In the News - Friday, February 18, 2011
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
near Three Rivers
Did you feel it? If you did, the U. S. Geological Survey wants to hear about it, and there is a website where you can report seismic activity (www.earthquake.usgs.gov).
Last Thursday (Feb. 10), a Three Rivers resident reported that he had felt a quake in Three Rivers. The quake actually occurred at 10:05 a.m. and was measured at 2.5 magnitude.
It’s not all that unusual to feel an earthquake in Three Rivers. But what was a little disconcerting was that this one’s epicenter was only 16 miles southeast of Three Rivers and about the same distance northeast of Springville.
One former Sequoia Park ranger, Eric Barnes, has for many years claimed that there was a geology report prepared by National Park Service scientists that detailed the existence of a dormant earthquake fault that ran directly under the nearby Ash Peaks.
Barnes claims NPS officials never wanted to alarm locals so the report ended up buried in some file cabinet at Ash Mountain. At least one old-timer, who has lived in Three Rivers since the 1930s, cannot recall ever feeling or hearing about a quake that was centered anywhere close to Three Rivers.
Historic quakes that were felt locally include the 1906 San Francisco quake that shook snow off of Empire Mountain in Mineral King wiping out several old cabins and the Mineral King Store. That was felt in Three Rivers.
A 1952 quake centered in Kern County that literally shook potatoes out of the ground was felt here as was the Coalinga quake of 1983. The Mammoth Lakes area experiences seismic activity nearly every day and magnitudes over 3.0 are often felt in Three Rivers.
‘Tis the season
If you have been feeling a little under the weather lately, or are home with sick children, you are not alone. Lots of your Three Rivers neighbors are feeling sick too.
Throughout this past week, absences at Three Rivers School are running about one in five students and each one is taking at least one or more sick days. That means parents are getting stressed trying to care for all the sick kids and the grown-ups are getting sick too.
That’s a lot of absences from school and work but it’s not all that unusual for flu season.
What is different this season, however, is that these debilitating symptoms are hanging on longer than in the past.
“Ever since the H1N1 virus came along, it seems these symptoms like the scratchy, sore throat; runny nose; and congested chest are lasting longer than they did in the past,” said Torey Ivanic, the physician’s assistant at the Family HealthCare Network clinic in Three Rivers. “It’s not this season’s flu and in most cases nothing to be alarmed about unless the symptoms persist.”
Torey says she’s reluctant to prescribe antibiotics because she prefers to let the illness run its course. But if the symptoms persist beyond seven to 10 days, she might prescribe a more aggressive treatment plan.
New chef and assistant manager on
the menu at Wuksachi Dining Room
It would be difficult to meet a nicer young couple anywhere. He is an upwardly mobile executive chef and she is an assistant dining room manager brimming with personality.
Meet Chef Steven Sterritt and his fiancée Katie Betts. The couple, who arrived in Kaweah Country just last month, work together at Wuksachi Lodge for Delaware North Companies in Sequoia National Park and have taken up residence in Three Rivers.
It’s a unique arrangement, both the living and the working. Their last jobs were in Ohio, where they will be married this summer.
“The only stipulation in taking this job is that we have to have one week off during the busy summer because we have a prior commitment,” Steven said. “We even told management that we would postpone our honeymoon until things quiet down a bit.”
Their bosses at Delaware North are quite willing to accommodate because they recognize talent when they see it. The company has nurtured Steven, a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s culinary school, through two of the best chef programs in the nation at Chicago and Napa Valley.
It’s already paying dividends.
“Katie is my eyes and ears in the dining room,” Steven said. “If there is an entree not quite cooked to perfection or maybe a guest wants something else in the presentation, I’ll hear about immediately.”
Katie relishes her opportunity to meet, greet, and cater to the needs of each visitor.
“I’m the floor presence of the company to ensure that each and every guest has the best park experience,” she said.
But it was Steven’s love of and experience in the mountains that inspired the couple’s move to Wuksachi. He began, with what at age 30 is already an impressive career, working at such prestigious eateries like the Peaks Resort and Lost Creek in Telluride, Colo., and the Sage Restaurant inside the renowned Snowmass Club in Aspen.
