In the News - Friday, February
stories written by John or
Elliott unless otherwise noted
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
winter morning at Lake Kaweah
averted in Horse Creek wreck
It looked a lot worse than it was as motorists along
Highway 198 earlier this week rounded a bend to find
an SUV on its side smack dab in the middle of the
road. The accident occurred at 2:45 p.m. on Tuesday,
Tulare County Fire responded quickly to the
single-vehicle, non-injury accident, as did the California
According to the CHP report, a witness observed
the 2010 GMC Terrain being driven erratically, having
several “near misses” with oncoming traffic.
Upon pulling to the side of the road to allow the
driver to pass, the witness saw the SUV lose control.
After striking a curb, the vehicle overturned
three times before coming to rest on its side. The
driver of the now-sideways SUV was a 60-year-old Three
Rivers man, who emerged from his vehicle unhurt.
Neighbors and a local church pastor were also summoned
to the scene by another witness to comfort the shaken
the good Lord that I am here,” remarked the
driver to the pastor, motioning toward the damaged
vehicle. “It’s a sturdy car, and for a
while it pinched me in there. The air bag did its
Though officers at the scene detected
no signs of alcohol or medication as a cause of the
accident, the CHP investigator will likely recommend
a review of the operator’s driving privilege.
Taylor-Goodrich, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
Parks’ first woman superintendent, admitted
after two weeks on the job that hiking and horseback
riding in these parks are among the things she is
looking forward to doing once she gets settled.
Taylor-Goodrich’s appointment is
one of a chain reaction of moves that was set in motion
when Jon Jarvis, the former director of the Pacific
West Region was tapped by President Obama in 2009
to become the NPS director.
On February 2, Jarvis announced the appointment
of Don Neubacher as the new superintendent of Yosemite
National Park. Neubacher, who served as superintendent
at Point Reyes National Seashore for 15 years, takes
over from David Uberuaga, who has been the acting
superintendent since Mike Tollefson (formerly Sequoia-Kings
Canyon superintendent) retired last year.
The next day, Jarvis announced that Steve
Shackelton, the chief ranger at Yosemite for the last
eight years, will replace Taylor-Goodrich as the associate
director for visitor and resource protection in Washington,
D.C. Taylor-Goodrich credits her six years in that
position as the nation’s chief ranger with completing
her package of skills essential for running Sequoia-Kings
Canyon, an opportunity that she calls “complex
with tremendous challenges.”
But before she returned home to California
where she was raised, she wanted to experience how
things worked Back East.
really wanted to understand the urban experience from
a Park Service perspective,” Taylor-Goodrich
recalled. “I wanted to figure out how Washington
The new superintendent says she understands
the big picture but never planned for it to take so
long. Taylor-Goodrich served a decade in D.C, first
taking a job as deputy superintendent at National
Capital Parks-East in 1999.
Once familiar with this ranger’s
career track, it’s not surprising that she landed
one of the most sought-after jobs in one of the best
parks in the System. From the time she first became
permanent in 1982, Taylor-Goodrich said she knew that
she wanted to be a superintendent.
Taylor-Goodrich’s entry into a parks career
started in Yosemite in 1972 as a seasonal employee
of the Curry Company. There she met some NPS staff.
Initially, she volunteered with the NPS
crew working on a wilderness management plan. By the
next summer she was hired as a seasonal handing out
For the next 12 years she worked nearly
everywhere, doing everything there was to do at Yosemite.
In 1984, she went to the Ranger Academy and earned
a certification in law enforcement.
Concurrently, with her park duties, Taylor-Goodrich
earned a B.S. in Physical Geography from Portland
State. After Yosemite, she worked at Grand Canyon
National Park specializing in fire management and
Then it was off to Cumberland Island
National Seashore where she and her husband were two
of the rangers on a tiny staff. At that unique offshore
park near the Georgia-Florida border, Taylor-Goodrich
wore the hats of law enforcement, interpretation,
and all the visitor services.
During the 1990s, Taylor-Goodrich started
and developed a two-year certificated program for
graduate students in resource management at Lake Roosevelt
National Recreation Area. The focus of the program
was on natural and cultural resources and an effort
by the NPS, Taylor-Goodrich said “…to
infuse resource managers into the Park Service.”
