this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
ON THE ROCKS
South Fork of the Kaweah River
cuts looming at TRUS
It was certainly no surprise
on Wednesday, Feb. 25, when projected
budget cuts were announced at a special
meeting of the board of trustees at Three
Rivers Union School. The meeting was called
to assess the fallout from the recent
State of California budget that was finalized
Before the state budget was
approved, TRUS officials were told by
county administrators to plan for a worst-case
scenario — a potential $160,000
deficit in the 2009-2010 budget.
“The budget crisis in California
has been a real rollercoaster ride for
our school district,” Sue Sherwood,
TRUS superintendent, told the trustees.
“It’s been difficult to plan
and make projections.”
A few weeks ago, some parents
and school staff were wondering whether
there would even be a Three Rivers School
after this semester. Projected cuts that
were outlined at Wednesday’s meeting
are calling for some extreme belt-tightening,
but appear to be just a part of a necessary
The feeling at the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade
school with a current enrollment of 161
is one of cautious relief and that the
proposed cuts of approximately $118,000,
with the continued support of the community,
will help meet the 2009-2010 budget of
Budget cuts are more enigmatic
in a small school district because there
are fewer places to look for surplus monies.
As a result, school administrators are
searching high and low to find anywhere
Among the biggest potential
savings for the small-school district
is the fact that Melinda Simonian, who
currently teaches a first/second-grade
combination class, will be retiring after
30 years as a teacher with the majority
of her tenure with the district. The vacancy
will be filled by a part-time position
for kindergarten, a savings for the district
To project a total cost savings
of $118,000, no existing program escaped
staff scrutiny. Cuts are being proposed
for classroom and office expenses, afterschool
programs and, after more detailed analysis,
how the cafeteria is doing business.
Laura Bullene Jacobo, the
director of food service for the Woodlake
school district, will be visiting Three
Rivers soon to offer her qualified suggestions.
Already being proposed is a 25-cent hike
in the cost of a lunch, as well as switching
to nonfat chocolate milk.
The chocolate milk might
be a win-win because more kids would drink
the flavored milk and digest less fat
than the one or two-percent regular variety.
Currently, the student receives a carton
of milk as part of a five-item lunch,
but many milk cartons end up unopened.
“You wouldn’t believe the
incredible amount of food that is wasted,”
said Sherwood. “The law mandates
that we must throw away whatever is left
The milk is an example of
what could be the first step toward going
to an “offer versus serve”
program, where students take only the
items they will consume.
“We could also look at expanding
our garden project and growing some of
our own food,” Sherwood said.
Teachers will also be asked
to increase their monthly healthcare contribution
from $60 to $160. Sherwood said the district’s
healthcare plan is still a good deal for
district employees, but its cost continues
Among other cost-saving measures
is a proposal to eliminate bus use for
field trips and away games (athletics)
at Immanuel in Reedley and El Monte in
Cutler-Orosi. Those cuts could save another
More budget details will
be on the agenda at the next regular board
meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, March
11, at 6 p.m. All budget-related reports
are on file at the TRUS office and arrangements
may be made to examine the documents by
News owners at
It’s the same hours
and the same menu for now, but starting
Saturday there will be some new faces
at Sierra Subs and Salads. That’s
because earlier this week, Dane and Allison
Millner tied up all the loose ends and
purchased the Three Rivers eatery.
The transition from the previous
owner, Laura Harris, both parties said,
will be a smooth one. At first, there
will be very little in the way of changes.
According to Allison, who
is the daughter of Dave and Sue Sherwood
of Three Rivers and was raised here, the
timing of the purchase and her coming
home couldn’t have been better for
the couple who until recently were living
in San Diego.
“We’re so excited just to
get started,” said Allison.
Undaunted by taking over
the local business in an uncertain economy,
Allison, 31, said she and her husband
Dane, 43, relished the challenge. The
couple was married last October and want
to start their family so they figured
where better to do that but in Three Rivers?