“When the other guys were out playing, I was learning from some of best chefs in the business,” Steven recalled. “But don’t get me wrong, I still found time for my share of ski runs.”
Following a stint in Las Vegas at Spago in Caesar’s Palace and the Aqua Knox inside the Venetian where he earned accolades for featuring the fresh and the local, he returned back east to be closer to family. In 2007, he hired on at Geneva-on-the-Lake and that’s where the Pittsburgh, Pa., native, met Katie, a Youngstown State co-ed working at the front desk of the lodge.
Chef Steven has already tried some of his specialties at Wuksachi. During last weekend he placed an omelet station out in the dining room with the traditional breakfast buffet and it was a big hit.
“There’s nothing wrong with the menu they have. I just want to make some changes and freshen things up,” Steven said.
The chef said he’s already eyeing that cornucopia of food being produced in the San Joaquin Valley. He’s working right now to tap all the freshest local ingredients including organic produce and maybe even grass-fed beef from Three Rivers.
It’s what Chef Steven refers to as sustainable cuisine.
“My favorite dishes are pan-seared scallops, oysters, and rib-eye steaks,” Steven said. “I love the marbling of a rib-eye and what it can do for the taste.”
So imagine tastes like these and lots of other healthy choices. That’s Chef Steven’s vision for the new menu coming soon to the Wuksachi Lodge dining room.
The Wuksachi Lodge is only one hour driving time from Three Rivers. For reservations and the latest road conditions, call 565-4070.
3R biker hurt in
Ash Mountain crash
For an experienced bicyclist like Bruce Keller of Three Rivers, negotiating the descent on the roadway exiting Sequoia National Park at Ash Mountain was nothing unusual. But on Sunday, Feb. 13, at about 1 p.m., when he came cruising down the Generals Highway, he inadvertently hit one of the orange pylons that divide exiting park traffic.
The impact of the hit caused the road bike to crash and skid along the pavement. Keller, 67, suffered head trauma and multiple injuries, mostly to his right side. After paramedics treated Keller at the scene, he was airlifted via helicopter to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
On Wednesday evening (February 16), Bruce’s wife Shirley, who was at his bedside in Fresno, updated the patient’s condition.
“He’s doing much better today and is able to get up and move around,” Shirley reported. “The helmet did exactly what it was supposed to do and saved Bruce from suffering any permanent brain damage.”
Shirley said the multiple injuries to Bruce’s right side consist mostly of cracks to his clavicle, ribs, hip, and wrist. She also said that the plan is to move Bruce to Cypress Rehabilitation Center as soon as possible where he will be recuperating for an extended period from his injuries.
WHS is runner-up in Mock Trial finals
In a squeaker of a courtroom competition, Woodlake High School’s celebrated Mock Trial team finished second to Tulare Union on Tuesday , Feb. 15, falling short by only five points. It figured to be a nail-biter as the two teams met last year for the county title when Woodlake ultimately won a tie-breaker and was crowned champion.
“I’m proud of all these kids, and I know the judges were most impressed by what went on in these court cases,” said Kevin Skeen, WHS math teacher and coach of the Woodlake team. “The kids really prepared for these matches and carried themselves like true champions.”
The all-Tulare County judges of the finals were Phil Cline, district attorney; Kathleen-Bales-Lange, county counsel; and Michael Sheltzer, public defender. Most sessions were conducted in the Tulare County Courthouse in Visalia.
TRUS dragon heads to Visalia event
If you missed the brightly colored Chinese New Year dragon as it paraded all through town on 1st Saturday this month, then the good fortune of the Year of the Rabbit is still upon you.
The dragon, created as an art project by Three Rivers Union School students, has been invited to make an encore appearance at the Asian Cultural Society’s eighth annual Chinese New Year party in Visalia.
The event will be held Saturday, Feb. 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Café 210 (located at 210 W. Center Street). The Chinese New Year began February 3 and traditionally lasts for 15 days.
The TRUS dragon (and students) will be a part of the closing ceremonies, appearing in the Café’s courtyard at about 4:45 p.m.
Admission to, and parking at, the event is free and open to the public; it is requested that those in attendance where something red, which is the color of good luck in the Chinese culture.