With Taylor-Goodrich, it’s obvious
that Sequoia has both a ranger who is passionate about
wilderness and cultural resources and a boss who knows
her way around Washington, D.C.
Washington experience was a different type of adrenaline
experience than a backcountry search and rescue,”
Taylor-Goodrich recalled. “I wanted to understand
budgets and the politics of being a superintendent.”
Taylor-Goodrich said that what attracted
her to Sequoia-Kings Canyon is the park’s legendary
reputation as an innovator in the management of fire,
bears, and wilderness.
always wanted to be where the buck stops, and at Sequoia
I will be around a staff that isn’t afraid to
try new things.”
Sequoia’s newest superintendent is currently
living in park housing but might buy in Three Rivers
once she and her husband decide what to do with their
home in Arlington, Va. Gil, her husband, is retired
from the NPS, having last worked at Manassas National
Battlefield as the chief ranger.
recent rains, some acorns in the phone box, and local
lines that get their wires crossed are becoming a
recurring problem for Three Rivers residents. In the
last few days at least two local 911 hang-ups were
reported that had emergency units scrambling to homes
in Three Rivers where there were no emergencies and
no 911 calls dialed.
The term “hang-ups” is applied
to any 911 call where the caller does not remain on
the line or the dispatcher calls back and receives
a busy signal or no answer.
On Wednesday morning, Feb. 24, a Tulare
County firefighter forcibly entered the Cherokee Oaks
home of Julie Sampson after the dispatcher reported
a 911 call came from the residence and then got a
how I felt when I was at work and a call on my cell
phone caller-ID read my own number,” Julie said.
“When I answered there was a Tulare County firefighter
on the line who said he was inside my residence after
responding to a 911 call made from my home number.”
A number of scenarios flashed through
Julie’s mind. Maybe a burglar had sustained
an injury and called 911.
Julie doesn’t have 911 set up as
a speed-dial number so it certainly wasn’t any
of the three cats or two dogs that were inside the
house when the alleged call was made. Knowing her
house was not secure and her pets might be a bit stressed
after the incident, Julie rushed home from her job
at the Central California Blood Center in Fresno.
A career paramedic, Julie knows all too
well how the emergency system is supposed to work.
After calling a local handyman to fix her broken French
doors, she got on the phone and did some checking
with the 911 call center and AT&T, the local phone
Here’s what she found out. First,
the errant 911 calls in Three Rivers happen regularly.
According to an AT&T supervisor named
Linda, the phone company doesn’t know for sure
how the wires get crossed but errant 911 calls occur
A spokesperson for Tulare County Fire
said on this particular day there was no response
by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department deputy
who is filling in for Jim Fansett. Fansett, the regular
resident deputy, is on medical leave so he wasn’t
around to check out the scene and advise an appropriate
Julie also checked with the local AT&T
repairman who said the errant calls occur often and
among the common denominators are stormy weather,
acorns in the call boxes that house the wiring, and
homes with cordless phones.
The firefighter who entered her residence,
Julie said, was just following standard procedure
but that doesn’t remedy the situation or pay
for damaged doors.
The bottomline, Julie said, is that all
the local parties need to communicate a little more
effectively as to who does what and when.
phone company needs to take some responsibility and
fix the damage to my door and the problem,”
Julie said. “In times like this, when the regular
personnel are on days off, there’s going to
be a real emergency and nobody to respond until it’s
rain and snow in forecast
predominantly wet weather pattern will continue into
the ides of March and bring more rain to Three Rivers
and snow to the mountains. With each passing day,
the current season is taking on characteristics of
the historic El Nino seasons of 1969 and 1998.
On February 24 and 25, 1969, it snowed
three feet in one 24-hour period at Lodgepole in Sequoia
National Park. According to the National Weather Service,
that is the all-time local record for the period during
which such statistics have been compiled.
February 1998 in the central San Joaquin
Valley was the fifth wettest on record. The more than
five inches of rain that month in the flatlands caused
$30 million in agri-business losses.
Three Rivers with its season total approaching
18 inches of rainfall has already surpassed last year’s
total. But the really extraordinary news is the snowpack.
On several nights it has snowed one to two feet at
7,000 feet in the current season and that, too, is
far from over.
