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In the News - Friday, March 11, 2011


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

Census says:

Population declines in 3R

  While Tulare County added more than 20 percent new residents in the latest Census, Three Rivers trended down 2.9 percent. The 2010  Census now lists a year-round population for Three Rivers of 2,182.
   Those figures were released earlier this week and will be a topic on the agenda at the next Three Rivers Town Hall meeting scheduled for Monday, April 4.
   What does the new data mean for the future of Three Rivers? Since the last Census of 2000, the average household size in Three Rivers has declined slightly, which translates to less children attending Three Rivers School.
   Trends that were also present in 2000 and have continued are the average age of couples and individuals who relocate here is slightly older, and the number of residential properties being purchased as second homes or income properties is also slightly up.
   Tulare County now has 442,179 residents ranking it as the eighth-fastest growing county out of the 58 in the state. Its population is 60.6 Hispanic; only Imperial County at 80.4 has a greater percentage of Hispanics within any California county.
   The majority of Tulare County’s growth is concentrated in its three largest cities: Visalia, Tulare, and Porterville. Porterville, at 54,165 residents, has surpassed the so-called magic number of 50,000, now placing it on the radar of corporate retailers and franchise restaurants looking to expand.
   The city of Fresno grew by 15.7 percent and remains California’s fifth largest city at 494,665. Bakersfield grew the most of any Central Valley city (40.6 percent) and now has a population of 347,483, ranking it as the state’s ninth largest city.
   Statewide there are now 3.3 million more Californians, reflecting an overall population growth of 10 percent. Of that total of 37.2 million, 37.6 percent are Hispanics.
   This Census marks the first time that California failed to add any congressional seats after a new Census. California’s gain as a state is 20th overall, now ranking behind its faster-growing neighbors Nevada and Arizona.

And Mathias makes three:

Another 3R judge on the bench

Honorable David Mathias

was raised in Three Rivers

  If you grow up in Three Rivers and attend Woodlake High School, odds are pretty good that you could become a Superior Court judge.  Currently, out of the 19 judges serving Tulare County’s highest court, three have ties to Three Rivers.
   THE HONORABLE LLOYD L. HICKS was appointed to the Tulare County Superior Court in 2003 by Gov. Gray Davis. Lloyd was raised in Three Rivers. His father is George Hicks (1912-2001) and his mother is Billie Hicks (1919-2002), both of whom lived in Three Rivers for more than 50 years.
   Lloyd graduated from Three Rivers School and Woodlake High School. He continued his education at Stanford University and began his law career in Visalia in 1969.
   THE HONORABLE KATHRYN (THORN) MONTEJANO was appointed to the Tulare County Superior Court by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. Kathy was raised in Three Rivers, the daughter of Craig “Bud” Thorn (1928-2009) and Shirley Nelson Thorn (1930-2009). She, too, graduated from Three Rivers School and Woodlake High School.
   Kathy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Chico. She then earned a law degree from Lincoln Law School (Sacramento). She served as a supervising attorney for 14 years in the Tulare County District Attorney’s office prior to her appointment.
   THE HONORABLE DAVID C. MATHIAS was appointed to the judgeship on December 6, 2010, by Gov. Schwarzenegger. He was sworn in Thursday, Feb. 24, and will serve at the Porterville Courthouse, soon to be the new South Justice Center.
   David was born in Tulare, but raised in Three Rivers. He, too, graduated from Woodlake High School.
   His father is longtime Three Rivers resident Jim Mathias. His mother is Charlene Mathias of Tulare. He received his undergraduate degree at Occidental College (Pasadena) and his law degree from Pacific McGeorge School of Law (Sacramento). Prior to being appointed judge, he was a property and civil litigator in Visalia.
   California has 58 trial courts, one in each county. In trial courts, or superior courts, a judge and sometimes a jury hears witnesses’ testimony and other evidence and decides cases by applying the relevant law to the relevant facts. The California courts serve nearly 34 million people.
   Before June 1998, California’s trial courts consisted of superior and municipal courts, each with its own jurisdiction and number of judges fixed by the Legislature. However, in June 1998, California voters approved Proposition 220, a constitutional amendment that permitted the judges in each county to merge their superior and municipal courts into a “unified,” or single, superior court.
   As of February 2001, all of California’s 58 counties have voted to unify their trial courts.
   Superior courts now have trial jurisdiction over all criminal cases including felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic matters. They also have jurisdiction over all civil cases including family law, probate, juvenile, and general civil matters. Nearly 8.8. million cases were filed in the trial courts at some 400 court locations throughout the state during 1998-1999.
   The County of Tulare currently has five court locations: the Tulare County Courthouse and the Juvenile Justice Facility in Visalia, the Tulare-Pixley Court Building in Tulare, the Porterville Government Center, and the Dinuba Court Building.
   The Tulare County Courthouse is the main facility; the other facilities serve as branch court locations.
   Due to significant projected population growth in the Porterville area over the next 20 years, the court has created two main service regions, a North Justice Center in Visalia and a South Justice Center based in Porterville. The new nine-courtroom Porterville Courthouse, to include the entire three-courtroom operation from the existing Porterville Government Center and one courtroom function from the Tulare-Pixley Court, will soon be completed and replace facilities that have poor security, are overcrowded, and have many physical problems.

