In the News -
Friday, FEBRUARY 15, 2008
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
reveal voter trends
Whether you voted or not on Super Tuesday, it’s in
everyone’s interest how locals vote and what these numbers mean
for the November election as well as the future of Kaweah Country communities.
In Three Rivers and Woodlake, the overall turnout was approximately
50 percent. Both totals far exceeded the Tulare County-wide turnout of
39 percent. Democrats voted at a higher percentage than their Republican
rivals. The fact that a higher percentage of Democrats voted Tuesday,
Feb. 5, was a nationwide trend in all the Super Tuesday primaries.
Local registered Democrats and declined-to-state voters cast
their ballots much like Democratic voters statewide. Senator Hillary Clinton
defeated Senator Barack Obama in six of seven local precincts including
Three Rivers, Woodlake’s three precincts, and Elderwood.
Only Ash Mountain voters cast a Democratic majority, 59 percent
for Obama to 33 percent for Clinton.
In keeping with statewide and national trends, only about
50 percent of registered Republicans voted in the local precincts while,
among Democrats, more than 70 percent voted on Super Tuesday. Local voters
on the Republican ballot did what California Republicans did but with
one exception. In six local precincts, Republicans voted overwhelming
for national frontrunner Senator John McCain. In the Three Rivers precinct,
the split among the top two finishers was as tight as it gets: McCain
with 93 votes and Governor Mitt Romney, 93 votes.
Measure C, at last count, was still well ahead of the 55
percent required and is expected to be passed. Although the certified
final result may not come until the end of this month, recently counted
ballots have actually revised the majority upward of the 62 percent that
was announced as the “precinct final” on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
The greatest majority for the Woodlake High School $4.5 million
bond issue occurred in the largest Woodlake precinct with 928 voters.
In that precinct, voters approved Measure C by a 74 percent to 26 percent
Ironically, one small Woodlake precinct with only 331 votes
failed to pass the bond issue; 52 percent voted yes to 43 percent no.
In addition, Elderwood voters passed the school initiative by a narrow
margin, 56 percent to 44 percent.
Ash Mountain voters approved Measure C 60 percent to 40 percent.
In Three Rivers, the vote totals for Measure C were only slightly lower
with 58 percent yes and 42 percent no.
What does it all mean? First and foremost, more voters, regardless
of party affiliation, vote in Three Rivers than overall in Tulare County.
As might be expected, among the more numerous Republican voters, moderates
and conservatives are divided right down the middle in Three Rivers, a
community that has always valued its independent lifestyle.
In the Woodlake district, Elderwood votes more conservatively
than voters who live in town. Among Democrats, Hispanic voters gave the
nod to Clinton over Obama nearly two to one.
But the most obvious message from Super Tuesday is that voters
in Woodlake and Three Rivers believe in supporting a sensible initiative,
especially if the tax dollars are invested locally. According to its proponents
that’s what Measure C is really all about, and they believe that
one of the best high schools in the Valley just got a little better.
Burglars target 3R homes
Sheriff’s deputies are not saying whether the recent
burglaries in Three Rivers are related, but they are warning residents
to upgrade security and be alert to suspicious activity. Two weeks ago
it was an Encina Drive residence where a break-in was reported.
On Tuesday evening (Feb. 12), sometime between 7:30 p.m.
and 10:40 p.m., a South Fork Drive residence near the Cinnamon Creek area
was burglarized. Missing in that break-in are a flat screen television,
a Sony receiver, four speakers, a laptop computer, a cable box, and a
battery charger. The victim reported losses with a value of more than
There have been several other incidents recently and in each
one there are striking similarities. The perpetrator(s) chooses a property,
carefully making sure that the residence is unoccupied.
The break-ins occur during the early evening hours after
nightfall. In each case, expensive electronic devices were stolen, which
can be quickly converted for cash.
have any leads right now,” said Jim Fansett, resident deputy. “I
wasn’t on duty during the most recent break-in and another deputy
filed a report on the incident.”