The current reading at Farewell Gap (9,500
feet) is 112.70 inches with 34.32 inches of water.
That water content is already 30 percent more than
the best reading for the entire season a year ago.
At Mineral King near the old pack station
there is 97 inches; at Faculty Flat in the forest
where the sun rarely shines there is 100 inches. At
Lodgepole, there was 97 inches on the ground (Feb.
After more precipitation over the weekend, forecasters
are calling for a brief break on Monday with more
showers and snow in the nearby mountains likely to
return by midweek. Temperatures in the foothills are
expected to remain six to eight degrees below normal.
cents make sense?
there be a change in your change?
month marks the official release of the 2010 Lincoln
Cent. These “pennies,” released Thursday,
Feb. 11, have a new reverse (tails) design per provisions
of the Presidential Dollar Coin Act of 2005.
The obverse (heads) design is a restored
rendition of the original 1909 Lincoln that had been
revised over the years. The time-honored design has
its roots in the artistic renaissance of United States
coinage brought about by then-President Theodore Roosevelt.
The question is: Do we still need the
one-cent coin? It’s origin is as old as that
of the United States.
The most widely respected currency in
the seafaring world of the late 18th century was the
Spanish dollar, known as “pieces of eight”
referring to their division into eight reales or “bits”
(two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar).
When the United States of America first
issued their own coinage just 10 years after the British
lost the revolution, the 1793 cent was the first to
be produced. These early “coppers” were
about the size of today’s half dollar. They
resembled the English penny, then very familiar to
the former colonists, so have since been erroneously
referred to as pennies.
Now, let’s get one thing straight.
Pennies were English. The cent, 1/100th of a dollar,
was an invention of the new nation as was the dime,
or 1/10th of a dollar, and the Eagle, or 10 dollars
(gold). Quarters and half dollars made change for
the “bits” as did half cents (one bit
= 12½ cents).
Along with the cent, half-cent coins
were produced until the Coinage Act of 1857. At that
time, the size of the cent was reduced to its present
diameter and the half cent was eliminated, both as
This was not without controversy. Many
feared that “rounding up” prices would
be a problem. One-half cent in 1857 would have the
equivalent buying power of 11 cents in 2008. All went
fine. Is it time for the cent?
penny has been a nuisance for years,” said Representative
Jim Kolbe (R.-Ariz.) of the cent in 2005. Rep. Kolbe
promoted two bills to the U.S. Congress in recent
years (2001, 2006) to eliminate production of the
cent. There are many voices for elimination of the
In 2009, over 2,350,000,000 one-cent
coins were produced. In 2000, the mintage was over
14,270,000,000. For each of those years, as typical,
more than half of the U.S. Mint’s total production
was of the one-cent coin.
So what’s the problem? The Mint
is losing money. Our money.
For fiscal year 2008 (latest figures available), each
one-cent coin costs us an average of 1.42 cents to
produce and distribute. Multiply that by over two
And what do you do with your pennies?
Throw them away?
The United States Mint is a semi-autonomous organization
under the supervision of the Treasury Department of
the United States. It is one of the few entities of
the U.S. government that actually runs as a business
and turns a profit for its investors: us.
A serious drain on their profit margin
of late has been the production of one-cent and five-cent
coins. As of February 8, the melt value of a pre-1982
bronze cent is 1.9 cents and a “nickel”
melts at 4.5 cents. In late 2007, Nickels melted at
over eight cents.
This is similar to the situation faced
in the early 1960s when rising silver prices predicated
the elimination of precious metals in circulating
coinage. The Treasury Department responded on Dec.
14, 2006, with new regulations making it a specific
crime to melt or export one- or five-cent U.S. coins
for profit. Fines run up to $10,000 and/or five years
So why do we make cents? Does it make
In 1972, rising copper prices caused
the Treasury Department to seek alternate metals to
use for the cent. In 1973, over 1.5 million 1974-dated
cents were minted of aluminum. Officially, all but
one were destroyed; the one legal coin remaining is
the Smithsonian Institution.
