In the News -
Friday, MARCH 9, 2007
of the clear blue sky
A tale of contrails
If time travelers from before the mid-20th century were to
visit on any of the crystal clear mornings earlier this week, they would
have been amazed by the Kaweah Country sky. What, they might ask, are
all those straight white lines?
These artificial clouds, manufactured by humans, are a very
new phenomenon in the history of the planet’s atmosphere. Modern
skywatchers know these crisscrossing white cloud-like lines as contrails.
Contrails form behind aircraft when warm exhaust mixes with
cold air, causing water vapor to condense high in the sky. The process
is like seeing your breath on a cold day.
These artificial, cloud-like vapor trails can be eerie in
number, especially on a busy air traffic day when conditions are conducive
to their persistence. Weather-watchers pay attention to these cirrus-like
clouds because how they react with atmospheric conditions is a sure sign
of the weather that’s in store for a region where contrails are
On days where the vapor trails disappear quickly or do not
form at all behind high-flying airliners, dry weather is a certainty.
If the air aloft contains some moisture, contrails form immediately behind
the aircraft, but are of short duration.
In very moist air, like what followed the recent stormy period,
contrails may persist for many hours. The reason that they lasted so long
this week was that they had developed in very calm conditions.
Longer lasting contrails grow wider and fuzzier with each
passing hour as the air aloft moves them. As the straight lines become
less distinct, they begin to appear more like normal cirrus clouds.
At high altitudes, stronger winds may transport these contrails
far from the areas where they first formed. In 1996, NASA satellites tracked
contrails over California and the southern United States that lasted 17
hours and expanded to enormous sizes.
A single contrail, observed in the NASA study, expanded to
a size larger than the state of Connecticut. An apparent increase in the
number of cirrus clouds during the past 30 years seems to correlate with
increased air traffic and is yet another example of how unprecedented
human activity might be related to climate change.
Scientists are currently studying the effects of contrails
and are especially interested in whether they cause cooling or heating
of the ground below. Contrails are denser than normal cirrus clouds so
their whiteness may reflect more sunlight than natural clouds.
Intriguing study conditions of this phenomenon were created
after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when all aircraft were
grounded. Without contrails to modify the weather, daytime temperatures
reportedly fluctuated higher and nighttime temperatures were lower in
areas that normally experienced lots of air traffic and contrail formation.
3R burglary ring busted
It was a far cry from Marlon Brando’s role in The Godfather
but witnesses testifying in the trial of Stan McDowall of Three Rivers
used terms like “crime boss” and “conspiracy.”
In all, McDowall, 67, was convicted on Tuesday, Feb. 27, of nine felony
A major part of Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Greenberg’s
case against the 40-year Three Rivers resident was based on testimony
by Rob Deaten, a former roommate of McDowall, now serving four years in
prison from charges connected to the case. But it was stolen property
that was traced to a Christmas Eve 2005 burglary of a Three Rivers home
that convinced the jury to find the defendant guilty on all charges.
Among the items that were stolen in that heist was the victim’s
credit card. Shortly after the card disappeared, McDowall’s image,
along with that of a co-conspirator, was captured on a store security
camera where he was using the credit card to buy merchandise.
Videotape of a similar scenario at Wal-Mart was also used
to implicate McDowall as the “mastermind.” Investigators also
recovered property at McDowall’s residence from several other area
burglaries and a quantity of electrical equipment that had been stolen
from the local storage yard of Diversified Electric.
Ironically, if deputies had not been summoned in a bizarre
New Year’s Eve shooting a few days after the 2005 Three Rivers burglary,
McDowall might have evaded connection to that burglary.
On that evening, a shotgun discharged, hitting the ground
and spraying gravel at McDowall’s live-in girlfriend. Although she
called 911, McDowall was not convicted in the incident. Sheriff’s
deputies recovered stolen property during that visit and began looking
into McDowall’s criminal activity.
The tale turned more tragic Wednesday evening, March 7, when
McDowall suffered burns in a vehicle fire at the Three Rivers Market.
McDowall suffered severe facial burns but refused treatment at the scene.
The sentencing phase of McDowall’s trial is scheduled
for Wednesday, March 28.
Miss Stanislaus County hails
For Jennifer LaMar, 21, who finished as the third runner-up
in the Miss Tulare County pageant on February 24, her motto might be,
if at first you don’t win, try again. Determined to give it another
go, LaMar, who is also an art education major at Cal State Stanislaus
in Turlock, entered that county’s pageant on March 3 and was crowned
Miss Stanislaus County.
It might just be a first; two winners from the same town
in the same year.
In June, when the several dozen winners from around the state
gather in Fresno to compete for the title of Miss California, Jennifer
LaMar (Miss Stanislaus County) and Meaghan Swinney (Miss Tulare County)
will be two very talented Three Rivers girls in an impressive field.