Deputy Fansett said he is part of an ongoing investigation
being conducted by Tulare County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
Anyone with information in any of the cases is requested
to call the TCSO dispatcher at 733-6262.
on Yokohl Ranch
It was a small, seemingly yet another step in a lengthy permit
process. On Tuesday, Feb. 12, when county planners made public that they
had received a Notice of Preparation and Initial Study from the Yokohl
Ranch Company, the project’s clock officially started ticking.
For David Bryant, a planning division manager who received
the 45-page document, it means that County of Tulare and other “interested
parties” must respond by March 14 to the applicants’ request
for information that is pertinent to the environmental considerations
of preparing an Environmental Impact Report for the multi-phased project.
The project, which seeks to develop a master-planned community
in 20 to 30 years on 9,500 acres east of Exeter, is unprecedented in scope
and magnitude for Tulare County. The first step for the county as lead
agency is to call for a scoping meeting so members of the public may voice
concerns and make suggestions as to what the applicant needs to specifically
address in the Environmental Impact Report.
That preliminary scoping meeting is scheduled for Monday,
March 3, and will be held in the Exeter Senior Center at 3 p.m.
The Yokohl Ranch Company’s request for scoping is urgent
because according to the correspondence in the project: “…we
[the applicant] need to know the views of your agency [the County of Tulare]
and interested parties [the public and other agencies] as to the scope
and content of the environmental information that is germane to your agency’s
statutory responsibilities in connection with the proposed project.”
The initial scoping documents identify more than a dozen
areas where impacts of the proposed project might be potentially significant
so the applicant is certain to be on the business end of a huge undertaking.
The EIR is expected to take at least two years and cost millions to finalize.
In other county planning news, the Board of Supervisors and
the Tulare County Planning Commission will hold a joint public hearing
to hear public comment on the EIR relative to the County’s General
Plan Update 2030. That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb 26 at 1:30
p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room at 2700 Burrel Ave. in Visalia.
For more information, call 733-6271.
Author to discuss
Jay O’Connell, formerly of Three Rivers, will kick
off a new speaker series to be held at the Discoveries West Gallery and
Archives, which opened last fall in the Village Shopping Center. The presentation
will be held tonight (Friday, Feb. 15), beginning at 7:30 p.m.
A culmination of nearly 10 years of research, Jay’s
recent book, Train Robber’s Daughter: The Melodramatic Life
of Eva Evans, 1876-1970, was released this month. The book follows
the life of Eva Evans, the daughter of infamous Tulare County outlaw Chris
Evans, for nearly a century, from her Tulare County birth to her Laguna
Because of the extensive research, the book is also a compendium
of Tulare County history, visiting many places not often seen or heard
of anymore: Stone Corral, Deep Creek Cemetery, Auckland, Redwood Ranch,
Camp Badger, Kaweah Colony, Wilcox Canyon, and more.
It is a story of holdups and shootouts and jailbreaks, of
family ties and courtroom battles, of birth and death and marriage and
divorce, and of a young woman coming of age in the San Francisco limelight.
Jay was raised in Three Rivers, graduating from Three Rivers
School, Woodlake High School, and the College of the Sequoias before heading
south to attend the University of California at Irvine. He currently resides
in Southern California with his wife and two young sons.
Jay’s day job is as a television production manager,
however, Train Robber’s Daughter is his third nonfiction book. His
previous titles are Co-Operative Dreams: A History of the Kaweah Colony
and A Strength Born of Giants: The Life and Times of Dr. Forest Grunigen.
He is currently at work on his fourth book on local history,
"The Battle Over Mineral King: Walt Disney, the Sierra Club, and
a Small California Town" (namely Three Rivers).
Tonight, Jay will discuss how Train Robber’s Daughter
came to fruition and read passages from the book. He will answer any questions
as well as be available to sign copies of the book, which will be on sale
during the program at a reduced price of $15, a savings of more than 25
The presentation is free and open to the public.