By 1982, the old bronze cent cost the
Mint over one cent each to produce, so the metal composition
was changed mid-year to a zinc core with a thin copper
plating. By FY 2008, this coin cost us 1.42 cents
Cost isn’t the only problem. The
zinc cent is toxic. Swallowing of the coin by humans
— usually children — causes damage to
the stomach lining due to the high solubility of zinc
ions in stomach acid, and as they decay they present
razor sharp edges. Swallowing of zinc cents may cause
hemolytic anemia in dogs and can be fatal for birds.
Granted, a coin does have a fairly long lifespan.
But what do we do with them?
The penny of 1972 was of equivalent buying
power as the nickel in 2010. That makes a penny of
2010 worth 1/5 of a cent in 1972. Would we miss it?
Ed Moy, current director of the U.S.
Mint, advocates a change in the composition of circulating
coins, but not their denominations. Others push for
more radical change.
Either way, consumers can expect major
changes in your change in the upcoming months and
Lions host Zone level speech contest
second phase in a series of six competitions toward
scholarship dollars that could total over $20,000
will be held next week in Three Rivers and the public
is invited to attend.
Each year, the various Lions Clubs throughout
California host a speech contest for students in grades
nine through 12. The contest is open to all students,
including foreign exchange students and those in a
junior high school, charter school, private school,
or who are home-schooled or on independent study.
Each year’s speech contest has
a different theme, but one that is the same throughout
the state. This year’s topic is “Universal
Health Care: How Will it Affect Us?”
This contest is held with the best of
intentions. What the students take away from it is
twofold: First, scholarship money. Second, the opportunity
to master a skill that will serve them well for the
rest of their lives — public speaking —
which is deemed so important that it’s a graduation
requirement at most colleges.
The Three Rivers Lions Club advertises
the annual speech contest to Woodlake High School
students who are from Three Rivers. In recent years,
contestants have been few, sometimes one student and
rarely never more than two.
Being the lone speaker might be the best
position in which to be because that translates to
a sure win that along with it comes a check for $75
and the opportunity to advance to the “Zone”
On Thursday, Feb. 4, Cynthia Jones, a
WHS senior from Three Rivers, presented her Universal
Health Care speech to local Lions members. She now
advances to the next level — Zone — and
she will have the advantage of knowing that the competition
is being held on her home turf.
The Three Rivers Lions are hosting this
year’s Zone speech contest. It is scheduled
for Thursday, March 4, at 6:30 p.m., and the public
is invited to attend.
The Zone contest, one of three in Tulare
County, consists of the winning speakers from the
Three Rivers, Woodlake, and Exeter clubs. Cynthia
will compete against Exeter only as the Woodlake Lions
will not be sending a speaker.
The winner will advance to the Region
contest and face the winners from the three (Tulare
County) Zones. This contest will be held April 7 in
Visalia, hosted by the Visalia Charter Oaks Lions
The winner at Region will advance to
District and compete against speakers from Kern, Kings,
and Fresno counties. From District, it’s onto
Area (the state is divided up into “Areas”),
then the Final, which is all of the winners who have
advanced on this same ladder to the top spot.
For information about the contest, call
Mary Andrade, 561-4692.
Past Lions speech contestants
Andrade is a Three Rivers Lions Club member, as is
her husband, Manuel, her daughter, Christine Burns,
and her granddaughter, Laurabelle Burns. She is also
a previous speech contestant, when she was still Mary
Miksch and a student at Woodlake High School.
Mary is currently compiling a history
of the local Lions speech contest. She would like
to know what year the local contest began, as well
as have any past contestants get in touch with her
and let her know the year they competed, how far they
advanced in the contest, and, if possible, provide
her with the topic from that year.
To provide information, call Mary at
parks visitation increased in 2009
Ten million more Americans
and foreign tourists visited U.S. national parks last
year than in 2008, a 3.9 percent increase that marked
the fifth busiest year ever for the National Park
More than 285 million people visited
national parks and other units of the National Park
System during 2009, up from just under 275 million
in 2008. This fell just short of the all-time visitation
record of 287.2 million in 1987.
Sequoia National Park’s visitation
increased by 35,000 to nearly 1 million in 2009. And
Kings Canyon National Park had nearly 610,000 visitors;
up by more than 34,000.