“We want to eventually make some
improvements, but for now we’ll
be just learning how things are done here
and what folks really want,” Allison
Purchasing a local business
was something that the couple had been
giving a lot of thought to recently, so
going through the start-up phase of the
sandwich shop during the slower season
By the onset of the traditionally
busy summer, the new owners will know
exactly what they signed on the dotted
line to do. And they couldn’t be
more excited because they are self-described
Foodies, a term made popular
in a 1984 book The Official Foodie
Handbook, are gastronomic aficionados
who love to eat, drink, and are passionate
about all things culinary. While in San
Diego, Allison ran a cooking school where
she learned all the ins and outs of the
food service industry.
There’s no rush to
change what was working at Sierra Subs
but there will eventually be some new
items on the menu.
“In addition to all the administrative
duties of running the cooking school I
also taught classes in vegetarian cuisine,”
Allison said. “The key to success
is preparing fresh, healthy food that
In this new business and
market, Allison admits, there is a lot
to learn. She said soon they are planning
to serve a breakfast sandwich and a really
good cup of coffee, although there is
no set timetable of when these new things
“We just have to grow into the business
once we figure out what works here in
Three Rivers,” Allison said.
Sierra Subs and Salads opened
in September 2005. It was owned and operated
by Laura Harris who worked her first restaurant
job at Noisy Water Café in 1974.
She and her husband Jerry also own the
River Inn and Cabins in Three Rivers.
Snow level climbs to 9,000 feet
The warmer storms of last
weekend kept things green and moist in
the foothills but made for some sloppy
snow at 7,000 feet. A ski patrol ranger
reported rain in Mineral King that made
conditions extremely dangerous due to
avalanche danger on the steeper slopes.
According to a report filed by a park
ranger on ski patrol to gather March 1
snow survey data, when it rains it lubricates
the layers of snow and breaks down the
bonding characteristics of the snowpack.
When rainfall occurs at the
higher elevations where typically the
slope angles range between 30 and 40 degrees,
there exists a high probability for an
Winter ski travel is not
advised on or near these steeper areas
until an extended cold snap brings some
more snow to stabilize these slopes. That
scenario could occur in the month of March
and if or when it does it could add some
real staying power to the snow that is
currently in the nearby mountains.
Although most local avalanches
have occurred later in the season, they
are common for other areas in the month
of February. A devastating avalanche occurred
at Sap Gulch, Utah, in February 1926.
Fourteen cottages were destroyed
and 36 people killed while 13 others were
injured. One survivor lived to tell an
incredible story how he was carried out
of harm’s way by riding the crest
of the huge snowslide more than 150 feet.
Although local snow at 7,000
feet remains wet and heavy, accumulation
readings were only slightly down from
the previous week. In east Mineral King
(7,900 feet elevation), as of February
19, the snowpack measured 52 inches; at
Farewell Gap (9,600 feet), a remote sensor
reported 85.30 inches with a water content
of 28.85 inches.
A complete listing of snowpack
conditions for the Sierra Nevada and its
drainages is expected to be released by
State Water Resources on Monday, March
Artists to open
studios to visitors
The fiddlenecks are painting
the hills surrounding Three Rivers in
brilliant orange. Birds are pairing up
for the spring nesting season. And artists
of Three Rivers have invited other artists
from around Tulare County to join them
in the first-ever Spring Open Studios
event, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday,
March 21 and 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m.
“We invite you to visit the nine
artists of many disciplines to share their
creations,” said Shirley Keller
of Three Rivers.
The first stop for participants
will be Nadi’s Art Studio and Gallery
at 41838 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers. She
will have free maps available with directions
to the other studios.
Nadi is well-known for her
work with students from Three Rivers School.
They have produced three murals so far
with another in the works.
Nadi also completed two murals
with students from La Sierra High School
in Porterville last year. Her murals also
cover walls in various towns throughout
Tulare County, as well as at the Fowler
Nancy Jonnum’s ceramic
studio is in Three Rivers. She invited
Tina St. John from Three Rivers and Ginny
Wilson of Lindsay to share her patio.
Nancy is known for her quirky
ceramic animal sculptures. Tina creates
jewelry of delicate design. Both artists
currently have items displayed at Sequoia
Gifts and Souvenirs.