3R sisters vie
Since 2004, Three Rivers has provided two Miss Tulare County
winners — Janessa Wells (2004) and Meaghan Swinney (2007). So odds
are good that another homegrown young woman will be selected, especially
since one Three Rivers family is providing two of the 11 contestants for
the 2008 competition.
The 57th annual event, which is an official preliminary contest
to the Miss California and Miss America pageants, is sponsored by the
Visalia Kiwanis Downtown Club. It will be held Saturday, Feb. 23, 7:30
p.m., at the Fox Theatre, 300 W. Main St., Visalia.
Taking to the stage this year will be sisters Jennifer and
Tracy LaMar. Jennifer recently completed her reign as Miss Stanislaus
County, where she was crowned last year, qualifying to compete in that
county because she is a student at California State University, Stanislaus.
Tracy, like Jennifer, was raised in Three Rivers and graduated
from Woodlake High School. She is in her second year at the College of
Jennifer and Tracy are the daughters of Steve and Elizabeth
LaMar and the granddaughters of Jim and Vivian LaMar, all of Three Rivers.
During the pageant, the contestants will participate in a
swimsuit competition, talent competition, evening wear competition, and
on-stage interview competition. In attendance will be Miss California
2007 Melissa Chaty.
In addition to the winner of the pageant advancing to the
Miss California contest there is also $14,000 in scholarships up for grabs
that will be presented in several categories.
Tickets are $20 for general admission; $10 for students,
available at the theatre’s box office.
For more information, call 625-1369.
WHS votes in
If it were up to the middle and high school students of California,
Senators Barack Obama and John McCain would be facing off in November
as their parties’ presidential nominees, California shouldn’t
adopt a mandatory voting law, and people shouldn’t pay higher vehicle
registration fees for cars that produce more pollution.
Woodlake High School, along with more than 240,000 other
students from 450 middle and high schools across the state took part in
the election, sponsored by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, to vote for
the presidential nominees. They also voted on three simulated ballot initiatives
that were specially written to pique the interest of young people in the
According to Kevin Skeen, a WHS teacher who was an advisor
to the election project, 52 percent of the WHS student body voted, of
which there was a nearly 50/50 split between males and females. And of
the 409 WHS students who voted, 30 percent were ninth graders, 29 percent
were 10th graders, 20 percent were 11th graders, and 19 percent were 12th
WHS students voted conservatively on the three state ballot
measures that were presented, but they voted a resounding 83-percent YES
to the one local measure on the ballot, Measure C, the real-life bond
issue that will provide tax dollars for WHS campus improvements.
Of the WHS students 58 percent voted for Democrats, 14 percent
for Republicans, while 12 votes went to the Peace and Freedom party, 11
to Libertarians, nine to the Greens, and 11 to American Independent.
Statewide, Democratic students voted for Barack Obama over
Hillary Clinton, 56.37 percent to 35.05 percent. John Edwards came in
third with just five percent of the vote with the other candidates each
receiving less than one percent each.
Interestingly, at Woodlake High, Barack and Hillary tied,
each receiving 107 votes or 44.77 percent, with Edwards receiving 14 votes
On the Republican side, statewide John McCain grabbed the
nomination with 27.29 percent of the vote. Mike Huckabee came in second
with 20.37 percent, then Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul, respectively.
At WHS, Republicans voted for Rudy Giuliani (14 votes; 23.73%),
then John McCain (12 votes, 20.34%), then Ron Paul third, with a tie for
fourth between Huckabee and Romney.
Woodlake High students voted nearly in line with the statewide
count on the ballot initiatives created just for the students. The measures
Ballot Measure 1—
Should the registration fee that every car or truck owner is required
to pay each year be based, in part, on the amount of pollution the vehicle
WHS: Yes 35.55% No 64.23%
State: Yes 45.59% No 54.41%
Ballot Measure 2—
Should every eligible citizen be required to vote?