Tour the ‘Hidden Gardens’ of Three Rivers

TRUS Foundation hosts spring garden tour

  This is not just another garden tour. Tickets are now on sale for the “Hidden Gardens of Three Rivers Tour,” which is anchored by a celebrity property that will be open to tour participants on this one day only.
   On Saturday, April 16, from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m., six beautiful and diverse Three Rivers gardens, including William Shatner’s Belle Reve Ranch, will be open to the public for tours. Add to this the beautiful Three Rivers setting -— where the foothills will be colorfully carpeted with dozens of species of wildflowers in peak bloom — and the day will be a feast for the senses.

  Featured gardens - ENJOY THE NATURAL beauty and riverside setting of William Shatner’s exclusive horse ranch while touring the “Native American Spirit Garden” and “Grant’s Grove,” a grouping of young giant sequoias named for the actor’s grandson, Grant.
   ALSO FEATURED ON the tour will be a lush, tropical garden paradise that borders the Three Rivers Golf Course and the Kaweah River but reminiscent of the South Pacific islands. In addition to an abundance of tropical/subtropical vegetation and California natives, the garden is accented by an outdoor pool with waterfalls, tiki sculptures, outdoor movie theatre, mosaics, and more.
   TOUR PARTICIPANTS WILL also have exclusive access to a traditional English country garden with a pleasing collection of the contemporary and 18th-century elegance, of formality and informality, all of which is highlighted by an unforgettable sunset view.
   AT ANOTHER STOP, visit a delicately scented lavender and herb garden, developed by a professional horticulturist. The backdrop of this invigorating setting is a restored 1930s-era adobe home perched on a knoll overlooking the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River.
   AS AN ADDED bonus, the owners of one of the featured gardens will offer home tours as the property is currently for sale. But the grounds of this riverfront home built to the North Star are a celestial treat as the natural foothills landscape and river features are incorporated into the garden setting.
   IN ADDITION, GARDEN-tourists will have a chance to sit and relax at a peaceful, spiritual respite in a verdant setting overlooking the Kaweah canyon. The religious statues and shrines tucked among the granite boulders and sprawling, shade-lending oaks blend seamlessly with the natural creation of the surrounding Sierra foothills.
Garden extras
   At each of these unique garden settings will be additional treats that only Three Rivers can offer. Artists will be creating on-site, musicians will be playing, and local restaurants will feature “A Taste of Three Rivers,” all of which is included in the ticket price.
   And a Three Rivers garden tour would not be complete without the assistance and expertise of the Three Rivers-based Redbud Garden Club, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Club members will donate their time as docents who will assist as on-site tour guides.