Ginny Wilson’s photographs
capture images of her travels around the
world. She will soon retire to devote
full time to her Blue Ridge Photography.
Marn Reich’s home ceramic
studio will be shared with Sherley Tucker,
a multimedia artist from Visalia. Humor
is Marn’s trademark, and her sculptures
inspire chuckles. Sherley is known for
her wonderful studio that she regularly
shares with people, playing with clay,
two kilns to fire, and three friendly
dogs. There isn’t an art form with
which Sherley won’t experiment.
Shirley Keller, Three Rivers
writer and artist, has invited Kay Gaston
and Jeri Burzin, both of Visalia, to share
her space. Shirley’s prize-winning
photographs will be on display along with
ceramic masks. Kay is known for her large
fabric dolls and small fabric shoulder
pins that display color, imagination,
and humor. She also works in dicroic glass
Jeri Burzin takes her camera
wherever she goes, capturing the usual
and the unusual. Her photographs have
traveled the southwest with the Yosemite
Show. Both Jeri and Kay are members of
The Art Stand along the popular Blossom
The Spring Open Studios event
is free and open to the public. For more
information, contact Nadi, 561-4373, or
Shirley Blair Keller
contributed this article.
Horse receives state honors
THE WOOD ‘N’
Horse Show Team was invited to attend
the Cal-Western Appaloosa Show Horse Association
statewide awards banquet. The event, held
in January, took place on the Delta King
riverboat, which is moored in Old Sacramento.
Since 1966, Cal-Western has
been the recordkeeping organization for
appaloosa competitions throughout California.
And after all the points were tallied
for 2008, the Wood ‘N’ Horse
team returned home victorious, garnering
top honors in several categories.
CARA PETERSON of Visalia
showed her horse “Dunny” to
a championship in Novice Non-Pro Western
Pleasure and a championship in Novice
MARY ANN BOYLAN, formerly
of Three Rivers who now resides in Salinas,
showed her horse “Im So Hot Im Cool”
to High Point Overall Masters Rider. Im
So Hot also earned a Superior Championship.
Mary Ann also won the Bright Chip Pleasure
SUE ROJCEWICZ, who also recently
left Three Rivers for Salinas, rode her
horse “Jimmy” to win High
Point Masters Trail.
MEG JOHNSON, a Woodlake High
freshman from Three Rivers, rode her horse
“Jasper” to Champion English
Rider (13 and under) and Champion Working
Hunter (13 and under).
ERIN FARNSWORTH of Three
Rivers rode her horse “Pie”
to Champion-Southern Area Non-Pro English
TATIANA SMITH, the newest
and youngest member of the show team,
competed twice during the year in Lead
Line for riders 6 years old and under.
As a result, she took home two first places
and five second places.
STEVE WOOD was honored with
the California Sportsman Award for the
friendly assistance he provides to all
CHRISTY WOOD of Three Rivers,
head coach of the show team, was awarded
Top Trainer of Performance Horses 2008,
the fifth year that she has received this
award. She was also named Top Trainer
of Non-Pro Riders.
“I could not have won this prestigious
award if it had not been for the dedication
of the show team members,” Christy
Christy also showed her horse
“Dude” in 2008 to a win in
Overall High Point Performance Horse.
This statewide award netted her a trophy
saddle. In addition, Dude was also the
High Point Gelding, and he earned his
Superior this year.
The awards banquet concluded
with Dude’s mother “Miss Blue
Smoke” being posthumously inducted
into the Cal-Western Appaloosa Show Horse
Association’s Hall of Fame. Smoke
was the first ex-race horse to make it
big in the performance arena after being
retrained by Christy, which proves that
horses can have a second life after their
race careers conclude.
“I still miss her,” said Christy.
“But I am glad she gave me Dude,
who definitely showed off his, and her,
talent this year.”
Coming soon, the National
Appaloosa Club will be honoring its 2008
year-end award winners. Christy said that
there is no doubt that the Wood ‘N’
Horse Show Team will have a few horses
listed among those top winners as well.