Possible reasons for the increase in
visitation include three weekends last summer when
the Park Service waived entrance fees, the visits
by President Obama and his family to Yellowstone and
the Grand Canyon, the publicity generated by Ken Burns’s
documentary on the history of the national parks,
a decline in gasoline prices, and the continued strong
exchange rate of the Euro against the dollar.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs from
Shenandoah National Park (Va.) on the north to Great
Smoky Mountains National Park (Tenn.) on the south
was the most-visited unit of the System with nearly
16 million visitors.
In California, the unit with the most visits was the
Golden Gate National Recreation in San Francisco,
with more than 15 million visitors.
The National Park Service was created in 1916. Currently,
the National Park System comprises 391 areas that
include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military
parks historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation
areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.
10 most visited national parks (2009)
Smoky Mountains National Park —
Grand Canyon National Park — Visitors: 4,348,068
Yosemite National Park — Visitors: 3,737,472
Yellowstone National Park — Visitors: 3,295,187
Olympic National Park — Visitors: 3,276,459
Rocky Mountain National Park —
Zion National Park — Visitors: 2,735,402
Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Visitors: 2,589,288
Grand Teton National Park — Visitors: 2,580,081
Acadia National Park — 2,227,698
RIVERS ART REVIEW
Saturday: 'Color it Grene' is March theme
refers to an activity, group, or combination in which
the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. That’s
what the monthly 1st Saturday event in Three Rivers
Spearheaded by Nadi Spencer, a lifelong
artist known by many through her beautiful murals,
the happening grows each month. In a time when it
seems impossible to generate cooperation, 1st Saturday
has come to include artists, restaurants, motels,
massage, yoga, music, candles, weaving, and more.
February’s 1st Saturday also included
the Empty Bowls event and a display at Three Rivers
School. And the Kaweah Artisans joined the fun.
That group, organized by Tina St. John,
displays their wares several times a year, usually
around a holiday or gift-buying time. Luckily they
chose to be indoors this time since one of the recent
storms was dropping its gifts all around Kaweah Country.
Vendors included Ja Nene’s Natural
Body Products with creams, lotions and potions; Michael
Hansen’s photography; bowls of wood and of gourds;
and much more.
Nadi’s Studio was packed! With
her dual offering of a Valentine portrait or a pet
portrait at special pricing, along with all her beautiful
paintings, it seemed many folks came for more than
her free vegan “ice cream” — though
I can say that was surprisingly wonderful! Think about
it — ice cream made without cream or eggs.
Harrison Hall at the Presbyterian Church
offered its indoor space to a number of artists. Eugene
Chun is relatively new to the local art scene. He
was set up with charcoal and ink prepared to offer
quick mini-portraits. Folks had an opportunity here
to come in out of the rain, view art from jewelry
to glass to portraits, enjoy coffee, and use bathroom
I have to confess that for the past month’s
event I tended toward the indoor venues; and, since
I was working at the Empty Bowls event, I spent less
time out and about.
Saturday - March— Somehow, someway,
the 1st Saturday group finds a way to draw interest
anew each month. For March, the theme is “Color
it Green, perfectly timed for the lovely display the
local foothills are presently putting on.
As a special enticement to visit the
more out-of-the-way studios, a grand prize is being
offered. It consists of a night at a Three Rivers
vacation home, located on the Three Rivers Golf Course
by the river (including spa and pool), and a gift
basket. Goodies include a massage and restaurant certificates
and local art.
The total grand prize value is over $600.
Win by attending as many venues as possible. Each
venue has a point value, based in part on distance
Visitors will have their maps stamped
at each location. Maps must be dropped off before
5 p.m. at The Art Co-Op with contact information.
The winning person will be the one with the most points,
and a drawing will settle any tie.
I will be the Featured Artist during
March at The Art Co-Op with the reception scheduled
for 1st Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. As such, it will
be difficult for me to get out and visit various venues
around town. I hope to see you at the Co-Op!
book chronicles local floods
the conclusion of this winter’s rain and snow,
it’s possible there may be a new chapter to
add to the newest book in the Sequoia Natural History
Association’s collection. But, until then, the
newly published Floods of the Kaweah will bring everyone
up to date on past water events, the conditions that
cause the destructive high water, and what has been
done to minimize the danger and damage caused by floods.