  Registration - Registration is currently ongoing for the inaugural Hidden Gardens of Three Rivers Tour. Admission is $35 per person.
Register online with a credit card at www.TRUSfoundation.org. Sign-ups will also be taken by any Three Rivers Union School Foundation board member or by calling Pam Lockhart, 471-6624, or Sarah Elliott, 349-7980.
   Registration packets with ticket/badge, map and directions, tour guidelines, and additional information will be available for pick-up the week prior to the tour and on the morning of the event at Three Rivers School.
   This fundraiser continues the TRUS Foundation’s commitment to assist Three Rivers School during its ongoing budgetary challenges. All proceeds from the garden tour benefit Three Rivers Union School.
   For those who cannot attend the garden tour, you will be missed, but please remember Three Rivers School with your financial donations; they are always welcome (make checks payable to TRUS Foundation and mail to P.O. Box 99, Three Rivers, CA 93271).

Three Rivers jumps on board
with geotourism nominations

  Geotourism is “best practice” tourism that sustains, or even enhances, the geographical character of a place, such as its culture, environment, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Three Rivers residents and business owners seem to agree with that type of travel or at least believe that it is the next big thing that will drive tourists to the region.
   That’s judging from the amount of nominations that Three Rivers has received so far for the Sierra Nevada Geotourism MapGuide. And there’s still six weeks to go in the nomination process.
   In addition, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have promised to nominate 50 or so sites.
   Remember, however, all nominations are just that: the official naming of a candidate. All nominations are “pending” until approved as a true geotourism site that will appear in perpetuity on the National Geographic’s online MapGuide.

Town meeting highlights

  The monthly Town Hall meeting was held Monday, March 7, and featured lively discussion and some indispensable information. Bobby Kamansky, a consultant with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy who is currently heading up a local effort to put Three Rivers on a National Geographic e-map, explained how the project could direct thoughtful, new tourism to Three Rivers.
   Kamansky called the map “a living, dynamic body of work,” and “a web-based tool.” So if a site or application for listing needs changes or corrections, the information linked to the locale could be revised or updated after the April 30 deadline. Of the 80 applications that have been submitted to date for the Southern Sierra region, Three Rivers sites make up approximately 25 percent of the total.
   The geocouncil, Kamansky said, is meeting Monday, March 14, in Kernville to discuss the criteria for inclusion and review all pending nominations.
   Kamansky also said there were no definite plans to produce a printed map but each town or area within the various regions could pursue printed copies if they wanted to underwrite the production costs.
   Supervisor Allen Ishida reported that he was in Washington, D.C., last week with Tom Sparks of Three Rivers as part of a Tulare County contingent meeting with federal officials. Ishida said among the priorities were garnering funding for pot eradication on public lands and watershed management in the national forests.
  “If we could hire more folks to be in these areas working in watershed management, that presence would deter these pot growers,” Ishida said.
   One way to practice good management in these areas is to clear timber and remove some trees, Ishida concluded.
   Captain Jim Hinesly, a former Three Rivers resident deputy and now a supervisor with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, said a cooperative agreement was in the works with rangers at Sequoia National Park. The idea, Hinesly said, was to have park law enforcement rangers respond to certain calls in areas outside the parks.
   That could keep local deputies like Fansett and Brockman, Hinesly said, from having to spend too much of their time traveling up and down mountain roads. He also said he would be willing to talk with locals on strategic planning for the upcoming season at the river.
  “Not much has changed since I was the deputy up here in 1980-1981,” Hinesly said. “You still have lots of folks trespassing on private property to get to the river.”
   One way he got the word out was issuing citations, Hinesly said. He also said even with the department’s limited manpower this year there would still be gang units who will keep an eye on things up here.
   Ted Mendoza, a division chief with Tulare County Fire Department, reminded all local property owners that its time to get a jumpstart on the 100-foot mandated clearance around all structures. He also mentioned that homeowners may use fire retardant and have a supply on-hand in the event of a wildfire.
   Ceasefire, a web-based company, claims their retardant is affordable for homeowners, non-toxic, and effective in treating landscaping and structures. Chief Mendoza recommends that all property owners treat their environs with retardant when fire is imminent.

Gas prices on the rise

   Due to current unrest in the Middle East, gas prices across the nation have been rising dramatically. California, however, has the highest prices. In Three Rivers, prices were at $3.87 per gallon on March 3. On March 10, they were $3.95. By Friday, March 11, they had eclipsed the $4-per-gallon mark.