Horse and riders
gather at Lake Kaweah
HORSE PICNIC— More
than 60 people and 40 horses were in attendance
at a “Horse Picnic,” held
near the Horse Creek Campground at Lake
Kaweah on Sunday, Feb. 15. The event was
hosted by the Sequoia Unit of the Backcountry
Horsemen of California and organized by
Mark and Kathryn Anselmi of Three Rivers.
The event was advertised
to different horse groups, so there were
also members from the High Sierra Unit
(Porterville/Springville area) of the
BCHC as well as Equestrian Trails Inc.-Corral
99 (Tulare, Lindsay, Exeter, Three Rivers).
In addition to a day ride
in and around the lake bottom and barbecued
hamburgers for lunch, there were several
speakers who discussed topics of interest
to horse enthusiasts. Athena Demetry,
Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks restoration
ecologist, discussed velvet grass, a highly
invasive species that was first found
in 2005 in Kern Canyon, a popular area
for horse travel. Velvet grass was introduced
to North America in pasture seed mixes
and is brought into the backcountry on
stock or people. New grazing restrictions
and weed-free travel tips were provided.
Other speakers included Joel
Baker of the American Conservation Experience,
who discussed backcountry packing opportunities,
and Larry Butler, a Lake Kaweah volunteer,
who described the area’s archaeological
“When this idea first came to Kathryn
and me, we chose the name ‘Horse
Picnic’ because it best described
our goal: a picnic with horses,”
HORSE CAMP— Perhaps
most important was the group discussion
with Barrett Frobose, an U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers ranger at Lake Kaweah, who
has been researching the probability and
feasibility of the establishment of a
horse camp at Lake Kaweah.
This is Mark Anselmi’s
pet project as he has spearheaded the
horse-camp effort by circulating a “riders’
survey,” researching corral systems,
and providing camp facilities designs
to the USACE.
Ranger Barrett had been making the rounds
at the Horse Picnic, gathering riders’
input regarding the proposed horse-camp
site is adjacent to the existing, and
aptly named, Horse Creek Campground.
Much of the labor to build the campsites
and corrals will be volunteered by BCHC
“One of the best parts of the day
was seeing all who came together because
of the common bond that our horses create
for us and as a show of support for the
proposed horse camp,” concluded
For women only: The menopause
metabolism. Studies show that
the average woman will gain 30 pounds
after menopause whether practicing hormone
replacement therapy (HRT) or not.
Because synthetic HRT has
long been controversial and, most currently,
linked with an increase in heart attacks
and strokes, most women today plan to
ride out menopause without HRT.
The associated symptoms of
perimenopause (the years that lead up
to menopause) can be hot flashes, night
sweats, fatigue, mood changes, and weight
gain. Physicians have been able to treat
women who seek relief from hot flashes
and night sweats with HRT, but avoiding
menopausal weight gain is typically not
an issue of taking HRT or not.
New research on the effects
of the female sex hormone estrogen in
the brain lends credence to what many
women have suspected about the hormonal
changes that accompany weight gain, namely
that menopause causes weight gain in most
women. Researchers used a series of animal
experiments to show how estrogen receptors
located in the hypothalamus serve as a
master switch to control food intake,
energy expenditure, and body fat distribution.
The research showed that when these receptors
are disabled, the animals immediately
begin to eat more food, burn less energy,
and pack on pounds. The findings show
that the animals quickly developed an
impaired tolerance to glucose and a sizable
weight gain even when their calorie intake
remained the same. Additionally, the excess
weight went straight to the abdomen.
The accumulation of abdominal
fat increases the risk of cardiovascular
disease, Type 2 diabetes, and insulin
resistance. This is in contrast to females
in their younger years when body fat is
primarily carried in the hips and thighs.
Avoiding menopausal weight
gain comes down to carbohydrate tolerance
(the ability of the body to metabolize
and use nutrients). The factors that affect
carbohydrate tolerance are diet, muscle
mass, physical activity, age, and gender.
Many women become less active
with age and experience a decline in muscle
mass. Even women who still continue to
exercise experience a decline in muscle
mass due to age, but the decline is much
less than that of sedentary women.
