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In the News - Friday, February 15, 2013




Emergency Aid Alliance plans
2013 fundraising, contributions

by Holly Gallo

  Community service is the heartbeat of Three Rivers. Whether through participation in local clubs and churches or simply being a good neighbor, this small foothills town is awash in unadulterated compassion, selflessness, and amity.
   But not all good works must be hard work. Thanks to the Three Rivers Emergency Aid Alliance, community members can help directly support local residents in need simply by spending the day with family, listening to live music from Kaweah Country and abroad, at the Three Rivers Music Festival on May 4 at the Lions Roping Arena. Tickets will be available for sale online starting March 1 (3r-aid.org), and 100 percent of the proceeds go toward direct cash assistance for EAA recipients.
   If 2012 was any indication, good food and good grooves are a guarantee at the Three Rivers Music Festival. Doc’s Holiday and Stable Hands have been confirmed for 2013, along with local hits like Out of Passion, Jeremy Weikel, Jesse Belman, Ray “Pineapple” Allen, Streetlamp Junkie, and more.
   A total of 10 live bands will play 45-minute sets of bluegrass, country, Americana, folk, and rock-and-roll. There will also be vendor booths, children’s crafts and games, silent auction, dancing, Chef Ryan Rusie’s mouth-watering barbecue, and lively family-friendly fun from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
   This year, vendor booths will be expanded to include more stalls. The children’s activity center will include more games and events like the ever-popular dunk tank and face-painting. And children under 12 receive free admittance.
   You can also receive free admittance if you volunteer to work at the festival. With eight committee chairs heading volunteer teams for the front gate, bar, food service, site, administration, kids’ center, and auction, there’s no limit to the help one can provide to make this year’s festival a success. The event also offers an opportunity for high school students still needing to fulfill their community service hours quota.
   Though this community event offers an exciting way to help those in need, it’s only made possible through the tireless work of EAA members and volunteers. The festival is a success in part due to the months of planning and work by EAA members Janene Lasswell, Debbie Jo Bird, Karen McIntyre, Peter Sodhy, Luis Araujo, and their volunteer team leaders Jackie Gardner, Ryan Rusie, Missy Araujo, Eme Price, and Pat, Beth, and Barret Lasswell.
  “It’s the community coming together, that personal connection, that got this festival to take off,” Janene said. “The community support is what makes the EAA and the festival work. Three Rivers did it all.”
   With the help of approximately 130 volunteers, staff, and musicians, they managed to net around $14,000 at the 2012 Music Festival to provide direct, cash assistance to local residents who are suffering extreme financial hardship due to age, health, lack of medical insurance coverage, or other reasons.
   What’s more, nearly every volunteer from 2012 has returned to his or her position for this year’s festival, proving that the sense of service in Three Rivers residents is what gives this town its strength of heart.
   The EAA, a true Three Rivers organization of neighbors helping neighbors, is now officially a 501(c)(3) charity. The Blue Thong Riveritas revitalized the Emergency Aid Alliance in 2011, and after a mere three months of impromptu planning, the nonprofit group got the 2012 Music Festival off the ground. They started with an initial budget of negative $40, but the overwhelming response by over 600 paying festival-goers and volunteers ensured that the EAA could provide $6,000 in financial aid to local residents in the last year alone, whether in the form of direct cash aid or bill-pay assistance.
   The EAA is constantly in the process of reviewing more new referrals and applicants for their aid, helping those who are barely surviving on their Social Security income alone, those who lost their insurance, or those who cannot make ends meet after a major illness. While the group focuses on direct financial assistance for those in a tight spot, the EAA also researches alternative means of support for their applicants, finding agencies and organizations that can further serve their needs.
   If interested in more information about the Emergency Aid Alliance, the Blue Thong Society-Riveritas Chapter, the Three Rivers Music Festival, or volunteer opportunities, contact Janene at 561-4021. To make a donation to the Emergency Aid Alliance, funds may be mailed to P.O. Box 36, Three Rivers, CA 93271 or deposited directly to the EAA account at Valley Oak Credit Union.