The information compiled comes from the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Kaweah; local
newspapers, including The Kaweah Commonwealth; Tulare
County water and irrigation agencies; Sequoia and
Kings Canyon National Parks archives; and local residents
and their first-hand experiences.
The book provides a contextual history
of the Kaweah region. Next, each of the major floods
that has occurred from 1862 to 1955 is described.
Then comes the construction of Terminus
Dam, which took place from 1959 to 1961. As the book
explains, the creation of Lake Kaweah has spared downstream
areas such as Lemon Cove, Woodlake, and Visalia from
floods, but Three Rivers has continued to contend
with destructive events, such as that which occurred
McDowall lost 2,500 chickens and his henhouse when
floodwaters submerged his North Fork property [just
upstream from Kaweah Post Office]. He tried to save
his truck by driving to higher ground but got stuck
in the mud. The truck ended up floating downstream
just after he abandoned the vehicle. The River Isle
Trailer Park on the North Fork was devastated, with
the park actually in the river. The river cut the
Three Rivers Golf Course in half. A car parked at
the Gateway Lodge, just below the entrance to Sequoia
National Park, washed away. The road between the Gateway
and the Ash Mountain national park headquarters, just
a mile away, washed out. On the 15-mile stretch between
Ash Mountain and Giant Forest the road washed out
in 12 places. Estimated damage in Three Rivers hit
Terminus Dam was further improved during
the Lake Kaweah Enlargement Project of 2004. Central
to this effort was the installation of 21-foot-tall
fusegates, the largest to date in the world.
The final chapter proves that this book
is actually just the beginning of a never-ending saga.
For as long as snow falls in the Sierra, there will
be the threat of floods along the various forks of
the Kaweah Rivers
from Lake Kaweah, the potential for flooding remains
as high as ever. Places like Three Rivers and Sequoia
National Park remain unprotected. It would be foolhardy
in these areas to assume that flooding matching historic
events will not continue to occur.”
This book will serve as a useful reference
tool as previously there was no book that described
the when, where, why, and how of the Kaweah River’s
Floods of the Kaweah was published by
the Sequoia Natural History Association. It is 49
pages and can be purchased for $10.95 at the Foothills
Visitor Center in Ash Mountain, other park visitor
centers, and online at www.sequoiahistory.org.
SNHA is a nonprofit membership organization
that supports Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks,
Lake Kaweah, and Devils Postpile National Monument.
The SNHA office is located at the Ash Mountain headquarters
of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks.
Foothill Art Show
Springville Community Club welcomes everyone to come
and view the art on display for the 49th annual Sequoia
Foothill Art Show. The event will be held Saturday
and Sunday, March 27 and 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
in the Springville Veterans Memorial Building, 35944
There will be hanging art, three-dimensional
art, photography, sculptures, graphic art, and children’s
art from local schools.
Artists will also be providing free demonstrations
of their craft:
Ed Batsch makes plaster of Paris molds
of people’s faces, and with the mold he creates
a “mask” from ceramics. He will be seeking
volunteers at the show to make a mold of their face.
Lindsay Dion will be hand-spinning hand-dyed
Francis Pyles will be painting with watercolors
creating native flowers.
Ron Zanini will be displaying his wood
boxes made from a variety of woods and will demonstrate
the use of a scroll saw to create beautiful inlaid
designs on the top of the boxes.
Jerry McCleary made a blanket chest of
cherry and walnut. There will be a silent auction
for the blanket chest.
Ellen Gorelick will be judging the hanging
art and three-dimensional art. Ellen has a Master’s
degree in Art and is retired as the director of the
Tulare Historical Museum. She resides in Tulare.
Michael Hansen will be judging the photography. He
has published the book Wild Journeys, which contains
his photographs and will have his book on display.
He resides in Porterville.
Sue Marcotte will be judging the children’s
art. Sue has a minor degree in Art and worked teaching
grades two through eight for 38 years. Her last five
years of teaching were at Jim Maples Academy for the
Burton School District in Porterville as an art and
science specialist. She resides in Springville.
All artists are invited to exhibit in
the show. An entry form with all the categories, divisions,
fees, rules and regulations is currently available
at www.springville.ca.us (look for the link on the
left side of the page) or by contacting Jean, 539-1226;
Marilyn, 539-5539; or Velma, 539-2937.
