7 to 8 p.m. and
are free and open to the public.
series has been a great way for the people who work
in the local parks to share their knowledge and experiences
with the Three Rivers community,” said Adrienne
Freeman, the parks’ public information officer.
“These programs are another way for all of us
who live and work here in Three Rivers to get to know
each other a little better.”
Adrienne Freeman, who came last year
to Ash Mountain from Yosemite National Park on a temporary
assignment as public information officer, really hit
the ground running. The Boston University graduate
has lots of experience working with media and gateway
communities so a Three Rivers fit comes naturally.
been a really nice change from the more frantic pace
of Yosemite,” Adrienne said recently.
In Saturday’s program, in addition
to introducing Taylor-Goodrich, who is making her
first public appearance here, Freeman hopes to place
the role that women have played in the national parks
in some historical perspective. There are epic stories
of individuals and the making of park units where
the contribution of women may be better understood,
One example of a courageous crusader
that Adrienne will mention is Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Douglas (1890-1998) was a journalist, acclaimed author,
feminist, environmentalist, and a staunch defender
of the Everglades. It was her landmark book The Everglades,
River of Grass, published in 1947, that redefined
this wondrous ecosystem from worthless swamp to a
treasured natural resource.
The Everglades work, often categorized
with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, became a
call to action for the environmental movement of the
20th century. Douglas was staunch defender of the
Everglades until the day she died at her Coconut Grove
home at the spry old age of 108.
There are several National Park Service-administered
units that pay tribute to the contributions of women.
An NPS site in Seneca Falls, N.Y., commemorates the
birthplace of the women’s rights movement.
A locally managed example is the Susan
B. Anthony House, a National Historic Landmark in
Rochester, N.Y. Anthony was arrested in 1872 for voting
and became the best known leader of the women’s
Her courageous actions led to the passing
of the 19th Amendment in 1920 that gave the right
to vote to all women.
Women’s rights have always been
a struggle, Adrienne pointed out, and that struggle
continues to this day.
have also been raising a voice in this nation’s
conservation movement,” Adrienne said. “Garden
clubs have for many years been advocates for conservation
and preservation of natural and cultural resources.”
In the NPS, it was not until the 1990s
that women began to make real progress in gender equality,
Adrienne said. Her talk, she said, will reveal some
interesting facts as to how many women have served
as superintendents and in other key NPS management
denied for the pika
officials have decided not to provide endangered species
protections to the American pika, a tiny mammal thought
to be struggling because of climate change. In a decision
posted Thursday, Feb. 4, on its website, the Fish
and Wildlife Service said that while some pika populations
in the West are declining, others are not.
The agency said Endangered Species Act protections
are not warranted.
Pikas, cousins of the rabbit, live in boulder fields
surrounded by meadows on mountainsides in 10 western
states, including California’s Sierra Nevada.
Pikas do not hibernate, but remain under boulder piles
during the cold, snowy winters at high elevations,
protected by their dense, insulating coat of fur.
The dense coat that protects them in winter makes
them vulnerable to heatstroke during the summer.
Pikas spend summers gathering flowers and grasses
and store them in “haypiles” for food
to sustain them through winter. Though they weigh
only a third of a pound, the tiny animals must collect
more than 60 pounds of vegetation to survive the winter.
As temperatures warm pikas are forced to move upslope.
In some places, scientists say, the pika has run out
or room to migrate to a higher elevation and populations
there is an iPhone app for everthing:
Bear Trail Companion'
New Jersey man has developed a downloadable application
for the Apple iPhone specifically targeted at shooing
away bears. The “Scare Bear Trail Companion”
application costs 99 cents to download and provides
digital sounds meant to frighten away bears on hiking
It gives users the option between the
sound of an airhorn, bear bells, hands clapping, or
rocks shaking in a tin can, each activated by shaking
But the volume goes only as high as the
iPhone’s master volume control does, meaning
the decibel level Scare Bear reaches is a fraction
of actually blowing an airhorn or ringing a bear bell
or, for that matter, yelling.
To cover liability concerns, the download
categorized Scare Bear as a “novelty item.”
Black bears, by nature, are not aggressive
toward humans and generally will run away if they
hear people coming. If you do happen to cross paths
with a bear, which would you rather do?
(1) Take your pack off your back, unzip
it, dig around for your iPhone, scroll for the Scare
Bear app, approach the bear to ensure he can hear
the noises, then start shaking the phone; or
(2) Start clapping and yelling immediately.
It is important to notice, however, that people are
working on innovative ways to stay safe around bears
and keep the bruins wary of humans. Education is key
in this movement.
Remember, no matter what, never, ever
feed a bear. That could cause a bear to become increasingly
aggressive in its attempt to attain human food, which
could lead to injury to people and the death of the
South of the Border
Three Rivers School seventh-graders will add a Mexican
flare to the annual dinner that traditionally precedes
the Eagle Booster Club’s Volunteer Recognition
Night. This year’s event will be held Wednesday,
Tickets are now on sale for the Festive
Fajita Dinner. Takeout dinners will be available from
4 to 5 p.m. The sit-down meal will be served from
5 to 6:30 p.m.