  Don't feel so bad. At a gas station at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley National Park, a gallon of regular gas is over $5.

Chamber installs new board

  At its regular monthly meeting last month, the Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce (SFCC) approved four new board members and outlined plans for new activities that Tony Moreno, chamber president, said are in keeping with the chamber’s mission to promote and support local businesses.
   The new board members are Peter Sodhy, Pro-Youth HEART; Ed Lafferty, Nielsen and Associates; David Learned, Century 21 Three Rivers; and Bruce Keller, retired educator.


Variety is the spice of life

By Allison Sherwood Millner

  Or is spice the variety of life? Whichever it is, spice is certainly responsible for the variety in my food. Whether I decide to make a dish that is hot or mild, savory or sweet, it’s the spices that transform it and create the finished product.
   According to Merriam-Webster, spice is defined as “any of various aromatic vegetable products (such as pepper or nutmeg) used to season or flavor foods.” And while I’ve been called “spicy” at times (particularly by my husband when I’m being ornery), I’ve never been used to season a dish.
   All kidding aside, spices play a huge role in my cooking and are used to give each dish its unique taste and character.
   My first memory of spice as a child involves making pumpkin pie. I can remember my mother letting me spoon out and measure each spice; I was so excited that I was able to help with the pies. The individual aroma of the spices was intoxicating and I waited as each combined with another to form the iconic pumpkin pie smell.
   Since then I’ve discovered that spices come in all colors, shapes and sizes. They do share a common denominator in that they are almost always dried, but they are all made from a variety of different plant parts.
   Peppercorns are made from the dried fruit of a flowering vine whereas the spice cumin comes from the plant’s seed. Juniper berries are actually a type of soft, fleshy conifer cone and in contrast saffron (the world’s most expensive spice, selling for around $1,000 per pound) comes from the crocus of the saffron plant.
   Each spice is unique unto it’s own and imparts a particular flavor that cannot be mimicked. Likewise, individual use of spice varies; I tend to be heavy-handed with thyme while Dane reaches for the cumin when he’s in the kitchen. The possibilities of flavor combinations are infinite and exciting!
   Of course, as individual as spices are to each person’s cooking, their use can also define the cuisine of a nation. The oregano and cumin used in most Mexican cuisine varies drastically from the paprika-laden food of Hungary and the saffron-infused paella found everywhere in Spain.
   And while some cultures embrace spice, as Jamaica does with its hot jerk seasonings, others are relatively spice-less, such as England.
   A basic ingredient like tomato sauce, which is used around the world, takes on the taste and spice of each individual cuisine. Out of one simple ingredient springs hundreds of variations, with spice responsible for it all.
   In Italy, a tomato sauce wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of basil and oregano. Take the same sauce and add some dried chilies, chocolate, and oregano you’ve got molé in Mexico.
   Like it hot? Add some cayenne, turmeric, ginger, cumin (and many other spices) to your sauce and you’ve created an Indian curry.
   In Egypt recently, we tasted a tomato sauce rich with cinnamon, allspice, and fennel that was both delicious and surprising. The sweetness of the tomatoes was a natural with the cinnamon and allspice but balanced by a peppery bite that rounded out the entire sauce. The spices made it unlike anything we’d ever tasted!
   And that’s what spice does. It gives you flavors you’ve never experienced before and opens the door to dishes that have yet to be invented. Using spices in the right proportions, at the right time, anyone can create culinary masterpieces.
   I’m including my recipe for Jamaican Jerk Rub that uses a number of spices as well as some flavor and heat from onions, garlic and jalapenos. It’s got a bite of heat along with an unexpected kick from the ginger and dry mustard. Use the recipe as-is or alter it to invent your own gastronomic work of art.
   Allison Sherwood Millner creates her culinary taste sensations at Sierra Subs & Salads, which she owns with her husband Dane.