Women offered self-defense tactics
By Brian Rothhammer
You are a woman walking alone, perhaps just to your car across a dimly lit parking lot. There are footsteps behind you. Too close for comfort… far too close. Suddenly, you are attacked.
What would you do? Do you have the skills and confidence to repel an attacker? Are there ways to avoid being a target from those who would do you harm?
Confidence is the key, and David Schluep, a former Three Rivers resident, would like to instill that confidence in the women of Three Rivers through his Warrior Woman Workshop. The workshop is to be held at on Saturday, March 5, at Community Presbyterian Church.
“I grew up in Three Rivers and still visit often,” said David. “I have a lot of friends here and look forward to the opportunity to share the knowledge, skill set, and more importantly the mindset that will change you from a potential soft target to a confident, tactically aware powerhouse capable of repelling and neutralizing any attacker. Through tactical awareness training, students will learn to manage situations before they develop to the point of an attack, to not be a victim.”
David has extensive experience as an instructor of self defense. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he became proficient in several martial arts disciplines including Jeet Kune Do, Krav Maga, Mue Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Seieido, and Kickboxing.
An elite third-degree Black Belt instructor, he went on to become an executive protection agent, private security specialist, and federal covert counterterrorist agent, among other qualifications.
During this time, David became increasingly aware of the need for training geared toward practical applications, especially for women. As valuable as traditional martial arts training is, he said, sparring matches with a disciplined opponent are not what will likely be encountered in the real world.
“When you live with criminals, you learn their mindset,” said David, referring to his more than seven years as a California corrections officer. “It’s not a fencing match, it’s a fight.”
The four-hour Warrior Woman Workshop will be offered to the women of Three Rivers at $65, a $10 discount from the usual fee. The course includes one hour of verbal instruction with a multimedia presentation and three hours of physical training. Women from 11 to 80 years of age have successfully completed the course.
In addition to the training, students will receive a copy of David’s book, Warrior Woman Workshop, and lifetime consultation. The one-time fee allows for students to attend any WWW course and receive additional training.
David sees it as an expanding family of capable, aware women who can live in safety and confidence while teaching others to do so. He also seeks to train future instructors from his student base.
“All women would benefit from these skills and knowledge,” he said. “It’s a way of giving back to the community while taking control of your own destiny.”
David’s website, www.thetacticalpro.com, contains a wealth of information and statistics. Be aware. Be safe, confident, and empowered.
David’s goal is to reverse the trend of violence toward women. You can be a part of a better, more confident, secure world.
Kids can win a national parks trip
National Parks Traveler is sponsoring the “Take Your Family to the National Parks” essay contest for three categories of youth. The top winner in each category will win the grand prize, which includes three nights lodging for four members of their family to their choice of one of 13 national parks, as well as some gear to help them enjoy the trip.
Grand-prize winners will choose from a range of lodging from Badlands to Zion national parks. The winners will also receive a daypack, hiking shoes, water bottles, and an annual parks pass.
Entries are now being accepted from students in three age brackets: ages 8 to 11, 12 to 15, and 16 to 18. Essays will be accepted online until March 1.
Each category of kids will have a different, age-appropriate topic:
8 to 11 years: “Why are national parks good for kids?’
12 to 15 years: “If you were to write President Obama telling him why the national parks should be saved, what would you say and why?”
16 to 18 years: “What are the greatest threats to our national parks and how can they be countered?”
The winning essays will be selected by National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis and announced during National Parks Week in mid-April.
For complete contest details, go online to www.nationalparkstraveler.com.
Annual Woodlake awards announced
The honorees have been selected for Woodlake’s 49th annual Awards Banquet. The dinner and ceremony will be held Friday, March 11, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Woodlake Memorial Building.
The event is hosted by the Kiwanis of Woodlake, who will also be preparing the Irish-themed dinner, appropriate for the mid-March date. Many civic groups and others are involved with the selection of the honorees by creating an anonymous selection committee formed by one member of each of the following entities: City of Woodlake, Woodlake Police Department, Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce, Woodlake Lions Club, Woodlake Lady Lions, Woodlake Rotary, Kiwanis of Woodlake, Woodlake Ministerial Association, and Woodlake Public Schools.