I first found out that Miss Stanislaus County was the week after the Tulare
County pageant, I wasn’t even sure I could enter both, but I was
told it was okay,” said Jennifer, a college junior. “The Tulare
contest had a lot more training than in Stanislaus, so I was really prepared
And compete she did. Like in the Tulare County rendition,
“Jenn,” as she likes to be called, won the honors for best
interview. Her proud grandfather, Jim LaMar of Three Rivers, an actor
and veteran stage performer, attended both competitions and said several
of the girls could have won both contests.
don’t know what the judges saw differently in Stanislaus, maybe
this time they liked her [Jenn’s] maturity and experience,”
said the elder LaMar. “Jenn didn’t really stand out in any
one area more than another. She’s an all-around package.”
talent was even stronger at Stanislaus,” said Jenn. “I made
the subject matter of my artwork that I created on stage more challenging
because I had gained confidence from doing the Tulare pageant.”
When the nine Stanislaus competitors were waiting backstage
to be announced, Jenn said she felt a very peaceful feeling.
knew I had done the best I could ever have imagined doing, so it was up
to God at that point,” said Jenn. “When I realized it was
going to be me, I could hardly breathe. When I heard my name announced
I couldn’t help but cry.”
Now Jenn says she keeps looking over at the crown and wondering
if it is real. She has even made the commitment to work out more and eat
less pizza from now until the June pageant so she can look better in a
swimsuit, she said.
of the first messages on my cell phone was from Meaghan Swinney, congratulating
me,” said Jenn. “I still don’t know how she found out
so fast. I am really excited to be competing with her again and looking
forward to us sharing with all of California what’s truly great
about Three Rivers.”
Parents a necessary component
by Sally Pace
Now is the time for high school sophomores and their parents
to meet with their counselor to plan their future. This is a great opportunity
for parents and students to see all the opportunities available to them
for their final years of high school and beyond.
Woodlake High counselors will be sending letters this month
to notify parents about these meetings. The counselors will discuss high
school graduation requirements, academic and vocational test scores, and
what each student will need to do to have all their options open for post-secondary
All sophomores had the opportunity to take the PLAN test
in the fall and the results will be reviewed, which gives students and
parents an idea of how their child will do on the California High School
Exit Exam and the ACT and SAT tests that are used for college entrance.
In addition, students and parents will receive a
High School” booklet that has information on financial aid, the
cost of all four college systems, the military, and options for testing
out of high school early.
The counseling appointment is an opportunity to create a
very individual plan for your child’s future.
Since the 1980s, when funds were made available through SB
813, each school district is required to meet with sophomores. Research
has shown the students who are thinking about dropping out of high school
make that decision during their sophomore year.
As a counselor, I agree with this research and feel that
parents play a very important role in their child’s success in school.
Parents who make the effort to come to sophomore-counseling meetings are
letting their child know the importance of school.
I have only had one sophomore-counseling meeting with a student
and parents who did not graduate on time. I am always amazed at the parents
who do not make the effort to come to the meetings, which we have been
willing to have as early as 6:30 a.m. or as late as 8 p.m.
If you, as a parent, are unable to make the appointment that
was scheduled by the school, call to reschedule. It is very easy for a
high school student to convince their parents that they don’t need
to come, but don’t listen; you do need to come!
I hope all parents of sophomores will take advantage of this
outstanding opportunity to be part of your child’s education and
begin communication with your child’s academic counselor. You may
be amazed at what you learn about your child at this meeting.
WHS teens receive
in the courtroom
by Jordan Vieira
Woodlake High School students were reintroduced to a unique
academic competition this year that has not been offered on the campus
for the past four years: Mock Trial.
In a way, a Mock Trial competition can be paralleled to a
drama performance. The differences are that the “play” is
staged in a real courtroom, with a real judge, and without an absolute
Each school has one prosecution and one defense team that
argue the case against another school’s prosecution or defense counsel
on alternate nights. There are a total of four guaranteed rounds for every
school, two each for prosecution and defense.
However, while the judge determines the outcome of the case
and states the verdict, it is the “jury,” composed of three
actual lawyers, that decides if the school will move on to the semifinals
Kevin Skeen, a WHS math teacher, was the head coach this
year and received the help of three lawyers — Paul Grecko, Tulare
County deputy D.A.; Jean Bourn, juvenile defense attorney; and Russel
Wilson, deputy superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
and a former prosecutor — to instruct the students on America’s
courtroom procedures and the construction of solid arguments.
have a really great team this year with good support from our lawyer coaches,”
said Kevin Skeen. “The students are very articulate with the case,
and the experience they gain this year will make them unstoppable in the
Little did any of us expect that we could be unstoppable
this year. Our first night brought us against Buchanan (a Clovis school
that was filling in for Monache and had already been through their county’s
competition). Although this team has made it to state finals in the past,
we put up a good fight, coming in behind them at about 40 points away.