WHS: Yes 42.43% No 57.57%
State: Yes 40.32% No 59.68%
Ballot Measure 3—
Should people who use email, instant messaging, text messaging, and the
social networks to bully or harass others be allowed to do so as part
of their constitutionally-protected right to free speech?
WHS: Yes 39.59% No 60.41%
State: Yes 40.96% No 59.04%
The following will be honored at the annual dinner event
on Saturday, Feb. 23:
Man of the Year— Greg Gonzalez.
Woman of the Year— Tori Johnson.
Youth of the Year— Karla Thompson and Zak Alsumari.
Spirit of Woodlake— Robert Groeber and Jackie Harris-Groeber
Lifetime Achievement— Judi Vaccaro.
Business of the Year— Substation.
See the Kaweah Kalendar page on this website for event
Silver City Resort
It’s official. Norm and Connie Pillsbury announced
last week that the popular Silver City Mountain Resort in the Mineral
King area of Sequoia National Park has changed ownership.
The new owners are Philip and Kalina Bay who live in Athens,
Greece, headquarters for the couple’s worldwide travels.
According to the former owners, change will be barely perceptible because
the new owners will continue the current stewardship of the property.
“He [Philip Bay]
has hired Forrest Jones, our son, to be the general manager and make all
the on-the-ground decisions, leaving the large decisions for himself,”
Norm stated. “He has a keen sense of stewardship and wants to keep
the same atmosphere and environment at Silver City.”
Forrest Jones, who currently lives in Visalia with his wife
Katrina, was practically raised in Silver City. His family has been associated
with the ownership and operation of the resort property for several generations
and that’s where Forrest and Katrina met. Connie Pillsbury, Forrest’s
mother, recently marked a 25th-anniversary summer of her tenure running
the renowned restaurant, store, and cabin rental operation.
“We feel very blessed
that we found someone who understands the resort and the mountains and
wants to work with the community and Park Service leaders,” Norm
said. “We are even more blessed that Forrest and Katrina will be
there running the resort.”
Norm, a professor at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, said he
will be retained to work on some special projects to ensure that the water
system and some of the subtleties of running a mountain property continue
to run smoothly.
be around from time to time, but mostly we plan to do more hiking,”
Silver City, a section of private land that was originally
reserved as a timber claim in the 1880s, developed as an enclave of cabin
properties surrounded by Sequoia National Park. The majority of Silver
City’s residents, much in the custom of the Mineral King cabin owners,
only occupy their cabin properties during the summer season.
Silver City Resort has employed legions of high school and
college age youth for decades of summers and is famous for its fresh baked
pies, hot showers, and family atmosphere. The traditional summer opening
of the resort property is the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend,
coinciding with Sequoia National Park’s annual opening of the Mineral
Jack R. Lott
Clara Lott Barton
1936 ~ 2008
Clara Mae Lott Barton and Jack Rae Lott, both of Hobbs, N.M.,
were twins, with Clara being born three minutes before Jack, who died
within two days of each other, on Sunday, Jan. 13, and Tuesday, Jan. 15,
Clara and Jack were born Jan. 3, 1936, in Gentry, Ark., to
Austin and Myrtle Lott. They were raised in Three Rivers and Woodlake
and graduated from Woodlake High School.
After high school, Jack worked for several summers at the
Wolverton Pack Station, run by Lee Maloy of Three Rivers. He continued
to work with horses his entire life.
Clara was diagnosed with cancer in October 2007. Jack was
diagnosed with multiple myeloma in December 2007.
Clara and Jack are survived by their brother, Jim Lott, of
Boise, Idaho, and sister Betty Hensley and her husband, Vern, of Visalia.
Clara is survived by her daughter, Marcella Taylor, and husband
Rich; three sons, Jeff, Rodney, and Gary Williams; and seven grandchildren.
Jack is survived by his wife of nearly 30 years, Linda; four
sons; six daughters; 25 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Separate services were held last month in Hobbs.
The family says that they would love to hear from anyone
who remembers Clara and/or Jack. Condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.