The 2010 honorees are:
Man of the Year— Alex Reynoso.
Woman of the Year— Ana Carretero.
Man of the Decade— Gerald Whittaker.
Spirit of Woodlake— Manny Martinez, Frank Guillen, Larry Arroyo, Michael Flores, Phillip Castillo, Bobby Hernandez, Ignacio Garcia, and Jerry Alvarez, Woodlake Pop Warner football coaches.
Youth of the Year— Vanessa Reynoso and Alex Reynaga, Woodlake High students.
Lifetime Achievements— Olga Jimenez and Bob Pearcy.
Commitment to Youth— Brian Vaccaro.
Business of the Year— To be selected soon by the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The dinner is open to the public. Tickets are $20 per person until March 8 ($15 for past award winners); $30 at the door.
Tickets are available at the Woodlake High School office, Woodlake City Hall, or by calling Sally Pace, 564-2054 or Linda LaFleur, 564-2485.
Search is on for Woodlake queen
By Brian Rothhammer
Queen for a day? How about the whole year?
At a recent Woodlake City Council meeting, Mayor Raul Gonzales had an idea: Woodlake High School has their Homecoming Queen, the Lions Club has the Woodlake Rodeo Queen, why not a City of Woodlake Queen?
Motion approved. This year will see the coronation of the first City of Woodlake Queen.
The position is open to all junior and senior girls ages 15 to 18, who reside in the high school district and/or attend Woodlake High School.
In addition to the honor and responsibilities of representing the City of Woodlake at the annual car show, banquets, Woodlake Western Week, and other city- sponsored events, Woodlake’s own queen will receive a $500 scholarship from the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Applications for the title are available at the Woodlake High School office and City Hall. To enter, applicants pay a $75 fee and write a 250-word essay about their personal history, goals, and what representing the City of Woodlake would mean to them. Then they are to seek the endorsement of a local business or organization as their sponsor, and sell raffle tickets.
Sponsored entries should be submitted by March 1, 2011.
More than just an old-fashioned beauty contest, a five-member panel will instead evaluate prospects based on their scholastic achievement, community involvement, and how they will represent the spirit of the City of Woodlake throughout the year of their reign.
The Queen will be crowned April 19 at a venue yet to be announced.
“We see this as an opportunity to recognize and promote exceptional young citizens of Woodlake as they become the civic leaders of tomorrow,” said Linda Moran, Chamber of Commerce board member.
There can only be one first City of Woodlake Queen. Who will it be?
For more information, contact Leno or Linda Moran, 564-3963.
News of the Three Rivers
Performing Arts Institute
Jung sisters’ talent abounds
By Bill Haxton
Imagine three sisters, each with an extraordinary gift for music. Imagine they have educational pedigrees that include the most exalted music schools in the world — the New England Conservatory, Julliard, the Yale School of Music. Imagine them together in an acoustically superb room with their piano, violin, and cello in perfect tune as they launch into one of Maurice Ravel’s best-loved chamber compositions.
There are very few trios performing on earth right now that possess the Jung Trio’s combination of technical brilliance, deeply felt emotion, and nearly clairvoyant communication between piano, violin, and cello. Perhaps because they are sisters each seems to sense what the others are going to do before they do it. And the music they create is pure magic.
We are already familiar with the exceptional talent of pianist Jennie Jung. Jennie, who holds a doctorate from Julliard, was here last summer for the music camp and more than once helped bring audiences to their feet with her poetic mastery of collaboration on the keyboard.
She performs with great delicacy when delicacy is required, and with barely restrained abandon when fireworks are called for. Every year, Jennie is invited to perform at one prestigious event or another somewhere in the world.
Ellen Jung’s emotional range and uncanny agility on violin shines like a beam of light searching for a place to land.
It’s been said that the violin is the instrument of the heart. If that’s true, Ellen’s mastery of expression partly explains why the Jung Trio has such a potent effect on audiences.
Ellen has studied with the foremost teachers in America and received her master’s degree from the Yale School of Music.Like Jennie, she has performed all over the world, both with the Jung Trio and as a soloist.