A diet high in refined carbohydrates
requires one of two things: (1) utilization
of the energy by the skeletal muscle;
or (2) storage of excess calories in the
form of body fat. So as a woman’s
muscle tissue declines, fat tissue becomes
where extra carbohydrates are stored.
Be sure to include a lean
protein source at each meal, cut out the
refined carbohydrates (white sugar, white
flour) and switch to whole grains, exercise
at least five days a week, and don’t
starve yourself because that will only
slow metabolism even more.
Women are able to eat more
and lose weight once they understand how
their body is metabolizing nutrients.
Their cells no longer feel starved and
are getting adequate lean protein (fish
and seafood, dairy products, beans, eggs,
white-meat poultry, lean beef and pork,
soy) to satisfy their energy requirements.
Hunger and carb cravings will lessen as
protein is much more slowly digested and
provides greater satiety.
‘The best guitar player
in the world’
by Louis J. Araujo
TOMMY EMMANUEL returned to
Orange Blossom Junction near Exeter over
Valentine’s Day weekend for a series
of unforgettable nights at the place rapidly
becoming known as a musical refuge for
music's guitar legends. Of the great blues,
rock, jazz, and country-style finger-pickers
who have graced the venue, none compares
in any musical genre with the hardworking
mega-talent and multifaceted virtuoso
better known to us all as Tommy Emmanuel.
I had the pleasure of seeing
Tommy perform his magic last year at the
sold-out Visalia Fox concert and, of course,
like many new fans on his awesome Youtube
performances, but this opening night at
the Blossom was on another level completely.
The night began with Tommy
being introduced as “the best guitar
player in the world,” which at first
blush might be, to the uninitiated, a
bold statement. Then, after an unassuming
Tommy acknowledged the warm welcome and
displayed a crackled voice — “due
to the Schezwan sauce,” he said
— and quick flash of a smile, he
was off at full steam and the audience
hung on for the wild, rollicking ride.
The songs he played around
with and the versatility the man displayed
ran the gamut of the full melodic landscape.
There was the grand pickin’ style
in the form of his musical mentor Chet
Atkins to the incredibly rich, warm-toned
jazzy stylings, and breakneck, barreling
blues rockers. He alternately strummed
and fingered with his usual bravado and
gusto, ending everything with his dizzying,
ultraquick signature “Guitar Boogie.”
I was left mute with disbelief that any
human could play at such speed and yet
hit every note flawlessly.
But it was the extra touches
that this maestro displayed that truly
made me, and most likely every other person
that night, believe the Tommy Emmanuel
hype. When he performed “Aboriginal
Tune,” he transformed his guitar
into a didgeridoo, droning a soulful plaint.
Adding to this, he proceeded to shake
the guitar in a shamanic shimmy, while
piling layer upon layer of luxurious,
haunting space-rock on top of all the
In fact, Tommy continually
felt inspired from heaven-knows-where
to play not just whole songs, but rich
textures drawn from decades of music of
all kinds, to create newly discovered
“Amazing Grace” was a gospel
tune updated and expanded with a jaunty
soul while “Classical Gas”
turned into nothing more than Tommy's
own musical monstrous creation with riffs
echoing everything from medieval passages
to Led Zeppelin-like swagger. His own
“Ruby's Eyes” and African-style
compositions paid homage to the persons
and places that have inspired him.
Ultimately, I found yet again
Tommy to be not only musically inspiring,
but also a real-life example of how hard
work really satisfies the soul and ultimately
learned a great lesson in giving. To top
things off, our guest was most gracious
in accepting the adulation we bestowed
upon him and provided the plainspoken
wisdom that connected where it counts.
Tommy continually smiled,
displayed true affection for the happening,
and explained to the mere mortals that
the key to it all was things such as sticking
to it — repetition helped him improve
musically — and that all we really
have sometimes to go on is faith, and
that was enough, for all of us.
On this night, the faithful
were more than rewarded by Tommy, their
own guitar hero!
Louis Araujo is a music
fan from Three Rivers.