Beef and vegetarian selections will be
available. Live entertainment will be provided by
Advance tickets may currently be purchased
at the TRUS office or at Lazy J Ranch Motel. Tickets
will also be available at the event.
Adult dinners are $9 for adults; children
10 and under are $7.
Volunteer Recognition Night: All members
of the community are invited to attend the Volunteer
Recognition Night presentation, which immediately
follows the Festive Fajita Dinner. This event has
been a community tradition since 1951.
It began as part of the National PTA’s
Founders Day recognition program and for the past
60 years has honored one or more Three Rivers residents
who have volunteered or worked at Three Rivers School.
In 2004, the event was renamed Volunteer
Recognition Night after membership in the PTA was
discontinued and the Eagle Booster Club was founded.
WELCOME TO MY FOOD COLUMN
single-most favorite recipe'
Tina St. John
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: Mary
This week’s “My single-most
favorite recipe” is from sibling number two.
Actually, it’s recipes, plural, which is no
surprise with this beloved sister.
Mary, or as we all call her, Maharha,
is a cook, housewife, mother, sewer extraordinaire,
guitar player, and just about anything else you can
think of that’s legal and pure. Ha!
The oldest of the sisters, she was the
leader of the sisterhood pack in our house. She was
the first to get into more serious older-kid trouble
and the first to date, to wear the latest fashions,
to discover the art of sneaking out, to go to prom,
to graduate. You get the idea.
I idolized her in every way because as her younger
sister, I thought she knew everything.
When I was very young, I remember carrying
her graduation picture around with me to show her
off because I thought she was the prettiest sister
anyone could have. I had to have proof.
Mary now lives with her family in North
Carolina and sends wonderful packages of homemade
goodies every year around the holidays. Bless her
heart, she never misses a beat.
When asked to submit her favorite recipe,
she sent two: Her secret Sunflower Seed Dressing that
is no longer a secret and her Triple Decker Carob
In two weeks: Part Four
of “My single-most favorite recipe.”
SUNFLOWER SEED DRESSING
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cups water
1 tsp hing (Asafoetida) (from an ethnic or Indian
2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. dill
Blend thoroughly in a Vitamix or blender.
TRIPLE-LAYER CAROB BROWNIES
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1½ tsp. soda
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2½ cups melted butter
Stir and spread evenly on large sheet pan. Bake
for 10 minutes.
After the crust cools slightly, top with:
2 cups carob powder
2 cups butter
6 cups sugar
1½ cups yogurt
Mix all ingredients till light and creamy, then
4 cups flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1½ cups milk
1½ tbs. vanilla
Pour onto crust. Bake for 50 minutes.
When cool, spread frosting on top (powdered sugar,
butter, milk, vanilla and almond extract).
1921 ~ 2010
Allan Bailey Philp, a former resident
of Three Rivers, died Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. He
A memorial service will be held Saturday,
March 6, at 10 a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church,
215 N. Locust, Visalia.
Allan was born September 20, 1921, in
Davis, where he spent his childhood. While attending
the University of the Pacific, he met and married
Marian Sill, the absolute love of his life.
After graduating from the San Francisco
Theological Seminary, Allan and Marian relocated to
Ross, Calif., where Allan’s legacy of service
It was during this time that their first
son, Mark Allan, was born. Not long after, the family
moved to Bend, Ore., where Allan enjoyed his second
pastorship and where they welcomed the birth of their
second son, David Lockhart.
In their next life adventure, the family
moved to Visalia, where Allan became the minister
of the First Presbyterian Church. It was during this
time that Allan and Marian made a trip to Japan, where
he briefly served a small church in Oji.
During this visit, they befriended Marian’s
translator, Yuko, who eventually moved to the U.S.A.
and lived with the Philp family while she attended
the College of the Sequoias in Visalia and Fresno
State University. It was the beginning of a friendship
that would last a lifetime.
After nine years, the family relocated
to Sacramento, where Allan continued to serve the
needs of his church. In 1987, Allan retired from Bethany
Church, and he and Marian moved to the property of
their son, Dave, and his wife Jane in Three Rivers.
It was here that they built the home
of their dreams. Designed by their son Mark and built
by Dave, the Japanese-style home was an homage to
the country they had learned to love.
Their new home provided an opportunity
to relax, enjoy the view, and connect with family.
Allan also continued his service to the church by
working as an interim pastor at both the Fresno and
Three Rivers Presbyterian churches.
In 2002, Allan and Marian moved to Quail
Park Retirement Home in Visalia due to Marian’s
health needs. Marian preceded Allan in death in 2007.
He remained at Quail Park until June
2009, when he moved to Chaste Tree Park. His last
year was spent in the company of old and new friends,
an incredibly caring staff, and a family who loved
Allan will be remembered by people whose
count is immeasurable. He was a pillar of strength,
comfort, and love to those who needed him. He will
live on in the memories of the lives that he touched.
Allan is missed by his sons, Mark and
wife Diana Clauss of Phoenix, Ariz., and David and
wife Jane Cheney of Three Rivers; his grandchildren
Stacy Varni and husband Tony of Clovis, Derek Philp
of Three Rivers, Zachary Philp of Phoenix, and Joel
Cheney-Philp of Denver, Colo.; and great-grandchildren
Macy, Janessa, and Paige Varnia of Clovis.