Complementing Jennie’s piano and Ellen’s violin, Julie Jung’s supple phrasing and gorgeous lyricism on the cello brings a fabulous baseline and an interpretive force to the Jung Trio.
Julie received her master’s degree from the New England Conservatory where she studied with iconic cello teacher Laurence Lesser and later studied with legendary Aldo Parisot. It takes incredible talent just to get into the same room with teachers like these. She has soloed with the world-famous Toronto Symphony and like her sisters has performed with orchestras all over the world.
You see where we’re going with this. Put these three astonishing talents together in a trio, where their superb individual voices merge into one masterful voice with three parts, and that’s where the magic comes from.
It’s why one notable music critic described their concerts as “… soul-stirring, captivating performances of supreme artistry. A spectacular group with wonderful musicality at their fingertips.”
It’s also why the Jung Trio was awarded the coveted Grand Prize at the prestigious Yellow Springs Music Competition in 2002 and has also won top honors at the Canadian Music Competition, the CIBC National Music Festival, and the 2002 Fischoff Competition.
On Saturday, Feb. 26, they’ll perform Beethoven, Ravel, and Dvorak’s famous Trio in F minor.
This is a program not to be missed, and if the previous three concerts are any indication, it will be sold out. Don’t wait to get your tickets; Chump’s has them now.
Bill Haxton is the founder of the Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute, which is the organizer of the ongoing Winter Concert Series.
Meet this month’s ‘Heroes’ honorees
The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce will continue its trilogy of gatherings to honor both local and county citizens for their hero-worthiness. The second of three consecutive monthly get-togethers will be held Friday, Feb. 25, 7 p.m., at the Three Rivers Arts Center.
In what the Chamber has dubbed “Heroes Appreciation Months” during the first three months of each year, February means it will be the law-enforcement officers who are being honored. The 2011 honorees are Steve Wood, Al Brockman, and Evelyn Thompson.
Steve Wood— After stints in the U.S. Army, as a U.S. Forest Service helitack firefighter, and more than a dozen years as a reserve deputy for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Steve Wood landed a job with Cal Fire (previously known as CDF or the California Department of Forest and Fire Protection). Upon his retirement after a 33-year career with CDF and the Tulare County Fire Department, Steve retired as battalion chief, being the law enforcement and fire prevention bureau chief for the Tulare County Fire Department and CDF.
Al Brockman— Albert Brockman was hired as a deputy by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department in October 2009. Being a member of the Dive and Swift Water Rescue teams, it was only fitting that Al was eventually assigned to Three Rivers when Resident Deputy Jim Fansett was on extended leave. “Albert accepted this assignment with great enthusiasm and immediately became involved in the community,” said Bill Wittman, Tulare County Sheriff. “He takes great pride in his work and cares about the community of Three Rivers.”
Evelyn Thompson— Evelyn Thompson has been a VIP (Volunteers in Patrol) with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department for seven years. She has more than 2,000 hours of patrol time, which has included duties such as assisting with traffic control at accidents, road blocks, rescues, or special events; delivering documents, reporting parking and trespassing violations, and helping stranded motorists. She admits, however, that one of her favorite assignments is staffing the “jail” at the annual TRUS Halloween Carnival.
In addition to the three monthly get-togethers to honor specific groups and individuals during Heroes Appreciation Months, all emergency medical personnel, law-enforcement officers, military personnel, and veterans receive discounts on lodging, dining, shopping, and services throughout Three Rivers and Sequoia National Park. For a list of local businesses that are offering discounts, go to www.threerivers.com/media/ParticipantList.pdf.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
By Jana Botkin
Commissions are one of the most necessary pieces of the art-career patchwork quilt. Not every artist is willing to draw or paint to a customer’s specifications.
Some believe it is too commercial or compromising. Of course it is commercial — this is how I earn my living!
Compromising can mean the acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable, but I believe the artist still has control over the piece and doesn’t have to make work that discredits a professional reputation.
The process begins as do all custom undertakings — with a conversation. Clear communication is essential for happy customers.
I listen to the potential client explain his idea or vision. I listen to his description of the subject and make a medium recommendation based on my experience.