The many reasons to learn to draw

By Jana Botkin

  Drawing is a skill that can be both taught and learned. If you compare it to typing, this makes sense: some people top out at 25 words per minute and others can become as fast as 90 words per minute. But all are indisputably typing.
   Why should a person learn to draw? Back in the olden days, it was considered a necessary life skill and was a regular subject in school.
   Now that we have easy and accessible photography and even easier and accessible Internet, drawing has fallen into the categories of hobby or talent. Why draw if you can take a photo?
   A few years ago there was a retired gentleman in Three Rivers who had trouble filling his days. We became acquainted at various art shows, and we would discuss drawing.
   After several conversations, he approached me and asked, “Do you really think you could teach me how to draw?”
   I responded in the affirmative and asked him why he wanted to learn. His answer still cracks me up: “I don’t really care about art; I just want to meet women.”
   Besides the social aspect of taking drawing lessons with a small group, drawing helps us to look carefully at the places and items in our lives. It teaches us how to see what is really in front of us, not what we assume is there, or think we see.
   A number of my drawing students have told me that after a few weeks of lessons, they begin to observe the world around them differently. Details, light and shadow, shapes, and ideas for drawings are all suddenly visible as never before.
   Some people choose to take drawing lessons out of curiosity. They’ve heard me say I can teach anyone how to draw, with the qualifier that the student can listen to instructions.
   These folks wonder if they are the exceptions and decide to just give it a try. But the only ones who haven’t learned are those who quit too soon.
   Other students come to me because they are painters who are dissatisfied with their paintings. Still others want to become painters and they know that drawing comes before painting.
   By learning to draw in pencil, a person will learn to see shapes, proportions, perspective, and learn about values. Values are the darks and the lights, and without them, a picture gets described as being “flat.”
   Several people have asked me for help because at some time in their past an art teacher crushed their spirits. If someone thinks he might have an artistic bent and his work is thoughtlessly dismissed, it can really damage his confidence.
   I have spent time listening to people’s stories, looking at their work, showing them new ways to do things, and watching them blossom into people who can draw.
   Some of my drawing students draw better than I do! Although I thoroughly enjoy the time together, I ask them why they think they still need lessons.
   The answer is usually that if they haven’t reserved a spot in their week specifically for drawing, they won’t ever draw at all in spite of good intentions.
   The man who just wanted to meet women did make some friends, and before he succumbed to cancer, he completed two beautiful pencil drawings.
   He kept repeating, “I can’t believe I did this!”
   Rejoicing with him over his accomplishments continues to be one of my happiest memories in all the years of teaching private drawing lessons.
   Jana Botkin will teach you to draw no matter what the reason at Cabinart, her Three Rivers studio.


Frank Marshall
1942 ~ 2011

   Frank Joseph Marshall of Three Rivers died Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, in Fresno. He was 68.
   Frank was born to Clarence Richard and Florence Bertha (Pucher) Marshall in Oxnard on December 1, 1942. He was raised in the Santa Paula/Fillmore area on the family citrus ranch.
   He married the former Sylvia Salsbury on August 29, 1964, in Fillmore. He was the sales manager for Agri-Serv in Santa Paula and a partner in Pro Ag Inc. for many years.
   Frank was a past president of the Central Valley Management Inc. and a partner of Oxnard Lemon in Oxnard. He was an innovator in citrus and loved to share his years of experience and ideas to many farmers.
   Frank was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Marie Nisbet.
   Frank is survived by his wife, Sylvia Marshall of Three Rivers; sons Frank Marshall Jr. and wife Jen of Visalia and Joshua Marshall and wife Tina of Visalia; daughter Michele Marshall and husband Richard Fischer of Exeter; brother Richard Marshall and wife Dora of Fillmore; sister Barbara Roina and husband Edward of Santa Paula; brother-in-law Don Nisbet of Fillmore; grandchildren, Alex Fontana, Sydney Fontana, Connor Marshall, Indy Fischer, Roman Fischer and George Edmonds; and numerous nieces and nephews.
   He will always be loved and missed by his family.
   A funeral service was held Friday, Feb. 18, at Evans Miller Guinn Chapel. He was interred at the Three Rivers Cemetery.
   Condolences may be sent to the family at www.evansmillerguinnchapel.com.









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