This round was not counted since Buchanan was a substitute.
The other three “real” nights brought us glorious
victory. We beat Lindsay, Exeter, and El Diamante (Visalia) in the rounds
that actually counted toward our overall score.
Our final competition was against Tulare Union in the semifinals
on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Tulare County Courthouse in Visalia. As a
result of that round, we are ranked third in the county and Tulare Western
is fourth. Tulare Union and Redwood battled it out on Thursday, Feb. 22,
in the county finals with Redwood being proclaimed the winner that will
represent Tulare County at the state competition in Oakland later this
The 15 members of the WHS Mock Trial team concurred that
preparing for this challenge was hard work, especially when we have a
novice team, but learning how to construct our own arguments, becoming
knowledgeable of the justice system, and just having plain fun battling
the other schools in the courtrooms are the rewards.
Next year, Woodlake High School will be unstoppable!
Jordan Vieira is a sophomore at Woodlake High.
Life is like a garden:
Tending it is in your hands
by Kay Packard
The buckeyes are popping out their leaves. The oaks will
soon follow. Spring is imminent.
Are you ready to put your hands into action, tilling the
soil in your garden? We all know that trees, bushes, and flowers above
ground are dependent on what’s going on below.
Roots are nourished with fertilizer, different kinds of soil,
worms, fallen leaves, and more. The healthiest garden requires attention,
as does our life. Purposeful living can be compared to the care and attention
you give your radiant garden.
I’ve found at least two schools of thought on the whole
living thing. One is through planning; the other through spontaneity.
I am now exploring the spontaneous life after living the
planned life for the last 30 years. In the corporate and academia worlds,
I’m on what is called a sabbatical.
I feel like I’m in heaven; it’s the best, most
exotic vacation ever.
In the book called The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle drives home more than
just the idea of living in the moment.
He gets his readers to actually explore “being in the
now” and the tremendous freedom in it. This makes for a glorious
life of spontaneity.
However, since most people are living the American dream
— working, spending, and driving their cars — planning is
essential for success. Can the two be integrated to breed spontaneous
Reconsider your garden and your purpose in it.
Do you want to screen your property from the neighbors? Create
beautiful scenery for the admiring passersby? Keep weeds down to pass
Regardless of the reason, you take suitable steps to make
Try an experiment. Today, live with purpose.
Take aim at times, and be open to surprises at other times. Consider
the life of the plants in your garden and how they adapt to the elements
as well as receive your gifts through churning the soil and pruning the
Your hands provide precise indicators of your life’s
purpose when read by a bona fide hand analyst.
Revealing information about your character, challenges, gifts,
and potential gives you tools for your development and for your blossoming.
Whether you’re a planner or you live in the moment,
visit the Sierra Garden Center in Three Rivers on Saturday, March 10,
between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., to buy a plant and have a professional hand
For more information, call 561-4490 or visit www.handfactor.com.
1946 ~ 2007
Janet Louise Miksch Gilman, who was raised in Three Rivers
and currently resided in Rosamond, died Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007, after
a courageous battle with lung cancer. She was 61.
Janet was born February 6, 1946, to Byron J. and Laura Bell
Miksch. Byron worked for Southern California Edison Company, and when
Janet was five years old, the family relocated from Ivanhoe to Three Rivers
when her father was transferred.
Janet attended and graduated from Three Rivers School, Woodlake
High School, and College of the Sequoias. She attended Golden Gate University
and Cal State Bakersfield, where she earned a Master’s degree in
Janet was employed as site manager and project analyst for
GRD, a contractor for NASA at Edwards Air Force Base.
Janet was preceded in death by her parents, Byron Miksch (1916-2001) and
Laura Bell Miksch of Three Rivers; a nephew, U.S. Navy Gunner’s
Mate Justin Miksch (1982-2003); and her first husband, Jim Killebrew.
Janet is survived by her husband, Leslie Monforton of Rosamond;
son Doug Killebrew of Palmdale; grandson Josh Killebrew; sister Mary Margaret
Andrade and husband Manuel of Three Rivers; niece Christine Burns and
great-niece Laurabelle Burns of Lemon Cove; nephew Tim Andrade and wife
Sherri and their children, Emily and Zachary, of San Luis Obispo; brother
Byron Miksch Jr. of Three Rivers and his daughter, U.S. Navy Petty Officer
Second Class Shelby Miksch, stationed in Texas; stepmother Mary Miksch
of Visalia; her in-laws; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and close
A celebration of Janet’s life will be held at a later
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, a donation be
made to the American Cancer Society
1903 ~ 2007
Leland “Kelly” Keller of San Juan Capistrano
died Monday, Feb. 26, 2007. He was 103.