The artwork will need to arrive at the
Springville Memorial Building on Friday, March 26.
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: Bill
This week’s recipe comes from sibling
number one. Yes, number one, the leader of the pack,
or at least he would like to think so. Ha!
Actually, he was the leader, always organizing
events, whether it was an elaborate play for our mom
and dad or building the best-ever haunted house in
Bill, or as I’ve always called
him, Billie, is a former food critic for the Rocky
Mountain News and the Denver Post. For years, he had
a food column and would report on restaurants in the
He now lives in Chicago and has his own business called
St. John Wines, teaching about wine and food pairings.
He also teaches philosophy at the University of Chicago.
Billie is my inspiration when writing
my food column. I remember reading his columns in
the newspaper and thinking that someday I would like
to be able to write like that too.
He is very creative and engaging with
his stories about food that I had no idea even existed.
It’s as though I was actually eating what he
was writing about right then and there.
Once he wrote about the way our French
grandmother made mayonnaise. It was a story so fascinating
and entertaining, I could taste what she was making.
So the French are the masters of mayonnaise and not
Best Foods. Who knew?
The recipe he submitted is a pork dish.
My brother is so descriptive in his writing that it
was almost painful for me to type this, being a strict
Good writing I would say on his part.
So here it is, Billie’s favorite.
In two weeks: Part
Five of “My single-most favorite recipe.”
This is one of my faves: It’s called
“pernil” by the Puerto Ricans, who have
perfected it as a party food; a good pernil can feed
a small crowd.
So, get what they call in Chicago a “picnic”
— other terms: pork butt, pork shoulder —
be sure it’s large (8-10 pounds at least) because
that is the kind that roasts best (more fat and cartilage
to dissolve and tenderize). Also, be sure it still
has its skin on (that will turn a dark golden brown
and become pork candy).
Pull the skin back toward the thin end
but do not pull it off or remove it. You may need
to use a thin knife to cut it away while you pull
back. If there is a huge amount of fat, you can trim
Now make a paste (a food processor is
best) out of the following:
10-12 cloves of peeled garlic
(or even more if you like; it’s pretty impossible
to use too much garlic; I have seen recipes call for
two whole heads)
Grated peel of 1 good-sized lemon
2 tbs. salt
1 tbs. ground black pepper
2 tbs. dried oregano (Mexican, if you can find it)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Few squeezes of the lemon’s juice
2-3 tbs. canola or corn oil (don’t use olive
oil; even the weak stuff is too strong)
A teaspoon to a tablespoon of any favorite adobo (spice/chile
pepper/BBQ rub blend, even Lawry’s salt)
Take the paste and rub it all over the
pernil, underneath the pulled-back skin and into the
many slits that you’ve made throughout the meat
— 20 is too few — by sticking in a paring
knife and twisting it a bit to make a hole of sorts.
Stuff in the paste with your little finger or the
unemployed end of a spoon/fork; pull the skin back
(Now, if you can, place the pernil in
a shallow dish large enough to hold it and marinate
it in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. If
you do not have the time, you may roast right away,
although it will be neither as flavorful nor as tender
as one that has been worked over by the paste.)
If refrigerated, bring to room temperature
and roast this, skin side up, for as many hours as
you wish — a minimum of 3-4, a maximum of 8.
The longer you roast, the lower the oven temperature;
I start at 325 degrees for 2-3 hours, covered, then
lower it to 250-275 for another 3-4 hours, uncovered.
You don’t need to baste it but it doesn’t
hurt. Let it sit for a half-hour outside the oven
before you simply tear it apart into eatable chunks.
There is a weird and huge bone that’s in the
middle, so keep it for making stock for soup or white
bean soup or some such. The skin can be cut up into
chunks -— there will be food fights over it
— or further crisped in a skillet in order to
If it’s rendered a sauce, strain it of its fat
(if you can; there’s a lot) and spoon it over
the meat before serving.
It’s best wrapped in flour and
corn tortillas, eaten out of hand with add-ons such
as hot sauce, avocado slices, fresh cilantro leaves,
squeezes of lime wedges, and more dried oregano. Of
course, it can be eaten in the manner of pulled pork
as in the American South, on buns, and with any kind
of sauce you like.
There you have it!