If the customer wants a picture of his house, I almost always advise pencil because such a high level of detail can be achieved. If the subject is scenery and color is the reason for the request, oil is the obvious choice.
In portraiture, I recommend pencil because it provides the best chance to capture a likeness. Portraiture is tricky — I can get all the features in place and accidentally draw the guy’s cousin. If it is a view of someone from the back, oil paint works well to capture the stance and the light.
To become familiar with the subject and avoid copyright problems, I take my own photos. The customer often provides snapshots or emails digital photos to me.
Occasionally, I have been known to say that I need to visit the place and see it with my own eyes. No one has actually offered airfare to Cape Cod, Montana, or even South Africa, but it hasn’t been for lack of effort on my part.
After taking the photos, I narrow the selection down to two or three choices. If the customer has asked for a collage, I provide several sketches.
Occasionally the customer will say the magic words, “You’re the professional” which means I get to choose the design I like best.
Some customers enjoy seeing the piece in progress; others prefer to just see the finished work. This is another area that should be discussed and decided at the beginning of the project.
Deadlines are also very important to establish. I’ve been asked to do things on impossibly short notice and also on possibly short notice. Either way, I am honest and don’t promise things that I can’t deliver. Unfortunately there is a terrible reputation for flakiness in my profession, so I make it a point to finish on time or earlier.
Accepting commissions is a way to establish collectors and credibility. The artist has been selected for the job because of a consistent style and a reputation for reliability.
Best of all, commissions are rewarding because there is an eager customer waiting at the end of the project.
Jana Botkin of Three Rivers owns and operates Cabinart. Samples of her art may be viewed at www.cabinart.net.
ALL ABOUT MOVIES
From documentaries to ‘Dora’
By Andrew Glazier
This month, I’ve been busy watching DVDs and have a good number of films that need mentioning.
The dramatic three-DVD series Fire, Earth, and Water by Deepa Mehta were a pick my wife found, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. The films document women’s struggles and forbidden love through different decades in India.
The bonus footage describes the filmmaker, whose struggle with extremists attacking the theaters and forcing her later films to be filmed outside the country. Rioting in a theater lobby is a good way to get your film noticed. Seriously, these films demand to be seen.
The films may be watched in any order as they stand alone as finished pieces. I give each a THREE RIVERS.
Two documentaries that show much of the struggles in Haiti are The Agronomist by Jonathan Demme which I give THREE RIVERS, and Aristide by Nicolas Rossier, which I would give a TWO RIVERS. Both films offer stories from the land itself rather than the corporate media.
It seems from these two films that what the average American doesn’t know about the struggles of Haiti could fill volumes. When I lived in south Florida in the early 1980s, I would watch boat people from Cuba being allowed to stay when they stepped on the beach and Haitians being exported unceremoniously.
I remember one Haitian fellow who worked at a local gas station who brightened up when I struggled to speak a few French words to him. He wore a tie every day, determined to get ahead. His quiet pride haunts me to this day.
I am amazed how little was mentioned to me in school about this country born of a successful slave rebellion.
When I heard Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned to Haiti recently, I felt compelled to write this. His band of thugs called the “Ton Ton Macoutes” executed and tortured untold numbers of civilians. Now he returns to Haiti expecting a hero’s welcome.
Both films expose the “Princes of the Port,” wealthy Haitians who profit from playing go-between of foreign corporations looking to pay a dollar a day and no more, expecting in return swift reprisals for attempts to organize against their exploitation.
All I’ve written about these movies must be remembered in light of one distressing fact: These films both predate the devastating earthquake. But we need to look at this information and share it. We owe the Haitian people that, at least.
A film that describes the struggles of dyslexia with sensitivity and humor is Like Stars on Earth. The young boy in the film has hidden talents although his grades aren’t showing it.
This DVD is not for the very young as some scenes are intense, but teenagers would enjoy this as well as adults. There is plenty of extra content in the three-disc set, and it’s definitely a tearjerker. I give this film THREE RIVERS.
Finally, Dora The Explorer continues to rule in the kids’ section. This series continues to grow in popularity while maintaining its integrity. THREE RIVERS for Dora!
Andrew Glazier writes from his Exeter home about movies available at Chump’s DVDs in Three Rivers.