In 1885, Kelly’s grandfather, Charles Keller, was a
passenger on a train when he overheard a conversation about a “magnificent
forest of giant redwoods” and, as a member of the Co-Operative Land
Purchase and Colonization Association of San Francisco, investigated the
matter, visited Giant Forest, and sent a report back to the organization.
This was the beginning of the Kaweah Colony, a utopian experiment that
determined the course of history of the area now known as Sequoia National
The Colony had disbanded by the time Kelly was born on August
15, 1903. But the family remained in the area.
Kelly’s father, Carl, was one of the first rangers in Sequoia National
Park, where the family resided in the summer. Their winter home was in
Kaweah, where they purchased the Halstead ranch.
In the spring of 1915, Kelly’s mother died after a
long illness. For the next three years, Kelly lived with relatives in
By 1917, Carl Keller was Sequoia’s chief ranger. The
following year, Kelly returned to Kaweah.
Kelly attended Woodlake High School and also drove the bus,
delivering Three Rivers and Kaweah students to and from school. Before
finishing high school, Leland moved to Santa Cruz.
Leland Keller had a wish to visit Sequoia National Park one
more time. A trip was planned for June with his niece and her husband.
Now the visit will be a memorial service instead.
1941 ~ 2007
Karlene Hartlerode Stivers of Exeter died Wednesday, Feb.
28, 2007. She was 65.
In 1941, Karlene was born in Van Nuys to Kenneth and Barbara
Hartlerode. She moved with her family to Three Rivers at a young age,
attending Three Rivers School and Woodlake High School.
The Hartlerode family lost their home in the December 1955
On Jan. 13, 1961, Karlene married John Stivers, who was from
Three Rivers. Karlene was a public health nurse and homemaker.
Karlene was preceded in death by her daughter, Crystal; brother Kenny;
sister Gwendlyn; father Kenneth; and grandmother Winifred.
In addition to her husband of 46 years, John, Karlene is
survived by her children, John Stivers II of Bodfish, Stacy Stivers of
Exeter, Todd Stivers of Elk Grove, and Peggy Castillo of Colorado; her
mother, Barbara Hartlerode of Oregon; one brother, Charles Hartlerode;
sisters Barbara Apostol and Elaine Jennings; 11 grandchildren; and seven
Karlene will be interred at the Church at Kaweah Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to: www.smithfamilychapel.com.
1927 ~ 2007
Tony Ambrose Perez, a resident of Three Rivers for 16 years,
died Saturday, March 3, 2007, at Kaweah Delta Hospital. He was 79.
Tony was born in France moved to the U.S. when he was 18.
He worked in Alaska, building tracking satellites for the federal government
before embarking on a long career in the construction industry.
Tony was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Frances
(1933-2005). He will be laid to rest next to her at the Exeter Cemetery.
He is survived by his son, Tony, and wife LeAnn; and one
granddaughter, Alexis Perez.
1929 ~ 2007
Joyce Lee died Sunday, March 4, 2007, at her Three Rivers
home. She was 78.
A graveside service will be held today (Friday, March 9)
at 2 p.m., at the Three Rivers Cemetery.
Joyce was born Feb. 2, 1929, to Edward and Vera Race Fisher
in Compton. In 1948, she married Andrew Lee in Taft.
In 1961, the couple moved to Three Rivers. Joyce loved camping,
fishing, packing into the backcountry, and traveling with her husband.
Joyce is survived by her husband of 58 years, Andy, and many
The following are California residents killed in Iraq as
announced by the governor’s press office this week:
U.S. Army Private First Class Rowan D. Walter,
25, of Clovis, died Friday, Feb. 23, a day after he was injured when a
roadside bomb exploded near their Humvee in Ramadi, Iraq.
U.S. Army Sergeant Richard A. Soukenka,
30, of Oceanside died Tuesday, Feb. 27, as a result of injuries sustained
when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad.
U.S. Army Specialist Christopher D. Young,
20, of Los Angeles, died Friday, March 2, as a result of injuries sustained
when an IED detonated near his vehicle in Safwan, Iraq.
U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant Dustin M. Gould,
28, of Longmont, Colo., based at Camp Pendleton, died Friday, March 2,
as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in
Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
U.S. Marine Sailor/Hospital Corpsman Lucas W.A. Emch,
21, of Kent, Ohio, based at Camp Pendleton, died as a result of injuries
sustained when an IED detonated nearby while conducting combat operations
in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.