Sierra Surplus & Survival burglarized

By Holly Gallo

  Sierra Surplus is the latest victim in what has become a rash of burglaries and break-ins in Three Rivers when its Sierra Drive store was invaded the night of Thursday, Feb. 7. The break-in occurred sometime between when the store closed at 5 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday when it was reopened. The intruder(s) apparently gained access through the back door.
   Owner Warren Campbell said that about $100 worth of merchandise was missing, including an antique lunch box and a tactical vest and other clothing, and concluded they were actually “very fortunate” that more was not stolen. What made this particular burglary peculiar was that the thief or thieves moved many items around the store, taking merchandise off the normal shelves and putting them onto other displays.
   Because of the “prankish” nature of the job, Campbell believes it was a local who broke into the store. Fortunately for Campbell, when he filed a report with resident deputy sheriff Jim Fansett, a fingerprint was found.
   To ensure that Sierra Surplus isn’t hit again, Campbell has ordered a new security system. And until it arrives, he has taken up residence in the store to keep an eye on the property.
   EDITOR’S NOTE: It is important that the Commonwealth publishes articles about any thefts, break-ins, and burglaries in the Three Rivers area so that Three Rivers residents are reminded that this type of crime does occur here from time to time.
   It is easy to become complacent in this bucolic lifestyle, however, it is important to be vigilant in locking the doors to your home and vehicles while securing valuables, firearms, and prescription drugs.
   The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department does not inform us if a break-in has occurred and doesn’t necessarily make the incident report public. We rely solely on business owners, property owners, and residents to tell us of a crime just as all of Three Rivers relies on neighbors to be on alert and inform the necessary parties of any suspicious activity.

Chiropractor opens 3R office

By Holly Gallo

  Visalia chiropractor Tern Yang, D.C., is now offering his services to Three Rivers residents every Friday at 41763 Sierra Drive, in The Art Co-Op, Colors Gallery, and Mountain View Realty complex.
   He decided to branch out from Visalia, where he lives with his wife and daughter (with a second daughter on the way) to Three Rivers because of the professional and recreational opportunities offered here.
  “I enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, and everything else that involves being in nature,” he said. “Three Rivers is a great community that offers all of these activities and more. My service will help with injuries sustained through sports or outdoor activities with adjustments and soft tissue work.”
   Yang has been a chiropractor for four years and been operating his own business in his hometown of Visalia for the past two years. After receiving his bachelor of science degree in biological sciences from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, he decided to pursue a chiropractic career when he developed a desire for an alternative approach to health and medicine.
  “I was tired of seeing medicine as the treatment to all things,” Yang said, citing the moment when he witnessed his own father nearly die from a reaction to a penicillin allergy he didn’t even know he had.
  “Ever since then, I knew I wanted a career where I can help people with alternative methods,” he continued. “What drew me to chiropractic was the hands-on approach and the patient-doctor relationship.”
   Yang went on to graduate from the Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose in 2009. He says that now his professional philosophy is to “treat the cause, not the symptoms.”
  “I am a proud small business owner,” Yang concluded, “and by branching to Three Rivers, I will join an area who are also proud to be small business owners.”

World Ag Expo history

  World Ag Expo began in 1968 and was held at the Tulare County Fairgrounds. This first show attracted 157 exhibitors and 28,000 attendees. By the second year, the show doubled in both attendees and exhibitors, and continued the rapid growth throughout future shows.
   Originally named “Tulare’s Field and Row Crop Equipment Show,” it quickly outgrew its name and became the “California Farm Equipment Show” for the second show in 1969. In 1972, the first foreign manufacturers began displaying their products, leading to another name change, “California Farm Equipment Show and International Exposition.” The current name, World Ag Expo, was adopted in 2001.
   With the increase in international exhibitors and visitors, the United States Department of   Commerce sensed an opportunity to enhance the U.S. export trade possibilities. The Department of Commerce designated and publicized the show throughout the world as an official affiliate of the Foreign Buyer Program.
   Throughout the 1970s, the show continued to grow, eventually outgrowing its venue at the fairgrounds. In 1976, the show directors voted to explore the formation of a special corporation that would establish an international agribusiness showplace somewhere within the Tulare area. The plan was found to be feasible, and a nonprofit corporation was created, International Agri-Center Inc. A section of the Faria family farm became the site for the new showgrounds.
   The 15th California Farm Equipment Show and International Exposition opened its doors at its new home on February 9, 1982. This location provided Tulare with the first facility in the western United States ever constructed to house an agricultural trade show.
   The International Agri-Center is continually investing in, and enhancing, the showgrounds to improve World Ag Expo for both attendees and exhibitors. The Farm Credit Dairy Center was completed for the 1991 show, built in response to the growing need for more space for dairy industry displays. The construction of a permanent building for Pavilion C began in 2012 and is open for the first time during this year’s World Ag Expo.
   The economic impact of World Ag Expo is beneficial for Tulare County. The more than 100,000 attendees and 1,800-plus exhibitors who travel to Tulare over the three-day period pump more than $3 billion into the local economy. Businesses small and large benefit from the show’s presence in the county, with hotels, restaurants, and gas stations being the primary beneficiaries of visitors to the area. —www.worldagexpo.com

World Ag Expo stimulates
rural tourism economy

  It’s not unusual to see tourists from dozens of faraway countries during the summer season in Kaweah Country. But when they visit in February, either before or after a visit to the International Ag Expo in Tulare, those are rural tourists and they boost tourism in Three Rivers right when business owners need it most.
   It figures that some of those 3 billion in World Ag Expo dollars will find their way to Three Rivers. Several of the local lodging establishments (Western Holiday Lodge, Comfort Inn and Suites, Gateway Lodge, and Buckeye Tree Lodge) have reported attendees who prefer to stay in Three Rivers, 45 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the Tulare area.
   Casa Mendoza featured a special breakfast burrito this week hoping to attract a few more patrons during the days of the Expo. Each out-of-area visitor represents a potential tourist who is likely to return another day for an even longer stay.
   The Tulare County Farm Bureau reported that although most of the show’s attendees come from areas surrounding the central San Joaquin Valley, there are also thousands of international visitors from more than 20 different countries. Ask any one of them what they would like to see while they are here and most would answer the biggest tree in the world and Sequoia National Park.
   And while they are at the Expo, what do they do at the world’s largest agricultural equipment show, sale, and exposition on the planet? They want to see what’s new in technology while networking with teams of experts at the more than 1,800 booths and exhibits — it’s the Tulare County equivalent to the annual consumer electronics convention in Las Vegas.
   At one seminar sponsored by the beef industry, Amanda Radke, a South Dakota cattle rancher and beef blogger, taught her ranching audience how to get more comfortable with social media.
  “Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are all ways to share your story with a diverse audience,” Amanda said. “Consumers really fall in love with us ranchers once they get to know us.”
   Amanda concluded her program by showing the Dodge Ram commercial that aired during the Super Bowl entitled “So God Made a Farmer.”
   That two-minute commercial, Amanda said, underscores a united ag voice that’s needed now more than ever, whether an agricultural manager raises crops or raises cattle.
  “Rural isn’t a ZIP code or dirt road it’s a state of mind,” Amanda said.

SNHA releases new e-book

  Being a leader in the publication of educational books with a local focus, the Sequoia Natural History Association (SNHA) has released a new e-book, Floods and Droughts in the Tulare Lake Basin, by John T. Austin. It’s not available at any of the non-profit’s area bookstores but can be downloaded in the Kindle or Apple digital format.
   SNHA’s latest publication is a carefully researched history of the Tulare Lake Basin and tells the story of hundreds of floods and 31 multi-year droughts. It’s an account of the last 2,000 years and sheds some important light on what might be in store for the watersheds of the Kings, Kaweah, Kern, and Tule rivers — tributaries that once annually replenished a huge inland lake that in the 19th century made travel by boat from Stockton to Bakersfield a practical necessity.
   In a recent email, Mark Tilchen, SNHA executive director, wrote about the importance of this landmark publication.
  “This new floods book will be the first of what we hope will be more books that are sold as paper, printed on-demand. With the sale of paper books declining we don’t expect to sell that many in the paper format. To order a paper book you go to Amazon.com. Order the book from them and they print your copy and ship it to you one book at a time.”
   The floods book is also available as a free PDF download. SNHA is providing permission to anyone to download an electronic version and make unbound copies for personal reading as long as it is not used for commercial purposes.
   Tilchen said even the e-book at $5.95, for readers who want the Kindle or Apple iBook formats, is relatively inexpensive.
  “We hope to publish more books this way, that may not have enough appeal to actually print and stock but it still fills the need to get the publication out there for its educational value,” Tilchen said.
   Tilchen also said the in-color version of the new book costs $65, and soon SNHA may offer a black-and-white version that will sell for $20. At that point, some copies would be offered for sale at the visitor center at Lake Kaweah.
   SNHA is in the process of turning all its publications into e-books. For more information or to order any of the seven e-books, visit sequoiahistory.org.

  Blanket policy (photo caption): Jack Nielsen — who with his wife, Joyce, founded the Comfort for Kids project, now in its 16th season — keeps the quilt assembly line moving. So far during the 2013 session, which is held Tuesday mornings from January through April, 481 quilts have been completed (as of last week). Quilts completed to date: 25,958 and 1,261 knit caps (especially comforting for children receiving chemotherapy). All items are donated to patients at Children’s Hospital Central California.

Local writer published
In L.A. compendium

  The Kaweah Commonwealth contributor and local writer Holly Gallo was featured in the second issue of “the WOMEN group” publication, an anthology and collaboration of 20 poets based in Los Angeles, Calif.
   Though centered in L.A., the issue features poets from throughout the United States who have all met at least one member at some point in the city hub. While the newest issue is scheduled to be released in the coming months, the next event in which the WOMEN group will be featured is the L.A. Zine Fest on Sunday, Feb. 17.
   Dylan A. Doren, the founder of the group, said that he was inspired to create the WOMEN group issues by City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco and the works of Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
  “I started finding copies of City Lights Pocket Poets Series,” Doren said. “They’re really rare, and I’d search for them at all the bookstores. I really enjoyed how compact the production was. I started thinking of all the great thinkers, good speakers, and musicians I know, and I wanted to form my own thing like that.”
   As far as the name the WOMEN group, “I wanted it to be a name that’s provocative and personally meaningful to me. I’m a male, but most of the people I look up to are women, like my mom and the women in history.”
  “You notice that femininity is a put-down,” Doren continued. “‘You throw like a girl,’ ‘you’re a p*ssy,’ ‘you’re a b*tch,’”
   Though “women” is in the name, the collaboration of writers is coed.
  “The words of the poetry stand for themselves; it doesn’t matter if there’s a man or woman behind it,” explained Doren.
   The publication is currently only available in Los Angeles. The first issue is at Stories Books and Café and Skylight Books, and both issues are for sale at Alias Books East, which is a crucial supporter of the WOMEN group.
   Efforts are currently being discussed to make the anthology available for sale in Three Rivers.
   To keep up with news on the WOMEN group, visit thewomengroup.wordpress.com/.

Bob Fallert
1924 ~ 2013

   Robert Vine Fallert Sr. of Tulare died Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013. He was 88.
   Bob was born April 6, 1924. During World War II, he served as a troop transport medic stationed at Letterman Hospital in San Francisco.
   Bob farmed in the Woodville area for 50 years before moving to Tulare. Since retiring from farming, he and his wife Dallas have owned and operated The Antique Shop in Lemon Cove, which is actually two shops.
   Bob was active in community affairs. He was a past president of the Woodville Chamber of Commerce; past member of the Porterville Young Farmers; on the boards of directors for Sunsweet, Tule River Dryer and Gin, and Woodville Elementary School; and a member of the Tulare County Farm Bureau.
   Bob is survived by his wife and soulmate Dallas; sons Robert Fallert Jr. and wife Billie Jo, Joe Eugene Fallert and wife Elizabeth, and Ted Alan Fallert and wife Margaret; brothers Gene and Donald of Porterville; sisters Maxine Fife and husband Dick of Porterville and Rosemary Stephenson and husband Jim of Sacramento; seven grandchildren, Robert III and wife Monique of Strathmore, Michael of Susanville, Rachel and Benjamin of Michigan, and Sarah, Zachary, and Austin of Tulare; two great-grandchildren, Robert IV and Mackenzie of Strathmore; and many nieces and nephews.
   Bob will be missed by his family and friends. A private memorial for the family will be held.
Remembrances may be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central California, 351 W. Cromwell Ave., Suite 112A, Fresno, CA 93711.

THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
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